Sunday, February 22, 2009

Killing Hitler

Would I do it?
I think I would, yes.
This afternoon I will be meeting with a few friends and we are going to the movie Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise.
It's about one of the many assassination attempts on Hitler.
As I sit in the Starbucks section of this Chapters store on Ogilvie Road, I am having a coffee and thinking about whether or not I would have killed Hitler. If I could have gotten a good shot away and then had a clear path to sort of run like hell, would I do it?
I think I would, yes.
It is a subject that has fascinated me for a long while.
I've read several books [most notably, this one] that contained within their scope the specific topic of Hitlerian-homicide.
Usually I am quite….. peace-loving.
Like today for instance. I have not killed anything or anyone ALL DAY.

Then, a few minutes ago I looked over and what was staring at me from the shelf yonder? A book called Killing Hitler: The Plots, the Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death.
It's written by historian/author Roger Moorhouse. [shown above].
The title awoke my inner-assassin!
I want this book, and I will have it, just not today. My book buying budget is crazily…. overdrawn-upon!

According to the back cover, almost fifty would-be assassins tried to kill Hitler. They all failed. And these repeated failures served to convince Hitler [and many of his henchman] that he was literally invincible.
I consider these would-be assassins HEROES!
MORAL heroes!
I’m sure that some Bible-believing types may lean upon the idea that even one of the Ten Commandments© , the one stating “Thou shalt not kill” [Deut.5:17] should seal the deal on the moral wrongness of murdering someone even though the victim may be someone as despicable as Adolf Hitler.
Personally, I would disagree.
I guess you could say that I disagree with the absoluteness of that “commandment.”
[Personally, I even disagree that it was a commandment FROM “God”…. but that is maybe a topic for another time…. no…. maybe for right now, I’ll get another coffee….]

OK, what I mean by the above blasphemy is just that a reader [of the Bible] needs to realize the tribal nature of what is being said, even in the commandment that supposedly comes from God.
A reading of the Old Testament will reveal [in so many places that it would bore you to tears if I went on too long about it…. actually, it is sort of ALREADY a bit boring, am I right?…..] but really, a careful reading will reveal that in many other places, killing was not only condoned, but commanded, by [apparently] the SAME “God”….

What are we to make of the commands, say, of “God” telling Samuel to tell King Saul to “Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” [1 Sam.15:3].
Hey, hey, HEY!
What happened to the “commandment”? Did someone miss class the day the Tablets were given?
And never mind other nations and whatnot. Apparently, if children do not obey their parents, if they overeat or drink too much, they are to be stoned [to death] at the gates of the city. [Deut.21:18-21].
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying that killing people is OK.
I’m just saying that a flat-out statement like “Thou shalt not kill” does not work for me.
In the above citations, it didn’t even work for “God”! Seems like there were situations when the commandment was applicable, and other situations when it wasn't!
My own conclusion is that I am against capital punishment, per se.
Unless it’s Hitler!

I like how Neville Henderson, British ambassador in Berlin, just prior to the outbreak of WWII, put it…. “If I were given a gun and told to take two shots, I would shoot Himmler, then Ribbentrop, and brain Hitler with the butt of the rifle.”
I am against capital punishment.
Unless it is toward someone who has, as his life’s goal, the Holocaust!
Let’s face it! Even his mustache was worthy of some sort of….. punishment!
Oh Adolf! Dear Adolf! Didst thou pee the bed too much as a child? Is that it?

So... if I knew what I know now, and lived then, and had the opportunity to “brain” him…. shoot him…. would I have had the moral courage to do it?
Well, here is a new book about at least fifty people that tried to do so, WITHOUT the benefit of retrospection afforded the modern-day coffee-drinker/blogger!
The topic interests me.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to kill and a time to heal….
[Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1 and 3].

For further perusal.



Beth said...

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" left my moral compass when I decided I was capable of killing anyone who harmed my children.
But could I really? When push came to shove? Even Hitler?

cipriano said...

Good point, Beth.
Like you, I have ZERO desire to kill anyone, this is the problem. Even Hitler.
Like maybe I would hire some guy to do it or something.

Shark said...

There is a television series on the History channel I was watching when I was staying with my parents, called 'Hitler's Bodyguards'. It details the people Hitler hired to protect him, and why in 20 years no one was actually able to assassinate him, even though there were many many attempts on his life.