Adolf Hitler – German nationalist or Aryan racialist?

By Matt Koehl

Adolf-Hitler

There has been a tendency, even among some sincere National Socialists, to adopt the attitude that Adolf Hitler, while undoubtedly a very great man, was after all only a product of his times, and that he thus shared many of the prejudices and narrow outlooks of his contemporaries. It is felt that, while we should acknowledge his greatness in certain areas, we must also recognize his limitations in other areas and “improve” today’s National Socialism by “correcting” those ideas which have allegedly suffered from Adolf Hitler’s failure to comprehend, or refusal to acknowledge, the deeper and broader significance of certain aspects of the very philosophy which he originated.

The paramount consideration of National Socialism is that of race. Underlying all its doctrines, whether economic, political, or social, are racial considerations. The racial ideas of National Socialism form the most fundamental ideological framework upon which all the rest of the National Socialist structure is built, and they completely determine the National Socialist world view. As Colin Jordan, Deputy Commander of the World Union of National Socialists, has said: National Socialism results in thinking with the blood on all questions.[1]

It is in this particularly critical area, namely, that of racial doctrine, that Adolf Hitler is often alleged to have gone astray, Specifically, he is accused of favoring a provincial German nationalism, a narrow sort state-chauvinism, over the broader Aryan racial nationalism which forms the basis of our outlook today. As support for these allegations are cited a number of his public statements, along with a supposed policy of repression of the native populations of those areas occupied by the German armies during World War II, such as France, Norway, and Russia. These repressive measures supposedly stemmed from Hitler’s contempt for all those who were not citizens of the Third Reich.

Even a superficial survey of Adolf Hitler’s speeches and writings on the matter offers an abundance of evidence apparently supporting the foregoing verdict. Indeed, the Fuhrer hardly made a major public address in which he did not stress German nationalism. Over and over again, for years, he exhorted his countrymen to help him restore Germany to a position of honor, independence, and strength. He demanded the return to Germany of those German territories which had been torn away from her by the Versailles Treaty, the re-establishment of German military strength on a basis of equality with Germany’s neighbors, and the punishment of those traitors to the nation who were responsible for the disaster of 1918.

Furthermore, in his efforts to reawaken a sense of national pride and direction in his fellow Germans and to offset the cultural and spiritual bolshevism which cosmopolitan international (or anti-national) elements were promoting in postwar Germany, Hitler repeatedly emphasized the need for treasuring things specifically German: German art and architecture, German music, the German language, German literature, German history and mythology, and German national characteristics and peculiarities.

This same patriotic fervor expressed itself in Hitler’s deeds as well as in his words. From the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, when he was 25 years old, until his tragic death in the inferno of Berlin in 1945, at the age of 56, he devoted all his energies to a lifelong struggle to promote the interests of his people and to protect them from their enemies, both within and without.

Adolf Hitler was, in fact, the outstanding German patriot of our time. Everything he said, everything he wrote, and everything he did lead to this conclusion. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

The question, then, is not whether Adolf Hitler was a German nationalist. No reasonable person could argue that he was not. The essential question is whether or not he was only a German nationalist; whether his nationalism was restricted to unthinking, flag-waving solidarity with his fellow state-citizens—an all-too-familiar phenomenon—or whether it went beyond that; whether his national ideal was the sort which manifested itself in a xenophobic dislike of everything and everyone not German (in the most restricted sense of the word), or whether it was actually the same ideal to which we National Socialists of today have dedicated ourselves.

There are two decisive factors which must form the basis for any consideration of this question. First, we have been living for many years now in an era of intense state- nationalism, in which geographical, rather than racial, criteria have determined who a man’s fellow citizens were, to whom he owed loyalty. The entire Western world has been permeated with this perverse concept. It has afflicted America, England, and Europe alike. That it was a serious problem in Germany in the first half of this century is indicated by the attention given to it in the first part of the chapter in Mein Kampf entitled “The State.” There Hitler strongly attacks the lack of understanding of the proper relationship between race and state, which leaders of the other German political parties displayed to an alarming degree.

