Religious aspects of Nazism

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Historians, political scientists and philosophers have studied Nazism with a specific focus on its religious and pseudo-religious aspects.[1] It has been debated whether Nazism would constitute a political religion, and there has also been research on the millenarian, messianic, and occult or esoteric aspects of Nazism.

Nazism as political religion[edit]

Among the writers who alluded before 1980 to the religious aspects of National Socialism are Aurel Kolnai, Raymond Aron, Albert Camus, Romano Guardini, Denis de Rougemont, Eric Voegelin, George Mosse, Klaus Vondung and Friedrich Heer.[2] Voegelin's work on political religion was first published in German in 1938. Emilio Gentile and Roger Griffin, among others, have drawn on his concept. The French author and philosopher Albert Camus is mentioned here, since he has made some remarks about Nazism as a religion and about Adolf Hitler in particular in L'Homme révolté.[3]

Outside a purely academic discourse, public interest mainly concerns the relationship between Nazism and Occultism, and between Nazism and Christianity. The interest in the first relationship is obvious from the modern popular theory of Nazi occultism. The persistent idea that the Nazis were directed by occult agencies has been dismissed by historians as modern cryptohistory.[4] The interest in the second relationship is obvious from the debate about Adolf Hitler's religious views—specifically, whether he was a Christian or not.[5]

Nazism and occultism[edit]

There are many works that speculate about National Socialism and occultism, the most prominent being The Morning of the Magicians (1960) and The Spear of Destiny (1972). From the perspective of academic history, however, most of these works are "cryptohistory".[6] Notable exceptions are Der Mann, der Hitler die Ideen gab (The man who gave Hitler the ideas) by Wilfried Daim (1957), Urania's children by Ellic Howe (1967) and The Occult Establishment by James Webb (1976).[7] Aside from these works, historians did not consider the question until the 1980s. Due to the popular literature on the topic, "Nazi 'black magic' was regarded as a topic for sensational authors in pursuit of strong sales."[8] In the 1980s, two Ph.D. theses were written about the topic. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke published The Occult Roots of Nazism (1985) based on his thesis, and the German librarian and historian Ulrich Hunger's thesis on rune-lore in Nazi Germany (Die Runenkunde im Dritten Reich) was published in the series Europäische Hochschulschriften (also 1985).

Goodrick-Clarke's book The Occult Roots... is not only considered "without exception"[9] to be the pioneering work on Ariosophy, but also the "definitive book" on the topic.[9] The term 'Ariosophy' refers to an esoteric movement in Germany and Austria of the 1900s to 1930s. It clearly falls under Goodrick-Clarke's definition of occultism, as it obviously drew on the western esoteric tradition. Ideologically, it was remarkably similar to Nazism. According to Goodrick-Clarke, the Ariosophists wove occult ideas into the völkisch ideology that existed in Germany and Austria at the time.[10] Ariosophy shared the racial awareness of völkisch ideology,[11] but also drew upon a notion of root races, postulating locations such as Atlantis, Thule and Hyperborea as the original homeland of the Aryan race (and its "purest" branch, the Teutons or Germanic peoples). The Ariosophic writings described a glorious ancient Germanic past, in which an elitist priesthood "expounded occult-racist doctrines and ruled over a superior and racially pure society."[12] The downfall of this imaginary golden age was explained as the result of the interbreeding between the master race and the untermenschen (lesser races). The "abstruse ideas and weird cults [of Ariosophy] anticipated the political doctrines and institutions of the Third Reich"[13] writes Goodrick-Clarke in the introduction to his book, motivating the phrase "occult roots of Nazism"; direct influences, however, are sparse. With the exception of Karl Maria Wiligut,[14] Goodrick-Clarke has not found evidence that prominent Ariosophists directly influenced Nazism.

Goodrick-Clarke considers the "Nazi crusade [as] ... essentially religious".[15] His follow-up book Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity examined 'ariosophic' ideas after 1945 and 'neo-völkisch movements'.

Nazism and Christianity[edit]

After Nazi Germany had surrendered in World War II, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services published a report on the Nazi Master Plan of the Persecution of the Christian Churches.[16] Historians and theologians generally agree about the Nazi policy towards religion, that the objective was to remove explicitly Jewish content from the Bible (i.e., the Old Testament, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Pauline Epistles), transforming the Christian faith into a new religion, completely cleansed from any Jewish element and conciliate it with Nazism, Völkisch ideology and Führerprinzip: a religion called "Positive Christianity".[17][18]

Alfred Rosenberg was influential in the development of Positive Christianity. In The Myth of the Twentieth Century, he wrote that:[19]

The Nazi Party program of 1920 included a statement on religion as point 24. In this statement, the Nazi party demands freedom of religion (for all religious denominations that are not opposed to the customs and moral sentiments of the Germanic race); the paragraph proclaims the party's endorsement of Positive Christianity. Historians have described this statement as "a tactical measure, 'cleverly' left undefined in order to accommodate a broad range of meanings,"[20] and an "ambiguous phraseology."[21] However, Richard Steigmann-Gall in The Holy Reich holds that, on closer examination, "Point 24 readily provides us with three key ideas in which the Nazis claimed that their movement was Christian":[20] the movement's antisemitism, its social ethic under the phrase Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz (roughly: "public need before private greed") and its attempt to bridge the confessional divide between Catholicism and Protestantism in Germany.

This is a topic of some controversy. Conway holds that The Holy Reich has broken new ground in the examination of the relation between Nazism and Christianity,[22] despite his view that "Nazism and Christianity were incompatible."[22] Conway claims that Steigmann-Gall "is undeniably right to point out how much Nazism owed to German Christian" concepts and only considers his conclusion as "overdrawn".[22]

The virulent antisemitism of Martin Luther has been identified as an inspiration for Nazism. However, according to the theologian Johannes Wallmann, Luther's views exercised no continual influence in Germany,[23] and Hans J. Hillerbrand claimed that the focus on Luther's influence on Nazism's anti-Semitism ignored other factors in German history.[24]

The Nazis were aided by theologians, such as Dr. Ernst Bergmann. Bergmann, in his work, Die 25 Thesen der Deutschreligion (Twenty-five Points of the German Religion), expounded the theory that the Old Testament and portions of the New Testament of the Bible were inaccurate. He proposed that Jesus was of Aryan origin, and that Adolf Hitler was the new messiah.[25]

Religious beliefs of leading Nazis[edit]

Within a large movement like Nazism, "it may not be especially shocking to discover" that individuals could embrace different ideological systems that would seem to be polar opposites. The religious beliefs of even the leading Nazis diverged strongly.

The difficulty for historians lies in the task of evaluating not only the public, but also the private statements of the Nazi politicians. Steigmann-Gall, who intended to do this in his study, points to such people as Erich Koch (who was not only Gauleiter of East Prussia and Reichskomissar for the Ukraine, but also the elected praeses of the East Prussian provincial synod of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union)[26] and Bernhard Rust[27] as examples of Nazi politicians who also professed to be Christian in private.

