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Claus von Stauffenberg
Claus von Stauffenberg was born in Jettingen, on 15th November, 1907. A bright student, at nineteen he became an officer cadet. He attended the War Academy in Berlin and joined the General Staff in 1938.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Stauffenberg joined the staff of 6th Panzer Division. During Operation Barbarossa Stauffenberg became appalled by the atrocities committed by the Schutz Staffeinel (SS).
In 1942 he started associating with Henning von Tresckow, Fabin Schlabrendorff and other opponents of Adolf Hitler. Promoted to the rank of major, he was badly injured when his staff car ran into a mine field and was attacked by enemy aircraft. Stauffenberg lost his left eye, two fingers on the left hand and his right forearm.
While recovering from his injuries Stauffenberg decided to kill Adolf Hitler and overthrow the Nazi government. Stauffenberg was joined by Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Henning von Tresckow, Fabin Schlabrendorff, Peter von Wartenburg, Ludwig Beck, and Erwin von Witzleben in what became known as the July Plot.
At least six attempts were aborted before Stauffenberg decided on trying again during a conference attended by Hitler on 20th July, 1944. It was decided to drop plans to kill Goering and Himmler at the same time. Stauffenberg, who had never met Hitler before, carried the bomb in a briefcase and placed it on the floor while he left to make a phone-call. The bomb exploded killing four men in the hut. Hitler's right arm was badly injured but he survived the bomb blast.
The plan was for Ludwig Beck, Erwin von Witzleben and Erich Fromm to take control of the German Army. This idea was abandoned when it became known that Adolf Hitler had survived the assassination attempt. In an attempt to protect himself, Fromm organized the execution of Stauffenberg along with three other conspirators, Friedrich Olbricht and Werner von Haeften, in the courtyard of the War Ministry. It was later reported the Stauffenberg died shouting "Long live free Germany".
(1) Carl Goerdeler had doubts about Claus von Stauffenberg when he joined the German Resistance in 1942.
Stauffenberg revealed himself as a cranky, obstinate fellow who wanted to play politics. I had many a row with him, but greatly esteemed him. He wanted to steer a dubious political course with the left-wing Socialists and the Communists, and gave me a bad time with his overwhelming egotism.
(2) Henning von Tresckow, message to Claus von Stauffenberg (July, 1944)
The assassination must be attempted, at any cost. Even should that fail, the attempt to seize power in the capital must be undertaken. We must prove to the world and to future generations that the men of the German Resistance movement dared to take the decisive step and to hazard their lives upon it. Compared with this, nothing else matters.