Author(s): Michael Baigent & Richard Leigh
At thirty-seven, Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg, Chief of Staff of the Reich Reserve Army, was a charismatic figure destined for supreme command. The group of conspirators with whom he conceived the plot to kill Hitler in July 1944 was called 'Secret Germany'. That was also the name of the esoteric circle in which Stauffenberg as a young man had been a disciple of the mystic anti-Nazi magus and poet Stefan George. What was it that motivated this extraordinary aristocratic soldier, with the looks of a Hollywood idol, who was said to be the only man to stare the Fuhrer down until he averted his eyes? For Stauffenberg, the bomb plot was not a political move but a moral and spiritual necessity. After forty-two serious attempts on Hitler's life in the previous twenty years, why did he too fail? Had he succeeded, some say he would have become the de Gaulle of Germany, saviour of the nation soul. Even in failure, there can be no doubt of Stauffenberg's heroism. He stands as atonement for the Third Reich and a resolution of the conflicting myths of German culture. In this remarkable investigation, his whole life explains a troubled past to the present generation of Europeans as few have done in recent history. First published 1994.