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Name: Parth Patel Course: ENGL 1103 Instructor: CGR Date: 04/17/2013

Fundamental Principle of Nazi Ideology: Racism


Something happened there that until then nobody would have believed possible. A deep sphere of solidarity between all those who possessed a human face was affected. Despite all that world history has witnessed in the way of crude bestiality, up until that moment people had unquestioningly accepted that the integrity of that deep sphere had remained intact. And since that movement, a link has been broke, a link of naivete from which traditions confidently used to draw their authority and which in general fostered historical continuities. Auschwitz changed the conditions that allowed the historical tissues of life to perpetuate themselves spontaneously. -Jurgen Habermas

During World War II, the Nazi empire and its allies systematically murdered nearly six million Jews, with the goal of making its entire realm clean of Jews, to use the Nazis ugly terminology. A country half of the size of Texas was responsible for a revolution and genocide in all of the Europe. There was something about the rulers of Germany, the Nazis to be precise, during early 20th century that caused the stir not only in Europe, but all around the world. There had to be a reason behind this cowardice act against humanity. Was it political? Or was it economical or religious? It was the Nazi Ideology of one race being superior to another race and

the Holocaust was an implementation of that idea and an attempt to clean the country by exterminating population considered as lower race. In order to find evidence and support the fact that the idea behind the Holocaust was strongly based on racism, I interviewed Dr. John Cox, a professor of Holocaust and Human Right Studies here, at UNC Charlotte. Let us rewind time a bit, he said, When some parts of Africa were colonized by Germany. Within Germany and some other parts of Western Europe, racist ideologies were also widely applied against Africans, a group that would later suffered from Nazi imperialism. Though enthusiastic about African colonization, German colonists believed Germanys destiny lay primarily to the east, and considered the Africans to be massive, primitive and alien (Cox 2013). The Pan-German Leagueco-founded by Alfred Hugenberg, who later played a key role in elevating Hitler above the rest of the ultra-right masses in the last years of Weimarnoisily agitated for expansion, We shall be a conquering people that must seize its portion of the world itself! Germany awake! blared a newspaper ad taken out by the League in 1890 (Cox 2013). In addition to the aggressive campaigning of the colonialist fanatics, Germanys

colonial experience in Africa intensified these racist, militaristic and imperialistic politics, which would reach their fullest expression under Hitler. The Nazis ultimate ambition was unprecedented in its radicalism: to forge an ideal future world, without lesser races, without the sick, and without those who they decreed had no place in the national community, as Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann wrote in The Racial State. Dr. Cox has given very supporting and convincing arguments. Nazi roots of racism have been in existence since the African colonization. In fact, Nazism was born during African colonization but it had to take a bigger approach after World War I. The word root means primitive and the root of Nazism was racism indeed. The ultimate Nazi idea behind Holocaust was racism. Nazism was born into a European world of empire after European imperialism had shed most of its liberal tricks. During the course of the quest of cleaning the entire country, a genocidal final solution to the so-called Jewish question emerged, and other groups were also targeted for genocidal destruction as part of a unified and uneven process. Nazis operated by a philosophy that prioritized antiSemitism but that dehumanized other peoples as well. The Nazi Holocaust claimed millions of additional victims: Soviet soldiers and civilians, Poles, Roma and Sinti (gypsies), disabled people, blacks, homosexuals, and religious and political opponents (Cox 2013). Since Jewish population was most dominant at the time in Germany, Holocaust is mostly related to Jewish holocaust in the course of history. Hence, the Holocaust cannot be merely associated with Jews. Every other group, except Aryans and their supporters, was targeted under Nazi Rule.

During my research, I came across the book The Origins of Nazi Violence by Enzo Traverso, a French historian who focuses on the issues of Holocaust and totalitarianism. According to him, the other possibility that could be responsible for such a vicious Nazi Ideology is the relationship between Bolsheviks and Germans. Many of us are not familiar with the term Bolshevism. Bolshevism is the first example of a totalitarian political regime that, right from the start of the Russian civil war, practiced a policy of terror and class extermination which acted upon Nazi imaginationboth as a repellent and as a model. Nazi anti-Semitism was simply of a particular kind of anti-Bolshevism and the Jewish genocide an inverted image of the extermination of a world class by the Bolsheviks (Traverso 8). In support of the above thesis, Nolte points to an undeniable fact: the massive presence of Jews in the Russian and international Communist movement. Given that the Jews were held to be responsible for the massacres perpetrated by Bolshevism, the conclusion reached was that it was necessary, by way of reprisals and for preventative reasons, to exterminate them (Traverso 9). So the question follows: Is the real cause of the horrifying event in history was a mere feeling of revenge? The fact that National Socialism first took off as an anti-Communist movement does not mean that its anti-Semitism was born along with the counterrevolution. Nazisms roots were solidly embedded in the tradition of ethnic nationalism that for decades had been permeating

