Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader - fuelled by anger, incapable of forming normal human relationships and unwilling to debate political issues. Such was the depth of his hatred that he would become a war criminal arguably without precedent in history. Yet this strange character was once loved by millions. How was this possible, and what role did Hitler's alleged 'charisma' play in his success? With the help of testimony from those who lived through those times, film archive - including colour home movies - and specially shot documentary footage, this film reveals how Hitler managed to turn from a nobody in 1913 - someone thought 'peculiar' - into the chancellor and fuehrer of the German people.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - Religion in Nazi Germany - Netflix
For the significance of occultism and paganism in Nazism see the article Religious aspects of Nazism. In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%. A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia into Germany, indicates that 54% considered themselves Protestant, 40% Catholic, 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig” (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic), and 1.5% as “atheist”. There was some diversity of personal views among the Nazi leadership as to the future of religion in Germany. Anti-Church radicals included Hitler's Personal Secretary Martin Bormann, Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, paganist Nazi Philosopher Alfred Rosenberg, and paganist occultist Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Some Nazis, such as Hans Kerrl, who served as Hitler's Minister for Church Affairs pushed for “Positive Christianity”, which was a uniquely Nazi form which rejected its Jewish origins and the Old Testament, and portrayed “true” Christianity as a fight against Jews. Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness of the German people—their attitudes, values and mentalities—into a single-minded, obedient “national community”. The Nazis believed they would therefore have to replace class, religious and regional allegiances. Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany's 28 existing Protestant churches. The plan failed, and was resisted by the Confessing Church. Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Hitler moved quickly to eliminate Political Catholicism. Amid harassment of the Church, the Reich concordat treaty with the Vatican was signed in 1933, and promised to respect Church autonomy. Hitler routinely disregarded the Concordat, closing all Catholic institutions whose functions were not strictly religious. Clergy, nuns, and lay leaders were targeted, with thousands of arrests over the ensuing years. The Church accused the regime of “fundamental hostility to Christ and his Church”. Historians resist however a simple equation of Nazi opposition to both Judaism and Christianity. Nazism was clearly willing to use the support of Christians who accepted its ideology and Nazi opposition to both Judaism and Christianity was not fully analogous in the minds of the Nazis. Smaller religious minorities such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Bahá'í Faith were banned in Germany, while the eradication of Judaism by the genocide of its adherents was attempted. The Salvation Army, the Christian Saints and the Seventh-day Adventist Church all disappeared from Germany, while astrologers, healers and fortune tellers were banned. The small pagan “German Faith Movement”, which worshipped the sun and seasons, supported the Nazis. Many historians believed that Hitler and the Nazis intended to eradicate Christianity in Germany after winning victory in the war.
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - Religious aspects of Nazism - Netflix
Several elements of Nazism were quasi-religious in nature. The cult around Hitler as the Führer, the “huge congregations, banners, sacred flames, processions, a style of popular and radical preaching, prayers-and-responses, memorials and funeral marches” have been described by historians of Esotericism such as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke as “essential props for the cult of race and nation, the mission of Aryan Germany and her victory over her enemies.” These different religious aspects of Nazism have led some scholars to consider Nazism, like communism, to be a kind of political religion. Hitler's plans, for example, to erect a magnificent new capital in Berlin (Welthauptstadt Germania), has been described as his attempt to build a version of the New Jerusalem. Since Fritz Stern's classical study The Politics of Cultural Despair, most historians have viewed the relationship between Nazism and religion in this way. Some historians see the Nazi movement and Adolf Hitler as fundamentally hostile to Christianity, though not irreligious. In the first chapter of The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, historian John S. Conway elaborates that Christian Churches in Germany had lost their appeal during the era of the Weimar Republic, and that Hitler offered “what appeared to be a vital secular faith in place of the discredited creeds of Christianity.” Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, wrote in his memoirs that Hitler himself had a negative view towards the mystical notions pushed by Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg. Speer quotes Hitler as having said of Himmler's attempt to mythologize the SS:
What nonsense! Here we have at last reached an age that has left all mysticism behind it, and now [Himmler] wants to start that all over again. We might just as well have stayed with the church. At least it had tradition. To think that I may some day be turned into an SS saint! Can you imagine it? I would turn over in my grave...
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler - References - Netflix