In 1919, the Society spawned the German Workers Party. Starting later that year, Dietrich Eckart, a member of the inner circle of the Thule Society, initiated Hitler into the Society and began to train him in its methods for harnessing vril to create a race of Aryan supermen. Hitler had been mystic-minded from his youth, when he had studied the Occult and Theosophy in Vienna. Later, Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf to Eckart. In 1920, Hitler became the head of the German Workers Party, now renamed the National Socialist German Worker (Nazi) Party.
Another major influence on Hitler’s thinking was Karl Haushofer (1869-1946), a German military advisor to the Japanese after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Because he was extremely impressed with Japanese culture, many believe that he was responsible for the later German-Japanese alliance. He was also highly interested in Indian and Tibetan culture, learned Sanskrit, and claimed that he had visited Tibet.
After serving as a general in the First World War, Haushofer founded the Vril Society in Berlin in 1918. It shared the same basic beliefs as the Thule Society and some say that it was its inner circle. The Society sought contact with supernatural beings beneath the earth to gain from them the powers of vril. It also asserted a Central Asian origin of the Aryan race. Haushofer developed the doctrine of Geopolitics and, in the early 1920s, became the director of the Institute for Geopolitics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. Geopolitics advocated conquering territory to gain more living space (Germ. Lebensraum) as a means of acquiring power.
Rudolf Hess was one of Haushofer’s closest students and introduced him to Hitler in 1923, while Hitler was in prison for his failed Putsch. Subsequently, Haushofer often visited the future Führer, teaching him Geopolitics in association with the ideas of the Thule and Vril Societies. Thus, when Hitler became chancellor in 1933, he adopted Geopolitics as his policy for the Aryan race to conquer Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. The key to success would be finding the forefathers of the Aryan race in Central Asia, the guardians of the secrets of vril.
The swastika is an ancient Indian symbol of immutable good luck. “Swastika” is an Anglicization of the Sanskrit word svastika, which means well-being or good luck. Used by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains for thousands of years, it became widespread in Tibet as well.
The swastika has also appeared in most other ancient cultures of the world. For example, the counterclockwise variant of it, adopted by the Nazis, is also the letter “G” in the medieval Northern European Runic Script. The Freemasons took the letter as an important symbol, since “G” could stand for God, the Great Architect of the Universe, or Geometry.
The swastika is also a traditional symbol of the Old Norse God of Thunder and Might (Scandinavian Thor, German Donner, Baltic Perkunas). Because of this association with the God of Thunder, the Latvians and Finnish both took the swastika as the insignia for their air forces when they gained independence after the First World War.
In the late nineteenth century, Guido von List adopted the swastika as an emblem for the Neo-Pagan movement in Germany. The Germans did not use the Sanskrit word swastika, however, but called it instead “Hakenkreutz,” meaning “hooked cross.” It would defeat and replace the cross, just as Neo-Paganism would defeat and replace Christianity.
Sharing the anti-Christian sentiment of the Neo-Pagan movement, the Thule Society also adopted the Hakenkreuz as part of its emblem, placing it in a circle with a vertical German dagger superimposed on it. In 1920, at the suggestion of Dr. Friedrich Krohn of the Thule Society, Hitler adopted the Hakenkreuz in a white circle for the central design of the Nazi Party flag. Hitler chose red for the background color to compete against the red flag of the rival Communist Party.
The French researchers Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, in Le Matin des Magiciens (The Morning of the Magicians) (1962), wrote that Haushofer convinced Hitler to use the Hakenkreuz as the symbol for the Nazi Party. They postulate that this was due to Haushofer’s interest in Indian and Tibetan culture. This conclusion is highly unlikely, since Haushofer did not meet Hitler until 1923, whereas the Nazi flag first appeared in 1920. It is more likely that Haushofer used the widespread presence of the swastika in India and Tibet as evidence to convince Hitler of this region as the location of the forefathers of the Aryan race.
During the first half of the 1920s, a violent rivalry took place among the Occult Societies and Secret Lodges in Germany. In 1925, for example, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Anthroposophical movement, was found murdered. Many suspected that the Thule Society had ordered his assassination. In later years, Hitler continued the persecution of Anthroposophists, Theosophists, Freemasons, and Rosicrucians. Various scholars ascribe this policy to Hitler’s wish to eliminate any occult rivals to his rule.
Influenced by Nietszche’s writings and Thule Society creeds, Hitler believed that Christianity was a defective religion, infected by its roots in Jewish thinking. He viewed its teachings of forgiveness, the triumph of the weak, and self-abnegation as anti-evolutionary and saw himself as a messiah replacing God and Christ. Steiner had used the image of the Antichrist and Lucifer as future spiritual leaders who would regenerate Christianity in a new pure form. Hitler went much further. He saw himself as ridding the world of a degenerate system and bringing about a new step in evolution with the Aryan master race. He could tolerate no rival Antichrists, either now or in the future. He was tolerant, however, of Buddhism.