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  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
"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)
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)
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?
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
"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 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
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)
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.
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