Catholics were much less likely to vote for the Nazis

by on February 27, 2014 at 2:01 am in Data Source, Economics, History, Political Science, Religion | Permalink

A new paper was presented at the AEA meetings this January, “Religion, Economics, and the Rise of the Nazis,” by Philipp Tillman and Jörg Spenkuch, and the abstract for one version of the paper is this:

We investigate the role of religion in the electoral success of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany. Among historians, it is a well known fact that Protestants were much more likely than Catholics to vote for Adolf Hitler. However, in spite of the historical importance of the Nazis’ rise to power, the question of whether this correlation reflects a causal effect of religion has so far remained unanswered. We use an instrumental variable approach by relying on geographic variation in religious beliefs dating back to a peace treaty in the sixteenth century. According to the principle “cuius regio, eius religio.” the Peace of Augsburg granted local rulers the right to determine the religion of their serfs. Using rulers’ choices in the aftermath of the peace as an instrumental variable for the religion of Germans living in the respective areas more than three hundred years later, we are able to document an economically large effect of Protestantism on Nazi vote shares— even after controlling for a wide range of region fixed effects and socioeconomic characteristics. Taken at face value, our estimates suggest that Catholics were about 50% less likely to vote for the Nazi Party than their Protestant counterparts. We are currently testing multiple hypotheses to explain this effect and are in the process of collecting additional data.

That is not a new claim but it is new to have serious econometrics to back it up and show the vote tallies were not caused by associated demographic factors.  You will find a related copy of the paper at the first link here.  Tillman’s home page is here.  Spenkuch is here.  Here is Spenkuch’s paper on immigration and crime.  Immigration is connected to higher rates of theft crime, although by small amounts, and not positively related to violent crime.

Addendum: Here is the most current version of the paper (pdf), with notable additions.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 2:40 am

This is not a new finding. Any map of election results 1932/33 ( e.g http://www.electoralgeography.com/new/en/wp-content/gallery/germany1933/NSDAP_Wahl_1933.png) proves this. Catholic regions are in the West and South of Germany, Protestant regions in the North and East. Main reason: Catholics were in a minority position (ca. 30% vs 70% Protestants). Catholics were excluded from a lot of positions in imperial Germany dominated by Prussian Protestants. So, ca. 50% of the Catholics were committed to vote for the Catholic party Zentrum. Accidentally, nearly all Catholic regions are in West Germany. So, balance between Catholics and Protestants were nearly 50%:50% in West Germany. Besides, differences in the voting behaviour between Catholic and Protestant regions iare visible today, e.g. elections 1998 (e.g. http://www.electoralgeography.com/new/en/wp-content/gallery/germany1998/Bundestagswahl98.gif). CDU/CSU has likely a relative majority in Catholic regions and SPD in Protestant regions.

Millian February 27, 2014 at 5:24 am

But the point is that you describe Catholic REGIONS and Protestant REGIONS, i.e. Catholicism could be correlated with other factors such as “region fixed effects and socioeconomic characteristics”, say poverty rates, farming or urbanisation. The choices at the Peace of Augsburg, on the other hand, should be uncorrelated with these 1930s factors.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 6:25 am

Except that the authors of the study say they used exactly what you say they didn’t – ‘According to the principle “cuius regio, eius religio.” the Peace of Augsburg granted local rulers the right to determine the religion of their serfs. Using rulers’ choices in the aftermath of the peace as an instrumental variable for the religion of Germans living in the respective areas more than three hundred years later….’

‘But the point is that you describe Catholic REGIONS and Protestant REGIONS, i.e. Catholicism could be correlated with other factors such as “region fixed effects and socioeconomic characteristics’

You don’t actually live in Germany, do you?

Urso February 27, 2014 at 11:13 am

And you don’t actually live in America, but hasn’t stopped you from commenting yet!

msgkings February 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Another winner from Urso!

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 5:34 am

However, being American, I realize, for example, the differences between Virginia and Massachusetts are historically based, and stretch back to the original colonization of that part of the Eastern Seaboard of North America. Including the fact that the settlers of New England were rejecting a state church, while the settlers in Virginia were not.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 6:28 am

Yes, and there were analysis before (e.g. from Jürgen Falter http://www.amazon.de/Hitlers-W%C3%A4hler-J%C3%BCrgen-W-Falter/dp/3406352324 ) to prove the evidence from the map that religion is the best variable to separate the NSDAP electorate.

Nathan Goldblum February 27, 2014 at 8:11 am

Why? If the causal effect that the authors estimate – that religion causally influences political preferences – hold, then their exclusion restriction doesn’t hold.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

Religion in Germany meant a more lot at that time. One example: The probability of inter-confessional marriage was very low. So, a lot of Germans have either Protestant or Catholic ancestors, but not both.
As a result from the minority position in imperial Germany there was a specific Catholic environment covering all facets of life (e.g. unions, soccer clubs, youth groups). Stable voting behaviour for the Catholic party was emergent and led to immunization in 1932/33. A similar case may be the very stable voting behaviour of Afro-Americans in the US.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

Let me give an example from where I live – in 1714, there was one Lutheran citizen. A century and a half later, there were 3 adult Lutheran citizens.

