Why didn’t someone kill Adolf Hitler? The world might have looked very different in 1945 if Hitler had been taken out a decade earlier. In fact, there were at least 42 Hitler assassination attempts, and many more plots to kill Hitler that have never been uncovered. And just like the wild plots to take out Fidel Castro, some of the Hitler assassination plots were incredibly creative.
The best known failed attempt was the 1944 plot that blew up his Wolf's Lair command center. But there were many other attempts, some of which should be on the list of the most bizarre assassination attempts in history. One assassin gave Hitler a rabid puppy. Another threw deadly roses at the Führer. After so many near misses, Hitler was paranoid about assassination attempts. The Führer had his food and water was tested for toxic substances every day.
The greatest danger came from Hitler's own countrymen, as German citizens and even Nazi officers plotted against him. Several plots to blow Hitler up nearly succeeded, like when a disgruntled German officer snuck an explosive device onto Hitler’s plane, disguising it as two bottles of brandy.
So how did Hitler die? It wasn’t the explosives in his speaker’s podium or the shot into his car. In the end, Hitler took his own life. After Hitler’s passing, his chauffeur siphoned gas and burned the Führer’s body. Sadly, many lost their lives in the dozens of attempts to terminate Hitler.
The Tunnel Bomb, 1933
Just after Hitler’s party took control of Germany, the Führer planned a ceremony to commemorate his success in Potsdam. Hitler was going to speak at a church in Potsdam, but the day before his speech, police found a freshly dug tunnel under the church.
The conspirators likely planned to fill it with an explosive, which would have taken out Hitler and his closest staff. The perpetrators were never identified.
The SA Coup Attempt, 1934
The leaders of Hitler’s SA Storm Troopers plotted against the Führer in 1934, led by Ernst Roehm. The attempted coup remains shrouded in mystery, but Hitler used the rumors as a pretext to arrest and execute several hundred SA leaders in a matter of days during the summer of 1934.
The SA plotters set up an ambush to shoot Hitler’s convoy with machine guns, but Hitler took an alternate route. Roehm and his supporters were executed.
The Journalist Assassin, 1934
In 1934, a journalist named Beppo Römer attempted to do Hitler in. Römer teamed up with a lawyer and anti-fascist named Nikolaus von Halem. The pair planned to hire a hitman to shoot the Führer.
But the plot leaked and Römer was sent to the Dachau concentration camp. In 1944, Römer was executed.
The Chauffeur Attempt, 1935
Heinrich Grunow was a disgruntled bodyguard assigned to protect Hitler. Angry about the execution of Roehm, Grunow hid on a road where Hitler’s car was about to pass and fired shots into the backseat of the vehicle. The man sitting in the backseat perished, and Grunow, convinced he had felled Hitler, ended his own life.
However, he only shot the chauffeur, whom the paranoid Führer had planted in the back seat.