Adolf Hitler Assassination Attempts 1921 – 1945

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Adolf Hitler

 

This timeline details the 32 planned, attempted and failed assassination attempts made on Adolf Hitler from 1921 – 1945

See also Adolf Hitler Timeline

 

 

1921 (November)
Shooting in Munich by persons unknown
Shots were fired at Hitler from a crowd he was addressing
1923 (during)
Shooting in Thuringia by persons unknown
Shots were fired from a crowd.
1923 (during)
Shooting in Leipzig by persons unknown
Shots were fired at Hitler’s car.
1932 (January)
Attempted poisoning at Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin
Hitler often dined at the Hotel Kaiserhof with members of his staff. One night in January 1932 he dined at the hotel with his staff as usual but within an hour of eating the meal most of his table had fallen ill with food poisoning. Hitler was the least affected, possibly because he ate a vegetarian diet. Nobody died and nobody was charged.
1932 (15th March)
Shooting in a train carriage on the Munich to Weimar line
Hitler was travelling from Munich to Weimar with Joseph Goebbels and William Frick. Shots were fired at the carriage they were travelling in but no one was hurt.
1932 (June)
Ambush near Straslund
Hitler was travelling in a car near to Straslund. A group of men were waiting at a tight turn with the intention of ambushing the car and killing Hitler. However the car managed to get away.
1932 (July)
Stones thrown at Freiburg by persons unknown
Hitler made a speech to mass of people at Freiburg on 29th July. Just before or just after the speech a crowd threw stones at his car. One stone hit him on the head but he was otherwise unhurt.
1933 (4th March)
Bombing plot by Kurt Lutter at Konigsberg
Hitler was due to make an election speech to a crowd on 4th March, the day before the Reichstag elections. Kurt Lutter was a carpenter and leader of a Communist anti-Nazi group that wanted to kill Hitler. Two secret meetings were held in February to plan the details but one of the members of the group leaked details of the plot to the authorities and Lutter was arrested on March 3rd.
1933 (21st March)
Explosion at Potsdam Garnisonskirche by persons unknown
Hitler was due to attend a ceremony to commerate the opening of the new Reichstag building and the agreement that had led to the passing of the Enabling Act. Known as the Day of Potsdam the ceremony was to take place in the Garrison Church (Garnisonskirche) on March 21st. The day before the ceremony authorities discovered a tunnel that had been recently constructed beneath the church. It was thought that the tunnel would be packed with explosives and detonated while Hitler was in the church.
1933 (during)
Shooting at Obersalzberg by persons unknown
An unknown man wearing a SA uniform and carrying a gun was discovered at Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. The man was arrested and it was discovered that he was a would-be-assassin hoping to shoot Hitler as he took his afternoon walk.
1933 (during)
Shooting between Rosenheim and Obersalzberg by persons unknown
The car Hitler was travelling in was shot at
1935 (during)
Attempt to overthrow and assassinate Hitler by Dr Helmuth Mylius and Captain Hermann Ehrhardt
These two men hatched a plan to infiltrate the SS with their own men and once they had enough support they would kill Hitler and overthrow the regime. Unfortunately the plan was discovered by the Gestapo.
1935 (during)
Shooting by Heinrich Grunow at Berghof
Heinrich Grunow was one of Hitler’s SS Bodyguards. It is thought that he was seeking revenge for the Night of the Long Knives murder of SA leader Ernst Rohm. He knew that Hitler was returning to Berchtesgarten and hid at a point where the car had to slow down. As the car slowed Grunow fired shots at the car hitting the man in the back seat. He then shot himself. Unfortunately for the assassin Hitler was driving the car and it was his chauffeur sitting in the back seat.
1935 (during)
Assassination plot by Markwitz Group uncovered
This radical group decided to hatch a plot to kill Hitler. However, the group were infiltrated by the Gestapo and all members killed before the plot had been put in place.
1936 (December)
Attempted bombing by Helmut Hirsch
Helmut Hirsch was recruited by Otto Strasser, opponent of Hitler, to help in a plot to kill Hitler. Hirsch was to carry a bomb into Germany in a suitcase. Hirsch managed to get the bomb into Germany and went to meet his contact. However, the contact had been arrested three days earlier and so Hirsch met a Gestapo agent who arrested him. He was tried and beheaded in March 1937.
1937 (during)
Attempted bombing by an unknown German soldier
A soldier planted a bomb under a stage where Hitler was to give a speech. Thinking that the speech would go on for hours the soldier decided to go to the toilet before detonating the bomb. Unfortunately he got locked in the toilet and was unable to free himself in time to set the bomb off.
1937 (during)
Shooting plot by Dr Johannes von Dohnanyi.
Dr. Johannes von Dohnanyi tried to recruit Hitler’s adjutant, Hans Wiedemann and persuade him to shoot Hitler.
1938 (various dates)
A number of shooting attempts by Maurice Bavaud
Maurice Bavaud was a young Swiss man who wanted to assassinate Hitler for failing to eliminate the Communist Party. Bavaud went to visit relatives in Germany before purchasing a gun. He then took a train to Berlin where he hoped to locate Hitler. Unfortunately just days after he arrrived in Berlin Hitler left for the Berchtesgarten.