And this after the town changed its official religion 8 times in the century following the Peace of Augsburg.

Religion in Germany has absolutely no equivalence with American history (unless one wants to consider how the Amish emigrated to the New World somehow comparable to how the Mormons went west – and let us be honest, in both cases, we are talking about small religious groups with fairly divergent religious beliefs from their neighbors).

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 10:17 am

And I should add, this is one of the true benefits brought about by the American Revolution.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 3:01 am

However, Catholics were much more anti-communist.

And if there was one thing that people trusted the Nazis about, it was their firm stand against godless communism.

Which is why this statement – ‘Taken at face value, our estimates suggest that Catholics were about 50% less likely to vote for the Nazi Party than their Protestant counterparts’ – needs to be extended by the number of Catholics who voted for parties that were part of the coalition politics that led to the end of the Weimar Republic, at least when German Catholic bishops were telling their followers to not vote for or support any political movement the bishops did not approve of (want to guess which parties Catholics were told not to vote for?)

Partiicularly as Catholics had their own party –

‘The German Centre Party (German: Deutsche Zentrumspartei or just Zentrum) was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. In English it is often called the Catholic Centre Party. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church. It soon won a quarter of the seats in the Reichstag (Imperial Parliament), and its middle position on most issues allowed it to play a decisive role in the formation of majorities.

When the Nazis came to power the party dissolved itself on 5 July 1933 as a condition of the conclusion of a Concordat between the Holy See and Germany.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_Party_%28Germany%29

And the role of this party is fascinating in the early 1930s – ‘The Centre consistently supported Brüning’s government and in 1932 vigorously campaigned for the re-election of Paul von Hindenburg, calling him a “venerate historical personality” and “the keeper of the constitution”. Hindenburg was re-elected against Adolf Hitler, but his moving further to the right shortly afterwards resulted in Brüning’s resignation on 30 May 1932.

President Hindenburg, advised by General Kurt von Schleicher, appointed the Catholic nobleman Franz von Papen as Chancellor, a member of the Centre’s right wing and former cavalry captain. The intention was to break the connection of the Centre with the other republican parties or to split the party and integrate it into a comprehensive conservative movement.’

Leading to the Centre Party doing this – ‘After Papen’s attempts to attain Hitler’s support for his administration had failed, the Centre began their own negotiations with the National Socialists. They started in the state of Prussia, where the Weimar Coalition had lost its majority. An alternative majority could be not found and the Papen administration had seized this opportunity to assume control of Germany’s largest state in the “Prussian coup” via presidential decree. Now, the National Socialists proposed to end this direct rule by forming a coalition with the Centre Party, promising an equal share in government. Since this went too far for the Centre’s national leadership, the negotiations were transferred to the national level, where Heinrich Brüning conferred with Gregor Strasser. During that period the anti-Nazi polemics ceased in order not to disturb the negotiations. Since the NSDAP was the larger party, the Centre was willing to accept a Nazi as Chancellor, provided he could gain the trust of the President, which at that time seemed quite a difficult task.’

The Centre Party did try to stop what was happening, after having been a part of numerous coalition attempts – ‘These elections in March 1933 were already marred by the SA’s terror, after the Reichstag fire and civil rights had been suspended by President Hindenburg through the Reichstag Fire Decree. Still the Centre Party campaigned hard against the Hitler administration and managed to preserve their former vote of roughly 11%. The government parties NSDAP and DNVP however jointly won 52% of the vote.’

Anyone interested in further detail of how the Centre Party ensured the passage of the Enabling Act, which created Germany totalitarian dictatorship, is welcome to follow the link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_Party_%28Germany%29#The_Enabling_Act

And this is how the party died out – ‘With the passing of the Enabling Act the Centre Party had in fact acquiesced in its own demise, as it had played the part Hitler had assigned to it and was no longer needed. As promised during the negotiations, a working committee chaired by Hitler and Kaas and supposed to inform about further legislative measures, met three times (31 March, 2 April and 7 April) without any major impact.

At that time, the Centre Party was weakened by massive defections by party members, often to the NSDAP. Loyal party members, in particular civil servants, and other Catholic organisations were subject to increasing reprisals, despite Hitler’s previous guarantees. The party was also hurt by a declaration of the German bishops that, while maintaining their opposition to Nazi ideology, lifted the ban on cooperation with the new authorities.’

Do note that by the time the new government had completely seized the reins of power, German Catholic bishops no longer prevented Catholics from participating in the new order.

Seems like the people presenting this work needed to read a bit more history, as anyone with even a passing familiarity of that era of German history would be fully acquainted with why Catholics would be less likely than Lutherans to vote for a party that both opposed the Catholic Centre Party, and which German Catholic bishops had placed essentially off limits for good Catholics to be involved in. The vote totals for the Centre Party alone cover that 50% ‘difference’ quite well. Though it does lead to the much more interesting question of why so many Catholics did support a party and ideology their church opposed.

