National Socialism, more known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, of other far-right groups with similar aims. Nazism is a form of fascism and showed that ideology's disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system, but incorporated fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, eugenics into its creed, its extreme nationalism came from Pan-Germanism and the Völkisch movement prominent in the German nationalism of the time, it was influenced by the Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged after Germany's defeat in World War I, from which came the party's "cult of violence", "at the heart of the movement."Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people's community.
The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those who they deemed either community aliens or "inferior" races. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both Marxist international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concepts of class conflict and universal equality, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "common good", accepting political interests as the main priority of economic organization; the Nazi Party's precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s the party was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party – to attract workers away from left-wing parties such as the Social Democrats and the Communists – and Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization.
The National Socialist Program or "25 Points" was adopted in 1920 and called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined the anti-Semitism and anti-Communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for representative democracy and his belief in Germany's right to territorial expansion; the Nazi Party won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, making them the largest party in the legislature by far, but still short of an outright majority. Because none of the parties were willing or able to put together a coalition government, in 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg, through the support and connivance of traditional conservative nationalists who believed that they could control him and his party. Through the use of emergency presidential decrees by Hindenburg, a change in the Weimar Constitution which allowed the Cabinet to rule by direct decree, bypassing both Hindenburg and the Reichstag, the Nazis had soon established a one-party state.
The Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel functioned as the paramilitary organizations of the Nazi Party. Using the SS for the task, Hitler purged the party's more and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives, including the leadership of the SA. After the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in Hitler's hands and he became Germany's head of state as well as the head of the government, with the title of Führer, meaning "leader". From that point, Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany, known as the "Third Reich", under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalized, imprisoned or murdered. Many millions of people were exterminated in a genocide which became known as the Holocaust during World War II, including around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Following Germany's defeat in World War II and the discovery of the full extent of the Holocaust, Nazi ideology became universally disgraced.
It is regarded as immoral and evil, with only a few fringe racist groups referred to as neo-Nazis, describing themselves as followers of National Socialism. The full name of the party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei for which they used the acronym NSDAP; the term "Nazi" was in use before the rise of the NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backwards farmer or peasant, characterizing an awkward and clumsy person. In this sense, the word Nazi was a hypocorism of the German male name Ignatz – Ignatz being a common name at the time in Bavaria, the area from which the NSDAP emerged. In the 1920s, political opponents of the NSDAP in the German labour movement seized on this and – using the earlier abbreviated term "Sozi" for Sozialist as an example – shortened NSDAP's name, Nationalsozialistische, to the dismissive "Nazi", in order to associate them with the derogatory use of the term mentioned above; the first use of the term "Nazi" by the National Socialists occurred in 1926 in a publication by Joseph Goebbels called Der Nazi-Sozi.
In Goebbels' pamphlet, the word "Nazi" only appears when linked with the word "Sozi" as an abbreviation of
National Socialist Motor Corps
The National Socialist Motor Corps was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that existed from May 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps, which had existed since April 1930; the NSKK served as a training organization instructing members in the operation and maintenance of high-performance motorcycles and automobiles. The NSKK was further used to transport SA officials/members; the NSKK served as a roadside assistance group in the mid-1930s, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association. With the outbreak of World War II NSKK ranks were recruited to serve in the transport corps of various German military branches. There was a French section of the NSKK, organized after the German occupation of France began in 1940; the NSKK was the smallest of the Nazi Party organizations. The National Socialist Motor Corps was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps, which had existed since being formed on 1 April 1930.
