Heinrich Himmler and the Ancient High Technology of the Lost Civilization of the Norse Gods
Yesterday, U.S. president Donald J. Trump met with Russian president Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki for a controversial summit denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike. In advance of the summit, members of an anti-immigrant organization known as the Soldiers of Odin, whose leader is a self-described Neo-Nazi convicted of a hate crime, knelt before Trump banners in a show of deference to the American leader. The anti-immigrant hate group was founded in Finland in 2015 to intimidate immigrants, and it now boasts chapters in Anglophone countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. Although the organization denies being racist or Neo-Nazi, studies by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Finland’s Yle public broadcaster found that its members were predominantly white supremacists and supporters of the extreme right.
The use of Norse pagan imagery—the god Odin in this case—as a symbol of white culture in opposition to largely nonwhite immigrants is reminiscent of Nazi efforts to revive Germanic paganism, a close cousin of Norse paganism, as an alternative to Christianity more acceptable to National Socialism.
This caught my eye because I spent this past weekend making some revisions that the editors of All About History requested for my article about Hitler’s wonder weapons. In doing so, I came across an unusual quotation from Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, in which articulated the exact type of argument that ancient astronaut theorists and lost civilization speculators now routinely make about pagan mythology.
In May 1940, Himmler commissioned a study of depictions of Thor’s hammer in “Aryan” art in order to determine whether the weapon, and similar armaments held by other gods, was something more than a magical piece of myth-making. He had come to believe that Thor’s power involved “not natural thunder and lightning but rather a case of earlier, highly developed weapons possessed by only a few, namely by the Aesir, the gods, and presuming an extraordinary knowledge of electricity.” It sounds too science fictional to be real, but this was actually written by Himmler himself in a letter sent to Walter Wüst, the head of the Ahnenerbe and recorded in the Kriegstagbuch Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS, currently held in the U.S. National Archives among Himmler’s papers seized at the end of World War II.
Himmler’s idea sounds strikingly like something you’d hear today on Ancient Aliens, and indeed, it actually is something that was on Ancient Aliens in 2013, and also on True Monsters, when both shows alleged that Thor’s hammer was actually a piece of high technology wielded by entities masquerading as gods.
It was hard for me not to compare this to Erich von Däniken’s infamous description of the Ark of the Covenant in Chariots of the Gods, which he similarly imagined as a piece of high technology demonstrating amazing knowledge of electricity: “When passing cattle shook and threatened to overturn the Ark, Uzzah grabbed hold of it. He fell dead on the spot, as if struck by lightning. Undoubtedly the Ark was electrically charged! If we reconstruct it today according to the instructions handed down by Moses, a voltage of several hundred volts is produced.” It is probably only a coincidence that Chariots was heavily edited and rewritten by Wilhelm “Utze” Utermann, under the penname Wilhelm Roggersdorff. Utermann had been a Nazi party journalist who edited the Hitler Youth magazine.
One might reasonably wonder how it is that Heinrich Himmler stumbled onto an ancient astronaut claim decades before the ancient astronaut theory came to prominence. The easy answer is that he borrowed heavily from Theosophy, with its claims of extraterrestrial gods, and from the Atlantis theories of Ignatius Donnelly, and from assorted other science fiction claims. The real answer is a little more complicated. It does, indeed, involve these influences, but it is grounded in a literal reading of the Eddas, which Himmler took to be a true and pretended were an accurate record of ancient Aryan migrations from Central Asia to northern Europe.
In the prologue to the Prose Edda, composed by Snorri Sturlson as a Christianized compendium of Norse myths, we learn that the Norse gods were actually human beings, princes who were born in ancient Troy and who migrated across Europe when the Greeks destroyed their city. Here is how Snorri described the birth of Thor, the god we are most interested in here: “One king among them was called Múnón or Mennón; and he was wedded to the daughter of the High King Priam, her who was called Tróán; they had a child named Trór, whom we call Thor.” Snorri operated in the tradition of Euhemerus, turning the gods into mortal men, kings of old, in order to make them more acceptable to his audience.
Himmler therefore had it in his mind that the Norse gods were ancient Aryan kings—he called them “the earliest Aryans” and though they contained the pure “essence” of Aryanism—and their weapons were therefore actually high technology from the prehistoric Aryan homeland, the one Himmler kept trying to find in Atlantis, Thule, and Tibet.
