Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stauffenberg's Choice: "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!"

Stauffenberg's Choice

Sixty five years ago today, just before one o'clock in the morning, Colonel Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and fellow officers Colonel General Olbricht, Lieutenant von Haeften, and Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were shot by a firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock in Berlin for the "crime" of having tried to kill Adolf Hitler and end the war. The execution ground was lit by the headlights of a Wehrmacht truck.

As his turn came, Stauffenberg shouted, "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" ("Long live our sacred Germany!") Today, there is a stone in the Bendlerblock in memorial of this event. Although von Stauffenberg was immediately buried, the next day his body was dug up by the SS, stripped of his medals, and cremated.

Claus von Stauffenberg was lucky. His brother, Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, was tried before Judge-President Roland Freisler in the special Volksgerichtshof ("People's Court") on 10 August 1944. Berthold was one of eight conspirators executed by slow strangulation with piano wire in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day. More than two hundred others, many of them unaware of any details of the plot, were condemned in mock trials and executed.

If any of you are unfamiliar with the story of von Stauffenberg and the 20 July Plot, you have only to buy a DVD of Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise. It is an instructive story with many lessons for our day.

"Choose this day whom you will serve."

My friend Pete at Western Rifle Shooters Association has recently raised some hackles with some posts beginning here with reactions here, and here.

This is the paragraph that started the bother:

21) Do you understand that, with the millions upon millions of vulnerable, unarmed, government-paid collaborators and Quislings at the local, state, and Federal levels, let alone all of the government-owned property in every jurisdiction of this huge country just aching for traditional American political action, one of your biggest problems (after the initial decision and commitment, of course) will be in focusing your efforts so as to achieve maximum effect with minimal exposure to you?

What Pete was trying to make everyone understand, I think, is that in a time of tyranny and death, every government employee must make Stauffenberg's Choice. Do you cooperate, collaborate and assist the killing machine or do you resist, break it down from the inside, and thus keep your Oath to the Constitution?

While I may quibble with some of Pete's presentation and finer points, his larger point, though uncomfortable, is quite accurate.

"Choose this day whom you will serve."

If events proceed as we fear, we will all one day be faced with Stauffenberg's Choice.


Anonymous said...

In 1984, I was priviledged to spend the week with Ebehard Bethge-- a nephew in law of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who became the custodian of Bonhoffer's papers and his most recognized biographer. Many are the memories of that week. (For those who don't know, Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who could have been elsewhere. He was an active part of the resistance to Hitler. He was hung in April, 1945. Whether his part in the plots to assassinate Hitler were known is in question. What is not in dispute is that he went to his death without betraying any of his co-conspirators.)

What I remember from that week was Bethge's account of an event that happened years before B.'s death. They were at a mass rally where Hitler was proclaiming his visions for Germany. At the scripted portion of the event, the crowd began to chant "Heil Hitler." Arms were raise in the one armed salute. Bethge refused to participate. He looked over to his mentor who had his arms raised and was joining the chant. Bonhoeffer looked at Bethge and said, "Don't be a fool, Ebehart. Don't you understand that we have moved from resistance to revolt. From this point on, appearances mean nothing."

There comes a time when the gears shift, and from that time on, appearances mean nothing. Even our appearance of righteousness must be surrendered on the pyre of conviction.

Crustyrusty said...

How many will be willing to pay Stauffenberg's Price?

Anonymous said...

I was having my oil changed, got talking to the young manager, who was visibly irked when he realized another oil-change establishment had ripped me off, charging me for filters never changed. So a nice 'kid', who seemed beyond honest. We got to talking. His family had emigrated right before the US entered the war: FROM GERMANY. His grandfather hated Hitler, saw the writing on the wall. Moved to Kansas, but rather than live out a safer and easier life, he went and enlisted into the American Army, and fought hard against the Nazis.

He did not realize he was talking to a Holocaust survivor's son, but I had to say, I was so touched by his story...

So they moved from resistance...and moved literally to this country, became Americans (free at the time), but then joined the active revolt, fighting against his own countrymen.

I was stirred by this story.

Do we have courage like that? can we overcome our indolence and our fears, both, and start standing up and be counted? When do we realize when it's time to start the revolt?

Maybe its starting. Formerly meek folks at townhall meetings shouting down the Obamacare travesties. Tea parties, anti-Obamacare parties. It's all a start.

We need to keep going. Show up at city council meetings. Do it right, nonthreateningly, obey the rules, but LET"S START. We can't wait until elections, because the world we knew will be gone. It is being demolished by the Radical Left up there.

Anonymous said...

Obey the rules???? Haven't you heard that all is fair in love and war, and we are at war with the collectivists. Shout them down, call them out for the petty tyrants that they are - don't be nice. Make the vermin SQUIRM. These tyrants would be more than happy to see you and your family enslaved or even exterminated if that is what is required for THEM to keep their cushy do-nothing jobs.

1894C said...

I just saw the film and it occurred to me that the failure to control the information clearinghouse that received transmissions from the "wolf's den" and Stauffenberg's CIC was key to the failure of the coup.

Once the message got out that Hitler was alive and orders were passed out from the "Wolf's Den" the plot was doomed.

Controlling the message/ propaganda and disrupting the communications of the enemy is key.

Good lesson learned.

Anonymous said...

After years of observing what the left has done and is still doing without interruption, without any quantifiable impact to either their ideology or methodologies, as well as their consolidation of power within government itself, it would seem that revolt is the accurate word, if not tactic.

They've been planning and implementing for a long time now and aren't simply going to go away if asked, nicely. In fact it gets worse from here on. They are ready for a fight, they've been planning on one.
Witness the activity in the general officer corps and recent examples of politicization of local police or their inability to recognize the problems that now require their choice of whom to serve.
It seems that many believe that the oaths they took were loyalty oaths to the politicians, which of course has the politicians sexually aroused and near perpetual climax.

You can see how this might turn sideways easily enough, Constitution not withstanding and a majority media basically state run. The imagination runs wild with suppositions, all to closely borne out by actions and facts already known, with more upon the horizon.

And some wonder why the sales of guns and ammunition are through the roof.

Anonymous said...

So what I am getting , if u are not happy with a democraticaly elected politician and the party in power it's ok to revolt against that party take action beyond demonstrattions, waiting for the nex election, remove the party in power by force.
Wish I knew that , I rally screwed up by out waiting Bush and his cronies and voting for the other party. [shesh what a waste}
Not sure this one will get through the blog author but found myself here so what the hell.