Friday, May 30, 2014

Bavaria, the Thule Society, the SOSJ and the Making of a Revolutionary Faith Part VII

Welcome to the seventh installment in my examination of the legendary Thule Society. As one might imagine, it has been a long, strange trip thus far. In the first installment I sought to dispel some of the common misconceptions surrounding the Society (i.e. Vril forces, UFOs, etc) while part two briefly accessed some of the ideologies, organizations and individuals who laid the philosophical and structural groundwork for Thule, most notably the Germanenorden (the secret society of which Thule was a lodge of). Part three considered at length the background of the individual, Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, who founded Thule while part four broke down the Society's early days.

With the fifth installment I digressed a bit to consider the Freecorps movement that sprang up in Germany in the wake of the nation's defeat at the conclusion of World War I. These were paramilitary units bearing some similarities to the modern day militia movement (on steroids, that is), more than a few of whom maintained ties to Thule and other occultic organisations such as the Germanenorden. During part six I examined the role the Thule Society played in the Battle of Munich, with a special emphasis of the Freecorps it helped raise as well as its intelligence operations.

Freecorps entering Munich
The Battle of Munich effectively marked the high point of Thule's influence. It began to go into rapid decline shortly thereafter.
"Within Thule, Sebottendorff was accused of negligence in the death of the seven members at Luitpold Gymnasium. At a Thule meeting on June 22, 1919, Friedrich Knauff, the Society's titular chairman, charged that Sebottendorff left Munich in such haste to organize Freikorps Oberland that he gave no thought to Thule's membership lists, whose discovery by Red Guards led to the Luitpold murders. Sebottendorff's rejoinder that the membership lists were Knauff's responsibility did not satisfy a contentious faction of Thule's membership demanding his departure. Not surprisingly, Sebottendorff blamed his problems on a Jewish conspiracy. Sebottendorff kept no accounts of his funds as he collected and dispersed a great deal of money in the struggle against the leftist regimes in Munich. His penchant for secrecy left him open to accusations that he profited personally, especially from those members of Thule who envied his position.
"Sebottendorff resigned as Thule's master in June and appointed as his successor the lawyer Hans Dahn. Despite Dahn's confirmation by the Germanenorden's national leadership, he was quickly sacked by the membership in favor of Johannes Hering. Knauff briefly took the master's positioned himself, but bowed down in favor of Hermann Bauer (February 1920). Despite its membership in the Vereinigten Vaterlaendischen Verbaende (United Fatherland Association), an umbrella group for the German far right in the early 1920s, the Thule Society was never the same without Sebottendorff's energetic stewardship. The squabbling over his succession must have fractured the organization, and the focus of many member shifted to the rising Nazi Party, a creature of Thule that quickly assumed an independent character under Hitler's leadership.
"In the early years following Sebottendorff's departure, the Thule Society hosted numerous concerts, poetry readings, and theater performances, but underwent a rapid decline, indicated by its move from the spacious quarters it occupied in the Four Seasons. In June 1919 a petition under Thule Society letterhead was delivered to the Munich city council, urging the municipality to continue to pay for upkeep of the graves of two Thule members who died at Luitpold, Walter Nauhaus and Walter Deicke. Eventually Thule members seldom gathered except to lay wreaths on the graves of the Luitpold Gymnasium victims. In the wake of Hitler's failed putsch of November 1923, and the prohibition of the Nazi Party, 'most members of the NSDAP, under the leadership of the present [1934] lord mayor of Munich, Fiehler, joined the Thule Society,' according to Sebottendorff. His claim is probable, because Nazis gravitated to a variety of legal volkisch organizations during this period to provide cover for their ongoing campaign of agitation. The upsurge in membership did not last. By 1925, Sebottendorff claimed, Thule shrank to twenty-five active members. He may have had his own reason to exaggerate the Society's demise without his leadership. Sebottendorff added that after its fortunes dwindled further, Thule was finally stricken from Munich's list of registered societies by local authorities in 1930, when the Society's chairman, Max Sesselman, claimed he no longer had a membership. The brief power struggle between Sesselman and Sebottendorff upon the latter's return could cast doubt on the veracity of the account. Sebottendorff maintained that his return to Munich in 1933, after Hitler's assumption of power, resulted in Thule's reregistration with Munich authorities."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 190-191)
Baron von Sebottendorff
Shortly after von Sebottendorff had taken back control of Thule he published a book called Bevor Hitler kam (Before Hitler Came) that would draw the ire of the Nazi regime. By early 1934 he had been incarcerated by the Nazis and his trail becomes difficult to discern from here on out. What can be determined is that his release was somehow procured by the mid-1930s and that he was booted out of Germany shortly thereafter. He ended up in Istanbul where he would serve as an asset of German intelligence during World War II despite the widespread suspicion of Sebottendorff being a double agent held by his superiors (this was discussed in brief in part three).

