Racism in Nazi Germany
Throughout Nazi Germany in the period 1928 through to 1941, racism was utilized by Hitler, and in turn his Nazi party, most predominantly to secure Hitlers position as dictator, and secondly to unite the German people against a common enemy, which would lead to a united powerful state, ready and able to exert its national will. Whether or not his aims were totalitarian in nature is debatable, however, his aims for racial purification and domination over Eastern Europe are made obvious before Hitlers assumption of power, primarily in the racist crude writings of Mein Kampf, and even from Moellers Des drittes Reich from the 1920s.
It can be said, therefore, though Hitler may not have been successful in achieving a totalitarian state, he may certainly have desired it. Constantly, it is made obvious, through his use of racism in both Domestic and foreign policy that Hitlers ultimate aim, was total power, both for himself and his master race – the Volksgeminschaft. Hitler’s use of racism is continually evident from the beginning of his comings to power, through till his attack on the Soviet Union in June of 1941.
Racism, was initially used by Hitler to identify his sympathizers, and most predominant to unite the German people again public internal enemy number one – The Jews. Anti-semitism, anti-communism and attacks on several other minority groups ranging from slavs to democrats, provided Hitler with the Stab-in-the -back theory post World War One, and provides and excuse for defeat with the treaty of Versailles.
Being that Nazi philosophy is essentially social dawanism targeted again the Jews and Bolsheviks, providing valid excuses and moral reasons for any attack on, or failure of the German race, the fittest of them all, against minority groups was a legitimate claim and justification for exclusion of these peoples. Hitler used racism to appeal to the pre existing bitter and aggressive side of German nature, thus securing his position as dictator and reuniting his people.
Securing his position as the all powerful dictator, or Fhrer, is central to all of Hitler’s policy decisions, be they foreign or domestic, and this was achieved through his, and the Nazis use of racism. Initially, Hitler used persecution and hatred of minorities such as Jews and communists to identify his sympathizers and supporters throughout the Government and general population, mainly young people and big business, and utilized this power, and appeal to secure his position as chancellor and later president of a united Germany.
Racism also provided a strong focal point for the unruly and aggressive element in the thugs of German streets, which Hitler was to use as his initial cadres. These violent youth later formed Hitlers S. A. headed by Rhm, a clear example of Hitler securing power through racism. Central to Hitler’s aims, obsessions and indeed goals, was an united and ultimately strong volksgemeinschaft, or peoples community.
Second to achieving personal power, creating and proving the strength of his nation, was a continual aim throughout Hitler’s reign. The fundamental philosophy of the Nazis being racial purity, Hitler sought to rebuild the pure master race of Aryans, who throughout History had been threatened, in Hitler’s eyes, by Jews, liberalism, Marxism, humanism and Bolshevism.
According to Hitler’s strong belief in social darwanism, and essential German Romantic philosophy, with particular reference to Friedrich Nieche, he sought to conquer Lebensraum to the east, for mostly the Ukraine, which would make Germany economically and militarily unassailable, as well as claim back the racially superior ethnic Germans, who had been assaulted and excluded from Germany the Nation, by the treaty of Versailles. Hitler utilized racism, to prove to Germans that they could once again assert their god given will, and thus secured his position as all powerful Fhrer and ultimate dominator of German society.
Again, persecution of minority groups were used as a moral basis and justification for Hitler’s ursurption of power and annexation of other territories, namely Austria, as well as the plan for conquering Lebensraum to the East. Victimization of the Jews and communists later provided a common bond for Germans local, ethnic and otherwise and strengthened Hitler’s notion of Volksgeminschaft, in which, all those racially impure were most conspicuously excluded from.
Firstly through the boycotting of Jewish business, then later through the Nuremburg Laws, and pogroms such as Kristallnacht. Hitler however, did not spring Anti-semitism on the German people. He made his views on the issues of domination and inferiority of the anti-races clear from the very beginning. His racist and in part incoherent rambling in Mein Kampf underline his ideas of Jews and bolsheviks as parasites, and maggots eating away at the German people.
He promotes the anti race as having their ultimate goal is the denuralization, the promiscuous bastardization of other people, the lowering of the racial level of the highest peoples. . which provides Hitler’s with a moral excuse for exclusion and later systematic annihilation of the public enemy number one. If his early speeches can be referred to as policies, continual references to the ridiculous notion of a jewish-bolshevik conspiracy are made, and provide the basis for the later exclusion of these people, from Government, culture, civil services, and later even citizenship.
