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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

The Oster Plot
Posted on: 9/17/2017 7:17:04 PM
Brian and Trevor here is some of what I dug up back in 1984 on the Oster Plot specifically.

The first thing you have to understand is that there was resistance to Hitler and the Nazi Party in the military, foreign service, police and every other sector of the population from day one. There was core groups of individuals that gradually attracted more and more adherents as events dictated and Nazi crimes became know to the people of Germany. Like even though we understand the decapitation of the SA with the Night of the Long Knives was at least in part to appease the Army's fears about Rohm and the SA' threat there were also calls from a few different groups of officers to investigate and bring to trial those responsible for it going farther than the SA specifically the murder of von Schleicher and his wife and the arrest of Papen and murder of some of his close associates. Others joined because of the amorality of Kristallnacht and the treatment of the Jews or the euthanasia programs. All put their lives and the lives of their families on the line in any form of resistance.

IMHO the best chance to get rid of Hitler and the Nazis leadership before the war stated was the Oster plot because above all else very few in any segment of the German population wanted to go to war. It was a well organized and supported group that could have gotten the support of many of the people. The leadership was from the army, police, foreign ministry, intelectuals and religion with the hard dedicated core centered with the army. The strike force charged with capturing Hitler was made up of career officers and NCO's quartered in Abwher safe houses in Berlin and waiting for the order to strike. They were backed up by all the former Prussian State police in Berlin and the majority of troops under the command of von Witzlaben the commander of the military district which encompassed Berlin and Brandenburg. All they were waiting for was Hitler to give the order for mobilization for war which would only come if GB and France held firm in their support for Czech.

The only real disagreement within the plot was on what to do with Hitler. Some wanted him dead others declare insane and others tried for treason but the head of the assault squad was in the wanted him dead camp. Some of the key figures were Hans Oster, chief of staff Abwher, Ludwig Beck former chief of staff Army, Canaris head of the Abwher, Franz halder chief of staff Army, vo Brautish C&C Army, Vo Witzlaben commander Military District IV, Sec of State von Weizacker, diplomats Theodor and Eric Kordt and Dr Hans Gisevius, Dr von Dohnanyi and Professor Bonhoffer just to name a few. There were many more on the fringes.

Also at the same time a former Prussian Sec of State Wilhelm Abegg had gathered a group of former Prussian police officers who had all been arrested and thrown in the camps for being anti-Nazi to assassinate Hitler and other Nazi leaders. The Hitler attempt was going to be a suicide bomber.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1460

Re: The Oster Plot
Posted on: 9/17/2017 10:09:41 PM
John, thanks for taking the trouble and for providing the information you've dug up. Just some comments on some of your points:


Quote:
The first thing you have to understand is that there was resistance to Hitler and the Nazi Party in the military, foreign service, police and every other sector of the population from day one.
Sure there was, and certainly one of the debates that is ongoing is how widespread, motivated, dangerous or capable that opposition was, and how its aims and plans changed from early 1933 until Hitler beat them all at their own game. I think we must also remember that the Nazi Party came to power with a plurality that was quite astounding given the number of parties offering candidates. And that – with the background of the Reichstag Fire within a month of Hitler becoming Reichskanzeller – political "cleansings" made political dissent increasingly impossible.


Quote:
There was core groups of individuals that gradually attracted more and more adherents as events dictated and Nazi crimes became know to the people of Germany.

I'm not sure what you mean by "core groups of individuals", to be honest. That sounds more solidified, widespread and organized than I'm aware of. I'm thinking, e.g., of eugenic practices the Nazis introduced early in their time in power. IMHO, eugenics is repulsive. But it was not just a Nazi concept: belief in eugenics was pretty endemic in Euro-centric civilizations from the mid-nineteenth century, IIRC. And IIRC, there was such an outcry from nice, ordinary Germans at Nazi applications of eugenic principles that this dropped relatively quickly from the Nazi domestic agenda.

I also think a comparison with political events in other European nations might be worthwhile. Il Duce was not the "belle of the ball" for many Italians, and El Caudillo was clearly not beloved of all his people. French politics was too volatile to allow any single leader to receive the public's rancour for too long. And it's hard to describe the British public's interaction with Neville Chamberlain. Yet how widespread and personal and volatile were the threats to these leaders. And how different were civilian threats from political, military or anarchic threats those leaders faced.

In a quick survey of the net, I can't find any indication of plots to kill Chamberlain, though there were clearly plots to unseat him as PM. The best weapon the British had, of course, was a sharp tongue and a lively wit, exercised in Parliament. And we know that, at least until late 1938, Neville Chamberlain was supported and adored by those who elected his government. It was only Hitler's actions in the Spring of 1939 in what was left of Czechoslovakia that caused the British public to turn on Chamberlain. But when I assess Night of the Long Knives with the chant "Missed the Bus!", I assume that the means of holding power in Germany and in Britain are vastly different.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: The Oster Plot
Posted on: 9/17/2017 11:22:48 PM
Brian,

The difference anybody with a "quick wit" who used it to say anything bad about Hitler in public was thrown in a camp or worse. In Hitler's Germany a member of the Army's general staff wasn't allowed to have any contact, professional or social with a member of the foreign ministry. The first priority of the dictator is staying in power and eliminating any dissent.

As for core groups of individuals I mean that there were from what I've read basically 4 groups with the basic same core players opposing and plotting against the Nazis from say 36/37 onward. One was the Army centered around Beck and Halder, one was the more intellectual "Kreisau Circle' around von Moltke and Yorck von Wartenburg, another within the Foreign Ministry in the diplomatic corps with Von der Schulenburg, the Korte brother and von Haeften and the last being minor official like Goerdeler looking to bring back a monarchy. Some were more solid and organized than other and there was contact and overlapping membership in all. One of the problems was that they all didn't agree on the whys or the what to do or what to do if successful. There was no conformity of action or purpose which in a way is what Stauffenberg brought to the table.

Then there is a whole bunch of individuals and small groups without any base of popular support. Like Elsser who planted the bomb in the Munich beer hall that Hiler was speaking at for the anniversary of the Pustch attempt. Or von Treskow who planted the wine bottle bombs on his plane that failed to explode. Or von Gersdorf who volunteer to be a suicide bomber but Hitler insead of staying the 30 min he was supposed to left after 10 and the fuse was still burning so to speak. The thing is with all those attempts would cutting off the head have stopped the madness in and of itself? Would killing Hitler alone been enough or do you really need to have a "master plan" such as Valkyre?

Edit I forgot to mention religion and you really have to add both Catholic and Protestant Church's because in many ways they kept the opposition alive and were really the only organizations to speak openly against the Nazis in public after 34/35 and many apriest and minister paid dearly.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1957

Re: The Oster Plot
Posted on: 9/23/2017 8:41:16 PM
Thank you John. I think you are on the right track about the Oster plot being the best chance to have stopped Hitler. There is a lot more info coming out which points to how close it was.

"The thing is with all those attempts would cutting off the head have stopped the madness in and of itself? Would killing Hitler alone been enough or do you really need to have a "master plan" such as Valkyre?"

And that´s a damned good question.

Will try and put something together when I´m fitter.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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