Religious Views of Adolf Hitler

There are contradictory accounts of Adolf Hitler’s religious beliefs , his view of religion, and his links with the Church. Often this subject has been the subject of historical debate between biographers and controversy because of the inconsistencies, inconsistencies and discrepancies between Hitler’s public speeches and his private statements.

Many historians agree that Hitler reflected a public image that was not against religion, but actually, even before the Nazis came to power, it seemed to have a covert plan that would seek to end first with Judaism , and later With Christianity in the Reich , replacing these religions with national socialism ; This through the control and total subversion of the German churches at the end of the war. 1 2 3

Childhood and youth

Adolf Hitler was raised by a skeptical and anticlerical father and a devout Catholic mother . After his childhood he stopped going to mass and participating in the Catholic sacraments. 4 During his youth, Hitler was very interested in mythology, especially the German and Teutonic, which is reflected in his interest in history Hindu of the Aryan race , and his subsequent election of the swastika for the Nazi Party . It is also known that he was fond of astrology , yoga , and medieval mysticism . 5

Previous to the Nazi regime

It has been pointed out that, before Führer , Hitler’s party (the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei ) demanded in its article 24, “complete freedom of religion.” 6 7 At a time when the majority religion in Germany was divided between Catholics and Protestants, Hitler was aware of the religiosity of much of the German people, although he was aware of emerging ideas in Europe as well evolutionism . In this context, he addressed his autobiography Mein Kampf to his sympathizers, writing rhetorically and with persuasive intent, the book that has often been referred to by historians as “the Nazi bible.”

In the writing, together with different public discourses at the beginning of his public career, Hitler began to promote the idea of ​​a Nazi god as an argument in favor of his racial ideology, raising the idea that only the Aryan race (from which descended , According to him, the Germans), was made in the image of the divinity. At the same time, the book alludes to the inter-species struggle, claiming that union with the “inferior” and “weak” races prevented the evolutionary process . 8 9 and “profane” the image of divinity. 10 On the one hand, Hitler accused the Jews of being enemies of all civilization and spirituality. Thesectarianism of the proposal in the Nazi regime went so far as to even write that trying to evangelize the “inferior” races in Africa constituted a “sin” against Aryan purity, and so called the country’s churches to Stop sending missionaries and stop trying to convert blacks. eleven

During the Nazi regime

Hitler’s public relation to religion was characterized by a base of opportunistic pragmatism. 12 According to Hitler’s chief architect, Albert Speer , Hitler in his adulthood made strong statements against the church to his political partners. It is also said that he ordered his main collaborators to remain members officially, “although they had no real attachment to it.” 13 Although he was personally skeptical of religion, 14 15 accepted that Hitler was reluctant to speak publicly against the Church for political reasons.

During his political regime, Hitler maintained a public position of official recognition to the catholic church, nevertheless , Allan Bullock affirmed that personally it had become in hostile to its teachings. 16Once he obtained his political office, he agreed to a concordat with the Catholic Church on July 20, 1933; However, almost immediately after signing his concordat, dissolved the League of Catholic Youth and decreed a sterilization law that shocked the religious community. Similarly, it was pointed out that during the purge of June 30, 1934, the assassination of Erich Klausener , leader of Catholic Action , was ordered , and in the following years he arrested and began the growing arrest of clerics, priests and nuns. 17

In his encyclical letter of March 14, 1937, Mit brennender Sorge (With ardent concern), Pope Pius XI accused the Nazi government of ” sowing the tares of suspicion, discord, hatred, slander, secrecy, and The open fundamental hostility against Christ and his Church . ” 18 19 The document began to be read in some German churches, and in reaction Hitler sent the Gestapo to prevent this from continuing. twenty

For many analysts, Hitler used his image of official tolerance of the church merely as a political strategy, being aware of the influence of the Vatican or the Catholic community in Europe. 21 David Cymet (2010) points to a private conversation that Hitler argued with Artur Dinter , in which he is quoted as saying:

In order to achieve power, it is important not to let go of the Catholic Church, which has great influence in Germany … We must show the Catholics of Germany that they are in safer hands with the National Socialists, that with those of the Party of the Center

Hitler, (1925) 22

The Jewish historian David G. Dalin says that, as is clear from his writings and conversations, Hitler not only ceased to consider himself a Catholic long before he came to power, but had anti-Catholic personal tendencies. [ Citation needed ]

Despite Martin Bormann’s requests , Hitler’s regime did not publicly advocate state atheism , though Richard J. Evans wrote that Hitler repeated repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, supposedly grounded in science. In this sense, various analysts have identified Hitler as a strong supporter of social Darwinism who implemented measures in favor of eugenics , and also managed to plate public discourses and policies in terms of theistic evolutionism for political reasons. 23 24 25 26 27 Evans cites Hitler claiming that eventually “National Socialism and religion might not be able to coexist together.” 2829

In his book, Hitler made constant mention of Karl Lueger , who was leader of the Social-Christian Party in Austria, a pseudoreligious organization with sectarian and anti-Semitic political tendencies. Although Hitler admired Lueger, he never became part of his party because he was “disturbed by the ties he had with the clergy.” 30 Before the beginning of World War II, Hitler continued to promote his ideology. By 1936, all Germans who wanted to get married officially had to have a copy of Hitler’s book. 31 It soon began with a religious sect that posed a political doctrine: 32 named by Alfred Rosenberg as ” Deutsche Christen ” or ” positive Christianity ,” a movement that purged Christianity of its Judeo-Christian elements of history, and, instead, He infused them with the Nazi philosophy. Such an ideology denied the Hebrew or Jewish origin of the New Testament, openly rejected all Christian beliefs of the Old Testament , the Apostles’ Creed and the Apostle Paul , and instead posited as an ideological basis, not the Gospels, but the Nazi Party . 33 34 Ironically, its main proponents (Rosenberg, Himmler, Goebbels and Bormann) were quite known for their overwhelming hatred of Christianity , besides its anti – Semitism . In the opinion of John S. Conway, this supposed Nazi Christianity “was eviscerated of all the most essential orthodox dogmas,” leaving only “the most vague impression combined with prejudices against the Jews” that few would recognize as “true Christianity.” 35 Laurence Rees said that “Hitler’s public relation to Christianity, in fact his relationship with religion in general, was opportunistic. There is no evidence that Hitler himself in his personal life ever expressed any individual beliefs On the basic principles of the Christian church. ” 36

According to Leo Stein (2003), Hitler understood the relevance of religion in society, and therefore his regime tried to infuse a ” Nazi religion ” in disguise to gradually replace the old religions. However, the academic Robert S. Wistrich notes that devout believers in Germany rejected the idea of a “Jesus” Aryan or a “Nazi god” flatly, realizing its character sectarian ., 37

Hitler’s government was characterized by religious persecution not only of Jews but also of certain Catholic groups, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses , and other classes of clergy and religious organizations opposed to national socialism, including the Confessing Church . According to Douglas Miller, Hitler’s anti-religion plan was already partially in effect in Nazi Germany, since church marriages and baptisms had been banned . 38

Academic analysis

Historian Robert Soucy claimed that Hitler personally believed that Judeo-Christian beliefs and Nazi ideas were incompatible, and he was willing to replace Christianity with a “racist form of war paganism.” Hitler’s biographer , Alan Bullock , also confirmed that although his mother wanted to raise him as a Catholic, Hitler became a materialist who actually saw Christianity as a ” slave- like” religion , and against the natural law of The survival of the fittest . 39

According to Max Domarus , around 1937, Hitler had totally ruled out the belief in the Judeo-Christian conception of God, but continued to use the word “god” in his speeches. Similarly , Alan Bullock wrote that although Hitler initially used the language of “divine providence” in defense of his own myth, he ultimately shared with the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin a materialist view, Based on the certainty of the rationalists of the nineteenth century that the progress of science would destroy all myths and had already proved that Christian doctrine was absurd. For his part, the biographer Joseph Howard also reaffirms that Hitler despised religion and, like Marx , considered it an ” opium of the masses “. 40 41

Other authors affirm that from young, Hitler was particularly influenced much by the antireligious ideas of his compatriot Friedrich Nietzsche . 42 Hitler frequently used the term ” Übermensch ” (“superman”) to refer to the so-called “Aryan race.”, 43 44 45 46

Hostility to Judeo-Christianity

While some point out that Hitler believed in a supreme force or came to mention an ideologically Nazi God, other authors like Paul Brooker say that Hitler was actually “an atheist in private.” 47 Multiple records of his appointments confirm and deny that he rejected the idea of ​​the Judeo-Christian God . His actions reflect an exacerbated intolerance especially against Judaism, and his anti-Semitism , in the opinion of Lucy Dawidowicz, resembled that of Martin Luther . However, Wilhelm Marr , with his essay on The Victory of Judaism vs. Germanism: from a confessional point of view, insisted that the opposition Hitler proposed against the Jew was on a racial basis , and not really religious.

This is the enemy ” ( ” This is the enemy “), 1941 , advertising antinazi US to promote the rejection of the Nazi system. A Bible is crossed by a hand with the Nazi symbol, a whole set of meanings, product of the development of the School of American communication during World War II .

