I am still reading Bonhoeffer book and finally, after all the years of studying the WWII history in school and elsewhere, I am understanding how it went. (I am not into history, at least not the recent one because there are way too many “filters” to it that completely change the opinion.)
Growing up in Ukraine, the views here were tainted by the Soviet history. All history books we had told us about how great Soviet Red Army was and how it stopped Hitler in his tracks. We even have a special name for the WWII – Great Patriotic War (it was a part of the war that was fought on the territory of the former USSR from 1941 to 1945.) My grandpa fought in the war and some of grandma’s and grandpa’s brothers and sisters were killed during it (I don’t think there are families in the CIS who haven’t lost anyone.) Suffice to say, the victim / victor mentality was the filter that I had.
Right now I got to the part of the book about Bonhoeffer where the history of WWII is explained in more details. For example, I have never studied the church history during that tough time. I just knew that Jews were outlaws, but I didn’t know about the Reichskirche, the German Protestant Church that basically re-defined Christianity to fit their twisted beliefs. (And I am thinking of the official Russian Orthodox Church right now that has long been affected by politics rather than truly preaching what is told in the Bible.)
The thing that stopped me in the tracks this morning was the eerie similarity to what is going on in Ukraine and Russia for the last couple of years.
While Bonhoeffer wrote Life Together, Hitler’s attack on Czechoslovakia was front and center. Hitler publicly said that all the German-speaking people of Europe belonged to Germany. The Austrian annexation had been painted not as an act of war, but as a loving father welcoming his children home. The parts of Czechoslovakia that spoke German – or what was called Sudetenland – were portrayed in the same way.
Bonhoeffer (Student Edition) by Eric Metaxas
When Putin decided to annex Crimea last year, it was done in almost exact same way. His claims were that Russian-speaking people should belong to Russia and that Crimean people have longed to go back to Russia. The Russian soldiers who were sent to the peninsula “just happened to be there” and Putin welcomed the people of Crimea warmly because he was so happy they have decided to come back home. Awwww. (Not.)
I am not the first one to notice this and probably not the last. It almost feels like when I was reading 1984 and thinking about the Soviet Union… only then I was thinking about the possible outcomes and now I am thinking what else to expect from our “Big Brother” country government.
(By the way, on the picture above there is Ludwig Müller, the Bishop of the Reichskirche, or the German Christian movement, who was one of the key people in propaganda against Jews and other things. By their raised hands, you can see that he worshipped not God, but Hitler.)