Hamburg Germany lies on the Elbe River on a tributary leading into the North Sea. The blue-eyed, blond Germans embraced Lutheran Protestantism early during the Reformation. The people became very spiritual and accepted other peoples, and religious minorities for centuries. They were conservative and moral and a credit to the Germany of that period. The cold and cloudy climate fed the energy of the population. The early Falls brought sleet and snow to the climate. But somehow this energized the population to be extremely industrious.
The city was blessed with prosperity and morality above most cities of its size. In the sixteenth century it welcomed Jews from Spain who were expelled from that country, and who were driven from Portugal. Hamburg built one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. Dutch Calvinists found a haven there from the Catholic armies of Philip II. Later, the conservative and orthodox French Huguenots, along with many French aristocrats settled in Hamburg.
But in time, Hamburg went the way of German Protestantism. Liberalism and skepticism theologically began to destroy its strong Christianity. By the time of World War I Hamburg had turned against the Bible. The people became extremely secular, thriving with pride in their prosperity and secularism. They paid a price. Some 40,000 young men from Hamburg perished in World War I. But, in my opinion, the judgment from God would grow worse. During the 1930s God was gone and humanism reigned in the universities of the city.
Because of its industry and location on the North Sea, the city was doomed by the allies during the height of World War II. The British Air Force General Arthur Harris was the man given the assignment. Harris was a strong Bible-believing Christian who led prayer meetings and Bible studies with his fliers. It is said he "had a dry, cutting sense of humor, and would not suffer fools gladly." Harris determined that Hamburg must go, by being bombed into dust by incendiary fire storms. The first strike against the city was ordered on July 22, 1943. 792 Lancaster, Stirling, Halifaxe, and Wellington bombers took off for Hamburg. The young British airmen knew what was coming against the population below. In a little over one hour, some 200,000 to 40,000 people were turned into ashes.
Fire storms sucked the breath out of the population. Heaps of bodies were piled up in basements. A judgment had come! And, the war was possibly shortened by anywhere between 2-6 months.
The people of Hamburg knew God but gave Him up for prosperity. It is a terrible thing for a nation to know God and then to give Him up for the material. A warning for all nations of the earth!
--Dr. Mal Couch