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Worm in the Apple
German Traitors and Other Influences
That Pushed the World Into War:

The little-known story of the men who destroyed Adolf Hitler's Germany

Friedrich Lenz


13. The morale of the people and the soldiers

What conclusions must we draw from these facts? Can these men, who presumed to intervene so thoughtlessly in the battle for Germany's fate, expect to be judged the way they and their descendants would like? No - not even if one were to concede that they only wanted the best. Would it perhaps be excused if a layman were to try to defuse a bomb that had landed in the heart of the city, instead of calling in the experts? The fact that they did not shy back from the consequences of their actions, but rather continued to make plans for Hitler's assassination despite great difficulties and many failed attempts - this fact alone already proves the mind-boggling profundity of their hatred that stifled all common sense and any pangs of conscience and prompted them to invent the most extravagant excuses to endow their actions with an ethical motive.

The majority of these people simply did not have their mental and emotional center of gravity in Germany. The American author Dulles, exceedingly well informed about the German Resistance Movement, also points this out in his book Germany's Underground: "It is interesting to note that the leading parts in this conspiracy were played by people who had familial or cultural ties to the Anglo-Saxon world."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer For others it was their relationship with the international Church that prompted them to put the interests of the Fatherland second. In 1941, vicar Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who was later executed) said at a secret Church conference in Geneva: "I pray for my country's defeat. Only through defeat can we atone for the dreadful crimes we have committed against Europe and the world."

But I would ask the conspirators and advocates of July 20: who will atone for the war, for the destruction wrought by the bombings, for the expulsion of the Germans from their ancestral German homelands in Eastern Europe, who will atone for the million-fold atrocities of the Bolshevists, for the surrender of Eastern Europe to the Bolshevists, for the economic suffering and the corruption in West Germany, for the way in which Germany was torn apart, and for the threat posed to all of western Europe as well as America by Bolshevism? And who will have to give their lives to vanquish this syndrome of European woes which, while it persists, will render peace in Europe impossible? What have the conspirators of July 20 who are still living, and the descendants of those executed, done to combat these crimes, and what do they continue to do about them? Nothing! Instead, they wage a never-ending war against the truth and most of all against the real Germany which they would like to suppress with pseudo-democratic means. They justify the breach of their oath with the ridiculous claim that Adolf Hitler had broken his oath to the nation. Aside from the fact that "an oath takes only one, namely that person who swears it freely, and freely in the face of God, yet stands staunchly by that which he swore," it is quite incomprehensible to me in which way Adolf Hitler might have broken his oath. Those who allege this breach have not a single proof for their claim; all they have is their accusation, couched in generalities. And in any case, the conspirators had already broken their oath at a time when Adolf Hitler could not even have done those actions yet which they falsely term 'breach of his oath'.

Another reason that is given to justify the assassination attempt is the alleged hopelessness of the military situation (1944). Aside from the fact that this excuse was seized on belatedly - because after all it has been clearly established that the conspiracy had already been ongoing since 1933 - the rebels were not in any position to assess the real chances of the war effort, since they did not have the perspective of the leadership, much less an understanding of their intentions. The conspirators' claim that they were under an obligation to rid the German people of a dictator is even more ludicrous. Even as late as 1944, by far the majority of the people did not regard Adolf Hitler as a man whose leadership they felt oppressed by and whom they wanted to be freed of.

At this point I will quote an important passage from a book which assesses this problem with perfect clarity:28

"July 20 showed that the idea of high treason had neither its roots nor even support in the broad masses of the people and the millions of the army. What we discovered with alarm was the fact that there had been a faction - standard to almost any political movement - devoid of any constructive political force, yet in a social stratum where nobody would have suspected or even deemed it possible. We were particularly glad that the putsch had failed because, had it succeeded, then within 24 hours it would invariably have plunged us into a most bloody civil war, both at the battle front and at home, and thus driven us to immediate collapse. There can be no question that in spite of all their heavy cares and sorrows, the masses of the laborers and the soldiers would have regarded a putsch government of such a nature with embittered desperation and would have refused to obey its injunctions, because they would have viewed the coup as fatal treason against their own hopes - treason motivated solely by status-based prejudices and interests. What cheated the rebels of even the smallest shred of public sympathy was the unmistakable personal agenda of the participants, which was not to stake their lives in the interests of their country and for the sake of their self-proclaimed foremost necessity, but rather to survive for the sake of ambition and the power they craved.

