Ostara - The Regeneration of Art

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

this 'complex' article is under construction - please be patient

The essence of Ostara, both for the ancient Nordics, and for the readers of the journal, 'Ostara', was the concept of 'regeneration', and the creation of a better world.
The followers of the völkisch movement, including those who supported and created the Third Reich, almost certainly saw their beliefs as a movement toward the 'light', (the renewal of the sun's light being the essence of Spring), and a new and brighter world, which had finally been regenerated and made new.
An essential part of this 'new world' was to be expressed in Nordic-Aryan art.
The art of the late 19th and early 2oth centuries was seen by members of the völkisch movement as 'corrupt' and 'degenerate' - 'Entartete Kunst' - 'degenerate art'.
The period had seen an abandonment of the cannons of 'classical art' and inherited from the Ancient World and the Renaissance, in favor of 'distortion', 'unnatural' and 'violent' color, vulgar and degrading subject matter, and above all - meaningless 'abstraction'.
'Formalism' - the doctrine that states that the aesthetic qualities of works of visual art derive from the visual and spatial properties, was accepted and held to be essential, as long as those 'formal qualities' also expressed certain social, narrative, philosophical or spiritual elements.

Historical Perspective

In the latter part of the 19th, and the early part of the 20th Century Germany and Austria, just as much as France, had been hotbeds of artistic experimentation.
While French impressionism and Post Impressionism had little influence on Germanic art during this period. Germany and Austria had produced their own avant-garde 'art movements'.
It is ironic that, at the time that the young Hitler - an aspiring artist, and Lanz von Liebenfels - author of 'Theozoologie' and the journal 'Ostara', were active in Vienna, the 'Wiener Secession' came into being.

Social Change

The Gründerzeit (the times) in the later nineteenth century in Austria was a period of intensive industrialization, rapid social expansion and financial speculation.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Österreichisches Wappen
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Stadt Wappen von Wien
As the capital of the Austro-Hungary Empire, Vienna attracted citizens from far-flung, sometimes hostile provinces united in an uneasy alliance under the crown of the Habsburgs.
The population of the capital increased from under half a million in the 1850s to over two million by 1910 during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph, with less than half of its inhabitants born there. 
Demographic growth was matched by great technological and scientific advances with the erection of the first electric lights on the Kohlmarkt (1893), the advent of the tram (1894), the vaulting of the river Wien and the regulation of the Danube Canal (1898), and the construction of the city’s metropolitan railway network.

Kaiser Franz Joseph
Achievements made in fields of medicine and natural sciences began to produce a real effect upon wider circles of the population.
The well-known Austrian writer, Stefan Zweig, has described the Viennese’s belief in inexorable ‘progress’ as having the force of a religion.
Security, peace, and prosperity of the ruling classes and the power of the Habsburgs were reflected in the Imperial Jubilee celebrations of 1898.
This marked the fiftieth anniversary of Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne, an ageless figure himself who played a crucial role in creating an illusion of permanence.
Within twenty years, the Dual Monarchy of Austro-Hungary Empire was split into many parts and Vienna reduced to the role of capital of merely the Republic of Austria.

Wiener Secession

The Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 1897 by artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm Bernatzik and others. Although Otto Wagner is widely recognised as an important member of the Vienna Secession he was not a founding member.
The Secession artists objected to the prevailing conservatism of the Vienna Künstlerhaus with its traditional orientation toward 'Historicism' (and aspect of which Hitler, on the other hand, approved).

'Wandern im griechischen Theater' (fresko)
Gustav Klimt
Interestingly, many of the Secession artists, before joining the group, had been exceptionally fine 'classical' artists - and this was particularly true of Klimt, who is now only remembered for his Secession paintings which, while being startling, in color, design and technique, show little of the superlative 'painterly' skill ('malerische Geschick') that Klimt possessed.
The Berlin and Munich Secession movements preceded the Vienna Secession, which held its first exhibition in 1898.
The group earned considerable credit for its exhibition policy, which made the French Impressionists somewhat familiar to the Viennese public.
The 14th Secession exhibition, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was especially famous.
On 14 June 1905 Gustav Klimt and other artists seceded from the Vienna Secession due to differences of opinion over artistic concepts.

Secession Style & Philosophy

Unlike many other movements, there is not one style that unites the work of all artists who were part of the Vienna Secession.
The Secession building could, however, be considered the icon of the movement.

Secession Building
'Ver Sacrum'
Above its entrance was placed the phrase "Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit." ("To every age its art. To every art its freedom.").
Secession artists were concerned, above all else, with exploring the possibilities of art outside the confines of academic tradition.
They hoped to create a new style that owed nothing to historical influence.
In this way they were very much in keeping with the iconoclastic spirit of turn-of-the-century Vienna.
The Secessionist style was exhibited in a magazine that the group produced, called 'Ver Sacrum', which featured highly decorative works representative of the period.

