Nearly half a century after the defeat of the Third Reich, Nazism remains a subject of extensive historical inquiry, general interest, and, alarmingly, a source of inspiration for resurgent fascism in Europe. Goodrick-Clarke’s powerful and timely book traces the intellectual roots of Nazism back to a number of influential occult and millenarian sects in the Habsburg Empire during its waning years. These sects combined notions of popular nationalism with an advocacy of Aryan racism and a proclaimed need for German world-rule.
This book provides the first serious account of the way in which Nazism was influenced by powerful millenarian and occult sects that thrived in Germany and Austria almost fifty years before the rise to power of Adolf Hitler.
These millenarian sects (principally the Ariosophists) espoused a mixture of popular nationalism, Aryan racism, and occultism to support their advocacy of German world-rule. Over time their ideas and symbols, filtered through nationalist-racist groups associated with the infant Nazi party, came to exert a strong influence on Himmler’s SS.
The fantasies thus fueled were played out with terrifying consequences in the realities structured into the Third Reich: Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Treblinka, the hellish museums of Nazi apocalypse, had psychic roots reaching back to millenial visions of occult sects. Beyond what the Times Literary Supplement calls an intriguing study of apocalyptic fantasies, this bizarre and fascinating story contains lessons we cannot afford to ignore.