Thule Society

(Thule Gesellschaft)
   Among the obscure threads that were drawn together to form the NSDAP, few have gained more notice than the Thule Society. Founded in Munich on 17 August 1918 by Rudolf von Sebottendorff and Walter Nauhaus, it was initially a cover for the Germanen Orden, a racist league whose Munich branch was founded in 1913. Seeking "German-blooded, serious men of pure character, the Orden stressed its "Aryan-Germanic ori-entation, espoused religious revival, and voiced an "inexorable hate for the Jews" and the need to exclude them from the Volkskorper (racial body politic). Somewhat awkwardly, the Orden and the Thule Society maintained separate existences in the Weimar era.
   A small, if locally important, group, the Thule Society amassed a Bavarian membership of about 1,500. Its members held overlapping membership in the Germanen Orden, the Freikorps Oberland, the Deutschvolkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund (German Racial Defense and Offense League), the Deutschsozialis-tische Partei (German Socialist Party), and the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (pred-ecessor to the NSDAP). Thule held meetings and initiations, employing the subterfuge in the revolutionary months of 1918-1919 of being a study group for Germanic antiquity. On at least two occasions members of Thule vainly tried to overthrow the regime of Kurt Eisner.* Seven members were captured and murdered in late April 1919 by Munich's Raterepublik; Rudolf Hess,* a society member, was out dispensing anti-Communist tracts when his cohorts were found.
   The Thule Society was a conspiratorial club; its aim was the promotion of anti-Semitic propaganda, and few of its members became active Nazis. Sebot-tendorff was, nonetheless, notable for selling the NSDAP its major newspaper,* the Volkischer Beobachter.* During the Weimar years the society became in-creasingly inactive. When Hitler* seized power, it was momentarily revived by Sebottendorff. It published a journal, the Thule-Bote, and its emphasis was social and artistic. When its "old fighters" refused to be reduced to a "social club," the society split and disappeared.
   REFERENCES:Bracher, German Dictatorship; Phelps, " 'Before Hitler Came.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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