Bloody Utopian Dreams – Part 2
|By: Carl Teichrib; ©2005|
|Millions of pages of material have been published in an attempt to explain Germany’s military actions, political structures, and overall historical impact. And much thought has been given to Germany’s social and cultural setting. But one area that hasn’t seen as much literature is in the realm of German esoteric interests. There has been some items published on this subject, but it’s hard to find non-sensationalist accounts. However, we can glean some important material that points to the philosophical roots—the “holy conviction”—of the German National Socialist ideology..|
Bloody Utopian Dreams -The Enigma of the Third Reich
- We have to take the Nazis seriously; after all they were the authors of a regime that took the lives of some 40 million people and the destruction of most of Europe… therefore, since such people took occultism seriously, so should we.—David Morris, The Masks of Lucifer.
- Political parties are inclined to compromises; philosophies never.— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf .
Author’s Note: This is the second article in a multi-part series on New Age thought and political utopianism.
Ever since humanity was ushered out of the Garden of Eden for rebellion against God (Genesis 3), we have been constantly scheming and working towards unifying Man with some system of Paradise. From the mystical doctrines of the Egyptian mystery religions to the hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union, from Plato’s Republic and council of wise men to the dreams and aspirations of a globally enhanced United Nations—mankind has sought to create the “perfect utopian” society shaped in Man’s image.
The New Age Movement fits in nicely with this concept, envisioning a spiritually evolved humanity coupled with a complete global social, political, and economic system. It’s a world where cosmic forces are at work shaping individuals, cultures, and entire nations. It’s a world where “old norms” are torn down, and where newness is embraced—and yet, in this remaking of the world, ancient powers, symbols, and mythologies are drawn upon in this quest to re-forge civilization.
A New Fundamental Philosophy
- It was self-evident that the new movement could hope to achieve the necessary importance and the required strength for this gigantic struggle only if it succeeded from the very first day in arousing in the hearts of its supporters the holy conviction that with it political life was to be given, not to a new election slogan, but to a new philosophy of fundamental significance.
The above words, penned by Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, demonstrated the essential point of Nazism: a new and fundamental philosophy. As the political and forceful expression of this “holy conviction,” the Nazi Party’s new philosophy centered on the interlocking ideals of blood and soil, race and Nature. Ultimately, it was believed, humanity’s spiritual and cultural evolution would rest on the strength of the Germanized Aryan ideal.
And then Europe burned.
It’s in the Roots
[Note: Much of the historical material on the Germanic esoteric societies and their links to National Socialism is based on the scholarly work of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke and his book, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and their Influence on Nazi Ideology (New York University Press, 1985/1992).]
Millions of pages of material have been published in an attempt to explain Germany’s military actions, political structures, and overall historical impact. And much thought has been given to Germany’s social and cultural setting. But one area that hasn’t seen as much literature is in the realm of German esoteric interests. There has been some items published on this subject, but it’s hard to find non-sensationalist accounts. However, we can glean some important material that points to the philosophical roots—the “holy conviction”—of the German National Socialist ideology.
Germany’s theological roots run deep; Martin Luther’s strike against entrenched Roman Catholicism, and much of the ensuing Reformation and Anabaptist movement, are historically significant to Germany. As such, this particular nation has been looked up to for centuries as a bastion of theological thought and action. However, Germany’s spiritual history encompasses more than just the Reformation. Rosicrucian orders and other esoteric schools of thought emerged from the German heartland. But it wasn’t a German-born who gave impetus to the Nazi philosophy, it was a Russian-born woman by the name of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—the founder of the Theosophical Society.
Blavatsky, in her seminal work The Secret Doctrine, outlines the activities of “God” throughout a number of evolutionary cycles. Each cycle, she explained, witnessed the rise and fall of “root-races,” and the pinnacle of mankind at this stage of the cycle was represented by the Aryan race. Furthermore, Blavatsky’s theosophical ideas also incorporated reincarnation, karma, and other Hindu beliefs. Gnosticism, Hermetic philosophies, Kabbalahism, Eastern religions, occult lore, alternative esoteric histories and mythologies—all of these streams of spirituality funneled into Blavatsky’s writings. And through this blending of mystical concepts, her emphasis on racial development and evolutionary hierarchy struck a cord within segments of American, Indian, English, and German high-society.
In 1884, the first German Theosophical Society was established. But because of internal stresses and outside accusations made against Blavatsky, this particular organization fell apart. However, the interest in theosophy remained, and by 1896 a German national branch of the International Theosophical Brotherhood was established.
