A critical history of the roots of Nazi occultism and its continuing influence
• Explores the occult influences on various Nazi figures, including Adolf Hitler, Albert Speer, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, and Heinrich Himmler
• Examines the foundations of the movement laid in the 19th century and continuing in the early 20th century
• Explains the rites and runology of National Socialism, the occult dimensions of Nazi science, and how many of the sensationalist descriptions of Nazi “Satanic” practices were initiated by Church propaganda after the war
In this comprehensive examination of Nazi occultism, Stephen E. Flowers, Ph.D., offers a critical history and analysis of the occult and esoteric streams of thought active in the Third Reich and the growth of occult Nazism at work in movements today.
Sharing the culmination of five decades of research into primary and secondary sources, many in the original German, Flowers looks at the symbolic, occult, scientific, and magical traditions that became the foundations from which the Nazi movement would grow. He details the influences of Theosophy, Volkism, and the work of the Brothers Grimm as well as the impact of scientific culture of the time. Looking at the early 20th century, he describes the impact of Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels, Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Friedrich Hielscher, and others.
Examining the period after the Nazi Party was established in 1919, and more especially after it took power in 1933, Flowers explores the occult influences on key Nazi figures, including Adolf Hitler, Albert Speer, Rudolf Hess, and Heinrich Himmler. He analyzes Hitler’s usually missed references to magical techniques in Mein Kampf, revealing his adoption of occult methods for creating a large body of supporters and shaping the thoughts of the masses. Flowers also explains the rites and runology of National Socialism, the occult dimensions of Nazi science, and the blossoming of Nazi Christianity. Concluding with a look at the modern mythology of Nazi occultism, Flowers critiques postwar Nazi-related literature and unveils the presence of esoteric Nazi myths in modern occult and political circles.
About the Author
Stephen Flowers studied Germanic and Celtic philology and religious history at the University of Texas at Austin and in Goettingen, West Germany. He received his Ph.D. in 1984 in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies with a dissertation entitled Runes and Magic.
“Much ink has been spilled on the topic of occult Nazism, but this book goes wider and deeper than most previous literature on this subject. It aims, as the author writes, ‘to bring the question of Nazi occultism into sharper focus with a more refined lens of understanding.’ One of the great merits of the book is that Flowers examines not only the question of the actual nature and extent of occult elements in the Nazi movement and its antecedents but also the huge amount of myth and hype that has grown up around the subject since the end of the Second World War. A central theme of the book is the power of myths, including those that ‘lead to misery and destruction,’ as in the case of the Third Reich. This searching book sheds new light on a troubled subject.” — Christopher McIntosh, author of Occult Russia: Pagan, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions
“Going way beyond the typical sensationalistic tabloid press approach toward the occult undercurrents of National Socialism, as adopted invariably by most authors on the subject for far too many decades, this book is equally a highly welcome counterweight to Nicholas Goodricke-Clarke’s pioneering scholarly study. Himself a well-acknowledged and established occult practitioner as well as an academic scholar, Stephen Flowers deploys the entire arsenal of his critical tradecraft, both emic and etic (in-depth research, shrewd analysis, informed interpretation, historical contextualization, etc.), to present us with a sweeping detailed overview of the contemporary occult and political scene and its eventual culmination in the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust: a sober--and sobering-- depiction that is certain to set new standards for coming research well into the foreseeable future.” — Frater U?D?, author of Practical Sigil Magic, High Magic, and Living Magic
“Although nothing is ‘easy’ about this book--not its argument, subtleties, or beneath-the-floorboards history--Stephen E. Flowers’s study of Nazism and the occult resounds with vitality and depth; this work must be encountered and reckoned with by anyone who hopes to make a serious consideration of its subject.” — Mitch Horowitz PEN Award–winning author of Occult America and Uncertain Places
“In The Occult in National Socialism, Stephen Flowers approaches this murky and phantasmal historical grotto with a bright lantern of illumination, an undistorted analytical lens, and a keen, unflinching eye. His exploration dispels propaganda from all sides, including that of the Nazis themselves as well as from the Catholic and Protestant churches; overturns cartloads of dubious claims; and punctures a host of untethered hot-air balloons fueled by vaporous theorizing. But this is more than just a debunker’s manual. Flowers is equally adept at cataloging and elucidating the hidden (or even ‘occult’) influences, shadowy organizations, and mysterious personalities that did exist in the pre-Nazi period and the Third Reich. Likewise groundbreaking is the final part of the book: a methodical survey of the postwar era of mythologizing, in which the smoldering ashes of a defeated criminal aggressor-state became a quaggy garden for the cultivation of bizarre tales and pseudo-history. Overall, this volume is a complex study of competing spiritual and ideological forces in a period when the obscured truth often turns out to be more unsettling than the overblown fictions that replaced it.” — Michael Moynihan, Ph.D., coauthor of Lords of Chaos
“Stephen Flowers rises to the unenviable task of sorting fact from fiction in one of the most notorious questions of the 20th century: To what extent was the Third Reich influenced by and reliant on occult ideas in its quest for world domination? The further we are removed in time from these earth-shattering events, the more the facts about the Nazis’ supposed occult interests will be lost in neo-mythology; we need someone like Flowers to put this history in its proper context and to give a sober assessment of what actually lay behind the few genuine occult interests at work within the Third Reich. Flowers skillfully examines the influences on the intellectual and spiritual life of Germany in the early 20th century, while avoiding the typical sensationalist narrative that takes every insinuation of sinister influence at face value. The bar is now considerably higher with the publication of this long-awaited expert analysis.” — Toby Chappell, author of Infernal Geometry and the Left Hand Path