Legends about the actual emergence of the NSKK go back as far as 1922, when the publisher of the Völkischer Beobachter and founding member of the German Workers' Party, Dietrich Eckart purchased trucks so the SA could perform their missions and transport propaganda materials. Martin Bormann founded the NSAK. Hitler made the NSAK an official Nazi organization on 1 April 1930; the NSAK was responsible for co-ordinating the use of donated motor vehicles belonging to party members, expanded to training members in automotive skills. Adolf Hühnlein was appointed Korpsführer of the NSAK, to serve as a motorized corps of the Sturmabteilung. Hühnlein became the organization's "nucleus"; the organization's name was changed to the National Socialist Motor Corps, becoming official on 1 May 1931. It was a paramilitary organization with its own system of paramilitary ranks and the smallest of the NSDAP organizations. Despite its smaller size, when the Nazis celebrated Braunschweiger SA-day on 18 October 1931, the NSKK had upwards of 5,000 vehicles at its disposal to move men and materials.
The primary aim of the NSKK was to educate its members in motoring skills or what was called "fitness in motoring skills", but it transported NSDAP and SA officials. In the mid-1930s, the NSKK served as a roadside assistance group, comparable to the modern-day American Automobile Association or the British Automobile Association. Membership in the NSKK did not require any prior knowledge of automobiles, it was thought. The NSKK screened its members for Aryan qualities. Under the guidance of the police, numerous NSKK men were stationed at traffic junctions and trained in traffic control. On 20 July 1934, three weeks after the major purge the SA suffered during the Night of the Long Knives, the NSKK was separated and promoted into an independent NSDAP organization. From 1935 onward, the NSKK provided training for Panzer crews and drivers of the Heer; the NSKK had two sub-branches within the organization known as the Motor-Hitler Youth and Naval NSKK. The Motor-HJ branch was formed by Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach after he became a member of the NSKK.
It operated 350 of its own vehicles for educational and training purposes. The Naval NSKK trained men in the maintenance of boats. During the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the NSKK assumed responsibility for a variety of transport tasks, proving themselves effective at political propaganda by transporting foreign visitors around on designated tours. By 1938, NSKK members were undergoing mechanical and operational training for both civilian and military type vehicles. Over time, the training at NSKK schools became focused on military related tasks. For services to the NSKK and due in part to the general success of the NSKK, Hühnlein was promoted to the position of a Reichsleiter of the NSDAP in 1938. Hühnlein was NSKK Korpsführer from 1931 until his death in 1942. Sometime in August 1938, the NSKK began its services as a courier for Organization Todt during the construction of the Westwall. Members of the NSKK transported classified documents, important reports and announcements, construction plans, routine papers to and from the organization's headquarters.
Exemplary services provided to the Organization Todt resulted in Hühnlein being given oversight for the transportation needs related to the task. Over 15,000 trucks went into operation, delivering building materials to the 22,000 individual construction sites of the Westwall. Daily movements of the 200,000 workers required over 5,000 buses to get the workers to and from the construction sites. Concomitant to the support provided to Organization Todt during the construction of the Westwall by the NSKK, the organization was tasked by Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, he founded a unit known as the "Transport Brigade Speer", organized under the auspices of military considerations, dividing them accordingly into regiments, divisions and platoons. On 27 January 1939, Hitler made the NSKK the sole authority for motor-vehicle related military training. Shortly thereafter, the NSKK was divided into 23 subordinate motor groups. Approximate manpower strength of the NSKK r
The Holocaust known as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by local collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews—around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe—between 1941 and 1945. Jews were targeted for extermination as part of a larger event during the Holocaust era, in which Germany and its collaborators persecuted and murdered other groups, including Slavs, the Roma, the "incurably sick", political and religious dissenters such as communists and Jehovah's Witnesses, gay men. Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the death toll rises to over 17 million. Germany implemented the persecution of the Jews in stages. Following Adolf Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor in January 1933, the regime built a network of concentration camps in Germany for political opponents and those deemed "undesirable", starting with Dachau on 22 March 1933. After the passing of the Enabling Act on 24 March, which gave Hitler plenary powers, the government began isolating Jews from civil society, which included a boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933 and enacting the Nuremberg Laws in September 1935.
