Amazingly, despite all the scholarship of the last several decades that even a sciolist such as myself has easy access to, I still see things like this from time to time. From Francis Wheen’s How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World:

Nietzsche was indeed Hitler’s favorite philosopher, but he was not a philosopher of Enlightenment: He belonged to the Romantic tradition, a reaction against demythologizing rationalism.

Hitler had almost as little fondness for Nietzsche as he had for Ludendorff’s and Rosenberg’s ersatz religions. As became evident at a strained visit to Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth, Hitler was not at all an admirer of the philosopher. In a conversation he held with Hans Schemm and Otto Wagener during the Kampfzeit, Hitler derided paganists and “the rubbish they dredge up from German prehistory! Then they read Nietzsche with fifteen year-old boys.” Hitler’s mentor Dietrich Eckart had rejected Nietzsche as early as 1917: “We Germans, who profess through and through our faith in the Christian worldview, reject this despiser of our religious foundations.” Even Rosenberg, in his Mythus, barely mentioned Nietzsche, and he showed little engagement with Nietzsche’s philosophy when he did.

Neither Nietzsche nor Hitler could be easily classified as Romantics anyway, though elements of it were in each man’s worldview (proving how much Romanticism has simply become part of our basic cultural and intellectual atmosphere, period). But just to add a dash more spice to the “Wheen doesn’t know what the sweet fuck he’s talking about” stew we’ve got simmering here, I liked this bit as well:

Just as Hitler had no time for Rosenberg’s plans to create a new, mystical religion to replace clerical Christianity, so he found Himmler’s dilettantish religious explorations absurd. As he told a circle of confidants, “What nonsense! Here we have at last reached an age that has left all mysticism behind, and now he wants to start that all over again….To think that I may one day be turned into an SS saint!”

Hitler was equally dismissive of Himmler’s forays into German prehistory: “Isn’t it enough that the Romans were erecting great buildings when our forefathers were still living in mud huts; now Himmler is starting to dig up these villages of mud huts and enthusing over every potsherd and stone axe he finds.”

I see a blurb on the back cover of Wheen’s book from The Economist, though, that asserts “…Mr. Wheen is an accomplished stylist and his writing leaps off the page.” Well, perhaps, but it’s too bad his writing, in its overeagerness, somehow managed to tie its shoelaces together first.