1900 June 17: Martin Ludwig Bormann is born in Wegeleben, Prussia, to the Lutheran family of Theodor Bormann -post office employee who had been a Prussian regimental sergeant major -and his second wife, Antonie Bernhardine Mennong. Theodor's first marriage, to Louise Grobler, who died in 1898, had produced two half-siblings, Else and Walter Bormann. Antonie Bormann will give birth to three sons, two of whom, Martin and Albert (who will be born in 1902), will survive to adulthood.

1918: Bormann, who had been working on a farming estate in Mecklenburg after dropping out of high school, enlists as a cannoneer in the 55th Field Artillery Regiment, but the war will be over before he reaches the front lines.

1922: Twenty-two-year-old Bormann joins the Organization Rossbach, one of the illegal groups continuing the militaristic traditions of the German Army, and employing terror against the small, struggling pacifist minority in Germany. He will soon become the district leader.

1923 April 7: Albert Leo Schlageter, a member of the German Freikorps, the leader of an illegal "combat patrol" resisting the French occupying forces in the Ruhr by means of sabotage, is betrayed, possibly from within his own ranks. He is arrested the next day.

1923 May: Bormann and his friend Rudolf Hoess murder Bormann's former elementary school teacher, Walther Kadow, in the forest near Parchim. Kadow is suspected of having betrayed German nationalist Albert Leo Schlageter to the French occupation authorities in the Ruhr.

1923 May 7: Albert Leo Schlageter is condemned to death by a French court-martial.

1923 May 8: Albert Leo Schlageter, in a letter to his parents, writes that "from 1914 until today I have sacrificed my whole strength to work for my German homeland, from love and pure loyalty. Where it was suffering, it drew me, in order to help . . . . I was no gang leader; but in quiet labor, I sought to help my fatherland. I did not commit any common crime or murder."

1923 May 26: Albert Leo Schlageter is executed on the Golzheimer heath near Dusseldorf. Schlageter will become one of the principal heroes of the Nazi regime.

1923 November 9: While Bormann sits in jail awaiting trial for the murder of Walther Kadow, the so-called Beer Hall Putsch (or Hitler Putsch, or Munich Putsch) occurs in Munich.

1924 March 17: Bormann is sentenced to a year in prison as an accomplice to the murder of Walther Kadow. Rudolf Hoess, who will later became commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, is sentenced to ten years, but will only serve four.

1924 December 20: Hitler is pardoned for his participation in the Hitler Putsch, and released from jail.

1925 March: Bormann is released from Leipzig prison.

1925 April 28: Field Marshal von Hindenburg is elected President of the Reich, on the death of Friedrich Ebert.

1925 May 12: Paul von Hindenburg takes office as the second President of Germany.

1925 July 4: Bormann joins the NSDAP and the SA (Frontbann) in Thuringia, where he will be attached to the SA Supreme Command until 1930.

1928 April 1: Bormann becomes the NSDAP's regional press officer in Thuringia, and business manager for the entire Gau.


1929 September 2: Bormann weds 19-year-old Gerda Buch, whose father, Major Walter Buch, served as a chairman of the Nazi Party Court. Hitler serves as a witness at their wedding. Gerda Bormann will give birth to 10 children, nine of whom will survive to adulthood.

Martin Bormann Jr, his godfather, and Gerda Bormann.

1930 April 14: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Martin (Kroenzi) Adolf Bormann, named after his godfather, Adolf Hitler.

1930 August: Bormann organizes the Aid Fund (Hilfskasse) of the Nazi Party, of which he becomes head. Through this fund, he collects large sums for the official purpose of aiding the families of Party members who had been killed or injured while fighting for the Party.

1931 July 9: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Ilse Bormann, named after her godmother, Ilse Hess. A twin sister, Ehrengard, dies shortly after being born.

1932 April 19: Hindenburg is elected Reich President with 53.0 percent of the vote. Hitler's percentage improves from 30.1 to 36.8 percent of the electorate.

1932 July 31: The Nazis win impressively in elections for the Reichstag, making the NSDAP Germany's largest political party; but they still fall far short of a majority in the 608-member body.

1933 January 30: Machtergreifung
: Hitler's seizure of power.

1933 February 27: A law is announced recognizing seven Catholic feast days as legal German holidays.

1933 February 27: A huge fire destroys the Reichstag, the seat of German government. At Hitler's urging, President Paul von Hindenburg issues the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspends civil liberties in Germany.

1933 March 21 Potsdam Day: From the Garrison Church at Potsdam, which contains the tomb of Frederick the Great, Hitler opens the first Reichstag of the Third Reich. The occasion is carefully staged and filmed. With the nearest thing to the tale of Judas's kiss, Hitler addresses President Hindenburg, and removes his powers two days later.

1933 March 22: Dachau concentration camp opens near Munich, soon to be followed by Ravensbrueck for women; Sachsenhausen, near Berlin in Northern Germany; and Buchenwald, near Weimar in Central Germany.

1933 March 23: In the evening session of the Reichstag, Monsignor Kaas announces that the Catholic Center Party, despite some certain misgivings, will vote for the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act is then passed by the Reichstag, transferring the power of legislation from the Reichstag to the cabinet. The Enabling Act gives Hitler the power to pass his own laws, independent of the President or anyone else, making Hitler more powerful than any Kaiser in German history.


1933 April 1: The Catholic Teachers Organization publishes a declaration noting with approval that Adolf Hitler and his movement have overcome the 'un-German spirit' which triumphed in the revolution of 1918.

1933 April 4: The Central Association of Catholic fraternities withdraws its ban on membership in the Nazi party.

1933 April 4: Hitler creates the Reich Defense Council, to spur his secret disarmament program.

1933 April 7: The Nazi Civil Service Act is passed: a law which provides that all civil servants must be trustworthy -as defined by Nazi standards -and also must meet the Nazi racial requirements.

1933 April 20: On Hitler's 44th birthday, Monsignor Kaas sends a telegram of congratulations from Rome, which is widely published in the German press. Kaas assures Hitler of "unflinching cooperation." This endorsement accelerates the movement of Catholics into the Nazi camp.

1933 April 26: Hitler tells two representatives of the Catholic Church in Germany, Monsignor Steinmann and Bishop Berning, that he is only going to do to the Jews what the Church of Rome has been trying to do without success for over 1,500 years. Hitler states that he has parted company with General Ludendorff, and stresses that Alfred Rosenberg's anticlerical book is no concern of his, since it is a private publication. Being a Catholic himself, Hitler adds, he will not tolerate another Kulturkampf ("culture struggle") and the rights of the Church will be left intact.

1933 May 10: A book-burning ceremony (20,000 books) is held by members of Nazi youth groups at the Royal Library at Berlin; founded in 1661 by Frederick William of Brandenburg. It was later renamed the "Prussian State Library," and is now known as "The Berlin State Library."

1933 July 3: Statutory religious organizations throughout Germany are forbidden to employ Jews.

1933 July 5: The Catholic Center Party publishes its decree of dissolution. Only the Nazis remain as an active political party in the Reichstag.

1933 July 5: Cardinal Faulhaber complains to the Bavarian Council of Ministers that almost one hundred priests had been arrested in the last few weeks.

