Speidel, General Hans, 1897-1984

Speidel was a key behind-the-scenes figure in the Generals’ Plot against HITLER. He was in the position of influence, serving as Chief of Staff to the military commander of occupied France from 1940 to 1942. In 1944 he was assigned to be ROMMEL’s Chief of Staff in France and at this point the Generals’ plans were well advanced. Their main concern was to get an armistice with the Allies without killing Hitler. Speidel arranged for STULPNAGEL to talk Rommel into supporting the plot, however a similar attempt to recruit RUNDSTEDT was not successful. The Allied invasion of Normandy and the replacement of Rundstedt by KLUGE led to a change in plans. Most of the senior generals in France did not support an attempt to assassinate Hitler but if Hitler was dead they would have helped the plotters. Speidel was one of the generals who supported STAUFFENBERG’s attempt on 20 July 1944 and after the debacle he refused to obey Hitler’s order to destroy Paris. He was arrested and imprisoned, and refused to give any information under interrogation. He escaped after seven months and lived in hiding until the end of the war.

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