Adolf Hitler believed in Vorsehung (providence). The German leader felt that if anything was going to happen to him, such as assassination, there was nothing he could do about it. He had been selected by fate to achieve something great; he would not die, either by accident or assassination, until he had fulfilled that God-given mission.Time and time again in the past, providence, not planning, had taken care of him. In 1933, for instance, just before he became master of the Third Reich, he was involved in a terrible car crash with a truck. He emerged from the wreckage stating that he could not die yet—his mission had not yet been achieved.
It was the same with assassination attempts. Hitler explained that he had many enemies and expected disgruntled Germans and others to try to kill him. But they would never succeed, especially if they came from the German working class. He used to state to his staff quite categorically, “Mil tut kein deutscher Arbeiter was” (“No German worker will ever do anything to me.”). Once, when he was advised by worried police to use the back entrance to a noisy and angry meeting of workers, Hitler snorted, “I am not going through any back door to meet my workers!”
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As for those aristocratic Monokelfritzen (Monocle Fritzes, those high-born, monocled aristocrats Hitler had hated with a passion ever since the Great War), both civilian and military, whom he knew from his intelligence sources had been trying to eradicate him in these last years of the 1930s, he was confident that this personal providence would save him. And in truth, until the very end, providence did protect Hitler from all the attempts on his life, including the generals’ plot to kill him in July 1944.
Naturally, ever since Hitler’s election as chancellor in 1933, his security guards had taken secret precautions to protect him. Like some medieval potentate, all the Führer’s food was checked daily before it was served to him. Each day, his personal doctor had to report that the Führer’s food supplies were free of poison. Party Secretary Martin Bormann ran daily checks on the water at any place where the Führer might stay to ascertain whether it might contain any toxic substances.
Later, when Bormann, in his usual fawning manner, started to grow “bio-vegetables” in his Berchtesgaden gardens for the Führer’s consumption, Hitler’s staff would not allow the produce to appear on the master’s vegetarian menu. Once, just before the war, a bouquet of roses was thrown into the Führer’s open Mercedes. One of his SS adjutants picked it up and a day later started to show the symptoms of poisoning. The roses were examined and found to be impregnated with a poison that could be absorbed through the skin. Thereafter, the order was given out secretly that no “admirer” should be allowed to throw flowers into Hitler’s car. In addition, from then on, adjutants would wear gloves.
On another occasion, Hitler, who loved dogs (some said more than human beings), was given a puppy by a supposed admirer. It turned out that the cuddly little dog had been deliberately infected with rabies. Fortunately for Hitler, and not so fortunately for the rest of humanity, the puppy bit a servant before it bit him. It seemed that Hitler’s vaunted providence had taken care of him yet again.
Thereafter, plan after plan was drawn up to kill Hitler by his German and Anglo-American enemies. All failed. Although back in 1939, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, had stated, “We have not reached the stage in our diplomacy when we have to use assassination as a substitute for diplomacy.” Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided in April 1945, however, that Hitler must die—by assassination! He gave the task to his most ruthless and anti-German commander, Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris, the head of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, whose aircrews often called him bitterly “Butcher” Harris.
Back in the summer of 1943, Harris had sworn that Berlin would be “hammered until the heart of Nazi Germany would cease to exist.” Hard man that he was, Harris had once been stopped by a young policeman and told if he continued to speed in his big American car, he would kill someone. Coldly, “Bomber” had replied, “Young man, I kill hundreds every night.” He now ordered that Hitler should be dealt with at last in his own home. The Führer had escaped, so Allied intelligence reasoned, from his ruined capital Berlin. So where could he be? The answer was obvious. “Wolf,” the alias Hitler had used before he achieved power in 1933, had returned to his mountain lair.