The Generals' plot was an alleged coup d'etat by various Wehrmacht generals and aristocrats to overthrow Adolf Hitler. The plot was uncovered in January 1939, concurrent with the Battle of France. Several of the plotters were killed, and the remainder were imprisoned in Dachau. The German government immediately clamped down on all news outlets to insure news of the plot did not become public, to prevent Germany from looking weak to its enemies. Two generals known to have been part of the plot were Franz Halder and Werner von Fritsche.
The failure of this coup did not prevent a subsequent, doomed coup attempt in October, 1939.
Nonetheless, news of the coup did leak in the months that followed. Hitler went on the radio to personally deny the attempt, which was how most Germans had found out something had even happened. This speech was reported on by the Soviet press, among others, which also reported from German sources that at least four generals had not been seen in some weeks. Some soldiers in the Wehrmacht serving on the front line found out how far reaching the alleged conspiracy went when the SS started sniffing around their units and arresting various officers on even the barest of evidence.
As a result of the plot, the prestige and status of the Waffen-SS increased. It also increased the power of the SS, already intrusive, to look into the lives of ordinary soldiers, citizens, leaders and generals alike.
So many people were taken from the front lines, soldiers of the Wehrmacht began to see the similarities of their precarious situation and that of the Soviets in the Red Army.
- Hitler's War, pgs. 226-227, HC.
- Ibid., pg. 227.
- Ibid., pg. 355.
- Ibid., pg. 359.