User:Umbire the Phantom/Operation Valkyrie

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On July 20, 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. You may already be hearing the name "Operation Valkyrie" in your head right now.

This... is not that operation. Or at least, it wasn't at the time.

The name "Operation Valkyrie" originally referred to one part of the conspiracy—specifically, it was an emergency plan for government continuity issued to the Territorial Reserve Army of Germany, to be carried out in the event order broke down within the nation. German Army officers General Friedrich Olbricht, Major General Henning von Tresckow and Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg modified the plan with the intention of using it to take control of German cities, disarm the SS, and arrest the Nazi leadership once Hitler had been assassinated ."Operation Valkyrie" soon came to be associated with the entire plot rather than just the government-focused contingencies, especially as World War II became the stuff of contemporary popular culture.

The plot was the culmination of efforts by several groups in the German resistance to overthrow the government, and Hitler's death was specifically required to free German soldiers from their oath of loyalty to him. The apparent aim of it all - besides wresting political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party (including the SS) - was to make peace with the Western Allies as soon as possible. Details of the peace initiatives remain unknown, but would have included demands for the confirmation of Germany's extensive annexations of European territory, which were largely considered unrealistic. After lengthy preparation, the plot was activated in 1944... and met with catastrophic failure, as did the military coup d'état that was to follow - the Gestapo arrested more than 7,000 people, 4,980 of whom were executed. Even so, it is remembered as the closest any form of resistance had ever come to succeeding in their goal of assassination.

Operation Valkyrie and the July 20 plot (or similar events) are featured in the following works:


Video Games

Tropes associated with Operation Valkyrie, the July 20 plot and fictional portrayals of these or similar events include:

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Portrayals of Operation Valkyrie are somewhat rare comparatively, due to this trope. Prior to the release of films like Valkyrie in particular, popular consciousness didn't readily identify any WWII Germany resistance against the Nazi party; this is also due in part to the fact that Hitler remained in power (and alive) until the Allied forces came calling at Berlin's edge.
  • Doomed by Canon: Any Historical Fiction portrayal of this event that doesn't jump right into Alternate History.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Two of these scuttled the whole plan. First, the bomb that was supposed to kill Hitler was moved to the other side of the table he was at, preventing him from taking the brunt of the blast and only inflicting some minor injury. Second, the last-ditch attempt to keep the plot going even after Hitler survived was ended when Friedrich Fromm sold out the conspirators to save himself.
  • Enemy Civil War: The plan was predicated on pretending one had happened, specifically that the SS had gone rogue, thus justifying seizing control of the state to imprison them and anyone else who was a Hitler loyalist after Hitler was killed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In reality, a lot of the people involved who planned to stop Hitler were not much better in some ways - they just knew Hitler had to go if they wanted any prayer of salvaging Germany before its utter destruction. Portrayals of them in fiction run the gamut from adhering to this trope, to varying levels of Historical Hero Upgrade.
  • False-Flag Operation: An integral component of the plan would utilize this to get the Reserve Army's unwitting assistance in pulling off a coup, ironically in the belief they were acting to squelch a coup.
  • Heel Face Turn: Many participants in Operation Valkyrie, both in real life and in fictional portrayals, were former supporters of Hitler and/or the Nazi regime.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • Apparently according to Valkyrie, the German officer corps actually cared about Jewish people, were disgusted by their slaughter. While Stauffenberg himself did indisputably mastermind one of the biggest plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he didn't exactly have the highest opinion of non-Germans, and endorsed some planks of the Nazi political platform.
      • While the movie is inaccurate in its portraying of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and company as German Democrats, it is correct in showing that he didn't just go along quietly after the Nazis crossed the Moral Event Horizon, and many of them did despise the industrialized murder of the Jews despite their own Anti-Semitic and racist views. The conspiracy's planned cabinet consisted mainly of Social-Democrats and Liberals, some of whom actually were in KZs at the time of the coup; the German officers who attempted to assassinate Hitler were primarily old-guard conservatives of a monarchist bent - they despised Hitler not only for his crudeness, but also the fact that he was the representative of the "upstart" middle/lower classes, and many turned against him simply because he was losing the war.
      • Several other groups still protested the treatment of Poles and Jews, though not to the extent portrayed - ultimately, the film's mistake is one of portraying Black and Gray Morality as Black and White Morality, turning historical Anti-Heroes (if that) into Knights in Shining Armor.
  • Only Sane Man: It's thought that Albert Speer was allowed to live by the plotters largely due to this trope. They were somewhat unsure if he should be approached until after Hitler's demise, though - the plans that included the names of those considered to survive pointedly had a question mark next to his name.
  • Plausible Deniability: One of the biggest reasons getting any of these plans off the ground was so hard was due to this trope. Most who flirted with plans to imprison or off Hitler knew they'd be risking their lives and that of their families, so many dared not get involved unless they had an escape hatch to avoid blame if these plans failed.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The plan involved Hitler getting blown up, despite several bomb-related assassination attempts having failed before.