CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG Biography - Military related figures


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Name: Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf                                                 
Born: 15 November 1907 Jettingen                                                     
Died: 21 July 1944 Berlin                                                             
Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907 - 21 July         
1944) was a German army officer who reached the rank of colonel and one of the       
leading officers of the failed July 20 Plot of 1944 to kill German dictator           
Adolf Hitler and seize power in Germany.                                             
Stauffenberg was the third of three sons (the others being the twins Berthold         
and Alexander) of Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the last Oberhofmarschall     
of the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, and Caroline Schenk Grafin von Stauffenberg (nee       
Grafin von kull-Gyllenband). Claus was born in the Stauffenberg castle of             
Jettingen between Ulm and Augsburg, in the eastern part of Swabia, at that time       
in the Kingdom of Bavaria, part of the German Reich. The von Stauffenberg family     
is one of the oldest and most distinguished aristocratic Roman Catholic families     
of southern Germany. Among his maternal ancestors were several famous                 
Prussians, including Field Marshal August von Gneisenau.                             
Like his brothers, Claus was carefully educated and inclined toward literature,       
but eventually took up a military career. In 1926, he joined the family's             
traditional regiment, the Bamberger Reiter- und Kavallerieregiment 17 (17th           
Cavalry Regiment) in Bamberg. (See also Bamberg Horseman.) It was around this         
time that the three brothers were introduced by Albrecht von Blumenthal to poet       
Stefan George's influential circle Georgekreis, from which many notable members       
of the German resistance would later emerge. George dedicated Das neue Reich ("The   
new Reich") in 1928, including the Geheimes Deutschland ("secret Germany")           
written in 1922, to Berthold. The work outlines a new form of society ruled           
by hierarchical spiritual aristocracy. George rejected any attempts to use it         
for mundane political purposes, especially Nazism.                                   
Claus was commissioned as a Leutnant (second lieutenant) in 1930. In his             
military career, Stauffenberg studied modern weapons at the Kriegsakademie in         
Berlin-Moabit, but remained focused on the use of the horse which continued to       
carry out a large part of transportation duties throughout the Second World War in   
modern warfare. His regiment became part of the German 1st Light Division under       
General Erich Hoepner, who had taken part in the plans for the September 1938         
German Resistance coup, cut short by Hitler's unexpected success in the Munich       
Agreement. The unit was part of the troops that moved into the Sudetenland, the       
part of Czechoslovakia that had a German-speaking majority, as agreed upon in         
Following the outbreak of war in 1939, Stauffenberg and his regiment took part       
in the attack on Poland. In letters from Poland he expressed support for the use     
of Poles as slave workers in German agriculture, and systematic German               
colonisation of Poland.