Baptizing Nazism: An Analysis of the Religious Roots of American Neo-Nazism

Alon Milwicki

Abstract


The years following the Second World War saw American religious leaders making fervent attempts to bridge the denominational gap and encourage peaceful cooperation among America’s three leading faiths: Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism. While the religious revival movement was largely successful, it was not as complete as historians have previously suggested. Scholars of the postwar religious awakening have neglected the darker, conflictual, and even violent strains of religious revival which developed alongside the optimistic, cooperative, and harmonious efforts that have taken center stage. Simply put, the development and propagation of Christian Identity, as propelled by Dr. Wesley Albert Swift, provided a ready-made system of values and organizational tenets to the various white power and neo-Nazi organizations that emerged across America after World War II ended. This article seeks to bring scholarly attention to this national movement that emerged in direct opposition to the Judeo-Christian tradition, and in so doing, highlight the evolution of the American Neo-Nazi movement as a theologically-based movement that is starkly different from and considerably more malleable than modern American Nazism (which is often referred to as neo-Nazism, albeit, incorrectly).


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