WKD: Hitler Was So Disliked, That Even His Own Generals Tried To Take Him Down

Warfare History Network, Brooke C. Stoddard

Key point: There were multiple Germany assassination plots to kill Hitler.

Adolf Hitler won victory after victory in the late 1930s: the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the incorporation of Austria into the Reich in 1938, the acquisition of the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in 1938 followed by the control over much of the remainder of Czechoslovakia six months later, and then the conquest of Poland in September 1939. These astonishing successes glorified him in the eyes of millions of Germans and humbled the generals of the German Army, a number of whom thought his recklessness would lead to a crushing German military defeat.

Soon after the victory in Poland, when some Army generals believed Hitler would be satisfied with territorial possessions and come to some accommodation with Poland’s latecomer allies France and Britain, the Führer summoned the cream of the high commanders. Not a few of them believed he would call for a demobilization. Instead, what they got was a shock: Hitler told them he was determined to launch an offensive against France and Britain, and the sooner the better.

German Opposition to the Nazi Regime

Some of these Army generals—Commander in Chief of the Army Walther von Brauchitsch and Chief of the Army General Staff Franz Halder among them—as well as men of lesser rank in military intelligence, plus civilians and politicians, had long opposed or came to oppose the Nazi regime that controlled Germany. They had conspired to overthrow the Nazi leadership, most notably as the Sudetenland issue rose to a crisis. They believed their best chance at overthrowing the Nazi leaders was when the Nazis recklessly hurled Germany into a general European war.

Hitler was willing to risk such a war by invading Czechoslovakia over the Sudetenland, and the conspirators were waiting for the right moment when Hitler seemed mad enough to do it. But it was precisely then that Neville Chamberlain engineered an appeasement granting the Sudetenland to Germany. The conspiracy collapsed. The buildup to the invasion of Poland offered another opportunity for revolt, but movement to a coup d’etat never got far, in part because the generals believed that a war against Poland would be brief and contained.

Colonel Hans Oster

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