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Response to Steigmann-Gall’s review of Karla Poewe’s “New Religions and the Nazis” (New York: Routledge 2006). Since I do not recognize my book in Steigmann-Gall's review, I think it only fair to correct some of his misunderstandings. _New Religions and the Nazis_ sits on a question that should have been asked by every scholar of Nazism, namely, how did Germans come to support the National Socialist worldview in the first place? It is a question about the mobilization, and indeed self-mobilization, of people for the purpose of achieving a palengenitic transformation of a perceived moribund society into a sacred national community called Volksgemeinschaft or Das Dritte Reich. Moeller van den Bruck who published his book about the Third Reich in 1923 meant by it “the religious hope of salvation from the grinding needs of Germans during the Versailles era—an era that robbed young Germans, especially, of the hope of developing their talents freely anywhere in the world” (Poewe 2006:145; Griffin 2007). The mobilization of the National Socialist movement requires that we focus on the time period from 1919 to the 1930’s because it was during these interwar years that a turning of the public mind away from democracy to the National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft occured. Steigmann-Gall says that my book contains nothing new. He is wrong. In line with the latest German historical trends (Groß 2006), my book describes the mental and experiential continuity between Weimar and the Third Reich as a phenomenon whereby intellectuals turned past epitomizing experiences, like the slaughter and chaos of the Eastern Front, into practical knowledge and therewith into a psycho-historical dimension that affected the present and future (Volkmann 2006: 263). Being an anthropologist who places high value on empirical research I approached the topic using the type of nuanced approach to social reality described in works like John Beattie’s classic _Understanding an African Society_ (1965). This involves recognizing how societies function and that the complexity of social movements needs to be recognized at the outset by the researcher. Therefore, I looked at a large amount of original documents like letters, notes, diaries, and lectures in the Federal Archives of Berlin and Koblenz, the German Literature Archive in Marbach, the University of Humboldt archive, various smaller archives and state libraries as though I was doing fieldwork in a living society. In fact, my research consisted of doing what I call archival fieldwork because I moved from archive to archive guided, not by my predilections, but by the issues, categories of thought, and interpersonal connections of correspondents who belonged to a diverse number of primary groups but flogged similar core ideas. This is an anthropological approach to history based on my experiences of doing fieldwork in Africa. Steigmann-Gall writes that my book is about Nazi ideology. He is wrong. It is about the development of the National Socialist Weltanschauung. The distinction between ideology and the ugly, un-English, word Weltanschauung is important because National Socialists consciously rejected the notion of ideology in favor of an organically grown mystical worldview. From their perspective ideologies tended to be rational, doctrinaire, and programmatic ideas of a desired society and world; by contrast, National Socialism and, for that matter, other fascist Weltanschauungen sat on irrationalist and mythical premises that tended to become political religions (Gentile 2001). Its leaders and people used common myths, rituals, and symbols that deified the nation. Pagan mythological concepts of blood, race (often seen as descent), and nature took on the force of religious persuasion. Here again my anthropological background informed my work. As Beattie points out, the study of myth is a key component in establishing political anthropology. Therefore, by treating National Socialism in anthropological terms, at a time when Nazis themselves favored that discipline, I was able to recognize the logic of apparently illogical claims and actions (Beattie 1966:23-25; 160-161; Evans-Pritchard 1976:23-32). Thus for National Socialists nature meant not only being aware of one’s blood but also of one’s fate, calling, and predestined duty. This fatalism, furthermore, was impervious to doubt and reason. Hauer’s metaphysical understanding of blood underlined his assumption that religion is culture and race specific—it left no room for Jews and indeed none for Jewish Christianity. Steigmann-Gall claims that my book is really only about Jacob Wilhelm Hauer the leader of a small group who, on the basis of his friendship with Werner Best, deluded himself into thinking he was an important Nazi when he never even met Hitler. This interpretation completely ignores recent German historiography that shows the importance of lower level leadership (Herbert 1996; Mallmann and Paul 2004). It is not surprising, therefore, that Steigmann-Gall misrepresents the mediating function of the numerous small group leaders mentioned in my book just as he misrepresents Rosenberg in his own work (Piper 