The measure of greatness

by William Pierce


April 20 of this year [this was a 1989 National Vanguard article] is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the greatest man of our era—a man who dared more and achieved more, who set his aim higher and climbed higher, who felt more deeply and stirred the souls of those around him more mightily, who was more closely attuned to the Life Force which permeates our cosmos and gives it meaning and purpose, and did more to serve that Life Force, than any other man of our times.

And yet he is the most reviled and hated man of our times. Only a few tens of thousands of men and women, in scattered groups around the world, will celebrate his birthday with love and reverence on April 20, while all of the scribblers and commentators of the controlled news media, the controlled politicians, and the controlled churchmen will pour out their hatred and venom and lies against him, and those lies will be believed by hundreds of millions.

What is the measure of greatness in a man?

Only the most vulgar and doctrinaire democrat would seriously equate greatness with popularity—although in any polling of average citizens on their choice for the greatest man of the century there are certain to be substantial numbers of votes for Elvis Presley, John Kennedy, Billy Graham, Michael Jackson, and various other high-visibility lightweights: charismatic entertainers on the stage of politics, rock concerts, spectator sports, or what have you.

More serious citizens would pass by the lightweights and choose men who have changed the world in some way. We would hear choices like Franklin Roosevelt (“he saved the world from fascism”), Albert Einstein (“he taught us about the nature of our universe”), and Martin Luther King (“he helped us achieve racial justice”), depending upon whether one’s personal inclinations lay more in the direction of politics, science, or racial self-abasement, respectively.

But if the poll asked instead for the most evil man of the century, or the most hated man, or the man having the most negative influence, at least three-quarters of the blue-collar and the white-collar pollees alike would name one man: Adolf Hitler. This, however, would be merely a reflection of the role assigned to him by the controlled mass media, rather than a truly informed and reasoned choice.

All of this raises several very interesting issues. There is, for example, the question of how we came to the preposterous state of affairs prevailing today, wherein we place the destiny of our nation, our planet, and our race in the hands of a mass of voters whose powers of judgment are manifested in such things as the type of television entertainment their preferences have pushed into prime time and the type of men they have elected to public office. And there is the equally weighty question of how, knowing the ease with which this mass is misled, we permitted virtually all of the media of mass information and entertainment to fall into the hands of a race whose interests are so diametrically opposed to our own.

Perhaps even more pertinent to a consideration of human greatness, however, is the question of how our system of values came to be turned on its head, so that Franklin Roosevelt is regarded as a hero and Adolf Hitler as a villain, not only by the stolid and stunned masses, but also by a majority of the supposedly “educated” elite, many of whom pride themselves on their intellectual independence.

Whether we judge the greatness of a man by his intrinsic qualities of character and soul or by his accomplishments, Adolf Hitler had greatness of a very high order—if we use the standards which have been traditional in our race.

We cannot, of course, make comparisons with all the “mute, inglorious Miltons” whose lack of notable accomplishment has made them anonymous, despite the sterling inner qualities they may have possessed. But when Hitler’s character is held up beside those of other 20th-century political leaders, he stands as a giant among pygmies.

At the prosaic level, we can note his ascetic personal habits, compared with Winston Churchill’s habitual drunkenness and notorious self-indulgence; or his personal loyalty to those who had been his comrades in the days of political struggle, compared with Joseph Stalin’s habit of murdering his former comrades by the dozen, as potential rivals, as soon as he no longer needed their services; or his direct, frank, and straightforward manner, compared to the cunning deviousness which was Franklin Roosevelt’s trademark.

At the spiritual level, the inner differences between Hitler and his contemporaries are even more striking. Hitler was a man with a mission, from the beginning. The testimony of his closest associates, from his boyhood days to the end of his life, agrees with the observations of more distant and impartial observers: Hitler had a mystical sense of destiny, a sense of having been singled out and called by a higher power to devote his life to the service of his race.

His childhood companion August Kubizek has related extraordinary evidence of this when Hitler was only 16 years old (August Kubizek, Adolf Hitler, mein Jugendfreund [Graz, 1953], pp. 127–35). Twenty years later, while he was in prison after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government, Hitler himself wrote of his motivation in a way which suggested the range of his vision:

What we must fight for is the security of the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the maintenance of the purity of our blood… so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted them by the Creator of the universe.

Every thought and every idea, every doctrine and all knowledge, must serve this purpose. And everything must be examined from this point of view and used or rejected according to its utility. Then no theory will stiffen into a dead doctrine, since it is life alone that all things must serve…

The National Socialist philosophy finds the importance of mankind in its basic racial elements. In the state it sees on principle a means to an end and construes that end as the preservation of the racial existence of man…

And so the National Socialist philosophy of life corresponds to the innermost will of Nature, since it restores that free play of forces which must lead to a continuous mutual higher breeding, until finally the best of humanity, having achieved possession of this earth, will have a free play for activity in domains which will lie partly above it and partly outside it.

We all sense that in the distant future humanity must be faced by problems which only a highest race, become master people and supported by the means and possibilities of an entire globe, will be equipped to overcome…

Thus, the highest purpose of a National Socialist state is concern for the preservation of those original racial elements which bestow culture and create the beauty and dignity of a higher mankind. We, as Aryans, can conceive of the state only as the living organism of a nationality which not only assures the preservation of this nationality, but by the development of its spiritual and ideal abilities leads it to the highest freedom…

A National Socialist state must begin by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape…

It must set race in the center of all life. It must take care to keep it pure. It must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. It must see to it that only the healthy beget children…

The National Socialist state must make certain that by a suitable education of youth it will someday obtain a race ripe for the last and greatest decisions on this earth…

Anyone who wants to cure this era, which is inwardly sick and rotten, must first summon the courage to make clear the causes of this disease. And this should be the concern of the National Socialist movement: pushing aside all narrowmindedness, to gather and to organize from the ranks of our nation those forces capable of becoming the vanguard fighters for a new philosophy of life…

We are not simple enough to believe that it could ever be possible to bring about a perfect era. But this relieves no one of the obligation to combat recognized errors, to overcome weaknesses, and to strive for the ideal. Harsh reality of its own accord will create only too many limitations. For that very reason, however, man must try to serve the ultimate goal, and failures must not deter him, any more than he can abandon a system of justice because mistakes creep into it, or any more than medicine is discarded because there always will be sickness in spite of it.

