Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Hitler's Would-Be Assasin. RIP.
Sixty-three years ago yesterday, this man, along with two other German army officers, Henning von Treskow and Hans Oster, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler and the High Command of the Wehrmacht and remove the Nazis from power. He and his cohorts, Catholic aristocrats and lovers of their land, desired to save Germany from the devastating war Hitler had doomed the nation into, and saw it as their duty to bring this murderous regime to an end. They almost succeeded.
The plan was to have Colonel von Stauffenberg, chief of the army reserve, to plant a suitcase with a bomb inside at Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair), five miles east of the East Prussian town Rastenberg (now Kertzyn, Poland), one of Hitler's many command posts. Once the bomb would have done its work in desposing of Hitler, Operation Valkyrie would be put into action: overthrow the central government in Berlin, and make peace with the Allies. The conspirators had an inside man in Berlin-General Olbricht-who would coordinate the operations in the top command.
All went awry, when the suitcase was removed several feet away from Hitler. It went off, but Hitler suffered minor injuries. In the meantime, von Stauffenberg was on his way to Berlin to carry out Operation Valkyrie, and he and General Olbricht arrested some top officials, inlcuding General Fromm, commander of the reserves, until word came back to them that Hitler was alive. Fromm was released, with the understanding he would support the conspiracy, but in the end, he turned on them. Staufenberg and Olbricht were shot the next day, Oster and Treskow were arrested and executed the following week, along with seven-thousand Germans suspected of conspiracy to assassinate Hitler (including German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel).
The plot failed, but the name of Claus von Stauffenberg is perhaps the most beloved and revered name in Germany, giving proof to many Germans that even in that darkest hour of their history, chivalry, honor and goodness were not lacking.
May Claus von Stauffenberg's memory be eternal! May God grant him rest eternal.
And may He also grant rest to his co-conspirators, Hening von Treskow and Hans Oster, as well as to Pastor Bonhoeffer and Field Marshal Rommel, and to all Germans of good will who died wanting to save their nation from a fiendish and monstrous regime.