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The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigman

Weren’t the Nazis Pagans?

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The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-Gall

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-Gall

Alongside the Christian Nazis were a number of anti-Christian Nazis who sought to create a new, neo-pagan religion for the German people. These were, however, relatively few in number and their views were never officially endorsed by the Party or by Hitler. Slightly more common were anti-clerical Nazis who continued to accept basic theistic and Christian doctrines, but who repudiated churches and priests. This seems to have been a view gradually adopted by Hitler himself.

Isn’t it true, though, that Hitler sought to eliminate churches and Christianity from Germany? It’s been said that Hitler only spoke positively about Christianity in public because he had to in order to maintain support from the German people; in private, he admitted to his true hatred of all things Christian. This view is based upon allegedly private comments recorded in the book Hitler Speaks, but Steigmann-Gall argues that the balance of evidence indicates that these statements are probably forgeries and are regarded as such by many scholars.

    “The conspiratorial tone of this account of the “private” Hitler has convinced many church historians that Hitler was “a wolf in sheep's clothing,” anti-Christian to the core and from the outset of his career. The caricature Rauschning presents of Hitler’s ranting should alone have raised questions as to its authenticity; but the more troubling fact remains that Rauschning’s book stands completely alone in handing down sayings of this nature from this period.”
    “It is not for nothing that these factors should raise questions: Hitler Speaks is now considered to be fraudulent. As a recent biographer has put it, “Especially the chapter ‘Hitler in private’ ...‘is untrustworthy through and through — a product of war propaganda... [Rauschning’s] ‘conversations with Hitler’ are far-off fantasies." Moreover...Rauschning was too peripheral to the movement to have been part of Hitler's inner circle of confidants, as he consistently maintained.”

Sometimes people use passages from Hitler’s Table Talks to argue that Hitler was really anti-Christian, but even if the authenticity of this entire collection of reminiscences is acknowledged, there is far more ambiguity and pro-Christian commentary than is usually acknowledged. It would be surprising if Hitler had never said anything critical of churches, priests, and Christianity and so the existence of some negative quotes is expected. What matters most is the overall balance of his commentary — and that is indisputably pro-Christian and pro-religion.

The deliberate promotion of pagan beliefs was a minority within the Nazi Party. Alfred Rosenberg favored the creation of a new religion, but Hitler went so far as to threaten to take action against his book Mythus, and it was banned by some lower-ranking party organizations. Himmler was obsessed with ancient Germans, but Hitler dismissed this as ridiculous — and even Himmler insisted that Christian viewpoints be respected within the SS. At times he admitted that he was less anti-Christian than anti-clerical.

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-Gall

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-Gall

One important point about all this which may be missed is the fact that these and other pagan Nazis never pretended to be anything else — they never affected a pro-Christian stance in public in order to win over the approval of the German people. When Nazis were pagan, it appears that they were unabashedly and enthusiastically pagan, without apology.

This makes it difficult to argue that other leading Nazis, like Goebbels, Goering, and Hitler himself, only pretended to be pro-Christian for the sake of public relations. If they had wanted to endorse a new paganism in Germany, they had ample opportunity. Instead, what we have are a few Nazis publicly endorsing paganism, but most Nazis publicly endorsing Christianity and all official party organs endorsing Christianity, right up to the official party platform.

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The War Against the West, Member FrederickBastiat

The German National Socialists' ""War Against the West"", as meticulously documented in Aurel Kolnai's seminal work on the subject describes German National Socialism as: - ""... totalitarianism as a conscious, deliberate revolt of 'Germanism' against the freedom of the human personality alike in its religious, social, and political forms. It [German national socialism] is the onslaught of a reborn pagan barbarism upon the spirit and ethics of [classical] liberal Christendom.

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