What really aroused the Germans in the Thirties were the glittering successes of Hitler in providing jobs, creating prosperity, restoring Germany's military might, and moving from one triumph to another in his foreign policy. Not many Germans lost much sleep over the arrests of a few thousand pastors and priests or over the quarreling of the various Protestant sects. And even fewer paused to reflect that under the leadership of Rosenberg, Borhmann and Himmler, who were backed by Hitler, the Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists. As Bormann, one of the men closest to Hitler, said publicly in 1941, “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.”
What the Hitler government envisioned for Germany was clearly set out in a thirty-point program for the “National Reich Church” drawn up during the war by Rosenberg, an outspoken pagan, who among his other offices held that of “the Fuehrer's Delegate for the Entire Intellectual and Philosophical Education and Instruction for the National Socialist Party.” A few of its thirty articles convey the essentials”
1. The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich: it declares these to be national churches of the German Reich.
5. The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably… the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.
7. The National Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains or priests, but National Reich orators are to speak in them.
13. The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany . . .
14. The National Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuehrer's Mein Kampf is the greatest of all documents. It . . . not only contains the greatest but it embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and future life of our nation.
18. The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles and pictures of saints.
19. On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf ( to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.
30. On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels . . . and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika.