From a mad Pan-German anti-semitic politician...
Hitler read luminaries -or at least extracts of their writings- like Luther ("a great German
Genius"), Wagner and Schopenhauer who certainly influenced him. Politically speaking,
his real mentors were Georg von Schoenerer -who was half mad at the end of his life-
and Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienne, who were rabid anti-semites. However their influence
was such that it is examined in a special chapter of this site. However the role of
marginal thinkers like Gal. Karl Haushofer, Gottfried Feder or Dietrich Eckart, all of them
eccentrics tittering on the verge of absurdity, was extremely important too.
Haushofer continued his career as a professional soldier, serving in the army of Imperial
Germany, and rising through the Staff Corp by 1899. In 1903 he begins teaching at the
Bavarian Kriegsakademie. In 1908 the army sent him to Tokyo to study the Japanese
army and to advise it as an artillery instructor. The assignment changed the course of his
life and marked the beginning of his love affair with the Orient. During the next four years
he traveled extensively in the Far East, adding Korean, Japanese, and Chinese to his
repertoire of Russian, French, and English languages. Karl Haushofer had been a
devout student of Schopenhauer, and during his stay in the Far East he was introduced
to Oriental esoteric teachings.
He became proficient enough to translate several Hindu and Buddhist texts, and
became an authority in Oriental mysticism. Some authors even believe that he was the
leader of a secret community of Initiates in a current of satanism through which he
sought to raise Germany to world power, though these occult connections have been
denied. Haushofer toured the Far East, learning of east Asian philisophies and political
ideology. These countries included India, Tibet, and Japan. Of particular interest to him
was a long extinct Aryan tribe, which had settled in the Irano-Indian area. Haushofer also
stoked interest among other Nazi leaders, such as Heinrich Himmler, in Japanese
ideologies. He eventualy became a rabid Japanophile, partisan of a military alliance with
Himmler would eventually come to consider the SS as the German version of the
Japanese Samurai. It is postulated that Haushofer may have developed racial ideas of
superiority from the old Hindu caste systems from his time in the region. By World War I
he had attained the rank of general, and commanded a brigade on the western front. He
became disillusioned after Germany's loss and had severe sanctioning, retiring with the
rank of Major General in 1919. Haushofer, like some other prominent Germans,
attributed Germany's loss to the betrayal of communists and Jews. At this time, he
forged a "close" friendship with the young Rudolf Hess who introduced him to Hitler. In
1941, Haushofer would have been instrumental in Hess's decision to fly over to England
to propose peace with Germany to the Duke of Hamilton. Both were gays and had
probably been lovers.
At the age of 45, Haushofer would receive his doctorate in political geography. Haushofer
was a great admirer of Japanese culture, and when he committed suicide in 1946, he
did so in the traditional Japanese manner. Haushofer made the acquaintance of
Japanese politicians and may have helped to create the Germano-Japanese alliance
during the war. After Hitler came to power in 1933, Professor Haushofer was
instrumental in developing Germany's alliance with Japan. Most of the meetings
between high ranking Japanese officials and Nazi leaders took place at Haushofer's
home near Munich. He saw Japan as the brother nation to Germany. He even
developped some friendship with Richard Sorge, the German-born journalist who
became the most successful Soviet spy in Tokyo in the 30s and early 40s and in 1941
told Stalin that Hitler was going to invade Russia. Letters of introduction he gave to Sorge
in the mid-30s helped his protégé to establish fruitful contacts with the military attaché to
Japan who became German ambassador in 1938.
It is also believed that he was a secret member of the Thule Society. Some authors have
linked Haushofer's name with another esoteric group, the Vril Society, or Luminous
Lodge, a secret society of occultists in pre-Nazi Berlin. Before the war Professor
Haushofer and his son Albrecht allegedly maintained close contacts with British
members of the Golden Dawn.
Haushofer's son, Albrecht (1903-1945), was indicted in the July 20, 1944 plot to
assassinate Hitler and subsequently was killed by the Nazis in the Moabite prison in
Berlin. Haushofer was interrogated by Father Edmund A. Walsh on behalf of the Allied
forces to determine if he would need to stand trial at Nuremburg for war crimes.
However, Haushofer was determined by Walsh not to have committed war crimes. On
March 13, 1946, Hausofer and his wife committed suicide together by drinking poison
(Haushofer would take the additional step of performing seppuku).
