- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (12 Aug. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471262927
- ISBN-13: 978-0471262923
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.6 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,821,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Himmler's Crusade : The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race Hardcover – 12 Aug 2005
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From the Inside Flap
It is a pilgrimage that thousands have taken in search of enlightenment, inner peace, or even sheer adventure. When five officers of the Nazi SS made the arduous journey to Tibet’s forbidden city of Lhasa in the winter of 1938, however, the objects of their quest were mysterious, sinister, and, ultimately, deeply malevolent. Under orders from Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, these scientists were to find proof of a bizarre historical fantasy, lay the groundwork for a global political and military strategy, and pinpoint the origins and remnants of the Aryan "master race."
Himmler’s Crusade tells the riveting tale of one of the most perverse, eccentric, and frightening scientific expeditions in history. Based on a wide range of previously unused sources, including journals, new interviews, and original research in German archives as well as in Tibet, this real–life drama combines the highest standards of narrative history with the high adventure and exotic locales of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Central to this chilling tale is the complex and problematic character of Ernst Schäfer, the expedition’s leader. A serious and extremely competent young zoologist, Schäfer was so consumed by ambition that he was eager to become Himmler’s protégé and to do anything his patron commanded in return for opportunity, fame, and influence at the very highest levels of Nazi power. Though they had their own projects to pursue, Schäfer’s team spent most of its time in Tibet doing Himmler’s bidding, which included sowing the seeds of rebellion, undermining Britain’s relationship with the Tibetan ruling class, and confirming Himmler’s grotesque theories about the origins of the Aryan race.
Part spy thriller, part detective yarn, and all real–life adventure, Himmler’s Crusade takes you from Himmler’s SS stronghold at Wewelsburg Castle, where he inculcated elite SS recruits with the appropriate racial thinking, to the dizzying Himalayan heights, where Schäfer and his team examined Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan ancestry. It asks penetrating questions about the relationship between science and politics and sheds new light on the occult theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis. Supplemented with dozens of fascinating photos taken during the expedition, this engagingly told tale provides deep insight into one of the strangest episodes in the tumultuous months just prior to the outbreak of World War II.
From the Back Cover
"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 charactors called Bruno or Ernst and stomach–churning concentration camp experiments to round things off."
—The Sunday Times (London)
A scientific expedition or a sinister mission?
Why would the leader of the Nazi’s dreaded SS, the second–most–powerful man in the Third Reich, send a zoologist, an anthropologist, and several other scientists to Tibet on the eve of war? Himmler’s Crusade tells the bizarre and chilling story one of history’s most perverse, eccentric, and frightening scientific expeditions. Drawing on private journals, new interviews, and original research in German archives as well as in Tibet, author Christopher Hale recreates the events of this sinister expedition, asks penetrating questions about the relationship between science and politics, a nd sheds new light on the occult theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis.
Combining the highest standards of narrative history with the high adventure and exotic locales of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Himmler’s Crusade reveals that Himmler had ordered these men to examine Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan physiology, undermine the British relationship with the ruling class, and sow the seeds of rebellion among the populace. Most strangely, the scientists–all SS officers–were to find scientific proof of a grotesque historical fantasy that was at the center of Himmler’s beliefs about race.
Set against the exquisite backdrop of the majestic Himalayas, this fast–paced and engaging narrative provides new and troubling insight into one of the strangest episodes in the history of science, politics, and war.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
this book details an expedition financed by Nazi Germany to find the roots of the Aryan race in Tibet measuring bone structure looking for clues to the birth place of the Aryans
A worrying book in that you can see that these expeditions could be spun by politicians to look like adventures, a search for scientific truth and the evidence gathered and interpreted by experts to support policy without question being allowed or anyone who does question being beaten down by the so called evidence
an interesting book but not light reading and not entertaining in the sense of amusement
The Book entitled 'Himmler's Crusade' appears to be nothing of the sort. Yes, Himmler at one time was very interested in race research and encouraged various Doctors and other Scientists in projects, as the book describes. However, although Himmler was in a position to authorise and facilitate such research, it was not his prime concern for the War years that his activities are chiefly known for. Thus the expeditions of a few Germans to Tibet around 1938 is hardly part of a Crusade
The involvement of Himmler in the story is somewhat peripheral - a bit like writing a book indicating Adolf Hitler had a great interest in German postage stamps -because after he came to power, they bore his image.
This is a book that describes those expeditions to Tibet pre -war and some of the research made during the war on the bodies of dead concentration inmates that had been passed to medical institutes. It is factual and descriptive - but may disappoint some readers who are expecting some Himmler revelation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Not only does the expedition have to battle the elements but also the British, by having to pass through India and Sikkim to get to Tibet. Once there, the British consider the interlopers spies, a case that the author tries to build. Though forbidden to do so, the expedition gathered many specimins, scientific measurements, and anthropological data on the people of Tibet.
