In many ways this is a tragic history; in addition to the people destroyed by Hitler and his memory, and the tortuous stress endured by many members of the resistance who lived double lives, there remains the fact that not much was accomplished. In some cases, plots were ruined by bad luck, or misinformation; one early attempt to blow up Hitler's plane in flight failed because of the cold at high altitude. The military officers were slow to take decisive action, struggling with where their duty lay; this was especially quarrelsome once the war began in earnest. It was one thing to kill Hitler for merely threatening conquest, but once Germany was embroiled in a fight to the death against Russia, who would dare leave the nation leaderless? The civilians who took action were limited by their lack of experience; one promising leader's career was cut short early on when he was seen out in public wearing a "ROT FRONT" button. First rule of resistance: don't advertise being an enemy of the state.
An Honourable Defeat is by no means complete (efforts by civilians to shelter Jewish neighbors are overlooked, for instance), it demonstrates how early and how varied German resistance to tyranny was. While it never brought forth the kind of world-shaking fruit anyone would prefer, the fact of that little seed of righteous defiance existing within us offers hope against the threat of future malfactors.