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.