The Nazis Stage an Attempt on Hitler's Life

Hitler Narrowly Escapes Death.

Each year on the 8th of November, Hitler would regail his old party comrades with the happenings of his Beer Hall Putsch in 1923.  About 12 minutes after Hitler left the podium at the Bürgerbräukeller (pictured above,) a bomb went off and killed 7 people – Hitler and the other Nazi higher-ups were already to safety at the time.  What ensued was an interesting series of events whose perpetrators and victims have since been scrutinized greatly.  It is generally thought now that Hitler and Himmler had planned this bombing as a decoy and a publicity stunt to get the German people whipped into patriotic frenzy.  At the time, however, you can be sure that the Nazis used this to blame the United Kingdom and accuse Britain of aggression.

Beer Hall March

The Nazi Party Rally leaving from the Beer Hall for a parade during previous years.

Georg Elser

The Aftermath: Blame

The following morning, the Nazi controlled newspaper, -the Voelkischer Beobachter – wrote a scathing article which held the British responsible with 100% certainty.  The paper posited that secret agents of the British intelligence had plotted the whole thing.  Inner-Nazi Party members probably deduced that the assassination attempt was likely orchestrated from within the ranks of the Party.  This was done for publicity purposes, and to justify the subsequent kidnapping of two British secret service agents in Holland.

Hitler had Himmler appoint a subordinate of his, named Walter Schellenberg, to pose as a German defector to garner the confidence of two British secret service agents.  The agents agreed to meet the man – whose pseudonym was Major Schaemmel – in order to get an inside scoop on the German war machine.  To their dismay, however, the Gestapo kidnapped them and drove them back to Germany in the trunk of a Buick.  The two British agents would spend the entire war in Sachsenhausen, but they came out alive.  The German arm of the alleged plot – a man named Georg Elser (above) – was not as lucky.  Hitler concocted the story that Elser had planted the bomb because he was a Communist, and the foreign agents had orchestrated it.