Thursday, August 18, 2016

An Excerpt from 'For the Hitler Youth' (1938) by Helmut Stellrecht; Translation by M.H.

Translation by M.H.; full credit extended to him.

Adolf Hitler with eager members of the Hitlerjugend...
You carry in your blood the holy inheritance of your fathers and forefathers. You do not know those who have vanished in endless ranks into the darkness of the past. But they all live in you and walk in your blood upon the earth that consumed them in battle and toil and in which their bodies have long decayed. Your blood is therefore something holy. In it your parents gave you not only a body, but your nature. To deny your blood is to deny yourself. No one can change it. But each decides to grow the good that one has inherited and suppress the bad. Each is also given will and courage. You do not have only the right, but also the duty to pass your blood on to your children, for you are a member of the chain of generations that reaches from the past into eternity, and this link of the chain that you represent must do its part so that the chain is never broken. But if your blood has traits that will make your children unhappy and burdens to the state, then you have the heroic duty to be the last. The blood is the carrier of life. You carry in it the secret of creation itself. Your blood is holy, for in it God’s will lives.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Use of Race, Folk, and 'Aryan' in National-Socialism

"Thus men without exception wander about in the garden of nature; they imagine that they know practically everything and yet with few exceptions pass blindly by one of the most patent principle's of nature's rule: the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on this Earth." 
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, chapter eleven
National-Socialism is a form of fascism that takes the reality of man as a biological entity as its starting point, focusing on his racial and ethnic constitution, evolutionary and ecological contexts, and embedding these in domestic and foreign policy. The concept of folk or people and that of race in general and 'Aryan' in particular, and the nation, are integral to its central ideological foundations. In this article, I address some misconceptions about these and place them in proper context.

For example, the word, 'Aryan,' was used well before National-Socialism: The Sanskrit ārya that it comes from originally meant "noble." Hindu scriptural context conceived of an "Aryan" as "someone that does noble deeds."[1] By the nineteenth century, the term was emptied of its religious and scriptural context. It was increasingly used to refer to ethnolinguistic and also racial groupings.

Karl W.F. Schlegel used 'Aryan' in 1819 to link Indo-Iranian languages with the Germanic tongues (e.g. German, English, Dutch, and so on) in a broader ethnolinguistic family. 'Aryan' therefore came to encompass the ethnolinguistic family of peoples and their associated languages that included all Indo-European languages and the people that spoke them: Iranians, Indians, and Europeans. In sum, use of 'Aryan' evolved from a religious context to a scientific one.

Arthur de Gobineau helped solidify the Indo-European connotation of 'Aryan' in the 1850s: His Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races argued that the human species is divided into three major races: A "white race," a Negro or "black race," and an Asian or a "yellow race." De Gobineau argued that an "Aryan race" also existed, encompassing a subset of a much broader white race, and was comprised principally of the various Northern European peoples: Britons, Germans, etc.

On this view, the "Aryan race" encompassed non-Semitic white Europeans but omitted all Mediterranean peoples. Throughout the later nineteenth century, the idea of such a narrow view of "Aryans" as a race was taken up by other naturalists, including those who sought to strengthen the relationship of, if not outright identify, "Aryan" and "Nordic": Either placing the later at the center or core of the former, as a binding element, or identifying "Aryans" with "Nordic" peoples.[2]

When 'Aryan' was used principally with linguistic groups, it was typically used to refer to all of the languages of the Indo-European family: extant, including Albanian, Armenian, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Italic, Iranian and Slavic languages, and extinct, including the Anatolian and Tocharian linguistic branches.

When 'Aryan' was used principally in context to racial groups, it was viewed simultaneously as both a subrace and a race with its own subraces. The "Aryan race" was viewed as a subrace of the Caucasoid or "white race," which was one of three principal races that also include the Negroid or "black race" and Mongoloid or "yellow race." H.S. Chamberlain held that the Aryan race's own subraces included the Nordic, Alpine, Dinaric, Atlantid, Iranid, and various other subraces.