1933 July 9: When Hitler releases a public statement, the world learns that a Concordat has been initialed by Nazi Germany and the Holy See. Public opinion generally regards this as a great diplomatic victory for Hitler and helps to reconcile German Catholics to the new regime.

1933 July 14: Hitler's Cabinet approves the Concordat with the Vatican. During the deliberations, Hitler stresses the significance of the Concordat, especially "in the urgent fight against the international Jews. Possible shortcomings in the Concordat can be rectified later when the foreign policy situation is better."

1933 July 14: Hitler's Cabinet approves the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring. It allows for compulsory sterilization in cases of "congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy, and severe alcoholism." It will not be announced until July 25, so as not to jeopardize the signing of the Concordat.

1933 July 20 Reichskonkordat: Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen and Pacelli formally sign the Concordat in an elaborate ceremony at the Vatican.

1933 July 22: The text of the Concordat is released to the press, though a secret annex is never announced to the public, or even to party members.

In view of the special situation existing in Germany, and in view of the guarantee provided, through this Concordat, of legislation directed to safeguard the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic Church, in the Reich and its component states, the Holy See will prescribe regulations for the exclusion of clergy and members of religious orders from membership of political parties . . . 

1933 July 24: The Nazi newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter describes the Concordat as a most solemn recognition of National Socialism by the Catholic Church.

1933 July 25: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Irmgard Bormann.

1933 July: Bormann becomes Chief of Cabinet in the Office of the Deputy Fuehrer, Rudolf Hess. This is the number three position in the Party, a post he will hold until 1941.

1933 July 31: Six months after the Nazis' assumption of power, the first concentration camps are full; 26,789 political prisoners are now in detention.

1933 September: Genetic Health Courts‑-now being organized throughout Germany‑-will eventually order the sterilization of almost 400,000 German citizens: 32,268 during 1934; 73,174 in 1935; 63,547 in 1936. Note: In the U.S. 60,166 people were sterilized from 1907-1958.

1933 October: Bormann becomes an NSDAP Reichsleiter (Reich Leader).

1933 November: Bormann becomes a Nazi delegate in the Reichstag.

1933 December 15: Catholic leaders encourage Austrians to do their Christmas shopping in non-Jewish stores.

1933 December 23: Pope Pius XI condemns the Nazi sterilization program.

1933: Bormann founds and manages the Adolf Hitler Endowment Fund of German Industry (Adolf Hitler‑-Spende der deutschen Wirtschaft), which is nothing more than a thinly veiled extortion scheme aimed at German industrialists. Bormann uses these funds to increase his own power by reallocating these assets as gifts to almost all the top Party functionaries.

From The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester: Gustav [Krupp] had pledged his wife's fortune and his own sacred honor, and for a busy executive he devoted a remarkable amount of time to strengthening his Nazi ties still further. Some of these activities were essential to the party. Like other industrialists he had to see that each Kruppianer [Krupp workers and managers] was enrolled in the Labor Front and weekly "dues" deducted from pay envelopes. In his role as chairman of the Hitler-Spende he was obliged to keep up a regular correspondence with Martin Ludwig Bormann, the dour convicted murderer who served his Fuehrer as private secretary [from 1943 on], and when manufacturers protested that they couldn't convert to war production without cutting their donations, Krupp had to pass along Bormann's warning that four million Reichsmarks must be contributed immediately, "under compulsion" if it should not be forthcoming voluntarily.

Other gestures were in the tradition of the firm. Like the Great Krupp, Gustav enjoyed sending the chief of state highly polished Gala guns. There were also ceremonial Gusstahlfabrik tours for eminent statesmen‑-e.g. Bormann, Goebbels, Goering, von Ribbentrop, Himmler, Hess, von Neurath, von Blomberg, Fritsch, Keitel, Raeder, Mackensen, Todt, Speer, Funk, Ley, and Sauckel‑-and for the leaders of friendly nations: notably Japanese conservatives, and Benito Mussolini, who was first shown around by Hitler himself the last week of September 1937.

1934 June 30: Roehm Putsch The Blood Purge (Night of the Long Knives).

1934 August 2: The President of Germany, Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg‑-better known as Paul von Hindenburg‑-dies. A new service oath is sworn to this day by all members of the armed forces:

I swear this holy oath by God that I will implicitly obey the Leader of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and that, as a brave soldier, I will be willing to stake my life at any time for this oath.

1934 August 19 Gleichschaltung: Hitler becomes both Fuehrer and Reichskanzler as 90% of the German electorate approves Hitler's merging the two offices of Chancellor and President.

1934 August 31: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Rudolf Gerhard Bormann, named after his godfather, Rudolf Hess.

1935 January 13 Saar Volksabstimmung: 90.7 percent of Saar voters cast their ballot in favor of a return to Germany, 0.4 percent vote for union with France.

February 1935: From the official publication Decrees of the Deputy of the Fuehrer Edition:

The Deputy to the Fuehrer expects that Party offices will now abandon all distrust of the SD and will support it wholeheartedly in the performance of the difficult tasks with which it has been entrusted for the protection of the Movement and our people. Because the work of the SD is primarily to the benefit of the work of the Party, it is inadmissible that its development be upset by uncalled-for attacks when individuals fall short of expectations. On the contrary, it must be wholeheartedly assisted. [Signed] Bormann, Chief of Staff to the Deputy to the Fuehrer.

1935 June 18: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement, a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and the German Reich regulating the size of the Kriegsmarine in relation to the Royal Navy, is signed. This is an enormous victory for Hitler, and the first large nail in the coffin he is constructing to contain the remains of Treaty of Versailles.

1935 August Re-armament: Hitler begins rearmament in earnest.


1935 September 3: An order signed by Bormann calls on Party agencies to report to the Gestapo all persons who criticize Nazi institutions or the Nazi Party. It refers to a law of 20 December 1934 that gives the same protection to Party institutions and Party uniforms as enjoyed by the State. The order directs that whenever a case comes up involving malicious or slanderous attack on Party members or the Nazi Party or its institutions, the Reich Minister of Justice will consult with the Deputy of the Fuehrer in order to take joint action against the offenders.

1936 January 7: From a decree issued by Bormann to the Commissioner of the Party Directorate:

If parish priests or other subordinate Roman Catholic leaders adopt an attitude of hostility toward the State or Party, it shall be reported to the Secret State Police [Gestapo] through official channels. [Signed] Bormann.

From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: In a movement and a party [that] gradually had absorbed more or less the greater part of the German nation‑-and which now in its active political aspect had also absorbed the politically active persons of Germany‑-it is only natural that not all the members would be of the same opinion in every respect, despite the Leadership Principle. The tempo, the method, the attitude may be different; and in such large movements, even if they are ever so authoritatively led, certain groups form in response to certain problems. And if I were to name the group which still saw in the Church, if not a political danger, at least an undesirable institution, then I should mention above all two personages: Himmler on one side and Bormann‑-particularly later on much more radically than Himmler‑-on the other side.

Himmler's motives were less of a political and more of a confused mystical nature. Bormann's aims were much more clear-cut. It was clear, too, that from the large group of Gauleiter, one or another might be more keenly interested in this fight against the Church. Thus, there were a number of Gaue where everything was in the best of order as far as the Church was concerned, and there were a few others where there was a keen fight against the Church.