The claims that Sebottendorff made in Bevor Hitler kam, namely that the Thule Society was the chief force behind the early Nazi Party, are the basis upon which a host of conspiracy theories have been built in the years that followed. And these claims are not without merit to be sure, which is likely why the Nazi Party went to such great lengths to censor both Sebottendorff and his Bevor Hitler kam alike. Consider:
"The pan-German and anti-Semitic ideology of the Thule Society was supplemented by Sebottendorff''s penchant for Ariosophy in his public eulogies of Fritsch, List, Lanz von Liebenfels and Stauff. This intellectual tendency is evidenced by the Thule study-rings formed to investigate Germanic law under Hering, Nordic culture under Nauhaus, and heraldry and genealogy under Anton Daumenlang, which are all familiar fields of gnostic racism. However, in autumn 1918 Sebottendorff had attempted to extend the appeal of the Thule's nationalist ideology for the working classes by entrusting Karl Harrer (1890-1926), a sports reporter on a Munich evening paper, with the formation of a workers' ring. Although Sebottendorff called this ring the Deutscher Arbeiterverein, it is clearly identical to the Politische Arbeiter-Zirkel, founded in October 1918. Its members included Harrer as chairman, Anton Drexler, the most active member, and Michael Lotter as secretary. This tiny group, with only three to seven members in regular attendance, met weekly through the winter. Harrer lectured on such subjects as the causes of military defeat, the Jewish enemy, and anti-English sentiment. In December Drexler urged the discussion circles to found a political party and the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party) (DAP) was formally founded in the Furstenfelder Hof tavern on 5 January 1919, its supporters coming chiefly from the ranks of Drexler's colleagues at the locomotive works. Drexler's constitution for the party was accepted by twenty-four men and he was elected chairman.
"The precise relationship of the new party with the workers' ring of Thulean inspiration remains indeterminate. Franz Dannehl, a Thule member and a DAP speaker, claims to have discussed the founding of the party with Harrer at the Hotel Vierjahreszeiten, but Drexler's pamphlet Mein politisches Erwachen (1919) mentions neither Dannehl nor Harrer nor the foundation of the party. Although the minutes of the ring indicate no discussions of racist Weltanschauung beyond a rudimentary form of anti-Semitism, it is probable that Harrer's volkisch ideas infiltrated the ring and influenced Drexler and the DAP, which was transformed a year later, at the end of February 1920, into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP). However, the DAP line was predominantly one of extreme political and social nationalism, and not based on the Aryan-racist-occult pattern of the Germanenorden.
"Adolf Hitler first encountered the DAP at a meeting on 12 September 1919. Originally sent as an army spy to monitor the group, Hitler joined the tiny party and lectured to large audiences in taverns from November. He was interested in a mass political party and impatient with the small conspiratorial nature of the group. In December he drafted regulations for the committee, giving it full authority and preventing any 'side government' by a 'circle or lodge.' This was aimed at Harrer, who bowed out of office in January 1920. The contemptuous attack of Hitler on 'volkisch wandering scholars' in Mein Kampf presumably echoes his quarrel with Harrer and the conspiratorial lodge approach groups like the Thule Society and the Germanenorden, just as it proclaims that open mass political party activity is essential to success.
"Although the DAP and the Thule Society diverged in their views on ideology and action, there was a direct line of symbological succession between the two groups in the form of the swastika. Friedrich Krohn, a Thulean and a member of the Germanenorden since 1913, had earned the reputation of a DAP expert as a result of his collection of some 2,500 books on volkisch subjects for the use of party members. In May 1919 Krohn wrote a memorandum with the title... ['Is the swastika suitable as the symbol of the National Socialist Party?'], in which he proposed the left-handed swastika (i.e. clockwise in common with those of the theosophists and the Germanenorden) as the symbol of the DAP. He evidently preferred the sign in this direction on account of its Buddhistical interpretation as a talisman of fortune and health, whereas it's right-handed (i.e. anti-clockwise) counterpart betokened decline and death. (However, since most Listian swastikas and the device of the Thule Society had been right-handed, it is clear that there was no standard usage regarding the direction of the swastika in the volkisch tradition). Hitler actually favored a right-handed, straight-armed swastika and prevailed upon Krohn in DAP committee discussions to revise his design. Krohn was responsible for the color scheme of a black swastika in a white circle on a red background. At the foundation meeting of the local Starnberg group of the NSDAP on 20 May 1920, the swastika, originally proposed by Krohn and modified by Hitler, made its first public appearance as the flag of the new movement. It is therefore possible to trace the origin of the Nazi symbol back through the emblems of the Germanenorden and ultimately to Guido von List."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pgs. 149-151)
an early Deutsche Arbeiterpartei pin
It is generally held that Hitler had no direct contact with Thule and had not encountered the DAP before being dispatched by the army to a meeting as he famously recounted in Mein Kampf.  There are indications, however, that Hitler's account is less than honest and that his relationship with both the DAP and Thule were more complex than serious scholars have been willing to allow.
"Working since the summer of 1919, as a 'V-Mann' or 'liaison man' for the Reichswehr's District IV Command in Munich, Hitler had duties that included conducting political discussions to edify the troops and, ostensibly, surveillance of many of the political organizations that proliferated in Bavaria after the fall of the soviet republic, especially on the far right. He served in an army whose Bavarian units continued to behave with alarming autonomy in relation to the national government in Berlin. As it was during the time of the Bavarian Socialist Republic, Germany's southern state remained not only a distinct political entity, but also a supportive environment for extremists who hoped to use the state as a stepping-stone to Berlin. In his capacity as a V-Mann, Hitler wrote his first recorded statements on the Jewish question, terming the Jews 'a non-German alien race,' which produced a 'racial tuberculosis' to be combated by 'the deliberate removal of the Jews,' all statements in accord with radical volkisch ideas. If, as Hitler maintained in Mein Kampf, he had no previous knowledge of the German Workers' Party before receiving orders to report on its activities, how does this square with Sebottendorff's assertion that Hitler joined the party's parent organization, the Thule Society, during the summer of 1919?
"Inconsistencies riddle Hitler's story. Although the German Workers' Party and its predecessor sometimes gathered in the backrooms of small taverns, it also met regularly at Thule's offices at Four Seasons, the hotel where the Reichswehr's district commander, Ritter von Epp, had his quarters. The idea of District Command spying on its commander's neighbor down the hall is the stuff of comedy. Another difficulty is presented by Hitler's admission that [Gottfried -Recluse] Feder was the meeting's speaker. Hitler and his superiors were already quite familiar with the man. Feder was an associate of Thule, and since the November Revolution, he had frequently expounded his ideas on economics at the Society's offices. A Munich engineer and building contractor-turned-economic theorist, Feder founded the German Combat League for the Breaking of Interest Slavery... in 1917, but did not become a prominent voice in volkisch circles until Thule gave him a forum. Feder was then employed by District Command to lecture the army's liaison men on the evils of international capitalism, behind which he discerned a Jewish conspiracy. Hitler was admittedly an avid pupil, stating that Feder's conclusions 'caused me to delve into the fundamentals of this field [economics] with which I had previously not been very familiar' and that 'right after listening to Feder's first lecture, the thought ran through my head that I had now found the way to one of the most essential premises for the foundation of a new party.' One may wonder why District Command would order Hitler to spy on a group being addressed by one of its own minions. On the night of Hitler's meeting of the Workers Party, Feder spoke on 'How and by What Means Is Capitalism to Be Eliminated?' He had been substituted by the party for the originally scheduled speaker, the Thulist poets Dietrich Eckart. The disingenuousness of the Mein Kampf account is demonstrated by a letter on September 1, 1919, from Capt. Karl Mayr, the officer who sent Hitler to report on the meeting, to Eckart, ordering subscriptions for his men to Eckart's newspaper, Auf gut deutsch. By enrolling his men as Eckart's subscribers, Mayr demonstrated the collusion prevailing between Thulists and the various military commanders. Evidence exists of an ongoing line of contact between Mayr and the Workers' Party. In December 1919, after Hitler had joined the party, Mayr arranged for the disbursement of army funds to provide the growing organization with its own office in the Sternecker Beer Hall, and for the June 1920 publication of a party brochure, which attacked the Versailles Treaty, by the Thule confederate Julius Lehmann. He would later claim that his office underwrote the party's earliest mass meetings. Even if Sebottendorff lied by naming Hitler as a Thule guest, Hitler already traveled in circles defined by the Society before he attended his first meeting of the German Workers Party."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 150-152)
General Franz Ritter von Epp, one of the most notorious Freecorps commanders
As was noted in part six of this series, General Franz Ritter von Epp had started out as a Freecorps commander before his forces were incorporated into the regular army. Von Epp seems to have received assistance from von Sebottendorff and Thule in raising supplies during the early days.

