USSR did not adorn soldiers with the Christian cross, and did not frame the war as a crusade.Simon_Jester wrote:Again, everybody did that, including the USSR during World War Two.K. A. Pital wrote:After all, the Nazis did not pretend to be atheists. At large, their state utilized the religious tradition to legitimize a lot of its actions. Including war and genocide. "Gott mit uns", all that stuff.
No, it was not the default - in fact, most of Europe by that time has gone fascist or nazi, so they were ruled by an alliance of reactionary dictatorships which heavily relied on church collaboration. But they were not openly hostile to religion. Neither Mussolini, nor Franco and Salazar or the many fascists after that time, ever denied religion the all-important role of a social binder in the fascist state.Simon_Jester wrote:Christianity is built into the cultural heritage of European societies, and was tied to the fabric of those societies still more strongly in the 1940s than it is now. This isn't about Christianity being good or bad, it's just an objective fact that Christianity was part of European history for such a long time.
You're speaking as if the 'default' condition in that era was for governments to make no references to religion, to refrain from using WWI-era slogans like "Gott mit uns," to refrain from talking about church and so on. Outside the USSR, that is simply not the case.
Actually, no. The USSR did not seek to legitimize its actions through religion, even if it had a thaw in relations with the Church during wartime years. That is the key difference. Just as you can't ascribe to someone who did not use religious legitimation a motive somehow related to Christianity, so is it likewise a bit dishonest to pretend no such legitimation has been used by fascists and their close allies the nazis.Simon_Jester wrote:It would have been the act of an actively and aggressively anti-religious government to remove all references to religion and willingness to work with religious leaders during World War Two. Indeed, it would have required a government more anti-religious than the Soviet Union, which was itself one of the most anticlerical governments in history. Because even the Soviets thawed out relations with the Russian Orthodox Church during the war.
Yes, but the state itself would not be doing it, and this would constitute the difference between using religion to motivate violence and using something else as a motive. You wouldn't doubt for a second that ISIS used the islamic religion to motivate its followers for violence, right?Simon_Jester wrote:I have to point out that if an entirely atheist movement had arisen in Europe that revolved around doing terrible things to Jews, large numbers of Europeans would still have used this rationalization, because this rationalization was part of European folk traditions and a stock justification for doing terrible things to Jews all the time. Any Christians present in Europe while this movement is active would have done this.
This is a problematic view in the light of close relation between the anti-Semitic protestant tradition that existed in Germany for centuries, and the public state of minds which actually allowed Nazis to come to power, and much more than that.Simon_Jester wrote:Specifically, I don't think specific responsibility for Hitler and the Nazi Party as such can fairly be blamed on Christianity. Other contributing factors (like the unthinking tendency of World War era Germans to just assume their government was in the right and obey it without question) were at least as significant if not more so.
Anything else that you propose to blame on Christianity, including the tendency of many non-Nazis to cooperate in the Holocaust, is a separate question where I may or may not dispute what you're saying.
It is pretty much undeniable that part of the blame is on the German society, and without a very specific and virulently anti-Semitic brand of Protestant Christianity flourishing in Germany, it would be hard to imagine Nazism turning out the way it did. So while Christianity as a whole multitude of sects cannot be specifically responsible, it is similar to the way islam as a whole is not specifically responsible for the outrageous genocidal actions of the Salafists.