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Bonhoeffer set sail for New York on June 2, 1939, intending to stay there for at least a year. However, the guilt of leaving his fellow pastors and countrymen behind soon overtook him. He wrote to a friend, “I have made a mistake in coming to America…I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”He returned to Germany on July 8, 1939. One historian captured the immensity of this decision with the following words:

The image of Bonhoeffer boarding ship, voluntarily preparing to sail back—straight into the hell that Germany had become, into resistance, into the great likelihood of his own death—is an unforgettable scene and a poignant moment in the history of the Church in the twentieth century.

Bonhoeffer’s return to Germany in 1939 was the turning point of his life. He took a new and bolder stand against the tyranny in Germany.His preaching intensified to the point that, in 1940, he was banned by the Gestapo from any public speaking whatsoever.His various acts of resistance against the Nazi regime, including overt conspiracy, increased significantly.
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