On 20 July 1944, a group of Wehrmacht officers tried to assassinate Hitler and to overthrow the Nazi regime by means of a military coup d’état. It is well known that the coup failed because Hitler had survived the bomb planted by Colonel Graf Stauffenberg. Who, however, were the men who put down the attempted putsch in Berlin? In keeping with Nazi propaganda, this role has traditionally been assigned to the Berlin Guard Battalion, commanded by the fanatical Nazi Major (later General) Otto Ernst Remer.
But this assumption has been overturned by Winfried Heinemann, Honorary Researcher in the CWD, in a recent article in the highly respected journal Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte. Drawing from hitherto unused sources, Professor Heinemann shows that, in reality, Remer and his battalion took extremely long to arrive on the scene – about five hours after Remer had spoken to Hitler on the phone. By that time, some desk officers in the General Army Office (Allgemeines Heeresamt) had in fact put an end to the uprising which Stauffenberg had meant to control from his offices there, and had arrested him and his closest allies in time for the Guard Battalion to shoot them in the inner courtyard.
However, the Nazi propaganda preferred to ascribe the successful repression of the putsch to a fanatical Nazi rather than to some undistinguished Army officers. After the end of the war, Remer was involved in right-wing politics and vaunted his “merits” accordingly. The officers really responsible, on the other hand, took up civilian careers in Germany and Austria, and preferred not to be mentioned in this context again – so that the myth persists to this day.
The article can be accessed on the publisher’s website.Back to News