Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Students of Church-State relations in the Hitler regime are confronted with a number of hard-to-crack nuts when it is the question of giving a sensible interpretation to some of the facts in 1933. In that year, after Hitler won a parliamentary majority for this government in the March 5th elections, an apparent change became visible in the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Nazi party. On March 23, when Hitler, trumpeting a national emergency, wanted absolute power for his government through an Enabling Act, the Catholic Center party, the so-called political wing of German Catholicism, all too readily voted for it, and thus put their signature to the death sentence of Weimar democracy. Five days later, the Catholic bishops of Germany revoked their warnings and prohibitions against joining the National Socialist party and exhorted the faithful to give their loyalty to the new government. They also soon enthusiastically welcomed the conclusion of a concordat between Germany and the Vatican. These acts naturally contributed to the enhancement of Hitler's power and authority, and he shrewdly used them later towards the establishment of a dictatorship in Germany.