Wiener Werkstätte

In 1903, Hoffmann and Moser founded the 'Wiener Werkstätte' as a fine-arts society, with the goal of reforming the applied arts (arts and crafts).
In many ways the 'Werkstätte' was a beak away movement from the Secession, in that it favoured a more 'modernistic' style.

German Fin-de-siècle

Kaiser Wilhelm II
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Wappen des Deutschen Reiches
Unlike Austria, Germany was not an ancient Empire, but rather a 'new nation', somewhat unsure of its new identity, and led by a young ruler (Kaiser Wilhelm II) who was far from stable or assured about his own identity.
Wilhelm II, like the young Hitler, had artistic pretensions - although in terms of collecting rather that practicing.
Wilhelm, however, partly because of his physical disability, felt called upon to present a 'macho' facade, and kept much of his 'artistic' interested well hidden, from all but his closest associates - and they were very few in number.
Both Hitler and Wilhelm II had a great respect for traditional art and architecture, and were obsessed with the classical past.
'Abundantia - Die Geschenke der Erde'
Adolf Hitler's favorite artist - prior to the 'Great War' - was Hans Makart - (28 May 1840 – 3 October 1884) an Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself, and a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with almost cult-like adulation. He went to Munich, and after two years of independent study attracted the attention of Karl Theodor von Piloty, under whose guidance, between 1861 and 1865 he developed his painting style. During these years, Makart also travelled to London, Paris and Rome to further his studies. His work engendered the term "Makartstil", which completely characterized the era. The "Makartstil", which determined the culture of an entire era in Vienna, was an aestheticism the likes of which hadn't been seen before him, and has not been replicated to this day. Called the 'Magier der Farben' - (magician of colors), he painted in brilliant colors and fluid forms, which placed the design and the aesthetic of the work before all else. Klimt's early style is based in 'historicism' and has clear similarities to Makart's paintings
Münchener Secession

By the end of the Nineteenth Century, more artists lived in Munich than lived in Vienna and Berlin put together, however, the art community there was dominated by the conservative attitudes of the 'Münchener Künstlerverein', and its supporters in the government.
The 'Münchener Secession' was an association of visual artists who broke away from the mainstream 'Münchener Künstlerverein' in 1892, to promote and defend their art in the face of what they considered official paternalism, and its conservative policies.
They acted as a form of cooperative, using their influence to assure their economic survival and obtain commissions.
In 1901, the association split again when some dissatisfied members formed the group 'Phalanx'.
Another split occurred in 1913, with the founding of the 'Neue Münchener Secession'.
The most influential and talented member of the Münchener Secession was Franz von Stuck, who was, somewhat surprisingly, much admired by Adolf Hitler.
Franz Ritter von Stuck
Franz Stuck (February 23, 1863 – August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect. In 1906, Stuck was awarded the 'Verdienstorden der bayerischen Krone', and was henceforth known as Franz Ritter von Stuck. In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Münchener Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, 'Athlet'.
 'Die Sünde'
The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting 'Die Sünde'. Stuck's subject matter was primarily from mythology, inspired by the work of Arnold Böcklin (another of Hitler's favorite artists). Large forms dominate most of his paintings, and indicate his proclivities for sculpture. His seductive female nudes are a prime example of popular 'Symbolist' content. Stuck paid much attention to the frames for his paintings and generally designed them himself with such careful use of panels, gilt carving and inscriptions that the frames must be considered as an integral part of the overall piece. Ritter von Stuck's 'Kämpfende Amazone', created in 1897, graced Hermann Göring's residence 'Carinhall'.
Berliner Secession

The 'Berliner Secession' was an art association founded by Berlin artists in 1898 as an alternative to the conservative state-run 'Verein der Berliner Künstler'.
That year the official salon jury rejected a landscape by Walter Leistikow, who was a key figure among a group of young artists interested in modern developments in art.
Sixty-five young artists formed the initial membership of the Secession.

The biggest conflict in the Berlin Secession was over the question of whether it should follow the new wave of 'Expressionismus'.
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of emotional experience, rather than physical reality - and were prepared to break all the conventions of classical art. Generally, expressionism was not popular with the vast majority, and was always (and still is) an acquired taste - often used by the intelligentsia (and pseudo-intelligentsia) to differentiate themselves from the 'common herd'. Expression was (and is) an easy target for those opposed to 'Entartete Kunst', despite the fact that some art works, approved by the Third Reich, exhibited some Expressionist tenancies, (this particularly applies to certain examples of sculpture).
Prominent artists of the  'Berliner Secession' were Lovis Corinth (1858–1925) Max Klinger (1857–1920) Max Liebermann (1847 – 1935) Georg Kolbe (1877 – 1947) Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938) Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944)
Max Liebermann (20 July 1847 – 8 February 1935) was a German-Jewish painter and print-maker, and one of the leading proponents of Post Impressionism in Germany.
'Im Schwimmbad'
Max Liebermann 
Georg Kolbe (15 April 1877 – 20 November 1947) was the leading German figure sculptor of his generation, who worked in a vigorous, simplified classical style.
Sculpture for the 'Barcelona Pavilion'
Georg Kolbe
Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) - was a Norwegian painter and print-maker, whose treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century 'Symbolism', and greatly influenced German 'Expressionism' in the early 20th century. One of his most well-known works is 'The Scream' of 1893. 
Fritz Klimsch (10 February 1870, Frankfurt am Main – 30 March 1960, Freiburg) was a German sculptor. Klimsch studied at the 'königlich Hochschule für die Akademischen Bildenden Künste' in Berlin, and was then a student of Fritz Schaper. In 1898 Klimsch was a founding member of the Berlin Secession. Despite his membership of the 'Berliner Secession', in the era of National Socialism Klimsch was highly regarded as an artist - doubtless because of his modernistic classical style.
'Der Gott Merkur'
Fritz Klimsch
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (6 May 1880 – 15 June 1938) was a German expressionist painter and print-maker, and one of the founders of the artists group 'Die Brücke', a key group leading to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th-century art. He is a good example of the 'unacceptable' face of 'so called' modern art for the opponents of 'Entartete Kunst'. 
'Potsdamer Platz'
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Lovis Corinth (1858 – 1925) was a German artist and writer whose mature work as a painter and print-maker realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism.
'Diogenes' - (detail)
Lovis Corinth
Max Klinger (18 February 1857 – 5 July 1920) was a German symbolist painter, sculptor, print-maker, and writer. He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s. He was one of the most influential members of the 'Berliner Secession'. Klinger greatly admired the work of the symbolist artist, Arnold Böcklin - who was another favorite artist of Adolf Hitler, and Hitler acquired Böcklin's  'Die Toteninsel' in 1933 where it hung first in the Berghof and later in the Neue Reichskanzlei.

'Die Sirene'
Max Klinger

'Die Toteninsel' - Version III - 1883
Arnold Böcklin

Ostara and Rassenhygiene

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2016

At the core of Lanz von Liebenfel's theory of Theozoology was the concept of 'dysgenics', - the infusion of degenerate elements into the race.
(The adjective "dysgenic" is the antonym of "eugenic").
Dysgenic effects can be demonstrated in the physical decline of a population (see: Racial Hysgiene in Germany), however, Liebenfel's main concern, while not neglecting the physical component of degeneration, was the spiritual damage caused by 'dysgenics'.
'Miscegenation' - (from the Latin 'miscere' 'to mix' and 'genus' "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, or procreation. The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations, and more generally to the process of genetic admixture.
The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference, and racial and spiritual 'degeneration'.

Entartung - Degeneration

Racial, spiritual and social degeneration - known in Germany as 'Entartung' - was a widely influential concept at the interface of the social and biological sciences in the 19th century.

'Degenerationists' feared that civilization might be in decline, and that the causes of decline lay in biological change.

These ideas derived from concepts of heredity with an emphasis on biological development through purpose and habit.
Degeneration concepts were often associated with authoritarian political attitudes, including militarism and racial science, as well as with fears of national decline.
The theory originated in racial concepts of ethnicity.
In addition the concept of degeneration was associated with the industrial revolution, and the associated profound social changes and a rapidly shifting sense of personal identity.
Other factors included the extreme demographic upheavals of the period, including urbanization, in the early years of the 19th century.
The disturbing experience of social change and urban crowds, largely unknown in the agrarian 18th century, was recorded in the novels of Charles Dickens, in the paintings of J M W Turner and by early writers on social psychology, including Gustav Le Bon and Georg Simmel.
The psychological impacts of industrialization are comprehensively explored in Humphrey Jennings' masterly anthology 'Pandemonium 1660 - 1886'.
Social reformers of the time voiced realistic concerns about the decline of public health in the urban life of the working class (urban squalor).
The reformers argued for improved housing and sanitation, access to parks and better recreational facilities, an improved diet and a reduction in alcohol intake.
The novel experience of everyday contact with the working classes gave rise to a kind of horrified fascination with their perceived reproductive energies, which appeared to threaten middle-class culture.
From the 1850s, it became influential in psychiatry, and by the 1890s, the concept of degeneration became a more general concept in social commentary.
Wappen des österreichischen ungarischen Reiches
The concept of 'Entartung' had been steadily growing in use in German speaking countries during the 19th Century, and reflects views on a degenerating society held by many people in Europe at the time, especially throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire - where Liebenfels wrote and published.
By the early 20th century, the idea that society was degenerating was commonplace.
This belief was given legitimacy by the branch of medicine called 'psycho-physiognomy'. 
Degeneration was accepted as a serious medical term, and not until Sigmund Freud, and the ushering in of a new age of psychoanalysis, was this idea seriously contested.
The meaning of degeneration was poorly defined, but can be described as an organism's change from a more complex to a simpler, less differentiated form, and in this respect it is associated with 19th century conceptions of biological 'devolution'.

Arthur de Gobineau

Arthur de Gobineau

An important figure in the discussion of 'degeneration' was Arthur de Gobineau, who came from an impoverished family (with a domineering mother), but who claimed an aristocratic ancestry.
Initially he was a failed author of historical romances and his wife was widely rumored to be a Créole from Martinique.
De Gobineau nevertheless argued, when he began writing about racial matters, that the course of history and civilization was largely determined by ethnic factors, and that interracial marriage ("miscegenation") resulted in social chaos.
De Gobineau built a successful career in the French diplomatic service, living for extended periods in Iran and Brazil, and spent his later years travelling through Europe, lamenting his mistreatment at the hands of his wife and daughters.
He died of a heart attack in 1882 while boarding a train in Turin.
His work was well received in German translation - not least, and very influentially, by the composer Richard Wagner, and the leading German psychiatrist, Emil Kraepelin, who later wrote extensively on the dangers posed by degeneration to the German people.
De Gobineau's writings exerted an enormous influence on the thinkers who strongly influenced the racial doctrines of the Third Reich.

"The word degenerate, when applied to a people, means that the people no longer has the same intrinsic value as it had before, because it has no longer the same blood in its veins, continual adulterations having gradually affected the quality of that blood....in fact, the man of a decadent time, the degenerate man properly so-called, is a different being from the racial point of view, from the heroes of the great ages....I think I am right in concluding that the human race in all its branches has a secret repulsion from the crossing of blood...."
Arthur de Gobineau (1855) 'Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races'."

 Regenerierung - Regeneration

The obvious solution to Entartung, as proposed by such individuals as Richard Wagner and Lanz von Liebenfels, was Regenerierung - regeneration.
Wagner first approached the concept of Regenerierung in his many writings, and it was also a central theme in a number of his operas - particularly 'Parsifal'.
After the death of the 'master', many of his followers, especially in Bayreuth, took up  this concept and developed it into a complex, yet coherent philosophy.
Foremost  among these followers of the doctrine of Regeneration was Wagner's widow, Cosima Wagner, and her daughter Eva, who was married to the writer and philosopher Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
Cosima Wagner
Cosima Wagner (Cosima von Bülow - born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the daughter of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the 'Bayreuth Festival' as a showcase for his 'music dramas'. Wagner was also a close friend of the philosopher Nietzsche. After Wagner's death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognized Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly 'Parsifal'.
Chamberlain with Cosima
 Houston Stewart Chamberlain (9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927) was an English-born German author of books on political philosophy, natural science and son-in-law of the German composer Richard Wagner. In December 1908, twenty-five years after Wagner's death, Chamberlain married Wagner's stepdaughter, Eva von Bülow. Chamberlain's two-volume book, 'Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts' (The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century), published in 1899, became one of the many references for the pan-Germanic movement of the early 20th century, and, later, of the völkisch philosophy of the Third Reich.

Hitler and Regenerierung

Adolf Hitler
Richard Wagner

Adolf Hitler's admiration of Richard Wagner is well known, and although he is not recorded as making any direct references to Wagner's 'Regeneration' writings, it is difficult to imagine that he was not aware of them.

Hitler, of course, always saw himself a primarily an artist, and considered art and classical culture to be essential elements for the creation of an ideal, regenerated state.
Equally Hitler's abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, and his vegetarianism are indicative of 'Wagnarian Regeneration Theory'.
Hitler, of course, like all those who were influential in the völkisch movement, and the NSDAP, was a 'child of his time', and it is undoubtedly this pervasive influence, of 'Regeneration Theory' proclaimed from the 'grüner Hügel' (the Green Hill at Bayreuth), that now enables us to refer to the 'dritte Reich' as the 'grüne Reich'.
These völkisch regeneration concpts were espoused by German youth, and associated with such groups was the 'Wandervogel' movement, which was a precursor to the Hitlerjugend.

