Bolshevism, Fascism and National Socialism: until recently, these seemed to

be exclusively political phenomena. And thus, it went entirely without

saying that that predominantly historians, sociologists, political scientists

and jurists studied them. Files were edited, theories developed, conferences

held – an image of the period from 1917 to 1945 (and later to 1989) arose

without the religious perspective having played any special role. Certainly,

there was contemporary ecclesiastical history; and ecclesiastical and reli-

gious relations were also researched in the context of researching Fascism, National Socialism and later, Communism. Yet although this was an

important voice in the concert of the research, it was only a secondary one.

The fate of the churches in the National Socialist and Communist states

was a special subject to be researched along with such other spheres as

economy, culture, school, and family. The topic of ‘religion’ did not bear

upon the methodological approach to the National Socialist era here; it

remained marginal, not central.