`The Führer Adolf Hitler is dead.` 
Attempted Assassination and Coup d'Ètat on 20 July 1944.
A special Exhibition by the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History on the civil-Military resistance against the National Socialist regime

on display from 5 July 2019

On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to kill Hitler with an explosive charge. Colonel (General Staff) Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg intended to assassinate the dictator in the operations room of the ‘Wolf’s Lair’ headquarters (Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze. The attempt on Hitler’s life was to be the trigger for a coup d’état (code name ‘Valkyrie’), with which a group of military and civilian dissenters tried to dispose of the National Socialist regime of injustice. After the assassination attempt, they tried to gain sufficient followers throughout Germany’s sphere of influence by spreading the news ‘The Führer Adolf Hitler is dead’. But Hitler survived and retaliated. The attempted coup had failed. Stauffenberg and four of his conspirators were shot in that same night from 20 to 21 July. Many more executions followed.

Until today, Stauffenberg and the failed assassination attempt on Hitler have retained their prominent role in the German culture of remembrance. Only recently, the Hollywood movie “Operation Valkyrie“ (2008) starring Tom Cruise has once again drawn attention to these events. However, little is known about the events preceding “20 July” which took place from 1938 on and started with initial plannings for a coup d’état.

On 4 July 2019, the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History (MHMBw) is opening a special exhibition on this subject. Organizer of this exhibition is Dr. Magnus Pahl, who previously was curator of the special exhibition “Achtung Spione! Geheimdienste in Deutschland von 1945 bis 1956“ (Beware of Spies! Secret Services in Germany between 1945 and 1956).

22 posters are at the heart of this exhibition. They display the essential facts related to the background, course and consequences of the assassination attempt and also tell the reception history. 14 of these posters present key actors of the civil-military resistance as well as their motives that made them establish the opposition to the Nazi regime. The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History (MHMBw) will make the set of posters presented in this exhibition available to Bundeswehr agencies as educational and informative material for their military and civilian personnel.

The special exhibition by the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History, on display from 4 July to 3 December 2019, also includes an extensive photo collage, which will take the audience back to the year 1944 as a start. Visitors will thus gain an impression of the military, social and political situation in the German Reich during the penultimate year of the war. Hitherto never publicly displayed exhibits offer direct insight into the conspirators’ mind-sets. The most outstanding object of the exhibition is a prop of the movie “Operation Valkyrie“: The set representing the operations room of the ‘Wolf’s Lair’ headquarters. The set is furnished and illuminated exactly as during the film shooting. Here, the visitor will be able to immerse into the scenery and experience first-hand the situation immediately before the detonation of Stauffenberg’s bomb.