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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: June 2013

7 - Gottgläubig

Summary

National Socialist and Christian conceptions are incompatible…. Christianity has inalterable foundations, which were established almost 2000 years ago and which have stiffened into dogmas alien to reality.

Martin Bormann

I've nothing against Christianity in itself.

Heinrich Himmler

With the breakdown in relations with the Protestant Church in 1937 came a reorientation in Nazi thinking. Whereas the party had previously welcomed the participation of Protestant pastors in the movement and counted church-friendly elements even among the party leadership, with the cancellation of church elections in 1937 emerged a new tenor in Nazi religious attitudes and relations between party and church. The position of churchmen in the party became more tenuous, and individual party members detached themselves from the churches in increasing numbers. Along with this growing separation came what appeared to be a heightened ideological enmity between Christianity and Nazism. Over time, Nazi hostility to Christianity seemed to increase, as new anti-Christian voices, particularly Martin Bormann's, began to be heard. By the start of the war, Hitler himself was taking a more antagonistic stance. As we survey the religious views of Nazi leaders for the latter years of the regime, we must ask the following questions: Did the regime itself become more anti-Christian with time? Did party anti-Christians gain greater power? Did Nazi leaders still distinguish between anticlericalism and hatred for Christianity itself? Or was Christianity now rejected as well?