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God Hans F. K. Günther Hitler's Religion (book) Martin Bormann Nordicism Richard Weikart Roger Penrose

Hitler’s Religion: Chapter 8

Editor’s Note: We will now read excerpts from ‘Who was Hitler’s Lord?’, the eighth chapter of Hitler’s Religion by Richard Weikart:
 

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One of the most famous quotations from Hitler’s Mein Kampf is, “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Some construe this to mean Hitler believed in the Christian God and saw his war fighting against Jews as part of a religious battle that had been waged for centuries. Even though Hitler did not overtly appeal to Christianity in this statement, his use of the terms “Almighty Creator” and “Lord” would have been understood by many of his contemporaries (and those who currently ignore Hitler’s many anti-Christian utterances) as the Christian God. Anti-Semites in the Catholic or Protestant churches would have applauded him for doing “the work of the Lord.”

Nonetheless, there are major problems with suggesting that this statement indicates Hitler’s Lord was the Christian God. The aim of Hitler’s anti-Semitism—the “Lord’s work” he thought he was doing—was radically different from the goal of traditional Christian anti-Semitism (as mentioned in chapter six). The context itself suggests Hitler had some other kind of God in mind. Hitler was fulminating against the “Jewish doctrine of Marxism,” which he thought “rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature.” In the sentence immediately preceding his famous quotation about doing the work of the Lord, Hitler stated, “Eternal Nature inexorably avenges the infringement of her commands.” Four important points emerge from this. First, Hitler personified nature in this passage, ascribing to it characteristics that would normally be associated with God. Second, Hitler called nature eternal. If he thought nature existed forever, as this statement indicated, then the God he believed in could not have created nature sometime in the past. Thus Hitler’s God was not even a deistic, much less a theistic, God. The “Almighty Creator” he mentioned in the following sentence could not have created nature, making it highly probable that Hitler’s “Creator” was nature. Third, Hitler believed that nature’s commands defined morality, since he claimed nature issues commands…

Thus, the “Lord” on whose behalf Hitler was fighting the Jews was none other than nature deified. Samuel Koehne seems to agree with this interpretation, stating in a recent article, “At times he [Hitler] conflated this ‘divine will’ and ‘Nature,’ or the ‘commands’ of ‘Eternal Nature’ and the ‘will of the Almighty Creator.’” When Hitler called nature eternal in Mein Kampf, this was not just a slip of the pen (or typewriter). He referred to nature as eternal on several occasions throughout his career…

I am not, of course, the first person to conclude Hitler was a pantheist. In 1935, a religious commentator George Shuster placed the dominant German religious beliefs in the 1930s into five categories: Catholicism, Lutheranism, Judaism, neo-pantheism, and negativity toward religion. Though Hitler was influenced by the first two, his deepest cravings evinced pantheism, according to Shuster. Pius XI did not specifically mention Hitler in his encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, but he did combat therein the “pantheistic confusion” he saw in Nazi ideology. Shortly after World War II, the German theologian Walter Künneth interpreted Hitler’s religion as a form of apostasy from Christianity. He argued that when Hitler used terms like God, Almighty, and Creator, as he was wont to do, he redefined these terms in a pantheistic direction. Künneth stated, “In proper translation Hitler meant by ‘Creator’ the ‘eternal nature,’ by ‘Almighty’ and ‘Providence’ he meant the lawfulness of life, and by the ‘will of the Lord’ he meant the duty of people to submit themselves to the demands of the race.”

Robert Pois argues not only that Nazism advocated a religion of nature, but that it was central to the Nazi project. Their “religion was one which could and did serve to rationalize mass-murder,” he asserts. He only spends a few pages discussing Hitler’s own religious views, but he does portray Hitler as a pantheist who exalted “pitiless natural laws” above humanity. “What Hitler had done,” according to Pois, “was to wed a putatively scientific view of the universe to a form of pantheistic mysticism presumably congruent with adherence to ‘natural laws.’” In Pois’s view, Hitler’s pantheistic perspective was part of the Nazi revolt against the Christian faith and its values. Hitler “had virtually deified nature and he most assuredly identified God (or Providence) with it.” Pois might overstate the role played by the “religion of nature” in the Nazi Party, but he does demonstrate that it was not uncommon. André Mineau argues that the SS was inclined toward pantheism, stating, “The SS view of religion was a form of naturalistic pantheism that had integrated the biological paradigm.”

A number of other scholars who have analyzed Hitler’s religion concur it was pantheistic… Thomas Schirrmacher, in the most extensive and thorough analysis of Hitler’s religion to date, emphasizes the anti-Christian character of Hitler’s theology. However, Schirrmacher interprets Hitler as a non-Christian monotheist, specifically rejecting the idea that Hitler was a pantheist or deist. Oddly, however, Schirrmacher admits Hitler used the terms God, Almighty, and Creator synonymously with the rule of nature and the laws of nature.

Before I explain Hitler’s pantheistic religion in greater depth, it is important to understand that pantheism was an influential religious perspective in German-speaking lands (and elsewhere in Europe) before and during Hitler’s time. By the early twentieth century, two forms of pantheism had emerged, which I will call mystical pantheism and scientific pantheism. Mystical pantheists believed that the cosmos had a mind or will that was supreme, while scientific pantheists stressed determinism, i.e., the strict rule of natural laws. According to scientific pantheism, the laws of nature are an expression of the will of God and thus inescapable and ironclad. Mystical pantheism disagreed with this view, denying that science could fathom the mind of the universe. Mystical pantheism sometimes had affinities or even overlapped with animism, polytheistic nature-gods, or occultism. Scientific pantheism, on the other hand, shared similarities with atheism…
 

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Editor’s note

This is central to understanding what I call the religion of holy words, and only those philosophers who have speculated in astrophysical mysteries, as Roger Penrose has done, would understand anything. I mean how the beauty of the alphabet with which God created the universe (mathematics), to quote Galileo, is related to the beauty of Nature and the Aryan race in particular.