Science writer H.G. Wells likewise held that the three major races - white, black, and yellow - existed and that the Aryan race was, along with the Hamitic, Iberian, and Semitic races, a subrace of the larger "white race." Wells, however, separated the Iberian, or Mediterranean, race from the "Aryan race," while H.S. Chamberlain included Mediterranean peoples in the "Aryan race." Other racial subdivisions were also made, and equally adept naturalists made their own subdivisions.

The biological thought of H.S. Chamberlain, Arthur de Gobineau and Hans F.K. Günther was formative for Hitler's views on race and later NSDAP racial policy. The context of the Darwinian Revolution, which irrupted into academic and scientific biology in the nineteenth century, solidified a naturalistic context of biological thought. It leveled the previous field of thought and undermined the prevailing view of species and subspecies (races, or nascent species) as static natural groups.

A race is what biologists call a subspecies or variety. A particular race has several different properties: Morphological, physiological, genetic, genealogical, behavioral, developmental and in the case of animals with advanced nervous systems, psychological attributes. A race is also geographically distinct. The white or Caucasoid race originates in Europe. The black or Negroid race originates more recently in Africa. The yellow or Mongoloid race originates in Asia.

A race is distinguished by manifestations of the above properties: Skin pigmentation, bone and skeletal structure, bone density, skull shape, maturation rate, brain size, susceptibility to disease, propensities to intelligence, sexual impulse, aggressiveness, and other behavioral, physical, and psychological properties. Contrary to popular belief, race is not a measure of "skin color" or pigmentation alone.

Race, or subspecies, is vital to the evolutionary process. When a species emerges in nature it does so by having originated as a subspecies, or race, in a previous species. Every race is a potential species in its own right. When those who attempt to argue against the reality of race emphasize species, claiming that species have a reality that races lack, they ignore the very origins to which every species owes its existence: Species start as subspecies, as races, in parent species.

National-Socialism identifies the necessity to safeguard racial elements as the most crucial dimension of domestic and foreign policy. This is clearly echoed by nature, itself. When a given subspecies, or race, emerges within a species, natural and social barriers to gene flow arise and are perpetuated so that the subspecies can maintain its distinctiveness. If a subspecies loses these natural barriers, then it cannot maintain its uniqueness and as such inevitably disappears.

Biologists refer to different barriers as either "pre-zygotic" or "post-zygotic": "Pre-zygotic" barriers include mating barriers, courting rituals, or even songs. However, "post-zygotic" (or, after birth) barriers also exist, and include such outcomes as infertility or sterility, as when an organism cannot yield offspring.

The concept of "racial purity" is often attacked by leftists, but they misunderstand the nature of the concept and the fact that it is readily echoed by lineages of organisms in nature. The concept refers to the natural integrity that every unique subspecies inherently possesses, an integrity that consists of the unique combination of traits that it possesses. Every lineage of organisms naturally aspires to maintain this unique combination of traits, and in doing so it resists its dissolution.

The policies of the NSDAP were simply a formal expression in human institutional terms of an impulse that is pervasive in the natural world. By politically enshrining this common and natural tendency, Hitler's government simply enacted a policy that is innately woven into the natural fabric of organismal lineages.

Put another way, the diversity of life on Earth exists because organisms naturally incline to segregation and discrimination. Segregation leads to the creation of boundaries between subspecies, the precondition of the formation of species. Discrimination is simply the natural insistence on exclusivity, that natural selective tendency among organisms to preserve the uniqueness of their lineage by sifting and sorting among potential mates and selecting the appropriate mate.

In affirming race, National-Socialism affirms life, and that is because race is central to life, to its diversity and its distinctiveness. The history of life on Earth is the history of many different biological lineages in conflict one with the other, over space within which to live, the natural precondition for flourishing and well-being.

The concept of an "Aryan race" came to acquire a practical significance in Hitler's thought and in NSDAP racial policy. It was understood in distinct terms, and in distinct phases, from the early period of 1933 to 1936, from 1936 through 1939, and as the practical necessities of war imposed on Germany realized themselves, the political, social, and especially legal exigencies of the scope of 'Aryan' retreated from the purely theoretical. It acquired a definite societal and moral utility.

A people, or "folk" (Volk, in German), is, however, distinct from a race [3]:
Folk and race are not the same. "Folk" is a political and cultural concept; "race" is a concept of biology and natural science. The folk is a bond of destiny; the race by contrast is not a political community but the eternal spring from which the people derives its strength.
A folk, or people, subsumes the racial and biological, in addition to other qualities:
Folk (Nation) is a community of human beings with the same descent, language, culture, history, and homeland, and the same political will. The folk is a community of blood and destiny. Shared ancestry is the most important characteristic. We Germans are all related to each other.
Therefore, a folk is both an historical and a biological entity; while human subspecies, or races, exhibit many of the qualities and traits that comprise subspecies, or races, of nonhuman species. That is, human and nonhuman subspecies are principally biological entities. However, a "folk" or people is a unique human configuration, woven together from the underlying fabric of species, but also knitted together by their varied historical, social, cultural, political and linguistic fibers.

A folk is a distinct people (e.g., the "German people," the "English people," or the "French people"), and it is composed of one or more races: The German people is a member of the "Aryan race," at a higher level, but also at a lower, constitutive level, it is comprised of racial elements from the Alpine, Phalian, Baltic, Mediterranean, East Baltic, Dinaric, and Nordic races. The Nordic race is the German people's binding racial element, though it is not the only one nor the most common.[4]

A nation, however, is the combination of a folk or people and the land and territory on which it conducts its life. A nation is the natural unity of the core of a people and its soil. Hitler saw the nation as equally engaged in evolutionary struggle as the individual; both, he believed, vied for resources and living space.

Hitler owed his biological conception of the Aryan race to Gobineau and Chamberlain, who saw in the Germanic peoples its core: Germans, Swedes, the Dutch, the English, and the Scandinavians, at least. The Aryan race was conceived of and understood in biological terms, but was ultimately given practical scope in legal and political contexts by the NSDAP: Various offices were established, and numerous laws put into effect, in order to secure its concrete interests.

An early period of National-Socialistic thought and legal policies followed Hitler's assumption of office from 1933, through the Roehmist insurgency of 1934 and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 to the pivotal 1936 reoccupation of the Rhineland. The realization of Hitler's fundamental goal of reuniting the German people transpired in the period from 1936 through early 1939, also integral to realizing geopolitical preparedness for confrontation with the U.S.S.R.

The formation of domestic racial policies under the NSDAP owed as much to Chamberlain, Gobineau, and Günther's theoretical formulations as the practical exigencies of German life and society. Hitler had read Günther's 1922 book, Racial Science of the German People, and even attended Günther's inaugural appointment in anthropology at Jena in 1932. His ideas were crucial to the development of NSDAP racial policy, which were based on a fluid and a dynamic view of race.

The concept of an "Aryan race" derived from the ideas of these naturalists was subsumed to a practical necessity of identifying potential members of a racial community: In other words, German society under National-Socialism developed a pragmatic definition of 'Aryan,' while keeping the term and concept anchored to what the NSDAP conceived of as sound biology. A legal and political context coalesced on an "Aryan" as someone that could assimilate into the German people.

That is to say, under Hitler's government, 'Aryan' came to be a practical term identifying a man or woman of European descent that had little, or no, Jewish ancestry and who could be ethnically integrated into German society without threatening the ethnic or racial fabric or integrity of the German people. The National-Socialist view of 'Aryan' encompassed neither the "Nordicist" view of the term nor a term connoting "nobility" in behavior, as some advocates today claim.

