National Socialism: Ideology
Nazi ideology drew on the racist doctrines of the comte de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, on the nationalism of Heinrich von Treitschke , and on the hero-cult of Friedrich Nietzsche , often transforming the ideas of these thinkers. Nazi dogma, partly articulated by Hitler in Mein Kampf, was elaborated by the fanatical Alfred Rosenberg . Vague and mystical, it was not a system of well-defined principles but rather a glorification of prejudice and myth with elements of nihilism. Its mainstays were the doctrines of racial inequality and of adherence to the leader, or Führer; its constant theme was nationalist expansion.
According to Nazi dogma, races could be scientifically classified as superior and inferior. The highest racial type was the Nordic, or Germanic, type of the
Aryan race, while blacks and Jews were at the bottom of the racial ladder. Intermarriage contributed to the deterioration of the superior race, and the Jews, knowing this, had furthered prostitution and seduction to defile the Germans. Consequently only small islands of the pure remained, but it was their destiny to govern their inferiors and, through scientific breeding, to extend the
master race and limit inferior races.
The Nazis accused Jews of obstructing the conquering path of the
master race. Marxism, international finance, and Freemasonry were all said to be Jewish devices created to dominate the world. Even Christianity was denounced by Rosenberg as a Jewish creation, but Hitler hedged on this point. International Jewry was blamed for the humiliation of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles (1919), and German Jewry was accused of betraying Germany in World War I.
Nazi expansionism was linked to race in the geopolitical theories of Karl Haushofer ; from the degenerate Slavs in particular the Germans would wrest Lebensraum [living space]. The ruling
master race itself was to be organized into an authoritarian pyramid, at the apex of which stood the infallible Führer. Strength and discipline were deified by the Nazis, and democracy was spurned as a depraved form of government that protected the weak and mediocre.
- The Rise of the Party
- Nazi Rule
- Nazism in Other Countries
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History
Browse By Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-