The Occult History of the Third Reich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
"The old beliefs will be brought back to honor again.
The whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine, the demonic.
We will wash off the Christian veneer and bring out a religion peculiar to our race."

Adolf Hitler

T H E   O C C U L T   H I S T O R Y   O F   T H E   T H I R D   R E I C H
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
National Socialism is a unique phenomena in the history of political thought - probably because National Socialism is not strictly speaking a political philosophy.

The NSDAP did propose a political program - in it very early days - known as the 25 point Programme.
The National Socialist Program originated at a DAP congress in Vienna, then was taken to Munich, by the civil engineer and theoretician Rudolf Jung, who, having explicitly supported Hitler, had been expelled from Czechoslovakia, because of his political agitation.
The politician Josef Pfitzner, a Sudetenland German Nazi, wrote that “the synthesis of the two, great dynamic powers of the century, of the national and social ideas, had been perfected in the German borderlands [i.e. the Sudetenland], which thus were far ahead of their motherland.”
Moreover, despite the political syncretism of National Socialism, the 25-point Program advocated democracy and greater popular rights, although only for "racially pure" Germans.

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1. We demand the union of all Germany in a Greater Germany on the basis of the right of national self-determination.
2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and the revocation of the peace treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain.
3. We demand land and territory (colonies) to feed our people and to settle our surplus population.
4. Only members of the nation may be citizens of the State. Only those of German blood, whatever be their creed, may be members of the nation. Accordingly, no Jew may be a member of the nation.
5. Non-citizens may live in Germany only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens.
6. The right to vote on the State's government and legislation shall be enjoyed by the citizens of the State alone. We demand therefore that all official appointments, of whatever kind, whether in the Reich, in the states or in the smaller localities, shall be held by none but citizens.We oppose the corrupting parliamentary custom of filling posts merely in accordance with party considerations, and without reference to character or abilities.
7. We demand that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) must be deported from the Reich.
8. All non-German immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who entered Germany after 2 August 1914 shall be required to leave the Reich forthwith.
9. All citizens shall have equal rights and duties.
10. It must be the first duty of every citizen to perform physical or mental work. The activities of the individual must not clash with the general interest, but must proceed within the framework of the community and be for the general good.We demand therefore:
11. The abolition of incomes unearned by work. The breaking of the slavery of interest
12. In view of the enormous sacrifices of life and property demanded of a nation by any war, personal enrichment from war must be regarded as a crime against the nation. We demand therefore the ruthless confiscation of all war profits. 
13. We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations (trusts).
14. We demand profit-sharing in large industrial enterprises.
15. We demand the extensive development of insurance for old age.
16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle class, the immediate communalizing of big department stores, and their lease at a cheap rate to small traders, and that the utmost consideration shall be shown to all small traders in the placing of State and municiple orders.
17. We demand a land reform suitable to our national requirements, the passing of a law for the expropriation of land for communal purposes without compensation; the abolition of ground rent, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.
18. We demand the ruthless prosecution of those whose activities are injurious to the common interest. Common criminals, usurers, profiteers, etc., must be punished with death, whatever their creed or race.
19. We demand that Roman Law, which serves a materialistic world order, be replaced by a German common law.
20. The State must consider a thorough reconstruction of our national system of education (with the aim of opening up to every able and hard-working German the possibility of higher education and of thus obtaining advancement). The curricula of all educational establishments must be brought into line with the requirements of practical life. The aim of the school must be to give the pupil, beginning with the first sign of intelligence, a grasp of the nation of the State (through the study of civic affairs). We demand the education of gifted children of poor parents, whatever their class or occupation, at the expense of the State.
21. The State must ensure that the nation's health standards are raised by protecting mothers and infants, by prohibiting child labor, by promoting physical strength through legislation providing for compulsory gymnastics and sports, and by the extensive support of clubs engaged in the physical training of youth.
22. We demand the abolition of the mercenary army and the foundation of a people's army.
23. We demand legal warfare on deliberate political mendacity and its dissemination in the press. To facilitate the creation of a German national press we demand:(a) that all editors of, and contributors to newspapers appearing in the German language must be members of the nation; (b) that no non-German newspapers may appear without the express permission of the State. They must not be printed in the German language; (c) that non-Germans shall be prohibited by law from participating financially in or influencing German newspapers, and that the penalty for contravening such a law shall be the suppression of any such newspaper, and the immediate deportation of the non-Germans involved. The publishing of papers which are not conducive to the national welfare must be forbidden. We demand the legal prosecution of all those tendencies in art and literature which corrupt our national life, and the suppression of cultural events which violate this demand.
24. We demand freedom for all religious denominations in the State, provided they do not threaten its existence not offend the moral feelings of the German race.
The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not commit itself to any particular denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest. 25. To put the whole of this programme into effect, we demand the creation of a strong central state power for the Reich; the unconditional authority of the political central Parliament over the entire Reich and its organizations; and the formation of Corporations based on estate and occupation for the purpose of carrying out the general legislation passed by the Reich in the various German states.

click below for a fascinating insight into the early life and personality of Adolf Hitler

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click below for a fascinating insight into the occult source of Hitler's power
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Now this is all very well - socialism and nationalism - but is it National Socialism as we know it ?
There is undoubtedly something missing - in fact almost everything is missing - because National Socialism is not a political and economic ideology, but rather a gnostic-religious philosophy - a quasi-religion - a separate understanding of the cosmos - which, while looking to the future, has its roots in the distant, ancient past.