The DAP had originally emerged from a Thule study ring, the Political Workers' Circle, as noted above. The Circle effectively constituted the Party's leadership in the early days and may have been one of the factor's behind Hitler's push to change the Party's constitution so that it was controlled by the Party committee and not a "circle or lodge." Originally the Circle met once or twice a week and never included more than seven members. Curiously, there have been some indications that Hitler himself was involved with this Circle.
"The significance of the number seven has also been much discussed in connection with Hitler's membership number in the German Workers' Party. Confusion continues to hang over this question. According to a 1940 letter from Anton Drexler, Hitler joined the DAP as number 555, but later changed his membership card to indicate that he was number seven, which could suggest that the rising fuhrer attached significance to the number. But in a 1941 letter DAP's first secretary, Michael Lotter, recalled that Hitler was the seventh member of the Political Workers' Circle, the leadership component of the party most directly connected with the Thule Society..."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pg. 254. n32)
Hitler circa 1920
Thus, there are certainly indications that Hitler had traveled in the same circles as the Thulists at the very least. This is even more true of the man generally considered to be Hitler's mentor, the poet, occultist and drug addict Dietrich Eckart. In general mainstream historians have been a lot of loss to properly account for Eckart and not without reason: To say that his life was on the bizarre side would be an understatement.
"Dietrich Eckart was a drug addict who owned his own newspaper. Famous for his translation into German of Peer Gynt, Eckart was one of Munich's coffeehouse darlings, as well known for his biting wit and sarcasm as for his felicitous use of German language in poetry and plays. He was also a former mental patient and a rabid anti-Semite. With a circulation of some thirty thousand, his newspaper –Auf Gut Deutsch ('In Good German') – ranks with the Volkischer Beobachter and Ostara as a racist sheet with intellectual pretensions. His protégé was none other than Alfred Rosenberg, the Baltic-born anti-Semite who is later to become one of the architects of official Nazi pagan policies. Eckart, Rosenberg, and, later, Rudolf Hess became Hitler's closest companions and coconspirators in the first years of the 1920s in Munich. It was Eckart who, on his deathbed after the failed Beer Hall Putsch of November 8-9, 1923, was widely quoted as saying 'Hitler will dance, but it is I who plays the tune.... Do not mourn for me, for I will have influenced history more than any other German.'
"Eckart – it will be no shock to learn – was an occultist. An intimate of the Thule Society, he was as well versed in its beliefs (and, hence, of those of the Germanenorden) as any other member. He was also an early admirer of the weird cosmological theories of Hans Horbiger, and introduce them to his Austrian corporal. His cozy relationship with both Rosenberg and Hess would have provided fertile ground for any number of wide-reaching discussions on mystical subjects. It has been claimed that Eckart and Hitler attendant séances in which ghostly ectoplasmic forms were seen; but, alas, there is no evidence for this.
"There is evidence, however, that Eckart was approached by none other than the eminent occultist Rudolf Steiner himself. Steiner was interested in forming an alliance with Eckart, as the latter was known to be a mystic and as Steiner had his own politico-mystical agenda. During the 'troubles' of the spring of 1919, Steiner sought out Eckart in an attempt to get coverage of his 'Threefold Commonwealth' idea on the pages of Eckart's Auf gut Deutsch, an attempt that was doomed to failure. Eckart considered himself a 'Christian mystic' and spurned Steiner's advances as a result of the latter's membership in the OTO, attacking Steiner in articles published in his newspaper in July and December, 1919. According to Eckart, Steiner was a crazed sex magician and a member of the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy.
"An article, written by Alfred Rosenberg and published almost year after Eckart's death, asserts that Eckart was steeped in the lore of ancient India, and was as well versed in the mystical concepts of Maya and Atman as he was in the poetry of Goethe and the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Angelus Silesius. This is extremely relevant, for it shows that Eckart believed in the idea of Cosmic Consciousness (Atman) and in the concept that the visible, tangible world is illusion (Maya). The term 'atman' has also been used, and abused, by a variety of occultists to mean a higher Self and to refer to the next stage in human evolution, which was, of course, virtually a strategic goal of the Nazis and a tenet of their basic beliefs. The eulogy also describes another crucial element of Nazi ideology, and that is the alleged usurpation by the Jews of Christianity; for Rosenberg mentions that the Jewish Jehovah is corrupting the 'so-called Christian churches...'
"As for Eckart himself, most histories give him very little print space. His influence over Hitler is downplay, perhaps owing to the fact that there is insufficient documentation of the type needed to expand upon their relationship. Yet, for the last three years of his life, Eckart was Hitler's constant companion and the man who helped propel him into the public spotlight. It was Eckart who first introduced Hitler to all the right people, to the wealthy and powerful movers and shakers of Bavaria. Eckart closely groomed Hitler for the role he was later to play and spent those three years orchestrating his rise to power. It was Eckart who helped arrange financing for the nascent Nazi Party from European and American industrialist, including Henry Ford. And it was Eckart who, along with Rosenberg, accompanied Hitler to Upper Bavaria with fifteen hundred Storm Troopers to 'liberate' the town of Coburg from the Reds in what was arguably Hitler's first real military victory."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 92-94)
There's a lot to take in here. Eckart's ties to Henry Ford are most important and will be dealt with at greater length in a future installment of this series.

The above-mentioned OTO is of course the notorious Ordo Templi Orientis of Aleister Crowley. As was noted in part three, there are indications that Crowley was working for British intelligence during World War I. On the flip side of the coin, OTO founder Theodor Reuss was said to be on the payroll of German intelligence during this conflict (according to David Luhrssen in Hammer of the Gods, anyway). While there are seemingly no direct links between the OTO and Ariosophy (the occult strand from which the Germanenorden and Thule were spawned), another early OTO member, the Bavarian-born Franz Hartmann, was also involved with the List Society.

Crowley (top) an OTO founder Theodor Reuss (bottom)
In general though the Ariosophists seem to have shunned the OTO by and large. Whether Crowley's possible status as a British intelligence asset contributed to this stance is impossible to say, but it is curious another OTO man, Steiner, would attempt to make inroads with a close Thule associate like Eckart in the midst of the Society's revolutionary plottings during 1919. Were the British trying to keep an eye on things via these curious channels?

Rudolf Steiner
Whether or not Eckart was actually a member of the Thule Society is hotly debated. Historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, who was for years the only researcher to offer scholarly accounts of occult Nazism, steadfastly insisted that Eckart had never been a member of Thule, but only a guest of the group. David Luhrssen, the first researcher to publish a well sourced full length account of Thule, argues that Eckart's relationship to Thule was so close that he was effectively a member even if he was never officially initiated into the Society. Luhrssen suggests that Eckart may have opted to not officially join Thule over a dispute concerning the funding of his paper, Auf gut Deutsch, but that he thought well of von Sebottendorff and closely collaborated with the Thulists in the years following World War I.

Another guest of the Thule Society who reportedly had an influence on Adolf Hitler during the early years and would continue to follow Hitler throughout the rest of their respective days was Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg, who as noted above was also a close associate of Eckart's, may have collaborated with Thule in the promotion of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery.
"From Konrad Heiden, an early chronicler of Nazism, comes the legend that Alfred Rosenberg carried the bacillus from Russia to Munich, where it found an eager host in the Thule Society and from there infected the globe. The full truth is difficult to recover, although it is clear that members of the Thule Society and their confederates were instrumental in circulating the Protocols. According to Heiden, Rosenberg was reading in his room during the summer of 1917, when 'a stranger entered, laid a book on the table and silently vanished.' The book, by the Russian Orthodox monk Sergei Nilus, included the Protocols as an appendix.
"Heiden explained that Rosenberg often spoke of this mysterious annunciation. Nowhere in his writings did Rosenberg mention where he first encountered the Protocols, though he later edited a popular anointed edition...
"According to Norman Cohn, whose account remains definitive, a variant of the Protocols was published in Germany as early as January 1918 in the rightist newspaper Deutschlands Erneuerung. The paper was published by Julius Lehmann, an associate of the Thule Society, and would later number Rosenberg as contributor. The Ariosophist and founder of the Germanenorden, Theodor Fritsch, alluded knowingly to the Protocols in his magazine Hammer (April 1919). The first complete German edition... was published in mid-January 1920 by the Association Against Jewish Presumption... This organization was headed by a Ludendorff protégé, Ludwig Mueller, who received a Russian copy of the Protocols as early as November 1918, from a pair of refugee czarist officers, Piotr Shabelsky-Bork and Fyodor Vinberg. 
"After its publication by Mueller, the Protocols was quickly serialized in a number of rightist newspapers. The Beobachter published the entire text on February 25, 1920, the day after speech in which Hitler dwelled on the document's themes of worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Fritsch's Leipzig-based publishing house, Hammer Verlag, issued a best-selling version in the early months of 1920.
"Along with his role in publishing the Protocols, Julius Lehmann assisted in the development of Nazi ideology by vouching for Rosenberg with the authorities. His kind words prevented Rosenberg's deportation after the fall of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a time when Russian refugees were eyed with suspicion.
"In other respects Rosenberg's association with Thule, dating from December 1918, with Eckart, as his probable mentor, 'must have been a godsend' to the penniless refugee, a young man inclined to art, architecture, and Indian mysticism. One historian noted that 'the impressions received in the Thule Society marked the direction and style of his [Rosenberg's] secondary philosophical undertakings.' Although he admitted that his exposure to the concept of Aryan racial superiority occurred only after he came to Germany, Rosenberg passed quickly over Thule in autobiographical accounts. Perhaps taking Hitler's lead, he singled out Eckart as the only Thule member worthy of gratitude."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 160-162)
Alfred Rosenberg was of course not the only Thule guest to go on to play a prominent role in the Nazi regime. There was also the economist Gottfried Feder, who received much of his initial support from Thule. And then there were the full fledged Thule members such as Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess would would attain key positions within Nazi Germany. These associations served the basis for later conspiracy theories put forth initially by the French writers Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier that the Thule Society had in fact controlled the Nazi Party. While there is little factual basis for these assertions there is a real possibility that the Thulists constituted some type of clique within the Nazi Party and did have some type of modest influence.
"Hitler definitely did not accept Rosenberg's book as party orthodoxy. He had little time for the whole Thule business, once it had carried him where he needed to be, on his release from jail in 1924. Guido von List's revival of the Hyperborean or Odinic religion did not excite him: he could see the political worthlessness of paganism in Christian Germany. Neither did the Fuhrer's plans for his Thousand-year Reich have any room whatever for the heady love of individual liberty with which the Thuleans romantically endowed their Nordic ancestors. Jean Mabire suggests that Rudolf Hess's quixotic flight to Britain was the last attempt of the old Thule Society – long dissolved, or driven underground – to affect world politics in the face of a Fuhrer who had escaped their clutches and completely deformed their visions..."
(Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival, Joscelyn Godwin, pg. 57)  
Whether Thule had any role in Hess' flight is difficult to say, but there are indications that some wraith of the group still existed and exercised some influence, however mild. After all, von Sebottendorff's release was secured somehow (as noted before here) at a time when virtually all who fell out of favor with Hitler and his inner circle typically suffered terrible faiths. Von Sebottendorff ended up in Turkey where he was even enlisted in German intelligence and tolerated for years despite gross incompetence and much suspicion that he was a double agent for the Allies. Many were killed for far, far less without hesitation by the Nazis and yet von Sebottendorff lived to briefly survive the war and die on his own terms.

Its also interesting to note that there are indications Aleister Crowley may have played some role in Hess's doomed flight to Scotland. This would have occurred roughly two decades after likely Thulist Deitrich Eckart was approached by fellow OTO initiate Rudolf Steiner and possibly around the same time Thule founder von Sebottendorff was feeding intelligence to the Allies. Needless to say, rumblings of an underground occult war between the Allies and the Nazis should not always be dismissed out of hand.

Regardless of whatever influence, or lack therefore of, the Thulists may have had their methods did not totally disappear from the Nazi regime. One of the Society's chief legacies, namely the Freecorps (the movement of which it played an extensive role in founding, as noted in part six), would serve as the chief inspiration for the SA. The SA, or Brownshirts, were of course the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party and instrumental in Hitler's rise to power. Many of the more radical elements of the SA, which by and large derived from the old Freecorps, were dispatched with during the infamous Night of the Long Knives.

Hitler and the SA, whose terror tactics were based upon methods pioneered by the Freecorps
But this was not the end of the Freebooter legacy, not by a long shot. The Nazi regime exported these militias to the puppet regimes that fell under their sway in the form of what were eventually referred to as "mobile killing teams." These formations began as militias of various nationalist parties founded in Eastern Europe and aligned with the Nazi Party. As with the old Freecorps, they would play an instrumental role in destabilizing their respective nations and paving the way for a fascist takeover.
"... In each of those Eastern European countries, the German SS set up or funded political action organizations that help form SS militias during the war.
"In Hungary, for example, the Arrow Cross was the Hungarian SS affiliate; in Romania, the Iron Guard. The Bulgarian Legion, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Latvian Legion, and the Byelorussian (White Russian) Belarus Brigade were all SS-linked. In each of their respective countries, they were expected to serve the interests of the German Nazi Party before and during the war.
"Many of these groups formed SS divisions: Ukrainian Nationalist formed the 14th Galician Division, Waffen SS; the Latvians formed the 15th and 19th divisions, Waffen SS; etc. These units and related German-controlled police units had several functions. The Ukrainian division unsuccessfully tried to impede the advance of the Soviet army against the Nazi army. Others hunted down those fellow countrymen who opposed the German occupation of Eastern Europe during World War II.
"More sadistically, many units rounded up hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, and others, and conducted mass murders on the spot, sometimes decimating whole villages. They perfected 'mobile killing teams' as efficient means of mass executions. Little is known about these units compared to the concentration camps, gas chambers, and ovens, but they were an integrated component of the 'Final Solution.' Approximately one-third of the victims of the Holocaust, perhaps as many as two million, died at the hands of these units."
(Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, pgs. 4-5)
the Ukrainian SS Galician Division
The mass executions performed by these SS-linked militias had a precedent in the actions of the Freecorps employed during the notorious Baltic Campaign, an engagement we shall consider in a future installment. Its also interesting to note that some of these political action groups linked to the militias had occult undertones. This is most notable with the Iron Guard, an organization with ties to the legendary mythologist Mircea Eliade and the occultist Baron Julius Evola (more information on the occult trappings of the Guard can be found here and here).

Many of these Eastern European fascist political organizations were incorporated into an organization known as the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) in 1943 in Nazi Germany. After the conclusion of World War II the ABN was brought into the so-called "stay-behind-network" created by the Pentagon and CIA and generally referred to as Operation Gladio. It also became a component of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), effectively the international umbrella of the Gladio network.
"... Around the world, at different times and locations, other elements of the structure were dropping into place, amounting to an evolving 'ring of containment' that even George Frost Keenan might have admired at one stage of his life. In 1966, a significant (and lasting) development occurred, namely the establishment in Taiwan – following on plans laid earlier in the South Korean capital, Seoul – of the CIA-sponsored World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The organization arose from a previous regional effort, the Asian People's Anti-Bolshevik League, sponsored by the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang regime. Financial backers of the new anti-communist world ring included ravenous cash-hungry Korean cult tycoon Sun Myung Moon, whose recruitment methods and renowned mass nuptials uncannily mirrored certain CIA experiments in brainwashing. The tentacles of the sprawling octopus eventually extended to all corners of the planet. This was visibly the Fascist International, the huge global Gladio... It was charged with... to 'overcome and eliminate' any governments or force considered sympathetic to communism. The means were not precisely specified, save for talking about warfare in psychologically political terms. Yet WACL was tracked to Operation Condor, death squads in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, the twin Kennedy assassinations and general oiling of Iran-Contra in life-after-death mode. So, it would not be surprising to discover WACL fingerprints thickly plastered all over The Enterprise of drug and arms dealings in its latter-day formation. In Europe, WACL was tied up with various neo-fascist fronts, particularly  Licio Gelli's P2/Gladio activities, in Italy as well as South America. The 'liquidations' of both Aldo Moro (communist fraternizer) and Olof Palme (Iran-Iraq meddler, irritating Palestine interloper) have been cited as promoted in some degree by WACL.
"The WACL was an excellent vehicle for having a great deal of important work performed for the CIA by remote control and off the balance sheet by an organization which raised its own funds, presenting itself to the world as a charitable body dedicated to freedom and democracy. (The name was changed to World League for Freedom and Democracy after the fall of communism.) Borrowing an earlier cue from Ganser, we can say 'beautiful,' if morally disturbing. WACL was the hub with spokes leading to many important subsidiary operations. Not the least of these was the Paladin group, a CIA guns-four-hire outfit initiated by the former Waffen-SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny in 1970. By now he occupied an eyrie in Madrid, working alongside one of Guerin-Serac's chief sidekicks, his old OAS compatriot Jean-Denis Raingeard. Paladin had ties from the outset to Aginter and the World Anti-Communist League." 
(Gladio: NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe, Richard Cottrell, pgs. 123-124) 

