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German History in Documents and Images
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The Conference Room at the "Wolf's Lair" after the Assassination Attempt (July 20, 1944)
A series of accidents prevented the July 20th plot from succeeding. Because Mussolini was planning to visit the "Wolf's Lair" [Wolfschanze] later in the day, the discussion of the military situation (at which Stauffenberg detonated two bombs) took place 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Thus, Stauffenberg, who had lost an eye, his right hand, and two fingers from his left hand in the war, only had enough time to light one of the two bombs he had brought with him. Another major setback occurred in the conference room itself: after Stauffenberg set down the briefcase in which he had hidden the bomb, someone happened to nudge it under a massive table, greatly reducing its explosive force. Additionally, the meeting was not held in a bunker as usual, but rather in a barracks, which further lessened the bomb’s impact. Hitler was only slightly wounded. That same evening, he spoke to the German people in a radio address, in which he suggested that his survival was attributable to divine providence.