Today, I have watched Thulean Perspectives’ video blog “About Hitler’s Germany” (https://youtu.be/Clf295Pd9Y4) and contrary to my usual attitude of “live and let live”, which has me ignore other opinions I don’t agree with, this time I feel compelled to respond to Varg Vikernes’ statements about National Socialist Germany (aka The Third Reich).
First of all, he and I have discussed National Socialism and the World War 2 in the late 1990ties and it suffices to say that he was praising Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich; also his own attempt at starting a militant heathen movement in 1997, the Allgermanische Heidnische Front (AHF), was inspired by the Pan-Germanic spirit of the Waffen-SS in particular. However, I do understand that people can change their mind and thus it doesn’t come as a surprise if nowadays he doesn’t subscribe to the same ideas he used to believe in, some 20+ years ago. What really dismays me, though, is my observation that he has apparently regressed intellectually and starts sounding like a simpleton who takes at face value everything he reads on the internet, without so much as thinking twice and trying to get to the bottom of it. As a father of young children, he might have to keep it simple when he explains anything to them; but as a somewhat popular blogger on YouTube, he ought not to underestimate the intellectual receptiveness of his audience.
Hence his argument, that the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (known as SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger) is “one of the biggest reasons to think badly of Hitlers’ Germany”, as he put it, reveals a lack of insight and comprehension, on his part, about the very nature of a Strafbataillon (penal unit) during World War 2. Prisoners, many of them common criminals but also political prisoners, were sentenced to serve in penal units as a means to rehabilitate themselves. They were assigned difficult and dangerous tasks such as clearing minefields, combating armed insurgency (Guerilla warfare), holding strategic positions against superior enemy forces, and else. Soldiers of these units were supposed to undergo a cathartic redemption that would ultimately make them become valuable members of German society, once again. Is this ideal also one of the reasons why “to think badly of Hitlers’ Germany”? No, but Varg Vikernes is pointing at the multiple war crimes and atrocities, committed by the Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger in the late years of World War 2, most notably during the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, and he says that this makes him “think badly of Hitlers’ Germany”. I am not denying that the Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger has exercised an exceptionally harsh and cruel regime wherever they used to be deployed, be it in Poland, Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary and, ultimately, in Germany too, but we must also not forget that any and all guerilla warfare is irregular and bound by no military or chivalric codex, to begin with. Guerilla warfare does aim at terrorizing and intimidating a civilian population for the sake of eliminating the popular support for a domestic or foreign regime, hence counter-insurgency operations reciprocate this mercilessness for wiping out the popular support for any guerilla force too. It is outright ignorant to blame this on Adolf Hitler in particular or Germany in general, as Varg Vikernes does, because the atrocities committed by Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger were a fallout of the war, first and foremost, and must not be deemed expression of German national character or a manifestation of National Socialism, at all. “No decent regime would have let Dirlewanger carry on”, he says, but he ignores that the excessive cruelty of Dirlewangers’ men was not perpetrated on orders of the German leadership, either.
Furthermore, Varg Vikernes fails to realize the irony when he bemoans the war crimes of a German penal unit during World War 2 while he also promotes the return to a more tribal, “barbarian” society, because “barbarian” warfare used to be the epitome of what we nowadays deem war crimes. There was no distinction between civilians and combatants; everyone was the enemy and if the men were not slain on the battlefield, then they and their kin were taken prisoner and sold into slavery or sacrificed to the Gods. Rape, infanticide, plunder and pillage; they were not the exception but the rule when one tribe was fighting against another. If the Germans in World War 2 would have actually been behaving like the Barbarians from times of yore, then they’d torn the world asunder and inflict so grave casualties on their enemies that entire nations would have ceased to exist, period.
Varg Vikernes also says that the Third Reich was the “continuation of Roman heritage, not, of Germanic heritage” and this is another reason why to “think badly of Hitlers’ Germany”. He points out that “the Holy Roman Empire was the First Reich”, but how much does he actually know about this tremendously important part of German and European history, I wonder? This Empire was German in all but name, and it was the fabled German Kaiser Friedrich I. Barbarossa who made it to be the Holy, the Sacred, the Consecrated, the Heiliges Reich, because he wished to oppose the Papacy in Italy and centuries later, with a decree from 1512, this Empire was from now on to be known as Imperium Romanum Sacrum Nationis Germanicæ – the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. It was an Empire founded and continued by Germans, descendents of Germanic tribes who either conquered or settled in the former Roman Empire and ruled in the tradition of translatio imperii, assuming the same supreme power once held by the Roman Emperors. Formally, this Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation existed until 1806, only to be continued, but this time dominated by the Prussians, with the second German Reich between 1871 and 1918 and last but not least, the Third German Reich that was manifested by Adolf Hitler in 1933. Ever since the end of the ancient Imperium Romanum, the Empire was a vision upheld by German rulers in Europe and the Reichsidee, the notion of Empire, became an integral part of the Germanic heritage. To say otherwise is akin to living in denial of two thousand years of European and German history!