In theory Gladio units were supposed to be stay-behind forces that would only be employed in the event of a Soviet invasion of a US client state. In actuality these networks were frequently used to commit assassinations and acts of terrorism in order to destabilize US client states and ensure their compliance. Towards these ends, many of these political groups became clandestine organizations with their own militias. What's more, many of these WACL affiliates adopted occult trappings, as I documented extensively before here. Thus, they effectively brought things full circle.

It is even possible that there were direct links between Thule and Gladio/WACL. As was noted in part three, there are some indications that von Sebottendorff became involved with the Grey Wolves during his time in Turkey. The Grey Wolves would later become a key component of Turkey's Gladio network. What's more, a member of the aristocratic Thurn und Taxis family was a member of Thule; as was noted in part six, the House of Thurn und Taxis has been linked to major players in Europe's Gladio network.

the coat of arms of the House of Thurn und Taxis
It is perhaps for some of these reason that at least one WACL affiliate would take an active role in crafting a romantic image for the Thule Society in post-WWII fascist circles. This individual in question was Wilhelm Landig, a former SS man who would become a prominent occultist and volkisch ideologue in the post-WWII era.
"... In 1970 Wilhelm Landig became the Austrian representative for the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), founded in Taiwan in 1967 after a merger of the Asian People's Anti-Communist League and the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. This was arguably the most important far-right network in the world and accounts for Landig's highly informed international news service.
"However, it was Wilhelm Landig's own novels that ensured the revival of occult-nationalist themes among the younger generation of neo-Nazis in the 1990s. The ideas and interest discussed by the Landig group in the 1950s found permanent expression in Landig's trilogy of Thule novels. The first of these, Gotzen gegen Thule (1971), was begun in the late 1950s and incorporated the thought of Julius Evola and Herman Wirth. Theories of Aryan polar origins and Atlantis are mixed with powerful new nationalist myths of 'the last battalion,' secret German UFO bases in the Arctic, alchemy, Grail myths and Cathar heresies, and a Nazi-Tibetan connection involving Himalayan masters and an underground kingdom in Mongolia. In this novel and especially in its successor, Wolfszeit um Thule (1980), a global Jewish conspiracy always lurks in the shadows, seeking to foil the revival of Nordic German rule, but it's Judeo-Christian idols are powerless against the resurgence of the Black Sun. The last novel of the series, Rebellen fur Thule (1991), is a wishful fantasy of right-wing radicalism among German youth. A former SS officer, the hero of the second novel, is invited to lecture on the Atlantean heritage of the Aryans at a German secondary school. The pupils reject the liberal views of their despised left-wing history teacher and hungrily embrace the new nationalist myths of Thule."
(Black Sun, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 137)
Wilhelm Landig
It is interesting to note that Landig was also the individual who devised of the concept of the Black Sun, a major staple of post-World War II fascist occultism. But such a topic is far beyond the scope of this series.

While the ties between Thule and many of the latter day organizations so far discussed associated with Gladio and the WACL are tenuous at best the same can not be said of a mysterious secret society known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John (SOSJ). In the next installment we shall begin to examine the SOSJ's ties to the Thule Society in earnest. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bavaria, the Thule Society, the SOSJ and the Making of a Revoltionary Faith Part VI

Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the legendary Thule Society. Part one of this series was geared toward dispelling some popular misconceptions of Thule (i.e. Vril forces, UFOs, etc) while part two broadly outlined some of the individuals, groups and movements that influenced Thule. The third installment was an extensive breakdown of the background of Thule's founder, Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, with a special emphasis on his occult studies in the Near East prior to World War I.

With part four I finally began to address Thule in earnest, mainly focusing on its early days. With the fifth installment I made a digression to broadly outline the Freecorps movement that sprang up in Germany following the nation's disastrous defeat in WWI. The Freecorps were reactionary paramilitary groups raised by the fledgling Weimer Republic and wealthy individuals to combat the spread of communism in Germany following the Russian Revolution. Eventually many of the premier Freecorps became involved with various secret orders, most notably the Germanenorden (which was detailed a bit in part two), the parent organization from which Thule derived. Thule itself would also play a key role in establishing the Freecorps as well, and practically at the onset of the German Revolution.

