This is the transcript by R. F. of Jonathan Bowden’s lecture on Savitri Devi, delivered to the 29th New Right meeting in London on, Saturday October 23, 2010 — one day after the anniversary of Savitri’s death on October 22, 1982 in Sible Hedingham, Essex, England. I have eliminated some false starts and provided corrective notes. To listen in a player, click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” Please post any corrections — and any recollections of her concluding words, which are missing from the recording — below as comments.
Savitri Devi was born in September of 1905 and died aged 77 in 1982. Now Savitri Devi is extraordinarily radical and is amongst one of the most extreme and militant individuals that I’ve ever discussed. I’ve had talks about Julius Evola, and I’ve had talks about Friedrich Nietzsche in the past. I’ve had talks about metapolitical and cultural figures who have overlapped with the radical Right. Probably you couldn’t really begin to imagine anyone more militant than her, so I think it’s best to step back from the immediate biography and the welter of detail and look at the thing philosophically.
She was half-English, which is rarely thought or mentioned on the internet and elsewhere, and she died here en route to a provocative meeting, we’ll say, in the United States. One of the things that’s most abiding about her, and that interests me a great degree, is the degree of her intelligence. This is one of the most extraordinary things. Extremism and militancy in contemporary liberal societies are often associated in the mass mind with stupidity, or ignorance, or bigotry, and this sort of thing. This woman could speak 8 languages, read 8 languages. She had 2 Masters Degrees, one in chemistry and one in philosophy, and she had a PhD in mathematics, which, given that her future career, if you like on the political margin, so to speak, mathematics is quite interesting.
But I think also cardinal for the type of radicalism/extremism she would develop later in her life and ideological course. Now, in many forms of mathematics, of course, you’re looking for X; you’re looking for what the sort of alternative middle-rank thinker Colin Wilson called Faculty X. You’ve got an equation, and you have to find X and maybe balance a particular equation, a particular quantity on either side of the equals sign. And in a sense mathematical truth is pushing prognosticated truths to the absolute limit of their efficacy. It’s the truth within the truth, beyond the truth, and at the edge of a particular dispensation of thinking.
Her idea, which may or may not have been drawn from her mathematical studies when she was a young student at the University of Lyons, was the idea that if you take various forms of equation and you make a graphic form, the idea is that the line which penetrates the circle furthest away from the arc of a circle is the point of truth, is where X is, is one way of looking at it. And the idea, that the truth lies at the most extreme part of the axis, the idea that rather than the safe middle, or the comfortable middle ground, truth is radical extremity, is something that she would essentially live through for most of her life.
Her father was French but of largely Italian descent and Greek descent, and she was strongly influenced by Greek thinking and supported Greek nationalist positions up until around the Great War when she first became reasonably politically conscious. She then moved on from that afterwards. It’s noticeable that because of her sort of mixed European ancestry—bit Greek, bit French, bit Italian, half English—she considered herself to essentially be European. And that judgment for, rather than linked, to any particular nationality or nation state, and that judgment formed early on.
Now, her first political and ideological positions were: a return to Greece, an exemplification of the Aryan culture and Indo-European culture of the ancient Greeks, a belief that the Greeks had much to tell to modern civilization. Notice this was way before any a movement or regimes formed by those movements had been formed in the 20th century. The return to Greece, the recognition of the importance of Greek thought and open-ended identity, the culture of beauty of the body, the culture of serenity, the culture of proportion and form, classicism. Very very important for her. And the belief that a pagan society should be a living identity, should actually be alive rather than tiny little groups, fringe little tendencies of opinion and identity in the Western world.
She made some radical decisions after her education basically came to an end, and one of them was to go to India where she became a Hindu and was widely associated with the Hindu nationalist movement in India and fascistic forms of the Hindu nationalist movement in the 1930s and ’40s. Now the figure of the white Hindu had certain resonances in Indian life, which are quite paradoxical and often militant and extreme.
What Western societies do in relation to 2nd and 3rd and 4th world countries about which they know nothing—whilst professing to love and adore them to the end of time—is to take leaders who can be adopted and successfully acclimatized to the norms of a particular Western establishment. Like America’s chosen leader of conscience who now has a day named after him as a public holiday in the United States, is Martin Luther King. But other leaders like Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X and Elijah Mohammed and these sorts of people are largely forgotten and deliberately moved to the side so that all of the light can fall upon “Dr.” King.
Similarly, in South Africa, Nelson Mandela has gone through a secular canonization whereas the Pan Africanist Congress, and militant Communist cadres within the South African ANC—militant links with terrorist organizations in the paramilitary and military wing of the ANC, Spirit the Nation—are all elided and removed.
Hindu Nationalist Politics is largely seen for westerners today through the retrospective prism of Gandhi: Gandhi’s non-violence, Gandhi’s pacifism, and Gandhi’s desire to have the British leave India, as indeed occurred in 1947 when the Raj came to an end and when the flag was hauled down by Mountbatten. But she looks for harder and more resonant individuals within Hindu nationalism.
There’s always been a Hindu fascism of course, namely the RSS. And the BJP, which certain Indians within Britain secretly behind their hands call the BNP of India, is a populist and democratic split from the RSS. It is also important to point out that all these organizations were involved in enormous and sub-genocidal communitarian violence at the end of the 1940s, when the Raj came to an end.
Her early publications were in favor of Hindu unity, and essentially a mainstream Hindu nationalist position. She later moved to essays discussing the roles of non-Hindus in India, which is always complicated in relation to a Hindu national consciousness. She knew virtually every leader of what would become post-war India. She also knew very well those Indian leaders who were pro-Axis and pro-German, of which there was a wide number.
Bose for example, and his paramilitary army, the Indian National Army, is almost not mentioned at all in British historiography of the Indian subcontinent of that time, partly because he led a militant, subcontinental IRA against British rule and allied himself with Nazi Germany and with imperial Japan against our interests. Very interestingly, in the last couple of years, documents have come to light where Bose was sentenced to death by the British cabinet, to be killed on sight by the Special Operations Executive or the SOE, if ever caught in British gunsights. Because he worried us, because he was aligned with core British statal enemies, the alleged Arab decision for Britain in 1939-1940.
