- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1432721690
- ISBN-13: 978-1432721695
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,022,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Swastika Against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity
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Top Customer Reviews
I had wondered about the Catholic Church's dealings with the Nazis and this book also helped me understand more of what actually went on.
If anyone can reach Mr Walker - on P. 55 the second-last sentence of the first paragraph doesn't read properly - "The voice of conscience which Christian education would give was incompatible with Christianity."
Really recommend this book.
Christianity despite some lip service pro-Christian remarks by Hitler intended to create just the opposite impression. Christians, especially those in the Confessing Church, were persecuted. Martin Niemoller was a hero of faith at that time.
Further, early in the book Mr. Walker points out that "Christianity" had been losing its hold on the population for a long time before Hitler. Church membership was in sharp decline during the three or four decades before the Nazis.
The Christian battle against godless statism as well as diluted mainline churches continues to this day in America. In fact, the attack on true faith has been accelerating I think, which makes Mr. Walker's book particularly valuable.
The book might seem a bit too polemical at times for some readers, but that doesn't change the fact that it is well-researched, and Mr. Walker is passionate about his subject, as he should be.
In Swastika against the Cross, Bruce Walker goes back to historical sources of the 30's and 40's to expose the real Nazi attitude toward Christianity. What is obvious after reading this book is that Hitler was not by any measure a Christian. Not that you needed this book to tell you that he wasn't one; his actions speak for themselves. But since we live in a time when every assumption is challenged, Walker clears up any confusion over the Fuhrer's worldview. "I am heathen to the bone," (p. 26) said Hitler. "Whether it's the Old Testament or the New, or simply the sayings of Jesus ... it's all the same Jewish swindle ... We are not out against the hundred and one kinds of Christianity, but against Christianity itself." (p. 18)
Hitler's vague references to providence and God are just political bones he threw at the masses to imply he was somehow wedded to God.
Hitler was biding his time. Gene Veith in his book on Modern Fascism Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview (Concordia Scholarship Today)sources Helmerich who quotes Hitler saying, "The war is going to be over. The last great task of our age will be to solve the church problem. It is only then that the nation will be wholly secure ... When I was young, my position was: Dynamite. It was only later that I understood that this sort of thing cannot be rushed. It must rot away like a gangrened member. The point that must be reached is to have the pulpits filled with none but boobs, and the congregations with none but little old women. The healthy young people are with us." (p.66 in Modern Fascism by Gene Veith, Jr.)
The Hitler Youth, the program established by the Nazis to indoctrinate the youth had as it's initiation a vow that all the Hitler Youth were to state: "German blood and Christian baptismal water are completely irreconcilable." (p. 53)
The Confessing Church was those Protestant Christians who would not be assimilated into the "German Christians." (The "German Christians" were the state sponsored "Church," which in reality was a propaganda machine for replacing transcendent Christianity with immanent Aryan worship.) Walker mentions both Catholic and Protestant resistance. Nonconforming bishops met in Bavaria in 1931 which resulted in them releasing a declaration that Nazi Party members were to be denied the sacraments. (p.63) Eventually the Confessing Church sent a letter to Hitler. They stated, "If the Christian is forced by the Anti-Semitism of the Nazi Weltanschauung (worldview) to hate the Jew, he is on the contrary, bidden by Christian commandment to love his neighbor." (p. 64) The letter asked Hitler point blank if he intended to de-Christianize the Church. There was no answer. (p. 65)
An important thing that the author makes clear is that the Nazis were waging war on pastors who offered such resistance. The Nazis sent some of the uncompromising Christian clergy to the front lines (p. 43) not unlike David's reason for sending Uriah the Hittite to the front line; so they would most likely be killed. Christian schools were attacked (p. 52), and eventually closed (p. 54).
Sometimes the role of the Confessing Church and the Catholics who offered resistance is downplayed. However, Walker writes that "Until the outbreak of the war, and even afterward, the 'church story' was one of the biggest features of the news from Germany. All in all, it constituted the only significant and persistent resistance to Adolph Hitler during a dozen incredible years of mass hysteria, ruthless tyranny and insatiate aggression." (p. 65) The author also lends credence that the number of pastors offering resistance was substantial; in 1934 there were barely 3,000 of the 16,000 pastors aligning themselves with "Bishop" Muller and the "German Christians" state church (p. 64). Walker reminds us that for the first time in the history of the German Army the troops went off to war without "the blessing of the German Church." (p. 67) Additionally, Claus Von Stauffenberg, "the German general who almost killed Hitler in late 1944, was a devout Catholic who because of his faith was deeply opposed to the persecution of the Jews and considered that Kristallnacht in 1938 brought great shame upon Germany. Stauffenberg was tortured and killed for his assassination attempt while his pregnant wife was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp (p. 69).
This small synopsis cannot begin to contain all the information Walker provides in this small book to show what was really going on in Nazi minds and activities. I recommend this book to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the church-state relations in Germany during this sad time.