Valkyrie

Valkyrie

[the Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler by Its Last Member]

Book - 2009
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When the Second World War broke out, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, age twenty-five, fought for his country enthusiastically as a cavalry officer. His rearing on the family estate in the Rhineland had instilled in him a strong Catholic faith, a reverence for the fatherland, and a love of horsemanship and the hunt. And so, like his brother Georg, he accepted a commission when the call came to restore the pride Germany had lost in the humiliating peace of Versailles.

Soon, however, beyond the regimented and honor-bound world of the cavalry, von Boeselager would discover what shocking brutality the SS was perpetrating at the behest of the Third Reich's highest authorities. When, in the summer of 1942, he heard that five Roma had been killed in cold blood, von Boeselager's patriotism quickly turned to disgust. Under his commanding officer, Field Marshal von Kluge, Philipp and his brother joined a group of conspirators in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.

It was planned that Philipp would shoot both the F#65533;hrer and Himmler in the officers' casino during a camp inspection visit, but when that attempt had to be aborted at the last moment, the plotters resolved to use a bomb to assassinate Hitler alone. Once von Boeselager had delivered the explosives to Claus von Stauffenberg, a leader of the plot, he and Georg led an unauthorized retreat of cavalry units from the eastern front, a surreal night maneuver indelibly described here. The mission: to take control of Berlin and effect the coup d'etat.

When the bomb failed to kill Hitler, the SS launched a terrifying purge of senior army officers. The von Boeselager brothers barely managed to return with their units to the eastern front in time to escape detection. One by one their fellow plotters were found out, tortured, and executed, but steadfast in their cause, they never gave up the von Boeselagers' names. Georg would eventually fall in battle on the Russian front, but Philipp survived the war.

In this elegant but unflinching testimony, Philipp von Boeselager, until his death in 2008 the last surviving member of the plot code-named Valkyrie, gives voice to the spirit of the small but determined band of men whose sense of justice and honor could not be dissolved by the diabolical glamour of the Third Reich. Here is an invaluable new perspective on one of the most fascinating near misses of twentieth-century history.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780307270757
Branch Call Number: 943.086 B633v
Characteristics: x, 211 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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youraveragemo
Apr 10, 2011

The title of this book is actually a bit misleading. While Mr. Boeselager is very detailed concerning his and his brother's army careers and exploits, this book actually glosses over the details of the actual plot to kill Hitler. Boeselager assumes the reader is already familiar with the facts of the plot to kill Hitler and so merely makes references to them a few times while filling in his and his brother's roles in the plot.

This book is a good supplement to an account of this interesting bit of history, but by itself would not be very informative for someone unfamiliar with the details of the plot.

Even so, Mr. Boeselager's account is interesting and brief enough to propel the reader through it, while providing an interesting perspective from German Army officers who were ideologically opposed to Hitler while simultaneously loyal to Germany.

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