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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 Roots of Nazism

The Supernatural Roots of Nazism

Ario-Germanic Religion, Border Science, and the Austro-German Occult Revival, 1889–1914

(p.3) 1 The Supernatural Roots of Nazism
Hitler's Monsters

Eric Kurlander

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the occult, mythological, and ‘border scientific’ ideas that permeated Vienna's cafés and Munich's beer halls before the First World War. Although these ideas were remarkably fluid and interconnected, they fall loosely into three overlapping subcultures. The first is Ario-Germanic religion, folklore, and mythology. The second is occultism, including the esoteric doctrines of theosophy, anthroposophy, and ariosophy. Third and finally is the so called ‘border sciences’, ranging from astrology, parapsychology, and radiesthesia (‘dowsing’) to World Ice Theory. These subcultures played an important role in the rise of Nazism. First, in terms of ideological content, all three subcultures circulated and popularized ideas and doctrines that informed the Nazi supernatural imaginary and impressed a broader Nazi constituency. Second, these subcultures legitimized an esoteric and border scientific approach to understanding the world that informed Nazi thinking on race and space, science and religion.

Keywords:   Ario-Germanic religion, folklore, mythology, occultism, border sciences, Nazism, Nazi supernatural imaginary

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