Heinrich von Treitschke (1834-1896)
Treitschke, a full professor at the University of Berlin, was widely quoted for his 1879 statement, "the Jews are our misfortune". The following excerpt
from his published lectures indicate how extreme nationalism and Darwinism had penetrated even the highest and most respected academic circles in
Europe in the 19th century, notably in Germany. His was not the only academic voice (the great historian Theodor Mommsen, for example, was a
colleague at Berlin) by any means, but his courses were extremely popular and influenced a whole generation of academics, particularly those who taught
in German gymnasiums., roughly the equivalent of our high schools. In the excerpt below one can see ideas that would grow into Fascism and racism:
how he glorifies the State, justifies the few superior people living off the work of their many inferiors, admires aggression and war, and so on.
Excerpt from: Politics (lectures from his course, 1874-1897)
Just as the State presupposes an irremovable distinction between those in
whom authority is vested and those who must submit to it, so also does the
society imply differences of social standing and economic condition amongst its members. In short, all social life is built upon class organization . . . It is a fundamental
rule of human nature that the largest portion of the energy of the human race must be consumed in supplying the primary necessities of existence. To put it simply: the
masses must for ever remain the masses. There would be no culture without kitchen-maids. Obviously education would never thrive if there was nobody to do the
rough work. Millions must plough and forge and dig in order that a few thousand may write and paint and study.
The next essential function of the State is the conduct of war. . . without war no State could be. All those we know of
arose through war, and the protection of their
members by armed force remains their primary and essential task. War, therefore, will endure to the end of history, as long as there is multiplicity of States. The laws
of human thought and of human nature forbid any alternative, neither is one to be wished for. . . The grandeur of war lies in the utter annihilation of puny man in the
great conception of the State, and it brings out the full magnificence of the sacrifice of fellow-countrymen for one another. In war the chaff is winnowed from the
wheat. . . It is war which fosters political idealism. Does not the Bible distinctly say that the ruler shall rule by the sword, and again that greater love no man has than
to lay down his life for his friend? To Aryan races, who are before all things courageous, the foolish preaching of everlasting peace has always been in vain. They
have always been men enough to maintain with the sword what they have attained with the spirit . . .
There must be no question of subjects having the "right" to oppose
a sovereignty which in their opinion is not moral. We must always maintain the
principle that the
State in itself is an ethical force and a high moral good . . .
All great nations in the fulness of their strength
have desired to set their mark upon barbarian lands. All over the globe today
we see the peoples of Europe creating a
mighty aristocracy of the white races. Those who take no share in this great rivalry will play a pitiable part in time to come . . .
Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927)
This Englishman with a Ph.D. from Vienna (in plant structure and roots) but no academic position became the most famous "historian" of race and a
champion of German nationalism (he married a daughter of Richard Wagner). Chamberlain's "Foundations" runs 1142 pages and its arguments are so incredibly
convoluted that they cannot be summarized. The following sentences and paragraphs can however give some sense of the tone of this "work", which was
popular enough to go through 28 editions.
Excerpt from: Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899):
All those who from the sixth century onwards appear as genuine shapers of
the destinies of mankind, whether as builders of states or as discoverers of
and of original art, belong to the Teutonic race. The impulse given by the Arabs is short-lived; the Mongolians destroy, but do not create anything; the great Italians
of the Renaissance were all born either in the north, saturated with Lombardic, Gothic, and Frankish blood, or in the extreme Germano-Hellenic south; in Spain it
was the Western Goths who formed the element of life. . . our whole civilization and culture of today is the work of one definite race of men, the Teutonic. . . The
present civilization and culture of Europe are specifically Teutonic, fundamentally distinct from all the un-Aryan ones and very essentially different from the Indian, the
Hellenic and the Roman, directly antagonistic to the mestizo [mulatto, mixed race] ideal of the anti-national Imperium and the so-called "Roman" system of
Christianity. . .
The answer to the question, Was Christ a Jew? is by no means a simple one. In religion and education He
was so undoubtedly; in race--in the narrower and real
sense of the word "Jew"--most probably not . . . the northern kingdom of Israel was laid waste by the Assyrians, and its population deported into different and
distant parts of the Empire . . . Galilee (was then) systematically colonised by the Assyrians . . . Then in the centuries before the birth of Christ many Phoenicians and
Greeks had also migrated thither. This last fact would lead one to assume that purely Aryan blood also was transplanted thither . . . Jewish elements in the midst of
the strange population were completely removed from Galilee not very long before the birth of Christ! . . .There is not the slightest foundation for the supposition that
Christ's parents were of Jewish descent.
The man who belongs to a distinct, pure race, never
loses the sense of it. The guardian angel of his lineage is ever at his side,
supporting him where he loses his
foothold, compelling obedience, and forcing him to undertakings which, deeming them impossible, he would never have dared to attempt. . . Race lifts a man above
himself: it endows him with extraordinary -- I might also say supernatural -- powers, so entirely does it distinguish him from the individual who springs from the
chaotic jumble of peoples drawn from all parts of the world . . .
We may regard the intellectual and moral history of Europe from the moment
of the entry of the Teuton to the present day as a
struggle between Teuton and non-
Teuton, between Germanic sentiment and Anti-Germanic disposition, as a struggle which is waged partly externally, philosophy against philosophy, and partly
internally, in the breast of the Teuton himself. . .
The Teuton is the soul of our culture . . . If we
look around, we see that the importance of each nation
as a living power today is dependent upon the proportion of
genuinely Teutonic blood in its population. Only Teutons sit on the thrones of Europe. What is not Teutonic consists either of alien elements not yet exercised, which
were formerly forcibly introduced and still, like baneful germs, circulate in the blood, or of alien wares sailing, to the disadvantage of our work and further
development, under the Teutonic flag, until we send these pirate ships to the bottom. This work of Teutonism is beyond question the greatest that has hitherto been
accomplished by man. It was achieved, not by the delusion of "humanitarian" impulses, but by sound, selfish power; not by contentedness with little, but by insatiable
ravenous hunger. . . from the earliest times down to the present day we see the Teutons, to make room for themselves, slaughtering whole tribes and races, or slowly
killing them by systematic demoralization. Everyone must admit that in the very places where they were most cruel -- as for instance, the Anglo-Saxons in England,
the German Order in Prussia -- they laid by this very means the surest foundation of what is highest and most moral.