In the darkest days of the Second World War, as Europe fell under Nazi domination and Britain faced invasion, Louis de Wohl, a 36-year-old refugee from Germany, made a curious offer to British Intelligence. Based on the widely held belief that Hitler’s every action was guided by his horoscope, de Wohl claimed he could reveal precisely what advice the Führer’s astrologers were giving him.
Rather than dismissing de Wohl out of hand as a crank, senior intelligence officers and chiefs of staff of the three armed services took him at his word. De Wohl was made an army captain and quartered in the Grosvenor House Hotel, from where his one-man ‘Psychological Research Bureau’ passed astrological readings and assessments to the War Office, before his deployment to the United States by the highly secret Special Operations Executive on a propaganda mission.
Was it possible that Military and Naval intelligence officers could take the ancient and arcane practice of astrology seriously? Was de Wohl genuine or merely a charlatan? Did his astrological readings contribute to the downfall of Hitler and Nazi Germany?
In The Astrologer, the first full-length study of Louis de Wohl, James Parris examines the evidence – including material from MI5, Military and Naval Intelligence files at the National Archives – and reaches remarkable conclusions about this bizarre aspect of the Second World War.