THE NAZI GOSPELS
Monday 31 March at 9.30am EST/ NZ
This program is an examination of the mystical and mythological underpinnings of Nazism and “aryan” ideology. The focus is upon Himmler and the SS and the generation of a Nazi version of science and History.
There is much archival footage used, and a number of academics make contributions throughout. Some of the material is in the form of a doco-drama with re-enactments of excerpts from speeches and memoirs.
The program lends itself to viewing in sections as appropriate, in a course of study on Nazism, or Germany in the 20th century.
PREVIEWING IS ESSENTIAL.
This is the data collection stage of the activity.
The detailed questioning is designed to ensure that students decode the visual and aural materials presented to them in the video.
The video programs can be stopped at the end of each section. This will allow students to share and discuss answers.
Note the concept of the Nazism as a “cult”. Implications?
What did the SS search for? Implications?
Note details of the “extraordinary ritual” taking place in 1939? Implications?
What was Heinrich Himmler’s aim? Result?
What was the Nazi ‘bible’?
In what sense was Hitler a political ‘messiah’?
Note Himmler’s comments on Christianity. Implications? Result?
Gospel of the Master Race.
Why was the occult popular in the late 19th century? Result? Implications?
Why was this less ‘harmless’ in Germany?
Note the concept of “Volk”. Implications?
Who were the Aryans?
What defines the Aryan?
Note the reference to “comic books”.
Note the characteristics of the Aryan race. Implications?
What evidence is there for an Aryan ‘race’?
Note details of Thule. Implications?
Note the belief in god-like powers. Implications? Result?
How were the super powers lost? Implications? Result?
Note the race hierarchy of the SS. Implications? Result?
Why did “reasonable” Germans adopt such ideas? Result?
Note the reference to the beginnings of Nazism as an Aryan cult movement.
What did the Nazis ‘inherit’ from this Aryan cult? Result?
Note the description of Hitler.
In what sense are the SS members “priests” of Nazism?
The Gospel of the SS.
Why did Himmler choose Wewelsburg Castle for the SS cult centre in 1933?
What was planned for the northern tower? Implications?
What is the “black sun” symbol?
What was the plan for the crypt?
Note the origins of the SS.
Why was Germany in chaos after WW1? Result? Implications?
Who did the Nazis blame for all Germany’s ills?
What did they promise? Result? Implications?
How did the Nazis “speed up” their path to power?
When did Himmler take over the SS? Why? Result?
Note details of Himmler’s background?
In what sense was Himmler “aryan”?
Why did Himmler turn to Nazism?
Why was he interested in the occult?
What boost did the Nazis get in 1929? Result?
How did the Nazis exploit Germany’s economic problems? Result?
How as Germany to be reawakened?
Note Himmler’s comments on Hitler and the German state.
What role did the SS play in the new Nazi State?
What role did Himmler see for the SS? Implications? Result?
Why did the SS appeal to many Germans?
Note the ultimate symbol of the SS.
What did obedience to Nazism imply? Result?
The Gospel of the Pagan gods.
What is the aim of Himmler’s reform of German religion?
Note Himmler’s views on the Christian Church. Result? Implications?
When was the “golden age” of Germanness? Result?
What were the Externsteine? Implications? Result?
Why was blood shed in these rituals?
Note the background of Karl- Maria Willigut. Implications?
What impact did Willigut have on Himmler? Result? Implications?
The Gospel of Aryan History.
What was the aim of Aryan history?
Note Himmler’s comments on “eternal” Germany.
Note the importance of solstice festivals. Implications?
Note Himmler’s comments on “racial” decay.
Note the sentiment of the Song of Solstice. Implications?
Note the pageants and tableaux performed by the Nazis. Aim?
Note the story of Hermann the German. Implications? Result?
What was glorified in the legend of Hermann?
Why was missing from this ‘mythological’ version of Germany’s past? Result?
Note details of the Ahnenerbe. Implications?
Note details of the Declaration to German Scientists. Implications? Result?
What role did runes play in Nazi ideology?
Why did the Ahnenerbe become involved in archaeology?
Why was Himmler interested in representations of lightning and hammers? Result?
The Gospel of the Holy Grail.
What quest did Himmler set for the SS?
Note details of the Holy Grail.
Why did the Nazis seek the grail?
Note details of Otto Rahn.
Why was Himmler interested in Otto Rahn?
Why was Montsegur of interest to the SS?
Who were the Cathars?
Note the story of the discovery and recovery of the grail.
Why were the Cathars “stamped out”?
Why was Otto Rahn interested in the local legends? Result?
Why did Himmler build a “Grail room” at Wewelsburg? Result?
Why did Rahn leave the SS? Result?
