Stupid question? Apparently not to Kurt Vonnegut, or to many other neo-pagans, atheists, and blitherers in general who assert that "Hitler was Christian," or that "the Nazis were Christian." A variation exists in which some equally stupid Protestant anti-Catholic bigots assert that "Hitler was Catholic."
But let's not waste time on mere rhetoric. Here's some documentation that proves, to my mind, that Hitler and his pals despised Christianity and wanted to destroy it. If somebody explicitly says that they consider Christianity a plague, to my mind, that says they don't like it, nu? Anywhere, here's the documentation. I'm grateful to other people who have researched this. Please note as well that I did actually haul my literary butt to the library and do some primary research myself. Read it and weep, Kurt.
Quotes from Hitler himself (1941-44):
Night of 11th-12th July, 1941: "National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things." (Bormann 1953, pp. 6-7).
10th October, 1941, midday: "Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure." (Bormann 1953, p. 43).
14th October, 1941, midday: "The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death.... When understanding of the universe has become widespread... Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.... Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity.... And that's why someday its structure will collapse.... ...the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.... Christianity the liar.... We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State." (Bormann 1953, pp. 49-52).
19th October, 1941, night: "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity."
21st October, 1941, midday "Originally, Christianity was merely an incarnation of Bolshevism, the destroyer.... The decisive falsification of Jesus' doctrine was the work of St. Paul. He gave himself to this work... for the purposes of personal exploitation.... Didn't the world see, carried on right into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots? Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. Today, it's in the name of Bolshevism. Yesterday the instigator was Saul: the instigator today, Mardochai. Saul was changed into St. Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx. By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our soldiers can have no idea." (Bormann 1953, pp. 63-65).
13th December, 1941, midnight: "Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery.... ...When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunised against the disease." (Bormann 1953, pp. 118-119).
14th December, 1941, midday: "Kerrl, with noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don't believe the thing's possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.... Pure Christianity -- the Christianity of the catacombs -- is concerned with translating Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." (Bormann 1953, pp. 119-120).
9th April, 1942, dinner: "There is something very unhealthy about Christianity." (Bormann 1953, p. 339).
27th February, 1942, midday: "It would always be disagreeable for me to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors -- but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. ...Our epoch in the next 200 years will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.... My regret will have been that I couldn't... behold." (Bormann 1953, p. 278).
(Undated): "Do you really believe the masses will be Christian again? Nonsense! Never again. That tale is finished. No one will listen to it again. But we can hasten matters. The parsons will dig their own graves. They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes." (Lutzer 1995, p. 104.)
(Undated): "Historically speaking, the Christian religion is nothing but a Jewish sect.... After the destruction of Judaism, the extinction of Christian slave morals must follow logically.... Ah, the God of the deserts, that crazed, stupid, vengeful Asiatic despot with his power to make laws!" (Robinson 1943).
Quotes from other Nazis:
Martin Bormann: "The Christian religion and National Socialist doctrines are not compatible." (Bormann 1945).
Joseph Goebbels, 12/28/1939: "The Führer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian; he views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed." (Boelcke 1970).
Heinrich Himmler: "We shall not rest until we have rooted out Christianity." (NAACD 2005).
Hans Kerrl, 11/19/1935: "Adolf Hitler is the true Holy Ghost." (Kerrl 1935).
Ludendorff, 1935: "The days of the Cross are counted. We must deliver the German nation from the pernicious influence of Christianity." (Quoted in Anti-Semitism Throughout the Ages, by Count Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi. 1935.)
Robert Ley, 1937: "Catastrophe was only narrowly averted. It was all due to the faith of one man! Yes, you who called us godless, we found our faith in Adolf Hitler, and through him found God once again. That is the greatness of our day, that is our good fortune!" (Ley 1937).
Paul Schnabel, 7/04/1935: "In a certain sense National Socialism is religion, for it does not require its partisans to be convinced of the rightness of its teachings but to believe in it." (Schnabel 1935).
Quotes from US government documents (1946-47):
"The attention of the Tribunal is next invited to Document 840-PS, previously introduced into evidence as Exhibit USA-355. The Tribunal will recall that this was a Bormann decree of 14 July 1939, referring with approval to an earlier Bormann decree of 9 February 1937 in which the Defendant Bormann ruled that in the future all Party members who entered the clergy or who undertook the study of theology were to be expelled from the Party. I next offer in evidence Document 107-PS, Exhibit USA-351. This is a circular directive of the Defendant Bormann dated 17 June 1938, addressed to all Reichsleiter and Gauleiter -- top leaders of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party -- transmitting a copy of directions relating to the non-participation of the Reich Labor Service in religious celebrations. The Reich Labor Service, the Tribunal will recall, compulsorily incorporated all Germans within its organization." (Jackson et al. 1946).
1. Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked.... complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion. (OSS Report, cited in BBC 2002).
2. The fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith -- in Germany's Third Reich. (Colimore 2002).
The original OSS report is available through:
Quotes from professional historians:
On July 11, 1933, the semi-pagan “Deutsche Christen” party, an instrument of the Nazis, seemed to triumph within the Protestant Church of Germany; at the same time the “Deutsche Evangelische Kirche” was forcibly given a new constitution by Hitler which put the Protestant Churches very largely under the control of government-appointed leaders. It was several months before any organized resistance began to show itself as it eventually did in the form of the antigovernment “Confessing Church” (“Bekennende Kirche”).51 As noted by Karl Thieme on August 10, 1933, the Evangelical Church as such “no longer existed.” There were those who were still loyal to her and defended her, “but these were merely individual pastors and congregations, no longer a Church.”52 For this reason the Religiöse Besinnung would no longer appear. (Swidler 1996).
Judge Mahoney was one of a number of Catholic leaders supporting a boycott. Al Smith, governor of New York, and James Curley, governor of Massachusetts, also opposed sending a team to Berlin. The Catholic journal The Commonweal (November 8, 1935) advised boycotting an Olympics that would "set the seal of approval upon the radically anti-Christian Nazi doctrine of youth." (US Holocaust Museum 2005).
"Educational instruction was designed to ensure that the Verfügungstruppe soldier was a fanatical Nazi, unquestioningly obedient and ready to carry out any order from the Dictator-Chancellor. A flood of anti-Christian propaganda was loosed on the heads of the men to compel them to renounce all the rules of bourgeois Christian morality and to sever all ties with the church.... On every parade and during every instructional period the cry was 'One pace forward anyone who has not yet left the Church!' Every opportunity was taken to humiliate and ridicule them.... of 300 Catholics the church-leavers totalled 4 in 1937,3 in 1938, 67 in 1940 and 129 in 1942.... The young Verfügungstruppe officers were continually called upon to prove their uncompromising opposition to the Christian message of reconciliation and tolerance, which the SS regarded as un-German. From the outset they were ordered to abjure the Christian faith as a destructive, effeminate, and 'Jewish' doctrine." (Höhne 1966).
Quotes from journalists:
William L. Shirer: "The Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists." (Shirer 1960).
British Broadcasting Company 2002. Friday, 11 January, 2002, 00:26 GMT. "Nazi trial documents made public."
Bormann, Martin 1945. Letter to Alfred Rosenberg. Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 -- 1 October 1946, Published at Nuremberg, Germany, 1947.
Bormann, Martin 1953. Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944. NY: Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc.
Boelcke, Wille A. 1970. The Secret Conferences of Dr. Goebbels: The Nazi Propaganda War 1939-1943. tr. Ewald Osers. NY: E. P. Dutton & Co.
Colimore, Edward 2002. "Papers reveal Nazi aim: End Christianity." Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, January 9, 2002.
Höhne, Heinz 1966. The Order of the Death's Head -- The Story of Hitler's SS. NY: Penguin Books. English tr. 1969 by Richard Barry.
Jackson, Robert et al. 1946. "Martin Bormann." Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 -- 1 October 1946, Published at Nuremberg, Germany, 1947.
Kerrl, Hans 1935. Address to SA leaders, Brunswick, 19 November 1935.
Ley, Robert 1937. "Schicksal — ich glaube!," Wir alle helfen dem Führer (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1937), pp. 103-114.
Lutzer, Erwin W. 1995. Hitler's Cross. Chicago: Moody Press.
NAACD 2005. National Alliance Against Christian Discrimination -- "Protecting and Promoting the Christian Faith and Our Religious Heritage." http://naacd.com/quotes_f-j.htm, accessed 7/27/2005.
Robinson, Armin 1943. The Ten Commandments: Ten Short Novels of Hitler's War Against the Moral Code. NY: Simon & Shuster.
Schnabel, Paul 1935. Mitteldeutsche National Zeitung, 4 July 1935.
Shirer, William L. 1960. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Swidler, Leonard J. 1966. The History of the Una Sancta Movement (foreword by Hans Kung). Pittsburgh: Duquesne Univ. Press.
US Holocaust Museum 2005. "The Nazi Olympics." http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/olympics.html, accessed 7/26/2005.
So, in short, you'd have to be either a deeply committed bigot or clinically nuts to believe that either Hitler or his little pals were Christian.
The "Hitler was Christian!" people can come up with some counter-quotes where Hitler made Christian-sounding noises. They apparently take his public utterances at face value but discredit what he said privately when he was among friends. By that logic, they must also believe that the Sudetenland was Hitler's last territorial demand in Europe and that the Jews really were a deadly threat to Germany. Maybe they believe in alien abductions, too.