What About Hitler?

The Blackfoot River on a hot summer day. Courtesy Leon Kauffman.

What About Hitler?

By Jon Kauffman

When I asked if war could be prevented if Christian refused to fight Christian, Bob Spiess asked, “What about Hitler?”

Bob’s question is quite valid. It often seems logical that violence is the answer to prevent further violence and evil.

We need to look at the bigger picture.

Death, violence, and evil are the natural consequences of sin. Because he loves us, Jesus allowed the natural consequence of man’s sin to take place and died on the cross. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” If we fight evil and violence following Jesus’ example, we can expect to die. Violence and evil are real and Jesus showed us the only way it can be stopped. Jesus interrupted the cycle of violence by refusing to fight.

If Christian refused to fight Christian and neighbor, the 100-year war would not have been fought between France and England. If the 100-year war had not taken place, Europe would have had a different attitude about war and most likely World War I and many other European wars would not have taken place. If Christian had refused to fight Christian, the faulty foreign policy of Great Britain would not have caused Germany to desire a naval fleet. Love for Christian Brother would have brought about negotiations and World War I would not have been fought.

According to Stanley Weintraub in his book “Silent Night”, in Flanders in 1914, German, British and French soldiers called a truce on the field of battle and celebrated Christmas together. Soldiers refused to fight for several days, but generals made the fighting continue.

True heroes shot above the enemy instead of at the enemy. True heroes refused to fight their Christian brothers and were brought to trial and shot as traitors. True heroes refused to join the military and were thrown in prison as a result.

In the thick of the fight, it is difficult to see the truth. In hindsight, we can see many errors of Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and the US Congress.

Estimates vary but, about 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians died in WWI. What if 100,000 Christian soldiers on each side had refused to fight and had been shot for treason? Most likely the war would have stopped, negotiations would have taken place and the death toll would have been much less. After the war ended on November 11, 1918 hundreds of thousands of Germans unnecessarily starved. If the US Congress had voted to sell food to the Germans instead of participating in the Starvation Blockade, perhaps Hitler would not have been voted into power and World War II would not have taken place.

It would have been difficult to do, but if Christians all over the world had followed Jesus’ teaching and loved their enemy and turned the other cheek and fed the hungry, Hitler would have had no power.

Today violence and evil take place every day. The natural consequences of that violence are taking place every day. If we follow Jesus, what can we do to interrupt the cycle of violence and revenge in our world today?

Reasons why other Christians participate in violence: Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

Copyright © 2018 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

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Author: Jon

Jon Kauffman graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. Jon attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attends the Salvation Army Church. Jon works as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

6 thoughts on “What About Hitler?”

  1. Jon, I wrote a book on the Christmas truce and would like to send you a copy. When folks ask about ‘Hitler’ I start by pointing out that we need first look at WW part I and then we can go on to WW part II. A line was crossed and we reap what we sow.


  2. Very good advice indeed.
    War and violence is never the solution to any problem. They only escalate misery.

    Romans chapter 12 (and many other parts of the bible) tell us clearly to not repay evil for evil.

    But if someone were approaching my wife or little girl with intent on harming them, I would definitely use whatever force was needed to stop the perpetrator.


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