In the previous part of “Building the Master Race,” we’ve looked at Heinrich Himmler’s ambitions to proof a unified Aryan heritage and the existence of a Nordic Master Race. His idea was not only to complement the Third Reich’s ambitions to conquer Europe and repopulate it with a purely Aryan race but to also proof personal views and beliefs in the process.
In this article, we will look at how Hitler and his followers managed to successfully form a cult around the Fuhrer, not only by pointing to history but by adapting and copying various religious feats for their cause.
The Three Ingredients to Start a Cult
Hitler was very invested in giving every action a deeper meaning, adding symbolism to the different steps it took him to become the messiah of his cult. When Hitler and his party tried to overthrow the Bavarian Government in what is known today as the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, he failed miserably and got imprisoned. He was able to build upon and use the Putsch throughout his career and until the end of the war. During the Beer Hall Putsch 16 members of his party, the NSDAP, died, one of them with a Swastika Flag in his hand, which got soaked with blood.
Every religion needs a messiah, martyrs, and sacred artifacts. Hitler got all three of those through the Beer Hall Putsch, going on to market himself as the chosen one to lead Germany and the Aryan race to a brighter future. His dead followers were celebrated as martyrs every year since and the “Blutfahne” (Blood Flag) was regarded a sacred object used to consecrate every new flag by touching it.
Groups Never Feel Alone
Another part of any major religion or cult is festivities. Days to not only celebrate the greatness of the Fuhrer but to display unity and occupy the minds every so often. It amplified the feeling of being part of something bigger and served the Nazi’s well in keeping the spirit up.
The yearly celebrations of the Beer Hall Putsch soon looked very similar to a Good Friday procession. Walking down the dreaded path that Hitler and his followers once took until 16 of them met their demise, while the rest got imprisoned, stopping at each significant point, remembering the “brave martyrs” that gave their lives for what was by then known as the superior race and nation that was Germany. Shrine-like buildings were erected to remember and honor those fallen back in 1923 and to glorify what was actually a pretty miserable try to take over at the time.
But those weren’t the only festivities that got introduced by Hitler. Inspired by Germanic tradition, the country started to celebrate winter and summer solstice but adapting it to their own ideological needs. The summer solstice, usually celebrating nature and light, was used to manifest the image of “Nation, Blood and Soil” symbolizing the unity of the nation, people, and land.
The use of symbols was just as essential for Hitler and the entirety of the Third Reich. From the bold Swastika, which was used in many other religious and cultures such as Buddhism and the German Iron Age, possibly representing Thor’s Hammer, to artificial insignias such as the SS runes. They all had different meanings, the SS symbolizing “victory” as well as being an acronym of the name “Schutzstaffel.”
Third Reich: The Sum of Its Parts
All these ingredients were used, bent and rearranged to serve the building a cult and a philosophy that was supplemented by occult theories ever so often. Himmler, who was the catalyst of most of these ideologies, was also in charge of the elite Schutzstaffel, where the building of an own cult was most apparent. Children of SS officers were baptized under a swastika with the imposition of an SS dagger; couples got married in churches where religious artifacts were nowhere to be found, instead swapped with Third Reich and SS insignia’s, in rare situations Himmler himself married high ranking SS officers.
Pseudoarchaeology, occult theories and the enactment of their own cult were not enough though to achieve Hitler’s dream to lead the Aryan ace back to “former glory.” To actually achieve a pure race, Hitler and his followers were willing to resort to unspeakable acts that would ensure the building and long term survival of an unsullied Arian population.
Continued in Part III: The Third Reich and the Aryan Progeny
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