Operation Flash: When Three Plots To Kill Hitler Failed On A Single Day

By | March 10, 2020

Throughout World War II, plenty of people tried to assassinate Hitler for obvious reasons. On a single day in March 1943, however, there were at least three different attempts on Hitler's life that we know about, each of which fell spectacularly apart. Let's go back to 1943 to examine Operation Flash, why this series of attempts was so rushed, and whether it was worth the effort.

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(Business Insider)

Everything Happened At Once

By 1943, German Army officers were losing increasing numbers of troops to the Soviet Union, and the writing was on the wall: Germany was going to lose the war. Disillusioned with Hitler's power, Major General Henning von Tresckow put together a secret plot to take out the Führer as well as some of his closest and highest-ranking followers to clear the path for General Friedrich Olbricht to take control of Germany during the brief power vacuum, dubbing it Operation Flash. On March 13, 1943, when Hitler flew into Smolensk to visit the Army Group Center, Tresckow decided it was time to strike.

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(Traces of War)

Tresckow's Honor Guard Failed To Pull The Trigger

The first of three attempts that day occurred when Major Georg von Boeselager put together an "honor guard" to confront Hitler when he disembarked from his plane with members of the SS. The honor guard was stacked so deep with soldiers that they wouldn't have had a problem overwhelming Hitler's small crew of protectors, but they got cold feet when they started thinking about the ethics of Germans fighting Germans. It seems like the time for ethical consideration had long passed, but nevertheless, the plan was dropped in favor of an attempt later in the day.