Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Andrew Wiest
Committee Chair School
Committee Member 2
Dr. Brian LaPierre
Committee Member 2 School
Committee Member 3
Dr. Joseph Peterson
Committee Member 3 School
The Wehrmacht was Germany’s fighting force in the field during World War II. Its brutality and discriminatory practices rivaled that of the Nazi paramilitary and police units dispatched alongside them in newly conquered areas during this conflict. Coming from a society that was not at all unfamiliar with Christianity, some within the Wehrmacht related to Christianity in some form and attempted to use it to either justify actions or make sense of the world around them.
While considerable scholarship exists on the Nazi Party’s relationship to Christianity as a convenient propaganda tool for both soldier and civilian alike, the historiography surrounding Wehrmacht personnels’ individual relationships to Christianity is underdeveloped. Using soldier correspondence from the home front, the Western Front, and especially the Eastern Front as well as wiretapped conversations from allied interrogation camps, the thesis argues that both soldiers and their loved ones did not just actively participate in Christian rituals under a totalitarian regime. They clung to Christian rituals and Christian faith in times of extreme uncertainty. This argument demonstrates how Nazism, and faith in Hitler, were often awkward bedfellows with a Christian worldview among the enlisted personnel of the Wehrmacht.
Copyright 2023 Christopher Bishop All Rights Reserved
Bishop, Christopher, "I Was Looking for God: A Study of Wehrmacht Personnel and their Personal Relationships with Religion" (2023). Master's Theses. 966.
Available for download on Sunday, May 19, 2024
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