Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Why Do You Care What Adolf Hitler Believed?
Too many people use Hitler as a comparison to anything they find repugnant and try to make a fallacy of extension.
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.
When anyone tries to revise the history with other fallacies, that's even more harmful to us because they leave those who ignore these hard lessons vulnerable to similar evils.
Teaching a false history also greatly 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.
I'm tired of seeing the history revisionist claptrap that the Nazis and Hitler were anti-religion or pagan or that of the millions of Christians who lost their lives that they were targets because they were Christian.
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.
Hitler was rabidly anti-atheist. The Nazi party portrayed Communism as a Jewish plot, so Jews who were religious were portrayed as evil because they rejected or were murderers of Jesus, Jews who were more secular were portrayed as evil because they were out to destroy Christianity. Is any of this sounding famiiar?
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.
It is repugnant and harmful history revisionism to claim that the Nazi party was anti religion and persecuted Christians for being Christian. The Nazis, whose greatest political rivals were the "Godless Communists" and whose Party Platform had an official position clause directly supporting "Positive Christianity" used religion as one of its most important tools.
Prior to the Nazis stated attempt to unite Catholics and Protestants, the Catholic Church had NO opposition to the Nazi party and had officially made a Concordant with Hitler. Bishops sent him official birthday greetings and blessings every birthday from the time he was popularly elected Chancellor of Germany until the last birthday before his death. That is evidence against another claim often made, that he had been excommunicated by the church. Bishops do not send official Birthday greetings from the church to one who has been excommunicated by the church. Nazi soldiers wore "Gott mit uns" (God is with us ) on their belt buckles. To become an SS officer one pledged to God and to Hitler.
Thank God not all Christians embraced the Nazis and their ideology, but there were so many millions of Christians across Europe who DID and who embraced the Nazi ideology as something they declared a holy cause.
The Allies who won World War 2 were comprised of a majority of soldiers who were Christian in their religion.
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
1. Heinrich Himmler – Roman Catholic
2. Adolf Hitler- Roman Catholic Hitler is listed as second most evil because Himmler was the architect of the “final solution”.
3. Reinhard Heydrich “The Hangman” - in 1936, Heydrich left the Catholic Church and joined the Hitler approved German Evangelical Church movement led by Hitler appointed Reich Bishop, Ludwig Mueller
4. Joseph Mengele – notorious for barbaric experiments upon concentration camp victims – Roman Catholic
5.Adlolf Eichmann – left the Catholic Church in 1937 and joined the German Evangelical Church movement along with many other SS officers, led by Reich Bishop, Ludwig Mueller.
6. Odilo Globocnik – SS officer…unable to find any religion listed
7. Oskar Dirlewanger, SS-Oberführer ... Religion: Catholic
8. Friedrich Jeckeln – SS-Obergruppenfuehrer “the Butcher of Riga” left the Roman Catholic church to join the German Evangelical Church movement
9. Ernst Kaltenbrunner – Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS Roman Catholic
8 of 9 listed here were Catholics and several of them left the Catholic Church to join the German Evangelical Church, an attempt to united Protestants and Catholics in an official German church. *This German Christians’ Faith Movement, organized in 1932, was nationalistic and so anti-Semitic that extremists wished to repudiate the Old Testament and the Pauline Letters because of their Jewish authorship .In July 1933 the state territorial churches merged to form the German Evangelical Church, headed by Reichsbishop, Ludwig Muller. After World War II the German Christian Church party was banned.* ( this excerpt from Encyclopedia Britanica)
History revisionism to cloak things no matter how repugnant they may be, no matter how it may disturb you, does not enable one to learn the reality as it was to help guard against the same methods of appeal to human nature and faith to be used again. With the advances in technology in the past 80 years and the rapidity that propagandizing travels around the world, even more effectiveness to commit horrific evils is possible today.
Hitler was not the sole evil German or Austrian. So often an excuse is that Germans simply feared Hitler. One man's ideology was not at work in the atrocities of Nazi Germany. In fact, many do not even consider him to have been the most evil. Heinrich Himmler, the architect of "the Final Solution”, the Holocaust, is considered by some to have been even more despicably evil.
His top aides and Nazi officers were all equally evil.
And Adolf Hitler had millions of citizens of Germany who adored him and put him in power by electing him in his very popular rule.
Many Christians see the insistence of people to say Hitler was a Christian and that the Nazi party promoted Christianity in its platform is nothing more than a way to attack Christianity.
People who are convinced of that in emotive reaction must realize that it is not attacking Christians or Christianity to be honest as to what TOOLS were used to entice the regular "normal" German citizen to either aid or turn a blind eye to some of the worst atrocities in human history in the then most literate and in what was considered the most "civilized" country in the world.
The scariest thing about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is that it began among a people then considered the most civilized, the most well educated, and who had a high church attendance in both Protestant and Catholic churches. They were not red eyed monsters, but people who looked and behaved in every day life overall like your neighbor and mine.