We National Socialists know that with this conception we stand as revolutionaries in the world of today and are branded as such. But our thoughts and actions must in no way be determined by the approval or disapproval of our time, but by the binding obligation to a truth which we have recognized. (Mein Kampf)

Hitler’s opponents, Churchill and Roosevelt, were party politicians, with the minds and souls of party politicians. Great, impersonal goals, just as truth, meant nothing at all to them. The only thing that counted was the approval or disapproval of their times: the outcome of the next election, a good press claque, votes. Only Stalin shared in any way Hitler’s disdain for approval; only Stalin was motivated to any degree by an impersonal idea. But the idea that Stalin served was the alien, destructive idea of Jewish Marxism. And while Hitler served the Life Force with the instincts of a seer, Stalin served Marxism with the instincts of a bureaucrat and a butcher. A comparison of careers leads us to a similar ranking of greatness of soul. Churchill and Roosevelt were born into the political establishment. They fed at the public trough for years, in one office after another, grabbing greedily at opportunities for a bigger serving of swill. But it was circumstance, not their own efforts, which thrust them onto the stage of world history.

Stalin hacked out his own niche in history to a much greater extent than his western allies, and he was an incomparably stronger man than either of them. He was tough, ruthless, infinitely cunning, and utterly determined to prevail, no matter what the obstacles. Even so, his struggle for prominence and power was entirely within the Bolshevik party and its predecessors. He was the consummate bureaucratic infighter, not the innovator or the lone pioneer.

Only Adolf Hitler started literally from nothing and through the exercise of a superhuman will created the physical basis for the realization of his vision. In 1918, recovering in a veterans’ hospital from a British poison-gas attack, he made the decision to enter politics in order to serve that vision. He was a 29-year-old invalid, with no money, no family, no friends or connections, no university education, and no experience. Liberals, Jews, and communists ruled his country, making him and all those to whom he might appeal for support outsiders.

Five and one-half years later he was sentenced to five years in prison for his political activity, and his enemies thought that was the end of him and his movement. But less than nine years after being sentenced he was Chancellor of Germany, with the strongest and most progressive nation in Europe at his command. He had built the National Socialist movement and led it to victory over the organized opposition of the entire Establishment: conservatives, liberals, communists, Jews, and Christians.

He then transformed Germany, lifting it out of its economic depression (while Americans, under Roosevelt, continued to line up at the soup kitchens), restoring its spirit (and much of the territory which had been taken from it by the victors of the First World War), stimulating its artistic and scientific creativity, and winning the admiration (or, in some cases, the envy and hatred) of other nations. It was an achievement hardly paralleled in the history of the world. Even those who do not understand the real significance of his creation must concede that.

And what was the real significance of Hitler’s work? One of his most earnest admirers in India, Savitri Devi, has given us a poetic answer to that question. She wrote:

In its essence, the National Socialist idea exceeds not only Germany and our times, but the Aryan race and mankind itself and any epoch… it ultimately expresses that mysterious and unfailing wisdom according to which Nature lives and creates: the impersonal wisdom of the primeval forest and of the ocean depth and of the spheres in the dark fields of space; and… it is Adolf Hitler’s glory not merely to have gone back to that divine wisdom—stigmatizing man’s silly infatuation for “intellect,” his childish pride in “progress,” and his criminal attempt to enslave Nature—but to have made it the basis of a practical regeneration policy of worldwide scope, precisely now, in our overcrowded, overcivilized, and technically overevolved world, at the very end of the dark age” (Savitri Devi, The Lightning and the Sun [National Socialist World No. 1, p. 61]).

More prosaically, Hitler’s work, in contrast to that of his contemporaries, was above politics, above economics, above nationalism. He had mobilized a powerful, modern state and placed it at the service of our race, so that our race might become fit to serve as an agent of the Life Force.

Perceptive and idealistic young men from every nation in Europe—and from many nations outside Europe as well—recognized this significance, and they flocked to serve him and to fight for his cause, even at the cost of censure and ostracism from their more parochial and narrowminded countrymen. There was never before an elite fighting force to match the SS, which by the end of the Second World War had more non-Germans than Germans in it.

The war, of course, is counted as Hitler’s great failure, even as the proof of his lack of greatness, by his detractors. It merely proves that he was a man, not a god, even if a divine will worked through him, and that he could not perform miracles. He could not defend himself forever, with the governments of nearly the whole world allied in a total war to pull him down and destroy his creation, so that they and the interests they served could return to “business as usual.” Even so, he gave a far better account of himself than any of his adversaries.

And what will count in the long run in determining Adolf Hitler’s stature is not whether he lost or won the war, but whether it was he or his adversaries who were on the side of the Life Force, whether it was he or they who served the cause of Truth and human progress. We only have to look around us today to know it was not they.

Sparta – IV

This specific chapter of Sparta and its Law has been moved: here.

If you want to read the book Sparta and its Law from the beginning, click: here.

Beyond evil and tyranny

The 2011 biography authored by R. H. S. Stolfi on Adolf Hitler mentions that Caesar perpetrated a genocide of whites in Gaul, something that I discussed in my previous post. Greg Johnson’s recent review of Stolfi’s biography merits reproduction below:


Russell Stolfi (1932–2012)

Adolf Hitler was clearly the man of the 20th century, whose shadow grows taller as the sun of the West sinks ever lower. Sadly, though, there is no biography worthy of Hitler.

