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Hitler's Last Plot: The 139 VIP Hostages Selected for Death in the Final Days of World War II

Hitler's Last Plot: The 139 VIP Hostages Selected for Death in the Final Days of World War II

by Ian Sayer, Jeremy Dronfield


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Revealed for the first time: how the SS rounded up the Nazis' most prominent prisoners to serve as human shields for Hitler in the last days of World War II

In April 1945, as Germany faced defeat, Hitler planned to round up the Third Reich's most valuable prisoners and send them to his "Alpine Fortress," where he and the SS would keep the hostages as they made a last stand against the Allies. The prisoners included European presidents, prime ministers, generals, British secret agents, and German anti-Nazi clerics, celebrities, and officers who had aided the July 1944 bomb plot against Hitler—and the prisoners' families. Orders were given to the SS: if the German military situation deteriorated, the prisoners were to be executed—all 139 of them.

So began a tense, deadly drama. As some prisoners plotted escape, others prepared for the inevitable, and their SS guards grew increasingly volatile, drunk, and trigger-happy as defeat loomed. As a dramatic confrontation between the SS and the Wehrmacht threatened the hostages caught in the middle, the US Army launched a frantic rescue bid to save the hostages before the axe fell.

Drawing on previously unpublished and overlooked sources, Hitler's Last Plot is the first full account of this astounding and shocking story, from the original round-up order to the prisoners' terrifying ordeal and ultimate rescue. Told in a thrilling, page-turning narrative, this is one of World War II's most fascinating episodes.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306921551
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 554,413
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jeremy Dronfield is a biographer, historian, novelist, and ghostwriter, well-known for writing fast-paced, thrilling narratives. His most recent book, The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz, was a bestseller.

Ian Sayer is a military historian-detective whose investigation into "The World's Greatest Robbery" led to the 1984 publication of his international bestseller Nazi Gold. An acknowledged expert on the Third Reich, he has made regular appearances on television and radio.

Table of Contents

Map: Europe 1945 vii

SS Rank Table viii

Prologue 1

1 The Corridor of Death 7

2 Blood Guilt 17

3 Alpine Fortress 31

4 Journey South 38

5 Flossenbürg Concentration Camp 49

6 The Condemned 57

7 Bavarian Interlude 63

8 Death of the Damned 72

9 Murder at the Crematorium 88

10 Traitors in Their Midst 99

11 All in One Place 109

12 The Exodus Begins 120

13 Into the Redoubt 136

14 SS-Sonderlager Innsbruck 148

15 Out of the Reich 160

16 The Sunrise Conspiracy 169

17 Appointment with Death 177

18 Plan of Execution 189

19 The Fatal Day 204

20 Showdown with the SS 218

21 Danger in Paradise 228

22 Running the Gauntlet 240

23 Dash for Deliverance 260

Epilogue 279

The 139 Hostages 297

Notes 303

Bibliography 325

Index 330

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