If Varg Vikernes says that “Germanic heritage” has had no place in the Third Reich, then he is awfully unaware of the preservation, revival and advancement of old traditions, forgotten lore and ancient customs; of Germanic culture and Aryan spirituality, in the twelve years from 1933 until 1945. Never before (or after) in the history of Germany was there such a concerted, all-encompassing effort at exploring, researching and recording the origins, the history and the culture of those of German blood, from antediluvian times until the present day. Scientists and explorers set out from Germany to the heady heights of Tibet as well as the dense jungle of Amazonia, for the sake of finding any traces of the distant forebears of our race. Also, in Germany and other European countries, ancient sacred sites were explored and restored; oral history from rural communities was recorded and published for the first time; almost forgotten crafts and customs were introduced to the youth and held in high esteem. All of this was not only sanctioned, but actually sponsored, by the National Socialist government of the Third Reich. It was official government policy to preserve tradition where it was still alive, to revive tradition where it was lost, and to modernize tradition for the future.
Moreover, Varg Vikernes says he very much opposes the “domestication of its citizens and the socialism that you can find for example in Hitlerjugend and Bund Mädchen (sic!)” in the Third Reich and that’s one more reason to “think badly of Hitlers’ Germany”. Although he doesn’t elaborate on the meaning of “domestication” and “Socialism” in this context, I have no doubts that he equals “Hitler’s Germany” with the many other Socialist and semi-Communist states that existed in the 20th century. He could not be more wrong, though! Let me tell you about the origin of the “Socialism” in National Socialism and how much it is different from any other form of Socialism (from the political Left) that was conceived as well as implemented in many countries during the 20th century.
The NSDAP started as DAP, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Labor Party), in 1919, right after the surrender of the Reichswehr and the abdication of the German Emperor at the end of World War 1. The DAP was not a Marxist-Leninist party like others (the German Communist Party, for instance), but still more on the political Left than on the political Right. There was the experience of the World War, where Germans of all walks of life fought together and a sense of comradeship ultimately superseded any differences of social class and status among their ranks, and then there was the dismay and shock at the surrender of the army, widely believed to be the fault of a corrupt and inept aristocracy, and this made many veterans of the World War believe that the old political order has to be replaced by a new form of society, where a new nobility is rising up from among the ranks of the common man, the worker and the peasant: Arbeiter und Bauern. However, the same Germans witnessed the excessive bloodshed and cruelty unleashed by the Communists in Russia, Hungary, and briefly in Bavaria too. Even though they too agreed that a certain form of Socialism ought to be introduced to Germany, i.e. that the welfare of the nation comes first and the individual has to benefit the community and not vice-versa, they rejected the idea that Socialism would have to pave the way to Communism, where everyone is believed to be equal, individuality becomes void and the collective rules supreme. To highlight their opposition to the international Communism and Socialism that was widely sponsored by the Bolshevik regime in the Soviet Union, it was thus decided to have a Socialism of their own, a National Socialism that is.
From the DAP the NSDAP emerged, the National Socialist German Labor Party. Whereas Socialist regimes started to dispossess private property (for instance, the big corporations became state-owned enterprises) and introduced centrally planned economy instead of the free enterprise economy, the Third Reich left private property largely untouched and free enterprise economy was never suspended (with the exception of the wartime economy, of course). The German state rather encouraged investments in the infrastructure of the German Reich, thus helping to reduce unemployment, and it also became the primary client of the German arms industry for rebuilding the armed forces and military defense of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the German state educated its citizens so they understood that they are Germans first and foremost, bound by blood and not set apart by class or title, and that everyone has to contribute to the greater welfare of the entire nation, because the wealth of this nation would be shared by everyone in return. National Socialism wanted to achieve a certain level of social and economic equality among the Germans without denying or abolishing the natural order that the best and finest specimen shall rule for the benefit of everyone else, and this was based on mutual respect and gratitude unlike under the Socialist and semi-Communist regimes where equality was forced on people with the bullets and the blades of murderous death squads.
