Saturday, 20 July 2013

20th July 1944 - a missed opportunity for Germany

Germany commemorates Graf Stauffenberg who tried to kill Hitler on 20th July 1944.
Today Germany commemorates the 20th July 1944, when an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf’s Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The apparent purpose of the assassination attempt was to seize political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party (including the SS) in order to obtain peace as soon as possible.

Many of the officers involved in “Operation Valkyrie" were monarchists and wanted the Monarchy given back to the German people. They wanted to by-pass Crown Prince Wilhelm and had contacted his son an heir, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, who should have been “regent". In an obituary The Independent wrote about this fascinating personality:
"The dubious role which some members of the deposed German Imperial family played during the Nazi period was not shared by Prince Louis Ferdinand. Far from it, his spell as an officer in the German Air Force during the Second World War was short-lived, as in 1940 he retreated to his country estate after being expelled from military service by Hitler’s new law restricting the military activities of members of the former Imperial family. He later had close contacts with members of the German underground movement, among them Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Dr Carl Goerdeler - who were executed after their involvement in the failed attempt in July 1944 to kill Hitler - and with Klaus Bonhoefer, Otto John and Field Marshal Georg von Kuchler. These activities are described in greater detail in Prince Louis Ferdinand’s fascinating autobiography, Im Strom der Geschichte: die Heimkehr noch Potsdam. This book was first published in 1983 as an extension and amended version of his earlier book Die Geschichte meine Lebens (‘The History of my Life’, 1968). Documents of the underground movement show that he was in fact seriously considered a possible future head of state in the event that the coup planned for 20 July 1944 against Hitler succeeded."

Prince Louis Ferdinand, The Rebel Prince, played a role in the 1944 plot to kill Hitler.
At the end of the Second World War, Prince Louis Ferdinand had to flee with his family from his Eastern estates to West Germany and made the Wümmehof in Bremen his private residence, concentrating on the administration of the rather reduced assets left to the Hohenzollern family and on an extensive restoration of Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen, southern Germany, the family's original seat.

The castle of Hohenzollern in southern Germany.

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