(1880 - 1944)
Ludwig Beck was born in Biebrich, Germany,
on June 29, 1880. He joined the German
Army and by 1933 became Adjutant General of the army. Two years
later he was promoted chief of general staff.
Beck opposed attempts by Adolf
Hitler and the Nazi
Party to takeover the army. In 1938, he sent an emissary to London in an attempt to get Neville Chamberlain to promise military
action if Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.
Hitler discovered that Beck as plotting against the regime and he
was removed from office. Replaced by Franz Halder, Beck continued to
work closely with other opponents of Hitler including Carl
Goerdeler, Wilhelm Canaris, Hans Oster and Ulrich Hassell.
In the early months of 1944 Beck approached Erwin
Rommel about joining the July
Plot. Rommel refused, criticizing the tactic of assassination claiming
that it would turn Adolf Hitler into a martyr. Instead he suggested
that he should be arrested and brought to trial.
Suspected in being involved in the July
Plot, Beck was arrested by on July 20, 1944. General
Erich Fromm took him into custody and demanded that he commit suicide.
He succeeded only in severely wounding himself and a sergeant finished
the job by shooting him in the back of the neck.