4. The Chosen One
The Great War, as it was then called (it was inconceivable that there could ever be another one), triggered the final collapse of traditional values and morality. Life now seemed meaningless, and the masses plunged into mindless self-gratification. The freefall into hedonism was halted only by the Great Depression, and leaders scrambled to find new ground for collective survival. The only one who succeeded was Adolf Hitler.
The world was amazed at the economic miracle wrought by Hitler and his party (NSDAP), lifting Germany from the throes of the Depression and transforming it into a dynamo of industry and prosperity in only a couple of years. The financial policies were obviously wiser than those followed by the USA and the rest of the West, but the real secret was that Hitler had regenerated the German Volk-soul, the collective spirit of the people. His charisma inspired them to sacrifice their selfish interests for the greater good of the nation, and lift their sights from the daily struggle to a glorious future that seemed right at hand. In fact he was hailed as the German Messiah, and there was a powerful religious overlay to all the enthusiasm. Here are a few selected quotes from the historical record of that era, some of them from clergymen:
“We believe that there is Lord God in heaven, who made us and leads us, who guides and blesses us. And we believe that this Lord God has sent us Adolf Hitler, as the champion of German Right in the world.”
“Hitler has received his authority from God. Therefore we recognize the laws signed by his name as a holy work of our Volk’s spirit.”
“Has there ever been a mortal so beloved as you, my Führer? Was their ever belief as strong as the belief in your mission? You were sent us by God for Germany!”
“We have a feeling that Germany has been transformed into a great house of God, including all classes, professions, and creeds, where the Führer as our mediator stands before the throne of the Almighty.”
“Adolf Hitler gave us back our faith. He showed us the true meaning of religion. Just as Christ made his twelve disciples into a sacred band whose faith shook the Roman Empire, so now we witness the same spectacle again: Adolf Hitler is the true Holy Spirit.” Sieg Heiligen Geist!
Such spectacles do not simply break upon the world stage full-blown, but are always the fruit of premonitory processes that brew beneath the surface for a long time. The expectation of a German savior had been gestating in the widespread subculture of the Volkish movement. An early proponent of it named Guido von List interpreted an old Teutonic ode as a prophecy of the imminent arrival of a Starke von Oben, the Strong One from Above.
The best prophecies, though, are those that arise spontaneously from the collective unconscious, and are recognized only in their fulfillment. Such was a painting by a Germanic artist named Ferdinand Hodler. It depicts a circle of angels hovering in the air around a child kneeling naked before a seedling tree he has just planted, and looking up at the heavenly host which surrounds him. The title of the painting is The Chosen One, rendered in 1893-94, when Hitler was four years old. The boy in the picture appears to be just about that age; he has a kind of bowl-shaped haircut, matching that of surviving photos of Hitler as a little child.
The question we must ask about this whole phenomenon is: what was its actual spiritual nature? Was it truly religious in a redemptive sense? Did it bring its adherents into contact with Supernal Spirit? And if not, then what was really going on?