World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Killing Hitler: Assassination attempts

Killing Hitler: All the assassination attempts and assassins. Few leaders have been the targets of so many assassinations attempts; historians have discovered 42 plots on Hitler's life.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Nazi Memorabilia, Last days of Adolf Hitler, Nazi relics, Fuhrerbunker, SS Rings, Watches Hitler presented to nazi leaders.

Georg Elser: The hero of anti-Nazi resistance who tried to kill Adolf Hitler
During the 12 bleak years of the Third Reich there were at least 42 attempts on the life of the Adolf Hitler, but only two men, Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg, a highly decorated but disillusioned soldier and aristocrat, and Georg Elser, a humble Swabian carpenter, came even close to success... Elser became a regular at the Bürgerbräukeller restaurant for his meal. Over a 2-month period, Elser stayed all night inside the Bürgerbräukeller 30 to 35 times. Using a flashlight dimmed with a handkerchief, he started by installing a secret door in the timber panelling of the pillar behind the speaker’s rostrum.

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Bizarre Ways America’s First Spy Agency Tried to Overthrow Hitler
From undercover heiresses to hormone-injected vegetables, the early days of the Office of Strategic Services were marked by colorful hires and wild schemes.

Historian says he found evidence in FBI files that Jewish gangsters plotted to kill Hitler in 1933
`In 1933, I was approached by someone respectable, a Jew not involved in any criminal activity, and asked for my help. He wanted me to contact some of my underworld pals in a plan to kill Hitler.` I stared at the man sitting across from me. I was incredulous. A plan to kill Hitler in 1933? Involving Jewish American mobsters? Was he serious? The story seemed far-fetched. I was skeptical. Still, I wrote down what he told me. He said the `respectable Jew` told him, `There are people in Germany ready to assist us.` This is how he remembered the scheme to kill Hitler. My source`s nickname was `Dutch.` He was one of the elderly `retired` mobsters I interviewed for my book, "But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters".

Historical novel reveals Scottish soldier's plan to assassinate Hitler on his 50th birthday
COLONEL Noel Mason-MacFarlane, Britain's military attaché in Berlin in 1939, proposed shooting the Nazi leader while he attended a birthday parade. The remarkable story is being told by James MacManus in his new historical novel Midnight in Berlin – a fictional thriller based on Mason-MacFarlane`s extraordinary plan.

A new film tells the story of Georg Elser who came very close to assassinating Hitler
On 8 November 1939, Hitler was making his annual speech at a Munich beer hall. The event commemorated early Nazi struggles in the 1920s. This time Hitler used it to mock his international enemies, and boast about Germany's successful start to the war. But what neither Hitler nor the Nazi top brass and loyal audience realised was that, a few feet away from where the Fuehrer was standing, a bomb was about to go off. Its ticking timers carefully muffled in cork casing, it had been assembled and planted secretly over many weeks by Georg Elser.

Ewald-Heinrich Von Kleist, who was involved in 20 July 1944 plot and agreed to kill Nazi dictator with a suicide vest, dies
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist, the last surviving participant in the main plot to kill Adolf Hitler, has died aged 90. Von Kleist, who once volunteered to wear a suicide vest to assassinate the Nazi dictator, died at his home in Munich, said his wife, Gundula. Von Kleist's father, Ewald von Kleist, was an opponent of Hitler even before he came to power. The elder Von Kleist travelled to England in 1938 to try and determine whether other western nations would support a coup attempt against Hitler, but failed to get the British government to change its policy of appeasement. Despite his family's opposition to the Nazis, the younger Von Kleist joined the German army in 1940, and was wounded in 1943 in fighting on the eastern front.

Documents about Operation Foxley, WWII British plan to assassinate Hitler, published by PaperlessArchives has announced the publishing of the British SOE (Special Operations Executive) report on Operation Foxley, The British plan to kill Hitler. In 1944, the office of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), reduced plans to assassinate Hitler, that formed Operation Foxley, to a report. The plan was drawn up by a SOE agent code named LB/X, whose true identity is still kept a secret. The report gives details of Hitler`s daily routine and eating habits; aerial photos, drawings of Hitler's Alpine retreat at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, details of assassination methods, sketches of SS Guard uniforms, agents' disguises and "guest" workers.