On 9–10 November 1938, during Kristallnacht, Jewish businesses and other buildings were ransacked, smashed or set on fire throughout Germany and Austria, which Germany had annexed in March that year. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, triggering World War II, the regime set up ghettos to segregate Jews. Thousands of camps and other detention sites were established across German-occupied Europe; the deportation of Jews to the ghettos culminated in the policy of extermination the Nazis called the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", discussed by senior Nazi officials at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in January 1942. As German forces captured territories in the East, all anti-Jewish measures were radicalized. Under the coordination of the SS, with directions from the highest leadership of the Nazi Party, killings were committed within Germany itself, throughout occupied Europe, across all territories controlled by the Axis powers. Paramilitary death squads called Einsatzgruppen, in cooperation with Wehrmacht police battalions and local collaborators, murdered around 1.3 million Jews in mass shootings between 1941 and 1945.
By mid-1942, victims were being deported from the ghettos in sealed freight trains to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, they were killed in gas chambers. The killing continued until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945; the term holocaust, first used in 1895 to describe the massacre of Armenians, comes from the Greek: ὁλόκαυστος, translit. Holókaustos; the Century Dictionary defined it in 1904 as "a sacrifice or offering consumed by fire, in use among the Jews and some pagan nations". The biblical term shoah, meaning "destruction", became the standard Hebrew term for the murder of the European Jews, first used in a pamphlet in 1940, Sho'at Yehudei Polin, published by the United Aid Committee for the Jews in Poland. On 3 October 1941 the cover of the magazine The American Hebrew used the phrase "before the Holocaust" to refer to the situation in France, in May 1943 The New York Times, discussing the Bermuda Conference, referred to the "hundreds of thousands of European Jews still surviving the Nazi Holocaust".
In 1968 the Library of Congress created a new category, "Holocaust, Jewish". The term was popularized in the United States by the NBC mini-series Holocaust, about a fictional family of German Jews, in November 1978 the President's Commission on the Holocaust was established; as non-Jewish groups began to include themselves as Holocaust victims too, many Jews chose to use the terms Shoah or Churban instead. The Nazis used the phrase "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". Most Holocaust historians define the Holocaust as the enactment, between 1941 and 1945, of the German state policy to exterminate the European Jews. In Teaching the Holocaust, Michael Gray, a specialist in Holocaust education, offers three definitions: "the persecution and murder of Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945", which views the events of Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938 as an early phase of the Holocaust; the third definition fails, Gray writes, to acknowledge that only the Jewish people were singled out for annihilation.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum defines the Holocaust as the "systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators", distinguishing between the Holocaust and the targeting of other groups during "the era of the Holocaust". According to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, most historians regard the start of the "Holocaust era" as January 1933, when Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. Other victims of the Holocaust era include. Hitler came to see the Jews as "uniquely dangerous to Germany", according to Peter Hayes, "and therefore uniquely destined t
The Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend was the separate section for boys aged 10 to 14 of the Hitler Youth organisation in Nazi Germany. Through a programme of outdoor activities and sports, it aimed to indoctrinate its young members in the tenets of Nazi ideology. Membership became compulsory for eligible boys in 1939. By the end of World War II, some had become child soldiers. After the end of the war in 1945, the Deutsches Jungvolk and its parent organization, the Hitler Youth, ceased to exist; the Deutsches Jungvolk was founded in 1928 by Kurt Gruber under the title Jungmannschaften, but it was renamed Knabenschaft and Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend in March 1931. Both the Deutsches Jungvolk and Hitler Youth modelled parts of their uniform and programme from the German Scouting associations and other youth groups, which were banned by the Nazi government during 1933 and 1934. Following the enactment of the Law on the Hitler Youth on 1 December 1936, boys had to be registered with the Reich Youth Office in the March of the year in which they would reach the age of ten.
