Many forests have been cut to print books, monographs and research papers with what historians had to say about Hitler and his opportunistic use of Christianity. As a matter of principle I won’t contribute to cutting trees – I publish only in electronic formats, and I read mostly in electronic formats, including daily newspapers. I preached this since early 1990, and this was one of a few things which I did as I preached. Any electronic format is much more advanced and conducive to reasoning and learning than the traditional paper, now woefully obsolete. Searching electronic books is extremely efficient. From the table of contents to the heading there is but one click. Paper books induce sleep. There is no excuse for using paper, in newspapers or books, no excuse for making students spend thousands of dollars on text books. I also made a point of reading or skimming through much of the material I used as the sources, historical documents and literary publications, which have ever been published or archived, as they are usually readily available in various electronic forms, such as PDF, HTML, SQL, etc. If we have no respect for human life, at least we can show some respect for the forests producing the very air we breathe. Also, as a matter of principle, I will not exploit facts one-sidedly in order to assume and justify an ideological position or affinity of any sorts, as many folks tend to do. Rather, we shall look events from a variety of angles, and in totality of facts.
Since the facts and deeds speak louder than words, even if words uttered by Hitler, whether in public speeches, top-secret addresses to his staff or generals, or in his stenographically recorded, video- and audio-taped conversations with close cohorts.
A lot of what has been written about Hitler’s
religious beliefs is, not surprisingly, hokum by apologists of Nazism,
proclaiming Hitler a Christian messiah; and at least ten times as much material – by adherents of the views that he
was a pagan, a “proud barbarian,” “a
Satanic worshipper,” “spiritual but not religious,” “a self-proclaimed God,”
etc. To buy the idea of Hitler as a true messiah, one ought to be truly
deranged or raised in Nazi Germany, as were several generations of kids.
Anything else said about Hitler’s religiosity may be both supported, and
contradicted as well by whatever Hitler said publicly at one time or another.
As always, actions speak louder than words. As for the often mutually exclusive
statements made by Hitler, they have been interpreted out of context, in
attempts to show him to be either a Christian, a Barbarian, a Mystic, Messiah
or Satan, when he was simply a politician, an opportunist like most of them,
telling people what they wanted to hear. That said, he Nazi state, and Hitler
personally, anticipated the displacement of Christian religion and ethical
values by a new kind of worship based on the cult of Nazi leaders and
National-Socialist martyrs, a state with a value system close to that of
and cynical politician he was, one who defined “masses” as incapable of any
analysis and needing to be treated as ‘emotional children’ with ‘simple
notions’. In his treatment of the masses he sought to deceive and control, not
much different from any contemporary politicians. Given the influence of the
Christian tradition upon the German voters, he used Christianity to appeal to
the masses of voters and consolidate power in
The evolution of morality in Nazi Germany is quite succinctly depicted by the military belt buckles. It was a leap of Faith – that is, from Christian to Nazi faith. During the Second World War, Wehrmacht soldiers (those in regular army) wore the slogan “Gott mit Uns” (God with Us) on their belt buckles while the members of the Waffen SS, who were declared to be on an advanced spiral of spiritual and physical development, wore the motto “Meine Ehre heißt Treue” (‘my honor is loyalty’) on their belt buckle, not to mention having to undergo a solemn ritual of renouncing all Christian beliefs, almost immediately upon joining SS.
