chapter  3
21 Pages

Nazism, Christianity and the development of political religion theory in Kolnai’s The War Against the West

WithRichard Steigmann-Gall

This chapter examines Aurel Kolnai’s understanding of Nazism with regards to religion. Kolnai’s talent for laying Nazism at the feet of liberalism, socialism, homosexuality and other secularist ‘offspring’ can best be understood through his association with politically conservative Catholicism. In France, Catholics were responding to the rise of the hated Popular Front; any theory that could equate Bolshevism and Nazism delegitimized the very concept of a Moscow-backed, antifascist Front populaire. The racial dimension to Hans Schemm’s religion, while apparently so at odds with the message of Christianity, had in fact a rather impressive theological lineage. For Kolnai, Christianity should be seen as a ‘purifying and transcending’ of ‘Jewish “law”’. Totalitarianism theory and political religion theory, with their conflation of Nazism and communism, are the handmaidens of his objective. Kolnai’s The War Against the West is a singular contribution to the debate around Nazism’s ideological essence.