The site was never attacked from outside while the Nazis were in residence. The wreckage you witness was administered by the fleeing German military in January , three days before the Red Army arrived. After Soviet troops triumphed at Stalingrad in , the Eastern Front began to shift west.
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To prevent the USSR making use of the site, the Nazis set about a well-rehearsed programme of blowing up the bunkers. As further deterrence, 10, land-mines were laid; it later took 11 years to clear them. The best-preserved structure was Goring's territory, where ladders allow visitors a closer look. Remnants of daily life, such as the echoing tea house, are scattered around a forest whose innocence was brutally violated. Relative to its size, Poland suffered more than any other country in the Second World War. At the end of the conflict it regained its identity and lands, including the woods of Gorlitz the pre-war Prussian name.
The town and forest were renamed after a local hero, and the site preserved for tourists. If the attendance last weekend is typical, almost all the visitors are German. As tourist attractions go, the facilities are excellent. Knowing the history of the place, I was shocked to walk in and encounter a room full of uniforms.
It turned out to be a prizegiving ceremony for Polish Army reservists. The Nazis' self-destruction had failed, I reflected; the victors had found a military use for the wreckage of the lair. As with any self-respecting tourist venue, a map marks out the highlights. From a distance, it seems comfortably similar to the map of facilities at Center Parcs.
It reads, though, like a guide to a nightmarish theme park: "12 - Flak Bunker As you tour the Wolf's Lair, such clinical detail makes you try to comprehend the collective insanity that created and then destroyed the place. Architecture - if slamming vast slabs of reinforced concrete together to create fearsome monoliths can be so described - born from violence has itself been brutalised. The menacing collage of concrete remains much as it was when, one harsh winter's morning in , a sequence of explosions tore through it - with two exceptions.
One is that the forest is taking reprisals for its desecration: elegant, twisting roots are slowly strangling the monstrous foundations, while a canopy of birch, fir and maple casts shadows on the scene of wickedness. The other is a bronze plaque placed at the entrance to one particularly badly wrecked building.
It was placed here five years ago by the children of a German officer who nearly became a hero.
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After the Soviet counter-attack and the success of the Allies in the Normandy landings, the German Resistance became desperate. Throughout the war the anti-Hitler movement had included some high-ranking officers, but attempts at decisive action had always faltered in a muddle of betrayals. A crushing defeat seemed inevitable, despite Germany's supremacy in rocket technology and progress on atomic weapons. Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill had already agreed the dissection of Germany when they met at Casablanca in To keep the nation's soul alive, many patriots concluded, the Fuhrer must die.
The only way to penetrate Hitler's personal escort battalion was for a trusted officer to carry out the assassination.
The Wolf's Lair Conspiracy by William L Inman - Read Online
The obvious candidate to carry out the tyrannicide was Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. A war hero, who lost his right hand and left eye in North Africa, he was appointed chief of staff for a new reservist force. This role gave him direct access to Hitler.
On 20 July , he was to attend a meeting with the Fuhrer in the "General Situations" bunker. Von Stauffenberg arrived with two bombs, each weighing about two pounds. He slipped out to an accomplice's quarters to prime the bombs, but owing to an interruption he carried only one of them into the meeting-room. As you clamber over the ruins, your feet seeking a sure grip on wreckage now invaded by some mischievous mushrooms, you try to imagine the drama played out within these walls.
Von Stauffenberg's bomb was placed beneath the heavy table, crucially with a massive table leg separating it from Hitler. The colonel left the room, ostensibly to take a prearranged telephone call, and fled from the bunker. At Von Stauffenberg climbed into a car that was waiting to take him south through the woodland to Wolfsschanze's own landing-strip. He paused long enough to see a body covered by the Fuhrer's cloak being carried out of the building, and concluded that he had changed the course of history.
The definitive account of the events of 20 July is by Joachim Fest, himself a wartime soldier. He reports the colonel's non-fatal flaw in unemotional language: "The inclusion of the second charge, even without a second detonator, would have magnified the power of the blast not twofold but many times, killing everyone in the room outright. At the moment when the briefcase exploded, it was in such a position that the full force of the blast was deflected away from the Fuhrer.
Four people at the meeting died, but Hitler received only minor wounds. You can trace von Stauffenberg's journey, and ponder upon the point when he believed his mission to have succeeded. By the time the dust had settled, his aircraft had departed for Berlin and a well-organised coup was seemingly under way. But before the plan to install a replacement military command could be properly implemented, the Fuhrer himself was speaking on German radio. Von Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad a few hours later. Over the next few months, 5, others were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy.
Had Hitler been killed, the war could have been curtailed and millions of lives saved - notably, those of Poles both Jews and gentiles who perished in concentration camps and the Warsaw Uprising. The post-war political map of Europe might have looked different; Poland, for example, might having avoided close on half a century of Soviet domination. And the Wolf's Lair might have been preserved intact as a monument to madness. The Fuhrer survived to spend another five months in the bunker, which was marked with a single identification number: Signs warn against venturing into the ruins, but plenty of visitors risk the dangerous, jagged masonry to explore the place where some of the world's darkest deeds were perpetrated.
