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Timeline of Events

Attempt to Assassinate Hitler

Participants in the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler and members of the “Kreisau Circle” resistance group on trial before the People’s Court. Pictured are Dr. Franz Reisert, Dr. Theodor Haubach, Graf von Moltke, Theodor Steltzer, and Dr. Eugen Gerstenmeier.

Participants in the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler and members of the "Kreisau Circle" resistance group on trial before the People's Court. Pictured are Dr. Franz Reisert, Dr. Theodor Haubach, Graf von Moltke, Theodor Steltzer, and Dr. Eugen Gerstenmeier. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress

July 20, 1944

German military officers attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in his East Prussian headquarters at Rastenburg.

Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg left a bomb in a briefcase near Hitler during a military briefing on the deteriorating military situation on the eastern front. In addition to disaffected military officers, the plot against Hitler involved traditional right-wing conservative politicians, police officials, and diplomats. They hoped Hitler's violent death would signal a popular anti-Nazi revolt. Hitler, however, survived the blast, and the coup attempt failed.  Roland Freisler, chief justice of the People's Court in Berlin, presided over the trial of those implicated in the plot. Invariably, the defendants were convicted and most were executed at Berlin's Ploetzensee prison.

Roland Freisler (center), president of the Volk Court (People’s Court), gives the Nazi salute at the trial of conspirators in the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler. Under Freisler’s leadership, the court condemned thousands of Germans to death. Berlin, Germany, 1944.

Roland Freisler (center), president of the Volk Court (People's Court), gives the Nazi salute at the trial of conspirators in the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler. Under Freisler's leadership, the court condemned thousands of Germans to death. Berlin, Germany, 1944. —DIZ Muenchen GMBH, Sueddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst

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