Synopses & Reviews
The fascinating but little-known true story of an aborted coup to eliminate Hitler, led by Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster of German Military Intelligence
In September 1938, Hitler had been in power for more than five years and had unilaterally dismantled the Treaty of Versailles, provision by provision, daring Britain and France to stand up to him. Earlier that year he had forced Austria into his Third Reich without firing a single shot. Now his sights were set on Czechoslovakia.
It was in this dangerous climate that the first anti-Nazi coup was born. The plot was spearheaded by Oster, and its members included top German military leaders, the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders, and a group of resisters whose names have somehow been wiped from the pages of history. Their mission was to kill Hitler and to overthrow the Nazi regime.
Historian Terry Parssinen, using British and German sources and previously unknown documents in the Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College, has documented the fast-paced story of this developing conspiracy. Revelatory, peopled with a rich cast of characters, and highly provocative, this is narrative history at its best. The author assesses the plot's chances for success and speculates about the consequences if the conspirators had been able to seize power in Berlin in 1938, thus averting World War II.
“Fascinating. Those who think they have nothing new to learn about World War II are in for a big surprise.” Library Journal
In September 1938, Hitler had been in power for more than five years, and had abrogated most of the constraints placed on German militarism by the Treaty of Versailles. Earlier that year he had forced Austria into his Third Reich without a single shot fired, and his sights were set on Czechoslovakia. It was in this climate that a coup was born, led by Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster of German Military Intelligence. Its members were an unusual clique of German military leaders, members of the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders, and a courageous group of resistors who assembled in a mission to unseat, and even kill, Hitler.
The Oster Conspiracy of 1938 mines the cultural and political milieu of post-WWI Europe, the forces and personal histories that motivated the group to such decisive and dangerous action, and the catalyst of their ultimate failure. This is narrative history at its best: revelatory, well documented with archival material, peopled with a rich cast of characters, fast-paced, and highly provocative.
Narrative history at its best, this impressively documented work is the fascinating story of an aborted coup and a plan to eliminate Hitler. 8-page photo insert. 3 maps.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -222) and index.
About the Author
Terry Parssinen, Ph.D., is Professor of History at the University of Tampa and a specialist in modern European history. He lives in Tampa and Philadelphia.