Christian Resistance

The National Socialist state was a totalitarian state: It laid claim to complete control over all domains of society and its members.

The Nazi leadership attempted to assert this claim even over religion, its doctrines and its practices. This attempt was bound to come into conflict with the Christian faith. After all, social activism and a political order’s legitimacy are derived for Christians from their personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Political aims can therefore only ensue from faith. Where they did not, as among the German Christians who considered National Socialism’s and Christianity’s political and ideological aims to be identical, a fundamental tension existed between the Christian faith and National Socialist aims, albeit this tension was in no way always manifested in active dissociation, not even among a majority of Christians.

Nonetheless, there were a multitude of actions opposing the Nazi state and its political staff’s pursuit of totalitarian political power as well as its criminal actions. Provided it was predicated on Christian values, any such action is understood as Christian resistance here.

An overly simple scheme of black and white is of no further assistance. The acts of resistance are too complex and wide ranging: From nonparticipation, opposition and situational protest to public criticism and resistance up through political subversion. The broad concept of resistance selected is very deliberately intended to acknowledge every form of resistance.