The damage done to the conference room at the Wolf’s Lair
Stauffenberg escaped to the nearest airport with his aide and initiated the second part of the plot. When Hitler went on the radio to tell the country that he had escaped assassination, the conspiracy fell apart. The Gestapo and SS sprang into action to block the seizure of Berlin, and began a roundup of conspirators, executing them as caught and filming it for Hitler’s viewing pleasure. Eight conspirators were executed slowly; Colonel Von Stauffenberg’s last words were allegedly “long live sacred Germany!” Two hundred more were subjected to show trials before execution. In the end, it is estimated that at least 20,000 Germans were killed or sent to prison camps, including Field Marshall Irwin Rommel, perhaps the Third Reich’s greatest General, who was convinced to commit suicide because he was aware of the July 20 Plot before it occurred. Germany was subjected to eight more months of unbelievable horror until Hitler committed suicide in the Fuhrerbunker.
The yard at Beldlerstrasse where Stauffenberg, his aide 1st Lieutenant Werner von Haeften, General Friedrich Olbricht and Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were executed before 1:00 in the morning of July 21, 1944 by a makeshift firing squad in the courtyard, which was lit by the headlights of a truck
Historians have debated Colonel Stauffenberg’s motives ever since the Second World War. Four of his five children were put in foster homes and forbidden to use their surname. One became a General in post-war Germany, another son a Member of Parliament. His wife Nina said all the historians were wrong in their speculations about her husband. She died in 2006 at the age of 92. A German officer moving a suitcase two feet probably changed history in a most dramatic fashion. Providence remains inscrutable.
A plaque and wreath commemorate those involved in the Hitler assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, who were executed at this point in the inner courtyard of the Bendler Block