Skip to comments.The New Pagan Religions that Built Nazism
Posted on 01/16/2014 9:24:40 PM PST by Enza Ferreri
This is the second article of a series of three.
There are many variations within neopaganism, deriving from the fact that it collects a large number of geographically diverse faiths with some common threads, but all neopagans agree on one crucial point: Christianity must be, if it is not already, defeated.
As showed in the first article of this series, Hitler's Neopaganism and Anti-Christianity, and in anthropologist and historian Karla Poewe's book New Religions and the Nazis (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) , being neopagan in the 1920s and 1930s was deeply linked to opposition to the Jewish-Christian tradition.
The book reveals a major, so far neglected, element of Nazi history: the contribution of the so-called new religions, defined as non-established religions, to the emergence of Nazi ideology in the twenties and thirties in Germany.
This book is not to be overlooked or underestimated because it's the result of a 10-year ground-breaking research in the German Federal Archives in Berlin and Koblenz. It was researched from original documents, letters and unpublished papers, including the SS personnel files held in the German Federal Archives.
The fall of the Berlin Wall gave Poewe, New Religions and the Nazis' author, access to the archives of the Berlin Mission Society. In 1995, while working in these archives, she discovered a great amount of material regarding conflicts between members of the Berlin Mission, a Christian missionary society, and the Nazis.
Karla Poewe is Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at the University of Calgary, in Canada, and Adjunct Research Professor at Liverpool Hope University, in England. She was interviewed by the Calgary Herald after her book came out:
"The new religions that developed in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s ushered in National Socialism and nurtured it," Poewe said.Poewe researched the former German missionary Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, who in the 1920s founded the German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung or DGB), mixing Nordic and Hindu religions with Germanic idealistic philosophy. This new religion was intended to express the essence of National Socialism and the New German Man, as found in the the SS.
"There were constant battles in the 1920s between Christians and the members of these new religions, because they identified Christianity as a kind of Jewish imperialism. They wanted nothing to do with it, so they came up with their own version. They tried to build a genuine German religion."
Because the Nazis were "on the far right," as a nationalist movement, they tend to be misinterpreted as a more extreme version of Christian conservatism. But "they weren't trying to conserve anything," Poewe said. They were rather extreme radicals, trying to overthrow completely the 1,000-year tradition of German Christianity -- replacing the cross with the swastika.
"There's a big mistake in identifying National Socialism as a Christian movement," Poewe said.
"There was a Deutsche Christen movement, but they weren't Christian at all. They rejected the Old Testament, Jesus had to be an Aryan, they were hostile to St. Paul, and they emphasized (the Gospel of) St. Mark. They remained in the church, but rejected everything Christian like the Trinity. Christ was at best a good philosopher." [Emphases added]
We have to consider the state of major turmoil into which the First World War threw Germany. The loss of the war and and the punitive, draconian conditions of the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany produced general discontent and resentment. Therefore Germans, and in particular intellectuals, took political, ideological and religious matters into their hands with the purpose of achieving national regeneration.
By fusing politics, religion, theology, Indo-Aryan metaphysics and Darwinian theory they intended to create a new, genuinely German, pagan-faith-based political movement: that was National Socialism.
Hauer, founder of the DGB,
is particularly interesting, Poewe said, because he sought the pagan roots of German religion in Hinduism. In pre-history, the Aryans who invaded northern India were the same race as those who later became Germans. And Hauer found the warrior universe of the Bhagavad Gita particularly inspiring -- "it fed him the kind of moral relativism he sought," Poewe said.Sounds familiar. Where have I heard this before? There are no moral absolutes, anything goes, we just want to be happy, we indeed have a right to be happy: that's all there is to ethics. It sounds very, very modern. It's today's prevailing ethos, complete with the jettisoning of Christianity.
"The rejection of Christianity was due to the fact that it is universal, and they wanted something local" -- the Volkisch (folk) phenomenon. "They rejected the universalist. They wanted something with a historical-genetic-racial link to them," Poewe said. "They also rejected Christian morality. They couldn't stand the Ten Commandments. They were totally against any categorical or timeless morality. They wanted something opportunistic, something that changed with the human circumstances." [Emphasis added]
Add to that our own revival of eugenics, wide use of science in reproduction and epidemic of abortions, and Nazism looks more and more like a pioneering movement.
And Christian universalism, mentioned in the quotation, is indeed a profound antidote to racism, now as in Hitler's time.
Unsurprisingly, Poewe observed that former Nazis were prominent in the German New Age movement of the 1970s.
The Nazi movement "took elements from the Christian religion, but it didn't mean they were Christian. They also took things from Hinduism, from Buddhism -- Tibetan Buddhism was particularly popular among the SS. From this they concocted a mythology that gave them a picture of the world that appealed to them. They wrote about it, novels, plays, poetry. It was very political, in some ways pantheistic."
