This is by no means going to be the end of this debate. I’m no historian. I’m a college drop out, but I have at least as much right to speak about this as any idiot who didn’t pick up a history book before they opened their big fat yapper. Or failing that, a frickin Wikipedia article. Something. Educate yourselves you idiots who still believe Hitler was an atheist.
Believers keep trying to pass Adolph Hitler off as an atheist cuz they refuse to accept him or his actions under their own banner, and nonbelievers keep citing actual historical evidence as well as Hitler’s own words revealing that he was in fact a Roman Catholic. Facts don’t matter to Believers. They have faith he was an atheist. They don’t use facts to reinforce any of their other beliefs, so why use proof here?
The absolute objective truth is we will never know whether or not he DIED an atheist, because there is evidence supporting both sides of the argument, and since of course Hitler is dead (or IS he? oooOOoo!) he can’t speak for himself, but after objectively perusing what evidence I can find about the man, so far as I can tell he started as a Believer but may have lost his faith along the way. That doesn’t mean the Believers win this argument. Far from it, but give a mouse a cookie he’s gonna wanna glass of milk.
Adolph Hitler was born into a Roman Catholic family. This is corroborated by multiple sources. Now, I could go into detail here about how all human beings are born atheist by default and are then subjected to religious dogma by their parents and their communities, but that doesn’t support my subjective desire to throw Hitler to the Christian lions, and the Christians don’t believe we’re all born atheist anyway. So why give them that bone here and now?
Even into his young adulthood, Hitler’s own rhetoric as well as that of others around him make it very clear that both in a private and public way, Hitler did and said what any and all Believers around him did. Anyone who still claims Hitler was atheist from start to end never read Mein Kampf, which includes religious rhetoric. That’s understandable. If you press the average Abrahamic Believer you’ll learn that aside from a handful of bible verses their pastor taught them to memorize, they haven’t really read their own bible, so why would they bother reading Mein Kampf?
Another thing many Believers fail to learn is the history of Germany prior to the Third Reich’s arrival on the scene in the 1930s. Anyone who is protestant has Martin Luther to thank. He was the instigator of the Protestant Reformation which schismed from the Roman Catholic Church, creating not only Lutheran sects but also eventually everything from Southern Baptists to Episcopalians. In case you still don’t know, Martin Luther was very, VERY German. So after World War One, Germany was very religious but it was also very open to manipulation and coercion because it had just lost and was suffering greatly. It wanted something to believe in. It needed a course of action to improve itself, and for many, the ideas expressed by what eventually became the Nazi party seemed like the best bet.
Now, please understand from the perspective of the people of Germany, the Nazi party did not show up at their doorstep looking like evil incarnate. It was a balm. It was their friend. It was the answer to all of the country’s woes. It told the people of Germany that they were blessed. They were special. The Fatherland was paramount, and the reasons why they were suffering was because of THEM — and then it pointed to pretty much whomever wasn’t German. The Jews, predominantly. Germany was largely Christian in the years between World Wars one and two. Some were protestant and some were catholic but if you gave them a common enemy, well.. “Bob”s your uncle!
Just imagine how appealing this mindset must have been. The “US vs THEM” propaganda machine is historically very seductive and useful to anyone who wants to control the masses, and what better way to control the masses than to use what they already believe in to your advantage? Adolph Hitler was a decorated hero of World War One. He was considered a great man as he rose up the ranks of Germany’s political and military elite. We see him in a horrible light now, but prior to the deaths of millions at his command, the people of Germany had no reason to doubt his sincerity to their cause.
If you are in pain and you can’t seem to climb out of some hole that life has plummeted you into, someone you respect coming along and agreeing with you that none of this is your fault, well you’re gonna listen to that guy aren’t you? Especially if he clothes you and bathes you and cares for you and helps you climb out of that hole. You’re going to owe a great deal to this person. You’re going to feel a sense of loyalty to him. Throughout the course of mankind’s history, religion has been strongest where mankind has felt weakest, and that can still be seen clearly even today. If you can convince a crowd of people that “God is with us provided you go where I’m pointing” then the next war is really yours to lose, isn’t it? You already have a distinct advantage over your enemy, who probably doesn’t have so many fervent rabid believers hanging on their every syllable, believing your rhetoric is practically the word of their savior.
Hitler may have started as a Roman Catholic, but somewhere along the way it is possible, at least privately, that he was using religion more as a tool to control the masses and less as a personal balm to alleviate his own guilt. OR i could be totally wrong on that and he felt his god was on his side all the way up until the end. By the mid 1940s there’s evidence to suggest he was little more than a figurehead anyway and the real power was in the hands of the elitists with whom he had surrounded himself. I mean, he ended up cornered in a bunker. By the time that happens, you’re no longer really calling the shots. Just ask Saddam Hussein. Oh no wait you can’t cuz he’s dead too.
Hitler was good friends with the guy who was Pope at the time, for crying out loud. Granted, as the 1930s became the 1940s Hitler’s relationship with the Roman Catholic Church began to unravel a little bit, but the church didn’t go out of its way to stop Hitler’s behavior. He was after the Jews after all, and not the Christians. He considered himself a Christian, and the RCC didn’t want Hitler to turn on them, so they at least gave him lip service for as long as they could. After all, Mussolini’s Italy was with Japan and Germany at the time as an Axis power, and while autonomous, Vatican City resides inside Italy.
Now I can see how people who don’t actually study history can easily get confused, because after the fall of the Nazi regime around 1945-7, half of Germany as well as half of Berlin fell to communist rule, and communism was what some misunderstand as atheist. This did not stop the people of Germany from still believing in whatever gods they want, and as the Cold War wore on in the 1950s through 1970s, the Soviet policing of beliefs waned and officially some churches were allowed so long as they were sanctioned by the communist bureaucracy. Unofficially, the Soviets simply had bigger fish to fry. It wasn’t as big a deal as some make it out to be.
Furthermore, what many insist was atheism in Soviet Russia was actually more of a Cult of Personality regarding Stalin and later on whoever was running the show. You did not formally believe in a god per se, but THE STATE or “Mother Russia” became your god. You expressed fealty and delight for Communism as a savior to you and your family and your community. Whether this is what you felt in your heart didn’t matter. When a guy in a uniform aims a gun in your face and demands loyalty, you’ll at least do so to the bastard’s face, otherwise your brain ends up splattered against the nearby wall. I don’t call that atheism. I call that fucking nuts.
Today, millions of people in Germany are STILL Christian. This is decades after the fall of the Berlin wall. Germany is now considered a democratic republic, and many freely exercise a freedom of faith. Second popular religion is Islam, but a rising tide of non believing young people is slowly changing the social landscape. Whether or not Hitler was atheist, his opinion has had little or no affect on the general populous of Germany today.
Was Hitler atheist? Not for the majority of his lifetime, and certainly not in any real public way while he lived. Still, I can understand why religious people wouldn’t want to embrace him as one of their own. There is one thing we can all agree upon regardless whether or not we believe in a god: Adolph Hitler was a monster who commanded his followers to kill millions of Jews and others who refused to swear fealty to his cause. Let’s just leave it at that.
Or you can keep on going if you prefer. Like I said, this blog post won’t end the debate, but maybe looking at it through the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy can help us find a light at the end of the tunnel.