Re: New book on Hitler and evolution

From: Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 12:34:18 EDT

I am writing this from memory, and Ted Davis is in the better position to
correct, but it should be clear what kind of "Darwinism" one is talking
about during the latter part of the 19th and the first part of the 20th
century. I think that one should consider "Social Darwinism" as a more
likely culprit in the forming of racial philosophies among the German
military class and Hitler. Two often no distinction is made between
Darwin's science and Spencer's philosophy.

Bob Schneider

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <alexanian@uncw.edu>
To: "Richard Weikart" <rweikart@csustan.edu>; "George Murphy"
<gmurphy@raex.com>; "Ted Davis" <tdavis@messiah.edu>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 11:42 AM
Subject: RE: New book on Hitler and evolution

> Richard, thanks for your reply. I was just wondering if there is an
> easy way to examine the impact of Darwinism on people that expound race
> superiority. Does Darwinism form the real basis of their racial behavior
> or do they use it to justify their racial theories. It seems to me that
> to use evolutionary theory to base one's view of races would require
> experimental knowledge of the human evolutionary tree and seeing where
> each race falls in that scheme of things. However, such knowledge does
> not exist, or, does it? I recall reading that in Germany Armenians had
> to research and prove to the Nazi government that Armenians are Aryans
> and not Semitic people. I do recall reading in Dadrian's book on the
> Armenian Genocide that many of the generals that served in WWI and were
> fully acquainted with the Armenian Genocide were also part of the
> military during WWII. I would appreciate an answer to my query. I will
> certainly ask our library to order your book.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Moorad
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Weikart [mailto:rweikart@csustan.edu]
> Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 12:38 PM
> To: Alexanian, Moorad; 'George Murphy'; 'Ted Davis';
> asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: RE: New book on Hitler and evolution
>
> Moorad and others:
>
> I am well aware of the literature on the Armenian genocide, and in fact,
> I'm
> teaching a seminar on genocide in the fall, in which we will discuss the
> Armenian genocide. In the course of my research I read part of
> Dadrian's
> book, _German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of the
> Historical Evidence of German Complicity_, as well as other material on
> the
> Armenian genocide. However, for two reasons, I didn't include anything
> about the Armenian genocide in my book.
>
> 1) It is outside to scope of my subject. My book examines the impact of
> Darwinism on ethical and moral thought in late nineteenth and early
> twentieth-century Germany. I am not claiming to provide a full
> explanation
> for the Holocaust, and thus many issues related to the Holocaust are
> left
> undiscussed. In my research I looked for evidence of the impact of
> Darwinism or social Darwinism on the Armenian genocide, and I could find
> no
> evidence for it. If I had, you can be sure I would have jumped on it.
> Is
> there any evidence that Darwinian thinking influenced the Turks who
> perpetrated the genocide (or the Germans who assisted them)?
>
> 2) There is no evidence that the Armenian genocide provided motivation
> for
> Hitler's genocide. The quotation that Moorad adduces was pretty
> obviously
> an attempt to overcome the qualms of his army officers. It was not a
> statement of Hitler's reasons for killing people. In my book, I show
> conclusively that Darwinism influenced Hitler's ideology. This is not a
> radically new point--many scholars have mentioned it. What is new is
> that I
> explain the background to it, analyze it, and argue that Hitler had a
> coherent--albeit pernicious--ethic based on Darwinian ideology.
> Considered
> counterfactually, I would argue that even if the Armenian genocide had
> never
> occurred, Hitler still would have murdered Jews.
>
> I should perhaps also note that my book is not predominately about
> Hitler.
> Only one chapter is devoted to him. Most of the book is on the impact
> of
> Darwinism on ethical and moral thought, especially on the
> Judeo-Christian
> sanctity-of-life ethic, in Germany in the late nineteenth and early
