The Internet is awash with many quotes from
Hitler that could be used in support of the idea that he considered himself
Christian, or thought he was acting in accord with God's will, or something
like that. I have collected a number of such citations myself.
But bear in mind that these are mostly public sayings, so you have to be
careful about how much you trust them. A good one is this from Mein
"Hence today I believe that I am acting
in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself
against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
Another popular one is this, from a speech
"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."
The idea of Jesus being greatest as a
fighter rather than a sufferer is of course a long way from orthodox Christianity.
To quote Kevin Davids, author of an excellent article on Hitler,
"When one looks at the atrocities committed
under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler and compares them to the teacher
of universal love, Jesus of Nazareth, one might come to the immediate conclusion
that the notion that Hitler was a Christian is absurd".
An example that springs to mind of the
contrast between Jesus and Hitler is that Christ said the meek shall inherit
the earth. Hitler on the other hand called the Nazis "lords of the
earth" because of "the genius and the courage with which they can conquer
and defend it" (Mein Kampf, Vol 2, Ch 14).
Regardless of what Hitler published, his
actions put himself outside the Church, in a similar manner to the way
an outspoken atheist would not really be an atheist if at the same time
he regularly attended church, studied the Bible, and prayed the rosary.
How Honest Was Hitler Anyway?
It is important to be able to identify the difference
between Hitler's public speeches and writing and what he really thought.
A devious politician leading a nominally Christian country like 1930s Germany
will say lots of Christian-sounding stuff to maintain popularity. Mein
Kampf illustrates Hitler's views on propaganda:
"To whom should propaganda be addressed?
… It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses… The function
of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual,
but in calling the masses' attention to certain facts, processes, necessities,
etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their
field of vision. The whole art consists in doing this so skilfully
that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary,
the necessity correct, etc. But since propaganda is not and cannot be the
necessity in itself … its effect for the most part must be aimed at the
emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect…
it's soundness is to be measured exclusively by its effective result".
(Main Kampf, Vol 1, Ch 6 and Ch 12)
As an example of Hitler's honesty, consider
the following from a letter by Hitler to the French fascist Hervé
and published in the Nazi Völkischer Beobachter on October
26, 1930 [Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 414] :
"I think I can assure you that there is
no one in Germany who will not with all his heart approve any honest attempt
at an improvement of relations between Germany and France. My own feelings
force me to take the same attitude... The German people has the solemn
intention of living in peace and friendship with all civilized nations
and powers... And I regard the maintenance of peace in Europe as
especially desirable and at the same time secured, if France and Germany,
on the basis of equal sharing of natural human rights, arrive at a real
inner understanding... The young Germany, that is led by me and that
finds its expression in the National Socialist Movement, has only the most
heartfelt desire for an understanding with other European nations."
This is from the guy who started World
In a similar vein, consider this, from a
speech in the Reichstag on 30 Jan. 1939:
"Amongst the accusations which are directed
against Germany in the so called democracies is the charge that the National
Socialist State is hostile to religion. In answer to that charge I should
like to make before the German people the following solemn declaration:
1. No one in Germany has in the past been
persecuted because of his religious views, nor will anyone in the future
be so persecuted..."
Hmm… would you trust this guy's public
Establishing Hitler's Non-Christianity
Hitler may in public have claimed to be doing
the will of God, but records of his private conversations show otherwise.
Many of these were recorded by his secretary and published in a book called
Table Talk (Adolf Hitler, London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1953).
I have lifted the text of these from the soc.religion.christian newsgroup's
Night of 11th-12th July, 1941
"National Socialism and religion cannot
"The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity
was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate
child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter
of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity....
"Let it not be said that Christianity brought
man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of
things." (p 6 & 7)
10th October, 1941, midday
"Christianity is a rebellion against natural
law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity
would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure." (p 43)
14th October, 1941, midday
"The best thing is to let Christianity die
a natural death.... When understanding of the universe has become widespread...
Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity....
"Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity....
