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On 20 July 1944, Adolf Hitler and his top military associates entered the briefing hut of the Wolf's Lair military headquarters, a series of concrete bunkers and shelters located deep in the forest East Prussia, not far from the World War I Battle of Tannenberg. Suddenly there was an enormous explosion, which killed three officers and a stenographer, and injured everyone else. This assassination attempt was the work of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, an aristocrat who had been severely wounded – losing his right hand, left eye, and two fingers of his left hand – while serving in the North African theater of war.
The bomb plot was a carefully planned coup d'état attempt against the Nazi regime, orchestrated by a group of army officers. Their plan was to assassinate Hitler, seize power in Berlin, establish a new pro-Western government and save Germany from the total defeat.
Immediately after arresting and executing the plot leaders in Berlin, the Gestapo, the secret police force of Nazi Germany, began arresting people involved or even suspected of being involved. The opportunity was also used to eliminate other Nazi critics remaining. In total, an estimated 7,000 people were arrested of which approximately 4,980 were executed, some slowly strangled with piano wire on Hitler's insistence. Among those executed were three field marshals, nineteen generals, twenty-six colonels, two ambassadors, seven diplomats, one minister and three secretaries of state, as well as the head of the Berlin police. This is a list of people who were identified at the time as being involved in the coup attempt:
- Major Wolfgang Abshagen (1897–1945)
- Colonel Otto Armster (1891–1957), Head of the counterintelligence ("Abwehr") station in Vienna; arrested on 23 July 1944 and held captive until the end of the war. Liberated but was later arrested and imprisoned by NKVD until 1955.
- Colonel General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German General Staff (1880–1944); attempted suicide when the plot failed and was murdered soon after. He was to be arrested whilst the other captives were to be executed under the order of Friedrich Fromm.
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bernardis (1908–1944) executed on 8 August 1944
- Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff (1890–1945); executed by firing squad at Gestapo headquarters, 22 April 1945
- Gottfried Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Civil Governor of Potsdam (1901–1949), arrested and kept in a concentration camp. Survived.
- Major Count Hans-Jürgen von Blumenthal (1907–1944) Hanged 13 October 1944.
- Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Hasso von Boehmer (1904–1945) Executed 5 March 1945.
- Lieutenant Colonel Baron Georg von Boeselager, cavalry officer (1915–1944) Killed in action 29 August 1944.
- Lieutenant Colonel Baron Philipp von Boeselager, cavalry officer (1917–2008) Undetected. Survived.
- Eugen Bolz, State President of Württemberg till 1933 (1881–1945) Executed (beheaded) 23 January 1945.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor and Theologian (1906–1945); executed by hanging 9 April 1945.
- Klaus Bonhoeffer, lawyer (1901–1945); executed by Gestapo, 22 April 1945
- Randolph von Breidbach-Bürresheim (1912–1945); arrested and kept in a concentration camp. Died of tuberculosis in June 1945.
- Dr. Eduard Brücklmeier, Diplomat (1903–1944); executed by hanging 20 October 1944
- Major Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst (1919–1993); made plans to assassinate Hitler with suicide bomb. Avoided detection and survived.
- Oscar Caminecci, farmer
- Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Chief of German Military Intelligence (1887–1945); hanged at Flossenburg concentration camp, 9 April 1945. No evidence found directly linking him to the plot, but was known to be closely associated with many of the conspirators.
- Walter Cramer, industrialist; hanged at Plötzensee Prison, 14 November 1944
- Professor Alfred Delp, Pater S.J. (1907–1945); executed 2 February 1945
- Dr. Wilhelm Dieckmann (1893–1944), Ministry Official. Arrested by Gestapo on 25 July 1944. Died in pretrial confinement on 13 September 1944.
- Major General Heinrich Graf zu Dohna-Schlobitten (1882–1944); Chief of the Acting General Command; executed by hanging 14 September 1944.