Liebenfels - Ostara and Regenerierung

Liebenel's approach to Regenerierung was decidedly more mystical and occult.
This is not surprising as Lanz became a monk in the Cistercian order in 1893, assuming the name Georg, and living in the Heiligenkreuz monastery.
In 1894, he claimed to have been "enlightened" after finding the tombstone of a Knight Templar, and began developing his theories of "blond Aryanism" and the "lower races".
He left the monastery in 1899; after having an overwhelming experience while conducting academic research at Die Abtei von Lambach.
By a strange coincidence Adolf Hitler, who was then only a boy, was in the choir school at Lambach at the same time - and we are left with the question of if there was any connection between the signs of great agitation, 'like of a person who had made a great discovery', on the part of Liebenfels, (as reported by the other monks) and the presence of the youthful Hitler.

for more information see: Liebenfels, Eugenics and Theozoologie

For Liebenfels, all aspects of 'Entartung' were the effects of 'miscegenation' (racial cross-breeding).
In occult terms this had caused the atrophy of the paranormal powers inherited by the Aryans from the Æons, but these could be restored by the 'selective breeding' of pure Aryan lineages.
Miscegenation - (from the Latin 'miscere' 'to mix' and 'genus' "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, or procreation. The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations, and more generally to the process of genetic admixture. The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference.
This belief in 'miscegenation' derived mainly from the teachings of Helena Blavatsky - as presented in the 'Secret Doctrine'.
In particular, Blavatsky stated that the Fourth Root Race  interbred with animals in order to produce human-animal 'chimeras' to use as 'sex slaves' - thus introducing the initial degeneration that resulted in the numerous lower races, which Liebenfels referred to as 'untermenschen'.
Root races are stages in human evolution in the esoteric cosmology of theosophist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as described in her book 'The Secret Doctrine' (1888). These races existed mainly on now-lost continents.

The Aryans

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

"Aryan" is a term meaning "noble".
In the 19th century that it was also a self-designation used by all Proto-Indo-Europeans.
The English word "Aryan" is borrowed from the Sanskrit word ārya, आर्य, meaning "noble" or "noble one", however, as a translation of Latin Arianus (derived from Old Persian ariya), Arian has long been in English language use.
It is translated into German as 'arisch'.

The Aryan Race
Arthur de Gobineau
Drawing on references in the Rig Veda, the term "Aryan" was seen as a racial category through the work of Arthur de Gobineau, whose ideology of race was based on an idea that blonde northern European "Aryans" had migrated across the world, and founded all major civilizations, before being degraded through racial mixture with local populations. 
In the 1850s Arthur de Gobineau stated that "Aryan" corresponded to the suggested prehistoric Indo-European culture (1853–1855, Essay on the 'Inequality of the Human Races').
Further, de Gobineau believed that there were three basic races – white, yellow and black – and that everything else was caused by race miscegenation, which de Gobineau argued was the cause of chaos.
The "master race", according to de Gobineau, were the Northern European "Aryans", who had remained relatively "racially pure".
Southern Europeans (to include Spaniards and Southern Frenchmen), Eastern Europeans, North Africans, Middle Easterners, Iranians, Central Asians, Indians, he all considered racially mixed, and degenerated through miscegenation, and thus less than ideal.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain
Through Houston Stewart Chamberlain, (the English/German author who married into the Wagner family) Gobineau's ideas later influenced the völkisch racial ideology, which also saw "Aryan peoples" as innately superior to other racial groups.
By the 1880s a number of linguists and anthropologists argued that the "Aryans" themselves had originated somewhere in northern Europe.
A specific region began to crystallize when the linguist Karl Penka, ('Die Herkunft der Arier - Neue Beiträge zur historischen Anthropologie der europäischen Völker', 1886), popularized the idea that the "Aryans" had emerged in Scandinavia, and could be identified by the distinctive Nordic characteristics of blond hair and blue eyes.
Thomas Henry Huxley
The distinguished biologist Thomas Henry Huxley agreed with him, coining the term "Xanthochroi" to refer to fair-skinned Europeans (as opposed to darker Mediterranean peoples, who Huxley called "Melanochroi").
This "Nordic race" theory gained traction following the publication of Charles Morris's 'The Aryan Race' (1888), which touches on racial ideology.
A similar rationale was followed by Georges Vacher de Lapouge in his book 'L'Aryen et son rôle social' (1899, "The Aryan and his Social Role").
To this idea of 'race', Vacher de Lapouge espoused what he termed 'selectionism', and which had two aims: first, achieving the annihilation of trade unionists, considered 'degenerate'; second, the prevention of labor dissatisfaction through the development of 'types' of man, each 'designed' for one specific task (see Aldous Huxley's novel 'Brave New World' for a fictional treatment of this idea).