To visualise the scale, imagine a medium-sized aircraft hangar constructed out of 6-ft-thick slabs of concrete. After what looks like some gigantic geological calamity, the warren of living quarters and offices is barely identifiable beneath tomb-like slabs. The lifeless grey tones of the wretched concrete are transcended by light idling through the trees, highlighting leaves that range from deep green to fierce gold. Each autumn's gentle scattering of maple detritus conceals a little more of the horror, and nurtures new growths. Woodland stripped of its purity is reasserting the supremacy of nature.
He travelled by train to Gdansk about pounds 5 , then by bus pounds 3 to Ketrzyn. Tom I need a favor from you. I have to leave for 7 to 10 days on personal business and I need you to help Cam follow up on new leads in the Sniper Investigation. Yeah, yeah, Clark already asked if I could give you boys a hand. David knew that Grimes only current case was a year old investigation involving the hijacking of a tractor trailer full of HP Computers and transporting them across state lines.
He decided to appeal to his vanity. Thanks Tom, if everyone around here had your work ethic, we could get by with a lot less agents. With a big smile on his face, Grimes invited them to sit. They spent the next several hours, including lunch, going over the details of the investigation and what specifically Grimes would follow up on. About midway through the session Matt Clark paged David. He wanted him to stop by his office after the briefing. It was PM when the briefing finished. As he approached the office at the far end of the floor, Clark waved for him to enter through the open doorway.
Matt Clark was an imposing figure to say the least. At 6 feet 7 inches and lbs, he towered over David a mere 6 feet 2 inches. Clark was known as a tenacious investigator who always produced results, a fact that did not go unnoticed by his superiors and led to his promotion nearly 15 years ago to Head of the Department. He had taken the promotion seriously to the detriment of his personal life. Long hours and frequent long trips weighed heavily on his marriage and eventually led to divorce. He had never remarried and spent much of his time at the office.
While he maintained cordial relationships with both his wife Adele and son Matt Jr. He motioned for David to sit in the chair across from him. You picked a helluva time to take off. Where are you going? You at least owe me that much information. Clark said with an expectant look. David thought for a moment about divulging more information than was necessary but decided he should at least tell Clark where he was going. I thought you were going to be state-side. Why in the hell do you have to go to Colombia? You know from experience what a shit hole that can be! Please, trust me, I have a good reason and someone is depending on me to be there.
I want to be able to get in touch with you if I need to. It better not be anything that will affect the Bureau negatively. At the counter he handed the requisition form to a thirty something, bespectacled clerk and received a plastic case containing the SIM card. Yeah, something like that, he said while opening the case.
David slipped the SIM card into his phone and entered his access code. He waited for the three beeps which indicated that the SIM card was accepted and was working properly on the secure network. Cam was sitting behind the desk with a disturbed look on his face. They shook hands and David left for home to get some rest. At the last second, he decided to take his FBI badge. After all, it could speed his re-entry through customs when he returned.
He called to have Chinese food delivered from his favorite neighborhood restaurant and watched CNN while he ate, paying particular attention to a segment about the alleged assassination attempt on Congressman Zeigler. The segment covered his meteoric rise from junior California Congressman to become Speaker of the House at the young age of The commentator commented that he was lucky to survive the ordeal with only a minor flesh wound. Several pundits speculated on the reasons behind the shooting, ranging from political enemies to radicals who disagreed with his support of current gun law and his alleged anti-Israel agenda.
They also commented that those views had been the reason his bid for the Presidency had been unsuccessful. The AM flight to Miami was a typical commuter flight, filled with businessmen of several nationalities. He dozed for most of the short flight and arrived in Miami with a wait of 3 hours before the flight to Panama City. He decided to have a quick lunch and a couple of drinks to pass the time.
20 July plot
He called Cam to let him know he was about to take off. Just thought I would check in before I took off. Any new leads on the sniper case? Congressman Zeigler was lucky the bullet just grazed him. He will be heading back to California for some well deserved rest. I guess they have no choice, the Congressman insists. While he waited for his boarding group to be called, he checked his email to see if there was anything new from Cara. There was no new mail. His group was announced and he joined a line consisting of tourists, Latin American nationals, and business people.
His attire, Hawaiian shirt and khaki Dockers, definitely put him in the tourist category. He shut off his Blackberry and boarded the plane. He thought, as he found his aisle seat. The flight to Panama City was uneventful. Upon arriving at Panama City, he disembarked and after clearing Customs, found a comfortable hotel next to the airport. He checked the Blackberry but found no reply to his email. His Blackberry still showed no reply from Cara. Maybe she never made it out of Brazil at all.
Outside the airport he hailed a taxi, turned on the Blackberry, and hastily looked up an address. He gave the driver the address and dialed the number from the contact screen. What, you need a woman for tonight? No my friend, this is serious. Can I meet you at the office?
I am on the way there now. David hung up the phone and spent the rest of the 20 minute ride in silence. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations. Then I made a decision — I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further — write a story with the intention of being published. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors — entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.
I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends published and unpublished authors , bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.
It took me two years working around full time jobs to complete the first draft of my novel. I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel. I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms.
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After months of work with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, , when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books. My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you need to be persistent, patient and thick-skinned. Stick with it. Anything is possible. From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy. When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance.
Related The Wolfs Lair Conspiracy: Book One
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