Although Himmler’s specific idea did not survive him, strangely enough, something of it finds an echo in one of the most influential fringe history books of the twentieth century. In Morning of the Magicians, Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier provided one of the first popular accounts of Himmler’s Ahnenerbe and its occult investigations into ancient history. Their account helped inspire later writers to take the group’s twisting of history seriously, even though the authors themselves did not. While they did not discuss Thor or his hammer in the context of the Ahnenerbe, they did mention him in discussing the allegation that the Gobi Desert had been nuked in ancient times, pushing the ancient Aryans out of central Asia and into Northern Europe about three or four thousand years ago. “The Scandinavian god Thor,” they wrote, “is supposed to have been one of the heroes of this migration.”
Although they do not identify their source, they are describing a bizarre French pseudohistorical claim from the late 1800s revolving around the imaginary homeland of the Aryans, Agartha, which was derived from Asgard by Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre and place in the Himalayas—the putative home of the Aryan race in Nazi theory and a number of other white supremacist ideologies. In time, he moved it under the earth when it became obvious that it didn’t exist on the well-documented surface of the planet. Anyway, later writers, specifically Ferdynand Ossendowski, popularized it, and Theodore Illion alleged that he had visited the place in travelogues published in 1930s Germany from Nazi presses. At times it was a lost city, a massive occult university, the home of Theosophical Ascended Masters and the Great White Brotherhood, and any number of other fantasies. Depending on whom you ask, it might be located beneath anywhere from the Himalayas to the Gobi. This (fake) esoteric tradition, allegedly of Buddhist origin, served to ennoble the emerging idea of a Proto-Indo-European homeland by imagining it not as the plains patrolled by itinerant herders but as the capital of a civilization befitting the world’s master race.
The direct source for Pauwels and Bergier, however, was Maurice Doreal, who took these ideas, along with a heavy dose of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, and repackaged them in a pamphlet in the late 1940s called “Mysteries of Gobi,” which alleged that an underground civilization once lived beneath the Gobi and had been destroyed by a nuclear weapon. Oh, and the inhabitants of this civilization were snake-men.
Pauwels and Bergier went on to inspire Erich von Däniken, who was forced to admit as much when the publisher of the former threatened to sue that of the latter if they didn’t get proper acknowledgement for the material that von Däniken borrowed from them. Although the path from Himmler to von Däniken was not direct, the same core components—ancient gods were flesh and blood beings, ancient weapons were high technology, etc.—came together more than once among people drawing on the same building blocks, coming to similar results.
7/17/2018 09:43:17 am
Mysteries of the Gobi sounds pretty interesting. Is it in English?
7/17/2018 10:14:16 am
Yes, but I wasn't going to pay $8 for a reprint.
7/17/2018 10:39:26 am
Where can I get your Cult Of Alien Gods book for less than $60+?
Scott David Hamilton
7/17/2018 01:34:45 pm
There’s a couple places I’ll check around a Chicago to see if I can find an original. It might not be too expensive, if it’s post 1945.
7/17/2018 12:29:37 pm
It is interesting that other races can be openly racist, but it is prohibited to the white race.
7/17/2018 06:04:51 pm
Yep....Seems to be the norm. I would advise against anything from the so called SPLC....No law and no poverty there, just making money from their donors and other sources.
7/17/2018 06:49:23 pm
I did a whole series about Ivan Van Sertima's Afrocentrism a few years ago, along with the 1920s theories about West African voyages to America.
An Anonymous Nerd
7/17/2018 07:01:57 pm
[ I would advise against anything from the so called SPLC]
An Anonymous Nerd
7/17/2018 06:48:01 pm
[It is interesting that other races can be openly racist, but it is prohibited to the white race. ]
7/17/2018 07:27:11 pm
Honestly, how openly racist any given group can be varies from place to place and time to time. Right now it very much seems like whites in the US can be openly racist whenever they feel like--if they weren't free to be openly racist, there wouldn't BE so much visible backlash. Go to Japan and whites can't be so openly racist but oh, the Japanese can! In China, it's the Chinese.
7/17/2018 12:53:48 pm
It is quite interesting, at least from a historical perspective, that an anti-immigrant white supremacist group that originated in Finland is now operating in the U.S. In the early 20th century the Finns were perceived by some here as quite the problem group for reasons ranging from the racial to the political.
7/17/2018 02:35:15 pm
"In the early 20th century the [fill in the blank] were perceived by some here as quite the problem group for reasons ranging from the racial to the political."
