Henning von Tresckow

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Henning von Tresckow

Henning Hermann Robert Karl von Tresckow (January 10, 1901July 21, 1944) was an officer in the German Army who helped organize German resistance against Adolf Hitler. He attempted to assassinate Hitler on 13 March 1943 and drafted the Valkyrie plan for a coup against the German government. He was described by the Gestapo as the "prime mover" and the "evil spirit" behind the plot of 20 July 1944 to assassinate Hitler. He committed suicide at Królowy Most on the Eastern Front upon the plot's failure.


  • The assassination must be attempted at all costs. Even if it should not succeed, an attempt to seize power in Berlin must be made. What matters now is no longer the practical purpose of the coup, but to prove to the world and for the records of history that the men of the resistance dared to take the decisive step. Compared to this objective, nothing else is of consequence.
    • 1944. Fest, Joachim. Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 236.
  • It is almost certain that we will fail. But how will future history judge the German people, if not even a handful of men had the courage to put an end to that criminal?
    • June 1944. Marcel Stein, Field Marshal Von Manstein, a Portrait, p. 247.
  • The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing. Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the world. When, in few hours' time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany. No one among us can complain about his death, for whoever joined our ranks put on the shirt of Nessus. A man's moral worth is established only at the point where he is ready to give up his life in defense of his convictions.
    • July 21, 1944. Joachim Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 289-290.
  • Remember this moment. If we don't convince the field marshal (Fedor von Bock) to fly to Hitler at once and have these orders (Commissar Order) canceled, the German people will be burdened with a guilt the world will not forget in a hundred years. This guilt will fall not only on Hitler, Himmler, Göring, and their comrades but on you and me, your wife and mine, your children and mine, that woman crossing the street, and those children over there playing ball.
    • 1941. Fest, Joachim. Plotting Hitler's Death, 175
    • Robert Kane, Disobedience and Conspiracy in the German Army, 1918-1945, p. 163.
  • Isn't it dreadful? Here we are, two officers of the German General Staff, discussing how best to murder our commander in chief. It must be done. This is our only chance... Hitler must be cut down like a rabid dog.
    • 1943. Roger Moorhouse, Killing Hitler, p. 249.
  • I cannot understand how people can still call themselves Christians and not be furious adversaries of Hitler's regime.
    • April 1943. Bodo Scheurig, Henning Von Tresckow: Ein Preuße Gegen Hitler.
  • The idea of freedom can never be disassociated from real Prussia. The real Prussian spirit means a synthesis between restraint and freedom, between voluntary subordination and conscientious leadership, between pride in oneself and consideration for others, between rigor and compassion. Unless a balance is kept between these qualities, the Prussian spirit is in danger of degenerating into soulless routine and narrow-minded dogmatism.
    • 1943, at his sons' confirmation at Potsdam Garrison Church. Michael Balfour, Withstanding Hitler, 1988, p. 130.
  • I would like to show the German people a film with the title "Germany at the end of the war". Then perhaps people would be alarmed and would realize where we are heading. People would agree with me that the superior warlord (Hitler) must disappear. But since we cannot show this movie people will create the legend of the "stab in the back" whenever we will act against Hitler.
    • December 1941. Bodo Scheurig, Henning von Tresckow, ein Preusse gegen Hitler, p. 135-6.
  • Hitler is a dancing dervish. He must be shot down.
    • 1938. Roger Moorhouse, Killing Hitler, p. 237.

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