Journal article

The Racial Yardstick: "Ethnotheism" and Official Nazi Views on Religion

Samuel Koehne

GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW | JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV PRESS | Published : 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the topic of Nazism and religion in a new way, by considering the official explanations that were offered to party members and the German public in the two commentaries on the Nazi Program. Through a detailed analysis of these commentaries and the origins of the program, it is argued that the official Nazi position on religion has to be understood principally as anti-Jewish. The paper proposes a redefinition of the terms of debate to "ethnotheism" or religion defined by race, and the perceived moral or spiritual characteristics that the Nazis believed to be inherent in race.