Monday, April 24, 2017

Nazi World Theory by Waldemar Gurian

One of the most amazing instances of human self-deception –which, unfortunately, are all too frequent – is that there are    hundreds of thousands of thousands of unsuspecting Christians who after reading his book, Mein Kampf, are somehow able to consider Adolf Hitler as a well-wisher or even, due allowance being made for error in matters  of detail, as a firm adherent, of the Christian faith. No one in Germany would dare to make a public and impartial inquiry into the religious content of his work, of which  millions of copies have been distributed throughout the country, accompanied by the most intensive official publicity – the work which Ministerprasident Goring, speaking at Breslau as recently as October 26th, 1935, designated as “the fundamental document” of National Socialism. Consequently, controversial religious literature in Germany, no matter whether it emanates from the Christian or the neo-pagan camp, invariably presents a distorted picture of the “Fuhrer’s” attitude towards Christianity. Since the key to the policy of the N.S.D.A.P. [National Socialist Labor Party] in cultural and ecclesiastical affairs, and that of the State which is in its power, is to be found only in his book, the official exposition of the Nationalist party program, we have no option but to investigate the fundamental religious views set forth in this Bible of the Third Reich.*

We shall begin by discussing passages which are relatively frank, for without them it is impossible  to grasp the true meaning of those which are cited as nauseam by the Christians as proof of the Fuhrer’s good will, but where, in fact, he is not sincere.

Our first quotation, Fromm Part II (Ch.5), which deals with the National Socialist  Weltanschauug (world theory) and the organization, seems to us to be more enlightening than any other.

A world theory is intolerant and is not content with being one Party amongst a number of other Parties; it insists on exclusive and persistent recognition of itself and on an absolutely new conception of the whole public life in accordance with its views. Thus it cannot tolerate continuance of a force representing former conditions.
It is the same with religions.
Christianity was not content with merely erecting its own altar; it was forced to proceed to destroy the alters of the heathen. Such fanatical intolerance alone made it possible to build up that adamantine creed; it is an absolutely essential condition of its existence.

The objection may well be made that most of these phenomena of world history are productions of a specifically Jewish mentality, that this kind of intolerance and fanaticism is the very embodiment of the Jewish character. This may well be so, and we may deeply deplore the fact and with an all too justifiable misgiving determine its appearance in the history of mankind as something that had been foreign to it hitherto – but this makes no difference to the fact that this is the condition of things today. The men who want to rescue our German people from its present condition have not to worry about how nice it would be if such and such a thing did not exist, but they must try to make up their minds how the actual state of affairs can be done away with. A world theory animated by devilish intolerance can be broken only by a new conception impelled by a similar spirit and fought for with an equally strong will, but a conception that is pure and sincere.

The individual may realize with pain that with the appearance of Christianity there came into the much freer world of the ancients the first instance of spiritual terrorism. He cannot, however, dispute the fact that thenceforth the world has been oppressed and dominated by this force, and that force is broken only by force, and terrorism by terrorism. Only by building up on thee methods can a new condition of affairs be brought about.

What is the difference between “world theory” and “religion” according  to Hitler?  He has been very careful not to give a direct answer to the question in his book, but were his hints to be formulated into a definition it would read as follows: A world theory claims to say everything essential that there is to be said about this life on earth and from a practical standpoint to totally govern it; a religious belief, on the other hand, is an aggregate of dogmas concerning the world to come, which  “helps to raise man above the level of animal existence” and thus “contributors to the solidification and the safe-guarding of his existence,” but it has nothing to say about earthly matters any more more than a political, “this-world” movement ought to interfere with its “other-world” theory, provided its keeps within its proper bounds. This is what is meant by: “Political parties ought to have nothing to do with religious problems, as long as they are not undermining the morals of the race; in the same way religion should not be mixed up with Party intrigues.”

Hitler considers that this duty of keeping religion and world theory separate is especially incumbent on a people that is religiously divided (i.e,. divided as to its creeds) as the German. Wherefore, by reason of its super-sensitiveness in matter of belief , every temptation to mix world theory with religion must be resisted

Even when it is inspired with the idea of promoting the higher interests of the national community. For religious feeling is still more deeply seated than any political or national expediency. And this condition will not be altered by driving the two creeds into bitter warfare against each other, but it could be altered if by mutual conciliation the nation were given a future whose greatness would gradually have a pacificatory effect in this sphere.

What is it then, that will bring about a state of affairs in which religious feeling will no longer be so deeply seated as the people’s welfare, as Hitler understands it? A great national future, the foundation for which , according to Hitler himself and the National Socialists who have played a part in public affairs, has already been laid.