The practical use of 'Aryan' under National-Socialism becomes even clearer by extension to concrete examples: Instances of persons who immigrated to and were welcomed in Hitler's Germany: Irish radio personality William "Lord Haw Haw" Joyce, the Hungarian brunette and actress Marika Rökk, and of course, Hitler's "favorite actor," Johannes Heesters. These and other examples clearly show that Germany did not preclude those who lacked "Nordic" traits, propaganda aside.

To these examples could easily be added others, including leading members of the NSDAP itself, such as Himmler, who had distinctively Alpine features. This is not to say that Hitler's government did not recognize the importance of the vital Nordic strain in the German people only that the practical extension of "Aryan" included people of European descent who were not necessarily Nordic. The Nordic subrace was a core element of a German people with other racial components.

Many distortions of National-Socialist concepts abound, and these are certainly not limited to 'Aryan' and related terms. The term, herrenvolk, for example, is often mistranslated as "master race," even though 'volk' means "folk" or "people," and 'herron' means "gentleman." The literal translation of the term is "gentleman's people," and the proper contextual meaning of the term is "a higher people." But propagandists continue to claim that the term means "master race."
[1] Wiktionary gives us the following: "Borrowed into English in the 19th century, at first as a term for the Indo-Iranian languages, and later partly extended to the Indo-European languages and peoples following a theory by Friedrich Schlegel that connected the Indo-Iranian words arya / ā́rya with German Ehre ‎(“honor”) and some older Germanic names, thus assuming that it was the original Indo-European autonym meaning "the honorable people"."
[2] As in The Aryan Race (1888) by Charles Morris and in The Aryan and His Social Role (1899, L'Aryen et son rôle social) by Georges Vacher de Lapouge.
[3] Political Primer of National-Socialism, "Folk and the Jewish Question," by Hansjoerg Maennel (1940), Trans. by Hadding Scott (2009).
[4] Political Primer of National-Socialism, "Race," by Hansjoerg Maennel (1940), Trans. by Hadding Scott (2009).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Origination and Persisting Relevance of 'Living Space'

The term, living space, was introduced into ethnography and geography by Friedrich Ratzel, a 19th century German naturalist. It was absorbed by geopolitical thinkers like Karl Haushofer and popularly diffused in literature by writers such as Hans Grimm. US and British historians claim that the concept is discredited, but it remains as relevant to people of European descent today as it was to Hitler's ultimate aims.

Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904); naturalist,
geographer, and ethnographer.

The term living space, or Der Lebensraum in German, is one of the more well-known, and also distorted and less understood, concepts in German thought. It originates in the halls of the history of biology and geography at their intersection, first used in an academic context by Friedrich Ratzel (see the image, above), a German naturalist who taught and researched at Leipzig University. He uses the term in his publication, "Der Lebensruam."[1] Ratzel's use was scientific and not political.

By 'living space,' Ratzel meant the geographical expanse in which the populations of a given species or subspecies are able to support themselves, their size and mode of existence. [2] It will first be useful to remind the reader of the meaning of 'species,' 'subspecies,' as well as some related biological terms and ideas.

Biologists do not have universal agreement on what 'species' refers to, and defining species as populations whose members can interbreed ignores most of life, which is asexual, and omits the first two thirds of the history of life on Earth. Many hold species are populations of organisms, at a minimum, and disagree on what properties are important. A race is what is called a 'subspecies.' Races are integral to evolution: every species starts as a subspecies of a prior species.

However, Ratzel does not emphasize subspecies, or race, and though he stresses the folk [Das Volk] he spuriously and questionably emphasizes the cultural properties of a people or folk. He views culture as man's primary means of adaptation.[3] Ratzel argues that peoples are shaped by their relationship to their living space. States, for example, are the outcome of particular relations that given peoples have with their own environments and their unique assemblages of flora and fauna.

