Thursday, March 13, 2014

Passing by on the Other Side

West Baden, IN – In his 1977 book The Devils Virtuosos, David Downing tells the tale of fifteen generals of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The men upon whom the fate of thousands hung, some of them members of the old conservative guard, who watched, then aided, the march of the Nazis across Europe.

But there is something mentioned in the work that may surprise some. Two of the generals, who fought down to end, aiding Hitler even in the final, mad assaults in the last days, when there were no Panzers or U-boats left with any fight in them, and only useless loss would result. These were Manstein and Guderian. Both survived the war, and afterwards wrote their memoirs.
Guderian speaks of the ideals of Christian Western Culture which he fought for. Both men were generals who claimed they were Christians, and defending their country from evil, who believed the old slogan Theirs not to reason why. Both were high command yet claimed to have had no idea what was going on in places like Ravensbrück Prison Camp. Another of the Reich’s top men, Albert Speer, said he also did not know, although, in 1944, he was warned not to visit a “certain establishment” he did not ask what it was, and never visited.
They, in their own writings, saw themselves as soldiers. They were not politicians, not philosophers, they felt their only job was to fight. If things were going on elsewhere….But it was not only these German Generals, members of what is heralded as one of the most evil empires in history, who did this.
It is done by many every day. In the years surrounding World War II, it could be argued that at times, especially before 1941, it was done by almost the whole world. Like the Pharisees who saw the man laying the ditch, blood caked and battered, they passed on the other side, because it was none of their business.
It has been done, and will be done. Shutting the eyes tightly against the evils that would stare one in the face if you only dared look, which you do not, because…what could you do anyway? The actions of these generals, who could fight for a man whose men bled the bodies of little children dry for blood transfusions for their own men, with the children still living, reminds one of a poem, and the consequences:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Andrew C. Abbott

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