Hitler and his God
The Background to the Nazi Phenomenon
Hitler remains an enigma in spite of everything that has been written about him. Historians like Alan Bullock, Ian Kershaw and H.R. Trevor-Roper confess their perplexity openly. How was it possible that an unknown, solitary and future-less front-soldier in 1918 became, some years later, the Leader and Messiah of the German people? How could a nullity unleash the most destructive and deadliest war humanity has ever known? Academic historians give countless reasons because the essential reason keeps escaping them; fantasy writers find the most bizarre occult explanations, disregarding the historical facts.
Georges Van Vrekhem has studied the literature in German, English, French, Dutch and Italian for several years. His conclusion is clear: in Hitler there must have been a cause equivalent to the effects of his actions. Van Vrekhem gives a revealing picture of the rise of the unknown Austrian corporal and brings to life the people who helped him in the saddle: Dietrich Eckart, Captain Mayr, General von Mohl, and many others. The author analyses Mein Kampf, the book in which Hitler laid bare his thoughts and intentions without being believed. And he shows how this “man from nowhere”, driven by the obsession of his mission and helped by incredible luck, managed to become the Führer.
To explain the foundations of a people who made Hitler possible, Van Vrekhem undertakes, in the book’s second part, a deep-probing analysis of the historical background. In this he gives a surprisingly clear picture of the German ambition, the racism which supported it, and the romantic youth movements which incorporated the racism. In a memorable chapter he sketches the history of the German Jews. And he shows another side of the German people: their longing for a better world, although vitiated by their sense of superiority.
All this brings Georges Van Vrekhem to his central theme: Hitler’s possession by the “god” who inspired him, guided him, brought him to power – and dropped him when no longer needed. This leads the author, in the third part of the book, to the unexpected but well-documented role of the Indian philosopher and sage Sri Aurobindo in the action against Hitler before and during the Second World War. While Hitler wanted to bring humanity back to a state of barbarism, Sri Aurobindo stood for the progress of humanity and a future in which a new evolutionary being, beyond humanity, might at last create the world humanity has never ceased to long for. In this view of history, many worlds interact and all facts fit into the big picture.
Author: Georges Van Vrekhem
Print Length: 590 pages
Publisher: Stichting Aurofonds
Sold by: Amazon.com
Book format: Kindle
Part One: When Hitler became the Führer
- Settling Accounts
- Mein Kampf
Part Two: The Roots of Nazism
- Superior People
- Long Skulls and Broad Skulls
- The Völkisch Movement
- The Jewish Question
- The German Aspiration
Part Three: Hitler and His God
- The Vision of Adolf Hitler
- Sri Aurobindo’s Vision
- “The Lord of the Nations”
- Two Poems
- A World in the Balance
- Postscript: Churchill’s Mission
Hitler and his God
Part One: When Hitler became the Führer
“I guarantee you, gentlemen, that the impossible always succeeds. What is most improbable is most certain.” – Adolf Hitler
A Corporal Watching Mice
He had not come back marching among the endless grey, weary throngs of soldiers carrying the smell of mud, gun powder and rotten human flesh in the folds of their uniforms. For shortly before the armistice he had been blinded by gas near Wervik, on the French-Belgian border, and transported far northwards to a military hospital at Pasewalk, in Pommerania. There he had touched the depths of his ordeal when hearing the announcement that the fighting had stopped on 11 November, that Germany had lost the war, that the Kaiser and all German princes had abdicated, and that a German republic had been proclaimed. Now he was waiting in Munich, in the barracks of what remained of his regiment, to be demobilized.
Although Austrian by birth and still by nationality, Adolf Hitler had in August 1914 been allowed to enlist in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, the “List Regiment”. He had served most honourably from the first weeks of the war until the last days, a full four years. As a battle dispatch runner (Gefechtsmeldegänger, to use his own designation) in the regimental headquarters he had participated in a great number of murderous battles in France and Belgium; he had escaped death narrowly on several occasions, and was awarded the Iron Cross Second and First Class for bravery. “Nobody who has known [Hitler] from nearby will doubt his courage”, testified the Adjutant of the Regiment later on. “In the field he has proved himself to be a brave, exceptionally reliable dispatch runner who really deserved the Iron Cross First Class, and who several times had been mentioned for it before he was awarded with it. He was the example of the unknown soldier who quietly and unassumingly performed his duty.”1
The war had been “the most unforgettable and greatest time of his earthly life”2; as Hitler himself would write, he had been “passionately happy to be a soldier”. He was now twenty-nine years old. What would become of him? He had no prospects, no future. Therefore he did everything possible to postpone his demobilization, for the army still gave him a bunk to sleep and a chunk of bread to eat. Once on his own, he could only slide back into his dreams of becoming a great architect, while having to earn a living selling water colour paintings of picturesque buildings and monuments. For that was what he had done in Munich before the outbreak of the war, as it was what he had done in Vienna, where he had led the life of a tramp. “He always looked so starved”, remembered people who had known him at the time.
