This book explores the total resistance to Nazism among the Catholic Christian voters of the Zentrum party in the elections in German states in the Interwar period. Kolden explains the unique Catholic resistance by comparing the diverging evolutions of Catholic and Protestant cultures and mentalities since the awakening of German nationalism in the late eighteenth century. During the Empire (1871–1918) both socialists and Catholics were regarded as pariah groups by the dominant non-socialist Protestant majority, and more so after the WWI defeat, when the pariah-parties, together with Protestant liberals, tried to accommodate the new democratic circumstances with their Weimar Constitution. When right-wing radicals, and eventually the Nazis, increased their support—largely on behalf of the rapid shrinking number of liberals—the Catholic church leaders showed a stubborn stance against the rightists, issuing several resolutions of condemnation, whereas no such appeared from their Protestant counterparts. In contrast, many local Protestant clergymen agitated for the Nazi party. The anti-Catholic sentiment, obvious among prominent Nazis, enhanced the antagonism, especially after the publication of Alfred Rosenberg’s The Myth of the 20th Century in 1930. The basic and profound confessional difference appears in the less Christian-profiled agrarian parties: anti-Semitic and right-wing radical Protestant parties confronted by one left-wing and democratic Catholic party. By 1945 the bulk of the former rightist Protestants sided with the Catholics, who reorganized their party to the non-denominational CDU, which has been the mightiest proponent in Europe of the former party’s ambitions of democracy, stability, anti-racism, human rights and European unity.
Ingvar Kolden retired in 2017 after 37 years as a senior high school teacher.
Chapter One. The Pre-1914 Breeding Ground
Chapter Two. The Heritage of World War I Versus the Values of 1789
Chapter Three. The Postwar Period: Change of Mentality among Protestants
Chapter Four. Other Denominations and Nazism
Chapter Five. Agrarian Parties and Confessional Differences
Chapter Six. Women and Nazism
Chapter Seven. Christian Youth Associations and Nazism
Chapter Eight. The Relationship of Pius Xi to Totalitarianism
Chapter Nine. Conclusions as to Differences of Mentality among the Confessions
Defining of Terms
About the Author
Why were German Catholics less susceptible to vote for Hitler than their Protestant counterparts? In his well-researched answer to this question, Ingvar Kolden convincingly highlights the significance of religious attitudes and denominational affiliation in facing the challenge of Nazism.
'Credible and well-documented' sums up Dr. Kolden's demonstration of the differences between Catholics and Protestants in Germany during the Weimar Republic: the ideological contrasts, ecclesiastical divergence, and historical disparities in mentality. All in all these dissimilarities largely explain origin of the disparate Catholic and Protestant attitudes to right-wing radicalism and to Nazism...Dr. Kolden has gained new insight into a topic that is historically important and relevant today.