- Court official Hans von Dohnanyi (1902–1945); arrested for treason, 1943; executed 9 April 1945
- Lieutenant Hans Martin Dorsch
- Captain Max-Ulrich Graf von Drechsel
- Professor Fritz Elsas, Deputy Mayor of Berlin
- Lieutenant (General Staff) Karl-Heinz Engelhorn
- Lieutenant Colonel Hans Otto Erdmann
- General Alexander Freiherr von Falkenhausen, Military Commander of Belgium and Northern France (1878–1966); freed by American troops from Niederhof on 4 May 1945, before Gestapo could carry out death sentence; imprisoned until 1951 for war crimes
- General Erich Fellgiebel, Chief of the Military Signals (1886–1944); in charge of cutting off communications on 20 July, hanged on 4 September 1944
- Colonel (General Staff) Eberhard Finckh, Chief Quartermaster to Günther Blumentritt (1899–1944); executed by hanging 30 August 1944
- Professor Max Fleischmann
- Reinhold Frank, Lawyer (1896–1945); executed by hanging 23 January 1945
- Ehrengard Frank-Schultz
- Colonel (General Staff) Wessel von Freytag-Loringhoven, (1899–1944), who provided the explosives for the plot. Plot failure, resulted in his suicide, within 6 days
- Walter Frick, Salesman
- Colonel General Friedrich Fromm (1888–1945). Aware of the conspiracy, betrayed and executed conspirators, including Stauffenberg, on 20 July. Arrested on orders of Himmler the next day, and executed by firing squad for "cowardice" on 12 March 1945
- Joseph-Ernst Graf Fugger von Glött (1895–1981): designated to be administrator of Bavaria; arrested on 3 September 1944 by the Gestapo; convicted to 3 years in prison; unlike the majority of conspirators, Fugger von Glött was sentenced to penal servitude rather than execution. He was freed by American troops in April 1945. After the war was one of the founders of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and delegate in different parliaments.
- Major General Reinhard Gehlen, Chief of Intelligence-Gathering on the Eastern Front (1902–1979), avoided detection; survived.
- Captain Ludwig Gehre (1895–1945); executed by hanging 9 April 1945.
- Major General Rudolf von Gersdorff (1905–1980), Chief of Intelligence for Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, planned suicide bomb attack for 21 March 1943; hid explosives for 20 July 1944 plot. Avoided detection and survived.
- Eugen Gerstenmaier (1906–1986), Consistorial Councillor, subsequently Speaker of the Bundestag; sentenced to 7 years in prison. Survived.
- Hans Bernd Gisevius (1904–1974), diplomat, went into hiding, then fled to Switzerland (January 1945). Survived.
- Erich Gloeden, architect (born 23 August 1888 in Berlin); guillotined 30 November 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Elisabeth Charlotte Gloeden, wife of Erich Gloeden, guillotined 30 November 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Dr. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler (1884–1945), Mayor of Leipzig; arrested 12 August 1944 in Konradswalde; hanged 2 February 1945
- Fritz Goerdeler, Municipal Chamberlain and Treasurer of Königsberg; brother of Carl Goerdeler, hanged 1 March 1945
- Lieutenant Gereon Karl Goldmann (1916–2003), Franciscan priest, conveyed coded messages to the German delegation in Rome. Captured by British forces in Italy January 1944. Falsely accused and convicted of war crimes, but exonerated.
- Nikolaus Gross, (1898–1945) journalist; executed by hanging 23 January 1945
- Karl Ludwig Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg (1902–1945), publisher of the White Pages from 1934, arranged the first meeting of Carl Goerdeler and Ulrich von Hassell in 1939, Counterintelligence under Admiral Canaris, arrested by the Gestapo after 20 July 1944, murdered 23–24 April 1945
- Max Habermann, Christian syndicate leader
- Hans Bernd von Haeften, Official in the Foreign Office, executed 15 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Lieutenant Werner von Haeften (1908–1944); adjutant to Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and fellow conspirator. Executed 20 July 1944, by firing squad on orders of General Fromm
- Syndic Albrecht von Hagen (1904–1944); among the first eight executed by hanging 8 August 1944
- Colonel Kurt Hahn
- Nikolaus-Christoph von Halem, merchant (1905–1944)
- Eduard Hamm, Ministry Official (1879–1944)
- Colonel (General Staff) Georg Hansen; executed by hanging 8 September 1944
- Colonel (General Staff) Baron Bodo von Harbow
- Baron Ernst von Harnack, District President; executed 5 March 1945
- Lieutenant General Paul von Hase, Commander of 56. Infanterie-Division and Commander of Berlin (1885–1944); among the first eight executed by hanging 8 August 1944
- Ulrich von Hassell, German ambassador to Italy (1881–1944); executed 8 September 1944
- Theodor Haubach, SDP Politician, executed 23 January 1945
- Professor Albrecht-Georg Haushofer; executed by firing squad at Gestapo prison, 23 April 1945
- Major (General Staff) Egbert Hayessen (1913–1944); executed by hanging 15 August 1944
- Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorf, Chief of the Berlin Police; executed 15 August 1944 at Plötzensee Prison
- Major General Otto Herfurth, Chief of Staff of the III Military District; collaborated with, then betrayed, conspirators; executed by hanging 29 September 1944
- Andreas Hermes, Finance Minister of the Weimar Republic (1878–1964) Hermes was sentenced to death 11 January 1945; execution was postponed several times until the end of the war. Survived.
