The Man Who Almost Killed Hitler

Claus von Stauffenberg and Operation Valkyrie

Jacob Wilkins
6 min readFeb 16, 2023


A photograph of Claus von Stauffenberg by an unknown photographer, c. 1930s (Wikimedia Commons)

On the 7th of April 1943, Claus von Stauffenberg was injured in Tunisia. His left eye was destroyed. His right hand was blown off. And he only had three remaining fingers on the other hand.

After being transferred back to Germany, Stauffenberg made a quick recovery. The medical staff were impressed by his attitude and admired his desire to return to active service.

But Stauffenberg wasn’t interested in fighting for the Nazis anymore. He wanted to assassinate the man who had ruined his country: Adolf Hitler.

Stauffenberg and Olbricht

Stauffenberg, like many others in Germany, had previously been a supporter of the Nazis. But there were several incidents that changed his outlook.

In 1939, he witnessed the SS butchering Jewish women and children, and the following year, he saw a Nazi field commander execute unarmed British prisoners. These experiences, along with the increasing likelihood that Germany would lose the war, made Stauffenberg resent the Nazi Party.

Given his reputation for punctuality and efficiency, Stauffenberg was made Chief of Staff in the Home Army after leaving the hospital.