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The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust
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The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  295 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Now in paperback, the groundbreaking history of the Nazi research institute whose work helped lead to the extermination of millions

For those who thought the zealous Nazi archaeologists in Raiders of the Lost Ark were a screenwriter's fabrication, journalist Heather Pringle has the chilling, real story. In 1935, Heinrich Himmler--chief of the SS and architect of the death c
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by Hachette Books (first published October 1st 2004)
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Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
While many historians have spent a great deal of time on the various aspects of the Third Reich, few have taken the time to see how the terrible power of science and its manipulation in order to set the foundations for and to justify some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust. Heather Pringle's easy to read and fascinating look at the shadowy organization that propagated the various racial theories that formed the basis of Nazi science.

On July 1, 1935, in a spacious, sunlit office in SS Headq
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
It's oddly fascinating to read the litany of bizarre things Himmler and like-minded Nazi scientists were willing to believe. Anything was plausible, so long as meant Germans were the best at everything in history. Roman civilization? Jump started by Aryan invaders. India? Aryans. Atlantis? Aryans. Thor's hammer? Aryan electrical weapon. It would almost be funny, if the same lines of reasoning weren't used as justification for murder on a mind-numbing scale. It made me wonder what it must have be ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A highly important subject that doesn’t always gets enough of focus. When people think about the holocaust they usually think about the network of concentration and death camps. But another hideous crime the Nazis have committed during those dark days was done in the name of so called science. Here Pringle describes the two main objects of these scientists (if you actually can call them that) - the first was proving the superiority of the Aryan race over other races (especially Jews), while the ...more
David Bales
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant history of the "Ahnenerbe", a "research" wing of the SS, created by Heinrich Himmler in 1935 to search for lost Nordic artifacts and influences throughout the world. Himmler was convinced, (as well as alot of other crackpot German nationalists) that civilization started not in the Middle East, but in Northern Europe since the "Aryans" were the superior, master race. This basic theory led to the thinking that great civilizations throughout history--the Persians, the Romans and even Ti ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We all know that Heinrich Himmler, the author and overlord of the Nazi Final Solution, was a mass murderer. What we might not know is that behind his murderous instincts was an attachment to scientific analysis and rational thought—at least in his mind. Whatever his scientific and intellectual talents, he was capable of a psychopathic misdiagnosis of both a “problem” and a “solution.” He was an example of a certain type of dangerous individual—deep intellectual curiosity, a belief that he is emi ...more
Randy Mcdonald
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Heather Pringle's 2006 The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust is the sort of book that makes one want to laugh in horror. Pringle's pleasant if conventional journalistic style does nothing at all to disguise the horror that she feels on discovering the full extent of the activities of the Ahnenerbe, the SS' occult research ministry. Starting off from the theosophy and kindred New Age movements which were popular in early 20th century Germany, Pringle demonstrates convincingly that ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nazis believed that they were heirs to the cultural and genetic legacy of a (mythic) “Aryan” race. In Hitler’s worldview, master races were creators of civilizations. Himmler, the head of the SS, was convinced that ancient German tribes seeded cultures in India, Tibet, ...Russia, Finland, etc., that the Norse Gods existed, that Thor’s Hammer was a real weapon and that ancient cave paintings were evidence of a primal ur-Aryan language. Himmler funds a research institute, employs dozens of scholar ...more
Max Rebo
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
A pesar de su título castellano (El plan maestro, arqueología fantástica al servicio del régimen nazi), no estamos ante una obra sobre la búsqueda de arcas de la alianza o lanzas de Longinos que hubieran proporcionado una ventaja militar esotérica a los ejércitos hitlerianos. Se trata de un libro sobre la ciencia alemana en esos años oscuros, sobre cómo los nazis (y más concretamente Himmler) buscaron por todo el mundo evidencias que pudieran demostrar sus disparatadas teorías raciales (que incl ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heather Pringle provides a comprehensive study of Himmler’s Nazi research institute, “Ahnenerbe”, and explores how the Nazis manipulated history and science in order to justify their horrifying atrocities and to promote the Nazi agenda. The book is very well researched and highly educational, as much fascinating as it is disheartening and, sadly, still so very relevant. A must-read!
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Both enlightening and disheartening this book shows the extent to which groups will go to abuse science in their attempt to re-write history. The existence of an Aryan race in history was assumed and scholars and scientists were recruited who would warp history to 'prove' its existence and the ability to reconstruct the master race. Like the actions of some groups that exist today, information was misinterpreted, misconstrued, and/or ignored to prove their premise valid. In the Third Reich child ...more
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