Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Stating the facts

Sir: May I join Richard Lamb (Letters, 2 November) in demolishing the ill-informed and wrong-headed views of Andrew Roberts about the German resistance (`Danger! new myth ahead', 26 October)?

If Hitler had been killed, says Mr Roberts, he would have been succeeded by Himmler, `who controlled the SS'. But the army vastly outnumbered the SS, and Roberts obviously knows nothing about the plan worked out by the Judge AdvocateGeneral of the army, Carl Sack. There was in force a catch-all offence of weakening the defensive power of the Reich, for which the death penalty could be imposed. From the anti-Nazi point of view, Hitler was leading Germany into an abyss and therefore all who ardently supported him were guilty of this offence.

Under Sack's plan, the army would have arrested all SS officers, Gestapo men and Nazi party officials of the rank of Kreisleiter upwards. After drumhead courts-martial they would have been shot forthwith. The SS fighting units would then have been incorporated into the army.

`An assassinated Hitler', says Roberts, `would have provided the ideal Dolchstosslegende (stab-in-the-back myth) once Germany was inevitably defeated in 1945.' When I worked in occupied Germany as a political intelligence officer, I knew one of the few surviving Berlin plotters, Colonel Wolfgang Mueller. His publication Gegen eine neue Dolchstosslegende, of which Mr Roberts is obviously ignorant, disposed effectively of any such suggestion.

The German public in 1944, enlightened about Hitler-inspired atrocities in Poland and Russia, and hearing all the wavering generals now released from their oath of allegiance and speaking out, would never have cast the army in the role of stabber. And Roberts's notion that revanchism `would have resonated in Germany to this day' is downright mad.

Lindsey Platt 3 Sherwood Avenue, Fallowfield, Manchester

Biblical authority

Sir: Tom Sutcliffe illustrates well (`The modern Mary Magdalene', 9 November) the danger of rejecting biblical authority in matters of faith and morals. He is right to assert that biblical authority in the area of same-sex sexual relationships must be rejected if the Church is to approve them. In its place he appeals to what `people nowadays. . . see [as] reasonable behaviour under certain circumstances'.

He argues `if one is incapable of sexual relations with the opposite sex, then it's right that one should do what comes naturally. If one is incapable of bringing up a child, then it is right that one should consider having an abortion.' Apart from the failure to allow for the working of God's grace in these circumstances, does not this argument permit the inclusion of any area of conduct in the category, `If one is incapable of . . . '? The test of what is right and wrong will be what people `nowadays accept'; in other words morality by human edict, and not by revelation from God.

A wide cross-section of Christians (not just Reform) still accept the Bible and other Christian teaching in these matters. The official doctrine of the Church of England still accepts it, whatever the LCGM or the bishops concerned with the Southwark service on 16 November might say. The protesters at this service come from a much wider constituency than he suggests, and include: Cost of Conscience (an AngloCatholic grouping), Southwark Renewal Group, the Southwark Diocesan Evangelical Union and Reform. Tom Sutcliffe writes as though these moral changes are either decided or inevitable - they are neither.

Nigel Stone 36 Alwyne Road, London SW19

Sir: Tom Sutcliffe says that I reprimanded Anne Atkins for her comments about the service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement at Southwark Cathedral. As a matter of fact, my concern was with the BBC, not with Mrs Atkins. She used the slot which is normally a spiritual and moral reflection on the news of the day to attack the Church of England for not giving a moral lead, when there was no opportunity to challenge this. …

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