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Chuck Hagel, Christianity, and Hitler
February 3, 2013
by William P. Meyers

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As American mainstream politicians go, Chuck Hagel can be counted as one of the good guys. A number of Senate Republicans disagree, and mainly showed their own evil agendas when questioning Mr. Hagel, who stood before them as President Barack Obama's nominee to become the new Secretary of Defense.

The Republicans think Mr. Hagel is soft on Iran, and so Obama must be soft on Iran too. What has Iran ever done to the Republican Party, or to the U.S.? They kicked out our puppet, the mass-murdering dictator Shah of Iran, decades ago, and set up a democracy. They hold elections in which pro-American politicians can't win a majority in parliament. They are developing nuclear power (note the Republicans are all gung ho for nuclear power in the U.S.). I think nuclear power is a bad idea, but it should be stopped in the U.S. before we go meddling in other nation's business.

They suspect Mr. Hagel of not being a Zionist and anti-Palestinian racist. He is not sufficiently pro-Israel, as shown by past remarks in which he pointed out that Zionists have a lot of political power in the U.S. Note the Republican Party is competing with the Democratic Party for Zionist campaign contributions. You'd think they were a bunch of ultra-orthodox Jews, the way they promote Israel's occupation of Palestine.

Here on the opposite side of the nation a seemingly unrelated Letter to the Editor in the Gualala, California based Independent Coast Observer [subscription required], reminded me that a lot of this whole misidentification of enemies goes back to fundamental mistakes of fact and ideology originating in the 1930s. Modern Americans universally agree that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were evil, but they don't have the facts at hand to make reasonable comparisons to new "enemies" like Iran and Islam, or "friends" like Israel.

I've frequently heard "progressive" Democrats and those few brave people left of Democrat call Republicans fascists. I try to refrain: there are both minor and major differences between Republican politicians and Fascism proper. Nor should we forget that the much more radical American left of, say, 1930 to 1980 had little problem calling the Democratic Party fascist, which I can't agree with either. In both cases I think there have been specific policies or at least rhetoric that did deserve the fascist label. I just believe over-gereralizing is a major part of the American political laziness problem.

The letter, from R. Silva, wants to correct a previous letter on the subject of Christianity. R. wants Christianity to be about love, which is fine. But R. can't quite refrain from attacking non-Christians, saying in his or her 4th paragraph: "Sir, I would remind you that is exactly what Hitler successfully did in the 1930s and 1940s, resulting in the holocost (sic), which killed six million Christians and Jews [...]" The ellipsis is the editors, and is one of the few cases where I wish the rest had been printed.

Christians were killed in the holocaust? Well, yes, but ... that is almost like saying we should pity Catholics because Catholics were killed in the Inquisition in Spain. It turns the Holocaust on its head. Hitler imprisoned and killed everyone who openly disagreed with him (but not the young man who grew up to become Pope Benedict XVI). He did not kill them for their religious affiliation. He killed them because they disagreed with him, or were in his way, or had something he wanted. He killed Jews because of their race; converting to Christianity was no escape. The Christians he killed were mainly Lutherans and Roman Catholics, but most Lutherans and Roman Catholics joined the Nazi Party if they could, and fought in the German army. Hitler even killed substantial numbers of Nazi Party members for disagreeing with him.

The big losers, by denomination, aside from the Jews were atheists [See the Atheist Holocaust].

Although there was some promotion of German/Nordic, pre-Christian ideas, the Nazi (German National Socialist) Party was explicitly Christian. Article 24 of the Nazi Party Program states as a party demands "liberty for all religious denominations in the State so far as they are not a danger to ... the moral feelings of the German race. The party stands for positive Christianity." [1] The Nazi Party was opposed to Communism, atheism, and secularism.

At the time, while there was a typical modern secular trend in Germany, the Lutheran Church was by far the largest denomination in Germany. The Roman Catholic Church was the only other major organized religion, and had local majorities in much of southern Germany. In particular the former Kingdom of Bavaria, where the Nazi Party originally triumphed, was majority Catholic.

