As the evilest and most widely condemned organization in European history, the Nazis have long fascinated both historians and the public at large. Inevitably, a wide variety of grotesque and often unbelievable theories have formed around Hitler and his followers, blurring the distinction between historical fact and wild speculation. From dark magic and ancient prophecies to secret Nazi tunnels in Antarctica, here are five theories that walk the line between shocking fact and dark fiction.
Inevitably, a wide variety of grotesque and often unbelievable theories have formed around Hitler and his followers, blurring the distinction between historical fact and wild speculation. From dark magic and ancient prophecies to secret Nazi tunnels in Antarctica, here are four theories that walk the line between shocking fact and dark fiction.
1: Nazi Tunnels in the Antarctic
In 1938, a group of Germans led by a Navy captain undertook an expedition to Antarctica. It occurred as Europe teetered on the brink of the second world war which was declared in 1939. In later years, the trip became the subject of fantastical myths, most of which centered around the Hollow Earth and Concave Earth Theories.
Authors, fringe groups, and conspiracy theorists have proposed that the German expedition’s real purpose was to locate the entrance to a network of underground tunnels supposedly leading down into the center of the planet. Some versions of the myth involve Hitler and other senior Nazi officials fleeing into this subterranean realm after the Allies achieved victory in Europe.
It is, of course, untrue, as the expedition had a very specific purpose. German authorities wanted to establish a whaling station in the area, as whale oil was a valuable resource. Germany was heavily reliant on Norway for that oil and wanted to produce it independently. Although a search for the main ingredient in soap and margarine is less exciting than a quest for the Hollow Earth, it is much more likely.
2: Hitler’s Missing Testicle
A claim often made about the leader of the Nazi party, is the fact that Adolf Hitler only had one testicle. It has long been touted in British propaganda and popular culture. This urban legend was the basis for the song “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball,” written in the late 1930s. It became popular among Allied troops who sang it as a way of belittling and ridiculing the enemy leader.
Hitler’s doctor dismissed the idea, and people understandably cast doubt on the claim, seeing it as a product of biased propaganda, promoted by Germany’s enemies. However, in the years following the end of WWII, new research has uncovered documents and reports that point to it being more fact than fiction.
Hitler’s prison records and medical records from his time as a soldier in WWI all point to a case of monorchism; the condition in which a man lacks one of his testicles. Although it is usually placed alongside other more far-fetched urban myths about the Nazis, the evidence behind this one is convincing.
3: Hitler Escaped To South America
The fact that Hitler’s body was found badly burnt and only identified by Soviet forces has led to a long-running theory that the Nazi leader did not die when Berlin fell in 1945. For decades after WWII ended, people around the world have reported sightings of men they believe to be the Fuhrer. One location that seems to be a favorite for theorists is South America and Argentina in particular.
Recent theories have suggested that Hitler fled Berlin via a secret tunnel to a nearby airport. From there he traveled first by helicopter and then in a U-boat to a series of secret locations, finally coming to rest in South America. There he lived out the rest of his days in peace, dying in Argentina later in the 20th Century.
Many Nazis and fascists did find sanctuary there, including Adolf Eichmann and Joseph Mengele. However, there is no credible or convincing proof the Fuhrer joined them. Fantastic as the idea of Hitler’s escape may be, it is unlikely to be anything more than fiction.
4: The Nazis Practiced Dark Magic
The Nazis’ links to occultism, esoteric practices, and dark magic are usually cast in the same light as the more unrealistic Nazi myths and conspiracies. However, there is considerable evidence for claims that Hitler and his associates were involved in occult practices.
Heinrich Himmler, a high-ranking party member, participated in seances and rituals during which he attempted to contact the spirits of the dead. Rudolph Hess was a member of the shadowy Thule Society and associated with a network of fortune-tellers and mystics.
Hitler himself had a keen interest in dark magic and was believed by many to be a Messiah whose coming was prophesied by Nostradamus. Although this macabre and seemingly fantastical feature of the Nazi party has become the basis for many works of fiction, the organization’s links to dark magic are far from fictional.