Nationalism owes its modern form, to a large extent, to the rise of the modern national state. In the past it has differed markedly in aspect, and throughout the long history of Aryan man has been based upon many different criteria. A strictly racial basis for nationalism, however, is peculiar to National Socialism alone among the various world views of today. It is an idea which not only was relatively novel to the great masses of citizens of the various national states a few decades ago, but which was, and still is, vigorously attacked by both internationalists and the flag-waving supporters of a more conventional state-nationalism.

One of the best-known writers in the former category is Carlton J. H. Hayes, formerly professor of history at Columbia University, whose ideas have influenced a great many modern authors. “Nationalism,” he said in 1926, “is a modern emotional fusion and exaggeration of two very old phenomena—nationality and patriotism.”[2] He then asked himself the question: “What determines nationality in general and distinguishes one nationality from another?” In answering this question he leaned heavily on the pseudo- scientific “findings” of his Columbia University colleague, Franz Boas, in disposing of the “notion, often advanced by uninformed or unrefleetive persons, that nationality is determined by race.” He went on to say: “The conclusion is forced upon us that the basis of nationality is not to be found in inherent mental or spiritual differences among human groups, or, for that matter, in racial heredity or physical environment. Nationality is an attribute of human culture and civilization, and the factors of zoology and botany are not applicable to it …. It is not that heredity and environment do not apply at all to man, but that they apply only indirectly and remotely to his civilization ….

“Nationality is certainly an aspect of culture, and the causation of national groupings and national traits must be sought in the factors of the social and essentially human sciences, rather than in those of botany and zoology. The distinctive marks and qualities of the Russian, Greek, German, Japanese, or any other nationality are no mere appanage of race or incident of geography; they are the creation of social circumstance and cultural tradition.”

Citing, among others, A. L. Kroeber, Franz Boas, Israel Zangwill, and John Stuart Mill as authorities, he finally concluded that “… we have confirmed our hypothesis that nationality rests upon cultural foundations, that a nationality is any group of persons who speak a common language, who cherish common historical traditions, and who constitute, or think they constitute, a distinct cultural society in which, among other factors, religion and politics may have played important though not necessarily continuous roles.”

Now, the unfortunate thing is that Hayes, in deciding what factors constituted the basis of national feeling, was not merely theorizing. He was, to a large extent, describing the situation as it actually existed—and still exists—among the great majority of men, at least in the decadent West.

It was this raceless conception of the basis of nationality which, carried to an insane extreme, resulted in the anomaly of American men of Germanic origin fighting side by side with “American” Negroes and “American” Jews against their German racial kinsmen in the Second World War. It was this same lack of understanding of racial realities which was responsible for the creation of the artificial states of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the new Poland after the First World War.

However deplorable this unnatural conception of nationality may be, and however it may have arisen historically, it remains today—and it remained even more so during the 1920’s and 1930’s—an undeniable fact of political life, not only in Germany, but in the other countries of the world as well. Most men were accustomed to looking at national loyalty from this point of view. Language, common geographical circumstances, and the adherence—however superficial—to certain commonly accepted ideas of what constituted national traditions and national culture were deemed the “natural” determinants of nationality. The one truly natural basis for nationality and nationalism—a common racial heritage—not only was not widely accepted as such, but was singled out for special attacks by the whole international-liberal-pacifist school of thought, of which Hayes was a prominent representative.

This brings us to the second factor in understanding Adolf Hitler’s conception of nationalism. Not only was he an idealist, a visionary, and the creator of a heroic, new world view, but he was no less a practical politician, an unexcelled master of Real-politik. He had his dream of a great, new world order, but the material which he had at hand to begin building that new world was, unfortunately, less than ideal. And here was the problem. Every world-historical figure has been constrained by the necessity of working within the historical framework in which he has found himself, submitting to those historical imperatives which are peculiar to a given time and place. This constraint applied even to Adolf Hitler. The tragic dilemma with which such a figure is confronted is poignantly expressed in Mein Kampf:

“Throughout long periods of human history, it may happen only once that the practical politician and the theoretician are found in the same man. The more intimate this union, however, the greater are the obstacles opposing the man’s efforts as a practical politician. He no longer works for necessities which are obvious to any shopkeeper, but for aims which only a very few can comprehend. Therefore his life is torn between love and hatred. The protest of the present, which does not understand the man, struggles with the recognition of posterity—for which he works.

