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Arthur Schindler vs. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg

May 28, 2009

valkyrieI watched the movie Valkyrie last night with my wife. It was a good movie and we both enjoyed it. The movie tells of a group of conspirators made up of military and civilians who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. We followed along as the attempt on Hitler’s life unfolded. We watched as they attempted to take over the government and what happened after Hitler survived. We read at the end where only nine months separated the end of the war and the attempt on Hitler’s life.

In the end it seemed that they were more concerned with sparing Germany than halting any great crimes against humanity. I have read that the majority of the destruction done to Germany took place in those last nine months.

My question for those reading is, was what von Stauffenberg planned better or more helpful in the long run compared to what someone like Arthur Schindler did? Can we even compare? Is there a better or worse or are they just different?

I would love your thoughts because while many people who disagreed sat and did nothing, some people did act and in very different ways.

I ask this because today we also have a choice in how we get involved. Can we learn a lesson from these two very different approaches?

It seems to me that our typical response is that of von Stauffenberg and yet in a real since didn’t Schindler do more?

Does the church today celebrate acts like Schindler’s or do we tend to look for those like von Stauffenberg?

What do you think? I believe we tend towards von Stauffenberg actions ignoring the fact that Schindler’s probably did more and had a greater impact.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Will permalink
    December 13, 2009 1:15 pm

    If I’m correct, The Schindler you’re talking about, his name is Oskar.
    I understand exactly what you mean and what led you to express that. And at some point yes, it does give the impression that Stauffenberg’s concerns on Hitler was more inclined to saving the country rather than the victims. And even though the movie tries to bend it a bit to the other side, I believe that in the real story he was a bit more inclined to the political side of it. The movie, as all movies do and well, romanticized it a little bit.
    Even today, one aspect that particularly impresses me negatively is how most germans regret Hitler more for having brought disgrace upon their country since it was bombed and destroyed in great proportions by the other countries (no wonder, what did they expect in going agaisnt the world with that comic-book-villain type of aspiration? ‘Let’s rule the world, ha ha ha’ kind of crap) rather than having Germany performing all those OBVIOUS hedious unspeakable mass crimes. And that makes me very aprehensive. The question for me remains: Would they, in their very core, their inner will or something like that, like or appreciate or at least sympathize that their country would have won the war? A-ha, now that is a key I would love to find out… Arians still have a lot of pride, I know it, and sometimes that still makes me wanna do some bad stuff. I don’t appreciate it at all. And somebody should tell tham that only a ‘race’ that thinks and believes of itself as ‘superior’ is indeed and in fact inferior. Only a truly humble person can ever even get to reach the heels of such a word. ‘The more you show the less you are’ kind of thing. Like some type of inferiority complex, you know what I mean. Personally I like to call it the shorter-willie complex but that’s a joke. I’m caucasian which only puts me an ever greater responsibility to accuse it and despise it. Even today I still don’t think I’ll ever like Germany or the germans. I feel like shouting them “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”. Even the language is horrible, haven’t you noticed? I remember Jim Brass from CSI saying that ‘nothing sounds good in german’.

    Sorry for the long text, it’s just that I’m very used to express myself.
    Anyway, about those two good men, what I believe is that Schindler was in a position where I can understand if he would want to stay more oblivious. After all he was a member of the nazi party and by working in the shadow and staying inside would be the only way to get some of the possibilities and advantages that in the end were maybe one of the few providences he ever had to save those people and save as many, you see. But when it comes to significance, Oskar carries a great deal, greater than Stauffenberg. He also carries a bit more honor for not making much fuss about the deed. Call it a redemption, for it is believed that he didn’t start off as a saint, in fact was quite far away from that. He indeed used those people, and profited from the war and nazism. Only closer to the end he has learned.
    The corageous act of Claus was and is still very huge. He also worked from the inside (even though a bit less) but was never a member of the party because he never agreed with it. And even though Oskar has more significance in the real world, Claus has a greater deal of symbolism. His act was more symbolic, more political. He was agaisnt Hitler. Oskar was agaisnt the horror from him. And maybe Claus was, through being agaisnt Hitler himself, also agaisnt his horrors, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But let me tell you this: he only did not ended up with such a much greater significance because it flopped. He failed. Because if he had succeeded, then by god it would have changed History. He was already prepared to take over the reich, had it all planned. Very hardly it would be fully controlled by nazis again. Comparing the two men, I think Claus wanted more, but had less. Oskar was more clever, thought every step of the way, didn’t go beyond his own power and so he did well. His merit stays with his wiseness that assured the saving of a lot of lives. Claus’s merit comes from intention, for he wished and tried. Much bigger deed of course, but then again, much bigger fall. Ended up with nothing, except the memory of it that still lies with us all and keeps Stauffenberg inside our hearts and memory forever I hope. So in this way, yes, Claus was definitively symbolic. Totally symbolic, but yet no more than it while Oskar was concrete. He did. And he succeeded you see. Very honorful. The whole world will remember him forever.