To defend Aryan beauty is to defend the emerging God that is being born with the pure, unpolluted Aryans, as can also be seen in this new series of images on European beauty that I have started in the new incarnation of this site. He who doesn’t feel beauty to the extent of wanting to preserve it, has not been initiated into the mysteries of our religion.

Weikart continues:

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Some forms of anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth century favored pantheism as an antidote to the supposedly Jewish features of monotheism. For instance, Eduard von Hartmann, who is sometimes regarded as a forerunner of Freud because of his philosophizing about the unconscious, promoted pantheism as a replacement for Christianity in 1874. He believed Christianity was in its death throes. Hartmann was a popularizer of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, though he blended it with Schelling’s pantheism. Hartmann praised pantheism as the original religion of the Aryans, while denigrating monotheism as an inferior Semitic religion…

(The NS regime honored the German Darwinian biologist and pantheist Ernst Haeckel by including his portrait in the 1936 “Exhibition of Great Germans” in Berlin.)

Another early twentieth-century figure who shared many affinities with Hitler’s religious views was Hans F. K. Günther, whom Hitler admired for his writings on Nordic racism. Hitler was so enthusiastic about Günther’s work that he pressed Wilhelm Frick to appoint him to a professorship in social anthropology at the University of Jena in 1930, and Hitler attended his inaugural lecture. When Hitler instituted a Nazi Party Prize for Art and Science at the 1935 Nuremberg Party Rally, he bestowed the first prize for science on Günther. In 1934, Günther discussed Nordic religion in his book Piety of a Nordic Kind. (The copy of this book that I examined was owned by the Adolf Hitler School, an elite Nazi educational institution, so, clearly the Nazis approved of this work.) In this book, Günther examined the religiosity of the Indo-Germanic people, not the specific content of their religions, yet he admitted that pantheism or some kind of mysticism is more compatible with Nordic religious inclinations than theism is. Like Hitler, he believed that the world is eternal, and he dismissed as an “Eastern” invention the idea that God created the world (“Eastern” likely meant Jewish in this context—it clearly was not referring to South or East Asian religions.) He also denied body-soul dualism, the need for redemption, and the existence of an afterlife, claiming instead that true religion should focus on this world…

Martin Bormann’s outspoken pantheistic views also seem similar to Hitler’s religion, and though he probably did not influence Hitler, he was able to disseminate his views to other Nazi Party leaders. In June 1941, Bormann, the head of the Nazi Party apparatus and one of the most powerful figures in the final four years of the Third Reich, issued a statement on the relationship between National Socialism and Christianity to all the Gauleiter. He told them that Nazis do not understand God as a human-like being sitting somewhere in the cosmos, but rather as the vastness of the universe itself. He continued,

“The force which moves all these bodies in the universe, in accordance with natural law, is what we call the Almighty or God. The assertion that this world-force can worry about the fate of every individual, every bacillus on earth, and that it can be influenced by so-called prayer or other astonishing things, is based either on a suitable dose of naiveté or on outright commercial effrontery.”

Bormann then equated morality with the laws of nature, which are the will of God. Though Rosenberg was critical of Bormann’s style, even he noted the content of Bormann’s missive was similar to Hitler’s ruminations during his Table Talks.

Bormann also equated God with nature in his private correspondence. In February 1940, he wrote to Rosenberg and encouraged him to help develop a handbook of moral instruction for the youth, so they could replace religion classes with moral education. One of the moral laws that Bormann wanted included was “love for the all-ensouled nature, in which God manifests himself even in animals and plants”…

When we examine Hitler’s religious statements in depth, we find that he often expressed views of nature and God that seem closer to pantheism than to any other religious position. Also, his friends and associates noticed that he had an extremely intense love of nature. His boyhood friend August Kubizek noted that Hitler loved nature “in a very personal way. He viewed nature as a whole. He called it the ‘Outside.’ This word from his mouth sounded so familiar, as though he had called it ‘Home’”…

Wagener also recalled Hitler discussing the celebration of Christmas. After noting that Christmas had originated as a pagan ceremony at the time of the winter solstice, Hitler indicated his approval for celebrating Christmas, but not in honor of Jesus’s birth. He asked, “Now, why shouldn’t our young people be led back to nature?” He hoped that Christmas festivities could lead children away from the church and “into the great outdoors, to show them the powerful workings of divine creation and make vivid to them the eternal rotation of the earth and the world and life.” He desired the Hitler Youth to introduce Christmas traditions in which “the young people should be led back to nature, they should recognize nature as the giver of life and energy. It is only in the freedom of nature that a human being can also open himself to a higher morality and a higher ethic.” Thus, Christmas Hitler-style would draw young people away from the church while fostering veneration for nature as the highest entity…

In a monologue in February 1942, Hitler discussed his plans for the observatory and planetarium he wanted to erect near his former hometown of Linz, Austria, which he intended to turn into a cultural capital of his Third Reich. Perched on a hill above Linz, the planetarium would replace the Catholic baroque pilgrimage church currently located there.

The church —this “temple of idols,” Hitler called it—would be torn down to make way for the observatory, which would become a Nazi pilgrimage site. The slogan on the observatory would read, “The heavens proclaim the glory of the Eternal One.” Hitler dreamed of tens of thousands of visitors flowing through this planetarium every Sunday, so they could comprehend the immense vastness of the universe. Thus Sunday would be a time to venerate nature, not the Christian God. Hitler hoped this contemplation of nature would instill in Germans a kind of religiosity that would replace the “superstition” of the churches.

He wanted people to be religious, but in an anticlerical (pfaffenfeindlichen) fashion. “We can do nothing better,” he said, “than to direct ever more people to these wonders of nature.” At the observatory, Hitler thought, people could learn, “A person can comprehend this and that, but he cannot dominate nature; he must know that he is a being dependent on the creation.” Hitler envisioned this observatory and planetarium as the new temples for the worship of nature. He was so serious about building the observatory that he had one of his favorite architects, Professor Gieseler, begin drawing up plans for it in 1942.