What was Himmler’s next “obsession”? Result?
Why did the SS scientists go to Tibet? Result?
The Gospel of the Fuhrer.
Note the reference to manipulation and “brain-washing”. Implications?
Note the role of Nuremburg in the Nazi movement.
Why was a Nuremburg rally always an ‘experience’?
What was the basis of the allegiance of German youth to Adolf Hitler? Implications? Result?
Why did Nazism use religious symbolism and liturgy in its secular spectacles?
Note the references to Hitler as ‘saviour’.
What “cutting-edge” technology did the Nazis exploit? Result?
Note the work of the Nazi filmmakers. Result?
Note details of the Hitler Youth.
Note the “skills” taught to girls.
What was the new German greeting? Implications?
The Gospel of Aryan Science
Why is the SS labelled as “psychotic”?
What was the state of pre-Nazi science in Germany?
What inconvenient ‘truth’ was inescapable about the German scientific community?
Note details of Albert Einstein.
Why did the Nazis believe Einstein’s theories were ‘incorrect’?
Note details of Hans Horbiger.
What was the “World-Ice Theory”? Result? Implications?
What was the “one big plus” about this theory for Nazism?
What did the racial research of the Ahnenerbe scientists conclude about Germans? Result?
What was the SS “Selection Principle”? Implications? Result?
Note Himmler’s comments on “breeding”. Implications? Result?
Why did Germany need “purification”? Result? Implications?
What was the fate of those who were not “selected”?
What was the goal of Hitler’s military preparations?
The Gospel of Race War.
What is the destiny of the “Aryan race”? Implications?
What was the basis of “race” conflict? Implications? Result?
How was Darwin’s theory distorted by race theory? Implications? Result?
Note the Nazi attitude to sport.
What role did the Olympic Games of 1936 play in Hitler’s Germany? Result?
What is the real competition between races? Result?
Why was peace foreign to Nazism?
Why did Hitler believe war was necessary? Result? Implications?
Note the progress of the Nazi onslaught on Europe.
What halts the Nazis? Result?
How did Nazi science now play against the Germans? Result?
Note other examples of where Nazi science and race theory misled Germany.
Note details of the crimes that were the inevitable result of Nazi “aryan” ideology. Result?
Note details of the “Final Solution”.
The Gospel of Genocide.
Note the Nazi view of the “Jewish led” war as expressed by Himmler.
What was astonishingly sinister about the “Final solution”?
Note the activities of the Einsatzgruppen in eastern Europe. Result?
Note Himmler’s speech at Posen. Implications?
Note the sentiments expressed by Karl Kretschmer. Implications?
Note Professor Klaus Fischer’s comments on the ‘gospels’.
Why was a “gigantic machine” of death now set up? Result?
Why did the Germans continue the extermination even when losing the war?
When did the war come to an end?
What was Himmler’s fate?
Why was Nuremburg chosen as the site for the war crime trials?
What is the role of the Nazi ‘gospels’ in understanding events in Europe from 1933 to 1945?
Useful, interesting, challenging, books, sources and websites will provide materials to supplement and complement the History presented in the video program.
The data collected here should be used in the notemaking below.
Some useful Internet sites:
The Holy Grail:
The Final solution:
This is the collation stage of the activity. Students need to organise the field of information and begin to explore its context.
Directions and /or Inquiry questions are provided for notemaking / summary exercises that will follow the viewing of the video.
The materials / data for the summaries have been collected above.
The activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.
1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.
2. Note details of Heinrich Himmler.
3. Note details of the SS.
4. Note details of the Ahnenerbe.
5. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of the “Master Race”.
6. Note details of ‘the gospel’ of the SS.
7. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of the “pagan gods”.
8. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of “Aryan” History.
9. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of the “Holy Grail”.
10. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of the Fuhrer.
11. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of “Aryan” Science.
12. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of the “Race War”.
13. Note details of the ‘gospel’ of Genocide.
ISSUES & INQUIRY.
Key issues and inquiry questions that have been raised by the video are addressed at this stage for discussion and research.
1. Why had the so-called “Aryans” lost their super human powers?
2. Why were Germans looking for a political “messiah” in the 1930s?
PROBLEMS of EVIDENCE.
Questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the video program need to be considered, tested and researched.
1. What super “weapons” were the Ahnenerbe searching for? Result?
2. What evidence is there that the German people were misled by Nazi propaganda?
The key issues and inquiry questions are potential topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical recount and explanation.
1. Write a REPORT on the Ahnenerbe.
2. Prepare notes (both sides) for a DEBATE of the proposition that
Germans did not know what to expect when they supported or voted for the Nazis.
3. How can the so-called ‘gospels’ of Nazism assist our understanding of the Nazi regime?