The question has been raised by numerous commentators - 'is National Socialism a political ideology - or a 'cult, masquerading as an ideology ?'

This study repeatedly uses the term 'occult' - (as in 'Occult History of the Third Reich') - a term derived from the Latin word 'occultus', which can be translated as "clandestine, hidden, secret", and is generally considered to be "knowledge of the hidden."

The word 'cult', however, usually refers to a social group defined by its religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal.
The term itself is controversial and it has divergent definitions, in both popular culture and academia, and it also has been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study.
In the sociological classifications of religious movements, a cult is a social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices.
The word "cult" has always been controversial because it is (in a pejorative sense) considered a 'subjective term', used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices.
Groups said to be cults range in size from local groups with a few members to international organizations with millions.
The term 'cult' itself derives from the Latin 'cultus', meaning worship.
From the establishment of the Third Reich, in 1933, up to the present day, the so called 'Allies' have always be very careful to insist that National Socialism was, and is, an extreme 'right wing' political ideology - and no more....
Of course they knew that this was not so.
Not only the Völkische origins of National Socialism, but also the presentation of National Socialist beliefs, in iconography and propagandist and philosophical statements, make it abundantly clear that National Socialism is not a political ideology.
This can also be well demonstrated by comparing the presentation of political beliefs by other 'fascist' groups - Spain, Italy etc, and extreme the ideologies of the 'left', communism as practiced in Russia, China and other socialist countries.
There is a qualitative difference between all these groups and National Socialism.
There is a numinous quality that attaches to National Socialism that make it a unique phenomena.
The term 'numinous' was popularized by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential 1917 book 'Das Heilige'.
Otto writes tha,t while the concept of "the holy" is often used to convey moral perfection – and does entail this – it contains another distinct element, beyond the ethical sphere, for which he uses the term 'numinous'.
He explains the numinous as a "non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self".
This mental state "presents itself as 'ganz Andere', wholly other, - a condition absolutely sui generis, and incomparable.
Using Latin, he describes it as a 'mystery' (Latin: mysterium), that is at once terrifying (tremendum), and fascinating (fascinans).
It takes very little effort to equate these insights with the effects engendered by propaganda and vast rallies that are an essential feature of national Socialism.
- consider these words and these images -

'One dream, one soul, one prize,
One goal, one golden glance of what should be,
One shaft of light that shows the way,
No mortal man can win this day,
The bell that rings inside your mind,
Is a challenging the doors of time.
Is this a kind of magic ? -
There can be only one,
This age that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be done.
This flame that burns inside of me,
I'm hearing secret harmonies
This is a kind of magic,
There can be only one one one one,
This age that lasts a 'thousand years',
Will soon be done'

The words quoted above have no direct connection with National Socialism, or the Third Reich, but it is worthy of note that many periods in modern history have produced similar movements among the young - notably the 'Romantic' movement, developing after the turbulence of the Napoleonic wars, the 'Lebens Reform' - which led to the Völkische revival and eventually the Third Reich, which occurred after the Great War, and the Youth revolution of the 50s and 60s, occurring after the Second World War.
And all these upsurges among the young made use of similar traditions, philosophies and beliefs, culled from an imagined idealized past - and looking forward to a new society in a regenerated future - and they all gave rise to cultic movements.

for more information about the 'Cult of National Socialism' go to:

The Völkische Bewegung - (volkisch movement) is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic".
The term völkisch, meaning "ethnic", derives from the German word Volk (cognate with the English "folk"), corresponding to "people", with connotations in German of "people-powered", "folksy" and "folkloric", and the word also has overtones of 'nation', 'race' and 'tribe'.
The defining idea that the völkisch movement revolved around was that of a Volkstum (lit. "folkdom", probably more precise in meaning would be "ethnicity").
The völkisch "movement" was not a unified movement but "a cauldron of beliefs, fears and hopes that found expression in various movements and were often articulated in an emotional tone," Petteri Pietikäinen observed in tracing völkisch influences on Carl Gustav Jung.
The völkisch movement was "arguably the largest group" in the Conservative Revolutionary movement in Germany, however, like "conservative-revolutionary" or "fascist", völkisch is a complex term.
In a narrow definition it can be used to designate only groups that consider human beings essentially preformed by blood i.e. by inherited characteristics.
The völkisch movement had its origins in Romantic nationalism, as it was expressed by early Romantics such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte in his 'Addresses to the German Nation' published during the Napoleonic Wars, from 1808 onwards, especially the eighth address, “What is a Volk, in the higher sense of the term, and what is love of the fatherland ?," where he answered his question of what could warrant the noble individual's striving "and his belief in the eternity and the immortality of his work," by replying that it could only be that "particular spiritual nature of the human environment out of which he himself, with all of his thought and action... has arisen, namely the people from which he is descended and among which he has been formed and grown into that which he is".
The movement combined sentimental patriotic interest in German folklore, local history and a "back-to-the-land" anti-urban populism.
In part this ideology was a revolt against modernity.
The dream was for a self-sufficient life lived with a mystical relation to the land; it was a reaction to the cultural alienation of the Industrial revolution and the "progressive" liberalism of the later 19th century and its urbane materialist banality.
In addition the völkisch movement, as it evolved, often combined the arcane, esoteric and occult aspects of folkloric occultism alongside "racial adoration" and, in some circles, a type of anti-Semitism linked to exclusionary ethnic nationalism.
The ideas of völkisch movements also included anti-communist, anti-immigration, anti-capitalist and anti-Parliamentarian principles.
The völkisch ideas of "national community" (Volksgemeinschaft) came more and more to exclude Jews.
A number of the völkisch-populist movements that had developed during the late 19th century in the German Empire, under the impress of National Romanticism, were reorganized along propagandistic lines after the German defeat in World War I, as the word "the people" (Volk) became increasingly politicized as a flag for new forms of ethnic nationalism.
The Völkisch movement was a force as well in Austria.
From the left, elements of the folk-culture spread to the parties of the middle-classes, but whereas Volk could mean "proletariat" among the left, it meant more particularly "race" among the center and right.
Although the primary interest of the Germanic mystical movement was the revival of native pagan traditions and customs (often set in the context of a quasi-Theosophical esotericism), a marked preoccupation with purity of race came to motivate its more politically oriented offshoots such as the Germanenorden, the Germanic or Teutonic Order.
This latter was a secret society (founded at Berlin in 1912) which required its candidates to prove that they had no "non-Aryan" bloodlines and required from each a promise to maintain purity of his stock in marriage.
Local groups of the sect met to celebrate the summer solstice, an important neopagan festivity in völkisch circles and later in Nazi Germany, and more regularly to read the Eddas as well as some of the German mystics.
This branch of the völkisch movement quickly developed a hyper-nationalist sentiment and allied itself with anti-semitism.
Völkisch ideologies were influential in the development of Nazism, indeed, Joseph Goebbels publicly asserted in the 1927 Nuremberg rally that if the populist (völkisch) movement had understood power and how to bring thousands out in the streets, it would have gained political power on 9 November 1918 (the outbreak of the SPD-led German Revolution of 1918–1919, end of the German monarchy).
Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (My Struggle): "the basic ideas of the National-Socialist movement are populist (völkisch) and the populist (völkisch) ideas are National-Socialist." Nazi racial science was couched in Völkisch terms, as when Eugen Fischer stepped into the vacuum, as other scholars withdrew from the University of Berlin in 1933, and delivered his inaugural address as Nazi rector, "The Conception of the Völkisch state in the view of biology" (29 July 1933).

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Some of the first roots of Völkische Nazism can be traced back to 1900 when Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (see right) founded a group called the Order of the New Templars. 
Lanz’s Templars chose the swastika (see left) as their emblem, and concerned themselves with topics such as race superiority, astrology, homeopathy, and nutrition.

In 1908, Guido von List, who had been a teacher of Lanz’s, founded an organization known as the Armanen.
List was the first popular writer to combine völkisch ideology (völkisch being an extreme German nationalist movement of the time) with occultism, and he thought of himself as the link with an ancient race of Germanic priests and wise men called the Armanen, whose holiest symbol had been the swastika. 
List took the swastika, which to the Germanic people represented an occult symbol for the sun, and made it the symbol for his Armanen as well. Members of the Armanen included the mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, and were taught runic occultism by List.

Membership between the Order of the New Templars and the Armanen was often overlapping, and in 1912 members of both cults came together and founded the Germanen Orden.

Following the close of World War I, the Germanen Orden joined forces with another occult society known as Thule Gesellschaft.
The symbol of the Thule Society was a curved swastika, with a dagger superimposed on top, (see above) which shows the clear link this society bore to both the Armanen and the Germanen Orden.
One of the most prominent members of the Thule Gesellschaft was Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff (see left).
Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorff (or von Sebottendorf) was the alias of Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer (November 9, 1875 – May 8, 1945?), who also occasionally used another alias, Erwin Torre.

He was an important figure in the activities of the Thule Society, an organization that influenced many members of the NSDAP.
He was a Freemason and a practitioner of meditation, astrology, numerology, and alchemy.
Glauer was born in Hoyerswerda (located northeast of Dresden in Saxony, Germany), the son of a locomotive engineer from Silesia.
He appears to have worked as a technician in Egypt between 1897–1900, although according to his own account he spent less than a month there in 1900 after a short career as a merchant sailor.
In July of that year he travelled to Turkey, where he settled in 1901 and worked as an engineer on a large estate there.
By 1905 he had returned to Dresden where he married Klara Voss, but the couple divorced in 1907.
The Münchener Post (14 March 1923) reported that he was sentenced as a swindler and forger in 1909, which Goodrick-Clarke (1985: 251) insists is a misprint for 1908.
He became an Ottoman citizen in 1911 and was apparently adopted, (under Turkish law), by the expatriate Baron Heinrich von Sebottendorff shortly thereafter.
(for more information about Ottoman Turkey see 'The House of Osman')
The adoption was later repeated in Germany, and its legal validity has been questioned, but it was endorsed by the Sebottendorff family and, on this basis, he asserted his claim to the Sebottendorff name and to the title of Freiherr.
After fighting on the Ottoman-Turkish side in the First Balkan War, Sebottendorff returned to Germany with a Turkish passport in 1913.
He was exempted from military service during the First World War because of his Ottoman citizenship and because of a wound received during the First Balkan War.

