Stauffenberg a coward?


Enjoying her piece of cake my auntie (born 1923 in Breslau, Silesia, now Poland) recently uttered: "Stauffenberg was a coward! If he was to die anyway, so why didn't he plan a suicide-assassin? No, he wanted to kill Hitler, but save his own life!"
I was quite puzzled to see my auntie in one line with contemporary terrorism What do you think about her interpretation?

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Stauffenberg was needed in Berlin to launch the second phase of the Valklyrie plan.
Every one agreed he should not have gone and plant the bomb. But he was also the only conspirator with direct access to Hitler.
It is a sad story, even the more so when you know his bomb could have killed Hitler had it not been moved by an officer.
By the way: One of the numerous attempts on Hitler's life by Tresckow and Stauffenberg was a suicide bomber (early 1944 I believe). Every thing was ready but when Hitler came, he did not stay and just went very quickly through the crowd. The suicide bomber had to stop his bomb just in time. This man survived the war but felt for the rest of his life that he was responsible for not killing Hitler.

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Thanks for your reply.



"Der größte Feind von Harry Potter bin ich selbst"(Bastian Pastewka)

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That is not unique criticism of von Stauffenberg. For years, many historians felt that he should have done a 'Nathan Hale' for Germany and blown up Hitler in person as a suicide bomber. Some felt that he was already a physical wreck after losing his eye, one hand and some fingers on the other hand, so why not go all out and die a hero and not live life as a cripple. Some also felt that he was an egotist (he reportedly loved the sound of his own voice, apparently) and a show-off. He was a very brave man, though.

The Hitler conspirators were all very brave, but were unusually unlucky guys; almost comically so. Their attempts to kill Hitler had a sort of 'Keystone Kops' comedic quality: They were always arranging ambushes that didn't go as planned, setting bombs that failed to work, and one guy even had a unique Mauser designed pistol strapped to his forearm inside his jacket, that would fire when he shook Hitlers hand. It malfunctioned, of course.

Yet for all of that, they will go down in history as 'Good Germans' (yes, there were plenty of them) that were not mad Nazis, and really tried to get rid of Hitler.

I hope that Cruises film does these brave men justice.



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Hätten sie mal professionelle Ausbildungscamps gehabt!
Thanks for your reply!

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May I venture another reason that may be in addition to the others stated here? Stauffenberg was a Catholic from a family of Catholics. Catholics consider suicide to be an injustice to God. Here is a summary of the Catholic attitude toward suicide from Wikipedia:

In Catholicism, death by freely chosen act of suicide is considered a grave and mortal sin. The chief Christian argument is that one's life is the property of God, and to destroy that life is to wrongly assert dominion over what is God's. In point 2281 of the Catechism it is stated:

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

So maybe his religion had some influence on his plan?

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Very convincing. Thank you very much!

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[deleted]


True point as well! Gosh, you are an industrious poster. Tell me, if you like, how the new movie with Tom Cruise comes over. We in Europe will have to wait a while until we get to see it.

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The late Raymond Cartier, journalist for Paris-Match magazine,
called Stauffenberg "...one of the purest and most intrepid hearts that had ever beaten..."
[ forgive the literal translation ! ]
in his 1965 < The Second World War >[1]

Yet no end of criticism was and is still leveled at Stauffenberg for failing
to kill the Shirt of Nessus that did burn Germany to the bone till the bitter end.
Many others, not necessarily Nazis, even today, qualified his actions
as treason.[2 See note on H.B. Gisevius ]
Had he succeeded, no doubt hailed a hero he would be.
But right away, peace with honor for Germans and the end of suffering for
everybody, especially citizens of the Nazi Gulag ?
The war had generated such hatred for Germany that any concession
from the Good Germans [ i say this with all due respect ] in good faith
would be cynically exploited by vengeful enemies, hell-bent on punishing
the German people for failing to stop the monster it DIDN'T choose for leader [3].
The offensive to take Berlin would have gotten even more implacable.

