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Paperback Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member Book

ISBN: 0307454975

ISBN13: 9780307454973

Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member

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Book Overview

When the Second World War broke out, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, age twenty-five, fought for his country enthusiastically as a cavalry officer. His rearing on the family estate in the Rhineland... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent Memoir

Valkyrie is and excellent memoir of a lower level figure in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. It is concise, easy to read and gives the reader a real insight into the mindset of the conspirators. The writer entwines the retelling of his military duties and career with the internal conflict he deals with as he is confronted with the truth about what Germany was doing behind the front lines. It is not a complete history of the plot; rather, it is the story from the perspective of Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager.

A German mindset

This is an autobiography of an upstanding German officer who risked his life procuring explosives in a plot to assasinate Hitler. Half of the book is not about Operation Valkyrie at all; the title was changed to sell in America. The author condemns the Nazis but praises Wehrmacht. He and his comrades were unaware of mass executions, were shocked by the mere thought of murdering Jews, and almost lost it on occasion when learned of an SS execution of five Gypsies. It is remarkable how many of them answered the call of duty but failed to notice the 800-pound Nazi gorilla in the room (or so they said afterwards). Human beings can be incredibly selective in their perception of reality. I read Boeselager with admiration and skepticism. His unsanitized opinions challenge you to a better understanding of man and history.

The Last Insider's View of the Great Conspiracy

Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager died in May 2008. He was the longest surviving member of the most famous assassination plot against Hitler. Before he died he sat down for long conversations with Florence and Jérôme Fehrenbach, and together they have produced the memoir _Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member_ (Knopf). The Fehrenbachs say that von Boeselager agreed only reluctantly to talk about the matters herein. "Every reference to them," they write, "elicits memories that are almost always painful. Even after the war, his participation in the plots against Hitler was a difficult secret to bear. At first he did not even share this with his wife." There was a sensational Tom Cruise movie earlier this year by the same name, but von Boeselager's memoir has few pyrotechnics or chase scenes. His turned out to be a supporting role (in the actual plot, not in the movie), but in this he delivers an important lesson. There were not just a few Germans in the conspiracy, not just a few assassins, but a broadly organized group that were patriotically motivated. Much of this memoir has to do with von Boeselager's brother Georg; they were from a family of nine children, but Georg and Philipp were particularly close, going to school together and both eventually joining the army. Von Boeselager explains that he had little concern about the Nazi regime initially because officers were trained in apolitical ways, and lived in barracks cut off from the cities and from newspapers. He did hear within the barracks about Kristallnacht in November 1938, a limited report of only a few shops ransacked. He and his fellow officers in training recognized that this was a violation of German laws; their commandant gave empty assurances that the courts would put an end to such atrocities. Much of _Valkyrie_ has to do with how von Boeselager's eyes were eventually opened to what Hitler was doing. In June 1942, von Boeselager saw a dispatch from an SS leader which ended "Special treatment for five Gypsies". The author eventually clarified that the five Gypsies had all been summarily shot, as were all the Jews that were being picked up. It was a doctrine of extermination, and the army was remaining silent about it. Von Boeselager was fortunate to be assigned to Major General Henning von Tresckow, who organized the resistance. The plan Valkyrie which he had drafted was much more than an assassination attempt. These officers understood that eliminating Hitler was an important goal, but it would do little if, say, Himmler were not eliminated as well because there would simply be civil war. (In fact, at least one attempt to assassinate them simultaneously, with von Boeselager carrying a pistol to do the deed, was called off suddenly when Himmler was not going to be in the region.) The plan included security efforts for after the assassination, and Von Boeselager and his brother were involved in independent cavalry movements toward Berlin to be there to en

Valkyrie Misnomer

This is an excellent memoire of one of the key players in the various plots to kill Adolf Hitler during the war. My only regrest is that von Boeselager did not begin to write/dictate his memoires earlier in his life when he might have remmebered even more interesting stories. The author gives us fascinating insights into the psychological makeup of the various players, both loyal Nazis and committed opponents. I was moved when I read that the author maintained cordial relations with the relatives of fellow conspirators who did not survive Hitler's vengeance like Oster and Treskow.

The Plots Against Hitler

I found this a remarkably interesting book, even though I agree with a previous reviewer that relatively little specifically limited to Valkyrie is discussed. What makes the book so worthwhile for those interested in the period are several considerations. First, since the book is somewhat of an autobiography by von Boeselager we gain an invaluable perspective into how some old line German noble families felt about Hitler and the Nazi leadership, but also why despite these adverse feelings the Boeselager family nonetheless sacrificed two dead sons and nearly lost a third during the course of the second world war. The book is unique in that the author (who was the sole survivor of the various plots against Hitler and died in 2008 after being honored in France for his role in the conspiracy) is uniquely qualified to explain what motivated these German patriots, with generations of military ancestors in their backgrounds, to contemplate, plan, and attempt on several occasions to eliminate their commander-in chief. The plotters fully realized that if they were successful, they would more likely be seen as traitors than heroes in Germany. While they are busy plotting, many if these officers are daily fighting an incredibly bloody war on the eastern front; I lost track of how many times the author and his famous brother, Georg, were wounded while leading calvary forces. A most intriguing question always has been why did these senior military officials undertake to remove Hitler? The author is emphatic that the explanations we often hear from historians were not the true motivating factors. That is, the plotters did not believe they could negotiate a separate peace with the western allies, preserve the German areas seized during the war, hold on to German territories, or even end the war. Rather, it was to save lives--some 16,000 a day as one conspiratorial General estimated it. We also learn from the ultimate insider how the various plots were planned, avoided detection, were executed, and why they failed. At least three serious attempts were planned prior to Valkyrie and it is interesting to see how they came undone. For example, one plan to assassinate Hitler at a luncheon with senior officers during a visit to the front was quashed when the plotters realized that Himmler was not present, and that the result might have been a horrible SS bloodbath and seizure of the government if Hitler were removed. Others failed due to defective explosives. While the author was on the eastern front while von Staufenberg discharged his explosives, it is fascinating to see how the author and his brother were able undetected to move their calvary detachment nearly to an airport where arrangements had been made to fly the troops to Berlin to capture a part of the city, then return them to their proper location again undetected. The final point of interest is how the author escaped detection and was largely the result of all the other plotter
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