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Title: The Anglican understanding of the Third Reich and its influence on the history and memory of the Holocaust
Author: Lawson, Tom
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis explores the understanding of the Third Reich in the Church of England and its impact on the history and memory of the Holocaust. As a contribution to the growing historiography of non-Nazi responses to the murder of the European Jews, the thesis argues that the Anglican church, contrary to the claims of previous historiography, did 'not' engage with Nazism and the Third Reich through the prism of the persecution of the Jews. The first section of the thesis analyses Anglican understandings of Nazism and contends that English Christians commonly perceived Nazism as significant through its anti-Christianity and not through its antisemitism. When Nazi antisemitism became much more pronounced after 1938, the thesis suggests that the Anglican church incorporated his persecution into an image of Nazism as anti-Christian. Such an interpretation of Nazism created significant barriers to the full understanding of reports of the mass murder of Jews which were available to the Anglican church in war time. The second section of the thesis assesses the impact of Anglican understanding of Nazism on the forging of historical memory in the post-war era. Noting that historiographical orthodoxy contends that the secular rhetoric of the Cold War was crucial to a perceived obfuscation of the Holocaust in this era, this thesis relates post-1945 understanding of the Nazi state to a pre-existing Christian discourse which perceived an anti-Christian Nazism alien to the traditions of European history. This perception of Nazism is shown to have fed into a concept of totalitarianism which flourished after 1945, and which prevented full cognition of the significance of Nazi antisemitism. Finally an Anglican inspired campaign against war crimes trials is considered as a concrete contribution to the formation of a publicly portrayed history which sought to reduce the significance of Nazi antisemitism and the Holocaust.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available