Interesting documentary about Nazi religious beliefs
Posted: 25 February 2013 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I ended up watching this with my father last night out of the blue. We turned it on out of boredom and didn’t know what to expect:

The Nazi Gospels

Interesting that there’s more than one copy of the video on Youtube.

It’s certainly not a perfect documentary - my largest criticisms are with how they use the annoying ‘cliffhanger’ dramatic narration before commercials, and even moreso how they repeatedly emphasize the evilness and paganism of Nazi beliefs, presumably to appeal to a fairly conservative Christian audience.

But, there are some pretty good ideas nevertheless. The basic premise is that Nazism was not a political movement so much as it was a religious cult, and most of the program goes into more detail on the specific beliefs and rituals. I had heard of the Nazis as being a cult in passing maybe once or twice, but never have I seen it broken down in detail.

This also reminds me of a common internet refrain involving Hitler’s religious beliefs: that Christians often argue that Hitler was an atheist, and atheists argue tha Hitler was a Catholic. It looks to be likely that both are wrong: Hitler was a Nazi, and was basically the god-figure of the cult. The Nazi-Pope, in a sense. As I know that some people on here do get into religious arguments that can turn in this direction, this is probably something worth checking out, if for no other reason, to get Hitler’s religious affiliations correct, but also because there is some fairly interesting (if overly dramatized) history in the program.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 25 February 2013 09:07 AM

I ended up watching this with my father last night out of the blue. We turned it on out of boredom and didn’t know what to expect:

The Nazi Gospels

Interesting that there’s more than one copy of the video on Youtube.

It’s certainly not a perfect documentary - my largest criticisms are with how they use the annoying ‘cliffhanger’ dramatic narration before commercials, and even moreso how they repeatedly emphasize the evilness and paganism of Nazi beliefs, presumably to appeal to a fairly conservative Christian audience.

But, there are some pretty good ideas nevertheless. The basic premise is that Nazism was not a political movement so much as it was a religious cult, and most of the program goes into more detail on the specific beliefs and rituals. I had heard of the Nazis as being a cult in passing maybe once or twice, but never have I seen it broken down in detail.

This also reminds me of a common internet refrain involving Hitler’s religious beliefs: that Christians often argue that Hitler was an atheist, and atheists argue tha Hitler was a Catholic. It looks to be likely that both are wrong: Hitler was a Nazi, and was basically the god-figure of the cult. The Nazi-Pope, in a sense. As I know that some people on here do get into religious arguments that can turn in this direction, this is probably something worth checking out, if for no other reason, to get Hitler’s religious affiliations correct, but also because there is some fairly interesting (if overly dramatized) history in the program.

 

Whatever he was or believed or thought all we have to go on is what he said, and time after time he said he was a believing Christian.

Here are a few quotes

- Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

“The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on  which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today  Christians stand at the head of our country.We want to fill our  culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the
recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press—in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which  has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past few years.”

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded 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 for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, 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 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.

-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

Even today I am not ashamed to say that, overpowered by stormy enthusiasm, I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven from an overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune of being permitted to live at this time.

-Adolf Hitler (Mein

Hitler spoke against atheism:

Hitler often associated atheism with Bolshevism, Communism, and Jewish materialism. Hitler stated in a speech to the people of Stuttgart on February 15, 1933: “Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany’s entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years.”[

In a radio address October 14, 1933 Hitler stated, “For eight months we have been waging a heroic battle against the Communist threat to our Volk, the decomposition of our culture, the subversion of our art, and the poisoning of our public morality. We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of religion. We owe Providence humble gratitude for not allowing us to lose our battle against the misery of unemployment and for the salvation of the German peasant.”

In a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933, Hitler stated: “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.”

Can you produce one quote from Hitler that shows he identified himself as an atheist?  Can you produce one they shows he was not a believer in Christianity?

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Posted: 25 February 2013 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Lois - 25 February 2013 11:22 AM

Can you produce one quote from Hitler that shows he identified himself as an atheist?  Can you produce one they shows he was not a believer in Christianity?

I don’t understand. Where did I say that Hitler was an atheist?

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Posted: 25 February 2013 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 25 February 2013 03:58 PM
Lois - 25 February 2013 11:22 AM

Can you produce one quote from Hitler that shows he identified himself as an atheist?  Can you produce one they shows he was not a believer in Christianity?

