World War I Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3304 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 34  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

An article found in Journal of Women's History reiterates the idea of male chauvinism and sexism that was part of the postwar German culture. In the postwar culture both, the Nazis and the German Christians saw women as inferior beings and that the country needed to be ruled by Aryan Men. The author asserts that this culture of sexism played a role in the fact that Nazis and the German Christians were able to tolerate one another. The book goes on to explain the patriarchal society that existed in postwar Germany and how the German Christian Movement was shaped by these cultural norms.

The book Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans and the aforementioned article assert that many of the German Christian tactics reflected Nazi tactics. Indeed, the Nazis and members of the German Christian movement shared many of the same beliefs. However, it is evident that the formation and the proliferation of the German Christian Movement were born of the postwar culture of Germany.

Although the Christian German Movement faced opposition form the Confessing Church, they continued to assert their alliance with the Nazi Party. A book entitled For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler explains that one of the characteristics of postwar Germany was the revival movement. The book asserts, "A pietistic revival movement had swept through many German churches in the late nineteenth century and enjoyed resurgence in the 1920s. It had begun with a new emphasis on scripture and the Reformation confessions... During the last century, Westphalia had a so-called reawakening movement, a very remarkable phenomenon. Suddenly everyone became pious."Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on World War I And World Assignment

The book goes on to explain that a new type of revivalism came about in the 1920's, like the previous revival, this revival taught the importance of traditional moral values. The revival of the 1920's was a response to the secular ideology that evolved during Weimer Years which was seen as a threat to traditional morals. As this new revival was taking place, there was also a greater emphasis being placed upon folk religions. The author insists that folk religions were a combination of scripture, German Volk, and the Fatherland. This type of religion was attractive to Germans that resisted the ideology that were born of the Weimer Reich. The article explains that the Nazi regime echoed these "already existing" cultural beliefs. The book asserts, "Hitler's speeches emphasized that the German people embodied, as no other people on earth, a deep spirituality and culture. These were the very qualities that, if harnessed, could restore the German Reich to its former glory."

The book also explains that the Nazi party was actually vehemently opposed to Christianity. The author explains that the Nazi Party believed that Christianity was for the weak and that Christianity was going to disappear altogether. The Nazi party also believed that the faith of the party was Nazism. The book explains that there were even individuals that believed Germany had two enemies, the Christians who wanted to sap national pride and the Jews who wanted to annihilate the Aryan race.

In addition, the author asserts that the German Christians ignored the paganism in the Nazi Party. Instead, they tended to focus on the positive form of Christianity that the Nazis promised members of the movement. The book explains, "Even before it came to power, the Nazi party tried to manipulate kindred spirits within the German Evangelical Church."

According to an article found in the journal Church History, the elections of 1933 were particularly significant to the German Christians. The article explains that in the elections of 1933 representatives to local parish councils of the German Evangelical Church were elected. These elections were significant because in some areas members of the German Christian movement received 75% of the vote.

Competitors believed that the tactics used by the German Christians were unsavory. The article explains, "The devastated opponents of the German Christians charged the victors with having won by unchurchly means: exploiting the resources of the Nazi party, mass political campaign tactics, even unseemly threats and intimidation. In succeeding years, historians and survivors alike have accepted that view virtually without question."

This confirms that the German Christian Movement had its own motives and wanted to spread its message. It is apparent that the German Christians used the popularity of the Nazi party and its tactics to spread this message. However, it is also apparent that the ideologies of the German Christian Movement were already in existence in the greater culture of postwar Germany.

A book entitled, Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust, explains that racism was at the center of Nazism. Likewise, the ideology of the German Christians was also racists; in fact, they banned non-Aryans from becoming clergy members. Knowing the beliefs of these two groups is only one aspect of this complex relationship. The fact of the matter is that the Nazi regime and the Christian German movement were composed of Germans who had racists' views before either of the groups was officially formed. With this being understood, we can conclude that the very culture of postwar Germany created an environment that was conducive to the formation of the German Christian Movement.

An article found in the Journal, Church History, contends that Pietism and Nationalism go hand and had. The article asserts that the relationship between nationalism and religion are inevitable. The article explains that in the case of the German Christians the country was susceptible to the tactics that the movement used. The article explains the German culture at the time, asserting that the Protestants had an inner mission. This mission asserts that there was "one living, political organism, grown in history and held together by intellectual, moral, and material bonds," in the same way the Germans were in his eyes one nation under God.

As a consequence the Inner Mission was set up as an organization above and beyond the territorial state churches, although utilizing whatever these churches were ready to offer." Again, we see that the German Christian Church movement had its own motives and used whatever resources that was available to carry out their purpose. Although some of the beliefs that Christian Germans had were that same as Nazi beliefs, the German Christian Movement was not influence by Nazism or neo-pagan ideology.

Discussion and Conclusion

The focus of this discussion was the German Christian Church movement, after WWI and through WWII and the Nazi movement. We found that the German Christian Movement infiltrated all levels of society including the political structure of Nazi Regime and Politics. The research suggests that the German Christian were able to find support because of the political and social climate at the time.

The purpose of this discussion was to illustrate that the protestant German Christian church's ideology was not a product of Nazi orders or a response to Neo-Pagan influences, but in fact, was derivative of the post WWI culture of German. Our investigation asserts that the political and religious culture of Germany contributed greatly to the formation of the German Christian Movement. Specifically, the German Christian Movement came about because of the anti-Semitic views that invaded the church and the churches desire to rid itself of Judastic teachings. In addition, the postwar culture of Germany promoted extreme nationalism and patriotism. All of these things worked together to give birth to the German Christian Movement. So then, we can conclude that the German Christian movement was not born of neo-paganism or Nazi influence, but instead was derivative of the postwar culture of Germany.

Works Cited

Baranowski, Shelley. "The 1933 German Protestant Church Elections: Machtpolitik or Accommodatlon?." Church History 49, no. 3 (1980): 298-315.

Barnett, Victoria J. Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1999.

Barnett, Victoria. For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler. New York: Oxford U.S., 1998.

Bergen, Doris L. "Germany is Our Mission -- Christ is Our Strength! The Wehrmacht Chaplaincy and the German Christian Movement." Church History 66, no. 3 (1997): 522-536.

Bergen, Doris L. Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Cochrane, Arthur C. The Church's Confession under Hitler. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962.

Johnson, Eric A. Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Leck, Ralph M. "Theoretical Issues Conservative Empowerment and the Gender of Nazism: Paradigms of Power and Complicity in German Women's History." Journal of Women's History 12, no. 2 (2000): 147-169.

Lehmann, Hartmut.

Pietism and Nationalism: the Relationship Between Protestant Revivalism and National Renewal in Nineteenth-Century Germany." Church History, Vol. 51, 1(1982) 50.

Macfarland, Charles S. The New Church and the New Germany: A Study of Church and State. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1934.

Nichols, James Hastings, History of Christianity, 1650-1950: Secularization of the West

Ronald Press Co., 1956

Rubenstein, Richard L. "Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer a 'Righteous Gentile'?." International Journal on… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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