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Student Question: Nazism and Racism


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This indicates the influence that Hitler had over fascism in Germany. Hitler developed anti-Jewish feelings when a young man. Hitler idolised his mother. In 1907 Klara Hitler died from cancer. Hitler blamed her Jewish doctor for her death. Hitler carried her photograph wherever he went and, it is claimed, had it in his hand when he died in 1945.

After the death of his mother he blamed Jews for all his problems. While studying in Vienna he claimed that rich young Jewish men stole the girls he was after.

After the war Hitler was stationed in Munich, the capital of Bavaria. While Hitler was in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, Kurt Eisner, leader of the Independent Socialist Party, declared Bavaria a Socialist Republic. Hitler was appalled by the revolution. As a German Nationalist he disagreed with the socialist belief in equality.

Hitler also saw socialism as part of a Jewish conspiracy. Many of the socialist leaders in Germany, including Kurt Eisner, Rosa Luxemburg, Ernst Toller and Eugen Levine were Jews. So also were many of the leaders of the October Revolution in Russia. This included Leon Trotsky, Gregory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Dimitri Bogrov, Karl Radek, Yakov Sverdlov, Maxim Litvinov, Adolf Joffe, and Moisei Uritsky. It had not escaped Hitler's notice that Karl Marx, the prophet of socialism, had also been a Jew.

It was no coincidence that Jews had joined socialist and communist parties in Europe. Jews had been persecuted for centuries and therefore were attracted to a movement that proclaimed that all men and women deserved to be treated as equals. This message was reinforced when on 10th July, 1918, the Bolshevik government in Russia passed a law that abolished all discrimination between Jews and non-Jews.

His views on the subject was expressed in his book, My Struggle (Mein Kampf). In his book Hitler outlined his political philosophy. He argued that the German (he wrongly described them as the Aryan race) was superior to all others. "Every manifestation of human culture, every product of art, science and technical skill, which we see before our eyes today, is almost exclusively the product of Aryan creative power."

Hitler warned that the Aryan's superiority was being threatened by intermarriage. If this happened world civilization would decline: "On this planet of ours human culture and civilization are indissolubly bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he should be exterminated or subjugated, then the dark shroud of a new barbarian era would enfold the earth."

Although other races would resist this process, the Aryan race had a duty to control the world. This would be difficult and force would have to be used, but it could be done. To support this view he gave the example of how the British Empire had controlled a quarter of the world by being well-organised and having well-timed soldiers and sailors.

Hitler believed that Aryan superiority was being threatened particularly by the Jewish race who, he argued, were lazy and had contributed little to world civilization. (Hitler ignored the fact that some of his favourite composers and musicians were Jewish). He claimed that the "Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end satanically glaring at and spying on the unconscious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate."

According to Hitler, Jews were responsible for everything he did not like, including modern art, pornography and prostitution. Hitler also alleged that the Jews had been responsible for losing the First World War. Hitler also argued that Jews, who were only about 1% of the population, were slowly taking over the country. They were doing this by controlling the largest political party in Germany, the German Social Democrat Party, many of the leading companies and several of the country's newspapers. The fact that Jews had achieved prominent positions in a democratic society was, according to Hitler, an argument against democracy: "a hundred blockheads do not equal one man in wisdom."

Hitler believed that the Jews were involved with Communists in a joint conspiracy to take over the world. Like Henry Ford, Hitler claimed that 75% of all Communists were Jews. Hitler argued that the combination of Jews and Marxists had already been successful in Russia and now threatened the rest of Europe. He argued that the communist revolution was an act of revenge that attempted to disguise the inferiority of the Jews.

In Mein Kampf Hitler declared that: "The external security of a people in largely determined by the size of its territory. If he won power Hitler promised to occupy Russian land that would provide protection and lebensraum (living space) for the German people. This action would help to destroy the Jewish/Marxist attempt to control the world: "The Russian Empire in the East is ripe for collapse; and the end of the Jewish domination of Russia will also be the end of Russia as a state."

Hitler's racism was not logical. Nor did it help him in his political struggle to control Europe. His racism encouraged him to take unnecessary risks. For example, the invasion of the Soviet Union. The way he treated the Russians gave them no option but to fight. It could be argued that if he treated the Russians like he treated the French, he would have been able to take control of all mainland Europe.


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Besides Hitler there were many nationalist authors who voiced the theories which are present in Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'. Racism and antisemitism was the main theme of nationalist German literature, art and philosophy in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century.

As to the question why German Fascism was so racist as compared to Fascism in other countries, one should consider that racism is the central part of the Nazi doctrine. This racism is based upon the assumption that the 'Nordic' or 'Aryan-Germanic' race is superior to all existing races, biologically as well as culturally. From here the claim is derived that the Aryans/Germans are entitled to leadership and dominion over all other races and destined to the domination of the world.

