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Thread: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

  1. #1
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Hitler was a vegetarian atheist, and was an avid critic of the catholic church. He binded the protestant churches together into a neo-pagan reich Church. There were however, Christians among the left-wing faction of the national-socialists, such as Strasser. Also, what were the views, and more importantly the reasons of those views of the Nazis towards other religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Ambiguous. IIRC the Gröfaz himself wrote in Mein Kampf that one could learn from the Catholic Church regarding political methods. Obviously some of the top brass engaged in neo-Pagan occultism, and Hitler himself had his hilarious misinterpretation of Darwinism to lean on. But I don't think a radical anti-Christian ŕ la Communism course would have availed them considering the NSdAP's strong rural, Protestant base (and I wouldn't consider their protestant "Reich Church" neo-pagan either). Particularly in the face of the "godless" Communist (actually it isn't, commies just worship other gods) threat that caused lots of people to seek refuge in the loving embrace of National Socialism.
    Before the National Socialists' rise to power, they engaged in terrorism which also targeted some prominent Catholic politicians IIRC. That doesn't mean that the NS party were anywhere near as anti-Catholic as for example the KKK, though. As proven by the contract signed with the Vatican later.
    Some circles make much of Hitler's apparent praise of Islam (I guess it appealed to his socio-political beliefs, based on a wrong interpretation of Darwinist principles), but I suspect that a lot of it owes to realpolitik, romancing the potential enemies of the Jews, Orthodox Slavs, and the British and French Empires.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there were Christians on both sides, and that the NS state as a whole was neither pro- nor anti-Christian, unless you're arguing from a theological PoV.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    "Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich" is an excellent resource on Nazi religion.

    The definitive history of the supernatural in Nazi Germany, exploring the occult ideas, esoteric sciences, and pagan religions touted by the Third Reich in the service of power

    The Nazi fascination with the occult is legendary, yet today it is often dismissed as Himmler’s personal obsession or wildly overstated for its novelty. Preposterous though it was, however, supernatural thinking was inextricable from the Nazi project. The regime enlisted astrology and the paranormal, paganism, Indo-Aryan mythology, witchcraft, miracle weapons, and the lost kingdom of Atlantis in reimagining German politics and society and recasting German science and religion. In this eye-opening history, Eric Kurlander reveals how the Third Reich’s relationship to the supernatural was far from straightforward. Even as popular occultism and superstition were intermittently rooted out, suppressed, and outlawed, the Nazis drew upon a wide variety of occult practices and esoteric sciences to gain power, shape propaganda and policy, and pursue their dreams of racial utopia and empire.
    You could argue that Nazism was a reawakening of long-dormant Germanic religion; Odin was biding his time, waiting a thousand years for the right moment to reemerge from the shadows.

    It is above all the Germans who have an opportunity, perhaps unique in history, to look into their own hearts and to learn what those perils of the soul were from which Christianity tried to rescue mankind. Germany is a land of spiritual catastrophes, where nature never makes more than a pretence of peace with the world-ruling reason. The disturber of the peace is a wind that blows into Europe from Asia’s vastness, sweeping in on a wide front from Thrace to the Baltic, scattering the nations before it like dry leaves, or inspiring thoughts that shake the world to its foundations. It is an elemental Dionysus breaking into the Apollonian order. The rouser of this tempest is named Wotan, and we can learn a good deal about him from the political confusion and spiritual upheaval he has caused throughout history. For a more exact investigation of his character, however, we must go back to the age of myths, which did not explain everything in terms of man and his limited capacities, but sought the deeper cause in the psyche and its autonomous powers. Man’s earliest intuitions personified these powers. Man’s earliest intuitions personified these powers as gods, and described them in the myths with great care and circumstantiality according to their various characters. This could be done the more readily on account of the firmly established primordial types or images which are innate in the unconscious of many races and exercise a direct influence upon them. Because the behaviour of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype “Wotan.” As an autonomous psychic factor, Wotan produces effects in the collective life of a people and thereby reveals his own nature. For Wotan has a peculiar biology of his own, quite apart from the nature of man. It is only from time to time that individuals fall under the irresistible influence of this unconscious factor. When it is quiescent, one is no more aware of the archetype Wotan than of a latent epilepsy. Could the Germans who were adults in 1914 have foreseen what they would be today? Such amazing transformations are the effect of the god of wind, that “bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth.” It seizes everything in its path and overthrows everything that is not firmly rooted. When the wind blows it shakes everything that is insecure, whether without or within.

