Percentage of Nazi votes in 1933, and percentage of Catholics in 1934 [746x789]

Percentage of Nazi votes in 1933, and percentage of Catholics in 1934 [746x789]

Presumably this is showing that the Nazis were significantly more popular with Protestants than Catholics. What were the reasons for this?

Catholics leaned towards the Catholic Centre party.

There was also a further to right spinoff from that party in Bavaria.

This is the right answer. ~46% of the Catholics in Germany voted for the Zentrum in 1932 (at the turn of the century, it had been around 80%). There was a strong association of Catholic culture with the Centre party. 17% of the NSDAP-voters were catholic (with 83% protestant), compared to 32% catholics in total in Germany and 66% protestants.

However. The percentage of catholic members of the NSDAP was closer to the distribution in the total population, and at the upper echelons, they were overrepresented. F.e., among the Reichsleiter, the upper party leadership, 46% (12/26) were catholics.

dangerous to use maps to make a point like this

. . . and in 1933 the Catholic party threw the Socialists (SDP) under the bus in providing the votes for the supermajority required to pass the Enabling Act that set aside parliamentary democracy.

The Nazis were kinda anti-Catholic, as they were one of the few areas not under party control, and the government didn't want a foreigner (the Pope) having that much influence over its people, especially considering how important religion was to people back then.

The protestants were always their biggest vote share.

But in fact, about 1/3rd of their members were Catholic.

The Soviets started a disinformation campaign to create this whole "Hitler's pope" idea, and many Western secularists and Protestants have lapped it up and unquestioningly parroted it ever since.

Burleigh has concluded from these studies that the portrayal of Hitler and Pius XII as allies was a deliberate Kremlin disinformation campaign launched even before the war ended.

“Soviet attempts to smear Pius had actually commenced as soon as the Red Army crossed into Catholic Poland,” says Burleigh.

“To be precise, they hired a militantly anti-religious propagandist, Mikhail Markovich Sheinmann, to write a series of tracts claiming there had been a 'secret' pact between Hitler and the Vatican to enable 'Jesuits' to proselytise in the wake of Operation Barbarossa.


For a good while after Hitler rose to power, the Catholic Church was the only "non nazified" part of German culture left in Germany. Everything else: rabbit breeding clubs, gymnastics, drinking groups, were infiltrated by nazi groups and filled with nazi cultural propaganda. At least part of the reasoning behind this is that communists and social democrats (the two leftist parties of note in Germany at the time, which were essentially banned and its members were being ruthlessly and legally oppressed) were trying to organize in any way they could. Didn't work out in the end.

The Catholic Church in Germany, like many organizations in Germany, wanted to retain some power, specifically loyalty to Rome. With the Nazi drive for full community and racial unity, this was surely not to last.

I highly recommend reading from the excellent three (might be four now) part series on the Third Reich (it's before, during, and after) by Richard Evans. The books really helped detail just how this madness came to be, and how it worked for the average German once the Nazis took full power.

There's a special place in geography hell for people who try to make points with maps like this.

He was raised Catholic, but it seems he was never devout and was hostile towards Christianity as an adult.

The Catholic Church largely opposed Nazism, but as it is with any large organizations, members often had differing views.

Do you mean the point that Catholics less likely voted NSDAP?

What collaboration? The Nazis were rounding up clergymen and priests, disrupted their meetings, threatened them and so on.

And Hitler gained power because of the enabling act (and using Article 48 of the constitution), having the largest party in the Reichstag and support from other parties and when Hindenburg died, the Chancellor (Hitler) then took the powers of the President.

Did I miss something in history class, because (at least from what I was taught) the Center Party was almost always an opposition to Hitler, and very rarely supported anything he did.

Two reasons:

1) Hitler promised the Centre Party that their party would be protected.

2) Hitler may have promised to work with the Vatican on a national concordat, permanently protecting Catholic institutions, clergy, and property.

Hitler actually did the latter, but obviously once he had full power he crushed the Centre and they disbanded themselves (which protected their membership from some persecution).

Yep, here is a graph I made showing the vote totals of each party during the Weimar elections. Catholic Centre Party is in dark red.

