Was Hitler an atheist?

While numerous claims have been made that Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was an atheist, the opposite is the truth. Hitler made  numerous statements as to his personal and public religious beliefs, including stating clearly: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” (see John Toland, Adolf Hitler, New York: Anchor Publishing, 1992, p. 507). The German leader of the Third Reich was, in fact, a great enemy of atheism and atheists, noting: “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” (Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933; in Norman H. Baynes, ed., The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1942, p. 378; cf. p. 371). So fearful of atheism and what he termed “open doors to atheism”, that Hitler promised never to tolerate public secular schools:  “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.” (Adolf Hitler in a speech on 26 April 1933, during negotiations that led to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933 with Pope Pius XII, from Ernst Helmreich’s The German Churches Under Hitler, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979, p. 241.

Hitler saw himself as an orthodox Christian who had a mission on earth decreed by God. Hitler was to be the savior of the Christian community and its church: “The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.” (cf. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed.; New York: Mariner Press, 1999, p. 562.) Hitler boldly proclaimed that he was “doing the work of the Lord” by fighting the Jews (ibid., p. 65) and he proclaimed his “Christian Crusade” not only in his autobiography, but in various papers and speeches. For example, he thundered “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago — a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.

“Then indeed when Rome collapsed there were endless streams of new German bands flowing into the Empire from the North; but, if Germany collapses today, who is there to come after us? German blood upon this earth is on the way to gradual exhaustion unless we pull ourselves together and make ourselves free!

“And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.” (Speech on April 12, 1922, at Munich; from Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: April 1922-August 1939 Vol. 1, New York: Oxford University Press, 1942, pp. 19-20.) It was his piety as a Christian that made Hitler assume he had his God’s blessing to censor and censure everything and everyone, declaring: “For this, to be sure, from the child’s primer down to the last newspaper, every theater and every movie house, every advertising pillar and every billboard, must be pressed into the service of this one great mission, until the timorous prayer of our present parlor patriots: ‘Lord, make us free!’ is transformed in the brain of the smallest boy into the burning plea: ‘Almighty God, bless our arms when the time comes; be just as thou hast always been; judge now whether we be deserving of freedom; Lord, bless our battle!’” (Adolf Hitler, loc. cit., pp. 632-633).

Adolf Hitler went so far as to declare himself similar to Jesus Christ, much as do contemporary evangelical Christians like Sarah Palin’s Prayer Warriors: “I say: my Christian feeling tells me that my lord and savior is a warrior. It calls my attention to the man who, lonely and surrounded by only a few supporters, recognized what they [the Jews] were, and called for a battle against them, and who, by God, was not the greatest sufferer, but the greatest warrior. . .

“As a human being it is my duty to see to it that humanity will not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did that old civilization two thousand years ago, a civilization which was driven to its ruin by the Jews. . . I am convinced that I am really a devil and not a Christian if I do not feel compassion and do not wage war, as Christ did two thousand years ago, against those who are steeling and exploiting these poverty-stricken people.

“Two thousand years ago a man was similarly denounced by this particular race which today denounces and blasphemes all over the place. . . That man was dragged before a court and they said: he is arousing the people! So he, too, was an agitator!” (Adolf Hitler, speech delivered on April 12, 1922, from Charles Bracelen Flood, Hitler: The Path to Power Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1989, pp. 261-262.

When he was attacked in the media abroad for being anti-Semitic, Hitler said his anti-Semitism was based on Christianity, not on racism: “The anti-Semitism of the new [Christian Social] movement was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.” (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 119.) Yet race remained a factor in all he said or did, for race had to be pure (Aryan) and it had to be German: “What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe.” (Ibid., p. 214)

Hitler, like all despots, was of the firm conviction that he was doing “the Lord’s” work, and as a champion of God he would win praises in the next world. He refused to consider that anyone would dare to judge him, for judgment alone was the prerogative of God: “May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.” (Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered in Berlin, February 1, 1933; from Adolf Hitler, My New Order, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941, p. 147.

Using a rich command of words and skillful rhetoric, Hitler charmed Prescott Sheldon Bush was a Wall Street executive banker, and a United States Senator representing Connecticut from 1952 until January 1963, and won political and monetary support for his military and industrial empire. The US government seized Prescott Bush’s bank for financing Hitler, although little was made of it when his grandson George W. Bush was president of the USA. (Accessed on May 25, 2010 from http://www.rense.com/general43/byrd.htm; cp. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0925-01.htm). Not only was the Nazi party the party of God, but those who supported it (like the father of George H. W. Bush) were promised enriched blessings from God. Nazis were exalted as saviors of the Christian Church, and Hitler was their leader: “At the head of our [National Socialist] program there stand no secret surmisings but clear-cut perception and straightforward profession of belief. But since we set as the central point of this perception and of this profession of belief the maintenance and hence the security for the future of a being formed by God, we thus serve the maintenance of a divine work and fulfill a divine will—not in the secret twilight of a new house of worship, but openly before the face of the Lord.” (Adolf Hitler, speech delivered at Nuremberg, September 6, 1938), from Adolf Hitler, My New Order, op. cit., p.  500. Those who opposed Hitler or his supporters (atheists, Free-thinkers, Jews) were labeled enemies of God, and–regardless of the cost–the Christian Church had to be protected by Hitler and his followers: “National Socialism has always affirmed that it is determined to take the Christian Churches under the protection of the State. For their part the churches cannot for a second doubt that they need the protection of the State, and that only through the State can they be enabled to fulfill their religious mission. Indeed, the churches demand this protection from the State.” (Adolf Hitler in a radio broadcast on July 22, 1933, in Baynes, op. cit. p. 375.

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Filed under Adolf Hitler, atheism

2 responses to “Was Hitler an atheist?

  1. Pingback: Teaching Realities, a Study of English Education in Perú « Arthur Frederick Ide's Blog

  2. Pingback: Charles Worley, Providence Road Baptist Church, and Leviticus 18:22 | Arthur Frederick Ide's Blog

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