Glauer was initially interested in Theosophy and Freemasonry.
(for more information about Theosophy and Freemasonry. see 'The Lord of the Harvest')

In 1901 he was initiated by a family of Greek-Jewish Freemasons into a lodge which is believed to have been affiliated to the French Rite of Memphis.

In Turkey, he became interested in numerology, Kabbalah and Sufism (including secret mystical exercises still practised by Sufis of the Bektashi order).

Speculations say he might have converted to Sufi Islam, although the evidence (from his own semi-autobiographical writings) is rather tenuous on this point.
In his autobiographical novel Der Talisman des Rosenkreuzers (The Rosicrucian Talisman), Sebottendorff distinguishes between Sufi-influenced Turkish Masonry and conventional Masonry.
(for more information about Islam see 'Islam')
 By about 1912 he became convinced that he had discovered what he called "the key to spiritual realization", described by a later historian as "a set of numerological meditation exercises that bear little resemblance to either Sufism or Masonry".
By 1916, Sebottendorff had attracted only one follower.
In that year, however, he came into contact with the Germanenorden.
The Germanenorden (Germanic or Teutonic Order, not to be confused with the medieval German order of the Teutonic Knights) was a völkisch secret society in early 20th century Germany.
It was founded in Berlin in 1912 by Theodor Fritsch and several prominent German occultists including Philipp Stauff, who held office in the List Society and High Armanen Order as well as Hermann Pohl, who became the Germanenorden’s first leader.

Theodor Fritsch (28 October 1852, Wiedemar – 8 September 1933) was a German political scientist whose views did much to influence popular German opinion against Jews in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A believer in the absolute superiority of the Aryan race, Fritsch was upset by the changes brought on by rapid industrialization and urbanization, and called for a return to the traditional peasant values and customs of the distant past, which he believed exemplified the essence of the Volk.
One of Fritsch's major goals was to unite all anti-semitic political parties under a single banner; he wished for anti-semitism to permeate the agenda of every German social and political organization.
This effort proved largely to be a failure, as by 1890 there were over 190 various anti-semitic parties in Germany.
He also had a powerful rival for the leadership of the anti-semites in Otto Böckel, with whom he had a strong personal rivalry.
In 1893, Fritsch published his most famous work, 'The Handbook of the Jewish Question', also known as the 'Anti-Semitic Catechism', which leveled a number of conspiratorial charges at European Jews and called upon Germans to refrain from intermingling with them.
Vastly popular, the book was read by millions and was in its 49th edition by 1944 (330.000 copies).
The ideas espoused by the work greatly influenced Hitler and the Nazis during their rise to power after World War I.
Fritsch also founded an anti-semitic journal - 'The Hammer' (in 1902) and this became the basis of a movement, the Reichshammerbund, in 1912.
His better known book, 'The Riddle of the Jew's Success' was published in English in 1927 under the pseudonym F. Roderich-Stoltheim, and dealt with the negative impact that Jewish values and the centralization of the German economy in Jewish hands had on the German people.
Philipp Stauff (1876-1923) was a prominent German/Austrian journalist and publisher in Berlin.
He was an enthusiastic Armanist, a close friend of Guido von List, and a founding member of the Guido-von-List-Society.
He was also the obituarist for List in the Münchener Beobachter.
Stauff joined the List Society in 1910 and swiftly graduated to the High Armanen Order, the intimate inner circle around List.
In 1912 he became a committee member of the List Society and a generous patron.
He was the chief German representative of the High Armanen Order at Berlin.
His esoteric treatise Runenhäuser (Rune Houses), published in 1912, "extended the Listian thesis of 'armanist' relics with the claim that the ancient runic wisdom had been enshrined in the geometric configuration of beams in half-timbered houses throughout Germany".
He was active in both the Reichshammerbund and the Germanenorden (pre-World War I völkisch leagues).
He was one of the principal officers in the loyalist Berlin province of the original Germanenorden after a splinter group led by Hermann Pohl broke away in 1916.
Germanenorden was a clandestine movement aimed at the uppper echelons of society and was a sister movement to the more open and mainstream Reichshammerbund.
The order, whose symbol was a swastika, had a hierarchical fraternal structure based on Freemasonry.
Local groups of the sect met to celebrate the summer solstice, an important neopagan festivity in völkisch circles (and later in Nazi Germany), and more regularly to read the Eddas as well as some of the German mystics.
In addition to occult and magical philosophies, it taught to its initiates nationalist ideologies of Nordic racial superiority and antisemitism, then rising throughout the Western world
As was becoming increasingly typical of völkisch organisations, it required its candidates to prove that they had no non-Aryan bloodlines and required from each a promise to maintain purity of his stock in marriage.
In 1916, during World War I, the Germanenorden split into two parts.
Eberhard von Brockhusen became the Grand Master of the "loyalist" Germanenorden.
Pohl, previously the order’s Chancellor, founded a schismatic offshoot: the Germanenorden Walvater of the Holy Grail.
He was joined in the same year by Rudolf von Sebottendorff.
Sebottendorff was also an admirer of Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels.
Convinced that the Islamic and Germanic mystical systems shared a common Aryan root, he was attracted by Pohl’s runic lore and became the Master of the Walvater's Bavarian province late in 1917.

