The Issue of the Oath of Allegiance

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The appeal to oppose the criminal Nazi regime carried the stigma of breach of oath. In the fall of 1943, propaganda from the High Command of the Armed Forces accused the members and adherents of the NKFD of treason. A special issue of the military newspaper “Panzer voran” entitled “‘The New Bolshevist Propaganda Trick’. A Statement on the ‘National Committee for Free Germany’” of December of 1943 stated, The “National Committee for Free Germany” is nothing other than a pathetic attempt – recognized by us thank goodness – to wrench the German soldier away from his oath and to brand him as a vile traitor (quoted in Bliembach, p. 137).

In weeks following, above all the theologians in the NKFD stated their views on the issue of the oath of allegiance and the breach of oath time and again in memoranda und radio addresses. They argued that the soldiers’ oath of allegiance had been abused, that it was Hitler who had broken his oath and that, from the Christian perspective, there were also situations in which the formal pledge of the oath was nullified but the substantive pledge – obedience to God’s commandments and loyalty to the nation – was kept.

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  • © Christiane Godt-Schröder