What was the influence of uberantisemite Luther on the National Socialist thinking

Antisemitism or hatred of Jews as “ism” is too much credit for this type of thinking about a multifarious community.

One of the most well know and prominent Jew Haters was Martin Luther who wrote the “Holy Book” Jews and their lies. Besides he also showed hatred for the poor peasants in the peasant wars of 1525.

It is not too hard to see the link with the anti-clerical Bolshevist who in essence wanted equality and a better life for the peasants. At least the Bolshevist/Communist demonstrating in German wanted livable wages.

Here is Shirer who live in Germany and experienced the rise of Hitler first-hand:

“It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther.* The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews and when they were sent away he advised that they be deprived of “all their cash and jewels and silver and gold” and, furthermore, “that their synagogues or schools be set on fire, that their houses be broken up and destroyed… and they be put under a roof or stable, like the gypsies… in misery and captivity as they incessantly lament and complain to God about us”—advice that was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering and Himmler.”
― William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

Also my family and others met grieving mothers at the time who "at least had a consolence that there sons went straight to heaven as they fought the “Jewish controlled Bolshevists”. To my grandparents it felt like they were stuck in another Childrens Crusade run by nutcases who only thought about the afterlife.

This logic might explain that Germany unlike the much smarter/braver Italians did not stand up enough against their leaders and kept suicidally fighting for a clearly doomed and utterly reprehensible cause.

With other violent organizations like “IS” in E.g. Iraq and Syria it will be easier to accept that European Church organisations are not comprised by clean men and women. Also the power of the “afterlife in heaven” is a tempting prospect for the “religiously indoctrinated”.

Note: Of course there were brave German resistors and people giving up and also victims of the Regime like Jews/Gypsies/handicapped etc etc. Besides Hitler was lucky to survive Stauffenberg and other attempts.

I’d say that the ‘tradition’ of anti-semitism was endemic in Germany; Jews were tolerated (from the German gentile point of view), it wasn’t just Lutheranism. There were many Catholics in Germany - about 1/3 the total of Christians in Germany were Catholics - who didn’t go along with all the killing (but they didn’t try to stop it, either.). But certainly the Lutherans as a group supported the Nazi government, and generally approved of what they were doing.

Certainly Jews fought for Germany in WWI, and it was recognized. Early persecution of the Jews under Hitler recognized that these men were ‘different’ from other Jews. It didn’t last - until 1935.

Hitler rose to (and kept in) power by making use of the old saw: “To unite the people, give them someone to hate.” Goebbels had written as far back as 1928, “when was the Jew not our enemy?”

Once the Jews were declared an actual enemy, there was no limit to what could be done to them. A curiosity is that although the Germans were killing Jews by the million, they went to great pains to keep that from German civilians. An order from Bohrmann, in Hitler’s name, in July, 1943 said: “Where the Jewish Question is brought up in public, there may be no discussion of a future overall solution (Gesamtlosung). It may, however, be mentioned that the Jews are taken in groups for appropriate labor purposes.”

The Nazi’s kept careful track of civilian morale, and as the war progressed, they noted it wound up being: “There’s nothing we can do except put our heads down and hope we live through it.” For instance, they found not hatred of Western Allies over bombing German cities, but a fatalism that there was nothing they could do but take it.

I found something interesting: Ernst Moritz Hess, one of Hitler’s commanders in WWI, was a baptized Jew (his mother was Jewish, his father gentile.). He was accorded ‘special treatment’ as one of Hitler’s ‘war comrades’, but once the 1935 Nuremberg Laws were enacted, he was forced out of his position as a judge; after 1941 his ‘war comrade’ status was unulled and he was sent to Milbertsofen labor camp - his sister was murdered at Auschwitz.

There’s the psychosis of Nazi Germany’s antisemitism right there: You’re a jew (born); you’re not a jew (baptised); you’re a special jew (war service); you’re a special jew who can’t work in the civil service(Nuremberg Laws); you’re a special jew who can’t be sent to a camp (war service); you’re not a special jew (from the “Aryanization Office”); you’re a jew.

Do you think Martin Luther’s teaching drove the Nazi party? Do you think they embraced Luther as a guide for navigating the world? If so, then perhaps his late teachings on antisemitism influenced the Nazis. But I would ask for evidence of such a connection.

I would argue anti-Semitism existed long before and after Luther, and the connection is tenuous at best. Certainly Hitler was not a Luther fan. I feel like this assertion is a stretch, but I will remain open for further dialogue.


I don’t think you can isolate Luther for blame. Mediaeval antisemitism was everywhere, Luther just had a better marketing department. The revival of virulent antisemitism in C20 is separated from Luther by nigh-on 600 years.

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This youtube channel has well researched information about the history of antijudaism and antisemitism in Germany (and a lot more):


You lost me when you tried to argue that Italians are smarter and braver than Germans.

I don’t see Luther as being significant for the Holocaust occurring in Germany. Antisemitism was widespread. Lutherans and other Lutheran-adjacent Protestants exist outside Germany.

Nazi Germany didn’t happen the Germans had some special history of antisemitism. It happened because the factors aligned: widespread desire for a strong reactionary government and someone to blame for the loss of WW1 and postwar struggles, and presence of a charismatic leader heading a party promising just such a government. That party was vehemently antisemitic, which meant the reactionary scapegoat.