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Ludwig Beck
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Military Personnel
    (June 29, 1880-July 20, 1944)
    Born in Biebrich, Germany
    German general
    Chief of the Army General Staff (1935-38)
    Was to have been named provisional Head of State if the July 20 assassination plot against Adolf Hitler had succeeded (1944)
    He testified on behalf of three officers caught distributing Nazi literature at a time when joining political parties was forbidden for members of the army (1930).
    When Hitler became chancellor, he declared, 'It is the first ray of hope since 1918.'
    He opposed Hitler not because he objected to conquering Europe but because he felt Germany needed more time before it was militarily ready.
    He resigned from the General Staff to protest Hitler's policies, then agreed to keep the resignation secret, rather undermining its value as a protest.
    After the failure of the assassination attempt against Hitler, he tried to commit suicide, but had to have a sergeant administer the coup de grace.
    He wrote an operations manual that, with modifications, is still used by the German army.
    He kept his resignation from the General Staff secret in return for Hitler agreeing to appoint him to a field command, and considered it a betrayal when he was put on the retired list instead.
    He tried to convince Germany's general to resign en masse to protest plans for war with Czechoslovakia (1938), declaring, 'If they all act together, then it will be impossible to carry out military action. They will thereby save the Fatherland from the worst, from total ruin.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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