Adolf Hitler's religious views[edit]

Adolf Hitler's religious beliefs have been a matter of debate; the wide consensus of historians consider him to have been irreligious, anti-Christian, anti-clerical and scientistic.[28] In light of evidence such as his fierce criticism and vocal rejection of the tenets of Christianity,[29] numerous private statements to confidants denouncing Christianity as a harmful superstition,[28] and his strenuous efforts to reduce the influence and independence of Christianity in Germany after he came to power, Hitler's major academic biographers conclude that he was irreligious and an opponent of Christianity.[28] Historian Laurence Rees found no evidence that "Hitler, in his personal life, ever expressed belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church".[30] Ernst Hanfstaengl, a friend from his early days in politics, says Hitler "was to all intents and purposes an atheist by the time I got to know him". However, historians such as Richard Weikart and Alan Bullock doubt the assessment that he was a true atheist, suggesting that despite his dislike of Christianity he still clung to a form of spiritual belief. [31]

Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother, and was baptised in the Roman Catholic Church. From a young age, he expressed disbelief and hostility to Christianity.[32] But in 1904, acquiescing to his mother's wish, he was confirmed at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Linz, Austria, where the family lived.[33] According to John Willard Toland, witnesses indicate that Hitler's confirmation sponsor had to "drag the words out of him ... almost as though the whole confirmation was repugnant to him".[34] Rissmann notes that, according to several witnesses who lived with Hitler in a men's home in Vienna, Hitler never again attended Mass or received the sacraments after leaving home.[35] Several eyewitnesses who lived with Hitler while he was in his late teens and early-to-mid 20s in Vienna state that he never attended church after leaving home at 18.[35]

In Hitler's early political statements, he attempted to express himself to the German public as a Christian.[36] In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he described himself as a Christian.[37][38] Hitler and the Nazi party promoted "Positive Christianity",[39] a movement which rejected most traditional Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, as well as Jewish elements such as the Old Testament.[40][41] In one widely quoted remark, he described Jesus as an "Aryan fighter" who struggled against "the power and pretensions of the corrupt Pharisees"[42] and Jewish materialism.[43]

While a small minority of historians accept these publicly stated views as genuine expressions of his spirituality,[36] the vast majority believe that Hitler was skeptical of religion and anti-Christian, but recognized that he could only be elected and preserve his political power if he feigned a commitment to and belief in Christianity, which the overwhelming majority of Germans believed in.[44] Privately, Hitler repeatedly deprecated Christianity, and told confidants that his reluctance to make public attacks on the Church was not a matter of principle, but a pragmatic political move.[45] In his private diaries, Goebbels wrote in April 1941 that though Hitler was "a fierce opponent" of the Vatican and Christianity, "he forbids me to leave the church. For tactical reasons."[46] Hitler's remarks to confidants, as described in the Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Albert Speer, and transcripts of Hitler's private conversations recorded by Martin Bormann in Hitler's Table Talk, are further evidence of his irreligious and anti-Christian beliefs;[28] these sources record a number of private remarks in which Hitler ridicules Christian doctrine as absurd, contrary to scientific advancement, and socially destructive.[28][47]

Once in office, Hitler and his regime sought to reduce the influence of Christianity on society.[48] From the mid-1930s, his government was increasingly dominated by militant anti-church proponents like Goebbels, Bormann, Himmler, Rosenberg and Heydrich whom Hitler appointed to key posts.[49] These anti-church radicals were generally permitted or encouraged to perpetrate the Nazi persecutions of the churches.[50] The regime launched an effort toward coordination of German Protestants under a unified Protestant Reich Church (but this was resisted by the Confessing Church), and moved early to eliminate political Catholicism.[51] Hitler agreed to the Reich concordat with the Vatican, but then routinely ignored it, and permitted persecutions of the Catholic Church.[52] Smaller religious minorities faced harsher repression, with the Jews of Germany expelled for extermination on the grounds of Nazi racial ideology. Jehovah's Witnesses were ruthlessly persecuted for refusing both military service and allegiance to Hitler's movement. Hitler said he anticipated a coming collapse of Christianity in the wake of scientific advances, and that Nazism and religion could not co-exist long term.[28] Although he was prepared to delay conflicts for political reasons, historians conclude that he ultimately intended the destruction of Christianity in Germany, or at least its distortion or subjugation to a Nazi outlook.[53]

Rudolf Hess[edit]

According to Goodrick-Clarke, Rudolf Hess had been a member of the Thule Society before attaining prominence in the Nazi party.[54] As Adolf Hitler's official deputy, Hess had also been attracted to and influenced by the biodynamic agriculture of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy.[55] In the wake of his flight to Scotland, Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the security police, banned lodge organizations and esoteric groups on 9 June 1941.[56]

Thule Society and the origins of the Nazi Party[edit]

The Thule Society, which is remotely connected to the origins of the Nazi Party, was one of the ariosophic groups of the late 1910s.[57] Thule Gesellschaft had initially been the name of the Munich branch of the Germanenorden Walvater of the Holy Grail, a lodge-based organisation which was built up by Rudolf von Sebottendorff in 1917.[58] For this task he had received about a hundred addresses of potential members in Bavaria from Hermann Pohl, and from 1918 he was also supported by Walter Nauhaus.[58] According to an account by Sebottendorff, the Bavarian province of the Germanenorden Walvater had 200 members in spring 1918, which had risen to 1500 in autumn 1918, of these 250 in Munich.[59] Five rooms, capable of accommodating 300 people, were leased from the fashionable Hotel Vierjahreszeiten ('Four Seasons') in Munich and decorated with the Thule emblem showing a dagger superimposed on a swastika.[60] Since the lodge's ceremonial activities were accompanied by overtly right-wing meetings, the name Thule Gesellschaft was adopted to arouse less attention from socialists and pro-Republicans.[60]

Aryan race and lost lands[edit]

The Thule Society took its name from Thule, an alleged lost land. Sebottendorff identified Ultima Thule as Iceland.[61] In the Armanism of Guido von List, to which Sebottendorff made distinct references,[62] it was believed that the Aryan race had originated from the apocryphal lost continent of Atlantis and taken refuge in Thule/Iceland after Atlantis had been deluged and sunk under the sea.[61] Hyperborea was also mentioned by Guido von List, with direct references to the theosophic author William Scott-Elliot.[63]

In The Myth of the Twentieth Century, the most important Nazi book after Mein Kampf, Alfred Rosenberg referred to Atlantis as a lost land or at least to an Aryan cultural center.[64] Since Rosenberg had attended meetings of the Thule Society, he might have been familiar with the occult speculation about lost lands; however, according to Lutzhöft (1971), Rosenberg drew on the work of Herman Wirth.[65] The attribution of the Urheimat of the Nordic race to a deluged land was very appealing at that time.[65]

Formation of DAP and NSDAP[edit]

