Joining the Political Resistance

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After returning from New York, Bonhoeffer began actively collaborating in the conspiracy against Hitler. His brother-in-law and former schoolmate Hans von Dohnanyi (1902–1945), who had already made him an accessory to his plans against Hitler at an early stage, took on central importance.

The jurist had been assigned to the Foreign Office of Military Intelligence (Abwehr) of the High Command of the Armed Forces 1939. Covered by his superior Hans Oster, he soon belonged to the circle of conspirators there around Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who knew how to combine espionage’s principle of maintaining secrecy cleverly with the clandestineness of preparations for a political coup. The Oster-Dohnanyi circle was supposed to establish covert foreign contacts for the political resistance movement.

Bonhoeffer was also used here. His ecumenical connections furnished a good pretext to send him to foreign partners in dialog on official grounds of espionage essential to the war effort. Actually, he was supposed to inform them about the planned coup and ascertain the Allies’ potential responses. As a double agent, Bonhoeffer thus became one of the military resistance’s important ambassadors abroad.

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  • © Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Bildnummer 10016391

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