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Alfred Rosenberg

The Myth of the Twentieth Century (German: Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts) is a book by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the principal ideologues of the Nazi party and editor of the Nazi paper Völkischer Beobachter. It was the most influential Nazi text after Hitler's Mein Kampf. The titular "myth" is

the myth of blood, which under the sign of the swastika unchains the racial world-revolution. It is the awakening of the race soul, which after long sleep victoriously ends the race chaos (quoted in Viereck, 2003, p. 229).

Contents

Rosenberg's influences

Rosenberg was inspired by Meister Eckhart, the racist theories of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Richard Wagner's romanticism and also by Aryanism. He believed that God created man as separate races, not as individuals or mankind as a whole, and that only the Aryan race has a soul. The Myth of the Twentieth Century was conceived as a sequel to Chamberlain's The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (Yahil, 1991, p. 41).

Outline of contents of the book

Rosenberg's racial interpretation of history concentrates on the supposedly negative influence of the Jewish race in contrast to the Aryan race. He equates the latter with the Nordic peoples of northern Europe and also includes the Berbers from North Africa[1]. According to Rosenberg, modern culture has been corrupted by Semitic influences, which have produced degenerate modern art, along with moral and social degeneration. In contrast, Aryan culture is defined by innate moral sensibility and an energetic will to power. Rosenberg believed that the higher races must rule over the lower and not interbreed with them, because cross-breeding destroys the divine combination of physical heredity and spirit. He uses an organic metaphor of the race and the State and argues that the Nazis must purify the race soul by eliminating non-Aryan elements in much the same ruthless and uncompromising way in which a surgeon would cut a cancer from a diseased body.

In Rosenberg's pseudohistory migrating Aryans founded various ancient civilizations which declined and fell due to inter-marriage with lesser races. This included the Indo-Aryan civilization, ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. He saw the ancient Germanic invasions of the Roman empire as "saving" its civilization which had been corrupted both by intermixing and "Judaized-cosmopolitan" Christianity. Furthermore, he noted that the persecutions of Protestants in France and other areas as the wiping out of the last remnants of the Aryan element in those areas, a process completed by the French revolution. In contemporary Europe, he saw the northern areas that embraced Protestantism as the closest to the Aryan racial and spiritual ideal.

Following H.S. Chamberlain and other volkish theorists, he believed that Christ was an Aryan (specifically an Amorite) and that original Christianity was an "Aryan" religion, but had been corrupted by the followers of Paul of Tarsus. The "Mythus" is very anti-Catholic, seeing the Churches' cosmopolitanism and "Judaized" version of Christianity as one of the factors in Germany's spiritual bondage. Rosenberg mentions the anti-Judaic teachings of the heresies Marcionism and "Aryo-Persian" Manicheanism as more representative of the true, "anti-Judaic" Jesus Christ and more suited to the Nordic world-view. Rosenberg saw Martin Luther and the Reformation as an important step forward toward reasserting the "Aryan spirit", but having not gone far enough in its founding of just another dogmatic church.

When he discussed the future of religion in the future Reich, he suggested that a multiplicity of forms be tolerated, including "positive Christianity", neo-paganism, even a form of "purified" Aryan Hinduism. He saw all these religious systems as allegorical, and was skeptical that the Nordic gods could gain a foothold in modern times.

Another myth, to which he gave "allegorical" credence, was the idea of Atlantis, which he felt might preserve a memory of an ancient Aryan homeland. What he actually says in the first chapter is this:

And so today the long derived hypotheses becomes a probability, namely that from a northern centre of creation which, without postulating an actual submerged Atlantic continent, we may call Atlantis, swarms of warriors once fanned out in obedience to the ever renewed and incarnate Nordic longing for distance to conquer and space to shape.

This tendentious account of world history is used to support his dualistic model of human experience, as are ideas co-opted from Nietzsche and Social Darwinist writers of the era.

Influence of the book

Thanks to Nazi support the book sold more than one million copies by 1944. However, Adolf Hitler is said never to have read the book (Lukacs, 1998, p. xix). Joseph Goebbels, who in his novel Michael: A German Fate In Diary Notes expressed strong Christian beliefs, even called it a "philosophical burp" and Hermann Göring said, "If Rosenberg was to decide, we would only have rite, thing, myth and such kind of swindle."

Notes

  1. ^ "The Berbers, among whom even today one finds light skins and blue eyes, do not go back to the Vandal invasions of the fifth century A.D., but to the prehistoric Atlantic Nordic human wave. The Kabyle huntsmen, for example, are to no small degree still wholly Nordic, thus the blond Berbers in the region of Constantine form 10 % of the population; at Djebel Sheshor they are even more numerous.", Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), Hrp, 2004, p.6

See also

References

  • Ball, Terence and Bellamy, Richard (2003). The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56354-2
  • Lukacs, John (1998). "Introduction to Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler". Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0-395-92503-7
  • McIver, Tom (1992). Anti-Evolution: A Reader's Guide to Writings Before and After Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4520-3
  • Snyder, Louis L. (1998). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich Crown Quarto. Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 1-85326-684-1
  • Viereck, Peter Robert Edwin (2003). Metapolitics: From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-7658-0510-3
  • Yahil, Leni (1991). The Holocaust: The Fate of the European Jewry, 1932-1945. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504523-8

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