Personal Recollections of the Plot to Kill Hitler

Scholtz, Dr. Gerhard. Diaries from 1945–1953

A4 sized original densely typed pages with hundreds of newspaper clippings in six black binders of the time. 1) May 3, 1945-December 31, 1945: [156] pp. includes [7] pp. from August 31, 1939 predicting Germany’s loss in World War II; also includes a summary of 1932–1946; 2) 1949: [104] pp. (three-hole punched); 3) 1950: [167] pp.; 4) 1951: [209] pp.; 5) 1952: [120] pp.; 6) 1953: [141] pp. In German. Very good. 

Dr. Scholtz was a military historian and biographer of German military figures such as Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831, author of On War), Friedrich Carl (1828–1885, Prussian military commander), and Hermann von Boyen (1771–1848, inventor of the military draft).

Dr. Scholtz was also a co-conspirator in the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler. These are his diaries from August 1939, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953 – a total of 897 pages.

On July 20, 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg, Ludwig Beck, and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb. The aim of the assassination attempt was to take control of Germany and make peace with the Allies. Ludwig Beck was one of the main conspirators and after Hitler’s assassination was to become interim President of Germany. The plot narrowly failed, and Hitler survived with minor injuries. In response, the Gestapo promptly arrested more than 7,000 people, of which they executed a staggering 4,980 people.

On July 28, 1944, Dr. Scholtz was together with Wilhelm Beck (1881–1963; only living brother of Ludwig Beck), and an unknown individual identified as Wetzell”, when all three were arrested by the Gestapo. What followed, Dr. Scholtz describes as the most terrifying experience of his life. He was one of the lucky ones, released on October 2, 1944 after 67 days of interrogation.

In 1944 Dr. Scholtz was working on a biography of Ludwig Beck, with working title: In Defense of a Soldier. Fame and Tragedy (“Verteidigung des Soldaten. Ruhm und Tragik”). Dr. Scholtz describes Ludwig Beck as his dear patron (Verehrter Gönner). The diaries include three letters from Wilhelm Beck to Dr. Scholtz, encouraging him to continue work on his brother’s biography and, interestingly, state that much which was written about his brother is false.

Unfortunately, Dr. Scholtz does not provide a narrative summary of his involvement in the plot to kill Hitler. However, his diaries raise interesting questions and provide numerous leads for avenues of further research into this important event. For example:

• Was Dr. Scholtz, a military historian, also military advisor to Ludwig Beck, the intended new President of Germany? There are only seven pages of the dairies from 1939, but they – amazingly for 1939 – predict Germany losing World War II and predict that Germany, in the event of defeat, would have to sacrifice significant land to appease the winners. This is fundamentally different from the current historical understanding of how the July 20th co-conspirators intended to seek peace with the Allies. Most historians believe Ludwig Beck would have attempted to retain the World War I boundaries of Germany.

• Dr. Scholtz makes repeated references to Walter Hill (1888–1952) as a traitor in regard to the events of July 20, 1944. Who was Hill and what did he do?

• Who was Wetzell” that was arrested along with Dr. Scholtz and Wilhelm Beck? Perhaps it was General Georg Wetzell (1869–1947; also an author of military history).

• Wilhelm Beck stated in a letter to Dr. Scholtz that prior writings about Ludwig Beck are incorrect, specifically regarding Heinz Guderian (1888–1954) – but does not elaborate further. Ludwig Beck is a central figure in the July 20th plot and if our understanding of him is incorrect, our entire understanding of the attempt to assassinate Hitler may be wrong.

• Dr. Scholtz’s diaries reflect his deep admiration for the German Kaiser and German aristocracy. He appears to be both deeply anti-Hitler and a conservative nationalist. The July 20th plot was not driven by communist or socialist ideals.

• The diaries include five letters from German author Walter von Molo (1880–1958). His close relationship with Dr. Scholtz may alter our understanding of von Molo’s support of the NSDAP régime.

Since so many people involved in the July 20th plot were executed by the Gestapo, it is unusual to have diaries from a co-conspirator analyzing the end of the war and post-war reflection on Germany’s actions. For example, Dr. Scholtz provides extensive commentary on Germany’s 1945 surrender and the Nuremberg Trials.

The diaries from 1939 and 1945 are almost entirely political commentary, and the most interesting from a historic perspective. Dr. Scholtz’s wife fell ill and died in 1949. His 1949 diary is almost entirely about his wife’s illness. Diaries from 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953 are 30–40% political commentary with the balance personal matters. Entries are almost daily, and Dr. Scholtz never fails to write about the events of July 20th and his subsequent arrest on the anniversary of those dates.

Unfortunately, Dr. Scholtz never completed a Ludwig Beck biography – although that is precisely what makes these notes so interesting. Much has been written about the July 20th plot to kill Hitler and much remains to be discovered.


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Stock Code: 1087A20 Collection: Catalogue:


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