German Catholics & Protestants Praised, Supported Hitler as a Gift from God
By Austin Cline, About.com Guide
American Christians seem to be completely unaware of the degree to which Christians in Germany threw their support behind Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. If they did, they might be less likely to pretend that the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis can be traced to atheism or secularism. They might also be less likely to do so much to transform their own Christianity into an American echo of Germany’s extreme nationalistic Christianity.
1. Easter Sunday Blessing: Nazi Party Rules Germany in God’s Name
A state that once again rules in God’s name can count not only on our applause but also on enthusiastic and active cooperation from the church. With joy and thanks we see how this new state rejects blasphemy, attacks immorality, promotes discipline and order with a firm hand, demands awe before God, works to keep marriage sacred and our youth spiritually instructed, brings honor back to fathers of families, ensures that love of people and fatherland is no longer mocked, but burns in a thousand hearts. …We can only plead with our fellow worshipers to do an they can to help these new productive forces in our land reach a complete and unimpeded victory.
– Easter Sunday Blessing from Protestant Pastors in Bavaria, April 16, 1933
2. Cardinal Adolf Bertram: Promoting the Christian Education of the People
[I wish to express my church’s] sincere and joyous preparedness to cooperate as best they could with the government now ruling that had set itself that tasks of promoting the Christian education of the people, repelling ungodliness and immorality, developing readiness to make sacrifices for the common good and protecting the rights of the Church.
– Cardinal Adolf Bertram, Archbishop of Breslau, letter to Adolf Hitler following the announcement of the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican, July 22, 1933
3. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: May God Preserve Adolf Hitler
What the old parliament and parties did not accomplish in sixty years, your statesmanlike foresight has achieved in six months. For Germany’s prestige in East and West and before the whole world this handshake with the Papacy, the greatest moral power in the history of the world, is a feat of immeasurable blessing. …May God preserve the Reich Chancellor for our people.
– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, praising Adolf Hitler for the Concordat, July 24, 1933
4. Kirchenrat Leutheusser: Christ Comes to Us in the Person of Adolf Hitler
The word “German” is God’s Word! Whosoever understands this is released from all theological conflicts. This is German: return home to Germany and leave behind egoism and your feelings of abandonment. …Christ has come to us through the person of Adolf Hitler. …Hitler has taken root in us; through his strength, through his honesty, his faith and his idealism we have found our way to paradise.
– Kirchenrat Leutheusser, addressing German Christians in Saalfeld, August 30, 1933
5. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: Catholics Should Agree with the Führer
In this way the Catholics will profess again their loyalty to people and Fatherland and their agreement with the farsighted and forceful efforts of the Führer to spare the German people the terror of war and Bolshevism, to secure public order and create work for the unemployed.
– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, encouraging German Catholics to vote “yes” in the upcoming plebiscite to re-elect Hitler and support his decision to withdraw from the League of Nations, November 10, 1933
6. Father Senn: Adolf Hitler is the Tool of God
[Adolf Hitler is] the tool of God, called upon to overcome Judaism…
– Father Senn, a Catholic priest, writing in a Catholic publication, May 15, 1934
7. Loyalty Oath: Unconditional Obedience to the Führer
I swear by almighty God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and, as a brave soldier, I will be ready at any time to stake my life for this oath.
– Loyalty Oath sworn by the military following the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, August 2, 1934
8. Fulda Bishops’ Conference: Clergy Must be Loyal to Church and State
[It is good that Catholic organizations] reject all subversive attitudes and conduct, refrain from any political activity and especially will resolutely repel all attempted approaches of Communism. …[The clergy should always act] in full loyalty to Church and State.
– Statement of the Fulda Bishops’ Conference, August 23, 1935
9. German Christian: Hitler Has Reawakened the Church
Why don’t our rulers declare themselves for the Volkskirche, which is fighting for a living Christianity? With our great leader Adolf Hitler, our previously dead church also experienced the reawakening of a vital spirit. …[Julius] Streicher, the Franconian leader, said in a speech: ‘The murder of Golgotha is written on the foreheads of the Jews.’ Yes – and that is why there is a curse on that people. Jesus, however, died for us and so we should believe in him and accept him. – German Christian woman, letter to Germany’s Foreign Minister, August 27, 1935
10. Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt: Good Catholics are Patriots
Good Catholics have always been good patriots. Surely not good Catholics staged the revolution of 1918, Catholic soldiers indeed have not been deserters, and good Catholics will never be on the side of revolutionaries, no matter how badly things are going.
– Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt, Sermon, May 26, 1935
11. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: Catholics Should Pray for the Life of the Führer
You are witnesses for the fact that on all Sundays and holidays at the main service we pray in all churches for the Führer as we have promised in the Concordat. …We will today give an answer, a Christian answer: Catholic men, we will now pray together a paternoster for the life of the Führer. This is our answer.
– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, Sermon, responding to newspaper story about a Swiss Catholic asking children to pray for Hitler’s death, July 7, 1936