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Featured Where were the Christians In Germany during WWII?

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by The Gryphon, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Mountainmike

    Mountainmike Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think that is optimistic.
    I think many did know what was going on, indeed they were forced to be part of it.
    That is the problem with fascism. Ultimate authority. No toleration of dissent.
    Hidden informer networks.

    If YOU were given the choice of Shoot or be shot? (and that is a rose tinted view of how nasty both the actions and the retribution for failure ) what would you choose? Your own death or theirs?
    It is easy to oppose or be brave in theory - hard to be a martyr in practice.

    Would survival kick in?
    Or the choice in some fascist regimes: shoot or we shoot your kids.
    What would you do then?

    We Live in armchair judgement , on a decision and mental agony we can never know.

    We do know men can be evil. And they can be very easily led there. Its why our Lord came.
    We should not sit in judgement on them, but try to avoid being led their way.
    And hope to be strong if ever we are called to be.
     
  2. Dorothy Mae

    Dorothy Mae Well-Known Member

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    Some protested and were killed. Some hid Jews and risked their lives. Some kept low under the radar as they had children to care for. As in all godless tyrannies, the children of God do what they can.
     
  3. Dorothy Mae

    Dorothy Mae Well-Known Member

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    It needs to be understood that refusing to be drafted meant death. Serving in the military was not merely optional.
     
  4. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Holeless fox

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    God is not powerful enough to turn the hearts of evil men?

    But now anyway, ever hear of Le Chambon, or the Rosenstrasse protests, or Denmark's resistance at the time?
     
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  5. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    They were aware. My father-in-law was a young boy in Germany during WWII.

    Don't forget that history is a condensed, simplified version of past events. Further, WWII Nazi Germany has become a caricature in most people's minds.

    Christians exist in all kinds of horrific situations. Their presence doesn't mean those situations cease. Nor does it mean they deal with those situations in perfect, Hollywood heroic fashion. However, if you're looking for German Christian heroes from WWII, there are a few, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
     
  6. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Corrie ten Boom ... another worthy example. And there was Miep Gies, her husband, and all their employees who helped hide Anne Frank and her family plus others.
     
  7. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Good question.
     
  8. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I hope you get over it.
     
  9. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    While that is true to some extent, be careful not to slip into some "no true Scotsman" attitude. One of the hard parts of being a Lutheran is accepting that there were card-carrying Lutherans who did horrible things at that time. Christians are not excused from sin.
     
  10. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    Those "card-carrying Lutherans" deserve to have their religion put under a microscope. It's one reason I prefer Bonhoeffer's theology and the post-WWII trends that came out of it. In light of the Holocaust and the horrors of Nazi Germany, I do not believe a religion of unquestioning faith and duitiful obedience to authoritarian figures is justifiable.
     
  11. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Absolutely. But I have also heard many comments regarding how these people "weren't true Lutherans" or "weren't true Christians". Checking people off the list because of their sins is just as big a problem in many churches as those committing the sins.

    This is an issue that has been heavily studied by some historians - How did faith traditions that supposedly opposed this type of thing get caught up in it? What is hard is reading speeches and letters from faithful church goers of the time. If you didn't know they were participating in these horrible acts, you wouldn't have been able to distinguish some of them from faithful church goers in the U.S ([edit] and not just white church-goers). As such, the historian has little to no grounds to shrug it off and say, "Well, they weren't true Christians."

    I don't put much stock in the moral judgements of armchair critics who haven't had to live such situations. All the "I would never" statements. Uh huh. We'll see. Check post #46.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  12. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    World War 2 cannot be fully understood without understanding the terms imposed on Germany at Versailles and the suffering the German people experienced during the Weimar years.

    [​IMG]

    Not that the evils of the National Socialists in Germany or the Communists in the Soviet Union can ever be justified, but such things usually don't happen in a vacuum.
     
  13. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    A great deal of what happened in Germany was due to a certain kind of theological liberalism, and wasn't exclusively Lutheran. Both Barth and Bonhoeffer understood this. Liberal religion became intensely ethical in the name of social respectability, and this was interpreted as an imperative towards advancing the greatness of culture, and if the culture is antisemitic and nationalist, the religion becomes antisemitic and nationalist as well.

    Well, as I pointed out, I don't think US Christians are necessarily all that faithful, either, or all that different from Nazi Germany in essence in their modus operandi of advancing a kind of "Positive Christianity" built upon the myth of being a "peculiar people". The only difference is we as a culture are somewhat less anti-semitic and we are a little more cognizant of the dangers of fascism. But as not-so-distant events have shown, such as in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years ago, memory fades, and what was once completely unacceptable has now become acceptable for a minority of young people unaware of history.
     
