Nazis and the Church


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Nazis and the Church

  1. 1. The Nazis and the Church Protestants
  2. 2. The German Christians (DC) <ul><li>German Christians (DC) wanted to re-structure the Protestantism to a new racially-based brand of Christianity. </li></ul><ul><li>Described as the SA of the church. They adopted Nazi-style uniforms and salutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Their slogan: “The swastika on our breasts and the cross in our hearts”. </li></ul><ul><li>They wanted to cleanse Bible of Jewish elements and Rabbi Paul. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Confessional Church (BK) <ul><li>They broke away from the Reich Church in 1934. </li></ul><ul><li>Not so much based on opposition to Nazism but state interference and the false theology of the German Christians. </li></ul><ul><li>Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller </li></ul>
  4. 4. German Faith Movement <ul><li>They wanted to replace Christianity with a new pagan Nazi faith. </li></ul><ul><li>Germans to leave Christianity eg SS have marriages in runic carved rooms. </li></ul><ul><li>Alfred Rosenberg </li></ul>
  5. 5. Protestant Church – Pre-1933 <ul><li>Prots often pro-Nazi as anti-republic and largely conservative. </li></ul><ul><li>Like the Nazis, they disliked the supposed immorality of Berlin in the 1920s and the supposed rise in crime. </li></ul><ul><li>Both were anti-Communist, Prots were impressed by Article 24 of the February Party Prog of 1920 which stressed ‘Positive Christianity’. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Protestant Church – Gleichschaltung <ul><li>The Nazis attempted to run the church from within co-ordinating Church and State. This annoyed many in the Church. </li></ul><ul><li>Relations broke down over May 1933 election of Reich Bishop </li></ul><ul><li>The Nazis backed the candidate Ludwig Muller and the BK backed Von Bodelschwingh. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Protestant Church – Gleichschaltung <ul><li>The Confessional Church grew in size and expressed opposition to Nazi interference, the Aryan paragraph and bullying led by Niemoller. Bonhoeffer argued against the Leadership Principle. </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 of clergy now in BK by end of 1933. </li></ul><ul><li>The high point of opposition : Resistance Synods: there was a refusal to take the oath of loyalty and a rejection of the idea of a German Christian reformation. </li></ul><ul><li>The Confessional Church organised a counter-Govt. (Temporary Head of the Evangelical Church) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Protestant Church – Gleichschaltung <ul><li>Hitler decided not to start a Kulturkampf </li></ul><ul><li>The coercive measures of Muller such as the dismal of Bishop Wurm and Meiser were rescinded. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1935, AH decided to not to impose Gleichschaltung on the church but created the Reich Church Ministry to try to assert political control from outside. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Protestant Church – Post-Gleichschaltung <ul><li>The future of the church may be seen in the gau of Wartheland in the new Reich territories. </li></ul><ul><li>There was ambiguity from the Church on the Jewish Question but protest against euthanasia. </li></ul><ul><li>Brave memorandum in 1936: the Govt. was accused of being anti-clerical, anti-semitic and judicial arbitrariness – “in Germany, which calls itself a state of law, there still exist concentration camps and that the actions of the Gestapo are outside the scope of the legal review”. They rejected the Hitler cult. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Protestant Church – Post-Gleichschaltung <ul><li>It was not meant for publication cost Weissler his freedom. </li></ul><ul><li>October 1943: the Prussian Synod said annihilation policies were against the Divine Order. </li></ul><ul><li>When war began many were happy to adopt WW1 position of loyalty and were pleased by the fight against the Bolshevism. </li></ul><ul><li>They apologised for actions during the War in 1945. Some priests provided Nazis with positive references in Nuremberg Trials. </li></ul>