He might have to change into civilian clothes any day now. War heroes there were aplenty. Nobody cared for the columns of bedraggled soldiers, ill-fed and shabbily clothed, still carrying their weapons, with the reflection of unspeakable horrors and death in their eyes, moving through a civilian world they no longer recognized and deeply despised. The food situation in Germany remained so bad that nobody cared about the starvation of others. A few crumbs could be spared for the mice, though. “Since I regularly woke up before five o’ clock in the morning”, wrote Hitler in Mein Kampf, “I had got into the habit of putting a few left-overs or crusts of bread on the floor for the mice which amused themselves in my little room, and watching the droll little beasts chasing around after these choice morsels. I had known so much poverty in my life that I was well able to imagine the hunger, and hence also the pleasure, of the little creatures.”3
But, lo and behold … not that many years later there stood that selfsame Adolf Hitler, triumphantly, as the new Chancellor of Germany on the balcony of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, acclaimed by thousands of enthusiastic German citizens! And then he stood, all by himself and with the Iron Cross First Class on his chest, high above huge, neatly drawn up columns of uniformed Germans on the Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg. They hailed and revered him as their Leader, theirFührer, even as their Messiah, who had come to make them great again, greater than they had ever been before in their history, rulers of the earth. Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt. The one-time desperate corporal-without-a-future had become “Leader of the nation, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Head of Government and Supreme Executive Chief, Supreme Judiciar and Leader of the [NSDAP] Party”.4
Not only had he become master of life and death in the country he ruled, where his will was law and his word gospel truth, he also “changed the map of Europe, destroyed empires, and promoted the rise of new powers, evoked revolutions, and brought the colonial age to an end.”5 The “man from nowhere” united Austria with Germany and entered as conqueror into Prague, Warsaw and Paris. He conquered, enslaved and killed – and intended to conquer more, kill more and enslave more.
How had this come to pass? How had the former Austrian corporal, once compared to a worn out stray dog, reached such a pinnacle of power that Joachim Fest could write: “If Hitler had succumbed to an assassination or an accident at the end of 1938, few would hesitate to call him one of the greatest German statesmen, the consummator of Germany’shistory”?6
Libraries have been written about Hitler and Nazi Germany, yet several of the best-known and most widely read historians agree that he remains enigmatic. “The more extensive the material at our disposal and the greater the historical distance, the more puzzling Hitler seems to become”, writes Christian von Krockow.7 Alan Bullock, author of such essays like Hitler – A Study in Tyranny and Hitler and Stalin – Parallel Lives, admits in a conversation: “The more I learn about Hitler, the harder I find it to explain … I can’t explain Hitler. I don’t believe anybody can.”8 And to H.R. Trevor-Roper “after fifty years Adolf Hitler remains a frightening mystery.”9
“At one time I have within myself chosen my way in spite of totally inimical surroundings”, said Adolf Hitler, “and I, an unknown and nameless man, have kept walking until the final success. Often declared no longer existent and always wished to be non-existent, in the end I was the victor.”10
There must have been a time “when Hitler became Hitler”, when the nonentity turned into a seer and a politician who, in a very short time, accomplished feats deemed impossible: wipe out the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, build up a prostrate and despondent Germany, and unify the country into an efficient war machine for his megalomaniac and criminal overt and covert goals. There must have been a source of the power supporting this rootless, often ridiculed and always underestimated man to build up a powerful and ruthless political party, inspiring him to overcome the most critical situations, and impelling him to take his stand above all those superior to him inside and outside Germany. There must have been a fountainhead of the evil that through this man tried to ravage humanity and make it regress into a state of barbarism supposed to belong definitively to the past.
Germany in Turmoil
“Caste” is generally associated with India and fossilized backwardness. Little does the common awareness in the West realize that caste did and to a considerable extent still does determine the patterns of its social structures. In the Middle Ages – not so very long ago – caste was a fact of life. There was the Catholic Church with its clergy (brahmins); there was the nobility with its feudal hierarchy (kshatriyas); there was the upcoming and very diligent class of the merchants (vaishyas); and last and very much least there was the class of the workers (shudras), mostly serfs without any rights, on a par with the animals and other possessions.
