The Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism
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Pub. Ed. $35.00
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Review by Gerhard L. Weinberg
In the winter of 1941-42, several German military leaders commented in their diaries and letters that while their soldiers were freezing in the Russian winter, no trains were available to bring winter clothing for them; but there were plenty of trains on the same tracks in the same direction to bring Jews to the East to be killed. Anyone interested in trying to understand what looks to most as a strange inversion of priorities will find in Luhrssen’s book a fine description and analysis of the origins of an ideology to whose adherents and their leaders such procedures made perfect sense. In a cynical world where most assume that political leaders really do not believe what they say and do not intend to implement what they promise, it is very important to have a book that illuminates the beliefs of Nazis who actually believed the nonsense they spouted and strove to implement those beliefs at the cost of millions of lives.
What makes this book both important and different from other explanations of the doctrines that shook Germany and the world in the great upheaval of the 20th century is that it offers a fair, thoughtful and comprehensible account of the development in Austria and to a lesser extent in Germany of the ideas of key formulators like Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels and Rudolf von Sebottendorff. It was their development of a combination of an anti-Christian ideology with belief in the supremacy of what they called the Aryan race, the need for and wisdom of racial struggle, and the essential fight against an imagined Jewish world conspiracy that came to influence the thinking of both Adolf Hitler and a substantial proportion of his early followers who would later occupy key posts in a Nazi-ruled Germany.
The author both sets new ideas into the context of racist ideas current in the Western world at the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries and also describes in detail the upheavals in Bavaria, especially in Munich, in the immediate aftermath of the 1918 Armistice. Luhrssen shows how the Thule Society played a significant role in these upheavals and provided both key ideas and important leaders to the emerging Nazi movement. Not only Hitler himself but such men who would subsequently play key roles like Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg absorb the beliefs of the Thule Society and eventually turn the world upside down in their effort to make it conform to the vision that dominates their thinking and their policies. That vision and the policies followed to implement it would cause both the murder of millions of Jews and the loss of limbs and lives of thousands of freezing German soldiers.
Hardcover Book : 320 pages
Publisher: Potomac Books Inc ( February 01, 2012 )
Item #: 13-503538
Product Dimensions: 6.0 x 9.0 x 0.8inches
Product Weight: 16.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Although this historical book has no illustrations, it is a excellent reference source for the European ideologists and Germanic pagan roots of the Nazi Party which cannot be found in other books covering the same time period. Highly recommended.