Petrovna Blavatsky
In  'Die Geheimlehre' - ('The Secret Doctrine') (1888), Helena Petrovna Blavatsky described the 'Aryan root race' as the fifth of seven 'Root Races', dating their souls as having begun to incarnate about a million years ago in Atlantis.
Blavatsky regularly contrasts "Aryan" with "Semitic" culture, to the detriment of the latter.
She also states that some peoples are "semi-animal creatures". These latter include "the Tasmanians, a portion of the Australians and a mountain tribe in China."
There are also "considerable numbers of the mixed Lemuro-Atlantean peoples produced by various crossings with such semi-human stocks - e.g., the inhabitants of Borneo, the Veddhas of Ceylon, most of the remaining Australians, Bushmen, Negritos, Andaman Islanders, etc."
The Semites were a subdivision of the Aryan root race.
"The occult doctrine admits of no such divisions as the Aryan and the Semite, ... The Semites, especially the Arabs, are later Aryans — degenerate in spirituality and in materiality. To these belong all the Jews and the Arabs."
The Jews, according to Blavatsky, were a "race descended from the 'Chandalas'".
The 'Chandalas' were the result of miscegenation between the Aryans and primates - (see Liebenfels).
Guido von List (and his associates, such as Lanz von Liebenfels) later took up some of Blavatsky's ideas, mixing her ideology with nationalistic and  Völkisch theories; this system of thought became known as 'Ariosophy'. It was believed, in Ariosophy, that the Nordics were superior to all other peoples because according to Theosophy the Nordics were the most recent sub-race of the Aryan root race to have evolved. Such views also fed into the development of national Socialist ideology. 
Blavatsky connects physical race with spiritual attributes constantly throughout her works.
"The intellectual difference between the Aryan and other races, such as savages is inexplicable on any other grounds. No amount of culture, nor generations of training amid civilization, could raise such human specimens to the same intellectual level as the Aryans. The 'sacred spark' is missing in them and it is they who are inferior races".

In the United States, the best-selling 1907 book 'Race Life of the Aryan Peoples' by Joseph Pomeroy Widney consolidated in the popular mind the idea that the word "Aryan" is the proper identification for "all Indo-Europeans", and that "Aryan Americans" of the "Aryan race" are destined to fulfill America's manifest destiny.


The depiction of Aryans as possessors of a "superior language" became a matter of national pride in learned circles of Germany (portrayed against the background that World War I was lost because Germany had been betrayed from within by miscegenation and the "corruption" of socialist trade unionists and other "degenerates").

Alfred Rosenberg
Alfred Rosenberg - one of the principal architects of Völkisch ideology and author of the influential 'Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts' - argued for a new "religion of the blood", based on the innate promptings of the Nordic soul to defend its "noble" character against racial and cultural degeneration.
The 'Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts' is a 1930 book by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the principal ideologues of the NSDAP, and editor of the party paper 'Völkischer Beobachter'. The titular "myth" is "the myth of blood, which under the sign of the swastika unchains the racial world-revolution. It is the awakening of the race soul, which after long sleep victoriously ends the race chaos."Adolf Hitler awarded the first 'State Prize for Art and Science' to the author of "The Myth of the Twentieth Century". The official document accompanying the prize "expressly praises Rosenberg as 'person who has, in a scientific and penetrating manner, laid the firm foundation for an understanding of the ideological bases of National Socialism.'"
Under influence of Rosenberg, the theories of Arthur de Gobineau, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Blavatsky, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Madison Grant, and those of Adolf Hitler, all culminated in the racial policies of he Third Reich, and the "Aryanization" decrees of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s.
In its eugenic medical model, the removal of the "racially inferior" Untermenschen was sanctified as the excision of a diseased organ in an otherwise healthy body.