Out of this greater interest in theosophy—and the re-organized German Theosophical Society in particular—a number of splinter groups and alternative esoteric organizations were birthed, both in Germany and Austria. By the time World War I had started in 1914, German occultism had taken on a number of forms; from the volkisch mysticism of Guido von List to Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical Society, from “irregular” Masonic and Rosicrucian lodges to Theozoology and the Order of the New Templars. It could be said that German-central Europe was experiencing an occult renaissance of sorts, and each of these movements (and others not listed) played a part in creating an undercurrent of Germanic spiritual adventurism. Moreover, many of these foundational groups viewed Jews as being a contaminant in the continued unfolding of an Aryan evolutionary line—thinking that would later find a political foothold in National Socialism.
With the defeat of Germany in World War I, a cultural and social vacuum precipitated an even greater interest in Germanic mysticism, alternative pagan histories, and occultism. Riding this wave, Rudolf J. Gorsleben kick-started a radical Aryan movement that centered on runes and occultism, creating “an original racist mystery-religion which illuminated the priceless magical heritage of the Aryans and justified their spiritual and political world-supremacy.”
The ideas of Karl Maria Wiligut also found root during this time. Wiligut, a proclaimed German sage with alleged clairvoyant skills, held to a blend of racist “Ario-Christianity” and Teutonic paganism. Later changing his name to Karl Maria Weisthor, Wiligut’s high-point contribution to the Third Reich was his involvement in the Wawelsburg project—the complete remodeling of a castle near Paderborn into an SS-order officer’s college and pan-Germanic SS spiritual center, complete with cult-styled pagan ceremonies and rituals [more on the SS order to follow].
And finally, during the years between the Great War and World War II, an aristocrat named Rudolf von Sebottendorff organized the Thule Society. Drawing from some of earlier Germanic mythologies and esoteric groups, such as the Germanenorden—“an anti-Semitic group organized like a secret quasi-masonic lodge”—the Thule Society became a haven for nationalistic leanings in light of Germany’s loss of the Great War.
Thule saw some interesting future Nazi figures pass through its lodge doors: Alfred Rosenberg— the eventual Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories, Dietrich Eckart— a key early member of the Nazi Party and editor of the Völkischer Beobachter [the Nazi Party newspaper], Rudolf Hess—the eventual Deputy of the Fuehrer, and Ernst Rohm—who became the Reichsminister of the SA.
The symbol of the Thule Society was a circular swastika mounted atop a double-edge dagger.
The Third Reich
Adolf Hitler himself had come into contact with some of these arcane doctrines and teachings, and was no doubt influenced by them to a certain extent, particularly from Thule interests and the mystical inclinations of Guido von List—a leading figure in German esoteric and Aryan blood-and-race ideologies. Mein Kampf, Hitler’s major work, indirectly linked the meaning of the swastika with the Aryan racial mythologies of List.
- As National Socialists, we see our program in our flag. In red we see the social ideal of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic.
But of all the major Nazi Party leaders, Heinrich Himmler—head of the SS—seemed most inclined towards mystical interpretations. The SS, short for Schutzstaffel, was originally an inner guard for the Nazi leadership but, as the regime and its military components evolved, the SS took on multi-task military functions.
Historian Marc Rikmenspoel, in his encyclopedic work on the SS, explains that “The official religious doctrine of the Nazi Party and the SS was a sort of deism, an undefined belief in God separate from any organized religion. The SS, in particular, encouraged the belief in Nordic paganism, and urged its members to abandon any Christian denomination.”
Certainly a large part of this mystical orientation came from Himmler’s close association with Karl Wiligut. Author and Nazi historian Nocholas Goodrick-Clarke explains,
- By virtue of his [Wiligut] alleged possession of ancestral memory and an inspired representation of archaic Germanic traditions, he became the favoured mentor of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler on mythological subjects and was given an official assignment for prehistorical research in the SS between 1933 and 1939.
Adding to this, Goodrick-Clarke writes,
- Among the top leaders of the Third Reich, Himmler appears the most ambiguous personality, motivated simultaneously by a capacity for rational planning and by unreal fantasies. His zeal for order, punctuality, and administrative detail, and the pedantic impression of an “intelligent primary school teacher,” were seemingly belied by his enthusiasm for the utopian, the romantic and even the occult. It was Himmler’s idealistic imagination which led to a visionary conception of the SS and its future role: his black-uniformed troops would provide both the bloodstock of the future Aryan master-race and the ideological elite of an ever-expanding Greater Germanic Reich.
Keep in mind, Himmler was the organizer of the concentration camp system, and specific units within his SS were tasked with carrying out the “Final Solution” against the European Jews.
From the employment of runes to the celebration of the swastika sun symbol, from the racially motivated mystical philosophies of an Aryan blood-line to the esoteric teachings of a pagan-Germanic pre-history, the “holy conviction” of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party—a blend of occultism and racism—culminated in one of the worst atrocities in human history.
