Date of Award
Carl Raschke, Ph.D.
Hitler, Nazi Church, Nazism, Religiosity, Third Reich
"German Christianity is a distortion. You are either a German or you are Christian."
~ Adolph Hitler
In the last decade, scores of religious scholars have dissected the concept of the Third Reich as a religion. Their theories depict a vast range of extremes from National Socialism portrayed as a secular or political religion to painting the Nazis as anti-Christian pagans. The "Nazi Church" was neither a political religion nor was it simply paganism; instead, National Socialism became its own religion which replaced traditional German Christianity at a time when a nation, ripe for questioning God, was suffering from the aftermath of a disastrous war.
Hitler's Third Reich was as much a religion to the citizens of war-torn Germany as is extremist Islam to lost young men in North Africa. Just as fundamentalist religious leaders bait their chosen followers with a chance for the afterlife, Hitler convinced an entire nation that he would lead the Master Race into the thousand year millennium.
It was exactly what his countrymen needed to hear, but to rule the world, Hitler thought it was necessary to annihilate another culture.
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Harris, Carol McKinley, "The Nazi "Church": Nazism as Ersatzreligion" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 273.
Received from ProQuest
Carol McKinley Harris
Religion, Philosophy of Religion