The World Ice Theory is a pseudo-scientific idea propagated by the Third Reich. Based on Austrian engineer Hanns Hörbiger's vision in 1894, the theory supposedly proved that Aryans were once ice gods who ruled over people of other races. The history of Nazis and the World Ice Theory shows the dangers of a totalitarian regime embracing an unsubstantiated theory to prop up discriminatory practices.
Hörbiger's theory claimed that the universe comprised ice and that an ice moon had destroyed Atlantis - this belief ignores centuries of astronomy, geology, and physics. Like other types of propaganda, the World Ice Theory became the basis for bizarre claims, such as the idea that Aryans once had superpowers. Rather than try to prove Hörbiger's theory with science, German leaders commanded people to believe it - or else.
According to proponents of the pseudo-scientific World Ice Theory, the universe consists of ice. The solar system allegedly formed from two stars crashing into each other. One of the stars was full of water, which instantly froze into enormous blocks of ice and created the Milky Way. Planets swallowed up ice blocks to grow larger, and meteors made of ice collided with planets.
Throughout the history of Earth, the planet had multiple moons, all made of ice. Those moons crashed into Earth, bringing ice to the planet and shaping human history.
In 1942, Hitler said, "I tend to support World Ice Theory." In his view, the proof came from mythology. The dictator explained, "Legend cannot be extracted from the void." After all, "mythology is a reflection of things that have existed and of which humanity has retained a vague memory."
This legend contained stories of disasters and struggles with giants and gods. "In my view, the thing is explicable only [based on] the hypothesis of a disaster that completely destroyed a humanity, which already possessed a high degree of civilization," Hitler said.
As supporters of the theory argued, "Our Nordic ancestors grew strong in ice and snow; belief in the Cosmic Ice is consequently the natural heritage of Nordic Man."
Hanns Hörbiger was an Austrian engineer with a vision. In 1894, while staring at the moon, Hörbiger supposedly surmised that it was so bright and round because of ice; thus, he developed the idea that the cosmos consisted of ice. After a dream of floating through space, Hörbiger declared, "I knew that Newton had been wrong and that the sun's gravitational pull ceases to exist at three times the distance of Neptune."
For years, Hörbiger's scientifically minded colleagues treated him as an eccentric. So he decided to promote his ideas to Germans more broadly. Ultimately, his theory connected with the National Socialist Party.
The World Ice Theory also incorporated the mythical continent of Atlantis into its lore. Hanns Hörbiger believed that German ancestors once lived in Atlantis - that is until one of the ice moons crashed to the surface and destroyed it, causing the Teutonic people to flee to save their lives.
Other proponents of the theory tried to link the biblical flood to a falling ice moon. Furthermore, the argument denied other stars' existence, declaring that the night sky lit up due to far-off glaciers reflecting the sun's light.