Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

For readers tired of clich├ęs and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Western Allied Response to the German Resistance

Although the German Resistance to Hitler was a loose conspiracy based on shared abhorrence of Hitler, his policies and his regime, they did not operate in a vacuum. Hitler's government started the most devastating war in human history and the three greatest powers on earth buried (at least temporarily) their differences in order to defeat Hitler's Germany. At various times, members of the German military resistance sought to establish contact with the Western allies -- and it wasn't all about getting a "better deal" than "Unconditional Surrender." 

Tragically, no one was listening.

The German anti-Nazis who attempted to kill Hitler and topple his regime on July 20, 1944 made various attempts to inform the Western Allies of their existence and get assurances that, if they succeeded in removing Hitler and establishing an interim government, the Western Allies would negotiate with them.  The first such attempt was made in the lead-up to the Sudeten Crisis in 1938.  Via the Vatican, the British government was informed about the possibility of a coup to prevent Hitler from invading the Sudetenland. However, the British government was not interested in aiding German generals against Hitler, and at that time even preferred Hitler to a government run, even temporarily, by the German General Staff.  It was a tragic misjudgment.

In the lull between the invasion of Poland and the start of the offensive in the West, one member of the Resistance, Hans Oster, warned the Dutch of the impending violation of Dutch neutrality—a move that has made him very controversial in Germany to this day.  But the Dutch didn't take the warnings seriously and were caught off guard despite the warning.

Hans Oster

Later, the Allies were far too committed to Stalin to think of seriously negotiating with a post-Hitler government.  In consequence, they responded to all overtures with non-committal answers.  Some members of the conspiracy hoped nevertheless that once they had killed Hitler and seized power — i.e. had proved their effectiveness and presented the Allies with a concrete opportunity to stop the loss of life in the West — they might be able to effect at least a ceasefire in the West. Some of the conspirators were willing to open the Western Front to the Anglo-Americans and invite them into Berlin while holding the Russian Front. 

The German Resistance to Hitler was the subject of my PhD thesis. At the time I was the first Western academic granted access to some military archives and documents in what was then still "East Germany." In addition, I conducted interviews with over one hundred survivors of Nazi Germany, both supporters and opponents of the regime. The research culminated in a published dissertation and, later, an English-language biography of General Friederich Olbricht based on the dissertation. It also inspired me to write a novel about the German Resistance, which was recently re-released in ebook format under the title: "Traitors for the Sake of Humanity." Find out more and read reviews of "Traitors" at the publisher's website: Cross Seas Press.




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