And that's why someday its structure will collapse....
"...the only way to get rid of Christianity
is to allow it to die little by little....
"Christianity <is> the liar....
"We'll see to it that the Churches cannot
spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State." (p
19th October, 1941, night
"The reason why the ancient world was so
pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges:
the pox and Christianity."
21st October, 1941, midday
"Originally, Christianity was merely an
incarnation of Bolshevism, the destroyer....
"The decisive falsification of Jesus' <who
he asserts many times was never a Jew> doctrine was the work of St.Paul.
He gave himself to this work... for the purposes of personal exploitation....
"Didn't the world see, carried on right
into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots?
Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. Today, it's in the name of
Bolshevism. Yesterday the instigator was Saul: the instigator today,
Mardochai. Saul was changed into St.Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx.
By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our
soldiers can have no idea." (p 63-65)
13th December, 1941, midnight
"Christianity is an invention of sick brains:
one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of
turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery.... <here insults people
who believe transubstantiation>....
"When all is said, we have no reason to
wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug
of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunised against the
disease." (p 118-119)
14th December, 1941, midday
"Kerrl, with noblest of intentions, wanted
to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don't
believe the thing's possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself....
"Pure Christianity-- the Christianity of
the catacombs-- is concerned with translating Christian doctrine into facts.
It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted
Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." (p
119 & 120)
9th April, 1942, dinner
"There is something very unhealthy about
Christianity." (p 339)
27th February, 1942, midday
"It would always be disagreeable for me
to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I
realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors--
but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot
do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie."
"Our epoch in the next 200 years will certainly
see the end of the disease of Christianity.... My regret will have been
that I couldn't... behold <its demise>." (p 278)
Establishing Hitler's Non-Atheism
"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".
"For their interests [the Church's] cannot
fail to coincide with ours [the National Socialists] alike in our fight
against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight
against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality,
and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national
Both of these quotes are from Norman
H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939,
Vol. 1 of 2, Oxford University Press, 1942, cited in an Internet article
by Doug Krueger.
Another interesting quote from Hitler is found in a book
by Albert Speer, Hitler's Minister of Armaments:
"I often feel that we will have to undergo
all the trials the devil and hell can devise before we achieve Final Victory....I
may be no pious churchgoer, but deep within me I am nevertheless a devout
man. That is to say, I believe that he who fights valiantly obeying the
laws which a god has established and who never capitulates but instead
gathers his forces time after time and always pushes forward—such a man
will not be abandoned by the Lawgiver. Rather he will ultimately receive
the blessing of Providence. And that blessing has been imparted to all
great spirits in history." (Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich
: Memoirs. Bonanza Books ; Distributed by Crown Publishers, 1982, cited
in an Internet article by Kevin Davids).
These sentiments are obviously neither
atheist nor Christian.
In conclusion, I think that Hitler was not an
atheist, but he was not a Christian either. While he was materialist
and rationalist in a lot of things, he also talked a lot about "Providence",
or "Nature", as a sort of mystical force of fate, and he saw himself as
somehow destined for victory even when the war was going badly for him,
simply because of the purity of his purpose, his strength of will, and
his feeling of destiny. I have even read that he believed in reincarnation.
To me, some of his quotes and writings make it sound like he worshipped
the German national identity; some make it seem like instead of God he
worshipped or idealised or divinised Providence / Nature / Fate, with his
glorious destiny assured no matter what; and in some ways it seems to me
like he worshipped himself.
For a more detailed analysis of Hitler's
thinking and his Christianity or otherwise, I strongly recommend Kevin
Davids' excellent article on the subject.
Finally, two last points. The first
is not very compelling, but I found it interesting. The first time
I found Hitler's Mein Kampf on-line was at a White Supremacy hate site
whose homepage had a litany of Hitler's anti-Christian quotes.
The second point is that even the Atheism
Web highlights the difference between Hitler's public speeches before
he came to power, and his attitude after 1935 when he saw Christianity
as a threat to Nazi domination.