Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 5

the-real-hitler

 

Night of 21st-22nd July 1941

Similarities between Germany and Italy—Dante and Luther—Delightful Italian towns—Rome and Paris.

Luther had the merit of rising against the Pope and the organisation of the Church. It was the first of the great revolutions.

And thanks to his translation of the Bible, Luther replaced our dialects by the great German language! It’s remarkable to observe the resemblances between the evolution of Germany and that of Italy. The creators of the language, Dante and Luther, rose against the oecumenical desires of the papacy. Each of the two nations was led to unity, against the dynastic interests, by one man. They achieved their unity against the will of the Pope.

The Italian people’s musical sense, its liking for harmonious proportions, the beauty of its race! The Renaissance was the dawn of a new era, in which Aryan man found himself anew. There’s also our own past on Italian soil. A man who is indifferent to history is a man without hearing, without sight.

Such a man can live, of course—but what a life? The magic of Florence and Rome, of Ravenna, Siena, Perugia! Tuscany and Umbria, how lovely they are! The smallest palazzo in Florence or Rome is worth more than all Windsor Castle. If the English destroy anything in Florence or Rome, it will be a crime.

Giuseppe Zocchi - The Piazza della Signoria in Florence

I’ve seen Rome and Paris, and I must say that Paris, with the exception of the Arc de Triomphe, has nothing on the scale of the Coliseum, or the Castle of San Angelo, or St. Peter’s. These monuments, which are the product of a collective effort, have ceased to be on the scale of the individual. There’s something queer about the Paris buildings, whether it’s those bull’s-eye windows, so badly proportioned, or those gables that obliterate whole façades. If I compare the Pantheon in Rome with the Pantheon in Paris, what a poor building—and what sculptures! What I saw in Paris has disappeared from my memory: Rome really seized hold of me.

Naples, apart from the castle, might be anywhere in South America. But there’s always the courtyard of the royal palace. What nobility of proportions!

My dearest wish would be to be able to wander about in Italy as an unknown painter.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 38

the-real-hitler

21st-22nd October 1941, night

SPECIAL GUEST: REICHSFUEHRER SS HIMMLER

The need for decorum—The face of new Berlin—Monuments that will last a thousand years.
 
 
We need an impressive décor, and we ought to create one. More and more we should give our festive occasions a style that will remain in the memory. In England, the traditional forms, which from a distance seem baroque, have retained their full youth. They remain vital because they represent customs that have been observed for a long time and without the slightest interruption.

I regard it as a necessity that our ceremonial should be developed during my lifetime. Otherwise one of my successors, if he has simple tastes, could quote me as his authority. Don’t speak to me of Prussian simplicity! We must remember how Frederick the Great took care of his State’s finances.

Berlin has the monuments of the days of Frederick the Great. Once upon a time it was the sand-pit of the Empire. Nowadays, Berlin is the capital of the Reich. Berlin’s misfortune is that it’s a city of very mixed population; which doesn’t make it ideal for the development of culture. In that respect, our last great monarch was Frederick-William IV. William I had no taste. Bismarck was blind in matters of art. William II had taste, but of the worst description.

What is ugly in Berlin, we shall suppress. Nothing will be too good for the beautification of Berlin. When one enters the Reich Chancellery, one should have the feeling that one is visiting the master of the world. One will arrive there along wide avenues containing the Triumphal Arch, the Pantheon of the Army, the Square of the People—things to take your breath away! It’s only thus that we shall succeed in eclipsing our only rival in the world, Rome. Let it be built on such a scale that St. Peter’s and its Square will seem like toys in comparison!

albert-speer-design

For material, we’ll use granite. The vestiges of the German past, which are found on the plains to the North, are scarcely time-worn. Granite will ensure that our monuments last for ever. In ten thousand years they’ll be still standing, just as they are, unless meanwhile the sea has again covered our plains.

If I try to gauge my work, I must consider, first of all, that I’ve contributed, in a world that had forgotten the notion, to the triumph of the idea of the primacy of race. Secondly, I’ve given German supremacy a solid cultural foundation. In fact, the power we to-day enjoy cannot be justified, in my eyes, except by the establishment and expansion of a mighty culture.

Berlin will one day be the capital of the world.

On Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”

Kenneth Clark may have been clueless about the fact that race matters. Yet, that our rot goes much deeper than what white nationalists realize is all too obvious once we leave, for a while, the ghetto of nationalism and take a look at the classics, just as Clark showed us through his 1969 TV series Civilisation.

Compared to the other famous series, Clark’s was unsurpassed in the sense that, as I have implied elsewhere, only genuine art—not science—has a chance to fulfill David Lane’s fourteen words.

By “art” I mean an evolved sense of beauty which is almost completely absent in today’s nationalists. Most of them are quite a product of Jewish modernity whether with their music, lifestyles or Hollywood tastes, to a much greater degree than what they think. For nationalism to succeed an evolved sense of female beauty has to be the starting point to see the divine nature of the white race. In Clark’s own words, “For all these reasons I think it is permissible to associate the cult of ideal love with the ravishing beauty and delicacy that one finds in the madonnas of the thirteenth century. Were there ever more delicate creatures than the ladies on Gothic ivories? How gross, compared to them, are the great beauties of other woman-worshiping epochs.”

Below, links to excerpts of most of the chapters of the 1969 series, where Clark followed the ups and downs of our civilisation historically:

“The Skin of our Teeth”

“The Great Thaw”

“Romance and Reality”

“Man—the Measure of all Things”

“The Hero as Artist”

“Protest and Communication”

“Grandeur and Obedience”

“The Light of Experience”

“Heroic Materialism”

Civilisation’s “The Hero as Artist”

For an introduction to these series, see here.

