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Politische Religion, Civic Religion oder ein neuer Glaube - Walther Rathenaus Vision einer anderen Moderne

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This chapter uses Walther Rathenau to discuss the limitations of the popular, but controversial concepts 'political religion' and 'civic religion'. Rathenau promoted a vaguely religious dimension to politics, but his vision cannot be described with either of these terms. He was neither an unreserved supporter of parliamentary democracy, pluralism and a capitalist market economy nor did he tend towards totalitarianism. He was opposed to the Right, but his concept of a communal economy (Gemeinwirtschaft) strongly influenced the idea of a community of the people (Volksgemeinschaft) so central for Nazism. Rathenau is part of a wider tradition that sought to give the German nation a new communal faith. He was not a Nazi, but the desire he expressed came to play a crucial role in the fatal attraction of National Socialism. The concept of a single communal faith can show the connection between this long tradition and the rise of Nazism.