The Nazi Plan For Russia

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K. A. Pital
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Re: The Nazi Plan For Russia

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-05-27 10:45am

Simon_Jester wrote:
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.
Again, everybody did that, including the USSR during World War Two.
USSR did not adorn soldiers with the Christian cross, and did not frame the war as a crusade.
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.
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: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.
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: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.
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: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.
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.

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.
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Pelranius
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Re: The Nazi Plan For Russia

Post by Pelranius » 2017-05-27 04:58pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Soviets stop being friendly to the Russian Orthodox church after WWII ended (though they seemed to come down even harder on other religions).
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Re: The Nazi Plan For Russia

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-05-28 01:03am

K. A. Pital wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
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.
Again, everybody did that, including the USSR during World War Two.
USSR did not adorn soldiers with the Christian cross, and did not frame the war as a crusade.
Everyone did it to varying degrees. The USSR, one of the most anti-religious states in history, let its clergy out of the gulag and tolerated if not encouraged them to bless soldiers and preach sermons calling everyone to pull together in defense of the motherland. The British, despite having a largely secular government with freedom of religion, still called upon God to bless their undertakings. Because, again, this was the 1940s in Europe and everyone did that to varying degrees; the Soviets just did less of it than anyone else.

The Germans were fighting the USSR, as noted one of the most anti-religious states in history. Any war fought on that largely Christian-leaning continent at that time, against an opponent which had previously been openly hostile to the Christian religion, would have had little or no difficulty getting said war labeled as a crusade. They would probably have actively had to struggle to avoid it. And such a struggle would have been contrary to the interests of any nation or movement fighting the USSR, even a secular one.
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.
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.
Religion was also a social binder in non-fascist states at the time. This is a condition the fascists inherited and (unlike the communists) did not reject or oppose it. But any political movement in Europe faced the same situation. And unless they were actively, intensely anticlerical, they tied themselves to Christianity for the same reason they tied themselves to the seven-day week and the twenty-four hour day and all sorts of other European cultural artifacts.
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.
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.
Put this way.

You can rightly and properly criticize Christians for the fact that many Christian groups endorsed the Nazis, or collaborated in the Holocaust.

But I don't think the extent to which the Nazis themselves deliberately involved themselves with Christianity shows any more sign of Christianity having 'made' Naziism...

Unless of course you also argue that Christianity made every single political movement in Europe, with the sole exception of Marxist atheist states and maybe some of the odder anticlerical factions in France.
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?
Yes, and you will note that the Islamic State is considerably more openly and actively religious than any of the major combatants in World War Two.

If Hitler had named his party the "National Christian Socialists" and explicitly preached that God was commanding each and every element of his program, and had invited senior Christian figures into his government and actually did as they said, the way the Islamic State does with its own version of Islam...

We wouldn't be having this conversation, because I would fully agree that "the Nazis were a strongly Christian movement and their foulness can reasonably be blamed on certain parts of Christianity" would be an entirely true statement.
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.
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.
The thing is, which is distinctive about Germany? Its practice of the Christian religion, or other aspects of its society such as the strongly inculcated custom of obedience to authority?
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.
Thing is, the Germans weren't exceptionally anti-Semitic in earlier centuries. Not compared to many other European countries.

You can totally correctly point out that pre-industrial customs of Christianity whipping up hatred against Jews was a major contributing variable in making the Holocaust possible. But while this did a lot to make the Holocaust possible in general, I don't think it has much to do with why Naziism emerged specifically in Germany at a particular time.
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Re: The Nazi Plan For Russia

Post by Elfdart » 2017-06-25 07:49pm

LaCroix wrote:My Grandpa said that a lot of people (and himself) rationalized doing bad things to Jews with the sentiment "They killed Jesus, they deserve it."
I'm glad you brought this up. For the rank-and-file who carried out the Final Solution and who would no doubt be given the job of exterminating all "non-Aryans" from the Rhine to the Urals, the prime justification was the license given to anti-Jewish hatred: "They killed Jesus, they drink blood from Christian babies, they prey on our women, subvert traditional values, etc, etc, etc..."

If Nazi Germany had won, I'm sure the agitprop used to incite the murder of all those "Untermenschen" would also rely on traditional bigotry and hatred.

So how much Hitler or his henchmen personally believed Christian dogma is the reddest of herrings. They incited the public into acting on the worst impulses a human being could have.

As for Hitler's beliefs on the church, it always seemed to me that his goal was an official Church of Germany, patterned after the Church of England. This would explain his attacks on Catholics when he spoke in Protestant regions and vice versa.
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