All attempts to assassinate Hitler failed. The dictator was the target of numerous attacks, but he always seemed to have luck on his side. Often, he would leave meetings early or fail even to turn up. On 20th July 1944, however, he actually was in the room when an attempt on his life was made.
The Wehrmacht officer Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg had managed to place a bomb in the so-called Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair) from where the Führer directed the war on Russia. However, the meeting was brought forward and Stauffenberg was able to prime only half of the intended explosive charge. Furthermore, Stauffenberg placed the briefcase behind a thick table leg before excusing himself and leaving the room.
The bomb detonated, and Hitler survived, albeit badly shaken. A special exhibition in the Military History Museum in Dresden commemorating the assassination attempt of 20th July 1944 and Stauffenberg’s co-conspirators opens on 5th July 2019.
Resistance in the Wehrmacht had already begun to gather momentum in 1938. There were vague plans for a coup which hardened over time. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was initially a willing National Socialist and a career military man. It was only in 1943, when military defeat began to look inevitable, that he became an active conspirator.