The Curious Obsession Of 20th-Century Dictators With Ancient Civilizations

Why did many leaders of ‘modern times’ look back so much at ancient civilizations, their myths and legends? Why were numerous leaders ‘obsessed’ in a way, with the achievements of ancient civilizations? Some of them were deeply convinced that lost powers exist on Earth, hidden away from modern society, and some of these leaders even searched the planet in order to find them. 

Many of the great dictators of the twentieth century professed a strange fascination with ancient civilizations, even using and reinterpreting their myths and legends to justify numerous acts of tyranny and cruelty.

Some of them, like the Nazi regime under Hitler searched for mythical ‘weapons’ mentioned by the ancients.

The Italian leader Benito Mussolini was described by fascist propaganda as “the new Augustus”, in reference to the Roman leader who rebuilt much of the city.

In a speech delivered in 1922, Mussolini declared: “Rome is our symbol or if you wish, our myth. We dream of a Roman Italy, that is wise and strong, disciplined and imperial. Much of what was the immortal spirit of Rome reappears in fascism.”

Mussolini looked back at the glory of the Roman Empire and wanted–in some way– return that glory in ‘modern times’.

Adolf Hitler, for example, fascinated by the Italian claim to the Roman Empire, hired the architect Albert Speer to build monumental buildings that emulate the glory of the past and inspire future generations in a hypothetical future of Nazi glory.

Under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, the Nazi were shrouded in Occultism.

The Nazi’s searched everywhere for anything they could find which was related to powers ascribed to ancient civilizations around the globe.

In 1935, under the influence of Haushofer, Hitler authorized Frederick Hielscher to establish the Ahnenerbe, a Nazi Bureau for the Study of Ancestral Heritage. One of the main goals of the Ahnenerbe was to study Germanic runes, the swastika, and other ancient symbols, as well as locating the source of the Aryan Race.

In 1939, the Nazi planned an expedition composed of five members of the Waffen-SS, Heinrich Himmler’s feared Nazi shock troops.

They were sent to Tibet, where they searched the lands for an alleged long-lost Aryan race hidden somewhere on the Tibetan plateau. It is believed that the expeditions even concluded–at some point–that the Tibetans may have been descendants from the Aryans.

The Nazis, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler also searched for the Holy Grail, a supposed cup or bowl which may have been used by Christ to consecrate the Last Supper and had mystical powers.

Himmler was convinced that if he found the ‘Holy Grail’, it would give him super-human powers, and would eventually help Nazi Germany win the war.

However, in addition to Hitler and Mussolini, during the second half of the twentieth century, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invested billions of dollars in restoring ancient Babylonian ruins and even made bricks imprinted with his name to be used on the monuments which were being restored. All of this in order to imitate the famous ruler Nebuchadnezzar II– the king of Babylon c. 605 BC – c. 562 BC, the longest and most powerful reign of any monarch in the Neo-Babylonian empire.

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