His influence on Hitler's mind, notably his occultist penchants and his leanings for
Japan's culture had an overwhelming attraction upon people lihe Hess, Himmler and
Hitler. He was not really a fool but his bizarre inclinations for esoterism and occultism
linked to his virulent anti-semitism were at the core of the Nazi ideology and did certainly
help to establish the doctrine and to spread it among the German people.
...Through a failed playwright...
Another lunatic whose influence on Hitler was enormous is Dietrich Eckart. Born in
1868, he was one of the early key members of the National-Socialist German Workers'
Party and one of the participants in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Eckart was also the first to
coin the term "Drittes Reich" ("Third Reich").
Eckart was born in Neumarkt, Germany (near Nuremberg) in 1868 as the son of a royal
notary and law counselor. In 1895, his father died, leaving him a considerable amount of
money that Eckart nevertheless soon used up. Eckart initially started to study medicine in
Munich, but quit in 1891 to work as a poet, playwright and journalist. He moved to Berlin
in 1899, where he wrote a number of plays, often with autobiographical traits; however,
despite becoming the protege of Graf Georg von Hulsen-Haeseler, the artistic director of
the royal theatres, he was never very successful as a playwright, a failure for which he
blamed society. His Henry IV however was played at the Berlin Imperial Theatre in 1906
and his greater success was an adaptation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.
Later on, he developed an ideology of a "genius higher human", based on earlier
writings by Lanz von Liebenfels, founder of the right-wing magazine Ostara, in which he
published anti-semitic and racist theories; he saw himself in the tradition of Arthur
Schopenhauer and Angelus Silesius, and also became fascinated by Mayan beliefs.
Moving back to Munich, Eckart -who considered himself as a disciple of Shopenhauer
and Nietzsche- joined the Rudolf von Sebottendorff's mystic anti-marxist Thule Society in
1913 and became politically active; in 1915, he also wrote the nationalist play "Heinrich
der Hohenstaufe" ("Heinrich of the High Baptism"), in which he postulated a claim to
world leadership for the German people.
Later on, between 1918 and 1920, Eckart was the editor of the anti-semitic periodical
"Auf gut Deutsch" (In Good German), which he published with the help of Alfred
Rosenberg and Gottfried Feder and that was printed to 20,000 copies. A fierce critic of
the newly-formed Weimar Republic, he vehemently opposed the treaty of Versailles,
which he viewed as treason, and propagated the so-called Dolchstosslegende,
according to which the Social Democrats and Jews were to blame for Germany's defeat
in World War I.
Eckart was involved in the founding Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party)
together with Gottfried Feder and Anton Drexler in 1919, which later on was renamed
Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers'
Party, NSDAP). With his father's money, he bought the Münchener Beobachter that
became in August 1919 the Völkischer Beobachter future periodical of the NSDAP, and
also wrote the songtext "Deutschland erwache" (Germany awake), which became the
anthem of the Nazi party.
He died of a heart attack caused by a morphine addiction in Berchtesgaden on
December 26, 1923. His legacy on Hitler, the NSDAP and the fate of Germany is
undeniable. Hitler later on dedicated the first volume of "Mein Kampf" to Eckart (1).
...To an anti-semite economic theorician
Gottfried Feder, born in 1883, was an anti-capitalist, anti-semite and one of the
early key members of the German Nazi party. He was their economic theoretician.
Initially, it was his lecture in 1919 that drew Hitler into the party. After attending
humanistic schools in Ansbach and Munich, he studied engineering in Berlin and Zurich
(Switzerland); after graduating, he founded a construction company in 1908 that became
very active in Bulgaria where it built a number of official buildings.
From 1917 on, Feder studied financial politics and economics on his own; he developed
a hostility towards wealthy bankers during World War I and wrote a "manifesto on
breaking the shackles of interest" ("Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft") in 1919. This was
soon followed by the founding of a "task force" dedicated to those goals that demanded
a nationalisation of all banks and an abolishment of interest.
In February 1920, with Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler, Feder - who also was a member of
the Thule Society - drafted the so-called "25 points" which summed up the party's views
and introduced his own anti-capitalist views into the programme. Feder took part in the
party's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923; after Hitler's arrest, he remained one of the leaders of
the party and was elected to the Reichstag in 1924, in which he stayed until 1936 and
where he demanded freezing of interest rates and dispossession of Jewish citizens. He
remained one of the leaders of the anti-capitalistic wing of the NSDAP, and published
several papers, including "National and social bases of the German state" (1920), "Das
Programm der NSDAP und seine weltanschaulichen Grundlagen" ("The programme of
the NSDAP and the world views it's based on", 1927) and "Was will Adolf Hitler?" ("What
does Adolf Hitler want?", 1931).