I don’t understand. Where did I say that Hitler was an atheist?

You stated the false equivalence of “christians claim he was an atheist, atheists claim he was a christian”.  If you believe these two groups make these claims, show some evidence that hitler claimed to be an atheist.

I never watch the shows like the one you mentioned because I’ve found them to be whitewashes…don’t forget, many right wing Christians are always on a mission to rewrite history, rewrite wikipedia entries, etc. to hide the truth. It’s what actually makes them JUST LIKE Nazis.  In the same way, you now see all kinds of so-called documentaries where Cheney et al tell their side of 911. An obvious attempt to divert attention from the fact that Cheny was most likely the architect of it.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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CuthbertJ - 25 February 2013 04:15 PM

You stated the false equivalence of “christians claim he was an atheist, atheists claim he was a christian”.  If you believe these two groups make these claims, show some evidence that hitler claimed to be an atheist.

I never watch the shows like the one you mentioned because I’ve found them to be whitewashes…don’t forget, many right wing Christians are always on a mission to rewrite history, rewrite wikipedia entries, etc. to hide the truth. It’s what actually makes them JUST LIKE Nazis.  In the same way, you now see all kinds of so-called documentaries where Cheney et al tell their side of 911. An obvious attempt to divert attention from the fact that Cheny was most likely the architect of it.

How is that a false equivalence? That statement is not of Hitler’s actual beliefs, but what I’ve seen others say about him. And the latter part of that statement - to be precise - I said atheists claim that Hitler was a Catholic.

To be fair, that may be a bit too generalized. It should be *some* atheists claim . . . and *some* christians claim . . .

But, why two people here would read what I wrote and drew the conclusion that I said Hitler thought of himself as an atheist is, to say the least, mystifying.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Quoting TA:

a common internet refrain involving Hitler’s religious beliefs: that Christians often argue that Hitler was an atheist, and atheists argue tha Hitler was a Catholic.

TA’s comment seems quite clear to me.  I’m guessing Lois and Cuthbert skimmed over it too rapidly and misunderstood what he wrote.  While “some” might have been more apparent, I think “often” served the same purpose quite adequately.

Occam

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Posted: 25 February 2013 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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My interest is in how much this conclusion that Nazism can be compared to a religious cult holds water. Based on what I know, it seems fairly strong - it ties together a lot of lore about what the Nazis believed about Arians, a master race, their breeding experiments, their interest in archaeology, and things like that. Interestingly, the program doesn’t really reference Hitler too much, and relies a lot more on information obtained from Himmler and the SS. Basically, I’m wondering if there’s anyone on here who knows more about this stuff than I do and can easily deliver a criticism of this show that I referenced above which might show that it’s wrong.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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TA’s comment seems quite clear to me.  I’m guessing Lois and Cuthbert skimmed over it too rapidly and misunderstood what he wrote.  While “some” might have been more apparent, I think “often” served the same purpose quite adequately.

TA was quite clear and accurate. Atheists have claimed Hitler to be a Catholic while xtians do claim him to be an atheist, always lumping him with Mao and Stalin who had other notions of religion and anti religion. In fact Hitler was raised a Carholic and his attitude towards religion mirrored the community in which he was raised. Nuff said about that topic, read one of his many bios if you’re all that interested. I suggest John Toland’s two volumes on Hitler’s life but there are more modern monographs on the subject. As to the “documentary” on nazis as a cult as one of the “experts” tell us; it is simply not true. The German Workers Party, out of which the nazi party began in 1920 was a mechanic’s union created by Anton Drexler in Bavaria. Drexler as also one of the founders of the Thule Society and was tied into the Aryian mystique but The Party wasn’t in any way created for cultic purposes. It was purely political. Their aim was to subvert the Bavarian Government and start a revolution there that might spread throughout Germany. It was a knee jerk reaction to the weak National Weimar Government. The documentary left that part out! Hitler joined to spy on the party for the Freicorps and later seized control as Drexler wasn’t acting fast enough to suit his fancy. He instantly made many enemies and his followers formed a protection squad to protect him. These 12 men became the nucleus for the SS (shutstafel), or protection squad. Heinrich Himmler later led the SS which divided into two y groups with him at the head and HE, not Hitler began the Bizzare rituals that later became cultic in nature. Hitler allowed it to maintain the loyalty of his “party” army. They swore allegiance to him and not the governent but he never actively participated in Himmler’s pipe dream of replacing xtianity. Hitler preferred the company of senior party officials and after 1939, his generals. He was too busy to play cult leader in Himmler’s twisted dream. He didn’t completely outlaw xtianity as he knew too many Germans were still loyal to the church but he did silence it regarding politics and any meddlesome priest who got in his way. He, and I’ve mentioned this before, even allowed the “Gott Mit Uns” logo on all Wehtmacht belt buckles. These could have easily been replaced with Hitler Mit Uns.
I saw this documentary when it first aired and it’s full of suppositions about a nazi cult. It isn’t History; it’s entertainment. The public likes a mystery, cults and conspiracies and aliens are the stuff of video entertainment but you’ll find as much history on an Indiana Jones flick. Enjoy it, if that’s the kind of show you like, but take it with a grain of sand. Once again, nothing beats a well documented and written monograph on the subject.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 25 February 2013 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 25 February 2013 03:58 PM
Lois - 25 February 2013 11:22 AM

