Kill Hitler - Operation Valkyrie 1944, Neil Short

Kill Hitler - Operation Valkyrie 1944, Neil Short

Raid 40

This book looks at the most famous of the many attempts to assassinate Hitler, and the one that came closest to success - Operation Valkyrie of July 1944. This saw Claus von Stauffenberg successfully get a bomb into Hitler's briefing room and escape from the scene, but the Fuhrer survived the explosion. The plotters still triggered their coup, using a plan developed to counter civil unrest (Operation Valkyrie), but their performance was fairly woeful and the coup attempt collapsed on the first day.

Most of the accounts of Operation Valkyrie that I've read focus on either the series of unsuccessful assassination attempts that came before it or on Stauffenberg, with everything after the bomb failed to kill Hitler dealt with in less detail. Here that second part of the coup gets more attention, looking at what went on across occupied Europe, in the various German home defence regions and in Berlin. This was where the coup attempt really fell apart - the plotters acted too slowly, failed to cut the vital communication links to the Wolfsschanze, didn't guard their prisoners properly and seem to have assumed that even quite pro-Nazi officers would obey the Valkyrie plan. Once it was clear that Hitler had survived the entire plot inevitably collapsed and the remaining plotters were quickly rounded up.

This is an excellent account of the most famous exploit of the German resistance, a brave but eventually doomed attempt to overthrown the Nazi regime as it dragged Germany to disaster.

Initial Strategy
The Plan
The Raid

Author: Neil Short
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 80
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013

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