Stars and World War II

In 1934, the most famous use of stars during WWII came into play. The Nazi Party began requiring that the Star of David, accompanied by the word “Juden,” mark all Jewish businesses in order to deter visitors. Then the star, or some version of it, became a badge for Jews to wear at all times. In concentration camps all prisoners wore some version of the star, which was actually a two-triangle code to mark what type(s) of prisoner you were.

But Hitler used stars in even more ways than racist terrorism and death camp organization.

Hitler never really liked astrology. He had his plans, and if an astrologer said the stars weren’t aligned with his plans, well, what then? So he tended to want most astrologers dead. But along came astrologer Karl Ernst Krafft, and soon everything changed.

Early in Hitler’s career, Krafft predicted that a man born on Hitler’s birth date would rise quickly to power. Hitler liked that.

Then in 1939, Krafft predicted an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life. He was right, and that got the Führer so nervous that he had Krafft arrested and interrogated. When it became clear that Krafft was innocent, he was accepted as an informal astrologer to the Third Reich, working primarily with Joseph Goebbels.

But the stars didn’t align for Krafft.

In 1941, Rudolph Hess – Hitler’s deputy and a devout follower of astrology – left Germany without permission to negotiate peace with Britain. In Hitler’s mind, Hess gave all astrologers a bad name.

To make matters worse for Krafft, the stars were telling him that Hitler would probably lose the war. Hitler was becoming increasingly paranoid and, like I’ve always said, you should never tell a paranoid evil genius dictator that he isn’t going to win the war.

So Krafft went to prison and died of typhus in 1945 on his way to the Buchenwald concentration camp. During the war, the Nazis sent many other astrologers and fortune-tellers to the camps, fearing that their reading of the stars would hurt German chances in the war.

The British government used an astrologer as well: Louis de Wohl, who was later considered a very low-quality astrologer. He primarily worked in propaganda, attempting to publicize readings that were different from what Hitler would likely hear from his own astrologer. The Allies hoped de Wohl’s readings would make Hitler doubt his astrologers and become paranoid and confused.

It turns out, they really didn’t need de Wohl. Hitler was always paranoid, and most of his contemporaries claim that he never even met Krafft or any other astrologer personally.

Stars and astrology have been important in politics for centuries. Herod sure worried about one in particular.

To most of the nation’s shock, Nancy Reagan admitted in her 1989 memoirs that she was obsessed with astrology during her husband’s presidency – so obsessed that some aides claim it determined the family’s diplomatic schedules and even their decision-making.

So it should come as no surprise that two of the world’s biggest superpowers, in fighting a war against each other as neighbors, asked the stars for guidance. But it still is surprising – and probably for the same reason that Hitler and Churchill and Reagan all tried to keep it a secret.

Join in!

What do you think of astrology?
Do you think astrology could/should have any valid role in politics?

Further resources:

Learn about the history and meaning of the Star of David from the Jewish Virtual Library.

We need to take seriously the circumstances in which Hitler rose to power, and make sure we never let it happen to us…but I also have a fondness for making fun of him. See what happens when Hitler finds out that there is no Santa Claus in this dubbed scene from Downfall:

5 Responses to “Stars and World War II”
  1. Joan says:

    I wonder why it is when people get knocked in the head in cartoons they see stars. Any ideas. It is just a tradition I think.

  2. Claire says:

    I guess I genuinely don’t buy it, but perhaps because I don’t know anything about it.

  3. Darrell says:

    Stars have power. People have known this from the dawn of recorded human history. An interesting fact is that constellations of stars that we traditionally think of as named by the anchient Greeks and from which they derived the names of their gods, i.e. Apollo, Osiris (Orion), etc. were mentioned in the Book of Job which many think of as the oldest known book. In any case Job predates anchient Greece by centuries, but there it is. Job 38:1, 31,32 “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,…Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth the Mazzaroth in its season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” I use the King James text to quote Job because of its beautiful poetry in rciting this anchient book. There is a new book just out by Thomas Horn and named “Apollyon Rising 2012” in which Mr. Horn makes the case that these Greek legends were more than legends but in fact were actual demonic beings. Read his book it’s fascinating. The point is that astrology does have power as it is a ursurpation and corruption of God’s creation and his continuing upholding power. There are two sources of power in the universe. The power of the holy God and the power of the evil and fallen Satan. All power derives from those sources. Simply put then, is it from God or is it from Satan? Astrol;ogy has no place in politics unless the nation under its umbrella is wicked and satanic and its people do not know God. People invest themselves in astrology and they feel its power and so they assume it’s good but they should ask and determine from where that power comes. Hitler, of course, is the poster child but he was lifted up and maintained by the power of American industrial might just as the Soviet Union was for 7 decades. Read James and Suzanne Good’s book “Who Financed Hitler?” and Anthony Sutton’s “The Best Enemy Money Can Buy.”
    I remember now that this isn’t my blog so I will close with this; as strange as it seems in this modern world, satan is alive and many educated, sophisticated, people of high position worship him. Thanks for the opportunity.

  4. jpothen says:

    C.S. Lewis had a more sympathetic view towards astrology and used his understanding of medieval cosmology to construct the Chronicles of Narnia. Here’s a link with more info:

    I would side with Lewis in saying that there is permanent value in learning about the spiritual symbolism of the stars and planets. They can enrich the Christian understanding of God.

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