In the autumn of 1918 Sebottendorff attempted to extend the appeal of the Thule Society's nationalist ideology to people from a working-class background. He entrusted the Munich sports reporter Karl Harrer with the formation of a workers' club, called the Deutscher Arbeiterverein ('German workers' club') or Politischer Arbeiterzirkel ('Political workers' ring').[66] The most active member of this club was Anton Drexler.[66] Drexler urged the foundation of a political party, and on 5 January 1919 the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP, German Workers' Party) was formally founded.[66] When Adolf Hitler first encountered the DAP on 12 September 1919, Sebottendorff had already left the Thule Society (in June 1919).[67] By the end of February 1920, Hitler had transformed the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei into the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP or National Socialist German Workers’ Party).[66] Apparently, meetings of the Thule Society continued until 1923. A certain Johannes Hering kept a diary of these meetings; it mentions the attendance of other Nazi leaders between 1920 and 1923, but not Hitler.[68]

That the origins of the Nazi Party can be traced to the lodge organisation of the Thule Society is fact. However, there were only two points in which the NSDAP was a successor to the Thule Society. One is the use of the swastika. Friedrich Krohn, who was responsible for the colour scheme of the Nazi flag, had been a member of the Thule Society and also of the Germanenorden since 1913.[69] Goodrick-Clarke concludes that the origins of the Nazi symbol can be traced back through the emblems of the Thule Society and the Germanenorden and ultimately to Guido von List,[69] but it is not evident that the Thulean ideology filtered through the DAP into the NSDAP. Goodrick-Clarke implies that ariosophical ideas were of no consequence: "the DAP line was predominantly one of extreme political and social nationalism, and not based on the Aryan-racist-occult pattern of the Germanenorden [and Thule Society]".[66] Godwin summarises the differences in outlook which separated the Thule Society from the direction taken by the Nazis:

"Hitler...had little time for the whole Thule business, once it had carried him where he needed to be...he could see the political worthlessness of paganism [i.e., what Goodrick-Clarke would describe as the racist-occult complex of Ariosophy] in Christian Germany. Neither did the Führer's plans for his Thousand-year Reich have any room whatever for the heady love of individual liberty with which the Thuleans romantically endowed their Nordic ancestors."[70]

The other point in which the NSDAP continued the activities of the Thule Society is in the publication of the newspaper Völkischer Beobachter. Originally, the Beobachter ("Observer") had been a minor weekly newspaper of the eastern suburbs of Munich, published since 1868.[71] After the death of its last publisher in June 1918, the paper ceased publication, until Sebottendorff bought it one month later.[71] He renamed it Münchener Beobachter und Sportsblatt ("Munich Observer and Sports Paper") and wrote "trenchant anti-Semitic" editorials for it.[71] After Sebottendorff left Munich, the paper was converted into a limited liability company. By December 1920, all its shares were in the hands of Anton Drexler, who transferred the ownership of the paper to Hitler in November 1921.[72]

Its connection with Nazism has made the Thule Society a popular subject of modern cryptohistory. Among other things, it is hinted that Karl Haushofer and G. I. Gurdjieff were connected to the Society,[73] but this theory is completely unsustainable.

Aftermath[edit]

In January 1933 Sebottendorff published Bevor Hitler kam: Urkundlich aus der Frühzeit der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung ("Before Hitler Came: Documents from the Early Days of the National Socialist Movement"). Nazi authorities understandably disliked the book, which was banned in the following year. Sebottendorff was arrested but managed to flee to Turkey.

Heinrich Himmler and the SS[edit]

Heinrich Himmler: "We believe in a God Almighty who stands above us; he has created the earth, the Fatherland, and the Volk, and he has sent us the Führer. Any human being who does not believe in God should be considered arrogant, megalomaniacal, and stupid and thus not suited for the SS."[74]

Credited retrospectively with being the founder of "Esoteric Hitlerism", and certainly a figure of major importance for the officially sanctioned research and practice of mysticism by a Nazi elite, was Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler who, more than any other high official in the Third Reich (including Hitler) was fascinated by pan-Aryan (i.e., broader than Germanic) racialism. Himmler's capacity for rational planning was accompanied by an "enthusiasm for the utopian, the romantic and even the occult."[75]

It also seems that Himmler had an interest in astrology. He consulted the astrologer Wilhelm Wulff in the last weeks of the Second World War.[76] (One detailed but difficult source for this is a book written by Wulff himself, Tierkreis und Hakenkreuz, published in Germany in 1968. That Walter Schellenberg had discovered an astrologer called Wulf is mentioned in Hugh Trevor-Roper's The Last Days of Hitler.)

In Bramwell's assessment: "Too much can be made of the importance of bizarre cultism in Himmler's activities...but it did exist, and was one of the reasons behind the split between Himmler and Darré that took place in the late 1930s."[77] Although Himmler did not have any contact with the Thule Society, he possessed more occult tendencies than any other Nazi leader.[78] The German journalist and historian Heinz Höhne, an authority on the SS, explicitly describes Himmler's views about reincarnation as occultism.[79]

The historic example which Himmler used in practice as the model for the SS was the Society of Jesus, since Himmler found in the Jesuits what he perceived to be the core element of any order, the doctrine of obedience and the cult of the organisation.[80] The evidence for this largely rests on a statement from Walter Schellenberg in his memoirs (Cologne, 1956, p. 39), but Hitler is also said to have called Himmler "my Ignatius of Loyola".[81] As an order, the SS needed a coherent doctrine that would set it apart. Himmler attempted to construct such an ideology, and to this purpose he deduced a "pseudo-Germanic tradition"[82] from history. However, this attempt was not entirely successful. Höhne observes that "Himmler's neo-pagan customs remained primarily a paper exercise".[83]

In a 1936 memorandum, Himmler set forth a list of approved holidays based on pagan and political precedents and meant to wean SS members from their reliance on Christian festivities.[84] The Winter Solstice, or Yuletide, was the climax of the year. It brought SS folk together at candlelit banquet tables and around raging bonfires that harked back to German tribal rites.[84]

The Allach Julleuchter (Yule light) was made as a presentation piece for SS officers to celebrate the winter solstice. It was later given to all SS members on the same occasion, December 21. Made of unglazed stoneware, the Julleuchter was decorated with early pagan Germanic symbols. Himmler said, “I would have every family of a married SS man to be in possession of a Julleuchter. Even the wife will, when she has left the myths of the church find something else which her heart and mind can embrace.”[85]

Only adherents of theories of Nazi occultism or the few former SS members who were, after the war, participants in the Landig Group in Vienna would claim that the cultic activities within the SS would amount to its own mystical religion. At the time of his death in 1986, Rudolf J. Mund was working on a book on the Germanic 'original race-cult religion', however, what was indoctrinated into the SS is not known in detail.[86]

Nazi archaeology[edit]

In 1935 Himmler, along with Darré, established the Ahnenerbe.[87] At first independent, it became the ancestral heritage branch of the SS. Headed by Dr. Hermann Wirth, it was dedicated primarily to archaeological research, but it was also involved in proving the superiority of the 'Aryan race' and in occult practices.[citation needed]

A great deal of time and resources were spent on researching or creating a popularly accepted “historical”, “cultural” and “scientific” background so the ideas about a “superior” Aryan race could be publicly accepted. For example, an expedition to Tibet was organized to search for the origins of the "Aryan race".[88] To this end, the expedition leader, Ernst Schäfer, had his anthropologist Bruno Beger make face masks and skull and nose measurements. Another expedition was sent to the Andes.