Charged with reviving the province's fortunes, Sebottendorff increased membership from about a hundred in 1917 to 1500 by the autumn of the following year.
The Munich lodge of the Germanenorden Walvater when it was formally dedicated on August 18, 1918 was given the cover name, the Thule Gesellschaft, which became increasingly political, and in 1918 established a political party, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei DAP - (German Workers' Party)
The DAP was founded in Munich in the hotel "Fürstenfelder Hof" on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler, a member of the occultist Thule Gesellschaft.
It developed out of the "Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden" (Free Workers' Committee for a good Peace) which Drexler had also founded and led.
Its first members were mostly colleagues of Drexler's from the Munich rail depot.
Drexler was encouraged to found the DAP by his mentor, Dr. Paul Tafel, a leader of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-Germanist Union), a director of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, also a member of the Thule Gesellschaft, and his wish was for a party which was both in touch with the masses and nationalist, unlike the middle class parties.
The initial membership was about forty people.
On March 24, 1919, Karl Harrer (a sports journalist and member of the Thule Society) joined the DAP to increase the influence of the Thule Society over the DAP's activities, and the party name was changed to the "Political Workers' Circle".
The membership was as scarce as the original DAP's and the meetings were reduced to the local beer houses.
This party was joined in 1919 by Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler, then a corporal in the German army, was ordered to spy on the DAP on September 12, 1919 during one of its meetings at the Sterneckerbräu, a beer hall in the center of the city.
While there, he got into a violent argument with one guest.
Following this incident, Anton Drexler was impressed with Hitler's oratory skills and invited him to join the party.
After some thinking, Hitler left the army and accepted the invitation, joining in late September.
At the time when Hitler joined the party there were no membership numbers or cards.

It was on January 1920 when a numeration was issued for the first time: listed in alphabetical order, Hitler received the number 555.
In reality he had been the 55th member, but the counting started at the number 501 in order to make the party appear larger.
Also, his claim that he was party member number 7, which would make him one of the founding members, is refuted, however, in his work 'Mein Kampf', Hitler claims that he received a membership card with the number 7.
After giving his first speech for the Party on October 16 in the Hofbräukeller, Hitler quickly rose up to become a leading figure in the DAP.

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The small number of party members were quickly won over to Hitler's political beliefs.
In an attempt to make the party more broadly appealing to larger segments of the population, the DAP was renamed on February 24, 1920 to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei NSDAP - (National Socialist German Workers' Party) or Nazi Party (see badge left).
The name was borrowed from a different Austrian party active at the time (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, German National Socialist Workers' Party), although Hitler earlier suggested the party to be renamed the "Social Revolutionary Party"; it was Rudolf Jung who persuaded Hitler to follow the NSDAP naming.

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The emblem on the flag of the new party was the black,straight-armed clockwise swastika (see right), on a white circle against a red ground - unlike the DAP, which used the curved armed,static swastika (see left), taken from the Thule Gesellschaft emblem.

Sebottendorf was also the owner of the 'Völkischer Beobachter', which Hitler bought in 1921. The paper was to become Hitler’s most important propaganda tool.

By then, however, Sebottendorff had left the Thule Society and Bavaria, having been accused of negligence in allegedly allowing the names of several key Thule Society members to fall into the hands of the government of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic, resulting in the execution of seven members after the attack on the Munich government in April 1919, an accusation that he never denied.
Sebottendorff fled Germany for Switzerland and then Turkey.
After leaving Germany, Sebottendorff published 'Die Praxis der alten türkischen Freimauerei: Der Schlüssel zum Verständnis der Alchimie' ("The practice of ancient Turkish Freemasonry: The key to the understanding of alchemy"), and then, in 1925, 'Der Talisman des Rosenkreuzers', a semi-autobiographical novel which is the main source for his earlier life.
He returned to Germany in January 1933, and published 'Bevor Hitler kam: Urkundlich aus der Frühzeit der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung' - (Before Hitler Came: Documents from the Early Days of the National Socialist Movement), - dealing with the Thule Society and the DAP. Hitler himself understandably disliked this book, which was banned.
Sebottendorff was arrested, but somehow escaped (presumably due to some friendship from his Munich days) and in 1934 returned to Turkey, wher he died on May 8, 1945.


