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    Karl Donitz Reflects on Attempted Assassination of Hitler Historically Important Typed Manuscript Signed: "Donitz", 7p, 8.5" x 11", separate sheets. Headed "July 20, 1944". On July 20, 1944, a group of staff officers made an attempt on Hitler's life. After the war, Grosadmiral of the Navy Karl Donitz, named by Hitler as his successor as Fuhrer, was indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. While at Spandau Prison (1946-1956), Donitz wrote the original of what is offered here. In part: "The events of July 20 continue to engage the attention of the German people and to cause dissension among our people...At midday on July 20 Vice-Admiral Voss telephoned to me at my command post at Lanke, north of Berlin, from Fuehrer Headquarters in East Prussia and said it was essential that I should come to Headquarters immediately, adding that he could not explain over the telephone. When I arrived there in the late afternoon Voss and Rear-Admiral von Puttkamer, Hitler's naval ADC, informed me that a group of staff officers of the Reserve Army had made an attempt on Hitler's life...My first reaction was one of incredulity that officers could bring themselves, in war time, to do such a thing...Germany was like a besieged fortress, hard put to it to keep its foes at bay. Any strife within the fortress itself could not but adversely affect and weaken its efforts against the besiegers outside. The front itself would probably collapse, and complete defeat would swiftly follow. Had the attempt on Hitler's life succeeded, civil war would inevitably have resulted. The conspirators could not count on any support worth mentioning among the troops in Germany itself, and without it they would not have seized and retained power. The masses of the people were still solidly behind Hitler. They had no inkling of those facts which were known to the opposition group and which caused them to take action...The various Party organizations would undoubtedly have taken up arms against the new Government, and internal chaos would have been the inevitable result...During the war the Navy was less affected by Hitler's personal leadership than the Army. To him war at sea was something strange and sinister. In the later stages of the war he refrained from any intervention in naval affairs...Nor did the Navy see or hear anything about the effects of Himmler's activities behind the eastern front and many other misdeeds, all, of which were most probably well known to a number of generals and their staff officers...As a result the officers and officials of the Navy, with but two exceptions, had had no connection either with the opposition group or with the planning and preparation of its plot...While, then, I approve of the moral motive of the conspirators, particularly as they were aware of the mass murders that had been committed by the Hitler regime, I cannot help asking myself how I myself would have acted, had I known of the enormity of the crimes perpetrated by the National Socialist system...Today there is no longer any doubt that the conspirators were gravely at fault in their expectations regarding political repercussions abroad...Had they succeeded in coming to power, they could have prevented neither defeat nor the consequences of defeat. What that defeat would have looked like, in comparison with that which overtook us in May 1945, is a completely open question. Most probably, however, a legend would have grown up that our collapse had been caused solely by the act of teachery of the assassins and that the war could have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion if only Hitler had remained alive. I believe that the emergence of such an idea would have torn the German people more fiercely asunder than does a difference of opinion on July 20 today...." Karl Donitz, as Fuhrer, ordered the surrender of Germany forces on May 8, 1945, eight days after Hitler's death. Four of the pages are stained along the lower edge of the page. Else in very fine condition. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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