If great men are those who leave their stamp on history, then Hitler was a great man. But great men present great problems for biographers. Great men are not necessarily good men, and even good men, when they hold political power, often find it necessary to kill innocent people. Evil men do not find this difficult, but good men do. Thus a good man, if he is to be a great man, must also be a hard man. But it is difficult for biographers, who are ordinary men, to sympathize with great men, especially men who are unusually bad or hard.

But biographers must at least try to enter imaginatively into the minds of their subjects. They must feel their feelings and think their thoughts. They must feel sympathy or empathy for their subjects. Such sympathy is not a violation of objectivity but a tool of it. It is a necessary counter-weight to the antipathy and ressentiment that hardness, cruelty, and greatness often inspire. Sympathy is necessary so a biographer can discover and articulate the virtues of intellect and character necessary to achieve anything great in this world, for good or ill.

Of course, one’s ability to sympathize with great men depends in large part on one’s moral principles. A Nietzschean or Social Darwinist would, for instance, find it easier to sympathize with a human beast of prey than would a Christian or a liberal democrat. Even so, it has been possible for Christians and liberals to write biographies of such great conquerors as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Mohammed, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon without whipping themselves into thousand-page paroxysms of self-righteous moralistic denigration.

Hitler, of course, provides even greater problems for biographers, because his demonization is a prop of contemporary Jewish hegemony, and there are consequences for any writer who challenges that consensus.

R. H. S. Stolfi’s Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny is one of my favorite books on Hitler. It is not a biography of Hitler, although it is organized chronologically. It is, rather, a kind of “meta-biography,” an essay on the interpretation of Hitler’s life. Stolfi’s project has both positive and negative aspects: Stolfi critiques the existing interpretations of Hitler’s life as a whole and of specific episodes in Hitler’s life, and Stolfi sets forth his own interpretations.

Stolfi’s criticism of Hitler biographies focuses on the work of those he calls the four “great biographers”: John Toland (Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, Alan Bullock (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny), Joachim Fest (Hitler), and Ian Kershaw (Hitler: 1889-1936, Hubris and Hitler: 1936-1945, Nemesis). In Stolfi’s words, “the penchant of [Hitler’s] biographers for gratuitous sarcasm, strained skepticism, and writing from preconceived heights of antipathy has left the world with a dangerously inaccurate portrait of Hitler” (p. 54). (Judging from the reception of David Irving’s Hitler’s War and The War Path, the existing establishment regards an accurate portrait of Hitler more dangerous than an inaccurate one.) Four examples of this bias will suffice:

(1) Ian Kershaw claims that outside of politics, Hitler was an “unperson,” a nullity, which completely ignores Hitler’s voracious reading, serious engagement with and understanding of philosophers like Schopenhauer, love of painting and fine art, remarkable architectural knowledge and skill, and love of classical music, including a connoisseur’s knowledge of the operas of Richard Wagner that impressed the Wagner family and other highly discerning individuals.

(2) Hitler’s biographers invariably denigrate his humble, common origins, coming off like parodies of the worst forms of social snobbery. But of course the same authors would wax sodden and treacly in describing any other man’s rise from poverty and obscurity to fame and fortune. Jesse Owens, for instance.

(3) Stolfi rebuts one of Joachim Fest’s most outrageous liberties as follows: “The great biographers all debunk Nazi theories of racial differences, which they characterize as pseudoscientific and based on unredeemed prejudice, yet one of them [Fest] could claim confidently, without hint of countervailing possibility, that the subject of his biography had ‘criminal features’ set in a ‘psychopathic face’” (p. 268).

(4) The great biographers regularly slight Hitler’s service as a soldier during the First World War, yet as Stolfi points out, Hitler won the Iron Cross First Class, the Iron Cross Second Class, and a regimental commendation for bravery. He was also seriously wounded twice. Hitler never spoke much about what he did to earn these commendations, partly out of his characteristic modesty and reserve, but also probably because he did not wish to relive painful experiences. But even this is twisted by his biographers to cast aspersions on Hitler’s bravery and character. Stolfi notes that with no other historical figure do biographers feel entitled to take such liberties.

Kershaw is the most tendentious of the great biographers, repeatedly characterizing Hitler as an “unperson,” a “nonentity,” a “mediocrity,” and a “failure.” These epithets must surely feel good to Kershaw and like-minded readers, but if they are true, then Hitler’s career is utterly incomprehensible. Stolfi is acerbic, witty, and tireless in skewering the great biographers—although some of his readers might find it tiresome as well.

In addition to offering fascinating interpretations of particular events, Stolfi argues for three overriding theses about Hitler: (1) Hitler cannot be understood as a politician but as a prophet, specifically a prophet forced to take on the role of a messiah; (2) Hitler cannot be understood as an evil man, but as a good man who was forced by circumstances and his own ruthless logic and unemotional “hardness” to do terrible things; and (3) Hitler must be understood as one of the great men of history, indeed as a world-historical figure, who cannot be grasped with conventional moral concepts.

Surely by now you are thinking that our author must be some sort of “discredited,” “marginal,” outsider historian like David Irving, or even a dreaded “revisionist.” So who was Russell Stolfi? Born in 1932, Stolfi is to all appearances an established, mainstream military historian. He was Professor at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a Colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve. He is the author of three other books: German Panzers on the Offensive: Russian Front–North Africa 1941-1942 (Schiffer Publishing, 2003), Hitler’s Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (University of Oklahoma, 1993), and NATO Under Attack: Why the Western Alliance Can Fight Outnumbered and Win in Central Europe Without Nuclear Weapons (with F. W. von Mellenthin, Duke University Press, 1983). I first read Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny in May of 2012, and I was so excited that I tried to contact Stolfi for an interview only to learn that he had just died in April.

Politician or Prophet?

