i-45590d25273028e065586042c86ca8ed-FriedrichCoch.jpg

Germany was a Christian nation long before the Nazi’s came along in the 1920s. When the Nazi’s took power in Germany, they were widely and generally supported. Even after the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, a majority of the German People (in a survey conducted by the US military) remained sympathetic to the Nazis and wished for a return of surviving Nazi leaders. Most Germans were either active members of the Nazi party or were sympathetic, and most were Christians, mainly Catholic. (There were a lot of non-Christian Germans at the beginning of this period, but the Christian Germans killed or drove away most of them.) Most Germans were anti Semitic and many were directly involved in the slaughter of over six million Jews and other “undesirables.” The Holocaust was a perfectly logical extension of over a century of increasingly bitter and obsessive anti Semitism evolving hand and hand with German Catholic political ideology and white supremacist doctrine in Germany and elsewhere. There were no Atheists involved in any of this. None.

The image above is the Catholic Church’s National Bishop Friedrich Coch saluting Hitler in 1933. Photo from here.

Comments

  1. #1 Arnd
    September 17, 2010

    I am german. What you write is mostly true i think. But the protestants had a slight majority over catholics in germany… not that it matters. Both protestants and catholics are getting fewer and fewer nowadays with protestants losing more than catholics.

  2. #2 Phil
    September 17, 2010

    One can go further with a little imagination. I am no expert, but I can see the worst ant-Semitism being focussed in southern Germany (Bavaria), as well as Austria, Poland, and Croatia – all strongly catholic. Certainly the protestant north was complicit, although the tiny opposition included the lutheran Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
    Why then, were France and Italy not also enthusiastic for the cause? The catholic church in those countries had a higher priority: defeating communism, which was a serious threat to their power.
    It’s fun to speculate!

  3. #3 NewEnglandBob
    September 17, 2010

    Of course, Nazi Ratzi knows all this because he was in the middle of it. That makes his lying so much worse.

  4. #4 rijkswaanvijand
    September 17, 2010

    There were Atheists involved, as victims though; people seem to remember the yellow stars but keep forgetting the red triangles..

  5. #5 rijkswaanvijand
    September 17, 2010

    @2 The Vichy regime did willingly cooperate in the “Endlösung”

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2010

    There were Jews involved in the Holocaust. There were Jews pulling gold out of fellow Jew’s teeth. So what’s the point? Germany was a “culturally Christian” nation in the same way that many Christians now claim that we Atheists who live in America are “culturally Christian” (even the ex-Jewish ones, by the sound of it).

    The Holocaust was brought to you by the Christian mindset, the Christian Religion, and was part of an historical anti Semitism that was a conspiracy of Christians generally and the organized churches.

    The Scotts should have thrown the Pope out the moment he threw off the Church’s responsibility in the Holocaust. The US should toss the Vatican ambassador/council/whatever out after a stern talking to. Every European country should call their representatives to the Vatican in for a strategy session.

    I’m annoyed at an atheist to be blamed for the Holocaust. But the entire world should be very angry at the Pope for handing the responsibility for this event off. What’s next? That the Holocaust did not happen in Germany, that it was the Poles that did it?

    It will be interesting to see how various flavors of anti-Holocaust denialists respond to this. Will the Christian and Jewish/Religious anti-denialists sit on their hands? So far most have, as far as my RSS feed knows.

  7. #7 L.Long
    September 17, 2010

    Don’t know who said it first but it is too true…
    ITS NOT FASCISM WHEN YOU CALL IT RELIGION!

    A Heinlein story predicts a religious fascist state in america by 2100, looking at the tea party wackos and the xtian right’s efforts, it just might happen.

  8. #8 Pierce R. Butler
    September 17, 2010

    L.Long @ # 7: A Heinlein story predicts a religious fascist state in america by 2100…

    Heinlein’s “Future History” involved an American theocracy being overthrown in 2100, after being established in the early decades of the 21st century.

    Nehemiah Scudder lives…

  9. #9 bioinformatics training
    September 18, 2010

    Yah . Really Heinlein’s “Future History” involved an American theocracy being overthrown in 2100….

  10. #10 hoary puccoon
    September 18, 2010

    Greg– Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. Too many commentators seem to be going soft on this issue. The Pope’s scapegoating of atheists is the exact technique of the “Big Lie” that Adolph Hitler used against the Jews. If Ratzinger wanted to talk about WWII, he should have apologized for the church’s failure to excommunicate Hitler, instead of imitating his methods.

    This is not about a 14 year old kid who was forced to join Hitler Youth. It’s not about who did or didn’t collaborate with the Third Reich in 1943. This is about a very powerful religious leader who– right now, September, 2010– is using the same methods pioneered by Adolph Hitler to scapegoat a group of innocent people, strictly on the basis of their private views about religion.

