A Man’s Moral Worth

Henning von Tresckow was a Major General in the German Wehrmacht and a chief conspirator in the Valkyrie plot (he is played by Kenneth Branagh in the modern movie “Valkyrie” which starred Tom Cruise). He spoke these words to a fellow conspirator Fabian von Schlabrendorff who is the source for these words:

“The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing.  Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the whole world.  When, in a few hours time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify in good conscience what I did in the struggle against Hitler.  God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany.  None of us can bewail his own death, those who consented to join our circle put on the robe of Nessus.  A human being’s moral integrity begins when he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions.” *

Despite the atrocities of the Nazi’s, it is not right to conclude that honor and integrity were dead in Germany.  There were many heroes who failed in their attempts to right a very badly listing ship.  Overwhelmed by the ferocity and speed of Hitler’s evil, these men were caught in an avalanche of proportions they could never even imagine.  By the time they figured out the depth of the horror and the corresponding and seemingly immoral option left to them (assassination), Hitler was well on his way.

Once we know what we are willing to sacrifice our life for we will have a better idea of how we should live our lives.

*quote taken from Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

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