List of assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler

This is an incomplete list of documented attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler.[1]

All attempts occurred in the German Reich, except where noted. All attempts involved citizens of the German Reich, except where noted. No fewer than 42 plots have been uncovered by historians.[2] However, the true numbers cannot be accurately determined due to an unknown number of undocumented cases.

Date Location Attempted by Summary
1932 Hotel Kaiserhof (Berlin) Unknown Hitler and several members of his staff fall ill after dining at the revered Kaiserhof hotel in Berlin. Poisoning is suspected, but no arrests are made. Hitler himself seems least affected by the alleged poisoning, possibly due to his vegetarian diet.[3]
February 9, 1932 Berlin Ludwig Assner Ludwig Assner, a German politician and member of the Bavarian State Parliament, sends a poisoned letter to Hitler from France. An acquaintance of Assner warns Hitler and the letter is intercepted.[4]
1934 Berlin Beppo Römer Freikorps member Beppo Römer vows to assassinate Hitler as revenge for the Night of the Long Knives but is turned over to the Gestapo before any concrete plan can be made.
1934 Berlin Helmut Mylius Dr Helmut Mylius, head of the right wing Radical Middle Class Party (Radikale Mittelstandspartei), has 160 men infiltrate the SS and begin gathering information on Hitler's movement. The conspiracy is uncovered by the Gestapo and the conspirators are arrested. Myluis escapes arrest through the aid of influential friends, including Field Marshall Erich von Manstein.[5]
1935 Berlin Marwitz group Several German officers in the Foreign office pen a letter writing that "The oath of alligence against Hitler has lost its meaning since he was ready to sacrifice Germany" and that "now was the time to act" in an attempt to instigate an army coup against the Fuhrer.[6]
1935 Berlin Paul Josef Stuermer Dr Paul Joseph Stuermer leads a resistance group composed of several officers, university professors, businessmen and government workers. The group assists several assassination attempts including Beppo Römer's attempt.[7]
December 20, 1936 Nuremberg Helmut Hirsch Helmut Hirsch, a German Jew and a member of the Strasserist Black Front, is tasked with planting two suitcases filled with explosives at the Nazi party headquarters in Nuremberg. The plot is revealed to the Gestapo by a double agent and Hirsch is executed by decapitation.
1937 Berlin Josef Thomas On November 26 mental patient Josef Thomas is arrested by the Gestapo in Berlin after he confesses that he traveled from Elberfeld for the explicit purpose of shooting Hitler and air force commander Hermann Göring.[8]
1937 Berlin Unknown man in SS uniform An unidentified man in SS uniform reportedly tries to kill Hitler during a rally at the Berlin SportPalast.[9]
September 28, 1938 Berlin Hans Oster, Helmuth Groscurth A plan is formed by Generalmajor Hans Oster and other high-ranking conservatives in the Wehrmacht to overthrow Hitler in the case he declares war on Czechoslovakia. The plan involved the storming of the Reich Chancellery by forces loyal to the plot in order to take control of the government, who would either arrest or assassinate Hitler, and restore the exiled Wilhelm II as Emperor. The plan is abandoned after British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain concedes the Sudetenland to Hitler in the Munich Agreement, neutralizing the immediate risk of war. Many of the conspirators go on to take part in the 1944 20 July Plot
November 9, 1938 Munich Maurice Bavaud Swiss theology student Maurice Bavaud poses as a reporter and plans to shoot Hitler from the reviewing stand as he passes through the parade. His view of Hitler is blocked by the unwitting crowd and he is forced to abandon the plan. He then attempts to follow Hitler but fails. On his way back to Paris he is discovered by a train conductor and is turned over to the Gestapo. Maurice is executed by guillotine in the Berlin-Plötzensee prison on the morning of May 14, 1941.
October 5, 1939 Warsaw Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski, Service for Poland's Victory General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski and other members of the Polish Army attempt to detonate hidden explosives during Hitler's victory parade in Warsaw. 500 Kg of TNT are concealed in a ditch, ready to be detonated by Polish Sappers. However, at the last moment, the parade is diverted and the saboteurs miss their target.[10]
November 8, 1939 Munich Johann Georg Elser German Carpenter Georg Elser places a time-bomb at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, where Hitler is due to give his annual speech in commemoration of the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler leaves earlier than expected and the bomb detonates, killing eight and injuring sixty two others. Following the attempt, Elser is held as a prisoner for over five years until he is executed at the Dachau concentration camp less than a month before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
1939 Berlin Erich Kordt German diplomat and resistance fighter Erich Kordt hatches an assassination plot along with officer Hasso von Etzdorf to plant explosives, but the plan is abandoned after the security restrictions following Georg Elser's attempt to kill Hitler make the acquirement and concealment of the necessary explosives too dangerous.[11]
1941–1943 (several) Berlin Beppo Römer Beppo Römer plots once again to assassinate Hitler along with several co-conspirators of the resistance group Solf Circle. He obtains funds from co-conspirator Nikolaus von Halem and keeps tabs on the Fuhrer's movements through a contact at the Berlin City Commandment. However, before an opportunity can present itself, the plot is unraveled by the Gestapo. Römer is sentenced to death on 16 June 1944 and executed on 25 September of that year at Brandenburg-Görden Prison in Brandenburg an der Havel.[12]
1943 Walki, Ukraine Hubert Lanz, Hans Speidel, Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz Following the war, General der Gebirgstruppe Hubert Lanz proclaims of a plan involving himself and Generals Hans Speidel, Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz & Paul Loehning to assassinate Hitler during his visit to the Army Detachment Kempf in Ukraine. According to the plan, Generalleutnant Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz was to surround Hitler and his escorts with his tanks. Lanz stated that he would have then arrested Hitler, and in the event of resistance, Strachwitz's tanks would have shot and killed the entire delegation. Hitler canceled the visit and the plan was dropped.[13] Author Röll casts doubt on this account citing that Strachwitz's cousin, Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, who attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1943, had recounted that Strachwitz had expressed the belief to him several times that killing Hitler would have constituted murder. Röll concludes that Strachwitz was too much a Prussian officer to consider assassinating Hitler.[14]
March 13, 1943 Flight to Smolensk Henning von Tresckow, Fabian von Schlabrendorff On the return flight from a front visit Hitler visits the headquarters of the Army Group Center in Smolensk. During the visit there were several attempts to take his life:
  • Under the direction of Major Georg von Boeselager, several officers were to intercept and assassinate Hitler in a grove on his way from the airport to the headquarters. Hitler is guarded by an armed SS escort; the plan is then dropped.
  • During lunchtime, Tresckow, Boeselager, and others plan to get up at a sign and fire pistols at Hitler. The commander-in-chief of the Army Group, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, knows about the plan but decides not to intervene. However, the plan is abandoned when it becomes clear that Himmler would not be present. Kluge forbids the attack, citing his fear of a possible civil war erupting between the SS and the army.
  • In a last-ditch attempt, Tresckow gives an accompanying officer a time bomb camouflaged as a packaged liqueur, which is supposed to explode on the return flight over Poland. The package containing the explosive is placed in the hold of the aircraft, where it ices up and causes the ignition mechanism to fail. Realizing the failure, Fabian von Schlabrendorff flies immediately to Germany and recovers the suitcase before it is intercepted.
March 21, 1943 Berlin Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff After becoming close friends with leading Army Group Center conspirator Colonel (later Major-General) Henning von Tresckow, Generalmajor Gersdorff agrees to join the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler in order to save Germany. After Tresckow's elaborate plan to assassinate Hitler on 13 March 1943 fails, Gersdorff declares himself ready to give his life for Germany's sake in an assassination attempt that would entail his own death.