<<A document from the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment declared: ‘ideological indoctrination cannot be achieved with one lecture a week. It must take place at all times and everywhere’. This meant that the recruit was subjected to the tenets of Nazism during maneuvers, roll calls and even during meal times. An indication of the power of the SS ideological instruction is demonstrated in the fact that by 1938, 53.6 % of the SS had been persuaded to leave the church, while by May 1940 only four men in the entire Totenkopf division had not renounced Christianity. The Reichsführer [Himmler, the head of the SS] saw the churches as culturally stabilizing institutions that preached the ‘un-German’ message of tolerance and peace… In November 1943 the commander of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg demanded that ‘every man should be trained to be a fanatical hater. It does not matter on which front the division is engaged, the unyielding hate towards every opponent, Englishmen, Jew, Bolshevik, must make every one of our men capable of the highest deeds’.>>
The oratory as an art form had a special place in Nazi Germany; it was a respected and prized skill, especially by the chief demagogue, Adolf Hitler. SS-Obergruppenführer Schulz (something like a 4-star-general in the US Army’s equivalent) advertised his lecture under the title, “Ours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,” (an apparently paraphrased fragment from the The Lord's Prayer, central in Christianity – (also called Pater Noster in Latin by some hard-core Catholics, or “Our Father” by younger Protestants). The Christ teaching the Lord’s Prayer is illustrated here by “Sermon on the Mount” (painted in oil between 1865 and 1879) by a Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch. The last sentence of the Lord’s Prayer is known to any and all of the 2.1 billion Christians in the World, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.” Taking Lord’s Prayer as a straw-man, the SS-Obergruppenführer Schulz, a high-placed SS orator, preached: “ I do not want to become guilty of blasphemy, but I ask: Who was greater, Christ or Hitler? By (the time of) His death Christ had twelve disciples, who even did not stay faithful. But Hitler today has a people of 70 million behind him. We cannot tolerate that another organization, which has another spirit than ours, should come into existence. National Socialism seriously lays this claim: I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no other Gods beside me ... Our is the kingdom, because we have a strong army ("Wehrmacht"), and the glory, because we are a respected people again, and this, as God wants it, 'in eternity'. Heil Hitler.”
Russians, Brits and all non-Germans are quite unaware of a true meaning of the
Nazi trademark salute, Heil Hitler! The German word Heil as used in the
greetings and salute ‘Heil Hitler!’ is not merely just the German form of an
old Roman greeting, nor does the English word Hail, which means “to greet
enthusiastically or joyfully” convey the meaning of the German word
“Heil.” During the era of the Third
Reich (1933-1945), Germans shouted 'Heil Hitler' billions of times. But only a
few among the non-Germans know that 'Heil' is the German word for
“salvation,” which is extensively used in the German texts of the Bible.
“Salvation Hitler” or rather – “Salvation through Hitler” – was the direct and
subliminal message that every German was obliged to preach to his neighbors,
associates and family, daily and at all times instead of “hello” and “good-by.”
At the end of letters, the words “Heil Hitler” replaced the formula “Yours
sincerely / faithfully, etc.” Although some wise guys tried to explain away
'Heil Hitler' as wishing salvation for one Adolf Hitler, the official meaning
was as crystal clear as Kristallnacht
was pitch dark: Hitler was the salvation
for Germany and for the World. To greet with 'Heil Hitler' was a strict law,
and people were sent to concentration camps because they refused to use this
greeting. “Ewiges Heil” means eternal salvation. “Heil” is a close relative of
the English word “Holy” and in addition to “salvation” may mean ‘welfare’ or
even ‘health,’ and in the old Nordic tradition may mean good luck; its
overriding religious connotation is that of salvation. The word is used, in its
religious significance several dozen times in Richard Wagner's Opera Parsifal. That is why, perhaps, it
became a greeting in parts of
Actually, it is unlikely that the salute gesture itself is an Ancient Roman tradition: it is not mentioned in texts and does not appear in art. Not until Jacques-Louis David's painting “Oath of the Horatii” (1784) did the gesture become known as the “Roman Salute.”
Germans shouted “Heil Hitler!” they did not mean “greetings to Hitler.” They really meant “salvation by Hitler,”
“salvation” through his evil genius. Apparently, most Germans sorely lacked a
sense of humor to let the little maniac so hijack the nation and declare
himself a deity. Where he deserves credit, perhaps, is his dramatic oratory
with histrionics even on absolutely mundane subjects, and his familiarity –
even if superficial – with the cultural trends in
Socialism mandated by law the use of “Heil” (as in Sieg Heil, Heil Furher,
etc.) in place of other German greetings such as Guten Tag and Gruß Gott. It
was first used officially in July 1925 at a parade of 5,000 uniformed Nazis in
We shall borrow a few examples from the theologian, researcher, historian and ethicist Thomas Schirrmacher, D.Th., Ph.D., Th.D., DD., President of the Martin Bucer Theological Seminary. He describes songs, prayers and poems sung and recited by the Hitler Youth and prescribed for children’s education. He also describes a systemic failure on the part of Christians to oppose the onslaught of the National Socialism as a state religion. The garish public adulation went as far as thanking Furher, instead of God, for daily bread.