The Hindu phase for Savitri Devi/Maximiani Portas, is her belief that there should be a living paganism rather than a dead one, and her belief in certain primal Hindu beliefs which are mainstream, completely mainstream in Hindu society and in the Asian subcontinent: the belief that Hinduism is a partly racial religion, the belief that whites or partly-whites formed it; the belief—semi-mythological, to mythological, to semi-actual—to be believed in the minds of tens and tens of millions, that certain tribes came down from the Caucasus a certain number of years, thousands of years ago, millennia ago, placed a caste religion within India whereby you can’t breed with people outside the caste that you’re in. This was later to completely break down and become endlessly confused. But these elements and these tendencies—the use of the fire wheel, the worship of the sun, the belief in polytheism of the most militant sort, which has one flame possibly behind it, a sort of secret, semi-monotheism within a religion that appears to be anything but that.
Her position in Hinduism is slightly complicated and in some ways she is a perennialist, like Evola who called himself a Catholic pagan. If you want a religion as the basis of your political attitudes; if you want something that you consider to be absolute, or a system of belief; not Tony Blair saying, “These are my views, what are yours?” Not the views of contemporary politicians. If you want something that is absolute and as she conceives it, things that people will live and die for, and fight for, in real historical time, you have to have things that are above and beyond man. You have to have things of metaphysical veracity and objectivism. In where theology merges in with their philosophy, there’s this idea of metaphysical objectivism: truths that are believed to be outside man and are taken as absolutes.
The contemporary mind finds a lot of this way of proceeding and of looking at things extraordinarily difficult, not just because of the possible political and ideological and social consequences that can emerge from it, but also because of the mindset that it involves. When Evola talked about being a Catholic pagan, he basically meant that if you look into my face, you see ancient Rome. The name of his religion is Roman Catholicism, and to him he sees antiquity and the pagan world peering straight out of Christianity. Many people believe of course that Protestantism and the Protestant Reformation is the more Judaic form of Christianity within Christianity. Whereas Catholicism does retain in its architecture, in its aesthetics, in the Renaissance, certain elements of the restitution of the ancient world, which is really what people like her wanted.
The decision to become a Hindu is very very radical, and very absolutist, and at one level cuts you off from most white people, including quite white politically militant people elsewhere in the world. But one of the things that’s rather interesting about her radicalism is the divorce between how the far Right is perceived by much of the rest of the contemporary world and many of the people who’ve actually been leading individuals within it.
There is the view that the radical Right exists only against—against other groups—against groups that it blames modernity and liberal egalitarian leveling for. Against ethnic, racial, sexual, and other minorities and so on. Her view of course, is pretty much the other way round, in that these radical tendencies of opinion exist for things, and by virtue of being for things very radically, you will inevitably disprivilege and move slightly to the side that which you don’t really approve of. So there’s a degree to which her desire for an absolute culture that was non-Christian, and that was still a living culture that hundreds of millions adhered to, shows the depth of her extremity and the depth of her radicalism.
There’s also a degree to which she was very uninterested in Mussolini’s Italy, or Franco’s Spain, or Salazar’s Portugal, or movements elsewhere. There was a certain comment, and there was a certain interest, but it’s noticeable that when she later came to adopt the view that German National Socialism was the recrudescence of extreme paganism in the Western world for man then and today and tomorrow, she came to that view unerringly because her viewpoint always goes to the most extreme and the most militant option. In some ways because of her motivation is in many respects primarily religious, she’s opposed to all forms of political temporizing.
What’s called populism is the desire that you meet people half way with the predilections that they already have. Radical Right parties in Europe and elsewhere go to the population after 60 years of liberal beliefs when virtually everyone has some sort of liberal belief system, no matter how marginal, even if it’s only 2% of their beliefs. Populism goes to them as a political gesture and tries to hook the individual or group concerned, and bring them in to a more rightist, traditional, perennial, authoritarian, semi-democratic, patriotic nexus, and so forth.
Her view is very much anti-political in one sense. She believes in going for the most extreme and the most radical option in all areas. If she wants to be a pagan, she becomes a Hindu; if she wants to be a pagan in political modernity, she becomes a National Socialist; if she’s a National Socialist, she supports the SS, as the most militant part of National Socialism. Always with her the most extreme, the most radical option, but not as emotional fervor—although there is a certain fervid quality to her prose that can’t be denied—but almost with a degree of mathematical logic and forethought whereby the most radical position leads logically and inescapably to all other positions.
Now, why did she reject Christianity in such a militant way? Essentially because it doesn’t accord with her nature and essentially because of her view of both ethics and natural process. When the New Right was formed, quite a few Christian people came along early, and we had an Orthodox Minister or even a bishop, I think, in the first meeting. Radical Right groups that have had a cultural struggle element such as this one. Nearly always have a split, where they’re either designated as pagan, and the Christians leave; or Christian, and the pagans leave. Or there’s an uneasy sort of co-relation between the two of them.
Now she believed in a total return to that which was before Christianity. She believes that essentially Christianity is not just a Jewish religion but a universalist faith, and she’s quite hostile to Islam as well, although later she would know certain individuals who settled in Nasser’s Egypt and who converted to Islam and were ex-members of the Freikorps and ex-members of NSDAP both in the ’30s and ’40s and going back to the Freikorps in the early l920s and late second decade of the last century. For those who are not aware, the Freikorps were of course those paramilitary organizations formed in June in defeat to prevent Bolshevik revolution spreading across the German heartline, to engage in fighting in the Baltic, and also just to impose order in a totally chaotic, defeated, hungry, and demoralized nation that had lost the first World War in human history, certainly within modernity.
