Friedrich Olbricht was a leading member of the German Resistance to
Hitler and the originator of Plan Valkyrie. This is his story, the
first biography of him in the English language. It is based on
documents from the former East Germany and hundreds of interviews with
survivors of the war. It demonstrates Olbricht's central role in the
July 20th Plot and refutes the claims (originating with Hitler himself)
that only a small number of conspirators were involved and that Graf
Stauffenberg was the sole important participant.
On the night of July 20, 1944, Adolf Hitler gave a radio speech to the
German nation to reassure them that he had survived an assassination
attempt. He described the men who had tried to kill him as "a
tiny clique of ambitious, unscrupulous and criminally stupid
officers." The only conspirator he named was Graf
Stauffenberg. Rarely has Hitler been so successful in shaping
opinion even to our day.
Western Allies picked up Hitler's theme at once: only a tiny clique of
officers had been involved. A "tiny clique" meant that not
people had been involved to cancel the call for Unconditional Surrender
or to upset the policy of collective guilt. Furthermore, the
civilian component in the conspiracy was completely ignored.
West insisted on seeing the coup attempt of July 20, 1944 as a
Because the attempt failed, it was equally easy to accept Hitler's
characterization of the conspirators as incompetent. In
retrospect they had done everything wrong. The bomb had
kill the victim. The conspirators failed to cut off
communications to and from Hitler's HQ. The orders went out
late. The conspirators didn’t even have control of
own troops, who soon turned against them. Was any more
needed that these men were "criminally stupid?"
just as Hitler named only one person, the predominant image presented
in the literature to this day is of a single heroic figure –
Stauffenberg – struggling alone to achieve the goal of
But the world rarely corresponded to Hitler's – or
– vision of it. If one is prepared to suspend one's
prejudice and follow the journey of an individual man through the forge
of history, one can come closer to the truth. This is
Olbricht's story, the first biography of the originator of Plan
Valkyrie in the English language.