Hitler's mentor in finance and economics, Feder briefly dominated the NSDAP's official
views on financial politics, but after he became chairman of the party's economic counsil
in 1931, his anti-capitalist views led to a great decline in financial support from
Germany's major industrialists. Following pressure from Walther Funk, Albert Voegler,
Gustav Krupp, Friedrich Flick, Fritz Thyssen, Hjalmar Schacht and Emile Kirdorf, Hitler
decided to move the party away from Feder's economic views; when he became
Reichskanzler in 1933, he appointed Feder as under-secretary at the ministry of
economics in July, disappointing Feder who had hoped for a much higher position.
After the Night of the Long Knives, where officials like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Roehm
were murdered, Feder began to withdraw from the government, finally becoming a
professor at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin in December 1936, where he stayed
until his death in Murnau on September 24, 1941. He had hopes to become minister of
Economy during the failed putsch of 1923 but gradually took his distances with a "bunch
of nuts" he judged illiterate and dangerous.
His influence upon Hitler, notably his hatred of the Jewish "international" finance, was
instrumental in Hitler's conceptions of a Socialist Germany. But like other idealists,
notably Otto Wagener, Feder's aura declined as soon as Hitler enjoyed total power in
Germany and as Hitler's financial backers told him to put on the backburner his socialist
ideas of the management of the economy.
Eventually, Hitler was the man of nobody, he was his own Fuehrer, picking up ideas that
served his lust for absolute power. Then dropping them in an instant to pursue other
goals. However, it is remarkable how Hitler was impressed and influenced by men
whose ideas were basically anti-semitic, anti-capitalist and somehow anticonformist.
Hitler enjoyed in some way the "free mind" of an artist who's easily seduced by
unconventional ideas, even if they are in essence unrealistic and potentially harmful. In
their outmost development, most of these ideas were lunatic and extremely dangerous.
Nevertheless, they helped him to grasp absolute power but their implementation is
certainly a major factor in the downfall of the Nazism that was an ideology for hateful
|Adolf Hitler's ideas are a medley of famous -or infamous- people's ideas
rather than the fruit of an elaborated thinking. Even his anti-semistism
was borrowed from philosophers or thinkers, some as ancient as Martin
Luther : it became genuine and "Hitler-made" at the end of WW1 when he
put down the defeat to the treason of the Jews and their allies, the Reds.
Hitler who had a photographic memory and was capable of very fast
reading could peruse tons and tons of documents, newspapers, books in
a short time and kept from this quick reading what was interesting him
or supporting his own romantic and childishlike ideas.
|Karl Haushofer, born in 1869 into a family of artists and scholars, graduated
from the Munich Gymnasium (high school) and joined the Bavarian army where
he proved so successfull that he became an instructor in military academies and
on the general staff. In 1887, he entered the 1st Field Artillery regiment
"Prinzregent Luitpold" and completed Bavarian war school (Kriegsschule), artillery
academy (Artillerieschule), and Bavarian war academy (Kriegsakademie).
|Hitler the dropped-out
from school politician
loved to pause for an
intellectual and looted
other people's theories
or ideas in order to lay
down his own views
of this world
|The theory of the
stabbing in the
back [by the Jews
and the Reds]
popular in the
|Eckart soon met Adolf Hitler as well, during a speech he gave
before party members on August 14, 1919; he exerted
considerable influence on Hitler in the following years, who later
on described him as his "fatherly friend" but soon got wary of
Hitler's ideas. On November 9, 1923, Eckart was involved in the
Nazi party's failed Beer Hall Putsch; he was arrested in
Landsberg prison along with Hitler and other party officials, but
released again soon due to illness.
After his semi-retirement, Feder continued to
write papers, putting out "Kampf gegen die
Hochfinanz" ("The Fight against high finance",
1933) and the anti-semitic "Die Juden" ("The
Breaking the shackles of interest
was a manifesto against Jewish
control of the high finance of the
(1) In 1925, Eckart's unfinished essay "Der Bolschewismus
von Moses bis Lenin : Zwiegespraech zwischen Hitler und
mir" ("Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin. Dialogues between
Hitler and me") was posthumously published, although it has
been shown (Plewnia 1970) that the dialogues were an
invention; the essay was in fact written by Eckart alone.
|All writing on this site is Copyright Michel Cahier 2003-2100 unless
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