So Savitri Devi’s radicalism and the religious urge which exists behind it is evident from the very beginning. Many believe that she is attempting to create a religion out of Nazism, and indeed many spokesmen on the radical Right like Revilo P. Oliver said that after the war. “I do believe that a Hitler cult is being created,” Revilo once said, “by a knowledgeable woman of Greek ancestry.” And there is a degree to which you can see part of the logic of her progression in that way.
She produced a whole series of books after she came back to Europe after the German defeat in 1945. Before she left, and in the mid- to late-’30s she married an Indian Brahmin called Mukherji. And the marriage is believed to be celibate because he was a yogic individual who believed, as ascetics do and as puritans believed in our national revolution in the 1600s, that if you deny excess or sensuality in one area you redirect that power into another area
Also Indian groups published most of her pro-Axis material after the war, when virtually nobody on earth would have published that sort of material, apart from tiny little NS networks in the United States and maybe in South Africa. Virtually no one else would have published this material. She moves from the Hindu Nationalist position of the late 1930s to adopt, after a break, a strident pro-Nationalist Socialism position.
She goes to Germany immediately after the Second [World] War in the mid- to late-’40s when Germany is in total chaos. Germany is being occupied. The eastern zone which she couldn’t particularly visit because nobody from western origination could, was under Ulbricht’s control.
The statistics vary, as all of these exterminationist cum revisionist ones do. The German parliament has declared two million Germans died as a result of the devastation after 1945. Hundreds of thousands of German women were raped by Soviet troops in the eastern zone as a direct order which came from above. Mass armies rarely engage in rape unless it’s ordered from above, or unless the restrictions upon it are ameliorated and withdrawn by an officer caste that gives approval to it. There will always be men who don’t engage in those sorts of activities of course, in any army, but if it is permitted from above, the adoption that women are part of the booty of war will take hold, particularly in a group that desires radical vengeance.
The interesting thing is that in order to stop the mass raping, which was demanded by pleas of east German communists so that they could form a state in the devastated eastern zone of Germany that was occupied by the Red Army, large numbers of men had to be shot because they had become addicted to rape essentially, and the commissars needed to re-impose order.
This doesn’t also account for the hundreds and hundreds of thousands who went through de-Nazification process, at the top of the hill and at the bottom of the hill. Lower ranking people— orderlies and people in the state and so on, people in tiny little party organizations—were let off with slaps and fines and ruined careers and sort of a political reorganization, re-imposed political correctnesses and ideological conformisms to the post-war hour.
The elite of the old party apparatus were either killed, and many were tortured, there were institutes for their torture and destruction—many which would be used against Communists later on. We had them in Berlin, long denied. They weren’t very extensive, but British armies have always used these methods contrary to the idea that we’ve never done so.
And so virtually all of the radical non-humanism which is attested against in this particular regime retrospectively was committed, directly and indirectly by Allied power in the years after 1945 through 1948. The suffering of the Germans, which was extensive, has rarely ever been revealed; the vast majority of people who are alive now have almost no knowledge of it, and rather like other defeated peoples—the white South and the Confederacy in the United States for example, much of whose history has been consigned to a sort of convenient Orwellian memory hole—few people today know anything about that; or even wish to know.
The irony is that this information is there. If you type into Google “massacres of Germans post 1945”; if you type into Google “German suffering post Second War,” masses of material comes up. The problem is not that the material is censored. The problem is that masses of the people have been taught that to even look at it is morally evil. And therefore they don’t want to look at it, and it’s as if it has not occurred. And it’s only for archival and specialist interest. It is not where one wishes to put one’s gaze.
The revelations about the post-war camps were largely because the Allies took the static photographic cameras of the newsreels of that day to the camps because they had not to show the world the devastation of the German cities. These beautiful cities all over Germany—north, west, south, and east—that were totally obliterated and totally bulldozed. Destroyed more than Grozny by Russian power. Whole cities and towns devastated, and people lived in the rubble for years after 1945.
An old friend of mine, the elitist and non-humanist intellectual Bill Hopkins, served with the RAF after the war as a sort of national serviceman in Hamburg in 1948. His wife is German. They had to pitch the RAF camp outside of Hamburg in the summer because of the stench of the bodies under the rubble. Because the smell of the corpses was so nauseating, they couldn’t have the camp inside the city.
Eventually, of course, what the Germans would do—and the German economic miracle of the post-war period—which sees the emergence of an economic superpower and a political castrato and pygmy, that is frightened even of its own shadow, in contemporary Germany is rooted in these events. Don’t forget many Germans had seen their society smashed to pieces twice: in 1918 and in 1945-46. So it’s a sort of double whammy.
Now you know why Germans don’t want to put their fighters into Afghanistan and elsewhere. It’s not because they’re cowards and worriers and are afraid. It’s because they, in a sense, have lost the spirit that was destroyed in certain respects in 1945.
The Jewish New York writer Norman Mailer once said that the real victims of the Second World War are the Germans. And not the group, his own group, that’s always talked about. And spiritually someone like Savitri Devi would have agreed with that, because it appears to me as an outsider—despite the Germanic nature of English identity in part—that Germany is self-lost, self-loathing, self-defeating, self-defeated. There’s probably no nationality that hates itself more in life than the contemporary Germans.
There are many films about the Left-wing terrorism that emerged out of the ’60s and ’70s generation, which is seen as a revenge upon the fathers. Waves of hatred of young Germans directed against older and more elderly Germans because of what they did, or more accurately couldn’t be said to have done during the war.
The irony is that Savitri Devi is such an extremist that she identifies even with the SS prisoners. Even SS prisoners who weren’t in the Waffen-SS, but served in the camps. She regarded those as heroes of anti-humanist struggle. People outside time, beyond good and evil, struggling against titanic forces, and going down gloriously and being martyred thereby.
This is essentially a religious view. A powerful and primordial religious view. I see no logical connection, but I sense this. In Shia Islam, there is a ceremony where people beat themselves and mutilate their foreheads and this sort of thing, and it’s a threnody and a paroxysm. And, in a way, she considers these sorts of political movements to be the white equivalent of that. That’s how she sees it. The powerful primordial tragedy of the ancient world returned with modern technology in modernity. And that’s why, in a sense, her passion for the most hated regime in the 20th century, as commonly perceived, is primordial and against time.
