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Of Lamas and Nazis

Of Lamas and Nazis

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historical treatise
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Published by: Constantin Charam Zissis on Aug 17, 2013
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Of Lamas and Nazis: The SS in Tibet--1938-39

[CP-List] Of Lamas and Nazis: The SS in Tibet--1938-39 Jeffrey St. Clair sitka@home.com Mon, 19 Mar 2001 08:08:37 -0800
Hitler and the Himalayas The SS Mission to Tibet 1938-39 ALEX McKAY Of all the exotic images that the West has ever projected onto Tibet, that of the Nazi expedition, and its search for the pure remnants of the Aryan race, remains the most bizarre. On the nineteenth of January, 1939, five members of the Waffen-SS, Heinrich Himmler's feared Nazi shock troops, passed through the ancient, arched gateway that led into the sacred city of Lhasa. Like many Europeans, they carried with them idealized and unrealistic views of Tibet, projecting, as Orville Schell remarks in his book Virtual Tibet, "a fabulous skein of fantasy around this distant, unknown land." The projections of the Nazi expedition, however, did not include the now familiar search for Shangri-La, the hidden land in which a uniquely perfect and peaceful social system held a blueprint to counter the transgressions that plague the rest of humankind. Rather, the perfection sought by the Nazis was an idea of racial perfection that would justify their views on world history and German supremacy. What brings about this odd juxtaposition of Tibetan lamas and SS officers on the eve of World War II is a strange story of secret societies, occultism, racial pseudo-science, and political intrigue. They were, in fact, on a diplomatic and quasi-scientific mission to establish relations between Nazi Germany and Tibet and to search for lost remnants of an imagined Aryan race hidden somewhere on the Tibetan plateau. As such, they were a far-flung expression of Hitler's most paranoid and bizarre theories on ethnicity and domination. And while the Tibetans were completely unaware of Hitler's racist agenda, the 1939 mission to Tibet remains a cautionary tale about how foreign ideas, symbols, and terminology can be horribly misused. Some Nazi militarists imagined Tibet as a potential base for attacking British India, and hoped that this mission would lead to some form of alliance with the Tibetans. In that they were partly successful. The mission was received by the Reting Regent (who had led Tibet since the death of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama in 1933), and it did succeed in persuading the Regent to correspond with Adolf Hitler. But the Germans were also interested in Tibet for another reason. Nazi leaders such as Heinrich Himmler believed that Tibet might harbor the last of the original Aryan tribes, the legendary forefathers of the German race, whose leaders possessed supernatural powers that the Nazis could use to conquer the world. This was the age of European expansion, and numerous theories provided ideological justification for imperialism and colonialism. In Germany the idea of an Aryan or "master" race found resonance with rabid nationalism, the idea of the German superman distilled from the philosophy of friedrich

and many seem to have had a vague affinity for Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. Its members practiced meditation to awaken the powers of Vril." Later he wrote of a Vril society. this blend of ancient myths and nineteenth-century scientific theories began to evolve into a belief that the Germans were the purest manifestation of . Beger.and early twentieth-century European jingoists and occultists such as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau. Inner circle. a follower of Gurdjieff and later one of Hitler's main patrons. In the hands of late nineteenth. wrote a best-selling novel around the idea of a cosmic energy (particularly strong in the female sex). His fantasies coincided with a great interest in the occult. The Vril Society claimed to have links to Tibetan masters. the feminine cosmic energy. which he called "Vril.E. comes from the Sanskrit word arya. and Haushofer named it the Vril Society. The term "Aryan". Wienert. consisting of a race of super-beings that would emerge from their underground hiding-places to rule the world. Schaefer. It also aided in fomenting anti-Semitism and xenophobia. A number of prominent articles of Nazi rhetoric and symbolism originated in the language and religions of Asia. Members of the German SS expedition. the most ancient Hindu scriptures.E. although it is unclear whether these Indo-Europeans were identical with the Aryans of the Vedas. Geer. photo courtesy Alex McKay General Haushofer.Nietzsche. a Rosicrucian. In the Vedas. The German identification with the Indo-Europeans and Aryans of the second millennium B. In Germany. They ranged from those devoted to the Holy Grail to those who followed the sex and drugs mysticism of Alastair Crowley. these ideas about Indo-Europeans and light-skinned Aryans were transformed into a twisted myth of Nordic and later exclusively German racial superiority. B. Lytton. left to right: Krause. gave historical precedence to Germany's imperial "place in the sun" and the idea that ethnic Germans were racially entitled to conquest and mastery. Gypsies.C. In the 1890s. the Theosophist who claimed to be in telepathic contact with spiritual masters in Tibet. with numerous secret societies founded to propagate these ideas. the term describes a race of light-skinned people from Central Asia who conquered and subjugated the darker-skinned (or Dravidian) peoples of the Indian subcontinent. So much for responsible scholarship. particularly among the upper classes. Its aim was to explore the origins of the Aryan race. Linguistic evidence does support the multidirectional migration of a central Asian people. for example. and Wagner's operatic celebrations of Nordic sagas and Teutonic mythology. meaning noble. into much of India and Europe at some point between 2000 and 1500 B.C. Ideas about an Aryan or master race began to appear in the popular media in the late nineteenth century. apparently drawing on the ideas of Madame Blavatsky. founded one such society. the Nazis had borrowed Asian symbols and language and used them for their own ends. as Jews. Long before the 1939 mission to Tibet.. and other minorities did not share in the Aryan German's perceived heritage as members of a dominant race. after Lytton's fictional creation. now referred to as Indo-Europeans. E.

original Buddhism that had been lost. a legendary island in the frozen northlands that had been the home of a master race. Heinrich Himmler. the inhabitants of Thule were forced to flee from some catastrophe that destroyed their world. perhaps in secret tunnels in Tibet. There he may have acquired some knowledge of Zen Buddhism. who remained active in the Thule Society. but the Thule Society added a strong right-wing. Beyond the adoption of the swastika. it is difficult to judge the extent to which either Tibet or Buddhism played a part in Thule Society ideology Vril Society founder General Haushofer. which was founded in Munich by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorf. much polluted by primitive local beliefs. the Vril Society gave way to the Thule Society (Thule Gesellschaft). Such ideas might have remained harmless. although it was actually used by numerous unconnected cultures throughout history. the Knights Templar. and a degenerate Buddhism that survived. being imagined as the likely home of the survivors of the mythic Thule race. But Tibet occupied a much stronger position in their mythology. Here an SS anthropologist measures a Tibetan woman's head. As in the legend of Atlantis (with which it is sometimes identified). and the Sufis. Himmler enthusiastically embraced the aims and beliefs of the Thule Society. and almost certainly Hitler himself. they adopted the swastika. the Order of the Golden Dawn. and had little real influence on the Thule ideology. They believed it was an original Aryan symbol.the inherently superior Aryan race. whose destiny was to rule the world. He adopted a range of . the original Aryans. had been a German military attache in Japan. along with the dagger and the oak leaves. The appeal of the swastika symbol to the Thule Society seems to have been largely in its dramatic strength rather than its cultural or mystical significance. a follower of Blavatsky. But while Hitler was at least nominally a Catholic. could only have read early German studies of Buddhism. But the survivors had retained their magical powers and were hidden from the world. which had been used by earlier German neo-pagan groups. It promoted the myth of Thule. As their symbol. These ideas were given scientific weight by ill-founded theories of eugenics and racist ethnography. (C)Transmit Films GMBH The importance of the Thule Society can be seen from the fact that its members included Nazi leaders Rudolf Hess (Hitler's deputy). however. and those studies tended to construct the idea of a pure. The Thule Society drew on the traditions of various orders such as the Jesuits. Other Thule Society members. anti-Semitic political ideology to the Vril Society mythology. where they might be contacted and subsequently bestow their powers on their Aryan descendants. Some German scientists believed that Aryan features were reflected in the dimensions of the skull. It seems that Buddhism was little more than a poorly understood and exotic element in the Society's loose collection of beliefs. which was then the dominant faith among the Japanese military. Around 1919. They formed an active opposition to the local Socialist government in Munich and engaged in street battles and political assassinations.

the pure Aryan Germanic races had been corrupted by prolonged contact with Jewish people. A new cultural wave flows in and lasts until the blood of its standard-bearers becomes once again adulterated by intermixture with the originally conquered race. satanically glaring at and spying on the unsuspicious girl whom he plans to seduce. mysterious. with the original founders of their culture and may not even remember that distant association. Tibet-long isolated. the myth of the Aryan race was fully developed. In the search for "contact a second time" with the Aryans. he claimed. lie "in wait for hours on end." For Hitler. In his view. It may happen that in the course of history such a people will come into contact a second time. the only solution to this mingling of Aryan and Jewish blood was for the tainted Germans to find the wellsprings of Aryan blood. and even oftener. "Race and People. 2003 08:38 AM . who. Himmler seems to have been strongly attracted to the possibility that Tibet might prove to be the refuge of the original Aryans and their superhuman powers. adulterating her blood and removing her from the bosom of her people. He lamented that northern Europe had been "Judaized" and that the German's originally pure blood had been tainted by prolonged contact with Jewish people." he expressed concern over what he perceived as the mixing of pure Aryan blood with that of inferior peoples. In Chapter XI. and remote-seemed a likely candidate. Posted by colin at August 7. By the time Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in the 1920s.neo-pagan ideas and believed himself to be a reincarnation of a tenth-century Germanic king.

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