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The Church and Naziism - Essay Example

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The consolidation of the Nazi regime led to the emergence of internal splits and disagreements within the German Churches with regard to their exact position on the new totalitarian government. While some of the representatives of the Church hierarchy and rank-and-file clergy…
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The Church and Naziism

Download file to see previous pages... The movement of Deutsche Christen (German Christians) was undoubtedly the one most directly tied to Nazi regime. Having rejected the Judaic part of the Christian tradition and embraced the fanatical version of anti-Semitism, the German Christians composed the most influential groups of German Lutheran Protestants. Their movement was officially established in November 1933, when the record mass rally of German Lutherans affirmed the continuation between the teachings of Martin Luther and Adolph Hitler, the dismissal of Baptized Jews from the Church and the (partial) rejection of the Old Testament. The German Christians justified the absolute adherence to the State authority by the claims on the primacy of temporal power that were found in some of Luther’s writings. German Müller, the Reichsbischof of the German Evangelical Church, established in July 1933, was the supreme leader of this movement. Although the German Christians numbered more than 600,000 in the mid 1930s, Müller’s aim of unification of Catholic and Protestant churches of Germany under his personal control was never attained, and he committed suicide in May 1945, when the news of Hitler’s death reached him.
Even though the German Christians were effectively supported by the Nazi government, the internal opposition to the Nazification and “Aryanization” of the Evangelical (Protestant) Churches emerged. The attempts by the German Christians to enforce an ‘Aryan Paragraph’, which would de-frock all priests of Jewish descent as well as those who were married to non-Germans, aroused an outcry among more liberal members of the Protestant churches who founded the Confessing Church. Under the leadership of Martin Niemöller, the Confessing Church fiercely opposed the attempts of the state authorities to enforce the Aryan Paragraph and expel the pastors of Jewish descent from the Protestant churches. Later on, the Confessing Church ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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