Undeterred Bavaud took a train to Bavaria intending to go to the Berchtesgarten. Once in Bavaria he learned that Hitler would be taking part in a parade so he pretended to be a Swiss journalist in order to obtain a grandstand position for the parade. Unfortunately Hitler was marching on the side of the parade away from the grandstand and Bavaud was unable to get a clear shot.

Next Bavaud decided to forge a letter from the French Foreign Minister and intended to use this to get close to Hitler by saying that he had been asked to deliver it personally. However, once he reached the Berchtesgarten he learned that Hitler was in Berlin. So he took another train to Berlin arriving just as Hitler was leaving Berlin for the Bertchesgarten.

Frustrated and out of money Bavaud decided to return home. Unfortunately he did not have sufficient funds left to get to Switzerland so he decided to go to France and from there get help to return to Switzerland. Unfortunately he was stopped by the railway conductor and, because he was a foreigner in possession of a gun, he was turned over to the Gestapo. Bavaud confessed and was executed.

1938 (September)
A plan to overthrow and assassinate Hitler by the Oster Group
Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster was a World War One veteran and head of counter-intelligence. He disliked Hitler and disapproved of the Nazi movement. Working within the Nazi regime he recruited a number of like-minded men and together the hatched a plot to overthrow Hitler.

The plan centred on the impending invasion of Czechoslovakia. Oster’s men were in place in a secret houses in Berlin. The idea was that Hitler would give the order to invade Czechoslovakia, Britain and France would then declare war on Germany and then the Oster Group would overthrow Hitler and prevent war.

The group had not factored the possibility that Britain and France would not declare war and when this did not happen the plan was abandoned.

1939 (September)
Plot by General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord to shoot Hitler in Berlin uncovered
General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord was a military veteran and an opponent of Hitler. He invited Hitler to visit him at Cologne. However, Hitler was aware of the General’s feelings towards him and declined the invitation. Hitler then arranged for the General to be retired.
1939 (8th November)
Bomb explosion by Georg Elser in Munich
Georg Elser was a carpenter who had recently been released from Dachau Concentration Camp where he had been sent for being a Communist. Elser knew that Hitler attended a rally every year on the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. He managed to gain access to the hall where Hitler was to speak and constructed a secret area in one of the pillars just behind the stage. Elser managed to obtain some explosive material and made a bomb. He used a clock to fashion a detonator. The bomb was timed to explode at about 9.30pm the time that previous years speeches had ended. However, this particular year the speeches were cut short and Hitler scheduled to take an earlier train back to Berlin. When the bomb detonated at 9.30pm Hitler was at the train station.
1940 (27th July)
Shooting in Paris planned by Count Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenberg
On June 22nd 1940 France signed an armistice agreement with Germany. A victory parade through Paris was planned for July 27th and Count FritzDietlof von der Schulenberg planned to shoot Hitler as he watched the parade. However, Hitler cancelled the parade.
1941 (21st May)
Shooting and explosion in Paris planned by Captain Graf Schwerin von Schwanefel, Major Hans Alexander von Voss and Captain Graf von Waldersee
A parade of German troops had been organised. The plan was that two of the high-ranking men would shoot Hitler as he watched the parade while the third would throw a grenade.

The plot failed because Hitler cancelled the parade.

1941 (4th August)
Shooting planned by Major General Henning von Tresckow in Borisov
Tresckow was a high-ranking official who was at the centre of a German resistance movement. He requested that Hitler visit him at Army Group Centre Headquarters. Hitler agreed and after several cancelled visits he arrived. Unfortunately most of the would be assassins got cold feet after seeing the number of security guards surrounding Hitler.
1943 (13th March)
Mid air explosion planned by Major General Henninbg von Tresckow, Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge and other sympathisers
The conspirators decided to plant explosives on Hitler’s plane which would detonate in mid air. The bomb was disguised to look like two bottles of Cognac.

During a lunch meeting Tresckow approached Colonel Heinz Brandt and asked him if he would take the two bottles for someone in Berlin. Brandt agreed and once on board placed the bottles in an unheated overhead locker. Unfortunately the cold of the locker interfered with the detonation mechanism and the bomb failed to explode.