2007). Small group leaders mediated between the rising elite of the Nazi party, who were insignificant in the early twenties, and common folk generally. Like many American historians, the reviewer is focused on famous or infamous leaders and institutions. By contrast, I deliberately focused on primary groups, note the plural, and informal social networks. This is because small groups and interlinking social networks are the most effective means of social mobilization. Primary groups, Germans then preferred the prefix Ur- or organic, can easily be absorbed into, or dislodged from, larger organizations like political parties. Furthermore, because their leaders form social networks with one another and, more importantly, because they mediate between elites and individual followers who all have their own wide networks, not every primary leader needs to meet the same elite person, like Hitler, in order to establish the desired intimacy with them (Whyte 1974: 9, 23; Bohannan 1995; Bromley and Shupe 1979; Barker 1984). In fact, nationalist writers Hans Grimm and Erwin Kolbenheyer personally met Hitler, Goebbels, and Heß; Kolbenheyer in turn was one of many speakers for Hauer’s group so that these people felt intimately involved with those top leaders. In turn Hauer met personally with Heß, Himmler, and Heydrich. Indeed, it was they who invited him to join the SS, and with Werner Best through whom Hauer denounced Jews and Christians. Hauer’s students were hired by the Ahnenerbe, which was the Research Institute of the SS, and by the SD where one at least led a killing commando in the East. After the defeat of the First World War in 1918 and the bad peace of Versailles in 1919, young, hungry, demoralized, and frustrated Germans, their families destroyed or impoverished, their dreams of a university education lost, took politics into their own hands and organized themselves into literally hundreds of these primary groups, of which the NSDAP was but one, all with their own young radical and radicalizing leaders. These leaders and their sometimes famous followers like Martin Buber or Marianne Weber left behind uncountable letters, diaries, notes, brochures, plans for the future, descriptions of diverse activities, and conference minutes which gave insights simultaneously into the current convulsions of culture, events, and mentality. It is not the case that Hitler’s ideas, or those of Rosenberg, were original with them and therefore hung-onto by ignorant fellow travelers as Steigmann-Gall claims. In fact, Rosenberg’s and Hauer’s ideas were so similar to one another that I wondered whether plagiarism was involved. But they also resembled core ideas of other founders of new religions like Ludendorff, Bergmann, Klagges, Steiner, Hunke and Reventlow, and the ideas of propagandists like von Leers, Krieck, Wirth, or the ideas of radicals like Goebbels, Hess, Heydrich, Himmler, Hitler, Wüst, the ideas of philosophers like Heidegger, Nietzsche through his Nazi interpreter Baeumler, Klages, Chamberlain, or anthropologists like Günther, Clauss, Bruno Beyer, Ernst Schäfer, or writers like Grimm, Frenssen, van den Bruck, Blunck, Ackerknecht, Kolbenheyer, or theologians like Mandel, Hirsch, von Harnack, and of political scientists like Carl Schmitt, E. Jung, or jurists like Werner Best. All of these people were interconnected with one another. They all pushed to destroy the Weimar Republic and bring about the Third Reich. If these people are not known to American scholars, it is because German Studies programs at even the best American universities ignore them precisely because of their affinity to National Socialism. Thinking in Weimar terms, rather than in terms of the intellectual convulsion of the interwar years, American scholarship concentrates on a politically correct Thomas Mann, who really knew very little about the emerging Germany, and ignores politically incorrect figures like Hans Grimm, who actively lobbied for the destruction of Weimar and told Germans abroad why Germans, who were once renowned for their universalism, had embraced a new particularlist nationalism (Poewe 2006:152). To repeat, all of the above propagated in some form or other the völkisch-organic worldview that was the core of National Socialism even after 1945 (Leggewie 1998). These intellectuals and writers, all of them with university degrees, sat on one another's boards, spoke at major rallies across Germany, organized uncountable reading circles, published numerous brochures, newsletters, and books, were linked with militias, youth groups, culture conflict societies, and with leaders up and down the Nazi party hierarchy and the SS. They saw themselves and, indeed, were the heart of Nazism. Together they turned the public mind. Why is the word together so important? Because leaders of these dynamic primary groups supported one another’s ideas and actions despite personal conflicts. In the end and to no one’s surprise students flocked to Hitler’s NSDAP. Why? Because there they found the völkisch, national, social, and revolutionary ideas combined and more, they found the bridge from playing with worldview ideas to practical politics. Steigmann-Gall dismisses such primary groups as insignificant to