Adolf Hitler was a formidable political organizer who took over a minuscule Bavarian debating club and turned it into the largest political party in Germany. After being imprisoned for an abortive Putsch, Hitler decided to attain power legally, through electoral politics. To that end, he virtually created the modern political campaign, traveling tirelessly by automobile and airplane and masterfully employing the mass media of his time. When he became Chancellor, Hitler proved a formidable statesman, transforming Germany with a virtually bloodless revolution and recovering German lands and pride through a series of deft foreign policy triumphs until the British and French started a World War to stop him.

Yet for all that, Stolfi argues that Hitler’s personality, goals, and grand strategy were more like those of a religious prophet, specifically an armed prophet like Mohammed.

Politicians presuppose a common political system and climate of opinion. They generally avoid contesting fundamental principles and instead deal with essentially quantitative differences within the same political and ideological continuum, hence their ability to compromise and their susceptibility to corruption. Stolfi points out again and again that Hitler refused to behave like a politician.

Hitler never compromised on basic principles. He took dangerously unpopular stands (p. 225). He refused to soften the party’s message to appeal to squeamish and lukewarm people. He was no demagogue: “A demagogue tells his audience what it wants to hear. A messiah tells his audience what he wants it to hear” (p. 248). Hitler never worried that his radical views would “discredit” him in the eyes of the public, whose minds were mostly in the grip of his enemies anyway. Instead, Hitler was supremely confident of his ability to lend credit to his ideas through reason and rhetoric. He wanted to elevate public opinion toward truth rather than condescend to pander to ignorance and folly.

Hitler also refused to enter common fronts with enemy parties, especially the Social Democrats, even when they took patriotic stands.

Hitler was, moreover, utterly incorruptible. He refused to make special promises to businessmen and other interest groups. He just handed them the party’s platform. In the end, he was offered the Chancellorship simply because his opponents knew he could not be bought off with anything less.

Revolutionaries deal with fundamental issues of principle, which is why they seek to overthrow existing systems and begin anew. Hitler was, of course, a political revolutionary. But he was something more. He saw himself as the exponent of a whole philosophy of life, not just a political philosophy. He placed politics in a larger biological and historical perspective: the struggle of Aryan man against Jewry and its extended phenotypes Communism and Anglo-Saxon capitalism. He believed the stakes were global: nothing less than the survival of all life on Earth was in peril. And having miraculously survived four years of slaughter and two serious wounds in the trenches of World War I—including an experience that can only be described as supernatural (p. 95)—Hitler believed that he enjoyed the special protection of Providence.

Hitler had a number of heroic role models. As a child, he was transported by Germanic myths and sagas. As a teenager, he identified with the hero of Wagner’s opera Rienzi, based on the story of Cola di Rienzi, the 14th century popular dictator who sought to restore Rome to its Imperial glory but who was undone by the treachery of the aristocracy and church and finally murdered. Hitler prophesied that he would become a tribune of the people who would rise and fall like Rienzi, and he did. Hitler also identified with Wagner’s Lohengrin and Siegfried. Although Hitler himself had little use for the Bible, his later career as armed prophet brings to mind the Hebrew prophets and lawgivers as well. Stolfi’s analogy between Hitler and Mohammed is quite apposite and revealing.

Savior of Germany – and Europe

Hitler, however, apparently did not think of himself as a messiah figure, but more as a John the Baptist, preparing the way for someone greater than him. But, as Stolfi documents, many of Hitler’s closest followers—all of them intelligent men, ranging from mystics like Hess to consummate cynics like Goebbels—as well as some of his more fair-minded enemies, did see him as a messiah figure, and in the end, he was forced to take on that role. Reading Stolfi makes Savitri Devi’s thesis in The Lightning and the Sun that Hitler was an avatar of the god Vishnu seem a little less eccentric. (Savitri did not originate that thesis. It was a view that she encountered widely among educated Hindus in the 1930s.) There was something messianic about Hitler’s aura and actions, and people around the world understood it in terms of their own cultural traditions.

Stolfi does not mention it, but there is a sense in which Hitler was the savior of Germany and all of Western Europe, although his accomplishments fell far short of his ambitions, consumed his life, and devastated his nation. When Hitler launched operation Barbarossa in 1941, the Soviets were poised to launch a massive invasion of all of Central and Western Europe. Hitler pre-empted that invasion, and although he failed to destroy the USSR, the Third Reich was destroyed instead, and Stalin conquered half of Europe, the outcome would have been much worse if Stalin had been able to launch his invasion. Stalin could have conquered all of Europe. At best he would have been repulsed after unimaginable devastation and bloodshed. Thus every Western European who has lived in freedom from want and terror since 1941 owes a debt of thanks to Adolf Hitler, the German people, and their Axis partners.

(See on this site [Counter Currents] Daniel Michaels, “Exposing Stalin’s Plan to Conquer Europe” and the National Vanguard review of Viktor Suvorov’s Icebreaker; for more recent literature on this subject, see Viktor Suvorov’s definitive statement of his research has been published as The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II [Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2008] and Joachim Hoffmann, Stalin’s War of Extermination, 1941-1945: Planning, Realization and Documentation [Capshaw, Al.: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2001].)

The Question of Evil

In today’s climate of moral relativism and rot, Adolf Hitler is probably the only human being that even liberals will denounce as evil. Hitler is the modern world’s paradigm and embodiment of evil. But of course other people can be evil if they are “like Hitler.” Thus the most radical thesis of Stolfi’s book is that Adolf Hitler was not evil.

There are many dimensions to this argument.

(1) Stolfi points out that there is no evidence that Hitler had psychopathic or sociopathic personality traits as a child. He did not torture animals or steal, for instance. He was polite, serious, and reserved.

(2) Stolfi also points out that Hitler was not primarily motivated by hate or ressentiment. He arrived at his two great enmities, namely against Jewry and Bolshevism, based on personal experience, current events, and extensive research. But when he was rationally convinced of their enormity, he naturally hated them with appropriate magnitude and intensity. As Stolfi writes, “It is difficult to imagine Hitler either as messiah or otherwise and not hating the enemy. Did Jesus the Christ or Mohammed the Prophet hate Satan or merely disapprove of him?” (p. 233).

