THE OATH IN NAZI GERMANY:
I swear by God this Sacred oath:
That I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler
Fuhrer of the German Reich and people,
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
And that I shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier.
To give my life for this oath …
The above is a clip from the recent film Valkyrie (an excellent movie. Highly recommended).
The American officer's oath:
"I, _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."
The American enlisted oath:
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
In Nazi Germany, the oath was to Hitler and Hitler alone, and it was to obey unconditionally any order Hitler gave. Notice that not a word was said about the German constitution. This was because in Germany Hitler himself was the law and every order he gave was thus "lawful," no matter how absurd or heinous.
In America, the oath is first and foremost to the Constitution, not to any man. Notice that the officer's oath does not even mention the president.
And even though the enlisted oath includes a section about obeying the orders of the president and officers, that obedience is not unconditional. This is because our constitutional republic is supposed to be under the rule of law, not the rule of men, with the Constitution being the supreme law of the land, not the orders of the president. The orders of the president and of commissioned officers must be lawful, in accordance with the uniform code of military justice and the laws of the United States.
In America, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not the mere words of any man, as it was in Nazi Germany.
See the difference?