Racial policy of Nazi Germany

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Eva Justin of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit measuring the skull of a Romani woman. Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1986-044-08, Stein-Pfalz, Eva Justin bei Schadelmessung.jpg
Eva Justin of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit measuring the skull of a Romani woman.

The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented in Nazi Germany (1933–45) based on a specific racist doctrine asserting the superiority of the Aryan race, which claimed scientific legitimacy. This was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by compulsory sterilization and extermination of those who they saw as Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), which culminated in the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Nazism and race Racist foundations of Nazism

Nazism and race concerns the Nazi Party's adoption and further development of several hypotheses concerning their concept of race. Classifications of human races were made and various measurements of population samples were carried out during the 1930s.

The Aryan race is a racial grouping that emerged in the period of the late 19th century and mid-20th century to describe people of Indo-European heritage.

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Nazi policies labeled centuries-long residents in German territory who were not ethnic Germans such as Jews (understood in Nazi racial theory as a "Semitic" people of Levantine origins), Romanis (also known as Gypsies, an "Indo-Aryan" people of Indian Subcontinent origins), along with the vast majority of Slavs (mainly ethnic Poles, Serbs, Russians etc.), and most non-Europeans as inferior non-Aryan subhumans (i.e. non-Nordics, under the Nazi appropriation of the term "Aryan") in a racial hierarchy that placed the Herrenvolk ("master race") of the Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community") at the top. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Jews ancient nation and ethnoreligious group from the Levant

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Semitic people group of people, culture and languages in Middle East

Semites, Semitic people or Semitic cultures was a term for an ethnic, cultural or racial group who speak or spoke the Semitic languages.

Levant geographic and cultural region consisting of the eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia and Egypt

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.

Basis of Nazi policies and constitution of the Aryan Master Race

Bruno Beger conducting anthropometric studies in Sikkim. Bundesarchiv Bild 135-KB-15-083, Tibetexpediton, Anthropometrische Untersuchungen.jpg
Bruno Beger conducting anthropometric studies in Sikkim.

The Aryan Master Race conceived by the Nazis graded humans on a scale of pure Aryans to non-Aryans (who were viewed as subhumans). [8] At the top of the scale of pure Aryans were Germans and other Germanic peoples, including the Dutch, Scandinavians, and the English. [8] Latins were held to be somewhat inferior, but were tolerated; the Italians and the French were thought to have a suitable admixture of Germanic blood. [9]

<i>Untermensch</i> German word meaning "subhuman"; used by Nazi Germany

Untermensch is a term that became infamous when the Nazis used it to describe non-Aryan "inferior people" often referred to as "the masses from the East", that is Jews, Roma, and Slavs – mainly ethnic Poles, Serbs, and later also Russians. The term was also applied to Blacks, and persons of color. Jewish people were to be exterminated in the Holocaust, along with Romani people, and the physically and mentally disabled. According to the Generalplan Ost, the Slavic population of East-Central Europe was to be reduced in part through mass murder in the Holocaust, with a majority expelled to Asia and used as slave labor in the Reich. These concepts were an important part of the Nazi racial policy.

Germanic peoples peoples who are, or are related to, native speakers of a Germanic language

The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Northern European origin identified by their use of the Germanic languages. Their history stretches from the 2nd millennium BCE up to the present day.

Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place.

The feeling that Germans were the Aryan Herrenvolk (Aryan master race) was widely spread among the German public through Nazi propaganda and among Nazi officials throughout the ranks, in particular when Reichskommissariat Ukraine Erich Koch said:

Reichskommissariat Ukraine Ukraine occupied by Germany during the Second World War

During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine was the civilian occupation regime (Reichskommissariat) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine. Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat was administered by Erich Koch as the Reichskommissar. The administration's tasks included the pacification of the region and the exploitation, for German benefit, of its resources and people. Adolf Hitler issued a Führer Decree defining the administration of the newly occupied Eastern territories on 17 July 1941.

Erich Koch Nazi leader, war criminal, art collector

Erich Koch was a Gauleiter of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in East Prussia from 1928 until 1945. Between 1941 and 1945 he was Chief of Civil Administration of Bezirk Bialystok. During this period, he was also the Reichskommissar in Reichskommissariat Ukraine from 1941 until 1944. After the Second World War, Koch stood trial in Poland and was convicted in 1959 of war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment a year later.

