My special guest tonight is Stewart Swerdlow who's here to discuss German history and the real intentions behind the Book of Revelations.
Historiography concerning The Occult Roots of Nazism
The Occult Roots of Nazism is commended for specifically addressing the fanciful modern depictions of Nazi occultism, as well as carefully reflecting critical scholarly work that finds associations between Ariosophy and Nazi agency. As scholar Anna Bramwell writes, "One should not be deceived by the title into thinking that it belongs to the 'modern mythology of Nazi occultism', a world of salacious fantasy convincingly dismembered by the author in an Appendix,"  referring to the various written, depicted, and produced material that delves into Nazi occultism without providing any reliable or relevant evidence. Instead, it is through Goodrick-Clarke's work that several scholarly criticisms addressing occult relevance in conjunction with Ariosophist practices arise.
Historians like Martyn Housden and Jeremy Noakes commend Goodrick-Clarke for addressing the relationship between Ariosophic ideologies rooted in certain Germanic cultures and the actual agency of Nazi hierarchy; the problem, as Housden remarks, lies in the efficacy of these Ariosophic practices. As he remarks, "The true value of this study, therefore, lies in its painstaking elucidation of an intrinsically fascinating subculture which helped colour rather than cause aspects of Nazism. In this context, it also leaves us pondering a central issue: why on earth were Austrian and German occultists, just like the Nazi leadership, quite so susceptible to, indeed obsessed by, specifically aggressive racist beliefs anyway?" Noakes continues this general thought by concluding, "[Goodrick-Clarke] provides not only a definitive account of the influence of Ariosophy on Nazism, a subject which is prone to sensationalism, but also fascinating insights into the intellectual climate of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century." These reviews reflect the greatest dilemmas in Nazi occultist scholarship; the discernment between actual efficacy of possible occult practices by Nazi leaders, purpose of these practices, and modern notions and applications of occultism today largely impact the appropriate scholarship in general in making connections between plausible Nazi Ariosophic practices and blatant popular myth.
The linkages Goodrick-Clarke makes concerning Ariosophy and German society are further detailed in Peter Merkl's Political Violence under the Swastika, in which "pre-1933 Nazis", various NSDAP members, volunteered to write their memoirs and recollections about the rise of the Nazi Party in order to provide a coherent, statistical analysis of the motivations and ideals these early members hoped to pursue in German politics. From the findings, Merkl has found, through statistical evidence, that there were aspects of ideology within German society that favored intense German nationalism, ranging from what was considered to be a "German Romantic", one who was "beholden to the cultural and historical traditions of old Germany..." to someone classified as a part of an alleged "Nordic/Hitler Cult", one who followed Voelkisch (traditional, antisemitic) beliefs. To further prove the point, Merkl discovered that of those willing to submit their testimonies, "Protestants tended to be German Romantics, Catholics to be anti-Semites, superpatriots, and solidarists. Areas of religious homogeneity were particularly high in anti-Semitism or in the Nordic-German cult," of which members of both religious groups were prone to "Judenkoller", an alleged sudden and violent sickness that would manifest either in blatant hatred or hysteria at being within proximity of Jews. Coincidentally, Merkl mentions a relationship to this Nordic/German-agrarian cult in relation to the 19th century to a "crypto-Nazi tradition", despite being written ten years prior to The Occult Roots of Nazism.
Some of this modern mythology even touches Goodrick-Clarke's topic directly. The rumor that Adolf Hitler had encountered the Austrian monk and antisemitic publicist Lanz von Liebenfels, already at the age of 8, at Heilgenkreuz abbey, goes back to Les mystiques du soleil (1971) by Michel-Jean Angbert. "This episode is wholly imaginary."
Nevertheless, Michel-Jean Angbert and the other authors discussed by Goodrick-Clarke present their accounts as real, so that this modern mythology has led to several legends that resemble conspiracy theories, concerning, for example, the Vril Society or rumours about Karl Haushofer's connection to the occult. The most influential books were Trevor Ravenscroft's The Spear of Destiny and The Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels and Bergier.
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