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Nazism as a Religion

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Matt Schoenhouse

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of Nazism as a Religion

Was Nazism a political movement that adapted available religious discourse and motivations but only instrumentally or was it the this-worldly fulfillment of a religious agenda?
Was Nazism Religious?
Continuation of Christian Ideologies
Nazism as purely political structure
Hitler was operating in the "here and now" and was not concerned with anything besides politics
Late 1800's saw a resurgence of occult thought and pagan belief within European society
"Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it. It is more even than a religion: it is the will to create mankind anew." - Rauschning
Occult influences on Hitler
Helena Blavatsky
*Influential occult writer. Brought attention of, The Protocols of Zion, to Europe
In her writings she introduced the idea of root races, a new extension of Darwin's evolutionary theory recalling places like Lemuria and Atlantis as homes to early hominids.
*Although there is little evidence to show Blavatsky's direct influence on Hitler if there was any at all, her writings would have been well read by members of the Thule Society which affected Hitler greatly.
Alfred Rosenberg
Dietrich Eckart
Rudolf Hess
Karl Hausofer
Rise of Occultism in Europe
The Thule Society and the Founding of the Nazi Party
Co-option of Existing Christian Structures and Oppression of other Competing Religions
Mein Kampf - The Nazi Bible
Messiah Hitler
Heinrich Himmler
So What
Populace was still partially Christian, Protestant, and Catholic

Religions besides Judaism were largely ignored
The Sig Rune was adopted by the Himmler's SS
Was Nazism a political movement that adapted available religious discourse and motivations but only instrumentally or was it the this-worldly fulfillment of a religious agenda?
Ger-Rune used by the Waffen SS
Wolfsangel adopted by the Dutch SS
Elf-Rune given to high ranking officials in the Nazi Party
Leben-Rune or "Life" Rune, was adopted by the Lebensborn society. This society was in control of getting women pregnant by SS officers in order to create the "Master Aryan Race"
Toten-Rune or Death-Rune was used in place of the cross on Waffen SS graves as well as the Lebens-Rune to show date of birth and death
The Hagal-Rune was symbolic of Nazi Pagan faith meaning "Heil".
“The swastika and the Hagall-Rune represent our unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of our philosophy.”
-Heinrich Himmler
Odal-Rune was symbolically used to mean "Blood and Soil", an ideology focused on ethnicity and racial descent.
Tyr-Rune or Kampf-Rune meaning Battle or Arrow. The symbol was used in many youth groups and army recruiting stations.
Hitler is said to have denounced Pagan religions and cult lodges
Hitler denounced Religious power in order to gain more central power within the State
Writers told tales about an old Aryan race to the north which migrated to create the great civilizations of Asia and the Middle East
Founded in August 1919, a new sect of the German-Orden
Occult Lodge society which perpetuated racial ideologies against Jews and was a direct opponent of emerging Communist parties within Germany and Austria
Right-hand man to Hitler

Helped write Mein Kampf while in prison with Hitler

Nazi Party "Philosopher"

Believed in Occult conspiracies and magic

Wrote "The Myth of the Twentieth Century"
Arguably more important than Mein Kampf in declaring anti-semitic party stance
Arguably most influential figure on Hitler
Taught Hitler how to speak passionately and how to use body language in a meaningful way
Publisher and Editor of, In Plain German, a widely circulated anti-Semitic journal
Was known as a Master of Magic
Teacher of Rudolf Hess

Had influences on Hitler through Hess
Was instrumental in grafting the alliance with Japan
Leader of the SS
Occult Fanatic
Conducted Rituals at Wewelsburg Castle
Created Ahnenerbe, an Occult think-tank which would lead expeditions all over Asia to find traces of Aryan Race
Replacement of Religious holidays with Nazi Pagan rituals
SS shows that Christian marriage was being denounced, weddings were officiated by officers and a name giving ceremony was held under a Hitler altar
Churches were not banned forthwith in order to appease the population
Mein Kampf was written in order to promote a new race ideology
Denunciation of a Christian God and instead replacing the Aryan "ubermench" as the embodiment of a new God
What made the Nazi's Pagan?
Nazism is a form of neo-paganism because they political discourse involves a return to Volkish modes of life
An adherence to a code of conduct in which Aryan's are held in the utmost regard while those deemed unfavorable, the Jews, were oppressed and brutally murdered through genocide
Belief in "Root Races" and the Occult created a religious dialogue which would have been finally adopted by the populace in replacement of old Christian ideologies
Hitlers insistence that Nazism was about the here and now, about life on earth, and not about the future, or some possible other-worldy eternal life, effectively destroys the concept of Nazism as a political religion, since religion is nothing unless it involves a belief in the supernatural and in an internal, unchanging God or Gods. (Evans, Pg 3)
Nazism, Christianity, and Political Religion: A Debate, Evans, Richard pp 5-7

"The Unknown Hitler - Nazi Roots in the Occult." The Unknown Hitler - Nazi Roots in the Occult. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Taki's Mag." Azine. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Adherents.com Home Page." The Religion of Hitler: German Dictator Adolf Hitler. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"NAZI Religion." NAZI Religion. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Christian and Nazi Rituals." Christian and Nazi Rituals. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.


"Scrapbookpages Blog." Scrapbookpages Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Hitler's Faith: The Debate over Nazism and Religion." – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Andrew Gough's Arcadia." Andrew Gough's Arcadia. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

"Hitler & Triumph of the Will: A Nazi Religion in the Catholic Style" in Undergraduate Quarterly, September/November 2004, page 147

The Thule Society
The way we understand and interpret the Nazi's needs to be fundamentally changed in order to acknowledge the occult and its influences upon members within the party and the party itself
Based on my findings, the Nazi's may have been more religiously founded than once thought, their ideologies about race bordering on the religious implications of powerful deities (the Aryan race)
Catholicism and Nazism have a more complicated relationship than some might think. Hitler both despised and admired various aspects of the Roman Catholic Church. Though the Nazi movement was superficially areligious, even anti-religious, the Nazi's greatest piece of propaganda and self-aggrandizement, Leni Riefenstahl's 1934 film about the Nuremberg Party Rally, Triumph of the Will, is in many ways profoundly religious. The film both makes use of Catholic religious imagery and draws on the Catholic sacramental tradition to give dignity and legitimacy to its construction of Adolf Hitler as the "god" of the Nazi movement... Since the beginning, Catholicism and Nazism had an uncomfortable coexistence. (Biskupska pg 147)
In fact, when the Nazis first celebrated Christmas in Munich (in 1920), they did so as a solstice celebration, and the report of the event in their own newspaper noted that the dire situation in which Germany found itself had been "prophesied in the Edda and in the teachings of the Armanen in ancient times." They were referring here to passages on the apocalyptic Ragnarok or "twilight of the gods" in the poetic Edda. (Koehne pg 2)
"The man who misjudges and disregards the racial laws actually forfeits the happiness that seems
destined to be his. He thwarts the triumphal march of the best race and hence also the
precondition for all human progress, and remains, in consequence burdened with all the
sensibility of man, in the animal realm of helpless misery."
-Hitler, Mein Kampf pg 211
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