And Stauffenberg and his men would be cursed by all Germans for the
extended plight, and sneered at by the Allies for being so naive.

Burgermeister Carl Goerdeler picked to lead the new government in case
of success, from his death cell bitterly abused the executed colonel
as a "red aristocrat", before being hung himself on a butcher's hook.
No genius then to imagine the other [ of the red plague ]
villain' s scornful glee !

A recent program on the Discovery Channel even went as far
as concluding that Stauffenberg' s bomb had caused the doubling
in only 10 months of the WWII casualties !

The truth is that nobody could have stopped Hitler before the war,
for there was a conspiracy to put totalitarian dictators in power
by the behind-the-scenes powers that be.

In 1936, a putsch was prepared by the German High Command to unseat
Der Fuehrer. Everything was ready, a secret letter was even sent to
the British government through Sir Robert Vansittart asking for support.
But without naming the authors, the latter inexplicably leaked it
to the press " by mistake ", imperiling countless brave men !
[ Look it up in Pierre & Renee Gosset' s " La Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale ",
with an interesting relation of a stevedores' brawl between Von Ribbentrop
and Goebbels, on the eve of Barbarossa ! ]

Then Hitler sent the Wehrmacht to its bloodless victorious Die Watch Am Rhein march while
the French army was kept lashed by its own peacenik government.
And then the Nazi Olympiads came the same year...
And suddenly Adolf Hitler was a hero, even to his foreign enemies, and a role
model to his top rival, the other mustachioed dictator.


" Who is like the beast ? Who is able to make war against him ? "


Now we turn to Hitler' s Other Protector whom he called " his Providence ".

It' s not much mentioned today, but the Fuehrer in the beginning of
his wooing of the Germans didn't speak against the Catholic Church, and even
advocated a kind of " positive Christianity " with an underlying virulent antisemitism.
He was aided and abetted by the " honorable " Franz Von Papen, German ambassador to the Vatican.

Cardinal Count Von Galen the Prelate of Germany even gave him support in the beginning before courageously condemning the Nazis in his public sermons.
Stauffenberg being a devout sincere Christian never relented in his
opposition to the Nazis, and was not very discreet about it.
But as a soldier he had to serve Germany first.
During his stay on the Eastern Front as an intelligence officer, with the
notorious Reinhard Gehlen he helped put together 2 divisions of anti-Red
former Russian POWs under the command of the captured and turned
Red Army general Vlasov formerly savior of Moscow in 1941,
with the secret plan of using them against Hitler once the other mustachioed dictator booted.
Mustache 1, perhaps sensing it, never allowed the use of the Vlasov army even when the situation got desperate in 1945.
[ In fact Vlasov did not go into action until May, after Adolf decided to
call it quits, against the Nazis and liberating Prague on the 9th ! ]

The colonel was then sent to Tunisia in the last days of the Afrika Korps
where he distinguished himself again in one of the last major battles by
covering the German retreat with well-directed Nebelwerfer salvoes at the
pursuing British tanks. He then got grievously wounded soon after and
was flown back to the Fatherland to act the part History has prepared
for him.[ see Paul Carell' s 1960" Afrika Korps ". i have to say that
although i loathe heartily Obersturmbannfuehrer Paul "Karell", i side with
him on the cause for Barbarossa. Where i differ is the view that was merely
a war between 2 chief thugs no matter who was faster on the draw.
[ See 'Paul Carell' on Wikipedia. ]

In the meantime [ May 1943 ] at Army Group Center GHQ in Russia,where
Hitler was on an inspection tour, a bomb plot that could have changed the
course of History was executed by Chief of Staff General Treschkow and
his aide Major Schlabrendorff. A captured British-made bomb disguised
as two bottles of schnapps was given to Hitler' s aide colonel Brandt,
for taking to Berlin by way of Hitler' s plane.
Although the mechanism worked perfectly, the bomb failed to explode.