> twentieth centuries.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Richard Weikart
> Department of History
> California State Univ., Stanislaus
> Turlock, CA 95382
>
> Author, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism
> in
> Germany (2004)
>
> office phone: 209-667-3522
> homepage: www.csustan.edu/History/Faculty/Weikart/index.html
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Alexanian, Moorad [mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu]
> > Sent: Sunday, May 02, 2004 10:42 AM
> > To: George Murphy; Ted Davis; asa@lists.calvin.edu;
> rweikart@csustan.edu
> > Subject: RE: New book on Hitler and evolution
> >
> > There are two excellent new references regarding the Armenian
> Genocide.
> First and
> > foremost by the genocide scholar Vahakn N. Dadrian, "The History of
> the
> Armenian
> > Genocide: Ethnic conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the
> Caucasus,"Berghahn Books,
> > 1995, ISBN 1-57181-016-1 and "The Burning Tigris: The Armenian
> Genocide
> and
> > America's Response," Peter Balakian, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003,
> ISBN
> 0-06-019840-
> > 0.
> >
> >
> >
> > On page 403 Dadrian discusses Hitler's much debated key statement on
> the
> annihilation of
> > the Armenians and Genghis Khan as a role model. Dadrian writes, "Who
> after
> all is today
> > speaking of the destruction of the Armenians" (Wer redet heute noch
> von
> der Vernichtung
> > der Armenier). The document was for the first time transmitted to
> British
> diplomats in
> > Berlin in August 1939 by Louis Lochner. For more than two decades,
> Lochner
> was chief of
> > the Berlin Bureau of The Associate Press and for many years, he was
> president of the
> > Foreign Press Association there. Sir Neville Henderson, British
> Ambassador
> at Berlin,
> > transmitted the document to London on August 25, 1939. The document
> purports to be the
> > summary of one or two speeches Hitler delivered to the Chief
> Commanders
> and
> > Commanding Generals at Obersalzberg, August 22, 1939, in preparation
> for
> the impending
> > invasion of Poland. In essence, Hitler in that speech is admonishing
> the
> high ranking
> > military officers to be brutal and merciless for a quick victory."
> [Document on British
> > Foreign Policy. 1919-1939. E.L. Woodward, R. Butler and A. Orde, eds.
> Third Series. Vol.
> > VII, 1939 (London, 1954). Doc. No 314, enclosure. Pp. 258-260.]
> >
> >
> >
> > On page164 discusses the chief propagandist of the CUP (Committee of
> Union
> and
> > Progress, the Young Turks) Ziya Gokalp. Balakian writes, "Gokalp's
> pan-Turkism was
> > bound up in grandiose romantic nationalism and a "mystical vision of
> blood
> and race," and
> > was influenced by the German nationalism of Herder and Wagner, who
> were
> also key
> > influences on Nazi Aryan ideology. Gokalp believed that for Turkey to
> revitalize itself, it
> > had to reclaim a golden are, which he defined as a pre-Islamic era of
> Turkic warriors such
> > as Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. It is ironic that Hitler also extolled
> Genghis Khan in his
> > speech about the future of German world domination and his immediate
> plan
> to invade
> > Poland. Speaking to his elite generals eight days before invading
> Poland
> in 1939, Hitler
> > praised the virtues of power and brutality, referring to how easy it
> had
> been to dispense of
> > defenseless people like the Armenians. "Genghis Khan led millions of
> women
> and children
> > to slaughter-with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees him
> solely
> as the bounder
> > of a state. It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western
> European civilization will
> > say about me." And then the fuhrer asked rhetorically: "Who today,
> after
> all, speaks of the
> > annihilation of the Armenians." [Louis P. Lochner, What About Germany?
> (New York:
> > Dodd, Mead & Co., 1942), 2.]
> >
> >
> >
> > I do not know if Richard Weikart in his book inquired on the
> connections
> shown above
> > regarding the motivation of Hitler in carrying on the Final Solution
> on
> the Jews. It seems
> > that Weikart wants to make the link between Darwin and Hitler and does
> not
> invoke the
> > Armenian Genocide and the rationale given by the Turks for it nor the
> connection with
> > Germany.
> >
> >
> >
> > Moorad
> >
>
>
Received on Tue May 4 12:35:35 2004

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