Another way that Hitler endowed nature with the attributes usually associated with God was by portraying it as the source of morality. In Mein Kampf, Hitler argued humans can never master nature but have to submit to its laws. An individual

“… must understand the fundamental necessity of Nature’s rule, and realize how much his existence is subjected to these laws of eternal fight and upward struggle. Then he will feel that in a universe where planets revolve around suns, and moons turn about planets, where force alone forever masters weakness, compelling it to be an obedient slave or else crushing it, there can be no special laws for man. For him, too, the eternal principles of this ultimate wisdom hold sway. He can try to comprehend them; but escape them, never.”

Nature dictates moral and social laws to humans, just as it controls the physical laws of the universe. Hitler reiterated this theme of nature being the source of morality several times in Mein Kampf, including passages discussed earlier in this chapter…

According to Hitler’s secretary Christa Schroeder, Hitler often discussed religion and the churches with the secretaries. She testified, “He had no kind of tie to the church. He considered the Christian religion an outdated, hypocritical and human-ensnaring institution. His religion was the laws of nature.” Schroeder confirmed what seems obvious from reading through Hitler’s monologues: he rejected Christianity and worshipped nature…

Hitler had little or no reason to pose as a pantheist, because this would not have appealed to a very large constituency. However, he had very strong political reasons to pose as a believer in a more traditional kind of God. Savvy politician that he was, he wanted to appeal to Germans of all religious persuasions, so he used more traditional God-language to win popular support. This is consistent with his own statements about the relationship between religion and propaganda, and it squares with what we know about his hypocritical use of Christian themes.

Another strong possibility is that Hitler’s view of God was not pantheistic, but panentheistic. Friedrich Tomberg argues this, claiming that Hitler embraced a panentheism that believed “everything is in nature, but nature is in God.” This would allow Hitler to equate nature with God, because panentheists see nature as divine. However, they also see God as having an existence beyond nature, too. A panentheist could construe God as intervening in history in some ways, though usually not in miraculous events. This could correspond roughly with the way Hitler described God blessing or favoring the German Volk.

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Henry Picker Martin Bormann Tischgespräche

The Führer’s monologues (ix)

This edition

The texts published here are all part of Martin Bormann’s collection of Führergespräche (Führer talks). They are printed in unabridged form, retaining their chronological order. As a rule, Heim summarised the content in a note immediately after each conversation. Only in a few cases did he add statements to later notes, resulting in slight deviations in the chronology (e.g., table talk #91). Only the regularly recurring opening formulas were deleted: ‘The boss expressed himself at tea in approximately the following lines of thought’ or: ‘The boss expressed himself in the sense of, among other things, the following lines of thought’.

Spelling has been normalised; corrections of obvious spelling mistakes, especially in personal names, are not marked. The omissions in the text appear in the original. It is unclear whether Heim left the gaps because he did not remember the information correctly, or whether there are other reasons for the omissions.

The records of Heim’s conversations that Henry Picker transcribed and included in his edition of the Tischgespräche are all marked with an asterisk after the document number. Given the errors and oversights that Picker made in transcribing or printing his documents, these texts should in future be cited according to the edition available here. The editor did not consider it necessary to point out all the deviations and oversights, as this would have impaired the readability of the source and bloated the annotation apparatus.

Document 6 of 9 August 1941, which Picker included in his edition, is not in the collection of interview transcripts. Nor was it written by Heim, as Picker claims. Whether these Grundsätze der Offiziers-Ehrauffassung were formulated based on the keywords and guiding ideas given by Hitler himself must remain an open question. They do not belong in this collection and are not included in the first edition of Tischgespräche edited by Gerhard Ritter.

Four of Hitler’s monologues (#41, 61, 62 and 213) were recorded by Martin Bormann himself. In character, they are more file notes and were partly dictated as such. However, since the head of the Party Chancellery himself classified them as ‘Führer Talks’ and placed them chronologically in his collection, they have been included in this edition, as have documents #203 to 212, which were prepared by one of Bormann’s assistants after Heim’s departure.

All other documents were dictated and signed by Heim.

Our commentary on Hitler’s monologues has been kept deliberately brief. The editor has refrained from interpreting expressions of opinion on questions of history, politics, worldview or art, as this would have more than doubled the annotation apparatus.

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Henry Picker Martin Bormann Tischgespräche

The Führer’s monologues (v)

If this rather light-hearted handling of the texts—and the examples could be multiplied—already suggests restraint about Picker’s tradition, the critical reserve is reinforced by two marginal notes by Bormann. In Picker’s record of the conversation of 12 May 1942,[1] the head of the Party Chancellery complains: ‘This transcript is in many cases quite inaccurate, since Dr Picker, when he took notes during the very long conversation, did not add to them who held this or that view!’ Quite obviously, then, Picker does not seem to have been sufficiently successful in reliably distinguishing Hitler’s views from those of his dinner guests or of party leaders not present who were quoted during the conversation. Even if the validity of the statement can no longer be verified, it must in any case call for caution. There is no evidence in the available material for Picker’s assertion that Bormann ‘blatantly corrected’ his notes. The objections are measured rather than sharp and unobjective. For example, Bormann found the note of the conversation of 4 July 1942 ‘in many cases not quite accurate’, for in a conversation about the Concordat, Hitler had stated: ‘In the case of a Reich regulation, we would have to go by the area that was furthest behind ideologically, i.e. particularly favourable to the enemy’. Picker must have considered this correction by Bormann to be justified, because he included the sentence in his text in a slightly modified form—without, of course, marking it as an addition by another hand—which in no way made the passage in question more precise or unambiguous.[2] In other respects, too, Picker seems to have found notes dictated by Bormann worthy of attention, for he incorporated them very generously into his edition of the Tischgespräche and did not always mark them as someone else’s intellectual property.[3]

Since Picker considers his transcripts made for the NSDAP party chancellery to be private property, a historical-critical edition of all the records from the Führer’s headquarters, as Eberhard Jäckel and Martin Broszat have repeatedly called for, is not to be expected in the foreseeable future. Given the deficiencies of Picker’s records, such an edition would be urgently desirable in the interest of international research.