Freecorp men in action
Thule was based out of Bavaria, a region long considered the artistic and cultural heart of Germany. Bavaria's temperament was viewed as being more mild than that of the northern German states, most notably Prussia, and for this reason the push towards Marxism was comparatively stronger here than other parts of the nation (though still rather pathetic by any standard). Thus, socialism was proclaimed in Bavaria early in the game. Naturally the Thulists and their largely aristocratic allies were horrified.
"On Saturday evening, 9 November 1918, there was a 'musical rehearsal' in the Thule rooms. During the previous forty-eight hours there had been a bloodless revolution in Bavaria. The Wittelsbach royal family had made a hasty and ignominious flight, the wartime government had resigned, and the Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Consuls had assumed authority. The Bavarian revolution preceded that in Berlin by two days and was headed by a bohemian Jewish journalist. Kurt Eisner had been prominent as a pacifist and the leader of the Independent ('minority') Social Democrats in Munich. He had played an important part in the anti-war strikes of January 1918 for which he was gaoled until October. Against the background of domestic collapse in the defeated country he proclaimed a Socialist Republic, assuming the premiership and ministry of foreign affairs in a cabinet consisting of both 'majority' and 'minority' socialists. The members of the Thule Society, in common with others on the political right-wing in Munich, were dumbfounded by these unexpected and traumatic events. Germany was defeated, the Kaiser and ruling princes were abdicating, while republics were proclaimed by Jewish socialists. The volkisch fatherland for which they had fought so long and hard had vanished overnight.
"It was in response to this disaster that Sebottendorff delivered an impassioned oration to the Thule that evening. The alleged text betrays a striking mixture of monarchical, anti-Semitic and ariosophical sentiment:...
"... [Yesterday we experienced the collapse of everything which was familiar, dear and valuable to us. In the place of our princes of Germanic blood rules our deadly enemy: Judah. What will come of this chaos, we do not know yet. But we can guess. A time will come of struggle, the most bitter need, a time of danger... As long as I hold the iron hammer [a reference to his Master's hammer], I am determined to pledge the Thule to the struggle. Our Order is a Germanic order, loyalty is also Germanic. Our god is Walvater, his rune is the Ar-rune. And the trinity: Wotan, Wili, We is the unity of the trinity. The Ar-rune signifies Aryan, primal fire, the sun and the eagle. And the eagle is the symbol of the Aryans. In order to depict the eagle's capacity for self-immolation by fire, it is coloured red. From today on our symbol is the red eagle, which warns us that we must die in order to live.]
"Sebottendorff's references to the Ar-rune... and the mystical resurrection of the eagle, which should become the militant symbol of the Aryans, are evidence of an unmistakable Listian influence. In 1908 List had claimed that the Ar-rune denoted the sun, the primal fire, the Aryans and the eagle, while also alluding to the death and resurrection of the eagle as a specifically Germanic symbol of rebirth. He also described the trinity of Wotan, Wili, and We in his Germanic-theosophical cosmology of 1910. The name Thule may also be traced to ariosophical inspiration. The term derived from the name given to the northernmost land discovered by Pytheas in about 300 B.C. Sebottendorff identified his 'Ultima Thule' as Iceland; as the supposed outpost of Germanic refugees in List's works, this country held an eminent position in the Armanist doctrine. Exhorting Thule members to fight 'until the swastika arises victoriously out of the icy darkness,' Sebottendorff closed his speech with a racist-theosophical poem written by Philipp Stauff. On the basis of this fustian rodomontade and its ariosophical mumbo-jumbo, one might be tempted to dismiss both Sebottendorff and the Thule Society. However, Sebottendorff subsequently emerges as an important organizer of the nationalist reaction to the Eisner government and the succeeding Communist Republics at Munich in journalistic, military and political fields. Ariosophy had found a leader in the counter-revolution."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pgs. 144-146)
von Sebottendorff
As was noted in part three of this series, the date of 9 November is highly significant in the history of fascism as well as being von Sebottendorff's birthday. Whether the date added an extra air of mysticism to von Sebottendorff's call to fight "until the swastika arises victoriously out of the icy darkness" is impossible to say, but by all accounts the Thulists were quick to spring into action and begin laying the groundwork for a counterrevolution.
"The Thule Society may well have the distinction of founding Germany's first Freikorps, the Thule Combat League (Thule Kampfbund), on November 10. The weapons provided by Thule associate Julius Lehmann, a leading publisher of eugenic and Pan-German literature, transformed Thule's rooms in the Four Seasons into an armory. The Society became a deadly lending library for all volkisch radicals, even nonmembers. Sebottendorff wrote of providing pistols and ammunition to Hans Steigler, a volkisch author who opened a Munich printing shop and headed an obscure club called Urda.
"Thule's activities aroused some suspicion, it's cover story of being an innocent study group notwithstanding. By Sebottendorff's account, Thule's offices were searched for weapons in December 1918 by the Schutzwehr, an ostensibly pro-Republican Freikorps commanded by Alfred Seiffertitz. Later, Seiffertitz's force conspired with the Thule Combat League in the unlucky Palm Sunday Putsch on April 13, 1919. Sebottendorff's favorable references to Seiffertitz indicate early linkage between Thule and Schutzwehr. One authority maintains that the state railroad official Friedrich Knauff, who later headed the Thule Society after Sebottendorff's departure, was a go-between for the two groups. In his memoirs Sebottendorff claims to have returned on intuition to the Four Seasons in time for the Schutzwehr's arrival. The incident was described in slapstick terms, with guns concealed under the eyes of the security force. It is not unlikely that Seiffertitz scheduled the search with Sebottendorff ahead of time. Despite the Schutzwehr's inability to discover weapons, Sebottendorff was taken into custody. Playing the card of his Turkish citizenship, Sebottendorff secured a speedy release.
"The Combat League tried to arrest Eisner on December 4, 1918, as he spoke at a public hall in the resort community of Bad Aibling, where Sebottendorff maintained a residence. Sebottendorff suggested that two Social Democrats in Eisner's cabinet, Interior Minister Erhard Auer and Justice Johannes Timm, sympathized with the plot. It is possible that Thule intended to proclaim Auer prime minister after seizing Eisner. Sebottendorff held out hope from the first days of the Bavarian revolution that an understanding could be reached with Auer. On November 9, 1918, the Beobachter pointed to a speech Auer had recently made to his Bavarian party congress, proving 'that there is a strong current within the Social Democrats into the volkisch mainstream. It is up to us to use this current...' 
"Eisner was unshaken by Sebottendorff's intended coup; indeed, it was little more than a scuffle. The Bad Aibling adventure was led by Sebottendorff and one of his Thule initiates, Lt. Hermann Sedlmeiser, a young Bavarian officer who had served in the same regiment as Hitler and would found the Freikorps Schaefer in 1919 before settling down as the owner of a Munich cafe. A fifteen-man Combat League detachment accompanied them to carry out Eisner's arrest.
"A counterrevolutionary manifesto was hastily printed for the occasion at the shop of Klaus Eck's anti-Semitic newspaper, the Meisbacher Anzeiger. Although published in the small Upper Bavarian town of Miesbach, the paper would soon gain notoriety throughout Germany for its 'violence and vulgarity.' A getaway car waited outside the hall in Bad Aibling to spirit the captive Eisner to the mountains, where he would be kept 'until the new government was formed.' Thulists circulated through the neighborhood on bicycles, encouraging the peasants to attend Eisner's speech, for Sebottendorff anticipated support from the rural population. He did not anticipate the presence of a strong contingent of radical leftist workers from nearby towns. The Combat League lost heart, and the coup fumbled in it's opening moments."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 108-110)
Kurt Eisner
While Thule's first attempted coup was quite pathetic subsequent attempts would become progressively more ambitious. By January 1919 the Thulists had erected a much more formidable resistance movement.
"At the time the Soviet Republic was proclaimed, the Combat League was divided in two detachments, operating separately and unaware of the other. The first detachment, including Eching and the other agitation centers, was commanded by 1st Lt. Heinz Kurz, who went on to earn a doctorate in philosophy before joining the SS as an officer. It was primarily a recruiting depot for Freikorps Epp, whose commander, Col. Franz Ritter von Epp (1868-1946), was a grim-visaged, steel-helmeted figure who had formally served with the Bavarian Life Guards. Epp led the most prominent of the Bavarian Freikorps, whose main depot was the former army training grounds at Ohrdruf in neighboring Thuringia. Freikorps Epp was founded in January 1919 at the behest of Ebert's war minister, Gustav Noske. Initially numbering seven hundred men, Freikorps Epp became the spearhead of Hoffmann's military forces. Epp recruited several members of Thule, including Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess, both destined for prominence in the Nazi movement. Epp later joined with the Nazis (1928) and was appointed governor of Bavaria after 1933.