New biography claims Marlene Dietrich plotted to kill Hitler?
One day, according to Douglas Fairbanks, Marlene Dietrich asked for his help in an extraordinary plan. She would agree to make one film in the Third Reich, on condition that she could be alone with the Fuhrer, giving her an opportunity to kill him. Dietrich told Fairbanks: "I would gush over how I feel about him, intimating that I am desperately in love with him. I've heard Hitler likes me and I'm certain he would agree." Fairbanks added: "Fortunately, her idea didn't go any further because she didn't figure out how to complete the assassination, but she was a very brave girl and I know she would have gambled her life if she thought she had a chance of success."

Interview with Ewald von Kleist, the last surviving member of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler
Ewald von Kleist, a Wehrmacht officer and the last living member of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler, talks about Germany's elimination of conscription, why modern German soldiers serving in the Bundeswehr need to toughen up and his attempt to kill Adolf Hitler with explosives at an event to show a new uniform.

"We're training our soldiers with a great deal of gentleness... Things are more difficult for them when push comes to shove... You obviously have to kill when you go to war. But if you have a machine gun and I have a club, and you, being a softy, say that you don't want to hurt me, I'm the superior one because I just want to smash your skull in."

"We were supposed to show Hitler new uniforms that had been tried out on the front. I was the company leader. I wanted to take along a mine or plastic explosives in my briefcase, which I planned to detonate when I was standing next to Hitler."


Mythbusters: What if Hitler's briefing on July 20, 1944 hadn't been moved from a bunker to an above-ground room?
If you are interested in the assassination attempts on Hitler you should try to get a hold of a Mythbusters episode called "Operation Valkyrie" where they put to the test one of the key claims about the 20 July plot:

If Hitler's briefing on July 20, 1944 hadn't been moved from an underground bunker to an above-ground conference room, the Valkyrie plot would have killed Hitler because the walls of the bunker would have contained the shock waves from the explosion, causing much more damage than in the conference room.


Stalin twice called off Hitler assassination, claims Russian general Anatoly Kulikov
The Soviet leadership had at least two real chances to kill Adolf Hitler, but Stalin called off the plans over fears that the Third Reich could strike a separate peace deal with the West. "A concrete plan to assassinate Hitler in his bunker was developed, but Stalin suddenly cancelled it in 1943," General Anatoly Kulikov, the chairman of the Club of Military Commanders, told a conference on military history in Moscow. A second opportunity emerged in 1944 when the assassin infiltrated Hitler's entourage and gained a high degree of trust among the German leadership.

Documentary film series Hitler's Bodyguard - Over 40 plots to kill Hitler
It seems that everyone had a plot to kill Adolf Hitler, not just Claus von Stauffenberg. The 40 plots against Hitler's life, as well as details about his security squads (uncovered from SS archives), are revealed in a documentary series "Hitler`s Bodyguard". The 4-disc set contains 13 episodes. Here are covered not just familiar leading nazis such as Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels and Albert Speer, but also men like Sepp Dietrich, Bruno Gesche, Otto Strasser, Ulrich Graf, Ernst Röhm, Julius Streicher, Reinhard Heydrich and Walter Stennes - not to forget Sturmabteilung (SA, or Brown Shirts), Schutzstaffel (SS) and Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo).

In 1943 the German High Command offered to turn Wehrmacht against Waffen-SS and help U.S. win the war
In 2002 Charles Fenyvesi was combing through the declassified WWII files at the U.S. National Archives when he came across a surprise. In July 1943 Count Helmuth James von Moltke - the German military intelligence service (Abwehr) representative at the German High Command and an anti-Nazi - made a secret visit to the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA) in Istanbul offering to turn Wehrmacht against the Waffen-SS and make a separate peace with the Americans. Moltke also gave the OSS a list of the high rank Germans involved in the conspiracy: Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, Field Marshal Wilhelm List, Colonel General Ludwig Beck, Colonel General Franz Halder...

Kim Bielenberg: How my grandfather tried to assassinate Hitler
On July 20 1944, a bomb exploded in the Wolf's Lair, Adolf Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia, but a heavy oak table leg shielded Hitler from the blast. If the plan to kill Führer and launch a coup had been successful, Carl Goerdeler would have been the leader of Germany. Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg, who had placed the bomb, was to be Minister for War. And my grandfather, Fritz-Dietlof Von Der Schulenburg, was set to become Minister of the Interior. Fritz, a Prussian count, was a longtime plotter against Hitler. In 1940 he hoped to have Hitler shot during a victory parade. Sharp-shooters were to be placed in the crowd. But the elusive Nazi leader never showed up.

Luck of the Devil: The story of Operation Valkyrie by Ian Kershaw
Adolf Hitler was the target of more designs to kill him than any other Chancellor of Germany. Most schemes were foiled or just came to nothing, like the conspiracy of prominent figures in the army to have Hitler arrested if he invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 (the Munich Agreement put an end to that plan). In 1939 Georg Elser set up a bomb in Munich, where Hitler gave a speech each year. But Hitler had to cut his speech short to travel back to Berlin, so the bomb exploded after he had left. In March 1943 members of Army Group Centre placed a bomb on Hitler's plane - but it failed to detonate. The man who would come closest to succeeding: Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

The last survivor of Operation Valkyrie on his plot to kill Adolf Hitler
A call from his brother was to change Baron Philip von Boeselager's life for ever. The conversation between the two senior Nazis was to launch the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Philip said: "My brother George called and said, 'They want explosives'. I knew exactly what for." Philip was one of the lucky ones. In Hitler's bloodbath of revenge, most of the plotters died, some by firing squad or suicide but many were hanged by piano wire. Now the story of their doomed attempt is being told in documentary "Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot To Kill Hitler". The July 20 plot to kill Hitler is a great 'what-if' of world history.

"Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler" - documentary
"Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler," a History Channel documentary on the 1944 plot by German military officers to kill Adolf Hitler, may get some viewers as the opening act for the upcoming movie in which Tom Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg. Built on interviews with military historians and children of the plotters "Valkyrie" examines the real lives of the officers who ran a risk they could assassinate Adolf Hitler and lost. It also indirectly explores the darker historical question: Who bears responsibility, and how much, for what Germany became and did during the Hitler years?

Swiss honor student Maurice Bavaud who tried to kill Adolf Hitler
Switzerland's president expressed regret that his country failed to use diplomatic channels to stop the Nazis from executing a Swiss student who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler 70 years ago. The move marks a partial victory in the campaign to call attention to Maurice Bavaud, 25, who was executed in Berlin's Ploetzensee prison after failing in his attempt to shoot Hitler at a Nazi parade in Munich on Nov. 9, 1938. Bavaud, who made his attempt only hours before Kristallnacht, regarded the Nazi dictator as a danger to Switzerland, Christianity and humanity. He was caught several days after his failed attempt and tortured into admitting his plans to the Gestapo.

Berlin debates memorial for would-be Hitler assassin Georg Elser
Georg Elser, the carpenter who almost assassinated Adolf Hitler, is finally due to get his own memorial in Berlin. Professor Etienne François, expert on the collective memory of Germany's wartime resistance, argues that Elser has recently became popular because his model of resistance fits so well with our present-day times. Elser is the "incarnation of the ideal enemy of National Socialism." He worked alone. He was a man of action, not words. He loved freedom, but wasn't fighting for any particular system. But some, like Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm, ask: "Does Georg Elser need a memorial in Berlin?" Because a memorial to Elser already exists in his hometown.

German memorial erected for would-be Hitler assassin Georg Elser
A memorial went up in Berlin to Georg Elser who, without assistance, tried to halt World War Two in November 1939 by blowing up Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and other leading nazis. Hitler and his friends left the Buergerbraeukeller beer hall in Munich unusually early - getting away just before the explosion, which killed 8 people. Elser was arrested, tortured and killed at Dachau by the Nazis 6 years later. The bust of Elser was erected on a riverside near the Interior Ministry in Berlin. A plaque in his memory was set up several years ago in his hometown, Koenigsbronn. Over decades Germany has slowly come around to viewing the would-be assassins as heroes.

The July 20 plot of 1944 at Wolf's Lair
Claus von Stauffenberg and his aid Werner von Haeften had to move rapidly. The meeting with the Fuhrer had been changed by a half hour due to a visit from Benito Mussolini. Timing was crucial: He had only hours to fuse 2 bombs (2,000 grams of Plastik-W), use them to kill the ruler of Nazi Germany, fly back to Berlin and set in motion the rest of the coup. Location was key as well. Hitler's "Wolfsschanze" (Wolf's Lair) had been constructed near Rastenberg in Eastern Prussia, so that the Fuhrer could oversee the Eastern Front. But the late July heat was too much for the meeting to be held in the Fuhrer's bunker, so it would be held in the cool briefing hut.

Hitler aides "puzzled, saddened" by von Stauffenberg assassination attempt
"This isn't the Claus von Stauffenberg I knew," said baffled SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler about unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, echoing views heard across the Nazi high command. Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels was equally amazed. "If Claus disagreed with the Fuhrer, why didn't he say something? He had plenty of opportunities to speak up," said Goebbels. "I had lunch with Claus just a month ago. I thought I knew him. We were colleagues. Friends. He didn't have a single negative word to say about Hitler," explained Party chancellery head Martin Bormann.

