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Stauffenberg: Symbol of Resistance (Hardback)

The Man Who Almost Killed Hitler

WWII Frontline Books Hitler & the Third Reich

By Wolfgang Venohr
Frontline Books
Pages: 300
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781473856837
Published: 16th April 2019

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On 20th July 1944, senior officers gathered at the Wolfschanze – the Wolf’s Lair – Hitler’s headquarters in East Prussia. Amongst those men was Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg, chief of staff of the Reserve Army, and with him he carried a briefcase packed with explosives.

A little after midday the building was rocked by a massive explosion. Five men were killed, others wounded and the interior of the Wolfschanze was wrecked. Believing that he had killed the German Führer, von Stauffenberg set off for Berlin to initiate Operation Valkyrie – the coup d’etat to overthrow the Nazi regime.

Hitler, of course, did not die that day and Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were rounded up and executed. But what motivated Stauffenberg to attempt such a mission? Was Stauffenberg a traitor or a patriot?

After decades of analysing the sources and eyewitness reports, the renowned historian Wolfgang Venohr revealed the true nature of the man behind the most audacious assassination attempt of the Second World War.

Like many others, Stauffenberg smarted from Germany’s humiliating defeat in 1918 and the punishing terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Indeed, until the late 1930s Stauffenberg agreed with much of the National Socialist ideology, which sought to re-establish Germany as the most powerful nation in Europe. But, increasingly, he sees his country sliding to defeat yet again at the hands of a leader who has lost his grip on reality. Stauffenberg believed he had no choice but to act.

The German Officer Corps had very mixed feelings towards Hitler and the Nazis. This comes out clearly from the Operation Valkyrie. – Highly Recommended

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Firetrench

I have never seen the film Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise, but I lapped this up as a true and fantastic account of Stauffenberg and his convoluted plot to assassinate the Fuhrer. Another Boys’ Own Paper story, this time involving the very highest eschelons of the Third Reich. Brilliant.

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Books Monthly

This book covers the background of Stauffenberg from his early life, right up until his execution at the hands of those who were still loyal to their Fuhrer. I found this publication both informative and engaging, which almost makes you feel as if you were there during the Assassination attempt on the 20th July 1944 and the executions of those involved including Von Stauffenberg’s death on the 21st July 1944 by firing squad which was carried out in the Courtyard of the Bendlerblock in Berlin. Venohr who was around 19 during the war has written an excellent book and has really taken on the urgency Germany was experiencing trying to end the war before more lives were lost and Hitler was adamant on if he was to fall, the Fatherland and all in it should fall with him also.

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Armorama

This biography of Stauffenberg is simply excellent. It examines the life of Stauffenberg and carefully links him to the momentous events that conditioned his life and actions. It offers some insightful thoughts on the extent of the engagement of the German people (as distinct from just the Nazi Party) and its role in the rise of Hitler. Similarly how that same engagement enabled the Wehrmacht to continue against all odds from 1942 when clearly the strategic situation ensured only one outcome. Stauffenberg was privileged to have access to the realities that predicted that despite its prodigious efforts the Wehrmacht would be defeated. It also traces the web of principled and patriotic officers who were part of the attempted coup against Hitler, despite the very significant risks; honour and decency tried its best to fight back.
A stunning book and hugely recommended.
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Wolfgang Venohr

Born in Berlin in 1925, WOLFGANG VENOHR held a PhD in history and worked as a journalist and freelance writer. For many years he was editor-in-chief of Stern TV. The author of numerous television films and published works, including Uprising of the Slovaks, The Freedom Fight of 1944, and Patriots vs. Hitler – The Way to July 20, 1944, Venohr’s work earned him the Jakob Kaiser Prize in 1972 and the Joseph E. Drexel Prize in 1979. He died in Berlin on 26 January 2005.

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