1. First, you will argue the illegitimacy of the German Chaplains from a historical and biblical basis.
The German Chaplains had many uphill battles for themselves and challenging their faith. The Nazi leadership, from the top echelon and their hostility towards Christianity offered many obstacles for Chaplains to hurdle.
“Hostility from above proved contagious. Chaplains frequently complained; usually in private that the men in their care challenged them and their authority. Descriptions of hostile soldiers, officers, and even doctors and nurses appear throughout the chaplains’ reports and correspondence. “
As the leadership create propaganda to influence the soldiers being trained “to distrust Christians with its Jewish roots.” The young soldiers were made school in mocking representatives of the church.
Before the leadership and the soldiers influenced by them the Christian chaplains were illegitimate and had their authority challenged.
3 So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites so that they may carry out the LORD’s vengeance on them (Numbers 31:3 NIV)
Before God some because of attempting to comfort the egos and abuse of other buffed themselves up and did not serve God as a God of Love and a God of Peace.
2. Second, you will argue the legitimacy of the German Chaplains from a historical and biblical basis. The German Chaplains spent a lot of time proving their value and providing testimonials from soldiers. There was a great deal of participation in communion as expressed: “communion. Participation [was] 80 to 90 percent and among some units even 100 percent…. There was not a single case in which spiritual ministry was rejected. ‘Bless me!’ ‘Thank you!’ ‘Will you greet my friends and my family members?’ ‘I will die for Germany and our Ftihrer!’ Those were the parting words of the dying men” The German chaplains some having to defy order to serve the soldiers freely. “German chaplains had an immensely difficult job. Hostile military, state, and party authorities made their work even harder. Some chaplains showed fortitude bypassing and even defying orders that limited their freedom operation” Support for the work the Chaplains did came from soldiers searching to be dissolved of their sins. The many atrocities committed during this horrific event. Few who stood up would survive. They tried to keep to their Ordination vows and care directly when at all possible and cared indirectly when needed by directing. Before Gods eyes they honored God in their actions to serve the soldiers: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11 NIV)
Bergen, Doris L. “German Military Chaplains in World War II and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy.” Church History, vol. 70, no. 2, 2001, pp. 232–247. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3654452.
Reply to Barbara db Forum 3 week 4COLLAPSE
The Illegitimacy of the German Chaplains from a historical and biblical basis.
“History remembers the atrocities of the German Third Reich and it’s totalitarian regime. It is easy to look back on history and ask why the German people allowed and even supported the horrific actions of the Third Reich. There are three things to consider; the power of the Nazi propaganda machine, socioeconomic state of the German nation that set the stage for Hitler’s Germany, and the secrecy and/or willful oblivion to many of the most horrific actions of the state” (no name, 2012).
Berger stated, “As Paul Fussell and others pointed out, the fear of appearing “unmanly in front of their friends” can motivate men at war to do terrible things. In the hyper-masculinist world of war, chaplains face particular problems of credibility. How can chaplains convince men underarms that they too are “real men,” worthy of respect, in societies that define manliness in terms of soldierly qualities and associate piety with femininity” (2004 p 168)?
“Specific regulations handicapped the Wehrmacht chaplains’ expressions of manliness. They did not carry arms, although German regulations permitted them a small pistol when in enemy territory. According to 1941 regulations, military chaplains wore the same uniform as “all other administrators,” except without side arms such as daggers. Clergy selected for the Chaplaincy tended to be older than most of the men to whom they ministered. Military regulations stipulated that chaplains had to have been born in 1909 or earlier. The intention presumably was to avoid wasting prime fighting power. Younger Protestant pastors were drafted into the regular military; Catholic priests below the designated age, exempted from combat by the terms of the 1933 concordat, served in the medical corps. There were exceptions particularly on the Catholic side, but many chaplains were in their forties or fifties during the war; some were even older” ( Bergen 2004 p 169).
“As Leonhard’s experience in the hospital ward suggest, chaplains in Hitler’s military faced problems particular to Nazi Germany. Servants of both church and state, they nevertheless encountered considerable hostility from military, state, and party authorities. Hitler and his inner circle expressed in private, if not publicly, their contempt for Christianity, a religion they considered nothing but diluted Judaism propagated in conspiratorial effort to weaken the so-called Aryan race. Any form of Christianity, even the national religion of the chaplaincy, threatened Nazi claims to spiritual monopoly. Like the churches, the chaplains were to be allowed to survive until the was was over; Nazi leaders considered it too risky to attack Christian institutions when the full support of the home front was needed to avoid the ‘stab in the back’ they believed had lost them in the previous war” (Bergen 2004 p 173-174).
The Legitimacy of the German Chaplains from a historical and biblical basis.
“The hostility of their employees notwithstanding, German military chaplains showed intense loyalty to their nation’s cause. Declarations of love for the fatherland and commitment to Hitler and his war were no mere rhetorical flourishes; they informed every aspect of the chaplains’ work. As individuals and collectively, chaplains devoted considerable time and energy to providing their value to the German war effort. They compiled statistics and testimonies from members of the armed forces to illustrate their effectiveness in boosting moral and building spirits on both the home and the fighting fronts. In 1940, Protestant church officials assembles an entire pack of materials, clippings about chaplains who had been decorated for bravery, protestations of loyalty to “Fuhrer, Volk, and Vaterland” (leader, people, and fatherland), and excerpts from soldiers’ letters to try to prove to Hitler and the Reich Ministry for Church Affairs how useful and loyal were the chaplains” (Bergen 2004 p 175 -176).
“Wehrmact chaplains served the National Socialist regime, but few were themselves hardcore Nazis. Prospective chaplains required clearance from military, church, and Gestapo offices. All of these agencies did their utmost to keep out potential troublemakers, although they defined the term in different ways. Therefore, if it was impossible for anyone with a record of opposition to National Socialist policies to receive an appointment to the chaplaincy, aggressively pro-Nazi politics and even strident antisemitism of the wrong kind could disqualify a candidate as well. Prospective chaplains could be disqualified for deteatism. In 1940, one potential chaplain received black marks in the Security Service report, and was ultimately rejected, because he had once said that he did not believe Hitler could win the war” (Bergen 2004 p 176).
Bergen, Doris L. (2004). The Sword of the Lord, Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
No name, (2012). Salt and Like. Mike’s Perspective on Faith. Theology, Shepherding, and Growing Closer toChrist. Retrieved on 9/18/18 from https://soldiersshepherd.wordpress.com/)