Especially in light of this statement – ‘even after controlling for a wide range of region fixed effects and socioeconomic characteristics’ – which seems to be so irrelevant if one even knew how to spell Deutsche Zentrumspartei and has accees to a university library.

Though possibly, the two professors could examine why so few Lutherans voted for the Centre Party – I’m sure that using the proper statistical analysis based on centuries old geographical boundaries, they just might be able to come up with an answer that would be equally revealing of their unfamiliarity with religious affiliation in German politics over multiple decades instead of just one.

Just another MR Commentor February 27, 2014 at 3:32 am

Fortunally today great new technologies like Twitter and Facebook go a long way to reducing the influence of extremist political parties.

Millian February 27, 2014 at 5:31 am

If you weren’t so snidely demeaning and bothered to read things before criticising them, you’d see a lot about the Centre Party in the authors’ work.

name February 27, 2014 at 6:09 am

“snidely demeaning and bothered” would be a great title for prior_approval’s own blog

msgkings February 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Wait, this isn’t prior_approval’s own blog?

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Nope – only the owners can delete comments.

msgkings February 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Are you sure? You post more often than anyone else here including Alex Tabarrok. I just figured it was your blog. And apparently you used to work for GMU at some point?
I wish you’d be more clear about that.

Brian Donohue February 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Zing!

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 5:02 am

I worked at GMU between the later 1970s and early 1990s – I worked, for among other things, a private center (not donor funded, however, which is why then President Johnson loved it so) and the GMU PR department.

I also hold a diploma from GMU, and enjoyed the benefits of taking graduate courses for free as an employee of GMU. I also audited classes at GMU as a high school student.

One of the things that appeals so much about this web site is seeing how accurate statements get deleted – it isn’t a surprise, since I used to have to reassure faculty and staff when writing press releases that the PR department did not practice journalism, it was their to present information in the most favorable light possible. Obviously, I am no longer working for the GMU PR Dept.

But seeing just how touchy the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center was in terms of having information concerning the person responsible for what I assume is an endowment was a real surprise. Back when I worked at GMU in the PR department (and though I never worked for them, this would apply equally to the English Dept.), it was normal for the holders of chairs to be proud of them, as compared to deleting any mention of who sponsored them.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 6:47 am

Well, here is the conclusion from the linked PDF file –

‘Our results show that Catholics were substantially less likely to vote for the Nazis than Protestants, and that this difference is unlikely due to omitted variable bias. Instead, the available evidence points toward a causal effect.
In ongoing work we try to determine the underlying mechanisms. Preliminary results indicate that the difference
between Catholics and Protestants is significantly smaller in villages where Catholics priests openly sympathized with the
NSDAP. Moreover, there are no religious differences in regions where Catholics were initially unreceptive to the Church’s pressure to vote for the Zentrum. This suggests that the influence of the Church limited the rise of the Nazis, though it did not prevent the demise of Germany’s first democracy’

So, to be fair, here is my own conclusion –

In conclusion, the Catholic Church played a role in German politics, though not exactly through a party with deep divisions that represented Catholics. And further, those Catholics that agreed with Nazi ideology voted for the Nazis, while those that did not agree with Nazi ideology did not vote for the Nazis.

A conclusion which sounds as banal as theirs, being snidely demeaning of my own ‘research.’

However, my conclusion at least reflects what the authors wrote, unlike the post heading – ‘Catholics were much less likely to vote for the Nazis’

Not that I would suggest that Prof. Cowen did not read the research either, though the conclusion of the PDF link states something which does not actually support such a headline summary. Catholics support of the Nazis was equal to that of Lutherans in ‘regions where Catholics were initially unreceptive to the Church’s pressure’, and the effect of the local Catholic priest’s attitudes was notable, as the ‘difference between Catholics and Protestants is significantly smaller in villages where Catholics priests openly sympathized with the NSDAP’ (and again, do note that a priest supporting the Nazis in the early 1930s was actually opposing the hierarchy, meaning that those parishioners aware of what the hierarchy desired would have also been influenced by the hierarchy’s position, and not the local priest’s).

TGGP February 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

“Not that I would suggest that Prof. Cowen did not read the research either, though the conclusion of the PDF link states something which does not actually support such a headline summary”
No, Tyler’s headline was well known long before this paper. Bringing up exceptions to a general rule doesn’t mean it’s not a general rule.

“And further, those Catholics that agreed with Nazi ideology voted for the Nazis, while those that did not agree with Nazi ideology did not vote for the Nazis.”
Yes, it sounds completely banal when you leave off the fact that Catholics were much less likely to vote for the Nazis.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

‘Yes, it sounds completely banal when you leave off the fact that Catholics were much less likely to vote for the Nazis.’