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.
Those who forget, reject or do not learn from the actual past CAN repeat it in even more insidious ways.
Christianity was one of the most successful tools of Nazi propagandizing.
Adolf Hitler was a professing Christian until the day he died and his thousands of recorded speeches still attest to it. To join the Nazi party, one had to vow allegiance to God and to Hitler. The Nazi soldiers wore belt buckles emblazoned with Gott mit unz (God is with us) The Nazi party platform has as an official clause the promotion of positive Christianity. The Nazis made a concordant with the Vatican, and they mandated all public schools in Germany begin each day with Christian prayer, Hitler was a great fan of the Passion Play, and some of his more famous quotes of his allegiance to Christian belief were made there.
It is complete willful ignorance to claim he was an atheist or that the Nazi ideology was rooted in the same. While Hitler was obviously a horrible example of a professing Christian, that is clearly what he was. To know those facts are important lessons against future abuses, so why try to hide his abuse of Christianity to gain such massive popular appeal?
Any ideology can be abused to incite horrible things under a guise of good. The Nazis abused Christian dogma to do so.
"The Government of the Reich, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attach the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and are endeavouring to develop them." (Adolf Hitler, in his speech to the Reichstag on March 23, 1933)
The very next month, here is something he said about those negotiations with the Vatican:
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.... We need believing people." Adolf Hitler, speech given during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933, 26 April 1933
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.
Hitler won his popular election based largely upon his campaign slogans and posters pitting the Nazi party with its promotion of "Positive Christianity"(point number 24 of the Nazi Party Platform) vs, the "Godless Communism". The Communists were his then greatest political threat. He portrayed Communism as a Judaizing influence, in Nazi posters, Jews = Bolsheviks. That was a particularly cruel irony because the Bolshevik persecution of the Jews and pogroms supported by them had been murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews and caused the largest wave of immigration of Jews to the United States and the second Aliyah to Israel.
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.
Adolf Hitler was certainly a rotten example of a moral Christian, but that wasn't the question. It doesn't serve anyone well to try to revise history. When people note what religion Hitler professed in hundreds of speeches and what religion the Nazi party promoted they are not out to demonize the religion of Christianity or attack their right to their faith, but to show the dangers that can happen when any religion is abused to propagandize evil acts under the guise of godliness. An excellent book from a NON JEWISH perspective of just how easily Hitler and the Nazis gained the support of the average German, a people who believed themselves sincerely to be good hearted people, and among them formed a resistance from those did not realize the enormity of the atrocities they unwittingly aided until it was too late, is “The Resistance of the White Rose” by Inge Scholl. I first read this as a Scholastic Book in the early 70’s. She wrote a chilling tale from the perspective of one of many German and Austrian youth who were at first enticed by this movement until they realized the enormity of evil that gripped the nation as a result.
"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.
In a document signed by many Christian theologians it was stated, “We as believing Christians thank God our Father that he has given to our people in its time of need the Fuhrer as a pious and faithful sovereign, and that he wants to prepare for us in the National Socialist system of government, good rule, a government with discipline and honor. Accordingly, we know that we are responsible before God to assist the work of the Fuhrer in our calling and in our station in life.” (‘Ansbacher Ratschlag’, p. 145)
Denial that the Nazis used Christianity and Christian antisemitism to gain support and power shows that people did not learn the lessons of history *how* such large scale atrocities happened with so many regular people supporting it. No one who correctly answers that Hitler was a practicing Catholic is claiming that because Hitler was a professing Christian until he died that all Christians are Nazis.
But it remains important that we do not hide, cloak or diminish the role that Christianity played in the promotion of the Holocaust. It serves no one but those who would try to repeat such methods to HIDE them.
"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
The Nazis and Hitler may have been bad examples of Christians but the fact remains they justified what they did using Christianity. With all the evidence of Hitler’s many speeches, his book Mein Kampf, films and photos of him referring to his belief in Christianity when he ruled Nazi Germany, and so many clergy of both Protestants and Catholics supporting him how can people believe that he did not promote Christianity if they read his book of heard his speeches? The Nazis used Christianity in the bid to gain power over Communists in Germany. He may have abused it, but we see that with Westboro church now and people don't deny they are Christians abusing Christianity. There are good Christians who hate Westboro church and there were good Christians who fought Nazis, but Why deny what Hitler and so many Christians in Europe did?
Any religion can be abused to gain power if the masses let it happen.
Learn the methods of abuse of the past. Technology may change very rapidly, but human nature takes a great deal longer.
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.]
As the Evidence has shown, the Christians and clergy who were imprisoned were done so as political enemies and not because they were Christian.
Hermann Goring is the source of the following quotes made at the Nuremberg trials:
"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
Some of the quotes came from these links:
I'm still searching my past writings for other references and will return with more
A personal story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising