Historical Investigation to understand a troubling photograph

October 28, 2010

Were German Catholics pro-Nazi all along?

Filed under: — admin @ 9:54 am

Actually, quite the opposite. The leading Protestant historian of the churches during the Nazi era wrote: “between 1930 and 1933 the NSDAP [Nazi party] scored its above-average results in electoral districts with a Protestant majority, while its results in electoral districts with a Catholic majority were usually far below the national average.”  Klaus Scholder, The Churches and the Third Reich, trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), p. 128.

These results reflected Catholics following the warnings of their bishops against Nazi ideology and party membership.  After March 1933, when the bishops dropped their prohibitions on Catholics joining the Nazi party, Catholics voted in similar proportions to non-Catholics in the referenda of November 1933 and August 1934.   It was not a secret to the Nazis that German Catholics were influenced by the positions taken by the Church hierarchy.  They were able to recognize the value of a photograph of an archbishop blessing a swastika at an International Eucharistic Congress.

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