1936 March 7: Hitler occupies the Rhineland.

1936 June 13: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Heinrich Hugo Bormann, named after his godfather, Heinrich Himmler.

1937 January 8: A Bormann decree (Document 3240-PS) reproduces a Wilhelm Frick order, issued at Bormann's instigation, denying financial assistance to government employees who employed the services of Jewish doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, morticians, and other professional classes.

1938 March 2: Pastor Martin Niemoeller is brought to a "Special Court" to be tried for activities against the State. He is fined 2,000 Reichsmarks and receives a prison term of seven months. As his detention period exceeded the jail term, he will be released by the Court after the trial. However, immediately after leaving the Court, he is rearrested by Himmler's Gestapo‑-presumably because Rudolf Hess found the sentence too lenient and decided to take "merciless action" against him. He was then interned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.

1938 March 12 Anschluss: The German Army marches unopposed into Vienna.

1938 April 10 Volksabstimmung zur Annexion Oesterreichs (Plebiscite on the Austrian Anschluss): In a national plebiscite, Austrian voters register 99.75% in favor of union with Germany: Austria becomes part of the Reich as a new state, divided into seven Gaue (states). Austria withdraws as a member state from the League of Nations because of the republic's incorporation into Germany.

1938 April 20: The Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest) is formally presented to Hitler after 13 months of intensive and expensive construction.

From Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum: In [1938] Martin Bormann [had] announced with great fanfare a grand construction project on the [Kehlstein] mountain that had, since the 1920's, been Hitler's Alpine retreat, the place where Hitler built a sumptuous rustic palace for himself, the Berghof, his Hall of the Mountain King. Here, Hitler would escape from the embroilments of Munich (and then Berlin) politics to meditate amid breathtaking Alpine vistas, hike in traditional Bavarian lederhosen, and imbibe the crystalline mountain air. Here, he'd receive heads of state and host strategy conferences with his generals, dictating from that heady perspective the future map of Europe against the backdrop of snowcapped peaks visible through vast floor-to-ceiling picture windows.

It was here Hitler could ascend skyward to another aerie‑-to the tiny teahouse at the very top of the mountain where he could survey in lonely splendor the realm he commanded from his Eagles Nest. And it was here, Martin Bormann announced, that, at the request of the Fuehrer, he was constructing a guest house for the German people on Hitler's magic mountain.

"Here," the politically ambitious and slyly self-promoting Bormann proclaimed, "every German who participated in a pilgrimage to the beloved Fuehrer would have the opportunity to spend one day and one night close to the Fuehrer, for only one Reichsmark."

As it turned out, construction was so expensive and demand for rooms so great on the part of middle-management Nazi officials that only the elite of the Third Reich could be accommodated, although the structure Bormann built was a vast, rambling behemoth whose rustic exterior concealed high-ceilinged Teutonic reception halls, banquet rooms, and an extensive, high-tech underground bunker.

1938 June 16: The German Anschluss results in the extension of anti-Jewish laws to former Austrian provinces. Under the new regulations, Austrian Jews have to register all their property, at home and abroad, within a few weeks.

1938 June 21: Rosenberg Chancellery Copy (Document 107-PS), of a Bormann circular directive entitled Directions for the participation of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in religious celebrations:

The Reichsarbeitsdienst is a training school in which the German youth should be educated to national unity in the spirit of National Socialism.

This problem can only be solved, if all the ideas which at one time were directed to the breaking up of national unity, are subdued in Reichsarbeitsdienst. Therefore it is forbidden to have any class, professional and religious barriers in the Reichsarbeitsdienst.

What religious beliefs a person has is not a decisive factor, but it is decisive that he first of all feels himself a German.

Every religious practice is forbidden in the Reichsarbeitsdienst because it disturbs the comrade-like harmony of all working men and women.

On this basis, every participation of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in churchly‑-that is religious‑-arrangements and celebrations is not possible.

A religious creed will strive within the German people for predominance. The Reichsarbeitsdienst in all its male and female leaders, working men and women strive for the indissoluble binding of the whole people.

Therefore not only allowing the members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst to attend church in a body, but also participation by the members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in religious celebrations for example, weddings or funerals, violates the educational task which is facing the organization.

As little as it is the affair of the Reichsarbeitsdienst to forbid its individual members to have a church wedding or funeral, so definitely must the Reichsarbeitsdienst avoid taking part as an organization in a festival which is strictly religious, that is, which excludes Germans of other beliefs.

It is therefore, in any case, necessary to execute a clear temporal separation between the churchly celebration and the debut of the Reichsarbeitsdienst.

The Reichsarbeitsdienst does not participate in religious celebrations, but rather turns her support to the marriage or burial of a member before or after the churchly celebration.

The participation of the musical band of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in classical churchly concerts (for example, production of Haydn's "Die Schoepfung" (The Creation) is not to be regarded as a partaking in a religious celebration, and is always to be decided according to the local conditions.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: The Document Number 107-PS [above] was submitted by the Prosecution as proof of persecution of the churches. This was a circular letter sent out by the Party Chancellery and written by the Chief of the Reich Labor Service. In this circular, on Page 1, it is decreed that denominational discussions were to be prohibited within the Reich Labor Service. I believe that was done so that particularly in the Reich Labor Service, where young people of all classes and backgrounds were taken in, denominational and religious discussions would be avoided.

"Just as it is of no concern to the Reichsarbeitsdienst to forbid its individual members to have a church wedding or funeral, so the Reichsarbeitsdienst must by all means avoid taking part, as an organization, in church ceremonies which exclude Germans of other beliefs."

I considered this decree as the strictest adherence to religious freedom: for it meant that members of the Protestant faith could not be forced to attend Catholic services and vice versa; furthermore, that persons who perhaps did not belong to any religious denomination could not, on order of their organization, be forced to attend the services of one denomination or the other. Therefore, I cannot see that in this case we are concerned with religious persecution.

1938 August 4: Gerda Bormann gives birth to Eva Ute Bormann.

1938 August 7: Prisoners from Dachau concentration camp are sent to the town of Mauthausen near Linz, Austria, to begin the construction of a new camp.

1938 September 29 Muenchen Konferenz: The Munich Conference concludes.

1938 November 12 From the minutes (Document 1816-PS) of a conference on the Jewish question, held under the direction of Goering:

Goering: Gentlemen, today's meeting is of a decisive nature. I have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's orders by the Chief of Staff of the Fuehrer's Deputy, Bormann, requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, co-coordinated and solved in one way or another.

1939 January 17: A Bormann decree (Document 069-PS) demands compliance with the new anti-Jewish regulations stemming and flowing from the Goering conference of November 12, 1938 (above) under which Jews are denied access to housing, are denied sleeping compartments in trains, the right to give their trade to certain hotels in Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Augsburg, and the like. They are banned and excluded from swimming pools, certain public squares, resort towns, mineral baths, and other facilities of ordinary life:

According to a report of General Field Marshal Goering, the Fuehrer has made some basic decisions regarding the Jewish question. The decisions are brought to your attention in the enclosure. Strict compliance with these directives is requested. [Signed] Bormann.

1939 January 24: Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 116-PS):

Fundamentally, theological inquiry cannot be placed on the same footing as the general fields of knowledge in the Universities as it represents less a free field of knowledge than a confessional (i.e. religious) aim of research. No doubts exist on this ground if the theological faculties in the German High schools are appreciably restricted.

