Hardly any issues of public debate in Germany during the interwar years failed to interest the Jesuit Friedrich Muckermann (1883–1946), whom the Nazis branded
»Public Enemy No. 1.« Muckermann’s public involvement included his struggle against Bolshevism, his reflections on the »social question,« his thoughts on the idea of the Reich, and
his conflicts with National Socialism. The question of how Christianity should best confront the challenges of the modern world constituted a main feature of Muckermann’s reflections. In his view,
Catholicism’s partial »failure« in that respect had helped bring about the flawed development of society in the Weimar Republic. Even though Muckermann briefly allowed himself to be misled as to
Hitler’s real intentions in 1933, he nonetheless was among the first to recognize National Socialism’s totalitarian character and declare unwavering struggle against the Nazi regime. Even
within his own camp, however, Muckermann encountered anything but unqualified approval. Precisely because he remained controversial throughout his career, Muckermann does not represent German
Catholicism’s »golden mean« of compromise. Nonetheless, his efforts reveal the possibilities for challenging Nazism that were inherent in German Catholicism.