A discussion of the insightful value of the source must first start with the motives that determined Martin Bormann to have Hitler’s monologues recorded. When he took over as head of the party chancellery after Hess’s flight to England in May 1941, he was aware that the political influence of the NSDAP in the country had dwindled because it lacked ideological unity and a clear course. He wanted to remedy this. Since he knew the close ties between the National Socialist elite and Hitler and was well aware that even the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter had not developed an independent position, only the party leader himself came into question as an interpreter of the world view. Bormann hoped that by fixing Hitler’s statements he could create a kind of compendium for the intellectual-political orientation of the NSDAP. Based on the party leader’s comments on concrete events and his declarations of intent in connection with domestic and foreign policy decisions, he wanted to coordinate and activate party work. To secure for the NSDAP the role of the ‘will-bearer of the nation’, which was always aspired to but never achieved, Bormann tried to immediately translate Hitler’s thoughts and views into political practice and incorporate them into the decrees and directives of the Party Chancellery. In possession of clear directives, the political leaders in the country had to succeed, he hoped, in emphatically reasserting their claim to leadership vis-à-vis state authorities, offices of the Wehrmacht and influential business circles.

Martin Bormann, left.

In some cases, the head of the party chancellery passed on Hitler’s statements as directives. For example, Alfred Rosenberg, Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, received by letter on 23 July 1942 everything that Hitler had developed in conversation shortly beforehand in terms of views on Ostpolitik.[4] In another case, there is evidence that a note by Heim was made available to the responsible Reich Minister. Following the reception of the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Thierack, and his State Secretary at the Führer’s headquarters on 20 August 1942, Hitler abandoned the customary practice of not discussing at the table the matters under discussion. He criticised the administration of justice, which in his opinion was due to a lack of political insight, and then very firmly formulated his views and demands. Bormann gave the monologue transcript prepared by Heim to the minister so that he could familiarise himself in detail with his Führer’s thoughts and make them the guideline for his actions. This is what happened; in any case, Hitler’s formulations can be found in the speech that Thierack gave to the directors of the higher regional courts and the attorneys general on 29 September 1942.[5] What effect this speech had, whether it impressed or even influenced the judges, cannot be proven, however. Doubts are permitted here, because Hitler was repeatedly dissatisfied with the judiciary even later.

In general, the political effectiveness of the system should not be inferred from Bormann’s intentions and restless activity. The head of the party chancellery by no means immediately transformed every thought Hitler expressed into an order,[6] but kept precisely to the limits Hitler set for him. Thus, among other things, he was fundamentally forbidden to take a harder line against the churches, as he wished. The Reichsleiter also had no power of action in personnel policy. Hitler reserved the right to decide in all important cases. The Gauleiters of the NSDAP in particular, as well as the leaders of the branches and affiliated associations, knew this and therefore decided very high-handedly whether to heed or ignore Bormann’s directives. For example, the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of Hamburg, Karl Kaufmann, weakened Hitler’s criticism of the judiciary by explaining to the judges in his Higher Regional Court district that they had given no cause for complaint, that the criticism was primarily directed at the Ministry and not at the individual judge.[7] But precisely in this way he contradicted the opinion of the party leadership, without being reprimanded for it. He was not required to drop the considerations and steer a harder course.

Bormann’s intimate knowledge of Hitler’s views undoubtedly enabled him to reinforce the party’s influence in important decision-making processes at the highest level. However, he was not able to bring the party onto a unified and clear political course. The distance from the Führer’s headquarters to Berlin and the Gau capitals was too far for that, and the war in any case considerably narrowed the scope for action. Joseph Goebbels, the Gauleiter of Berlin, later gave vent to his growing annoyance in his diary: ‘Bormann has turned the party chancellery into a paper office. Every day he sends out a mountain of letters and files that the Gauleiter, who is now in the thick of the fight, can practically no longer even read through’.[8] Ultimately, precise knowledge of Hitler’s worldview was primarily to Bormann’s advantage in that he strengthened his reputation by expressing the same views. Despite his restless zeal and the comprehensive information he received, he remained Hitler’s first assistant until his death.

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[1] Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche, doc. 114, p. 283.

[2] Ibid., doc. 168, p. 414.

[3] Ibid., oc. 43 (24. 2. 1942), p. 135, clearly bears Bormann’s dictation mark.

[4] This was first pointed out by Alexander Dallin, Deutsche Herrschaft in Russland 1941-1945, Düsseldorf 1958, pp. 15 and 469/70. Letter from Bormann to Rosenberg, 23 July 1942, ND-NO 1878.

[5] Detailed references in Lothar Gruchmann, Hitler über die Justiz. Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 12, 1964, p. 91.

[6] Jochen von Lang, Der Sekretär. Stuttgart 1977, p. 229.

[7] Werner Johe, Die gleichgeschaltete Justiz. Organisation des Rechtswesens und Politisierung der Rechtsprechung 1933-1945, dargestellt am Beispiel des Oberlandesgerichtsbezirks Hamburg. Frankfurt/Main 1962, p. 176.

[8] Joseph Goebbels, Tagebücher 1945. Die letzten Aufzeichnungen. Hamburg 1977, p. 514. Similar complaints from other Gauleiters are also available from earlier times.

Categories
Henry Picker Martin Bormann Tischgespräche

The Führer’s monologues (iii)

Picker (pic left) pointed out in the introduction to the edition of his Table Talk that, apart from short walks, Hitler ‘only found the necessary mental and spiritual relaxation in private conversation at his table, i.e. in talking in a personal, convivial atmosphere’.[1] This purpose was best achieved the further the respective topic of conversation led away from the pressing tasks and decisions of the day. Since every effort and concentration was to be avoided, the guests refrained from deepening or continuing a topic by asking questions or raising objections. In addition, the commander-in-chief, who was cut off from many contacts and isolated from the people in his headquarters, also monologued to gain clarity for himself. He found it particularly helpful when the guests were open-minded and joined in. During the war, the small dinner party replaced the population, whose response Hitler had always so urgently needed for his decisions and whom he could not entirely do without.

The need for communication became even more obvious at the nightly teatimes. Hitler didn’t retire after the evening briefing to relax or reflect on current events, but invited a few confidants to his bunker, which also served him as a workroom, to shed the burden of the day and gain new energy. He attached particular importance to the presence of his secretaries, because he felt stimulated by this, but at the same time the informal atmosphere was preserved. Very different topics were often discussed than in the conversations in the larger circle.
 

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Editor’s Note: This is what those who do a detailed analysis of Mein Kampf fail to understand: the real Hitler is the one of his after-dinner talks. The other is the ‘PR Hitler’ for the masses.
 

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When assessing Hitler’s monologues, these aspects will always have to be taken into account. It corresponded to the need for relaxation and repression that in the winter months of 1941/42 the serious crisis on the Eastern Front, the hardships of the population in the increasingly severe war, the supply difficulties and the looming weakness of Italy weren’t mentioned at all. No less visible is the need for recreation in the reminiscences of a special past, the reports of interesting encounters and experiences, and discussions about questions of art. This is often matched by the style of relaxed chit-chat, whereby the topics changed quickly and easily and undoubtedly not every word and every opinion should be weighed on the gold scales.

Hitler sought contact with his aides and collaborators when fundamental questions of worldview and politics moved him and he wanted to gain clarity about his course of action, especially about the possibilities and limits he had for his actions during the war. The frequent discussions on questions of faith, the vitality of Christianity in Germany and Europe, the position of the churches on National Socialism and politics in the occupied territories of Eastern Europe belong in this context; and the same for his remarks on the administration of justice and the special problems of the penal system under the exceptional conditions of war. Hitler sensed in his conversations with the few people around him in the Führer’s headquarters that the readiness to take tougher and more uncompromising action against outsiders or enemies of the regime grew the more severe as the war unfolded, and the sacrifices it demanded. Even in the seclusion of his headquarters, he still had a feeling for the mood in the country and the state of consciousness of the individual groups and classes. Hence his repeated harsh criticism of the administration and its schematism, which was shared by parts of the population, his mockery of the concerns and objections of the experts in all areas of public life, and his anger at the Germans who showed fear and disgust given the deportations of Jews and the persecution measures in the occupied territories.
 

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Editor’s Note: This reminds me of American racialists that falter over the exterminationist measures that William Pierce fantasized about in both fiction and his story of the white race.
 

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Now, admittedly, the records convey only an inadequate picture of Hitler’s remarks. Heim did take notes at lunchtime and in the evening during the talks in the larger circle ‘to have a basis for the most important details’. But even then, after the board had been removed, he was only able to summarise on a few pages what sometimes had been discussed in great detail. For the very long monologues during the nightly teatimes, he had to rely entirely on his memory.

Furthermore, Bormann’s adjutant, who was interested in problems of art, refrained from the outset from ‘recording statements on military and questions of technology’ because he wasn’t competent and knowledgeable in this regard. He did this in wise self-restraint, although conversations about these topics at the table took up a great deal of space and Hitler had considerable knowledge in these areas. But beyond that, Heim didn’t jot down anything unless he was sure ‘that he had grasped the gist of it’. When reading these notes it must always be borne in mind that they contain by no means everything that concerned Hitler and what he talked about.

Nevertheless, the transcripts presented here are of great value because the man who made them, as a convinced National Socialist, tried to capture the ‘train of thought and the quintessence’ of what he heard. Particularly short, striking statements and remarks on ideological and political issues, that were familiar to Heim as an old party comrade, stuck with him. When talking about less familiar topics or events that were off the beaten track, on the other hand, sentences were sometimes recorded that no longer allow a full reconstruction of the course of the conversation and the train of thought.

No matter how hard Heim tried to convey the words of his leader as faithfully and accurately as possible, they remain subjectively filtered. Here, too, what Baroness Spitzemberg noted in her diary about a long conversation with Bismarck in Friedrichsruh after his resignation is true: ‘In writing all this down immediately after hearing it, with no other intention than to entrust the great man’s words to this book, I realise how inevitable the errors are… When I read over what has been written, I am well aware that I have not written anything wrong; but some things have nevertheless been left out, through the different order or it doesn’t appear as it was intended. Perhaps I put a different meaning in the prince’s words!’[2]

To leave no doubt that it was always only a summary of Hitler’s remarks, Heim introduced each interview note with a sentence such as: ‘According to the meaning, the chief expressed himself in approximately the following lines of thought’, or: ‘Among other things, according to the meaning, the chief expressed himself as follows…’ This practice was also adhered to by Bormann’s adviser, who recorded the few statements from the years 1943/44. His notes always began with the formula: ‘Today the Führer said roughly the following…’ This makes it clear that it is merely a reproduction, that long discussions were summarised, and that occasionally less important or very specific statements were omitted.

This finding must be particularly emphasized because Picker described Heim’s 36 conversation recordings, which he included in his edition of the Tischgespräche, as ‘original shorthand’.[3] This claim may be in private interest—shorthand notes are not protected by copyright to the same extent as memorial transcripts and memos, but it doesn’t serve the needs of science and the interested public at all. After all, there is a serious difference between a verbatim reproduction of Hitler’s remarks and a summary of his monologues.

Moreover, Picker’s assertion that he had received the express permission of Hitler and Bormann to take his own and some selected notes of Heim’s must also be questioned. According to Heim, Hitler knew nothing at all about his notes. He can therefore—at least in the case of Heim’s texts—hardly have had material at his disposal of which he had no knowledge. Furthermore, it is not evident why Bormann treated the Führer’s talks as a ‘secret’ party matter and carefully kept them safe, if at the same time he expressly released them as a private work.

For the evaluation of the source, it is of great importance whether Hitler carefully checked his statements in the knowledge of the transcripts and only said what was allowed to become known, or whether he was able to speak freely and relaxedly in a circle of confidants about questions that shouldn’t leak out, to which he didn’t yet have a clear answer. All the information suggests that the latter was the case. In any case, Hitler didn’t expect that what he said at the nightly meetings in his study would be recorded in writing. In this relaxed atmosphere he expressed himself more openly and informally than at the lunch and dinner table. Picker was well aware of this, because during his work on Bormann’s staff he mainly procured copies of these notes. Of the 36 notes he took from Heim’s inventory into his edition, 13 alone refer to the nightly teatimes, to which he was never asked.

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[1] Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche, p. 24.

[2] Das Tagebuch der Baronin Spitzemberg. Ausgewählt und herausgegeben von Rudolf Vierhaus (The Diary of Baroness Spitzemberg. Selected and edited by Rudolf Vierhaus). Göttingen 1976, p. 291.

[3] Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche, p. 33.

Categories
Henry Picker Martin Bormann Tischgespräche

The Führer’s monologues (ii)

The majority of Hitler’s monologues, which are published in this volume, were handed down by Heinrich Heim (pic above). He was born in Munich on 15 June 1900, and grew up in Zweibrücken where he also attended school.

In keeping with his heritage—Heim came from an old and respected Bavarian legal family (his father was a judge at the Bavarian Supreme Court and from 1918 to 1925 a member of the Bavarian State Court and for a time of the Disciplinary Court)—he studied law at the University of Munich.

Heim met Rudolf Hess at an economics college and through him came into contact with the NSDAP, which he joined as early as 19 July 1920. After passing his exams for the higher judicial and administrative service, the young lawyer set up his own practice in Munich. He worked in an office partnership with Dr Hans Frank, who was already Hitler’s and the NSDAP’s preferred legal representative at that time. Heim, too, immediately became active as a lawyer for the party. He primarily represented the interests of the NSDAP’s relief fund, which was headed by Martin Bormann. This established a collaboration that lasted until 1945.

When Rudolf Hess was appointed Deputy Leader in 1933 and Martin Bormann appointed as his chief of staff, the systematic development of an efficient party headquarters began.

Bormann brought Heim onto his staff on 13 August 1933 where he worked, albeit initially on a fee basis without clearly defined responsibilities. Only after the National Socialist party leadership had been given a say in state legislation and namely in the appointment and promotion of civil servants, other lawyers and staff were recruited. In the newly established constitutional law department of the party headquarters, Heim was assigned the handling of all questions concerning the judiciary. He remained in this position of head of the Reich Office until the end of 1939. In 1936 he was appointed senior government councillor, and in 1939 he received the rank of ministerial councillor.

When, at the beginning of the war, Martin Bormann (who had already been in Berlin from time to time and had kept the connection between Hitler and the party leadership) followed the leader of the NSDAP to his respective headquarters, he took Heim with him as his adjutant. He remained in this position from the end of 1939 until the autumn of 1942. After that, when he returned to the Braune Haus in Munich, he headed a newly created department until the end of the war, in which fundamental questions of a reorganisation of Europe were dealt with.

The decisive factor for Heim’s command to the Führer’s headquarters was Hitler’s wish. If possible, he only wanted to see people he knew in his environment.

The fact that Heim was one of his earliest followers (he had the old membership number 1782) also established a special relationship of trust that made him seem suitable to record Hitler’s discussions and explanations. As Bormann’s adjutant, Heim not only ate regularly at Hitler’s table, but he was also frequently invited to the nightly teatimes in the Führer’s bunker, which were attended only by the closest political confidants and the secretaries. The circle was rarely larger than six to eight people. The records of these nocturnal monologues by Hitler make up the special value of Heim’s collection.

In spring 1942, Heim was commissioned to assist the painter Karl Leipold, to whom he was particularly close, in preparing an exhibition at the Haus der Kunst. For the time of his absence from the Führer’s headquarters from March to July 1942, Bormann was looking for a substitute. Since no one was available in the party chancellery, he turned to the Gauleiter of the NSDAP and asked them for suggestions. Among the names he was given was that of Dr Henry Picker, a senior government official. He had been proposed by the Gauleiter of Oldenburg, Karl Rover. The party chancellery made a preliminary selection, and the decision lay with Hitler himself.

Bormann accepted Picker as Heim’s representative because the proposal came from a proven Gauleiter and Hitler transferred the recognition he paid to Picker’s father to his son. Senator Daniel Picker had already promoted the NSDAP in Wilhelmshaven in 1929 and brought its leader into contact with representatives of the shipyard industry and the navy.[1]

During his visits to the port city, Hitler had repeatedly been a guest in the Picker house. For the sake of clarification, it deserves to be stated that Henry Picker did not come to the Führer’s headquarters as a civil servant or lawyer, but served there as Bormann’s adjutant on behalf of the Party Chancellery. His permanent duties therefore included recording Hitler’s conversations during the official lunch and dinner table.

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[1] Picker: Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier (op. cit.), page 12.

Categories
Christendom Joseph Goebbels Martin Bormann Quotable quotes

Rosenberg, Heydrich et al

What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.

—Joseph Goebbels

National Socialist and Christian concepts are incompatible.

— Martin Bormann

There’s an old saying: “Judge them by the company they keep.” Hitler surrounded himself with openly rabid anti-Christians like Himmler, Bormann, Rosenberg, Goebbels and Heydrich. Hardly the people a devout Christian would want to be around.

—VNN commenter

Categories
Ethnic cleansing Joseph Stalin Martin Bormann Table talks (commercial translation) Third Reich Ukraine

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 156

the-real-hitler

 

23rd July 1942, after dinner

Let us admire Stalin—The danger of racial pressure in the Eastern territories—Contraception should be encouraged.