 Aryanism and National Socialism

The ideology of National Socialism was based upon the conception of the Aryan race or Germanic peoples being the 'Herren Volk' (master race).
The Völkisch conception of the Aryan race arose from earlier proponents of the supremacist conception of race as described by racial theorists such as Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain - (see above).
Hans F. K. Günther 
The racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther identified the European race as having five sub-type races: Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic. Günther applied a Nordicist conception that Nordics were the highest in the racial hierarchy among these five European subtype races.
In his book 'Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes' (1922) ("Racial Science of the German People"), Günther recognized Germans as being composed of all five European sub-types, but emphasized the strong distinctly Aryan Nordic heritage among Germans.
He defined each racial sub-type according to general physical appearance, and their psychological qualities, including their "racial soul" - referring to their emotional traits and religious beliefs, and provided detailed information on their hair, eye, and skin colors, facial structure.
He provided photographs of Germans identified as Nordic in places like Bedan, Stuttgart, Salzburg, and Schwaben; and provided photographs of Germans he identified as Alpine and Mediterranean types, especially in Vorarlberg, Bavaria, and the Black Forest region of Baden.
Adolf Hitler read 'Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes' and the book undoubtedly influenced his racial policy.
As a result, Günther attained a position in the anthropology department at the University of Jena in 1932, where Adolf Hitler attended Günther's inaugural lecture.
Günther distinguished Aryans from Jews, and identified Jews as descending from non-European races, particularly from what he classified as the Near Asian race (Vorderasiatische) more commonly known as the Armenoid race, and said that such origins rendered Jews fundamentally different from and incompatible with Germans, and most Europeans.
Günther stated that the Near Eastern race descended from the Caucasus in the fifth and fourth millennia BC, and that it had expanded into Asia Minor and Mesopotamia and eventually to the west coast of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Aside from ascribing Armenians and Jews as having Near Eastern characteristics, he ascribed them to several other contemporary peoples, including: Greeks, Turks, Syrians, and Iranians.
In his work 'Rasseigenschaften des jüdischen Volkes' - ('Racial Characteristics of the Jewish People'), he defined the racial soul of the Near Eastern race as emphasizing a 'Handelgeist' ("commercial spirit"), and described them as 'Kunstvolle Händler' ("artful traders") - a term that Gunther ascribed as being used by Jewish racial theorist Samuel Weissenberg to describe contemporary Armenians, Greeks, and Jews.
Günther added to that description of the Near Eastern type as being composed primarily of commercially spirited and artful traders, by claiming that the type held strong psychological manipulation skills that aided them in trade.
He claimed that the Near Eastern race had been "bred not so much for the conquest and exploitation of nature as it was for the conquest and exploitation of people".

Hitler and the Aryans

Hitler's conception of the Aryan Herrenvolk ("Aryan master race") explicitly excluded the vast majority of Slavs, regarding the Slavs as having dangerous Jewish and Asiatic influences.
The Third Reich, because of this, declared Slavs to be 'untermenschen'.
Exceptions were made for a small percentage of Slavs who were seen to be descended from German settlers, and therefore fit to be Germanized, and  to be considered part of the Aryan master race.
Hitler described Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need of a master".
Hitler believed Slavs to be intrinsically idle and disorganized.
Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister of the Third Reich, had media portray Slavs as primitive 'untermenschen' from the Siberian tundra.
The German notion of Slavs being inferior was seen as part of the agenda for creating Lebensraum ("living space") for Germans, and other Germanic people, in eastern Europe that was initiated during World War II under Generalplan Ost.
As part of this plan, millions of Germans and other Germanic settlers would be moved into conquered territories of Eastern Europe, while the original Slavic inhabitants were to be removed.
Hitler often doubted whether Czechs were Aryan or not.
He said in his table talk "It is enough for a Czech to grow a moustache for anyone to see, from the way the thing droops, that his origin is Mongoloian."
The question of whether Italians were Aryan enough was questioned by the German racial theorists.
Hitler viewed northern Italians as strongly Aryan, but not southern Italians.
Völkisch theorists viewed the downfall of the Roman Empire as being the result of the pollution of blood from racial intermixing, claiming that many Italians were a hybrid of races, including black African races.
Hitler even mentioned his view of the presence of Negroid blood in the Mediterranean peoples during his first meeting with Mussolini in 1934.

Aryan Nordicism

'Nordicism' was a historical movement which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, advocated the existence of a 'Nordic race', and the promotion of its interests.
Only in the 1920s did a strong partiality for "Nordic" begin to reveal itself, and the term was used almost interchangeably with 'Aryan'.
Nordicists stated that Nordics had formed upper tiers of ancient civilizations, even in the Mediterranean civilizations of antiquity (in particular ancient Greece and Rome), which had declined once this dominant race had been assimilated.
Thus they argued that ancient evidence suggested that leading Romans were blond or red-haired.
Nordicism in Germany was known under the term "Nordischer Gedanke" (Nordic thought).
This phrase was coined by the German eugenicists Erwin Baur, Eugen Fischer and Fritz Lenz.
It appeared in their 1921 work 'Menschliche Vererbung' - (Human Heredity), which insisted on the innate superiority of the Nordic race.
Adapting the arguments of Arthur Schopenhauer, and others, to Darwinian theory, they argued that the qualities of initiative and will-power, identified by earlier writers, had arisen from natural selection, because of the tough landscape in which Nordic peoples evolved.
This had ensured that weaker individuals had not survived.
This argument was derived from earlier eugenicist and Social Darwinist ideas.
According to the authors, the Nordic race arose in the ice age, from:
'quite a small group which, under stress of rapidly changing conditions (climate, beasts of the chase) was exposed to exceptionally rigorous selection and was persistently inbred, thus acquiring the peculiar characteristics which persist today as the exclusive heritage of the Nordic race ... Philological, archaeological and anthropological researches combine to indicate that the primal home of the Aryans must have been in Northern Europe.'
At the time of publication, Germany was well-accustomed to theories of race and racial superiority, due to the long presence of the Völkish movement, the philosophy that Germans constituted a unique people, or 'volk', linked by common blood.
While Volkism was popular mainly among Germany's lower classes and was more a romanticized version of ethnic nationalism, Nordicism attracted the middle and upper classes, including prominent German anthropologists and eugenicists.
Hans F. K. Günther (see above), one of Fischer's students, first defined "Nordic thought" in his programmatic book 'Der Nordische Gedanke unter den Deutschen' - (Nordic Thought among the Germans').
He became the most influential German in this field.
His 'Kurze Ethnologie des deutschen Volkes' - ('Short Ethnology of the German People' )(1929) was very widely circulated.

