Beyond 'Valkyrie': The Assassination Plots against Hitler with Dr. Finn Ballad

Beyond 'Valkyrie': The Assassination Plots against Hitler with Dr. Finn Ballad


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On July 20th, 1944, a team of German soldiers attempted to kill Hitler in a bomb blast at his 'Wolf's Lair' in Poland. What about the dozens of other attempts to assassinate the Führer? This conversation will explore a number of assassination efforts to take down Adolf Hitler from 1936 through till 1944.

In this seminar, we will look at 'Valkyrie', the July 1944 assassination plot which missed its target by a hair's breadth, and which inspired the 2008 movie starring Tom Cruise. But we will also discuss the many earlier efforts to dispatch him, dating all the way back to before his inauguration. We will look at the earlier abortive attempts at military coups; the effort to kill Hitler in a bomb blast in 1936; the attempt by the Swiss theology student Maurice Bavaud to get rid of him (which cost Bavaud his life); the harrowing tale of Georg Elser, the carpenter whose attempt so nearly met its target in 1938 that Elser believed he had succeeded; Hitler's brush with death in the German Historical Museum; the 2-meter 'Aryan' prototype who would have killed the Führer with a bomb planted in his own overcoat... and more.

We will examine the culture of memory surrounding figures involved in such high-level resistance, and the complexity involved in lauding those would-be assassins who were members of Hitler's military elite. And we will ask the question: what if one of these would have met its target?

Led by an expert on twentieth-century German history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this interactive seminar will illuminate a series of truly astonishing plots against Hitler. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the relationship of Nazi Germany to its Führer.

Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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