Hitler’s Monsters: A supernatural history
Yale University Press
Now, this is an interesting one on a subject that has been explored in manifold approaches of both serious and amateurish manners. The occult nature of the national socialism movement. No matter is you think it is nonsense or if you are intrinsically interested, Hitler’s Monsters and its author Eric Kurland is tracing the German infatuation with “border science”, i.e. “dousing” or geomancy” – which was often practiced with a pendulum and a map. The interesting bit is that Kurland does not rest there but documents how German susceptibility to magical thinking did create systemic problems throughout the war effort.
The book does do a good job underpinning that Hitler’s interest in the natures that supercedes what can be proven scientifically was both less doctrinaire and more utilitarian, and how he used the material it provided for his political propaganda and manipulation of the public.
Hitler’s Monsters is a itler’s
well-written elaboration that sheds a powerful light on Nazi Germany.
The book comes in three chronological parts composed of three chapters each. One traces the role of the occult and its influence on the Nazi Party from its intellectual antecedents in the late nineteenth century through the seizure of power in 1933. Part Two is about the role of the occult during the first six years of the regime that was meant to last for a thousand years. The last part is about the supernatural and World War Two.
There are chapters on astrologers, magicians, parapsychology, biodynamic agriculture, radiohelia and natural healing and the use of the World Ice Theory, which was used to explain how the human race and the Aryans evolved from ancient gods and not from apes, thus making Himmpler employ much effort to sponsor this theory as a state science.
The last part of the book discusses the role played by the Werewolves, who were supposed to guard the Reich and protect it from its enemies. These Werewolves could, according to the perverted Nazi thinking, change from humans into animal, not unlike Siegfried has done in the Nibelungenlied. Goebbels even created his own "Radio Werewolf" station, in which many broadcasts started with the sound of a wolf howling and a song by a woman named Lily.
Eric Kurlander bases his investigations on archival research and shows how the Third Reich was more monstrous than commonly supposed. Although not an easy read, I believe that this book will become a classic in a very short time.
A thorough "post-revisionist" balance to recent claims diminishing or explaining by other means the reasons so many under the so far darkest period of Germany sought guidance through "border sciences" of Thule-obsessed, and other dodgy speculation.
A book recommended for anyone interested in Nazi Germany or the impact of superstition on a nation.