Hitler’s Snoozefest

January 15th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 14 (NLT)

14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls;
      there is safety in having many advisers.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Leadership isn’t always positive.  The strongest leader in the room isn’t always the best one.  In world and modern history, there are few leaders who had kind the global impact that Adolf Hitler of Germany had on the world.  But it was his lack of leadership wisdom that brought about his demise . . . thankfully.

It was the summer of 1944– June to be exact.  On the sixth, the Allies launched their much-anticipated and highly dangerous assault on German-controlled Europe beginning at the beach at Normandy in France.  Their plan was to parachute thousands of troops in behind enemy lines and then reinforce them with the largest invasion from the sea in modern history.  If this elaborate plan were to succeed, then they were at least giving themselves a fighting chance at retaking Europe from Germany.  But if it were to fail, then there was a good chance that the war would be lost forever.  Their attempts were so crucial that this day in history would forever be known as D-Day.

As the Allied troops began their assault that fateful morning of June 6th, there was at least one Nazi military who understood the ramifications of what was going on. His name was Field Marshal Rundstedt and he and Hitler weren’t exactly best friends.  Correctly anticipating the invasion at Normandy, Rundstedt order the movement of the 12th SS Panzer, an armored division, to the spot where the Allied soldiers were coming ashore.  They had the potential to completely obliterate the enemy invasion and pin the parachuters behind enemy lines with no hope of rescue.  They had the potential to win the war for Germany.

But there was only one problem: Hitler.

It was about 7:30 in the morning when Rundstedt gave the order to move the tanks. However, an order of this magnitude had to be approved by Hitler himself.  Hitler, you see, was paranoid and untrusting of his advisors and military leaders– so much so that he was micromanaging the war effort.  At 7:30 am when Hitler needed to approve the crucial movement, he was fast asleep and no one in their right mind would dare awaken the brutal and criminally-insane Feuhrer from his nap.  Consequently, he slept in until noon, missing the window of opportunity that his man in the field knew was wide open.

And so D-Day commenced with high casualties, but it commenced nonetheless. Though thousands lost their lives that day, the devastation could have been crippling to the Allied war effort if Hitler would have trusted and heeded the advice of his advisors.  Rundstedt knew exactly what was going on, but Hitler’s poor leadership wisdom was the deciding factor instead.

This passage reveals that “without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.”  Obviously, I am elated that Hitler was such a poor leader.  But regardless of the evils of the Nazi Regime, the principles of God’s Word were clearly played out in Hitler’s reign.  He lacked godly wisdom and his nation fell.  

Wisdom is the crux of leadership; the axis upon which nations, organizations, churches, and even families hinge.  It’s more important than power, influence, riches, or fame.  It is more effective than fear and more stable than popularity.  A wise leader stands heads and shoulders above the rest.

But one key to a wise leader’s success is his or her understanding of the need for counsel.  Good leaders surround themselves with wise advisors.  They may not always do everything that is suggested, but the wisdom of many counselors helps narrow and sharpen the difficult decisions that a leader must make.

So we should pray for our leaders that they will possess godly wisdom and that an abundance of wise counselors will surround them and speak truth into their process.  Remember, it doesn’t matter if the organization is Nazi Germany or an American elementary school, the principles of God’s Word will ring true the same: wisdom is the key to leadership and wise leaders will seek the counsel of many advisors.

I’m glad that Hitler snoozed through his most crucial decisions, but I certainly don’t want to snooze through mine.



~ by johndriver on January 15, 2009.

One Response to “Hitler’s Snoozefest”

  1. Absolutely amazing. Ever since seeing Valkyrie i have absolutely been obsessed with WWII. Now moving on, I completely agree. We sometimes have the tenancy to listen to the person that seems to know whats going on without even actually evaluating what they are saying. i would also like to comment on your timing with a “leadership” Daily Thread with the start of Winter Overdrive. Bravo PJ, Bravo.

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