Friday, January 9, 2009

Hollywood White Hat Germans

With the new Tom Cruise (gag) movie Valkyrie, bringing attention to the anti-Hitler movement, the question begs: How heroic were Claus von Stauffenberg and other Nazi conspirators? A TimesOnline book review is skeptical:

There is, of course, a less flattering interpretation of Boeselager's story - which is that though, no doubt, knowledge of the wartime atrocities committed by the Nazis played a part in the decision to kill Hitler, the fundamental reason why Boeselager and his comrades wanted the Führer dead in 1943 was because Germany was losing the war. Pragmatism was more important than principle.

The sense of moral murkiness in Valkyrie is reinforced by the examination of Germans Against Hitler, written by Hans Mommsen, that grand old man of German academia. In this collection of disparate scholarly essays on the resistance movement, Mommsen demonstrates that many of those involved in the attempt on Hitler's life had decidedly dodgy pasts. Or as he says: “We have no alternative but to admit that a considerable number of those who played an active part in the July plot, and in many cases lost their lives as a result, had previously participated in the war of racial extermination, or had at least approved of it for quite a time, and in some cases actively supported it.”

Kershaw also pulls no punches when he describes the views held early in the war by the “heroic” Stauffenberg: “He was contemptuous of the Polish people, approved of the colonisation of the country, and was enthusiastic about the German victory. He was still more jubilant after the stunning successes in the western campaign.” You don't need to be a fortune teller to predict that those sentiments won't appear in the film.

Plain and simple, they wanted to dispose of der Führer for strategic not moral reasons. The war was being lost mainly because Hitler had disastrously taken over strategic command of the armed forces from the generals, and was severely bungling the campaign.


  1. I am shocked! You seem to be implying that Hollywood would dumb down a story. I can`t believe it, especially with a quality actor like Tom Cruise. I think you are going to have to re-check your sources on this one.

  2. Yes, that was quite risky and bold of me to imply Hollywood would do that!