Remnants Of The Enlightenment In National Socialism"

?Remnants Of The Enlightenment In National Socialism Introduction Adolf Hitler’s book Table Talk is believed to be a transcription from notebooks written in shorthand by at least two secretaries to Hitler. They followed the instructions of Hitler’s right hand man Martin Bormann to “record for posterity whatever Hitler said in his bunker in Berlin” (Carrier 561) during mealtimes or while taking tea. Besides recording official matters, the secretaries also wrote down things Hitler said in an unplanned or spontaneous manner, logging the entries by date and time of the day such as ‘morning’, ‘afternoon’ or ‘evening’. According to Carrier (561), “Hitler’s Table Talk is a curious text whose story remains to be adequately told by historians of the era”, and further explained by future researchers on the text. Brog (512) states besides Hitler’s own book Mein Kampf, the historical document Table Talk is widely accepted as an authoritative source, for a better understanding of Hitler’s philosophy and psychology. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate Hitler’s book Table Talk, in which his ideas, conceptualizations, beliefs and opinions are recorded directly. Hitler’s ‘Table Talk’ This collection of documents spans the years 1941 to 1944, during which Hitler’s public speeches declined, and he spoke less beyond his close circle of loyal colleagues. Hitler’s dinner conversations may not represent a reasoned presentation of his ideas; however they are of great value on account of their frankness and forthright expression of his real opinions. “Hitler was a tireless orator even before a small group, one who could talk with incredible fluency on a variety of topics” (Birken 7). Although not in an organized form, Table Talk is useful for clarifying certain conceptions that appear in a veiled form, for obviously political reasons, in Hitler’s published books and speeches. Similarly, Steigmann-Gall (253) argues that the most important source on Hitler’s true feelings about Christianity is the book Table Talk which documents a succession of wartime discussions he held with his close circle of confidants. Contrasting with other sources of Hitler’s confidential views, most importantly Otto Wagner’s memoirs, Hitler’s secret conversations reflected in Table Talk appear to be in discord with his previous religious attitudes which held Chritianity in high esteem. In July 1941, he allegedly condemned the religion he had previously respected, and stated that “the heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity; Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jews” (Hitler 7). Hitler targetted specific aspects of Christianity, such as Luther’s translation of the Bible, the Churches and the priests, and the work of St. Paul. Thus, he described pure Christianity, “the Christianity of the catacombs – is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics” (Hitler 146). On the other hand, it is argued that similar to other documented evidence of Nazi hostility to Christianity, there are several significant statements that indicate Hitler’s neutral approach, or even outright contradiction in Table Talk. These instances in the primary source have been overlooked by some of the secondary sources because they are “buried in conversations on other topics” (Steigmann-Gall 254). Most importantly, and in keeping with his previous attitudes, Hitler continued to hold Jesus Christ in high esteem, regaring Him as a popular leader who took up His position against Jewry. At the same time, Duke (36) states that Hitler had several dimensions to his character, but he was not a clumsy politician 

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