The Complete List Of Everyone Who Tried (And Failed) To Assassinate Hitler

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.

  • Munich Beer Hall Attempt, 1921

    In November of 1921, Hitler made a speech at a Munich beer hall. He would return two years later for the infamous Munich Beer Hall Putsch, an attempted coup of the German government that landed Hitler in jail. But in 1921, Hitler's inflammatory rhetoric whipped up the crowd, and a drunken fight erupted.

    During the chaos, a group of unknown men fired shots at Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler was unharmed. 

  • Attempt At Hotel Kaiserhof, 1930

    In 1930, Hitler often frequented the restaurant at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin. On one occasion, all the people dining with Hitler fell ill less than an hour after eating. They'd apparently been poisoned. Hitler only came down with a very mild case, likely because he ate a strict vegetarian diet.

    No one perished in this attempt. The culprit remains unknown. 

  • Shots At Hitler’s Train, 1932
    Photo: Karl Sjöblom / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Shots At Hitler’s Train, 1932

    On March 15, 1932, Hitler was traveling by train with Joseph Goebbels and Wilhelm Frick, the future German minister of the interior. Between Munich and Weimar, an unknown individual fired shots on Hitler’s train carriage.

    The would-be assassin was never identified. This was one of many attempts to shoot Hitler from afar, all of which failed.

  • The Election Speech Attempt, 1933

    On March 4, 1933, one day before the Reichstag elections which put Hitler's party into power, a group of conspirators plotted to fell him. Kurt Lutter, a carpenter and communist who led an underground organization, planned to shoot Hitler while he gave an election speech.

    Unfortunately, one member of his organization leaked the plot, and the entire group was captured before it was carried out.

  • The Tunnel Bomb, 1933
    Photo: Georg Pahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

    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.