A nation’s tale

Darkness reigned. The region, poorly organized, had been under the control of others for as long as anyone could remember. Oppressed? Yes. Economic prosperity? Must be nice, but while some were doing ok, most were not. Too many bitter memories, memories of betrayal they vowed never to forget. They had risen up once. They had tried to change things once, but they had been slaughtered by “noble knights,” knights in the service of their lords. Vassals they were, and vassals they were to remain.

Gradually things started to change, gradually the situation got better. First, a few new voices appeared. Voices saying they could become a nation, even a dominant one. Instead of being under other’s control, they could, by uniting, throw off that control. They could take charge over the hated oppressors.

Then, a miracle. They came together, threw off foreign rule, and forged their country. Powerful voices came forth, pointing the way to national dominance. Industry developed, cities grew, people had jobs, people had hope.

New technology emerged. Better technology; a stronger army. They had turned the tables on their foes. They were now the better organized. As fate would have it, an assassin’s shot rang out; an old friend was killed. It was time, time to retaliate; time to squash their ancient foes. The day had come to seize control, and seize control they did.

Euphoria! Success, more than anyone could have ever dreamed. With ancient enemies all around, by their cunning and skill, they dealt a stunning, immediate and total defeat to their largest adversary. All their resources could now go towards defeating their tougher enemies. They could do it! Dominance could be achieved at last.

Only . . . they couldn’t. The first blunder came when they decided to take over a long-standing neutral country near their own. That unfortunate country was plunged into famine. Other nations, many far away, turned against them for their actions towards that unfortunate neutral country. A public relations disaster followed. They relented, and at last let others aid that poor stricken country. But the damage had been done, they were now viewed as villains, and villains they would remain.

Their other enemies proved to be more resilient than they thought. Worse, those enemies were able to outthink them, and develop new technology and engines of war. Slowly the tide began to turn. Hoped for total victory became stalemate, and then that stalemate looked more and more like it could turn into total defeat.

Resources were strained to the breaking point. Then it happened. Defeat, surrender! The damage they inflicted on others would have to be repaid. Their enemies, stronger and more powerful than ever, exacted economic vengeance. Their government, those “new” voices that had promised world dominance, collapsed. The people, worse off than ever were in despair. Many were now dead, killed in the military push for international power and success. Where could they possibly go from here?

Defeat. Despair. Dominated by others before, and now dominated once again. Why bother? A new government was formed, a duly elected government, but weak, hamstrung by sanctions placed by their traditional enemies. That government tried to navigate through the maze, but couldn’t.

First, the economy collapsed. The government responded by printing more money to fix the economy. That money was backed by the good faith of the government. The suffering people realized that was of little value. Not surprisingly, then, the currency collapsed. Backed by nothing, it became worth what it was backed by. Hyper inflation took hold. A country farmer boasted that he paid off his farm’s mortgage with three eggs. A wheelbarrow full of money might buy a loaf of bread. In the cities, kids used rubber bands to turn stacks of it into blocks to play with. Ink became so expensive, the government could only afford to print money on one side.

Things were bad before, but far worse now. Many no longer had jobs, and those that did were little better off. Why work, when what you are being paid is worth nothing?

New voices started to arise, voices promising to fix the mess, and return the country to greatness. One new leader in particular sounded very promising. People started to listen. The media started to pay attention and promote that leader. Some key church leaders agreed. Maybe this political party could fix things, things they now blamed the other party for. Maybe this new group could get the country moving. Maybe there could be real change. Maybe . . .

Charismatic. If there was one word to describe this new emerging leader it was charismatic. Hopes began to rise. The citizens began to believe him. He could fix things, He could get the nation back on its feet. The press was fully in support. What opposition that did exist began to be dealt with. Election, victory! One of the nation’s most famous members was put in charge as a figurehead. But the time would soon come for that exciting leader to take direct control.

The new leader did it. Wilder than dreamed possible, success! The country? Restored. Jobs? Plentiful, at last. The leader? A national hero. The press lauded him. One of the world’s most prestigious news sources declared him to be their man of the year. Star athletes flocked to the restored capital city to compete in world-wide games. On top of the world, times were great.

Only one dominant political party? So much good for the nation had been done, not a concern. A one-sided press? So what? Rights might slowly be eroding, but who cared? Very few. Blame had to be assigned for the nation’s past failures. A group was found, a group greatly despised, and blame was assigned. At first, a few negative articles about them appeared, and before long the press constantly vilified them. Persecution set in, but again, the nation was doing great, so no matter, besides members of that group weren’t wanted anyway. Religious leaders continued to back the great new leader. A few had concerns and opposed him, but they were dismissed as not understanding the country’s issues and historic problems.

With their fantastic, amazing turn-around, just maybe they could finally dominate their enemies. The signs were favorable. Now was the time!

The time was ripe. A new king had arisen in the East, an all-powerful, but very insecure king. Early in his reign he purged his country of all potential rivals. Worse he then decided to kill many of the citizens he felt didn’t like him. The country was weak and vulnerable. In the West, leaders decided that the best way to keep peace with this rising country was to give that country everything they wanted. So, they were weak as well. No one would be able to stop him.

Using deceit, he made it look like another nation attacked him, so that his retaliation against that country would appear legitimate. No one believed it, but no one was powerful enough to stop him. In a series of stunning victories, he soon controlled the entire western mainland. It was then time to attack the weak country to the east. More stunning victories! But, things started to turn. The unexpected happened: winter weather stopped him in his tracks. That gave the eastern country time to recover. Certain victory turned into stalemate, and stalemate, once again, slowly turned into what looked like certain defeat.

As the tide began to turn, instead of just persecuting the despised minority people group, he started murdering them, and along with them other undesirables as well. A few of the religious leaders came to realize they had made a huge mistake in backing this once-charismatic leader. One even joined a failed plot to kill him. Others, sadly unrepentant, backed him until the very end. The remaining countries in the West launched a counter-invasion, and succeeded. The nation began to collapse. In its final days that once charismatic leader wished he could totally destroy his own country. Fortunately, he no longer had the power to carry it out. Suicide became the option of choice. His chief lieutenant and his wife, after murdering their children, did the same. Most of the continent was in ruins.

What lessons can we learn from this tale?
As you may have guessed this “fictional tale” is a very thinly disguised telling of what happened in Germany from shortly before World War I through the end of World War II (with a couple exceptions).

There are a number of things that happened during that time frame, especially during the Weimar Republic years and what followed that parallel our own situation. We have a very one-sided press, and woe to anyone who disagrees with that view. The polarization we are facing is not helpful. The difference is that for us, the intimidation is coming from the political Left. One political party in particular is proposing things that if enacted have the potential of bankrupting our currency. Like the Weimar Republic, our currency has no real backing. Berlin, during the Weimar years seems to have been regarded as the world’s capital for “free sex” and “alternative lifestyles.” Those choices didn’t end well.

The media can both have an agenda and be very wrong at the same time. Hitler was voted Time’s man of the year because of how he revived Germany in the 1930s, prior to World War II. With all that is being pushed with COVID-19, along with a particular political view (other views are generally ignored, and thereby in essence censored), skepticism is wise. Again the divisiveness and polarization is not helpful. Jesus had a lot to say about a divided kingdom, and that applies not only to the spiritual realm, but nations as well.

What is downplayed in the description of Germany’s leader is that he was a staunch atheist evolutionist along with having family ties to the occult. Although a bit off topic, more people were murdered in the twentieth century by atheistic leaders than were killed in any previous time in history. Hitler murdered an estimated 12 million (six million Jews, and six million other undesirables). How many Stalin murdered is hotly debated, especially by “emergent” historians. A total of 20 million is very possible when including the number of people he killed indirectly through starvation. In China, Mao may have murdered as many as 77 million (again exact totals, who knows?). On a per capita basis Pol Pot murdered even more. It is estimated that from 1975–1979 he murdered somewhere between 21–24% of the entire population of Cambodia. Currently, deaths in North Korea are estimated around 1.5 million. There is a pattern here, and the Bible warns us of one who is coming who will murder on a vastly greater scale.

If we think we are immune, we are fooling ourselves, especially given how some groups in our country are starting to be regarded. It is worth remembering that the persecution of the Jews by Hitler escalated over time. It started with all sorts of slanderous articles in the press. The Jews were then forced to wear a star of David identifying themselves as Jews. On November 9–10, 1938, the turning point came: Kristallnacht. Jewish homes, schools, and businesses were looted, and synagogues were burned. The name is taken from all the shattered glass windows. The concentration camps would follow. The government’s program was calculated and deliberate. People started to believe the press and the propaganda being churning out. They then accepted the Jews being singled out, and their inferior status. The government could then escalate their persecutions, and eventually institute mass murder. Again, we are not immune to that same process.

In the next part, we will look at some of the things we can learn regarding how the church responded. What we will find is that key church leaders were more wrapped up in German politics rather than Jesus.