Jerry Bergman Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview. Joshua Press, 2012.
Bergman’s Book Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview is an entry on the lay level discussion to a long running debate about the influences on Nazi Germany. His book is ultimately a series of miniature biographies focusing on several leaders of the 3rd Reich, and the influence of Darwinism on their thoughts. Before going into the usual format for a review, (strengths, weaknesses, and conclusion) I want to note ahead of time that this work is more useful for Christians on the defense than offense. Richard Dawkins, and other members of the Atheist lunatic fringe (http://apologiafides.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/moral-argument-from-atrocities-5/), consistently argue that the Nazi’s were Christians. Because modern Darwinists no longer make the same racist assertions as they did in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this is no longer a useful primary argument (my primary argument being found in our recent series on the tragedy of Compromise).
Positives Bergman is one of the few writers to accurately portray the reaction of nominally Christian organizations to the Reich – most writers either focus on those who collaborated with the Reich or those who opposed Hitler. Specifically, when one reads the secular discussions on the Reich, one would assume the collaborators were theological evangelicals, in reality, most of the leaders of the Christian denominations in Germany were influenced primarily by enlightenment era and existentialist philosophers and tried to reinterpret the Bible to fit these philosophers’ viewpoints – this is a type of theology I warned against in our recent series on the tragedy of compromise, a group I consistently refer to as the religious Left. Bergman’s work is heavily footnoted and researched, but is highly readable.
Negatives – Because of Bergman’s focus, the book is a bit repetitious in the later chapters – one can almost anticipate where the chapter will go.
His focus on Darwinism, while valid, would be better in a more technical work. There is no discussion of Wagner, theosophy, and German Neo-paganism. Besides the questions about the extent to which the Nazis were involved with the occult, there was also little discussion of the influence of Hegel, Nietsche, or any of the other enlightenment thinkers connected to the Reich; while these thinkers were Darwinists they were far more, and far worse.
Conclusion: While I discussed the negatives more than the positives, I liked this book, and recommend it. Take the negatives as a discussion of things to keep in mind, while reading the book, rather than a reason not to read the book. With the proviso of its usefulness above, this is a highly useful book.