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Context On Demand – Operation Valkyrie: The German Army's Assassination Plot Against Hitler with Dr. Finn Ballard
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Led by an expert on twentieth-century German History, this 60-minute webinar examines the Resistance Movement among Germany's armed forces during WWII. We will examine the timeline of Operation Valkyrie, which came to be among the most well-known assassination plots against Adolf Hitler.
On July 20th, 1944, a decorated soldier in the Wehrmacht (German Army), Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, slid a bomb under Hitler's place at the vast conference table in the 'Wolf's Lair,' the Fuehrer's remote hideout in Poland (pictured at left). Making his excuses, Stauffenberg left the building moments later, lept into his car, and sped away, feeling the shockwaves of the detonation as he did. Stauffenberg made his way back to Berlin posthaste as soldiers prepared to enact the meticulously planned "Operation Valkyrie" – a Wehrmacht coup to depose the remaining Nazi leaders and to make peace with the Western Allies.
There was just one rather large flaw in the plan. Hitler had been injured and deafened but remained alive after the bombing. By midnight, Stauffenberg and his chief co-conspirators would be executed in Berlin. And within weeks of the attempt on Hitler's life, 7,000 more people would be taken prisoner, of whom almost 5,000 would be killed.
During this webinar, we will examine the Stauffenberg plot in the context of other manifestations of military resistance, look at exactly what went wrong on that most fateful summer's evening, and speculate on what might have happened, had the plot succeeded. Dr. Ballard will also illuminate the real story behind the 2008 movie 'Valkyrie.'
As you watch the presentation, we encourage you to think about the following questions:
- What exactly were the motivations of the perpetrators?
- How might we consider the perpetrators today? Are they war heroes?
- What would have been the ramifications of the success of the operation – and how different might our world be today?
Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.
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Each presentation is approximately 60 minutes long.
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This conversation is suitable for ages 18+.
60 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.