To this basic stock of ideas efficiency thinking was added, which under Nazi rule was applied in a fanaticized form to achieving the goal of so called 'New Europe' and subsequently 'New world order?. Domination of the 'Aryan/Germanic' race could only be guaranteed by ultimate subjugation and/or physical elimination of racially 'inferior/useless' (German minderwertig, unwert) population groups and individuals.

Here originates the extermination of those who were considered by the Nazis the chief enemies of the German people: the Jews, the Bolshevik, democrats and liberals.

No other fascist regime carried out physical extermination to such a degree like the Nazis did, because their genocide was planned and on industrial scale. It took place in the occupied territories in eastern Europe: Poland, Ukraine, Bielorussia, the Baltic States, Russia, Yugolsavia, Greece and Hungary.

Klaus Popa

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Guest Andrew Moore

Racist is exactly right - in the sense that many Germans subscribed to an idea of biological differences (rather as with breeds of dog) such that people could be organized in a hierarchy with the Nordic type at the top and Jews, Romanies and Black people at the bottom (along with homosexuals and people with learning difficulties or physical disabilities).

If you accept Hitler's premiss - that purifying, and safeguarding the purity of, the German race is supremely important, almost a sacred duty - then the rest makes sense. (Of course, we don't accept the premiss, which itself derives from quack science - there are varieties of colour, physique and much more, but "race" has no objective meaning in biology.)

The extremity of this becomes apparent with the idea of the Endlösung - the Final Solution. This emerges when the possibility, or even likelihood, of defeat appears to Germany. Resources that many generals want to see directed to the war effort are used to build and run the death camps - exterminating the Jewish people while the chance remains, so that, whatever happens in the continuing war, it will be impossible later to bring back these whom Hitler has classed as subhuman.

The other side of this coin comes with those women (such as Frau Goebbels) who saw themselves as breeders of racially pure children. The Nazi state had many incentives to support and encourage this. When defeat was inevitable, Josef and Magda Goebbels killed their children - presumably because there would now be no racially purified Reich for them to live in.

Klaus is right to stress the popularity of these racial theories - you will find something similar in the views of the British psychologist Sir Cyril Burt. What is unusual in Nazi Germany is the extent to which they are embodied in the practical policies of a hard-pressed nation fighting a war on several fronts. We see it as evil now. But for many Nazis it appeared as a sacred obligation and the highest duty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Compared to the founding nation of fascism (italy) Hitler's vision was much more racist.

Italy attached its fascist nationalism to a long distant period of glory, the Roman Empire. The term fascism comes from an old Roman symbol, the fasces.

Fascism was aggressive in its foreign policy. A nation was to be tested in the field of battle and that was how to measure success. Victory was a part of the system. Italian fascism focused on conquest and the creation of a larger Italian nation and I would think that Mussolini hoped to have Italy take its place among the great nations of the world and gain the respect it was not given in World War II. Mussolini was not at ruthless or efficient as Hitler. He failed to make Italy self-sufficient. It agricultural systems were not sufficiently modernized by the eve of WWII and its industry still left much to be desired.

Germany was in a different position. In their birth they became arguably the strongest power in the world. It was a mighty industrial nation that rose from the various German states and changed the balance of power in Europe. It wiped out the Danes, the Austrians, and the French in short order and proclaimed its empire in the Palace of Versailles in 1871.

Yet, this period of military glory had a tremendous setback as William I blundered into World War I, defeat and the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles. Some Germans, who had subsrcibed to the scientific racism of the Victorian era had to find a reason how their great nation, their great people, and their great military could have possibly lost. If it wasn;'t the fault of pure-blooded Germans (and how could that be!) then something sinister must have happened.

In the search for reasons that the great German noation had failed, a key scape goat was discovered, German Jews. They were not German but they (banished from landowning in the feudal age) were well established in the key urban areas of Europe and Germany. These Jews were not really Germnas, they were from an "inferior" racial stock but also could be blamed as being sneaky and sinister in tactics. They had sapped the vitality of the German people and snuck anti-German messages into the media and undermined the economy through socialism and communism. Fear not, Hitler told the people of Germany, you are a truly great people and that would have shown through in World War I and that war would be a legacy of glory, not shame, had it not been for the Jews!

Germany needed a scape goat to explain away its great national failure in World War I, and the 500,000 jews were a large enough segment of the population to blame and be able to effectively target using the techniques of demagoguery (sp?). As a minority without a clear identity in an ethnically defined nation. And, viola, the pseudo-scientific race theory was used to give the Germans a scapegoat in the jews and a target for "legitimite" place to expand in using lebensraum against the slavs.

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