(3) Calling Hitler evil, like calling him “crazy,” is mentally lazy, because it exempts us from trying to understand the reasons for Hitler’s actions: both his thought processes and objective events that prompted him to act. Hitler had his reasons.

(4) Stolfi argues that Hitler’s character, goals, and actions were not evil. Hitler did what he thought was right, and he was hard enough to spill oceans of blood if he thought it was necessary to advance the greater good. A Socratic, of course, would claim that it is an empty claim, as nobody does evil as such but only under the guise of a perceived good. The evil of an act is in its outcome, not its motive. We all “mean well.”

(5) Stolfi hints that Hitler may have, in a sense, been beyond good and evil, because his goal was nothing less than the creation of a new order, including a new moral order, and it begs the question to subject such men to the moral laws they seek to overthrow. This points us back to Stolfi’s thesis that Hitler has to be seen more as a religious than a political figure and forward to his third major thesis, that Hitler was a world-historical individual.

Russell Stolfi deals with a number of episodes in Hitler’s life that are adduced as evidence of evil. Stolfi argues that some of these acts are not evil at all. He others that others were necessary or mitigated evils. And he claims that still others were no more evil than the actions of other great men of history who nevertheless manage to receive respectful treatment from biographers. Finally, Stolfi argues that all of these acts, even the evil ones, do not necessarily make Hitler an evil man, for even good men can commit horrific acts if they believe they are necessary to promote a greater good.

(1) Stolfi argues that Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch and other violations of the laws of the Weimar Republic are somewhat softened by the fact that he believed that the Weimar Republic was an illegitimate and criminal regime. Hitler’s early attempts to defy it and replace it are not, therefore, “evil,” unless all acts of disobedience and revolution against governments as such are evil. In any case, after his release from prison, Hitler adopted a policy of strict legality: he pursued the Chancellorship through electoral politics, and he won.

(2) Stolfi argues that the creation of the Sturm Abteilungen (Storm Troops) was not motivated by a desire to violently intimidate political opponents and seize power. Instead, the SA was formed in self-defense against organized Communist efforts to violently intimidate political opponents and seize power, violence that had effectively suppressed the ability of all Right-wing parties to assemble. The SA did not merely assure the NSDAP’s freedom to assemble and organize, it broke the Red terror and restored political freedom to all parties.

(3) Stolfi argues that the Röhm purge was necessary because there was ample evidence that Röhm himself was plotting a coup, and, true or not, Hindenburg, the leaders of the military, and Hitler’s top lieutenants all believed it to be true. Hindenburg threatened to declare martial law and have the army deal with Röhm if Hitler would not. Hitler had to act, because if he didn’t, he would be effectively deposed: he would be abdicating the sovereign function to decide and act for the good of the people to Hindenburg and the army. Even so, Hitler temporized to the last possible moment.

Stolfi claims that Röhm’s death was a kind of apotheosis for Hitler: “By June 1934, Hitler stood poised to pass beyond friendship with any man into the realm of the lonely, distant Leader. But Hitler could never pass into that realm with Röhm alive and serving as a reminder of Hitler’s own historical mortality. Röhm had to die, and Hitler had to kill him” (p. 306). But this was not, of course, Hitler’s motive for killing him.

Ultimately, Stolfi judges Röhm’s death to be politically necessary and morally excusable. He describes it not as a cool, premeditated murder but as a “crime of passion” of a man faced with the infidelity of a sworn confidant (p. 309). Of course, the Röhm purge was the occasion for settling a number of other old scores, which complicates Stolfi’s moral picture considerably.

(4) Stolfi evidently thinks there was nothing evil at all about Hitler’s assumption of dictatorial powers—through a provision in the Weimar constitution—or his suppression of a political movement as destructive and implacable as Marxism. But he praises the relative bloodlessness of Hitler’s legal revolution.

(5) As for the concentration camps off to which Hitler packed the leaders of the Marxist parties and other subversive groups: in 1935, when the German population stood at 65 million, the concentration camp inmates numbered 3,500, most of them Communists and Social Democrats. The camp system and its mandate were expanded to house people in protective custody for being social nuisances, including beggars, drunks, homosexuals (homosexuality was criminalized under the Second Reich, remained criminalized under Weimar, and was criminalized in the liberal democracies too), gypsies, and habitual criminals—by 1939 there were 10 camps with 25,000 inmates in a country of 80 million people. That doesn’t seem quite as evil as it was cracked up to be. Furthermore, since Himmler and Heydrich certainly did not lack persecuting zeal and organizational skill, we can conclude that the camp system was exactly as big as they thought it should be.

To give some context, according to Wikipedia—where statistics about Soviet atrocities tend to be on the low end due to Marxist policing—in March of 1940, the Soviet Gulag comprised 53 separate camps and 423 labor colonies in which approximately 1.3 million people were interned out of a population of 170 million. Whatever the real size, it was exactly as big as Stalin wanted it to be.

Although I have not been able to find records of similar forms of internment in liberal democracies for political dissidents and social nuisances, these surely did take place. But even in the absence of these numbers, it seems clear that Hitler’s camps were far more similar to the prisons of liberal democracies than the Soviet Gulag to which they are always likened.

Of course, these were peacetime numbers. Under the exigencies of war, Hitler’s camp system expanded dramatically to house hostile populations, prisoners of war, and conscript laborers, which is another topic.

(6) Hitler’s anti-Semitism is often put forward as evidence of evil. Hitler himself thought that certain forms of anti-Semitism were repugnant if not outright evil: religious anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism based on ressentiment, gutter populist scapegoating, etc. His repugnance for such phenomena prejudiced him against anti-Semitism as such. But his personal experiences in Vienna, combined with serious reading eventually led him to a dispassionate, scientifically based, and historically informed anti-Semitism.