Morphologically, the Nordic race was argued to be associated with characteristics such as blue eyes, blonde hair, and tallness, however, more important than these was a high cephalic index - a head that was considerably longer, front to back, than it was wide.
The psychological traits of Nordics were described as truthful, equitable, competitive, reserved, and individualistic
Nordicism is an ideology of racial separatism which views Nordics as an endangered racial group.
The Nordic race was seen as distinct from the Alpine race and the Mediterranean race. 
These groups (and possibly others) were seen as subdivisions of the 'Caucasian' race.
The idea of the Northern origins of the 'Aryans' was particularly influential in Germany.
It was widely believed that the "Aryans" were ethnically identical to the Goths, Vandals and other ancient Germanic peoples of the Völkerwanderung.
This idea was often intertwined with antisemitic ideas.
The distinctions between the "Aryan" and "Semitic" peoples were based on the aforementioned linguistic and ethnic history.
A complete theory of Aryan and anti-Semitic history can be found in Alfred Rosenberg's major work, 'Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts' - ('The Myth of the Twentieth Century' - see above).
Rosenberg's account of ancient history, melded with his racial speculations, proved to be very effective in spreading racial theories among German intellectuals in the early twentieth century, especially after the First World War.

Nordicism and Alantis

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Völkisch racial theories held the Atlanteans to be a race of Nordic supermen, and Alfred Rosenberg (see above) wrote of a "Nordic-Atlantean" master race whose civilization was lost through inward corruption and betrayal.
According to Rosenberg, the Nordic race had evolved in a now-lost landmass off the coast of Europe, perhaps the mythical Atlantis, migrated through northern Europe and expanded further south to Iran and India where it founded the Aryan cultures.
Like Grant and others, he argued that the entrepreneurial energy of the Nordics had "degenerated" when they mixed with "inferior" peoples.
Related to Atlantis is the concept of Thule.
In Greek mythology Thule was known as Hyperborea - an unspecified region in the northern lands that lay beyond the north wind.

Hyperborea or Hyperboria – "beyond the Boreas" – was perfect, with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day, which to modern ears suggests a possible location within the Arctic Circle.
John G. Bennett wrote a research paper entitled "The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture" (Journal Systematics, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 1963) in which he claimed the Indo-European homeland was in the far north, which he considered the Hyperborea of classical antiquity.
This idea was earlier proposed by the Austro-Hungarian ethnologist Karl Penka ('Origins of the Aryans', 1883).
H.P. Blavatsky, Rene Guenon and Julius Evola all shared the belief in the Hyperborean, polar origins of Mankind and a subsequent solidification and devolution.

According to these esoterists, Hyperborea was the Golden Age polar center of civilization and spirituality; mankind does not rise from the ape, but progressively devolves into the apelike condition as it strays physically and spiritually from its mystical otherworldly homeland in the Far North, succumbing to the demonic energies of the South Pole, the greatest point of materialization (see Joscelyn Godwin, Arktos: The Polar Myth).

for more information about the Aryans and Atlantis see:

Later Developments

With the rise of Hitler, Nordic theory became the norm within German culture.
In some cases the "Nordic" concept became an almost 'abstract ideal' rather than a mere racial category.
Mainstream Nordic theory was subsequently institutionalized.
Hans F. K. Günther, who joined the NSDAP in 1932, was praised as a pioneer in racial thinking, and a shining light of Nordic theory.
Most official German comments on the Nordic Race during the Third Reich were based on Günther's works.
Eugen Fischer and Fritz Lenz were also appointed to senior positions overseeing the policy of 'Rassenhygiene' - (Racial Hygiene).
In 1942 Hitler stated in private,

'I shall have no peace of mind until I have planted a seed of Nordic blood wherever the population stands in need of regeneration. If at the time of the migrations, while the great racial currents were exercising their influence, our people received so varied a share of attributes, these latter blossomed to their full value only because of the presence of the Nordic racial nucleus.'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017