A not bad, ambitious documentary despite being a shameless tie-in
This program is a shameless tie-in to the 2008 Tom Cruise movie "Valkyrie," but as shameless tie-ins go, it is pretty good. It retells much, much more than its title suggests and goes far beyond the story told in the Cruise movie. It begins with the rise of Hitler, then goes into the development of the German resistance to Hitler (it was fractious because the movement consisted of socialists, aristocrats and Christian pacifists who didn't agree how to proceed against Hitler let alone what kind of Germany they wanted to have post-Hitler), then describes how the resistance came to focus on a series of assassination plots and how Claus Von Stauffenberg came to be involved in the "July 20th Plot." But there's more! This two-hour program pretty much wraps up the rise and fall of Operation Valkyrie in one hour or so, but goes on to explore not only its immediate aftermath but also the changing regard of the German people for this event and the people involved in it. Stauffenberg's own son recalls that in the late 1940swell after the wara teacher said disapprovingly of him something like, "What can you expect from the son of a traitor." (The talking heads include not only historians and public figuresHenry Kissinger chimes in once with a cogent pointbut also family members of the conspirators.) But by the early 1950s, many Germans began to rehabilitate the July 20th plotters, and the place of Stauffenberg's execution became a permanent memorial. This documentary chronicles, down to the present, the German people's attempts to regain self-respect after the disaster of the Hitler era and the division and reunification of East and West Germany. It makes the case that the re-visioning of the July 20th plot has been an important tool that has helped Germans to remember that not all Germans joined in Hitler's orgy of inhumanity.
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