Although not compulsory, the failure of eligible boys to join the DJ was seen as a failure of civic responsibility on the part of their parents. The regulations were tightened further by the Second Execution Order to the Law on the Hitler Youth on 25 March 1939, which made membership of the DJ or Hitler Youth mandatory for all Germans between 10 and 18 years of age. Parents could be imprisoned for failing to register their children. Boys were excluded if they had been found guilty of "dishonourable acts", if they were found to be "unfit for service" for medical reasons, or if they were Jewish. Ethnic Poles or Danes living in the Reich were not excluded; the DJ and HJ copied many of the activities of the various German youth organizations that they replaced. For many boys, the DJ was the only way to participate in sports and hiking. However, the main purpose of the DJ was the inculcation of boys in the political principles of National Socialism. Members were obliged to attend Nazi party parades.
On a weekly basis, there was the Heimabende, a Wednesday evening meeting for political and ideological indoctrination. Boys were encouraged to inform the authorities if their parents' beliefs were contrary to Nazi dogma. Once Germany was at war, basic pre-military preparation increased. Recruits were called Pimpfen, a colloquial word from Upper German for "boy", "little rascal", "scamp", or "rapscallion". Groups of 10 boys were called a Jungenschaft, with leaders chosen from the older boys; these units were further grouped into companies and battalions, each with their own leaders, who were young adults. Der Pimpf, the Nazi magazine for boys, was aimed at those in the Deutsches Jungvolk, with adventure and propaganda. Recruits were required to swear a version of the Hitler oath: "In the presence of this blood banner which represents our Führer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God."
The DJ uniform was similar to the Hitler Youth equivalent. The summer uniform consisted of a black shorts and tan shirt with pockets, worn with a rolled black neckerchief secured with a woggle tucked under the collar. Headgear consisted of a beret, but when this was discarded by the HJ in 1934, the DJ adopted a side cap with coloured piping which denoted their unit; the emblem of the DJ was a white Sieg rune on a black background, which symbolised "victory". This was worn on the uniform in the form of a cloth badge, sewn onto the upper-left sleeve of the shirt. In addition to their pre-military training, the DJ contributed to the German war effort by collecting recyclable materials such as paper and scrap metal, by acting as messengers for the civil defence organisations. By 1944, the Hitler Youth formed part of the Volkssturm, an unpaid, part-time militia, formed special HJ companies within Volkssturm battalions. In theory, service in the Volkssturm was limited to boys over 16 years of age, however much younger boys, including Jungvolk members volunteered or were coerced into serving in these units.
Eye witness reports of the Battle of Berlin in April 1945 record instances of young boys fighting in their DJ uniforms, complete with short trousers. Adolf Hitler's last public appearance was on 20 April 1945, when he presented Iron Crosses to defenders of Berlin, including several boys, some as young as twelve years-old. With the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, the organization de facto ceased to exist. On 10 October 1945, it was outlawed by the Allied Control Council along with other Nazi Party organizations. Under Section 86 of the German Criminal Code, the Hitler Youth is an "unconstitutional organisation" and the distribution or public use of its symbols, except for educational or research purposes, are not permitted. National Socialist Schoolchildren's League Without Solving the Jewish Question, No Salvation for Mankind, an anti-Semitic children's story about DJ members from a book called Der Giftpilz published by Julius Streicher
Houston Stewart Chamberlain
Houston Stewart Chamberlain was a British-born German philosopher who wrote works about political philosophy and natural science. Chamberlain married Eva von Bülow, the daughter of composer Richard Wagner, in December 1908, twenty-five years after Wagner's death. Chamberlain's best known book is the two-volume Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, published in 1899, which became influential in the pan-Germanic völkisch movements of the early 20th century and influenced the antisemitism of Nazi racial policy. Indeed, Chamberlain has been referred to as "Hitler's John the Baptist". Houston Stewart Chamberlain was born in Southsea, England, the son of Rear Admiral William Charles Chamberlain, RN, his mother, Eliza Jane, daughter of Captain Basil Hall, RN, died. Chamberlain's poor health led him to being sent to the warmer climates of Spain and Italy for the winter; this constant moving about made it hard for Chamberlain to form lasting friendships and left him with a feeling of rootlessness, of not belonging anywhere.