When Hitler took power, Germany had a relatively small Jewish population. His basic policy was to prevent any further German-Jewish genetic admixture, remove Jews from positions of power and influence, and encourage Jews to emigrate. By the outbreak of the Polish war, Germany’s Jewish population had been dramatically reduced. But due to Hitler’s war gains, millions of new Jews fell into his remit. More about this anon. Stolfi is somewhat circumspect in passing judgment about Hitler’s peacetime Jewish policy. But we can safely say that it was no more evil than, say, the British treatment of Boer non-combatants or the American treatment of the Plains Indians.

(7) Regarding Hitler’s foreign policy exploits as Chancellor—including rearmament, pulling out of the League of Nations, remilitarizing the Rhineland, the annexation of the Sudetenland and Austria, the annexation of Bohemia, and the war with Poland—Stolfi writes, “every international crisis that involved Hitler in the 1930s stemmed from an iniquity on the part of the Allies in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919” (p. 316). According to Stolfi, in all of these crises, morality was on Hitler’s side, and he lauds Hitler for conducting them with restraint and relative bloodlessness—at least up until the Polish war.

These were hardly the outrageous, unendurable moral provocations of Allied propaganda that justified Britain and France starting a World War because Hitler, having exhausted diplomatic negotiations, started a war with Poland to recover German lands and peoples subjected to horrific Polish oppression. The British and French simply could not grasp that, in Stolfi’s words, “a world-historical personality had marched, outraged, out of the desert of shattered Flanders fields, and the former Allies had not even superior morality to shield themselves from him” (p. 317).

(8) Stolfi interprets Operation Barbarossa against the USSR as a colonial war of conquest as well as a crusade to rid Europe of the scourge of Bolshevism. From an ethnonationalist perspective, of course, Hitler’s aim to reduce Slavs to colonized peoples was evil. Furthermore, it was more evil than British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, American, and Russian imperialism directed at non-European peoples, because it is always worse to mistreat one’s own blood than foreigners. But it was certainly not uniquely evil in the annals of human history. If Genghis Khan and Timur the Lame can be the subjects of objective historical assessments, then Barbarossa does not disqualify Hitler.

Stolfi does not treat Barbarossa as a necessary war to preempt Stalin’s planned invasion of Europe. I wanted to ask Stolfi his thoughts about the thesis defended by Viktor Suvorov and Joachim Hoffmann in an interview, but that was not to be. If they are right, of course, then there was no evil at all in launching Barbarossa, although one can justly criticize the excesses of its execution.

(9) According to Stolfi, Hitler’s darkest deeds are the massacre of 3.1 million Soviet POWs captured in the opening months of Barbarossa and the killing of 4.5 million Jews in what is known as the Holocaust. Stolfi is certainly a Hitler revisionist, but I do not know whether he is a Holocaust revisionist or not, since I am unsure if it is legal for him to think that “only” 4.5 million Jews were killed by the Third Reich. I had not even heard of the 3.1 million Soviet POWs, which Stolfi mentions only a couple of times in passing. But of course I have heard of the Holocaust, to which Stolfi dedicates the last two paragraphs of the book (pp. 461-62). Such a brief treatment may itself constitute revisionism, at least in France, where Jean-Marie Le Pen was fined for saying that the Holocaust was only a footnote to the Second World War. Given that some footnotes are longer than the paragraphs in question, Stolfi might have gotten in trouble in the land of liberté. Stolfi’s treatment, however, is a welcome corrective to the Jewish tendency to treat World War II as merely the backdrop of the Holocaust.

Of course, just as Hitler is our age’s paradigm of an evil man, the Holocaust is the paradigm of an evil event. Stolfi does not dispute that the massacre of 7.6 million people is evil. But he does not think it is uniquely evil in World War II or the annals of history in general. Winston Churchill, for example, was responsible for the starvation of millions of Indians whose food was seized for the war effort. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of German non-combatants in strategically unnecessary terror bombings of German cities. He was responsible for the expulsion of 14 million Germans from their homes in Eastern and Central Europe, up to two million of whom died. Was Churchill evil? His apologists, of course, would argue that his actions were necessitated by the exigencies of war and the pursuit of the greater good. But Hitler’s apologists, if there were any, could argue the very same thing and be done with it. If Churchill, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Julius Caesar, and other members of the Million Murder club can receive fair treatment in a biography, then why not Hitler?

Stolfi compares the Holocaust to Julius Caesar’s ten year conquest of Gaul, in which he killed more than a million armed men and reduced another million to slavery. One million civilian non-combatants were also killed or reduced to slavery. Some particularly troublesome tribes were entirely exterminated because they were “irreconcilable, menacing, and useless either as allies or slaves” (p. 38). Stolfi points out, however, that Caesar’s acts “revealed harshness of almost incredible proportion,” but his acts were “based on realism and prudence in the face of perceived danger—scarcely sadism and cruelty” (p. 38). Likewise, Stolfi argues that “Hitler took the action of pitiless massacre as a last resort in the face of a perceived irreconcilable enemy” and his actions “showed virtually nothing that can be interpreted as sadism, cruelty, or ingrained hate as opposed to temporary fury in the carrying out of the action” (p. 39).

Hitler’s massacres, terrible though they may be, do not prove that he is an evil man, since even good men might resort to such measures in direst extremity. Moreover, even if they were expressions of evil, they were not unique expressions of unique evil but all too common in the annals of history. But, again, only in Hitler’s case are they treated as insuperable objections to serious historical treatment.

