from Foreign Affairs (May/June 2005)
In the late 1920's, a group of [German] intellectuals known as conservative revolutionaries demanded a new volkish authoritarianism, a third Reich. Richly financed by corporate interests, they denounced liberalism as the greatest, most invidious threat and attacked it for its tolerance, rationality, and cosmopolitan culture.... [T]he Nazis vilified liberalism as a Marxist-Jewish conspiracy, and, with Germany in the midst of unprecedented depression and impoverishment, they promised a national rebirth.
...In his first radio address to the German people, 24 hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, "The national government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life." German elites proved susceptible to this mystical brew of pseudoreligion and disguised interest. Churchmen, especially Protestant clergy, shared this hostility toward the liberal-secular state and its defenders; they were also filled with anti-Semetic beliefs, although with some heroic exceptions.