Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 52 (2004), 3
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Gerhard Ringshausen: Hans-Alexander von Voß (1907-1944). Offizier im Widerstand.
Hans-Alexander von Voß (1907 - 1944). An officer in the resistance against Hitler.
Hans-Alexander von Voß, born in Berlin in 1907, was one of those courageous staff officers who tried to overthrow the National Socialist regime by killing the dictator. Scholars, however, have not given him the credit he deserves. Von Voß was involved in two intended pistol attacks; one planned by the resistance group within the staff of field marshall Erich von Witzleben in Saint Germain at the beginning of 1941, the other thought up by the officers around Henning von Tresckow, who was a good friend of his, in March 1943. He tried to win the commanders-in-chief for the resistance on several occasions, but without success. As he was one of the conspirators of July 20th, 1944, and as he was aware of the Gestapo's methods of investigation, he committed suicide on October 8th, 1944.
This study is based in particular on the unpublished letters that von Voß wrote to his wife, Gisela, née von Stülpnagel. It was possible to both reconstruct the circumstances of his military career in the famous IR 9 up to lieutenant colonel, and to show how his doubts and criticism of the regime developed, which made him become a member of the resistance against Hitler. The letters reflect his political, religious and ethical beliefs, which motivated his actions against the regime and the dictator himself.
Silvia Daniel: "Troubled Loyalty"? Britisch-deutsche Debatten um Adam von Trott zu Solz 1933-1969.
"Troubled loyalty"? Debates on Adam von Trott zu Solz in Britain and Germany,1933 - 1969.
Adam von Trott zu Solz, a member of the German resistance, had been in close contact with British academia, politics and society from his student days as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford to his death at the hands of the National Socialists in 1944. Trott was a controversial figure among those who knew him in England when he was still alive, because he had returned voluntarily to Nazi Germany in 1933. From this time on, people in England did not know much about his attitude towards National Socialism, his occupation or his later clandestine activities and undercover travels on behalf of the German opposition. After 1945, Trott's circle of friends who had always believed in him and who had understood his intentions tried to clear up some misunderstandings and suspicions that occurred in press articles and in the first books on the German resistance. A "Trott committee", whose members included his close friend David Astor and the historian Hans Rothfels, looked for a biographer who could explain Trott's thought and action in order to disprove John Wheeler-Bennett's critical view. Yet, Christopher Sykes did not meet these high expectations with his work "Troubled Loyalty". The work became, on the opposite, rather a product and the climax of a controversy that sprang from a unique constellation of personal, political and media contacts. The discussion was led very emotionally by contemporary witnesses, former friends and acquaintances of Trott.
Walter Süß: Von der Ohnmacht des Volkes zur Resignation der Mächtigen. Ein Vergleich des Aufstandes in der DDR 1953 mit der Revolution von 1989.
A powerless people and the resignation of the rulers: The uprising of 1953 vs. the revolution of 1989.
Why was the revolution in 1989 successful whilst the revolt in 1953 ended in tragedy? This essay tries to answer this question by comparing the international contexts of both events, as well as their inner dynamics. For the Soviet Union, its satellite countries, including the GDR, played very different roles in each of the periods. In the early 1950s, the GDR functioned as a cordon sanitaire in case of military conflict with the West. In the late 1980s, however, it served as a bridge to the West. The gap between those different functions is highly significant of the changing balance of political power on an international level, and also of the change of the Soviet system itself, whose ideological foundations were crumbling. Yet, this in itself does not explain the course of events in 1989. Within more than three decades, the actors on both sides of this power struggle had changed, too. What had been doomed to failure in 1953 could therefore be achieved by peaceful means in 1989, although there was some use of violence on the side of the insurgents.
Astrid M. Eckert und Stefan Martens: Glasplatten im märkischen Sand. Zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der Tageseinträge und Diktate von Joseph Goebbels.
Glass plates in the sand of the Mark Brandenburg. Joseph Goebbels' daily notes and dictations and their post-war history.