the various currents of conservative German culture (Traverso 9). For example, Hitler became anti-Semitic in Vienna at the beginning of the century, at a time when he could not yet have been influenced by anti-Communism of alarmed by the presence of Jews in the Russian Revolution and the political uprisings of central Europe (Traverso 10). The fact points towards the origin possibility of the vicious Nazi Ideology: Racism. Although the Nazi movement took shape under Hitlers regime, its ideology was nurtured by a complex of elements that already existed before World War I, and that were then radicalized in the context created by the German defeat and the rise of Communism. It was from the German and European culture of the nineteenth century that Nazism inherited its imperialism, its pan-Germanism, its nationalism, its racism, its eugenics, and its anti-Semitism (Traverso 11). While other European nations were busy colonizing Asian and African countries, Germanys intense need and want to prove them as a better country also triggered the feeling of racism in Nazis. The extermination of Jews during the holocaust was one of the Nazi ways to prove their point of being racially superior. But even the Africans, disabled, homosexuals and gypsies were exterminated. One of the common mistakes we all tend to make is that we consider Nazis as monsters and a group without conscience. Dismissing the Nazis as monsters without a conscience is too easy and simplistic. The Nazis were humans like everyone else and their acts, as immoral as they were, followed logically and easily from a set of assumptions and beliefs which constituted a conscience. Claudia Koonz, an American historian of Nazi Germany, analyses how the Nazis developed a philosophy and ethic of racial superiority. Describing a Nazi, Koonz states that the life of a German is like that of an organism, marked by stages of birth, growth, expansion, decline and death. A Nazi mantra exhorted ethnic Germans to put collective need ahead of

individual greed. The alternative was death of the community (Koonz 6). One of the elements of the Nazi conscience justified outright aggression against undesirable populations living in conquered lands whenever it served the victors long-term advantage. A comparison of anti-Semitic acts and attitudes toward Jews in the population press of Germany and four European nations (France, Great Britain, Italy and Romania) from 1899 through 1939 demonstrates that Germans, before 1933, were among the least anti-Semitic people (Koonz 9). But by the fall of 1941 the Nazis were dedicated to killing every Jew they could get their hands onand even those beyond their grasp. The genocides of Slavs, Roma and Sinti, and the mass murder of Africans and political and social enemies lacked the urgent priority and determination that, by late 1941, drove the Jewish Holocaust. But these crimes originated in closely related goals and congruent Nazi ideological roots in racism and imperialism. Slavs, Romani peoples, and Jews were murdered as part of a common process, one that is best understood within humanitys long history of genocide and the more immediate influences of European imperialism and racism. My search is exclusively limited to Nazis before the Holocaust. What have I found? The roots of Nazism lie in the idea of racial superiority. If I was to continue my research, I would focus more on the era before World War II. Roots of Nazism and Nazis during Holocaust are two different topics. In fact, a different paper can be written on Nazis during Holocaust. Hence, in

this paper, I tried to stay away from Nazi Germany during Hitlers reign whenever possible. For me, this is not the end. This is where the search begins.

Work Cited
Burleigh, Michael, and Wolfgang Wippermann. The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print. Cox, John. Personal Interview 2013. Germany Awake. Digital image. Deutschland Erwache. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.

<http://avaxhome.ws/ebooks/history_military/0912138696.html>. Koonz, Claudia. The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 2003. Print. "The German Possessions; Imperialism and Expansion, Bismarck at His Best." Map. African Numismatics. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013. <http://tielens.free.fr/Numis/AfriGerman.html>. Totalitarianism. Digital image. Blow by Blow: Totalitarianism. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013. <http://www.bilderberg.org/usglobal.htm> Traverso, Enzo. The Origins of Nazi Violence. New York: New Press, 2003. Print.