On the other hand, Hitler’s historians Joachim Fest , Ian Kershaw and Alan Bullock agree that in addition to his hatred of Judaism, Hitler also had a noticeable anti- Christian sentiment . In this regard, a collection of extracts and transcriptions edited by Martin Bormann , titled Hitler’s Table Talk , stands out, where it bears testimony of intimate colleagues who affirm that, already in the power, Hitler often pronounced hostile private opinions towards the Christianity.

Gerhard L. Weinberg cites a conversation on December 13, 1941, in which Hitler referred to Christianity as a “disease” and a “drug.” 48 He cites it “blaming” the Jews for the existence of Christianity:

“The Jew, who fraudulently introduced Christianity in the ancient world – in order to ruin it – opened the same breach in modern times, this time taking as a pretext the social question.”

49 50 51

In 1933, a report by Herman Rauschning cited Hitler presenting Christianity as a setback for German nationalism:

“One is either German or Christian. You can not be both.”


Likewise, in the book Gespräche mit Hitler (Hitler Speaks), Rauschning is quoted in a private conversation with Hitler in which the Nazi leader repudiates the God of the Bible, describing the Ten Commandments as “the curse of Mount Sinai “, 53 and adding:

“Historically speaking, the Christian religion is nothing more than a Jewish sect … After the destruction of Judaism, the extinction of the morality of Christian slaves should follow logically.”


Rummel Rudolph quotes Hitler after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 reaffirming the said contrariety between his regime and Christianity: 55

National Socialism and Religion Can not Coexist … The hardest blow that has ever struck humanity was the arrival of Christianity. Bolshevism is the illegitimate son of Christianity. Both are inventions of the Jew

Hitler, (July 1941) 56 57 58

In ” The Testament of Adolf Hitler ” (1945), François Genoud quotes the Fuehrer speaking in a similar way:

“Christianity is not a natural religion for the Germans, but a religion that has been imported and has no favorable echo to the heart and is foreign to the inherent genius of the race.”

February 13, 1945

Hitler’s biographer , Allan Bullock , concluded that Hitler did not believe in God and that he considered Judeo-Christianity “a rebellion against the natural law of selection through struggle and survival of the fittest .” 59


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    • Fischel, Jack R. , Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust , p. 123, Scarecrow Press, 2010: “The goal was either to destroy Christianity and restore the German gods of antiquity or to transform [the idea of] Jesus into an Aryan.”
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  2. Back to top↑ Bendersky, Joseph W., A Concise History of Nazi Germany , p. 147, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007: “Consequently, Hitler’s goal in the long run was to eliminate the churches once he had consolidated his control over his European empire.”
  3. Back to top↑ Steven Merritt Miner (2003), “Stalin’s Holy War: Religion, Nationalism, and Alliance Politics, 1941-1945”, University of North Carolina Press
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  5. Back to top↑ Adolf Hitler’s telegram to Dr. Korsch, president of the International Astrological Congress. Source: Photographic background of Life magazine
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  8. Back to top^ Mein Kampf, English translation by James Murphy (1939), Chapter 11: “Race and people”: “The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would mean the sacrifice of its own higher nature … For if such a law did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all. “
  9. Back to top↑ Mein Kampf, English translation by James Murphy (1939), Chapter 11: “Race and people”: “The struggle between the various species does not arise from a feeling of mutual antipathy … the struggle for the daily livelihood Leaves behind in the ruck all that is weak or diseased or wavering, while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. The health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development toward a higher quality of being. “
  10. Back to top↑ On this planet of our human culture and civilization are indissolubly bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he should be exterminated or subjugated, then the dark shroud of a new barbarian would be enfold the earth. To undermine the existence of human culture by exterminating its founders and custodians would be an execrable crime in the eyes of those who believe that the folk-idea lies on the basis of human existence. Whoever would raise the profane hand against that highest image of God
  11. Back to top^ Mein Kampf, English translation by James Murphy (1939), Chapter 2: The State
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  22. Back to top↑ Cymet (2010), idem
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  30. Back to top↑ Brigitte Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man, p. 302
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  34. Back to top↑ Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; WW Notron & Co; 2008 Edn; Pp.295-297
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  38. Back to top↑ Miller, Douglas, Life Magazine, November 10, 1941 , pp. 16 and 18.
  39. Back to top↑ Alan Bullock; Hitler, a Study in Tyranny ; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; P. 219
  40. Back to top↑ Joseph Howard Tyson (2008), “Hitler’s Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Milieu,” iUniverse, October 1, p. 150
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  49. Back to top↑ Hitler’s Table Talk (1953), 1941-1944, London, p. 314
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  51. Back to top↑ Robert S. Wistrich (2001), “Demonizing the Other: Antisemitism, Racism and Xenophobia”.
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  59. Back to top↑ Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; HarperPerennial Edition 1991; P. 219 & Hitler’s Table Talk; Enigma Books; P. 51: “… a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.