Because of the Renaissance this social pyramid, which had shaped the Western outlook on life for centuries, was put into question, together with everything else in life. Acquiring the ideals of the Enlightenment – among them equal rights for all human beings – the “third estate”, the merchant or bourgeois class, grew conscious of itself. The French Revolution would be the revolution of this “third estate”. To work out the impetus of its ideas the revolution of 1789 needed subsequent revolutions in the nineteenth century, the high time of the bourgeoisie, of reason, liberalism, materialism and progress. These subsequent revolutions (in 1830, 1848 and 1870) were made necessary by the resistance of the clergy and the nobility, fighting for their survival, and because of the resistance to any kind of change in the nature of the human being.
But what about the “fourth estate”, the class of labourers, servants and peasants, of the workers of all kinds? They too were human beings, after all, and therefore entitled to equal rights like anybody else. When in parallel with the unexpected French Revolution a no less surprising Industrial Revolution came about, the role of the workers, of the shudras, grew in importance: they were the manpower with which to make that gigantic industrial development possible. Fed up with their peasants’ existence, the toilers of the land left their ploughs and their cows and migrated to the towns, expecting heaven but stumbling into a hell worse than their soil-bound labour. They became the “proletariat”. Only the blind could fail to see that this down-trodden, struggling, exploited human masses would soon arise in an effort to take their due place in humanity, that they would strive for an equal footing with those who had for so long used and abused them.
After a preparation and build-up of almost a century, the “proletariat” resolutely took the fore of the stage of history in the Russian Revolution of 1917. The German Army High Command, by that time de facto rulers of the country, had supported the Russian revolutionaries in the hope that the collapse of tsarist Russia would free them from the burden of their eastern front, and allow them to deal a decisive blow to the Allies in the west. Their calculations proved almost correct, for the German “spring offensive” in 1918, made possible because of the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, threw the Allies back and even threatened Paris again, creating the exhilaration of impending victory among the population in Germany. But the Allies recovered, partly thanks to the fresh American troops, and from 8 August, Germany’s “black day”, the Hindenburg-Ludendorff duo knew that defeat was inevitable and informed their Kaiser accordingly.
All this has a direct impact on our story. The German proletariat, represented by the “German Socialist Party” and the more radical Marxist “German Independent Socialist Party” – which would soon become the “German Communist Party” – formed a considerable part of the population. The German Socialist Party had in the 1912 general election, just before the war, won the highest number of votes. This had caused unease and fear among the traditional classes who were, in that Prussian dominated country, extremely aware of their social status, in other words class-conscious. There was place for the workers beneath them, not beside them, and surely not above them as members of a government, administrators, or whatever. Germany had not assimilated the ideals of the Enlightenment; it had remained a Prussian, autocratic, hierarchically structured society where all looked up to those above and down on those below.
Yet the war had shattered many a certainty. The Germans felt that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia threatened their existence directly. Had the Marxist doctrine not predicted that Germany, the foremost industrialized country in Europe with a massive proletariat, would be the country best prepared for the great proletarian revolution? And did the Russian Bolshevik leaders not do everything in their might to light the fuse of revolution in other countries, especially in Germany? Russian refugees arrived in droves in Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, every one of them with his or her tales of horror about the Reds, and with dire warnings. Along with them infiltrated Bolshevist agents, teleguided by the Third International, and in the eyes of the German Marxists adorned with the halo of heroes who had accomplished a historical feat that would change the world.
The traditional German higher and middle classes were, in the last months of 1918, more fanatically nationalistic than ever, misled as they were by the propaganda of the Supreme Army Command and the narrowness of their own convictions. The hell of the battlefields they knew only from hearsay. But so many young men would not come home anymore; the food was scarce and procuring it often the main occupation in life; the tension of the war was hard to bear and gnawed at the roots of all certainties. The Left, less socially inhibited and incited by the events in Russia, no longer hesitated to go on strike at the end of October and in the beginning of November 1918.
Then came the coup in Munich: Kurt Eisner, a Jewish journalist, proclaimed Bavaria a Socialist Republic on 7 November. The Wittelsbach king, Ludwig III, abdicated that very day, the first of all eighteen still ruling German princes to do so. (Kaiser Wilhelm II would follow suit on 9 November. It had been one of the peace conditions formulated by the American President Woodrow Wilson that all authoritarian and military structures and institutions in Germany should be abolished.) Eisner, a bearded intellectual who did not look the part of a revolutionary, was not a fanatic; he was a pacifist, idealistic-humanitarian socialist, carried forward by the enthusiasm of his comrades and the war-weariness of many different-minded but starving citizens. Bavaria would be governed by a council of inexperienced workers, soldiers and farmers who had to improvise an administration in harsh circumstances. The most inexperienced was Eisner himself. This he proved soon at a socialist congress in Bern, where before the world he declared Germany guilty of starting the war, thereby pronouncing his own death sentence.