Operation Valkyrie

According to Tom Cruise and Hollywood, Operation Valkyrie was a heroic, tragic, epic thriller/action flick that came within moments of killing Hitler and ending World War II. In reality, it was a comic opera of Wagnerian proportions that should have

Yep, just oozing competency

Just The Facts

  1. The conspirators in the Schwarz Kappelle (Black Orchestra) had been trying to kill Hitler since 1938. Since they kept failing with bombs, naturally they went with bombs in Valkyrie ONE MORE TIME.
  2. Although the conspirators all wanted Hitler dead, none of them wanted to be dead with him. This meant that none of their plots could succeed until they found someone brave enough to take the chance of dying alongside der Fueher.
  3. However, when the found someone brave enough, he only had three fingers to set the bombs with. And he forgot to take a pistol with him in case the bombs didn't work. Which they didn't.
  4. Finally, once the bombs didn't work, the conspirators failed to take control of the telephone exchange in Berlin, even though that was the only way to keep Hitler from letting the world know he wasn't actually dead.

Killing Hitler Without Dying, Part I

Der Schwartz Kapelle (The Black Orchestra) was a group of old-line Prussian generals who didn't like Hitler much, but liked the idea of Germany conquering Europe. As early as 1938, these loyal generals were plotting to kill the upstart ex-corporal, leaving themselves in charge. Their problem: They wanted to stay alive after Hitler was dead, so any Hitler-killing plot needed plenty of distance and plausible deniability. They decided bombs were the best way to go, and bombs it was. After a lot of missed attempts, they got some poor sap to put couple bombs disguised as wine bottles on Hitler's plane. Success! except the generals never field-tested their explosives, which froze solid before they could detonate. Instead of changing methods, the Orchestra kept playing the same tune, and bomb after bomb kept not killing Der Fuhrer.

Enter the One-Armed Assassin

Just when it seemed killing Hitler was never going to happen, a savior arrived from the East. Or rather, the North, North Africa to be precise. Col. Klaus von Stauffenberg was a tall, blond, steel-spined Prussian who had won fame and fortune in Rommel's Afrika Korps, and been sent home for a well-earned rest and to recover after losing one arm and two fingers in a bombing attack. He also got a job working on Hitler's General Staff. Stauffenberg liked killing enemy soldiers, but thought killing enemy civilians wasn't sporting, and he agreed not only to joing the Schwarz Kapelle, but also to transport their bombs into some staff meetings when Hitler wasn't looking. Nobody thought that perhaps a three-fingered bomber might have problems with setting bombs that so far two-handed assassins hadn't been able to make work.

Killing Hitler Without Dying, Part II

On July 20, 1944, Stauffenberg took his briefcase bomb, plus a backup, to the weekly Evil Staff Meeting. Although he took two bombs, he forgot to take anything else useful for an assassin, like a gun. When he hid in an empty office to set the time-delay fuse on the primary bomb, the fuse kept slipping out of his fingers, naturally, and he ran out of time to get the backup bomb into the briefcase. The fact that the bomb subsequently didn't kill Hitler is the stuff of legends and bad movies starring short, pudgy actors.

Still, things might have worked out, except that the other half of the on-site conspiracy, a dunce named Fellgiebel, who was supposed to call the conspirators in Berlin, freaked out when he saw Hitler alive after the bomb blast and forgot how to use the telephone. The remaining conspirators in Berlin, apparently unable to function without the only conspirator (Stauffenberg) who knew how to think under fire, sat around for three hours while Hitler wasn't dead and let things run normally. Slimy PR Chief Goebbels got wind of the would-be coup and used the phone lines the conspirators never cut to call in the Army, and told them any rumors Hitler was dead were very very wrong.

The most tragic part about this whole misfired comedy is that Stauffenberg and some of the other Orchestra were betrayed by one of the more Nazi members of the conspiracy: He had actually remembered to bring his Luger to the party, and he arrested them when Goebbel's Army boys knocked on the door. They were all shot the same night.