It happens so often on the internet there is even a term for it. It is called Godwin's law, an adage claiming that the longer an internet discussion goes on the probability of a comparison involving Nazism or Hitler approaches 1.
That unfortunate practice diminishes the impact and the dangers of the types of propagandizing that the Nazi party employed to create the most repugnant episode of modern history when it is applied as a fallacy of extension. The denial of instances of actual parallels makes it easier for others to repeat the same methods. I see too many people trying to avoid hard and ugly truths when I see people in denial that Adolf Hitler was a professing, practicing Christian.
There are too many who try to revise the history with other fallacies that are even more harmful to us because they leave those who ignore these hard lessons vulnerable to similar evils.
Teaching a false history dishonors the level of sacrifice and courage that the Christians who DID stand against his regime should be remembered and honored for so doing.
Those who twist history in denial that Christianity was a tool of the Nazis are those that most disrespect the righteous of their Christian coreligionists who stood against the Nazis.
Far too many Christians are in complete denial that Nazis were overwhelmingly professing, practicing Christians. It wasn't only Adolf Hitler who professed himself a Christian.
They will deny this saying that those who insist Adolf Hitler was a Christian, in particular a Catholic, is only an attack on either Christianity or Catholicism.
The No True Scotsman fallacy is then often employed in this denial. He wasn't a "true" Christian, therefore, not a Christian at all is the excuse. I'm not here to argue whether or not he was adherent to the beloved aspects of faith of each individual Christian reader, but to point out the facts of history and of his life that show that he professed Christian faith, that the Nazi party embraced Christian faith within its policies, that the Nazi party used Christian faith as one of its most powerful tools of gaining ardent support, and ardent support for some of the worst atrocities of human history.
The symbolism that some will call pagan within many of the Nazi insignia were also used by Christianity in medieval Europe, they were getting back to their roots.
Any and all Christians who were victims of the Nazis were victimized because they either weren't supporting the right "flavor" of Christianity or because they recognized how disgustingly the Nazis were misappropriating the more antisemitic passages of the New Testament to justify their atrocities and gain allegiance from the Christian populace. The Christians who were political enemies of Adolf Hitler and the rest of the Nazi party were not murdered because of their religion, but because they were against the goals of the fascists running the government.
Nazis killed atheists because they were atheist. Hitler did not kill Christians because they were Christian. The Christians killed by the Nazi party were Christians who were against his goals and abuse of Christianity. They were not killed for being Christian.
Despite the fallacy that there was no Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, sheer numbers alone tell us that it is a certainty that Jews would not exist today were it not for the sacrifice of millions of Christians who fought the Nazis. I would not be alive today if it were not for the actions of millions who imperiled their lives in battle and many who lost their lives in doing so. At the same time, we cannot forget the reality, or try to cloak that it was the silence and complicity of millions of others that had placed the Jews in the genocide in the first place.
Of the 9 highest ranking and most evil Nazi officers all were practicing Roman Catholics save one. Many of those nine later converted to the Nazi attempt to "join the two Great Confessions" of Protestant and Catholic under the German Evangelical Christian church
That’s also how scary it was for the Jews who most often found themselves being turned in by neighbors they’d formerly believed they held friendly relations; their children playing together, or even formerly socializing together with them before the discriminatory laws against Jews began. The most assimilated Jews were actually the most shocked and vulnerable. They’d believed that their trying to blend in would immunize them from the bigotry they believed was held for the stereotype of the religious shtetl peasant Jew.
He made Christian school prayer mandatory for the 1930's German schoolchildren who grew up to be his SS. He did this in all occupied nations as well, Yugoslavia and Poland EMBRACED this Christian prayer in their schools and saw it as superior to the godless Communist rulers.
Practicing Jews in communist countries were being persecuted and now the Christians of Germany were saying that Communism was a Jewish plot for world domination. That what the Nazis were projecting their goal of world domination was soon realized.
"Germany has been given a mission from God. The leader and prophet is Adolf Hitler.” (SiegfriedLeffer. ‘Christus im Drittem Reich der Deutschen’, p. 13-18)
In a speech to Polish Catholics, Hitler declared: “I, as a German Catholic, ask only what is permitted to Polish Catholics. To be antisemitic is not to be un-Catholic. The Church used every weapon against the Jews, even the Inquisition. Christ himself was a pioneer in the fight against Judaism.” (ibid, p. 146)
“By destroying the Jews, I am fighting Christ’s battles” is a quote from Hitler in Mein Kampf.
