The Third Reich and the Christian Churches: A Documentary Account of the Christian Resistance and Complicity during the Nazi Era

In The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, Peter Matheson has presented us with the first collection of documents in English on the complex relationship between the Christian churches and the Hitler regime. Even the subtitle, A Documentary Account of the Christian Resistance and Complicity (I would have exchanged the order of these last two nouns) during the Nazi Era, accurately reflects the difficult and problematic nature of that relationship from the very beginning. Even though some excellent English monographs (John Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the Churches; Gunter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany; and, more recently, Ernst C. Helmreich, The German Churches under Hitler) with extensive use of documentary material have been available for some time, teachers, students, and aficionados generally will, I think, welcome an opportunity to read this kind of a cross section of documents for themselves.

Reviewers are justly warned to beware of being too critical of what the author, or, in this case, editor, did not intend to do. Certainly in the choice of what to include and what to leave out, there is considerable room for differences of opinion and taste. Nevertheless, a suggestion or two may not be out of place.

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