It is very stupid to sneer at the Stakhanov system. The arms and equipment of the Russian armies are the best proof of its efficiency in the handling of industrial man-power. Stalin, too, must command our unconditional respect. In his own way he is a hell of a fellow! He knows his models, Genghiz Khan and the others, very well, and the scope of his industrial planning is exceeded only by our own Four Year Plan. And there is no doubt that he is quite determined that there shall be in Russia no unemployment such as one finds in such capitalist States as the United States of America.

Bormann, who has just returned from a tour of inspection of the Kolkhoz in the vicinity of General Headquarters, gave his impressions: “If these people are allowed, under German supervision—that is, under greatly improved conditions—to multiply too quickly, it will be against our interests, for the racial pressures which these damned Ukrainians will exercise will constitute a real danger.” Hitler commented:

I recently read an article from the pen of some Herr Doktor advocating the prohibition of the sale in the occupied territories of contraceptives. If any criminal lunatic should really try to introduce this measure I’d soon have his head off!

In view of the extraordinary fertility of the local inhabitants, we should be only too pleased to encourage the women and the girls to practise the arts of contraception at all times. Far from prohibiting the sale of contraceptives, therefore, we should do our utmost to encourage it.

We should call on the Jews for help! With their unrivalled sense of commerce, they are the very people for the job!

In all seriousness, however, there is a very real danger that these local inhabitants will increase too rapidly under our care and domination. Their conditions of life will inevitably improve under our jurisdiction, and we must take all the measures necessary to ensure that the non-German population does not increase at an excessive rate. In these circumstances, it would be sheer folly to place at their disposal a health service such as we know it in Germany; and so—no inoculations and other preventative measures for the natives! We must even try to stifle any desire for such things, by persuading them that vaccination and the like are really most dangerous!

It is, furthermore, essential to avoid doing anything which might give rise to a feeling of superiority or of racial pride among the natives. This is of the utmost importance, for it is only by the creation of the very reverse state of mind that we shall be able to prepare the ground for the accomplishment of our plans.

For these reasons, the local population must be given no facilities for higher education. A failure on our part in this respect would simply plant the seeds of future opposition to our rule. Schools, of course, they must have—and they must pay for their tuition. But there is no need to teach them much more than, say, the meaning of the various road-signs. Instruction in geography can be restricted to one single sentence: The Capital of the Reich is Berlin, a city which everyone should try to visit once in his lifetime. Finally, elementary instruction in reading and writing in German will complete the course. Mathematics and such like are quite unnecessary.

In setting up the educational system, the same principles apply to both Eastern territories and any other colonies. We do not want any of this enlightenment nonsense propagated by an advance guard of parsons! I am in favour of teaching a little German in the schools simply because this will facilitate our administration.

Otherwise every time some German instruction is disobeyed, the local inhabitant will come along with the excuse that he “didn’t understand”. For the same reason, the Russian script must be replaced by the Latin. The greatest possible mistake we could make would be to take the local population too much under the wing of the State; and to avoid all danger of our own people becoming too soft-hearted and too humane towards them, we must keep the German colonies strictly separated from the local inhabitants. Germans will in no circumstances live in a Ukrainian town.

The houses to be constructed for the Germans must in no respect resemble those of the Russians, and lime-plaster and thatched roofs will not be used.


_____________________________

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Categories
Martin Bormann Table talks (commercial translation)

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 158

the-real-hitler

 

26th July 1942, after dinner

Do’s and Don’ts for Civil Servants—The temptations to corruption—A few swindlers.

The Fuehrer asked Bormann whether the necessary steps had been taken to make it illegal for any member of the Reichstag to sit on the Board of Directors of any private concern. Bormann replied that the matter had been deferred until the end of the war and suggested that Lammers should be asked to give a detailed explanation in his next report. The Fuehrer was horrified at this reply, and said:

No servant of the State must be a shareholder. No Gauleiter, no Member of the Reichstag and, in general, no Party leader must be a member of any board of directors, regardless of whether the appointment is honorary or paid; for even if the individual were actuated solely by the interests of the State, and even if he possessed the integrity of Cato himself, the public would lose faith in him.

No Member of the Reichstag, no civil servant and no Party leader must be in any way connected with business of this nature. Big business is as hot on the trail of such connections as the Devil after the soul of a Jew.

Even the most capable businessman is sometimes caught by the swindler. I am thinking of Roselius, who extracted the caffein from coffee and sold it at a high price as a medicine, and then sold his processed coffee at a price above that of normal coffee. Well, even this astute Roselius was caught by a crook who claimed to be able to transform dirty water into pure water. Shortly after I came into power, Roselius forced my hand and I consented to receive this eminent person. I only had to hear this great “inventor” speak for a moment, to discover that he was a complete crook.

Then the Minister for Church Affairs, or course, had to fall into the hands of another soi-disant inventor, who claimed to be able to extract petrol from coal by means of a process with water! Even Keppler allowed himself to be led by the nose for nearly a year by the same sharper, who really did produce petrol for his dupes’ inspection—but it was petrol procured from other sources! When things at last got too hot for this particular swindler, he tried to get a safe-conduct out of the country. But Himmler, who originally had believed in him, gave him instead a carte d’entrée for one of the concentration camps, where he was able to continue his experiments in peace!

“If such swindles are possible here in this country,” said Bormann, “what must it be like in a place like the United States!” The Fuehrer continued:

Germany’s strength lies in the fact that the men of the Party, the State and the armed forces take no part in business; and those of them who still have any connection with business must now make their final decision: either they must abandon all such connections, or they must resign from their official positions.


_____________________________

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Categories
Catholic Church Christendom Mainstream media Martin Bormann Table talks (commercial translation)

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 159

the-real-hitler

 

1st August 1942, evening

British lies—A comparison with America—The Church’s cunning wisdom—Exit the Pope.

