You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Hitler/Nazism’ category.
Born on February 4, 1906, in Breslau, then part of Imperial Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer began his theological education in 1923 at the University of Tübingen. He later trained under liberal theologians Adolf von Harnack and Reinhold Seeburg.
Following what he would later call a conversion experience, Bonhoeffer intensified his focus on contemporary theological problems facing the church. With the ascendancy of the Nazi party in Germany, Bonhoeffer was among the first of the German theologians to perceive the pervasiveness and significance of the looming Nazi threat.
When the pro-Nazi German Christian party won the church elections in the summer of 1933, Bonhoeffer quickly opposed the anti-Semitism of the Nazis in an important article, “The Church and the Jewish Question.” In this piece Bonhoeffer provided a seminal overview of his perspective of the church’s relationship to the state.
His framework was based on a view of the normative worldly authorities, first articulated in his doctrine of “preservation orders” in his early academic lectures and later developed in mature form in his ethics manuscripts of the early 1940s. In these latter documents, Bonhoeffer speaks of four unique and divinely instituted mandates in the world: work (or labor), marriage (or family), government, and church.
The recognition of the legitimate but limited role of government in human affairs enabled Bonhoeffer to oppose the perversion of the state represented by the National Socialists.
Marriage is not made by the government, but is affirmed by the government. The great spheres of work are not themselves undertaken by the government, but they are subject to its supervision within certain limits—later to be described—to governmental direction. Government should never seek to become the agent of these areas of work, for this would seriously endanger their divine mandate along with its own.
Bonhoeffer’s resistance to the Nazi regime included his support for and pastoral participation in the Confessing Church along with other prominent Protestant theologians like Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller, as well as his intricate association with the broader ecumenical movement.
Now Playing | Hitler Seethes Over Germany’s Slapdown
As a vanquished foe, Germany is punished severely by the Allies at the Treaty of Versailles and undergoes a radical political shift which only intensifies Hitler’s anger and his resolve to make Germany powerful again.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
By The Daily Telegraph | May 17, 2007
The circle derived its name from having met several times at the country estate of Helmuth Count Moltke. Yet though Moltke was the Kreisauers’ driving force, they owed their harmony to the more measured temperament of Peter Count Yorck von Wartenburg, Marion Yorck’s husband, and it was at their Berlin apartment that the group usually gathered in the later years of the war.
Its members constituted a wide array of anti-Nazis, not merely aristocrats and soldiers, but also trade unionists and teachers. Many had firm Christian convictions, most were influenced by the maltreatment of the Jews, and not a few had rather utopian ideals. Indeed, the circle’s original purpose was to plan for the renewal of Germany after the fall of Hitler, and only gradually did it move to plotting to bring about that end itself.
The assassination was entrusted to Peter Yorck’s cousin, Claus Count Stauffenberg. Yorck kept very little from his wife, who attended the circle’s meetings, often cooked for them, and delivered messages.
On July 18, 1944, the couple traveled to Weimar together for a wedding and the following day parted for the last time when Peter Yorck left for Berlin, in preparation for the coup that was to follow Stauffenberg’s attempt on the Führer’s life two days later at his headquarters, deep in present-day Poland.
Marion Yorck afterward wrote that her husband felt that the plot was likely to fail, but that it was worth the sacrifice to show the world that not all Germans were under Hitler’s sway. The latter’s survival of the blast triggered by Stauffenberg led to a fatal delay by those officers who had promised to back the coup, and Peter Yorck and many of the other conspirators were quickly arrested and tried. He was executed on August 7.
Very few people were bothered by the fact that the Nazification of Church took place…
It would be misleading to give the impression that the persecution of Protestants and Catholics by the Nazi State tore the German people asunder or even greatly aroused the vast majority of them. It did not. A people who had so lightly given up their political and cultural and economic freedoms were not, except for a relatively few, going to die or even risk imprisonment to preserve freedom of worship. What really aroused the Germans in the Thirties were the glittering successes of Hitler in providing jobs, creating prosperity, restoring Germany’s military might, and moving from one triumph to another in his foreign policy (William L Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960 ed., 331-332).
I am currently reading William L Shirer’s classic book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960 ed.). Adolf Hitler and the Nazis put incredible pressure on Protestant pastors to submit to the Nazi ideology…
In the spring of 1938 Bishop Marahrens took the final step of ordering all pastors to in his diocese to swear a personal oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer. In a short time the vast majority of Protestant clergymen took the oath, thus binding themselves legally and morally to obey the commands of the dictator (331).
Of course, there were a few like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who were appalled at those who caved in to Hitler.
I have been a pastor for 30 years! I pray that I will always to be true to Jesus!