The parties are organized by more right wing towards the top to more left wing at the bottom.

Yep, is a graph I made showing the vote totals of each party during the Weimar elections. Catholic Centre Party is in dark red.

The parties are organized by more right wing towards the top to more left wing at the bottom.

This is more political than religious. It's weird that there are no mentions of Prussia in the comments here.

19th century Prussia has its own section of the wiki article on militarism.

Those protestants up to no good as usual!

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ­ and I myself was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

-Martin Luther, founder of Protestant Christianity

I have to agree... The data is what it is, I wouldn't say that the creator was trying to "make a point", seems like /u/sleeptoker (great name btw) is inferring something himself.

Sure, there were indeed a lot of Catholic members too. Although the disturst between the Catholic church and Hitler was mutual.

KPD (communist party) was already banned after the Reichstag Fire earlier in 1933. SPD (socialists) voted against. Nazis and parties further to the right wanted the Führer State to replace the hated Weimar system of democratic parties, which was pretty messy given the dramatic left/right divide in the German population.

That left the Central Party (Zentrum), largely catholics. They had received promises that they wouldn't be outlawed like the left, but soon enough they were.

Weren't many Catholics killed for their religion in the Holocaust?

edit: I'm really surprised by how salty some people are on this topic. I didn't realize it was controversial at all. I grew up in an area with a lot of Catholics, so we were taught about this in school.

For the record, yes, many Catholics WERE targeted by the Nazis. Mostly clergy members and other church leaders. There was a whole barrack at Dachau just for priests. A lot of this was related to political opposition to the Nazi party, but there were also a lot of clergy members who were killed just for being clergy and not because they'd done anything specific- particularly in poland.

No, obviously it wasn't anything like the persecution of Jews in the Holocaust, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen at all. Why is this making people so angry?

Systemically executing Catholics probably would have been a point of conflict with Nazi Germany's greatest European ally...

Probably because the Nazis strongly identified as Protestant. This, mixed with their Nationalistic policies, may have made many Catholics fear that they might be viewed as "not German enough" edit: Also, The Vatican distrusted the Nazis

Mit brennender Sorge (English: With Burning Anxiety) On the Church and the German Reich is an encyclical of Pope Pius XI, issued during the Nazi era on 10 March 1937 (but bearing a date of Passion Sunday, 14 March).[1] Written in German, not the usual Latin, it was smuggled into Germany for fear of censorship and was read from the pulpits of all German Catholic churches on one of the Church's busiest Sundays, Palm Sunday (March 21 that year).[2][3][dead link]

The encyclical condemned breaches of the 1933 Reichskonkordat agreement signed between the German Reich and the Holy See.[4] It condemned "pantheistic confusion", "neopaganism", "the so-called myth of race and blood", and the idolizing of the State.

ITT: Butthurt protestants

Why would the legislature vote to pass the Enabling Act if it meant that they would be stripped of their power?

It wasn't helpful to be one, but generally not openly official. Unless you were considered non pliant or an intellectual; St. Maximilian Kolbe was killed by the Nazis for speaking out against them.

This map reminds me a bit of the one on here earlier which compared polish election results and density of wild boars...

(on mobile can not provide link)

But... but there is certainly connection between pirates and global warming, right?

But... but there is certainly connection between , right?

It always amazes me the people who think that quoting Hitler on a subject means that's what he thought. Are you really surprised he would lie?

Hitler's biographers have been split on the subject of his religion. His public statements were meant to persuade a largely Christian nation, and so are usually seen as self-serving. Hitler was intensely private, especially about his religious beliefs, so it's difficult to say where exactly they were - some biographers have gone so far as to label him an atheist, others see him as being vaguely religious, but not in a specific denominational way. They all agree however, that his professed Catholicism can't be taken at face value.

Look at the Nazi Party's actions against the Catholic Church, for example. They stated that they wanted to dismantle it completely. These are not the actions of devout Catholics.

i think this wasn´t about systemtically killing catholics, like it was done to jews, they were killed for different reasons, mostly political i guess.

In Germany the social democrats stopped calling themselves socialists after ww1.

