Monday, 28 September 2009

Claus von Stauffenberg

Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, more well known simply as Claus von Stauffenberg was an officer in the German army.

Von Stauffenberg was born to a very affluent family in the Kingdom of Bavaria. In fact Stauffenberg was a son of Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of W√ľrttemberg

Before the war started Claus von Stauffenberg was seen to have a dislike to Hitler and his policies and carried on practicing his religion as a Catholic. Stauffenberg also had a dislike for the ill treatment of those of the Jewish faith, but this did not stop him becoming a part of the German Army.

Stauffenbergs life in the armed forces during the war started with the conquest of Poland in 1939 which he did support. This is confirmed by a statement he said: "It is essential that we begin a systemic colonization in Poland. But I have no fear that this will not occur".

After the conquest of Poland a member of his family tried to get von Stauffenberg to join a resistance movement against Hitler but he did not agree because of the pledge he had made to Adolf Hitler upon joining the army.

The next battle he was seen in was the Battle of France in 1940, this battle saw him reorganised witht he 6th Panzer Division and he impressed his superiors so much that he also won the Iron Cross First Class.

Post France von Stauffenberg started to sympathize with resistance groups within the Wehrmacht because of the mass execution of Jews, Ukranians and Russians.

In 1943 von Stauffenberg found hinself in Tunisia with the 10th Panzer Division, he was promoted during this time to the title of Oberstleutnant i.G. During one of the large battles in Tunisia in which Rommel was trying to launch his counter offensive against the Allied forces von Stuaffenberg was travelling by vehicle to his units to direct the offensive but his vehicle was strafed by a British plane and he was badly wounded. His wounds caused him to lose his left eye, his right hand, and 2 fingers on his left hand.

Further awards were given to Stauffenberg because of his courage and wounds, these awards were the Wound Badge in Gold and the German Cross in Gold.

After coming out of the hospital Stauffenberg became unhappy and wished to stage a coup to rid Germany of Hitler, he realised he could not do this alone and joined the resistance undercover while still in the armed forces.

From September 20th 1943 a huge plot was concocted of which Stauffenberg was the main driver. Even though Stauffenberg knew his actions were high treason he carried on his plans to get rid of Hitler.

The plot was for Stauffenberg to blow up Hitler during a meeting at the Wolfs Lair with explosives in his brief case. Stauffenberg went to the meeting and left his case under the meeting table and left the briefing when he was called out for a phone call. The explosion was huge and Stauffenberg thought that Hitler has been killed by the blast. Stauffenberg and other high ranking officers in the Resistance tried to invoke Operation Valkyrie by saying Hitler had been killed, unfortunately a radio message was played saying Hitler was alive and then Hitler was heard on the radio himself.

Stauffenberg and many of his resistance colleagues were caught and Stauffenberg was killed by firing squad on 21 July 1944. It is said that his final words were "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" in English this means long live our sacred Germany!

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