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The bomb that exploded in the "Wolf's Lair"—Hitler's command headquarters—on July 20th, 1944 was the closest any assassination attempt ever came to ridding the world of the Nazis' Führer. Pierre Galante's account of the years that led up to the attempt, and its grim aftermath, offers an illuminating look at how dissent among the German officer corps grew until something had to be done. Conspirator General Adolf Heusinger, who met with Hitler on hundreds of occasions, provides his personal accounts of the ...
The bomb that exploded in the "Wolf's Lair"—Hitler's command headquarters—on July 20th, 1944 was the closest any assassination attempt ever came to ridding the world of the Nazis' Führer. Pierre Galante's account of the years that led up to the attempt, and its grim aftermath, offers an illuminating look at how dissent among the German officer corps grew until something had to be done. Conspirator General Adolf Heusinger, who met with Hitler on hundreds of occasions, provides his personal accounts of the disintegrating obedience of the German commanders as the war turned against them. Their plan to kill Hitler, establish a provisional government, and negotiate with the Allies for peace—known as Operation Valkyrie—is described here in depth.
|1||July 20, 1944: The Wolf's Lair||1|
|2||July 20, 1944: Paris||18|
|3||1934-1935: The Army Swears Fealty||34|
|4||1936-1937: "They Call Him Hermann"||43|
|5||1938: "A Swine, But a Lucky Swine"||51|
|6||1939: First Soldier of the Reich||80|
|7||1940: "I Can Force Them to Obey Me"||93|
|8||1941: "We Have Nothing to Fear from the Americans"||108|
|9||1942: "The Russians Are Done For"||128|
|11||1943: Internal Machines||174|
|12||1944: "When the Oxcart Gets Stuck in the Mud"||206|
|13||July 20, 1944: Exercise Completed||224|
|14||After July 20, 1944: The Last Knights||235|
|15||March 1945-May 1945: "In the Best Interests of the Nation"||256|
|App||Interview with General Heusinger||268|
|Glossary of German Military Terms||277|
Posted June 6, 2010
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Pierre Galante's book "Operation Valkyrie" was first published in France in 1981 under the title "Hitler est-il mort?" and was shortly after translated into the current english version. As of this writing, there is a movie out starring Tom Cruise that pictorially brings this book to life. The movie, with a few deviations to make the story more dramatic, does a good job of this. Galante's book is about the July 20, 1944 plot to kill the leader of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The story centers around a one-eyed, one-armed veteran of Irwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who smuggled a briefcase full of high explosives into a conference room at Hitler's East Prussian command headquarters called the "Wolf's Lair". Exploding at 12:42 p.m.. Stauffenberg quickly left the conference room just prior to the explosion and hastily fled back to Berlin to initiate "Operation Valkerie". This operation was a plan for the military coup d'etat to overthrow and kill Hitler, and hopefully end the savagery and barbarism engulfing Hitler and his diabolic regime-from the killing centers of the Concentration Camps to the endless slaughter of German soldiers and civilians as a consequence of being on the losing end of the Second World War. Operation Valkerie was drawn up by a group of the most intelligent officers in the Wehrmacht (German High Command) to not only depose and destroy Hitler but to seize power in Nazi Conquered Vichy France's capital, Paris, as well as the center of Germany itself, Berlin. A second goal was to proclaim a provisional government and sue for a seperate peace with the rapidly approaching Western Allies, who at no uncertain terms refused to negotiate in any sense with Germany's deranged strongman, Adolf Hitler. The key to Galante's book was that this author spent over fifteen years interviewing eyewitnesses of this secret war between the "normal Germans", i.e. the last generation of the Prussian warrior caste (Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, Commander in Chief of the German Sixth Army who defied Hitler's orders to commit suicide and not surrender at Stalingrad, was one of this caste) and Adolf Hitler (who was sarcastically referred to as the "upstart corporal") that they reluctantly had sworn to serve and obey. Pierre Galante's primary source of information for this book was to be found in the archives and personal recollections of General Adolf Heusinger, who served as the operations chief of the German General Staff from 1940 to 1944 and also was an important architect of the postwar West German army. Galante drew on Heusinger's four year tour of service to the Fuhrer, his descriptions of his impressions of over six hundred meetings with Hitler, and how Heusinger ultimately came to be the dissident officer's special envoy to the Nazi court, a role that obviously exposed him to considerable risks from both sides. Heusinger was in the conference room during the assassination attempt and was critically wounded by the explosion and narrowly escaped death a second time at the hands of Hitler's Gestapo (the "SS"). Galante does an excellent job of describing a blow by blow description of why the July 20, 1944 plot failed. Pierre Galante's book is not only about the July 20th rebellion, the only serious attempt to destroy the Third Reich from within. This is a story of the German path to destruction told with tremendous clarity! A must read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.