The post-war history of Joseph Goebbel's daily notes - how the known fragments fell into whose hands, and why they were preserved - has never been explained in a satisfactory way. Especially the history of those notes that were microcopied on glass plates in late 1944 and rediscovered in a Moscow archive in 1992 has remained largely uninvestigated. Newly found plates and documents from French, American and British archives now allow a reconstruction of the events leading to the discovery of the glass plates and of the ensuing struggle over this "trophy" among the Allies. In late 1945, an informant tipped off French military intelligence about a metal crate containing important Goebbels documents that had been buried near Potsdam at the end of the war. In cooperation with the Americans, the French tried to recover the crate, but without success. Since the hiding place was located in the Soviet zone of occupation, the French reluctantly informed the Russians. In March 1946, a party of French and Russian officers unearthed the crate. Its contents soon became a bone of contention between French and American agencies with the latter expecting a set of copies for their earlier cooperation. The glass plates, however, remained in Russian hands. After some further negotiations, the French struck a deal with the Russians, thereby allowing the French to examine some glass plates, and, upon return of the processed lot, to receive new ones. When this "trade" was interrupted for unknown reason in 1947, four original boxes containing about 60 glass plates remained on the French side. Today they are stored in the archive of the French Foreign Office at the Quai d'Orsay.
Johannes Hürter: Auf dem Weg zur Militäropposition. Tresckow, Gersdorff, der Vernichtungskrieg und der Judenmord. Neue Dokumente über das Verhältnis der Heeresgruppe Mitte zur Einsatzgruppe B im Jahr 1941.
On the way to military opposition. Tresckow, Gersdorff, the war of extermination and the murder of the Jews. New documents on the relations between Heeresgruppe Mitte and Einsatzgruppe B in 1941.
The research into the military opposition against Hitler is hampered by a lack of authentic documents from the time before 1945 on the one hand and a surplus of retrospective accounts from the time after 1945 on the other. Therefore it is difficult to establish what motives caused the pendulum to swing in the direction of a coup d'état, and when this decision was definitely taken. Did officers like Henning v. Tresckow and Rudolf-Christoph Frhr. v. Gersdorff turn against the regime first and foremost for military and political reasons, or was it above all their moral indignation about the National Socialist mass crimes, especially the murder of the Jews, which drove them, as it has been stressed again and again on hindsight? New documents prove without any doubt that the officers of Army Group Mitte, who became active members of the resistance movement later on, had an exhaustive knowledge of the mass murders of Jewish men committed by Einsatzgruppe B, even during the first weeks of the campaign against the Soviet Union. There is, however, no hint that they were distressed or scandalized by this kind of "combatting the enemy" then. The brutal action against potential opponents amongst the civilian population was at least tolerated, if not accepted, during this first and stormy phase of the campaign against Russia, as it was hoped to shatter the Red Army fast and ruthlessly with a concentrated blow. When the plan of a blitzkrieg had failed at the end of summer 1941, doubts about a successful outcome of the campaign and of the whole war arose, which led Tresckow to sound things out within the circles of the opposition in Berlin. However, a feeling of horror against those mass crimes becomes tangible only at the end of October, when it became known in the Army Group that those killed by the SS and the police squads in their thousands were not only "dangerous" and "suspicious" Jewish men, but all Jews, without making a difference. It was only this new dimension of the holocaust, the genocide, which made ethical motives to resist against one's own government appear in a more pronounced way, besides military and political reasons.
Hans-Peter Schwarz zum 70. Geburtstag (Horst Möller).
Auschwitz und der Holocaust 1941/42. Eine kurze Antwort auf Michael Thad Allen (Jan Erik Schulte)
Verbrechen der Wehrmacht - eine Bilanz. Eine Tagung des Hamburger Instituts für Sozialforschung und des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin vom 16. bis 18. März 2004 in Hamburg (Christian Hartmann/Johannes Hürter/Ulrike Jureit)
Redaktion Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte
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