    What you said is very true. People do tend to go after the Claus side, but as you probably know, people work a lot with symbols. They relate more with him, it’s the more easy more direct more obvious act in their way of seeing. Not that complex. Kill the guy, that’s it. Stauffenberg, as a symbol, stays with them as heroic. The man who went up there to blow the loonie away, he took the guts, at least he tried, way to go. You have to see that the people can relate more to that. And very honestly I can tell you that I undestand why people go for him. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, I’m just saying that I understand, as you and all of us probably do, even if unconsciously you see.

    So in terms of impact, obviously Schindler was more effective in a real world. Greater significance, absolutely. Because it was thought over. Because it was concrete. Well done. He’s a hero for all time.
    Stauffenberg went a long way. Dreamed a bit better and tried to do better than saving some people. But failed, and so the dream and memory, and the story, is everything that stays. Forever for sure, but still. You know…

    That’s why I kind of liked the ‘basterds’ movie, maybe more for its idea than actually for the movie itself. That’s another example of dream, a dream of revenge. Of course the director never changed, he’s still a bit of a child and always will be. Had I grabbed it (the script I mean) and directed it I would certainly gone far from its objective because I’m very dramatic and I would’ve turned it into a very dramatic plot. Much more intense and powerful, absolutely (because I live from intensity and am always very intense in my works), but still.

    Well, hope this didn’t bore you with such a long line of thinking, so be well.

    A friend,
    Will

  2. DONALD B. permalink
    March 7, 2010 2:40 pm

    WILL: THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION____ BUT IN THE END I THINK NOT THAT COMPLEX! SHINDLER ENDED UP WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER……. PRETTY MUCH BROKE AND ACCUSED “WAR PROFIETER”! HE GAVE HIS MUCH OF HIS MONEY TO SAVE LIVES HE COULD HAVE MADE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY….. AND AS MOST GERMANS…..JUST WENT ON!
    Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, AFTER THE WAR TURNED AGAINST GERMANY, ACTED TO KILL HITLER! NOW HE AND MOST OF HIS PEOPLE IN THIS ATTEMPETED “COUP”///// NOW NOT ALL, SOME WERE AGAINST HITLER FOR YEARS, AGAIN MOSTLY THEIR FEAR HIS WILD SCEEM’S OF A MASSIVE WORLD WAR WOULD BRING GERMANY DOWN! AFTER THE DEFEAT OF FRANCE, FEW GERMAN’S STOOD OUT IN RAGE AGAINST…. HITLER!! AND Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE THAT TRIED TO END HIS REIGN! SOME WORRIED WHEN THE ATTACK ON RUSSIA STARTED,,,,, BUT STILL FEW DID MUCH!! REALLY ONLY AFTER THE 6th ARMY FELL IN STALINGRAD….. THEN THE BATTLE OF KIRST! AT THAT TIME MOST THAT UNDERSTOOD THE REAL MILITARY DISASTER COMING, TRIED TO THINK OF SOME WAY OUT!! A ARMISTACE… PARTIAL SURENDER…. MAYBE JUST WITH “THE WEST” BEFORE THERE WAS A SECOND FRONT!!
    Stauffenberg FELL INTO THIS GROUP, AS IT WENT ON NOW IN 1944 THE MAIN REASON HE TOOK SUCH A “HIGH PROFILE” PART,,,,,,, WAS SIMPLE________ HE HAD ACCESS TO HITLER, THATS IT!! HE DID GO ON AND ATTEMPT TO KILL, THAT OH SO EVIL MAN!! HOWEVER UNLIKE SCHINDLER, NOT A MILITARY MAN, HE WRESTELED WITH HIS OATH!! ONLY AFTER THE “WAR WAS LOST” DID Stauffenberg FEEL HIS “OATH’ TO BE SUSPENDABLE!!
    DONALD B.

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