cover image Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich

Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich

Richard Weikart. Regnery, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-62157-500-9

The myth that Adolf Hitler was a Christian persists, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—but perhaps that’s not so surprising, given that Hitler, especially early on, pretended to piety to gain power. Weikart (The Death of Humanity) carefully documents Hitler’s hatred and contempt of Christianity and his desire to destroy the Christian church. He also shows that Hitler, unlike some of his closest associates, was not an occultist or neo-pagan. Nor was he an atheist. Instead, argues Weikart, Hitler was a pantheist, but not of the gentle daffodil-loving variety. Hitler’s “pantheism,” Weikart argues, was ruthlessly Social Darwinist, and he believed that the “ironclad” laws of nature demanded endless strife in a bloody struggle for survival. Weikart offers no new scholarship: his strength is in his ability to organize existing, mostly primary-source, documentation into a readable and convincing whole. The book is middlebrow in a positive way: written in layman’s language but carefully argued, always acknowledging the core opacity of what Hitler really thought about the spiritual. The work is thoughtfully documented and a gift to those interested in an introductory overview of Hitler’s religious beliefs. (Nov.)