But WW II intrudes, leaving Schafer scrambling to mount another secret expedition into Tibet to foment an uprising against the British there and in India. Hitler's invasion of Russia squashes that plan, leaving the 5 original German expedition members either as members of the SS carrying out pet projects for Himmler or fighting on one front or another.
Hale seems to try and prove that the expedition's members were guilty of knowingly participating in the holocaust, even though they were exonerated after the war. But his warning of the current revival of evidence of supposed lost races of people in occult/alternative/New Age/UFO/conspiracy circles nevertheless rings true.
What we must not forget are the nazis thinking about all the human races not being alike, that is not all being quite human, and besides the occult. Concerning the thinking about the jews, and gipsies, not being quite human, I remenber when I about 30 year ago read about this in the german books on around 800 sides, from under the nazi regime, used for education of the police offices, and which was allso, at that time, used in Denmark (from where I come).
It's interesting that the book starts with telling about Helena Blavatsky and her thinking about Thibet. But it's a shame that neither Nietzsche, nor his sister, are not mentioned, and his, "Also sprach Zarathustra", becaurse Nietzsches sister was one of the persons which had moust to do with the nazi thinking of superman. But on the last two sides of the writing are mentioned Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, and one of their books, "The Morning of the Magicians", and Erich von Däniken, and it's a good connection concerning the occult thinking. I remember reading this book first time back in 1968, and last time 2 years ago.
The book is very detailed about the two journeys to Thibet, so thereby being good historically. And it's allso highly interesting about what especially Dr. Ernst Schäger and Dr. Bruno Berger was doing under the war and how there after the war, at trials, was looked at this. That is especially concerning Bruno Bergers researc by prisoners he choosed in Auschwitz.
And the book allso being good by thelling about David Irving twist of the hitory. I have read David Irving.
But I would have liked a litle bit longer telling about Himmlers crusade to the holy mountain in Caucasus in 1941 and 1942. But all together for me it's a very importent history book. I have read much history since I learned to read when I was 7 years, and that's now over 56 years. And as I mentioned in the start it's often forgotten what was the background in especially Hitlers, and Himmlers, thinking, so the book is good in reminding us about that.
That's the topic tackled by Christopher Hale who many years later followed the trail of the pre-war expedition to Tibet in search of evidence to support SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler's bizarre beliefs in an Aryan race descended from Tibetans. It was completely nuts but Himmler didn't invent it. The belief was built upon by occultists all the way back to the 19th century's Madame Blavatsky and thrived in pre-Nazi Germany which crawled with racist occult groups. By the time Himmler got to it, the story had become a very convoluted origin myth rivalling any contemporary religious or occult origin myth.
For ambitious, domineering German explorer Ernst Schafer, allowing himself to be recruited by Himmler was the only way to get the support he needed to penetrate this remote, mysterious land which was the source of the Shangri-La myth and the vaunted secret wisdom used to train fictional superheroes like The Shadow. Although Schafer, now in the SS, did not subscribe to Himmler's lunacy, he agreed to investigate the myth and, somewhat more enthusiastically did what he could, at Himmler's request, to weaken British influence.
The book details the Tibetan expedition and provides information on both what the Germans wanted and what the got. Upon arrival, they found Tibet, long an unoccupied protectocrate of China, having to deal with not just a possible Chinese takeover but crippling internal struggles, as well. Inside Tibet the struggles were between the aristocrats and the many different competing Buddhist factions. The 13th Dalaia Lama was recently dead and signs were being sought to guide the faithful to his reincarnated self, to be followed by elevation to political and religious leadership of the country. Since the searchers defined what were and were not true signs of the reincarnation, control ultimately stayed in their hands.
Schafer got his Tibetan expedition and all he had to do was sell his soul. Payment came due back in Germany where World War Two had gotten underway. Schafer was drawn deeper into the SS's grotesque slaughter in the name of racial purity but managed to slither free of the worst unlike his colleague Beger, who was ordered to help select 150 Jews at Auschwitz for the collection of their skeletons.
The book requires patient attention and contains much more detail than I could ever retain or want to retain on the subject, but does possess many interesting insights. After all the references to Nazis in Tibet, it is almost anticlimactic that the Nazi involvement was limited to measuring skulls and body parts while trying to keep the British with their influence in the country from getting them kicked out. But if you are interested in this aspect of Nazi occult origins, this is the book to get.
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