Bramwell, however, comments that Himmler "is supposed to have sent a party of SS men to Tibet in order to search for Shangri-La, an expedition which is more likely to have had straightforward espionage as its purpose".[77]

Das Schwarze Korps[edit]

The official newspaper of SS was Das Schwarze Korps ("The Black Corps"), published weekly from 1935 to 1945. In its first issue, the newspaper published an article on the origins of the Nordic race, hypothesizing a location near the North Pole similar to the theory of Hermann Wirth (but not mentioning Atlantis).[89]

Also in 1935, the SS journal commissioned a Professor of Germanic History, Heinar Schilling, to prepare a series of articles on ancient Germanic life. As a result, a book containing these articles and entitled Germanisches Leben was published by Koehler & Amelung of Leipzig with the approval of the SS and Reich Government in 1937. Three chapters dealt with the religion of the German people over three periods: nature worship and the cult of the ancestors, the sun religion of the Late Bronze Age, and the cult of the gods.

According to Heinar Schilling, the Germanic peoples of the Late Bronze Age had adopted a four-spoke wheel as symbolic of the sun "and this symbol has been developed into the modern swastika of our own society [i.e., Nazi Germany] which represents the sun." Under the sign of the swastika "the light bringers of the Nordic race overran the lands of the dark inferior races, and it was no coincidence that the most powerful expression of the Nordic world was found in the sign of the swastika". Very little had been preserved of the ancient rites, Professor Schilling continued, but it was a striking fact "that in many German Gaue today on Sonnenwendtage (solstice days) burning sun wheels are rolled from mountain tops down into the valleys below, and almost everywhere the Sonnenwendfeuer (solstice fires) burn on those days." He concluded by saying that "The Sun is the All-Highest to the Children of the Earth".

Cultic activities within the SS[edit]

SS-Castle Wewelsburg[edit]

Himmler has been claimed to have considered himself the spiritual successor or even reincarnation of Heinrich the Fowler,[90] having established special SS rituals for the old king and having returned his bones to the crypt at Quedlinburg Cathedral. Himmler even had his personal quarters at Wewelsburg castle decorated in commemoration of Heinrich the Fowler. The way the SS redesigned the castle referred to certain characters in the Grail-mythos (see The "SS-School House Wewelsburg").

Himmler had visited the Wewelsburg on 3 November 1933 and April 1934; the SS took official possession of it in August 1934.[91] The occultist Karl Maria Wiligut (known in the SS under the pseudonym 'Weisthor') accompanied Himmler on his visits to the castle.[91] Initially, the Wewelsburg was intended to be a museum and officer's college for ideological education within the SS, but it was subsequently placed under the direct control of the office of the Reichsführer SS (Himmler) in February 1935.[91] The impetus for the change of the conception most likely came from Wiligut.[91]

SS-Officers in Argentina[edit]

There are some accounts of SS officers celebrating solstices, apparently attempting to recreate a pagan ritual. In his book El Cuarto Lado del Triangulo (Sudamericana 1995), Professor Ronald Newton describes a number of occasions when a Sonnenwendfeier occurred in Argentina. When SS-Sturmbannführer Baron von Thermann (Edmund Freiherr von Thermann, German WP), the new head of the German Legation, arrived in December 1933, one of his first public engagements was to attend the NSDAP Sonnenwendfeier at the house of Vicente Lopez in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, "a neo-pagan festival with torches in which the Argentine Nazis greeted the winter and summer solstices". At another in December 1937, 500 young people, mostly Hitler Youth and Hitler Maidens, were taken to a natural amphitheatre dominating the sea at Comodoro Rivadavia in the south of the country. "They lit great pillars of wood, and in the light of the flickering flames diverse NSDAP orators lectured the children on the origins of the ceremony and sang the praises of the (Nazis) Fallen for Liberty. In March 1939 the pupils at the German School in Rosario were the celebrants on an island in the Paraná River opposite the city: Hitler Youth flags, trumpets, a rustic altar straight from Germanic mythology, young leaders enthroned with solemnity to the accompaniment of choral singing...the Creole witnesses shook their heads in incredulity..." In the Chaco in the north of Argentina the first great event promoted by the Nazis was the Sonnenwendfeier at Charata on 21 December 1935. Portentous discourses of fire alternated with choral renderings". Such activities continued in Argentina after the war. Uki Goñi in his book The Real Odessa (Granta, 2003) describes how Jacques de Mahieu, a wanted SS war criminal, was "a regular speaker at the pagan solar solstice celebrations held by fugitive Nazis in postwar Argentina."

Occultists working for the SS[edit]

Karl Maria Wiligut[edit]

Of all the SS personnel, Karl Maria Wiligut could be best described as a Nazi occultist. The (first?) biography of him, written by Rudolf J. Mund, was titled: Himmler's Rasputin[92] (German: Der Rasputin Himmlers, not translated into English). After his retirement from the Austrian military, Wiligut had been active in the 'ariosophic' milieu. Ariosophy was only one of the threads of Esotericism in Germany and Austria during this time. When he was involuntarily committed to the Salzburg mental asylum between November 1924 and early 1927, he received support from several other occultists.[93] Wiligut was clearly sympathetic to the Nazi Revolution of January 1933.[94] When he was introduced to Himmler by an old friend who had become an SS officer, he got the opportunity to join the SS under the pseudonym 'Weisthor'.[94] He was appointed head of the Department for Pre- and Early history within the Race and Settlement Main Office (Rasse- and Siedlungshauptamt, RuSHA) of the SS.[94] His bureau could (much more than the Ahnenerbe) be described as the occult department of the SS: Wiligut's main duty appears "to have consisted in committing examples of his ancestral memory to paper."[94] Wiligut's work for the SS also included the design of the Totenkopfring (death's head ring) that was worn by SS members.[95] He is even supposed to have designed a chair for Himmler; at least, this chair and its covers are offered for sale on the Internet.[96][97]

Otto Rahn[edit]

The Fortress of Montségur from the 16th century. The castle that has been linked to the legend of the Holy Grail was destroyed in 1244

Otto Rahn had written a book Kreuzzug gegen den Gral "Crusade against the Grail" in 1933.[98] In May 1935 he joined the Ahnenerbe; in March 1936 he formally joined the SS.[98] "In September 1935 Rahn wrote excitedly to Weisthor [Karl Maria Wiligut] about the places he was visiting in his hunt for grail traditions in Germany, asking complete confidence in the matter with the exception of Himmler."[99] In 1936 Rahn undertook a journey for the SS to Iceland, and in 1937 he published his travel journal of his quest for the Gnostic-Cathar tradition across Europe in a book titled Luzifers Hofgesinde "Lucifer's Servants".[98] From this book he gave at least one reading, before an "extraordinarily large" audience. An article about this lecture was published in the Westfälische Landeszeitung "Westphalia County Paper", which was an official Nazi newspaper.[100][101]

Rahn's connection of the Cathars with the Holy Grail ultimately leads to Montségur in France, which had been the last remaining fortress of the Cathars in France during the Middle Ages. According to eyewitnesses, Nazi archaeologists and military officers were present at that castle.[102]

Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch[edit]

Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch was a radical author with German-Ukrainian ancestry.[103] An active agitator against the Bolshevik Revolution, he fled his native Russia in 1920 and travelled widely in eastern Europe, making contact with Bulgarian Theosophists and probably with G.I. Gurdjieff.[103] As a mystical anti-communist, he developed an unshakeable belief in the Jewish-Masonic world conspiracy portrayed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[104] In 1922 he published his first book, Freemasonry and the Russian Revolution, and emigrated to Germany in the same year.[105] He became an enthusiastic convert to Anthroposophy in 1923, but by 1929 he had repudiated it as yet another agent of the conspiracy.[105] Meanwhile, he had begun to give lectures for the Ariosophical Society[106] and was a contributor to Georg Lomer's originally Theosophical (and later, neopagan) periodical entitled Asgard: A Fighting Sheet for the Gods of the Homeland.[107] He also worked for Alfred Rosenberg's news agency during the 1920s before joining the SS.[105] He lectured widely on conspiracy theories and was appointed an honorary SS professor in 1942, but was barred from lecturing in uniform because of his unorthodox views.[105] In 1944 he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer on Himmler's recommendation.[105]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Semi-religious beliefs in a race of Aryan god-men, the needful extermination of inferiors, and an idealized millennial future of German world-domination obsessed Hitler, Himmler and many other high-ranking Nazi leaders." Goodrick-Clarke, 1985, 203
  2. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2004: vi.
  3. ^ Albert Camus 1951, L'Homme révolté (in French), Gallimard, pp. 17f, 222, 227f.
  4. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 218
  5. ^ Some examples from the discussion on the Internet:
  6. ^ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1985)
  7. ^ Urania's children and The Occult Establishment are mentioned explicitly by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1985: 225).
  8. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2004: vi.
  9. ^ a b As mentioned, preface of the German Edition (2004), written by H. T. Hakl
  10. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 5
  11. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 4.
  12. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 2.
  13. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 1.
  14. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 177.
  15. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 203.
  16. ^ http://lawcollections.library.cornell.edu/nuremberg/catalog/nur:00773
  17. ^ Kathleen Harvill-Burton, Le nazisme comme religion. Quatre théologiens déchiffrent le code religieux nazi (1932-1945), 2006, ISBN 2-7637-8336-8
  18. ^ Bernard Raymond, Une église à croix gammée, L'Age d'homme, Geneva, 1980
  19. ^ Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century
  20. ^ a b Steigmannn-Gall 2003: 14.
  21. ^ John S. Conway (1968), The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, p. 5
  22. ^ a b c Review by John S. Conway, H-Net
  23. ^ Wallmann, Johannes. "The Reception of Luther's Writings on the Jews from the Reformation to the End of the 19th Century", Lutheran Quarterly, n.s. 1, Spring 1987, 1:72-97
  24. ^ Hillerbrand, Hans J. "Martin Luther," Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007. Hillerbrand writes: "His strident pronouncements against the Jews, especially toward the end of his life, have raised the question of whether Luther significantly encouraged the development of German anti-Semitism. Although many scholars have taken this view, this perspective puts far too much emphasis on Luther and not enough on the larger peculiarities of German history."
  25. ^ McNab 2009, p. 182.
  26. ^ Steigmannn-Gall 2003: 1.
  27. ^ see: Steigmann-Gall 2003: 122
  28. ^ a b c d e f
    • Richard Overy; The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004, pp. 287: "During the War [Hitler] reflected that in the long run, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together. Both Stalin and Hitler wanted a neutered religion, subservient to the state, while the slow programme of scientific revelation destroyed the foundation of religious myth."
    • Richard Overy: The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004, p. 281: "Hitler believed that all religions were now 'decadent'; in Europe it was the 'collapse of Christianity that we are now experiencing'. The reason for the crisis was science."
    • Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 547: wrote that Hitler believed that in the long run National Socialism and religion would not be able to co-exist, and stressed repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, founded on modern science: "Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition". Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope and "Priests, he said, were 'black bugs', 'abortions in black cassocks'".
    • Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, Fontana Press 1993, p. 412.: Bullock notes Hitler's use of rhetoric of "Providence" but concludes that Hitler, Stalin and Napoleon all shared the same materialist outlook "based on the nineteenth century rationalists' certainty that the progress of science would destroy all myths and had already proved Christian doctrine to be an absurdity"
    • Hitler's Table Talk: Hitler is reported as saying: "The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."
  29. ^
    • Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; p. 219: "Hitler had been brought up a Catholic and was impressed by the organization and power of the Church... [but] to its teachings he showed only the sharpest hostility... he detested [Christianity]'s ethics in particular".
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297: "In early 1937 [Hitler] was declaring that 'Christianity was ripe for destruction', and that the Churches must yield to the 'primacy of the state', railing against any compromise with 'the most horrible institution imaginable'"
    • Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 547: Evans wrote that Hitler believed Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope and "Priests, he said, were 'black bugs', 'abortions in black cassocks'". Evans noted that Hitler saw Christianity as "indelibly Jewish in origin and character" and a "prototype of Bolshevism", which "violated the law of natural selection".
    • Richard Overy: The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004.p 281: "[Hitler's] few private remarks on Christianity betray a profound contempt and indifference".
    • A. N. Wilson; Hitler a Short Biography; Harper Press; 2012, p. 71.: "Much is sometimes made of the Catholic upbringing of Hitler... it was something to which Hitler himself often made allusion, and he was nearly always violently hostile. 'The biretta! The mere sight of these abortions in cassocks makes me wild!'"
    • Laurence Rees; The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler; Ebury Press; 2012; p. 135.; "There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church".
    • Derek Hastings (2010). Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 181 : Hastings considers it plausible that Hitler was a Catholic as late as his trial in 1924, but writes that "there is little doubt that Hitler was a staunch opponent of Christianity throughout the duration of the Third Reich."
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4 : In his entry for 29 April 1941, Goebbels noted long discussions about the Vatican and Christianity, and wrote: "The Fuhrer is a fierce opponent of all that humbug".
    • Albert Speer; Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs; Translation by Richard and Clara Winston; Macmillan; New York; 1970; p.123: "Once I have settled my other problem," [Hitler] occasionally declared, "I'll have my reckoning with the church. I'll have it reeling on the ropes." But Bormann did not want this reckoning postponed [...] he would take out a document from his pocket and begin reading passages from a defiant sermon or pastoral letter. Frequently Hitler would become so worked up... and vowed to punish the offending clergyman eventually... That he could not immediately retaliate raised h a white heat..."
