Following in the footsteps of his parents, Bonhoeffer attended the best academic institutions in Germany. He received a doctorate, with honors, from the University of Berlin in 1927. During his time as a student, he devoured the writings of Karl Barth.
A man of many talents, Bonhoeffer pastored a Lutheran church for a short time in the late 1920s. Following a year of post-graduate study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he became a lecturer in systematic theology at the University of Berlin.
As an educated German theologian, living during the rise of Hitler, Bonhoeffer began to question the ethics of both his country and his church:
Banned by the government from instructing students at the University of Berlin, Bonhoeffer formed a kind of underground seminary:
But mere intellectual pursuits and theories did not satisfy Bonhoeffer.
Although a pacifist, he decided to actively resist the perverse effects Adolf Hitler and his regime wrought on the laws and lives of the German people.