History’s weird footsteps
Gollapudi: History’s Weird Footsteps, History has a wicked whim to organize human destinies. It has its own theme, its own grammar, and its own screenplay.
History has a wicked whim to organize human destinies. It has its own theme, its own grammar, and its own screenplay. Only time will unravel when it opens the window to look back to allow the last laugh.
The human history would have been different, had Adolf Hitler, that Man of Destiny, not been allowed to get away during World War I by Henry Tandey, which cost 60 million lives besides gruesome holocaust. A brave soldier he was at that time, Tandey regretted the lapse until his death – some 86 years – saying his compassion towards the lanky Bavarian was the greatest disservice to humanity.
And it was not the only time that Hitler was spared by destiny. There were at least a dozen occasions when he came into close proximity with death, but survived consequent to very odd, weird circumstances. On several occasions, when he survived an assassination bid, he mused, saying “Fate has selected me for my mission’’ and how right he was, and how gruesome was the mission!
In fact, he used to have a philosophical penchant of death. He said: “Death would only have been a release from sorry, sleepless nights and great nervous suffering.” And this by a man who created those sleepless nights for millions of people in his lifetime!
He had a premonition on November 8, 1939, when he went to Munich to attend the annual reunion of the Old Fighters. “I will change the schedule today,’’ he told himself. A skilled artisan named Georg Elser, who was discharged from Dachau Concentration camp, where he was kept as Communist sympathizer, wanted to kill Hitler. As party officials were making final preparations for the meeting, he walked up to the gallery and hid behind the pillar rising from speaker’s platform, where he made a secret hole already for the bomb to rest. He set the timer to detonate the bomb at exactly 11.20 pm. The Fuhrer would start speaking at 10 and the explosion would happen midway through the speech.
But at 11.07 pm, Hitler, who was known for emotional outpouring for hours, abruptly brought his tirade to a hurried conclusion. In 13 minutes the bomb would explode. Normally, the practice of Hitler used to be to spend at least 20 minutes with the officials before he departed. But on that fateful day, he rushed out of the building. Exactly eight minutes after he left, the bomb exploded. A rumour started during that time that the war would end. It certainly would have, had Hitler stayed there for eight more minutes.
And then there was a joke of the century. A disillusioned SS guard wanted to put an end to Fuhrer. He successfully planted a bomb at the venue of the meeting at Sports Palaz. During Hitler’s speech, however, the SS guard had a sudden urge to go to the toilet. It so happened that someone locked him inside the men’s room and he was consequently unable to detonate the bomb. The history of the world would have been different had he not gone to the bathroom!
It looked as though fate was protecting Hitler, while his conspirators were trying to eliminate him on any number of occasions. One such attempt was made by the great grandson of Gneisenau, a military war hero in the war of liberation against Napoleon. His name was Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, a staff officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Yet, his role was short lived as his car ran over an earth mine and he lost one eye, right hand and three fingers of the left hand. But he did not give up his mission.
He came to Hitler’s place with official papers and an English bomb tacked in a brief case. He wanted to kill Goring and Himmler along with Fuhrer who were supposed to be in conference with him on that day. He walked into the conference room and requested the aide “Could you place me as close to the Fuhrer as possible so that I can hear him properly?’’ The aide obliged. Hitler was sitting with his back to the door and Stauffenberg shoved the brief case under the table as close to Hitler as he could and left.
Later Hitler’s aide leaned onto the table to watch the map shown by Hitler, but was impeded by the brown brief case underneath. He could not shove it with his foot. And hence he leaned down and transferred it to the outside of the table support. That completely subverted the plot. At exactly 12.42, the bomb exploded with a deafening roar. But what could have killed Hitler only hurt him – that too very superficially. With tattered trousers and blackened face with the resultant soot, Hitler came out of the conference room. He proudly exhibited his shredded trousers saying “for some time I had a presentiment that something extraordinary was going to happen!’’
The greatest irony was while all the attempts to kill him went futile for various reasons, his end came on April 30, 1945, in a military bunker, minutes after he married his lifetime girl friend Eva when he shot himself with his 7.65 caliber Walther pistol. After all, he was not killed by any but himself! History has a wicked whim to organize human destinies.