The Nazi Aim towards the Church
- Christian Churches had warned against the decadence of the Weimar Republic, as had the Nazis, who promoted the Party as a positive 'Christian' force against atheistic Communism.
- Anti-Semitism ran deep in both Churches. Most Church leaders believed that the Jews held too dominant a position in German society.
- Both Hitler and the Churches recognised the advantages in reaching compromises and accommodating their mutual interests. The Churches welcomed the Nazis as a force for order, tradition and conservatism.
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The Reich Church
The formation of the new Reich Church
- A new Reich Church was formed to try and combine/co-ordinate the Protestant Churches. Ludwig Muller was elected to the position of Reich Bishop of July 1933. However, September 1933, over 100 pastors broke away and formed the Confessional Church. Over 6,000 broke, leaving only 2,000 in the Reich, as they wanted to stay free of political control and indoctrination.
- The Reich Church required pastors to make an oath of loyalty to Hitler. Bibles were replaces by Mein Kampf and the cross replaced with a sword.
- The Catholic Church started by co-operating with the Nazis, as it supported the passing of the passing of the Enabling Act. In July 1933 a Concordat (Nazis didn't stick to this for long) was signed between the Pope and the government not to interfere with Hitler. The Catholic Church was too strong for Hitler to co-ordinate with immediately, especially as the Church was ancious to protect its organisational independence and its school and youth groups in particular.
- The Catholic Church had areas of common ground with the Nazis; opposed communism, despised the liberal values of the Weimar Republic, supported Nazi views on traditional morality and the role of women and family, and was traditionally anti-Semitic.
- The Nazis targeted the young to reduce the influence of the Churches. Denominational schools closed and religious education in school was less important.
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