Chamberlain's education, begun in a lycée at Versailles, took place on the Continent, but his father had planned a military career for his son. At the age of eleven he was sent to Cheltenham College, an English boarding school which produced many army and navy officers. Chamberlain grew up in a self-confident, optimistic Victorian atmosphere that celebrated the 19th century as the "Age of Progress". Chamberlain grew up as a Liberal, shared the general values of 19th century British liberalism such as a faith in progress, of a world that could only get better, of the greatness of Britain as a liberal democratic and capitalist society. Chamberlain disliked Cheltenham, felt lonely and out of place there; the young Chamberlain was "a compulsive dreamer", more interested in the arts than in the military, he developed a fondness for nature and a near-mystical sense of self. Chamberlain's major interests in his studies at Cheltenham were the natural sciences astronomy. Chamberlain recalled: "The starlight exerted an indescribable influence on me.
The stars seemed closer to me, more gentle, more worthy of trust, more sympathetic – for, the only word which describes my feelings – than any of the people around me in school. For the stars, I experienced true friendship". During his youth, Chamberlain – while not rejecting at this point his liberalism – became influenced by the romantic conservative critique of the Industrial Revolution. Bemoaning the loss of "Merry Old England", this view argued for a return to a romanticized view of a mythic, bucolic period of English history that had never existed, with the people living in harmony with nature on the land overseen by a benevolent, cultured elite. In this critique, the Industrial Revolution was seen as a disaster which forced people to live in dirty, overcrowded cities, doing dehumanizing work in factories while society was dominated by a philistine, greedy middle class; the prospect of serving as an officer in India or elsewhere in the British Empire held no attraction for him. In addition, he was a delicate child with poor health.
At the age of fourteen he had to be withdrawn from school. After Cheltenham, Chamberlain always felt out of place in Britain, a society whose values Chamberlain felt were not his values, writing in 1876: "The fact may be regrettable but it remains a fact. Chamberlain travelled to various spas around Europe, accompanied by a Prussian tutor, Herr Otto Kuntze, who taught him German and interested him in German culture and history. Fascinated by Renaissance art and architecture, Chamberlain learned Italian and planned to settle in Florence for a time. Chamberlain went to Geneva, where he studied under Carl Vogt, Graebe, Müller Argoviensis, Thury and other professors, he studied systematic botany, geology and the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Under the tutelage of Professor Julius von Wiesner of the University of Vienna, Chamberlain studied botany in Geneva, earning a Bacheliers en sciences physiques et naturelles in 1881, his thesis, Recherches sur la sève ascendante, was not finished until 1897 and did not culminate in a further qualification.
The main thrust of Chamberlain's dissertation is that the vertical transport of fluids in vascular plants via xylem cannot be explained by the fluid mechanical theories of the time, but only by the existence of a "vital force", beyond the pale of physical measurement. He summarises his thesis in the Introduction: Without the participation of these vital functions it is quite impossible for water to rise to heights of 150 feet, 200 feet and beyond, all the efforts that one makes to hide the difficulties of the problem by relying on confused notions drawn from physics are little more reasonable than the search for the philosopher's stone. Physical arguments, in particular transpirational pull and root pressure, have since been shown to be adequate for explaining the ascent of sap. During his time in Geneva, who always despised Benjamin Disraeli, ca
Religion in Nazi Germany
For the significance of occultism and paganism in Nazism see the article Religious aspects of Nazism. There was some diversity of personal views among the Nazi leadership as to the future of religion in Germany. Anti-Church radicals included Hitler's Personal Secretary Martin Bormann, Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, paganist Nazi Philosopher Alfred Rosenberg, paganist occultist Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler; some Nazis, such as Hans Kerrl, who served as Hitler's Minister for Church Affairs pushed for "Positive Christianity", a uniquely Nazi form which rejected its Jewish origins and the Old Testament, portrayed "true" Christianity as a fight against Jews, with Jesus depicted as an Aryan. Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness of the German people—their attitudes and mentalities—into a single-minded, obedient "national community"; the Nazis believed they would therefore have to replace class and regional allegiances. Under the Gleichschaltung process, Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany's 28 existing Protestant churches.
