The persecution of the churches was the outcome of two of the most significant aspects of the Nazi system, its political nihilism and its ideological fanaticism. The Nazis' ambition to destroy the existing order of society went hand in hand with their determination to propagate a new German racial Weltanschauung. Their attack on the traditions and institutions which had moulded the German character for a thousand years was part and parcel of their attempt to impose their will upon the whole of German life. Their schemes went much further than the earlier nineteenth-century attempts to separate Church and State. By trying to prevent the Churches from exercising any influence over national affairs, and by attempting to drive them into obscurity to die out as unlamented relics of the past, the Nazi campaign exhibited a more menacing trend of the twentieth century. Here for the first time the totalitarian concept of a Volksgemeinschaft, dominated by a single ideology and dedicated to the will of a single political Führer, was proclaimed as the 'destiny' predicted by history. The Nazi claims for the supremacy of an all-embracing racial ideal were based on an appeal to mass instincts, and recognized the expediency of political ambition as the only morality. Their determination to remould society in the crucible of Hitler's ambitions was nothing less than an attempt to create a new 'Age of Absolutism'.
The Nazis' antagonism towards the Churches arose from their intolerance of any compromise with a system of belief that spanned the centuries and embraced all men under a doctrine of equality before God. Though Hitler's political shrewdness and sense of political tactics induced him from time to time to moderate the radical measures which his paranoid followers advocated, there can be no doubt of his innate antipathy to Christianity and to the Christian Churches. Christianity, he believed, was a 'hoax', and