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The occult nature of the philosophy of the Third Reich was also expressed through the German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung) (see above), and although there is no known direct link between the Thule Gesselschaft and the Deutsche Glaubensbewegung, it is significant that the  Glaubensbewegung used the Thule Gesselschaft curved swastika in their emblem.
The Deutsche Glaubensbewegung was closely associated with Jakob Wilhelm Hauer during the Third Reich (1933–1945) and sought to move Germany away from Christianity towards a religion based on "immediate experience" of God.

Jakob Wilhelm Hauer

Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (see left) (4 April 1881, Ditzingen, Württemberg – 18 February 1962, Tübingen) was a German Indologist and religious studies writer.
Initially trained in the family trade as a plasterer, he entered the missionary school at Basel in 1900 and served as a missionary in British India from 1907 to 1911.
His time in India and his study of indigenous religions saw him lose faith in Christianity and instead he returned to his studies, reading religious studies and Sanskrit at a doctorate level at the University of Oxford and the University of Tübingen, before going on to teach at the University of Marburg (1925) and Tübingen itself (1927).
Under his tutelage religious studies at Tübingen became increasingly close to Nazism and by 1940 he was heading up an 'Aryan Seminar'.
In 1920 he formed the 'Bund der Köngener', a youth movement that grew out of groups of Protestant Bible circles who had come into contact with the Wandervogel tendency.
Initially little more than a more organized version of the Wandervogel*, the Bund, which was for a time led by Rudolf Otto**, became attracted to the ideals of the Völkisch movement, especially as Hauer began to move more towards developing his own religion.
Hauer began to look into his own forms of religion in 1927 when he set up the 'Religiöser Menschheitsbund', which aimed for a greater unity amongst Germany's faiths towards common goals.
He joined with Ernst Graf zu Reventlow in this endeavour and in 1934 founded the 'German Faith Movement' (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung), which combined a number of existing communities in a Völkisch faith.
By July 1934 the religion had been ratified as Hauer celebrated his first wedding without other clergy.
When Hitler came to power, Hauer remained close to the Nazis, finally joining the party in 1937, and wrote to Heinrich Himmler immediately after Rudolf Hess' flight to Scotland to denounce Hess as a victim of the anthroposophy, which he had opposed.
In 1935 he wrote that:
"every undertaking and activity of anthroposophy necessarily arises out of the Anthroposophical world view. The anthroposophical world view is in the most important points directly opposed to National Socialism. Therefore, schools which are built out of the anthroposophical world view and led by anthroposophists mean danger to true German education."
Hauer was removed from his university position after World War II and was interned from 1945 to 1949.
He continued to agitate for his own religion, forming the 'Arbeitsgemeinschaft für freie Religionsforschung und Philosophie' in 1947 and the 'Freie Akademie' in 1955.

Arthur Drews

Christian Heinrich Arthur Drews  (November 1, 1865-July 19, 1935) (see left) was a German philosopher, writer, and important representative of German Monist thought.
He was born in Uetersen, Holstein, present day Germany.
Drews became professor of philosophy and German at the Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe.
During his career he wrote widely on a variety of subjects, often provoking controversy—in part because of his unorthodox ideas on religion, and was instrumental in the rise of the 'German Faith Movement'.
Along with Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews is one of the best known representative of the 'Christ myth theory', which disputes the existence of a historical Jesus.
His work 'Die Christusmythe' ("The Christ Myth") (1909) expounded this theory, arguing that the figure of "Christ" arose from mystical and apocalyptic ideas of the period, that indeed everything about the story of Jesus had a mythical character, and that it was therefore not necessary to presuppose that a historical Jesus had ever existed.
The book caused considerable controversy, drawing Drews into many public debates which often became emotionally charged.
Nikolai Berdyaev observed that Drews, "in his capacity as a religious anti-Semite", argued against the historical existence of Jesus "for the religious life of Aryanism."
Drews ultimately embraced a form of Germanic Neopaganism and was instrumental in early attempts during the Nazi era to unite the various German pagan organizations into a unified body.
It was in this period that Drews wrote 'Deutsche Religion' - (German Religion), a book that has been described as a "work on the ‘new’ German religion that mixes faith and Nazi mysticism."
Drews died on 19 July 1935 in Illenau bei Bühl, Baden at the age of 70.

Ernst Graf zu Reventlow

Ernst, Count Reventlow (see left) (18 August 1869 – 21 November 1943) was a German naval officer, journalist and Nazi politician.
Ernst Christian Einar Ludwig Detlev Graf zu Reventlow was born at Husum, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, the son of Ludwig Reventlow, a Danish nobleman, and Emilie Julie Anna Louise Rantzau.
His younger sister was Fanny zu Reventlow, the "Bohemian Countess" of Schwabing.
Reventlow embarked upon a career in the German Imperial navy, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander, before his marriage to a Frenchwoman, Marie-Gabrielle-Blanche d'Allemont, forced him to resign his commission.
He became a free-lance writer on naval issues, and later general politics.
During World War I, as an editorial writer on the 'Deutsche Tageszeitung' (German Daily Times), he advocated extreme ruthlessness, particularly in submarine warfare.
He accused United States Ambassador Gerard of being a British spy, but assailed Zimmermann for the plot to form an alliance berween Mexico and Japan against the United States. He furiously attacked Germany's leaders for a supposed inclination to yield to the United States' demands for respect of its rights after the sinking of the Lusitania, and the Tageszeitung was suspended 25 June 1915.

