Historical Grinches – Nazis
Yesterday, we spoke about how the German Empire funded Lenin’s return to Russia in order to get them out of WWI. As we mentioned, it did work. The Russian Empire left the fight and freed up forces to transfer to the Western Front. It was, however, too little too late. Once the Americans joined the fight, the Germans were too worn down. The German Empire fell to a revolution that resulted in the creation of the doomed Weimar Republic. This interim government experienced political extremism on the Left and Right, contentious relations with the victors of the Great War and disastrous hyperinflation. After fourteen years, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor and assumed emergency powers. As absolute dictator, Hitler and his Nazi Party began making serious moves to reshape German society and culture to fall in line with his ideology.
Once the Nazis took power, they renamed Christmas (Weihnachten) to Julfest and began focusing it on pre-Christian Germanic mythology. Carols were rewritten to exclude references to Jesus and religion. The Christmas tree (Weihnachtsbaum or Christbaum) was renamed to the Yule Tree (Julbaum) and topped with a Swastika instead of a star. Santa became a reborn Odin and was depicted on posters looking not dissimilar from Gandalf the Grey on his white charger.
Along with trying to change Christmas, they wanted to change Christianity. Before Hitler became dictator, the Nazis were more conciliatory toward the church. After he consolidated power in 1933, he became considerably more hostile. Nazi ideology could not tolerate any favorable treatment of Jews in Christian dogma. Those who subscribed to the changes were members of the “German Christians”. The nazified church was led by Ludwig Muller. Those who retained traditional beliefs were members of the “Confessing Church” led by Martin Niemöller. While they did not form an active resistance to Nazi excesses in regard to Jews and other endangered minorities, they did stand fast against Hitler’s attempts to co-opt Christianity. The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, was issued on 19 October 1945 by the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. The church confessed guilt for its lack of substantial opposition to the Nazis and the Third Reich.
The substantial opposition came from the Allied Forces through bombing campaigns and invasion. The Nazis officially surrendered in Riems, France on 7 May 1945. Germany was split among the Allies. The Russians kept the Eastern portion of the country and established a communist satellite state. The Americans, British and French cooperated in Western Germany to restore normalcy. Church and Saint Nick were back at work in West Germany at last.