IF YOU KNEW WHAT WAS TO COME,WOULD YOU HAVE KILLED ADOLPH HITLER
GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY?
At the end of the first year of the war, the Allies (UK, France, and Belgium) met the German Army near the town of Ypres, Belgium during October and November of 1914. A major battle ensued causing over 260,000 casualties. As the Germans withdrew, a wounded German soldier limped out of the smoke and into the gun sights of British Private Henry Tandey.
By 1938, war was imminent in Europe. British Prime Minister, NevilleChamberlain, travelled off to meet Hitler in an effort to head off the conflict. While there, Hitler invited Chamberlain to his new retreat in Berchtesgaden. While touring the residence, he came upon a painting by Italian Fortunio Matania which clearly depicted Henry Tandey carrying a wounded soldier to safety during the Battle of Marcoing in 1918. Both Tandey and Hitler were also present at this battle, but they had only met once before years earlier at Ypres.
Henry Tandey was nonchalant about the message at first; but as World War II began, he would say, “If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people and women and children he killed and wounded, I was sorry to God I let him go.”
Tandey outlived Hitler by thirty-two years but carried the weight of his action, or non-action, to the grave in 1977. Would you have felt the same way Henry Tandey did? What do you think would have given you the moral justification to decide who lives and who dies? If you knew that the man in your gun sights was Adolph Hitler, would you have pulled the trigger?