    • Hitler's Table Talk: Hitler is reported as saying: "The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."
  30. ^ * Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; p. 219: "Hitler had been brought up a Catholic and was impressed by the organization and power of the Church... [but] to its teachings he showed only the sharpest hostility... he detested [Christianity]'s ethics in particular"
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297: "In early 1937 [Hitler] was declaring that 'Christianity was ripe for destruction', and that the Churches must yield to the 'primacy of the state', railing against any compromise with 'the most horrible institution imaginable'"
    • Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 547: Evans wrote that Hitler believed Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope and "Priests, he said, were 'black bugs', 'abortions in black cassocks'". Evans noted that Hitler saw Christianity as "indelibly Jewish in origin and character" and a "prototype of Bolshevism", which "violated the law of natural selection".
    • Richard Overy: The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004.p 281: "[Hitler's] few private remarks on Christianity betray a profound contempt and indifference".
    • A. N. Wilson; Hitler a Short Biography; Harper Press; 2012, p. 71.: "Much is sometimes made of the Catholic upbringing of Hitler... it was something to which Hitler himself often made allusion, and he was nearly always violently hostile. 'The biretta! The mere sight of these abortions in cassocks makes me wild!'"
    • Laurence Rees; The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler; Ebury Press; 2012; p. 135.; "There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church"
    • Derek Hastings (2010). Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 181 : Hastings considers it plausible that Hitler was a Catholic as late as his trial in 1924, but writes that "there is little doubt that Hitler was a staunch opponent of Christianity throughout the duration of the Third Reich."
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4 : In his entry for 29 April 1941, Goebbels noted long discussions about the Vatican and Christianity, and wrote: "The Fuhrer is a fierce opponent of all that humbug".
    • Albert Speer; Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs; Translation by Richard and Clara Winston; Macmillan; New York; 1970; p.123: "Once I have settled my other problem," [Hitler] occasionally declared, "I'll have my reckoning with the church. I'll have it reeling on the ropes." But Bormann did not want this reckoning postponed ... he would take out a document from his pocket and begin reading passages from a defiant sermon or pastoral letter. Frequently Hitler would become so worked up ... and vowed to punish the offending clergyman eventually ... That he could not immediately retaliate raised him to a white heat ..."
    • Hitler's Table Talk: "The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."
  31. ^ Weikart, Richard (2016). Hitler's Religion: The Twisted Beliefs that Drove the Third Reich. Simon and Schuster. p. 40. ISBN 1621575519.
  32. ^ Schramm, Percy Ernst (1978) "The Anatomy of a Dictator" in Hitler: The Man and the Military Leader. Detwiler, Donald S., ed. Malabar, Florida: Robert E. Kreiger Publishing Company. p. 46. ISBN 0-89874-962-X; originally published as the introduction to Picker, Henry (1963) Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquarter ("Hitler's Table Talk")
  33. ^ Bullock (1991), p.26
  34. ^ John Toland; Hitler; Wordsworth Editions; 1997 Edn; pp. 18
  35. ^ a b Rissmann, Michael (2001). Hitlers Gott: Vorsehungsglaube und Sendungsbewußtsein des deutschen Diktators. Zürich, München: Pendo, pp. 94–96; ISBN 978-3-85842-421-1.
  36. ^ a b John S. Conway. Review of Steigmann-Gall, Richard, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945. H-German, H-Net Reviews. June, 2003: John S. Conway considered that Steigmann-Gall's analysis differed from earlier interpretations only by "degree and timing", but that if Hitler's early speeches evidenced a sincere appreciation of Christianity, "this Nazi Christianity was eviscerated of all the most essential orthodox dogmas" leaving only "the vaguest impression combined with anti-Jewish prejudice..." which few would recognize as "true Christianity".
  37. ^ Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19–20, Oxford University Press, 1942
  38. ^ Hitler, Adolf (1999). Mein Kampf. Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York: Mariner Books, pp. 65, 119, 152, 161, 214, 375, 383, 403, 436, 562, 565, 622, 632–633.
  39. ^ from Norman H. Baynes, ed. (1969). The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: April 1922 – August 1939. 1. New York: Howard Fertig. p. 402.
  40. ^ Shirer, 1990, p. 234.
  41. ^ "Confessing Church" in Dictionary of the Christian Church, F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingston, eds.; William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), pp. 235 f.
  42. ^ Schramm, Percy Ernst (1978) "The Anatomy of a Dictator" in Hitler: The Man and the Military Leader. Detwiler, Donald S., ed. Malabar, Florida: Robert E. Kreiger Publishing Company. pp.88-91. ISBN 0-89874-962-X; originally published as the introduction to Picker, Henry (1963) Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquarter ("Hitler's Table Talk")
  43. ^ Steigmann-Gall, Richard (2003). The Holy Reich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 13–50, 252
  44. ^ *Ian Kershaw; Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis; WW Norton & Company; 2000; pp.39-40 & Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297: "In early 1937, he was declaring that 'Christianity was ripe for destruction' (Untergang), and that the churches must therefore yield to the 'primacy of the state', railing against 'the most horrible institution imaginable."
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis; WW Norton & Company; 2000; pp.40: ""The assault on the practices and institutions of the Christian churches was deeply imbedded in the psyche of National Socialism. ... however much Hitler on some occasions claimed to want a respite in the conflict [with the churches], his own inflammatory comments gave his underlings all the license they needed to turn up the heat on the 'Church Struggle', confident that they were working towards the Fuhrer".
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; p. 373.
    • Laurence Rees; The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler; Ebury Press; 2012; p. 135: "Hitler, as a politician, simply recognised the practical reality of the world he inhabited ... Thus his relationship in public to Christianity—indeed his relationship to religion in general—was opportunistic. There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church."
    • Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; p. 219: "In Hitler's eyes, Christianity was a religion fit only for slaves; he detested its ethics in particular.[...] From political considerations he restrained his anti-clericalism seeing clearly the dangers of strengthening the church through persecution. Once the war was over, he promised himself, he would root out and destroy the influence of the Christian Churches ..."
    • Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, Fontana Press 1993, p. 412.: Bullock notes Hitler's use of rhetoric of "Providence" but concludes that Hitler, Stalin and Napoleon all shared the same materialist outlook "based on the nineteenth century rationalists' certainty that the progress of science would destroy all myths and had already proved Christian doctrine to be an absurdity".
    • Richard Overy; The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004. p. 281 : "Hitler was politically prudent enough not to trumpet his scientific views publicly, not least because he wanted to maintain the distinction between his own movement and the godlessness of Soviet Communism. ... What Hitler could not accept was that Christianity could offer anything other than false 'ideas' to sustain its claim to moral certitude."
    • Richard Overy: The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004. p. 281: "His few private remarks on Christianity betray a profound contempt and indifference. Forty years afterwards he could still recall facing up to clergyman-teacher at his school when told how unhappy he would be in the afterlife: 'I've heard of a scientist who doubts whether there is a next world'. Hitler believed that all religions were now 'decadent'; in Europe it was the 'collapse of Christianity that we are now experiencing'. The reason for the crisis was science."
    • Richard Overy; The Third Reich, A Chronicle; Quercus; 2010; p.99
  45. ^ Ian Kershaw; Hitler: a Biography; Norton; 2008 ed; pp. 295–297.
  46. ^ Fred Taylor Translation; The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4; p.340
  47. ^ * Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation) The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; ISBN 0-241-10893-4; p.76: In 1939, Goebbels wrote that the Fuhrer knew that he would "have to get around to a conflict between church and state" but that in the meantime "The best way to deal with the churches is to claim to be a 'positive Christian'."
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; p.77: Goebbels wrote on 29 December 1939 "The Führer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. This can be seen in the similarity of their religious rites. Both (Judaism and Christianity) have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed."
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; pp. 304–305 In an 8 April 1941 entry, Goebbels wrote, "[Hitler] hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity."
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation); The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982: In his entry for 29 April 1941, Goebbels noted long discussions about the Vatican and Christianity, and wrote: "The Fuhrer is a fierce opponent of all that humbug".
    • Joseph Goebbels (Fred Taylor Translation) The Goebbels Diaries 1939–41; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982; p.340: Goebbels wrote in April 1941 that though Hitler was "a fierce opponent" of the Vatican and Christianity, "he forbids me to leave the church. For tactical reasons."
    • Cameron, Norman; Stevens, R. H. Stevens; Weinberg, Gerhard L.; Trevor-Roper, H. R. (2007). Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations. New York: Enigma Books p.48: On 14 October 1941, in an entry concerning the fate of Christianity, Hitler says: "Science cannot lie, for its always striving, according to the momentary state of knowledge, to deduce what is true. When it makes a mistake, it does so in good faith. It's Christianity that's the liar. It's in perpetual conflict with itself."
    • Cameron, Norman; Stevens, R. H. Stevens; Weinberg, Gerhard L.; Trevor-Roper, H. R. (2007). Hitler's Table Talk 1941–1944: Secret Conversations. New York: Enigma Books pp. 59–61: Hitler says: "The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."
    • Albert Speer; Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs; Translation by Richard and Clara Winston; Macmillan; New York; 1970; p. 123: Speer considered Bormann to be the driving force behind the regime's campaign against the churches and wrote that Hitler approved of Bormann's aims, but was more pragmatic and wanted to "postpone this problem to a more favourable time". He writes: "'Once I have settled my other problem,' [Hitler] occasionally declared, 'I'll have my reckoning with the church. I'll have it reeling on the ropes.' But Bormann did not want this reckoning postponed ... he would take out a document from his pocket and begin reading passages from a defiant sermon or pastoral letter. Frequently Hitler would become so worked up ... and vowed to punish the offending clergyman eventually ... That he could not immediately retaliate raised him to a white heat ...'
  48. ^ * Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 546
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; WW Norton & Company; London; pp. 381–382
    • Kershaw, Ian, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris, pp. 575–576, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000
    • William L. Shirer; The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; Secker & Warburg; London; 1960; pp. 201, 234–240, 295
    • Joachim Fest; Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler 1933-1945; Weidenfeld & Nicolson; London; pp. 373, 377
    • Peter Longerich; Heinrich Himmler; Translated by Jeremy Noakes and Lesley Sharpe; Oxford University Press; 2012; pp. 265, 270
    • Anton Gill; An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler; Heinemann; London; 1994; pp. 57–58
    • Mary Fulbrook; The Fontana History of Germany 1918–1990 The Divided Nation; Fontana Press; 1991, p. 81
    • Theodore S. Hamerow; On the Road to the Wolf's Lair – German Resistance to Hitler; Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 1997; ISBN 0-674-63680-5; p. 136
    • John S. Conway; The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933–1945; Regent College Publishing; p. 255
    • Nazi trial documents made public, BBC, 11 January 2002
    • Peter Hoffmann; The History of the German Resistance 1933–1945; 3rd Edn (First English Edn); McDonald & Jane's; London; 1977; p. 14
    • Paul Berben; Dachau: The Official History 1933–1945; Norfolk Press; London; 1975; ISBN 0-85211-009-X; p. 145
    • Fred Taylor; The Goebbells Diaries 1939–1941; Hamish Hamilton Ltd; London; 1982 p.278 & 294
    • Evans, Richard J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303790-3; pp. 245–246
  49. ^ * Ian Kershaw; Hitler 1936–1945 Nemesis; WW Norton & Company; 2000; p.39: "the continuing conflict with both the Catholic and Protestant churches... [was a priority concern] with Goebbells, Rosenberg and many Party rank and file" & p. 40 "However much Hitler on some occasions claimed to want a respite in the conflict [with the churches], his own inflammatory comments gave his underlings all the license they needed to turn up the heat on the 'Church Struggle'."
    • William Shirer; Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, p. 240, Simon and Schuster, 1990: "under the leadership of Rosenberg, Bormann and Himmler—backed by Hitler—the Nazi regime intended to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists".
    • Richard Overy: The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004.p. 287 : "From the mid 1930s the regime and party were dominated much more by the prominent anti-Christians in their ranks - Himmler, Bormann, Heydrich - but were restrained by Hitler, despite his anti religious sentiments, from any radical programme of de-Chritianization. ... Hitler 'expected the end of the disease of Christianity to come about by itself once its falsehoods were self evident"
    • Kershaw, Ian, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris, pp. 575–576, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000:
  50. ^ Shirer, William L., Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, p. 240, Simon and Schuster, 1990.
  51. ^ Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; W. W. Norton & Company; London; p. 290.
  52. ^ Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edition; W. W. Norton & Company; London p. 661."
  53. ^ *Sharkey, Joe (13 January 2002). "Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler's Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
    • Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; WW Norton & Company; London p.661
    • Alan Bullock; Hitler: A Study in Tyranny; HarperPerennial Edition 1991; p 219: "Once the war was over, [Hitler] promised himself, he would root out and destroy the influence of the Christian Churches, but until then he would be circumspect"
    • Michael Phayer; The Response of the German Catholic Church to National Socialism, published by Yad Vashem: "By the latter part of the decade of the Thirties church officials were well aware that the ultimate aim of Hitler and other Nazis was the total elimination of Catholicism and of the Christian religion. Since the overwhelming majority of Germans were either Catholic or Protestant this goal had to be a long-term rather than a short-term Nazi objective."
    • Shirer, William L., Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, p. 240, Simon and Schuster, 1990: "under the leadership of Rosenberg, Bormann and Himmler—backed by Hitler—the Nazi regime intended to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists.”
    • Gill, Anton (1994). An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler. Heinemann Mandarin. 1995 paperback ISBN 978-0-434-29276-9, pp. 14–15: "[the Nazis planned to] de-Christianise Germany after the final victory".
    • Richard Overy; ‘’The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia’’; Allen Lane/Penguin; 2004.pp.287: “During the War [Hitler] reflected that in the long run, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together. Both Stalin and Hitler wanted a neutered religion, subservient to the state, while the slow programme of scientific revelation destroyed the foundation of religious myth.”
    • Richard J. Evans; The Third Reich at War; Penguin Press; New York 2009, p. 547: wrote that Hitler believed that in the long run National Socialism and religion would not be able to co-exist, and stressed repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, founded on modern science: "Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition". Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope and "Priests, he said, were 'black bugs', 'abortions in black cassocks'".