British historian Alan Clark [4], in his 1965" Barbarossa ",
gave a detailed account of this failed event with the ominous conclusion

" The Devil' s hand had protected Hitler "

It was no metaphor as the author went on :

" To persons not of the Roman Catholic Faith ,especially
to those such as scientists, technicians (and even military historians),who are concerned with fact and reality, the purported existence of cosmic forces can seem an irritating abstraction. Yet there are occasions when the eternal struggle between good and evil seems more than a convenient adjunct to a code of behaviour evolved by the priesthood seem for disciplining the lower classes and assumes a disquieting magnitude, which towers over the puny "self-determination" of mortal man."




Trevor Ravenscroft, another British historian but of the Mystical trend,
in his 1973 " The Spear Of Destiny " asked the question : " Did Hitler
Make A Pact With The Devil ? "

The book although of non-mainstream facts offers very interesting
information on the occult upbringing of Hitler by Imperial German Army
NCO Dietrich Eckhart, and former General Pr. Karl Haushofer, and on the latter's son Albrecht, later hung for his part in the anti-Hitler plot.
Albrecht Haushofer while on death row wrote on his cell walls verses
reminding of W.B. Yeats' " The Second Coming ". He stated his belief that
Germany must expiate to the last the crimes committed by the Nazis because
in her unbearable pride she had put on the mantle of power in the shape
of Der Fuehrer whom Albretcht called " The Beast my father' s hand had
unleashed " [5]. Who then revealed himself as The Shirt Of Nessus whose
removal would skin Germany to the bones.
And therefore She [ Germany ] could not get Herself rid of Hitler until his time had expired, despite so many noble sacrifices by men like Stauffenberg.

Like in a real life " The Omen ", colonel Brandt a mere Wehrmacht officer
better at boozing and bootlicking than at war, but a Nazi to the core,
seemed to have been designated to protect the Moloch Hitler with his own life.

It was he who moved Stauffenberg' s bomb case out of Hitler' s way,
and got both legs blown off.
He didn' t survive.
The Devil truly takes care of his own for his own ends.

Another attempt, a suicidal one this time was made on the occasion
of Hitler' s inspecting new military equipment for the infantry,
with Field-Marshall Ewald Von Kleist' s own son wearing the bomb.
But Hitler perhaps occultly warned, canceled the inspection unexpectedly.
The date is uncertain but could be in 1943.
[ see Georges Blond' s 1952" The Death of Hitler' s Germany " ]

The men who tried to kill Hitler, despite their shortcomings were real
German patriots with the exception of some like Arthur Nebe
[ Einsatzkommando leader and killer emeritus of civilians behind the
Eastern Front ], and the opportunist Hans Bernd Gisevius of the Gestapo [2].

To consider them " comical Keystone Cops " is unfortunately flippant and unjust.
Especially when you consider the heroic young Sophie and Hans Scholl
who died under the executioner' s axe for daring to denounce the Nazi crimes,
or the officers slaughtered wholesale after July 20th.


[1] The book is available in German

[2]This sorry character had said that going into the German Resistance
is like putting on The Shirt of Nessus, without realizing that
Der Fuehrer himself was Germany' s own Shirt of Nessus.
[ see his book " To the Bitter End " ]

[3]To say that Hitler was elected to the post of Chancellor is not
exact. The German people were warily afraid of Hitler and his
Nazis so they elected Marshal Hindenburg instead.
It was Franz Von Papen with the moghuls of German industry
[I.G. Farben notably, later of Zyklon B fame ]who persuaded the
old man to relinquish power in favor of Hitler.
It was precisely to deny Hitler the supreme power that Hindenburg
became a candidate in the 1932 election.
But then old and sick under the conspirators' pressure,gave he in.
Without doubt he remembered general Hans Von Seeckt' s words about
Hitler " I see in this man' s eyes the ruin of Germany ", but was
too weak to do anything. That was perhaps why Hitler called him
" The Wooden Giant ".[ Pierre & Renee Gosset' s " Hitler ", the
authors offer details not found even in William Shirer' s
superlative " The Third Reich " ]

Speaking of the hatred for Germany, David Irving,
the British historian [often accused of " RightWingExtremist "
and " Holocaust denial " opinions] in his 1964" The Destruction
of Dresden " wrote however in conclusion :
" On February 19th 1946,all

the bells in East Germany tolled...to mark the first anniversary of
the greatest massacre in History. A massacre perpetrated to bring to
its knees a people who corrupted by Nazism, had committed against
humanity the greatest of crimes."

