14. Progress to Humanness

14.8 Social Darwinism and Civilization

Social Darwinism advanced that societies should be organized as a struggle for survival of the fittest.

The problem that arose was how retaining order together with respect of individuality and reconcile these two concepts with the idea of culture intimately intertwined with the idea of progress. Haeckel’s idea of biological recapitulation during embryogenesis was retained by the development of the concept of individualization. It is inherent in the concept of recapitulation because the whole point of culture is not to repeat what others have achieved but is to distinguish one’s self from them by the formation of a unique national identity. Civilization is then conceived as progress away from the common, as a child who begins as a little impolite savage and becomes polite, courteous and more civilized as he grows up. Race is a carrier of progress. The French count de Gobineau warned that crossbreeding leads humanity to an unavoidable decline 5. The mixing of the races to the color of mud is a return to primeval savagery. This image is from Lévi-Strauss, expressed in 1955 in his work “Tristes Tropiques“, after a visit to Brazil. Maintaining the purity of the race is a positive cultural progress.

Hitler blended the idea of racism with that of nation 6. According to him, each race should constitute a nation. Witnessing the expansion of the British in North America, Africa and Australia, of Russia in Siberia, of France in Africa and Asia, of Spain and Portugal in South America, Asia and Africa, he concluded that land belongs to those who take it, plough it and defend it. He blamed the disastrous outcome of WWI for his country on an unnatural alliance of the technologically evolved Germanic empire with technologically inept moribund multinational Austrian and Turkish empires, fighting an ill-fated war against technologically advanced States. However, this was not true: Ludendorff recognized in 1916 the superiority of the Russian guns over the German guns. The superiority of the Russian tanks over the German tanks was asserted 27 years later at the battle of Koursk, in 1943. During WWII, the Russians produced 211000 guns and the Germans 128000. German technological superiority is a myth.

Hitler rejected the idea of colonies that, in his eyes, lead to racial bastardization and despised the United States of America, which he deemed weakened beyond redemption by impure blood. He advocated for the German nation a Lebensraum in Europe that would allow reliance on inner resources for the feeding of its people, frontiers that would grant protection from external enemies, and resources sufficient to enable the German nation to contribute to the advance of civilization and progress. The German realm carved in Europe must be occupied by a single race, to the exclusion of those who have international connections of any type that lead to treason (e.g. the Jews, the Gypsies, the Christians among whom Roman Catholics were most vocal without being the sole ones, the disciples of Jehovah). These are foreign bodies that must be removed. The Gypsies, also called Tziganes, Manouches, Roms originate from the Sind province of India. They left it in the 10th century, at the invitation of the rulers of Iran, who wanted singers and dancers. The Tziganes, viscerally allergic to sedentarization, moved west. They occupied Central Europe in the 14th century, from where they invaded Italy and Spain. They remained two centuries in Andalusia, and moved to Northern Europe, Russia and Siberia in the 17th century.

As early as 1933, a ferocious repression suppressed all opposition to the regime: 100,000 people were arrested that year, of whom 600 died under torture, and 387 catholic priests were deported to Dachau, the first concentration camp erected for the opponents of the regime. Whereas 88 people were sentenced to death in Italy, 10,000 death sentences were pronounced in Germany. Those opponents who took refuge in France were arrested and returned to Hitler in 1940.


5. Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines, 1853

6. A. Hitler: Mein Kampf, chap. XIV

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