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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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The Supernatural and the Second World War

The Supernatural and the Second World War

Folklore and Border Science in Foreign Policy, Propaganda, and Military Operations

(p.197) 7 The Supernatural and the Second World War
Hitler's Monsters

Eric Kurlander

Yale University Press

This chapter evaluates the influence of the supernatural imaginary on the Third Reich's conception of foreign policy, investment in fanciful weaponry, and use of astrology, divination, clairvoyance, and telepathy in prosecuting the war. The Second World War was neither caused nor directed primarily by occult designs. However, many aspects of the war were influenced or determined by folklore, border science, and the broader Nazi supernatural imaginary. Rather than rely on a practical evaluation of risks and rewards, Hitler frequently tapped into his own intuition in making foreign-policy decisions and appealed to the German people's collective unconscious in selling his aggressive policies. Abetting Hitler's faith-based foreign policy, the Propaganda Ministry and Foreign Office employed professional astrologers and diviners to produce wartime propaganda aimed at both the Allies and the German public. Finally, the Third Reich utilized occultism and border science to gather military intelligence, search for enemy battleships, and train Nazi soldiers.

Keywords:   Third Reich, faith-based foreign policy, fanciful weaponry, border science, Nazi supernatural imaginary, Propaganda Ministry, wartime propaganda, occultism, military intelligence

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