“For the greater a man’s work is for the future, the less the present can comprehend it, the harder is his fight, and the rarer success. But if once in centuries success does favor such a man, perhaps in his latter days a faint gleam of his coming glory may shine upon him. To be sure, these great men are but the Marathon runners of history; the laurel wreath of the present touches only the brow of the dying hero.”[3]

In evaluating such a world-historical figure, it would be totally presumptuous and wrong to expect him to act according to the requirements of another period, rather than in accordance with the historical imperatives of his own time. State-nationalism was an extremely important element of the historical framework in which Adolf Hitler found himself. Rather than ignore it because it did not fit his ideal conception of things, he chose to work with it as a tool toward his ultimate goal—a world in which it would be superseded by an enlightened racial nationalism.

Had Hitler done otherwise—had he failed to take men and conditions as they were, insisting that his followers abandon the real world about them and go the whole way with him at once, instead of gradually leading them toward the light along paths not wholly unfamiliar to them—he might have enjoyed the satisfaction of remaining “pure” in a doctrinaire sense, but only at the expense of foregoing any real hope of accomplishment within his lifetime. He knew that the hour was too late for him to afford that luxury. As he movingly told the great German writer, Hans Grimm, in 1928, “There is no more time to be lost!”[4]

It may very well be significant that Hitler came face to face with the problem of provincial state-nationalism on the occasion of his first public political experience, which he describes in the chapter in Mein Kampf entitled “The ‘German Workers’ Party’.” During his very first visit to a meeting of the embryonic group which he was one day to forge into the NSDAP, he felt moved to put down a speaker who was supporting the cause of Bavarian nationalism and urging the secession of Bavaria from the rest of Germany.

The next thirteen years witnessed an almost daily struggle on his part to bring unity of purpose to a squabbling assortment of parties and factions, the narrowness of whose loyalties prevented their effective cooperation. If Bavarians required the most eloquent persuasion before they would consent to work together with Prussians, what chance was there at the start of convincing, say, Englishmen and Germans—not to mention Frenchmen, Poles, or Russians—that their best interests ultimately lay in a renunciation of their individual, territorial loyalties in favor of a common, Aryan racial loyalty? As a matter of fact, Hitler made repeated attempts in this direction, but the barriers of ignorance, selfishness, and prejudice—barriers which the self-appointed Chosen Ones were frantically reinforcing with all the influence at their disposal—were too strong.

From 1919 to 1939—that is, during the tenuous “incubation” period of National Socialism— it was thus absolutely essential that the new movement be born and nurtured within the close context of an existing national community, historically prepared to undertake the first steps toward a broader, Aryan racial nationalism. Under the circumstances, German nationalism was the obviously correct—and only possible—path to the goal Adolf Hitler was seeking.

It is this goal itself which we must examine in order finally to decide the question before us. For Hitler did not look upon German nationalism as an end in itself, nor did he even consider the ultimate establishment of Germany as a dominant world power to be his final aim. Unlike most German nationalists, Adolf Hitler looked upon the German people as a people with a divine mission to fulfill—a mission encompassing far more than the enrichment or glorification of Germany herself. In 1926 he clearly set down his belief in that mission: “Whosoever speaks of a mission of the German people on this earth must know that it can only consist in the creation of a state which sees its highest duty in the preservation and advancement of the noblest elements of our nationality—indeed, of all mankind—which still remain undefiled.”[5]

The race-wide nature of the National Socialist goal was made even clearer by Hitler’s constant reiteration: “Today we fight for the future of the German people, tomorrow for the future of our race.”[6] Or, again, when discussing the need for a broad, humanistic education for citizens of the future racial state: “We must not allow the greater racial community to be torn apart by the divergences of the individual peoples. The struggle which rages today is for very great stakes. A culture which spans millennia and embraces Hellenism and Teutonism is fighting for its existence.”[7]

