In my previous post I addressed the Pope's assertion that the horrors of the Second World War and the holocaust could be put at the door of Atheism and secularism. Leaving aside the fact that the Pope makes a category error in his assertion I pointed out that his remarks are, to put it mildly, historically and politically illiterate. The articles I linked to have numerous references to scholarly analysis about the relationship between the Nazis and religion and the nature of twentieth century dictator movements as "political religions".
I just want here to record a few additional remarks on this subject and record an interesting link to some photographic evidence..
One of the facts about the rise of anti-semitic National Socialism in Germany that the Pope conveniently ignores is that National Socialism and anti-semitism , far from being forced on the German people by nasty German atheists, was sown into a Germanic cultural soil that was already fertile with a long history of clerically led anti-semitism going back centuries.
Had there not been a widespread church inspired anti-semitism it is unlikely that the full storm of anti-semitism that culminated in the Holocaust could ever have been unleashed.
We should pause also to consider the wider political / religious context of that terrible time. Consider, for example, which birds were actually flocking together. In Catholic Italy and Spain, Catholic Hungary and other Catholic European states there was either active assistance in the Nazi "solution" to the Jewish "problem" or sometimes a turning away of the eyes. Indeed Germany itself was were the horror was unleashed was reportedly one of the most actively religious countries in Europe at that time ( largely Catholic and Lutheran).
We should also recall that it was a ( supposedly ) atheist state - Russia - that bore the heaviest burden in wiping out the threat of the Nazis and stopping their anti-semitic holocaust. Not that the Soviet Union, with a political religion built around Marxism / Leninism , should serve us as any beacon of rationality of course. There is another country ravaged by a leader who was crazed - not by his atheism - but by his thirst for power and control. Features that we have witnessed all too often also in religious leaders. Therein lies , of course , the category mistake that the Pope makes.
They do say though that a picture is worth a thousand words. It's interesting to explore the poor logical and evidential base for the Popes recent assertions but to save another thousand words I give you here a link to a historical archive which shows some photographic evidence of the relationship between the Church and the Nazi state in Germany.