I had no idea that particular badhistory meme started out at as literal communist propoganda. Thanks.

Not as much as people think.

The parties in two party systems act as coalitions of different factions that would often have their own party in a multi party system. In a multiparty system, those parties also form coalitions in opposition to or in support of the goverment.

If anything, voting system is more important when it comes to the ideological range of electable representatives' width.

He built Germany up to a world power again

You somehow overlooked the part where he completely destroyed civil liberty and put everyone that openly went against party rule into camps. Apparently miniscule things like that don't tarnish his reputation as a "great leader" in your eyes?

Also, the economic recovery was extremely shallow (not to mention that it was mostly thanks to Hjalmar Schacht).

There was major reduction in unemployment over the following years, while price controls prevented the recurrence of inflation. However, price controls in agriculture also squeezed out small farmers. Similarly, while unemployment decreased, standards of living languished: rationing of key goods like food and clothing, and long lines became common.

The consequence was an extremely rapid decline in unemployment – the most rapid decline in unemployment in any country during the Great Depression. But whether this helped the average German is a matter of debate—while more Germans had jobs, a focus on rearmament meant rationing in food, clothing, metal, and wood for most citizens. Rationing eventually extended to use of fuel and production of cars, leaving many Germans unable to drive. Goering nationalized the steel industry of industrialists who fell from political favor (such as Fritz Thyssen in 1939) and formed the Hermann Goering Works in 1937 with the goal of producing steel from low grade German iron at rates unprofitable to other steel companies. However, production fell short of rearmament demand. When production in the nationalized iron ore industry declined, **

However, while Germany was successful at rearmament, production of agriculture and consumer goods stagnated, and standards of living fell. Production of agriculture, particularly, rarely exceeded 1913 levels. Rather than sparking an economic boost, Schacht’s form of military Keynesianism created a powerful army and what Professor Richard Evans in his history, “The Third Reich In Power” called, “grotesque consequences for the everyday life of ordinary Germans".

The German balance of payments went strongly negative. In 1933-36 exports declined by 9% in value while imports rose by 9%. In the spring and summer of 1936, the reduced availability of foreign currency constrained imports of raw materials, with some key stockpiles falling to only two months' production.

While the strict state intervention into the economy, and the massive rearmament policy, led to full employment during the 1930s, real wages in Germany dropped by roughly 25% between 1933 and 1938. Labour books were introduced in 1935, and required the consent of the previous employer in order to be hired for another job.

had rather reasonable demands to just have land that was ethnically German.

Yeah, he just wanted to unilaterally annex other countries' territories, that's totally normal and respectable, right?

You also somehow fail to mention that these annexations were to be only the first step in the total subjugation of Central and Eastern Europe with the planned murder of tens of millions of people. But again, just a small detail, right?

Does anybody have a source or when more high resolution version? It'd too blurry for me to read the key

Yes, but I was still always taught in school that Catholics were killed. This Wikipedia article has a whole section on Catholics.

found it

because the Nazis strongly identified as Protestant

This is the first time that I hear this. Could you elaborate on this claim?

the final speeches given by otto Wels (Social Democrat) and Adolph Hitler before the final death of democracy in the Third Reich.

It's interesting. As is the split between the Social Democrats and the Communists. In Germany especially the Communists, under pressure from Moscow, had a very hostile relationship with the Social Democrats, who they felt stood in the way of a powerful (Communist) left. So while the Social Democrats ended up the 'ruling' party during much of the Weimar Republic, they got new assholes torn open frequently by the left and the right both.

For no particular reason, here are


I'd have thought they would be more popular in Bavaria considering that's where Hitler chose to stage his coup.


Born and raised in Belfast. You'll find plenty of tricolours and offensive murals but this isn't really a thing.

Bigotry still rife on both sides: check... but some of us would like to move on.

Just because you're a mod of Rangers FC doesn't mean you need to defend the indefensible. We have enough whataboutery without your help.

The Catholic church may have opposed Nazism, but definitely not Fascism. Pius and Mussolini were bros, and the Vatican only exists as an independent state because of the close relationship between the church and Fascist Italy.

