04 March 2008

The Department of Astrological Warfare

When in a desperate situation people will resort to desperate solutions. This was definitely true during WWII where there are hundreds of bizarre stories to be told. I find it quite amusing to see reports in today’s papers (and BBC Breakfast News) that MI5 employed an astrologer in the war against the Reich.

German Louis De Wohl, who claimed to have been the son of a Hungarian nobleman, had moved to Britain before the war and written a number of books on astrology, including one he called Secret Service of the Sky. He came to MI5's attention in 1940 through connections with people interned because of their suspected pro-German sympathies. He did not "speak a word of Hungarian", observed one MI5 officer, who added that De Wohl "claims to have often frequented cafes in Berlin in feminine attire".

It seems that MI5 were particularly keen on De Wohl. Another MI5 officer described De Wohl as a "tame astrologer of German upbringing who is employed by SO2 [SOE's sabotage section] for their own fell purposes". Their to De Wohl is reflected in its suggestion that before he was granted British citizenship he should be tested about who he knew, "including any German harlots". One MI5 officer described De Wohl as a "bumptious seeker after notoriety".

SOE, however, gave De Wohl the rank of captain having persuaded intelligence officers that he could use horoscopes to influence Hitler and his advisers. "An attack against Hitler at a time when he knows that his aspects are bad will certainly find him prone to some amount of defeatism, to force his hand then would be a definite advantage for us," enthused one of De Wohl's supporters. They included Admiral John Godfrey, director of naval intelligence, on the grounds that the stars seemed the only explanation for Hitler's unpredictable strategic decisions.

In the summer of 1941, SOE sent De Wohl on a lecture tour of the US, armed with horoscopes to show the American public that Hitler would be defeated. His talks and interviews received widespread media coverage. In June, under the headline "Seer Sees Plot to Kill Hitler", the New York Sun ran a report in which De Wohl forecast that Hitler was "doomed" and would be "done away with within a year". He was also involved in a forged "master plan" by Hitler to take over Latin America. It was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 which brought the US into the war.

An MI5 officer reported that none of De Wohl's predictions had materialised except his forecast of Italy's entry into the war, made when that was "quite patent to anybody with the slightest knowledge of international affairs". The historian Christopher Andrew, whose official history of MI5 is due next year, the 100th anniversary of the agency's birth, said yesterday that despite De Wohl's claims, Hitler in fact regarded astrology as a "complete nonsense".


maryt/theteach said...

This story tells me how desperate we all were to defeat Hitler or assassinate him during WWII. Thanks for sharing, jams!

jams o donnell said...

That's very true. Some of the ideas were rather hare brained though!

Roland Dodds said...

It is fascinating to see how dire situations can lead intelligent people to make rather bold leaps of faith! I can only imagine the look on some of the government official’s faces when they actually hired an astrologer.

This will be good for the astrology business; I can see their calling cards now. “Astrologers: Helping beat Hitler since 1941.”

jams o donnell said...

It certainly seems to have gone down pretty badly with MI5 although. LOL that would ahve been a business card to have!

TorAa said...

Very interesting facts and also the drawing to presence.

I would like to discuss this in another sphere.

tell you why: 1 kg of beef needs 7 kg of corn to be made. Deforestastion? Grassland - pollution, no trees to "eat CO2"?
We, humans, eat beef. Ten cows releases more Metan gaz (except for Sheep that releases more)than a Farmer Family needs for energy, both for home and for their beasts.
Every time a rice sed is planted - it releases Metan.
Have you ever heard about the search for life on other solar systems, they look for "Metan"-gaz planets?
They are looking for the combination of H2O and CO2.

what a letter.

I have written about it before: The Rio de la Plata delta, wide as almost the English Channel, is growing 46,8 meter per year. Due to deforestation. And in 2025, 50% OF THE HUMANS at this globe are in lack of fresh water.

To my simple mind, thats more severe than the Oceans may be 20 - 80 cm higher than today.

ok ok ok
I understand, it's hard to tax food production, unless is goes to biodiesel and bioheating (Hahaha - what a bleuff). Then Meal prices go sky high - for the poorest.
I say no more.

btw. You can after this comment drop me from your list, or I can pu you on my blogroll-list

jams o donnell said...

It is a very differnet but very important issue Tor