    ...

    It was not in Wotan’s nature to linger on and show signs of old age. He simply disappeared when the times turned against him, and remained invisible for more than a thousand years, working anonymously and indirectly. Archetypes are like riverbeds which dry up when the water deserts them, but which it can find again at any time. An archetype is like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for centuries, digging a deep channel for itself. The longer it has flowed in this channel the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return to its old bed. The life of the individual as a member of society and particularly as a part of the State maybe regulated like a canal, but the life of nations is a great rushing river which is utterly beyond human control, in the hands of One who has always been stronger than men.
    Interesting painting:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Wotan (Odin) leading ‘The Wild Hunt’ – 1899AD – Franz von Stuck
    Last edited by Prodromos; January 19, 2019 at 01:16 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    You could argue that Nazism was a reawakening of long-dormant Germanic religion; Odin was biding his time, waiting a thousand years for the right moment to reemerge from the shadows.
    BS, National Socialism (not "Nazism", that's not a real word) was a totalitarian cult established by people who had no real understanding of ancient history - including ancient Germanic culture - and no interest in historical facts, particularly those who didn't fit their narrative.

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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    BS, National Socialism (not "Nazism", that's not a real word) was a totalitarian cult established by people who had no real understanding of ancient history - including ancient Germanic culture - and no interest in historical facts, particularly those who didn't fit their narrative.
    I think the idea is less about the Nazis consciously establishing paganism, and more about paganism creating the Nazis. Not that I buy it, but pagan deities are in a sense personifications of forces that are never far beneath the surface.

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    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Nazism's religion was Nazism. Anything else was just a means to an end, a way to get into the hearts and minds of the German people. The Nazis co-opted Protestantism to appeal to Protestant Germans (and to use Martin Luther as a nationalist hero), they cooperated with Catholicism to appeal to Catholic Germans and Austrians, they tolerated proto-neo-pagan Germanic Mysticism to appeal to hard-right intellectuals. And so on. Hitler's own stance on religion was probably some vaguely-defined Deism that saw himself as Germany's Messiah-- a religious standpoint that was strongly encouraged in the SS.

    Now, the root movements that spawned Nazism is a bit of a more complex story. The Volkisch movement that spawned Nazism was influenced by an overall Occult Revival that was going-on in Europe and North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was unavoidable characteristic of the era. But these groups were not always interested in Germanic historical polytheism as a source of inspiration. Many were Theosophical societies, which held to very odd blend of Eastern thought and Hermetic mysticism. The German Faith Movement notably tried to use Vedic Indian religion as the basis for Germanic revival. And the movements that did base themselves on specifically Germanic pre-Christian roots, like Ariosophy, basically pulled things out of their ass and never really used proper scholarly backing for their religion (which is sharply different from modern Heathenry).
    But the Volkisch movement was just as much driver by secular nationalism, a belief in the spiritual connection between a land and its people, and Social Darwinist views on race, resources, and struggle.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    If you don't mind me getting my opinion into this debate as someone who was alive when the Germans were flinging their bombs around my part of the country, that is the Clydeside, it now appears to me that religion had nothing to do with National Socialism. They say that history doesn't repeat itself but look around and see that to replace the German version we now have Global Socialism with the same intent, that being to eradicate religion in all its forms by deceptively prying one religion against another. Right before our eyes here in Europe the very same people are leading that assault aided and abetted by the same people who financed most wars in our modern age and still do. The target is power to mould all peoples into a certain category where resistance is futile which was the driving force of the Nazis.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    The Wehrmacht had "Gott mit uns" and swastika on their belt buckles.

