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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Helfgott, Leonard Michael, 1937-
In some ways it seems that the strong devotion to the figure of Hitler as a political and even cultural messiah on the part of the people written about in Klemperer's work is indicative of the regime's inherent opposition to Christianity. The adoration which many showed for Hitler appears in many ways to act as a substitute for devotion to God. This fails in its explanatory power, however, in that it assumes Hitler was attempting to take the place of Jesus in the minds his subjects, and that the loyalty to the state was to replace loyalty to God. Hitler did cultivate a following that at times seemed religious in nature, and mass events such as the Nuremberg Rallies did use rituals that were taken from Christianity or pagan religions. But this "religion" was not all-encompassing. Hitler offered a solution to Germans' earthly concerns while Christianity offered security in the after-life. While some might assume that mass spectacles in 1930s German appropriated religious rituals in such a way as to undermine traditional religious belief itself, I argue that the Party appropriated religious rituals because it would complement the religious sensibility of the spectators, and that this appropriation should not imply a substitution of Nazism for Christianity but rather, a syncretism of religion and national socialism. The two could - and did, in the belief system of Hitler and other Party leaders - coexist. If key Nazi Party leaders considered themselves to be Christian as well as adherents of National Socialism, it is then untenable to claim a fundamental antagonism between the two, at least in the minds of those most intimately involved in setting National Socialist policy. The possibility of devotion to both Christianity and National Socialism is also demonstrated by the German Christian movement. In his early approval of their ideology and his desire to form one Reich Church under the auspices of the German Christian movement, Hitler demonstrated his desire that Christianity and National Socialism work together toward a common goal.
Western Washington University
Subjects – Names (LCNAF)
Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945; Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei
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Akland, Marilee, ""I still believe in him": religion, nationalism, and the Nuremberg Party Rally of 1934" (2012). WWU Masters Thesis Collection. 204.