She went to Germany and distributed handbills almost in a desire to get arrested. A couple of thousand largely [unintelligible] style leaflets of a proAxis and pro-restorationist and pro-Hitlerian type, and she was immediately arrested and tried and sentenced to four years I think. But ultimately served the better part of two under the allied controlled area.
Don’t forget, the French, the Germans, and the Americans occupied one sector, and the Soviets the other, and they were already splitting into two entities. As the West moved towards the institutionalization of a secondary political class in Germany, led by mild technocratic administrative conservatives like Adenauer who erected the post-war set-up dominated by American power.
Don’t forget, there are large British bases and even larger American bases in Germany today. Germany is still partly an occupied country that can’t entirely be trusted. Even within the EU, even bound in so much, it still can’t entirely be trusted. Although the West in a way wants a democratic Germany to be strong with them in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. But Germany is paralyzed and spiritually defeated by what occurred in the aftermath of 1945.
Now German suffering at the end of the war is not seen by Savitri Devi in the way that it normally is. You do sense by liberals you have a sympathy for the other side, such as James Bacque in his books about German suffering at the end of the Second World War. He in a way is playing a humanist game. It’s just he has a new section of victims: German women, German children, people who suffered in the rubble.
In a sense, he feels sorry for them in the way he feels sorry for legless Angolans, or he feels sorry for African AIDS victims, or he feels sorry for the victims of Cortez or for the Haitian earthquake. You see what I mean? It’s a new group about which one can have sympathy, and I can write and make a career out of sympathizing for those who were regarded as untouchable before, and I’m a general humanist.
She sees it very differently. She sees it as a suffering and a fire and a threnody which Germans should go through until they can renew themselves again in strength and in glory.
And this leads her in her most famous, infamous, and notorious book, The Lightning and the Sun, to essentially engage in the deification of Hitler. A truly extraordinary situation if you consider the mass narrative of the post-war world in the 20th century. She basically inverts the semiotics. She inverts the narrative of the 20th century. The greatest villain, the greatest evildoer, the greatest hatemonger, the greatest monster, and she turns him into an avatar of the god Vishnu and says he’s divine, and he’s beyond human.
Because in the Hindu aristocratic and warrior tradition there are men of impersonal violence. Titans who walk the earth, who walk beyond good and evil, and are unrestrained, whose cruelty and ardor are impersonal, non-material, for idealistic purposes, and is never done for human gain or for their own gain, or for that of their families and their tribes except in the most indirect of ways. So you sense the extremity of her passion in this way.
In some ways she synthesizes religious ideas together that were quite new in certain respects and are rooted in her view of nature.
What’s the difference between paganism and Christianity? Is it the worship of polytheistic gods? Many pagans actually believe there is one source, and the gods and goddesses are metaphors. Pagans believe everything that exists is divine, in all of the systems. This means that destruction is divine, as well as creation. It also believes that femininity is divine, and therefore there is no problem with the masculine-feminine polarity in all things. There are priestesses in these religions, there are goddesses in these religions, because they’re half of what it means to be mortal.
All humans die, go back into eternity, go back into nature, come again. Everything comes again. If we’re evolving it’s very slow, and on the whole, evolution is the advance of a tiny proportion ahead of the others who can barely keep up.
Now, ethically most pagan systems are very different. Paganism tends to believe in retributive violence. It tends to believe that if you push me I’ll push you back. It tends to believe even in violence and aggression as the forethought before being attacked oneself. It tends to have an honor-based system whereby morality is perceived hierarchically. So the more noble you are, the more beautiful you are, the more intelligent you are, the more well-proportioned you are, the more knowledgeable you are, the more courage you have, the more favored you are by the gods. The higher you are in a particular hierarchy. This of course have a converse: the uglier you are, the shorter you are, the less well-favored you are, the less courageous you are, the more defective you are, the lower you are in this particular hierarchy.
This does not mean in accordance with these very ancient precepts that the lower element is cast off or done in or massacred or done down. What it means is that there is a hierarchy in all forms, both within an individual, between individuals, between families of individuals, between groups of individuals—the hierarchy is everywhere, and no one’s at the top in every one of the myriad hierarchies.
Notice in all of this discussion, money and finance and how well you’ve done and how much money you’ve got, is way way down in the scale. And mercantile and purely successful forms are not despised because they’re part of the whole. Every society has to have a merchant class. Every society has to have a small bit of trade and banking and so on.
But the worship of money and the belief that life is based upon making money, is the inverse of her view, and for most of her life she lived as an ascetic. In other words she lived almost without any property at all and just stayed in the houses of some of the most notorious people on earth at that time. Some of them living in Egypt, some of them living in Paraguay under General Stroessner, some of them in Perón’s Argentina. Rudel, Johann von Leers—who I believe converted to Islam—Otto Skorzeny, and these sorts of people. They were all her friends, and she lived with them in Madrid, and she visited them in the United States later on. And she travelled all over the world on multiple passports, because she could use Savitri Devi, she could use Mukherji, she could use her mother’s maiden name. She could use her Greek nationality. Increasingly she became banned from country after country.
After the publication of The Lightning and the Sun, I believe she wanted to visit John Tyndall, who’s widely known of course. He was essentially the founder of the British National Party. John Tyndall, who was in the National Socialist Movement a long time ago, was an old friend of hers. He used to say: “They just want to keep out a little inoffensive Greek lady who is a friend of mine.” But in actual fact it was Savitri Devi really, you know. But that’s what he used to say to the BBC when they came asking.
Now, in Germany she was imprisoned, and she wrote a book called Gold in the Furnace [and Defiance], about the treatment meted out to her, and to the other prisoners, and the demoralization of the German people post-war. There’s a mass of Germans adopted a self-forgetting strategy for the Second [World] War. In the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s, some of them pricked by the growing Left-wing revolutionism in Germany among student minorities. The older generation blanked it out and concentrated solely on the rebuilding of the society, and everything was rebuilt. If you go to Germany now, you’d never know that American bombers devastated whole sections of cities—although most of the bombing was done by the RAF—deliberately so.
