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Were the Nazis Pagan?

The topic of the Nazis and religion is a hotly contested one, partly because the history of the early Nazi Party remains an ‘unfinished’ or incomplete history. It is certainly clear that the broader topic of Nazism remains a ‘contemporary’ history, given that politicians and other public figures continue to use Hitler and the Nazis as a point of historical comparison for current political or societal issues. In broad strokes, the history of the Third Reich is also well known by most people, but what is not widely realised is that historians still face considerable difficulties in historicising the early NSDAP. This is particularly the case when it comes to the topic of religion–partly because there was a heterogenous approach to religion that encompassed a diverse range of views (though one of the common aspects was an ‘ethnotheist‘ approach that applied racial conceptions to religion). Given this, it appears to be useful to outline the manner in which the Nazi Party’s use of both the swastika and ‘Sieg Heil’ marked points of continuity with an earlier German subculture called the völkisch movement––which included neo-pagan authors and groups. To read more, please see ‘Contemporary Histories‘ at Deakin.