Hitler as Messiah and God

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, said in a broadcast on 19 April 1936, that "Germany has been transformed into a great house of the Lord where the Fuhrer as our mediator stands before the throne of God."

"Spiritual" sentiments of this kind were echoed time and again during Hitler’s glory years. Another powerful voice in the Nazi party, Dr. Robert Ley, proclaimed that "We believe on this earth in Adolf Hitler alone! We believe in National Socialism as the creed which is the sole source of grace!"

Where did such ridiculous rant come from? What strange brain concocted these weird myths about the paranoid dictator with the toothbrush mustache?

Of course it was Hitler himself who ordered that he be presented as a deified messiah.

Before coming to power in January of 1933, Hitler wrote about his reaction to Berlin on his first visit there: "The luxury, the perversion, the iniquity, the wanton display, and the Jewish materialism [of Berlin’s commercial district] disgusted me so thoroughly that I was almost beside myself," Hitler recalled. "I nearly imagined myself to be Jesus Christ when he came to his Father’s temple and found it full of money-changers. I can well imagine how he felt when he seized a whip and scourged them out."

When Hitler compared himself to Jesus, he was proclaiming his own divinity. Knowing as we do that Hitler’s ambitions were eventually blown to smithereens, it’s hard for us to realize how many Germans considered him a supernatural being.

But it is true. Millions of German households actually erected shrines that featured a photograph of what they thought of as their dictator’s divine countenance. They said prayers in his behalf — even directed prayers to him — throughout the day.

In the eyes of his people, Hitler had rescued them from the humiliations of their defeat in World War I. Better still, he was going to lead all Germans into a future of unrivaled glory.

Hitler as Militant Aryan Messiah

Freed at last from the dreadful fears that military and economic catastrophe had aroused in them, Germans envisioned Hitler as a truly magical figure of majestic wisdom and power. They saw him as an irresistible force, and they surrendered their whole hearts to him. He hypnotized Germans into worshipping him, successfully presenting himself as a savior and even as God himself.

Except for the tabloids, the international media tended to downplay his most grandiose claims. But the Vatican understood how important it was to talk back to Hitler on the divinity issue. In 1937, Pope Pius XI issued an official letter entitled "With Burning Heart" that scorned Hitler for his claims to godhood.

At a time when people throughout the world still believed Hitler to be a progressive force, the Catholic Church condemned him as a dangerous villain. It denounced the chief Nazi for his racism and attacked Hitler for "placing himself on the same level as Christ." Effectively summarizing Hitler’s personality, the Church labeled him "a mad prophet possessed of repulsive arrogance."

Thus did Pope Pius call for the downfall of the German dictator. Unfortunately, most of the Catholic population of the Third Reich were too deluded to acknowledge the plain truth of the papal letter. Like other good Germans, they were too caught up in the Nazi pageant to understand how accurately the Vatican had portrayed Adolf Hitler.

From the mid-1930s onward, German Protestant and German Catholic alike were ready to come running whenever their leader should call them to arms. Some even lusted to go out and conquer the world for their god, to present him with the spoils of all earth while he was still young enough to enjoy them to the fullest.

Hitler at the Beginning of World War II

Germans had only to find the right passages in his autobiography, Mein Kampf, to understand that Hitler literally demanded planetary conquest of them. As he put it himself, world peace could not arrive until "that day when the man superior to all others will have conquered and subjugated the world."

After his forces quickly overran France in May and June of 1940, Hitler redoubled his faith in his supposedly supernatural powers. He told one of his victorious commanders that he was now "more godlike than human," and was no longer "bound by the conventions of human morality."

It was in this kind of mindset that Hitler made his two most disastrous decisions: to launch an all-out attack on Stalinist Russia, and to implement plans to exterminate the Jews.

Both of these decisions were uniquely related to Hitler’s ambition to rule the world, and in his mind they were closely linked. He felt that communism — every bit as much as capitalism — was a tool of the international Jewish conspiracy. This age-old conspiracy was in temporary control of over half of the world’s financial and industrial resources. Therefore, an invasion of the Soviet Union and the construction of extermination camps were both direct blows against the global empire of the Jews.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler claimed to fear that the Jews, already well on their way to world domination, would finish the job before he could bring Germany’s full strength to bear. One careful observer said that "no one has surpassed him in the extent to which he allowed anti-semitism to grow into so intensive a mania." When it came to world Jewry, Hitler was "almost like a medieval person who sensed the devil everywhere."

Nazi Troops Harassing Polish Jew, 1939

The chief Nazi even claimed in Mein Kampf (written in the mid-1920s) that an Aryan defeat would doom the "master race" to extinction, for the Jews, whom he considered subhuman, would eventually destroy all superior forms of human life.

Hitler’s bizarre prediction is worth quoting directly: "If, with the help of the Marxian creed, the Jew conquers the nations of this world, his crown will become the funeral wreath of humanity, and once again this planet, empty of mankind, will move through the ether as it did thousands of years ago."

In Hitler’s mad vision, true humanity was menaced by the greatest possible danger: extermination. But the war against the Jews might still be won if Germany accepted his heroic leadership. After all, there was no reasonable alternative, for God himself had raised up the Fuhrer to save the master race. "I believe today that I am acting," said Hitler, "in the name of the Almighty Creator: by warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord."

His worldview gave Hitler the perfect excuse for first "liberating" Germany from the Jews and then marching to meet their mercenary armies in the territories and continents beyond — most especially in Russia. In the end, he planned to mobilize resources even more massive than those that he imagined were possessed by the Jews. Finally he would succeed in his quest for a universal empire.

And what could be more fitting a fate for a man who felt possessed of divine power? Wasn’t it only fair that the greatest man in the world govern every living soul on the planet?

1998 by Larry Hedrick. All rights reserved.

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