[ Yes, but why only the Black Plague and not the One of the other color
too ? ]

[4]Mr. Clark was a minister in the British government of
Prime Minister Thatcher.

[5] " The Morning of The Magicians " [1960] by Louis Pauwels and
Jacques Bergier made mention of this fact.

_i have not yet seen Mr. Cruise' s movie, but i remember the excellent
treatment of this episode in the Soviet-made " Liberation " part 3.
Incidentally it was East German-directed with DDR actor Alfred Struwe as
Stauffenberg.

_General Helmuth Stieff, the keeper of the conspirators' bombs, was
originally chosen to carry the bomb to blow up Hitler. But one failed
attempt was enough to make him lose heart.
General Stieff was no coward,
but he confessed that Hitler' s eerie eyes boring into his own hypnotized
him out of any strength.
The fearless colonel hardly recovered from his
wounds volunteered to takeover, and was reported to have joked that since
he had only one eye left, der Fuehrer could only half-hypnotize him !
The unfortunate Stieff, like too many others, was kangaroo-courted,
abused no end by the sinister " judge " Roland Freisler himself a former
Red militant from the 30' s.
Freisler was killed by an Allied bomb during
a court session.

_An extraordinary picture of a bareheaded Stauffenberg clutching his bomb case
and standing before Hitler at Rastenburg on July 15th 1944 was taken by the
ubiquitous Heinrich Hoffman, Hitler' s official photographer.




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Wow, what an interesting post. Thank you very much. Good that I have leisure to slowly reread it during the feast-days. You seem to be French. My favourite book I read this year was Malevil by Robert Merle. Even the german translation is so philantropic that I was shaken with laughter about his way to describe his characters twice a page. Merry Christmas!

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Your post is impressing and gets even more impressive with each update.
May I ask, which is your connection with the assassin-attempts on Hitler?
Are you a contemporary man of the WWII? I am born 1966, my father was a boy soldier and my mother's mother fled with 5 little daughters from pomerania in the icecold winter 1945. At stations she left the train to beg for milk and once the train with her children was gone (just moved to another rail). My mother still can't bear any reports about the flight and remembers with horror how her grandfather shot the completely exhausted horses in the high snow of that winter. We Germans get very intense lessons about Nazi era in school. My favourite french author Robert Merle wrote a very famous novel from a killers perspective about Lagerkommandant Höß: Der Tod ist mein Beruf."
I have to spend quite some time in hospitals. Mostly I am in a room with old Ladies. Then I neither need books nor TV. They often can't memorize my name, but when they talk about the war (and each one does) their stories are thrilling and lively as if all happened just yesterday.

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For the longest time, these men were viewed as traitors and cowards - remembering that Germany had the whole 'stabbed in the back' history of WW1 behind it so any treachery against the Fuhrer was a treachery against Germany.

As for the 'suicide bomb' attempt there were actually several - some three I think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axel_Freiherr_von_dem_Bussche-Streithorst

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewald_Heinrich_von_Kleist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuth_Stieff

After Stieff refused to go through with it (wasting yet another hard to get opportunity) Stauffenberg decided if you want something done right, do it yourself. That being said, he needed to get back to Berlin because no one really had as much grasp of the plan or drive to see it through than he had.

"It is not enough to like a film. You must like it for the right reasons."
- Pierre Rissient

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Thank you for your reply. I already had the suspicion that the quoted aunt of mine is quite superficial although contrasting to me has lived during Nazi-era and has suffered her share with flight from Silesia etc. Her view may reflect a popular simple-minded interpretation of the simple people.

