(Daily Skeptic)—Although we generally think of climate change hysteria as a quintessentially modern phenomenon, this is not in fact the case. Arrogant, dictatorial, totalitarian political elites have been in love with the same basic idea before – the Nazi Party, for instance.
It has largely been forgotten today, but, as I discovered when writing my new book Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science: When Science Fiction Was Turned Into Science Fact by the Nazis and the Soviets, the German Nazi Party of the 1930s and 40s believed in climate change too: it’s just that they thought the world was growing inexorably colder, not warmer. Also, unlike political elites today, they tended to think climate change was a good thing, not a bad one: coping with harsh frost and ice would help the Aryan race grow hard and strong amidst the growing frozen wastes of our future ice planet. That would certainly come in handy if they ever tried invading Russia during the winter again.
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The actual ‘science’ [sic] behind the Nazis’ own version of climate change is completely different from that of our own day – but, strangely, the social and political effects of quasi-enforced mass public belief in the phenomenon were often eerily similar to the kinds of things we can see going on with our own alleged climate crisis today. Personally, I don’t necessarily dispute the basic idea our climate today is changing (it always has), merely the dubious political superstructure subsequently built atop this initial notion.
The Nazi iteration of the same basic scientific scam – in which Hitler himself was a strong public believer – was termed Welteislehre (WEL), or ‘World-Ice Theory’. Significantly, WEL was billed not simply as an ordinary scientific proposal but a full-blown Kosmotechnische Weltanschauung, or ‘Cosmo-Technical Worldview’ – a comprehensive method of viewing the natural world through a highly distorted ideological lens which merged pseudoscience, philosophy, archaeology, religion, mythology, politics and racism into one heady brew of ‘cosmic cultural history’ containing pure ‘vitamins of the soul’.
WEL was developed by an Austrian engineer-turned-prophet with a truly epic beard named Hanns Hörbiger (1860-1931), who stubbornly refused to accept the existence of stars. Instead, Hörbiger taught apparent stars such as those shining within our own “so-called Milky Way” were actually an optical illusion caused by light from a few genuine suns far away, reflecting off a gigantic wall of planet-sized ice-blocks ringing our entire solar-system like icebergs bobbing upon the ocean of space-time.
Where did these icebergs originate? Billions of years ago, in the Constellation of the Dove, there had been a gigantic super-sun, millions of times larger than our own, orbited by a similarly huge super-planet, layered with ice hundreds of miles thick. As its orbit decayed, this ice-world fell into the super-sun and melted, emitting jets of super-charged steam. The sun then exploded, vomiting forth colossal lumps of super-heated magma which cooled and set solid into the well-loved planets of our current solar-system today. Mars, little more than a giant blob of ice, would one day pass so close to Earth that it would hoover up our atmosphere, rendering it a lifeless orb of snow.
Being perfectly positioned between fire and ice, Earth was presently the only non-frozen world left, a Goldilocks planet. Originally, our solar system had about 30 planets, but the smaller ones had entered into the larger ones’ orbits, becoming frozen ice moons; Saturn’s rings were the shattered remains of one such lunar body. Eventually, all the planets’ orbits would decay until they spiraled into the Sun, making it detonate, and the whole fire versus ice cycle would begin anew.
Huge oxygen clouds were also expelled from the original solar explosion, reacting with etheric layers of latent hydrogen, creating entire oceans’ worth of space water which then froze into those system-ringing space-bergs within the universe’s icy vacuum. Occasionally, one such space-glacier comes loose, floating into our sun’s gravitational field, causing hailstorms on Earth before splashing into the sun, creating a sun-spot, said Hanns.
Meanwhile, our present moon – Earth’s sixth such satellite, apparently – is continually accumulating more and more frozen material on its surface, shed from these passing loose space-bergs, becoming so over-laden it will ultimately sink violently down to Earth. Other smaller ice-moons had hurtled Earthwards thousands of years ago, the last of which, the ‘Tertiary’ or ‘Cenozoic’ moon, had destroyed Atlantis, also causing the biblical Great Flood and Twilight of the Gods of ancient Norse myth. The ultra-high tides caused by the Tertiary moon’s approach and fall had shaped the world’s salt and coal deposits, and all previous theories explaining how such substances were formed were yet more university-born lies.
Hörbiger’s idea, as laid out in a rambling, unstructured 1913 book of some 790 pages, Glacial Cosmology, initially flopped badly, despite his enlistment of an amateur German moon-mapper, Philipp Fauth (1867-1941), as co-author to lace it with plausible-sounding technical language. Embittered, Hörbiger thought jealous non-WEL astronomers were engaged in an unpatriotic Judaeo-Bolshevik conspiracy against the poetic Austro-German soul, so in 1918, observing how citizens had been sold on the First World War via propaganda, the self-declared “German genius” (who, like Hitler, wasn’t even actually German) decided to use the fortune he had accumulated from a special type of valve he had patented from his old engineering days to appeal directly to scientifically illiterate members of the public instead. In short, rather than persuading people of the truth of his ideas logically, he sought to persuade them emotionally instead.
