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Hitler's MonstersA Supernatural History of the Third Reich$
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Eric Kurlander

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300189452

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300189452.001.0001

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Exploiting Hitler’s Magic

Exploiting Hitler’s Magic

From Weimar’s Horrors to Visions of the Third Reich

(p.62) 3 Exploiting Hitler’s Magic
Hitler's Monsters

Eric Kurlander

Yale University Press

This chapter illustrates how the National Socialist Workers' Party (NSDAP) appropriated supernatural ideas in order to appeal to ordinary Germans, enlisting the help of occultists and horror writers in shaping propaganda and political campaigning. By exploiting the supernatural imaginary, Hitler tied his political mission into something out of the Book of Revelation, as one ‘divinely chosen’ to create the Third Reich. The chapter then looks at three case studies. The first assesses Hitler's approach to politics through his reading of Ernst Schertel's 1923 occult treatise, Magic: History, Theory, Practice. The second considers the NSDAP's propaganda collaboration with the horror writer, Hanns Heinz Ewers. The third delves into the relationship between the NSDAP and Weimar's most popular ‘magician’, Erik Hanussen. In coopting Schertel's magic, enlisting Ewers, and forming an alliance with Hanussen, the Nazis diverted the masses from objective reality and toward the coming Third Reich.

Keywords:   National Socialist Workers' Party, supernatural imaginary, propaganda, political campaigning, Hitler, Third Reich, Ernst Schertel, Hanns Heinz Ewers, Erik Hanussen

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