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Quite alright :-)

You may want to compare it with this account by Grossdeutchland veteran Rudi Salvermoser:

http://www.feldgrau.com/interview6.html

Following his failed attempt to assassinate "our" Führer, Stauffenberg was considered a no-good traitor. We viewed him as not only a coward (as he departed the scene right away and gave thus his co-conspirators away), but also one who tried to give away our government and nation. We were under the impression that his immediate flight for Berlin was based on greed - he wanted a piece of the pie before the pie was consumed! To us, it was rather stupid of Stauffenberg to leave the Führer Hauptquartier (Headquarters) right after the explosion occurred. Had he really been sincere about his motives, then why didn't he stay? Had he risked the danger of remaining behind, he could have become either a live hero in the new Germany or a true martyr for the resistance movement. In the end, however, he was labeled as a dead, evil failure.


So it's not at all the minority opinion! People from his generation and those immediately after really thought he was a coward and a traitor, or as Eddie Izzard's Fellgiebel in the more recent (and in my humble opinion superior) Valkyrie says, a rat deserting a sinking ship.

Salutes!
Tom

"It is not enough to like a film. You must like it for the right reasons."
- Pierre Rissient

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Tom:

I hate to say it but after watching the History Channel documentaries on the plotters, I kind of get that feeling too! All those times the 'fuses failed' or the 'bombs failed' or the 'plane didn't go high enough' or 'The Fuhrer was passing thru too fast to blow up or to shoot' or whatever other reason, in spite of all the 'high falutin' talk about being determined to remove Hitler I finally decided that NONE of the plotters was interested in being a 'martyr'---otherwise ONE of them would have decided to either become a suicide bomber or just shoot him point blank & face the music...

NM

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I think it's really something that one cannot truly decide for himself until one is right there. Von dem Bussche and Von Kleist, we probably can't really judge as they never actually got the chance. In Stieff's case though... disappointing. He had the chance but didn't go through with it, most likely because of the reason you mentioned - when he got to the point he wasn't interested in being a martyr. Gersdorff... I think there WAS a time delay on the bomb so there wasn't really anything he could do when Hitler walked through too quickly - he DID arm the bombs and had to disarm them when Hitler left the museum.

I think though that the army men, while they had more access to explosives and the person of the Fuhrer, were held back by a lot of cultural baggage. The ones better equipped would have been people like Maurice Bavaud and Georg Elser, civilians who could hate Hitler without compunction.

"It is not enough to like a film. You must like it for the right reasons."
- Pierre Rissient

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"I think though that the army men, while they had more access to explosives and the person of the Fuhrer, were held back by a lot of cultural baggage. The ones better equipped would have been people like Maurice Bavaud and Georg Elser, civilians who could hate Hitler without compunction. "

And of course, people like Bavaud & Elser would probably not be able to go anywhere NEAR weapons OR Hitler...

NM

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Why should they become "martyrs"? I cannot understand how their courage can be called inot question. Stauffenberg was a serving officer who had already been seriously wounded for his country. He knew that in working against Hitler and plotting to kill him, his chances of success were slim and his chance of being killed after horrible torture was very high. Many of hte officers invovled in the Plot killed themselves before tehy were taken, because they feared that they might talk under torture and betray names of comrades. Tehy were brave men..
Besides it was not enough to Kill Hitler, it was alos necessary to take over the organs of government and to fight it out with the SS and other Nazi organisations.

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Maybe he and other posters were comparing the conspirators to current Muslim terrorists who willingly die for their beliefs. And as such, compare everyone to them as they have set the bar.



