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Hitler's Master of the Dark Arts: Himmler's Black Knights and the Occult Origins of the SS
Synopses & Reviews
Hitler’s Nazi Party, at its evil roots, embraced a bizarre interpretation of ancient European paganism, blending it with fragments of other traditions from sources as diverse as tenth-century Saxon warlords, nineteenth-century spiritualism, and early-twentieth-century fringe archeology. Even the swastika, the hated symbol of Nazism, had its roots in ancient symbolism, its first recorded appearance carved into a mammoth tusk twelve thousand years before Hitler came to power.
At the heart of the evil was Hitler’s “witch doctor,” Heinrich Himmler, and his stranger-than-fiction cult, the deadly SS. The mundanely named Schutzstaffel, literally “protective squadron,” was the very essence of Nazism, and their threatening double lightning bolt was one of the most dreaded symbols of the Third Reich. With good reason: what the SS was truly protecting was the ideology of Aryan superiority.
Hitler’s Master of the Dark Arts is the first history of the SS and its leader to focus on the mystical cult aspects of the organization. It follows Himmler’s transformation of the SS from a few hundred members in 1929 to over fifty thousand black-uniformed Aryans by the mid-1930s. Concurrent with its expansion and its eventual independence from the brown shirts of the SA, Himmler infused the Black Knights with a mishmash of occult beliefs and lunatic-fringe theories that would have been completely laughable—except that they were also used to justify the Final Solution.
Book News Annotation:
Yenne, novelist and historical author provides what is said to be the first history of Adolph Hitler's SS and its leader, Heinrich Himmler, to concentrate on the mystical and cult elements of the unusual and dreaded Nazi organization. The author follows Himmler as he rose through the ranks to his leadership of the SS in 1930 and his increasing power in the Third Reich in the 1940s. The author points out that while Himmler's dedication to the occult and a variety of oddball theories and beliefs would have been considered ludicrous, they were used as justification for Hitler's Final Solution. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
At the heart of the evil of Nazism was Hitler’s “witch doctor,” Heinrich Himmler, and his peculiar and deadly organization with the mundane name Schutzstaffel, literally “protective squadron.” Undoubtedly you know them better as the feared SS, the very essence of Nazism. Their threatening double lightning bolt is perhaps the most dreaded symbol of the Third Reich.
The facts of the SS’s origins are truly stranger than fiction. If you thought Raiders of the Lost Ark was an inspired
Heinrich Himmler was a Nazi’s Nazi—the head of the ruthless SS and the driving force behind the Final Solution. How did Himmler, known for a weak stomach and self-conscious of his poor eyesight and slight physical stature, become one of the most feared men in history? Bill Yenne traces Himmler’s rise through the ranks in the 1920s alongside Adolf Hitler, his appointment as Reichsführer SS in 1930, and his increasing influence and power in the Reich in the 1940s.
Although Himmler looked like a henpecked husband from central casting, he saw himself as the reincarnation of Heinrich I, first king of the Germans. He delved deeply into German folklore and mythology, picking up anything that elevated the German peoples above others. His occult beliefs and his increasing power under Hitler led, perhaps inevitably, to the grim reality of the death camps. His dark power came to a fitting end when, captured by Allied soldiers as the Reich collapsed, he followed his hero Hitler in suicide, biting into a cyanide capsule developed by one of the mad Nazi doctors of Dachau.
About the Author
Bill Yenne is the San Francisco-based author of more than four dozen books on military and historical topics. He is also a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
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History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany