Germany's Angela Merkel honors would-be Hitler assassins

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the 20 July plot, Merkel bemoans far-right extremism in Germany. 'Germans must stand up to the far-right.'

Sara Rubenstein,

Portraits of Ludwig Beck (2nd R) and Claus von Stauffenberg
Portraits of Ludwig Beck (2nd R) and Claus von Stauffenberg
Reuters

Germany will mark the 75th anniversary of what has become known as the 20 July plot - an attempt to assassinate Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime - on Saturday.

On July 20, 1944, German army officer Claus von Stauffenberg and fellow opponents of the Nazi regime attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in his headquarters in East Prussia and overthrow the Nazi regime. Stauffenberg planted a briefcase bomb under the conference table where Hitler was sitting during a meeting and left the room. The bomb detonated but an army major who had been standing next to Hitler had moved the briefcase out of his way by pushing it behind the table leg. When the bomb detonated, the table leg absorbed most of the force of the explosion and only one person was killed. The conference room was destroyed and over 20 people were injured (three of whom later died of their injuries), but Hitler survived. In the wake of the attempted coup, over 7,000 were arrested and 4,980 people were executed including Stauffenberg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about the heroism of Hitler's would-be assassins during her weekly video address and utilized the opportunity of celebrating opposition to the extremist Nazi regime by urging Germans to oppose the burgeoning right-wing extremism in Germany.

"They followed their conscience and thereby shaped a part of Germany's history that otherwise would have been solely defined by the darkness of National Socialism," Merkel said.

"We, too, have a duty today to stand up against all those tendencies that want to destroy democracy," the chancellor added. “Those who acted on July 20 are an example to us, because they showed that they followed their conscience and set their stamp on a part of German history that otherwise was defined by the darkness of Nazism."

Germans need "to do their part in our society to ensure that democracy is strong, that civil society is strong and that right-wing extremism has no chance," Merkel concluded.

Merkel's remarks this week were made in the shadow of the murder of German politician Walter Lübcke last month. Lübcke, a fellow member of Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union, is believed to have been killed by a right-wing extremist who opposed Merkel's policy of welcoming migrants into Germany.




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