In sum, Stolfi argues that Hitler cannot be seen as evil if that means that he was motivated by sadism, psychopathy, hatred, or a neurotic need for power and attention. Instead, Hitler was motivated, first and foremost, by love of his people, beyond which were wider but less pressing concerns with the larger Aryan race, European civilization, and the welfare of the world as a whole. Because Hitler believed that the things he loved were imperiled by Jewry, Bolshevism, and Anglo-Saxon capitalism, he fought them. And when the fight became a world conflagration, he fought them with a remarkable hardness and severity. But his essentially decent character and positive ends remained unchanged. Thus for Stolfi, Hitler is a good man who did some bad things as well as good things—a good man who made many good decisions and some catastrophic mistakes.

A Dark World Historical Personality

But there is a sense in which Stolfi thinks that Hitler is beyond the very categories of good and evil, at least as far as historians should be concerned. Stolfi argues that Hitler was a great man, like such great conquerors as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon. (Stolfi makes scant mention of unarmed prophets like the Buddha or Jesus.) According to Stolfi, if one were to freeze Hitler’s life at the end of 1942, he would have to be considered one of history’s greatest statesmen and conquerors. And even if one plays the film all the way to the end, Stolfi argues that the Allies did not win World War II so much as Hitler lost it, which itself underscores his greatness and the relative nullity of his opponents.

Indeed, Stolfi argues that Hitler was more than just a great man but one of Hegel’s “world-historical individuals,” who inaugurates a new stage in human history and cannot be judged or comprehended by the standards of the previous stage. Stolfi, it seems, detaches this concept from Hegel’s overall view that world-historical individuals advance history toward the Providential goal of universal freedom, a goal that Hitler, of course, rejected in favor of particularisms of race and nation. Sadly, though, Hitler may have advanced the universalist agenda in defeat, through no intention of his own.

But, as another prophetic figure once said of World War II, “the war’s not over as far as I’m concerned,” meaning that history is still unfolding, including the consequences of Hitler’s actions. So it remains to be seen whether Hitler will contribute to the victory or defeat of universalism. If racial nationalism—of which Hitler is an inexpugnable part—defeats the drive toward a homogeneous global society, then Hitler would be a world historical figure of an entirely new order: not an agent of “progress,” but of its termination; the man who ended the “end of history” and started the world anew; the man who took the ascending line of progress and inscribed it within a cyclical view of history, whether interpreted in the widely variant Traditionalist or Spenglerian senses.

Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny is a remarkable book that I recommend to all my readers. Stolfi executes his audacious project with clarity and dry humor. Sometimes Stolfi seems to go a bit too far, perhaps just to test his dialectical skills. For instance, he even defends Hitler as a painter. He does a surprisingly good job, but I will still not budge from my conviction that Winston Churchill was Hitler’s superior in this—and only this—regard.

This book is even more remarkable because it is the work of a mainstream military historian, and it clears the way for other genuinely historical studies of Hitler and the Third Reich. This really is an inevitable development as the generations that lived through the war die off. Furthermore, we are now living in a multipolar world with new rising powers—Russia, China, India—that are free of Jewish cultural and political hegemony and hungry for a genuine understanding of Hitler and the Second World War.

White Nationalists should especially welcome Stolfi’s book because it works to dispel the cloud of moral hysteria and denigration that surrounds Hitler, taking some of the sting out of the inevitable accusation that we are “just like Hitler,” which turns out to be an undeserved compliment.

Original source: here and here

Why Hitlerism should be our new religion

The recent blog wars of nationalists vs. counter-jihadists was so engrossing that I interrupted the reading of a piece by Savitri Devi (photo below), “The Religion of the Strong” that reminded me a Counter-Currents featured article by William Pierce, republished also in this blog under the title “God and White Nationalism.”

Finally, today I had a little time to finish my reading. Devi wrote (no ellipsis added between unquoted excerpts):

You who exalt the image of the solitary rock, free yourself from two deadly superstitions: the search for “happiness” and concern for “humanity”.

Attach yourself to the essential—to the eternal. And never worry about happiness. He who has the Word, father of thought, and who, far from putting it in service of the essential, wastes it in the search for personal satisfactions, he is not Strong; he is not an aristocrat in the deep sense of the word, but petty, an egoist and a coward, an object of disgust in the eyes of the natural élite.

All society, all “civilization” is marked by the seal of the Powers of Decadence, a civilization of the Dark Age. If you are obliged to suffer it, suffer it by unceasingly opposing it, denouncing it, combating it every minute of your life.

It is, however, true that—beyond a certain degree of mixing of races and cultures and conditioning on a vast scale, thanks to all the modern means of communication—people end up resembling each other strangely, psychically if not physically, a uniformity of grayness, a kind of manufactured homogeneity—desired by those who control the masses; a uniformity which reveals only the deterioration of a society that has definitively turned its back on the eternal—in other words: a damned society.

But one can still sometimes discover an exceptional individual within such a society, an individual who disdains the ethnic chaos that he sees around him and of which he is perhaps himself a product.

As for the enemy, fight him with all the ardor of your heart. It is not necessary to hate him. He follows his nature and achieves his destiny while being opposed to the eternal values. Fight him, and by all means, without respite and weakness. For he is your absolute opposite.

Any true religion is a path open to those who tend towards the eternal, consciously or not. And there is no true religion without ritual.

One almost can define a decadent age simply by saying that it is an age when traditional doctrines, that is to say, those that raise the faithful to the contemplation of the eternal, cease to interest men, except for a negligible minority.

In order for a Weltanschauung, a vision of the Universe, a “philosophy,” once infused with the magic of ritual, to become the basis of a true religion, it is necessary not only that it contain no internal contradictions, but also that its fundamental propositions are true, not relatively but absolutely.

A false religion in our age, the case with Marxism, adopted by Lenin as the foundation of the proletarian State, is based on flagrant untruths: on the assertion that man is nothing more than what his economic milieu makes of him; on the negation of the role of heredity, therefore of race; on the negation of the role of superior personalities.

Among the doctrines of the twentieth century called political, I know of only one that meets the condition sine qua non to be used as the basis of a true religion, namely, that it rests on eternal truths. Only one, I say, and I speak of the true Aryan racism, in other words, Hitlerism.

