Friday, July 21, 2006


Today I watched part 2 of Killing Hitler - a documentary on the British Special Operations plan Operation Foxley to kill Hitler.

I found an article at wikipedia and mum taught me note-taking strategies: identifying key and sub-points:
  • an assassination attempt was never made,
  • historians believe the most likely date for an attempt would have been July 13 or 14, 1944 when Hitler was visiting the Berghof.
  • The plan was to assassinate Hitler on his morning routine as he walked unprotected to the tea house in the Berghof compound.
    • The scheme called for the British to parachute a two-man team into the area surrounding the compound.
    • The two soldiers were a German-speaking Pole and a sniper.
    • The men would infiltrate the compound and get in place to shoot Hitler.
  • Security around Hitler was minimal because he felt nothing could touch him.
  • As a result, several attempts had been made to kill him,
    • including one that took place during the planning of this operation, by a German officer named Claus von Stauffenberg.
    • However, none of these were successful.
    • Stauffenberg's attempt only injured Hitler.
    • It did, however, have the effect that public appearances of Hitler were greatly reduced, to one or two per year, thus limiting the opportunities for another attempt.
  • One of the first plans was to bomb the train Hitler travelled around in.
    • SOE had ample experience with derailing trains (it was actually what they did most),
    • but the plan was dropped because Hitler's schedule was too irregular, with stations being informed of his arrival only minutes beforehand.
  • The following plan was to poison his tea,
    • to which he was addicted,
    • but this was considered too complicated because of the necessity for an inside man.
  • Next a sniper was considered.
    • A talk with a German POW who had been part of Hitler's personal guard revealed that at the Berghof, Hitler always took a morning walk,
      • around the same time (after 10)
      • and for the same duration (about 20 minutes).
      • In addition, he wanted to be alone during this walk,
      • leaving him unprotected near some woods,
      • where he was out of sight of sentry posts.
      • To top it off, every time Hitler was at the Berghof, a Nazi flag was put up, which was visible from the nearby town.
    • A sniper was found and briefed and the plan was submitted.
    • An inside man was even found,
      • Heidentaler,
      • the uncle of a captured soldier, Dieser, who
      • was vehemently anti-Nazi,
      • lived in Salzburg, 20 km from the Berghof and
      • regularly visited a shooting range 16 km from the Berghof with likeminded shopkeepers.
    • There had been some resistance against the plan,
      • especially from a superior called Thornley,
    • but he was replaced by a supporter of the plan,
      • Templar, and
    • Churchill was also in favour of it.
    • The sniper and a Polish companion who spoke German were to be dropped by plane and sheltered with Heidentaler,
    • after which they could make the approach disguised as German mountain troops.
  • The plan was submitted in November 1944,
    • but was never put into practice
      • because there was some controversy over whether it was such a good idea.
        • Hitler was such a bad strategist that it was believed whoever might follow him up might lead a better war-effort.
        • Also, Germany was almost defeated and if Hitler were assassinated, he would have become a martyr to some, while also leading to speculation that maybe Germany would have won if Hitler had lived. Since the idea was not only to defeat Germany but Nazism in general, that would have been an unfortunate development.
      • However, there were strong advocates on both sides and the plan was not put into practice because no actual decision was reached.
    • By late November Hitler left the Berghof, never to return. He killed himself when the war came to a close on 30 April 1945.
I think they should have gone ahead with Foxley because it would have saved about 10 million lives (based on the historian's calculations in the documentary: Jews and others in concentration camps; Soviet and German soldiers in the Battle of Berlin; bombed cities).

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