In this case, as you have likewise pointed out in your letter, the clause of the Concordat and the Church Treaties are to be taken into consideration. In the case of certain faculties, which are not mentioned by a specific clause in the Concordat and Church Treaties, as for example Munich and a few others, suppression can be begun without further ado. This is equally true of the theological faculties in Austria, Vienna, and Graz.

But also, in the case of the faculties, which are specifically mentioned in the Concordat or Church Treaties, there now exists a special legal situation, which has been created by the general change in circumstances. Particularly, the introduction of military service and the execution of the Four-Year Plan must be considered. By virtue of these measures, and in addition by virtue of the fact of an extraordinary lack of replacement men in contrast to the earlier numerous replacement men available, it will be necessary to execute a certain reorganization of the German High Schools. Thus economics and simplifications are necessary. I should like to refer particularly once more to these questions on the basis of the oral discussion between Mr. State Minister Dr. Wacker and my expert. Because of this I would appreciate it very much if you would restrict the theological faculties insofar as they cannot be wholly suppressed in accordance with the above statement. In this event the matter concerns not only the theological faculties in the universities, but also the various state establishments which still exist in many places as institutes of high learning exclusively devoted to theology and without connection with a university.

I request in this instance the omission of any express declaration to the churches or to other places as well as the avoiding of a public announcement of these measures. Complaints and the like must be answered (if they are to be replied to) in the fashion that these measures are being executed in the course of the economic plan of reorganization and that similar things are happening to other faculties.

I would appreciate it very much if professorial chairs, thus vacated, can be then turned over to the newly created fields of inquiry of these last years, such as racial research, archeology studies, etc.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document Number 116-PS [above] concerns itself with a letter of the Leader of the Reich Chancellery sent to the Reich Minister for Science and Education and is dated 24 January 1939. This document was submitted to me for my information‑-I emphasize‑-"for my information." It refers to correspondence between the Party Chancellery and this Ministry regarding the limitation of theological faculty's, in which it is emphasized that the terms of concordats and church agreements would have to be taken into consideration; secondly, that it was necessary methodically to reorganize the entire higher educational system by amalgamation and simplification; and finally, it states that newly created fields of research, such as racial research and archeology, were also to be taken into consideration.

I could not see why, after 6 years of National Socialist revolution, new fields of specialization in scientific research should not find due consideration within the budget. I personally was interested in seeing that the subjects of agrarian sociology and the early history of Germany received proper consideration, specifically in regard to Germanic intellectual and spiritual history.


1939 January 30: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

The National Socialist State has not closed a church, nor has it prevented the holding of a religious service, nor has it ever excised any influence upon the form of a religious service. It has not exercised any pressure upon the doctrine nor on the profession of faith of any of the Confessions. In the National Socialist State anyone is free to seek his blessedness after his own fashion.

It is however true that if priests, instead of being servants of God, prefer to regard as their mission the abuse of our present Reich, its institutions or its leaders, then the National Socialist State will relentlessly force them to realize that no one will be suffered to destroy this State, and that priests so soon as they set themselves beyond the law, will by the law be brought to account, precisely in the same way as any other German citizen. But it must be at this point established that there are ten thousands and ten thousands of priests of all Christian Confessions who perform their ecclesiastical duties just as well as [or] probably better than the political agitators without ever coming into conflict with the laws of the State. To protect these the State regards as its task; the destruction of the enemies of the State it regards as its duty...

1939 February 10 Pope Pius XI dies.

1939 April 17: A letter from the Defendant Bormann to Rosenberg (122-PS) transmits a photostat copy of the plan of the Reich Minister of Science, Education, and Popular Culture for the combining and dissolving of certain specified theological faculties. In his letter of transmittal Bormann requests Rosenberg to take "cognizance and prompt action" with respect to the proposed suppression of religious institutions.

1939 May 8: Mauthausen-Gusen camp, a prison camp for common criminals, prostitutes and other categories of "Incorrigible Law Offenders," is converted to a labor camp which will be mainly used for the incarceration of political prisoners. The prisoners will be marched daily to the stone-quarries at Gusen. Note: Many of the Nazi concentration camps were located near quarries or gravel pits so that prison labor could be used for the production of building materials for Hitler and Speer's many building projects.

1939 May 22: Italy signs the Pact of Steel with Hitler's Germany.

1939 June 3: A Bormann decree (Document 838-PS) orders that followers of Christian Science be excluded from the Nazi Party.

1939 June 23: From a confidential letter (Document 123-PS) from Bormann to the Minister of Education, in which Bormann sets forth the Party's decision to order the suppression of numerous theological faculties and religious institutions, including the dissolution or restriction of 19 separate religious institutions:

In the above I have informed you of the Party's wishes, after thorough investigation of the matter with all Party offices. I should be grateful if you would initiate the necessary measures as quickly as possible. With regard to the great political significance which every single case of such a consolidation will have for the Gaue concerned, I ask you to take these measures and particularly to fix dates for them always in agreement with me.
1939 July 14: A Bormann decree (Document 840-PS) reaffirms an earlier Bormann decree of 9 February 1937 ordering that all Party members who enter the clergy, or who undertake the study of theology, are to be expelled from the Party.


1939 August 23: The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed in Moscow. It is sometimes called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of Non-aggression, or simply the 'Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.'

1939 September 3 Der zweite Weltkrieg: WW2 begins as Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and France declare war on Nazi Germany.

1939 September 6: From a letter of the Reich Minister for Churches to German author, Dr. Stapel (Document 129-PS):

As you know from the speech of the Fuehrer in the Reichstag on 30 January 1939 [above], every power in exercising compulsion in the production of a legal and administrative unity of the Evangelical Church was completely withdrawn from me. The Fuehrer considers his efforts to bring the Evangelical Church to reason unsuccessful, and the Evangelical Church with respect to its condition rightfully a useless pile of sects. As you emphasize the Party has previously carried on not only a fight against the political element of the Christianity of the Church, but also a fight against membership of Party Members in a Christian confession . . . . 

I need not emphasize to you that this letter is confidential. However, I shall make accessible to the Confidential Council copies of your splendid memorandum as well as copies of this letter for confidential cognizance. I would be especially glad if in the near future I found the opportunity to discuss orally with Reich Minister Hess your memorandum and my answer.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 129-PS [above] is a letter of the Reich Minister for Churches to a well-known German author, Dr. Stapel, who was especially interested in religious reform. In this letter, the Reich Church Minister expresses the view that a common religious denomination should be especially promoted which would affirm the National Socialist State in particular and, at the same time, could enjoy and rely upon the support of the Reich Church Minister.

In the preliminary interrogation, a letter of mine was submitted to me, written to the Party Chancellery, relative to this matter, in which I declared myself against the calling of such a church congress by the Reich Church Minister on the principal ground that a National Socialist Minister of Churches did not have the function of joining a religious denomination of which he was the direct head, even if undeclared or only in appearance. It is exactly the same viewpoint which has provided the basis for many a reproach against me. If, in addition to publicizing my personal opinion, I had had the intention of providing or leading a religious group, then I would have had to give up all my functions, offices, and activities in the Party. That followed from a point of view of principle which I held. The Minister of Churches, as a National Socialist Minister, was, in my opinion, obliged not to promote a religion to which he was sympathetic, but to be independent of all religious denominations.

