Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hitler was Bismark's Baby.

With the unification of Germany under the leadership of Prussia, Bismark set upon a policy of reducing the influence of Catholicism in Germany. The policy, known as Kulturkampf, aimed to set about to place deliberate obstacles in the path of German Catholicism through institutionalised prejudice..  Whether one agrees with his policy or not, the following graphs would seem to suggest that it may have been responsible for Germany's calamities during the 20th Century.

It's hard to speculate as to what the current Germany would have been like if Adolf Hitler had not come to power. WW2 was a disaster for Germany on so many levels.  It's doubtful that Germany would have engaged in a world war if Hitler had not come to power and therefore the forces which gave rise to him are of significant interest. Germany was not committed to militarism, even after years of suffering under the injustice of the Versailles Treaty, but the treaty itself, and the Depression provided an environment in which radicalism could thrive. 

This next series shows the development of the Nazi vote from 1924-1934 within the background of the social forces previously mentioned.

Firstly, a graphic showing the distribution of  German Catholics vs Protestants int the 1934 Census.

The darker the area, the more Catholics. 
Next, the Nazi vote in;



Here's the 1934 Census again. The darker the area, the more Catholic it is:

That's pretty impressive. Whilst the Nazi party did make inroads into Catholic Germany, its power base was Protestant. Anywhere between 30-50% of Protestants voted for the Nazi's. So who did else did they vote for?

The Centrist party represented the Catholic political force. They certainly did not get their vote.

The Communists, they seemed to get some love;

 But the other main competitor to the Nazi's for the hearts and minds of Protestants were: 

The Socialists!!
Here's the religious map again.

The Protestant vote was split between the powerful anti-traditional forces of Socialism and Fascism with a smattering of Communism.  Way to go Team Luther!! In fact, the Protestant vote for the Nazi's was greater in the July 1934 election, but it appears that they started to get a little scared of Hitler and when the November vote came, directed approx two million votes away from the Nazi's to the Socialists and Communists!

Only 10-20% of Protestants seemed to reject the new radicalism and directed their vote to the German National Peoples Party. This party was comprised of the deep social conservatives of Protestantism and it attracted about 10% of the vote up North.

It's party members were initially sympathetic to the Nazi's but after a while saw that they were completely nutty and crossed over to support the Catholics against Hitler!

The graphs were obtained from this site.