Monthly Archives: April 2009
Excerpt from Chapter 8
So much of National Socialism can be found in the Folkish movement that it is not surprising two major studies have located the origins of Hitler’s ideology there. Viereck’s Meta-politics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind focuses on the ideas of Wagner. Mosse’s The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich focuses on broader intellectual trends and currents of which Wagner was only a representative. Viereck spends more time elaborating on the Folkish roots in romanticism, especially in philosophy, while Mosse concentrates more on the spread of Folkish ideas through German society in the 19th and early 20th centuries-but in spite of their differences, both studies have a lot in common. Taken together, they provide a significant part of the explanation for Hitler.
Neither Mosse nor Viereck pay much attention to Darwin, and neither of their books lists Darwin in the index. Viereck makes only one passing reference to “social Darwinism,” the belief that the Darwinian law of survival-of-the-fittest applied to people as well as to animals. Mosse devotes a few pages to social Darwinism and recognizes its importance, but asserts the fundamental incompatibility between National Socialism and Darwinism proper. He claims that the Darwinian concept of the origins of man was not acceptable to Nazi race theorists.[i] Not only (in Mosse’s view) was such a humiliating ancestry unsuitable to a race of superior beings destined to rule; it also required a common origin of all races-another blow to the Aryan ego.
It might seem, then, that Darwinism as Darwin taught it is of little relevance to our study-and those who believe that Darwinism is true and beneficial will find no difficulty in detaching it from National Socialism, which was false and harmful. Apart from this basic presupposition, they have a number of other reasonable points to make against the idea of a Hitler-Darwin connection. (more…)