On 21 March 1943, Hitler visits the Zeughaus Berlin, the old armory on Unter den Linden, to inspect captured Soviet weapons. A group of top Nazi and leading military officials — among them Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz — are present as well. As an expert, Gersdorff is to guide Hitler on a tour of the exhibition. Moments after Hitler enters the museum, Gersdorff sets off two ten-minute delayed fuses on explosive devices hidden in his coat pockets. His plan is to throw himself around Hitler in a death embrace that will blow them both up. A detailed plan for a coup d'état had been worked out and was ready to go; but, contrary to expectations, Hitler races through the museum in less than ten minutes. After Hitler has left the building, Gersdorff is able to defuse the devices in a public bathroom “at the last second.” After the attempt, he is immediately transferred back to the Eastern Front where he manages to evade suspicion.[15]

November 16, 1943 Wolf's Lair Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst Encouraged by Claus Stauffenberg, Major Axel von dem Bussche agrees to carry out a suicide bombing in order to kill Hitler. Bussche, who is over two meters tall, blonde and blue-eyed, exemplifies the Nazi "Nordic ideal" and was thus chosen to personally model the Army's new winter uniform in front of the Fuhrer. In his pocket, Bussche equipps a land mine, which he plans to detonate while embracing the Fuhrer. However, the viewing is canceled after the railway truck containing the new uniforms is destroyed in an allied air raid on Berlin.
January 1944 Wolf's Lair Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin A similar scheme to Axel von dem Bussche is attempted by German Resistance fighter Ewald von Kleist; however, the uniform inspection is once again postponed, and eventually canceled by Hitler.
March 11, 1944 Berghof Eberhard von Breitenbuch On 9 March 1944, Covert German resistance member Busch and his aides are summoned to brief Hitler at the Berghof in Bavaria on 11 March. Following a debate with Tresckow, Breitenbuch agrees to attempt to assassinate the Führer by shooting him in the head[16] using a 7.65mm Browning pistol concealed in his trouser pocket, having declined a suicide attempt using a bomb. A Condor aircraft is sent to collect Busch and Breitenbuch and he is allowed into the Berghof, but is not able to carry out the plan because SS guards have been ordered - earlier that day - not to permit aides into the conference room with Hitler.[17]
July 20, 1944 Wolf's Lair Claus von Stauffenberg

See also


  1. Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, pp. 47–48. Macmillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-897502-2
  2. Killing Hitler: The Plots, the Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death, pp 3
  3. demolition Man: Hitler: from Braunau to the Bunker, pp 769
  4. demolition Man: Hitler: from Braunau to the Bunker, pp 769
  5. The German Opposition to Hitler: The Resistance, the Underground, and Assassination Plots (1938-1945), pp 87
  6. Disobedience and Conspiracy in the German Army, 1918-1945, pp 180
  7. History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945, pp 34
  8. Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia, pp 227
  9. amous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia, pp 227
  10. "Warszawski zamach na Hitlera: Hitler przemknął im koło nosa" (in Polish). October 5, 2011.
  11. German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad 1938-1945, pp 73
  12. History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945, pp 253
  13. Röll 2011, pp. 182–183.
  14. Röll 2011, pp. 184–186.
  15. Roger Moorhouse Killing Hitler (2006), pp.192-193.
  16. Ian Kershaw (2000). Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis. Penguin Press. ISBN 0-393-32252-1.
  17. Michael C Thomsett (1997). The German Opposition to Hitler: The Resistance, the Underground, and Assassination Plots, 1938-1945. McFarland. ISBN 0-78-6403721.

Further reading

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