21 The Turning Point Whitsun-Christmas 1942

  • Michael Balfour
  • Julian Frisby


The first job after the Kreisau week-end was to transmit to other people who had not been there the conclusions which had been reached and summarised in a thousand-word note of ‘results’1 Helmuth took on himself the task of doing this with the church leaders and left the socialist and trade union side to Reichwein. Neither found it easy going. Helmuth had two difficult and lengthy sessions with Preysing, of which the second was a ‘regular stand-up fight’/ein richtiger Grosskampf. Fortunately he himself was ‘in good form’ and a lot of the difficulties were surmounted. Later he brought in Rösch and the latter’s secretary König to help him, who also found the Bishop ‘a hard nut’ but not beyond cracking. The main bone of contention seems to have been the proposal that after the war all German schools (or at any rate all primary schools) should become Christian but interdenominational. The main initiative for this idea is said to have come from the Protestants, who doubted whether they would be able to find enough genuine democrats among their teachers to man their schools,2 but it was undoubtedly welcomed by other members of the group as an important step towards bridging the gap between Catholics and Protestants; some Catholics, however, were inevitably nervous that it would reduce their influence over their children.* Another progressive idea likely to horrify those who did not understand what lay behind it was the proposal for ‘Una Sancta’, a German (and indeed a world-wide) Christian Community to which all Christians would belong regardless of their confession and which would ensure that the Christian standpoint got a full hearing in political and social discussions.


Church Leader Pastoral Letter Main Initiative Trade Union Leader Capital Ship 
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  1. 12.
    A. Krebs, Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg (1964), p. 265.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    B. Schwerdtfeger, Konrad Kardinal von Preysing (1950), p. 129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Balfour and Julian Frisby 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Balfour
    • 1
  • Julian Frisby
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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