We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.

Erich Koch, 5 March 1943, [10]

The Nazis considered the Slavs as Non-Aryan Untermenschen ("sub-humans") who were to be enslaved and exterminated by Germans. [4] Slavic nations such as the Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians and Croats who collaborated with Nazi Germany were still being perceived as not racially "pure" enough to reach the status of Germanic peoples, yet they were eventually considered ethnically better than the rest of the Slavs, mostly due to pseudoscientific theories about these nations having a considerable admixture of Germanic blood. [11] In countries where these people lived, there were according to Nazis small groups of non-Slavic German descendants. These people underwent a "racial selection" process to determine whether or not they were "racially valuable", if the individual passed they would be re-Germanised and forcefully taken from their families in order to be raised as Germans. [12] [13] [14] This secret plan Generalplan Ost ("Master Plan East") aimed at expulsion, enslavement and extermination of most Slavic people. Nazi policy towards them changed during World War II as a pragmatic means to resolve military manpower shortages: they were allowed, with certain restrictions, to serve in the Waffen-SS, in spite of being considered subhumans. [14] Nazi propaganda portrayed people in Eastern Europe with an Asiatic appearance to be the result of intermingling between the native Slavic populations and Asiatic or Mongolian races as sub-humans dominated by the Jews with the help of Bolshevism. [15] At the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans were Jews, ethnic Poles, ethnic Serbs and other Slavic people, Romani, and black people. [16] The Nazis originally sought to rid the German state of Jews and Romani by means of deportation (and later extermination), while blacks were to be segregated and eventually eliminated through compulsory sterilization. [16] [17]

Slavs Indo-European ethno-linguistic group living in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia

Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic linguistic group. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe all the way north and eastwards to Northeast Europe, Northern Asia (Siberia), the Caucasus, and Central Asia as well as historically in Western Europe and Western Asia. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit the majority of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Today, there is a large Slavic diaspora throughout North America, particularly in the United States and Canada as a result of immigration.

Germanisation is the spread of the German language, people and culture. It was a central plank of German conservative thinking in the 19th and 20th centuries, during a period when conservatism and Ethno-nationalism went hand-in-hand. In linguistics, Germanisation also occurs when a word from the German language is adopted into a foreign language.

<i>Generalplan Ost</i> Nazi racial plan of enslavement and genocide of Slavic people living in Eastern Europe

The Generalplan Ost, abbreviated as GPO, was the Nazi German government's plan for the genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale, and colonization of Central and Eastern Europe by Germans. It was to be undertaken in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. The plan was partially realized during the war, resulting directly and indirectly in the deaths of 9.4 to 11.4 million ethnic Slavs by starvation, disease, execution or extermination through labor, including 4.5 million Soviet citizens, 2.8 to 3.3 million Soviet POWs, 1.8 to 3 million Slavic Poles, 300 to 600 thousand Serbs and 20 to 25 thousand Slovenes. Its full implementation, however, was not considered practicable during the major military operations, and was prevented by Germany's defeat.

Volkisch theorists believed that Germany's Teutonic ancestors had spread out from Germany throughout Europe. [18] Of the Germanic tribes that spread through Europe, the theorists identified that the Burgundians, Franks, and Western Goths joined with the Gauls to make France; the Lombards moved south and joined with the Italians; the Jutes made Denmark; the Angles and Saxons made England; the Flemings made Belgium; and other tribes made the Netherlands. [18]

Burgundians historical ethnical group

The Burgundians were a large East Germanic tribe or group of tribes that lived in the area of what is now Poland in the time of the Roman Empire.

Franks people

The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.

Gauls Celtic inhabitants of a large part of Europe called Gaul, before the Roman domination

The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of West-Central Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period. The area they inhabited was known as Gaul. Their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages.

