Carl Jung on Hitler as Personification of the Wotan Archetype

“Because the behavior of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype ‘Wotan’.” –Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, Wotan

One form of Odin is dead, that is, the Odin who was the highest of the many gods who appeared as the embodiment of a generation still given up to natural symbolisms. But Odin as the eternal mirrored image of the primal spiritual powers of Nordic man lives today just as he did over 5,000 years ago.” –Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century

Here, Carl Jung’s Wotan 3-6-14*, the essay entitled, “Woden As Archetype – The Carl Jung Essay”, written by New Zealand’s Dr. Kerry Raymond Bolton, is read aloud.** The essay focuses on the ideas of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung concerning the Wild Hunt that was rearing up in Germany with Adolf Hitler at the reins. The primary source of inspiration for Dr. Bolton’s essay, “Woden As Archetype – The Carl Jung Essay”, is Dr. Jung’s own essay titled “Wotan”, found here: Dr. C.G. Jung – Wotan.

In 1937, as pointed out by Dr. Bolton, Jung described Hitler as “a medium […] the mouthpiece of the Gods of old…”. –Bolton gives the following as a source: JUNG IN CONTEXT.

Elsewhere, not contained in the essay read aloud, this was stated by Dr. Jung:

“There is no question but that Hitler belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man. As somebody commented about him at the last Nürnberg party congress, since the time of Mohammed nothing like it has been seen in this world. His body does not suggest strength. The outstanding characteristic of his physiognomy is its dreamy look. I was especially struck by that when I saw pictures taken of him in the Czechoslovakian crisis; there was in his eyes the look of a seer. This markedly mystic characteristic of Hitler’s is what makes him do things which seem to us illogical, inexplicable, and unreasonable. … So you see, Hitler is a medicine man, a spiritual vessel, a demi-deity or, even better, a myth.”

–During an interview with H. R. Knickerbocker, first published in Hearst’s International Cosmopolitan (January 1939), in which Jung was asked to diagnose Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin, later published in Is Tomorrow Hitler’s? (1941), by H. R. Knickerbocker, also published in The Seduction of Unreason : The Intellectual Romance with Fascism (2004) by Richard Wolin, Ch. 2 : Prometheus Unhinged : C. G. Jung and the Temptations of Aryan Religion, p. 75

“We are always convinced that the modern world is a reasonable world, basing our opinion on economic, political, and psychological factors. […] In fact, I venture the heretical suggestion that the unfathomable depths of Wotan’s character explain more of National Socialism than all three reasonable factors put together.” –Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, Wotan

“When, for instance, the belief in the God Wotan vanished and nobody thought of him anymore, the phenomenon originally called Wotan remained; nothing changed but its name, as National Socialism has demonstrated on a grand scale. A collective movement consists of millions of individuals, each of whom shows the symptoms of Wotanism and proves thereby that Wotan in reality never died, but has retained his original vitality and autonomy. Our consciousness only imagines that it has lost its Gods; in reality they are still there and it only needs a certain general condition in order to bring them back in full force.” –Dr. Carl Gustav Jung in a letter to Miguel Serrano

This painting was made in 1889, the year Adolf Hitler was born:

The painter is Franz von Stuck. He created two paintings that were both titled “Die Wilde Jagd”, which can mean either “The Wild Hunt” or “The Wild Chase”. When translated into English, the one above is referred to as “The Wild Chase”, and the one below as “The Wild Hunt”. The latter version is dated 1899.

As mentioned and sourced by Dr. Bolton in his essay, the poem below is alleged by historian John Toland to have been written by Adolf Hitler in the trenches of WW1. I have only read online, and have not confirmed on my own, that Toland provides no source for this poem. Here is the source as cited in Dr. Bolton’s essay, “J. Toland, Adolf Hitler (New York: Doubleday & Co, 1976), p. 64”.

I often go on bitter nights
To Wotan’s oak on the quiet glade
With dark powers to weave a union –
The runic letters the moon makes with its magic spell
And all who are full of impudence during the day
Are made small by the magic formula!
They draw shining steel – but instead of going into combat
They solidify into stalagmites.
So the false ones part from the real ones –
I reach into a nest of words
And then give the good and just
With my formula blessings and prosperity.

Here, not mentioned in the podcast, is another very interesting comment made by Dr. Jung in 1918:

“Christianity split the Germanic barbarian into an upper and a lower half, and enabled him, by repressing the dark side, to domesticate the brighter half and fit it for civilization. But the lower, darker half still awaits redemption and a second spell of domestication. Until then, it will remain associated with the vestiges of the prehistoric age, with the collective unconscious, which is subject to a peculiar and ever-increasing activation. As the Christian view of the world loses its authority, the more menacingly will the “blond beast” be heard prowling about in its underground prison, ready at any moment to burst out with devastating consequences. When this happens in the individual it brings about a psychological revolution, but it can also take a social form.

In my opinion this problem does not exist for the Jews. The Jew already had the culture of the ancient world and on top of that has taken over the culture of the nations amongst whom he dwells. He has two cultures, paradoxical as that may sound. He is domesticated to a higher degree than we are, but he is badly at a loss for that quality in man which roots him to the earth and draws new strength from below. This chthonic quality is found in dangerous concentration in the Germanic peoples… The Jew has too little of this quality–where has he his own earth underfoot?”

And, then, in 1923 Dr. Jung stated (taken from the link just below):

“We [Germans] need some new foundations. We must dig down to the primitive in us, for only out of the conflict between civilized man and the Germanic barbarian will there come what we need: a new experience of God.”

Here is a relatively short essay, Dr. K.R. Bolton – Jung and the Völkisch Movement. It is essentially a summary of some of Dr. Jung’s ideas as discussed in the essay by Dr. Bolton that I read in the above linked to audio, “Woden As Archetype – The Carl Jung Essay”. The closing quote by Dr. Martin Heidegger from “Jung and the Volkisch Movement” will just as nicely help bring this post towards its end:

“The past of human existence as a whole is not a nothing, but that to which we always return when we have put down deep roots. But this return is not a passive acceptance of what has been, but its transmutation.”

“Adolf Hitler, the fascinated disciple of Richard Wagner, listened to the Nibelungenlied in the Linz Theatre. I had someone point out to me the pillar where he used to stand. Now, like Wotan, he wanted to build a Valhalla, but when the will to power and right broke asunder, this castle fell to dust. Hitler experienced Wotan’s tragedy in his own person without being warned by it; and he buried Germany under the ruins of his Valhalla. Yes, we must never disdain agreements, nor ever suffer a Loki to whisper ill counsel into our ears.” –Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, Memoirs

See also: Carl Jung – “Man Has Always Lived in the Myth”

*In order to save the audio file, click here, Carl Jung’s Wotan 3-6-14 MP3, right-click the player and choose “Save video as…” or “Save as…” to save as an MP3.

**There were some reading errors which are note here in the comments.