Summary: Hitler and many of the leaders surrounding him had been raised in Catholicism, with its ugly hatred of the Semites. The rest is history...
FIFTY-EIGHT: HITLER AND WORLD WAR II
Let's back up to the end of World War I. The Hapsburg Dynasty has crumbled. Rome is worried about its future prospects. Protestant areas of Czechoslovakia, Orthodox portions of Yugoslavia, Orthodox Russia, all are European threats to the Roman block of security. Can the Hapsburgs revive?
In July of 1917, the Great War ended, Austria Hungary sees nothing but negative in its future, and tries for a separate peace with the Allies. Emperor Charles sends a letter of "filial obedience" to Pope Benedict XV, in which he leaves to "his august authority" the decision of the "sacrifices which the Austria-Hungary Empire had to make to obtain a quick peace. "
It doesn't work, but we see here again the involvement of the Papacy in this war.
Charles is defeated but refuses to abdicate, and takes refuge in Switzerland. He is supported by Hungarians who begin the formation of an army. He invades Hungary and almost wins it back. But no, not this time. He is captured, dethroned, and deported to the island of Madeira.
Before he left, Charles had planned a confederation of Catholic States, over which he would reign: In Yugoslavia, Croatia; in Czechoslovakia, Slovakia ; in Germany, Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine; and all of Austria and Hungary. Some day, he dreams, his son Otto will reign. Otto is in fact trained for the job.
In June of 1936, he is quoted as saying, " The time for taking a decisive action has come," and "I am ready to enter the country at any time." (Manhattan, op. cit.) Supported by Mussolini and the reigning Pope, Pius XI, he is as good as "in" when another rising star sets him aside temporarily. Rome decides that Hitler may serve its purposes just as well...
Adolf Hitler is born April 20, 1889, in Catholic Austria. He moves to a Catholic part of Germany at age three. At ten, he "temporarily thought of becoming a monk, but the mood passed quickly." (Adolf Hitler, p.61, by Bradley Smith)
His father and mother are essentially cousins and need permission from the Pope to marry. Mother in particular is a faithful Catholic, completely devoted to the faith and teachings of Rome. As to Adolf,
"he was skeptical about the church from an early date and persistently annoyed his religious instructor in the Realschule. His father had long been suspicious of the church." (Smith, op. cit., p.85)
None of these negatives keep him from being confirmed at the age of fifteen. The process had no effect on him, but there can be no question as to the intent of his mother to make young Adolf into a good Catholic.
The closest thing to religious enthusiasm Hitler experiences is his devotion to (anti-Semitic) Richard Wagner's music. Parsifal, the Wagnerian opera which tells of a mythical Christian youth who through many struggles does the noble deed he has set out to do, is Hitler's favorite. He even says, "Out of Parsifal I make a religion."
One night, after he has seen another such Wagnerian epic, based on the life of a Roman commoner who became a dictator, and sought to restore the ancient greatness of Rome, Hitler
"burst into rapturous eloquence. His eyes were feverish with excitement. He spoke in a transported way of a future day when he would be entrusted with a 'special mission' " (Hitler,the Path to Power, Charles Flood, p.8)
After the difficulties and rejections through which all world figures pass, Hitler begins his rise to power. During these years he has read much about anti-Semitism. I don't need to tell my readers the prime source of anti-Jewish feeling for a young Catholic boy of that day...
Racism is not merely tolerated in the pre-Hitler era; by many it is promoted as something godly. When Houston Stewart Chamberlain writes The Foundations of the 19th Century, a purely racist view of history, Kaiser Wilhelm II tells him, "It was God who sent your book to the German people."
And rising Adolf Hitler, who sees in Chamberlain a hero of heroes since Chamberlain has married the daughter of his great god Wagner, is given the greatest of acceptances when Chamberlain passes on the compliment:
"My belief in the Germans has always been strong...although it had ebbed...you have changed the state of my soul. That Germany can give birth to a Hitler in a time of direst need is proof of her vitality. May God protect you."
So God is involved in this Hitler thing? The Roman Church seems to have thought so. Though for a short time she opposes Naziism,
"after Hitler came to power, all this was changed. The bishops revised their attitude. A concordat was signed with the Holy See." (July 3, 1933)
Are we talking about the same Hitler? How can the Lord and His Church be in any way implicated in the Nazi movement? Hitler gives a partial answer in his famous Mein Kampf, p. 118: