Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress
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In this book, Weikart helps unlock the mystery of Hitler’s evil by vividly demonstrating the surprising conclusion that Hitler’s immorality flowed from a coherent ethic. Hitler was inspired by evolutionary ethics to pursue the utopian project of biologically improving the human race. This ethic underlay or influenced almost every major feature of Nazi policy: eugenics (i.e., measures to improve human heredity, including compulsory sterilization), euthanasia, racism, population expansion, offensive warfare, and racial extermination.
explained in a radio speech in October 18 Hitler’s Ethic 1933 that the primary goals of the Nazi regime were “restoring order in our own Volk, providing work and bread for our starving masses, [and] proclaiming the concepts of honor, loyalty and decency as elements of a moral code of ethics.”5 These are not isolated examples. Moral regeneration or rebirth was a frequent refrain in Hitler’s political sermons. He constantly used morally loaded terminology to portray himself and the Nazi
he stated that Hitler “did not think much of Homo sapiens.” Hitler told Goebbels that humans should not consider themselves so exalted. Though many think that we alone possess reason, speech, and a soul, how do we know that other animals do not also have these, Hitler asked. Though Goebbels did not specifically mention the animal origin of humans in this conversation, he did make clear Hitler’s low view of humanity.43 This is directly contradictory to the view Hitler expressed in January 1942
living intermediaries between simians and Europeans.8 Almost all Gobineau’s disciples in early twentieth-century Germany interpreted Gobineau through Darwinian lenses. Leading Darwinists, such as Haeckel, praised Gobineau, and Eugen Fischer even asked the leader of the Gobineau Society for a portrait of Gobineau to display at the entrance of his anthropological institute.9 The historian Benoit Massin explains how this Darwinian version of racism affected many German anthropologists in the early
namely to apply every means that leads to success. . . . For there can only be one single dogma, and this dogma is very brief ly: The right thing is whatever is advantageous in itself, advantageous in the sense of preserving the Volk.”16 In other words, the end justifies the means. Survival in this human struggle for existence was the paramount virtue. This was not just a desperate cry of a dictator facing imminent defeat. As we shall see, it was a constant refrain throughout his career, though
expansionism was economically, but not racially, motivated misunderstand the whole thrust of Nazi Lebensraum ideology.3 Yes, Nazi expansionism was intended to gain agricultural (and mineral) resources. 160 Hitler’s Ethic However, the primary goal was to gain territory for the expansion of the German race, as Hitler made clear repeatedly, especially in private speeches to military officers during the war. The economic goals were subservient to the racial ones, because economic plans always