The fascinating but little-known true story of an aborted coup to eliminate Hitler, led by Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster of German Military Intelligence
In September 1938, Hitler had been in power for more than five years and had unilaterally dismantled the Treaty of Versailles, provision by provision, daring Britain and France to stand up to him. Earlier that year he had forced Austria into his Third Reich without firing a single shot. Now his sights were set on Czechoslovakia.
It was in this dangerous climate that the first anti-Nazi coup was born. The plot was spearheaded by Oster, and its members included top German military leaders, the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders, and a group of resisters whose names have somehow been wiped from the pages of history. Their mission was to kill Hitler and to overthrow the Nazi regime.
Historian Terry Parssinen, using British and German sources and previously unknown documents in the Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College, has documented the fast-paced story of this developing conspiracy. Revelatory, peopled with a rich cast of characters, and highly provocative, this is narrative history at its best. The author assesses the plot’s chances for success and speculates about the consequences if the conspirators had been able to seize power in Berlin in 1938, thus averting World War II.
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Terry Parssinen, Ph.D., is Professor of History at the University of Tampa and a specialist in modern European history. He lives in Tampa and Philadelphia.From Publishers Weekly:
As Hitler planned to invade Czechoslovakia, disenchanted German military men believed that the campaign would be a disastrous failure. Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster had watched during the early 1930s as Hitler brutally deposed and executed men under whom Oster had served, in order to consolidate his hold on the military. A military intelligence officer, Oster (1887-1945) played a crucial role in a plan, never executed, to capture or kill Hitler. A professor of History at the University of Tampa, Parssinen opens each chapter with cursory background material, then describes events as they unfolded day by day. The action jumps from the members of the German military who hatched the coup plan, to Hitler's inner circle and the SS as it moved toward war, to the British government as it prevaricated and then sent British Prime Minister Chamberlain to Germany to meet Hitler and defuse the Czech crisis. The pact in Munich that September left the conspirators in a quandary, as they had planned to begin their revolt after the order for the invasion of Czechoslovakia had been given, and they destroyed their assassination plans. Oster was involved in an actual failed attempt against Hitler in 1943. He was arrested and executed not for that, but for his part in helping Jews escape to Switzerland. (Several other conspirators were caught and killed for their actions.) There is not really any new, startling information about the first plot, a historical footnote since it never happened, but Parssinen offers a clearly written, well-researched and accurate history of "what might have been" during the immediate period before World War II-and of a clear-sighted figure who followed his conscience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HarperCollins, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. "The Unknown Story of the Military Plot to Kill Hitler and Avert World War II." As Hitler was negotiating to take over the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, leaders of the German military plotted to overthrow the Nazi regime. The plot included the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders and other opponents of the regime. This book is a fast-paced documentation of this conspiracy, and a speculation on what might have been. xxii+232 pages, preface, dramatis personae, photos, glossary, notes, index, remainder mark. Published @ $27.95. Bookseller Inventory # 11353
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