Schenck von Stauffenberg, Claus, Graf von


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German army officer whose plot to assassinate Hitler failed and led to his own execution.

Born in Jettingen, of Swabian aristocratic descent, Stauffenberg attended the infantry school at Dresden and the cavalry school at Hanover. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1930, he entered the General Staff College in 1936, becoming a captain in 1938. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and appointed senior staff officer of a panzer division in North Africa in the early stages of World War II. He was seriously wounded in 1943, after which he was posted back to the General Staff Office in Berlin and became chief of staff to General Olbricht with the Home Army. As chief of staff he had access to a vast amount of political and military information and became associated with a circle of conspirators opposed to Hitler, who managed to enlist the support of Rommel in their plans to overthrow the Führer. In 1944, following two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler, he left a bomb in a briefcase in Hitler's headquarters at Rastenberg. The bomb failed to kill Hitler, and Stauffenberg – with several of his fellow conspirators – was executed on the same day.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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