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The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  347 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Nearly half a century after the defeat of the Third Reich, Nazism remains a subject of extensive historical inquiry, general interest, and, alarmingly, a source of inspiration for resurgent fascism in Europe. Goodrick-Clarke's powerful and timely book traces the intellectual roots of Nazism back to a number of influential occult and millenarian sects in the Habsburg Empire ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published 1992 by New York University Press
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Sep 07, 2014 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fascism
informative -- on the outer limits of political psychology. A good follow up to Fritz' Stern's the Politics of Cultural Despair, which covers some of the same topics.

There is another good, and far briefer discussion of this material in an essay of George Mosse entitled, "The Mystical Origins of National Socialism", in Journal of History of Ideas 12 (1961), 83-96; it is reprinted in several of Mosse's collections.

No one goes further than Goodrick-Clarke, however, in developing the outer reaches o
Aug 07, 2015 Roy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of the book is misleading. A root denotes both an origin and a lasting foundation (i.e. remove the root and the plant withers) but Goodrick-Clarke's own contention is that neither is really applicable. Instead, he views the proliferation of völkisch theosophical/Ariosophical/occult sectarian communities in Austria as a symptom of its social and political crises (related to the multi-ethnic tensions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and he suggests that it is mostly this manner in which ...more
Contrary to the title, the bulk of the book is actually about the revivals of Paganism and general Occultism in the German-speaking countries from the late 19th century to the early 20th. The NSDAP's inspiration from these movements does not come up until halfways through.

I were aware of these already, but I had no idea how many of these Germanic Neo-Pagan movements had a very clear political agenda behind them connected to the unification of Germany and the need to find a common heritage for th
Oct 07, 2013 Simon rated it really liked it
This is an extremely thorough scholarly run down of the topic, meticulously researched with around 75 pages of references, which was quite impressive for a book of this nature.

It is primarily concerned with providing a run-down of the volkisch occult movement in Germany in the 50 or so years leading up to the second world war. Charting the history of some of the players and thinkers behind the movement, which was mostly organised along ethnic and religious grounds, providing a framework for thin
Oct 18, 2007 Maureen rated it liked it
This was somewhat difficult reading, particularly the primary sources, not necessariy because the ideas were complex, but because I struggled to find the frame of mind that would consider these ideas compelling, internally consistent, and socially useful.

What I found most interesting from Goodrick-Clarke's piece was his chronology of how the effort to make this occultist movement take roots within a wider context (in its shifting names and forms) kept failing. As I was reading, I kept wondering
Andrea Hickman Walker
Interesting, but very difficult to read.
Apr 27, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historians, Students, Occultists
Recommended to Michael by: Peter Lamborn Wilson
This is a detailed historical study of the ties between National Socialist ideology and esoteric groups operating in Germany, Austria, and the rest of Europe during the late-nineteenth century. The book clarifies many points which have been ill-handled by popular writers (no, links between beliefs does not equate to "secret control" by an occult organization), and also introduces many bizarre and fascinating groups which other historians have overlooked. Among the best sections of the book is ...more
The book lays out quite clearly that there were some occult connections to the Nazi movement and that these were not just the creation of the writers of post-war pulp fiction. It was no surprise to this reader that so much of these occult beliefs could be traced back to Theosophy’s Madame Helena Blavatsky. Clarke details the “debt” that Guido von List and Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels owe to her (even though they, like she, claimed such things came from visions). What was quite a surprise was how ...more
Christopher Roth
May 17, 2016 Christopher Roth rated it it was amazing
This book is very much everything you might want to know about the occult roots of Nazism--if that's what you want to know about, that is--and I wanted to know a lot about it. A very competent intellectual history, and the author pours cold water over the idea that occultism was absolutely at the center of Nazi ideology, but he does explore what exactly the connections were. Hitler found the ideas appealing and useful, but they did not absolutely shape his world-view the way they did Himmler's, ...more
May 06, 2011 Gnuvolante rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storia, saggistica
Il testo analizza attentamente e rigorosamente i movimenti razzisti e occultisti che hanno caratterizzato parte della Germania e dell'Austria, ma non solo, tra la fine dell'800 e la prima metà del '900. Comune allora era la tendenza degli studiosi ariosofi a "inventare" e a "piegare" la preistoria e gli eventi storici più importanti a favore del popolo tedesco, in un panorama dove la chiarezza del capello e degli occhi erano sinonimo di bontà e rettitudine mentre l'individuo dalla capigliatura ...more
Frank Bosman
Jul 15, 2014 Frank Bosman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: esoterism
Very interesting overview of the occult roots of Nazism up to 1945. Goodrick-Clarke thinks of Nazi occultism as a very specific branch of Western Esoterism, mixing social darwinism, Nordic paganism and Blavatsky's Theosophy. Esoterism expert Wouter Hanegraaff thinks very highly of Goodrick-Clarke in his Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism. Goodrick-Clarke has also written a even interesting second volume, concerning Nazi occultism from 1945 until now Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric N ...more
Alisson Almeida
Bom livro. Fala sobre como a teosofia e outros movimentos místicos ocidentais deram substância e inspiração para a criação de vários grupos/seitas/cultos racialistas na Alemnha e Áustria em fins do século XIX até o fim da Segunda Guerra. No entanto, o autor tem o mérito de não escorregar para o sensacionalismo como muitas obras desse tom fazem. Ele analisando a questão de forma acadêmica e documentada. O autor não tira conclusões precicipatadas nem tenta dizer que esses cultos racialistas ...more
Aaron Meyer
Nov 20, 2010 Aaron Meyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: occult
An excellent book which gives a very detailed look into the lives and thoughts many major players of nordic philosophy, magic, and religion, which in turn sharply influenced many of the leaders of the third reich. I would consider this an essential book for the period. The only problem I had was the occasional slip here and there where the author stops being objective and says what he really thinks. Pet peeve, perhaps, but some of the comments had me scribbling all over the margins in response ...more
May 26, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it
This book was not quite what I expected when I picked it up, but I'm not sorry I read it. I went in expecting a semi-lurid tale only slightly more factual than Indiana Jones, but came out with something pretty dry and academic about social undercurrents in the waning days of the Austrian Empire and the Weimar Republic.

