From Academic Kids

Welteislehre (also known as Glazial-Kosmogonie) is a theory first published by the Austrian Hanns Hörbiger, a refrigeration engineer, in 1913. The basis of the theory is that most objects in our solar system besides Earth and the Sun are made out of ice or are at least covered in an extremely thick layer of it.



Hörbiger is said to have developed his theory after observing the Moon at night. He concluded from the strong reflection of the light and the structure of the impact craters that the moon must be made of ice. He further theorized that the entire Milky Way, since it was very shiny at night, must be a collection of ice bodies.

Hörbiger explains the origin of the universe with the collision of a glowing mass of gigantic proportions with a smaller mass of solid ice. This led to an enormous explosion and the creation of our solar system. Ever since, existence has been based on an eternal struggle between fire and ice. Note that this has strong similarities with Norse mythology (see Ymir).

Another aspect of the Welteislehre was the thought that Earth created temporal gravitation fields, attracting smaller planets. A planet would be caught in the field and gravitate around Earth for some time before eventually colliding with it. At that time, natural catastrophes would occur all over the world. In a recuperating period, the planet would exist without a moon until the next planet would be attracted. Hörbiger believed that the current version of the Moon was the sixth since the existence of Earth and that a collision would be inevitable. Believers in Welteislehre argue that the great flood described in the bible and the destruction of Atlantis were caused by previous collisions. The system somewhat resembles the cosmic catastrophism of Immanuel Velikovsky.

Hörbiger published his theory in 1913 in his book Glazial-Kosmogonie. He also provided numerous tables and graphs trying to prove his theory. Most of these however were lacking substance and Welteislehre was quickly disregarded in scientific circles. The fact that it showed several parallels to early Greek and Nordic mythology did not help his cause among scientists.

Eisweltlehre in the Third Reich

One of the early supporters of Hörbiger's theories was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the leading theorist behind the early development the National Socialist Party in Germany in 1923. Through Chamberlain's influence Eisweltlehre became official Nazi policy in cosmology. Although Hörbiger died in 1931, his theory gained new momentum in the Third Reich. Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful Nazi leaders, became a strong proponent of the theory and he stated that if it was corrected and adjusted with new scientific findings it could very well be accepted as scientific work. In 1942 Hitler reasoned that the cold years in the early 1940s led him to believe in the correctness of the Welteislehre.

It is said that the real reason both Hitler and Himmler referred to the theory was to counterbalance the Jewish influence on the sciences, similar to the Deutsche Physik movement. Hörbiger's theory particularly opposed the theory of relativity, developed by Albert Einstein. A growing group of 'believing scientists' expanded the theory during the last years of World War II. Dozens of scientific journals, books, and even novels were published on this topic. Hörbiger's theories became generally accepted among the population of Nazi Germany.

The theory was quickly discredited again after the war. Nevertheless public opinion shifted at a much lower pace. A survey conducted in 1953 showed that over a million people in Germany, England, and the US believed that Hörbiger was correct.


Looking back, Hörbiger's theories still appear bizarre and most of them have been proven wrong. Some aspects however have turned out to be correct. Today we know that Saturn's rings are based on ice and that the outer planets of our solar system have significant amounts of ice. There is also the modern claim that comets are bodies made of ice, whose collision over the years with Earth are responsible for the modern abundance of water on this planet.



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