The World War 2 became a “Weltanschauungskrieg”, a war of ideologies, between National Socialism and Bolshevism (Russian Communism) after the Third Reich preempted the impending assault of the Red Army in 1941. Since Germany was vanquished in 1945, it is self-evident that any Socialism we have had in Europe from there on has absolutely nothing to do with National Socialism as it existed during the Third Reich-era.
Varg Vikernes then goes on to say, that, “if Hitlers’ Germany would have won the war, it would have been bad, too”. If he truly believes that a German victory in World War 2 would have “been bad”, then he also believes that the German defeat in 1945 was a good thing to happen? I do wholeheartedly disagree, and so would have Varg Vikernes too, some 20+ years ago. The defeat of the Third Reich, nowadays deemed “liberation” from the “yoke of tyranny”, was the single most profound tragedy that happened to Europe, ever. How can anyone dare to say that “freedom” and “democracy” prevailed on the 8th of May, 1945, when one half of Europe suffered under Communist dictatorship for 40 years thereafter? Doesn’t this fact alone reveal all the mockery of this so-called “liberation”? But more so, what did this victory over the German Reich really accomplish for those believed to be victorious? With Germany vanquished and divided and Britain as well as France so severely weakened they would soon loose almost every one of their colonial dominions, the old Europe was becoming a shadow of her former self, a faint memory of grandeur never to return.
If we compare images from our world before the war and of today, then we can’t help but notice the striking difference in everything from architecture, arts, fashion, lifestyle and attitude. Where once has been beauty, life and light, we now have degeneracy, death and decline. Europe was killed on the 8th of May, 1945, and she keeps decomposing ever since.
National Socialism in the Third Reich once set about ushering humanity into a new age of higher evolution, where man would be reconciled with the divine and thus expand his horizon to the unfathomable, furthermost reaches of the universe. A vision so bold, so grand, so daring! In our day and age, we’ve got none of that. Instead of approaching the illuminating light of the Golden Age, we face an impenetrable darkness that is supposed to smother our senses and turn us into mindless, spineless drones conditioned for incessant consumerism. The “liberation” on the 8th of May never happened: For this was the day of infamy when in the fires of war, the enemies of the Reich have forged chains that shall bind us to a world not ours. Seventy years later, and our true liberation has yet to come.
Varg Vikernes still knows and understands that much, but the liberation of Europe, according to him, shall be a return to “semi-civilized, tribal and barbarian societies”. He anticipates a collapse of (Western) civilization to come about rather sooner than later; and as much as I agree that this is a likely future scenario, I decline to believe that we are better off living in caves as superstitious hunters and gatherers, once again. We are animated by the Faustian spirit that compels us to strive onward and upward; crossing the abyss that divides matter from spirit, ignorance from enlightenment, man from God. Our ultimate destiny is to be found beyond the stars, not in a cave, and the Imperium is our stairway to heaven. Despite my sympathies for ancient pre-Christian religion and culture in Europe, I know perfectly well that no Empire can be built on Neolithic Paganism, shamanism and tribalism. But if we have no Empire, then we have naught.
It is in the Empire where age-old traditions are preserved and revived; thus nourishing culture, inspiring arts, and expanding science. The Third Reich was a prime example for reactionary modernism (Archeofuturism), in our day and age, where Germanic solstice celebrations took place while German scientists sent ballistic missiles into the stratosphere, all at the same time. This was a Reich reconciling science with spirituality, mundanity with divinity; backwards in terms of cultural and spiritual preservation, forward in terms of scientific and political progress; and as the Empire of a thousand years, “Hitlers’ Germany” was destined to create the New Man for the New World. Therein lies the raison d’être of the Empire, and Varg Vikernes too was once perfectly aware of it. Not anymore, alas. He has decided to abandon this Faustian zeal for epiphany, in favor of regressing intellectually and indulging in naive escapism.
For all I care, he may live a long, happy and prosperous life with his family in the French countryside. As the man who did, at one point, help him establish the German branch of his Allgermanische Heidnische Front, I am though compelled to speak out on behalf of “Hitlers’ Germany” he once admired and deemed inspiration for the Allgermanische Reich, which he hoped to see manifest someday. Varg may have become a wolf gone astray, far away from his ancestral home and lost to delusions, but I say to him and to everyone else:
My heart belongs to a time long gone but to a place that remains to be here; a home severely destroyed to the point it’s a mere shadow of its former self, but still – when I am here, my soul does not want to be anywhere else. Germany, blessed with immortal beauty yet equally cursed with never ending tragedy: This is my home, this is where I belong and my soul can be at peace, at last. The Reich is forever, and it is my Reich too!