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Countdown to Valkyrie (ePub)

The July Plot to Assassinate Hitler

Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: WWII WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Nigel Jones, Afterword with Count Berthold Schenk von Stauffenberg
Frontline Books
File Size: 22.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781783461455
Published: 1st March 2009


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Although there were more than forty plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler, none came closer to success than the 20 July Plot of 1944. As part of Operation Valkyrie this was masterminded by a group of acting and retired Army officers and some civilians who wanted to remove Hitler in order to establish a new government in Germany. It was to be carried out by one of the key organisers, Count von Stauffenberg, a member of the German General Staff, who had been returned from Africa after losing his left eye and right hand. For his injuries, he had been decorated as a war hero.

Stauffenberg had become increasingly attracted by the approaches of the German resistance movement. After an attempt to assassinate Hitler in November 1943 failed, Stauffenberg developed a new plot to kill him at the Wolfsschanze, or Wolf’s Lair, the Führerhauptquartiere, or Führer’s headquarters, on the Eastern Front. Besides the Fuhrer’s assassination, Stauffenberg organised plans to take over command of the Germany forces and sue for peace with the Allies.

Though Stauffenberg’s bomb exploded as planned, in a conference room at the Wolf’s Lair on 20 July 1944, Hitler survived. His life was probably saved because the bomb, hidden in Stauffenberg's suitcase, had been placed behind a heavy table leg which reduced the impact of the blast.

In remarkable detail, with photographs, explanatory maps and diagrams, author Nigel Jones dissects the lead up to the attempt, the events of the day in minute-by-minute detail, and the aftermath in which the conspirators were hunted down. This is the full story of just how close the plan to assassinate Hitler came to success – and how the course of the Second World War might have been dramatically altered.

In truly remarkable detail, with photographs, explanatory maps and diagrams, author Nigel Jones dissects the lead up to the attempt, the events of the day in minute-by-minute detail, as well as the aftermath in which the conspirators were hunted down. This extremely well-done book presents the full story of just how close the plan to assassinate Hitler came to success – – and how the course of the Second World War might have been dramatically altered.

ARGrunners Magazine

"...provides a detailed and engaging account of the conspiracy."


Article: ‘Nigel Jones recalls the time he spent in the home of legendary German writer Ernest Jünger' as featured by

The Critic, March 2021

An engrossing narrative which is a testament to the courage of a few genuine German heroes.

Joe Craig, Executive Editor,US Military Book Club

A compelling and exciting account packed with vivid detail. A superb read.

James Holland

Nigel Jones has been very thorough in his research.....apart from the interest generated by the overall intrigue his attention to the details acts as a very strong literary mortar. His writing is almost novelistic in style but this makes the strict diary-like chronological presentation easy to read. I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

Special Forces Club Newsletter, Spring 2009

Countdown to Valkyrie is a riveting read, a fine re-telling of the key events of Nazi history, and a reminder that even during the darkest days of the Second World War there were some ‘decent’ Germans, patriots who loved their country and hated
Hitler who were prepared to sacrifice their lives to bring his terrible war to an end. If you have seen the film and wish to read one of the available books that flesh out the detail, Countdown to Valkyrie is the one that I would unhesitatingly recommend.

www.middleburgh.co.uk - Rabbi Dr Charles H Middleburgh

In addition to Col Claus von Stauffenburg’s attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944, Countdown to Valkyrie documents other lesser-known plots by the German resistance movement to take the Fuhrer’s life. The conspirators’ stories are followed from their decisions to join the resistance through to the usually brutal ends they met at the hands of the Nazis. Jones delivers this account in an interesting and easy to read way without getting bogged down in too much detail. A book that will keep your interest from start to finish.

Sgt Anthony Silvey, KRH

Nigel Jones’ book is a welcome addition to a surprisingly large canon. His tremendous achievement is to combine pace with the best modern scholarship in German which is substantial. His book therefore reflects the complexity of the Stauffenberg story as well as its heroism.

Christopher Hale, author of HIMMLER'S CRUSADE

A most compelling and enjoyable read, especially the vivid account
of brutal Nazi retribution following the attempt on Hitler's life. I would recommend "Countdown to Valkyrie" as a definitive account of that period.

Michael Mercer + Artsmagic Productions

Nigel Jones is a talented writer and COUNTDOWN TO VALKRYIE is a fine new book which places the operation squarely in the context of the 16 other plots to kill Hitler, and examines the motives of the plotters.

Andrew Roberts

Jones is a consummate storyteller - a basic, yet often overlooked skill among historians - and he tells us about the build up to the plot in an easy, flowing style.
A gripping acount of one of the most extraodinary events in the history of Nazi Germany. Those wishing to find out the truth behind Tom Cruise's Hollywood version of the story should look here.

New Statesman

Jones enhances his developing reputation as a writer on the Third Reich with this compelling, fast-paced account of the July 20 conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Jones traces the plot's unfolding and unravelling, first day by day, then hour by hour. Hitler's survival condemned the conspirators to an obscene vengeance. "Their heroic sacrifice", says Jones,'snatched the soul of their tortured country from the pit - and saved it".

Publishers Weekly

Countdown to Valkyrie is, in a sense, a remarkable journey. Although the destination is all too tragically familiar, the route by which Nigel Jones takes us is a complete revelation. With his extraordinary eye for detail, he now brings us the whole story - a tale by turns grotesque, inspiring, brutal and redeeming. As a guide through the vicious labyrinth of Nazism, Jones surely has no equal.

John Gimlette, Author of 'Panther Soup'

A detailed and lively account of the plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

Professor Gary Sheffield, University of Birmingham

A thrilling account of the incredible assassination conspiracy. Nigel Jones provides an exciting, informative and ground-breaking history.

Tim Newark, Editor, Military Illustrated

Nigel Jones has written an accessible and readable account - not only of Count Stauffenberg's July plot, but of sundry other lesser-known attempts on Hitler's life which should be better known. He has done a cracking job.

James Delingpole

A engaging history by a talented and accomplished writer.

Roger Moorhouse author of Killing Hitler
 Nigel Jones

About Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones is a historian, journalist and biographer. A former deputy editor of History Today magazine and reviews editor of BBC History Magazine he has initiated and presented several BBC TV and radio documentaries. He writes and reviews regularly for The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Literary Review.

His latest book, Countdown to Valkyrie, has already proved a great success and has received commendations from public and the media alike.

Nigel lives with his partner and three children in Sussex.

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