Friday, August 26, 2011

Georg Elser: The Man Who Almost Killed Hitler


Past Imperfect:
The Munich bomb, on the other hand, exploded on November 8, 1939, at the height of the Führer’s popularity and less than three months after the outbreak of World War II—before the final order was given for the invasion of France, and when Russia remained a German ally and the United States remained at peace. Not only that; this bomb was the work of just one man, an unassuming carpenter who was far more principled than Stauffenberg and whose skill, patience and determination make him altogether much more interesting. Yet the Munich incident has been almost forgotten; as late as 1998 there was no memorial, in Germany or anywhere else, to the attempt or to the man who made it.

His name was Georg Elser, and this is his story.

Born in 1903, Elser was just below average height and just above average intelligence. He was not much of a thinker, but clever with his hands: an expert cabinetmaker who never read books, rarely touched newspapers and had little interest in politics. He had voted Communist, and briefly joined the Red Front Fighters’ League—streetfighters who took on their Nazi counterparts, the Brownshirts. But Elser was no Marxist, just a typical member of the German working class in the 1930s. He certainly wasn’t a brawler; for him, the attraction of the Fighters’ League was the chance to play in its brass band. In 1939, the only organization that he belonged to was the Woodworkers’ Union...

A fascinating story, one of which I was completely unaware. Click and read...

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