Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the ensuing horrors of the Holocaust are well documented in history. However, an aspect of the Nazi regime that is often overlooked is Hitler’s interest in the occult. This fascination with mystical and esoteric ideas influenced the Nazi leader’s policies and his ambitions to create a thousand-year Reich.
- Origins of Hitler’s Interest in the Occult
Hitler’s interest in the occult can be traced back to his early years in Vienna, where he was exposed to various esoteric doctrines and ideas. He was particularly fascinated with the works of German philosophers and writers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whose works often incorporated mystical elements. These writings shaped Hitler’s worldview, leading him to believe in a racially pure Aryan race that was destined to rule the world. Moreover, he viewed himself as the messianic figure who would lead this “master race” to victory.
- The Thule Society
One of the key organizations that influenced Hitler’s fascination with the occult was the Thule Society, a German secret society founded in 1918 by Rudolf von Sebottendorff. The group’s main goal was to promote a nationalist and anti-Semitic ideology, and its members believed in the existence of a hidden, ancient Aryan race. The Thule Society played a crucial role in the early development of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), which later evolved into the Nazi Party. Hitler’s association with the Thule Society allowed him to merge his racial theories with occultist ideas, further shaping the Nazi ideology.
- Heinrich Himmler and the SS
Heinrich Himmler, a key member of Hitler’s inner circle and the architect of the Holocaust, was also deeply interested in the occult. As the head of the SS (Schutzstaffel), Himmler implemented various esoteric practices and symbols within the organization. The SS adopted the ancient runic alphabet for its insignia, and its members were indoctrinated with mystical and pagan beliefs. Himmler’s obsession with the occult extended to the establishment of the Ahnenerbe, a research organization dedicated to proving the superiority of the Aryan race through archaeological and anthropological studies. The Ahnenerbe’s expeditions sought evidence of ancient Aryan civilizations and sought out mystical artefacts that would enhance the power of the Third Reich.
- Occult Influences on Nazi Ideology
Hitler’s interest in the occult manifested itself in various aspects of the Nazi regime. The swastika, an ancient symbol appropriated by the Nazis, became the central emblem of the party, representing both the Aryan race and Hitler’s ambitions for world domination. Occult themes were also present in Nazi propaganda, which emphasized the mythological and spiritual aspects of the Aryan race. Furthermore, the regime’s eugenics policies and its obsession with racial purity can be seen as an extension of its esoteric beliefs.
- The Pursuit of Occult Power
The Nazis’ belief in the existence of ancient, hidden knowledge and artefacts that could grant them power led to numerous expeditions around the world. One of the most famous examples is the search for the Holy Lance, also known as the Spear of Destiny. According to legend, this relic was said to have pierced the side of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion and was believed to grant its possessor invincibility. Hitler sought the Holy Lance as a means to secure his control over Europe and ensure the success of the Third Reich. In 1938, after the annexation of Austria, Hitler acquired the lance from Vienna’s Hofburg Museum and had it transferred to Nuremberg, where it remained until the end of the war.
Another example of the Nazi pursuit of occult power was their quest for the lost city of Atlantis. Himmler and the Ahnenerbe believed that Atlantis was the ancestral homeland of the Aryan race and that discovering its secrets would unlock the hidden potential of the German people. Expeditions were organized to search for evidence of Atlantis in locations such as the Canary Islands, the Azores, and even the Arctic. While these expeditions never found definitive proof of Atlantis, they continued to fuel the Nazi regime’s obsession with mystical power and the superiority of the Aryan race.
- The Occult and the Holocaust
The Nazis’ pursuit of occult power and their belief in the superiority of the Aryan race had a direct and devastating impact on the Holocaust. Their esoteric beliefs dehumanized the Jews and other “inferior” races, justifying their persecution and eventual extermination. The Nazis saw the Holocaust as a means of purifying the world and making way for the rise of the Aryan race.
- The Legacy of the Occult in Nazi Germany
The collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 brought an end to Hitler’s ambitions for world domination and his pursuit of occult power. However, the influence of the occult on the Nazi regime continues to be a subject of fascination and study. Scholars and researchers have sought to understand the role that esoteric beliefs played in shaping the policies and actions of one of the most brutal and destructive regimes in history.
In conclusion, Hitler’s interest in the occult played a significant role in the development of the Nazi regime and its ideology. The pursuit of occult knowledge and power led to a distorted world view that rationalized racial superiority and genocide. The legacy of the occult in Nazi Germany serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of embracing mysticism and esoteric beliefs without critical examination, as well as the potential for such beliefs to be manipulated for sinister ends.