In a passage of his novel The Seven Colors, Robert Brasillach describes the consecration ceremony for the new flags of the Third Reich at one of the great annual meetings at Nuremberg, at which he himself was present. After the imposing procession of all the organizations dependent upon or attached to the National Socialist Party, the Führer solemnly advanced under the eyes of five hundred thousand spectators crowded on the steps of the immense stadium, on which reigned an absolute silence. One after another, he raised the new banners and put them in contact with the “Blood Flag”: the standard that his earliest disciples had carried during the Putsch of 9 November 1923 and to which the blood of the Sixteen who fell this day had given a sacred character. In this way, each flag became similar to that one; “charged” like it with a mystical fluid by participation in the sacrifice of the Sixteen. And the French writer remarks, quite justly, that he whom the religious meaning of this act escapes “does not understand anything of Hitlerism.” He emphasizes, in other words, that this act is a ritual.

But this ritual, to which many others can be added, would never have sufficed to give Hitlerism the character of a religion, if it had not already been a more-than-political doctrine: a Weltanschauung. And above all, it would have been unable to make it a true religion, if, at the base of this Weltanschauung, there had not been eternal truths and a whole attitude which was not (and does not remain), in last analysis, anything other than the quest for the eternal even in what changes—the traditional attitude par excellence.

These words may seem strange in 1969, more than twenty-four years after the defeat of Hitler’s Germany on the battlefield and the collapse of its political structure. They can seem strange, now that one would seek in vain, in the whole geographical region covered by the Third Reich, a visible sign of the resurgence of National Socialism such as the Führer intended it, and that the majority of the organizations which, beyond the old frontiers of the Reich, claim they would rescue the condemned Movement, are just pale imitations without heart, or just lamentable caricatures.

It is correct that Hitlerians had been vanquished on all fronts in 1945; it is correct that the Third German Reich was dismembered; that the National Socialist party does not exist anymore; that in Germany and elsewhere there are no more Swastika flags in the windows, no streets bearing the name of the Führer, no publications of any kind that honor his memory. It is correct that thousands of Germans learned how to scorn or hate He whom their parents had acclaimed, and that millions are no more interested in him and his teaching than if he had never lived. Yet it remains no less true that the essence of the Hitlerian doctrine is the very expression of eternal laws; the laws that govern not only man, but life; which represent, as I wrote in a book in the German language, “the wisdom of the starry heaven,” and that the choice posed to the world is, consequently, the same after 1945 as before. It is the acceptance of this more than human wisdom, it is this accord with the spirit of the Nature, which Hitlerism implies, or disintegration, ethnic chaos, the degeneration of man—separation from the Heart of the cosmos; damnation. It is—and the words are again mine—“Hitler or hell.”

People of our planet seem to have chosen hell. It is what a declining humanity invariably does. It is the very sign that we are completely in what the Hindu tradition calls the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age.

But the ages follow one another. The laws that regulate their succession remain.

A doctrine like Hitlerism, whose spirit and application in this world can only go against the current of our time [contrasts with] the religions “of extinction,” as I call them—such as Buddhism, Jainism, and later Catharism—guide the lost and the desperate for whom the absence of hope is suffering, people broken or rejected by the fight without end and who aspire to “leave it.” The doctrines that preach action in detachment and enthusiasm without hope are addressed to the Strong.

Hitlerism considered in its essence, i.e., stripped of all that attaches it to the political and economic contingencies of a particular time, is the religion of the Strong of the Aryan race, as opposed to a world in decline; a world of ethnic chaos.

When will one see in Germany monuments, if not “temples,” to the glory of all those Germans hung from 6 October 1946 and after, up to 7 June 1951, for having been faithful to their faith, which is also ours, and having done their duty?

The Führer said to each of his compatriots: “You are nothing; your people is all.” Only he who is of Germanic blood can be a member of the (German) people. From whence it follows that no Jew can be a citizen of the (German) State”

It is a return, pure and simple, to the ancient conception of the people: of the German conception, certainly, but also the Greek, that of the Romans before the Empire, with that of all peoples, or almost all. It is the negation of the Roman attitude of the centuries of decadence, which allowed any inhabitant of the Empire, any subject of the Emperor, to become a “Roman citizen,” be he Jewish, like Paul of Tarsus or Flavius Josephus, or Arab, like the Emperor Philip—and, later, it sufficed to be “Christian,” and of the same Church as the Emperor to be an Byzantine “citizen,” able to reach the highest offices. It is the negation of the ideas of the “people” and the “citizen” such as presented by the French Revolution at the moment when, at the suggestion of the Abbé Grégoire and others as well, the Constituent Assembly proclaimed “French” all the Jews residing in France and speaking French.

In other words, if a people is an historical and social reality, if its common memories, glorious and painful, common habits and, in general, common language, are factors of cohesion among its members, it is also more than that. It is part of a great race. It is an Aryan or Mongoloid people, an Australoid, Negro, or Semitic people. It can, without ceasing to be a true people, contain a more or less large proportion of different sub-races, provided that these are all part of the great race to which it belongs. (The Führer himself was physically as “Alpine” as he was Nordic, and perhaps more. The brilliant and faithful Goebbels was almost purely Mediterranean. And they are not the only greater Germans or the only personages in the first rank of the Third Reich not to be one hundred percent Nordic.)

If one admits, as I would readily, that “the Divine sleeps in the stone, wakes up in the plant, feels in the animal, and thinks in the man” Hitlerism represents, in the midst of ethnic chaos, in the midst of an epoch of the world’s physical and moral decline, the supreme effort to bring the thinking Aryan back to respect for the cosmic order as it is affirmed in the laws of development.


My two cents:

But how could Hitlerism be our new religion in the West’s darkest hour? Tip: focus Northwest.

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm  Comments (5)  
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