Sieg des Glaubens : National Socialism and the making of a twentieth-century religion
The objectives of this research are to investigate, in Chapter I, how other researchers, both contemporaries of the National Socialists and modern researchers, have represented National Socialism as being fundamentally more than a political movement. The aim is to examine and identify the strengthens and weaknesses of previous interpretations and to offer a further contribution to the suitability of classifying National Socialism a religion. Chapter II identifies and explores religion as a model for social organisation, outlines the important factors shaping this model and investigates where National Socialism as a religion would be located on such a model. There is now a growing interest in re-interpreting twentieth-century movements as something fundamentally more than simple political extremes. The contribution that this chapter makes to this growing interest is the building of a unified foundation from which the analysis of other twentieth-century movements, such as Fascism and Communism, can be reassessed. Because the definition of religion, and the understanding of the civil and political variants of religion that this study identifies is not limited to local, regional or national boundaries, it provides a valuable starting point for further research projects concerned with the construction of identity and organisation post-Enlightenment. This study has chosen to use National Socialism as the object of the definition because it was the most radical and highly documented of the three ‘new politics’ of the twentieth-century. Chapter III analyses current trends in discussing the success of National Socialism. The purpose of this will be to demonstrate the shifting understanding of why National Socialism was successful and to negotiate with the weaknesses of existing approaches. After documenting current research weaknesses, this chapter introduces a theory that will challenge these paradigms. Chapter IV analyses the iconographic record of National Socialism in relation to the definition of religion proposed in Chapter II. By highlighting the iconographic record as evidence of the nascent National Socialist religion, this chapter investigates the self-perception of the National Socialists based on their understanding of the future that they wanted to create.