Philipp von Boeselager was the last Adolf Hitler bomb-plotter
A German army officer involved in 2 plots to kill Adolf Hitler but who remained undetected until the end of WW2 has passed away at 90. Philipp von Boeselager was one of 8 officers who planned to shoot Hitler and Heinrich Himmler in March 1943, but the plot was called off after Himmler decided not to come. He was also one of 200 persons involved in a July 1944 attempt when a bomb was planted under a table in Hitler's eastern headquarters. The bomb exploded but Hitler escaped with slight injuries. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg and others involved were executed, but von Boeselager escaped detection.

Documentary: Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot To Kill Hitler
The 70min "Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot To Kill Hitler" has 1.5 hours of "Essential Extras," and a 52min HD broadcast version. Based on the biggest collection of eye-witness accounts and produced with the official German Resistance Foundation devoted to the memory of the conspirators, the documentary features interviews with Philipp Baron von Boeselager (the last living conspirator who escaped Hitler's wrath) as well as the man who procured the explosives for Claus von Stauffenberg. With over 20 interviews, it features leading scholars and historians on the conspiracy.

What if Adolf Hitler Had Been Assassinated
In 1936 Helmut Hirsch travelled to Nuremburg to blow up Hitler; he was sent by Otto Strasser, one of the remaining challengers to Hitler in the Nazi Party. In 1937 Josef Thomas plotted to shoot Hitler and Goering, and in 1938 Maurice Bavaud made attempts to shoot Hitler but failed. Once WWII started in 1939 matters shifted to those who were in a much better position to kill Hitler - the military. Many attempts were cramped by soldiers' unwillingness to break their oath to Hitler and by the fact that when it looked like Hitler was about to fail, he succeeded. Many of the conspirators were from noble families, maybe they found it easier to kill the working class Hitler.

The 'Myth' of the Would-Be Hitler Assassin Claus Graf von Stauffenberg
Claus Graf von Stauffenberg, who tried to kill Adolf Hitler with a bomb on July 20, 1944, is everywhere. But does he deserve all the attention? His assassination attempt, in the Führer's HQ known as the "Wolf's Lair," was "an act of liberation..." forming a model for today's military: The men of July 20, 1944 obeyed "responsibility, honor and conscience," Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said. But not everybody is happy with the overblown idolization of Stauffenberg. Peter Steinbach, head of the German Resistance Memorial Center, warned against "myth formation" noting that Stauffenberg only gradually turned against the nazi regime 1942-1943.

Military historian poses the question: what if they had killed the Fuhrer?
In 1944 Hitler commended: "Finally, a general staff officer with imagination and intelligence!" Fuhrer was delighted to meet one officer who knew what he was doing. And von Stauffenberg did, he was planning to kill Hitler. On July 20, 1944, at the Fuhrer's HQ at Rastenburg, he detonated a bomb, of which Baron Justus Delbruck said: "I think it was good that it happened, and good too, perhaps, that it failed." Panzer commander von Manstein said: "Prussian field marshals do not mutiny! Count me out. That would destroy the army." Had Hitler died, it's hard to believe that Himmler or Goering could have persuaded Wehrmacht to keep up resistance in the West.

Introducing conspirators of ill-fated plan to blow up Adolf Hitler
Their stern faces reflect the gravity of their mission. Dressed in German uniforms, Tom Cruise's character Count Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators look over their plan to kill Adolf Hitler. They form the core of the Nazi resistance in the film Valkyrie, which depicts the plan to blow up the nazi dictator on July 20, 1944. -- General Ludwig Beck: One of the only officers to stand up to Hitler in the early days. He was allowed to commit suicide but managed to blind himself instead. He was killed by a Nazi stormtrooper. -- Henning von Tresckow: planned several assassination plots, but all failed. "Hitler is a dancing dervish. One must shoot him."

To kill the Fuhrer - Claus von Stauffenberg almost changed history
Claus von Stauffenberg was executed in 1944 after a bomb that he placed almost killed Adolf Hitler. His oldest son Berthold explains how his father almost changed history... Name Stauffenberg is fairly well known. But Axel von dem Bussche or Ewald von Kleist? These men also prepared to risk their lives in plots to assassinate Hitler. It is hoped that an accurate portrayal of the July Plot - Operation Valkyrie - will, in the words of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck "do more for the image of Germany than ten football World Cups." Few periods in history have been so obsessed about as Nazi Germany. But only a minority is aware of its resistance movement.