"This is probably the first time and this is the first country in which people are being taught to realize that, of all the tasks which we have to face, the noblest and most sacred for mankind is that each racial species must preserve the purity of the blood which God has given it. " Adolf Hitler's Speech before the Reichstag, January 30, 1937
"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” --1941, Adolf Hitler to General Gerhart Engel
His audience for the following were his fellow Christians of both Protestant and Catholic persuasion.
"We are indeed perhaps better able than other generations to realize the full meaning of those pious words "What a change by the grace of God".
Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany in the so called democracies is the charge that the National Socialist State is hostile to religion. In answer to that charge I should like to make before the German people the following solemn declaration:
1. No one in Germany has in the past been persecuted because of his religious views (Einstellung), nor will anyone in the future be so persecuted.... The Churches are the greatest landed proprietors after the State... Further, the Church in the National Socialist State is in many ways favoured in regard to taxation, and for gifts, legacies, &c., it enjoys immunity from taxation.
It is therefore, to put mildly-- effrontery when especially foreign politicians make bold to speak of hostility to religion in the Third Reich.... I would allow myself only one question: what contributions during the same period have France, England, or the United States made through the State from the public funds?
3. The National Socialist State has not closed a church, nor has it prevented the holding of a religious service, nor has it ever exercised any influence upon the form of a religious service. It has not exercised any pressure upon the doctrine nor on the profession of faith of any of the Confessions. In the National Socialist State anyone is free to seek his blessedness after his own fashion.... There are ten thousands and ten thousands of priests of all the Christian Confessions who perform their ecclesiastical duties just as well as or probably better than the political agitators without ever coming into conflict with the laws of the State.... This State has only once intervened in the internal regulation of the Churches, that is when I myself in 1933 endeavoured to unite the weak and divided Protestant Churches of the different States into one great and powerful Evangelical Church of the Reich. That attempt failed through the opposition of the bishops of some States; it was therefore abandoned. For it is in the last resort not our task to defend or even to strengthen the Evangelical Church through violence against its own representatives.... But on one point it is well that there should be no uncertainty: the German priest as servant of God we shall protect, the priest as political enemy of the German State we shall destroy. "
-Adolf Hitler, a speech in the Reichstag on 30 Jan. 1939
[That last sentence sums up Hitler's stand on the priesthood. Rather than standing for atheism, as today's Christians would like, Hitler attacked the priesthood only if they stood in Hitler's political path.]
"The Fuëhrer wanted to achieve the unification of the Protestant Evangelical Churches by appointing a Reich Bishop, so that there would be a high Protestant church dignitary as well as a high Catholic church dignitary."
- (Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945, Vol.9)
"With the Catholic Church the Fuëhrer ordered a concordat to be concluded by Herr Von Papen. Shortly before that agreement was concluded by Herr Von Papen I visited the Pope myself. I had numerous connections with the higher Catholic clergy because of my Catholic mother, and thus – I am myself a Protestant – I had a view of both camps."
- (Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945, Vol.9)
Those who lie to say that Nazis were *not* professing Christians MOST disrespect the sacrifices of the minority of Christians in their midst who often gave their lives in heroic ways. Anyone who wanted to join the Nazi party had to make allegiance to their Christian God and to Adolf Hitler and had to reaffirm both to become a military officer or SS member. Here is a quote from a web page that I found:
"Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the officer who came closer than anyone to removing Hitler with a suitcase bomb was a devout Roman Catholic. God bless him, that was a truly heroic way of giving his life for his country"
Here is the link to that page:
There it also tells of "Gordon Zahn was a Catholic social scientist who went to Germany
in the 1970's in search of evidence of heroism on the part of Roman Catholics.
What he found and eventually wrote about was quite the opposite of what he had hoped to find.
Among other findings was the fact that there were only seven known cases of "conscientious
objectors" among Catholics during the entire Third Reich. Thanks to Zahn's writing about
one of these, one of these was beatified in 2007"
Please read more at the link above the quote
I'm still searching my past writings for other references and will return with more
A personal story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising