Ludwig Beck

Ludwig Beck ( Biebrich , Wiesbaden , Hesse , 29 as June as 1880 – Berlin , 20 July as as 1944 ) was a colonel general ( Generaloberst ) German , and Chief of Staff of the German Army during the early years of the Nazi regime. In the early years of this he supported Hitler in his denunciation of the Treaty of Versailles and the German rearmament . He soon had serious doubts about the Nazi demand that all military members swear allegiance to Hitler as the maximum German Führer in 1934. Between 1935 and 1938 he was gradually becoming more and more disillusioned with the Nazi regime, particularly with its aggressive foreign policy. Due precisely to serious disagreements in this regard, which became public, Beck resigned as Chief of Staff in August 1938. From then on he became convinced that Hitler could not change for the better, and that he and the Nazi party should Be expelled from power. He then became a key figure in the conspiracies to overthrow Hitler, and would have been the Provisional Head of State if the July 20, 1944 bombing had succeeded . When he failed, and was arrested, he asked for a gun to commit suicide.


Born in Biebrich (now a suburb of Wiesbaden , in the federal state of Hesse ), he was educated within the Prussian military tradition . Between 1931 and 1933 he wrote an important manual of military tactics ( Die Truppenführung ), which made it possible for him to be assigned to the General Headquarters in 1933 , which he later became chief two years later.

In July 1934 he showed disagreement with the foreign policy of the regime. Beck was displeased with Adolf Hitler’s efforts to expand the influence of the SS ( Schutzstaffel ) in the regular Army.

On the other hand, it considered that the territorial expansion of the Reich went too far after the invasion of the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939 , after which it resigned in protest.

From 1939 he was in contact with other members of the German army (including Admiral Wilhelm Canaris , Marshal Erwin von Witzleben , Minister Hjalmar Schacht ) politicians and citizens planning a coup that would end the regime. In the event of the eventual overthrow of Hitler, he would have been part of the regent triumvirate that would negotiate peace with France and the United Kingdom , maintain the protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, Austria and Western Poland as part of Germany and restore the Hohenzollern monarchy . 1

In 1943 he planned two unsuccessful attempts to kill Hitler and in 1944 was one of the main instigators of the July 20 plot .

After the collapse of the conspiracy, according to the story of Fabian von Schlabrendorff , the next day he was in custody of General Friedrich Fromm when he preferred suicide before facing execution preceded by torture. It is said that he was in such a state of nerves that he was still alive after two bullets were fired in the head, and he had to ask a sergeant for help.

In the film Valkyrie (2008) was interpreted by the English actor Terence Stamp .


  1. Back to top↑ Wheeler-Bennett, 1967 , pp. 501-502.