SF, Occult Sciences, and Nazi Myths

The archives of the SF Studies journal are full of fascinating articles, and Manfred Nagl‘s SF, Occult Sciences, and Nazi Myths is certainly no exception! Looking at German science fiction of the Nazi period, Nagl examines the relationship between fiction and reality in such topics as Glacial Cosmogony, the Atlantis/Thule myth, The Hollow World theory, and Theozoology – and their effects on Nazi ideology:

The Atlantis-faith and Glacial Cosmogony also inspired the about 600 members of the “Society for Space Flight”15 who wished to escape from the German misery by means of spaceships. They wanted to discover “new worlds, as modem conquistadors”; they planned to augment Germany’s greatness by building a space-station whose “strategic value” was among other things to consist, as Willy Ley wrote, in “creating tornadoes and rainstorms, destroying marching troops and their supply-lines, and burning entire cities.” Thanks to the active propaganda of this society, the idea of space travel grew so popular that moon-rockets became a regular item in carnival parades, and Fritz Lang was stimulated to make the film The Woman in the Moon (1928) for which he asked the Society for expert advice.

The leading Nazis had a special weakness for the Atlantis myth. The racist professor and pamphleteer Herman Wirth played a leading role in this connection, advocating in their inner councils “a tremendous turning back of culture, away from the age of reason and consciousness, toward the age of a ‘sleepwalking certainty,’ the age of supra-rational magic.” Heinrich Himmler and Wirth founded the “Study Group for Spiritual History” “Deutsches Ahnenerbe” (German Heritage) which propagated such pseudo-sciences and which was, for example, responsible for the deep-freeze experiments (with subsequent coition, “an ancient folk-remedy”!) in the concentration camps, as well as for the collection of skeletons in Strasbourg plentifully supplied from murdered “inferior race” specimens. – read the rest of the article.


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