Except that is not what the quoted research said. It was much more differentiated, pointing out that depending on a couple of variables – lack of support for Zentrum or a local priest sympathetic to the Nazis – Catholics voted equally for the Nazis, or slightly less.

In other words, Catholics were not actually less likely to vote for the Nazis, somewhat less likely to vote for the Nazis, or less likely to vote for the Nazis, depending.

That is banality.

Bill February 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm

@prior_approval

I don’t understand your position. Catholics were less likely to vote for Nazis when their priests told them not to. Mostly, their priests told them not to. Their priests mostly told them not to because those are the marching orders their priests got from their Bishops and, ultimately, from the Vatican, whose position was based on the Church’s teaching on on its judgement that the Nazis were bad news. Is there something you disagree with in this chain?

Why is this all not accurately summarized as “Catholics were less likely to vote for the Nazis?” Since, like, it was exactly their Catholicness which causes the not-voting-for-Nazis.

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 4:51 am

‘I don’t understand your position.’

It isn’t my position, it is the conclusion from the linked PDF.

‘Is there something you disagree with in this chain?’

The point that the research conclusion made – priests that supported the Nazis were an indication that Catholics became more likely to be supporters of the Nazis, and in those areas where the Zentrum had no authority, there was no differences between Catholics and Protestants.

‘Why is this all not accurately summarized as “Catholics were less likely to vote for the Nazis?”’

The research says something much more differentiated in its own conclusion, as noted above.

Ray Lopez February 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

PA – thanks, I was going to say the same thing. I read Nemesis by Ian Kershaw and was also under the impression the Center Party (Catholics) could have done more. It also seems to me that the old man Hindenburg, who kept alive the myth that Germany was not defeated in WWI and also was an early Hitler enabler (he was a supporter during Hitler’s Beer Hall putsch) deserves to be villainized more by historians.

John Thacker February 27, 2014 at 7:54 am

Certainly the Center Party played a role; that was my thought as well. The paper mentions that both the Holy See officially discouraged voting for the Nazis and encouraged voting for the Center Party, which seems relevant.

A related factor is that the Catholic Church was anti eugenics. Indeed, in Europe and North America, Protestant versus Catholic majority determined whether or not eugenics laws were adopted.

Errorr February 27, 2014 at 10:56 am

Early eugenics policies were often unofficial and unpublished because Hitler was worried that the Catholic Bishops would foster a public outcry as when the Euthenasia laws failed in 1935 due to catholic opposition. Hitler supposedly responded that they would have to wait until war to justify killing “defectives” as using up vital medical resources meant for soldiers.

When T-4 was implemented to kill people in hospices and asylums the Nazi regime went out of their way to close down catholic institutions to induce overcrowding in state run ones.

Also, although catholics were originally a minority with Tue annexation of Sudetenland and Austria by the beginning of the war the population was almost 50% catholic.

otto February 27, 2014 at 5:25 am

Austria was pretty catholic and embraced Nazism after the Anschluss. They didn’t vote for it though.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 6:20 am

Catholics in Austria never were in a minority position as the Catholics in imperial Germany, especially in Prussia. Thus, Austria is a completey different case.

Vanya February 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

But they didn’t vote for it. Also Austrians embraced Hitler after 1938 by which point their own home-grown ultra Catholic Franco-style “Austrofascism” had probably succeeded in alienating a lot of Austrians from the Church. Unless you were Jewish (granted a big “unless”), there was more general religious freedom in Austria under the Nazis then under Schuschnigg.

Roy February 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Austrian Germans were much more exposed to non Germans, and the collapse of the Dual monarchy made them feel vulnerable, radicalizing them. Hitler is a great example. Germans in places like the Sudeten are extreme, because they were from 1919 seen by the Czechoslovak authorities as internal enemies, but it is only a matter of degree. In Carinthia the slavicization of Carniola, Slovenia, was extremely rapid. This made German unity and conciousness a far more important factor than religion.

dearieme February 27, 2014 at 7:40 am

Did German Roman Catholics in general have the sort of anti-semitic views common among, for instance, Irish Roman Catholics? Were German Protestants on the whole more or less anti-semitic than their Roman Catholic compatriots?

I ask because the Nazis seem to me to differ from the other sorts of socialists around in the thirties on three admitted/claimed dimensions: (i) the anti-semitism, (ii) the more intelligent attitude to nationalising industries, and (iii) the nationalism. Eventually experience showed that (i) extended to levels of lunacy and evil that many, including German Jews, had not anticipated, that (ii) really was more intelligent than the policies of democratic socialist parties elsewhere (I have in mind particularly the Labour Party in Britain), and that (iii) was in fact a successful attempt to hide their real intention of widespread aggression and conquest.

By the way, did Lutherans and Calvinists tend to hold different views, or should they just be lumped together as “Protestants”?

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

‘Did German Roman Catholics in general have the sort of anti-semitic views common among, for instance, Irish Roman Catholics?’