That said, it seems to me to be pretty scrupulous and academic, focusing mainly on obscure personalities and societies with two-digit memberships between the 1880s and 1930s. Very
Shaun Appleby
Jan 31, 2010 Shaun Appleby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely essential academic work for serious students of the Third Reich which authoritatively establishes the links among the irrationalist and nationalist Germanic occult movements of the late 19th century, early Pan-Germanism, the world view of Mein Kampf and the mythology of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei under Hitler's leadership. The ancestry of the strange rituals of the Schutzstaffel and the massive pageants of the Nuremburg rallies can be clearly traced from the ...more
Fred Lente
Dec 16, 2012 Fred Lente rated it liked it
A very academically-written book, which while can make for pedantic reading at times, is probably needed for such a sensational topic. The real-life oddities of "ariosophy", the weird New Age-y philosophy adopted Himmler and a majority of Nazis, are way more out there than anything Indiana Jones ever encountered. Runes, Atlantis, Tibet, oh my! Highly recommended for anyone interested in this topic, one of the few non-BS tomes about it.

I used these concepts as the basis for the "Green Dragon Lam
Apr 20, 2014 Caloripher rated it really liked it
Okunması biraz zor. Ezoterik öğretiler ile birçok doktrin hakkında ön bilgiye sahip olunması gerekiyor. Ama yine de içeriğinde birçok önemli bölümler bir arada bulunmakta. Özellikle dikkat edilmesi gereken bölümler:
Guido von List
Rudolf von Sebottendorff and the Thule Society
Ariosophy and Adolf Hitler
The Modern Mythology of Nazi Occultism
Tabii kitabı okurken 10 kitaplık bir okuma listesi çıkardığımı da belirtmem gerekir.
Özellikle Helena Blavatsky'e ve çalışmalarına eğilmem gerekiyor.
Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Interessante, nei primi capitoli dell’opera, la ricostruzione della cultura pangermanica, con le sue sfaccettature antiasburgiche e anticattoliche e il suo “recupero creativo” delle “tradizioni” germaniche.
Opera utile per assegnare la giusta (minima) rilevanza alle cosiddette radici occulte/esoteriche del nazismo, che si rivela invece, in questo studio, un movimento perfettamente comprensibile nella cornice della cultura tedesca otto-novecentesca.
Jun 27, 2014 Zack rated it really liked it
Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke has written an excellent survey of the early Volkish, pan-German, proto-Nazis that preceded Hitler and company before their rise to prominence in the 1920s. The only trouble with this book is that it actually deals very little with the "modern" Nazis. (Though I suppose this book is after all the "occult roots of Nazism.") Nevertheless I think the reader would be better served if this book was a bit longer and fleshed out the ideology of Hitlerian Nazis a little more.
Dec 27, 2013 Don rated it it was amazing
Many books discuss the rise and fall of the Nazis in Germany, but this book discusses something very often forgotten. That being the revival of interest in occult matters in the early part of the 20th Century. The author raises several fascinating topics including Ariosophy and the various occult societies formed during that time. This book is an excellent way for the history buff to round out his or her knowledge of one of the most important events in human history.
Jordan Fitzgerald
Dec 14, 2015 Jordan Fitzgerald rated it it was amazing
Very scholarly and balanced; this is probably the only book on this subject that is non-sensationalized. I had no idea of how many dynamics went into pre-WWI Germany. A must read for the entire world.
Jan 29, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing
Yes, read this one. Vril/Thule/Nazi... you'll understand today's politics (which are based on the covert Nazi usurpation of US).
Sep 12, 2007 Selby rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
Although very interesting subject matter, this is really really dry. It was too dry for me to enjoy at all. Maybe great for academic study this was a not an enjoyable experience.
Erotic Horizon
The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1993)
Mark Singer
Mark Singer rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2012
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Sep 05, 2016
Jacob Wolinsky
Jacob Wolinsky rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2015
Crik rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2014
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Nov 18, 2016
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Underground Knowl...: How influential was occultism on Hitler and the Nazis? 3 18 Nov 27, 2016 03:45AM  
Add page number ISBN 9788871982458 1 8 May 29, 2011 09:13AM  
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Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke B.A. (Bristol), D.Phil. (Oxon) is a professor of Western Esotericism at University of Exeter and author of several books on esoteric traditions.

He is the author of several books on modern occultism and esotericism, and the history of its intersection with Nazi politics. His book, The Occult Roots of Nazism, has remained in print since its publication in 1985 and has been t
More about Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke...

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