FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN VON WITZLEBEN

FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN VON WITZLEBEN (1881-1944)

He was, for a time, the Commander of Germany’s Western Forces and a conspirator in the failed July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler. Had it been successful, Witzleben was to take over supreme command of the whole Wehrmacht as the highest ranking German soldier. He was sentenced to death and hanged on a meat hook, with his execution filmed for Hitler’s viewing.

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MAJOR GENERAL HENNING VON TRESCKOW

MAJOR GENERAL HENNING VON TRESCKOW (1901–1944)

A member of the German Wehrmacht who, stationed in Russia, organized German resistance against Hitler. As one of the prime movers of Operation Valkyrie and its failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, he committed suicide by holding a grenade under his chin. The Nazis exhumed his body from his family grave and took it to the crematorium of Sachsenhausen concentration camp to remove all trace of his life.

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GENERAL HELMUTH STIEFF

GENERAL HELMUTH STIEFF (1901–1944) was Chief of the organization section of the Abwehr and a member of the German Resistance. Hitler did not conceal his personal dislike of him, calling him a “poisonous little dwarf.” Stieff volunteered to be the ‘trigger man’ for the July 1944 assassination attempt, but reneged at the last moment. Nevertheless, he was arrested by the Gestapo on July 21 and brutally tortured. On August 8, he was tried and executed.

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COUNT CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG

COUNT CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG (1907–1944)

A Wehrmacht officer and aristocrat who having lost an eye and hand while fighting for the Third Reich, became one of the leading players in the German Resistance and its failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. As the man responsible for placing the bomb at the Fuhrer’s feet, he was shot without a trial as a traitor for having drafted and participated in Operation Valkyrie. His immediate burial with military honours was ordered, but the next day the SS exhumed his body, stripped it of medals and cremated it so as to leave him no memorial.

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SS BRIGADIER GENERAL (BRIGADEFUHRER) WALTHUR SCHELLENBERG

SS BRIGADIER GENERAL (BRIGADEFUHRER) WALTHUR SCHELLENBERG (1910 –1952)

was head of foreign intelligence following the abolition of the Abwehr in 1944. He was a good friend of Admiral Canaris who he replaced in the role after having been given the difficult task of arresting him for treason. Schellenberg was infamous for his “office fortress” desk, which had two automatic guns built into it that could be fired at the touch of a button. Near the end of the War, Schellenberg persuaded Himmler to try negotiating with the Western Allies. At the Nuremberg Trials, Schellenberg testified against other Nazis. In the 1949 Ministries Trial he was sentenced to six years imprisonment. One year after his release, he died of cancer in Turin.

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DR HJALMAR SCHACHT

DR HJALMAR SCHACHT (1877 –1970)

Originally, as an economist and banker who supported Nazism, Hitler appointed him President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics. As such, Schacht helped implement Hitler’s policies of redevelopment, reindustrialization and rearmament. He was forced out of the government by disagreements with Hitler and other prominent Nazis by 1936 and became a fringe member of the German Resistance. He was imprisoned as a result of the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg but acquitted.

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LIEUTENANT FABIAN VON SCHLABRENDORFF

LIEUTENANT FABIAN VON SCHLABRENDORFF (1907–1980)

A German lawyer, soldier of the Wehrmacht and member of the resistance who was heavily involved in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. As Adjutant to Colonel Henning von Tresckow, he acted as secret liaison between Tresckow in Russia and the German Resistance in Berlin. Because Judge Freisler died midway through his trial at the People’s Court, Schlabrendorff was one of the very few conspirators to survive. Although he was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp and tortured, he was liberated by the Allies in 1945.

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FIELD MARSHAL GERD VON RUNDSTEDT

FIELD MARSHAL GERD VON RUNDSTEDT (1875-1953)

A member of the German Wehrmacht, he held some of the highest field commands in all phases of WWII. Although Rundstedt was in command of the German forces on the western front throughout the Battle of the Bulge, (also known as the Runstedt Offensive), he was opposed to that offensive from its inception, and essentially washed his hands of it. He was relieved of command for the last time in March 1945, after telling Keitel once again that Hitler should make peace with the Allies, rather than continue to fight a hopeless war.

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FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN ROMMEL

FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN ROMMEL (1891–1944)

Popularly known as the Desert Fox, distinguished himself as the Commander of the 7th Panzer Division and for his leadership in the North African campaign. Alleged to have been involved in the failed July, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, Rommel committed suicide by taking a cyanide capsule.

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LONEL ALBRECHT MERTZ VON QUIRNHEIM

LONEL ALBRECHT MERTZ VON QUIRNHEIM (1905–1944)

A German officer and member of the German resistance who was involved in the failed July1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler. Quirnheim, Staluffenberg and General Friedrich Olbricht drew up Operation Valkyrie, and along with First Lieutenant, Werner von Haeften, were all summarily tried by Colonel General Fromm and shot on July 21, 1944.

Read more in Kill The Fuhrer by Paula Astridge