- Colonel General Erich Hoepner, Commander of Panzergruppe 4 (1886–1944); among the first eight hanged 8 August 1944
- Colonel Caesar von Hofacker (1896–1944); testimony led to suspicion of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and his ultimate suicide, executed by hanging 20 December 1944
- Major Roland von Hößlin (1915–1944), executed by hanging 13 October 1944
- Wilhelm Konrad Hossë
- Otto Hübener, Director of the insurance brokers Jauch & Hübener, hanged 21, 22 or 23 April 1945
- Colonel Friedrich Gustav Jaeger (1895–1944); executed by hanging 21 August 1944.
- Max Jennewein, technician
- Professor Jens-Peter Jessen
- Hans John, Lawyer (1911–1945); executed by firing squad 23 April 1945
- Otto John (1909–1997), 20 July 1944 was in Spain, escaped to Britain. Survived.
- Hermann Kaiser, grammar school teacher, Wiesbaden. Executed 23 January 1945.
- Jakob Kaiser, CDU co-founder and Chairmen of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (DDR) (1888–1961), was member of the Resistance and close to the conspirators but was not directly involved in the plot. Went into hiding and survived.
- Franz Kempner, Retired Ministry Official (Undersecretary of State)
- Albrecht von Kessel, Diplomat, Mission Adviser at the Vatican
- Otto Kiep, Envoy and Chief of the Reich Press Office (1886–1944), executed 23 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Georg Conrad Kißling, farmer
- Lieutenant Colonel Bernhard Klamroth, executed 15 August 1944 by hanging, Plötzensee Prison
- Major Hans Georg Klamroth (1898–1944); executed 26 August 1944 by hanging, Plötzensee Prison
- Captain Friedrich Karl Klausing (1920–1944)
- Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin, Diplomat (1890–1945) Executed 16 April 1945
- Lieutenant Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin (1922–2013)
- Field Marshal Günther von Kluge (1882–1944) whilst not directly involved knew about the plot and so committed suicide when Hitler asked him for a meeting.
- Major Gerhard Knaack
- Dr. Hans Koch, lawyer (1893–1945); murdered by a Sonderkommando 24 April 1945.
- Heinrich Körner, Union Leader
- Lieutenant Commander Alfred Kranzfelder (1908–1944); executed by hanging 10 August 1944
- Richard Kuenzer, Councillor
- Major Joachim Kuhn, (1913–1994)
- Elise Auguste Kutznitzki, née von Liliencron
- Elizabeth Kuznitzky, (1878–1944), guillotined 30 November 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Lieutenant Colonel Fritz von der Lancken, Headmaster of a Boarding School
- Carl Langbehn, lawyer (1901–1944); executed by hanging, 12 October 1944
- Dr. Julius Leber, Social Democratic politician (1891–1945); executed 5 January 1945
- Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff-Steinort, landowner (1909–1944); executed 4 September 1944
- Syndic Dr. Paul Lejeune-Jung (1882–1944), executed 8 September 1944, Plötzensee prison
- Major Ludwig Freiherr von Leonrod (1906–1944) executed 26 August 1944
- Bernhard Letterhaus, leader of the Catholic worker community (1894–1944); executed 14 November 1944
- Franz Leuninger, former Secretary General of the Christian Metal Workers' Association
- Wilhelm Leuschner, Minister for Internal Affairs of Hesse (1890–1944); executed 29 September 1944, Plötzensee prison
- General of the Artillery Fritz Lindemann, Commander of 132. Infanterie-Division, went into hiding, wounded during arrest; died in prison 14 November 1944.
