On July 20, 1944, General Walter Scherff was badly burned in the failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Scherff was Hitler’s military historian who had worked his way into the inner circle and who ironically had no historical background. However, he “was an artist and a psychologist who had a keen appreciation of human motivation… he was able to preserve the personal relationships around the [Führer Headquarters].”
Although Scherff was not highly qualified regarding history, his skill as an artist was necessary for the demands of a historian, according to Professor Percy Ernst Schramm (keeper of the war diary of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff). Schramm claimed that recording history is a method that “is similar to that of a man who restores a work of art.”
As Hitler’s success faded, so did the praise of General Scherff’s skills and Scherff’s high opinion of Hitler. Events and decisions towards the end of the war lead to Scherff’s disillusionment with Hitler, and he “caused to be burned all of the materials others had written…” without permission.
Before the war ended, General Scherff was captured by American troops. When Germany surrendered, he “committed suicide, carrying to his grave everything he had in his head.”
Find more documents regarding German military information in WWII Foreign Military Studies, 1945-54.