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The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler's Gathering Storm Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0742534995 ISBN-10: 0742534995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742534995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742534995
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,389,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

With this vital documentation, Joseph Loconte brings back to life the intense intellectual battle that bitterly divided religious thinkers in the 1930s: How should they respond to the total war against the West, mounted by the Third Reich and its Axis partners? Reinhold Niehbur and others fought manfully against the overwhelming numbers of pacifists, doves, perfectionists, and just plain appeasers, and took many rhetorical blows for doing so. These documents tell the tale most eloquently. (Michael Novak, Ave Maria University)

Congratulations to Joseph Loconte for bringing together this indispensable collection of writings by American theologians and churchmen who either opposed or supported America's involvement in the war against Nazi Germany. Then, as now, a significant cohort of the clergy preached a 'moral equivalence' between the United States and its foes; then, as now, many averted their gaze from the horrors unfolding in another part of the world; then, as now, many cried 'peace' when there was no 'peace' for the victims of Nazism. Opposition to this position, spearheaded by Reinhold Niebuhr, located interventionism within the heart of the Christian tradition and its understanding of the role of the state in protecting citizens from, and punishing, evil. Loconte's briskly written, energetic introduction helps to frame our understanding of who the writers were and what issues were at stake. Anyone who wishes to deepen his or her appreciation of American church opinion between World Wars I and II should read this volume. (Jean Bethke Elshtain, The Laura Spelman Rockeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago; author of Just War Against Terr)

Joseph Loconte gathered surprising material for his excellent historical study. (Joseph Bottum The Weekly Standard)

Although its subject is the fierce debate among religious leaders about America’s entry into the Second World War, Joseph Loconte’s powerful and timely book also sheds light on the conduct of religious leaders in our current struggles. Rarely has a collection of historical documents had more immediate relevance, or offered more self-evident parallels to the present. Then, as now, one is dismayed by the failure of so many of our most prominent religious spokesmen to give responsible guidance to those burdened by the terrible obligations of statecraft. Then, as now, one is grateful for the clear-thinking remnant who did provide such guidance, and who understood that genuine love for one’s neighbors can never mean abandoning them to barbarism and murder. (Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)

About the Author

Joseph Loconte is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Religion and Civil Society.

Customer Reviews

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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Nicoleta E. Manciu on December 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
A clear review of the history will show that anti-war polemics are not a thing of the present time only. This book will inform the readers how pacifism also defended Hitler. No war at any cost proponenets of the 1940's saw only at the end of WWII the price to be paid. Those murdered tasted the bitter poison and inhaled the gas. Read and ponder.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Grimsrud on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joseph Loconte meant for this book to serve the rhetorical campaign American militarists are waging to garner and sustain support for the "war on terrorism." Though these purposes are problematic, the book (excepting Loconte's introduction) is actually fascinating and important.

Loconte has gathered an extensive collection of writings from prominent American Protestant leaders (plus one Jewish writer) who engaged in a passionate debate in 1939-41 about the role the United States should play in relation to the war being waged in Europe between the Nazis and British. The first half of the book includes pieces from those who opposed military intervention, generally on pacifist grounds; the second half gathers materials from those who supported taking sides with the British and offering material aid for the Allied cause (though, since the materials all were published before Pearl Harbor in December 1941, even these latter writings do not overtly advocate American direct military engagement). The introductions to the various writings are models of objective description that do a nice job of putting the articles in historical perspective.

"Part I: The Peacemakers" contains articles from seven pacifist authors making the case for the US remaining neutral in the European war, a case presented in explicitly Christian pacifist terms. These articles make it clear that their writers were not isolationists (a much more widespread and influential party in the wider American debate, but unrepresented in this collection) but rather internationalists, even interventionists of a non-military sort. The intervention they advocated, though, was not one seeking to aid a military victory but rather seeking to further humanitarian ends for all affected by the war.
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9 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Debunker on June 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book, and numerous other publications, represent nothing more than the desperate response of the war-mongering right to the torn apart fig-leaf hiding the ugly untruths for the raining of laser guided bombs on the common, helpless men, women and childeren of Iraq in the name of the 'War on Terror'. They are deeply disturbed by the declining support among the awakened American people for that "war" as can be inferred not only from the dismally low ratings of both the Bush Administration and the Repulican dominated Congress, but also from virtually any other indicator.

Hitler was an identified, self-declared enemy, Saddam was a manufactured, packaged and labelled threat to the United States. Hitler's was a massive war machine that challenged the might of the other equally powerful war machines. Hitler's Germany, if victorious could have, at least for a short period, enslaved Britain, France, etc., and posed a threat to the distant United States, but is that even the remotest of possibility from the present enemy who have no better weapons to fight with but their own lives? The preposterous nature of the comparison is just too patent to be muddied by distortions and misinformation. It will wash, if at all, only with the blindly faithful and no one else. Of course, the numbers of the former would be adequate enough for the book to survive and have its minutes in the dark caves of the scheming folks who use war (and God) as electoral weapons and of thier cohorts and beneficiaries.
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