Global Warming, it&#x27;s a personal decision innit? - Nigel Tufnel

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Tom:

I hate to say it but after watching the History Channel documentaries on the plotters, I kind of get that feeling too! All those times the 'fuses failed' or the 'bombs failed' or the 'plane didn't go high enough' or 'The Fuhrer was passing thru too fast to blow up or to shoot' or whatever other reason, in spite of all the 'high falutin' talk about being determined to remove Hitler I finally decided that NONE of the plotters was interested in being a 'martyr'---otherwise ONE of them would have decided to either become a suicide bomber or just shoot him point blank & face the music...

NM


The problem with what you are saying is three things.

1. It is easy to sit and type that 70 years later but none of us are in that position. It took a very brave man to even be in Hitler's presence with a bomb. If found the death they suffered would be a lot slower than blowing themselves up.

2. Actually the biggest reason they dithered is the same reason someone like a footballer fails to make the pass he should. So determined to get it right that they want that extra second, that extra second to think, that extra second to make sure they're in the right place. Hence if Hitler (as happened a lot) had a quick in and out visit they missed their chance.

3. The fuses were not reliable enough to be able to set them ages beforehand and then just stand there to make sure they were next to him. The point was to kill Hitler not themselves, there was no point taking the chance and killing themselves without ensuring Hitler died.

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Also true, but I can't shake the feeling their hearts were not really in it.



Why can't you wretched prey creatures understand that the Universe doesn't owe you anything!?

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yes, but all of these religious edicts about sinful suicide, we hear that nonsense from muslims as well, when they try to TIC double-talk claim that suicide is "forbidden in Islam."


Self-sacrifice for an end,especially in battle/condflict obviously which is the most common and likely example,

is NOT the same as self-destruction where self-destruction is the whole and sole goal.

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i was reading through the comments and found everyone has come up with so many good points. One thing is may be your aunt din say it from heart. We often say this sort of things from anger. anyway....But i think killing Hitler was not the only task to do atleast those guyz known as traitor wanted to change the motion of the war,as we can Olbricht said not to set the bomb if Hammler is there. So there were more hard things to do to save German people and soldiers even if Hitler was killed. so commiting suicide would never been a decision to consider at least for Stuffenberg.

To be honest previously i had very bad idea about german people(due to Hitler) due to WW2...but the more i watch the movie....and read the history my view is changing a lot....I almost finished all great ww2 movies...I think people are always for peace....love peace....

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Thank you for your reply. In fact my aunt is not the brightest one, but she suffered WW2, so I listen to her with respect. It is unbelievable how the older people recall the horrors of this war as if it was yesterday. When the city Dresden was attacked and the firestorm in the streets didn't leave anything from the victims, because they were burnt entirely, a colleague of my sisters, who had been a young girl then and witnessed it got white hair over night.

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suicide was never an option for Stauffenberg as mentioned he was a catholic.
if I were him I would have gone for broke and strapped a bomb to myself or
somehow smuggled a gun in and just fired at him.

or another way to kill him would have been to find a Luftwaffe pilot who would
be flying an accompanying aircraft as escort that would fly to protect Hitler's plane and then shoot down the accompanying plane (as no man not even Hitler can survive a plane crash) then later crash the plane and flee

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anybody suggesting that any of the conspirators was a coward is poor at recognizing the situation....

take about 10 minutes and think about all the inherent dangers in simply speaking about such a thing, much less taking any action whatsoever....

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Is your auntie German?



Global Warming, it&#x27;s a personal decision innit? - Nigel Tufnel

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yes, from the area, which was taken by the Russians and made her Family lose everything they had and made them to refugees.

Greetings, Ruth

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Maybe that's the reason your Auntie sees him as a coward. There was a documentary on yt that showed most Germans who were part of the NAZI regime hated the conspirators and still considered Hitler a hero. Germany may have lost the war and changed regimes but the people were the same.

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I know one of Stauffenberg's nephews, grew up in America, who says whenever he visits Germany he's treated like a king. Everybody he meets in Germany thinks of Colonel Stauffenberg as a great hero.

"I don't deduce, I observe."

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As it should be.
Stauffenberg was not only a German Hero,
but one who stands for Men Of Goodwill anywhere.

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Agreed

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