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Wilhelm Canaris

Wilhelm Franz von Canaris (January 1, 1887- April 9, 1945) became head of the Abwehr on January 1, 1935, and led it throughout World War II. On numerous occasions he worked against Adolf Hitler and aided the Allies. He was instrumental in planning and carrying out numerous assassination and coup attempts during the war. He was directly involved in the 1938 and 1939 coup attempts, and in March 1943, he personally flew to Smolensk to plan Hitler's assassination with conspirators on the staff of Army Group Center.

Hitler dismissed him from command in February of 1944. Later that year he was placed under house arrest, preventing him from participating in the July 20 Plot. The Gestapo discovered evidence linking him to that conspiracy, however, and he was executed, by hanging, a few weeks before the end of World War II.

He is considered to be distantly related to Greek Admiral, freedom fighter and politician Constantine Kanaris but the exact genealogical connection remains uncertain.

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