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Operation Valkyrie by Pierre Galante ISBN 13: 9780440175445

ISBN 10: 0440175445

Paperback; New York: Dell Publishing Company, June 1983; ISBN-13: 978-0440175445

Written by Bernie Weisz Historian June 6th, 2010 Pembroke Pines, Florida e mail:BernWei1@aol.com Pierre Galante's book "Operation Valkyrie" was first published in France in 1981 under the title "Hitler est-il mort?" and was shortly after translated into the current english version. As of this writing, there is a movie out starring Tom Cruise that pictorially brings this book to life. The movie, with a few deviations to make the story more dramatic, does a good job of this. Galante's book is about the July 20, 1944 plot to kill the leader of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The story centers around a one-eyed, one-armed veteran of Irwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who smuggled a briefcase full of high explosives into a conference room at Hitler's East Prussian command headquarters called the "Wolf's Lair". Exploding at 12:42 p.m.. Stauffenberg quickly left the conference room just prior to the explosion and hastily fled back to Berlin to initiate "Operation Valkerie". This operation was a plan for the military coup d'etat to overthrow and kill Hitler, and hopefully end the savagery and barbarism engulfing Hitler and his diabolic regime-from the killing centers of the Concentration Camps to the endless slaughter of German soldiers and civilians as a consequence of being on the losing end of the Second World War. Operation Valkerie was drawn up by a group of the most intelligent officers in the Wehrmacht (German High Command) to not only depose and destroy Hitler but to seize power in Nazi Conquered Vichy France's capital, Paris, as well as the center of Germany itself, Berlin. A second goal was to proclaim a provisional government and sue for a seperate peace with the rapidly approaching Western Allies, who at no uncertain terms refused to negotiate in any sense with Germany's deranged strongman, Adolf Hitler. The key to Galante's book was that this author spent over fifteen years interviewing eyewitnesses of this secret war between the "normal Germans", i.e. the last generation of the Prussian warrior caste (Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, Commander in Chief of the German Sixth Army who defied Hitler's orders to commit suicide and not surrender at Stalingrad, was one of this caste) and Adolf Hitler (who was sarcastically referred to as the "upstart corporal") that they reluctantly had sworn to serve and obey. Pierre Galante's primary source of information for this book was to be found in the archives and personal recollections of General Adolf Heusinger, who served as the operations chief of the German General Staff from 1940 to 1944 and also was an important architect of the postwar West German army. Galante drew on Heusinger's four year tour of service to the Fuhrer, his descriptions of his impressions of over six hundred meetings with Hitler, and how Heusinger ultimately came to be the dissident officer's special envoy to the Nazi court, a role that obviously exposed him to considerable risks from both sides. Heusinger was in the conference room during the assassination attempt and was critically wounded by the explosion and narrowly escaped death a second time at the hands of Hitler's Gestapo (the "SS"). Galante does an excellent job of describing a blow by blow description of why the July 20, 1944 plot failed. "Operation Valkerie" (in German is:"Unternehmen Walkure) is defined by Galante as a plan to take power by means of an emergency plan and was intended to be used in the event of Hitler's death or a disruption caused by Allied bombing of German cities resulted in the breakdown of law and order. Approved by Hitler himself, Col. Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise portrayed him in the movie) played a key role in the plot and was in charge of it. Because of his position, von Stauffenberg was allowed access to Hitler to make reports and for carrying out the other intended use of Operation Valkyrie. According to noted historian William Shirer, the July 20th plot was the culmination of the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi regime. It's failure, both in Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" Headquaters as well as in Berlin and Paris, led to the arrest of at least 7,000 people by the Gestapo. Incredibly, 4,980 people were executed, effectively destroying the resistance movement against Nazism. Here is Galante's description of the plan and why the explosion didn't work:"Operation Valkyrie had originally been drawn up by the Wehrmacht, with Hitler's approval, to allow any contingency that would place the Reich in immenent danger-Hitler's death, an allied invasion, or insurrection (presumably of Russian slave laborors). The conspirators, of course, had introduced certain modifications:The army would seize power in Berlin, and military commanders would take whatever steps were necessary to secure the districts under their command. As soon as word came of Hitler's death, the conspirators planned to implement Valkerie, to occupy the key strategic points and communication centers of Berlin (notably the main radio transmitter) arrest Joseph Goebbels (Minister of Propaganda) and proclaim General Ludwig Beck provisional chief of state until a legally constituted civilian government could be installed. The ultimate purpose of the conspiracy was to offer the Western Allies an immediate ceasefire as the prelude to a negotiated peace. The war was irretrievably lost for Germany, and with every every hour passed only increased the toll of victims on both sides who had been sacrificed to the bloodlust of a madman." Here is the two main reasons that Galante cites as the reasons that the satchel charge didn't kill Hitler. Initially containing two kilos of explosives, at the last minute Stauffenberg: "decided that one kilogram of explosives would be enough to destroy the underground conference room. He removed the other packet of explosives from the metal casing and tucked it away behind the back seat of the car. The briefcase would be lighter, thus less conspicuous and easier to carry". For some peculiar reason, the movie did not show this critical point. The second reason Galante gives is that at the last moment the meeting was moved