7th June 1942, midday
A new revolution in Spain would spell ruin—all traitors should be shot—settling with “Bible students.”
During discussion about the Blue Division—the Spanish Division serving on the Eastern front—the conversation turned once more to the internal situation in Spain. Reichsleiter Bormann remarked that the increasing swing in favour of a monarchy received more than a little encouragement from the clergy. The Fuehrer agreed, and continued: The activities of the Church in Spain are no different from those of the Catholic Church in our own country, or indeed from those of most Churches in any other country.
Any Church, provided it is in a position to exert influence on the civil régime, will, as a matter of principle, support or tolerate only such a régime as knows and recognises no form of popular organisation other than one under the œgis of the Church, and is therefore dependent, for purposes of general administration, solely on the Church, as the only organised leadership of the people.
Unless it is prepared to renounce that striving for power, which is inherent in every Church participating in politics, the Church in Spain cannot recognise the present régime, which has created in the Falange an organisation of its own for the direction of the Spanish people. There is therefore only one thing the Falange can do to establish definite relations with the Church, and that is to limit the intervention of the latter to religious—that is, supernatural—affairs. If one once allows the Church to exercise the slightest influence on the governing of the people and the upbringing of the younger generation, it will strive to become omnipotent, and one makes a great mistake if one thinks that one can make a collaborator of the Church by accepting a compromise.
The whole international outlook and political interest of the Catholic Church in Spain render inevitable conflict between the Church and the Franco régime, and a new revolution thus comes within the bounds of possibility. Spain may well have to pay with her blood, in the not too distant future, for her failure to carry through a truly national revolution, as was done in Germany and Italy.
[eleven paragraphs of the talk omitted]
But we should not fail to point out to these elements which refuse to fight on religious grounds that they obviously still want to eat the things others are fighting to get for them, that this was quite contrary to the spirit of a higher justice, and that we must therefore leave them to starve.
I regard it as an act of exceptional clemency that I did not, in fact, carry out this threat, but contented myself with shooting one hundred and thirty of these self-styled Bible Students (Bibelforscher). Incidentally, the execution of these hundred and thirty cleared the air, just like a thunderstorm does. When the news of the shootings was made public, many thousands of similarly minded people who proposed to avoid military service on the score of some religious scruple or other lost their courage and changed their minds.
If you wish to wage war successfully or to lead a people successfully through a difficult period of its history, you must have no doubts whatever on one point—namely, any individual who in such times tries, either actively or passively, to exclude himself from the activities of the community, must be destroyed.
Anyone who for false reasons of mercy deviates from this clear principle is aiding, willingly or unwillingly, the dissolution of the State. We can see the beginnings of this process to-day in a country like Sweden.