Nazi apocalypticism as a response to rapid and radical change : a thesis in history / by David Redles
Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-316) and abstract
Many Nazis perceived Weimar Germany to be a period of chaos, where all political, economic, social and cultural order was turned upside down. This chaos was in turn interpreted as reflecting an imminent apocalypse. They believed that Germany had arrived at a historic turning point, and foresaw the dawn of a New Age--the Third Reich. The Nazis believed themselves to be a chosen elite, led by a God-sent messianic Fuhrer. Their Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler revealed the way to salvation through what I have termed his soteriology of race. It was the divine mission of Aryan humanity to annihilate the "satanic Jew" in an eschatological battle that was to be final and decisive. The "Final Solution" accomplished, the millennial Third Reich could begin. My research in the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary literature of apocalypticism indicates that it is a global phenomenon occurring across cultural and temporal epochs. The common causal factor among these movements is that all occur in cultures undergoing rapid and radical change. The only factor that can explain such a cross-cultural and atemporal phenomenon is the shared genetic foundation of the human brain, which has changed little for millennia. Therefore I have created a psychohistorical model, utilizing the archetypal theories of C. G. Jung. It is the contention of this thesis that the psychological theories of Jung, which posit an objective psyche, in other words, a psyche which contains non-personal elements, may provide researchers with a much needed tool for analyzing collective behavior in historical contexts. What I have termed the apocalypse complex is a common psychological response to stress generated by rapid and radical change. When societies undergo such drastic changes, normal external ordering factors such as family, work, and social and religious institutions are considerably weakened. The apocalypse complex reconstructs order and gives meaning through the production of a standard set of symbols (messiah, New Age and past Golden Age, eternal peace and prosperity, unity, timelessness). These symbols are reflective of the ordering power of the Self, Jung's psychological construct for the internal ordering factor of the psyche.
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