Were The Nazis Christian?

A question deriving from a conversation on FB:

Theist: Hitler was actually against Christianity and had a 30 point plan to destroy it.

Me: So the SS belt buckles saying “Gott Mitt Uns” (“God with us”) was just a ruse?

Theist: a counterfeit spirituality. A type of Nordic-like worship of race and heritage.

My current thoughts are that the Nordic religions were pantheons (as far as I know) and that a belt buckle with God is with us" on it implies a singular creator deity.

I thought the Nazis were essentially Christian but does he have a point?

UK Atheist


You could not join the SS without being a Christian. Sheldon will no doubt serve you with all the quotes you need to back this up, as he has done in the past.

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Just a small point… The Gott Mit Uns buckles were issued from 1871 onwards … first to the Prussian armies then later to the German national forces… the Nazi’s and the SS were late comers to the “fashion”…

The Nazi state (and hence also the SS) had catholicism and sects like Jehova’s witnesses on their enemy list:

Representing the ideological opponents of the regime in one form or fashion, historian George C. Browder identified the Nazi state’s list of enemies as follows: enemy states, miscegenation, the Jews, Catholicism, freemasonry, Communism, the Republic (hostility directed at the liberal republican constitution and form of government), homosexuality,[a][b] moral decay, capitalists, and the “Old Guard” (hate and fear of traditionally powerful influences and institutions of the old society as unjust, retarding influences in German society).

Himmler himself was opposed to christianity:

According to Himmler biographer Peter Longerich, Himmler saw a main task of the SS to be that of “acting as the vanguard in overcoming Christianity and restoring a Germanic way of living” as part of preparations for the coming conflict between “humans and subhumans”.[56] Longerich writes that, while the Nazi movement as a whole launched itself against Jews and Communists, “by linking de-Christianisation with re-Germanization, Himmler had provided the SS with a goal and purpose all of its own.”[56] Himmler was vehemently opposed to Christian sexual morality and the “principle of Christian mercy”, both of which he saw as a dangerous obstacle to his planned battle with “subhumans”.[56] In 1937, he said that the movement was an era of the “ultimate conflict with Christianity” and that “It is part of the mission of the SS to give the German people in the next half century the non-Christian ideological foundations on which to lead and shape their lives.”[57]

Despite all this (and much more),

All SS men were required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or gottgläubig (“Believer in God”).


Himmler preferred the neo-pagan “expression of spirituality”. Still, by 1938 “only 21.9 percent of SS members described themselves as gottgläubig, whereas 54 percent remained Protestant and just under 24 percent Catholic.”

Source: Ideology of the SS - Wikipedia


I believe that this question depends upon what your definition of Christianity is.

We might be tempted to disqualify the Nazis as Christian because of their genocidal ideology . . . but what of the Christians who eradicated the Native Americans through the deliberate spread of disease and promoting alcoholism with free liqour? When they gave free booze to the Native Americans (when their genetic susceptibility was known), then how is this different from chemical warfare?

So . . . what definition of Christianity are we talking about?

Given the number of people who all appear to have individual interpretations of Christianity, I’m not convinced that’s a goer.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I was rather under the impression that the Christian bible endorses genocide.

I agree that Native Americans were harshly (murderously) treated but I remain to be convinced that any other such genocide can equal the holocaust where the perpetrators effectively processed death in nice, efficient factory methods.

Any version?

UK Atheist

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I guess Christianity is in the eye of the beholder.

Well obviously when you have 40 thousand different denominations world wide. It seems all of the Christians can’t agree on what their religion should be.


(My emphasis)
I agree that the methods of the Holocaust were efficient factory-like methods. But I do not agree with calling them nice. If that’s not what you meant, you’d better rephrase.

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In a census conducted in 1939, 96% of Germans identified as Christians. The SS had to be theists, it was a requirement before anyone was admitted. Not all were necessarily Christians though.


Again, I ask what definition of Christianity are we using? I’m concerned that we aren’t talking about the same thing.

Some of the nazis upper echelon may not have been christian, but the vast majority of Germans were, so the rank and file and even the regular army officers would have been christian. They’d certainly exploited the deeply engrained christian concept of anti semitism. Where do people think the nazis learned it?