Conversation turned to a book entitled Juan in America which Bormann had recently lent to the Fuehrer. In it the author paints a picture of the unbelievable conditions which reigned in the intellectual and political circles of the United States, and of the astonishing credulity of the American citizen. Hewel stated that this credulity was not an exclusively American characteristic, and that in Britain, too, the people swallowed everything they were told. Hitler said:

It is perfectly true that the British swallow everything they are told. At the moment, nevertheless, there is a certain amount of murmuring over faked reports. According to the Americans themselves, America has the finest, biggest and most efficient of everything in the wide world; and when one then reads a book like this about them, one sees that they have the brains of a hen! Well, the disillusionment will be all the more severe, and the consternation, when this house of cards collapses, will be enormous.

It is very difficult to argue with Americans. They immediately shout: “Say, take a look at what our workers earn!” True, but let us take a look at the shady side as well. The industrial worker earns his eighty dollars; but the man who is not in industry gets absolutely nothing. At one time they had no less than thirteen million unemployed. I have seen pictures of shelters built out of old kerosene tins which the unemployed had erected for themselves and which remind me of the holes of misery to be found in the Bolshevik industrial cities. I grant you that our standard of life is lower. But the German Reich has two hundred and seventy opera houses—a standard of cultural existence of which they over there have no conception.

To sum it up, the Americans live like sows in a most luxurious sty!

Reichsleiter Bormann drew attention to the gifts which France made almost every day to the Church, and on which the power of the Church was thriving mightily. The Fuehrer continues:

It was exactly the same in Bavaria! Held restored to the Church forest lands to the value of thirty or forty million marks, lands which by expropriation belonged to the State!

The Church has succeeded in striking a very pretty balance between life on earth and in the Hereafter. On earth, they say, the poor must remain poor and blessed, for in Heaven the earthly rich will get nothing; and the unfortunate poor on earth believe them!

It is only by keeping the masses ignorant that the existing social order of things can be maintained; in the eyes of the faithful, this is the justification for supreme Papal authority. Cramer-Klett told me one day that he had become a Catholic because he realised that Luther with his Reformation had completely destroyed authority as such.

Possibly—but I cannot help thinking that man has been endowed with a brain which he is intended to make use of, and that anything which is founded on a premise unacceptable to the human intellect cannot endure for ever. It is not possible to hold fast for very long to tenets which the progress of knowledge have proved to be false. I should be wrong if I condemned as a liar a man who believed firmly in the Aristotelean or Ptolemaic world, when he had no other alternative to choose from. But a man who still believes in this old conception of the world today certainly is a liar. No science remains stationary. In my eyes the ability of mankind to reject a proven untruth is one of its virtues. By the Church the Unknown is described and explained with precision, and if she advances with the times, the ground must inevitably be cut from under her feet. For this reason she is opposed to all progress. It adds little to our knowledge of the Creator when some parson presents to us an indifferent copy of a man as his conception of the Deity.

The most pressing danger, as I see it, is that Christianity, by adhering to a conception of the Beyond which is constantly exposed to the attacks of unceasing progress, and by binding it so closely to many of the trivialities of life which may at any moment collapse, is ripening mankind for conversion to materialistic Bolshevism. And that is a terrible tragedy. Man will lose all sense of proportion, and once he considers himself to be the lord of the universe, it will be the end of everything. And if the Church in Spain continues in the way it is doing, it will end on the refuse-heap.

In Venice, in 1934, the Duce once said to me: “One of these days the Pope will have to leave Italy; there is not room for two Masters!” The Church of today is nothing more than a hereditary joint stock company for the exploitation of human stupidity.


_____________________________

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Categories
Ancient Rome Christendom Communism / Bolshevism Jesus Martin Bormann St Paul Table talks (commercial translation)

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 192

the-real-hitler
Night of 29th-30th November 1944

Jesus and Saint Paul—Christianity, a Jewish manoeuvre—Christianity and Communism—National Socialism, the implacable enemy of everything Jewish.
 

Jesus was most certainly not a Jew. The Jews would never have handed one of their own people to the Roman courts; they would have condemned him themselves. It is quite probable that a large number of the descendants of the Roman legionaries, mostly Gauls, were living in Galilee, and Jesus was probably one of them. His mother may well have been a Jewess.

Jesus fought against the materialism of his age, and, therefore, against the Jews.

Paul of Tarsus, who was originally one of the most stubborn enemies of the Christians, suddenly realised the immense possibilities of using, intelligently and for other ends, an idea which was exercising such great powers of fascination. He realised that the judicious exploitation of this idea among non-Jews would give him far greater power in the world than would the promise of material profit to the Jews themselves. It was then that the future St. Paul distorted with diabolical cunning the Christian idea. Out of this idea, which was a declaration of war on the golden calf, on the egotism and the materialism of the Jews, he created a rallying point for slaves of all kinds against the elite, the masters and those in dominant authority.

The religion fabricated by Paul of Tarsus, which was later called Christianity, is nothing but the Communism of today.

Bormann intervened. Jewish methods, he said, have never varied in their essentials. Everywhere they have stirred up the plebs against the ruling classes. Everywhere they have fostered discontent against the established power. For these are the seeds which produce the crop they hope later to gather.

Everywhere they fan the flames of hatred between peoples of the same blood. It is they who invented class-warfare, and the repudiation of this theory must therefore always be an anti-Jewish measure. In the same way, any doctrine which is anti-Communist, any doctrine which is anti-Christian must, ipso facto, be anti-Jewish as well.

The National Socialist doctrine is therefore anti-Jewish in excelsis, for it is both anti-Communist and anti-Christian. National Socialism is solid to the core, and the whole of its strength is concentrated against the Jews, even in matters which appear to have a purely social aspect and are designed for the furtherance of the social amenities of our own people.

The Fuehrer concluded: Burgdorff has just given me a paper which deals with the relationship between Communism and Christianity. It is comforting to see how, even in these days, the fatal relationship between the two is daily becoming clearer to the human intelligence.

_____________________________

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