Reich Bishop Ludwig Müller after his Inauguration at the Berlin Cathedral (September 23, 1934)
Pastor Ludwig Müller joined the NSDAP in 1931; he was a founder and regional leader of the German Christian movement [Glaubensbewegung Deutsche Christen]. After Hitler assumed the chancellorship, Müller acted as his "Plenipotentiary for Protestant Church Matters" and was appointed Reich Bishop on September 27, 1933. As the Third Reich's highest-ranking Protestant dignitary, he pursued the institutional and doctrinal “coordination” [Gleichschaltung] of the church from within. The synthesis of Christianity and racial theory that Müller promoted, however, was rejected by segments of the Protestant Church, especially the Confessing Church [Bekennende Kirche]. Müller managed to achieve neither ecclesiastical unity nor complete state control over the Gospel. Starting in July 1935, the Nazi regime pursued these goals by means of the newly-founded Ministry of Church Affairs under the direction of Hanns Kerrl, who began a campaign of persecution and oppression against oppositional theologians and clergy. At that point, Müller lost almost all influence on Nazi ecclesiastical policy; he committed suicide shortly after the war ended. The photo shows Müller (left) with the head of the ministry, August Jäger (right).
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz