Why did people call Hitler their Messiah?

80 years agoHitler divided Protestant Christians

"The first sentence, which basically already contains everything that makes up this confession, was: Jesus Christ, as he is testified to us in the holy scriptures, is the one word of God that we hear, to whom we in life and to trust and obey in death. "

"Barmer Theological Declaration" adopted

The Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller was one of more than 130 representatives of Lutheran, Reformed and United churches who met from May 29 to 31, 1934 in Wuppertal-Barmen for the first Confessional Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany. On the last day of their meeting they adopted the "Barmer Theological Declaration", which consisted of six theses. The structure of the theses was always the same: First a word from the Bible, then a confessional sentence and finally a condemnation sentence - and it was precisely these condemnation sentences that made it clear what it was all about.

"We reject the wrong doctrine, as if the church were allowed to leave the form of its message and its order to its discretion or to the change of prevailing ideological and political convictions."

The false doctrine meant those "German Christians" who wanted to introduce the ethnic-racial ideology of National Socialism into the Protestant Church. The Barmer Declaration was drafted by the Swiss theologian Karl Barth.

"I believe that the end of the Evangelical Church would have come if this teaching, as is the will of the German Christians, would come to general rule in it. I believe that the Evangelical Church would rather become a tiny bunch and in the catacombs should go so that she could make peace with this doctrine even from a distance. "

Christians began to align religion and politics

Supported by the National Socialists, the German Christians had won the nationwide church elections in June 1933 with a two-thirds majority. In many regional churches and committees they occupied the leading positions and began to equate religion and politics. In November, at a rally in the Berlin Sports Palace, they hounded against what they saw as the "Jewish" Old Testament, and in March 1934 the Protestant pastor Hermann Grüner declared Hitler to be Jesus' successor.

"In Hitler the time is fulfilled for the German people, because through Hitler Christ, God, the helper and redeemer, became powerful among us. That is why National Socialism is indeed positive Christianity. Hitler is now the path of the spirit and will of God to Christ Church of the German Nation. "

That went too far for many evangelical Christians. In the regional churches, communities were formed that resisted being taken over by the imperial church and published in Barmen the creed that became the founding document of the Confessing Church. But the Barmer Synod was less a declaration of war on National Socialism - Karl Koch, for example, the Westphalian President, had opened the conference with an address of allegiance to Hitler - than an attempt to preserve the autonomy of the Church. The second Confessional Synod in October 1934 proclaimed an "ecclesiastical emergency law" for pastors who refused to obey the Reich Church. But the resistance remained largely apolitical: the increasing discrimination against Jews was hardly criticized, according to the Berlin pastor, Christian Müller.

"There was also a development within the Confessing Church that in the beginning many anti-Jewish excesses, starting on April 1, 1933, always said: Yes, these are extremes, these are exceptions that are happening at the moment, but if that is the case Fiihrer knew that he would not agree, and I have the impression that one is conforming more and more to these laws, one is quite compliant with the law. "

In 1936 the church split

In the spring of 1936 the Confessing Church split up. While the moderate wing sought compromises with the Nazi regime in order to preserve church freedoms, the radical wing publicly denounced its policies and faced increasing persecution. A conflict that was already laid out in the Barmen Theological Declaration. Karl Barth:

"When the church pronounces a creed, it can not only have internal church meaning, then it speaks in the world and on its problems, whether it calls them by name or not. National Socialism was not mentioned in Barmen by name, but In fact, something was said about National Socialism and the corresponding thing was also heard. "