Did Martin Luther Inspire Adolf Hitler?

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Submitted By poof8022
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Did Martin Luther Inspire Adolf Hitler?
For many centuries, the world has been afflicted by the plague of anti-Semitism. This hatred presented itself in the rise of Nazism and the murders of six million Jews: the Holocaust. An eight-step plan meant to remove all of the Jews from European society would be easily associated with the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler. It would not, however, be so readily connected to Martin Luther. However, in a 1543 essay "Concerning the Jews and their Lies," Luther outlined such a plan. This does not necessarily suggest that Luther was analogous to Hitler in action or deed, but rather that Luther, the spark of the Protestant Reformation and father of German nationalism, and his teachings had a profound impact on the anti-Semitic thinkers that came to follow (Prager 106). It is possible that Hitler and Luther shared a common ideological base.

Luther's attitude toward the Jews is confusing. He made a drastic transition during the course of his life and writings from sympathy to hateful fear. Early in his Protestant writings, Luther composed an essay entitled "That Jesus Christ Was Born A Jew". In it Luther calls for tolerance, compassion, and peaceful conversion. "...they [Catholics] have dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs and not human beings" (Luther "That" 33). Luther thought that if he made a new, purified Christianity, Jews would more readily convert (Patterson 16). Only through a demonstration of the scriptural basis, however, could Jews by truly converted to Christianity. To Luther, a Jew was a person worth converting and bringing into the fold of Christianity. Luther wondered how Jews could improve society (Luther "That" 34). He questioned those who supported violence against the Jewish people. In his mind, a Jew could not become a contributing member in a Christian society if they were being coerced into…...

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