1943 (21st March)
Suicide bombing by Von Gertsdorff at Berlin
Von Gertsdorff and Treskow decide that a suicide bomb would be the only way to kill Hitler. Von Gertsdorff agreed to be the bomber. The venue was selected to be a scheduled inspection of weapons at Army Group Centre. As Hitler arrived Von Gertsdorff made the bomb live. It had a 10 minute detonation time and it was hoped that the bomb would explode either as Hitler greeted von Gertsdorff or as they made the inspection. However, when Hitler arrived he walked straight past von Gertsdorff. Although Von Gertsdorff tried to attract Hitler’s attention he was ignored and within minutes Hitler had left the area. Von Gertsdorff went to the nearest toilet block and disarmed the bomb.
1943 (late)
Planned explosion by Major General Henning von Tresckow and Colonel Stieff at Rastenburg
Tresckow had tried to get appointed as Field Marshal Manstein’s Chief of Staff but Manstein, aware of Tresckow’s dislike of Hitler had refused the appointment and instead arranged for Tresckow to be posted East.

Colonel Stieff had managed to obtain some explosives for use by Tresckow’s resistance group. Because Tresckow was to go east it was agreed that the explosives should be hidden away for future use. Two men decided to bury the explosives near a water tower. However, for some reason the explosives randomly detonated and so could not be used in any assassination attempt.

1943 (late)
Planned explosion by Major General Henning von Tresckow and Captain Axel von dem Bussche
Hitler was due to inspect some new uniform samples and make a selection for the troops. Captain Axel von dem Bussche who was part of Tresckow’s resistance group was selected to model the uniforms. He agreed to carry an explosive device which he would detonate next to Hitler.

Unfortunately the viewing was postponed until the following day and during the night a railway car containing the uniforms was destroyed during an air raid.

1944 (early)
A plot to drive Hitler to suicide with pornography by a group of US airmen
A group of US airmen hatched a plot to fly over Hitler’s mountain retreat, the Berchtesgarten, and drop huge quantities of pornographic material. The hoped that the normally puritan Hitler would go mad with lust and kill himself. The plan was blocked by the military as foolish and silly.
1944 (6th July)
Bombing at the Berchtesgarten by Colonel Claus Count von Stauffenberg
Colonel Claus Count von Stauffenberg had been a part of Tresckow’s resistance movement and was a prime mover in Operation Valkyrie, a plot to detonate a bomb next to Hitler. Stauffenberg was Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Replacement Army and had direct access to Hitler.

It was agreed that Stauffenberg would carry a bomb into a meeting with Hitler. The bomb would be in a briefcase which could be placed under the table.

The meeting was set but for some reason Stauffenberg decided not to detonate the bomb

1944 (11th July)
Bombing at the Berchtesgarten by Colonel Claus Count von Stauffenberg
Another meeting and Stauffenberg arrived with a bomb in his briefcase. However, Himmler was not present at the meeting and so Stauffenberg decided to abort the attempt.
1944 (20th July)
Bombing at the Wolfschanze and attempted coup by Colonel Claus Count von Stauffenberg
Another meeting, this time at Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair. The meeting place had been changed to a light airy wooden out building rather than the concrete bunker meetings were normally held in.

Stauffenberg arrived but Hitler had brought the time of the meeting forward leaving Stauffenberg little time to prime the bomb. As a result Stauffenberg was only able to charge one of the two bombs in the briefcase. For some reason Stauffenberg removed the uncharged bomb from the case.

He entered the meeting room and placed the bomb under the table and took his place. Shortly afterwards Stauffenberg left the room saying he had an urgent telephone call to make.

When the bomb exploded Stauffenberg assumed he had been successful and went to his waiting car and directly to the airfield where a plane was waiting to take him to Berlin where he, along with other members of the group would take over the government.

Stauffenberg did not go back to the meeting room and had no idea that Hitler was still alive. Because Hitler had announced on the radio that he was alive resistance men in Berlin had failed to seize control.

Meanwhile it was quickly realised that Stauffenberg had set the bomb and orders for his arrest were issued. Stauffenberg was executed by shooting.

1945 (February)
Attempted gassing by Albert Speer
Albert Speer was Hitler’s Armaments Minister. He decided to put some lethal gas into the ventilation system of Hitler’s bunker. However, before he could procure sufficient gas Hitler doubled security around the bunker meaning that Speer would be unlikely to have the opportunity to put his plan into operation.

 

Published Feb 4, 2017 @ 8:44 pm – Updated – Mar 15, 2018 @ 1:15 pm

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017). Adolf Hitler Assassination Attempts Timeline. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/adolf-hitler-assassination-attempts Last Accessed December 12th, 2018

 

 

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