Nazi occultism is a popular basis for conspiracy theories, and has been used extensively in both films and games. The secrecy in which the Nazis conducted experiments acts as a superb base for the construction of conspiracy theories, even if the theories themselves are not entirely grounded in reality. Many of the theories do at least have some historic basis, and act as a method of allowing gamers to experience shooting Nazis in a whole new way. Some games have used Nazi occultism as a means to alter the flow and outcome of World War II within the scope of the narrative, with a prime example in the form of the entire Wolfenstein series.
The origin of Nazi occultism in games can easily be traced back to one of the precursors of Hitler's Nazi Party; the Thule Society. The Thule Society was formed of earlier groups in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with a focus on German nationalism. At the time, Germany was an autocratic nation under the rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who would later go on to lead the German Empire during World War I. The Thule Society was considered a research group for German antiquity, though was a secretive organization despite their apparently legal ethos.
The Thule Society bankrolled Anton Drexler and the National Socialist German Worker's Party, which eventually became the Nazi Party, headed by Adolf Hitler, though it eventually died off and became another part of the Nazi government. Key members of the Thule Society included Alfred Rosenberg and Rudolf Hess. Rosenberg was responsible for the attempts to change Christianity within Nazi Germany to a concept he dubbed 'Positive Christianity', where Adolf Hitler was considered a god among men. Hess was one of Hitler's closest allies until he flew to Scotland during the war for unknown reasons.
To trace the concept of Nazi occultism back further, it could be linked to Guido von List, who spoke of an Aryan race of supermen long before Adolf Hitler ever tried to incorporate the idea into his political ambitions and life goals. Von List spoke of the 'Ario-Germanen', who were a race of super-humans pre-dating modern humanity, and it was from his views that the precursor to the Thule Society came into existence.
Inside the Schutzstaffel was an additional group, known as the 'Ahnenerbe'. The group was a think tank for "intellectual ancient history". The initial goal of the group was to 'prove' that the world had once been ruled by Aryans hailing from Germany and other Nordic nations. The early claim of Heinrich Himmler was that these Aryan supermen were sent from the heavens and lived on Atlantis, where they advanced separately to normal humans.
The Ahnenerbe are known as the occult division of the SS, and as a result, are famed for their expeditions. Among these expeditions was the 1939 trip to New Swabia, which has been a popular topic for conspiracy theorists with an interest in the Nazis and their occult meanings. The Ahnenerbe are frequently confused with the 'Vril Society', who have not been historically verified. In fact, the concept of the Vril Society came from an 1871 science-fiction novel, entitled Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (though originally just The Coming Race). Nevertheless, both groups are connected with the Nazi occult and therefore theories relating to both have been included.
There are many theories relating to the Nazi occult, with some common examples being Nazi UFOs and the experiments known as 'Die Glocke', or 'The Bell'. Due to the sheer number of theories existing it is impossible to list and detail all of them, though many of the theories that exist are derived from the less-well documented events in the timeline of Nazi history. One has to avoid though unsubstantiated stories found on the internet with no historical background like Nazi UFOs or Hitler's brain in Antarctica (refer to the book "Nazi Secrets")
Occultism in Games
Occultism in videogames is not a new concept, though Nazi occultism is often intended to confuse players or otherwise hinder their understanding of the story, until the developers choose to unveil the main focus of their story. Below are some of the best examples of occultism within games:
A strategy RPG set during World War II, the story begins as standard World War II fair, with the player taking control of Allied faction characters to confront Nazi soldiers in battle. However, the story very quickly takes on an overt, supernatural twist with occult elements, as members of the allies are revealed to be werewolves, while certain characters in the Nazi ranks are secretly vampires. Over the course of the story, other supernatural enemies are encountered as the Nazis perform acts such as raising the dead to do their bidding.
Both Call of Duty titles are listed due to the close relationship between their events. Starting in World at War, Treyarch included an easter egg mode entitled 'Nazi Zombies'. The mode never had an official story until the third map was released, in the swamps of 'Shi No Numa'. The story was told entirely through easter eggs around the maps, and the dedicated fans of the Zombies mode found themselves trying to find out more about the undead enemy they were fighting.
From the current story, it can be linked with Nazi occultism. The second map to include the specified characters was 'Der Riese', or 'The Giant'. The term has been synonymously linked with the Nazi experiments known as 'Die Glocke'. The game suggests that these experiments were real, and the Nazis sought to reanimate the dead as an actual fighting unit, theoretically making them unbeatable. Whether the Nazis ever aimed to do such a thing is unclear.