“RELIGIOUS” ELEMENTS IN THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY AND RITUALS IN THE THIRD REICH
The purpose of this article is to analyze the problem of the conceptualization of National Socialism as a quasi-religion, a political religion. The author outlines the process of creating the cult of the superhuman leader in the Nazi state of the Third Reich. It is commonly known that the cult of the leader existed in the Third Reich but particularly interesting is the question of how the Führer came to be perceived as a supra-natural being. An important issue which is not overlooked in the article concerns the policy of the Third Reich’s authorities who — through the mysticism of their ideology — tried to inculcate the German people with the Aryan ideal of human being who had to be strong, proud and heroic. The leader, glorified by the society, was a living embodiment of this ideal. He, by officiating over grandiloquent rituals and public ceremonies and performing the priest-like role, was transcending the boundary between the two worlds. All these efforts served to enslave the human mind. Thanks to this, the Nazis could achieve their objectives. The religion was one of the instruments used to propagate the National Socialist outlook. The author performs a comparative analysis of religion and these elements of the Nazi system which exhibited religious features in order to find an answer to the question of whether National Socialism was a quasi-religion or a political religion.