Der Fuhrer

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The Younger Generation's Changed View of the Concept of Führer
“Should the leader allow himself to succumb to the wishes of those he leads, who will always seek to turn him into an idol, then the image of the leader will gradually become the image of the misleader. This is the leader who makes an idol of himself and his office and who thus mocks God.[note 1]
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer[1]

Der Führer, literally "The Leader", was the name that Adolf Hitler used for ruler when he became the ruler of Germany.

Two days after the January 30th 1933, a day when Adolf Hitler became a chancellor of Germany and declared that “the 30th of January will mark the movement that started with the man on the street”, and when foreign diplomats in Berlin misjudged Hitler's ascension to power as “only a phase in the development towards more stable political conditions”,[2] the young Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer delivered one of the first public criticisms of the new chancellor in his radio address entitled “The Younger Generation’s Changed View of the Concept of Führer”. Bonhoeffer's intention was to poignantly warn German nation that a leader ("Fuhrer") who makes an idol of himself and his office and who thus mocks God is in fact a misleader ("Verfuhrer"). However, before Bonhoeffer could finish his speech, the broadcast was cut off and his words fell upon deaf ears.[1][3]


  1. cf. "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ." Matthew 23:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bonhoeffer Speaks Out Against Hitler. First Run Features. Retrieved on 3 November 2015. “IN THIS SCENE: At twenty-six years of age, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian delivers one of the first public criticisms of Hitler. On January the 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. Two days later, as Germany continued to celebrate its new leader, Bonhoeffer spoke by radio to national audience. He was three days shy of his 27th birthday. Yet he delivered the first public criticism of the new chancellor. In the speech entitled: “The Younger Generation’s Changed View of the Concept of Führer”:...Before Bonhoeffer could finish his talk, the broadcast was cut off.”
  2. Christoph Strupp (30 January 2013). 'Only a Phase': How Diplomats Misjudged Hitler's Rise. Spiegel Online. Retrieved on 3 November 2015. “"It may, I believe, be accepted," wrote Messersmith, "that whether the Hitler regime lasts for a few months or for a longer period, it is only a phase in the development towards more stable political conditions and that this government will be followed by one which will show greater elements of stability than any which Germany has had for some years."”
  3. Chadwick Jenkins (21 June 2007). Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister (2003). PopMatters, an international magazine of cultural criticism and analysis. Retrieved on 3 Novmeber 2015. “Bonhoeffer seems to have had little trouble seeing through such bloated rhetoric. In 1933 (the very year of Hitler’s ascension to power), Bonhoeffer wrote, in a radio address ….This rather prescient statement anticipates the later notion that Hitler had inaugurated an aesthetics of power wherein the state became a bloated form of theater, a social rite carried out in plain view that justified atrocities as the necessary sacrifices that all such rites entail. Although, as students of World War II, we recognize Hitler’s totalizing concept of authoritarian control, nevertheless we often forget that Hitler marshaled religious fervor to his aide, as well. This film is a healthy reminder of that fact.”

See also