by Young Oon Kim
Global Disasters And Reconstruction
For those who had grown up prior to 1914, World War I meant the virtual collapse of everything they held most dear. Tillich once reported that the war meant the end of the Protestant era. Barth declared that he lost all faith in the liberal Christianity of his teachers when he read in the newspapers that the most prominent Protestant theologians in Germany gave enthusiastic support to the militaristic policies of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Pope Pius X, it was rumored, died of a broken heart when he realized that Europe had plunged into war.
Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, was assassinated June 28, 1914. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Serbia called to Czarist Russia for help. Russia, France, Great Britain and Italy mobilized to fight the Central Powers: Austria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire headed by the sultan of Turkey. Since most of the big powers held overseas colonies in Asia and Africa, fighting erupted on a worldwide scale. Then, when it appeared that the Allies might lose the war, the United States intervened.
World War I lasted only four years, but its effects were disastrous for all concerned. The Hohenzollern, Hapsburg, Ottoman and Romanov dynasties were toppled and their huge empires were broken up. France lost so many of her young men that she was permanently crippled. Political boundaries around the world changed drastically. When the Nobel Prize-winning French poet Paul Valery was asked what the war taught, he replied that men learned that whole civilizations could die. If European civilization was not exactly killed by World War 1, the battles wounded it so badly that it could not recover its hegemony over world affairs.
According to Divine Principle, the Kaiser willingly or unconsciously became an instrument of Satan. At least he unleashed demonic forces which ravaged the world and ultimately destroyed his throne as well as his dreams of a worldwide empire. Out of rashness and vanity Wilhelm II wrecked the European world order.
Worse, World War I provided the Marxists with an opportunity to seize control of demoralized Russia. Quite rightly, as it turned out, the British and French compared the Kaiser to Attila the Hun, the scourge of God. Totalitarianism could appear and flourish because of the destruction, defeatism and disillusionment caused by the first World War. However, because so many millions had suffered grievously, fought bravely and died for what they sincerely believed was "the war to end all war.' they paid sufficient indemnity to establish the formation stage for God's final dispensation, Divine Principle tells us. 28
The Versailles Treaty merely sowed the seeds for World War II. When it became obvious that the League of Nations had no way to curb aggression, Japanese militarists took Manchuria from the Republic of China (1931) and fascist Italy sent troops to occupy Abyssinia (1936). In the meantime the Nazis took over Austria, seized part of Czechoslovakia and cast an eye on Poland. Beginning in the autumn of 1939, World War II raged until the late summer of 1945.
Numerous political, economic, sociological and psychological studies have been made on the rise of Hitler and National Socialism. Yet what role did he play in opposing God's program of universal restoration? According to Divine Principle, Kaiser Wilhelm offered the world a Satanic imitation of Adam's mission to perfect himself in every way and to exercise dominion over creation. Like the German emperor, Hitler was determined to rule the world. But there was something far more monstrous about the Nazi plan for global power. Didn't Hitler promise the establishment of something like the messianic age? He spoke about the Germans as the chosen people, quite deliberately using Old Testament concepts. His Third Reich would last a thousand years, as if it was the long-awaited millennium. Furthermore, he clearly thought of himself as the messiah who was able to create the New Order, a terrestrial paradise for his followers. For these reasons, Divine Principle calls Hitler a satanic imitation of Jesus, offering mankind a demonic substitute for the kingdom of God.
As we have said, World War I gave the Marxists their first political base from which they could promote the cause of materialism, economic determinism and totalitarian government. Because of World War II, Stalin could greatly extend the boundaries of communist rule. The Soviet Union quickly became the greatest single power on the Eurasian continent; and within a very few years it gave enough support for China to set up a communist government. Marxists have always believed that the whole world would sooner or later be dominated by communism and have acted accordingly. If this were to happen, God would once more be kept from realizing His purpose, Unification theology maintains.
What is the Christian's obligation in such a time of either apocalyptic judgment or eschatological promise? First of all Christians must work together as well as cooperate with all men of faith. Only a united Church can heal and save a divided world. But such unity does not mean devising a uniform way of worship or enforcing the acceptance of some one creed. Christians must unite to bring about God's kingdom on earth. Everything else is secondary.
Next, all Christians should open their minds and hearts to God's unique message for our time. In Jesus' day, the worst opposition came not from evil men but from the custodians of "the old-time religion." As the Gospels point out, Jesus was constantly criticized by the professional religious leaders and pious laymen. Therefore, let it not be said of us as it was of them that they had ears but could not hear and eyes but could not see. May God enlighten each one of us with His truth for our day.
28 Divine Principle, p. 482
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