The Conspiracy of the Generals

The Conspiracy of the Generals

The History of the German Resistance 1933- 1945, by Peter Hoffmann. Cambridge: MIT Press. 846 pp.

The title of this massive volume is a misnomer, and the claim of the jacket, that this is the “essential, surely final handbook on the subject” is unjustified. The author tells the story of the conservative-military conspiracy that collapsed with an abortive attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944, and the subsequent massacre of the German nobility. But he is almost totally silent about the underground work of the labor movement that preceded the officers’ revolt. Although it was not successful either, this earlier resistance can claim that it did not wait to denounce Hitler until defeat stared Germany in the face, and it was not conducted by people who had first served Hitler as price commissars, staff officers, financial advisers, and ideologists.

I am not denying that the conspirators of 1944 were idealists in their own way, or that t...

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