The Church Jesus Built, German version

What Happens After Death?, German version

Is The Bible True?, German version

Heaven or Hell?, German version

Bible Prophecy, German version

Adolf hasn't been here in years

July 20, 2008: 63 years after the end of World War II, Germany is still challenged occasionally by its past when it comes to military matters. That was evident in the days prior to this evening's swearing in ceremony for 500 "Bundeswehr" soldiers who took their oath of allegiance on the spacious lawn in front of Germany's parliament building, the historic Reichstag.

Today's ceremony was also the 64th anniversary of the failed coup attempt on Adolf Hitler in his military hideout in eastern Prussia. Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was the man who put his attaché case with a bomb under the table near Adolf Hitler, but later the person sitting next to Stauffenberg moved it because the attaché case was in his way. He moved it to the other side of a large table leg, farther away from Hitler. When the bomb went off, Hitler was not seriously injured. Stauffenberg and a number of his co-conspirators were later executed in Berlin.

Although this was not the first time that Bundeswehr recruits took their oath of allegiance on the Stauffenberg anniversary, it was the first such ceremony held in front of the Reichstag. Critics pointed out that Hitler's government had used the same area for military demonsrtations. Fearing public backlash, a number of politicians declined to attend, including Berlin's mayor Klaus Woworeit. On short notice, chancellor Angela Merkel and German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier decided to attend.

The soldier's oath of allegiance is "I swear to serve the Federal Republic faithfully and to defend bravely the right and freedom of the German people" Bundeswehr – certainly nothing that would tie today's Bundeswehr to Hitler's Wehrmacht, which swore its allegiance to him personally. Those who criticized the ceremony being held in front of the Reichstag seemed to forget that Germany's parliament – the Bundestag, which convenes in the Reichstag – is required to approve any deployment of German troops on foreign soil. What better backdrop could there be for the induction ceremony of an army representing a democratic state? The criticism of the ceremony location prompted an editor of the respected weekly "Die Zeit" to remark that "Hitler doesn't live here."

Former chancellor Helmut Schmidt was the guest speaker during the ceremony. He told the Bundeswehr recruits about the difficulties he faced as a young German officer during World War II. No German soldier today "goes to bed at night wishing Hitler would go to hell, only to get up the next morning to carry out his orders." Schmidt assured the recruits that today's German government would not abuse them like Hitler's government had abused him and his fellow soldiers.

However, Schmidt admonished the soldiers that today's peace is not something to be taken for granted. "For centuries we Germans have not shown ourselves to be an especially peaceful nation," he emphasized. People can be deceived, "and we Germans are still able to be deceived."


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The Ten Commandments, German version