“Our strength lies in our speed and our brutality. Genghis Khan hunted millions of women and children to their deaths, consciously and with a joyous heart. History sees in him only the great founder of a state….I have issued a command –and I will have everyone who utters even a single world of criticism shot –that the aim of the war lies not in reaching particular lines but in the physical annihilation of the enemy. Thus, so far only in the east, I have put my Death’s Head formations at the ready with the command to send man, woman and child of Polish descent and language to their deaths, pitilessly and remorselessly Poland will be depopulated and settled with Germans.” Adolf Hitler talking to his generals prior to the invasion of Poland. (Richard J. Evans ‘The Third Reich at War’ pg. 11)
Hitler was mostly right about Genghis Khan. The brutality of the mighty Khan is recorded in Wikipedia but generally he is imagined to be a great leader of a great people. At the time of Germany’s perfidy in Europe, it was considered to be a superior nation of culture and sophistication led by a leader of uncommon intelligence and foresight (i.e. Hitler.) History has since changed it’s mind about Germany of WWII and very few parents name their children Adolf. For that matter, there are not many ‘Hitler’ surnames left in this world.
I am personally a huge fan of history, have enough college credits for a minor in it, and read it voraciously. I love the story behind the story and seek to find the flawed humanity that lies beneath the bigger than life historical figures. We assume written history is the final verdict. Genghis Khan was a great conqueror because he won his battles. Hitler was an evil repugnant man because he lost his?
We are wrong. Mankind does not write history despite what Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” The final book on each and every human who has ever existed has been written by God. Included in it is every word, thought, deed and intention. This should frighten all of us because exposure of what is in that book would humiliate anyone who has ever lived. Is there any comfort knowing that we are all in this together?
A crucial step to understanding the message of God to a dark and often merciless world is to see ourselves as He sees us. Adolf Hitler did not seem to know that he was a noxious and vile creature even though it is plain to the rest of us. (I found a website where someone listed Hitler as the most brutal man in history tied with George W. Bush. God knows how much I hate this kind of stupid, insipid politics!)
God knows every man down to the darkest regions of his nature and once we grasp this, the miracle of His grace extended to the seething snake pit of human history is all the more astonishing. Especially His grace extended to me. He alone can write a sanitized history of Brian Chronister and that is precisely what He does in Christ. Ultimately there will be great joy for those whose names are found in the book of life.
Revelation 20 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. (NASB)