OP is making a point, & the method they've used to express it would get them slapped by my geography/statistic professors. Never mind that the point is valid in this instance.

He made Poland a good offer

Would you have accepted an offer from one of your enemies to build a large highway through your land that supersedes your own sovereignty?

My guess is this has to do with Prussia. Prussia has been called an Army with a nation, so their history is really militaristic. They were also mostly protestant. So you have a nation that liked the military and united Germany via defensive war. That sounds like a recipe for fascist being popular.

Martin Luther, as he was old, ill and even hated his own wife.

That's what I came to say. Both maps look almost exactly like the Kingdom of Prussia within the German Empire.

He was raised Catholic but notes by Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer suggests he wasn't a devout catholic, at all. Goebbels noted among other things "[Hitler] hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity".

Not exactly true, there are many deviations. The Rhineland is catholic but was prussian, North Swabia, South Frankonia, Mecklenburg and Saxonia all are protestant but not prussian. Westphalia is catholic but prussian, as well as upper silesia and that part in east prussia. The correlation of high nsdap vote and high protestantism is clearly given. But the reason is not that national socialism was a protestantic movement. They got big in munich, which is a clearly catholic city. Catholics just tended to firmly vote for the centre party in a huge amount. This does not mean that they were opposed to the nsdap.

There was an entire camp just for priests and Christian ministers. They didn't have to systematically decimate the Catholics.

What they were expected to do and did was go for the Catholic priests and nuns.

That one's pointing out a more specific problem

TIL Protestants are literally Hitler

This is true when you look at smaller margins, but not in OPs example I think. It is not a 50/50 split like you said, but more like a 90/20 split. So it is in fact guaranteed that percentage wise Catholics where less likely to vote for NSDAP compared to protestants.

But there is a causation, as written for example by Donald J. Dietrich: Catholic Citizens in the Third Reich.

East Germany was Prussian, more rural, more conservative.

Northern West Germany (Hamburg etc) was more industrial and more Socialist.

Bavaria etc was more conservative and more Catholic, and the catholics had their own party in the Weimar system.


This is because until the Fascists aligned themselves with the Nazis, they were seen as the perfect response to the terror unleashed by the Communists.

Well I didn't say it was done systematically or anywhere near like for the Jews. Just furthering that Catholics may have had many reasons to not like the Nazis.

Not exactly true, there are many deviations. The Rhineland is catholic but was prussian, North Swabia, South Frankonia, Mecklenburg and Saxonia all are protestant but not prussian. Westphalia is catholic but prussian, as well as upper silesia and that part in east prussia. The correlation of high nsdap vote and high protestantism is clearly given.

But the reason is not that national socialism was a protestantic movement. They got big in munich, which is a clearly catholic city. Catholics just tended to firmly vote for the centre party in a huge amount. This does not mean that they were opposed to the nsdap.

Honestly though, what actions could they have taken? The Catholic Church has no temporal power and no army. They are under the military protection of Italy, a German ally in the WWII. All they could have done is more strongly condemn the Nazis' actions and fascism, which would have put them and the many Catholics under Nazi control in extreme risk. It also would have undermined Pius' underground network that was in place that helped thousands of Jews escape Europe.

I think you have some sort of anti-Catholic bias that is affecting your view of WWII.

The units in the maps are discrete areas. The units for Catholics and votes are individuals. When you use one scale of unit to explain a variable on another scale, you're committing an ecological fallacy, because there may be other underlying reasons why the correlation appears. Basically, there's no guarantee that the 50% of Catholics in a region are the 50% not voting Nazi.

Here's a better example:

A 1950 paper by William S. Robinson[5] computed the illiteracy rate and the proportion of the population born outside the US for each of the 48 states + District of Columbia in the US as of the 1930 census. He showed that these two figures were associated with a negative correlation of −0.53 — in other words, the greater the proportion of immigrants in a state, the lower its average illiteracy. However, when individuals are considered, the correlation was +0.12 — immigrants were on average more illiterate than native citizens. Robinson showed that the negative correlation at the level of state populations was because immigrants tended to settle in states where the native population was more literate.

