Control over the Christian Churches

Christianity in Nazi Germany

1. Hitler and the Catholic Church

Hitler believed the Catholic Church was a threat to his power.

This is because of the following reasons:

  • Catholic Schools and Youth Groups were in competition with Nazi Schools and Hitler Youth and they taught contrasting messages

  • Catholics usually supported the Centre Party and not the Nazis

  • Catholic's primary loyalty was to the Pope, not Hitler

Hitler signed a concordat and agreed not to interfere with the Church if they stayed out of politics. However, Hitler broke this agreement a short few months after making it.

The Nazis shut down Catholic monasteries, schools and organisations and Priests were harassed. Those that criticised the Nazis were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Pope Pius XI was angered by this and made a famous speech called "With Burning Grief" criticising the Nazis. This resulted in the arrests of 400 Catholic Priests who were also sent to concentration camps.


2. Hitler and the Protestant Church

The 28 Protestant Churches agreed, under pressure, to combine with the National Reich Church. The Reich Bishop was Ludwig Muller. The Reich Church was a Church that had Nazi aspects.

  • Bible replaced by Mein Kampf

  • Crucifixes were replaced by Swastikas and swords

The Protestants who disliked the changes to the Church created the Confessing Church which rejected the new Nazi Reich Church views.


3. The Faith Movement

This was a pagan-style German Faith Movement set up by the Nazi Party which focused on the worship of nature, especially the sun. Fanatical, loyal Nazis were great supporters of this, but most Germans continued to follow their faiths. Minister of Propaganda, Goebbels, organised festivals consisting of pagan ideas to reinforce Nazi ideas.