Adolf Hitler and Christianity

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Adolf Hitler photographed outside a Christian church.

Adolf Hitler and Christianity refers to the relationship of Chancellor of Germany and founder of National Socialism, Adolf Hitler to the Christian religion. What is known for certain is that Hitler belonged to the Catholic Church, born to a devout Austrian Catholic mother, never claimed to have left that Church, nor was he excommunicated from it. Hitler considered himself to be a Christian and stated so explicitly in his book My Struggle. Unlike, for example Benito Mussolini, Hitler did not make at any point in his career, broad based atheistic statements, nor did he ever state desire to see religion abolished.

Some public speeches and private opinions (if any of the second hand reports in Table Talk are to be taken as trustworthy at all) we have of Hitler demonstrate some heterodox Christian opinions which had become popular in Germany since the 18th century. These partly derive from rationalist higher criticism, popularised by the Tübingen School; in Table Talk he is quoted as denying the doctrine of transubstantiation, claimed Jesus Christ arose from the dead spiritually but not physically, criticised the role of St. Paul the Apostle and expressed a Kantian view of faith as welling up from deep inside. As well as this, Hitler was critical of the "turn the other cheek" and "love thy enemy" views, holding a more militant conception of self-defence.

My Struggle

The Christian religion is mentioned several times in Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), the personal autobiography of Adolf Hitler, authored in 1925 to 1926. These statements do not delve deeply into dogmatic considerations as such (particularly when contrasted with the later Table Talk); the book, evidently, does not conflict with Catholic orthodoxy, as it was never placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Holy See. Within the book Hitler speaks about how Jesus Christ drove the Jewish money lenders out of the Temple of God, he criticises Jewish materialism as "inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine." Hitler declares that "by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

Table Talk

On the English-speaking internet, there exists a vast body of quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler in which he is apparently attacking the Christian religion. These are usually employed by Christians (and sometimes pro-NS pagans) in debates with atheists who are typically trying to distance Hitler from their religion. The problem with these quotes are that they come from two dubious sources; Hitler Speaks and Table Talk. The former book is regarded by academia as a hoax, the German traitor Hermann Rauschning authored this in 1939, when he was in need of money and was commissioned by a Jewish publisher in Paris, Emery Reves. The second, Table Talk, are from a genuine source, but have been mistranslated (from German to French, then French to English) to give a different meaning, having passed through the hands of the eccentric François Genoud. Some of these may also reflect the views of atheist, Martin Bormann, who signed off on the notes. See also Hitler's Table Talk.

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