The Prussian field marshall general and chief of staff Helmuth von Moltke, who led the Prussian armies to victory in the wars against Austria-Hungary in 1866 and France in 1871, bought Kreisau estate in 1867 for his retirement.
His great-grandnephew, Helmuth James von Moltke, gathered people together for three large meetings in Kreisau in 1942 and 1943. They addressed topics related to the political, social and economic realignment of Germany and Europe after an acknowledged defeat of the Germans in the Second World War and the fall of the so-called Third Reich. The resistance group got its name later on from a Gestapo designation and went down in history as the “Kreisau Circle”. The Circle designed plans for the future of Germany and Europe in the wake of National Socialism. They recognized early on and made efforts to counteract “not only the devastation of the cities but also the horrific destruction in the minds and hearts of the people”.
Their approach was not merely a new political beginning but a mental renewal on the basis of European Christian moral standards. They saw the new Germany as a partner in a European peace order and became the forerunners of what has been realized today in the European Union.
Although the resistance group was not directly involved in the plans, many members belonging to the Kreisau Circle were hanged in 1944/1945 upon its discovery following the assassination attempt of 20 Juli 1944.