children’s prayer prescribed by the National-socialist Welfare Office for Children’s Meals in Köln (
my Fuehrer, given of God,
Protect me and keep my life.
Thou has saved
I thank you today for my daily bread.
Stay by me, don’t leave me,
Fuehrer, my Fuehrer, my faith and my light.
After the meal:
thank thee for this food,
Defender of youth, defender of age!
Thou hast care, I know, but no fear,
Thou art with me by day and by night.
Lay thy head quiet in my lap,
Art safe, my Fuehrer, and thou art great.
Hail my Fuehrer!"
1934 drawing of Hitler by H. Oloffs is undoubtedly an icon, a popular song
routinely sung by Hitler Youth, Bund Deutsche Madel, and other youth
organizations was no less cultist in depicting the Furher as a deity: “None
depart from thee with empty hands, if thine eyes have touched him with their
steely gaze…” It was written by the Baldur von Schirach‚ Reichsjugendführer
(the Fuehrer of all the Youth organizations in Nazi Germany, the Organizations
which effectively replaced parents, school and Church in shaping the collective
consciousness of the children of
“Before thee, my Fuehrer
although thousands may stand before thee,
each feels thy eye on himself alone
and thinks, his own hour has come,
when thou sees the depths of his soul.
In those few minutes in thy presence,
we would open every door to thee,
all thoughts we lift to thee,
for thee to correct and improve them.
So good art thou and so great; so strong and infinitely pure
To thee we reveal without deceit
our hearts’ innocence.
None depart from thee with empty hands,
if thine eyes have touched him with their steely gaze.
We know that thou proclaimeth forever:
“I am with you – and you belong to me!”
A widely distributed print by Hoyer was titled “In the Beginning was the Word,” a clear reference to the opening of the Gospel by John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.”
While it is tempting to quote a once popular “The Voice of Destruction” by Hermann Raushing, who before 1934 was a political cohort of Hitler, it has been demonstrated that out of hundreds of conversations he claimed he had with Hitler, only four could be confirmed. When Raushing was starving in Paris in 1938 and was given a publisher’s advance of 125,000 franks, he most likely invented most of Hitler’s “conversations” which he, Roushing, presumably recorded, although his book, in the tone, spirit, and even its content reflected the Furher’s attitudes, as confirmed by other and undeniably authentic sources, including the records created by Martin Borman’s stenographers, inconspicuously present at Hitler’s dinners and tea parties. Lest the validity of our observation be attacked, we shall not use any of the quotes from Raushing, alluding instead to mostly uncontroverted sources, such as diaries of Hitler’s closest party cohorts and their memoirs, which documented some of Hitler’s table talk, including his views on religion. Upon Martine Borman’s initiative, Hitler, who often practiced his oratory skills on his closest friends, agreed to have his table-talk transcribed by a specially-trained party official inconspicuously present at their meals and meetings at all times.
Not surprisingly, from the practical standpoint of the ideological goals of Nazism, Hitler expressed that he viewed Christianity as a disease, hoped the time would come to ban it, and expressed that Muslim religion was more closely allied with Nazi goals. Why? – Because the message of love, equality and tolerance was in direct contradiction with the Nazi plans of conquering, enslaving, and murdering large populations in the World to give Germans living space, Lebensraum. This does not mean that he did not use Christian rhetoric to advance Nazi political agenda. Albert Speer, Hitler’s Architect and confidant, confirmed authenticity and accuracy of Henry Picker's German transcripts of Hitler’s table speeches, which were first published in Germany in 1951 (republished in 1963 and 1965) as Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier 1941-42 (Hitler’s Table Talk in Furher’s wolf-den); They were based on the transcripts taken by Martin Borman’s shorthand transcribers ever-present at Hitler’s dinners and meetings.
