Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race

Overview


The compelling story of a trek across an exotic land–and the sinister consequences

It was an SS mission led by two complex individuals–one who was using the Nazis to pursue his own ends, and one so committed to Nazism that afterward he conducted racial experiments using the skulls of prisoners at Auschwitz. Himmler's Crusade relates the 1938 Nazi expedition through British India to the sacred mountains of Tibet in search of the remnants of the Aryan people, the lost master ...

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Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race

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Overview


The compelling story of a trek across an exotic land–and the sinister consequences

It was an SS mission led by two complex individuals–one who was using the Nazis to pursue his own ends, and one so committed to Nazism that afterward he conducted racial experiments using the skulls of prisoners at Auschwitz. Himmler's Crusade relates the 1938 Nazi expedition through British India to the sacred mountains of Tibet in search of the remnants of the Aryan people, the lost master race. Based on a wide range of previously unused sources, this intriguing book reveals the mission–a pet project of Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler—to be the result of both a bizarre historical fantasy and a strategy to provoke insurgency in British India. Providing rare glimpses into Himmler's SS stronghold, this riveting tale sheds new light on the occult component of the racial theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Burleigh
As the Indiana Jones films showed, Nazis, new age mumbo-jumbo and exotic locations are a formula that works. Christopher Hale's gripping and well-researched tale of an SS-sponsored scientific mission to Tibet in 1938-39 has the whole shebang: mad occult beliefs, mountains, strange characters called Bruno or Ernst and stomach-churning concentration camp experiments to round things off.

In 1935, the Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler founded an organisation called Ancestral Heritage to uncover the hidden past of an imaginary Aryan race he and his Führer regarded as the noblest and most vital force in human history. That fact that there had never been an Aryan race — a philological category (the Indo-Germanic language group) had been construed into a "people" — was no impediment to someone who also believed Aryans had been unleashed on the world after divine thunderbolts shattered the primordial ice in which they were imprisoned. Himmler was also pretty keen to find gold in the river Isar or a red horse with a white mane, but that need not detain us.

....

So Hale's book is a slippery-slope sort of story. Whether it will deter those who lap up books of a new age variety that draw on the same swamp as the Nazis seems over-optimistic, but Hale is certainly to be commended for immersing himself in it for so long.
Sunday Times (U.K.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471262923
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/20/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 990,742
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER HALE is an award-winning writer and producer who has made films for the BBC and all the major broadcasters, including WGBH and the Discovery Channel. He has made numerous films about both science and the arts, many combining cutting-edge anthropology with high adventure. Hale has traveled and filmed in literally unmapped regions of Mozambique and Yemen in search of the "Lost Tribes of Israel" and looked for the origins of ocean voyaging on one of the most remote islands of the Pacific.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.

Photograph Acknowledgements.

Maps.

Prelude: Appointment in Berlin.

Introduction: Secret Tibet.

PART 1: FOOTHILLS.

1. Call of the Wild.

2. Edge of the World.

3. Grand Inquisitor.

4. The People Hunter.

5. Return to the Fatherland.

PART 2: PEAKS.

6. Confronting the Raj.

7. Trapped.

8. Breakout.

9. On the Roof of the World.

10. Weird Barbarity.

11. The White Scarves.

12. Escape from the Raj.

PART 3: VALLEYS.

13. The Devil’s Scientist.

14. The Castle.

15. Race Warrior.

16. The Savage Mind.

17. Retribution.

18. Aftermaths.

Notes.

Select Bibliography.

Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    An engaging historical tale

    Himmler¿s Crusade is the story of two men, inextricably tied to each other through a general notion of science and a shared love of country. The book is as much a practical tale of the protagonist Ernst Schäfer¿s exploratory journey to Tibet under the swastika banner as it is a cautionary tale of Himmler¿s Ahnernerbe (Ancestral Heritage Office), an SS occult research institute he developed to advance the study of the origins of the Aryan race, Germany¿s fabricated ancestral past. Himmler fancied himself a patron of science and stacked the Ahnernerbe, a Nazi-funded vanity project, with legitimate German scientific minds to add prestige to the Office, which, if nothing else, succeeded in promoting and popularizing a dangerous pseudo-science for political gain. Many scientists, Schäfer included, willingly joined the Ahnernerbe out of a desire to advance their professional standing, while others attached themselves to Himmler¿s pet project out of a sincere (desperate?) belief in a prevalent yet corrupt idea of Darwin¿s theory of natural selection. By invoking Darwin, albeit incorrectly, the Nazi regime gained a modicum of respectability to justify plans to extend German lebensraum (`living space¿) into Tibet. Although Darwin implied that Africa, not Asia, was the cradle of mankind, the overwhelmingly prejudicial Nazi party was repelled by the possibility that humans had evolved on the Dark Continent. On the eve of war, when the book begins, the author concentrates on the misuse of science to serve the state during the Nazi¿s Final Solution, Himmler¿s Crusade becomes a cautionary tale of how war can drive social science, as Nazi anthropologists and scientists nourish the fantasies of politicians seeking power, as opposed to scientific knowledge. Himmler¿s Crusade details the perversion of applied racial science to serve the political aspirations of the Nazi regime. I cannot recommend Himmler¿s Crusade enough. It is an education about the cozy marriage of politics and science, and how easily science can be perverted to justify racial murder. The lessons, as well as the characters, are rich, profound, and appalling real.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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