National Socialist Millennialism

David Redles

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 National Socialist Millennialism

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This article is a description of the National Socialist millennialism. Hitler's party's ideological framework and deliberations betrayed stark millennial underpinnings. Post World War I Germany was characterized by political and social divisions approaching civil war, all reflected in a confusing and inefficient parliamentary democracy. The perception of total collapse in political, social, economic, and cultural realms generated a sense of apocalypse, which in turn elicited feelings of hopelessness and a subsequent search for salvation in a movement and a leader. Many Germans rejected the nascent Weimar Republic. This article gives an overview of Hitler's messianism, from revelation to legitimization, to finally linking the leader and the led. Interpreting the rapid and radical change of the postwar years in apocalyptic terms, the Nazis got a hopeful belief in the imminent dawn of a New Age—a millennial Reich that would witness a sense of racial unity with peace and prosperity.

Keywords: National Socialist millennialism; World War I; nascent Weimar Republic; Hitler's messianism; millennial Reich; racial unity

Article.  9630 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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