"The Combat League's second detachment acted as Thule's self-styled 'intelligence service.' It was commanded by Lt. Edgar Kraus, the seventeen-year-old son of Augsburg's state prosecutor and a resourceful leader, despite his youth. According to Sbottendorff, the commander of the Bavarian Red calvary was an agent of the service, and virtually every Soviet unit and committee was infiltrated by Kraus's men. Thule operatives usually acted as stenographers and clerks. Every evening the spies brought their reports to the Four Seasons, where the information was correlated and dispatched to Bamberg via Augsburg on the night train. Urgent information was telephoned to Bamberg. It would not occur to the Reds to sever or monitor phone lines until after the failed Palm Sunday Putsch. Kraus's detachment also waged a campaign of sabotage against the Reds by disabling automobiles and planes at the Schleissheim airfield. Sebottendorff admitted that some of his own agents were susceptible to the lure of leftist ideology, explaining that his 'whole power of persuasion was often necessary' to keep them from straying. It was an acknowledgment that many Germans, disoriented by recent events and the collapse of political and economic stability, were willing to lend one ear to the far left and the other to the far right if either provided compelling explanations for the bitter present and the promise of a better future. Sebottendorff also claimed that his intelligence service helped spirit out of Munich the gold reserves at the Reichsbank and the Prussian legation, but the assertion cannot be confirmed."
 (Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 123-125)
von Epp
By February 1919 Thule's infiltration of the Reds seems to have borne fruit. A little over midway through the month a bizarre putsch was launched by soviet sailors that none the less showed signs of Thule's meddling.
"Demonstrations by Munich's unemployed turned violent in the early weeks of January 1919, and the new year was greeted by other politically motivated exchanges of gunfire. One of the most curious episodes of leftist Bavaria was the so-called Sailor's Putsch on February 19. Marching at the head of six hundred seamen who had recently arrived from Wilhelmshaven, Sailor 1st Class Conrad Lotter, a member of the soldiers' soviet, led the coup. His forces seize the Landtag, the railroad station, and the telegraph office, arresting Munich's army commandant and police president. A brief shoot-out between Lotter's men and Eisner loyalists on the Bahnhofplatz took the life of a streetcar passenger. Suddenly, at the insistence of the Social Democratic ministers, his force retired, declaring that their action had been 'an error.' There was talk of Krupp financing for the aborted coup. Lotter was arrested and spent a few months in Stadelheim prison.
"Auer had brought Lotter and his sailors to Munich on the pretext of using them to maintain order. The minister was widely accused of stage-managing the affair; though his role in the putsch was never proven, the password of the rebellious sailors was 'Auer.' A member of the Thule Combat League, Lt. Edgar Kraus, helped Lotter engineer the coup attempt. Oddly, Sebottendorff never mentioned the incident in his memoirs.
"In the confused weeks that followed, Thule offices were raided again and again. One search for anti-Semitic pamphlets was led by police president Pallabene. Tipped off by an informant in the Schutzwehr, Sebottendorff claimed he struck up an understanding with the police official by the end of the encounter. The two men agreed to share information. On another occasion, a Thulist hawking a satirical paper called Rote Hand (Red Hand) was pursued by leftist to the Four Seasons, where the assailants were beaten off by Combat Leaguers wearing the red armbands of the soviets. The Thule Society had not only infiltrated the ostensibly centrist Schutzwehr, but it had also made inroads into the Red Guards as well.
"Long-standing radical group stood beneath Sebottendorff's wide umbrella, taking advantage of his cover story and his financial generosity. The charismatic Sebottendorff augmented his own resources with a successful fund-raising effort among Bavaria's industrialists, nobility, landowners, and right-wing intellectuals. Among the organizations meeting at Thule's offices to conspire against Eisner, and whose personnel often merged into the Society, were Julius Lehmann's Munich branch of the Pan-German League, Hans Dahn's National Liberal Party, Franz Dannehl's chapter of the Reichshammerbund, Wilhelm Rohmeder's German School Association, and the Fahrenden Gesellen (Wandering Journeymen), a youth league dedicated to long hikes and communion with nature as part of its repudiation of bourgeois society. Gottfried Feder was a regular hangar-on at the Four Seasons. In Thule's offices, the poet and playwright Dietrich Eckart, to whom Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf, produced his mimeographed newspaper Auf gut deutsch (In Plain German) beginning in December 1918. Regular contributors to Eckart's paper included Feder and the young Baltic emigre Alfred Rosenberg, whose role as official philosopher for the Nazi Party resulted in the death sentence from the Nuremberg tribunal. Although angry at Sebottendorff for not paying for the printing of Auf gut deutsch (Sebottendorff claimed his resources were already spread thin by the Thule Society), Eckart also wrote for the Munchener Beobachter and by some accounts lavished high praise on Sebottendorff. Operating from the Four Seasons, in its guise as a sports paper, the Beobachter was the bulletin board for the activities of diverse rightist groups. The 'Thule Society was a state within the state, a collection point for all reactionaries.' Virtually all organized anti-left civilian resistance in Munich was traceable to Thule, which provided 'a sort of common leadership.'"
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 111-113) 
Dietrich Eckart
Despite managing to create a large and well organized resistance movement in a mater of months, Thule's work was seriously tested by the hasty actions of an individual who was denied membership in the Society. It led to the assassination of Eisner and the rise of more radical leftist elements.
"Eisner had been assassinated on 21 February by Count Arco auf Valley, a young Jew resentful at his exclusion from the Thule who wished to prove his nationalist commitment. Disorder was henceforth endemic. A shaky coalition government was established by 'majority' Social Democrats under Johannes Hoffmann, but the cabinet was compelled to flee to Bamberg as the situation deteriorated in early April. On 6 April a group of anarchist intellectuals proclaimed the Bavarian Soviet Republic, inspired by the example of Bela Kun in Hungary, who had sent a wave of red inspiration up the Danube to defeated Austria and Germany. After this quixotic administration had fallen within a week, a more serious Communist band seized power on 13 April. Leadership was vested in the Russian émigrés Levine-Nissen, Axelrod, and Levien, who had been blooded in the 1905 Russian revolution. Their reign of terror was mitigated only by its inefficiency: violent decree followed decree; drunken soldiers of the 'Red Army' ran through the streets plundering and looting; schools, banks, and newspaper offices were shut."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 148)
Count Arco auf Valley
Another attempted coup featuring Thulists, this one known as the Palm Sunday Putsch, was responsible for the second Bavarian Soviet Republic that came into being on April 13, 1919. This attempted coup was something of a debacle as well.
"On April 13, the Schutzwehr, and ostensibly pro-Republic Freikorps commanded by Alfred Seiffertitz, a supporter of the Thule Society, staged the Palm Sunday Putsch in a bid to overthrow the Soviet regime from within Munich. The Schutzwehr broke into the former royal Residenz before dawn and arrested several members of the Central Soviet. Among those rounded up were the eccentric Foreign Commissioner Lipp and Erich Muhsam, a cabaret writer and essayist who had been part of the first Bavarian Soviet Republic's leadership, and would later die in the Nazi concentration camp. The coup was supported by Hoffmann and his comrade-in-arms, Schneppenhorst...
"The Palm Sunday plan called for Schneppenhorst and his men to liberate Munich once Seiffertitz's Schutzwehr occupied key positions. Schneppenhorst gathered six hundred infantry, cavalry, and artillery for the operation at Ingolstadt, a city on the Danube thirty miles north of Munich. The propaganda aspect of the putsch was well planned. In the days before Palm Sunday, airplanes from Bamberg showered Munich with the following leaflet, which Sebottendorff claimed the Thule Society reprinted and distributed throughout the city...
"Seiffertitz's claim to represent the Munich garrison was spurious. He could count only on support of Thule Combat League units within the city. An alleged eyewitness account, an anonymous letter supposedly written by Seiffertitz himself, was critical of Thule's contributions to the coup. It claim that only a dozen Thulists arrived at the barricades. One of them was a captain 'in gala uniform! Patent leather riding boots, riding whip, monocle!' Sebottendorff claimed that his forces returned to headquarters after seeing the hopelessness of the situation, realizing that the loyalty of the Munich garrison to the Reds (or at least their indifference to the Whites) and the failure of Schneppenhorst's forces to advance doomed the adventure. Schneppenhorst claimed his trucks were stuck in the April mud. Others murmured that his plan had been sabotaged.
"Many soviet officials escaped arrest, warned by frantic phone calls from the wife of Erich Muhsam. After a five-hour gun battle, which began in the Marienplatz where the Schutzwehr was opposed by a crowd of armed workers, revolutionary sailors, and the pro-Red 1st Infantry Regiment, the Schutzwehr retreated through the railroad station. Enduring shelling by Red mortars, the counterrevolutionaries fled by train before the end of the night to Bamberg, taking with them some twenty officials arrested that morning. The Palm Sunday Putsch claimed more than twenty deaths and a hundred injuries."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhhssen, ps. 125-127)

