The Kreisau Circle’s “Declaration of Principles”

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On August 9, 1943, the members of the Kreisau Circle adopted a joint paper, the “Principles of Reorganization”, a kind of governmental program for the event that the attempt to assassinate Hitler as well as the military coup d'état would succeed. The preamble of the Principles can be described as the intellectual manifesto of the members of the Kreisau Circle:

The government of the German Reich views Christianity as the foundation for renewing our nation morally and religiously, for vanquishing hatred and lies, for rebuilding the European community of nations.

This is the key to understanding the following individual statements:

- Restoration of trampled justice

- Freedom of religion and thought

- Breaking of the totalitarian moral constraints and acknowledgement of the inviolable dignity of human beings as the foundation of the desired legal and peace system

- The right to work and property

- Family under official protection

- Participation at the workplace

- Participatory involvement in self-governance

- Shared responsibility and participation in all political events in the state and in the international community

- Creation of a peace system including the individual countries

Christianity’s future role in culture, education and upbringing was undisputed for the members of the Kreisau Circle. For them, Christian personal ethics of conviction and liberal socialist principles of organization could be combined organically in the service of a humane world in which we live. Religiosity as a commitment of the individual to transpersonal values and the advocacy of humane and just social conditions went hand in hand for the members of the Kreisau Circle. The later Articles 1 to 21 of the German Basic Law reflect the tendency of their philosophical and theological positions.

Source / title

  • © Quoted from: Ger van Roon: Neuordnung im Widerstand. Der Kreisauer Kreis innerhalb der deutschen Widerstandsbewegung. München 1967, 561f.

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