And here's another element of great modernity in Nazism:
Hauer's DGB bunde shared with National Socialism a tendency toward homoerotism. Hauer himself was permissibly heterosexual, but "homosexuality was very tolerated in these youth movements, and a high percentage of the SA and SS were homosexual or bisexual. People like to think that because Adolf Hitler murdered (SA leader) Ernst Rohm, who was homosexual, he was repressive of homosexuality. But that wasn't the case. It's a myth to think the Nazi movement was against homosexuality. Far from it; it wasn't sexually repressive at all," Poewe said. [Emphasis added]It all fits nicely.
Third part tomorrow.
About the photo: it is a visual demonstration of the links between paganism and Nazism, as described in Nicholas Clarke's book Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) . More info here: North Tower of the (in)famous, germanic location Wewelsburg
Photo by Karl-Ludwig G. Poggemann (Creative Commons CC BY 2.0).
It is amazing how many people today believe that Nazis saw themselves as Christians.
I wish academia would do a better job of teaching about Hitler’s involvement in the occult!
It’s amazing that National Socialists are considered “far right”
“Occult Roots” is an excellent read.
To me, the link between Hitler in the occult is undeniable. The attempt to portray Hitler as a Christian is ridiculous, revisionist history.
The mention and focus of some paragraphs are ‘neopagans’. A term that didn’t really apply until the 60’s, and then it was a broad concept rather than an actual organized movement.
I’ve never considered Nazi’s as Christian, nor even ‘right wing’ as the article mentions. I’ve never come across anything popular and credible that claims the Nazi’s where Christian.
The Nazi party for the most part transitioned from Ariosophy and Aryanism into a working political belief with roots as far back as the late Roman empire — obviously pagans, but organized militarily to lay the smack on Rome and further glorify their Aryan purity.
The bottom line was the germanic people considered themselves purebreds while viewing the outsiders as over breed rats that then focused on the Jews internally.
Occult for the Nazi’s? Yes. Paganism? Not really by design, just by circumstance. More socialist and racist fascists. Much like our modern day Liberal.
Hitler was a nationalist but everything else about him was hard Left.
That pretty much came straight from Moscow which is from where the Left used to get its marching orders.
Neopaganism, or at least "new paganism" is a term used to describe the Nazis in the 1930s by Churchill and Christian clergy. I wouldn't be surprised if the terms can be found in 1920s era English language publications.
Ive never considered Nazis as Christian, nor even right wing as the article mentions. Ive never come across anything popular and credible that claims the Nazis where Christian.
The Left has tried hard, especially amongst the more secular Jews to equate Nazis with Evangelical Christians.
NAZI - National Socialist Workers Party
You can’t spell “NAZI” without “Socialist”
EVERYTHING about Nazism is hard left and a branch of Communism/Marxism
And that's why Moscow and the Left almost always called them Fascist even though the Nazis never considered themselves Fascist.
Fascism is another branch of leftwing communism
Leftists have been very successful in rebranding/remarketing themselves and their various perversions.
Yep. And Mussolini started out as a Communist/Socialist but the New York Times doesn't tell anyone that.
The NYT lied?
Appears Mussolini was an early adopter of leftwing “rebranding” strategies.
It's too bad the biggest proponent of the "Hitler was a faithful Catholic" lie on FR apparently isn't around to read it anymore.
Nazism was an odd amalgam of rightist and leftist ideas, but to discuss them you have to return to what right and left originally meant and still should.
The terms arose during the French Revolution, when the aristos/royalists, believers in a human hierarchy of authority (generally hereditary) sat on the Right of the hall, while the liberals/revolutionaries, believers in human freedom and equality, sat on the Left.
The Left has since meant, in theory though by no means always in practice, expansion of human equality. Since legal and social equality (liberte, fraternite) was gained about a century ago, they have since focused on economic equality, and are ready to kill you if you don’t cooperate.
The Right in Europe has generally been in retreat, but with occasional resurgences based on blood and soil, Church and Crown.
The term Right has essentially no meaning in America, at least since the defeat of the CSA and Jim Crow. The only thing modern American conservatism has in common with the traditional European Right is opposition to the Left.
The Left in modern America, OTOH, is essentially the same thing as the European Left, but wishy-washy and unwilling to speak out about their true goals. For much of American history there was no Left here, either, as they only showed up during the Progressive era and especially in the 30s.
The Nazis were National Socialists rather than International Socialists. Their slogan was, “Germans of all classes united against the rest of the world,” rather than “Workers of the world united against the middle classes.”
But they also dragged in a great deal of stuff from the old German and European Right. Blood and soil. To the extent that they weren’t conservative at all, they were reactionary, reverting to middle ages and even earlier.
Their plans for the Slavs were serfdom. Their religious enthusiasms were for pre-Christian authentically German neopaganisms.
Including some blithering imbeciles right here on FR.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.