Out of curiosity --- why do you feel certain they specifically have an agenda? Is it wrong to show two maps that show some interesting comparison? I see the map and it make me curious if there a reason Catholics were against the Nazi party or if there is another factor for that Nazi divide other than religion. I don''t see it as definitive proof but rather as something interesting that I want more information on

then out of thin air, with 0 proof

Like I said, multiple biographers have gone through everything they can find to try and pin down Hitler's religious views. Diary entries from his inner circle, comments he made in private, etc. The conclusion that he wasn't Catholic, and may have been agnostic or atheist doesn't come out of thin air. Though I understand if it comforts you to think so - I'd hate to get in the way of your agenda.

That depends on if you use maps to draw conclusions or if you use maps to illustrate a proven conclusion.

"Correlation does not imply causation" does not mean that correlation should be treated as coincidence, but that the interplay between X and Y could be more complex than X causes Y.

As somebody pointed out, there could be some demographic reason for which Catholics did not vote for Hitler, but still is something that should be explained.

Christian Social Union, not Socialist Union.

It was really the Soviet Union, pushing Poland westward so they could annex part of Poland for themselves.

What collaboration?

you answered your own question without knowing it apparently:

Yes, it is obvious that Catholics were less likely to vote NSDAP. Of course there were still catholic Nazis, no question.

Considering that other demographics in the catholic areas are quite diverse (there are Saxonians, Franconians, Bavarians, Swabians, Westfalians, Poles... in the NSDAP-minority regions), catholicism is the relevant factor.

Yeah, although they were killed for being associated with religious-inspired resistance movements rather than for their religion. Officially Catholicism was not a reason for being persecuted. But I see your point, separating religious-inspired resistance from religion is a mess.

The Nazi Party had plenty of anti-Christian elements. Nazi officials hated any dogma that could have a greater influence over the German people than their own. They had a pretty complicated relationship with the faith, being a complex hybrid of classical German militarist conservatives, neo-pagan imagery, and atheistic socialism. Some officials like Goebbels or Himmler wanted Christianity gone entirely. Hitler was hardly very religious in the traditional sense, but seemed to tolerate the faith for awhile at least. Germany was officially Christian but priests were arrested for being subversives. Obviously any anti-Catholic or anti-religious movements had to remain limited as the Nazis had a world war to fight and what they felt to be more threatening targets like the Jews.

As for why some elements of the Vatican supported Nazis, it was probably simply because they took bribes, any organization of that size is going to be corrupt. Pope Pius XII walked a difficult line during the war, being in Fascist territory, but actually saved many Jews and worked with the Allies.

Well, Karl Liebknecht was a SPD member and declared the socialist German republic after WW1 but after the social democrats used the right-wing army to defeat the revolutionnaries he eventually founded the communist party with Rosa Luxemburg who also was a SPD member.

as mentioned elsewhere, Catholics basically had their own party in the Weimar system.

It's interesting that the Nazis seemed to get more votes from what would become East Germany, a country who mostly declined to take responsibility for the holocaust:

As with all things, the situation is far more complicated than the binary "Hitler was/wasn't Catholic". Quotes from Catholic leaders he met with suggest that he was faithful, quotes from Nazi Party leaders suggest that he was anti-Christian. There are quotes where he denounces Bolsheviks as atheists, while at the same time the Nazi Party was encouraging people to leave the Church.

Why is that so? TL;DR would be nice.

Plus in all honesty Hitler wasn't such a bad leader in the early years. He built Germany up to a world power again

Actually the stimulus building program was already underway under his predecessor.

The SS got the KZs going rather quickly in the 1930s, so your revisionism here is rather revolting.

Granted, the Gestapo was rather innocuous under Diels, but that changed soon enough.

He made Poland a good offer but Britain and France

this was after Hitler said in 1938 that the Sudetenland would be his last demand for revision of Versailles.

"This is the last territorial demand I have to make in Europe"

What the hell? Why would someone reverse the X axis like that?

Interestingly enough, Prussia's state government under parties that actually supported the republic was much more stable than the Reich from 1919 until 1932. It was finally done away with in a coup by the president & chancellor.