One of the many claims of Christians is that Adolph Hitler was an atheist. They make this statement for many reasons, primarily to distance themselves from this infamous mass murderer. After all, if Hitler was an atheist, then that explains his actions, since we all know atheists are immoral. (See my article on whether atheists actually are immoral for more on this topic) However, if Hitler was a Christian, then they are in the embarrassing position of trying to explain why a Christian would kill so many people. Actually, since Christians have been killing people for close to 2000 years, it is hard to understand why they think it is unusual.
Hitler was raised as a Catholic and remained one for his entire life. He made Christian school prayer mandatory for the 1930's German schoolchildren who grew up to be his dreaded SS. The Catholic Church never ex-communicated Hitler for any of his actions. In fact, they sent him birthday greetings every year during the war. It has been noted that Hitler had minor disagreements with the Catholic church in Germany (but not with the church in Rome, with which he signed a Concordat in 1933, and which ordered the German church to fall in line), and they have attempted to twist these minor disagreements into a widespread misconception that he was an atheist. Hitlers issue with the Church was that he believed he should be above it, not with its message. If the Catholic Church considered Hitler a good Christian, and he considered himself a Christian, it is amusing to hear others try and explain that he really was not one. The Catholic Church did ex-communicate Martin Luther for his writings and actions, so they would take that response when they considered it appropriate. If you really believe that Hitler was not a Christian, please answer this. What did Hitler do that the god of the OT did not also do?
As an aside, the Catholic Church HAS ex-communicated Communists.
The Decree against Communism is a 1949 Catholic Church document (by Pope Pius XII) which excommunicates all Catholics collaborating in communist organizations. The document resulted in one of the largest formal excommunications in the history of the Catholic Church (it could include more than several million Catholics).
The Vatican, having been silent during the war on communist excesses, displayed a harder line on communism after 1945. The ruling followed suit to an earlier 1937 encyclical entitled Divini Redemptoris which was strongly critical of communism and its Christian variants.
The Holy Office issued several decrees, falling broadly into two categories:
- Defence of Church rights regarding the ordination of bishops and Church activities, and,
- Condemnations of participation in Communist parties and organizations.
- Membership in communist parties, July 1, 1949 :
- Excommunication of Bishop Dechet, February 18, 1950,
- Membership in communist youth organizations, September 28, 1950,
- Usurpation of Church functions by the State, June 29, 1950,
- Illegitimate state ordered ordinations of bishops, April 9, 1951,
- Publications favouring totalitarian Communism, June 28 and July 22, 1955,
Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were given VETO power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. In turn they surtaxed the Catholics and gave the money to the Vatican. Hitler wrote a speech in which he talks about this alliance, this is an excerpt: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.” Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party.
...Adolph Hitler said "As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic Church has adopted for 1500 years.....when it regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos, etc., because it knew what the Jews were like..." Because of the Council of Trent, laws were set forth to establish who was a heretic and history shows us that the Vatican legally slaughtered "heretics" to cleanse the Land of Christians and Jews. As the Second Vatican Council commenced in 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, "I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent" this includes the 100 or so anathema's against Bible Christians.
...The truth is that the teachings of the Council of Trent, made the Inquisition & Holocaust possible and these teachings are still being used to kill Bible Christians all over the world even today. Adolph Hitler was never excommunicated as a Catholic for his crimes against the Jews. Instead, the Vatican considered him to be a hero. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were backed by the Vatican and this is what a Catholic newspaper in Spain said about Hitler the day he died:- "Adolph Hitler, son of the Catholic Church, died while defending Christianity. [Roman Catholicism] It is therefore understandable that words cannot be found to lament over his death, when so many were found to exalt his life. Over his moral remains stands his victorious moral figure, with the palm of the martyr; God gives Hitler the laurels of victory."
As for atheism, Hitler specifically opposed it in a 1933 speech in Berlin: "We were convinced that the people need and require 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."
There are many reasons to say that Hitler was a Christian. There are the numerous expressions of his belief, both written and oral, both public and private.
“National Socialism is not a cult-movement-- a movement for worship; it is exclusively a ‘volkic’ political doctrine based upon racial principles. In its purpose there is no mystic cult, only the care and leadership of a people defined by a common blood-relationship... We will not allow mystically- minded occult folk with a passion for exploring the secrets of the world beyond to steal into our Movement. Such folk are not National Socialists, but something else-- in any case something which has nothing to do with us. At the head of our programme there stand no secret surmising but clear-cut perception and straightforward profession of belief. But since we set as the central point of this perception and of this profession of belief the maintenance and hence the security for the future of a being formed by God, we thus serve the maintenance of a divine work and fulfill a divine will-- not in the secret twilight of a new house of worship, but openly before the face of the Lord… Our worship is exclusively the cultivation of the natural, and for that reason, because natural, therefore God-willed. Our humility is the unconditional submission before the divine laws of existence so far as they are known to us men.” -Adolf Hitler, in Nuremberg on 6 Sept.1938.
“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.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933
"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 my self 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)