For an attack on Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (see right), accusing him of misleading von Hindenburg, he was sued for slander in 1916.
He was highly critical of the policies of Kaiser Wilhelm II (see left) and later of the Weimar Republic.
In 1920 he founded his own newspaper, 'Der Reichswart' (“Reich Guardian”), which was published until his death.
In 1924 Reventlow and Albrecht von Graefe  formed the 'German Völkisch Freedom Party' (DVFP).

Both men were elected to the Reichstag (see left) as DNVP deputies, though in May 1927 Reventlow quarreled with the more conservative Graefe and left the party to join the NSDAP (Nazi Party), bringing over his faction en bloc, including Bernhard Rust, Franz Stöhr, and Wilhelm Kube, each of whom were to enjoy prominent roles in the Nazi Party.
This greatly improved the NSDAP position in northern Germany, where the DVFP had always been stronger than the NSDAP, and by the end of 1928 the DVFP had for all intents and purposes ceased to exist.
Reventlow’s group quickly allied themselves with the more socialistic wing of the NSDAP headed by Gregor Strasser (see right) which favored genuine socialistic measures and an alliance with the Soviets against the western democracies.
Though a power in the party to the end, this group became less influential as Hitler turned to overt militarism and antisemitism after attaining power.
Though sometimes critical of Hitler's policies, he was allowed to publish his newspaper, 'Der Reichswart', until his death in 1943.
Reventlow supported a theory first proposed by Lesley Fry, who had conceived the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' as part of a conspiracy theory according to which a group led by the "cultural Zionist" Asher Ginzberg plotted world domination.
At the time Ginzberg supported an international Jewish cultural and political revival rather than a single Jewish state.
Reventlow’s antisemitism was racial and cultural, and this led to his involvement with the 'German Faith Movement'.
From 1934 to 1936, Reventlow served as deputy chairman of this semi-religious movement which postulated that every people “through its blood” developed its own religious knowledge. The movement was anti-Christian and tried to create a “species-true faith” for Germany.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward.
The name can be translated as rambling, hiking or wandering bird (differing in meaning from "Zugvogel" or migratory bird) and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom.
Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organisationally independent, nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.

The Wandervogel movement was officially established on 4 November 1901 by Herman Hoffmann Fölkersamb, who in 1895 had formed a study circle at the boys' Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching.
The Wandervogel soon became the pre-eminent German youth movement.
It was a back-to-nature youth organization emphasizing freedom, self-responsibility, and the spirit of adventure, and took a Völkish approach, stressing Germany's mystical Teutonic roots.
After World War I, the leaders returned disillusioned from the war.
The same was true for leaders of German Scouting, so both movements started to influence each other heavily in Germany.
From the Wandervogel came a stronger culture of hiking, nacktkultur, (see right - German naturism was part of the Lebensreform movement and the Wandervogel youth movement, which promoted ideas of fitness and vigour. At the same time doctors of the Natural Healing Movement were using heliotherapy to treat diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight

During the Nazi Gleichschaltung period after Adolf Hitler came to power, nudism benefited from official recognition and sponsorship for its health benefits. Nevertheless, all naturism clubs had to register with Kraft durch Freude,)The Wandervogel movement also encouraged adventure, Völkish mysticism, romanticism and a younger leadership structure.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Scouting brought uniforms, flags, more organization, more camps and a clearer ideology.
There was also an educationalist influence from Gustav Wyneken.
Together this led to the emergence of the Bündische Jugend.
The Wandervogel, German Scouting and the Bündische Jugend together are referred to as the German Youth Movement.
They had been around for more than a quarter of a century before National Socialists began to see an opportunity to adopt some methods and symbols of the German Youth Movement to use it in the Hitler-Jugend - (Hitler Youth) (see right).
This movement was very influential at that time.
Its members were romantic and prepared to sacrifice a lot for their ideals. Some of the Wandervogel groups were anti-semitic or close to the Nazi Party
From 1933 the Nazis outlawed the Wandervogel, German Scouting, the Jungenschaft, and the Bündische Jugend, along with most youth groups independent of the Hitler-Jugend