The most overwhelming proof of this was afforded on the last occasion when our people was summoned before he judgment-seat of history to fight a life-and-death struggle for existence. As long as there was leadership the people did its duty in the most impressive manner. Both Protestant  pastor and Catholic priest helped enormously to sustain our powers of resistance which held out for so long, not only at the Front but also, even more, at home. During those years, and especially at the first blazer-up, for both camps there was only one Holy German Empire, for whose preservation and continued existence each man besought his own particular Heaven.

 To repeat the pithy formula uttered by Kerrl ( Reich Minister for Church Affairs) on October 16th, 1935  in Berlin: 
Religion has nothing to do with practical affairs in this life” and, since it threatens to split the Germans into various denominations, it must be thrust into the background by great national, unifying experiences. This is Hitler’s opinion expressed in his book, according to which he has no intention of declaring war on the Church, but, on the contrary, is doing his level best to whistle off those of his followers who favor over-drastic measures and want to emulate the escapades of a Dinter or a  General Ludendorff**, which do not good to his cause from a propagandists point of view.

“A political leader must never meddle with the religious doctrines and institutions . . .any other attitude would lead to catastrophe, especially in Germany.”

Hitler foresaw very clearly that nothing would be more dangerous for his movement for people to realize in good time that their faith was being taken away from them or was being gradually being transformed. Consequently he has no desire to take it away or transform it so long as it confines itself to the next world, to metaphysical speculation and pious other-worldliness and keep sits hands off the world. But should it follow in the steps of John the Baptist and refuse to connive at wrong as though it were right,. Should not be content to be an emotional religiosity of “pure inwardness” or a “dogmatic faith”, of some abstract pseudo –orthodoxy, then Hitler has nothing severe enough to say about the the abuser of religion for political purposes.

“At all periods of history there have been unscrupulous rogues who have used religion to further their political ends, and it was nearly always politics and politics only which was the motive.” But, continues the experience propagandist, no more ghastly error could be committed than to attack the creed itself (“which these cunning foxes know perfectly well has nothing to do with politics”) and thus enable scheming hypocrites to play the role of defenders of the faith.

*I.e. the National Socialist  State. The first Reich, or Empire, lasted from the ninth century till 1806, the second was established by Bismarck (1871-1918).

** a pagan worshiper of the Nordic god Wotan (Odin); he detested not only Judaism, but also Christianity, which he regarded as a weakening force.
 Dinter's goals were not so much political as overridingly religious. In 1927 he founded the Geistchristliche Religionsgemeinschaft ("Spiritual Christian Religion Community")

Hitler and the Christians by  Waldemar Gurian; Sheed &Ward, London, 1936


  1. Hitler was pretty dumb actually. He ranted and raved but if you took all those gestures away from his speeches they were incredibly pedestrian, uninspired, the most boring guy you ever listened to like my spanish teacher in high school- at least that was my impression when we watched him during a graduate seminar on modern German history, I guess that's why he fooled so many people in the beginning. It didn't seem like he would amount to much. On the other hand there was a lot that went on Germany that was pretty dumb too and he must have seemed something of a relief from the 'brilliance' of the other leaders, and his ruthlessness a nice touch to 'quiet things down' Probably most Germans read Mein Kampf with glazed eyes, lulled to sleep by its incoherent self-contradictions. The probably didn't have 'tapes' of his beer-hall antics, the frenzy he coulds provoke among a crowd of drunk and disaffected workers. I can even imagine that in the beginning even his remarks about intolerance and terrorism being the only way to victory was just a kind of jailhouse fantasy but, with his utter lack of any genuine persuasive power turn out to be 'the way to go' and he had plenty of people ready to go with him., even some very well educated ones. The 'status quo' at the time seemed so exhausting and futile- 'maybe a bit of stupidity and strong-arming is what is needed in this over-sohisticated age' I can hear them saying to themselves, 'what the hell'. Then the violence took on a momentum of its own and people were swept along. Its incredible the extent to which they fought to the bitter end.Stupidity kind of builds on itself, reaching successive points of no return, where nothing is possible but to be more stupid.

    I suppose some analogies could be draw but it would be a mistake to think that there are any real Nazis in America, even the one's who say they are seem to be are by-in-large, empty imitators and scam artists living in the virtual world of their own imagination and with the potential of gathering at most a few thousand followers. Of course some folks get overrwrought and think they see Nazis lurking behind every woodshed but usually its just a question of misidentification caused by their own propensity to stereotype based on 'half-the story' about RedNecks or Wall St. billionaires or the "Deep State". Stupidity is always a problem whatever class of people you want to talk about but America is a long way from falling into the sort of totalitarian mind-set that Hitler thought would save Germany. Our institutions of government are unlikely to succumb to such madness anytime soon, imo.

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