Georg Else - The man who tried to kill Adolf Hitler
In autumn 1938 Georg Else started taking small amounts of explosives from the factory. He knew that Adolf Hitler visited the Buergerbraukeller pub in Munich every year on 8th and 9th Nov to celebrate the anniversary of the Nazi putsch of 1923. He travelled to Munich, inspected the pub and saw Hitler arrive and then traveled back home. In March 1939 Georg resigned. From 5th August until 6th November he ate at the Buergerbrau. At closing time he hid in a cupboard. He was able to work for 4 hours, then left with the arrival of the first customers. In 3 months, he had hollowed out a pillar big enough to house a time bomb...

Marion Yorck aided Hitler assassination conspiracy in Kreisau Circle
Marion Countess Yorck Von Wartenburg, who died at 102, was among the last survivors of the Kreisau Circle, the group opposed to Adolf Hitler from which sprang the attempt to kill him with a bomb in July 1944. The circle derived its name from having met at the country estate of Helmuth Count Moltke. Yet though Moltke was the Kreisauers' driving force, they owed their harmony to Peter Count Yorck von Wartenburg, Marion Yorck's husband, and it was at their Berlin apartment that the group gathered in the later years of the war. Her husband felt that the plot was likely to fail, but that it was worth the sacrifice to show that not all Germans were under Hitler's sway.

How Adolf Hitler cheated death in 1943 coup... thanks to the Allies
Der Führer Adolf Hitler ist tot. The sentence was part of a draft by German officers who hatched a plot to the Nazi leader kill Adolf Hitler and then use a secret army to seize control of key sites. Major General Henning von Tresckow created a force of 20,000 troops, telling High Command it was needed to protect against a potential revolt. Tresckow then organised a 'fashion parade' at which Hitler was to inspect new uniforms - with model one was a suicide bomber. Once the Führer was dead, Tresckow planned to blame rogue SS elements. But the putsch was foiled: The uniforms were lost because of RAF bombing raids on Berlin, so the plot was abandoned.

MI5 stopped the spy who offered to blow up Adolf Hitler
A British secret agent who offered to blow up Adolf Hitler at the height of WW2 was dissuaded from carrying out the assassination by MI5, according to wartime archives. The offer to kill Führer in a suicide mission was made by Eddie Chapman, a safe-breaker who was trained by the Nazis as a spy and went on to become one of Britain’s most successful double agents, codenamed Agent Zigzag. He was serving a sentence in Jersey prison when the Nazis invaded the Channel Islands in 1940. He was recruited by the Abwehr, German military intelligence, and parachuted into Britain in Dec 1941. He defected to MI5, the British security service.

Killing Hilter - The numerous attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler
Few leaders have been the target of so many assassination attempts. Hitler’s almost 50 would-be assassins ranged from simple craftsmen to high-ranking soldiers, from Resistance fighters to patriotic Wehrmacht officers, and from enemy agents to his closest associates. Explaining why the British at one time declared that assassinating Hitler would be "unsporting," and why the ruthless Joseph Stalin was unwilling to order his death. It is also the remarkable story of the survival of a tyrant against all the odds, a dictator whose repeated escapes from almost certain death convinced him that he was invincible.

German loner's bomb had shot at killing Hitler   (Article no longer available from the original source)
George Elser taught himself bomb making, taking explosives from the armaments factory where he worked, and doing repeated tests of a crude exploding mechanism that he designed himself. Finally satisfied with his handiwork, he traveled back to Munich. For more than a month, he spent his evenings surreptitiously carving a hole in a pillar next to the dais for his makeshift bomb. On Nov. 6 he hid the bomb in the pillar and after checking it the next day, even pressing his ear to the pillar to hear the bomb ticking, he left for Switzerland...

The July 20 Plot was an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler
The July 20 Plot was a failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler in 1944. Groups planning a coup had existed in the German Army and the military intelligence (the Abwehr) since 1938. Early leaders included Hans Oster, General Ludwig Beck, and Erwin von Witzleben. In 1941 a new group was formed, led by Colonel Henning von Tresckow, a member of the staff of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock (commander of Army Group Centre). Tresckow recruited oppositionists to the Group’s staff, making it the nerve centre of the Army resistance. On 20 July Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg flew to Rastenburg for Hitler's military conference, with a bomb in his briefcase.