In this intriguing book Brian Walters has brought together all of the practical complexities and moral ambiguities faced by those associated with the various unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler, culminating in the final attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg on 20 July 1944.
The book charts with admirable precision the ruthlessness, violence and dishonesty used by Hitler to become the supreme power in Germany and the aristocratic sense of noblesse oblige and mounting repugnancy of Hitler to Hitler’s regime following his exposure to Nazi atrocities in Russia during 1942, leading to his belief that it was necessary for him to engage in treason and the murder of Hitler in order to restore his country’s honour.
Following the failure of the attempted assassination the Nazi regime, in its ferocious response, murdered the principals on the same day and subjected the others in the resistance to show trials preceding, almost inevitably, their execution. In dealing with these show trials Mr Walters demonstrates clearly the bias of the presiding judge, the lack of procedural fairness accorded the defendants and the composure and bravery of so many of the defendants facing their immediate execution.
A fascinating aspect of this book is the inclusion of black and white film relating to the history covered so that one is able to read of the capture of Paris and then view film of Hitler, Albert Speer and others in a Nazi staff car touring the empty streets of Paris at 5 am. The superimposition on the film of the song La Vie en Rose provides an ironic counterpoint. Films of the trials graphically confirm the author’s criticisms of the tribunal and its procedures.
Anybody interested in the history of the Second World War will enjoy this well-researched and highly entertaining book.