Yes. But then, when it came to anti-semitic feelings, it is pretty hard to beat the Reformator himself -

‘In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he says that the Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[13] They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[14] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”[15] He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness,[16] afforded no legal protection,[17] and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time.[18] He also seems to advocate their murder, writing “[w]e are at fault in not slaying them”.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_antisemitism – which then has more detailed links to each of Luther’s works.

‘Were German Protestants on the whole more or less anti-semitic than their Roman Catholic compatriots?’

See the above quote.

As for Calvinists – its complicated, but they did not play much of a role in Germany, being opposed by both Catholics and Lutherans – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism for a very brief overview. Essentially, in terms of religion, Germany is much like the United States in terms of poltical parties – there are two of them, and the one thing that both sides can always agree on is making sure no else competes with them.

dearieme February 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

The above quotation, being from the 16th century, doesn’t really do the trick of describing Lutheran attitudes in the 1930s.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

The fact that Lutherans were big supporters of the Nazis does, however. And it was in no way a conflict of conscience in terms of what Luther wrote or taught.

German history is pretty ugly this way, and it is completely equal opportunity when it comes the role of the two major churches. As the Lutherans, at least, acknowledge – the last German pope, however, brought back a mass with a Good Friday prayer that many consider to be anti-Jewish – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI_and_Judaism#Tridentine_Mass

To his credit, Benedict did revise the text a bit from this – ‘Let us pray also for the Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and eternal God, who dost also not exclude from thy mercy the Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.’

That he brought it back seems related to internal Church politics, admittedly, and not some belief in Jewish blood guilt – which was rife when he was growing up.

So Much For Subtlety February 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm

You are seriously arguing that people believing their religion is best is anti-Semitic?

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 4:38 am

I don’t this is the best place to discuss Church politics, but do read about the Society of Saint Pius X and Bishop Williamson – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI_and_Judaism#Society_of_Saint_Pius_X

That Benedict seemingly had no problem re-instating a schismatic bishop who denied that gas chambers existed in Nazi Germany was major news here.

And Williamson is still a Catholic whose excommunication has been lifted, and who denies the Holocaust, by the way – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Williamson_(bishop) Admittedly, he has been expelled from the Society of Saint Pius X.

(There is even a connection to Argentina – ‘Williamson was removed as the head of the seminary of in La Reja, Argentina[60] and Bishop Fellay stated that if Williamson again denied the Holocaust, he would be excluded from the society.[56][68]

In February 2009, the government of Argentina asked Williamson to leave the country over irregularities with his visa, and stating that his recent statements about Jews “profoundly offend the Argentinean society, the Jewish people and all of humanity”.[84] On 24 February 2009 Williamson flew from Argentina to London, where he was met by Michele Renouf, a former model known for her antisemitic views, with whom he had been put in touch by holocaust denier David Irving.)

So Much for Subtlety February 28, 2014 at 6:12 am

It is a mark of an obsession becoming a mental illness when someone starts to claim *everything* is evidence of The Plot.

P_A changes the subject. Except he thinks he does not. Because, you know, Dan Brown or something.

The Church believes there is no salvation outside the Church. In fact given Jesus specifically said so, pretty much all Christians think so. Thus Jews need to convert if they are not to burn in Hell forever. This is perfectly mainstream theology. Even the Anglicans have an organization devoted to converting Jews.

It also applies to Holocaust deniers. Does the mere fact of Holocaust denial amount to such a crime someone deserves to burn in Hell forever? If not, they belong in the Church. If they wish to rejoin, but what possible sane reason could the Pope not take them back? You really think that Holocaust denial is a crime on par with genocide?

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Lutheran attitutdes in 1930 have more to do wth the fact that with the end of the Great war (or for Germans: 1st world war) they lost the head of the church (i.e. the Prussian king and German emperor), that they lost all savings, (i.e. in the inflation until 1923), that all parties they voted for (DDP 1919, DVP and DNVP after that) lost their confidence after the next crisis when this party supported the government, and such things. VThe voting behaviour of Protestants was not stable.

Brian Donohue February 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm

So…evolving standards of Lutheranism?

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 4:28 am

Absolutely, much like evolving standards of German democratic institutions, even in East Germany.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 8:01 am

German Protestants = Lutherans & Calvinists & Unierte.
Lutheran & Unierte more likely in North and East, Calvinists more in West & South of Germany.
There was anti-semitc Catholics and Protestants. I guess that anti-semitism was not the main driver to vote for the NSDAP. However, nearly half of German Jews lived around the Protestant capital of Berlin (largely due to migration from the East). Morever, Jews were well educated and competing for positions likely Protestants wanted. Catholics (in average) were not so well educated at that time.

Marie February 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

Is the point of the study just to provide a footnote in a textbook? Just statistical historical research?

Is it running off the common assumption of “religion justifies evil acts” and trying to determine which religion is worse at it? Is it trying to imply that either theology prevented individual believers from doing evil despite their professed beliefs? Neither did, or ever claimed it could.