- Colonel (General Staff) Otfried von Linstow (1899–1944); executed 30 August 1944.
- Paul Löbe (1875–1967), arrested and sent to concentration camp, survived.
- Ewald Löser (1888–1970); tried 20 October 1944 but successfully feigned memory loss. Later imprisoned for Crimes Against Humanity in Krupp Trial.
- Ferdinand Freiherr von Lüninck, Governor of Westphalia (1888–1944); executed by hanging 13 November 1944
- Wilhelm Graf zu Lynar
- Hermann Maaß (1897–1944), Leading Social Democrat, executed 20 October 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Colonel Rudolf Graf von Marogna-Redwitz (1886–1944), executed 12 October 1944, Plötzensee prison
- Karl Marks, Merchant
- Michael Graf von Matuschka (1888–1944), District President; executed 14 September 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Colonel Joachim Meichßner, (1906–1944); executed 29 September 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Colonel Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim (1905–1944); executed by firing squad at Bendlerblock 20 July 1944 on the order of General Fromm
- Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Karl Michel
- Carlo Mierendorff, SPD (1897–1943)
- Joseph Müller, Catholic Priest, Dissident but not connected to July 1944 Plot. Executed 11 September 1944, Brandenburg-Gőrden prison
- Dr. Otto Müller, Prelate
- Herbert Mumm von Schwarzenstein, Legation Councillor
- Lieutenant Colonel Ernst Munziger
- Arthur Nebe, Head of the National Police, commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B (1944–1945); executed 21 March 1945, Plötzensee prison
- Wilhelm zur Nieden, Local Government Building Officer, shot by Gestapo 23 April 1945
- Major (General Staff) Hans-Ulrich von Oertzen (1915–1944); committed suicide 21 July 1944
- General Friedrich Olbricht (1888–1944) Executed on orders of Colonel General Fromm, 20 July 1944
- Major General Hans Oster (1888–1945); hanged at Flossenburg with Admiral Canaris, 9 April 1945
- Margarethe von Oven (1904–1991); after the failure of the plot, Margarethe was jailed for two weeks, but was then allowed to return to her secretarial job at the Bendlerblock.
- Rolf Friedemann Pauls
- Friedrich Justus Perels, Legal Advisor of the Confessing Church
- Erwin Planck, Former Undersecretary of State (son of renowned physicist Max Planck) (1893–1945), executed 23 January 1945.
- Kurt von Plettenberg, Plenipotentiary of the former Royal House of Prussia (1891–1945); committed suicide in Gestapo custody 10 March 1945.
- Dr. Johannes Popitz, Prussian Minister of Finance (1884–1945); executed 2 February 1945, Plőtzensee prison
- Cuno Raabe, Lawyer (1888–1971)
- Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (1891–1944); committed suicide with cyanide capsule on Hitler's orders on 14 October 1944
- General Friedrich von Rabenau (1884–1945), executed 15 April 1945, Flossenbürg concentration camp
- Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Karl Ernst Rathgens
- Professor Adolf Reichwein (1898–1944) Leading Social Democrat, executed 20 October 1944, Plőtzensee prison
- Colonel Alexis Freiherr von Roenne, executed 12 October 1944, Plőtzensee prison
- Karl Sack, Judge Advocate General of the Army (1896–1945); executed 9 April, Flossenbürg concentration camp
- Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Joachim Sadrozinski (1907–1944); executed by hanging 29 September 1944
- Anton Saefkow (1903–1944); executed 18 September 1944
- Major Hans-Viktor Graf von Salviati
- First Lieutenant Fabian von Schlabrendorff, after the war Member of the Federal Constitutional Court (1907–1980); was put on trial but the trial was aborted when an allied bomb killed the presiding judge. Sent to concentration camps but survived.
- Professor Rüdiger Schleicher (1895–1945); shot on 23 April 1945, Berlin
- Ernst Wilhelm Schneppenhorst, former Minister of War (1881–1945); executed 24 April 1945.