1939 October 26: A forced labor decree is issued for Polish Jews between the ages of 14 to 60.


1939 Christmas: Hitler is a guest at the Bormann family villa. He presents his godson, Martin Adolf Bormann (above), a box of toy soldiers and a model of an antiaircraft gun.

1940 January 16 From a letter (Document 1600-PS) from Bormann to Dr. Posse of the State Picture Gallery in Dresden:

Dear Dr. Posse: Enclosed herewith I am sending you the pictures of the altar from the convent in Hohenfurth near Krumau. The convent and its entire property will be confiscated in the immediate future because of the subversive attitude of its inmates toward the State. It would be up to you to decide whether the pictures are to remain in the convent at Hohenfurth or are to be transferred to the museum at Linz after its completion I shall await your opinion in the matter. Bormann.

1940 January 17: From Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 101-PS):

Nearly all the districts report to me regularly, that the Churches of both confessions are administering spiritually to members of the Armed Forces. This administering finds its expression especially in the fact that soldiers are being sent religious publications by the spiritual leaders of the home congregations. These publications are in part very cleverly composed. I have repeated reports that these publications are being read by the troops and thereby exercise a certain influence on the morale.

I have in the past sought by sounding out the General Field Marshall, the High Command of the Armed Forces and Party Member Reich Director Amann, to restrict considerably the production and shipment of publications of this type. The result of these efforts remain unsatisfactory. As Reich Director [Reichsleiter] Amann has repeatedly informed me, the restriction of these pamphlets by means of the printing paper rationing has not been achieved because the paper used for the production of these writings is being purchased on the open market. Publications can only be confiscated by special police measures because they are designed to weaken the morale of the troops. Such police measures are really unsatisfactory and in their final execution very much disputed.

Likewise, the prior censorship of all writings by the High Command of the Armed Forces which takes place at the distribution points of the Armed Forces service bureau, is not sufficient in my opinion, to guarantee that the soldiers are not given an undesired influence by the Churches. A publication, the contents of which are clearly tied to the Christian dogma, and which do not contain attacks against Party, State, or the Armed Forces, cannot in general be refused permission by this examining commission.

If the influencing of the soldiers by the Church is to be effectively combated, this will only be accomplished, in my opinion, by producing many good publications in the shortest time possible under the supervision of the Party. These publications should be so composed that the soldiers will really prefer to read them, and at the same time, indoctrinate the soldiers with a National Socialist World philosophy, not the Christian viewpoint.

Thus at the last meeting of the deputy Gauleiter's complaints were uttered on this matter to the effect that a considerable quantity of such publications are not available. This is the reason I believe, that the publication by your expert, Office Director [Amtsleiter] Party Member Ziegler, "Soldier Belief Soldier Honor" [Soldatenglaube‑-Soldatenehre] has had so great a sale in a short time.

I maintain that it is necessary that in the near future we transmit to the Party Service Offices down to local group directors [Ortsgruppenleitern] a list of additional publications of this sort which should be sent to our soldiers by the local groups, Party military units [Sturme] or their adherents and friends in the field. I should not regard it as necessary or even good if the majority of these publications should have a spiritual or philosophical character. Rather I should regard it as much preferable if these publications in their finished form were styled in as varied a manner as possible, thus having an appeal to all members of the Armed Forces, regardless of their occupational or professional achievements, regardless of their interests and their background.

I should be very appreciative if you would devote your very special attention to this task, in the near future. My expert, Party Member Dr. Klopfer, is available to you for consultation about the material on hand here which is at your disposal at any time upon your call.

As the production of these publications (which at the moment are not in existence) will take a certain amount of time, and as, on the other hand, I believe that the supplying of the troops with good publications ought not to be delayed a day, I should be indebted to you if you would transmit to me a list of the already existing publications which the deputy of the Fuehrer can recommend to the Party Service Offices as suitable for dispatch to the Armed Forces.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 101-PS [above] is a letter from the Chief of the Party Chancellery‑-at that time still Chief of Staff of the Deputy of the Fuehrer‑-in which the protest is made that many confessional writings tended to impair the resistance of the troops; and he suggested that it would be better to have my office issue such publications. An answer by me has not been presented here‑-has not been shown to me. My opinion has always been that, being in a Party office, it was not for me to write religious tracts, but that, of course, it could be left to every person as an individual, if one had something pertinent to say, to put it in writing, as others did . . . . 

The Prosecution contends that it is a matter of a premeditated plan for the plundering of the cultural treasures of other states. In reality, the following was true: We were dealing with an unforeseen situation. A colleague of mine had accompanied a press delegation when the German troops marched into Paris and noticed that the Parisians were returning almost completely with the exception of the Jewish population, so that all organizations and institutions in that category of ownership were left behind empty, as well as the residences. and mansions of these leading personalities, so to say, ownerless. He suggested that research into property, archives, and correspondence should be made. I reported the matter to the Fuehrer and asked whether he approved of the carrying out of this suggestion.

This letter of mine to the Fuehrer was submitted to me in the preliminary interrogation but was not submitted to the Tribunal by the Prosecution. Thus, even though the documentary proof of the reason for this entire transaction is at hand, the Prosecution have still maintained the charge of a premeditated plan. The order of the Fuehrer was issued at the beginning of July 1940, and since a large number of art objects, in addition to the archives, was found in a dangerous position in many mansions, the safekeeping and the transporting of these objects of art into the German Reich was decreed by the Fuehrer . . . . 

Of course, it was clear that we were concerned with an unusual problem, and for that very reason I did not talk with the military administration but went directly to the Fuehrer, so that I could get his opinion. But I believe the fact in itself can be understood, that we were interested in going into historical research regarding the extent to which, in the course of recent years or decades, various organizations had taken part in the activity which is here under discussion as destructive of peace; secondly, how many prominent persons individually took part in it; and thirdly, I remembered that many works of art, which in past times had been taken from Germany had not been returned to Germany for many decades, despite the agreement of 1815.

Finally, I thought of a measure which in 1914 to 1918 had been recognized by the Allies as being in agreement with the Hague Convention. At that period German citizens of a certain category, they were the racial Germans abroad, in foreign countries, also in occupied German territory‑-that is, in the colonies‑-had their property confiscated and later taken from them without compensation to the extent of a value of 25 billion Reichsmark. In the peace dictate of Versailles, Germany was in addition obliged to post security for these dispossessed Germans and to set up a special fund.

The Chief French Prosecutor declared at this Trial that the Versailles Treaty was based on the Hague Convention. Therefore, I drew the conclusion that this measure against a very distinct category of citizens in the midst of unforeseen military measures, with all due respect for private and public property otherwise, appeared justified. During the preliminary hearing, I was also asked about the legal hypotheses and had started to point them out, but I was interrupted with the remark that we were not concerned with that problem at the time.

1940 January 19 From a letter from Bormann to the Reich Minister for Finance demanding a great increase in the special war tax imposed on the churches:

As it has been reported to me, the war contribution of the churches for the 3-month period beginning 1 November 1939 has been tentatively set at RM 1,800,000 per month, of which RM I million are to be paid by the Protestant Church, and RM 800,000 by the Catholic Church. The fixing of such a low amount has surprised me. I see from numerous reports that political communities are obliged to raise such a large war contribution that the performance of their tasks‑-some of them very important; for example, in the field of public welfare‑-is endangered. In view of this, a higher quota also from the churches appears to me to be absolutely justified.