Catholic detractors will maintain Catholic corporate guilt for WWII, not because that’s accurate or inaccurate, but because they don’t like Catholics.

Catholics like myself should hardly be comforted by the idea that “fewer” Catholics than Protestants voted for Hitler. Not one should have, either group. It’s not a competition.

Individual Catholics and individual Protestants and individual Other did horrific things and did heroic things during that time. If Catholics as a group were less likely to vote for a hierarchical nationalism (possibly just because they had their own hierarchy to worry about) than Protestants, I don’t see how that really much matters.

Finch February 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm

> Is the point of the study just to provide a footnote in a textbook? Just statistical historical research?

I don’t know what the researcher’s point is, but I would think Catholics would really want to know, particularly if the result was unfavorable.

Understanding what went wrong might help keep similar things from happening again. I note the recent papal anti-capitalism comments as an example of something troubling.

Marie February 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Unfortunately I do think there is a huge danger in the Catholic Church in America of self-identifying Catholics promoting quasi-socialist policies, and if they can read the Pope’s comments as supporting that, they will. I really wish there had been more clarity there. Years ago the Vatican took a stand against encroaching political liberalism of church members, like the Marxist “Liberation Theology” of Latin America, and I think most would agree that John Paul had a hand in moving the Soviets aside (and certainly a history that didn’t allow for communist or fascist sympathy). But in the decades since, the official Church has been less clear, quite possibly because the officials have been unclear themselves, and that’s unfortunate.

So maybe you’re right, early clarity against fascism and other planned centralization of power might be a lesson to learn from studying WWII. I’d personally like to see a return to referencing subsidiarity, which is super compatible with a true, nonmonopolistic free market system and that is about as far away from nationalization of industry as you can get.

Peda wizz an German Akzent February 27, 2014 at 9:33 am

Grüß Gott zusammen,

Here in the norther part of Bavaria, the religious division went along the lines of country municipalities. Sommerhausen not only enjoys more sunshine and thus produce a finewine, it is still predominantly protestant and much richer than neighboring sister village Winterhausen. Winterhausen is a catholic village, where many inhabitants were a staunch supporter of the ZENTRUMs party. The votes for the NSDAP in the 1920s and 1930s give support to the argument above. Actually some priest here were refusing the communion to party members, before 1934 this was still possible.
Additionally at a Gymnasium in Bavaria it was mandatory to learn ancient Hebrew for the catholics till 1919. Maybe that had an impact as well.

Currently the organized protestant church appear to be the pre-field organization of the Greens party and is rallying to support the peace process in the middle east by boycotts.

prior_approval February 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

And in Baden-Württemberg, the first elected Green Ministerpräsident, Winfried Kretschmann, is notably Catholic, along with being married with three children – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfried_Kretschmann

A fact that tends to dismay those who like to dismiss the Greens as being somehow opposed to all the things that good Catholics are supposed to support.

So Much For Subtlety February 27, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I am starting to this that p_a is rather lame as trolls go. Sure, Kretschmann was born into a Catholic family. Does that make him a Catholic? Does that make him a good Catholic? Three children is meaningless either way – twelve might be a hint though. What do we know about the Good Green’s politics?

From 1973 to 1975 he was active in the Communist League of West Germany.[5]

So, yes, he is opposed to all the things that good Catholics are supposed to support. Like not murdering millions of Kulaks. He was a Communist precisely in the Khmer Rouge years. Whose commitments to the same sort of policies as the Greens, plus a little mass murder on the side, is well known. So a Watermelon. His parental faith is irrelevant.

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 4:26 am

Well, leaving aside the troll aspect, Kretschmann is known in this part of Germany, among Catholic friends, Stadträte of this town (SPD and CDU both), and the general media, as a notable Catholic.

‘From 1973 to 1975 he was active in the Communist League of West Germany.’

You left out the part where he repudiated that part of his political development. Especially as it was followed by this – ‘He later denounced this orientation towards the revolutionary positions of the German student movement as a “political misapprehension”; today he is more ecologically oriented and counted among the members of the more conservative wing of the Greens.

After three years as a school teacher at Sigmaringen, he went into politics. Kretschmann is one of the founding members of the Baden-Württemberg section of the German Green Party (at Sindelfingen on September 30, 1979)’

Secondly, in the Fairfax parish I grew up in, which was run by Missionhurst priests, supporting the ‘communists’ in Central America was considered normal. Because the ‘communists’ cared about teaching the landless to read, for example. Of course, that attitude changed with Pope John Paul II – do notice that his beatitude’s election was after 1975.

I doubt that Pope Francis would have any problem with accepting anyone motivated to alleviate the lot of the poor, even if the method they chose in their youth was mistaken.

Oddly enough, the Catholic Church in the town I now live in has a painting from that era, done by a South American artist. Kretschmann’s beliefs stand on the side of those blessed by Jesus, unlike the police thugs and rich. it is an interesting reminder of the Church that Francis feels he represents, and one that details a period of Francis’s own life (wish to guess which country that painter from the later 70s came from?). The Catholic Church contains multitudes, after all. Including Ministerpräsident Kretschmann, who no one I have ever heard believes is hypocritical in his faith.

