Michael Potemra tells us that in Bernard-Henri Levy’s forthcoming book Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, there is an interesting line from the journals of Paul Claudel. On May 21, 1935, Claudel wrote, “Hitler’s speech: a kind of Islamism is being created at the center of Europe . . .”
The Catholic poet and diplomat Claudel wasn’t alone in linking National Socialism to Islam. Karl Barth, the great Swiss theologian who was the principal author (with Bonhoffer) of the Barmen Declaration against the Nazis, had this to say:
Participation in this life, according to it the only worthy and blessed life, is what National Socialism, as a political experiment, promises to those who will of their own accord share in this experiment. And now it becomes understandable why, at the point where it meets with resistance, it can only crush and kill with the might and right which belongs to Divinity! Islam of old as we know proceeded in this way. It is impossible to understand National Socialism unless we see it in fact as a new Islam, its myth as a new Allah, and Hitler as this new Allah’s Prophet.
(Church and the Political Problem of Our Day, 1939, p. 43)