Main Point 6
Hitler’s intellectual antecedents are clearly visible in the writings of 19th-century German thinkers all of whom expressly rejected Christianity. His most immediate intellectual roots are in the volkishmovement, a deep cultural trend of modern German thought that glorified war, imperialism, authoritarianism, pre-Christian pagan virtues, and Aryan racial supremacy (including extreme antisemitism).
It is quite remarkable, the way people will jump from Roman Palestine to the Crusades and the Inquisition to Luther and thence to Hitler, omitting the entire 19th century as if it never occurred, or passing over it very lightly and superficially. No one in centuries of Christian cultural domiance before the modern era ever advocated or attempted to carry out the extermination of the Jewish people as a whole. Apart from the aformentioned warnings about murderers not going to heaven – a serious restraint on anyone sincere about Christianity – there are clear teachings in the New Testament that God still, after the death and resurrection of Christ, has a plan for the Jewish people. This is a deep barrier to genocide, one of the many spiritual barriers that was removed by the modern era’s rejection of biblical Christianity.
It took the 19th century to introduce the added element of racial “science,” and also to embolden man in criminality by dismissing all thoughts of a future judgement. It took modern secularism to unleash the evil in man to an extent never before dreamed of, and it is no secret that the three figures in the preceding century who most fully adocated what Hitler later put into practice were all outspoken opponents of Christianity. I am referring here to Wagner, Haeckel, and Nietzsche.
The last of these three, Nietzsche, not only denied the existence of God altogether – he also claimed (in his book significantly titled The Antichrist: A Curse on Christianity) that Christianity was nothing but a trick invented by the devious and cunning Jews to manipulate stronger people. Moreover, he described the Jews as vermin, bloodsuckers, hostile to life, and enemies of civilization. The venom against the Jews with which Nietzsche’s pages drips in this book has nothing to do with Christ and the apostles, but a great deal to do with the Third Reich – and Hitler’s admiration for Nietzsche is a documented fact. The following passage from Shirer is significant [http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/Nietzsche.html]:
Yet I think no one who lived in the Third Reich could have failed to be impressed by Nietzsche’s influence on it….Yet Nazi scribblers never tired of extolling him. Hitler often visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and publicized his veneration for the philosopher by posing for photographs of himself staring in rapture at the bust of the great man.
As to the social Darwinist Ernst Haeckel, Daniel Gasman in his impressive book The Scientific Origins of National Socialism explains how Darwin’s survival of the fittest was elevated by Haeckel and others to the racial level. Superior races, racial purity, life as a pitiless struggle without God or ethics in which the strong survive and the weak die, imperialism, German nationalism – all of these and other elements which have everything to do with the Third Reich and nothing to do with the bible are found in Haeckel.
A third source is Wagner. Holding to the then very common belief that Christianty was a religion of weakness and passivity that had corrupted the healthy and primitive pre-Christian society of German warriors, Wagner not only openly advocated dictatorship and German supremacy – he also had a deep hostility to Jews, as is documented in detail by Simon Weil in his online essay Wagner and the Jews[http://members.aol.com/wagnerbuch/intro.htm]. A well-known biography of Hitler gave the impression that Hitler liked Wagner’s music, nothing more, and neglected to mention that Wagner was a prolific writer whose many writings on race and politics connect him intimately with the Third Reich. This is elaborated on at length by Peter Viereck in his work Meta-politics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind.
This is not to say that these three men “caused” the Third Reich. It is to say that they are representative of deep and powerful trends in society that were at work long before Hitler was even born – and their roots are in the 19th century rebellion against God. The depth and extent of these trends as found not in individuals, but in organizations, clubs, publications, educational and professional associations and so on, have been examined in detail by George Mosse in his book The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich.This book examines the volkish movement in detail, shows it to have been widespread through influential levels of German society before WWI, and sees it as the immediate source of National Socialism.
Hitler himself wrote a great deal about volkish values and even has the term in a chapter title in Mein Kampf(“Personality and the Conception of the Folkish State,” Book II chapt.4). If he had said so much about Christianity and the state we would never hear the end of it. But, if he refers frequently to an expressly unChristian and even anti-Christian philosophy, that is relevant only to those who really want to understand his motivation.