Adolf Hitler Was Neither Christian Nor Atheist

Feb. 14 2017

In Hitler’s Religion, Richard Weikart thoroughly examines the evidence of the Nazi leader’s religious beliefs. Gary Scott Smith, calling the book a “fascinating, meticulous study,” summarizes its conclusions:

Hitler repeatedly affirmed the existence of God, but his conception of God differed substantially from the Bible’s. He rejected Christ’s divinity and frequently mocked Christianity. Hitler, Weikart points out, was a baptized, confirmed Catholic raised in Austria, a predominantly Catholic country, and he retained some vestiges of Christianity. Nevertheless, he repeatedly repudiated Christianity (especially privately) as “a Jewish plot to undermine the heroic ideals of the Aryan-dominated Roman Empire.” Hitler denounced Christianity as a poison, outmoded and dying, ridiculed its teachings, and persecuted Protestant and Catholic churches alike during the Third Reich [in cases when they refused to do his bidding]. Nor was Hitler an occultist, [as some have claimed], since he explicitly repudiated key occult convictions and mystical practices.

Weikart argues that Hitler is best understood as a pantheist, one who believes that nature is God and that the cosmos provides principles to guide human conduct. He frequently deified nature, referring to it as eternal and all powerful. . . . While presenting God as the creator and sustainer of the Volk—the German people—Hitler and the Nazis used religious symbols, terms, and passion in their speeches, rallies, and ceremonies to create an alternative faith. Hitler fully expected the Nazi worldview to replace Christianity in Germany and transform its culture and life. Moreover, Nazi propaganda depicted Hitler [himself] as a messianic figure, a savior chosen by God to liberate Germany from the punitive Versailles Treaty and restore its power and place in the world.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Claremont Review

More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, Atheism, Christianity, History & Ideas, Nazism

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at New York Times

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East