Adolf Hitler Was Neither Christian Nor Atheist

In Hitler’s Religion, Richard Weikart thoroughly examines the evidence of the Nazi leader’s religious beliefs. Gary Scott Smith, calling the book a “fascinating, meticulous study,” summarizes its conclusions:

Hitler repeatedly affirmed the existence of God, but his conception of God differed substantially from the Bible’s. He rejected Christ’s divinity and frequently mocked Christianity. Hitler, Weikart points out, was a baptized, confirmed Catholic raised in Austria, a predominantly Catholic country, and he retained some vestiges of Christianity. Nevertheless, he repeatedly repudiated Christianity (especially privately) as “a Jewish plot to undermine the heroic ideals of the Aryan-dominated Roman Empire.” Hitler denounced Christianity as a poison, outmoded and dying, ridiculed its teachings, and persecuted Protestant and Catholic churches alike during the Third Reich [in cases when they refused to do his bidding]. Nor was Hitler an occultist, [as some have claimed], since he explicitly repudiated key occult convictions and mystical practices.

Weikart argues that Hitler is best understood as a pantheist, one who believes that nature is God and that the cosmos provides principles to guide human conduct. He frequently deified nature, referring to it as eternal and all powerful. . . . While presenting God as the creator and sustainer of the Volk—the German people—Hitler and the Nazis used religious symbols, terms, and passion in their speeches, rallies, and ceremonies to create an alternative faith. Hitler fully expected the Nazi worldview to replace Christianity in Germany and transform its culture and life. Moreover, Nazi propaganda depicted Hitler [himself] as a messianic figure, a savior chosen by God to liberate Germany from the punitive Versailles Treaty and restore its power and place in the world.

The book is available on Amazon:

About Richard Weikart

Richard Weikart is professor of history at California State Univ., Stanislaus. He recently completed a documentary project, “Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany,” which is available on youtube. He has published six books, including most recently _The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life_, and _Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich_. His previous books included _From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany_ and _Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress_, both published by the scholarly publisher Palgrave Macmillan. In addition to his books, he has published many articles, review essays, and reviews in scholarly journals.

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