So Much for Subtlety February 28, 2014 at 6:20 am

That a politician is willing to cynically exploit religion is hardly news. Does that cynical exploitation have a grounding in fact? Does Kretschmann go to Mass regularly? I am guessing not. He may be notable. He may be of Catholic origin. There is no sign at all that he is a Catholic.

You left out the part where he repudiated that part of his political development. Especially as it was followed by this – ‘He later denounced this orientation towards the revolutionary positions of the German student movement as a “political misapprehension”; today he is more ecologically oriented and counted among the members of the more conservative wing of the Greens.

He partially rejected a part of his politics. He did not apologize for being a Communist and endorsing, one assumes, the Khmer Rouge and Stalin. He did not join the CDU. He did not say he sinned. As he did. He used an utterly meaningless platitude to describe his politics – and he joined the Greens. You know, the people in alliance with the former East German Communist Party before they split and openly joined their former pay masters. So, as I said, a Watermelon. Not a Catholic.

Secondly, in the Fairfax parish I grew up in, which was run by Missionhurst priests, supporting the ‘communists’ in Central America was considered normal.

The collapse of the Church in America is well known and needs no comment. John Paul II restated the Church’s long standing policy and blatantly obvious fact that being a Communist was incompatible with being a member of the Church.

“Of course, that attitude changed with Pope John Paul II – do notice that his beatitude’s election was after 1975.”

No it didn’t. He restated a long standing position and it is so outrageously dishonest and/or ignorant to pretend otherwise it is a little impressive. Shameless.

“I doubt that Pope Francis would have any problem with accepting anyone motivated to alleviate the lot of the poor, even if the method they chose in their youth was mistaken.”

Doubt away. I think that Francis might have a problem with Pol Pot myself. But the question is whether he would have a problem with someone who tried to alleviate the lot of the poor by, for instance, murdering exploiting Jewish bankers. I think he would have a problem with that too.

“Kretschmann’s beliefs stand on the side of those blessed by Jesus, unlike the police thugs and rich.”

The Communists are not noted for being Meek. Nor being on the side of the meek. But perhaps you mean the Peacemakers? Not that either.

They certainly are not on the side of the poor. They just say they are.

“Including Ministerpräsident Kretschmann, who no one I have ever heard believes is hypocritical in his faith.”

It is an open question whether he is a Catholic or not. And clearly you need to get out more. You know, meet some real people.

steve February 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

Seems to reinforce two propositions. First, the Church’s concordat with the Nazis helped the Nazis a great deal. Second, that the Church probably could have used its influence to reduce support for the Nazis or at least some of its policies. I note that Hitler published Mein Kampf before the concordat, which implicitly approved Hitler’s stated goals, including anti-Semitism and the expansion of Germany by force.

Jaroslav February 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Maybe. But I think the Concordat itself was a result of Nazi ascent, not a cause of it. Church leaders were defeated–and just plain terrified–by ’33. Shortly after, the priests began arriving in Dachau and the Bishops were powerless to stop it.

As far as implicitly approving anti-Semitism or expansion… please do some reading before you make such serious allegations. Some of the people you accuse suffered horribly for opposing Nazism. To start, you might look up “Mit Brenneder Sorge” and go from there.

prior_approval February 28, 2014 at 4:10 am

‘But I think the Concordat itself was a result of Nazi ascent, not a cause of it.’

Yep – the Catholic Church decided to accomodate itself to secular authority, instead of continuing to oppose an ascendant ideology that was able to severely harm Catholic interests.

Later, of course, the bombs and bullets were non-denominational, and cathedrals burned as readily as railroad stations – such as in Köln.

Jaroslav February 28, 2014 at 6:12 am

Opposing Nazism took real courage, carried real, personal risks. Some paid with their lives. Do you really want to sit there, in your safe, comfortable chair and accuse them of accommodation? Can any of us honestly say that we would have done as much?

steve February 28, 2014 at 5:22 am

You disregard the fact that the concordat was made in spite of the Church’s knowledge of Mein Kampf, which documented Hitler’s intentions. The paper you cite was issued well after the fact, and was rather modest in scope. It said nothing about genocide, for example. You should also distinguish between the acts of individual Catholics, even clergy, and the position of the Church itself.

Jaroslav February 28, 2014 at 7:06 am

Thank you for taking the time to look at the encyclical. (Most people ignore anything that doesn’t support them.) I understand why you call it “modest in scope”; encyclicals are written in coded, abstract language which sounds weak, almost meaningless. But it was considered an bombshell at the time. As you point out, it didn’t address “genocide”. Instead, it attacks “racism”. Everyone at the time (including the Nazis) understood what the Vatican was saying.

And yes, the Vatican knew Hitler’s mind from the beginning. And opposed him from the beginning.

