We know of many a theme that was kept "Top Secret" during WWII and we can understand as to why, but as the years have past Classified material has become more obtainable. This document was kept classified until 02/24/84 not sure if it became unclassified after the 50 year rule but it is obtainable today. It was once the property of the US Army which at the time made for good reading. This document is about the Attempt on Hitler’s Life on the 20th July 1944 told by Rudolf-Christopf Freiherr von Gersdorff. Rudolf-Christopf Freiherr von Gersdorff Generalmajor Date of Birth: 27 March 1905 Place of Birth: Lueben, Silesia Von Gersdorff joined the Army as an officer candidate in 1924 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of cavalry two years later after training in the Infantry School, Ohrdruf and the Cavalry School, Hannover. When World War II broke out, von Gersdorff, by now a captain of cavalry, was serving an assignment as assistant intelligence officer on the staff of the 14th Army. After participating in the Polish Campaign, he was transferred as intelligence officer to the XII Corps in position at Saarbruecken. On 20 April 1940 he was awarded General Staff Corps Status and a month later was transferred as operations officer to the 86th Division, with which division he took part in the ‘1940 offensive in France. Promoted major on 1 June 1940, lieutenant colonel in March 1942, colonel in July 1943 and Generalmajor in March 1945, von Gersdorff s further employment during the war included assignments as intelligence officer of Army Group Center, in Russia, from April 1941 - September 1943, as chief of staff, LXXXII Corps, on the Channel coast, from Feb - July 1944 and as chief of staff, Seventh Army, in Normandy, Belgium and during the retreat through Germany from July 1944 - May 1945. On 9 May 1945 the General, was taken prisoner at Ellboge, near Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia. 1: INTRODUCTION One of the essential conditions for the success of the conspiracy of 20 July 1944 was the maintenance of absolute secrecy. Even those persons who played an active role in the development of the conspiracy were not informed of all its details. Naturally, too, very few written notes were made upon which an exhaustive, documented report could be prepared. For that reason, I will set down my own experiences in detail, while giving only general treatment to information derived from others. When, in 1933, National Socialism came to power by legal methods, the army was presented with a fait accompli. The training and structure, of the Reichswehr had intentionally been kept non-political by its creators. The only general who played a political role, von Schleicher, was defeated by parliamentary methods in his attempt to gain power. The rest of the generals held themselves aloof from politics, adopting the same neutral attitude with which formerly, under the Weimar regime, they had carried out their military duties, untouched and unmoved by party hatreds and partiality. The younger members of the officer corps either adopted this same attitude or allowed themselves to be driven through patriotic feeling, which was skilfully directed by propaganda into a more or less enthusiastic acceptance of National Socialism. However, the experiences during the first years after the seizure, of power, especially during the purge of 30 June 1944 (In the document this date is circled with a question mark) could only bring disillusionment to many. Those who were already sceptical of Nazism or were inwardly opposed to its principles were now driven into the opposition, while many others began for the first time to think for themselves, without, however, fully recognizing the extent of the menace. The Nazis’ objectives and above all their methods of attaining them were at this time so outwardly obscure that the mass, of the officer corps could not conceive of the true nature of the movement, especially of its criminal aspects. Only the most farsighted persons, who were able to gain partial insight into the intentions and ideas of those in high party circles, could predict the disaster which Hitler and his Movement were to bring to Germany and to the whole world. Three officers recognized the danger and sought to exercise some influence on the subsequent course of events. They were Generaloberst Freiherr von Hammerstein, former chief of the Army High Command; Generaloberst Beck, at that time chief of the General Staff; and Generaloberst Freiherr von Fritsch, commander in chief of the Army. The first two, especially, had already decided to place themselves in active opposition to Hitler and his regime. Thus the little group around Hammerstein and Beck became the first cell of opposition, gradually developing into the conspiracy of 20 July 1944. At that time, however, the movement failed to gain greater influence. Hitler’s successes in the political, economic, arid social spheres tended to overshadow the negative aspects of the Nazi program. Various events, the murder of Generals von Schleicher and von Bredow, the deposing of von Fritsch, and the departure of Beck, were of significance only as they influenced a gradual increase in the number of those who joined the opposition. But the time was not ripe for the act of liberation; the important personalities of the Wehrmacht were not sufficiently concerned with politics, the majority of the officer corps lacked orientation. In the period from 1938 to 1940 the storm of events overshadowed all other thoughts and efforts, and any active opposition at that time would have been considered by the mass of the German people to be stupidity and high treason. Apparent successes in the political and economic fields destroyed the healthy instincts and sound judgment of the people and prepared the way to the criminal objectives of the Nazi leaders. We must not forget here the great effect of propaganda, which had never before in world history been applied with such skill and force. It is true that again and again some individuals tried to interfere with developments. For instance, there was the action of Generaloberst Blaskowitz in Poland. But such heroism was swallowed up by the rapid course of events, especially as the Nazis employed skilful propaganda either to cover up such news or to reduce it to insignificance. Germany’s victorious military leadership, which appeared to the world to have risen to the peak of fame, had actually fallen to the lowest depths of its century-long history. Because of their political naïveté and instinctive trustfulness, the military leaders had let power slip gradually from their hands. When Nazism dropped its mask, the Army was at grips with its military enemy and, driven by a desire to defend the Fatherland, became the witless tool of a criminal leadership.