    Ratzinger’s lies should be condemned by every honorable person, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, atheist, or whatever.

  11. #11 L.Long
    September 18, 2010

    OK got detail wrong–40yr old memory.
    But hopefully he is still right cuz then the theocracy will last only 50yrs.

  12. #12 timberwoof
    September 18, 2010

    I’d put more faith in this: http://www.timepage.org/time.html than in the musings of a science fiction writer whose main characters all sound the same and have a direct line to God in their brains.

  13. #13 T. Russell Hunter
    February 15, 2014

    And yet the most outspoken opponents of Nazism and eugenics at the time were evangelical Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who also criticized the fake Christians of their day.

    This is all consistent with what the Bible teaches about a nation’s church losing their salt and light and acting like the world instead of transforming it.

    Your thinking here is nowhere near complex enough to be even considered thoughtful.

    PS: Your agenda is showing.

  14. #14 Sylvester B
    Houston, TX
    February 16, 2014

    Just picked up a Poul Anderson book at the used book store. Haven’t read him since I was a teenager. The interesting thing is the map he provides for the time in the far future. The Mississippi River is the Jugular River and the Rio Grand is shown by another name (83 year old memory lapse). Back to science fiction after so long…fascinating.

    As to Christian Nazis. Power is power no matter the name of the organization. As I recall, the Nazis had some peculiar beliefs (such as a fascination with the Ark of the Covenant) that were not basically Christian in origin. And nominal Christians rarely practice their “faith” in all regards.

    JimBrock

  15. #15 dean
    February 16, 2014

    PS: Your agenda is showing.

    T Russell Hunter, it seems you simply can’t stand having facts you find to be inconvenient pointed out. Your religion’s lack of defense is showing.

  16. #16 Sylvester B
    houston, TX
    February 16, 2014

    Dean: As an ex-Catholic educated in parochial schools and by the Jesuits in college and law school, currently agnostic if not quite atheistic, let me add that religion has always been a good business. And the bigger the religion, the better the business. The Catholic church has been a good business for a long time. One of the popes (a few hundred years ago) let the cat out of the bag when he said “It has been most useful to us, this myth of Christ”.
    JimBrock

  17. #17 e madden
    innisfail australia
    October 6, 2014

    the truth hurts us all , all of us in this world are guilty to some degree of the kind of hatred that can lead to the holocaust .yesterdays victims can and do sometimes become todays aggressor! look at the palestinian Israeli situation

  18. #18 The abused apostrophe
    February 26, 2015

    Twice you use “Nazi’s” when you mean “Nazis.”

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    February 26, 2015

    It is a thing my finger does sometimes.

  20. #20 Chris O'Neill
    February 26, 2015

    Most Germans were either active members of the Nazi party or were sympathetic, and most were Christians, mainly Catholic.

    I wonder how being Lutheran affected the statistics?

  21. #21 Brainstorms
    February 26, 2015

    What’s the difference between

    1. What you label yourself as

    2. What group you associate with

    3. Your attitudes, beliefs, and actions

    ??

  22. #22 Beeg Noyz
    india
    June 28, 2015

    Between January 30, 1933 – May 8, 1945, holocaust were primarily conducted by the active participation and/or under their active guidance, of a particular nationality. As highlighted in these blog, they had an important attribute being CHRISTIAN. However, the other attributes of that nationality during those periods were also such as (1) being a white supremacists society: GERMANs, (2) political belief: NAZISM (3) mad and fascists’ leadership: HITLER.
    In fact during the said period there were many other wide-spread nationalities, existing on the face of the earth who were much better CHRISTIANS than the holocausters . Like say the Americans, the Canadian, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the Portuguese, and the British etc. And they are not known as partaker of holocaust of that time. Therefore, to argue that holocaust was caused for being CHRISTAIN, do not seem to stand at all . Rather, most likely reasons seem to be the other three important attributes listed here.

  23. #23 Beeg Noyz
    June 29, 2015

    Between January 30, 1933 – May 8, 1945, holocaust were primarily conducted by the active participation and/or under their active guidance, of a particular nationality. As highlighted in these blog, they had an important attribute being CHRISTIAN. However, the other attributes of that nationality during that periods were also such as (1) believing in racial supremacy (2) self centric political belief: NAZISM (3) fascists’ leadership: HITLER.
    In fact during the said period there were many other wide-spread nationalities, existing on the face of the earths who were also CHRISTIANS, like say the Americans, the Canadian, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the Portuguese, and the British etc. However, they are not known as partaker in holocaust of that time. Therefore, to argue that holocaust was caused for believing in CHRISTAIN faith, do not seem to stand at all. Rather, most likely reasons seem to be the other three important attributes listed here.