Regarding “the acts of…” The encyclical was read from every pulpit in Germany. Can you imagine the courage it took to publicly read that in 1937? I can’t, but thousands of priests did it. The Pope, too, risked his own skin and narrowly escaped assassination (see A Special Mission by Dan Kurzman; great book). Thanks again.

Joseph Ward February 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

This really challenges my previous understanding of the Nazi base support. I would have thought that the Nazi’s would find their popular support from the southern regions such as Bavaria because that is where they were from. It is fascinating to me that despite the fact that the Nazi’s started in Munich, their electoral power base was in Prussia.

Fascinating. I look forward to reading the article fully when I have more time.

Cimarron February 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

NSDAP had never strong support in the South part of Bavaria which is very Catholic. However, NSDAP won the highest shares in northern part of Bavaria, in the Protestant regions of Franken (> 60%).

Roy February 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

It is amazing what sort of misapprehensions almost five centuries of anti catholic bias in the English speaking world can create.

MR February 27, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Since the pdf document most comments refer to is the poster that was presented at the AEA meetings, here is the full draft of the paper: http://home.uchicago.edu/~ptillmann/Hitler_current.pdf

Ghost of Christmas Past February 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

It is well-established that immigrants to the USA (mostly from latin america) don’t commit an excessive amount of crime on average. It is equally-well established that their children and grandchildren on average commit a very large amount of crime, far more than white natives (rates, not volumes, kids). Crime rates do vary a lot by ethnicity. Elaborate recapitulations of this easily-explained (“regression toward the mean”) and indisputable statistical fact which emphasize only the happy point that immigrants aren’t very criminal but neglect the more important point that immigration greatly increases crime rates in the out years are propaganda, not social science.

ohwilleke February 27, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Re the Immigration and Crime paper. A footnote there suggests that the investigator doesn’t understand his data set very well. At footnote 3 they note that 26.5% of federal prison inmates are immigrants and that “One possible explanation is that immigrants are overrepresented in federal prison because they are disproportionately likely to commit drug-related offenses.”

Never mind the fact that 100% of immigrants convicted of immigration related crimes are in federal prison. In 2012, for instance, 29.5% of convicted federal criminal defendants were convicted of immigration offenses, with improper re-entry being the offense of conviction in the overwhelming majority of cases. Another 2.9% of federal criminal convictions are classified as fraud but involve fraudulent passports, citizenship and nationality applications or identification papers, another heavily immigrant dominated category. Put those together are 32.4% of all federal criminal convictions are for immigration related crimes. http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/Statistics/JudicialBusiness/2012/appendices/D04Sep12.pdf

The percentage of state and local criminal convictions that involve immigration offenses is 0% because federal law pre-empts state immigration crimes.

Undocumented immigrants make up about 3-4% of the U.S. population and foreign born persons make up on the order of 12% of the U.S. population, but immigrants make up a significantly higher share of the non-elderly adult male population that is the source of the vast majority of crime. If immigrants are convicted of other crimes at rates equivalent to native born persons (or native born persons of the same gender and age) then immigrants we would expect immigrants make up close to half of all defendants with federal criminal convictions. So, it would be totally unsurprising for them to make up 26.5% of federal prison inmates even if foreign born persons are not convicted at above average rates of drug crimes.

Correlated February 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

What If the rulers after the Peace of Augsburg did not only determine the religion, but also the social and governmental institutions of their region for longer time? Then the result would be biased i guess (e.g. of rulers with similar institutions choose the same religion). Similarly: if the after the peace of Augsburg regions with the same religion converged socially and economically and diverged from regions with the opposite religion. Thereby created long-term similarities/differences among same/different religious areas. Then the instrument would have a different effect on the voting result than only through religion and also be biased.

Guess it is hard to check up on that… An indication could be the voting behavior of (not recently immigrated) protestants in catholic dominated areas and vice versa (if the data is available..)

Roy February 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

That is exactly what happened. Catholic states had different institutions than protestant states at every level, even in very small areas, compare Catholic Bamberg to Protestant Nürnburg, the entire social structure from schooling, to city government was different depending on confession.

One of the biggest differences is that there was always some tension between ecclesiastical authority and secular authority in Catholic areas. While in protestant areas their was often no real division.

a' guter mensch February 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Protestants/Catholics – all of Christianity is at the root of anti-Semitism. The Nazi slaughter/Vernichtung of Jews was just the final (?) outcome of centuries of persecution by the church before and after the Reformation. I remember Catholic priests in the 1950′s ending the Mass with “Pray for the conversion of the Jews and of Russia (which was and is now even more Eastern Orthodox and at odds with Roman Catholicism)”.

nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 4:18 am

Migrant workers are mostly farmers who shuttle between their rural homes and cities looking for work. They usually take the least-paid and most laborious jobs in cities. According to Liu, who herself is a migrant worker, older migrant workers are more likely to be victims to rights abuses due to age issues and poor educational background.

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