The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Plotting Against Hitler: 75 Years

Start Date and Time:

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 1:00PM

End Date and Time:

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 3:00PM


Prof. Col. Winfried Heinemann

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the failed coup d’état against Hitler on 20 July 1944, there has been a considerable surge of publications on the topic. Some such books, at times by amateur historians, have focused on the personality of Stauffenberg, the mastermind behind the conspiracy and the man who planted the bomb. Was he driven by religious and ethical motives, by his allegiance to the circle around esoteric author Stefan George, or was he motivated by purely military considerations?

Winfried Heinemann argues that, in the same way the political resistance was influenced by Weimar-era thought, so too were the military conspirators shaped by their experience in the Reichswehr (Army of the Weimar Republic). He will place the revolt in the context of the Third Reich’s polycratic structures, and explain how that in turn prevented the postwar West German Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces) from identifying too easily with the conspirators.

Winfried Heinemann was born in Dortmund and studied history and English language at Bochum University and King’s College, London. From 1983 to 2018, he served as an officer in the German Army. Since 1986, he was attached to the German Armed Forces ‘ Centre for Military History in Freiburg, later in Potsdam. After taking his PhD with a thesis on the early diplomatic history of NATO, he went on to direct the East German Military History branch, then the departments for research and for historical education. He retired as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Centre.


  • Joint Initiative in German and European Studies

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Aftermath of 20 July 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler (Operation Valkyrie)
Aftermath of 20 July 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler (Operation Valkyrie)