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A Brief History Of The German Resistance To Hitler
One of the lingering myths of the World War II era is that all Germans were Nazis loyal to Adolf Hitler. This was not the case, as there were a number of groups who both secretly and openly opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler after he first came to power in 1933. These included student groups (including the famous White Rose resistance group, who risked and gave their lives to distribute leaflets condemning the Nazi Government and calling for its overthrow), religious groups, and a variety of political groups, including socialists and communists, who defied the rise of Nazism, inviting imprisonment and execution. Sophie Scholl and her brother, Hans, were beheaded for their roles in the White Rose.

As Hitler's ambitions for the country broadened and the grotesque machinations of the Holocaust were put into motion, there were also a number of brave, conscientious individuals who committed singular acts of resistance, hiding and helping Jews to escape and providing intelligence to the Allies as well as refusing to cooperate with Nazi orders. Some such as Oskar Schindler and Pastor Niemöller became legendary. 

But perhaps the least known, and most powerful, members of the German Resistance remain those who were committed to fighting Hitler from inside the system – military and high political office holders who dreaded what was happening to their country and attempted to hatch conspiracies to do the only thing that could alter the future: overthrow the government. The motives of those involved were probably quite varied. Some merely hoped to install a less dangerous dictator, others hoped to change Germany's entire political system, and still others were driven largely by humanitarian concerns. Yet each was convinced that Hitler was a disaster for the country and needed to be stopped no matter the cost.

As early as 1936, there is evidence that German officers under the leadership of then Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Oster were planning to assassinate Hitler. In 1938, a group of conspirators including General Ludwig Beck (who would later be a key player in the July 20th plot) planned to arrest and imprison Hitler on the eve of war, but the plan fell apart. A significant attempt on Hitler's life came in 1939 when Georg Elser, a carpenter, stole explosives from his workplace and built a powerful time-bomb, which he hid in a pillar near a podium where he knew Hitler was to speak. The plan nearly worked. But when Hitler's speech ended earlier than expected, the bomb went off too late, killing eight bystanders. Elser was arrested in November 1939 and executed at Dachau two weeks before its liberation.

Another assassination attempt in 1943, depicted in the film, was plotted by Henning von Tresckow. Tresckow had persuaded a member of Hitler's staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Heinz Brandt, to carry a package onto Hitler's airplane containing two adhesive mines ("Clams”) with a time-delay fuse, disguised as two bottles of Cointreau. But once again, luck was on Hitler's side, as the bomb failed to go off, probably because the freezing conditions in the cargo bay left its chemical detonator powerless. Tresckow was undetected as the source of the bomb, allowing him to continue to seek a method and means to assassinate Hitler.

This ultimately culminated in the July 20th plot, which was by far the most ambitious of all the conspiracies against Hitler, not just because it was a plan for assassination but because it was a blueprint for overthrowing and replacing the entire Nazi government. In the short term, the plot's fateful end destroyed the entire network of anti-Nazi conspirators within the government machinery. 

Approximately 200 persons were hanged for their involvement, 700 were arrested in direct connection, and 5000 were arrested in August 1944 as potential "enemies” of the Reich. (Executions of those who took part in the plot continued<

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