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Nazism and Christian Religon

Discussion in 'Sacred Cows and Dead Horses' started by brndirt1, Mar 6, 2009.

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  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I have seen other posts on other forums which try to "clean up" Hitler's image by hinting that he was really a "Christian" and a good guy who was doing God's work as he interpreted it. I disagree, and have put together a number of posts to dispute the claim.

    Noticed this part of the opening page; "The German words, "Gott Mit Uns" means God With Us and appeared on many Nazi soldiers belt buckles during WWII…." and figured I should point out that the slogan had been on military belt buckles for long before Hitler and the Nazis. It was on the buckles of WW1 German soldiers, Prussian soldiers in the 19th Century, and I believe on Swedish belt buckles before that. There was a joke about a British soldier taking a German prisoner in WW1 and read the belt buckle and told the German that his side had mittens too!

    While it is true that that Hitler was a Catholic himself, and "theoretically" remained one until the day he died (hedging his bets?), by paying his Church tax every year. This is, of course solely based upon the fact that Hitler was born, baptized, and raised inside of a Catholic family in his youth. It is also true however, that Hitler specifically and vocally rejected the Catholic Church specifically, as well as Christianity in general.

    He quite proudly described himself as "a complete pagan". And remember that some of his staff, like Himmler (also raised Catholic) preferred and tried to establish some kind of Germanic religion, as can be found in some SS rites and such. While the Wehrmacht was indifferent to religions, officers of SS were urged to leave church, but this goes for Protestants as much as for Catholics. Consequently a great majority of SS officers (81% counting the Gestapo, SD and Kripo) left their churches, 6.6% stayed in their churches (1.5% Protestant, 5.1% catholic). The 81% who left their church were called "god-believing", but pointed out that old pagan Germanic gods are gods too.

    "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity." (Hitler, 1941)

    In this case "pox" is Hitler and many other’s vernacular for VD.

    Hitler was never formally excommunicated, but it doesn't matter. Hitler was already excommunicated "in fact" (ipso facto) under the canon law of the Catholic Church for his numerous crimes against the Church, its people, its property, and its teachings. He could have actually returned to the Catholic faith (assuming that he might have wanted to), by having his excommunication removed by the Pope. The lifting of such excommunication is reserved to the Pope (latae sententiae). And let us not forget that the conference of German bishops excommunicated ALL Nazis who happened to be of the Catholic faith in 1930, and in the 1932 elections asked Catholics to NOT vote for any Nazi for any position. By being the leader of the Nazi party, Hitler had already put himself outside of the Church. The flaw in that logic might be that Hitler didn't become a German citizen until he ran against (and lost miserably) Hindenberg for the office of President.

    It is also true that the goal of the Nazis was to absolutely minimize the influence of ANY of the various Christian Churches without actually declaring an open war on them and without adopting a radical anti-Christian policy; "officially". (This is most certainly due to the fact that the Nazis came to power in a basically Christian country and in the middle of a Christian continent). An overt/open "war" upon Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in specific, would have meant the total demise of the Nazis early on.

    Rather than "openly", "overtly condemning Christianity they adopted the policy of "encroachment", which meant that the Nazis outwardly pretended to be good friends of the Churches, then gradually deprived them of all opportunity to affect the public to whom they ministered. The Nazis secretly persecuted those Protestant Christians and Catholic priests who criticized the Nazi regime and sent many of them to prisons or concentration camps. While openly attacking any large Christian Church was never "officially" Nazi policy, Church leaders were frequently attacked, mobbed, spat upon and insulted by the SA, the SS, the Hitler Youth and Nazi Labor organizations long before 1939 when he invaded Poland. A great many (I forget the exact numbers) of Catholic and Protestant ministers were removed from office, arrested, imprisoned and/or sent to concentration camps for their pacifism and criticism of the Nazis. All Franciscan Monasteries were closed in Germany, and their property confiscated. The Nazis didn't want to really "create martyrs", but they still "nullified", imprisoned, and murdered a large number of outspoken Christian leaders.

    Sadly for the Lutheran section of the Protestant Christians, the majority of German Lutheran Bishops caved into Nazism even evolving the doctrine of ''Solus Cristo''-Christ Alone'' which meant in practice that Lutherans were told that their Jewish neighbors being deported was no business of the Church. They also seem to have legitimized the Nazi regime in other less odious different ways.