    In the end the nazis, like any political idealogy, where opportunists that used every tool including religion to expand and preserve power. They used Germanic history to reinforce sense of nationalism which is one of the oldest tricks in the book and co-opted existing religion, eliminating those religious leaders who where a threat and using the religious leaders that would co-operate.

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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    I think the idea is less about the Nazis consciously establishing paganism, and more about paganism creating the Nazis. Not that I buy it, but pagan deities are in a sense personifications of forces that are never far beneath the surface.
    What is that supposed to mean?

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    The Wehrmacht had "Gott mit uns" and swastika on their belt buckles.

    In the end the nazis, like any political idealogy, where opportunists that used every tool including religion to expand and preserve power. They used Germanic history to reinforce sense of nationalism which is one of the oldest tricks in the book and co-opted existing religion, eliminating those religious leaders who where a threat and using the religious leaders that would co-operate.
    95thrifleman,

    Well, in the end we can agree that whomever their " Gott " was didn't help them at all.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    95thrifleman,

    Well, in the end we can agree that whomever their " Gott " was didn't help them at all.

    I've found that the christian god is pretty good at not picking sides and watching his followers slaughter each other. Both sides in the English and American civil wars prayed to the same god.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    I've found that the christian god is pretty good at not picking sides and watching his followers slaughter each other. Both sides in the English and American civil wars prayed to the same god.
    What makes you think he didn't help individuals on both sides?

  13. #13

    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    I think the idea is less about the Nazis consciously establishing paganism, and more about paganism creating the Nazis. Not that I buy it, but pagan deities are in a sense personifications of forces that are never far beneath the surface.
    Well if you're going that way, every deity is an expression of one or multiple "forces" of collective or individual psychology. The point is, there is no more connection between the ancient Germanic culture and religion and the Nazis than there is with the Nazis and Tengriism/Taoism/Shinto/whatever. If anything, NS ideology is a reaction to more recent or more locally relevant phenomena such as Christianity and Marxism. They didn't really know much about Germanic societies and preferred to project their own ideas into them. Any serious and impartial scholarly research into that aspect of history was hamstrung by "the party" and its minions (among whom were many intellectuals BTW. Yet after the war, the German intellectual elite was quick to put the blame on the common people, which is why the modern German republic is shaped by notorious distrust of the latter).


    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    95thrifleman,

    Well, in the end we can agree that whomever their " Gott " was didn't help them at all.
    Probably because there are no gods.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    I've found that the christian god is pretty good at not picking sides and watching his followers slaughter each other. Both sides in the English and American civil wars prayed to the same god.
    95thrifleman,

    Yes they did and the result was that God decided on the sides with the greater good in them to prevail over the others. The bigger picture was more important then any individual.

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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    Probably because there are no gods.
    Idols, which are false gods, are all around you. They can be personal, like Zeus, Trump or Bieber; or impersonal, like nationalism, socialism or libertinism. Man worships God or an idol, but he worships.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Mentioning Trump, a nominal christian, i think that God's hand is with him but it wouldn't surprise me if at some time even he would be born again.

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    Diocle's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    The main source about Hitler's thought is for sure his book/program the "Mein Kampf". In the "Mein Kampf" Hitler frequently quoted the Catholic Church as model ..

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Diocle,

    I don't think there is any doubt about that because what he saw was that system's grip on a people who wanted hope. For the masses hope is a strange attraction, especially if you have no more than a humdrum life with little prospect of improvement. Socialism appeared then as it does now to be the answer regardless of its failures throughout time. National Socialism did that for the Germans and they had a ready source in their population on which to put much blame to in their Jewish people. In the west today it is the Christian part of it that has become the enemy and it that has to be eradicated now. That's what men and women who seek power see as their pathway to power or so they think. In the born again Christian he and she have hope making it an easy target to manipulate.

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Socialism appeared then as it does now to be the answer regardless of its failures throughout time.
    Really socialism has failed? I think you mean communism and than extreme forms.
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    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: What was the relationship between the Nazis and religion?

    Communism has never actually been ever realised.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar Caligula_ View Post
    And on the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that man could fight the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals. Amen.

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