Knowing that the Nazi’s ideology was fixated on arcane beliefs, the question of German Freemasonry, Rosicrucian orders, and even pan-Germanic mystical associations needs to be addressed. Understand, Hitler and his regime pursued these groups with a bent towards their destruction; even Germanic esoteric organizations that had helped establish the philosophical ideals of the Reich were targeted. Given the fact that the Nazi Party was the political expression of various arcane doctrines, some critics have suggested that this purging throws doubt on the esoteric foundation for Nazism.
On the eve of World War II, Hermann Rauschning, a former advisor to Hitler and president of the Danzig Senate, attempted to warn the world of Nazism’s ultimate aim by publishing his book, The Revolution of Nihilism: Warning to the West. Commenting on Freemasonry and other secretive societies in Germany, and their relationship to National Socialism, Rauschning wrote,
- If we try to understand what it is that tempts Hitler again and again to dwell on Freemasonry, on the Jesuits, or on the Teutonic Order, we come close to the essential secret of the National Socialist elite, the “mystery,” as the Teutonic Order called it, the esoteric doctrine confined to the brethren who were called to initiation. It was the piecemeal character of their initiation into secret aims, the aims and methods of a ruling class, by stages of discipline, enlightenment, liberation, that set the eyes of National Socialism in envious rivalry on such organizations as Freemasonry.
Simply put, all rivalries must be removed—no matter how close the historical associations may be, such as was the case, ultimately, with Theosophy.
So why is it important to understand all this complex and obscure Nazi esoteric history?
First, the simple fact is that as a movement Nazism re-forged the entire structure of Europe, and continues to have lasting social repercussions. This fact alone demands that we examine its deeper roots.
Secondly, and of immense importance, is the fact that this movement’s historical philosophies were grounded in the same ideologies that today comprise the New Age Movement. Remember Blavatsky’s Theosophy and its early role in the development of Germanic mysticism? Consider this substantial statement from Cherry Gilchrist, author of Theosophy: The Wisdom of the Ages,
Though its origins lie in the nineteenth century, the theosophical perspective has much in common with that of the New Age, and, it can fairly be said, it is the impetus of Theosophy that has enabled the whole New Age movement to come into being.
Hitler was absolutely correct; “Political parties are inclined to compromises; philosophies never.”
- David Morris, The Masks of Lucifer: Technology and the Occult in Twentieth-Century Popular Literature (B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1992), p. 126.
- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Houghton Mifflin, 1925/1971), p. 455.
- For some examples of this type of thinking, see Marilyn Ferguson’s book, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J.P. Tarcher Inc., 1980); Desmond E. Berghofer, The Visioneers (Creative Learning International Press, 1992); Robert Muller, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality (World Happiness and Cooperation, 1982/1993); Alice Bailey, The Rays and the Initiation (Lucis Publishing Company, 1960); Lucile W. Green, Journey to a Governed World: Thru 50 Years in the Peace Movement (The Uniquest Foundation, 1991); John Randolph Price, The Super Beings (The Quartus Foundation, 1981); Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man (Harper & Row, 1959/1969); Peter Russell, The Global Brain: Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness (J.P. Tarcher, 1983); William D. Hitt, The Global Citizen (Battelle Press, 1998); and the works of Barbara Marx Hubbard. See also the various speeches from the 1893, 1993, 1999, and 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
- Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 373. Italics in original.
- See Paul Foster Case, The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order (Samuel Weiser, 1985) for information regarding the historical emergence of Rosicrucianism.
- See Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and their Influence on Nazi Ideology (New York University Press, 1985/1992). This particular item is probably one of the most scholarly English-language works on early German esoteric thought.
- Ibid, p. 155.
- Ibid., p. 127.
- Ibid., p. 149.
- Peter Padfield, Himmler (MJF Books, 1990), p. 64. The SA, short for Sturmabteilung—or Storm Section—was the National Socialist revolutionary militia, also known as the “brown shirts.” The SS eventually superceded the SA.
- See, Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism. See also Brigitte Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictatorship’s Apprenticeship (Oxford University Press, 1999).
- Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 496-497. See also, Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna, pp. 209-210.
- See, George H. Stein, Waffen-SS: Hitler’s Elite Guard at War, 1939-1945 for a good, but older published overview of the role of the SS as a fighting machine. See also, Marc J. Rikmenspoel, Waffen-SS: The Encyclopedia (Military Book Club, 2002).
- Marc J. Rikmenspoel, Waffen-SS: The Encyclopedia, p. 252.
- Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism, p. 177.
- Ibid., p. 178.
- Hermann Rauschning, The Revolution of Nihilism: Warning to the West (Alliance Book Corporation, 1939), p. 21.
- Cherry Gilchrist, Theosophy: The Wisdom of the Ages (Harper Collins, The Hidden Wisdom Library, 1996), p. 4.