Date of Award


Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Patrick Powers

Second Advisor

Dr. Barry Levis


Two of the most notoriously unshakable Anti-Semitics were the Protestant reformer Martin Luther and German Chancellor-turned dictator Adolf Hitler. But who exactly were Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler? Although four centuries apart, both Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler had a remarkable impact on both Germany and the world. Luther is renowned still today as the initiator and leader of the Protestant Reformation. Centuries later, Lutherans and Germans alike admire and honor him for his bold and daring actions against the Catholic Church in the 1500s. Hitler remains one of the most hated men in history. The similarities shared between Luther and Hitler were not limited to their hatred for anything Jewish, however. Both men were led by a strong sense of German nationalism and a yearning for unity among their fellow Germans.

What exactly was it about these two men that allowed them to start a rebellion and garner support from their fellow Germans? More importantly, what led them to live a life filled with rage and hatred, and why was it directed toward the Jews? Was there something about the German people in particular that allowed them to be susceptible to the leadership of Luther and Hitler? Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler are inseparably linked with their extreme anti-Semitism and nationalism. It is impossible to assume that Luther did not have any influence on Hitler and his views, for it cannot be mere coincidence that Hitler’s anti-Jewish sentiment of the 1930s and 1940s mirrors that of Luther’s anti-Semitism of the 1500s. This paper will explore the connection between Luther and Hitler; it will attempt to illustrate the similarities between their German nationalism and anti-Semitism, and explain how Luther laid the foundation for Hitler’s holocaust.