Honors College Theses

Publication Date



History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Brian K. Feltman


During the years of the Nazi regime in Germany, the government introduced a doctrine known as Gleichschaltung (coordination). Gleichschaltung attempted to force the German people to conform to Nazi ideology. As a result of Gleichschaltung the Deutsche Christens (German Christians) diminished the importance of the Old Testament, rejected the biblical Jesus, and propagated proper Nazi gender roles. This thesis will argue that Deutsche Christen movement became the driving force of Nazi ideology within the Protestant Church and quickly dissented from orthodox Christian theology becoming heretical. The Deutsche Christen heresy was unique to Germany and could have only been formed within the borders and historical context of the German nation. This heresy created a division within the established Protestant Church. As the division grew the heretics and the orthodox members struggled for power. This struggle between orthodox German Protestants and the Deutsche Christens, known as the Kirchenkampf (church struggle), resulted in the orthodox Christians forming the Confessing Church. Subsequently, the Confessing Church insured that the Protestant church, as an institution, rejected the Nazi’s attempt to force the German citizens to comply their ideologies.