Positive Christianity in the Third Reich


by Prof. Fabricius. Refutes the claim that the Third Reich was anti-Christian. Translated from the Third Reich original.

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SC. 56pp.

“We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party as such, stands for positive Christianity but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession. It combats the Jewish-materialist spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health from within only on the principle: The Common Interest Before Self-Interest.”

Such is Point 24 of the Programme of the German National Socialistic Party. Since 1920 this has been the unchanged and unwavering guiding principle of the Movement with respect to its attitude towards religion, and since 1933 the inviolable expression of what is to be as law to the whole German nation. Adolf Hitler, its Führer and Chancellor has repeatedly affirmed this article, especially the main clause relating to Positive. Christianity. This was particularly the case in the three notable speeches made by him in the year 1934, namely, on January 30th, August 17th and 26th. On these three solemn occasions the Führer stated in words that left no doubt as to their meaning, that National Socialism affirmed Positive Christianity. Moreover, as a further explanation of his statement, Adolf Hitler declared that by Positive Christianity, he meant the Christianity of the two great Churches the Evangelical and the Roman Catholic, both of which are represented in Germany. He also called upon these Christian Churches to do everything in their power to make the moral forces of the Gospel Message effectual influences in the life of the German nation. At the same time however, he made it perfectly plain that he had nothing in common with people in bear-skins” with those namely, who recalling the old Germanic tribes, would foist neo-pagan cult experiments upon the German Folk. On other occasions too, as for instance, in his historically remarkable speech of May 21st, 1935, the Führer emphatically rejected the godlessness of Bolshevism, contrasting it with the fact that in National Socialistic Germany the Churches have not been turned into places of secular amusement. And even if the Führer does speak on occasions such as these of a new National Socialistic Weltanschauung he means neither a new religion nor a new godlessness, but simply everything that is the result of national consciousness, of the ties of comradeship and of the heroic attitude of the National Socialistic German with respect to his mode of life, and his views of the world surrounding him. To these may be added everything needed for the reconstruction of man’s inner life. and this includes in no small degree the forces of Positive Christianity.

Thus the fundamental lines to be followed are defined here clearly and simply. There remains however, the task of tracing the programme of National Socialism with regard to religion in every possible direction, and with attention to the minutest details. Hitherto this has not been attempted in a manner sufficiently comprehensive and exhaustive. And yet. how vitally important it is to form a picture of the religion of the German Volk in all its details, and to consider the development of its religious forces in various directions.

And just in an era of new beginnings, such as we are now experiencing. it is indeed doubly important for religious principles to be worked out on a perfectly clear basis, and in every possible direction. For during times such as these when the inner life of a nation is in the process of being revolutionized, how easy it is for a certain confusion of mind to arise. Whereby many a trend of thought has come to the fore that had once already existed, only however, to fall into oblivion where It has remained until now, when the auspicious moment for its re-appearance and the realization of its aims would appear to have arrived. Efforts of this kind are remarkably prevalent at the present time, and in consequence, a certain religious unrest has seized hold of our Folk, most disturbing to the peaceful reconstruction of our new Reich, leading as, it does men’s minds astray, and so placing difficulties in the path of national unification.

Since this is the situation in which our spiritual life finds itself today, it is all the more necessary to state with simple directness the real attitude adopted by National Socialism towards religion, and to consider it in detail from every point of view. An exposition such as this however, can only be undertaken by an expert, that is to say by one who is an authority on the subject, and as a researcher has devoted himself to the work of investigating the Christian religion, in short, a theologian, and at the same time a convinced National Socialist.

It was the need for such a treatise that brought me to the fore. I am conscious of a sense of responsibility to God and to my own conscience, both in my capacity as theological expert on confessional questions, and as an Evangelical Christian I felt it incumbent on me to proclaim the truth in all publicity. As an official of the State and as a political leader within the Party I am bound by a two-fold oath to the Führer of my Folk. But my religious and political duties do not clash, nor do they necessitate any inward struggle, but rather the one supplements the other, and both stand together in complete harmony. Indeed, they do even more than this: In my own life and thought, Christianity and National Socialism are closely knit together. And just because I am a Christian and a theologian, I felt compelled to put on the “brown shirt”. Just because my inmost being is filled with the most sacred feeling of responsibility, I have felt for years past a sense of duty towards myFolk in its time of distress. For this reason therefore, my path had perforce to lead me into the movement which has been called upon these days to rescue my Folk from need. My life during the past decisive years has been mapped out accordingly. Conscious of my responsibility as a Christian and as a Professor of Theology in the early days when National Socialism was struggling to assert itself. I became one of the founders and pioneers of the Students’ Labour-service Corps. Community life such as I experienced in labour-camps with my students and unemployed Youth of all classes made me one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal supporters. Not primarily through hearing speeches, or reading books and news-papers was I won for the National Socialistic cause, but rather through my experience as an independent leader of the labour camp with all the heavy responsibilities connected with this task that also included strenuous physical Work. Thus I was formed into a National Socialist in the smithy of life, having become one of the great comradeship not only with all my heart and mind, but with flesh and blood as well.

My own personal attitude therefore, gives me every right, indeed makes it my duty to publish an expert opinion on the principles of National Socialism with respect to religion. As an expert I shall adhere strictly to facts, having no intention of obtruding any personal theories or pet ideas that might tend to divert attention from the main line of thought. Rather shall I show with unwavering consistency how the attitude of National Socialism to the Christian religion as evidenced in the Party Programme, and in the Führer’s own words, has been determined both by the substance of the Christian religion and by the substance of National Socialism. But while keeping my own personal opinions in the background, I shall on the other hand, also refrain from bringing forward the philosophical Ideas or fantastic utterances of other writers, who may perhaps have grasped only a part or evert nothing at all of the meaning of Christianity or National Socialism, and are thus guilty of a certain dilettantism particularly dangerous in matters of such. serious import. And least of all am I inclined to make use of the views on Weltanschauung laid down by these writers who, half converted to National Socialism as they may be, are still partly in the toils of the prejudices of the liberalistic and Marxist era, being caught up so to say, in the spirit of those epochs which, known as the ages of Reason, Romanticism and Technics, placed their mark on European thought from the 18. to the beginning of the 20th century.

Both forces however, Christianity as well as National Socialism will be dealt with by me as present realities, more with respect to what they are today, than with respect to their historical development and growth. For in this case we are not primarily interested in what has been and now is no more, but we wish to view the present and from it cast a glance into the future. We do not wish to travel far afield but prefer to consider what is alive today and close at hand.

This little book was written with the general purpose of assisting in the work of reconstruction, and of promoting peace and unanimity. My exposition has perhaps its combative side too, but that is simply in order to clear up misunderstandings and smooth away difficulties. Where I am polemical, it is absolutely impersonal, least of all would I attack fellow-Christians and National Socialistic comrades. I fight against thoughts only, but here too, not against systems of thought expounded in literary work of one kind or another, but I attack those ideas that are so as to say in the air and make their influence more or less strongly felt, or give hints of it only in existing trends of thought.

Such is the thought underlying my treatment of the question of Positive Christianity as the foundation of National Socialism. It has been found advisable to divide the exposition itself into two main parts. The first subject of investigation to be dealt with concerns the National Socialistic policy with respect to Religion. Conclusions will thereby be drawn from the Party Programme applicable to the general attitude of the Party and the State towards Church life. In a second exposition the inner associations will be treated of, and it will be shown how the spiritual forces of Christianity must needs have a great influence in the life of the newly awakened German Folk.