My highest compliments to Mr. Dalton. A superb analysis here!
Mr. Dalton’s new dual language translation of Mein Kampf is available on Amazon: https://amazon.com/dp/0692684158
“Mein Kampf contains numerous references to ‘blood’ (Blut) and ‘race’ (Rasse). This is always portrayed in the worst possible terms, as some kind of demonic, hate-filled, blind racism. But we must first realize that such talk was commonplace in the early 20th Century; Hitler’s terminology, though shocking today, was actually quite conventional at the time. Not being a scientist, and few having much understanding of genetics at the time, it is understandable that he would use such terms.
Therefore, a literal interpretation of such words is misleading. In modern terminology, Hitler’s ‘race’ is better viewed as ‘ethnicity.’ He was more an ethnicist than a racist. His call for justice for the “German race” is really on behalf of ethnic Germans—the Volk. Thus understood, his view is much less threatening than commonly portrayed. Yes, he viewed ethnic Germans as superior. Yes, he wanted the best for his people. Yes, he was not much interested in the welfare of minorities or other nationalities. This is hardly a sin. Many people around the world today fight for precisely such things, for their own ethnicities. And they are right to do so.
Even today, it is reasonable and appropriate to discuss issues of race. It is a relevant term in biological taxonomy, indicating the highest-level sub-grouping within the species Homo sapiens. By some accounts, there are three races: White/Caucasian, Black/Negroid, and Mongoloid/Asian. Within each race, we have the various ethnicities—of which there are some 5,000 worldwide.
By this measure, Hitler cared little about race. He made a few dismissive comments about Blacks, but nothing that wasn’t standard at the time. He actually admired certain people of the Asian race, especially the Japanese. But his primary concern was among the various White ethnicities. He sought a position of strength and influence for ethnic Germans; he sought alliances with ethnic Britons; and he sought to oppose ethnic Jews.
Then there is Hitler’s infamous talk of ‘Aryan.’ Apart from passing mention elsewhere in the book, it is discussed in detail only in Chapter 11 of Volume 1. While there is no talk of any ‘superman’—no reference to Nietzsche’s Übermensch, for example—it is clear that Hitler views the Aryan as the highest human type, the greatest ethnicity, mover and creator of civilization. Notably, he never defines Aryan. Rather, we learn only what the Aryan is not: he is not Black, not Oriental, and certainly not Jewish. The Jew is the anti-Aryan, his dark and corrupting opposite. The Aryan builds, the Jew destroys. The Aryan produces, the Jew consumes. The Aryan is idealistic, the Jew materialistic.
In the end, the Aryan is distinguished not by his superior intelligence, nor his great creativity, but mainly by his altruism: the Aryan is a self-sacrificing person, more willing than any others to work on behalf of society. Thus he builds civilization and culture, and spreads it to the world. Non-Aryans, to the extent that they have a culture, get it from the Aryans, even as they customize it to their own needs. But the original source and sustainer is the self-sacrificing Aryan.
The word ‘Aryan’ has an interesting origin, and it has nothing to do with the Germans. It comes from the Sanskrit arya, meaning ‘noble.’ It originally referred to the people and language that moved into India from the north around 1500 BC. In the Indian caste system, the Aryans became the Brahmans—the highest and noblest caste. It was they who cultivated the Sanskrit language, and ultimately developed Indian culture. And a final point of interest: Those immigrants from the north came from the region that is known today as the Iranian plateau. In fact, the word ‘Iran’ derives directly from ‘Aryan’; the Iranians were the original Aryans.
Not being a scholar of ancient history, and having no Internet at hand, Hitler knew little of all this. He simply picked up on prior German and European usage. In fact, talk of Aryans as a superior race predated Hitler by several decades. It was a main theme of Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau’s book Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, of 1855. And it was prominent in Briton-turned-German author Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s book Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, published in 1899. By the time Hitler picked up on the term, it was old hat.”
This is almost identical (oxymoron, I know) to what I have written re: Hitler’s race views in my many books addressing this topic, either directly or in passing.
Thank you, Mr. Dalton! (Hats off.)
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