"As it turned out later, the rebels had detained considerable troops at their home stations for their own purposes, thus depriving the battle front of badly needed reserves at the most critical times. The extent of these misappropriations of manpower was not known for individual cases. It seems to have been great enough on the whole, though, considering that Himmler was able to patch the holes in the Eastern front with these reserves. In any case, this gave rise to the suspicion that the insurgents had been more than passively interested in the military break-down of the Eastern front as a prerequisite to the collapse of the regime, and had intentionally magnified the disasters arising from this strategic misdirection, rather than minimizing them. Hence we had reason to also hold them directly responsible, to a degree, for the fateful course of events at the front. This course of events had threatened the success of our overall conception and jeopardized the gain in time that we needed so badly. The miscarriage of the putsch gave us a last chance to perhaps bring this danger under control after all.

"It was by no means the case that the Gestapo itself had been the backbone of domestic stability. In light of the situation as it really was, this perception was the illusion of those few who really stood in serious opposition. Both the people and the armed forces fought as grimly and staunchly as they did because they were informed by the realization that what was at stake in this war was literally the ultimate issues of national as well as personal existence and freedom. Especially in the East, there was as good as no desertion from the main front. In the armaments effort at home as well, there was next to no 'blue-collar' sabotage. And all this despite the fact that Communism had been strong in Germany in the none-too-distant past! These people were under fire for the sake of their own interests as never before, and needed no prodding to devote all their moral energies to saving themselves. Neither the Gestapo nor troop discipline would have retained any significance, or warded off the immense pressure, had the moral situation been different.

"That it was the way it was, was due primarily to the war aims that the Allies had proclaimed and which had been expressed unmistakably in the Morgenthau Plan. To the majority of the people this declaration seemed so incomprehensibly absurd that it was hardly to be believed, especially since it originated in the Western world whom nobody would even have thought capable of such monstrosity. Goebbels had his work cut out for him when he tried to convince the public of the credibility of this plan. The Germans considered it an attempt to panic them. This conflict between disbelief and anger was the atmosphere in which their moral resolution grew into a desperate and embittered intransigence. If the rebels had succeeded in their putsch, they would nevertheless have run aground on this mental state brought about in the German masses by Allied policies.

"When Hitler declared time and again that the only choice was between victory and annihilation, then in light of the identical options offered repeatedly by the Allies, the German people had no alternative but to choose the battle for the ultimate extreme.

"As army officers - and that included practically the intelligent majority of an entire generation - we had good grounds for the belief that the morale of the soldiers would ensure that the war would be won, if only they could be supplied with the requisite material assistance in the form of arms technology. We had witnessed first-hand the unparalleled mettle of the working man who did not shy back from even the greatest sacrifices in order to enable this assistance. We had witnessed how the miners of the Aachen coal fields still went down into the pits even right in the immediate battle area, and dug the coal out literally from under the battlefield - these extraordinary deeds took place on a level far beyond the Gestapo's authority. We had witnessed how the miners of the Ruhr region had halted a corrupt unit's flight from France with nothing more than clubs, and routed the marauders back to the battle front. We witnessed how they mistook the remnants of the crushed division 'Hitlerjugend' - that division that had held its ground so tenaciously at Avranches - for marauders as well, when these units returned for reinforcements. They had cornered them, and had already begun to vent their disgust at their supposed desertion. In Silesia we witnessed how our arms workers continued without respite to work on the completion of our 'Tiger' tanks even within firing range of Soviet artillery and infantry and did not give up their place even when we had to withdraw from our position. They remained, because of course we would return and bail them out. We knew all that. We knew that we could all rely on each other, if only the secret plans of our leadership were realized. That was the goal."