The English translation of The Tischgespräche (Table Talk) in the book “Hitler’s Table-talk 1941-1944, by Hugh Trevor-Roper, includes Hitler's statement: "Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity."Richard Carrier, a young American atheist historian, criticized it for being “inaccurate.” His point of view is that Hitler was Christian (albeit of a peculiar hue) and by extension, I guess, Christianity bears some responsibility for Hitler’s atrocities. The Church undeniably does bear responsibility, regardless of Hitler’s personal beliefs (which were not only shifting with political winds, but had no more to do with Christian dogma than dark mysticism of occultist magazines which Hitler avidly read), and there is no need to make him a Christian, where he was not.
Time permitting, I will enjoy
reading more of Dr. Carrier, who specializes in Greco-Roman intellectual
history and is a graduate of
Albert Speer records
in his memoirs a statement made by Hitler, which shows precisely why he had a
problem with Christianity: "You see,
it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the
religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the
highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible
to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness
and flabbiness?" Christianity
was not well suited for Nazism. Alas, it was to be reckoned with for the time
being, given its influence on the masses. But when the time would be ripe,
Hitler would deitize himself, like Roman Emperor Caligula did, or as the
Japanese, when during World War II, the government of
When Christian historians wash their hands off what Hitler wrought, it is a cop-out, an attempt to white-wash the bloody-red history of Christianity marred with utmost intolerance of the deviations from the party-line by the hierarchy of the Church, and Church-sanctioned persecution of Jews. When a historian, such as Richard Carrier, declares Hitler a Christian, it is a stretch, designed perhaps to emphasize Christianity’s culpability. Dr. Carrier notes Hitler’s rather peculiar “Christianity,” but seems to argue he was Christian, nonetheless, while in reality and in descriptions by Hitler’s most close cohorts, his Christianity was at best superficial and used strictly for political reasons, and in truth – no more than opportunistic. He argues, “Hitler was no more anti-Christian than your run-of-the-mill Protestant bigot. His Christianity was odd, surely, but so is that of many die-hard believers today.” Although I take an exception to the use of “odd” and the use of “run-of-the-mill Protestant bigot,” which openly telegraphs the author’s belligerent atheist position, seemingly implying the idea of Christianity as a rigid dogma, which it is not, we shall give Dr. Creer the last word:
<<[Entry] of 13 December, which appears in all editions. I [Richard Creer] translate the relevant part here: “Christ was an Aryan. But Paul used his teachings to mobilize the underworld and organize a proto-bolshevism. With its breakdown, the beautiful clarity of the ancient world was lost.” Here, Hitler's position is more subtle. First, Hitler does not deny Christ but claims Christ for himself (Jesus was an Aryan and therefore his noble predecessor). Second, he attacks not Christianity but the Catholic tradition, in effect the elements of church doctrine that are pro-communist and anti-fascist, and thus hostile to Hitler's authoritarian program. As it happens, in both entries Hitler refers to the "ancient world" as "beautiful," refers to its "breakdown," and talks about the "mobilization" of "Proto-Bolshevism.">>
-- All in all, it confirms what we said above: Roman paganism and cruelty were “beautiful” as opposed to Christianity, which was “proto-bolshevist,” i.e. paved way to the utopian Communist ideas. Politically, Hitler differentiated Nazism from “bolshevism,” declaring Nazism to be Bolshevism’s arch-enemy. Thus, Christianity, being “proto-Bolshevik” was utterly “ugly.” (While there were similarities in the methods of political terror, Nazis were extreme nationalists, while Stalinists saw themselves as internationalists, and were donating millions of dollars to the British miners on strike, while starving their own people -- Ukrainians and Russians.)