  14. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    You've correctly identified the great evil that liberal religion presents when it rejects the moral and historic teachings of religious orthodoxy, but all believers in our day would do well to realize that this desire of liberal religion to compromise with the world exists regardless of what the sentiment of the prevailing age is...whether it is the desire of liberal religion of that day to make peace with antisemitism, or the desire of liberal religion today in America to make peace with international instead of national socialism and the LGBTPQ agenda. By its nature, liberal religion always betrays the Savior to embrace the spirit of the age.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  15. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I'm trying to prevent painting the whole thing with one broad brush. WWII Germany was not a monolith - some giant being with Hitler as the head and all Germans as the body. It was a geographical area of millions of individuals - each with a different experience. A good historian understands this, and again, I can show you studies on how historians deal with just this problem.

    So, yes, Germany was not a religious monolith of Lutheran orthodoxy. There were Catholics and Pietists and Reformed and the academic liberals and so on. But that doesn't mean Germany was without orthodox Lutherans - my father-in-law's family was very much Confessional Lutheran. And some of those "proper" Lutherans participated.

    It was a chaotic mess. My wife's grandfather served in the German army during the opening invasion of Poland. After that he became somewhat of a conscientious objector, and was sent back to Mannheim to work in a factory. Given that he made material that supported the war effort was he then an objector or a supporter?

    Since Mannheim was constantly bombed, he sent his wife and kids to live on a farm. There my wife's grandmother spent the war at near starvation levels, scratching out a daily existence, and late in the war had to fight off attempts from Russian soldiers to abduct her until the Americans arrived. How do you classify that nebulous middle existence where she neither resisted the war effort nor supported it, but only thought of surviving it?

    As a Vietnam Vet once explained to me, when one is in the midst of these horrors, all the military strategies and theological arguments go out the window. The "no atheists in foxholes" is both right and wrong. Not only are there no atheists, there are no theists. It's just a brute existence.

    Again, I don't disagree there are many people who fit that mold. It's just that it's not all people. The hope is that such people will be prevented from making a big splash - though sometimes they do.
     
  16. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

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    But Corrie ten Boom and Miep Gies were Dutch, not German.
     
  17. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    While true in terms of passport papers, I'm not sure how relevant that is for this discussion and the point I'm trying to make. The Dutch share much in terms of ethnic and cultural origins with the Germans.

    Technically, Hitler wasn't German but Austrian ... and I've heard that argument used to justify why Nazism is not a German phenomena. Just as there was a Miep Gies, there was also a Jan Hartman. Just as there was a Churchill, there was a Chamberlain. Just as there was an FDR, there was a Heinz Spanknobel.

    Probably most Americans haven't experienced connections to the old country, but it is an oddly fascinating thing to learn about how German-Americans dealt with having relatives who lived in Germany. Maybe the easiest example to study is the Busch family (of Busch beer fame). Borders are an artificial human construction, as is - to a significant extent - national identity. Further, the modern version of nationalism is a very late invention. It took me a long time to break out of the American nationalist paradigm and see what people were like before such things came along.
     
  18. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    In light of your observation, I thought you'd find the following map to be interesting. I've traveled extensively, and it's pretty accurate. The midlands are probably a little larger than portrayed west of the great lakes with regards to their northward stretch, and the demarcation line between it and yankeedom that far west is not as clear. On the other hand, you can distinctly feel the demarcation between the midlands/yankeedom and the western states that kicks in as your travel from east to west in the central time zone.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    The heartland of Nazism was in Bavaria, which of course was part of Germany. Prussia actually produced alot of resistors to Nazism, having a more free-thinking, individualistic type ethos. It's unfortunate that Prussia was blamed after the war for all the evils of Germany and dissolved wholesale, when it was such an important place of culture and learning during the Enlightenment.
     
  20. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Yes. I'm fascinated by the depth of thought of the Americans FFs - even if I don't agree with everything they did. They were well aware of the trend toward nationalism and made a conscious effort to invent an "American" culture. Garry Wills has a book on that (Inventing America). To a large extent their efforts succeeded, but there is still great diversity.

    It's also fascinating to look outward and ponder whether or not our borders are permeable. Does the world stop at the line we draw? Does the world leak into America and does America leak out into the world. For that I love Thomas Bender (A Nation Among Nations).
     
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