Indeed as the war progressed, our Air Force became more and more militant, and more and more ferocious. Our crews were told “Remember Coventry, remember Southampton.” Extraordinary warriorship was shown. In Nietzsche’s terms, you never condemn the warrior. The men like Harris and so on, covered with hands of blood, and so on. But show me figures in any nationality they were not like that. David Irving met Harris after the war, of course, and in some ways thought he was a fine warrior, a bulwark, a man who wants to virtually destroy and rend for his people. Not the image the English have of themselves.
Fifty-thousand of our air crew died in the air. Unlike the Serbs and the Iraqis, the Germans were able to fight back against this mass terror bombing, and killed an enormous number of the pilots who went over, many of whom didn’t survive three to four missions in the air.
But on the ground, hundreds and hundreds of thousands were killed, and incendiaries were deliberately used to create firestorms due to the wind that was created in these cities. In Hamburg and in Dresden, most famously, which still causes a quiver of conscience in contemporary liberal England and Britain. “Dresden” is a naughty and a dangerous and a dark word, and there is an almost a semi-apology on the British lips for Dresden—but not quite.
Stalin ordered Dresden. He ordered Churchill to take these primitive means. There were mass refugees in these cities. He wanted them completely killed and burnt out by the creation of mass firestorms and devastation. The interesting thing is Speer in his autobiography, says that if the British and the Americans had concentrated on ball-bearing production, or economic and high value industrial targets, they could have ended the war from their point of view quicker. But no, the decision was made to devastate urban and suburban and city center areas. Not just a few bombs, but total flattening, total devastation of these areas. And when areas were not smoldering enough, when the photos were taken, you went back and smashed the area to pieces again, and you put incendiaries on top to make sure it burnt, and good and proper.
When Dresden occurred there was outrage in the non-aligned world. In Latin America, sympathetic to the Axis of course, because of the hostility, geopolitically to the United States, and also in the Arab world. And there’s an interesting thing that occurred which Irving reveals in his book Dresden: Apocalypse 1945—the later and the earlier editions—this is that the cabinet, the war cabinet, which was Tory, Labour, and Liberal, don’t forget, tried to force responsibility for Dresden onto the RAF High Command. But they, in their excessive zeal to conduct the war in the air against the Axis, the idea which Orwell uses in Nineteen Eighty-Four of Airstrip One, that Britain is an unsinkable aircraft carrier to devastate Europe, flying bomber after bomber from our territory. The RAF were going to be blamed by the political elite. The RAF leadership made the politicians sign a declaration that they had ordered Dresden and that they were responsible for it, because the warriors will not take the responsibility for ordering these things. They were acting on behalf of the political class in most Western societies.
And the interesting thing is that the devastation of middle Europe, which is part of the current malaise and part of the modern crisis that we all live in, and that exists around us, is the crucial issue for our civilization in the 20th century. What it’s led to is self-hatred and cosmic and spiritual defeat on almost all levels. Caucasians, broadly speaking, are taught to loathe themselves almost more than any other group, and there’s a degree to which it all results from these events.
The 20th-century version of what Joseph Conrad in relation to the scramble for Africa in the Belgian occupation of the Congo called “The Heart of Darkness.” The heart of darkness in the 20th-century is these events. And Savitri Devi went straight into that heart of darkness by religious-ising, by hypostatizing, by making an absolute of the things which are considered to be the worst elements in the modern West.
The modern West is now defined by tolerance, by inclusion, by egalitarianism, by hostility to everything that those previous governments represented. That is the definition of citizenship. That is the definition of personal morality. That is the definition of modem Britain. The political class and the media class of today would say that anyone who does not accord with that, is actually a traitor, not to a particular ideology but to humanity, and to the mainstream, and common mean of what it is to be human.
This shows you that many people will not assert themselves if they believe that assertion to be wrong. Millions and millions of our people don’t agree with what’s happened to this country since 1948, but they feel traumatized about doing anything about it because of the aftermath of these events, and how they’ve been formed into a narrative in relation to almost everyone who grows up now.
I had a chat once with a 26-year-old who’d been to Hackney, a comprehensive in Hackney where the whites are about 50%. I said: What did you do in History? He said: We did black studies and slavery; we did the Holocaust and the Shoah and Western guilt; and we did a bit about British History—sort of residual third. So increasingly large parts of western populations—and it’s more acute in Germany than anywhere else and spreads out from the center of Europe—grow up with funk, defeat, self-hatred, the belief that one is descended from nationalities that are amoral, that are immoral, that have produced the most satanic events of the 20th century. No other nationality feels this way. No other people feels this way.
Putin’s partial, complicated, and revisionistic reinterpretation of Stalin is all about making sure that the Russians don’t adopt that tack. Even though he massacred millions of Russians, inside Russia he will still be slightly heroicized as a martial leader, whilst allowing Solzhenitsyn’s works to be studied at school. What they’re doing is dialectical. They’re not allowing their past to focus upon them in the way that the Western media would perhaps like them to, and say: Look at what you did! Look at what you should be responsible for! You should hang your head in shame forever.
And it’s interesting that probably of all the nationalities, there’s few Italians indeed who are fundamentally opposed to the government which existed in the ’20s and thereafter, who feel about their own nationality and the pitilessness of their own honor and glory, the way that contemporary Germans do. Most of the contemporary Germans I met—apart from hardliners and residual anti-system types if you like—are traumatized by guilt, live with the guilt in a sort of cosmic way.
The Germans have a strong metaphysical postulate. They’re not empiricists and semi-relativists like us. They don’t think heuristically. They don’t make it up as they go along. A German always wants his theory first, and then he thinks from the theoretical propositions in a sequential way. And if you put before a people the view that they were right to be defeated, and that the fire-storms of their cities were in a sense part of their immorality of purpose for which almost semi-divine punishment was meted out—which is some of the cultural register that does exist—you will find that a growing generation, one, two, three generations of people who loathe their own civilization to such a degree that a few of them will take arms against it. Which is what Baader Meinhof and the other groups were. They were people taking up arms against their own civilization, from within it, in accordance with doctrines that they had been fed in relation to the aftermath of the last war.