from the conference room in the bunker to an adjoining wooden hut (the movie shows this). Galante asserts: "The explosive charge might not be sufficient in a building whose wooden walls would not offer as much resistance to the blast;the best chance for success would be to place the bomb as close as possible to Hitler". This was not the case. Here is Galante's description of the explosion: "It was exactly 12:42 PM. A violent explosion instantly reduced the oak table to to a cloud of splinters. The maps were incinerated, and jets of flame surged up on both sides. The men gathered around the table were knocked off their feet or thrown through the open windows. Above the screams and curses Keitel, who was unharmed, was heard crying out, "Where is the Fuhrer? Heusenger had blacked out for several seconds;when he came to, he found himself lying next to the unconscious form of the Fuhrer. All the other officers present (three officers and Hitler's stenographer were killed)were more or less seriously injured, but if the bomb had exploded in the underground bunker, it is almost certain that all of them would have been killed outright. Hitler, his uniform trousers in rags, rose shakily to his feet and collapsed into the arms of the faithful Keitel. He was carried to his quarters, his wounds were dressed and before long he was ready to change into a fresh uniform in time to receive (the now deposed and in exile Italian dictator) Benito Mussolini. Hitler had received a rude shock, but his wounds were superficial". One would only have to wonder how many innocent lives would have been spared if the bomb plot would have succeeded. Even more speculative, if Hitler would have died, would either the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end W.W. II be necessary? Would the "Cold War" have still occurred? How many "Concentration Camp" and prisoner of war victims would have lived? One can only ponder. Finally, I found Galante's book very informative on the events of 1939 to 1945. Aside from describing the plot to kill Hitler, Galante does a superlative effort of describing Hitler's invasion of Poland, France, "Blitzkrieg", The "Battle of Britain", the U.S. entry into W.W. II, "Operation Barbarossa" (the invasion of the Soviet Union) right up to "Operation Valkerie" and the Gestapo's witch hunt of it's participants. Galante also describes Hitler's drug problems, his mysterious injections given by Dr. Morell, and Hitler's insensitivity to General Paulus's predicament at Stalingrad. General Paulus was the commander of the German 6th Army that was encircled and defeated by a massive Soviet counterattack in November, 1942 with casualties reaching as high as 300,000 soldiers of the Wehrmacht. Paulus surrendered to the Soviet forces in Stalingrad on January 31, 1943, a day after he was promoted to the rank of "Fieldmarshal" by Adolf Hitler. Galante does a superb job of detailing Hitler's wrath at Paulus, as Hitler expected him to commit suicide, citing that no German fieldmarshal was ever captured by enemy forces. While in Soviet captivity during the war, Paulus became a vocal critic of the Nazi regime and joined the Russian-sponsored "National Committee for a Free Germany", a German anti-Nazi operation that existed in the Soviet Union during W.W.II. Paulus himself said of Hitler's expectation: "I have no intention of shooting myself for that Bohemian corporal". Of the 91,000 German prisoners taken by the Russians at Stalingrad, only about 6,000 would return home at the end of the war. Galante quotes General Heusinger's explanation as to why General Paulus chose not to commit suicide:"And why did Paulus choose not to kill himself? Because he was a man of profound Christian beliefs, incapable of suicide, and because up to the end he wanted to share the fate of his comrades and the men under his command. For both these reasons, he would have looked on suicide as a form of desertion." Galante shows the callous side of Hitler by quoting Hitler's reaction at a meeting he called of the general staff the day after the fall of Stalingrad. Hitler went on record ranting:"I expect every one of my officers will perfer death to surrender. The honor of tens of thousands of German soldiers has been tarnished because General Paulus lacked the courage to do what even a weak woman would have done in his place. I regret having raised him to the rank of marshal, and I will never bestow this title on anyone again until the war is over. Paulus could have singled himself out from the mob;he could have found a place for himself in the deathless ranks of our fallen heroes-but he preferred to go to Moscow instead." Finally, Galante shows the sociopathological part of of Hitler's persona. Galante remarks about Hitler: "He never visits the military hospitals, since he will not allow himself to be touched by the sufferings of the wounded; he refuses to visit the battlefields on the Russian front. He doesn't care to witness the sort of devastation that one day be unleased on Germany, nor has he visited a bombed-out city." Pierre Galante's book is not only about the July 20th rebellion, the only serious attempt to destroy the Third Reich from within. This is a story of the German path to destruction waged during World War II told with clarity and completenes that rivals any top history book to date. This book is a must to any World War Two enthusiast!

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Operation Valkyrie

by Pierre Galante

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Operation Valkyrie

by Pierre Galante

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Operation Valkyrie: The German Generals' Plot Against Hitler

by Galante, Pierre; Silianoff, Eugene

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Operation Valkyrie

by Pierre Galante

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Operation Valkyrie

by Pierre Galante

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New York, NY: DELL. Very Good. 1983. First Paperback Edition. Soft Cover. 4 1/4" x 7" 0440175445 PAPERBACK The German Generals' plot against Hitler. The story of that crucial moment in history and the events that led up to it - told by one of the last surviving participants in the plot and the only one present at the moment the bomb went off. Wear at edges, spine creased, reading creases, rubbed, light interior browning. .
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