Later the Führer was even more explicit, when he declared: “In the new world we are building it will be of no importance whether a man is a native of one region rather than another—whether he comes from Norway or from Austria—once the conditions for racial unity have been established.”[8]

It is, in fact, altogether remarkable, in light of the intense local nationalisms following World War I, that Adolf Hitler should not only have recognized the feasibility of a broader racial nationalism, but that he should actually have ventured to broach the subject before the masses of his own people, and that he should further have deliberately chosen as the very emblem of the National Socialist movement a unifying symbol for all Aryans, rather than a specifically German emblem of the state-nationalist tradition, the swastika represents “the mission of the struggle for the victory of Aryan man,” Hitler clearly states in Mein Kampf.[9]

Many instances can be cited in which Hitler denounced “foreign” influences in German life, and these are sometimes interested as implying a certain amount of xenophobia on his part. There was really only one foreign element which was strongly entrenched in Germany, and that was Jewry. When Hitler demanded the removal of foreigners from positions of influence in Germany, whether these foreigners were technically German citizens or not, he was referring to Jews, and he often pointed this out explicitly. For example, in his Munich speech of November 29, 1929, he said: “A National Socialist will never tolerate a foreigner— and that means the Jew—having a position in our public life …. A National Socialist will never tolerate a non-German being the educator of a German, a Jew being the teacher of our people.”

Again, in the Twenty-Five Points, the party program of the NSDAP, Points 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 23 demanded that restrictions be placed on the privileges and activities of “foreigners” in Germany—but here too the specific reference in Point 4 to Jews makes it clear just who the foreigners were.[10] Indeed, there was no concern about booting a horde of immigrant Belgians, for example, out of the country, or about suppressing Irish tendencies in German art, or about prying German newspapers out of the hands of Scotsmen, or about putting an end to control of the country’s finances by Finns, or about imprisoning Hungarians for peddling pornography in Germany, or even about restricting Danish speculation in German land. In every case the undesirable, alien elements to which Hitler referred belonged to the same nationality: they were all Jews, even when they may not have been explicitly named as such. Most other nationalities have a commendable tendency to mind their own business when resident in someone else’s country.

Toward the end of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler plainly emphasizes his viewpoint on this matter: “And again the National Socialist movement has the mightiest task to fulfill. It must open the eyes of the people where foreign nations are concerned, and must remind them again and again of the true enemy of our modern world. Instead of hatred against Aryans—from whom nearly everything may separate us, but to whom we are bound by common blood or the great line of a kindred culture—it must direct universal wrath onto the vile enemy of mankind as the real originator of all our sufferings. It must make certain that in our country, at least, the mortal enemy is recognized, and that the battle against him, like a gleaming symbol of brighter times, may also show other nations the way to the salvation of an embattled Aryan mankind.”[11]

Hitler was especially partial toward that other great Aryan-Germanic brother nation, England, whose future he regarded as inseparable from that of Germany, and whose sea power he considered the natural complement to German land power on the European continent. He contended that England needed a strong continental power, such as Germany, at its side to maintain its empire, a premise which has subsequently—with the loss of all but a few British colonial possessions—proven all too true. All of Hitler’s hopes for a European peace, in fact, were based on the prospect of achieving a firm and durable accord with Great Britain, and he made this objective the pivot of his entire foreign policy.

Although, to the monumental misfortune of Aryan men everywhere, he never succeeded in achieving this much-sought-after rapprochement, Adolf Hitler never ceased trying, even after the hostilities of World War II had commenced. His categorical refusal, over the advice of his generals, to order his panzer forces to annihilate the British army at Dunkerque in 1940 can only be interpreted as a mighty, final bid, against all odds, for conciliation with his racial kinsmen across the Channel—the culmination of the most sincere and persistent efforts ever made by any world statesman to lay the foundations of lasting Aryan solidarity and friendship.

On the other hand, it is quite true that Germany had genuine conflicts of interest with some of her neighbors—notably France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland—during the period between the two world wars. It was hardly possible to bring about a national rejuvenation of Germany without arousing bitter opposition from these principal beneficiaries of the Versailles settlement. For the great majority of Frenchmen, Poles, and Czechs, just as the Germans, were strongly nationalistic—in the narrowest sense of the word—and were immune to all arguments but one in any matter involving their relations with Germany. If Hitler were to raise Germany to a position from which she would be able to carry out her mission of a general revitalization of the Aryan peoples of the world, then he was obliged to do so over the bodies of at least a few of the more hard-headed nationalists among Germany’s neighbors, and he understood this from the beginning.

Despite this, however, Hitler was willing to go to great lengths in the way of concessions to maintain peaceable relations. The abandonment of the German populations of the South Tyrol and Alsace-Lorraine to Italy and France, respectively, was extraordinarily difficult for him to accept. But he showed considerably more restraint of his “nationalistic” urges in these matters than did most of his countrymen. He was able to justify these concessions in terms of his long-term racial goals, whereas his contemporaries, with their narrower nationalistic aims, often were not able to do so. He could not remain silent, though, while the German populations under Czech and Polish authority were savagely mistreated. He announced his determination to put a forceful end to these atrocities and then proceeded to do so.

Hitler’s actions with regard to Czechoslovakia and Poland and his general plans for German expansion to the east have been offered by anti-Nazi propagandists as evidence of a general policy of repression of the Slavs. This charge is ridiculous, of course, but even a few National Socialists have been taken in by it. Part of the misunderstanding is due to the confusion between “Slav” as a racial and as a linguistic designation. Among the many peoples who speak—or at one time spoke—Slavic languages are a number of racial types. A substantial portion of those Prussians between the Oder and the Elbe, for instance, have a Slavic background, being descended from the Wends. The Croats are also a Slavic people, at least in the linguistic sense, and Hitler had higher praise for them than almost anyone else.[12]

On the other hand, many of the peoples of eastern Europe, nominally Slavs, are not racially Aryan at all, but contain a substantial amount of Mongoloid blood, the result of successive waves of invasion from Asia. That Adolf Hitler, as a racist, was obviously concerned about the intrusion of non-Aryan blood along Europe’s eastern periphery goes without saying. The effects of numerous Mongo and Turkic penetrations over the centuries have in many instances left their indelible mark on the local populations, a fact which could not be overlooked.

During the Second World War a particularly nasty form of warfare gained a new prominence. Guerrilla-type activities by civilian partisans—the “underground” or the “resistance”—were carried on to a degree vastly exceeding that in any previous major war. There were two reasons for this:

First was the fact that not even during the bitter religious wars of the Middle Ages had two such irreconcilable ideologies as National Socialism and Marxism been in conflict. In November, 1918, as he lay blinded by poison gas in a veterans’ hospital at Pasewalk in Pomerania and heard of the Marxist uprisings in Germany which ended her war effort, Adolf Hitler made a resolution. He swore that he would never again rest until he had utterly exterminated the bearers of the Marxist disease-germ. If National Socialist Germany were to prevail in the Second World War, then Marxism would be finished in Europe, and the Marxists everywhere—from Washington to Moscow—knew this.

Wherever Marxism had extended its grip in Europe, the native populations, horrified by the bloody reality of bolshevization, looked upon the invading German army as a deliverer. In the Baltic states, in the Ukraine, in the Caucasus—the subject peoples rose up against the Red commissars as the Germans approached. The Communist leaders, with the desperation of cornered criminals, resorted to unprecedented brutality in their efforts to prevent solidarity from developing between the Germans and those peoples being liberated from Bolshevik domination.

In order to provoke reprisals by the German-occupation forces against the populace, Communist partisans did not hesitate to use the most bestial measures. Not only did they assassinate unwary German soldiers, but whenever possible they kidnapped them and committed the most unspeakable atrocities on them, leaving the mutilated corpses where they would be quickly found by other Germans. The Germans, in turn, even if they had not been enraged by such deeds, could not afford to let them go unpunished. Hostages were taken; and when the partisans continued their murderous activities, the hostages were shot. The local citizens were bitterly resentful of such treatment, and their initial friendly feelings toward the Germans quickly evaporated. This, of course, was exactly the objective of the Communist partisans.[13] From their point of view, the stiffer the reprisals they could provoke the Germans into, the better.

The second factor which contributed to these partisan activities was the presence nearly everywhere of perfect partisan material—both Marxist oriented and completely indifferent to the sufferings that they brought down on the heads of their fellow citizens by their activities—namely, Jews. They constituted a ready-made, underground network of worldwide extent, and they certainly had sufficient motivation. They realized full well that, completely aside from the threat of justice at the hands of the Germans, if the Communist regimes they had helped to establish and had supported were to be eliminated by the Germans, then the native populations they had so grievously mistreated, when left to themselves, would swiftly and brutally solve the Jewish problem once and for all. If the war could be brought to a successful conclusion by Germany, with partisan activities totally suppressed and general knowledge spread among the Poles, for example, concerning Lavrenti Beria’s massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest, within 48 hours of a German withdrawal there would not be a Jew left alive in Poland.[14] Likewise, if the Germans were to smash the Communist regime in Russia and restore a patriotic Russian government, Jews would be roasted over public bonfires by a rejoicing populace in every village and city square throughout Russia.

An army presented with the problem of partisan harassment has a very simple choice to make: either tolerate the harassment with a smile, or use methods sufficiently severe to put an end to it. The Soviets always made the latter choice, as a matter of course. The slightest opposition to the Red army brought down such frightful and bloody retaliation on the heads of the populace that no more resistance was even thinkable by the terrified and cowed survivors. The German army, unable to bring itself to such measures, could only play directly into the hands of the Jews and Marxists by trying to take a middle course.

With the outbreak of the European conflict—and, more particularly, with the start of the campaign against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941—the National Socialist struggle took a new direction. Up to this time the National Socialist movement had confined itself to Greater Germany and was, as often stated in official pronouncements, “not for export.” Now, with the extension of the German sphere of influence, the young movement, with its racial message of Aryan solidarity, was carried beyond Germany’s frontiers. It began to lose some of the parochial German character associated with it during the early years of struggle and the period of national consolidation immediately following—a character which, as we have indicated earlier, was at the time absolutely essential—and began to assume a new, pan-Aryan aspect.

The concept of a New Order emerged, as Adolf Hitler’s long-range racial goal became increasingly more apparent. “Our present struggle is merely a continuation, on the international level, of the struggle we waged on the national level,” he remarked at the time.[15] “The basic ideas that served us in the struggle for power have proven that they are correct, and are the same ideas we are applying today in the struggle we are waging on a world scale.”[16]

Hitler proposed that the battlefields of the Second World War and the struggle against Bolshevism should provide the cement of solidarity to bind the Aryan nations of Europe into a greater, organic whole, with each of them coming into a larger confederation, not like whipped dogs, but with the pride born of the knowledge that each and every one had shed its blood and played its part in the greatest struggle for freedom in the history of Europe. For all those who had risked their lives for Europe would be called upon to build the new, Aryan order of the future.

It was in line with this idea that sizable contingents of anti-Communist volunteers from virtually every country of Europe were either incorporated into units of the German army or the SS, or were allowed to form their own fighting units, which were then outfitted and supplied by Germany. Walloons and Flemings, Danes and Norwegians, Ukrainians and Russians, Dutchmen and Estonians by the tens of thousands—even Irishmen—fought courageously for the triumph of the great, new Weltanschauung and its inspired architect. For it was not a geographical boundary, nor one of language, nor even one of local culture and tradition, but one of blood which delineated the Aryan nationality for which they fought.

It is in this light that we must understand the real significance of the Waffen- and the Germanic-SS, and the role these two bodies were called upon to play in the formation of a true, pan-Aryan blood brotherhood—whose beneficial effects are, in spite of everything, still being felt to this day. With volunteers from every Aryan country participating, the SS was unique in that it represented the first concrete attempt to establish a fighting force based on the concept of racial nationalism, rather than that of state-nationalism. Indeed, never before in the history of the West, had such an attempt been made.

Hitler’s conception of European unity is clearly reflected in both his public speeches and private conversations, not to mention the formal pronouncements of Mein Kampf. It was not just another grandiose economic, geographic, or political scheme—such as those commonly proposed today—but an Aryan racial proposition at the highest level. Hitler did not propose an arbitrary leveling of Europe’s racial types, but called instead for a conscious effort to raise the best racial elements of Europe to a leading position in continental and world affairs. “All those who have a feeling for Europe can join in our work,” he declared, adding that the men for such a mighty task would come from Scandinavia, the western countries—even America—as well as Germany.[17]

Although not the primary consideration, the proposed economic system under the New Order offered limitless opportunities, especially to the smaller European countries; and it might be described very loosely as a sort of European Common Market without the international bankers. The new system involved an autarkic economy for Europe which would not be subject to the fluctuations of the international market, and which could guarantee the conditions of full employment and economic growth.

To achieve the unification of Europe, Hitler believed, first, that the national initiative of one powerful country, such as Germany, was necessary to overcome the obstructions of selfish, narrow-minded provincialism—in much the same way that Prussia assumed the lead in unifying the bickering German states under Bismarck’s policy of “Blood and iron,” while others talked about that unity. Only in a similar manner could the monumental task of welding northern, western, central, and eastern Europe into one organic entity find hope of accomplishment.

As the second prerequisite for European unification, Hitler proposed that all the Germanic[18] peoples of the continent themselves first unite to “compose the nucleus around which Europe will federate.”[19] In discussing this idea with a Danish SS major from the Viking Division, he said: “My native land is one of the most beautiful countries in the Reich, but what can it do when left to itself? What could I undertake as an Austrian? …

“I understand that it may be hard for a young Dutchman or a young Norwegian to find himself called upon to form a common unit, within the framework of the Reich,[20] together with men of other Germanic connections. But what is asked of them is no harder than what was asked of the Germanic tribes at the time of the great migrations. In those days bitterness was so great that the chief of the Germanic tribes was assassinated by members of his own family. What was asked of the countries that have formed the Second Reich is similar to what we are asking now, and to what we recently asked of the Austrians.”[21]

The full significance of Hitler’s pan-Germanicism, as part of a larger pan-Aryanism, can only be appreciated if we consider that, virtually without exception, all of the states of western Europe are formations which have grown out of the last of the great Aryan migrations, the Germanic Völkerwanderung: Angles, Saxons, and Jutes to England; Franks, Burgundians, and Norsemen to France; Goths and Lombards to Italy; Goths and Swabians to Spain; not to mention those Germanic tribes which remained the closest to their original homeland, and subsequently formed the German and Scandinavian states. Indeed, the Germanic imprint has been so extensive in both eastern and western Europe, that today there are many persons who on linguistic grounds consider themselves Latins, Kelts, Slavs, Baits, or Finno- Ugrians, but who are, in fact, largely descended from these same and other early Germanic tribes.

In historical perspective, Adolf Hitler must be regarded as the first real exponent of political racial nationalism, or more specifically, of Aryan racism. “If I try to gauge my work,” he once said, “I must consider, first of all, that I have contributed—in a world that had forgotten the notion—to the triumph of the idea of the primacy of race.”[22] That his pan-Aryan objectives may have been obscured by the more immediate task of mobilizing the indispensable national energy of the German people toward that end is somewhat regretable; for Germany and the German people did indeed play an exceptional role in Hitler’s plans—but not in the narrow way that is sometimes imagined.

