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Religions 2018, 9(10), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100303

Nation, Race, and Religious Identity in the Early Nazi Movement

Department of History, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 29 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 7 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Nationalism)
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Abstract

This paper examines the dissemination of radical nationalist and racist ideas among Catholics within the early Nazi movement in Munich. While the relationship between the Nazi regime and the Catholic faith was often antagonistic after 1933, a close examination of the earliest years of the Nazi movement reveals a different picture. In the immediate aftermath of the First World War and within the specific context of Munich and its overwhelmingly Catholic environs, early Nazi activists attempted to resacralize political life, synthesizing radical völkisch nationalism with reformist, “modern” conceptions of Catholic faith and identity. In so doing, they often built on ideas that circulated in Catholic circles before the First World War, particularly within the Reform Catholic movement in Munich. By examining depictions of nation and race among three important Catholic groups—reform-oriented priests, publicists, and university students—this paper strives not only to shed light on the conditions under which the Nazi movement was able to survive its tumultuous infancy, but also to offer brief broader reflections on the interplay between nationalism, racism, and religious identity. The article ultimately suggests it was specifically the malleability and conceptual imprecision of those terms that often enhanced their ability to penetrate and circulate effectively within religious communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: Nazism; religion; nationalism; racism; Munich Nazism; religion; nationalism; racism; Munich
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hastings, D. Nation, Race, and Religious Identity in the Early Nazi Movement. Religions 2018, 9, 303.

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