Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg commonly referred to as Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Claus von Stauffenberg or Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and Catholic aristocrat who was one of the leading members of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power. Along with Henning von Tresckow and Hans Oster, he was one of the central figures of the German Resistance movement within the Wehrmacht. For his involvement in the movement he was shot shortly after the failed attempt known as Operation Valkyrie.
Stauffenberg was born in 1907. In his youth, he and his brothers were members of the Neupfadfinder, a German Scout association.
Following the outbreak of war in 1939, Stauffenberg and his regiment took part in the attack on Poland. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, was launched in 1941. The mass executions of Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and others, as well as what he believed was an already apparent deficiency in military leadership finally convinced Stauffenberg in 1942 to join with resistance groups within the Wehrmacht, the only force that had a chance to overcome Hitler's Gestapo, SD, and SS.
After his arrest in July 1944, Stauffenberg’s older brother Berthold told the Gestapo that: “He and his brother had basically approved of the racial principle of National Socialism, but considered it to be exaggerated and excessive”.
In November 1942, the Allies landed in French North Africa, and the 10th Panzer Division occupied Vichy France (Case Anton) before being transferred to the Tunisian Campaign, as part of the Afrika Korps.
While he was driving from unit to unit, directing them, his vehicle was strafed on 7 April 1943 by British fighter-bombers and he was severely wounded. He spent three months in a hospital in Munich, where he was treated by Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Stauffenberg lost his left eye, his right hand, and two fingers on his left hand. He jokingly remarked to friends never to have really known what to do with so many fingers when he still had all of them. For his injuries, Stauffenberg was awarded the Wound Badge in Gold on 14 April and for his courage the German Cross in Gold on 8 May.
Although Stauffenberg agreed with some of the Nazi Party's nationalistic aspects, he found many aspects of its ideology repugnant and never became a member of the party.
20 July plot
From the beginning of September 1943 until 20 July 1944, von Stauffenberg was the driving force behind the plot to assassinate Hitler and take control of Germany. His resolve, organizational abilities, and radical approach put an end to inactivity caused by doubts and long discussions on whether military virtues had been made obsolete by Hitler's behavior. With the help of his friend Henning von Tresckow, he united the conspirators and drove them into action.
After several unsuccessful tries by Stauffenberg to meet Hitler, Göring and Himmler when they were together, he went ahead with the attempt at Wolfsschanze on 20 July 1944. Stauffenberg entered the briefing room carrying a briefcase containing two small bombs. The location had unexpectedly been changed from the subterranean Führerbunker to Albert Speer's wooden barrack/hut. He left the room to arm the first bomb with specially-adapted pliers, a task made difficult because he had lost his right hand and had only three fingers on his left. A guard knocked and opened the door, urging him to hurry as the meeting was about to begin. As a result, Stauffenberg was able to arm only one of the bombs. He left the second bomb with his aide-de-camp, Werner von Haeften, and returned to the briefing room, where he placed the briefcase under the conference table, as close as he could to Hitler. Some minutes later, he excused himself and left the room. After his exit, the briefcase was moved by Colonel Heinz Brandt.
When the explosion tore through the hut, Stauffenberg was convinced that no one in the room could have survived. Although four people were killed and almost all survivors were injured, Hitler himself was shielded from the blast by the heavy, solid-oak conference table and was only slightly wounded.
When Joseph Goebbels announced by radio that Hitler had survived and later, after Hitler himself personally spoke on the state radio, the conspirators realized that the coup had failed. They were tracked to their Bendlerstrasse offices and overpowered after a brief shoot-out, during which Stauffenberg was wounded in the shoulder.
Stauffenberg, along with many of caught conspirators were executed the next day.
In Downfall Parodies
Stauffenberg appears in KakashiBallZ's parody Fegelein Teams Up With Claus von Stauffenberg, where a young Fegelein teams up with him for his first antic on Hitler. Stauffenberg was a protegé of Himmler, and his natural talent for committing antics were catching the attention of many in the anticology community. Indeed, many in the anticology community believed Stauffenberg to be 'The Chosen One' of antics. However critics contend that Stauffenberg's antics were too much on a grand scale and bordered on recklessness. His antics often involved the death of the antic victim, something frowned upon by a plurality in the anticology community. Fegelein reluctantly teams up with the upper-classman Stauffenberg to commit what is known in history books as the July 20th bomb plot. The antic is succesful, but Hitler and most of his staff survive. Whereas Fegelein escapes Hitler's grasp, Stauffenberg was not so lucky and was summarily executed for treason. Stauffenberg is one of the few anticologists who were "killed in action."
The scene used was from the 2008 film Valkyrie. Stauffenberg was played by Tom Cruise.
Stauffenberg would make two reappearances: The first time in Hitler and Gunsche gets shot by Claus von Stauffenberg by FegelStationChannel, utilizing footage from the 2004 film Collateral, also starring Tom Cruise. The second time is in the sixth episode of the War of The Hitlers series, where his War and Remembrance version attempts to kill, unsurprisingly, War and Remembrance Hitler and failing to do so.
- In the real life 20 July plot, Fegelein was present in the room with Hitler when the bomb went off. He received only minor injuries.