Now Savitri Devi’s basic political books are The Lightning and the Sun, which deals with three historical figures: Genghis Khan, Akhnaton, and Hitler. She sees the one as a man of peace and the sun. Another as a warrior and a killer without any greater idea. And Hitler as a sort of a god and a devil combined. As a sort of superman, outside history. He is against time. He is sort of inhuman. He’s considered as something semi-divine.
The irony, of course, is that is how he’s perceived in Western culture. The number of films, the number of plays, the number of ideas that feed on him, retrospectively, as a sort of force; as a force of negation. As a force of anti-divinity. Because of course, in a dualist system evil is very powerful, and the idea of the diabolical is extraordinarily provocative and interesting. And he is presented in diabolical colors. Indeed, there is nothing more diabolical. So in a way her configuration, and her spiritual cosmogony, and that which has occurred, are identical in the way that a photographic negative and a photographic image, a positive, is the same image reversed, the one from the other. She has the absolutist view, albeit in reverse, of the contemporary society about him and his dictatorship.
Virtually no one else in the rest of the world who has lived under Mao, who has lived under Ho-chi Minh, who has lived under Choibalsan in Mongolia (Stalin’s protégé), who has lived under Stalin, who has lived under Pol Pot: none of them have the view of their own nationality demonically transfigured and embodied by one individual in the way that the Germans do. And in a sense their attitude toward their own re-education and indoctrination post-war is religious. They had a pre-war adoration of him and his regime that was semi-religious. And they have a post war diabolical instantiation and demonization of the very same things which is almost semi-religious, both ideologically and in its fervor, and in its ability to affect people.
I certainly believe that the West will never revive until these events are internalized and overcome. Nietzsche talks about “self-over-becoming.” The idea that you take pain, and loss, and grievance, and agony, and you supplant it, and you rise above it. And you take it into yourself wash it, and turn it around, and step through it and beyond it. It’s a warrior attitude essentially applied to civic, mental, and other factors. The only reason that we are, as a culture, in the state that we’re in, is because of the way in which we think, have been taught to think, and the morality that most of our people have imbibed.
Our people could be incredibly strong, and incredibly militant, if they stepped forward out of the quagmire of moral guilt about events, which, is paradoxical now, extend way beyond Germany. The irony is that the entire West has partly indoctrinated itself to feel responsible for things which people in certain nationalities—British nationality for example, Russian nationality (not the same), American nationality—have no physical responsibility for, and even destroyed retrospectively, the governments alleged to be responsible for these actions. So you have this strange situation where the United States has enormous, quasi-religious memorials to the Shoah which are quite theological and sort of theophanic.
I was in Miami about this time last year, and there are enormous memorials to the Shoah in Miami. Enormous memorials! The hand in the center of Miami with the bodies falling from it—which is the Shoah memorial—is as big as a quarter of Trafalgar Square and is a place of worship, sort of reverse worship. It’s not just a tourist icon and something that’s been stuck there. It is a symbol of ontological malevolence in our times before which all must kneel. All know the presence of malevolence and death when they see this. And there’s another memorial which we don’t see actually, which is actually somewhere else, I think down near the beach, with twisted figures and sort of nautical names on a black sort of plinth, which is rather like the memorial to the Vietnam Dead in Washington, DC. And these exist for a purpose. That sort of philo-Semitism and self-hatred is virtually semi-religious.
It’s interesting that it’s so acute in a Protestant society, like the contemporary United States, but maybe it’s been concretized in that society, but it exists elsewhere, everywhere. It exists in the minds of the people who defeated Germany. They are responsible as well. It’s left national borders and it’s become sort of cosmic, and it’s what I call the cloud: It’s the cloud that appears: the cloud of knowing rather than unknowing to readapt to sort of idealistic religious text. And it falls upon virtually all Caucasians and to a certain extent certain other groups just outside us like a pall. It falls upon us like a miasma, like a sort of moral hectoring and semi-plague. It’s only when it’s corrosively dealt with that we will revive, because if we remain beholden to this . . .
And there are signs that the onus is beginning to leave us as these events are more and more historicized. You can sense that some of the things made about these events have a shudder running through them. They’re not revisionist films in any sense. They’re not revisionist books in any sense. But you notice that some of the quasi-religious passion stirred by the Second [World] War are dying as the generation that fought it dies out. More complicated and reflexive and artistically truthful presentations of Germans in struggle during the last war. More complicated presentations of Allied actions during that war. In other words, not presented purely as a crusade against evil.
The truth of the matter is, is that the great unknown guilty consciousness in our own society is we should have made peace in 1941. We should have allowed it. We should have turned towards ourselves and towards our empire, which is essentially have taken the deal that in a roundabout sort of way he was basically offering us: which is that he dominated Europe and we kept the Empire.
After the war a few figures: A. J. P. Taylor—yes and no; David Irving—yes; Maurice Cowling—yes; Professor Charmley—yes, a few people, most of them historians, not all, have said these things, but no politician will say them. No politician will say them. And yet everything about this society has been semi-blitzed and destroyed as a result of the choices that were made then, and the morality that’s been erected upon the nature of the choices that were both made and not made then.
The importance of someone like Savitri Devi is her extremism, because she is unafraid. She was disappointed that she wasn’t given the death penalty for distributing these handbills in Germany, because you see, she’s a martyr! It’s a sensibility that in a sense, people are so far away from now, they can’t even begin to understand essentially.
Robespierre and these Leftists at the end of the 18th century had a streak of it. Robespierre was always talking about martyr me, martyr me, if you don’t agree. And of course eventually they dragged him to the guillotine, and he went down, and the head went in the basket, and his brother who had a broken jaw from a bullet, and so on, he went down under the basket as well, with Couthon, Saint-Just, and the other terrorists.
