Joseph Arthur de Gobineau
Three unlikely people gave the National Socialists a platform for their race laws. One was a Frenchman without honor in his own country. Another was an Englishman who wanted to be German. The third was an American woman, the most well-known social engineer of her time. American technology allowed the Nazis to execute their plans for groups of people considered undesirable. Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882), in 1855 completed a four-volume work, Essai sur l’inegalite des races humaines (The Inequality Of The Human Races). He wrote,
“History shows that all civilization flows from the white race, that no civilization can exist without this race. ” “The Aryan German,” he continued, “is a powerful creature . . . everything he thinks, says, and does is thus of major importance. ” (Shirer 1960). In defeated post-World War I Germany, where the collective self-esteem was low, Gobineau’s theories were what the people wanted to hear. Gobineau societies appeared in every German city. He remained unknown in France. Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927) was an Englishman who wrote in German,
who married the daughter of German composer Richard Wagner and moved to Wagner’s home town of Bayreuth. In 1899, he published Die Grundlagen des XIX Jahrhunderts (The Foundations Of The Nineteenth Century). Two pure races existed, he wrote; the Jewish, and Aryan, peoples. A work that began objectively then turned anti-Semitic. The Jewish race had become corrupted, and thus became “a negative race” (Shirer 1960). Chamberlain “never defined (a Nordic master race) in any scientific sense, but rested largely on sentiment, conviction, and narcissim.
” Inferior races-Mediterranean and Slavic peoples-could still be Nordicized, Other undesirables (the mentally ill) could be sterilized, or (Jews) resettled in remote areas (Shirer 1960). Title / 2 Chamberlain’s book contained enough pseudo-scientific theory to give it credibility, and enough romanticism to hook the German middle classes. It was the 1920s equivalent of today’s pop psychology best-sellers. That an Englishman, not a German, wrote it gave it additional cachet among Germans. When it still violated U. S. postal regulations to do so, Margaret Sanger sent birth
control information through the mail, in the form of a booklet titled “What Every Girl Should Know. ” This 1916 booklet can be considered the first sex-ed manual. For her further efforts in defining and promoting woman’s rights, she became an icon of the women’s liberation movement. Margaret Sanger, like many progressives of her day, favored eugenics, the selective breeding of humans to retain positive traits and weed out the negatives. The blind, deaf, physically disabled, mentally ill, and other undesirables were to be separated from society and,
ideally, sterilized. Certain other inferiors were targeted for experimentation. Sanger’s “Negro Project,” launched in 1939, that offered contraception to poor black women, was in fact population control disguised as women’s lib (Green). In an article titled “Plan For Peace,” Sanger recommended: “ . . . a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring (Sanger 1932).
The Nazis didn’t need to create a race platform of their own. They read Margaret Sanger, and Chamberlain and Gobineau, synthesized them, edited them where necessary, threw in a little Darwin, and sold the package to an anxious German public. Germany had been a world power, but lost the war and suffered by the Versailles Treaty. The blame had to go somewhere. Nordic German people were still superior to all others, according to Hitler’s favorite writers. Nazi wrath Title / 3 first fell on the Jews, in the form of anti-Jewish laws that, over time, gradually restricted their
freedom. Others – gypsies, homosexuals, intellectuals; actually, anyone the Nazis didn’t like – were first demonized, and then resettled (for their own protection) in concentration camps. Nazi social engineering would not have been possible without American technology, in the form of IBM Hollerith punch card machines. They made possible the cataloging and sorting of hundreds of thousands of undesirables. A Hollerith machine remains on display at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. (Festa 2001). Title / 4 References Festa, P.
(2001). “Newsmakers: Edwin Black. Probing IBM”s Nazi Connection. ” CNET. Retrieved 13 April 2009 from <http://news. cnet. com/Probing-IBMs-Nazi-connection/ 2009-1082_3-269157. html> Green, T. (no date). “The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger’s Eugenics Plan For Black Americans. ” Black Genocide. Retrieved 13 April 2009 from <http:/www. blackgenocide. org/negro. html> Sanger, M. (1932). “A Plan For Peace. ” Birth Control Review, April 1932. Shirer, W. (1960). The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich. New York, Simon and Schuster.Sample Essay of Edusson.com