The Wagner Journal

Hans Rudolf Vaget, ‘Operation Walküre’: The Movie and the History

Hans Rudolf Vaget, ‘Operation Walküre’: The Movie and the History

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March 2011, Volume 5, Number 1, 4–16.

Many moviegoers who saw Valkyrie, Bryan Singer’s recent film starring Tom Cruise about Claus von Stauffenberg’s attempt on Hitler’s life, will have come away puzzled by its title, particularly if they know Wagner’s Die Walküre and if they believe, as I do, that the uses and abuses of Wagner as a cultural and ideological marker are a matter of considerable interest and relevance to our interpretation of history. The creative team that produced this film – in addition to Singer, primarily Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander, the two writers – seem to have assumed that the audience would somehow be able to figure out how the daring plot to assassinate Hitler came to be code-named ‘Operation Walküre’ and what such a name might stand for.

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