“The Decline of the West is being ecclesiologized”. A culture war at the end of the Weimar Republic

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Abstract

This article contends that Christian anxieties over secularism played a significant role in the political crisis at the end of the Weimar Republic. Although these anxieties flared when German Communists began to imitate elements of the Soviet antireligious campaigns after 1929, their roots lay in a struggle with secularist movements stretching back to the nineteenth-century “culture war” (Kulturkampf). Catholic and Protestant counter-mobilizations of 1930 to 1933 generated theologico-political concepts and calls for state intervention that fed into the mounting political crisis. The Brüning government managed to curb excesses, but its inability to completely halt anticlericalism allowed nationalist opponents to capitalize on the new Kulturkampf. The article concludes by demonstrating how the NSDAP managed to portray itself as a non-confessional
champion of Christian interests.
Translated title of the contribution“The Decline of the West is being ecclesiologized”. A culture war at the end of the Weimar Republic
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)327-350
JournalHistorisches Jahrbuch
Volume137
Publication statusPublished - 1-Sep-2017

Keywords

  • Weimar Republic, Culture wars, Kulturkampf, secularism, German history

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