“What agrees with it is right, what cannot be united with it is wrong,” declared Hörbiger of his idea, like all good pseudoscientific ideologues. “Either you learn to believe in me, or I must treat you as an enemy,” he warned one sceptic who argued measurements of the lunar surface proved it far too warm to be covered in miles of ice. As such evidence was irrefutable, it was easier to ignore it and smear opponents as traitorous political adherents of Jewish Physics instead, instrumental data being mere “weapons directed against the spirit of Parsifal”, the legendary Wagnerian knight-hero.
“One Austrian, Hitler, drove out the Jewish politicians,” read one WEL propaganda leaflet. “Another Austrian, Hörbiger, will drive out the Jewish scientists.” Scientific opponents to WEL were now not just wrong – they were evil, just like climate change sceptics today supposedly are in the eyes of many of their more unhinged opponents.
Whilst not actually a paid-up Nazi himself, Hörbiger was a committed pan-German nationalist and exploited growing similar public sentiment to sell his theory via a constant deluge of books, pamphlets, magazines, movies, radio-shows and even a special newspaper, The Key to World Events, which dubiously interpreted recent major news stories as expressions of cosmic ice’s influence upon humanity. When Price Charles deludedly claimed the Syrian Civil War was the direct result of climate change today, he is unknowingly following in Hörbiger’s footsteps.
Over time, Hörbiger essentially formed his own political pressure group; he even had private street thugs, drawn from Nazi Brownshirt ranks, gaining a literal cult following. He didn’t call this private army Extinction Rebellion or Just Stop Oil, but such adherents fulfilled a similar function of disrupting public life and persecuting dissenters, albeit in a much more violent fashion than has so far happened with their unknowing activist descendants today.
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Cannily, Hörbiger courted Nazi politicians, seeing in them a path to future influence. Following his 1931 death, Hanns’s followers aggressively promoted Welteislehre to sympathetic elements in the SS, correctly seeing that, should the Nazis ever achieve power, as they ultimately did in 1933, they could enforce acceptance of the theory via dubious political means rather than via actual rational force of argument. Sound familiar?
Whether you were a WEL-believer soon became a proxy test for whether you were a good German or loyal fascist, with links drawn between the ‘healthy’ notion of cosmic ice and the equally ‘healthy’ Nazi line that the Aryan people had originated near the invigorating frozen wastes of the North Pole. “Our Nordic ancestors grew strong in ice and snow; belief in the WEL is consequently the natural heritage of Nordic Man,” it was said. World-Ice Theory was enlisted as just more scientific evidence the German Volk really were the cosmic Master-Race; white superiority was quite literally written in the ice-white stars (or space-bergs, if you preferred).
Hitler, smitten, planned to build a gigantic astronomy museum in Linz once he had won the war, the entire top-floor of which would be devoted to Hörbiger, “the Copernicus of the 20th century”, symbolising how he represented the final end-point of the whole science’s evolution, whilst the SS signed a document officially recognising WEL, the ‘Pyrmont Protocol’. SS meteorologist Hans Robert Scultetus tried using the idea for long-term weather-forecasts in his special Pflegestätte für Wetterkunde unit, albeit with little joy.
Just as you won’t get a top job on a ‘socially conscious’ company’s board today without ostentatiously agreeing humanity is about to die out due to the pernicious effects of capitalism-fuelled global-warming, so back in the 1930s it became impossible to gain employment from many German firms unless you agreed to sign a pledge acknowledging cosmic ice was real. After this caused some disquiet, the Nazis eventually gave official advice explaining WEL-belief was not legally necessary to participate in public life – it was just a major advantage.
The appeal of Welteislehre was therefore not based primarily upon outmoded concepts like logic, realism or evidence; instead, there was a politically and ideologically motivated desire for it to be true. In other words, like much of climate change hysteria today, it was purest political religion disguised as science.
It’s no wonder the history of the whole WEL debacle isn’t very well known today. If it was, then our very own contemporary climate change fanatics may have to admit to being in some very unsavoury company indeed. Maybe hectoring little Hitlers like George Monbiot and Greta Thunberg really are ‘Climate Nazis’, as some like to call them, after all?
Steven Tucker is a journalist with the author of over 10 books, the latest being Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science: When Science Fiction Was Turned Into Science Fact by the Nazis and the Soviets (Pen & Sword/Frontline), which is out now.