Not the film (haven’t made it to one yet in the UK!, though maybe I should make it to this one now)…this is the name of the book I have just finished reading!
Valkyrie was a German military plan in WWII approved by Hitler to be used should Allied bombing cause disruption to law and order in Germany. By this time, however, more and more people were much against Hitler and his rule, and realised that the only way to stop this manic disruption was to assasinate him, or at the very least arrest him and hold him till he could be tried.
Numerous plans and attempts had been made to try to stop Hitler from the path he was going on, from the very first days of the war. The conspirators had also tried to enlist the help of Britain (and France) prior to Hitler’s entry into then Czechoslovakia, to get a concerted effort, but they didn’t want to be involved, still rememebring the destruction of the WWI. Different groups and individuals of conspirators developed throughout the war, but it seemed like Hitler was under some kind of divine protection, every time escaping the assasination by some quirk of fate.
Towards the end of the war, the main conspirators were a group of people high up in the German Army. On going through the plans for Valkyrie they realised that they could put the same military plan in use for teir own requirements after assasinating Hitler. The problem was exactly that though: getting Hitler out of the way! There were various plans again by this same group, but they all met with the same fate of the previous attempts: failure. The last attempt was the suitcase bomb in the Wolflair military headquarters.
The bomb was to be implanted by Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who was high enough in the German Army to have regular meetings with Hitler towards the end of the war. The attempt had not been tried during previous meetings as the conspirators had wished to take out the 3 main people in the Nazi leadership. However, when the meeting on 20th July was planned they decided they coulnd’t wait much longer.
The bomb was placed, the bomb exploded, but by a miraculous twist of fate, Hitler was not killed and only slightly hurt! However, the plans for the take-over, codenamed Valkyrie, had already started by the time the conspirators realised that!
Countdown to Valkyrie – The July Plot to Assassinate Hitler, by Nigel Jones, goes from the start of Hitler’s rise, and the realisation of the evilness by people then, to describing the different groups of conspirators that came and went unsuccessfully throughout the years of the war, on to the 20th July attempt, and to what happened from then.
Although I had known about the briefcase bomb, I never knew about the background to it all, and about the previous attempts made. The book really kept me interested throughout, both with the way the story was unfolding, as well as with the way it was written…I read it in around 24hrs! from Friday night to Saturday night. This book should be a definite read by people, not just for its depiction of real-life events which had they succeeded may have changed things as we know them dramatically, but also for the way it grips your interest.
I must admit that, though I rarely if ever read non-fiction before, now that I have started I really regret not doing it prior to my arrival in London. The new book and themed displays at the library is a definite thing now for me to check out every single time I go there, and I am taking most of the books from there! Maybe I should tell the people at the library to keep it up!