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'Nazism Was More of a Religion than Islam'...An impossible thesis!

Reader comment on item: The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
in response to reader comment: Ahmadinejad's shrewd play

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jan 28, 2006 at 08:41

Dear Gerhard, you wrote :

> Publicly, certainly, the NSDAP was careful never to make religious utterances.

If "Nazism was more of a Religion than Islam" - as you assert- then this behaviour is totally illogical and counterproductive. Islam is a public political cult. It always makes public statements, requires public compliance with its dogmas, makes anyone publicly convert to its faith, destroys anyone who doesn't. It's logical and compatible with its basic creed.
Now, not every German was required to enter the NSDAP. Private casual (nota bene - not systematic!) anti-Christian conversations and feelings of Hitler did not affect the public sphere in any way. So how can you call it 'a religious movement' , nay even more religious than Islam? Do you realize what sort of religiosity Islam means?


> The reason for this policy can be seen from Hitler's private statements on the subject recorded by Martin Bormann's stenographer (Heinrich Heims: Hitlers Tischgespraeche 1941-1944).

On 23 September 1941 Hitler said: "The NSDAP will never try to imitate a religion culturally, its task is to construct a scientific doctrine which is nothing more than a cult of reason." In the light of this scientific reason, he expected the Churches to eventually die out. As the result of a statement on 11 July 1941 that "in the long term National Socialism and the Church cannot co-exist" he was asked by secretary Christa Schroeder if that would mean a new war. To this he replied, "No, it would not. The ideal solution is that the Churches simply die out because what they preach is scientifically unreasonable."

But what does it prove? That Hitler happened to read a few pages of Nietzsche ? It was a widespread view that Christianity and science were incompatible in the long run. The view was shared e.g. by B. Russel. Was the Wiener Kreis philosphy 'more of a Religion than Islam' because it shared the views? Come on!


> Returning to this theme on 14 October 1941, he explained: "If we overthrow the Church, the entire population will cry out: 'What do we have to replace it?' Should I ask my Gauleiters to disavow all their projects and become clerics?" Of course not. What had to be done to replace the Church eventually, as he had explained previously on 20 February 1941, was to "educate people to a religiosity, but one which is anti-clerical: we must educate them in humility for Nature, to know that they cannot dominate Nature, but that we are dependent on Creation. That is a long way from the superstition of the Church. Christianity is the foulest setback which humanity has ever encountered."

But what sort of political decision was made on the basis of this view? None. If Muhammed stated that 'Christianity and judaism are foul', it was immediately incorporated into the political agenda of Islam to rob and destroy all things Christian and Jewish.
Islam was a religion on the way to build an empire of Allah on earth. That's way it had to destroy all other gods and deities and their worshippers. Nazism was going to build a secular empire. It did not destroy churches (although it did synagogues) and mosques. On the contrary the Churches were supported by nazis according to what Hitler thought as an absolutely necessary' element in the life of the state.

> "Man is becoming a god," Hitler told Hermann Rauschning: "that is the simple fact. Man is a god in the making. Man has eternally to strain at his limitations. The moment he relaxes and contents himself with them, he decays and falls below the human level. He becomes a quasi-beast. Gods and beast, that is what our world is made of....But those who listen to the immemorial message of man, who devote themselves to our eternal movement, are called to a New Humanity.

It sounds like a remote reminiscence of Frierich Nietzsche. Does it make Hitler a god? Were there any temples erected for him as for the emperor Augustus once upon a time?

> "Now do you appreciate the depth of our National Socialist Movement? Can there be anything greater and more all-comprehending? Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it. It is more even than a religion: it is the will to create mankind anew."

Again, what tangible results in the political public sphere did this utterence have?
On the contrary, his order for his closest associates to return to the Church did. And it is what counts. Muhammad might have remained for ever a cave dreamer. He might have stopped on that level. If he had done he would be remembered today perhaps as one more wise and kind 'hanif' whom humanity would be indebted to for some nice poetic verses invoking a merciful , but otherwise obscure divinity. But he preferred to implement in the public sphere his other dreams ... that of war against the infidels and of mental slavery for his followers , of personality cult for himself and of absolute worship for his Allah. These are the tangible public results of his message and they define Islam today. The innocent dreams of the cave are well and justly forgotten.
Let's not mix imaginary evil and intended crimes with that which really happened. Hitler did not persecute the Churches which on the contrary cooperated with him. Islam did persecute anyone that refused to identify himself with Islam. Hitler did not exterminate believing Germans for refusing to acknowledge his 'prophethood', Muhammed did. Hitler did not build any temples for his private god, Allah did...The differences are innumerable...

> "Humanity", Rauschning explained, "is in the throes of a vast metamorphosis, and Hitler is the prophet of man's rebirth in a new form. A process of change that has lasted for literally thousands of years is approaching its completion. The coming age is revealing itself in the first great human figures of a new type. Just as, according to the imperishable prophecies of the old Nordic peoples, the world has to continually renew itself, the old order perishing with its gods, just as the Nordic people's took the sun's passing of the solstices as a figure of the rhythm of life, so must man now turn back in order to attain the higher stage."

Isn't is that 'medieval mysticism' Hitler was so vitriolic and sometimes so angry about?

> The manner in which the creation of the human-god was to be physically achieved, and efforts to so create the human-god were being continued abroad after the destruction of the National Socialist State, can be found by those who care to follow the literature on the subject, but obviously it is not something which historians or their governments care to have included in the standard histories.

Standard histories , as you call them , deal with tangible results. Those tangible results have their source in decisions and opinions expressed in public or in secret. But whatever the source it must lead to some tangible results. It is just like with theories in physics , you know. A theory is only as good as any tangible verifiable results can be deduced from it. I am afraid from what you write little tangible results follow. The reason seems to be that Nazism was a political secular movement. It was not a religious movement, despite the fact that some of its members unsuccessfully and aginst the will of Hitler tried to give it a religious colour.And least of all 'nazism was more of a religion than Islam'.
Islam is a religious movement par excellence. It has nothing to do with any secular thinking or modernity which it consequently denounces and abolishes. Islam and nazism belong to two different types of social movements.


> Hitler stated that National Socialism was not merely a religion, but was even more than a religion. Whether the disagreeable aspects of it were religious is open to question but they may have been.

You must know that in his soul Hitler despised religion and thought it was obsolete in the age of science and reason. Many do the same without being nazis. He did not mean to create a new religion ( a thing which some religiously minded people who can't imagine the world can exist without religions) but to do without any. But at the same time he was realistic enough to know that any 'struggle against the Church is a crime against the future of the nation" (as Speer noted). Hitler was a contradictory character but making him into a new Mahdi is hardly accurate .

With best wishes , Jan

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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