The plan failed, was resisted by the Confessing Church. Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Hitler moved to eliminate Political Catholicism. Amid harassment of the Church, the Reich concordat treaty with the Vatican was signed in 1933, promised to respect Church autonomy. Hitler disregarded the Concordat, closing all Catholic institutions whose functions were not religious. Clergy and lay leaders were targeted, with thousands of arrests over the ensuing years; the Church accused the regime of "fundamental hostility to Christ and his Church". Historians resist however a simple equation of Nazi opposition to both Christianity. Nazism was willing to use the support of Christians who accepted its ideology, Nazi opposition to both Judaism and Christianity was not analogous in the minds of the Nazis. Smaller religious minorities such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Bahá'í Faith were banned in Germany, while the eradication of Judaism by the genocide of its adherents was attempted.
The Salvation Army, the Christian Saints and the Seventh-day Adventist Church all disappeared from Germany, while astrologers and fortune tellers were banned. The small pagan "German Faith Movement", which worshipped the sun and seasons, supported the Nazis. Many historians believed that Hitler and the Nazis intended to eradicate Christianity in Germany after winning victory in the war. In 1933, 5 years prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic, while the Jewish population was less than 1%. A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era and after the annexation of Catholic Austria and Catholic Czechoslovakia into Germany, indicates that 54% considered themselves Protestant, 40% Catholic, 3.5% self-identified as gottgläubig, 1.5% as "atheist". Christianity has ancient roots among Germanic peoples dating to the missionary work of Columbanus and St. Boniface in the 6th–8th centuries; the Reformation, initiated by Martin Luther in 1517, divided the German population between a two-thirds majority of Protestants and a one-third minority of Roman Catholics.
The south and west remained Catholic, while north and east became Protestant. The Catholic Church enjoyed a degree of privilege in the Bavarian region, the Rhineland and Westphalia as well as parts in south-west Germany, while in the Protestant North, Catholics suffered some discrimination. Bismarck's Kulturkampf of 1871–78 had seen an attempt to assert a Protestant vision of German nationalism over Germany, fused anticlericalism and suspicion of the Catholic population, whose loyalty was presumed to lie with Austria and France, rather than the new German Empire; the Centre Party had formed in 1870 to represent the religious interests of Catholics and Protestants, but was transformed by the Kulturkampf into the "political voice of Catholics". Bismarck's Culture Struggle failed in its attempt to eliminate Catholic institutions in Germany, or their strong connections outside of Germany various international missions and Rome. In the course of the 19th century, both the rise of historical-critical scholarship of the Bible and Jesus by David Strauss, Ernest Renan and others, progress in the natural sciences the field of evolutionary biology by Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel and others, opposition to oppressive socioeconomic circumstances by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and others, resulted in increasing criticism of the traditional churches' dogmas, moved numerous German citizens into freethought.
They rejected fundamental theological concepts and either developed their own liberal form of religion or discarded it altogether. By 1859, they had established the Bund Freireligiöser Gemeinden Deutschlands, an association of persons who consider themselves to be religious without adhering to any established and institutionalized church or sacerdotal cult. In 1881 in Frankfurt am Main, Ludwig Büchner established the German Freethinkers League as the first German organisation for atheists and agnostics. In 1892 the Freidenker-Gesellschaft and in 1906 the Deutscher Monistenbund were formed. Christianity in Germany has, since the Protestant Reformation in 1517, been divided into Roman Catholicism and Protestantism; as a specific outcome of the Reformation in Germany, the large Protestant denominations are organized into Landeskirchen. The German wo