The question of whether Adolf Hitler used astrology for his rise to power and military is one of the most secretive, bizarre, and misunderstood stories in the study of astrology. Hitler was known to have an interest in the occult, especially hypnotism (in fact, many poses and gestures Hitler used in his speeches were copied from a famous German hypnotist of the 1920's.) For those of you who saw the movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark", the plan by the Nazis to recover ancient artifacts, for the purpose of exploiting articles with supposed 'magical powers', does have an element of truth to it...
To clear up the misconceptions concerning Hitler's use of astrology, we must go back to 1905, where astrology's modern revival actually began in Germany. In what is now know as the "Hamburg School", statistics were used to measure astrological results for the first time ever. This was truly a monumental step in the history of astrology, for having a scientific method applied to research then allowed astrological findings to be introduced into the scientific community for the first time as well.
However, the fact that Germans were the first to introduce scientific evidence concerning astrology also created a stereotype within many scientific circles of other nations that MOST Germans were serious about astrology, when in fact they were not. This stereotype, as we will see, would later influenced the British High Command during WW II, and the later speculation over Hitler's use of astrology.
The first recorded association of astrology with Hitler came in 1924, when his oratorical gifts were starting to attract large crowds. This started when a female fan sent his chart to a Frau Elsbeth Ebertin of Hamburg, a regular contributor to the magazine "Zenit" - one of Germany's top astrological publications. Frau Ebertin wrote an astonishing accurate account of Hitler - considering she had no prior knowledge of him, or his aspirations (for during the mid-20's he was only nominally known in Bavaria). She accurately described his personality, and correctly predicted the times, and nature, of his future arrests.
She also wrote, he would later play a "Führer - role in the struggle of the German nation". Beside the fact this prediction an accurate one, it is also interesting to note this is the very first published account of Hitler being referred to as 'Führer'. Frau Ebertin may not have been aware of it in 1924, but the words she chose to describe Hitler's future political role would later actually become his 'political nick-name' to Germans, and to history.
After this original article, and Hitler's increasing popularity, Hitler became the major focus of all the German astrological publications. Surprising, not much relevant information - that we can say was new, or even accurate - was offered in any of these later authors. Finally in 1934, the Ministry of Propaganda made it illegal to publish Hitler's horoscope, or any predictions, concerning him, or the Third Reich. The decision to do so was due to the fact that all these accounts of "Der Führer" were getting out of hand, and were distracting the image that Joseph Gobbels was trying to create for the new leader of Germany.
The Nazi 'use' of astrology
Though interested in astrology, there are no facts showing Hitler actually used astrology for any of his personal, or military decisions. It is understandable many believed he did, for the only possible explanation of his early uninterrupted political and military successes would seem to indicate an access to advanced information by paranormal means - of which astrology was the most likely. Since 1933, when such rumors first started to come out, he never denied these publicly, which only fueled the speculation even more. A later eyewitness account, however, has Hitler stating: "if my enemies believe I am using the stars to win the war, let them believe it.... and worry over it". It is true that many high ranking members of the Nazi party consulted astrologers, which is another reason many thought Hitler did so as well.
The highest ranking Nazi official connected with astrology was Rudolf Hess, (Reich Minster, and first in line for succession after Hermann Göring). Hess not only consulted those in this field, but was himself an amateur astrologer. While he is known for flying to Scotland in order to negotiate peace on his own, many history books overlooked the role that astrology played in making his decision.
Although never made public, a few German astrologers (that is, the ones who were not 'yes-men' to the Nazi party), correctly predicted autumn 1942, to be the turning point of the war, and that Germany would need to win before this time. Hess was aware of these predictions as far back as 1937 (two years before the war even started!), when it was first made by the famous Swiss astrologer, Karl Krafft.
Hitler was aware of astrology's influence on Hess as well - for just after it was learned of Hess's famous flight, Hitler responded with the "Aktion Hess", ordering the Gestapo to arrest over 600 astrologers. Many of them were executed or put in concentration camps - among them, Walter Koch (1895 - 1970) who invented the house system that bears his name and used by many astrologers today.
"The Krafft Affair"
Just after the German victories in Denmark and Norway, a Hungarian refugee and astrologer, Louis de Wohl, learned through a friend that Karl Krafft was in Berlin working for the German High Command. Based on this fact alone he convinced British intelligence that Krafft was Hitler's astrologer, and was therefore the one responsible for the Nazi's war machine uncanny timing for invasions, and overwhelming victories.
The British High Command took this seriously, mainly since they were indeed 'outfoxed' by the Nazis in Scandinavia (the Germans having arrived with occupying forces in Norway only one week before the British decided to do so). Also, as mentioned earlier, the stereotype that most Germans believed in astrology assisted de Wohl in convincing British High Command that Hitler was using this form of occult as a strategic and predictive tool
Louis de Wohl then convinced British intelligence to hire him - not to work on any astrological plans for the Allies - but simply to report what kind of advice Hitler MIGHT be getting from Krafft! It can be said this action was the main reason that caused many to believe then, and even today, that Hitler used astrology. Since the British took steps to 'see' what kind of astrological predictions they 'thought' Hitler was getting, this added legidimatcy to the idea that Hitler consulted the stars.
It turned out that De Wohl himself was to be quite a farce beside his unfounded speculation. Many of the agents assigned to work with him found he "enjoyed the atmosphere and privileges of rank working on a secret project, more so than actually doing any work". The work he did do turned out to be very little, and useless. Louis de Wohl was dropped from the special assignment just over a year later.
While Krafft was indeed in Berlin, and working for the military, he was NOT working for Hitler personally. His job, at that time, was working on the horoscope charts of allied leaders and generals, so the German High Command would have personal profiles on who they were, and would be soon be facing. Among many other correct predictions, Krafft correctly foresaw General Montgomery would chosen to take over British operations in North Africa, and that he had stronger attributes than Rommel. He was also working for the Ministry of Propaganda on two other projects.
The first was to 'adjust' Nostradamus predictions so the well known French prophet would describe a Nazi victory. One of the Nostradamus predictions Krafft was instructed to 'twist' became one of the first collaborations between German army planners and the Propaganda Ministry. Krafft had Nostradamus 'predict' that the south-east of France would not be affected by the upcoming German - French hostilities. The hope was, civilian populations would then accordingly take the roads to that direction, thus leaving the approaches to Paris, and the channel ports, less congested when the German armies began to move (plus hinder the French forces from these areas trying to get to the real areas of attack.)
Second, he was working on astrological material to predict a Nazi victory, which would be 'imported' to magazines around the word, most notably to America, to influence public opinion and sympathy. This was done by sending the 'predictions' to agents in other countries, who would then pose as neutral writers submitting the material to that countries astrological publications. In this they were extremely successful, for many American astrological magazines were predicting a German victory, up to the time America entered the war!
Krafft was arrested by the Gestapo during "Aktion Hess" on June 12. He died on route from Oranienburg prison to Buchenwald concentration camp on January 8, 1945. An interesting variety of Krafft's statistical and predictive work can be seen in his 1939 book, Traité d' Astro - Biologie.
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