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Social Darwinism - Secondary Sources

Alan Bullock - Hitler

“… only it is the struggle of the lower stratum of inferior race against The dominant higher race, and if this higher race has forgotten the law of its existence, then it loses the day” (158).

“Belief in equality between races was an even greater offence in Hitler’s eyes than belief in equality between individuals” (41).

Hitler got his anti-socialism from Georg von Schönerer:

“From Schönerer Hitler took his extreme German Nationalism, his anti-Socialism his anti-Semitism, his hatred of the Hapsburgs and his programme of reunion with Germany” (44).

Hitler on Race:

“The conception of the nation [Rauschning records Hitler saying] has become meaningless. We have to get rid of this false conception and set in its place the conception of race. The New Order cannot be conceived in terms of the national boundaries of the peoples with an historic past, but in terms of race that transcend these boundaries. ... I know perfectly well that in the scientific sense there is no such thing as race. But you, as a farmer, cannot get your breeding right without the conception of race. And I, as a politician, need a conception which enables the order that has hitherto existed on an historic basis to be abolished, and an entirely new and anti-historic order enforced and given an intellectual basis. . . . And for this purpose the conception of race serves me well...” (400).  

New Order of Knights:

“What Hitler was seeking to express in his use of the word 'race' was his belief in inequality – both between peoples and individuals – as another of the iron laws of Nature. He had a passionate dislike of the egalitarian doctrines of democracy in every field, economic, political and international.

There are [he said in this speech to the Diisseldorf Industry Club] two closely related factors which we can time and time again trace in periods of national decline: one is that for the conception of the value of personality there is substituted a levelling idea of the supremacy of mere numbers – democracy – and the other is the negation of the value of a people, the denial of any difference in the inborn capacity, the achievement of individual peoples. . . . Internationalism and democracy are inseparable conceptions.


Hitler rejected both in favour of the superior rights of the Herrenvolk …” (401).

The Volk over the Individual:

“National Socialism [Hitler declared] takes as the starting point of its views and its decisions neither the individual nor humanity. It puts consciously into the central point of its whole thinking the Volk. This Volk is for it a blood-conditioned entity in which it sees the God-willed building-stone of human society. The individual is transitory, the Volk is permanent. If the Liberal Weltanschauung in its deification of the single individual must lead to the destruction of the Volk, National Socialism, on the other hand, desires to safeguard the Volk, if necessary even at the expense of the individual. It is essential that the individual should slowly come to realize that his own ego is unimportant when compared with the existence of the whole people . . . above all he must realize that the freedom of the mind and will of a nation are to be valued more highly than the individual's freedom of mind and will” (401).

The Volk as “common blood”:

“Hitler spoke of 'stamping the Nazi Weltanschauung on the German people'. For its highest duty was intolerance: 'it is only the harshest principles and an iron resolution which can unite the nation into a single body capable of resistance – and thereby able to be led successfully in politics. The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist programme,' Hitler declared in 1937, 'is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the Volk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood.'

“While Hitler's attitude towards liberalism was one of contempt, towards Marxism he showed an implacable hostility” (405).

Hitler’s Master Idea:

“From first to last his anti-Semitism is one of the most consistent themes in his career, the master idea which embraces the whole span of his thought. … Hitler's purpose was plain and unwavering. He meant to carry out the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe …” (407).

Ishay Landa -

"Social Darwinism is actually a form of hypercapitalism. It takes from capitalism the focus on competition as a struggle of all against all. And the Nazis argued: 'Well, that’s just the way nature is.' This was not a break with capitalism, but an intensification of economic views. Capitalism, in the Nazis’ view, is simply a part of nature. So, it is not just a matter of political domination, but of naturalizing economic contradictions. Hitler then said that it is above all 'the Jew' who is trying to play a little trick on nature in order to make the struggle for survival superfluous. The will to tamper with the economy made Jews insidious, from the Nazi point of view."

Jacobin, "The Nazis Weren’t Socialists — They Were Hypercapitalists," 2023.

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