- Friedrich Scholz-Babisch, farmer, executed 13 October 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Colonel Hermann Schöne
- Lieutenant Colonel Werner Schrader (1885–1944); committed suicide 28 July 1944
- Friedrich Werner Graf von der Schulenburg, German Ambassador to Soviet Union (1875–1944). Executed 10 November 1944
- Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg, district president (1902–1944). Hanged 10 August 1944
- Colonel (General Staff) Georg Schultze-Büttger
- Ludwig Schwamb (1890–1945), Leading Social Democrat, executed 23 January 1945, Plötzensee Prison
- Ulrich Wilhelm Graf Schwerin von Schwanenfeld, landowner (1902–1945), executed by hanging 8 September 1944
- Hans-Ludwig Sierks, Local Government Building Officer
- Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Günther Smend (1912–1944); executed 8 September 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- General Hans Speidel, Rommel's Chief of Staff, later Commander of NATO Ground Forces (1897–1984); found by military court of honour not guilty but not free of suspicion; arrested and imprisoned by Gestapo but evaded discovery of his direct involvement; survived.
- Franz Sperr, legate, executed 23 January 1945, Plötzensee Prison
- Colonel Wilhelm Staehle
- Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (1905–1944), lawyer and brother of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, executed by hanging 10 August 1944
- Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (1907–1944), Colonel (General Staff) plot leader and bomber; executed by firing squad at Bendlerblock 20 July 1944 on the order of General Fromm.
- Colonel (General Staff) Hans-Joachim Freiherr von Steinaecker
- Major General Helmuth Stieff (1901–1944); executed 8 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Theodor Strünck, Lawyer (1895–1945), executed by hanging on 9 April 1945.
- Colonel General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel (1886–1944), executed 30 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Major Carl Szokoll (1915–2004), Austrian officer (captain); 20 July 1944 rounded up leading Nazis in Vienna, evaded prosecution by claiming superior orders without the knowledge of the plot; in 1945 sabotaged German resistance in Vienna to avoid damage to the city; again evaded arrest and survived.
- Lieutenant Colonel Gustav Tellgmann
- Lieutenant General Fritz Thiele (1894–1944); executed 4 September 1944, Plötzensee prison
- Major Busso Thoma (1899–1945); executed by hanging 23 January 1945, Plötzensee prison
- General Georg Thomas (1890–1946); involved in earlier (1938–1939) plots but not 1944 plot. Arrested, sent to concentration camps but survived. Died in Allied custody in 1946.
- General Karl Freiherr von Thüngen (1893–1944); executed by firing squad 24 October 1944
- Lieutenant Colonel Gerd von Tresckow
- Major General Henning von Tresckow (1901–1944), committed suicide 21 July 1944
- Adam von Trott zu Solz (1909–1944); Legation Councillor, executed 26 August 1944, Plötzensee prison
- Colonel (retired) Nikolaus Graf von Üxküll-Gyllenband (1877–1944), uncle of Claus von Stauffenberg; executed by hanging 14 September 1944, Plötzensee prison
- Fritz Voigt, Police President of Breslau, executed 1 March 1945, Plötzensee prison
- Lieutenant Colonel Hans-Alexander von Voss; committed suicide 8 November 1944
- General Quartermaster of the Army Eduard Wagner, supplied a plane for von Stauffenberg; committed suicide 23 July 1944
- Colonel Siegfried Wagner (1894–1944), committed suicide 26 August 1944
- Chaplain Hermann Josef Wehrle (1899–1944); executed 14 September 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Carl Wentzel, (1875–1944); executed 20 December 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Joachim von Willisen (1900–1983); Public official, arrested but lacking proof of involvement, released; survived
- Josef Wirmer (1899–1944); Lawyer, executed 8 September 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Oswald Wiersich, Labour Union Leader, executed 1 March 1945, Plötzensee Prison
- Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben (1881–1944); the highest ranking general actively involved; executed 8 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- Peter Yorck von Wartenburg (1904–1944); Ministry Official, executed 8 August 1944, Plötzensee Prison
- General Gustav Heistermann von Ziehlberg (1899–1945) Commander of 28. Jäger-Division; executed by firing squad 2 February 1945.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 20 July conspirators.|
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