Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Not the Kind of Man the Allies Could Have Worked With

"Three score and six years ago today," J.K. Baltzersen reminded us yesterday, "Count Claus von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, failing miserably" — July 20, 1944. You'd think the Allies would have welcomed the attempt. You'd be wrong. To the Anglo-Americans, Hitler's would-be assassin was something worse than a Nazi; he was an aristocrat.

Jerry Salyer introduces us to the Swiss-born Beate Ruhm von Oppen, who at the time "worked for the British Foreign Office, analyzing German propaganda" and "wrote of the atmosphere in the Foreign Office when news came that Hitler had survived the assassination attempt" — “The Gestapo and the SS Have Done Us An Appreciable Service”: Egalitarian Western Liberals & The July 20 Plot. Von Oppen wrote:
    There was relief at the failure of the plot. Two reasons were given for it: One reasonable, the other less so and, so it seemed to me, excessively cold-blooded.

    Success would have meant another ‘stab in the back’ legend and would have bedeviled a new German regime just as the legend that Germany was robbed of victory after the first world war bedeviled the Weimar Republic. That made some sense.

    The other, to my mind less respectable, reason was that the plotters were not the kind of people the Allies could work with.
Mr. Salyer's analysis:
    It seems that some English policymakers feared catching blue-blood cooties from exposure to – in Oppen’s wry wording – “too many counts and barons.” Remember that Anglo-American leaders had no qualms about turning some hundred thousand men, women, and children into radioactive briquettes in order to “end the war”. (That is, to end it unconditionally, without need of peace negotiations.) And recall that in order to defeat the Führer, Allied leaders were quite willing to make an alliance with that famed international humanitarian Joseph Stalin.

    But as for working with Hitler’s enemies within the German aristocracy… well, apparently that was asking a bit much. Whoa – come now, there are limits, after all.
"Anglo-American public relations organs announced that the July 20th attempt to assassinate Hitler – and the various homicidal purges of opposition figures – merely reflected a power struggle within Nazism itself," Mr. Salyer reports, quoting from an internal memo of the British Foreign Office:
    … we are better off with things as they are today than if the plot of July 20th had succeeded and Hitler had been assassinated… By the failure of the plot we have been spared the embarrassments, both at home and in the United States, which might have resulted from such a move, and, moreover, the present purge is presumably removing from the scene numerous individuals which might have caused us difficulty, not only had the plot succeeded, but also after the defeat of Nazi Germany…

    The Gestapo and the SS have done us an appreciable service in removing a selection of those who would undoubtedly have posed as ‘good’ Germans after the war… It is to our advantage therefore that the purge should continue, since the killing of Germans by Germans will save us from future embarrassments of many kinds.
"A successful coup would’ve meant that the Allies would not have the opportunity to pound Germany into rubble," Mr. Salyer notes. Also, "many progress-minded Anglo-American liberals loathed the German aristocracy – and Christian intellectuals, and meddlesome clergymen – just as much as Hitler did" and "some among the avant-garde elite welcomed the prospect of a postwar German reconstruction sans interference from pesky partisans of traditional European civilization."

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Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

Just saw the recent film "Valkyrie" -- enjoyable, interesting.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Tom Cruise. He does give a decent performance anyway, and Bryan Singer's direction is excellent also.

It's amazing that some people in the West would not have been glad to see that evil Austrian blown to bits. Wow.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Churchill, whose family describes him as a frequently drunk wife-beater, and who wrote a book describing the Bolshevik Revolution as mainly the work of members of an ethnic minority that Corporal Schiklgruber was known to obsess about, believed that Germany had to be completely destroyed in order for him to save the British Empire.

It was a deep disappointment to him to be kicked out of office at the first opportunity after the war, and then to see most of Her Majesty's swarthier subjects attain their independence.

When I heard Rumsfeld and Georgeulus Bushulus praise Churchill to the high heavens, I felt I had a pretty good idea about their efforts to save the Empire would pan out.

2:42 AM  

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