1940 January 20: From Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 100-PS):

Dear Party Member Rosenberg:

A few days ago you expressed to the Fuehrer at the Reich Chancellery that Reich Bishop Mueller had written an excellent book for the German soldier. I am of different opinion. This book familiarizes a new soldier who has already given up Christianity with partly camouflaged trains of thought.

As I have written to you already, I consider it the most essential demand of the hour that NS publications worth reading for the German soldier should be written immediately by your Office and other qualified National Socialists. This opinion has been confirmed by many regional Party leaders. Thus we set against the sale of Christian pamphlets the highly increased sale of national socialist publications which are popular.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 100-PS (above) is a reproach from the former Chief of Staff of the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Bormann, that I had stated in the presence of the Fuehrer that the Protestant Reich Bishop, Muller, had written a very good book for the German soldiers. Reichsleiter Bormann said that this book by Muller did not appear suitable to him, because, after all, it was masked confessional propaganda. I do not believe that the reproach directed at me for unhesitatingly approving Reich Bishop Muller's expression of opinion given in a proper way‑-and naturally in keeping with his way of thinking‑-can be portrayed as religious persecution.

1940 February 22: From Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 098-PS):

Subject: Directions for the administration of classes in religion

Dear Party Member Rosenberg: The deputy of the Fuehrer has heard from different sources, that Reich Bishop Mueller tells everywhere, that he received a commission from you to work out directions for formulating the teaching of religion for the schools.
I have not been able to examine the statements of Reich Bishop Mueller as to their correctness. The question, having come up for discussion again by the statements of Reich Bishop Mueller, is however in my mind of such fundamental importance for the future ideological position of the party, that I find it necessary, already now to point out to you the serious objections I have in regard to such a commission.

The ministry for education of the Reich has repeatedly indicated its desire in the course of the past few years for new directions for formulating the teaching of religion, which would also be acceptable to the NSDAP.

With your agreement, this request has repeatedly been refused by the Fuehrer's deputy. Just as your ministry did, so the deputy of the Fuehrer took the position based on the assumption, that it could not be the task of the party to give directions for the instruction of the teachings of Christian religions.

Christianity and National Socialism are phenomena which originated from entirely different basic causes. Both differ fundamentally so strongly, that it will not be possible to construct a Christian teaching which would be completely compatible with the point of view of the national socialist ideology; just as the communities of Christian faith would never be able to stand by the ideology of national socialism in its entirety. The issuing of national socialist directions for the teaching of religious classes would however be based on a synthesis of national socialism and Christianity which I find impossible.

If the directions should really be permeated by the spirit of national socialism, some very fundamental articles of faith of the Christian teachings could not be recognized. I am referring here only to the position of the Christian churches to the race question, to the question of hindrance or destruction of life not valuable, its position to marriage, which speaks for the celibacy of priests and the toleration and furtherance of orders for monks and nuns, the teaching, contradictory to German feeling, of the immaculate conception of Mary, etc.

No matter how these directions may be formulated, in no case will they ever simultaneously find the approval of the church and the party.

In addition to this, the religions themselves cannot agree on the contents of the Christian teachings; as far as the Protestants themselves are concerned, there are not only the followers of the confessional church in the Reich and the German Christians, but also the adherents of a teaching, which is endeavoring to create a new Lutheran Christendom of a particular kind approximately in the shape which seems desirable to the Reich Minister of churches, party member Kerrl. The party thus would have to decide first which of these directions of faith it would give preference, or if it should even decide for a fourth. I do not think it entirely impossible that the Reich Bishop may take this latter road, since according to his last publication he himself has already turned sharply away from conceptions which up to now have been part of the faith of the German Christians.

But if directions for the instruction of religion should ever be worked out, it will not be enough, to my mind, to make them for Protestants only; respective directions should also be worked out for Catholics. To work out directions for instructions of Catholic faith, the Reich Bishop is hardly the suitable person, and one would probably have to choose a Catholic. Of course the directions for both faiths would differ in fundamental questions, each, however would lay claim to the fact that it really contained the truly authentic interpretation of article 24 of the party program.

By issuing directions nothing would therefore be improved in the present situation in the field of the churches. The fight between the faiths would be carried on in the old form and spread into the lines of the party. Yes, all faiths and Christian groups would attack state and party, because they had assumed to encroach upon their own territory, that of teaching the Christian faith and to try to reform it.

The churches cannot be conquered by a compromise between national socialism and Christian teachings, but only through a new ideology, whose coming you yourself have announced in your writings. Because of this conviction, we have always been careful not to exert a reforming influence on the Christian dogma in any shape, nor to exert any influence on the church directives for religious teachings. In complete mutual agreement we have rejected the intention of the Reich Minister for churches who, against the objection of the party, always tried anew to renew the church life in the frame of national socialist spirit, in searching for a compromise between Christian teachings and the ideology of national socialism.

Should, however, any one personality emanating from the life of the church, be charged now to work out directions for the teaching of the Christian religion, the party would thereby basically approve and accept for itself the position of the Reich Minister for the churches previously opposed by it as there is no basic difference between a position which wants to reform and reorganize the church life in its entirety, and one which aims at this goal solely in the realm of the education of youth.

So far we have always been in accord, that by taking such a step the party would leave the soil on which it is firmly planted and would step on the swaying ground of the controversial Christian doctrines. It would enter into the domain of the interpretation of the teachings of Jesus, and there would doubtless be subordinate to those who for centuries have done nothing but interpret and rewrite the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth as written in the old books about the actual wording of which the scientists fight even today. When in later decades and centuries the German people's soul liberated by national socialism should once again be choked and crippled by Christian doctrines, it could be possible that it may have been caused by today's attempt to effect a synthesis between national socialism and Christianity.

On the other hand, of course I am also of the opinion that it is not possible to eliminate the religious instruction in schools without replacing it with something better for the moral education of youth.

Religious instruction as given in schools today does not only comprise the instruction in the Christian doctrines of faith, the teachings of the creation of the world and of the life thereafter; besides, the children receive also instructions in the ten commandments, which for most comrades of the people to this day still are the only directives for their moral behavior and for an orderly collective life in the people's community. If this instruction is taken from the children without replacing it with something better, the objection can be made‑-in my estimation not without reason, that, as many contend, the present degradation of youth is in part caused by the lack of religious instruction in schools.

What, in my opinion, is therefore necessary is the preparation of a short directive about a national socialist life formulation. We need for the work of education in the party, especially also in the Hitler Youth a short resume in which the ethical principles are documented, to respect which each German boy and girl, who at one time will be representatives of the national socialistic Germany, must be educated. In such a directive for instance belongs the law of bravery, the law against cowardliness, the commandment of love for the soulful nature in which God makes himself apparent also in the animal and the plant, a commandment to keep the blood pure; many principles also belong here which are for instance also contained in the Decalogue of the Old Testament, as far as they can be regarded as moral principles of all people's life.

The publication of such a directive can and must only come out of our national socialist conduct of life. Its commandments of customs need to be explained by reference to any doctrines of faith about the creation of life and about life of the soul after death.
They can and must originate beyond any confessional discussions.

