Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

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.

Available for download on Sunday, May 19, 2024