Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and his implementation of Nazi policies of racial superiority and anti-semitism made him the most despised and feared leader in the world. As the threat of Hitler’s Germany grew the world over in the early 1940’s, a resistance movements started to take shape in Germany and beyond, challenging the powerful Nazi regime.
As many opposed to Hitler sought to legally challenge him, assassinate him and free the world from what they saw as his dangerous ambitions – resistance members and moderate individuals sought ways to overthrow him. Among the many who plotted to assassinate him – though none succeeded – three conspirators stand out as the main conspirators.
The first and perhaps the most famous plot against Hitler’s life was that of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who, along with other military officers, plotted to eliminate Hitler in a July 20th, 1944 bomb plot. Acting as a vocal member of the resistance, Von Stauffenberg along with other high-ranking military officials planned to blow-up the Fuhrer’s Berlin headquarters. The plan involved Von Stauffenberg, who was Chief of Staff of the Reserve Army, to smuggle a briefcase containing two bombs into a conference room during a meeting with Hitler. He managed to get out of the room, leaving behind the bag with the bombs. However, though the bombs went off in a conference room, Hitler was saved from the murderous blast. Most of the officers involved in the conspiracy were executed in just two days in what is known as the July 20th plot.
In addition to Colonel von Stauffenberg and his army of conspirators, there were two attempts on Hitler’s life by lone assessors. The first of these was Georg Elser, an unemployed carpenter who attempted to kill Hitler and the Bavarian leadership during a speech Hitler gave at Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller bar in November 1939. Elser placed a bomb made up of clock parts and TNT under the podium Hitler was to speak from, but Hitler ended his speech earlier than expected – leaving the bomb to go off only one hour after the leader had left the premises. The second attempt was made by Johann Georg Elser, who planted a bomb in a column in the entrance hall of a Berlin armaments factory in March 1943. The intention of Elser was again to assassinate Hitler, but the leader changed his plans at the last minute, and the assassination failed.
Though these attempts on Hitler’s life were well regarded by many and they have been portrayed as acts of heroism – they made little impression on the Nazi regime, whose control extended until its final days in 1945. The attempts, however, show the brave actions of those who opposed Hitler’s Nazi regime and their willingness to stand up to his reign of terror.
Who Were the Associates of Hitler’s Attempted Assassins?
Many of those who attempted to assassinate Hitler were supported by friends, family, and associates. Claus von Stauffenberg was a highly decorated German army officer and a personal friend of conspirator General Ludwig Beck who was part of the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler. Georg Elser had close friends from Königsbronn, his hometown, who helped him construct the bomb he placed in the Bürgerbräukeller bar.Elser’s friend, Leo Bauer, testified on his behalf in trial proceedings. Lastly, Johann Georg Elser had an extensive network of friends and colleagues from the Braunlager labour camp, where he allegedly received additional support for the 1943 assassination attempt.
What Motivation did the Assassins have in Trying to Kill Hitler?
The motivation behind the various attempts on Hitler’s life is difficult to pinpoint. Some of the plots it is alleged to have been part of a broader resistance against the Nazi regime. At the forefront of the July 20th plot was Colonel von Stauffenberg, who fought against Hitler’s racial policies and had been a member of the resistance movements even before the war. It is believed that those who attempted to assassinate Hitler saw him as a threat to the world and had a moral responsibility to stop his ambitions. Elser, in particular, had been an ardent antagonist to the Nazi regime since the early 1930s and had been adament in his own anti-fascist beliefs.
How Has Hitler’s Assassination Attempts been Viewed Through History?
The attempts on Hitler’s life, though ultimately failing, have been viewed as heroic acts of courage and bravery by many. In the immediate aftermath of the war, the various plots on Hitler’s life, particularly the July 20th plot, received a great deal of attention from German people and media, who celebrated the acts of resistance and courage of those involved.
In the post-war period, perceptions of the assassination attempts shifted, with some adopting a more critical stance of these acts as violence, rather than celebrating them as acts of heroism. This shift in perception has been attributed to the continued focus on the Holocaust and the role of violence in Nazi Germany rather than the courage of those who resisted Hitler.
What Lasting Legacies Have the Attempts on Adolf Hitler Left Behind?
Though unsuccessful in their attempt, the conspirators of the various assassination plots left behind a lasting legacy. One of the most lasting legacies of the plots against Hitler is the enduring idea of courage and heroism in the face of evil, with many of the conspirators being remembered for their courage in standing up against and opposing the Nazi regime.
In addition to this, the various attempts on Hitler’s life have continued to inspire the broader resistance movements against oppressive regimes and dictators, with stories of Hitler’s attempted assassins often cited as an example of courage and bravery for those facing oppressive regimes.
What Could Have Happened If Hitler Had Been Successfully Assassinated?
Had any of the plots to assassinate Hitler been successful, the implcations would have been vast. It is difficult to imagine with any degree of certiantly what life after Hitler would have been like. It is possible that the war would have ended sooner, and therefore saved the lives of many who suffered at the hand of Nazi atrocities. Alternatively, it is possible that with Hitler gone the Nazi regime would have continued in its brutal and oppressive ways. It is unclear what would have happened after Hitler’s death, but it is certain that it would have had significant implications for the history of the 20th Century.
What Was the Response of the Nazi Regime to the Attempts on Adolf Hitler’s Life?
The Nazi regime responded with brutal force to the attempts on Hitler’s life. Following the July 20th plot, it unleashed a vengeance campaign against its own people – in a bid to snuff out any potential resistance to the regime. Thousands of Germans were executed, sent to concentration camps, or kept under surveillance. The Nazi regime also conducted a massive propaganda campaign to declare the attempts on Hitler’s life as treason, firmly planting its control over the masses.
In addition, the Nazi regime was quick to declare the events a “failed coup attempt” and to punish those believed to be associated with it. Hitler himself declared it a “justice” to execute those who had plotted against him, and the various attempts merely served to further entrench Hitler’s power and the Nazi regime.
What Was the World Response to Adolf Hitler Attempts?
The world’s response to the attempts on Hitler’s life was mixed. Though many celebrated the efforts of those who attempted to assassinate Hitler, others viewed the attempts as a misguided and reckless undertaking. There were several who condemned resisting Nazis as they felt they were sabotaging much-needed aid in the war effort, with some charging the attempted assassinators of treason.
At the same time, some recognised the bravery of those who had attempted to kill Hitler and the contribution they had made in bringing down the Nazi regime. For example, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill commended the bravery of the July 20th conspirators, whilst later generations have praised the courage of those who had attempted to stand up to Hitler.
What Are some of the Negative Repercussions of Hitler’s Assassination Attempts?
Though the attempts to assassinate Hitler have been lauded for their bravery and courage, it is important to consider the repercussions of these acts. As already mentioned, the Nazi regime reacted with brutality to the attempts, leading to the deaths and imprisonment of thousands upon thousands of people. The assassination attempts also represent a form of political violence which, though seen as justifiable in some circles, has its own set of drawbacks.
In addition, it has been argued that the failed attempts to assassinate Hitler had given him and his Nazi regime a false sense of invincibility – leading to the continued oppression of vast proportions of the German population and the Holocaust.