Being that communism is essential anti-religion, the idea of a communist Jewish conspiracy is contradictory in the first instance. In Adolf Hitlers speech of April 12, 1921, he makes reference to the bloating and greed of the Jew, and communist as they feed from the suffering German, Implying that he will rid the united people of this parasite, and recognizing himself as Fhrer, and justifying ridding Germany of these people, in return for strength both to himself as leader, and to the German people.
Although, Hitler did make his position on racial purity clear from his beginning writings, it had been hoped, by notably Hindenburg and Papen, that once in a position of power, that Hitler would let go, somewhat of globally unacceptable racial slandering. This, however was not the case. In a speech to other nations, Hitler asserted his position as ruler, and commented on the global reaction to the Jews. He also reasserted his opinion of them as an inferior race, and that this should be recognized by all super countries such as Britain and America.
Racism was used in conjunction with socialism to assert his position The Jewish watchword of workers of the world unite will be conquered by a higher realization, namely workers of all classes and of all nations recognize your common enemy! Coinciding with Hitler’s belief in the darwanistic theory of survival of the fittest, Governing and power in Nazi Germany, was very much based on competition, between overlapping institutions both prerogative and traditional.
It is mentioned by Kershaw, that Hitler :authorized more than initiated and this can be seen to be true in several issues. Hitler was renowned for announcing and idea over lunch, and having one hopeful inferior have it implemented in policy form by that afternoon. If competition governed relations between Hitler’s subordinates, which it can be seen to do, then it was competition based on a clear understanding of the broad policy agenda, and in no area was this more decidedly true than in Jewish Policy.
It is in this was that measures taken with relation to the Soviet Union and the transition to systematic extermination of the Jews and Bolsheviks came into play, through Hitler’s use of Racism and securing power for himself and his ultimate nation. Through study of Hitler’s increasing power though the utilization of Racism, one reaches the question of weather or not this was with the intent of transforming Germany into a totalitarian state, or merely confirming Hitler’s position and securing power.
Though a complete totalitarian state was never achieved in Hitlers Germany, there is evidence to suggest that through racism and other means, Hitler certainly made an attempt. Douglas Newton comments t hat during Gleischaltung, following Hitlers assumption of power that all signs of opposition were crushed, which we know to be true examples such as policies like the Enabling Act (1933) and the Law Against the New Establishment of Parties (1933), that he imposed structures to create a total society, that is, a society intensely loyal and synonymous with Nazism, and furthermore actively assisting the regime to realize its goals.
In this way, again, Hitler used Racism to identify who the total society consisted of, what their actual goals were, and who they could focus hatred, negativity and bitterness on, the common enemy of German socialists everywhere. It is also suggested by Newton, that Hitlers own assertion of the Fhrer principal and Gbbels promotion of the Fhrer myth furthered Hitler’s power, and status as master of the third Reich.
It is further made apparent, that Hitler’s own goals and aims including anti Semitism, hatred of Marxism, and ultimate desire to expand at the expense of the East, centrally the Soviet Union were absolutely decisive, showing that Nazism was indeed totalitarianism and was synonymous with hitlerism. Which from examination of Mein Kampf and is speeches in relation to policy and the Reich, make abundantly clear.
Over and over again, it can be seen that Hitler attempts to infiltrate all sectors of German society with his insiduous racism, and anti Semitism. Nowhere is this more clear then in the example with the Reich Chamber of Culture Law, which hinged the professional activity in literature, the arts, press, theater and music on membership in a corresponding chamber. Such membership was denied to Jews.
The institutionalization of all aspects of life, ranging from culture to youth, to even motherhood, and the exclusion of Jews in all of these areas, furthers the understanding or utilizing racism to achieve totalitarianism. Throughout numerous examples, during the Nazi period 1928 through 1941 it is made constantly apparent, that Hitler, and the Nazi party, utilized the powerful force of racism and anti Semitism in a down trodden and naturally aggressive society, to further his power, unify the nation and perhaps achieve totalitarianism, in several different ways.
From the mere exclusion of Jews and other minorities form the Volksgemienshaft, to the systematic annihilation and genocide, the German people were united against public enemy number one, by a luck man hoping to further his positions as leader and Fhrer of what he believed to e the most willful nation of them all.