I take the publication of such a directive to be of utmost importance, because the German boys and girls must once be told what they can and must do, and what is forbidden for them to do. I don't even think it necessary to introduce this directive immediately into the schools as a text; it would be sufficient if for the time being it would be introduced into the party and its affiliations. Later it could also be taken over by the schools just as the little Catechism also was not created by the school boards, but first taught by the Church and later taken over by the schools.

As far as the religious instructions in the schools is concerned, I do not think that anything has to be changed in the present situation. No fault can be found with any national socialist teacher, who after the unmistakably clear instructions of the Fuehrer's deputy, is ready to give school instructions in the Christian religion. For the contents of this instruction, however, the directives should still be binding which have in former year been made by the churches themselves. In the circular of the Fuehrer's deputy No. 3/39 of 4 January 1939 it is stated explicitly that the teachers charged with religious instruction are not to choose from the material on biblical history at their own discretion, but have the obligation to teach the entire biblical instruction material. Interpretations, explanations, and separations in the sense of several attempts of particular church directions have to be omitted. The pupils must be given the entire picture of the biblical instruction material.

However, the teachers have the right to present this material as property of biblical thought and not as that of Germany or national socialism. If thus in some cases comparison will be drawn, this, according to the circular, corresponds only to the duties of the educator. Against such instruction of religion the churches cannot have any objections.

When, sometime later, the proposed directive for a new German conduct of life first to be used in the educational work of the party, will have found entry into the schools, it shall in no way supplant classes in religion. It may perhaps be used as a foundation for some classes in German and must have validity for all pupils, without consideration of their religious affiliations. Against such educational procedure the churches could not object, either because it would really be a matter of additional education, which would take place next to the religious instruction and without any connection with it. On the contrary, the churches would have reason to be thankful to the state because it is not satisfied with the religious instruction according to the very insufficient moral education based on the ten commandments, but that it is giving youth an additional Education, which makes much higher demands on its moral conduct.

Parallel to that the desire of the parents for the instruction in the doctrines of faith may thus well go on. The stronger and more fertile our positive educational work in the schools will be formulated, however the more certain it is that instruction of religions will be losing in importance.

If the youth which is now being educated according to our moral laws will later have to decide if it is still willing to have its children brought up in the far inferior Christian doctrines, the decision will in most cases be negative.

I would think that today, seven years after taking over the power, it should be possible to set up principles for a national socialist conduct of life. They have long been apparent to the people from the numerous early fighters for the national socialist idea.
As long as we do not master this task, however, it will always be pointed out from various sides, and rightly so, that children, not taking part in religious instruction, are no longer taught even the most simple moral laws which are a standard for the communal life of all nations.

The Fuehrer's deputy finds it necessary that all these questions should be thoroughly discussed in the near future in the presence of the Reich leaders, who are especially affected by them. I would appreciate it very much if you would let me know your position in this matter before the discussion.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 098-PS (above) contains a new reproach against me by the Chief of the Party Chancellery. He said that Reich Bishop Mueller claimed that he had had directives from me to work out basic principles for the organization of religious instruction in the schools.

Bormann set forth at great length that it was not the task of the Party to engage in reform measures with respect to religious instruction in schools. To this I would like to say the following. I could not give any instructions at all to Reich Bishop Muller on this topic. Nevertheless, the Reich Bishop visited me on two occasions, and on one occasion he told me, virtually with tears in his eyes, that he got no proper response to his work. I told him, "Your Excellency, as a military pastor, you are simply not well enough known to the public. It would be quite apropos if you would write a detailed work setting forth your views and your objectives, so that the various groups of the Evangelical Church might get to know your ideas, and in that way you can make your influence felt in the manner you wish." The Reich Bishop may well have spoken about this, and probably made a few additional remarks. I do not believe that the accusation made here by Bormann can be construed as persecution of the churches either.

1940 March 8: Forward from Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 089-PS):

Concerns: Confessional writing.

I am referring to the discussion of my expert, party member Dr. Klopfer, with party member Dr. Reinhardt, and inform you once more of the fact that according to a report I have received, only 10% of the over 3000 protestant periodicals in Germany, such as Sunday papers etc. have ceased publication for reason of paper saving. Party member Dr. Reinhardt has already informed my expert that at present the distribution of any paper whatsoever for such periodicals was barred.

I urge you to see to it in any redistribution of paper to be considered later that the confessional writing, which according to experiences so far gathered, possesses very doubtful value for strengthening the power of resistance of the people toward the external foe, receives still sharper restrictions in favor of literature, politically and ideologically more valuable.

Without doubt the draft of an order "for fulfillment of the organizational duty by the production of writings," presented upon your request, will be a suitable means for this purpose.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 089-PS [above] is a letter by Bormann, which he sent to me for my information, in which he told me that he had proposed to Reichsleiter Amann that, because of the general scarcity of paper, religious writings, which had decreased by only 10 percent, should be further curtailed. I did not know to what extent the curtailment of all periodicals was undertaken at that time. I can only state that in the course of the war even the seven periodicals about art, music, folklore, German dramaturgy, et cetera, which were published by my office, were constantly curtailed and abbreviated along with the rest of the periodicals in the German Reich.

1940 March 13: From an order (Document 062-PS) from Hess addressed to Reichsleiter, Gauleiter, and other Nazi officials and organizations, instructing them to order the German civil population to arrest or liquidate all bailed-out Allied fliers:

About behavior in case of landings of enemy planes or parachutists . . . . Likewise enemy parachutists are immediately to be arrested or liquidated.

1940 April 5: Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 068-PS):

In the opinion of the party the term "Church Service" cannot be objected to. I consider it fitting since it properly implies meetings arranged and organized by the churches. Those Germans who are not members of a Christian Church may be offended by an announcement in a daily newspaper that only the members of the Christian confession are holding a "divine service." After the National Socialist State has created the conception "God-believing" (Gottglaubig) especially for those Germans who confess the belief in God and who have placed their lives in the "Service of God"‑-without being members of a Christian confession‑-it can no longer be justified to refer exclusively to the Services arranged by the Christian confessions as "Divine Services", even in the National Socialist dailies.

1940 May 19: The Germans invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940 June 25: An Armistice is signed between France and Germany. Under its terms, the French army is to be disbanded and two thirds of France is to be occupied by the Germans.


1940 June 28: Hitler, in company with Bormann (not shown), the architects Speer and Giesler, the sculptor Arno Breker, and others, tours conquered Paris. (Speer)

From Adolf Hitler by John Toland: It was pitch-dark when the party‑-which included Keitel and Bormann and several adjutants‑-arrived at a meadow outside Bruly-de-Pesche and climbed into a plane piloted by Baur, but by the time they reached Le Bourget the sun was up. June 23 was going to be a bright, hot day. Hitler climbed into the first open car of a motor column, seating himself as usual beside the driver. Behind him sat the rest of the party. As they headed for the first stop, the Opera, the streets of the city were deserted except for an occasional gendarme who would dutifully greet the Fuehrer with a smart salute. Breker had spent his most decisive years in Paris and was shocked to see the almost complete absence of life.