Can you produce one quote from Hitler that shows he identified himself as an atheist?  Can you produce one they shows he was not a believer in Christianity?

I don’t understand. Where did I say that Hitler was an atheist?

IMO, you implied it with this:

“This also reminds me of a common internet refrain involving Hitler’s religious beliefs: that Christians often argue that Hitler was an atheist, and atheists argue tha Hitler was a Catholic. It looks to be likely that both are wrong: Hitler was a Nazi, and was basically the god-figure of the cult. The Nazi-Pope, in a sense. As I know that some people on here do get into religious arguments that can turn in this direction, this is probably something worth checking out, if for no other reason, to get Hitler’s religious affiliations correct, but also because there is some fairly interesting (if overly dramatized) history in the program.”

It seems to me that you are denying that he was a Christian believer and saying he created a new religion out of Nazism, for which he ended his Catholic faith. Did I read you wrong?

LL

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Posted: 25 February 2013 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lois - 25 February 2013 07:19 PM

It seems to me that you are denying that he was a Christian believer and saying he created a new religion out of Nazism, for which he ended his Catholic faith. Did I read you wrong?

LL

Not much, actually. Just the part about ending Catholic faith mandating atheism, which it does not.

Cap’t Jack set me straight on the details, though.

Thanks! grin

It’s for this reason why I’ve learned to feed my “bullshit meter” when I see things that appear overly dramatized, even if the information seems to be decent.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Not much, actually. Just the part about ending Catholic faith mandating atheism, which it does not.

Cap’t Jack set me straight on the details, though.

Thanks!

It’s for this reason why I’ve learned to feed my “bullshit meter” when I see things that appear overly dramatized, even if the information seems to be decent.


No problem TA. There’s a tremendous amount of BS and pure speculation about him and his minions, but the bottom line for Hitler was that when it came to power he was essentially a pragmatist and used any means to accomplish his agenda, I.e. drive out the undesirables, subjugate the Slavs, create Gross Deutschland out of Westen Europe, and hold the U.S. in check with his allies. He admired Napoleon who used the Church for his own benefit when necessary and never considered himself a cult leader. His interest was in all things military, not religious. He allowed Himmler to deify him but had no interest in his secret cult. In fact Himmler didn’t really want Hitler horning in on his territory. Each of those clowns carved up a piece of the nazi pie for themselves building their own mini empires within the party. Their loyalty was just lip service and Goering was the worst. It’s a fascinating descent into hell but I’m really jaded by the subject and I wish these media companies would find another interesting topic like a documentary on the life of Darwin and his contemporaries or a well researched show on the voyage of HMS Beagle, but they’d probably spin it into a show on “Darwin’s secret cult” or some such crap!

 

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Posted: 25 February 2013 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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This is a commonly believed myth about the Third Reich, along with the myths that the Nazi’s had developed nuclear weapons, and the Nazi’s had “secret agents” implanted in the US and UK governments.

There actually was an interest in Germanic paganism, and the occult, among some high ranking Nazi officials, but it’s a big leap to connect the interests of a few members with the ultimate motivation of the Third Reich.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 25 February 2013 08:19 PM

I wish these media companies would find another interesting topic like a documentary on the life of Darwin and his contemporaries or a well researched show on the voyage of HMS Beagle, but they’d probably spin it into a show on “Darwin’s secret cult” or some such crap!

The writing can’t be better than the writers.

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