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10 Aims of the Attempted Coup

An immediate end to the war and the National Socialists’ war crimes and crimes of violence were the main aims of the attempted coup. Hitler’s opponents hoped they would be able to reconcile the people of Europe and lay the foundations for a new order of peace, with Germany as part of it.

By assassinating Hitler, the regime opponents hoped to prevent a military defeat and a national disaster for the German Reich. Doing so would also give a visible symbol of an “other Germany.” However, since early 1943 the Allies had insisted on unconditional surrender, which limited the options open to the German opposition.

Hitler’s opponents had to reach compromises on their different ideas for foreign and domestic policy. They had to agree on issues of administrative organization, the structure of the top Wehrmacht ranks, and basic directions in social, cultural, economic, and foreign policy, as well as on the composition of the new government after the Nazi regime.

A key factor for all opponents of National Socialism was restoring the rule of law and ending state despotism. That was the only way to ensure intellectual and political freedom and human rights. The National Socialist war criminals and perpetrators of crimes of violence were therefore to be held to account under due process of law.