But this feeling, that one is even prepared to die for a cause—beyond warriorship, which is partly paid mercenary work now—doesn’t exist. It virtually doesn’t exist anywhere. It’s truly extraordinary, and in some ways it takes an outsider like her: a woman who goes to India, and becomes a Hindu, and rejects Christianity, who’s a fundamentalist pagan. Notice how many British she’s crossed in relation to Western normalcy just to do all that. It’s almost the energy that that sort of arcane and slightly occultistic path of extremity will lead you to, that allows a woman like this to adopt these sorts of positions.
I think the reason why a lot of these elderly SA and SS and Wehrmacht and bureaucratic people who’d served the government and other allies in other countries who felt totally demoralized and totally dispirited and totally crushed many of them post war. Many of them were the pariahs. The pariahs of pariahs of post-war life. What they say in her—and she was an outsider really, even in relation to them—what they saw in her was somebody who defended them morally. That’s why they responded to this little Greek woman in the way that they did. Because she defended them morally when they were regarded as the worst people of all. And that’s probably the extraordinary thing: that she affected this sort of ethical reversal. Because what’s gone on is more than propaganda.
Enormous propaganda now about Iran in the Western media, you see it everywhere. What are doing with those plants under the mountains? Are they a threat to us? We need to take action. Neutrality is objective traitorousness. We need to take action. Blair said at the Chilcot Inquiry that any country that worries us, any country that sort of causes us concern, we must crush it, crush it down with mass bombing and American power and we’re their auxiliary.
This rather shakes liberals, you know, because people like Blair is a believer. Blair is a believer in this liberal system, and that’s why the taint of immorality, the taint of political Satanism, the taint of evil has been projected onto people who have radically European views.
The analytical and psychological school that gentile Europeans like more than Freudianism is Jung’s theories because they’re more artistic, more reflexive, more appropriate to gentile consciousness. As Freud once said, “He’s the most important man in the psychoanalytical movement because he’s the only one who isn’t a Jew.” And Jung’s theories involve the idea of the shadow. The shadow is the negation that you project onto the other. The other becomes the custodian of all immorality. Not me. Not me. The other, the one over there, the wretch over there, not me! I admit I’m not a saint. I’m—you know—united. I know what’s what! But there, him, them over there. The projection of the shadow and the inability to realize that we all cast a shadow, and therefore that we all have one of our own.
One of the great traumas of the 19th and 20th centuries of course, is the absence of an alliance between Britain and Germany, which, if it would have occurred, would have changed the whole world, just as the victory of the Confederacy in the Civil War in the United States would have certainly changed the whole world and the 150 years that we’ve been through subsequently.
When Joseph Chamberlain was colonial secretary in the 1890s he wanted a treaty or a binding agreement with Germany, so that they would essentially and over time become the overwhelming power on the European continent, and they would have to concordats with France to one side and Russia to the other, because that’s the reality of Realpolitik. But we would have our empire to the side of it. And possibly with the Americans in an isolationist mode, the sort of Charles Lindberg version of the United States rather than the Bill Clinton version of the United States, the US could have remained a power in the Americas, which is their natural role.
Britain, America keeping to its business, essentially in the Caribbean and the generalized Americas, Germany dominating Europe. No First [World] War, no Second [World] War, and no version of the society that we have now. That was something that was postulated by British leaders like Chamberlain, again an outsider and an establishment radical who comes from the liberals, and yet in some ways was more energized and Right-wing than many of the Tories with whom he was associated. If these ideas had prevailed, the present travail would have not occurred.
Savitri Devi is important to me for two reasons. One is that she says that the people who are thought to be the most immoral on earth, in contemporary jargon and argot, may not be. And she provides philosophical and theological reasons for that. And even if you don’t agree with that—as many of our people would not—there’s a secondary position: and that is that the culture of self-hatred and funk and defeat must come to an end.
If you look at many young white people now, they’re interested in nature. They’re interested in ecology. They’re interested in animals, even animal rights, of which she was an early advocate, being a Hindu of course. She didn’t believe is using fur. She didn’t believe in eating meat, or eggs, or fish. She was absolutist. As Hitler was. All vivisection was banned in Germany, and the most green and ecological laws were just passed. Business had to obey them. They were just passed. There was no discussion. And they worked around them, you know, as businessmen always do. But primordial green laws were passed. Enormous forests were planted around German cities and so on.
The interesting thing is the emergence of the Green movement in post-war Germany which tacked culturally to the Left. Because communism can’t exist in West Germany, because there’s an invidious communist state in East Germany. So Leftism takes a Green form in West Germany. And yet, Green ideas are not Left wing. Deep Green ideas, as they’re called, are primordial and pagan (with a small “p”) and very very Right wing.
She wrote a book called the Impeachment of Man which is—again, because she’s always so extreme—one of the most extreme vegetarian—she wasn’t a vegan, technically—but quasi-vegan works that you could ever imagine.
I remember once, when I was 18, sitting and watching a film called Animal Auschwitz, which is a film by the Animal Liberation Front. It’s an illegal film; it’s an underground film. Animal Liberation Front was formed in relation to a book called Animal Liberation by the Jewish university professor from Australia called Peter Singer. Which is a totally other debate, and we won’t get into that.
But the interesting thing about the ALF is that I think the ALF was formed by Ronnie Lee from Leeds, or he was certainly instrumental in creating it. Or one of its leaders, because they were anarchist thing and didn’t have a structure of leadership formally. And he said that fascists or extreme Rightists were welcome in the Animal Liberation Front as long as they didn’t bring their politics into it. Which is a sort of strange way of putting it, really. But everyone knows that in those movements, in those alternative and counter-cultural verities, there are interconnected Right wing ideas.