    There were only a few the Lutherans pastors like ex-WW1 U-boat Commander Martin Neimoller, who became a Pastor and was imprisoned, and the great Lutheran theologian Dietrich Boenhoeffer and his small circle of Lutheran Ministers who openly opposed Hitler, with Boenheoffer being hanged in Flossenburg K.Z. on April 9, 1945. Sadly, in the main, the Lutheran German Church became fully complicit with the Nazi state by 1945.

    To show just how "tolerant" (heavy sarcasm) of religious freedoms the Nazis intended to be, Hitler (soon after coming to power) created the "Reich Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs" (1935), which was empowered to issue ordinances in relation to all Church/Christian affairs. This meant full and total Nazi control over all Christian/Church administrations and publications. The vast majority of the ministers and priests who openly attacked either Hitler or the Nazis in their speeches and writings were silenced by being put into concentration camps.

    I myself enjoy pointing out that most of the smaller Christian sects, especially the Jehovah's Witnesses (Ernste Bibelforscher) and the Pentecostal Association (Freie Christengemeinde) were themselves targeted because of their openly declared "pacifist views". Since they were without any large influence in either Nazi Germany or the world in actuality, it was possible to proceed against them more drastically than against the larger Christian organizations. Both they and 40 other religious groups were therefore declared "illegal" by 1935 and there were moments in time when NO adherent was outside a concentration camp. If you have imprisoned all the members of a church, have you not in effect "closed" that church?

    And as a cyber friend of mine pointed out; "The general rule, if one may call it that, was that Hitler despised the ‘weakness’ of Christian passivism, and he wanted to be the real ‘Messiah’ of the German people. A lot of the "spiritualism" of early Thule Society (a predecessor of Nazi "theology") was an attempt to revert Germany to a pre-Christian society. Continued existence of some Christian churches and leaders were tolerated as long as they supported the Nazis, or at least did nothing to oppose them, and as long as it was convenient for the Nazis to allow their continued existence. Remember that the Nazis even outlawed the Boy Scouts, jailing those who dared to continue to meet in secret!"

    Hitler may not have been "anti-Christian" in some eyes, but the fact remains that Hitler despised subordination to any other institutions. National Socialism was not so much specifically anti-religion as it was specifically intolerant of insubordination to its totalitarian authority.

    And let us NOT include that July, 1933 Concordat signed in Rome which appears to "limit" the Nazis. Just like all other Nazi "treaty, and diplomatic promises" it too was ignored by the Nazis as they failed to observe those restrictions/limits as well.

    By March of 1937, Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical entitled "Mit Brennender Sorge" (With Deep Anxiety) in which he denounced the violations of said Concordat by the Nazi state and described the actions of the Nazi government against the Church as "intrigues which from the beginning had no other aim than a war of extermination". Pius XI later published that the "Mit Brennerder Sorge" encyclical had been actually written by his secretary, Cardinal Pachelli, a man soon to be Pius XII. The often mis-labeled "Hitler's Pope".
     
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  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Wow, great six page article on the treatment of the Christian Church (both Catholic and Protestant) in Nazi Germany in late 1940. Title; German Martyrs.

    Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Führer. These defiant words of Pastor Martin Niemoller were echoed by millions of Germans. And Hitler raged: "It is Niemoller or I." (bold mine)

    Goto:

    Religion: German Martyrs - TIME

    Thought you guys might enjoy reading this addendum to my original post on this subject.
     
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  3. BarronVonBerger

    BarronVonBerger New Member

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    To be fair though Christianity was push on all of Germania, when the immediate religion of the tribes was Asuratu or "Odinism" before the murderous crusades.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I don't think "Odinism" is particularly accurate. Which of the Germanic/Norse dieties was the primary recipient of the worship of any particular Germanic tribe varried over time. Heimdal, Odin/Wotan, Thor/Donnar, Frey, and others all dominated at one point or another. Furthermore not all the conversions were by force and at least some of those forcefully converted didn't contribute to the gene pool of modern Europe. But all of that took place so far in the past it is hardly relevant. Indeed the religious wars that centered on the reformation probably had much greater impact.
     
  5. BarronVonBerger

    BarronVonBerger New Member

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    Very true but I was just referring to the Odinism time frame which was mainly focused around the crusade era, unless I'm mistaken, for which I apologize.
     
  6. ladymage

    ladymage New Member

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    I just ordered one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's books. I will post my opinion on the book as soon as I read it. I am very pleased that you mentioned him. Many people seem to forget about Niemoller and Bonhoeffer.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    When do you consider the "Crusade era"? Certainly Karl's actiivities are not normally mentioned as such although doing so has some merit.
     
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