  24. #24 Emerita Shaw
    October 11, 2015

    Just wanted to share with you a scripture of what Jesus said to his disciples. There has been many people throughout time that claimed their Christian faith is why they have done horrific things. Any Christian who supported or agreed with the persecution of Jews have not read their bible!!! The Jews are God’s beloved people…God said in Genesis that blessed are those who bless them and cursed are those who curses them! Jews and Christians alike…have individuals who have claimed their faith is why they have committed evil things. But as you can see from the following scripture, Jesus warned us about such people.

    Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

  25. #25 benji
    LA
    January 30, 2016

    Just to be clear here, the “Catholic” bishop you picture here is wearing prayer tabs, and was Friedrich Coch, and ordained Lutheran pastor. He may have been catholic, but NOT Catholic; i.e., a member of the universal Christian church, but not of the Roman Catholic church. Don’t fret though, there’s more than enough guilt to go around. The more pertinent question is where would the readers of this blog stand if confronted by the same set of circumstances? Which among you would place your right hand over your heart, rather than raising it to eye level?

  26. #26 Eric Chmielecki
    February 25, 2016

    Here are the real facts if any of you cared for TRUE history. Look up “Benjamin Freedman’s 1961 speech. “. Communism was a Jewish designed, financed, and run movement in Russia. It was purposely written to incite the not to bright to do the dirty work that the jewish Bolsheviks didn’t have the physical numbers to pull off. Once the Jews had the power in Russia they systematically killed off the white Christians. The Christian Germans knew the threat of communism would spread and sought to destroy it. They went after the Jews for their kinds part in communism and murder of Christians. Communism\zionism\judaism are all one and the same thing.

  27. #27 Eric Chmielecki
    February 25, 2016

    Also the Po!es and Hungarians went after the Jewish communists and rightfully killed those who brought death and destruction to white Christians. Germany had only 768000 Jews in it before Hitler. Half the Jews received amnesty in America if not more so only a best number of 384000 Jews remained in Germany. No 6 million ever died and this lie has been disproved many times. Russia released the official camp numbers of Auschwitz and there were 73000 not 8 million. The Jewish Holocaust lie is to mask over their murders of white Christian Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, Germans, and Americans.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    February 25, 2016

    That’s “too,” not “to” in “not to bright.”

    Also, you are something of a monster. And an idiot. Idiot monster, you are.

  29. #29 Pauline Jury
    UK
    March 21, 2016

    Eric Chmielecki, I cannot believe people like you still exist.You sound like a very embittered, malcontent. I wish I could say I feel sorry for you, but, you are what you are.

  30. #30 Thresh
    End of Time
    March 25, 2016

    Were the Nazis, Christians? A “Myth of the 21st Century”

    Just Another Internet Myth

    “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

    Too often I see the accusations of “freethinkers” saying, “The Nazis were Christians. See how horrible your religion is!?” But is the religion of Christ, which teaches love and charity above all, really something that would produce an ideology like those of the Nazis? Now I think this is easily shown to be false.

    Firstly, the Nazis engaged in a project to redefine Christianity. They literally took Christianity (Protestantism, Catholocism, etc.) and called it “Negative Christianity.” They next labeled their own beliefs “Positive Christianity” and of course endorsed it rather than actual Christianity. This was a move that was literally called the “German Faith Movement”; the goal was to bring the German people away from Christian ceremonies by replacing them with pagan equivalents, and to foster the rejection of Christian ethics, among other things.

    Just to get a sneak peek of how Nazi ideology (or “Positive Christianity”) compared to Biblical Christianity, here are some haunting quotes from the leadership of this movement:

    Nazi Ideology

    “The Party stands on the basis of Positive Christianity, and positive Christianity is National Socialism… National Socialism is the doing of God’s will… God’s will reveals itself in German blood… Dr Zoellner and [Catholic Bishop of Munster] Count Galen have tried to make clear to me that Christianity consists in faith in Christ as the son of God. That makes me laugh… No, Christianity is not dependent upon the Apostle’s Creed… True Christianity is represented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party and especially the Fuehrer to a real Christianity… the Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation”.

    – Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs

    ——————–

    “Our National Socialist ideology is far loftier than the concepts of Christianity, which in their essential points have been taken over from Jewry…”

    “When we National Socialists speak of a belief, we do not understand by God, like naive Christians and their spiritual opportunists, a human-type being, who sits around somewhere in the sphere….The force of natural law, with which all the innumerable planets move in the universe, we call the Almighty, or God. The claim that this world force…can be influenced by so-called prayers or other astonishing things is based upon a proper dose of naivete or on a business shamelessness. As opposed to that we National Socialists impose on ourselves the demand to live naturally as much as possible, i.e., biologically. The more accurately we recognize and observe the laws of nature and of life, the more we adhere to them, so much the more do we conform to the will of the Almighty.”