There are two important dimensions regarding living space, for Ratzel, that are crucial to understanding it: 1) migration and 2) colonization. The relationship of a population to its living space is directly connected to both. An expanding living space is the consequence of a population migrating to new territory, or increasing the proximal space of prior territory and therefore pushing elements of the population into it, and also a continual, successful colonization of such territory.

Vitally, successful migration and colonization means that living space, for human beings at least, is space within which farming, cultivating, and growing crops can take place. Genuine living space is irrigable and farmable soil and land.

The notion of living space was developed in the context of important advances in biological thought, including Darwin's hypothesis of natural selection. Crucially, it was also extended and embedded within German politics. Karl Haushofer (1869-1946), a German geopolitician, diffused his ideas, deeply influenced by Ratzel, to leading figures of the National-Socialist movement in Germany. Rudolf Hess was a student of Haushofer; both expanded the political relevance of Ratzel's ideas.

Popular writers, such as Hans Grimm, diffused the political relevance of living space into a popular context. His book, Volk ohne Raum, or People Without Space, was published in 1927. It is a novel that highlights the geographic limitations constraining the German people and dramatizing their very real need for greater living space. Published at a time when the Empires of Europe, including France and Britain, still had great colonial holdings, it makes a case for such, for Germany.[4]

Throughout the later Middle Ages, German settlements were in constant flux in their relation with peoples in Eastern territories. The tendency to push Eastward arose as a consequence both of planned marches as well as a natural, demographic tendency. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the convergence of this historical tendency with the concept of living space led to formal advocacy of a modern Drang nach Osten: a "drive to the East" or "yearning for the East."

The incorporation of the term 'living space' into National-Socialism was accompanied by its correlation with Germany's geopolitical predicament on the European Continent. Germany, at the time Hitler was writing Mein Kampf in the early 1920s, had been stripped of overseas colonies and was sandwiched between hostile Empires in the West and a growing Soviet threat in the East. Western European nations had vast Empires for surplus populations, and the US enjoyed limitless land.

Chapter 14 of Mein Kampf, "Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy," accompanies his views on the unenviable geopolitical situation of Germany in Europe with the observation of its parallel need for natural resources. The solution to this dilemma, Hitler writes, is to secure peace with the Empires of Western Europe and a neutral Britain, France, and US, and to extend the living space of the German people eastward. The Soviet Union would have to give way to this new policy.

Hitler's conception of living space emphasizes the necessity of unbroken soil. A people benefits from this continuity: Racially, ethnically, and geographically. It was for this reason that he rejected overseas colonies, though doing so also reminded his desired ally in Britain that Germany had little or no interest in readjustments to the status quo elsewhere in the world. A growing German population, enriched by unbroken soil laced with autobahns, was preferable to faraway lands.

Since World War II, it has been claimed that the defeat of Germany in World War II implies that National-Socialist racial ideas and conception of living space was false. The implication, among other things, is that National-Socialist ideas are scientifically discredited and relying on them entails lending credence to pseudoscience. In other words, if Hitler's ideas about living space were credible and reflected nature, then Germany should not have lost the war with Russia, or World War II.

In his article, "Friedrich Ratzel and the Origins of Lebensraum," Woodruff writes: "The disastrous consequences [of adopting the concept of living space and embedding it in Eastern foreign policy] stemmed from the lack of correspondence between the concept and the social reality that it was supposed to explain." [5]

First of all, the concept of living space, as Hitler employed it, is a descriptive concept, not an explanatory one. It is the combination of Hitler's views of race, his changing assumptions of the German people and inhabitants of Eastern lands, and living space, taken together, that form an explanatory amalgam whose collective claim is relevant to the outcome of World War II. Hitler's views changed as a result of the war, and so did relevant variables, such as an unwelcome war in the West.

If there had not been a war in the West, then this same amalgam of assumptions, ideas and claims would have been correlated with a very different outcome. To assume that it was the scientific validity of beliefs held by Hitler that was principally relevant to consequences of politically applying them is overly simplistic.

The validity of scientific terms, descriptive and explanatory, is unaffected by consequences that are moral or aesthetic in nature. This is as true of Hitler's racial ideas as it is of his use of the concept of living space. The postwar decision to reject race as a scientific concept as well as a basis of identity in politics was completely unrelated to their persisting scientific validity and political utility. The reality of race and relevance of living space are unaffected by the fact of the war.

Human beings clearly understand and apply the principles underlying this conclusion in yet other spheres of their lives. The fact that organized religion has caused and continues to cause grief, strife and death appears irrelevant to the insistence of many humans on their belief and practice of religion. In one way, this is not a good analogy, because religious faith is not comparable to scientific terms, but the point is human willingness to overlook past implications of beliefs, in this case religious.

Biology, anthropology, and science in general have greatly suffered as a consequence of the insistence on deemphasizing race, ethnicity, and other concepts. Similarly, despite the fact that ethnic nationalism and racial identity remains strong among Asian, Arab, Latino and African peoples, European peoples have allowed their revulsion over their view of the past to undermine their own ethnic and racial identity, and the relevance of concepts that remain as important as ever.

The notion of living space retains its political relevance, not only for the German people but also for people of European descent in general. The notion has not evaporated just because there is a temporary consensus in science and politics to reject ideas that were important to Hitler. The fact that their ethnic and racial decline is becoming obvious to European peoples today echoes this reality.

Biological entities persist in having spatial relationships with each other, no matter what we decide to do with the concept of living space. For this reason, we had better retain the idea and, for people of European descent most of all, wrestle with its meaning and subsume the question of our relationship to the space we occupy. The idea of living space entails the relation a population has with its environment, including soil and land and the buildings and objects that decorate it.

The notion of living space, therefore, has both a descriptive and explanatory relevance and also an ethical, moral, and aesthetic relevance. It relates not only to the reality of human populations in concrete biological terms but also to the political and social dimensions of our relationship with the space we occupy and the objects within that space. Consider this with respect to our current decline.

The space of men and women of European descent is daily shrinking, both in the sense of a reduction of unmolested and unsullied domains of public and family life but also the practical sense of space within which daily life is safely lived. When a young German woman cannot traverse a street, when a white family cannot eat at a restaurant, or when a Frenchman is unable to enjoy a stroll in a park, in every case because of deliberate hostility toward them, it is a diminution of space.

Because there has been a very restricted historical interpretation of the concept of living space, limiting our understanding of it solely to German expansion, we have ignored the fact that the concept actually has much greater relevance.

Living space is not only relevant to an expanding or growing nation or people. It is equally relevant to a nation or people in decline, because that decline is directly correlated with the shriveling or circumvention of life activity within otherwise normal living space. Ethnically or racially aware people of European descent need to incorporate a renewed conception of their total environment. Racial, ethnic, and national decline is intimately connected with the living space of peoples.

[1] Friedrich Ratzel, "Der Lebensraum: Eine biogeographische Studie," in K. Büchner, K.V. Fricker, et al., Festgaben für Albert Schäffle zur siebensigen Wiederkehr seines Geburtstages am 24, Februar 1901, Tübingen, 1901, pp. 101-89.
[2] Friedrich Ratzel, Die Erde und Das Leben: Eine vergleichend Erdkunde, 1901, Leipzig and Vienna, Vol 1 (in two volumes), pp. 101-189.
[3] Friedrich Ratzel, "Geschichte, Volkerkunde und historische Perspektive," Historische Zeitschrift, 1904, 93, pp. 1-46.
[4] Woodruff Smith, "The Colonial Novel as Political Propaganda," German Studies Review, 1983, 6 (2), pp. 215-235.
[5] Woodruff D. Smith, "Friedrich Ratzel and the Origins of Lebensraum," German Studies Review, 1980, 3 (1), pp. 51-68.