*Rudolf Otto

Rudolf Otto (see left) (September 25, 1869–6 March 1937) was an eminent German Lutheran theologian and scholar of comparative religion.
Born in Peine near Hanover, Otto attended the Gymnasium Andreanum in Hildesheim and studied at the universities of Erlangen and Göttingen, where he wrote his dissertation on Martin Luther's understanding of the Holy Spirit, and on Kant.
By 1906, he held a position as extraordinary professor, and in 1910 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Giessen.
In 1915, he became ordinary professor at the University of Breslau, and in 1917, at the University of Marburg's Divinity School, then one of the most famous Protestant seminaries in the world.
Although he received several other calls, he remained in Marburg for the rest of his life.
He retired in 1929 and died of pneumonia eight years later, after he had suffered serious injuries falling some 20 m from a tower.
Persistent but unconfirmed rumors identified this as a suicide attempt.
He is buried in Marburg cemetery.
Otto's most famous work is 'The Idea of the Holy', published first in 1917 as 'Das Heilige - Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen' (The Holy - On the Irrational in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational).
It is one of the most successful German theological books of the 20th century, has never gone out of print, and is now available in about 20 languages.
The book defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous.
Otto explained the numinous as a "non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self".
He coined this new term based on the Latin numen (deity).
This expression is etymologically unrelated to Immanuel Kant's noumenon, a Greek term referring to an unknowable reality underlying all things.
The numinous is a mystery (Latin: mysterium) that is both terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans) at the same time.
It also sets a paradigm for the study of religion that focuses on the need to realize the religious as a non-reducible, original category in its own right.
This paradigm was under much attack between approximately 1950 and 1990 but has made a strong comeback since then, after its phenomenological aspects have become more apparent, and written about by Karl Rahner's presentation of man as a being of transcendence.
Otto left a broad influence on theology and philosophy of religion in the first half of the 20th century.
German-American theologian Paul Tillich acknowledged Otto's influence on him, as did Romanian-American philosopher Mircea Eliade and Otto's most famous German pupil Gustav Mensching (1901–1978) from Bonn University.
Eliade used the concepts from 'The Idea of the Holy' as the starting point for his own 1957 book, 'The Sacred and the Profane'.
Otto was one of the very few modern theologians to whom C. S. Lewis indicates a debt, particularly the idea of the numinous in 'The Problem of Pain'.
Others to acknowledge Otto were, for instance, Martin Heidegger, Leo Strauss, John A. Sanford, Hans-Georg Gadamer (critical in his youth, respectful in his old age), Max Scheler, Ernst Jünger, Joseph Needham and Hans Jonas.
Ideas of Otto have been discussed also by non-Christian theologians, like Eliezer Berkovits.


*** Helena Blavatsky 

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born in the Ukraine in 1831, and after various wanderings and adventures, including marriage, landed in New York in 1873, proclaiming an interest in, and knowledge of, Eastern esoteric doctrines.

There she met Colonel Olcott, and with his assistance founded the Theosophical Society two years later. Its avowed aim was the study of Hidden Wisdom, and unfashionable though this pursuit then was, it still survives today.
In 1878, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott sailed to India, where the Theosophical Society met with unexpected success.

After some years of acclaim, and then a series of scandals involving allegations that Blavatsky's boasted mediumistic powers were fraudulent, she returned to Europe, where she died in 1891.
After her death, the Theosophical Society fell into the hands of Anna Kingsford (see left) and Edward Maitland, but continued to flourish until Annie Besant (see right) and C. W. Leadbeater produced a bogus World Messiah, Krishnamurti, who was eventually moved to repudiate publicly the role thrust upon him.

This brought Theosophy into ridicule, from which it never fully recovered, though even today it has a considerable following.
The Theosophical Society was, and is, of little consequence in itself, and is significant only insofar as it transmitted on a very large scale the doctrines contained in Madame Blavatsky's astonishing books, 'Isis Unveiled' (1877) and 'Die Geheimlehre' (The Secret Doctrine - 1888).
Madame Blavatsky went so far as to claim that the composition of her books was assisted by clairvoyance, and that obscure works and quotations had suddenly appeared in obedience to her needs and desires; that she was familiar with ‘the oldest book in the world', the incalculably ancient 'Stanzas of Dzyan' (see left); and that Hidden Masters were in regular communication with her person.

Needless to say, these claims have been disputed, but whatever the sources of Blavatsky's inspiration, and whatever else she may have been, the woman was not a mere charlatan, for no charlatan could possibly have written her exquisite mystical masterpiece, 'The Voice of The Silence'.

The fact remains that Madame Blavatsky's writings had influence far beyond that which is usually assigned to them.
They challenged Christianity, which Blavatsky loathed, and proclaimed in its stead a Westernised Hinduism, with its attractive doctrines of reincarnation and karma.

They led people to seek alternatives to the Christian religion, and to suspect the existence of non-material occult forces, as mysterious and intangible as electricity, thus preparing the way in the popular mind for future scientific investigation.

However, three assertions in particular demand our attention.
Whereas Nietzsche taught that the Superman is the imminent next stage in human evolution, Blavatsky announced that Supermen already existed, that they were the Hidden Masters who inhabited Central Asia, and that they could be contacted telepathically by those who had been initiated into their mysteries.
Whereas the chemists and physicists taught that there was little more to learn about a universe of matter, Blavatsky insisted that there was much more to learn about a universe of spirit, which could act upon the former.
And whereas biologists taught that man evolved from the apes, Blavatsky proclaimed that there have been four root races prior to our own, which included the ancient civilisations of lost Lemuria and Atlantis, that evolution has been assisted by divine kings from the stars, that the Aryans are the purest of the fifth root race, and, more sinisterly, that the Jews are a degenerate link between the fourth arid fifth root races, and hence are sub-human, a proposition with which Adolf Hitler concurred.

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