Hitler's features slowly relaxed as he took in the architectural wonders of the Opera, which he had admired since his early days in Vienna. He was a familiar with the building as with his own chancellery and his eyes shone with excitement. "This is the most beautiful theater in the world!" he called out to his entourage. He inspected the boxes and noted that one room was missing. The white-haired attendant who had been accompanying them with stiff pride announced coolly that it had been eliminated years ago. "There, you see how well I know my way about!" said Hitler with the pride of a schoolboy.

After a stop at the Eiffel Tower they visited Napoleon's tomb. Here Hitler placed a cap over his heart, bowed and gazed for some time down into the deep round crypt. He was very moved. Finally he turned to Giesler [Munich architect Hermann Giesler, Hitler's General Building Inspector for the reorganization of the city of Munich, later he became also a director in the Organization Todt and even later he was tasked with the reorganization of the entire city of Linz] and said quietly, "You will build my tomb." (FN: Later he gave Giesler explicit instructions. His tomb was to be extremely simple and it would be placed in Munich. "Here I was truly born," he said, "Here I started my movement and here is my heart.") He lapsed into pensive silence, then instructed Bormann to transfer the bones of young Napoleon from Vienna to his father's side.

The three-hour tour ended on the heights of Montmartre, the Mecca of art students. Perhaps it reminded Hitler of his own student days. Lost in thought for some moments, he finally turned to Geisler, Breker and Speer. "Now your work begins," he said. The rebuilding of cities and monuments was entrusted to them. "Bormann," he said, "help me with this. Take care of my artists." Hitler again surveyed the city which stretched below. "I thank fate to have seen this city whose magic atmosphere has always fascinated me," he said. That was why he had ordered his troops to by-pass Paris and to avoid combat in its vicinity. "So that picture before us would be preserved for the future." But the few Parisians who saw him that morning were reduced to panic. As his cavalcade came upon a group of boisterous market women the fattest pointed in terror at Hitler. Her shriek of "It's him! It's him!" spread pandemonium.

1940 July 21: Hitler promotes Bormann from major general to lieutenant general in the SS.

From Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer: The powerful men under Hitler were already jealously watching one another like so many pretenders to the throne. Quite early there were struggles for position among Goebbels, Goering, Rosenberg, Ley, Himmler, Ribbentrop, and Hess. Only Roehm had been left by the wayside, and before long Hess was to lose all his influence. But none of them recognized a threat in the shape of trusty Bormann. He had succeeded in representing himself as insignificant while imperceptibly building up his bastions. Even among so many ruthless men, he stood out by his brutality and coarseness. He had no culture, which might have put some restraints on him, and in every case he carried out whatever Hitler had ordered or what he himself had gathered from Hitler's hints. A subordinate by nature, he treated his own subordinates as if he were dealing with cows and oxen.

1940 October 1: Forward from Bormann to Rosenberg (Document 064-PS):

A pamphlet entitled "The Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers" written by Major General Dr. h. c. (doctor, honoris causa) von Rabenau has appeared in the publications section of the NSDAP.

Group I: German Military Might, published by the Central Publishing Co. of the NSDAP, Successors to Franz Eher Inc. Ltd. (GmbH) Berlin.

I cannot but point out this spiritual outpouring as a digression, at least as inadequate. It is on the same order as the many lectures which General von Rabenau gave to officers before the present war and its tendencies are directed against the concept of the German soldier which was born with the national-socialistic revolution, even if this tendency is cleverly kept to a minimum in this case. Just as in his lectures, Rabenau uses the method of arbitrary juggling with philosophic learning, which on one hand displays a widespread knowledge, and on the other consciously holds back from the clarity for which we strive with the national-socialistic world philosophy [Weltanschauung].

As I have reported before in conversation with you, General von Rabenau gave a lecture in Aachen some time before this war to a group of some 60 to 70 younger officers and about 15 leader of the party who were invited, and among whom I chanced to be, about the development of the people's army. According to Rabenau, the present people's army began about 1813 during the wars of Liberation (Napoleonic) and developed in the decades which followed to its present size, thanks to the great German qualities of soldiery which reached their zenith in the army of one hundred thousand men. The national-socialistic revolution which created the popular will for soldiery, and with it the developments for the establishment of the first German people's army is not mentioned in any way, much less, in the role of being the dynamic creative force. Rabenau contented himself with presenting only a few quotations from the Fuehrer's Mein Kampf. The politically ignorant officers got the impression, as Rabenau knew how to talk vividly and convincingly, that the size of the present day people' army was an accomplishment of the old military forces, and in their later thinking they will ask themselves: "Why is there so much emphasis on the Party? Why invite the Party [leaders]? This is an affair for soldiers."

Then I asked a question after the lecture, which unfortunately did not offer a discussion period, and explained to him that he was in no wise justified by history, that he had denied the mother of the people's army, the Revolution, the Party, he overbore me in the arrogant manner which is peculiar to him with reference to Indian, Chinese, French, English and German philosophies in order to prove to me in front of several listeners that his lecture presentation was correct. I replied with the philosophic ideas which I have won in the practical struggle of life, and insisted on the correctness of my concept. He professes not to be able to allow my contentions because they were not scientifically based. According to all appearances only those philosophic ideas are scientifically based, for him, which were developed before the national-socialistic revolution.

The inadequacy of Rabenau made itself clear at the close of this conversation, when the church came into the debate as the educational factor [Erziehungsfaktor]. After he had affirmed the necessity of the churches, Rabenau said with emphasized self-assurance something like the following, "Dear Gauleiter, the Party is making mistake after mistake in the business with the churches. Obtain for me the necessary powers from the Fuehrer and I guarantee that I shall succeed in a few months in establishing peace with the churches for all times." After this catastrophic ignorance I gave up the conversation about the importance of philosophic ideas for our ordinary life [Volksleben].

Dear Party Member Hess: The reading of General von Rabenau's pamphlet "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" has reminded me again of this. In this brochure, just as at that time, Rabenau affirms the necessity of the church, straightforward and clearly, even if it is prudently careful. He writes on page 28:

There could be more examples, they would suffice to show that soldiers in this world can scarcely get along without thoughts about the next one.

Because General von Rabenau is falsely based spiritually, I consider his activities as an educator in spiritual affairs as dangerous and I am of the opinion that his educational writings are to be dispensed with absolutely, and that the publications section of the NSDAP can and must renounce these writings.

If such spiritual educational work should be done, in the interests of the German armed forces, then the Publications Section of the NSDAP can be permitted to accept for publication only brochures about "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" which point out most strongly the permanent danger for "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier." The churches with their Christianity are this danger against which the struggle must always be carried on.

I considered it my duty to tell you again of my concept of General von Rabenau, as well as to convey my criticism of the Publications Section of the NSDAP.

From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Document 064-PS [above] is a letter of the head of the Party Chancellery, in which I am informed of the letter of a Gauleiter referring to a pamphlet by General von Rabenau entitled, The Spirit and Soul of the Soldier. This Gauleiter criticized the very denominationally bound viewpoint of General von Rabenau, and he protested against the fact that this tract appeared in a series of pamphlets published by the Party. In that connection I would like to say that this tract by General von Rabenau appeared in a series published by my Party office, and that I read this pamphlet personally beforehand and gave him the opportunity to voice his opinion in this series which contained many political tracts of a general historical nature. I did not withdraw this pamphlet.

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