I’m sure many people in the Nazi party were (and it appears are) xtian. And many Xtians were (and are still) taught that the Jews killed their jesus. Given that there is a very long history (centuries) of anti-semitism in the region, and given the high percentage of Xtians during the period just preceding and during WWII, it’s not a leap to figure most Nazis of the time were xtians…xtians with a propensity for hatred of others. Their conditioning made the holocaust quite easy for them. Leadership probably considered use of the people’s bigotry as handy.

Were the leaders all xtian? Maybe / not. Those leaders were clever enough though, to understand that whipping up xenophobia and bigotry in folks who have a propensity for it spells popularity and the willingness to hand over power. Gee, how come this seems so, uh, current?


Using an ideology + a strong leader (e.g. nazism+Hitler, communism+Stalin, communism+the Kim dynasty in North Korea, dumbfuckery+the Cheeto-faced-ferret-wearing-shit-gibbon(*) etc.) is a time-tested method that gives people a substitute for religion using a system that on the surface works just like religion, a person cult. The rules of the ideology must be followed without question, and the strong leader is held in very high regard, and even worshipped (like in North Korea) as the distinctions between a human, a god-like human, a human-god, and a god are being blurred. In the case of the North Korean person cult, I’m even inclined to call it a de facto religion.

(*) as requested by @CyberLN


You forgot to mention the Cheeto-faced-ferret-wearing-shit-gibbon.


I did. I have corrected it now.


The Nazis were a weird lot in this respect.

There were, of course, a good many German Christians who saw no paradox in holding onto their Christian beliefs and being members of the Nazi Party. A matter that probably underpinned the Concordat signed with the Vatican, though the top tier of the Catholic Church has always aligned itself with power and money, frequently of the fascist variety. See the disgusting episode that was the Independent State of Croatia under the hideous Ante Pavelic for a particularly gruesome example.

But, there were a smattering of Germanic pagans as well, including members of the Thule Society, which became entangled to a lesser or greater degree with the Vril weirdness concocted by the Theosophical Society under the likes of Madame Blavatsky. Indeed, the Thule Society was an early sponsor of the Nazi Party, though Hitler, once assuming the leadership thereof, worked to eliminate their influence therein, hardly surprising given his Catholic connections.

This, however, didn’t stop Alfried Rosenberg from including völkisch occultism and Thule ideas in his writings, and of course Himmler was at the very least a semi-detached devotee thereof, despite the SS being formed much more along Jesult lines from an organisational standpoint.


In a Census I’d imagine the only information would be what a person self identifies as, beyond that we know the population split between (predominantly Protestants), and Catholics. More importantly Germany has been a predominantly Christian country for centuries.


“Nazi Germany was an overwhelmingly Christian nation. A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[1] after the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia[2] into Germany, indicates[3] that 54% of the population considered itself Protestant, 41% considered itself Catholic, 3.5% self-identified as Gottgläubig[4] (lit. “believing in God”),[5] and 1.5% as “atheist”.[4] Protestants were over-represented in the Nazi Party’s membership and electorate, and Catholics were under-represented.”


"In the 1920 programme of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), Adolf Hitler first mentioned the phrase “Positive Christianity”. The Nazi Party did not wish to tie itself to a particular Christian denomination but with Christianity in general,[6][7] and sought freedom of religion for all denominations “so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race.”

“Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, himself a former Roman Catholic, was one of the main promoters of the Gottgläubig faith.[2] He was particularly hostile towards Christianity, its values, the churches, and their clergy.”

“He insisted on the existence of a creator God, who favoured and guided the Third Reich and the German nation, as he announced to the SS: “We believe in a God Almighty who stands above us; he has created the Earth, the Fatherland, and the Volk, and he has sent us the Führer. Any human being who does not believe in God should be considered arrogant, megalomaniacal, and stupid and thus not suited for the SS.”[2] He did not allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”.”


More in the claim someone makes to be a Christian I’d say, lets not forget there are over 45k different sects and denominations of Christianity globally.


Old man said one couldn’t join the SS without being a Christian and that you would serve me up with all the quotes I needed to back that up. I was beginning to think I’d be disappointed but yay! Thanks :slight_smile:

Is it Brit thing? I would have thought it fairly obvious I was being facetious :roll_eyes:

Clearly :rofl:

Indeed. I’m of the firm belief that religion has been used to control people since gods were invented.

Thanks for all the replies.

UK Atheist

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