The Protestant Church and the Nazis
The Nazi Party adopted a slightly different tactic with the Protestant Church. They tried to infiltrate it and control it from within. Nationalist movement along with the Protestant Church before 1933 was called the "German Christians" and in 1993 they scored a triumph by winning three quarters of the votes in the elections that the Church held.
A new, more Nationalist church constitution was drawn up and Ludwig Muller, an ardent Nazi Supporter, was appointed the Reich's Bishop. He was known o have said that he wears" the cross on his breast and the Nazi swastika in his heart." With Muller's influence it appeared that the Nazi's had the support of the Protestant "Reich" Church.
The Reich Church was a new umbrella organisation of the Protestant Church, set up as a means of co-ordinating religion. Within it, the German Christians developed as a powerful movement. Hitler hoped they would dominate the Reich Church.
However, Not all Protestants supported the Nazi Direction that the church was heading. An Alternative Church was setup in 1934 called the "Confessing Church" led by Pastor Martin Niemoller. They attracted a large number of the Protestant Clergy. It was not based on opposition to Nazism as such, but it was concerned to defend the Protestant Church against state interference and the false theology of the German Christians. Along with Niemoller, Dietrich Bonheoffer is a notable figure within the Confessing Church.
Joined the Confessing Church after returning to Germany from being a pastor on the outskirts of London in 1935, In February 1933 he had a broadcast a critique of the Fuhrerprinzip, the leader principle, which he openly regarded as hostile to Christianity. He taught trainee pastors and encouraged them to resist Nazism and also tried to get the Confessional Church to condemn the Nuremburg Laws. By 1940 his college was closed and he was banned from preaching. He continued to work...