20 JANUARY 1961, Page 13

Sut,—Talking about the July Plot, William Douglas Home refers to

'martyrs' like von Hassell. Perhaps von Hassell deserves more respect than any of the other conspirators, as his efforts to bring about peace (albeit a negotiated one) started in 1940. Neverthe- less, he worked happily and efficiently for Hitler, as Ambassador to Rome, until he was thrown out of the diplomatic service in 1938.

In any case it's not the month of the July plot that's important, it's the year-1944. In 1944 the Nazi regime had existed for eleven years, and the Army during that time had made no real attempts to fight either Nazism or its leader. In July, 1944, Italy was virtually lost, the Allied forces were advancing rapidly in the West, and the Russiana were approaching Germany's eastern borders. Odd that the conspirators made no move when the war was going well for Germany, but waited until defeat was inescapable to show their sincere anti-Nazi feel- ings. Even then, in July, 1944, the conspiring Generals hoped for .. no unconditional surrender in the West, and a continuation of the war in the East.' When they made their move, was it really to destroy Hitler, or simply to save their crumbling forces?—Yours faithfully,


London, SW5