In 1941, Hitler praised a neo-platonist and pagan Roman emperor Julian for his 3 volume treatise “Libri tres contra Galileos, which in English means Three Books Against the Christians, (in those days Galilaeans meant Christians). Julian had some spectacular military victories in his short reign (361-363), until his death in a battle, which may have appealed to Hitler in the first place. After his death, Julian (Flavius Claudius Julianus) was named by the Church Julian the Apostate and his 3-book polemical essay was anathematized, the texts destroyed whenever found. Hitler said, "I really hadn't known how clearly a man like Julian had judged Christians and Christianity, one must read this...."
Christianity illegal, even despite all the fine-tuning of the scriptures that
had been made specifically to appeal to and placate Roman Emperors by depicting
Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator in Galilee, as a good, kind man and
depicting all Jews as villains who were crucified “for a good cause” – after
the uprising and short-lived independence from
In the second volume of JESUS of Nazareth, by pope Benedict XVI, the pontiff “resolves” the well-known contradiction in the scripture. Many historians from early days of Christianity to today have held a view that the synoptic Gospels were written for political, theistic and organizational purposes to serve the establishment of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, and to enrich it – rather than to account for the events that lead to the Crucifixion of Jesus, or for any historic events. Had Jews found Jesus a criminal, by Jewish law he would have to be stoned to death (stoned not by drugs but by rocks.) The canonical gospels place the arrest and conviction of Jesus for blasphemy smacked squarely in the middle of Passover, when all Jews, especially priests, were obliged by law to be home with their families, rather than instigating arrests and trials as described in the gospels. The pontiff resolved this contradiction by essentially select-picking from John, as well as canonical gospels, creating in affect a new syncretic gospel.
But back to Julian: To so admire Julian’s steadfast anti-Christian stance, Hitler had to be decisively anti-Christian himself, as he was, albeit secretly for a while, while having to bow to political expediency of Germany’s Christian tradition. The National-Socialists never hid the religious nature of their movement, although they had to keep their anti-Christian policies secret. Take for example the following statement: 
<<National Socialism is a religion, born out of blood and race, not a political world-view. It is the new, alone true religion, born out of a Nordic spirit and an Aryan soul. The religions still existing must disappear as soon as possible. If they do not dissolve themselves the state has to destroy them.>>
In his Programme book Mine Kampf Hitler alludes to the “fanatical intolerance” of Christianity, with which it breaks the altars of other religions, calls that its “Jewish nature,” and proceeds to justify the intolerance and fanaticism of Nazism as ideology:
<< Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition. The objection may very well be raised that such phenomena in world history arise for the most part from specifically Jewish modes of thought, in fact, that this type of intolerance and fanaticism positively embodies the Jewish nature.>>
He lamented the loss of the Roman paganism since the time when Christianity established itself as “spiritual terror” and advocated for using “terror” in the Nazi “philosophy” the same way as Roman Catholic Inquisition:
<< The individual may establish with pain today that with the appearance of Christianity the first spiritual terror entered into the far freer ancient world, but he will not be able to contest the fact that since then the world has been afflicted and dominated by this coercion, and that coercion is broken only by coercion, and terror only by terror. Only then can a new state of affairs be constructively created. Political parties are inclined to compromises; philosophies never. Political parties even reckon with opponents; philosophies proclaim their infallibility.  >>
Acquired through reading later in life, Hitler seemed to be eager to impress his contemporaries with his “knowledge” in many fields, though it was quite superficial at best, and he could not be expected to be logical, failing in math 2 years in a row in his high school, even after being held in the same grade for 2 years; “He managed to get better grades in his second year, but still failed mathematics.”
Hitler’s personal views on religion are well-described by the joke circa 1940’s, which Germans dared to whisper only into a friend’s ear:
“Hitler and Mussolini discuss
there is no agreement between them
Mussolini says, ‘None other than the Almighty has declared
be the “
Himmler expressed his views on the subject much clearer than Hitler:
“We will have to deal with Christianity in a tougher way than hitherto. We must settle accounts with this Christianity, this greatest of plagues that could have happened to us in our history, which has weakened us in every conflict. If our generation does not do it then it would I think drag on for a long time. We must overcome it within ourselves. Today at Heydrich's funeral I intentionally expressed in my oration from my deepest conviction a belief in God, a belief in fate, in the ancient one as I called him - that is the old Germanic word: Wralda.
