Posts Tagged ‘Beck’

WW2 Relevance

|   19 October 2010

Resistance to Hitler

Hitler’s bunker at the Wolf’s Lair in wartime East Prussia.

In Berlin, in the early evening of 20 July 1944, Ludwig Beck, one of the leading conspirators in the plot against Hitler, posed a vital question to a fellow conspirator, General Friedrich Olbricht.

Would the sentries who guarded their resistance headquarters be prepared to fight against the Gestapo when they appeared? Crucially, would they be prepared to die for Olbricht?

Olbricht replied that he was unsure.

It was a dramatic moment in the conspiracy, and one that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. The problem Beck and his fellow conspirators faced was that they didn’t know whether Stauffenberg had managed to kill Hitler at his Headquarters at the Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia earlier that day. Reports differed. Some said Hitler was dead, others that the bomb Stauffenberg had planted had merely injured the German leader. And so, in the shadow of this uncertainty, Beck tried to hold the conspiracy together. It mattered not whether Hitler lived, he said, the time had come to fight back regardless. The only trouble was that many of his fellow conspirators didn’t see the situation in such black and white terms.