Article ID: CBB001212924

Hitler's Monsters: The Occult Roots of Nazism and the Emergence of the Nazi “Supernatural Imaginary” (2012)


Kurlander, Eric (Author)

German History
Volume: 30, no. 4
Issue: 4
Pages: 528-549

While occult figures undoubtedly played an important role in the early days of the NSDAP, it is equally clear that leading Nazis criticized and persecuted occult organizations thereafter. Nevertheless, the sociopolitical and intellectual networks between the early Nazi Party and the Thule Society were richer and more complex than much recent scholarship would suggest. The NSDAP retained closer ties to the Wilhelmine occultist milieu than any mass party of the Weimar era. More importantly, the NSDAP went far beyond the obscure theories of `völkisch wandering scholars' to craft a broader, more populist message that drew on elements of prewar occultism but was also more ideologically eclectic and politically accessible; what I call the `supernatural imaginary'. As the Nazi Party grew in stature and influence after 1919, the occultist `true believers' in the party ranks were often marginalized and persecuted. However, even skeptics recognized the utility of exploiting a supernatural imaginary that might appeal to a larger bourgeois social milieu that viewed popular aspects of the occult as fundamental to negotiating the complexities of modern life. If the Nazis appeared uncertain of how to proceed toward supernatural belief and practices, it was because they, for all their invocations of `enlightenment' (Aufklärung), attacks on `superstition' (Aberglaube), and internecine squabbling over the proper role of science and religion in the Third Reich, still recognized the utility, indeed, the necessity, of appealing to postwar Germany's desperate `longing for myth' and desire for transcendence in making their amorphous racial and imperial visions a reality.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Pick, Daniel; (2012)
The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts (/isis/citation/CBB001252841/)

Book Urwand, Ben; (2013)
The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler (/isis/citation/CBB001550510/)

Article Staudenmaier, Peter; (2013)
Organic Farming in Nazi Germany: The Politics of Biodynamic Agriculture, 1933--1945 (/isis/citation/CBB001211806/)

Article Behrens, Peter J.; (2009)
War, Sanity, and the Nazi Mind: The Last Passion of Joseph Jastrow (/isis/citation/CBB000953639/)

Thesis Carney, Amy Beth; (2010)
Victory in the Cradle: Fatherhood and the Family Community in the Nazi Schutzstaffel (/isis/citation/CBB001567231/)

Book Weiss-Wendt, Anton; Yeomans, Rory; (2013)
Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938--1945 (/isis/citation/CBB001451459/)

Article Schäfer, Daniel; (2005)
Heil bei Hitler. Geschichte und Mißbrauch einer medizinischen Metapher (/isis/citation/CBB000671390/)

Article Everton de Oliveira Maraldi; Carlos S Alvarado; (2018)
Final chapter, From India to the Planet Mars: A Study of a Case of Somnambulism with Glossolalia, by Théodore Flournoy (1900) (/isis/citation/CBB986318383/)

Article Francesco Paolo de Ceglia; Lorenzo Leporiere; (2020)
Becoming Eusapia: The rise of the “Diva of Scientists” (/isis/citation/CBB659360229/)

Chapter Lorenzo Leporiere; (2022)
Eusapia: medium, isterica, ossessa. Le innumerevoli narrazioni sui fenomeni spiritici (/isis/citation/CBB252568208/)

Chapter Pierroberto Scaramella; (2022)
Chiesa e antispiritismo a Napoli, in Italia, in Europa (1853-1932) (/isis/citation/CBB122184629/)

Article Carlos S Alvarado; Nancy L Zingrone; (2020)
Camille Flammarion on the powers of the soul; with an introduction by Carlos S (/isis/citation/CBB743678083/)

Book Kyle Falcon; (2023)
Haunted Britain: Spiritualism, Psychical Research and the Great War (/isis/citation/CBB378940143/)

Article Neufeld, Michael J.; (1993)
Hitler, the V-2, and the battle for priority, 1939--1943 (/isis/citation/CBB001180281/)

Book John Christopher; (2014)
Organisation TODT: From the Autobahns to the Atlantic Wall (/isis/citation/CBB474855332/)

Chapter Neufeld, Michael J.; (1994)
The guided missile and the Third Reich: Peenemunde and the forging of a technological revolution (/isis/citation/CBB001180284/)

Chapter Richards, Robert J.; (2009)
That Darwin and Haeckel Were Complicit in Nazi Biology (/isis/citation/CBB001032214/)

Article Cesareo, Roberto; (2009)
La fisica durante il nazi-fascismo (/isis/citation/CBB483072368/)

Article Cassidy, David C.; (2002)
New Light on Copenhagen and the German Nuclear Project (/isis/citation/CBB000642050/)

Authors & Contributors
Leporiere, Lorenzo
Neufeld, Michael J.
Alvarado, Carlos S.
John Christopher
Pierroberto Scaramella
Kyle Falcon
History of Psychiatry
Science in Context
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Physics in Perspective
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Journal of Military History
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
University of Nebraska Press
Oxford University Press
Manchester University Press
MA, Belknap Press
National Socialism
Occult sciences
Parapsychology; psychic phenomena
Hitler, Adolf
Himmler, Heinrich
Todt, Fritz
Palladino, Eusapia
Jastrow, Joseph
Hess, Walter Rudolf
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
United States
Naples (Italy)
Great Britain
Copenhagen (Denmark)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment