The Führer Adolf Hitler is dead!
I. An unscrupulous clique of party leaders without frontline service have exploited this situation to stab the fighting front in the back and to seize power for their own selfish ends.
II. In order to maintain law and order in this situation of acute danger the Reich Government has declared a state of martial law and has transferred the executive power to me together with the supreme command of the Wehrmacht.
III. 1. I hereby transfer executive power with the right of delegation to the territorial commanders, in the home territory to the Commander of the Reserve Army, while simultaneously appointing him Supreme Commander in the home territory [ . . . ].
2. The following are subordinated to the holders of executive power:
a) All Wehrmacht offices and units in their area of command, including the Waffen SS, the RAD, and the OT.
b) All public authorities (of the Reich, the states, and local government), in particular the entire order police, security police, and administrative police.
c) All officials and formations of the NSDAP and its associated leagues.
d) The public transportation services and public utilities.
3. The whole of the Waffen SS is to be integrated in the army with immediate effect.
4. The holders of executive power are responsible for the maintenance of law and order. They are to ensure in particular:
a) The security of the communications networks.
b) The neutralization of the SD.
Any resistance against the military authorities is to be ruthlessly suppressed. In this hour of the greatest peril for the Fatherland the unity of the Wehrmacht and the maintenance of discipline is the most important requirement. I therefore make it the duty of all army, navy, and air force commanders to support the holders of executive power with all means at their disposal and to ensure that their directives are obeyed by the agencies subordinate to them.
The German soldier is faced with an historic task. It will depend on his energy and behavior whether or not Germany will be saved.
The same thing [is true?] [sic] for all territorial commanders, the supreme commanders of the sections of the Wehrmacht and the subordinate commanders of the army, navy and air force.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht
Field Marshal von Witzleben
Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, p. 621. (With one small addition by GHI staff.)
Original German text printed in: Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Opposition gegen Hitler und der Staatsstreich von 20. Juli 1944. Geheime Dokumente aus dem ehemaligen Reichssicherheitsamt. Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 24-25.