Today’s article is not directly about the Holocaust but rather the propaganda surrounding Nazi Germany. It was inspired by something I ran across while looking for Christmas imagery from the era. A search for ‘Hitler Christmas’ landed me these results:
Keeping in line with the notion that Hitler is the most evilest guy ever it is no surprise that he has been made out to be an enemy of the beloved Christmas holiday.
This article from History.com starts with a complaint that is common in these ‘Hitler hates Christmas’ hit pieces that being a Nazi Christmas carol called ‘Exalted Night’. Presumably the writer of this article has seen the lyrics to this so-called hate promoting song, but they have declined to share this information with the reader. This leaves the author free to unscrupulously interpret the meaning.
I was unable to find lyrics to a German song called ‘Exalted Night’, but I was made aware of a carol called ‘Hohe Nacht der klaren Sterne’ (High Night of Clear Stars), written in 1936 by National Socialist, Hans Baumann. I fail to see any hateful ideology being spread here.
Next we have the assertion that Hitler hated Jesus because Jesus was Jewish so he tried to do away with Christianity. This is a bold claim that the author gives zero proof of. We’re just supposed to take it as a given.
Thomas Dalton, PhD gives Hitler’s view of religion using Hitler’s own words. From the introduction to his translation of Mein Kampf we read that Hitler referred to Jesus as Christianity’s sublime founder and that he is not against religion, but believes in the separation of Church and State.
Meanwhile in the article charity and welfare are presented like they were done with nothing but malicious intent. Such is the way that everything positive that Hitler did is treated. There is a piece of vital information that the anti-Hitler crowd does not like to share, or is perhaps even unaware of. To quote Wilhelm Bauer, an economist from the era; “I must emphasize that in National-Socialist eyes the State incorporates in itself no absolute value as is the case, for instance, in an absolute monarchy. The supreme value is the nation, which we call in German Volksgemeinschaft, the community of the nation. The State is only the form of organization and the manifestation of the will of the people.” That means that the celebration of the NSDAP party was a celebration of the German people, not some overarching totalitarian control on everything. I wonder what it is like to live in a country that cares about the will of its people, but I digress.
When it comes to Nazi Germany I tend to be dismissive of accusations made without evidence. Most of the claims in the article are from a book called Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday, by Gerry Bowler. Unfortunately I have no access to this book so I can not investigate his opinions of Christmas in the Third Reich.
I was, however, able find a primary source while looking through the author’s links. This website hosts the Nazi propaganda that “sought to deemphasize – or eliminate altogether – the Christian aspects of the holiday”. Having a secular Christmas is one thing, wanting to destroy Christmas is quite another and it is apparent that these two things are being conflated in order to vilify the Germans. What I find interesting is that America’s separation of Church and State is a celebrated part of the constitution, but Nazi Germany doing the same thing is presented as an attack on the Christian religion. Once again we have a double standard that comes from a biased point of view that if the Nazis did it, it must have been bad.
Let’s take a look at some of this evil propaganda from 1944 when Germany was losing the war:
Here, soldiers gather around a small Christmas tree in their dugout. It accompanies a letter from a soldier’s wife for Christmas 1943. It ends: “And so, like millions of women today, the light of my heart shines forth with joy and love, illuminating the front, brightening the year’s longest night, in which you stand watch and fight for us. That light is within us, and will give us all the strength to find our way to a fresh spring. That is my firm, unshakable faith.” Once again I am failing to see the evil.
Lastly, we see the author of the article trivializing the suffering of the German people caused by the relentless Allied bombardment of Germany and her civilians. Real nice.
What we have here is an example of the anti-Nazi propaganda machine. As long as one obeys the company line of demonizing Hitler and the German people that followed him they will get little to no scrutiny on what they are claiming. Even the Wikipedia entry on ‘Christmas in Nazi Germany‘ has these unsubstantiated news articles as their sources. Because people are conditioned their whole lives to hate Nazis they will read an article like this and take it at face value, allowing the cycle of misinformation and lies to continue.