The Religious Nature of Nazism
As Sax and Kuntz point out in the introduction to Chapter 6 of their book Inside Hitler’s Germany, “Hitler prided himself on seeing, with a clarity that no one had before possessed, that the essence of any culture was an expression of race” (185). Hitler was not interested so much in the religious aspects of Judaism in his search for total power, but instead in the cultural aspects. He believed in purity of races that as he thought was an ideal that no one had previously thought of. However, in his quick rise to fame within the Nazi party and German society, Hitler becomes a sort of religious idol himself. The beginning of the movie Triumph of the Will is a prime example where Hitler is coming down in a plane, which was still a new technology, to present his ideas and solutions to the people. This scene can be interpreted, as we discussed in class, as Hitler coming down from heaven in order to preach to his people which is reminiscent of Christian ideology. The Nazi party becomes a party that seems much more like a religion than a political party.
Another aspect of Hitler’s use of religion in order to gain power comes from twisting Christian stories into fitting his ideals but this brings up several questions upon further consideration. As discussed in class, Hitler uses the Fortunate Fall story in order to show that the Jews were just as evil as the serpent who tricked Mary into eating the poisonous apple. An aspect of this that I am also curious about is how Hitler used the idea that the woman, Mary, was the one who in the end corrupted the human destiny as assigned by god. Did Hitler further criticize Jewish women due to this analogy? Was this a place where there was a large hole in Hitler’s twisting of stories?
Sax, Benjamin, and Dieter Kuntz. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. D.C. Heath and Company, 1992. 185.
Triumph of the Will. 1935. Film.