Below, some indented excerpts of “The Hero as Artist,” the fifth chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark, after which I offer my comments.

Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages:

In the Middle Ages men had been crushed by this [ancient Roman] gigantic scale. They said that these buildings must be the work of demons, or at best they treated them simply as natural phenomena—like mountains—and built their huts in them.

But by 1500 the Romans had begun to realise that they had been built by men. The lively and intelligent individuals who created the Renaissance, bursting with vitality and confidence, were not in a mood to be crushed by antiquity. They meant to absorb it, to equal it, to master it. They were going to produce their own race of giants and heroes.

In what is commonly described as the decadence of the papacy, the Popes were men of unusual ability who used their international contacts, their great civil service and their increasing wealth in the interests of civilisation. Nicholas V, the friend of Alberti and the humanists, was the first man who saw that papal Rome could revive the grandeurs of pagan Rome.

Pius II, a poet, a lover of nature and of beauty in all its forms, yet gave up his life in an attempt to save Christendom from the Turks. Even Sixtus IV, who was as brutal and cunning as he looks in the wall-painting by Melozzo da Forlo, founded the Vatican library and made the great humanist, Platina, its first prefect. Pope Julius II was able by magnanimity and strength of will to inspire and bully three men of genius—Bramante, Michelangelo and Raphael. Without him Michelangelo would not have painted the Sistine Ceiling, nor Raphael decorated the papal apartments, and so we should have been without two of the greatest visible expressions of spiritual power and humanist philosophy.

The above paragraphs remind me what Nietzsche said almost at the end of his Antichrist: that without the Reformation and Counter-Reformation these rather pagan popes would have brought Christianity down. Clark continues:

The old St Peter’s was one of the largest and most ancient churches in the western world, and certainly the most venerable. Julius decided to pull it down and put something far more splendid in its place. The first step in this visible alliance between Christianity and antiquity was taken when Julius decided to pull down the old basilica.

The men of fifteenth-century Florence had looked back eagerly to the civilisation of Greece and Rome. They sought for ancient authors and read them with passion, and wrote to each other in Latin. Their greatest source of pride was to write prose like Cicero. But the man who really assimilated antique art and recreated it, with all its expressive power made more vital and more intense, was Michelangelo.

Seen by itself the David’s body might be some unusually taut and vivid work of antiquity; it is only when we come to the head that we are aware of a spiritual force that the ancient world never knew. I suppose that this quality, which I may call heroic, is not part of most people’s idea of civilisation. It involves a contempt for convenience and a sacrifice of all those pleasures that contribute to what we call civilised life. It is the enemy of happiness.

And this of course can only remind me of Harold Covington’s extreme contempt for those so-called “nationalists” who watch TV while eating so tasty Nachos that only grow their bellies; always reluctant to come home and fight for the creation of a new nation. Clark continues:

And yet we recognise that to despise material obstacles, and even to defy the blind forces of fate, is man’s supreme achievement; and since, in the end, civilisation depends of man extending his powers of mind and spirit to the utmost, we must reckon the emergence of Michelangelo as one of the great events in the history of western man.

[His drawing of Battle of Cascina] was the first authoritative statement that the human body—that body which, in Gothic times, had been the subject of shame and concealment, that body which Alberti has praised so extravagantly—could be made the means of expressing noble sentiments, life-giving energy and God-like perfection. It was an idea that was to have an incalculable influence on the human mind for four hundred years.

And this brings us back to Rome, and to the terrible Pope. Julius II was not only ambitious for the Catholic Church: he was ambitious for Julius II, and in his new temple he planned to erect the greatest tomb of any ruler since the time of Hadrian. It was a staggering example of superbia; and Michelangelo at that time was not without the same characteristic. I need not go into the question of why the tomb was never built. There was a quarrel—heroes do not easily tolerate the company of other heroes. Nor does it matter to us what the tomb was going to look like. All that matters is that some of the figures made for it survive, and they add something new to the European spirit—something that neither antiquity nor the great civilisations of India and China had ever dreamed of. As a matter of fact the two most finished of them were derived from antiques, but Michelangelo has turned them from athletes to captives, one of them struggling to be free—freedom from mortality?—and the other sensuously resigned.

People sometimes wonder why the Renaissance Italians, with their intelligent curiosity, didn’t make more of a contribution to the history of thought. The reason is that the most profound thought of the time was not expressed in words, but in visual imagery.

For centuries writers on Michelangelo have criticised Julius for taking him off the tomb, on which he had set his heart, and putting him to work on the painting of the Sistine Ceiling, although he always said he hated the act of painting.

Michelangelo’s power of prophetic insight gives one the feeling that he belongs to every epoch, and most of all, perhaps, to the epoch of the great Romantics, of which we are still the most bankrupt heirs. It is the attribute that distinguishes him most sharply from his brilliant rival, Raphael. Michelangelo took no interest in the opposite sex; Leonardo thought of women solely as reproductive mechanisms. But Raphael loved girls as much as any Venetian.

The convention by which great events in biblical or secular history could be enacted only by magnificent physical specimens, handsome and well-groomed, went on for a long time—till the middle of the nineteenth century. Only a very few artists—perhaps only Rembrandt and Caravaggio in the first rank—were independent enough to stand against it. And I think that this convention, which was an element in the so-called grand manner, became a deadening influence on the European mind. It deadened our sense of truth, even our sense of moral responsibility; and led, as we now see, to a hideous reaction.