7/17/2018 03:10:29 pm
7/17/2018 04:06:07 pm
Not shaky at all, widely known.
7/17/2018 01:51:56 pm
What does being a neo-nazi mean these days? Hitler was a national socialist. Is every nationalist and socialist therefore a neo-nazi until the end of times.
An Anonymous Nerd
7/17/2018 07:29:55 pm
Let's see here...
7/17/2018 07:33:03 pm
Actually, there are numerous discussions as to what constitutes "Neo-Nazi," and it's not hard to find a fairly uniform definition that is not nearly as broad as "nationalist and socialist." Generally speaking, it's more synonymous with "white supremacist," sometimes with "Holocaust denial" added in, and sometimes with "veneration of the Third Reich" thrown in instead or in addition to Holocaust denial.
7/17/2018 10:37:48 pm
I’ll admit is can get confusing, especially if you only read Am Ren or Breitbart.
7/18/2018 03:43:06 am
Does being against uncontrolled immigration make one a neo-nazi? I do not see how being against immigration makes one a “white supremacist”.
7/18/2018 04:21:00 am
Would also say that being against uncontrolled immigration does not mean one hates someone. It is just about preserving your own culture and way of life.
An Anonymous Nerd
7/18/2018 08:28:00 pm
This is an insincere question, because the Soldiers of Odin aren't really having this kind of policy debate. Further, while I suppose some might favor unrestricted immigration into, say, the United States or Canada, that's not really what's being debated here.
7/18/2018 09:38:24 pm
Anti-Defamation League? That's Meir Kahane's group right? He of the studded nunchucks? Burn in hell Meir.
7/18/2018 08:42:17 pm
“National” = SS
7/17/2018 03:39:47 pm
Very interesting Jason. Himmler's fascination with all things occult and his desire to mold the Schutzstaffel into modern Teutonic Knights is fairly well documented, but I hadn't realized how closely aligned Pauwels and Bergier were with his thinking when I read "Morning of the Magicians" many years ago.
7/17/2018 06:56:04 pm
Finland didnt win the winter war. The conflict was ended in a treaty in which the finns were forced to make major concessions. Even though the conflict had reached somewhat of a stalemate, it was clear that Finland couldn't withstand another major Russian offensive. So they were pressured into terms highly favorable to the soviets. It was at best a stalemate for the finns since they were able to do pretty good against a huge nation with a massive military. As such it can be viewed as somewhat of a moral victory, especially if one is Finnish or Finnish American. But in terms of an actual victory, its a big stretch.
7/17/2018 09:38:54 pm
Moral victory sounds better to me than stalemate. I think Uncle Joe knew he was going to be too busy with those pesky Germans and didn't want to expend anymore energy on the finicky Finns. Now, those Lapplanders, on the other hand......
7/17/2018 10:42:55 pm
Yeah, a final push wasn't going to be fun for the Russians and things would have gotten quite complicated when they took helsinki. So best to get the finns to sign over karalia and agree to a Russian base on their home turf and call it a day. Bigger things were about to get served on their plate.
7/17/2018 10:52:03 pm
And what is forgotten is the allied Norwegian campaign was originally envisioned to deny Germany the supposed massive iron reserves in Norway and support the fins against the soviets who were nominally allies with hitler at that time. And how the American left condemned when Britain and France landed troops in Norway.
7/17/2018 08:33:22 pm
And the communist party endorsed Obama. And obama wasnt a commie. Honestly waiting for u to condemn all tribalism(aka multiculturalism) and not just “white” tribalism.
Please do not confuse Himmler with "the Nazis". This is not the same. On the other hand, it is true, that especially today's Neo-Nazis often show an ideology as if Himmler and not Hitler once had been the leader of the Nazi movement.
7/18/2018 01:22:39 pm
There are people that not only believe in Nazi UFOS, but even saw them until recently. They lived in Colonia Dignidad (now Villa Baviera) in Chile, the Nazi stronghold, child molestation center and place for torture in the Pinochet era.
7/18/2018 04:28:32 pm
"They lived in Colonia Dignidad (now Villa Baviera) in Chile, the Nazi stronghold, child molestation center and place for torture in the Pinochet era."
7/18/2018 08:04:15 pm
I had not related Colonia Dignidad with the ongoing crisis of pedophilia in Chile. Good point.
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