A Case Study in Strategic Moral Leadership: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1927-1945

  • Chaplain (Colonel) Timothy S. Mallard

What is the cost to a leader, both personally and professionally, in exercising a calling of strategic moral leadership to one's nation or to the world? This has profound implications for any military force, an institution of the state that U.S. Army Chaplains contend is subject to the rule of God, allowing Soldiers and Families who serve in it to be one with another in God while serving an institution dedicated to war. Understanding the process of strategic moral leader development can aid the Army in developing moral leaders in support of landpower across the career spectrum. The life and witness of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer provide an excellent case study for this task. His move from trained academic and spiritual leader to active conspirator and subversive with fellow Abwehr participants against the Third Reich will be the focus of this project. We will conclude by delineating how the costly process of exercising strategic spiritual leadership can be prepared for, but still requires extensive moral courage to enact, both privately and publicly.