The Canaris Conspiracy: The Secret Resistance to Hitler in the German Army

The Canaris Conspiracy: The Secret Resistance to Hitler in the German Army

by Roger Manvell, Heinrich Fraenkel


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July 20, 1944. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg carried a time bomb in a briefcase into a conference with Adolf Hitler. After wedging the briefcase directly in front of Hitler under a table, Stauffenberg took his leave. Only ill luck and divine providence could have caused what happened next; a junior staffer accidentally kicked the case, moving it further from Hitler. When the bomb exploded, four died, but none was the megalomaniacal Führer.

Men from all walks of German life—the army, Military Intelligence, civilian life—came together at great personal risk to conspire over a span of six years to save their beloved Germany from the clutches of a madman and halt a further descent into war. This is the incredible documented account of their work and collaboration with “Department Z,” the twenty-four individuals who operated under the leadership of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris to secretly engineer this intricate scheme to kill Adolf Hitler and take over the Third Reich. Only by a matter of minutes and inches did these courageous men fail in their daring plot, changing the course of history. Meet the conspirators and learn the plots behind The Canaris Conspiracy, a near-continuous web of planning and frustrated action which came nearer to achieving the longed-for coup d’état than anyone realizes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510739789
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Roger Manvell was the first director of the British Film Academy. During WWII, he worked in the Ministry of Information, creating propaganda films for the British government. With Heinrich Fraenkel, he is the author of many books on Nazi Germany, including biographies of Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Hermann Göring.
Heinrich Fraenkel was an author and Hollywood writer most notable for his biographies of Nazi war criminals published in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of his best-known books, authored with Roger Manvell, are Heinrich Himmler (New York Times bestseller), Doctor Goebbels, and Göring.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

The Principals xi

Service Abbreviations and Ranks xv


Was It Resistance? xvii

Patriots or Traitors: Morality of a Coup d'État xvii

The Opposition Leaders and the Gestapo xxv

Special Problems of Resistance in Nazi Germany xxx

Part 1

I Focal Point for Conspiracy 37

The First Alliance: Canaris and Osier 37

Hans Oster 43

Canaris's Relations with the S.S. 45

Beck and his Resistance Associates 50

1938: the Fritsch Affair 53

The Widening Circle 56

II Fiasco in 1938 63

Beck acts against Hitler 63

Hans von Dohnanyi 69

Kleist's Mission to London 70

The September Conspiracy 77

III Anti-War Effort 84

After Munich: Schlabrendorff joins the Resistance 84

Warnings to Britain: Churchill and the Resistance 88

Last Peace Efforts 94

Part 2

I Treason Becomes Duty 99

Caoaris and the Fall of Poland 99

The Abwehr in Wartime: Dohnanyi joins Canaris 102

Renewed Activity: Oster and Halder 106

Mutter Undertakes Operation X 109

Hassell Intervenes 113

Oster's "Treason" 119

II The Abwehr Network 126

Summer 1940: Canaris's Tactics 126

Royalist Interests 132

Russia and the Expanding Front: Canaris East and West 134

Canaris Recruits the Anti-Nazis; Relations with the S.S. 140

Initial Plans for the Coup d'État: Co-ordinating the Resistance 158

The Communist "Red Baud" Exposed 163

III The Schmidhuber Affair 170

Roeder Probes the Abwehr 170

The Independent Resistance: Hans and Sophie Scholl 177

The Situation in 1943 179

Bomb Plot 1943 184

Roeder's Pressure on the Abwehr 187

The First Arrests 191

Part 3

I The Desperate Years 195

In Prison 195

Canaris's Countermeasures: the Defense of Dohnanyi 204

The Resistance at Bay 207

Coup d'État Plans Revived: the Suicide Missions 214

The Tightening Net; Canaris Dismissed 217

The Resistance Realigned: Stauffenberg and the 1944 Bomb Plot 221

II After 20 July 232

The Resistance Archives: Gestapo Finds and Losses 232

Canaris in Prison: Arrests, Interrogations, Torture 237

In Freisler's Court 250

Tactics of Goerdeler and Canaris 253

Dohnanyi's Letter to his Wife 259

The Final Weeks: Dohnanyi's Indictment and Execution 263

"Court Martial" at Fiossenbürg: Canaris, Oster and Bonhoeffer Executed 268

Notes 271

Chronology of Events 292

Appendix: The Escape of Canaris, 1916 300

Selected Book-List 302

Index 306

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