Hitler: Warlord and Spiritualist

Introduction           1 I N T R ODU C T I ON T he SecondWorldWar was the greatest catastrophe ever to befall mankind. In the space of nearly six years, the number of people killed in that war exceeded sixtymillion.The scale of the slaughter and atrocity seems incomprehensible. In its aftermath, human- ity was forced to confront the question of evil, particularly that directed against the Jewish people. In the interval between theWorldWars, ruinous reparations were imposed on Germany by the victorious Allied powers, contributing to an environment of economic and social chaos. Jews were blamed for all of Germany’s ills, including the German defeat in the First WorldWar, part of an internationalist conspiracy to “stab Germany in the back.” Also, Jewish “otherness” was viewed as a threat to the social cohesion of the German people. These things contributed to a deep angst in the German psyche during the middle of the twen- tieth century that ultimately prepared the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler. His charisma and promises of a racially pure Germany and rectification for the wrongs done to Germany proffered hope of a glorious future and recovery of German pride. During the aftermath of the Second World War, as the scale of Nazi atrocities was revealed, many sought an explanation for them. As the world was forced to face themagnitude of that kind of hatred, it was also forced to name its source. Could that hatred be explained in merely sociological or psychological terms? Was it just the out- come of bad theology, bad history, bad blood, or bad upbringing?