The same source, on the topic of possibilities destroyed by July 20:

"...The conversation also turned to the issue of whether a settlement with the Western powers would not have been possible at some earlier date. The man in question from the innermost circle said - and stressed that this was Goebbels' opinion as well - that the disastrous events of July 20 had deprived Hitler and any possible legal successor government of just that option.

"The fact that July 20 happened in the first place could not but have strengthened enemy speculations about internal German weakness, and thus also the enemy's resolve to widen, by means of extreme military pressure, the rift that had become apparent in the armor of German war leadership. On the other hand, the German government could not afterwards have expected the people to accept a solution which it had already had to brand as treason in the interests of the German position that had been so severely compromised by the attempted putsch. Until July 20, Hitler had left such a possibility wide open in internal discussions with Himmler or Goebbels, but afterwards he categorically rejected it and declared that the only course of action now left open was to hold our own until the new weapons were ready or until the enemy coalition collapsed, and hence to win or be crushed.

"Since this man enjoyed Himmler's particular trust in political matters, he was no doubt reporting a more confidential and privy view of the state of affairs - one based on individual experiences.

"Besides, he said, there was an obstacle to such a settlement for the Western Allies as well, namely the very real need to act with absolute consideration for the Soviets. It was our misfortune, he said, that we had had to ally ourselves with the Japanese. On the one hand, this circumstance had rendered a potential, one-sided conciliation with the Western powers an impossibility for Hitler, because he would have had to desert our Japanese allies in the process, which he would never have been willing to do. On the other hand, the Soviets would doubtless have replied to a one-sided settlement between the Western powers and Germany by supporting Japan against Great Britain and the United States, so that the Western powers would probably have had to pay for a settlement on the European front with defeat in the Far East. Therefore, the key to our success could only be to keep up the fight until, at least through decisive new weapons, we might force one or another of our opponents to end the war against us, or until we could obtain respect for our national and territorial being through political methods based on the ever-increasing duality of the Allies. This last and final possibility was to be served by the continuation of the war from the so-called Alpine and North Sea strongholds and finally from the Norwegian stronghold as well. More than forty divisions fit for battle were still stationed there; we had not been able to lead them back in time to deploy them in the decisive battle against the Soviets. Bases for operations with the new submarines, airplanes and rocket weapons were located there, as were bases for the completion of the most important weapon, about which we only knew that it was a retaliatory weapon with undreamt-of range and was to be armed with a brand-new, devastating explosive..

"This final politically operative idea of Hitler's and Goebbels' last deliberations was based on the clash, inevitable as it was on principle, between the Capitalist West and the Bolshevik Eastern power, or at least on the collapse of their coalition of that time and on our further abilities of negotiation with the Japanese. It was of decisive importance then that German sovereignty would still be championed somewhere, and would gain a hearing.

"Meanwhile, the world has come to be quite clear on the question of to what extent the German secret weapons were actualities of consequence.... The technological niveau of these innovations in those days prior to the atomic bomb is of crucial importance to the assessment of the hopes and expectations we still cherished at that time. Churchill and Eisenhower later confirmed the very real significance they had to the opinion of the Western powers and their leadership as well."


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Notes

28In the original edition of this booklet, Der ekle Wurm der deutschen Zwietracht, the source of this quotation was withheld - probably with the intent of protecting the author - and replaced with the note: "Information regarding the author and title of this publication are available on request from the author." Unfortunately, since Friedrich Lenz can no longer be contacted, we have not been able to obtain this information for publication here. [Scriptorium] ...back...


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Worm in the Apple
German Traitors and Other Influences That Pushed the World Into War:
The little-known story of the men who destroyed Adolf Hitler's Germany