    • Griffin, Roger Fascism's relation to religion in Blamires, Cyprian, World fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1, p. 10, ABC-CLIO, 2006: "There is no doubt that in the long run Nazi leaders such as Hitler and Himmler intended to eradicate Christianity just as ruthlessly as any other rival ideology, even if in the short term they had to be content to make compromises with it."
    • Mosse, George Lachmann, Nazi culture: intellectual, cultural and social life in the Third Reich, p. 240, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2003: "Had the Nazis won the war their ecclesiastical policies would have gone beyond those of the German Christians, to the utter destruction of both the Protestant and the Catholic Church."
    • Fischel, Jack R., Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust , p. 123, Scarecrow Press, 2010: "The objective was to either destroy Christianity and restore the German gods of antiquity or to turn Jesus into an Aryan."
    • Dill, Marshall, Germany: a modern history , p. 365, University of Michigan Press, 1970: "It seems no exaggeration to insist that the greatest challenge the Nazis had to face was their effort to eradicate Christianity in Germany or at least to subjugate it to their general world outlook."
    • Wheaton, Eliot Barculo The Nazi revolution, 1933–1935: prelude to calamity:with a background survey of the Weimar era, p. 290, 363, Doubleday 1968: The Nazis sought "to eradicate Christianity in Germany root and branch."
    • Bendersky, Joseph W., A concise history of Nazi Germany, p. 147, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007: "Consequently, it was Hitler's long range goal to eliminate the churches once he had consolidated control over his European empire.”
    • The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches Archived 2013-09-26 at the Wayback Machine., Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Winter 2001, publishing evidence compiled by the O.S.S. for the Nuremberg war-crimes trials of 1945 and 1946
    • Sharkey, Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler's Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity, New York Times, 13 January 2002
    • Bendersky, Joseph W., A concise history of Nazi Germany, p. 147, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007: "Consequently, it was Hitler's long range goal to eliminate the churches once he had consolidated control over his European empire.”
  54. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2003: 114. Note that Goodrick-Clarke had previously (1985: 149) maintained that Hess was no more than a guest to whom the Thule Society extended hospitality during the Bavarian revolution of 1918.
  55. ^ Bramwell 1985: 175, 177.
  56. ^ Bramwell 1985: 178.
  57. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 135-152 (chapter 11, "Rudolf von Sebottendorff and the Thule Society").
  58. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 142.
  59. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 143.
  60. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 144.
  61. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 145.
  62. ^ See: Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 145.
  63. ^ See: Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 54.
  64. ^ Strohm 1997: 57.
  65. ^ a b Hans Jürgen Lutzhöft (1971):Der Nordische Gedanke in Deutschland 1920-1940. (in German) Stuttgart. Ernst Klett Verlag, p. 114f
  66. ^ a b c d e Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 150.
  67. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 150, 201.
  68. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 201; Johannes Hering, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Thule-Gesellschaft, typescript dated June 21, 1939, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, NS26/865.
  69. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 151.
  70. ^ Godwin 1996: 57.
  71. ^ a b c Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 146.
  72. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 147; Sebottendorff, Bevor Hitler kam, (in German) (Munich, 1934), p. 194f
  73. ^ The Thule Gesellshaft (sic)
  74. ^ Ziegler, Herbert F. (2014). Nazi Germany's New Aristocracy: The SS Leadership, 1925-1939. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 85–87. ISBN 9781400860364. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  75. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 178; Joachim C. Fest, The Face of the Third Reich (London, 1970); pp.111-24; Bradley F. Smith, Heinrich Himmler: a Nazi in the making 1900-26 (Stanford, Calif., 1971); Josef Ackermann, Heinrich Himmler als Ideologie (Göttingen, 1970) (in German)
  76. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 165; Wilhelm Th. H. Wulff, 1968, Tierkreis und Hakenkreuz
  77. ^ a b Bramwell 1985: 90.
  78. ^ Hakl 1997:201
  79. ^ Höhne 1966: 145
  80. ^ Höhne 1966: 135.
  81. ^ Höhne 1966: 135; Gerald Reitlinger, The SS (German Edition), p. 64.
  82. ^ Höhne 1966: 146.
  83. ^ Höhne 1969: 138, 143-5, 156-57.
  84. ^ a b Time/Life book "The Third Reich - The SS"
  85. ^ SS Porcelain Allach by Michael Passmore & Tony Oliver 1972
  86. ^ Harald Strohm, Gnosis und Nationalsozialismus, 1997, p. 89
  87. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 178
  88. ^ See Himmler's Crusade by Christopher Hale.
  89. ^ Lutzhöft 1977:115; W. Petersen: Woher kommt die Nordrasse?, in: Das Schwarze Korps, Year 1, Issue 1, 1/2/1935, p.11.
  90. ^ Höhne 1966: 145; Achim Besgen, Der Stille Befehl (in German) (Munich, 1960), p. 76.
  91. ^ a b c d Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 186.
  92. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 285
  93. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 182
  94. ^ a b c d Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 183.
  95. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 177
  96. ^ The great Chair of Heinrich Himmler
  97. ^ Genuine Leather Covers from Heinrich Himmler's SS-Castle Wewelsburg
  98. ^ a b c Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 189.
  99. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 189; Rahn to Weisthor, Letter dated 27 September 1935, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Himmler Nachlass 19.
  100. ^ German Wikipedia: Westfälische Landeszeitung – Rote Erde
  101. ^ A copy of this article by a certain Dr. Wolff. Heinrichsdorff, "Westfälische Landeszeitung", January 9, 1938, is available on the pages of the Working group of Nazi Memorial centres in Northrhine-Westphalia [1] (in German) an English translation can be found on the internet: NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF A SPEECH BY OTTO RAHN SS; This article could also be verified by consulting the microform edition available in some German libraries
  102. ^ Strohm 1997, 99; Strohm refers to René Nelli, Die Katharer, p.21
  103. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 169.
  104. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 169-170.
  105. ^ a b c d e Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 170.
  106. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 170-171.
  107. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 162.

References[edit]

  • Anna Bramwell. 1985. Blood and Soil: Richard Walther Darré and Hitler's 'Green Party'. Abbotsbrook, England: The Kensal Press. ISBN 0-946041-33-4.
  • Carrie B. Dohe. Race and Religion in Analytical Psychology. London: Routledge, 2016. ISBN 978-1138888401
  • Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. 1985. The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935. Wellingborough, England: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-402-4. (Several reprints.) Expanded with a new Preface, 2004, I.B. Tauris & Co. ISBN 1-86064-973-4
  • ———. 2002. Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-3124-4. (Paperback, 2003. ISBN 0-8147-3155-4)
  • H. T. Hakl. 1997: Nationalsozialismus und Okkultismus. (in German) In: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: Die okkulten Wurzeln des Nationalsozialismus. Graz, Austria: Stocker (German edition of The Occult Roots of Nazism)
  • Heinz Höhne. 1966. Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf. Verlag Der Spiegel. (in German); 1969. The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Martin Secker & Warburg. (in English)
  • Richard Steigmann-Gall. 2003: The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82371-5
  • Harald Strohm. 1997. Die Gnosis und der Nationalsozialismus. (in German). Suhrkamp.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]



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