Saturday, 27 June 2015

Hitler as a religious figure

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I wrote a few weeks ago about Hitler as a religious figure, considering him as a Muhammad who failed, as Levi Strauss called Napoleon a Muhammad who failed. I just came across these words from the great historian of Nazi Germany, Fritz Stern.
God had been drafted into national politics before, but Hitler’s success in fusing racial dogma with a Germanic Christianity was an immensely powerful element in his electoral campaigns. Some people recognised the moral perils of mixing religion and politics, but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas.

...At solemn moments, the National Socialists would shift from the pseudo-religious invocation of Providence to traditional Christian forms: In his first radio address to the German people, twenty-four hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, “The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life.”
Let me cite one example of the acknowledged appeal of unreason. Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, Nobel-laureate in physics and a philosopher, wrote to me in the mid-1980s saying that he had never believed in Nazi ideology but that he had been tempted by the movement, which seemed to him then like “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” On reflection, he thought that National Socialism had been part of a process that the National Socialists themselves hadn’t understood. He may well have been right: the Nazis didn’t realise that they were part of an historic process in which resentment against a disenchanted secular world found deliverance in the ecstatic escape of unreason. German elites proved susceptible to this mystical brew of pseudo- religion and disguised interest. The Christian churches most readily fell into line as well, though with some heroic exceptions.
Richard Steigmann-Gall argued that Nazism had strongly Christian roots. I have not read this book but this review explains his ideasThere was also an important occult element in Nazi thinking, but although Hitler said many things in public that suggest he believed in God his opinions expressed privately show a man who was not a theist, but one who believed in providence, which had certainly favoured him. He said 
The Russians were entitled to attack their priests, but they had no right to assail the idea of a supreme force. It's a fact that we're feeble creatures and that a creative force exists.
He was in private strongly anti-Christian and perhaps became more so as the war progressed. Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler
hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.
He told Speer
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?
Hitler admired Islam, but not the Arabs (who were Semites after all). According to Speer
Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamised Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.
In the Table Talk recorded by Martin Bormann he described Christianity as humbug founded on lies, 
with which I could never come personally to terms
and said
Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.
Goebbels wrote in his diary on 29 December 1939
The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. This can be seen in the similarity of their religious rites. Both (Judaism and Christianity) have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed. 
In his diary Goebbels also said that Hitler believed Jesus had wanted to act against Jewish world domination and this is the reasons why the Jews had him crucified. Muslims believe that Jesus was a Muslim. Hindus consider Jesus one of their gods. The Left have claimed him as an early socialist. Some modern people imagine he would favour homosexual marriage. It seems that Hitler believed he was an anti-Semite.

Though some think the evidence is insufficient, many historians think Hitler's long-term aim was to eradicate Christianity in Germany. But, had he done so, with what would he have replaced it? 

Speer recorded that Hitler didn't like Himmler and Rosenberg's pagan mysticism any more than Christianity.

Hitler was a quasi-religious figure, a dark mystic, whatever the exact nature of his religious or irreligious opinions, which, like everyone's, change. He believed in social Darwinism, which he considered scientific truth. I remember a highly intelligent psychopath once told me that Darwinism is a religion. So it is, although it is also essentially psychopathy. It is, of course, diametrically opposed to Christianity. Add racism and a belief in Germans' destiny and you have Nazism, which was an inchoate godless religion.
Two years after the defeat of Germany, George Kennan was warning that Soviet Russia was ruled by a
mystical, Messianic movement.
Marxism-Leninism, we see clearly now, in the age of ISIS, is a religion. Marx can be compared to Muhammed. The more you think about political ideas in terms of ideologies and ideologies in terms of religion the more the history of our times makes sense. Not just the history of Europe's descent into barbarism between 1918 and 1945 (1989 in Eastern Europe) but the history of our own day and age. Are climate change fears essentially religious phenomena? What else are anti-racism and feminism?

4 comments:

  1. He was referred to once as a psychopathic god, and to the extent that he was a small-g god in the Norse traditions rather than the large-g God in the Abrahamic way, it seems suitable. Norse gods are mortals and can be killed.

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  2. ConservativeDane5 July 2015 at 02:58

    Christianity taken to its logical extreme is what we have today. 'Turn the other cheek', 'love your enemies', universal brotherhood of man, life as a struggle of 'Good versus Evil' rather than about survival.. it's all a seriously suicidal morality which has its perfect fulfillment in our acceptance of Afro-Muslim masses to European shores. Future Muslim and Chinese scholars will certainly blame Christian axiology as the main cause of Europe's extinction.

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    1. That's a very interesting idea which I need to think about. Why did Christianity not stop Europe confrontation Islam and conquering much of Asia and Africa? I agree mass immigration is disastrous and an urgent problem that must be faced by ending permanent settlement of non Europeans in Europe.

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    2. ConservativeDane5 July 2015 at 23:26

      You can have cancer for years and still achieve great things despite it. Then one day the cancer suddenly metastasises and you’re dead. This has been Europe’s experience with Christian monotheism. For centuries we still retained glimmers of our heroic pagan inheritence for example in the nobility, chivalry, the ancient Gothic cathedrals with their pagan symbolism, etc.. but they were all unstable combinations which failed to curdle together because they were led by a fundamentally alien faith which imposed a vision of the world that was out of sync with nature and reality.

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