Monday, 20 October 2014

Friedrich Heinz

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz

7 May 1899 – 26 February 1968


December 1940 - Major

1943 - Lieutenant Colonel


Heinz was a writer, a soldier and an intelligence officer.

In 1938, through his contacts in the Abwehr (military intelligence), Heinz was placed in charge of a raiding party which was to escort General von Witzleben and arrest Hitler upon the outbreak of war with Czechoslovakia.

However, Heinz (who favoured restoration of the monarchy) had ideas of his own, and he intended to have Hitler shot.

With the help of Hans Oster, chief of staff of the Abwehr, he had a squad of picked men transferred to his command. Oster supported Heinz’s plan to kill Hitler.

With his team of 20 to 30 heavily armed officers secreted in houses around the Reich Chancellery, Heinz awaited instructions to move. 

Hitler's negotiations with Chamberlain appeared to have failed, and by late September Britain and France had partially mobilised and war seemed inevitable. 

At 2 pm on 28 September 1938, Hitler's final deadline was to expire, and he was expected to order the invasion of Czechoslovakia. As soon as he did, the coup would be launched. 

Inside the Reich Chancellery, Erich Kordt opened the heavy security doors behind the sentry in order to facilitate the raid. Hitler had no special security precautions in place.

General Witzleben was on duty at his headquarters, ready to move troops to surround the Chancellery, arrest Hitler, and take over the city.

Major General Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt held his elite Potsdam division ready to swoop into the capital.

General Hase waited to move his division. 

As the Army's Chief of Staff, Colonel General Halder later wrote: 
There was no possibility of a hitch. All that was needed for a completely successful coup was Hitler's presence in Berlin.
Then the unexpected occurred: Mussolini rang Hitler and asked for a 24 hour delay in the deadline. With less than an hour to spare, Hitler agreed to the postponement. The conspirators were not sure how to act. Should they launch the coup anyway? The decision teetered on the brink.

Then, to the dismay of the conspirators, Hitler was driven out of the Reich Chancellery to fly to Munich. He was beyond their reach.

Next day Mussolini, Chamberlain, Daladier and Hitler met in Munich to discuss the future of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs were not invited.

Hitler won the Sudetenland without bloodshed, and the conspirators knew their chance to act against him was lost.

In 1939 there was a further proposed coup - this time far less developed - and Friedrich Heinz was also ready to act.

Heinz was at the Bendlerblock on 20 July 1944, but his role in that coup was relatively minor.


Following the failure of the July Plot, Heinz managed to cover his involvement for some time, but when further information about his past involvement came to light, he was forced into hiding in November 1944, and survived the war living underground.

After the war he worked as a writer and became a key figure in the West German intelligence establishment.

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