Last month marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the failed bombing intended to assassinate the German Führer Adolf Hitler at his Wolf's Lair field headquarters in what is now GierÅ?o?, Poland. The anniversary offers the opportunity to reflect not only on the nature of courage in dark times, but on the character and limits of Christian resistance to political evil.
Comprising of military and political German resisters, the July 20 decapitation strike was the last significant attempt to overthrow the Nazi government from within. But it was not the first. German resistance plots to kill or topple Hitler reached back to at least 1938. That early effort, composing high-ranking officials of the German army and military intelligence and prominent citizens, was abandoned partly—but significantly—due to the failure of the Western powers to oppose Hitler's aggression toward Czechoslovakia. Had the Munich Conference not ended in appeasement, German resistance could have moved against Hitler under the pretext of preventing a disastrous war. Instead, Chamberlain's "peace in our time" granted the führer a new lease on life, more literally than was then suspected.