Friday, December 26, 2008


As one of those heart-warming movies that open at Christmastime, Tom Cruise is now appearing in "Valkyrie", based on the true story about the plot to kill Hitler.

Tom Cruise is playing Claus Von Stauffenberg......

Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and Roman Catholic aristocrat who was one of the leading officers of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to kill German dictator Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power in World War II Germany. He was one of the central figures of the German Resistance movement.

Stauffenberg's part in the original plan required him to stay at the Bendlerstrasse offices in Berlin, from where he would phone regular Army units all over Europe and the Reich in an attempt to convince them to arrest leaders of Nazi political organizations such as the Sicherheitsdienst and the Gestapo. Unfortunately, he found himself forced to do both, to kill Hitler far away from Berlin and to trigger the military machine in Berlin during the office hours of the very same day. He was the only conspirator who had regular access to Hitler (during his briefing meetings) by mid-1944, as well as being the only officer among the conspirators who was considered to have the resolve and persuasive power to convince German military leaders to throw in with the coup once Adolf Hitler was dead.

Stauffenberg was able to arm only one of the two bombs, which he placed back into the briefcase. He left the small room, handing the second, unarmed bomb in the briefcase to Haeften and proceeded back to the briefing room, where he placed the briefcase under the conference table and as close as he could to Hitler. Some minutes later he excused himself, pretending to need to make an urgent phone call to Berlin, and left the meeting room. He waited in a nearby shelter until the explosion tore through the hut. From what he saw, he was fully convinced that no one in the room could have survived. Although four people were killed and almost all survivors were injured, Hitler himself was shielded from the blast by the heavy, solid-oak conference table and was only slightly wounded.

Stauffenberg and fellow officers Colonel General Olbricht, Lieutenant von Haeften, and Oberst (Colonel) Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were shot before 01:00 a.m. that night (21 July 1944) by a makeshift firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, which was lit by the headlights of a truck.

As his turn came, Stauffenberg spoke his last words: "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" ("Long live our holy Germany!") Fromm ordered that the executed officers (his former co-conspirators) receive an immediate burial with military honors in the Matthäus Churchyard in Berlin's Schöneberg district. Today there is a stone in memorial of this event. The next day, however, Stauffenberg's body was exhumed by the SS, stripped of his medals, and cremated.

On 10 August 1944, his brother, Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, was tried before Judge-President Roland Freisler in the special "People's Court" (Volksgerichtshof]). This court was established by Hitler for political offenses and Berthold was one of eight conspirators executed by slow strangulation (reputedly with piano wire used as the garrote) in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day.

[courtesy of Wikipedia]

Now, the reason I'm writing about von Stauffenberg and - ugh! - a Tom Cruise movie is because the story was originally told on Television nearly twenty years ago. In "The Plot To Kill Hitler", Brad Davis stars as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. The film was shot in the United States and Zagreb, Yugoslavia.


Brad Davis Claus von Stauffenburg
Madolyn Smith Osborne Nina von Stauffenberg
Ian Richardson General Ludwig Beck
Kenneth Colley Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel
Michael Byrne
General Friedrich Olbricht
Helmut Lohner General Friedrich Fromm
Jonathan Hyde
Joseph Goebbels
Rupert Graves Axel von dem Bussche
Helmut Griem Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Mike Gwilym Adolf Hitler
Vernon Dobtcheff General Erich Fellgiebel
Christoph Eichhorn General Helmuth Stieff
Michael Fitzegerald Major Ernst John von Freyend

Toby O'B

No comments: