Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

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Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

From autumn 1943 on, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg becomes a

decisive factor in the struggle against Hitler. In 1933, he initially

feels that National Socialist policy offers Germany favorable

opportunities but is soon alienated by the regime's racial ideology.

Yet Stauffenberg only assumes an active role in opposing the regime

once he realizes the consequences of German policy in eastern Europe

and can estimate the full extent of the damage that Hitler's war has

brought upon Germany and Europe.

Under the influence of Henning von Tresckow, General Friedrich

Olbricht, and First Lieutenant Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg

of the army reserve, Stauffenberg becomes a focal point of the military

conspiracy. He establishes important links to civilian resistance

groups and coordinates his assassination plans with Carl Friedrich

Goerdeler and Ludwig Beck, and with the conspirators waiting in

readiness in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and at Army Group Center.

Stauffenberg's Way to the Assassination Attempt of July 20, 1944

In early April 1943, Stauffenberg is severely wounded in Tunisia,

barely escaping death. During the months of his convalescence, he

gradually comes to realize he must take an active part in resistance.

Even in earlier years, the church's struggle, the persecution of the

Jews, and the crimes in eastern Europe have alienated Stauffenberg from

the National Socialist state. His closest confidant is his brother

Berthold, who has had contacts to the opposition for a long time. After

an extended period of convalescence, Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von

Stauffenberg is appointed to the post of chief of staff of the General

Army Office in October 1943. From June 1944 on, he also serves as chief

of staff for the commanding officer of the Ersatzheer (Reserve Army),

General Friedrich Olbricht, at Olbricht's request. In this position he

has clearance to attend briefings at Hitler's headquarters in the

so-called "Wolf's Lair" near Rastenburg in East Prussia. Olbricht

informs Stauffenberg of his plans for a coup and introduces him to

members of the resistance groups around Ludwig Beck and Carl Friedrich


Stauffenberg has a great deal of charisma and is valued for his

professional expertise. He brings many opponents of the regime together

and makes close friends among them not only military officers but also

Social Democrats like Julius Leber, members of the Kreisau Circle like

Adam von Trott zu Solz, and representatives of the labor union movement

like Jakob Kaiser and Wilhelm Leuschner.

The Planning of Operation "Valkyrie"

The conspirators from the civilian and military resistance groups

realize that the military leadership cannot be induced to act in

concert. They concentrate their efforts on eliminating Hitler, gaining

control of the military chain of command, and assuming the

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