Nazism. The fact is that together they were significant. Because most people want numbers and names let me list some of the groups that together turned the German public mind in the years between 1920 and 1933. Some of these numbers are given on pages 98 and 157-158 of my book. They included: the German Faith Movement, a 10-12 million audience cult before 1935, but with an estimated 39,500 members or 2 ½ million followers at its peak depending on whom one believes; the Deutsche Freischar with an estimated 12,000 members, the Free Religious 70,000, Ludendorffers 500,000, German Christians 600,000, Reading Circles 100,000s, SA 427,000, Stahlhelm (paramilitary) over 500,000, Freikorps (paramilitary) 80,000, and Jungdeutscher Orden 400,000. I have no figures for, but include, Die Hochschulring-Bewegung, Hans Grimm’s Dichtertagungen, and Bund der Frontsoldaten an deutschen Hochschulen. The Hitler Youth (founded 1926 had but 107,956 members in 1932, with a steep rise to over 8 million in 1939 when it took in young members of the other mentioned and unmentioned groups). Think of every member of one of the above groups having their own following and social networks. Need I say more? From 1919, Hauer was part of the forces that shaped and turned a generic National Socialist Movement into the Third Reich. He worked closely with Werner Best who became the equivalent of ‘General’ of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). Best was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews. Hauer’s student, later secretary and organizer, Paul Zapp (b.1904) joined Hauer’s Bund when he was 17 years old. In 1970 Zapp received lifelong imprisonment for the murder of at least 13,499 people as leader of the Sonderkommando 11a and the Einsatzgruppe D. Not surprisingly, he justified his deed in terms of Hauer’s and the SD’s religious world-view (Kwiet 2004: 257-258, 259). Finally, Steigmann-Gall refuses to accept that Hauer was a master of dissimulation. Instead he sees Hauer’s calculated lies as confused thinking. In my book I carefully trace the development of his skillful use of deception through published sources and letters from 1919 forward. They show that he deliberately misled people as part of his recruitment strategy in the service of National Socialism. The ethics that Hauer had worked out by 1934 he used in 1945 to tell an audience in Tübingen not about committed atrocities, but to remind them to ‘accept what happened as fate.’ What Steigmann-Gall dismisses as contradictions are not that at all. Nazis like Hauer spoke at two levels: one for public, the other for private consumption. Their writings cannot be taken literally as the reviewer does; they were masters of irony, expert dissimulators, boastful propagandists, skillful users of codes, and adept rhetoricians. Anyone wishing to understand the success of National Socialism has to recognize and analyze such deceptions through the use of primary archival sources, which is exactly what I did. References: Barker, Eileen 1984, _The Making of a Moonie—Choice or Brainwashing?_ Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Beattie, J. (1966). _Other cultures : aims, methods and achievements in social anthropology._ London, Cohen & West. Beattie, J. (1965). _Understanding an African kingdom : Bunyoro._ New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston. Bohannan, Paul 1995, _How Culture Works._ New York: The Free Press. Bromley, David G. and Anson D. Shupe, J. 1979, _“Moonies” in America: Cult, Church and Crusade._ Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1976). _Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande._ Oxford, Clarendon Press. Gentile, Emilio 2001, _Politics as Religion._ Princeton: Princeton University Press. Griffin, Roger 2007, _Modernism and Fascism._ Hampshire: Palgrave. Groß, Gerhard 2006, _Die vergessene Front. Der Osten 1914/15: Ereignis, Wirkung, Nachwirkung._ Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Herbert, Ulrich 1996 _Best: Biographische Studein über Radikalismus, Weltanschauung und Vernunft 1903 – 1989._ Bonn: Verlag J.H.W. Dietz. Kwiet, Konrad 2004, “Paul Zapp—Vordenker und Vollstrecker der Judenvernichtung.” In _Karrieren der Gewalt: Nationalsozialistische Täterbiographien._ Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul, eds. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, pp. 252-262. Leggewie, Claus 1998, “Von Schneider zu Schwerte.” München: Carl Hanser Verlag. Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul, eds. 2004, _Karrieren der Gewalt: Nationalsozialistische Täterbiographien._ Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Piper, Ernst 2007, “Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich." In _Journal of Contemporary History,_ Vol. 42, No. 1, 47-57. Poewe, Karla 2006, _New Religions and the Nazis._ London: Routledge. Volkmann, Hans-Erich 2006 “Der Ostkrieg 1914/15 als Erlebnis- und Erfahrungswelt des deutschen Militärs.” In Groß, Gerhard 2006, _Die vergessene Front. Der Osten 1914/15: Ereignis, Wirkung, Nachwirkung._ Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Pp. 263-294. Whyte, Martin King 1974, _Small Groups and Political Rituals in China._ Berkeley: University of California Press.