We can do a very great deal. But everything that we do must be justifiable vis-à-vis the clan, our ancestors. If we do not secure this moral foundation which is the deepest and best because the most natural, we will not be able to overcome Christianity on this plane and create the Germanic Reich which will be a blessing for the earth. That is our mission as a nation on this earth. For thousands of years it has been the mission of this blond race to rule the earth and again and again to bring it happiness and culture.” 
regards to religion, Hitler adopted a strategy “that suited his immediate
political purposes”. Hitler’s grand design for
 Nazional- Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) [National Socialist German Workers' Party])
 Armbrüster, Thomas; ''Management and Organization
 McConnell, Winder; ''A Companion to the Nibelungenlied'', p. 1; Boydell & Brewer, 1998; ISBN 9781571131515.
 Totenkopf -- skull, or skull and bones, Death.
 ‘The Most Ruthless Force?’ Reassessing the role of the Waffen SS 1933-45. Part II http://www.germanmilitaryhistory.com/blog/601142-the-most-ruthless-force-reassessing-the-role-of-the-waffen-ss-1933-45-part-ii/
 Obergruppenfürher is translated as "Senior Group Leader." Until 1942, it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS (Heinrich Himmler himself, the SS Chief).
 Obergruppenfürher is translated as "Senior Group Leader." Until 1942, it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS (Heinrich Himmler himself, the SS Chief).
 SS-Obergruppenführer Schulz, quoted from p. 255 of: Johannes Neuhäusler, Kreuz und Hakenkreuz. Der Kampf des Nationalsozialismus gegen die katholische Kirche und der kirchliche Widerstand. Verlag d. Kath. Kirche Bayerns, München 1946
 National Socialism as Religion, by Dr. Thomas
 Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology; Volume: GJCT 04:3 (Oct 2004); Article: National Socialism As Religion ‘Salvation Hitler’; Author: Thomas Schirrmacher.
 Gerhard E. Stoll, Gebete in publizistischer Umgestaltung, op. cit., p.. 346.
 Baldur von Schirach [Ed.], Das Lied der Getreuen: Verse ungenannter österreichischer Hitlerjugend aus den Jahren der Verfolgung 1933-37 (Leipzig 1940), p. 52.
 Alfred Speer: “
 See e.g., Hitler's Table Talk, Enigma Books; 3rd edition October 1, 2000, p. 343.
 Elke Frölich. 1997-2008. Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels. Munich: K. G. Sauer. Teil I, v. 6, p. 272. (The diaries of Joseph Goebbels.)
 Albert Speer. 1971. Inside the Third Reich
Translated by Richard Winston, Clara Winston, Eugene Davidson.
 Sage, Steven (2006), Ibsen and Hitler: the
playwright, the plagiarist, and the plot for the Third
 Another example from Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher ( See his “National Socialism as Religion.”)
 Quoted from Johann Neuhäuser, Kreuz und Hakenkreuz, part 1 (Munich: Verlag Katholische Kirche Bayerns, 1946), p. 261.
 Comment by E. Ross: Heathen is from Old English hæðen “not Christian or Jewish,” a word that etymologists suggest went through many a metamorphosis, connected with Roman “pagan” and ultimately being loaned from Greek ἔθνος ethnos, country people.
 Hitler’s Boyhood. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/boyhood.htm
 Speech to top leaders of the SS, June 9, 1942 Berlin; Source: Nazism; A History In Documents And Eyewitness Accounts, 1919 - 1945 by J. Noakes and G. Pridham; Schocken Books Inc, New York, First American Edition 1990, Page 498.
 Conway, John S. (1968), The Nazi Persecution of the Churches 1933–45, p. 3, ISBN 0297763156;
 Sharkey, Joe (13 January 2002). "Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler's Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity" New York Times.
 Bonney, Richard (Winter
2001). "The Nazi
Master Plan, Annex 4: The Persecution of the Christian Churches".
 Sharkey (