While Hitler's rise to power has to be credited mainly to him and his party, it was the Catholic Church, and the votes of the members of the Reichstag controlled by the Vatican, that effectively chose to give Hitler power in 1933. Franz von Papen was the Roman Catholic power broker for the deal, along with Eugenio Maria Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, known as the Nazi Pope.

So why does R. Silva believe Hitler was not a Christian? Why does R. Silva not know Hitler was born Catholic and died Catholic, and that all the great fascist leaders were Roman Catholic? It is not R. Silva's fault. History in detail is time consuming, so most people must take their cues from summaries, including grade-school text books and TV. I would not say Hitler was a pious Catholic, unlike Spain's General Franco. But neither was the fact that Hitler was a Roman Catholic hidden from the world at the time.

Things were different in 1933 when both Hitler and Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to power after their years in the political wilderness. Americans and Germans, pretty much everyone in the world, were mainly worried about the economy. It was the Depression, those who did not have jobs were barely surviving, and those who had jobs worried they would not have them long. Hitler came to power mainly on the basis of his economic program, not because of his anti-Semitism or militarism. Germany's economy improved much faster than America's, and FDR's economic program was practically a copy of Hitler's, just lagging a year or two.

The party that elected Roosevelt to office (and Democratic majorities to Congress) was really an alliance of convenience of two parties. The Southern Democratic party was based on racism (segregation) and corruption, and was almost exclusively Protestant in religious affiliation. The Northern Democratic party was based on corrupt urban machines and was almost entirely ethnic (non-Anglo) and Roman Catholic in religious affiliation. The Vatican, through the American Roman Catholic Church, worked hard to keep the United States neutral in the fight against fascism and later in the first couple of years of World War II.

When the United States finally entered the war after Pearl Harbor, it was a propaganda problem for the Democratic Party, the Vatican, and the Roman Catholic bishops of the United States. Any American sympathy for Hitler, Franco, Petain, and Mussolini disappeared overnight (though some hid their lights under baskets). Although the Japanese had initiated the war, Adolf Hitler was designated Public Enemy Number One, as Roosevelt had previously planned with the British Empire,

The Vatican was quite please with Hitler's extermination of atheist-communism in central Europe, but remembered what had happened late in World War I. America had tipped the balance against Germany. Suddenly Pope Pius XI eased the Vatican into neutral. As the atheists (Russians) started crushing the Catholics & Lutherans (Germans) on the Eastern Front, and especially after the Allies invaded southern Italy, the Pope became increasingly critical of Hitler. In the United States, powerful Catholic figures in the Democratic Party prepared for a soft landing.

Hitler a Catholic? Forget about it! Such a bad man must be a satanist pagan. In any case, America's right wing (Democrat and Republican alike) was preparing to go back into competition with Communism after the war. Who would be our new ally? Why, Pope Pius XI. And his pet dictator, General Franco. And a bunch of Catholics and Lutherans who took off their swastikas and waved American flags to welcome the New World Order. To get public buy in for an alliance with global Catholicism, the actual religious affiliations of the fascists had to be allowed to fade from public memory.

William Shirer, in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, gives some key insights about Martin Luther, the first Protestant (well, first who did not fall victim to the Inquisition). "The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of Jews ... advice that was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering and Himmler." [2]

Since the Republicans who questioned Chuck Hagel act as non-Jewish Zionists, it might seem strange to compare them to Luther, Pius XI, and Hitler. But the point is not the particular group that is hated or attacked. Justice should be blind to a person's race and creed. Zionism is inseparable from crimes against Palestinians. War and economic crimes against Iran (or any other nation) are no different than Hitler's economic crimes against Jews or his invasion of Poland, Russia, and France.

The Republican Party has created its own Hell on Earth. No one is allowed to say, "Palestinians have human rights," or "Iranians have human rights" or "Islam should be treated like any other religion." The misinformation and hatred build on each other until a once reasonable man like John McCain ends up sounding like Hitler. The Republican Party rhetoric meant to secure Zionist campaign contributions (and Jewish and pro-Israel Christian votes in swing states) has already hurt many people around the globe. It helps Al-Qaeda do its recruiting. It is ethically wrong and pragmatically idiotic. It needs to stop.

Notes:
[1] Shirer, William L., The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon and Schuster, N.Y., 1960. page 234.
[2] Ibid, p. 236.

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