August 25, 2011

THE MAN WHO almost killed Hitler. “The Munich bomb, on the other hand, exploded on November 8, 1939, at the height of the Führer’s popularity and less than three months after the outbreak of World War II—before the final order was given for the invasion of France, and when Russia remained a German ally and the United States remained at peace. Not only that; this bomb was the work of just one man, an unassuming carpenter who was far more principled than Stauffenberg and whose skill, patience and determination make him altogether much more interesting. Yet the Munich incident has been almost forgotten; as late as 1998 there was no memorial, in Germany or anywhere else, to the attempt or to the man who made it. His name was Georg Elser, and this is his story. . . . Asked later to explain his decision to take on Hitler, he was blunt: ‘I considered that the situation in Germany could only be changed by the elimination of the current leadership.’” Too bad he failed.