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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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Nazi Twilight

Nazi Twilight

Miracle Weapons, Supernatural Partisans, and the Collapse of the Third Reich

(p.263) 9 Nazi Twilight
Hitler's Monsters

Eric Kurlander

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at the regime's increasingly desperate, if futile, investment in ‘miracle weapons’, partisan warfare, and cataclysmic ‘twilight’ imagery during the final years of the war, providing a fitting corollary to the disintegration of the Third Reich. During the final months of the war, when defeat appeared inevitable, many Nazis and millions of ordinary Germans wanted to believe that death was not permanent, that fantasy was reality, and that a ‘magical priest’ might rescue them from annihilation. In this way, the regime's fanciful invocation of miracle weapons, of partisan werewolves and vampires, and of ritual self-immolation, functioned as a form of therapy for Germans suffering through material and psychological distress. However, if twilight imagery helped Germans reconcile themselves to everyday violence, criminality, and loss, it also augured the disintegration of the Third Reich and Germany's post-war rebirth.

Keywords:   miracle weapons, partisan warfare, twilight imagery, Third Reich, ritual self-immolation, supernatural partisans, magical priest

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