Nazis & The Catholic Church | tutor2u History
Study notes

Nazis & The Catholic Church

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

The Catholic Church made up about a third of all Christian believers in Germany, with many Catholics being found in the south of the country in Munich and Bavaria. Despite efforts by Hitler to match Nazism to the teachings of the Church there was always going to be some form of conflict between the two institutions.

Looking specifically at Catholics, Catholics placed their first loyalty to the Pope in Rome rather than Hitler, which the Nazis could not tolerate. In addition to this, the Catholic Church ran schools and hospitals across the country which were based on the teachings of the Catholic Church and not Nazism.

The Nazis reached an agreement with the Catholic Church in Germany known as the Concordat. This was signed with the agreement of the Pope in Rome in July 1933. It separated the Catholic Church from the Nazi Party and provided freedoms to the Catholic Church. The conditions would be that the priests and bishops would not interfere in German politics or be critical of the Nazi regime.

The Concordat did not last and the Nazis closed down church schools and arrested many Catholic priests and bishops who were interned in Concentration Camps.

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