Undeterred by the defeat of the Combat League, Sebottendorff was already engaged in founding a new Freecorp, the Freikorps Oberland, on April 16. By April 20 (the birthday of Adolf Hitler) he was already procuring supplies for the militia after having slipped out of Munich upon orders being issued for his arrest. The rest of the Thule were doing the same and with little difficulty given how thoroughly their intelligence services had infiltrated the Reds.

insignia of Freikorps Oberland
Sebottendorff began assembling his forces in Eichstaett, a small town forty miles northwest of Munich. He was not the only one. The Von Epp Freecorp, which as noted above had close relations with Thule, was also preparing to march on Munich. But this was not all. Berlin had also dispatched between 7,500 and 12,000 Freecorps men from northern Germany to the far north of Bavaria where they began to assemble. Several of the most notorious Freecorps, including the Guards Calvary an the Ehrhardt Brigade (who would later march on Berlin with swastikas painted on their helmets during the Kapp Putsch of 1920), were among the forces.

the notorious Ehrhardt Brigade
A few Thulists had remained in Munich to continue to gather intelligence. Several of them were captured days before the Freecorps began their march on Munich. In panic, a massacre ensued that only hastened the advance of the Freebooters. Bizarrely, it unfolded on April 30, the date of Walpurgis Night, considered in myth to be one of the holiest days of European witchcraft and paganism. Known as Beltane in Celtic countries, Walpurgis Night is one of the "cross quarter" dates, falling between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
"After trying unsuccessfully to build a counter-revolutionary army at Bamberg, Hoffman was forced on 15 April to invite the aid of the Von Epp and other Free Corps, whose anti-Republican sympathies had previously led to their being banned in Bavaria. As the ring of White troops tightened around Munich, the Communists rated nationalist strongpoints within the city. They broke into the Thule premises on 26 April and arrested the secretary Countess Heila von Westarp and in the course of the day six more members were taken. The Red commandant Egelhofer proclaimed the next day that 'a band of criminals... of the so-called upper classes... arch reactionaries, agents and touts for the Whites,' had been captured. The hostages were taken to the cellar of the Luitpold Gymnasium, which had served as a Red Army post since mid-April. The seven Thule members and three other men were shot on 30 April as a reprisal for reports of the killing of Red prisoners by Whites at Starnberg. Four of the seven Thulists were titled aristocrats, including Prince Gustav von Thurn und Taxis, who was related to several European Royal families. Munich and the world looked on aghast."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicolas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 148)
The presence of a member of the House of Thurn und Taxis in Thule is most interesting. Thurn und Taxis remains one of the wealthiest of the old aristocratic families in Europe to this very day, with a strong base in Germany and Italy. Several members of Thurn und Taxis were members of the highly secrative 1001 Club, an organization concerned with "conservation" that was founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (who notoriously founded the Bilderberg Group as well) and several other Europe aristocrats in 1971. The mysterious 1001 Club has been linked to the intelligence services of several Western nations as well as various reactionary elements the world over.

the coat of arms of Thurn und Taxis
Thurn und Taxis members have also been linked to individuals involved with Europe's Gladio network (as was noted in part three von Sebottendorff himself had ties to the Grey Wolves, a Pan-Turkish terror organization long tied to Gladio, from his time in Turkey as well). Even more curious, Thurn und Taxis has also been tied to the Sovereign Order of Saint John (SOSJ), a bizarre secret society originating from the White Russian diaspora that later forged ties with far right wing elements within the US military and intelligence community. Much more will be said on the SOSJ in future installments of this series. But back to the matter at hand.

The deaths of Thurn und Taxis and the other aristocratic hostages hastened the White advance. The Freecorps entered Munich on May 1, quickly dispatched of the remaining Red forces that hadn't already deserted, and unleashed a reign of terror that made the Luitpold Gymnasium massacre look like child's play.
"On the morning of 1 May, while Socialists and Communist round the world celebrated international Labor day, the Freikorps entered Munich. They encountered almost no organized opposition. Most of the Red Guards had thrown away their weapons, torn off their armbands and melted away. The long columns of Freikorps soldiers arrogantly goose-stepped into the captured city, to be greeted by joyful middle-class and escstatic Catholic clergy, who promptly celebrated a Te Deum thanksgiving service and an open-air Mass for their liberators.
"A Freikorps squad moved into the Mathaser beer Hall, where Eisner had proclaimed his government and which had since become the HQ of the Communist workers' council, and guided it with flame-throwers. Only Egelhofer, with a few Red diehards, put up a last-ditch resistance in the area of the main railway station. After an artillery battle, Egelhofer attempted to flee in a car. He was stopped and immediately shot dead. He was luckier than one of his former government colleagues, Gustav Landauer. The anarchist philosopher and literary critic was found hiding in his friend Kurt Eisner's former home. He was brought to the Stadelheim prison by Freikorps soldiers who beat in his face with rifle butts and shot him in the head as he lay choking in his own blood. The former Commissioner for Public Education continued to breathe, causing the Sergeant in charge of the patrol to jest: 'The putrid thing has two lives,' before he pumped another bullet into the body. The boots of the Freikorps finally kicked and trampled the remaining life out of Laundauer. His battered body was left lying in the prison yard for two days.
"This killing was typical of many perpetuated by the Freikorps army, who made full and liberal use of Noske's license to do as they pleased in the conquered city. Angry at the loss of sixty-nine comrades during the re-conquest, the Freikorps gave full rein to their murderous instincts, until the White Terror outdid in horror the Red Terror that had preceded it and sickened even the Munich citizenry who had originally welcomed their liberators. The lead for the indiscriminate slaughter was given by the adjutant of the Lutzow Freikorps, Major Schulz, who told his officers: 'Anyone who doesn't understand that there is a lot of hard work to be done here, or whose conscience bothers him had better get out. It's a lot better to kill a few innocent people than to let one guilty person escape. You know how to handle it... shoot them and report they attacked you or tried to escape.' True to his promise, after his 'pep talk' Schulz sent one of his officers, Lieutenant Georg Polzing, to the town of Perlach outside Munich to terrorize the population. Polzing chose a dozen people, apparently at random, brought them back to the Hofbrauhaus – the famous Munich beerhall were Hitler launched his putsch in 1923 – and had them shot out of hand. Brought to trial seven years later in 1926, Polzing was acquitted of all charges, despite the fact that none of his victims have been Communists.
"The worst single atrocity occurred two days later, on 6 May, when a group of Catholic workmen belonging to a religious club, the St. Joseph Society, holding a regular meeting to discuss the innocuous subject of Education and Theater. This harmless gathering was suddenly disrupted by a Freikorps patrol led by a Captain Alt-Sutterheim who picked out thirty men and had twenty of them shot, beaten and bayoneted to death as 'Communist terrorists.'
"So many victims perished during the purge that Munich's harassed undertakers were overwhelmed and bodies were left to decay in the streets. Mass graves were dug and the carcasses were piled in. This makes the calculation of the number of victims difficult. The Freikorps themselves claimed 600 but this figure represents only the number of 'official' executions. 'Unofficial' murders totaled 1200, according to Freikorps propagandist Freidrich von Oertzen, and this figure is almost certainly an underestimate."
(A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis, Nigel Jones, pgs. 155-157)

By May 7 Munich was described as "purified" to the Ebert government. This episode marked the high point of Thule, but hardly the end of his its influence. In the next installment we shall consider the influence Thule had on the Nazi Party and its fortunes after the Battle of Munich. Stay tuned.