Rural Catholics, Polish workers, and Nazi racial policy in Bavaria, 1939-1945 / by John Joseph Delaney
Includes bibliographical references (p. 304-325)
This is a study of the behavior of some Germans in the Third Reich who defied Nazi racial policies. Great numbers of Poles were brought to Germany and put to work in the war economy from 1939-45. Germans were instructed to view Poles as "sub-humans" yet many in Catholic communities did not. This study examines the factors that contributed to that development. The central construct in this dissertation is that of the sub-culture of Catholicism, in rural Bavaria. Introduction and conclusions aside, the study is presented as follows: chapter II describes the circumstances wherein this sub-culture arose and flourished; III explores the sub-culture's hegemony and staying power (A crucial factor in its dominance was the role of political Catholicism and a pre-history of opposition to Nazism); IV briefly describes Nazi ideology to explain the regime's demand that farmers treat Polish farm workers as dangerous "sub-humans" and why the peasants should limit contact with them; V examines the leadership exercised by priests early on in the Nazis' campaign of anti-Polish hate and shows how, by word and deed, priests urged parishioners to follow in their footsteps by treating Poles as co-religionists, not "sub-humans;" VI explores covert action undertaken by parish priests whose agitation behind the scenes successfully continued the more confrontational tactics of inclusion pursued earlier; VII examines actual consequences of personal contact between rural Catholics and Polish workers by exploring areas of association, types of relationships, and common points of contact in everyday life; VIII considers physical relationships and acts of love on the one hand, and mistreatment on the other. In sum it is a story of the Nazis' largely unsuccessful attempt to persuade people to embrace their racist world view. Racialist propaganda proved a failure as demonstrated most clearly through the repressive edicts against fraternization which the Nazis issued and the terror they resorted to in an attempt to enforce them.
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