A look back at when Adolf Hitler was viewed as a messiah by many German people

Yesteryear: A look back at when Adolf Hitler was viewed as a messiah by many German people

Modern propaganda techniques—including strong images and simple messages—helped propel Adolf Hitler from a little known extremist to a leading political candidate in Germany’s 1932 presidential elections.

Nazi propagandists cast Hitler as a military leader, as a father figure, and ultimately as a messianic leader brought to redeem Germany. Propaganda idolized Hitler as a gifted statesman who brought stability, created jobs, and restored German greatness.

Nazi propagandists portrayed “Der Führer” (leader) as the living embodiment of the German nation, radiating strength and a single-minded devotion to Germany. –Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Nazi government ushered in key changes to the Christian Protestant churches in Germany. First, the Nazi leadership supported the German Christian movement, a group of Protestants who wanted to combine Christianity and National Socialism into a movement “that would exclude all those deemed impure and embrace all ‘true Germans’ in a spiritual homeland for the Third Reich.” Second, the Nazi leadership urged Protestants to unite all regional churches into a national church under the centralized leadership of Ludwig Müller, a well-known pastor and Nazi Party member, who was appointed as Reich bishop. Many German Protestants embraced these changes. By supporting the German Christian movement and Müller, they could continue to practice their faith and at the same time show support for Hitler. In a national vote by Protestants taken in July 1933, the German Christians were supported by two-thirds of voters, and Müller won the national election to lead them.

Not all Christian Protestants in Germany agreed with the German Christian movement and the changes it instituted. In response to the growing power of the German Christians, another Protestant faction was formed called the Confessing Church. Its slogan was “Church must remain church,” and its members sought to protect their religion from the grasp of politics and the Nazi government. Despite their opposition to the German Christian movement, the Confessing Church did not object to most elements of Nazism, and some people within the movement were Nazi Party members.

In general, Christian Protestants in Germany found a way to be both believers in Christianity and supporters of Nazism. In contrast, Christian Jehovah’’s Witnesses struggled under the Nazi regime. The Nazis targeted the Christian Jehovah’s Witnesses for persecution.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.






The Holocaust as reported in actual U.S. newspapers -The Jews of Europe

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