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October 16, 2006

Hitler and Religion

This risks descending into guilt by association, but the religious sometimes like to throw in the Nazi horrors as among the consequences of 20th century secularism. (Finding quotes on the Web in support of stuff like this is another low and too-easy game, as is finding such quotes credited to Ann Coulter.) Still, it seems worth pointing out (thanks Pharyngula) that Adolph Hitler did indeed see himself as a believer -- a Christian, a Catholic:

I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work. [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]
I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so. [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]
Any violence which does not spring from a spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain. It lacks the stability which can only rest in a fanatical outlook. [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, p. 171]

No, I don't think this means that Catholics are Fascists. And I know that atheists have some skeletons in the closet too. But still. (Many more quotes in this vein from this person are available.)

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at October 16, 2006 9:24 PM


Well, obviously Hitler wasn't an atheist, not that it makes much difference to the larger debate. But we can't underestimate the role the eugenics movement had on the holocaust, which encompassed not just the murder of Jews but also other undesirables and "unfit" peoples including homosexuals, the elderly and the handicapped. Not to mention Hitler's breeding programs, including awards for German mothers who had lots of children. One finds that too often, we focus on the Jewish part of the Shoah (vital indeed to understanding it) while ignoring another vital issue: the 6 million non-Jews killed. If we focus solely on Hitler's religion, we ignore (at our peril) Hitler's science.

Posted by: Melinda Barton at October 17, 2006 10:04 AM

This is my favourite hitler quote confirming his hatred of non-believers.

"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

Posted by: beepbeepitsme at October 17, 2006 10:19 AM

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