One of her most interesting attitudes towards National-Socialism is the belief that there are two forms of it. There’s the exoteric form that the masses understand, which is a particular group that’s responsible for postmodernity, and one doesn’t like in an a priori way. Certain attitudes toward nature, hierarchy, militarism, extreme patriotism, semi-worship of the state, that the nation and the state are considered to be contiguous, hostility to Modernism in art, Green ideas, and so on. Those are the views that when they are viewed in a very negative way, the present anti-fascist society has: it’s all negative. They don’t like persons of color; they don’t like homosexuals; they don’t like this, they don’t like that; they read genesis and disgenesis, da, de, da, de da.
She also believes or posits the idea that there as an inner version. And that is the achievement of something that’s beyond man as he presently is. And this is the idea of the Superman.
Now, various academics such as Goodrick-Clarke have expatiated at great lengths about the occult roots of National Socialism and pagan and magical ideas, irrationalist ideas, objectivist philosophical ideas which are theological and regarded as irrational by contemporary modernity.
Don’t forget, these sorts of notions act upon the will. Bernard Shaw, the Left-wing Nietzschean and playwright at the beginning of the 20th century and Fabian idealist, said that a man with a crucial idea is worth 50 other men. And essentially that is the fact.
The reason the Islamic world is so strong now, and the reason that some whites, even underneath their hostility, have an attraction to it, is because people are prepared to believe and to kill and die for their beliefs. And that gives a power; it gives a power; it gives a resonance.
When Blair says that we’re prepared to fight for tolerance—I’m not prepared to fight for tolerance. But I’m prepared to fight for the people that existed on this island before me. And I’m alive now, and I’m a continuation of that. So one is prepared to fight for certain things and not for others. And I think that will, identity, spirit, and idealism in a woman who will be considered to be essentially insane by mainstream modernity—I mean let’s not beat about the bush—is very instructive, because in her sort of messianic post-sanity there lies a redemptive element.
I’ve always been an extremist, ever since I was very young, and that’s quite unusual. My father was a bank manager. I came from a very ordinary bourgeois background. When I was 18 he said: “Keep your head down, son. Never get in the papers. Never do anything that will cause any trouble. Never do anything that will cause people to dislike you, and spend your entire life making money.” That was the advice I was given. And I’m not demonizing him; he’s a representative of thousands and thousands of other people saying exactly the same thing. And I have never believed that that’s what life is about. I’ve never believed that that’s what life is about.
Life is about death. I’m essentially a religious person in an atheist age. The religions of my society have collapsed. That’s why I’m a Nietzschean, you see, because you begin to rebuild from yourself, because there’s nothing else left. There’s nothing else left. And with somebody as extreme as her–even I don’t concur with necessarily all of their views–the power and the purity and the obsessionality of her religious belief in the redemption of this civilization is very instructive, and very revealing, and is a sort of moral dynamite in comparison to everything that’s taught in every school and every college and every university now.
I’ll leave you on this thought. Remember that film, that French film about the men who carry the nitroglycerine across the desert—Wages of Fear—and the slightest bump and the slightest crevice, and there’s some tiny pittance of a wage for doing this you know, for some pitiless boss who never really appears. And they’re there in the sun and the heat and the dust. And the slightest thing can cause the thing to blow up. They’ve got the courage to go on because they must go on, because to stop is to be defeated by the thing, and it might go off then anyway. And you keep on going, and you keep on pushing.
And I personally think that she’s a redemptive sort of acid or alkaline solution to reverse it, to everything you’ve been taught, and everything that your history teacher said to you at pre-A level. And everything you see on the BBC. Her sort of work is like watching the news on the BBC, attacking the TV with a hammer, then attacking the cathode-ray oscilloscope inside the TV—pre sort of those ones that you hang on the wall—and then seeing that blow up, and then kick the cathode-ray oscilloscope round the garden. And then getting some boffin in to reconstitute it in a totally rewired and completely different way.
As if the Germans just didn’t conquer the Channel Islands but had actually won the war. You turn on the set again after having smashed it and gone through this extraordinary sort of convoluted process of reorganization. And you sit there, and you watch the news, and there’s a bloke in a German uniform, and you go: “What is going on?” And that’s the sort of kinetic, sort of silent film, sort of Eisenstein in reverse that she creates. It’s like the coldest of cold baths after liberal wetness and warm-heartedness for so many years. You know, it is a redemptive tonic.
There are various fringe groups about which academics like Goodrick-Clarke make a good career postulating that, you know, the eclipse of the sun is a new swastika, and there’s a dark sun, and these groups are out there, and she’s their priestess, and she’s a source of semi-worship for them, and so on. And if you go on You Tube there’s pictures of her and accounts of her speeches and writings and so on that call her a Daughter of the Black Sun.
But she is very, very interesting, because she has taken the tiger by the tail and twisted it around. And if you want to morally shock the people who are alive now don’t introduce them to Tarantino’s films. Don’t introduce them to Sarah Young’s pornography. [Introduce them to Savitri Devi, Daughter of the Black Sun.]
1. Savitri’s Ph.D. was in Philosophy, but her dissertation was on the philosophy of mathematics.
2. Bowden is using “populism” to mean something like what is called in nationalist circles “mainstreaming.”
3. Savitri was sentenced on April 5, 1949 to three years in prison, but she was released on August 18, 1949 at the request of the Nehru government in India.
4. Replacing “cowardly.”
5. Replacing “any.”
6. Savitri never visited the United States or Paraguay, although she was en route to the United States when she died.
7. The last words are cut off, but I have provided the gist of the conclusion.
The Worst Week Yet: April 4-10, 2021
Forthcoming from Counter-Currents:
Jonathan Bowden’s Reactionary Modernism
Remembering Jonathan Bowden (April 12, 1962–March 29, 2012)
An Interview with Béla Incze: The Man Who Destroyed a BLM Statue
Mihai Eminescu: Romania’s Morning Star
Agrarian Populism & Cargo Cult Fascism
Culture, History, & Metapolitics in Poland: An Interview with Jaroslaw Ostrogniew, Part 2
With Brasillach in Spain & Germany: Remembering Robert Brasillach (March 31, 1909 – February 6, 1945)