Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor who lived in Germany through the World War II, and was executed by the Nazis for his involvement in a plot to kill Hitler.
Bonhoeffer was a prolific writer with unusual insight. He wrote often about the scourge of war and what it shows us about humanity.
He once compared war with time-lapse photography. When you watch time-lapse photography, subtle changes that naturally occur over hours and hours, which pass unnoticed, are accentuated and made obvious.
Bonhoeffer wrote that war did the same for human behaviour. Attitudes and actions that went unnoticed were now obvious. He concluded that war did not produce these attitudes, it only revealed and emphasised them.
We can all tend to blame circumstances for our poor or excusable behaviour but perhaps all they do is make obvious the attitudes that lie beneath the surface of our lives every day.