Although National Socialism is intimately conditioned by the fact that its doctrines are, in a sense, an expression of the inner nature of one particular race—the Aryan race—a broad outlook indeed is required to comprehend the full magnitude of Hitler’s creation—to see beyond its conventionally nationalist aspects to its eternal and universal significance. Savitri Devi said it rather well, I think: “… in its essence, the National Socialist idea exceeds not only Germany and our times, but the Aryan race and mankind itself and any epoch; it ultimately expresses that mysterious and unfailing wisdom according to which Nature lives and creates: the impersonal wisdom of the primeval forest and of the ocean depth and of the spheres in the dark fields of space; and it is Adolf Hitler’s glory not merely to have gone back to that divine wisdom … but to have made it the basis of a practical regeneration policy of worldwide scope ….”[23]

Notes
1. Colin Jordan, “National Socialism: A Philosophical Appraisal,” National Socialist World, 1 (Spring, 1966), p. 6.

2. Carlton J. H. Hayes, Essays on Nationalism (New York, 1926), pp. 6 ff.

3. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, chap. 8.

4. Hans Grimm, Warum-Woher-Aber Wohin? (Lippoldsberg, 1954), p. 14.

5. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. II, chap, 2.

6. Speech of October 18, 1931, at Braunschweig.

7. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. II, chap. 2.

8. Bormann-Vermerke, night of November 1-2, 1941.

9. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. II, chap. 7.

10. Gottfried Feder, “The Twenty-Five Points,” National Socialist World, 3 (Spring, 1967), pp. 13-15.

11. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. II, chap. 13.

12. Confusion resulting from the use of terms with both racial and linguistic denotations has been widespread. The term Aryan also falls into this category. Generally, our use of the word has been confined to its racial sense, unless we have specifically indicated otherwise, and we prefer the term Indo-European for linguistic denotations. Aryan refers to those European peoples who still share to a substantial extent the genetic heritage—in both physical and psychical traits—left by those ancestral speakers of Indo-European languages who inhabited northern Europe in prehistoric times, and to certain other European peoples who are racially, if not linguistically, related to these.

In the words of the eminent anthropologist, Carleton S. Coon, “… the Indo-European languages were, at one time, associated with a single, if composite, racial type, and … that racial type was an ancestral Nordic. We have determined this through a study of the skeletal remains of peoples known to have spoken these languages at or near the time of their initial dispersion from their several centers.

“… The Slavs, like all the other Indo-European-speaking peoples whom we have been able to trace, were originally Nordic …. However, the Slavs who migrated to southern Hungary … mixed with a local short-statured, broad-faced, and broad-nosed
brachycephalic people, who … were descended from the central Asiatic Avars.” The Races of Europe (New York, 1939), pp. 220-1.

13. In the later stages of the war,the partisans shifted their attentions more and more from provocation of the Germans to the “liquidation” of native anti-Communists.

14. Despite the German defeat and theestablishment of a Jew-controlled Communist government in Poland, the Poles nevertheless avenged themselves against the Jews in some areas after the war. The massacre of Jews in Kielce in July, 1946, is an example. And the panicky exodus of Jews from Hungary during the anti-Communist uprising there in 1956, together with the worldwide Jewish denunciation of the revolt as “an anti- Semitic plot,” is another example of the same phenomenon.

15. Bormann-Vermerke, midnight of November 2, 1941.

16. Ibid., November 19, 1941.

17. Ibid., evening of October 17, 1941.

18. In numerous instances, especially in Mein Kampf, Hitler’s racism is de-emphasized in English translations, with the rendering of both deutsch and germanisch as “German.” The former term applies specifically to the people of Germany, whereas the latter term properly includes the larger portion of the world’s Aryan population—Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Dutch, and Flemish, as well as Germans, not to mention their racial kinsmen in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere—and should be correctly translated as Germanic (or Teutonic).

19. Bormann-Vermerke, evening of February 22, 1942.

20. Here Hitler’s intention of assimilating all the Germanic peoples of continental Europe into one state, or Reich, is unmistakable. In this respect, the Führer began to employ the terms, Germanisches Reich and Grossgermanisches Reich—instead of Deutsches Reich and Grossdeutsches Reich—to emphasize this aim. In other instances, he simply used the expedient, interchangeable form, Reich.

21. Bormann-Vermerke, evening of February 22, 1942.

22. Ibid., night of October 21-22, 1941.

23. Savitri Devi, “The Lightning and the Sun,” National Socialist World, 1 (Spring, 1966), p. 61.