    Internal letters from Bierkamp to the Reich Main Security Office, part of the Bormann decree.

    – Martin Bormann took charge of all of Hitler’s paperwork, appointments and personal finances. Hitler came to have complete trust in Bormann and the view of reality he presented. During one meeting, Hitler was said to have screamed, “To win this war, I need Bormann!” Some historians have suggested Bormann held so much power that, in some respects by 1945, he became Germany’s “secret leader” during the war.

    ——————–

    One of the most important intellectual influences to Nazi ideology, was being described during the Numerburg trials:

    “…the defendant Rosenburg…advocated a new National Socialist faith or religion to replace the Christian confessions in Germany. He stated the Catholic and Protestant churches represent “negative Christianity” and do not correspond to the soul of the “Nordic racially determined peoples;” that a German religious movement would have to declare that the idea of neighborly love is unconditionally subordinated to national honor; the national honor is the highest human value and does not admit of any equal valued force such as Christian love.”

    http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/donovan/pdf/Nuremberg_3/Vol_X_18_02.pdf

    “A German religion, bit by bit, will present in the churches transferred to it, in place of the crucifixion[,] the spirit of fire – the heroic – the highest sense.”

    – Alfred Rosenburg, Commissar for Supervision of Intellectual and Ideological Education of the Nazi Party, The Myth of the 20th Century

    ——————–

    Albert Speer quotes Hitler stating, “You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?”

    Albert Speer (1971). Inside the Third Reich.

    ——————–

    “…the only way of getting rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.”

    “Kerrl, with the noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.”

    “When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.”

    – Quotes from Hitler in the minutes from private meetings and dinners he had with his Nazi staff, Hitler’s Table Talk. Pretty controversial information, but considered fairly authentic (if not doctored somewhat) — written by # 2 Nazi: Martin Bormann.

    Scholarly Assessments and Studies

    THE NAZI MASTER PLAN

    Annex 4: The Persecution of the Christian Churches

    http://www.leics.gov.uk/the_nazi_master_plan.pdf

    The Persecution of the Christian Churches

    This study describes, with factual evidence and many more quotes, the Nazi purposes, policies and methods of persecuting the Christian Churches in Germany and occupied Europe.

    http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/donovan/pdf/Nuremberg_3/Vol_X_18_02.pdf

    ——————-

    According to a US Office of Strategic Services report, Hitler had a general plan, even before his rise to power, to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich, The report titled “The Nazi Master Plan” stated that the destruction of the church was a goal of the movement right from the start, but that it was inexpedient to express this extreme position publicly.

    His intention, according to Bullock, was to wait until the war was over to destroy the influence of Christianity. He articulated his view on the relationship between religion and national identity as “We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany”

    – Bullock, Alan Hitler: A Study in Tyranny

    ——————-

    Samuel Koehne, a Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, working on the official Nazi views on religion, answers the question Was Hitler a Christian? thus:

    “Emphatically not, if we consider Christianity in its traditional or orthodox form: Jesus as the son of God, dying for the redemption of the sins of all humankind. It is a nonsense to state that Hitler (or any of the Nazis) adhered to Christianity of this form.”

    -Koehne, Samuel, Hitler’s faith: The debate over Nazism and religion

    ——————-

    According to Robert S. Wistrich Hitler thought Christianity was finished but he did not want any direct confrontation for strategic reasons

    -Robert S. Wistrich (1 May 2007). Laboratory for World Destruction: Germans and Jews in Central Europe

    Nazi Propaganda Lives On…

    The Nazi party was in fundamental opposition to the teachings of Christ, which is to say, they were in opposition to Christianity. To believe that they were practicing Christians is just to be sucked into their 60 year-old propaganda. Their plans showed otherwise.

    The “evidence” I hear in favor of the Nazis and Hitler being Christians are usually several pre-war quotations from Hitler (a known liar and propagandist) and some silliness about government issued belt buckles. But even these, if shown to be credible, are severely outweighed by doing a brief, and quite rudimentary, conceptual analysis of the Christian ethic as opposed to the Nazi ethic. If we compare how Christians are supposed to behave and how the Nazis thought we should behave, then I would more readily call many atheists Christians than I would the Nazis…

    All we need to do is look at the basics of Christianity to see if the Nazis were even remotely close:

    2 Basic Rules of Christianity

    Matthew 22:

    36 “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.
    38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
    39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    Galatians 1:6-9:

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

    Matthew 7:

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruit.”

    Galatians 5 tells what fruits to look for:

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

    DOES THAT SOUND LIKE NAZIS?

    Finally

    According to the December 23, 1940 issue of Time magazine on page 38, Einstein said:

    “Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…”

    “Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom.”

    “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” – Tyler Durden