Many people mistakenly think that Adolf Hitler was either anti-religious or an atheist. This is in fact untrue. Hitler saw himself as doing God's work, was inspired by Martin Luther (the father of the protestant reformation), and was in constant contact with the Catholic Church.
Apologists make these claims about Hitler:
- Hitler was an atheist
- Hitler shows that atheism and secularism are dangerous
- Hitler persecuted Christians
Hitler was an atheist
Hitler was not an atheist. Hitler said in his famous book, Mein Kampf, that he was doing the work of God:
- "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work."
And in 1938, Hitler declared, "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." Hitler also drew much of his inspiration and anti-Semitic hate from the works of the protestant reformer Martin Luther.
Hitler shows that atheism and secularism are dangerous
Hitler's Nazi Germany was anything but secular. Hitler championed religious indoctrination in public schools, negotiated a treaty with the Vatican in which German tax money went to the church, and made special protection for Catholic churches and priests, which were de facto applied to German protestant churches and ministers, as well.
- "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. . . we need believing people."
- — Hitler, April 26, 1933, during negotiations which led to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933.
- "Embued with the desire to secure for the German people the great religious, moral, and cultural values rooted in the two Christian Confessions, we have abolished the political organizations but strengthened the religious institutions."
- — Adolf Hitler, speaking in the Reichstag on Jan. 30, 1934
The EM German Army belt buckle also read "Gott Mit Uns" (God With Us — see In God We Trust). To say that Nazi Germany was secular is factually incorrect.
Hitler persecuted Christians for their belief
As the above shows, Hitler and Nazi Germany were neither atheistic nor secular. Christians have claimed that many of their faith were sent to the death camps. The only Christians who were sent to the death camps specifically because of their religious beliefs were the Jehovah's Witnesses, who were pacifistic and a threat to Germany's war effort. Most other Christians in the death camps were the German administrators. Atheists, on the other hand, were targeted for their beliefs and sent to death camps:
- "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 Oct. 24, 1933
The situation was different in Poland. Polish churches were shut down, but this was because they resisted Nazi influence.