Nazi racial beliefs of the superiority of an Aryan master race arose from earlier proponents of a supremacist conception of race such as the French novelist and diplomat Arthur de Gobineau, who published a four-volume work titled An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (translated into German in 1897). [19] Gobineau proposed that the Aryan race was superior, and urged the preservation of its cultural and racial purity. [20] Gobineau later came to use and reserve the term Aryan only for the "German race" and described the Aryans as 'la race germanique'. [21] By doing so he presented a racist theory in which Aryans–that is Germans–were all that was positive. [22] Houston Stewart Chamberlain's work The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1900), one of the first to combine Social Darwinism with antisemitism, describes history as a struggle for survival between the Germanic peoples and the Jews, whom he characterized as an inferior and dangerous group. [23] The two-volume book Foundations of Human Hereditary Teaching and Racial Hygiene (1920–21) by Eugen Fischer, Erwin Baur, and Fritz Lenz, used pseudoscientific studies to conclude that the Germans were superior to the Jews intellectually and physically, and recommended eugenics as a solution. [24] Madison Grant's work The Passing of the Great Race (1916) advocated Nordicism and proposed using a eugenic program to preserve the Nordic race. After reading the book, Hitler called it "my Bible". [25]

Racist author and Nordic supremacist [26] Hans F. K. Günther who influenced Nazi ideology, wrote in his "Race Lore of German People"(Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes) about the danger of "Slavic blood of Eastern race" mixing with the German [27] and combined virulent nationalism with anti-semitism. [28] Günther became an epitome of corrupt and politicized pseudo-science in post-war Germany [29] Among the topics of his research were attempts to prove that Jewish people had an unpleasant "hereditary smell". [30] While one of the most prominent Nazi writers, Günther still wasn't considered the most "cutting edge" by Nazis. [31]

The July 1933 Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring – written by Ernst Rüdin and other theorists of "racial hygiene" – established "Genetic Health Courts" which decided on compulsory sterilization of "any person suffering from a hereditary disease." These included, for the Nazis, those suffering from "Congenital Mental Deficiency", schizophrenia, "Manic-Depressive Insanity", "Hereditary Epilepsy", "Hereditary Chorea" (Huntington's), Hereditary Blindness, Hereditary Deafness, "any severe hereditary deformity", as well as "any person suffering from severe alcoholism". [32] Further modifications of the law enforced sterilization of the "Rhineland bastards" (children of mixed German and African parentage).

The Nazi Party wanted to increase birthrates of those who were classified as racially elite. When the Party gained power in 1933, one of their first actions was to pass the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage. This law stated that all newly married couples of the Aryan race could receive a government loan. This loan was not simply paid back, rather a portion of it would be forgiven after the birth of each child. The purpose of this law was very clear and simple: to encourage newlyweds to have as many children as they could, so that the Aryan population would grow. [33]

Racial policies regarding the Jews, 1933–1940

Public reading of Julius Streicher's anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer, Worms, Germany, 1935 Bundesarchiv Bild 133-075, Worms, Antisemitische Presse, "Sturmerkasten".jpg
Public reading of Julius Streicher's anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer , Worms, Germany, 1935

There were approximately 525,000 Jewish people living in Germany in 1933 (0.75% of the total German population). [34] Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the national seizure of power in 1933. [35] The Nazi Party used populist antisemitic views to gain votes. Using the "stab-in-the-back legend", they blamed poverty, the Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic, unemployment, and the loss of World War I and surrender by the "November Criminals" all on the Jews and "cultural Bolsheviks", the latter considered to be in a conspiracy with the Jews. German woes were attributed to the effects of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933, persecution of the Jews became active Nazi policy. This was at first hindered by the lack of agreement on who qualified as a Jew as opposed to an Aryan; this caused legislators to balk at an antisemitic law for its ill-defined terms. [36] Bernhard Lösener described it "total chaos", with local authorities regarding anything from full Jewish background to 18 Jewish blood as defining a Jew; Achim Gercke urged 116 Jewish blood. [37] Those of mixed descent ( Mischlinge ) were especially problematic in their eyes. [38] The first antisemitic law was promulgated with no clear definition of a Jew. [39] Finally, the criterion was set at three or four Jewish grandparents; two or one rendered a person a Mischling. [40]

On April 1, 1933, the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses was observed throughout Germany. Only six days later, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed, banning Jews from government jobs. It is notable that the proponents of this law, and the several thousand more that were to follow, most frequently explained them as necessary to prevent the infiltration of damaging, "alien-type" (Artfremd) hereditary traits into the German national or racial community (Volksgemeinschaft). [41] These laws meant that Jews were now indirectly and directly dissuaded or banned from privileged and superior positions reserved for "Aryan Germans". From then on, Jews were forced to work in more menial positions, becoming second-class citizens or to the point that they were "illegally residing" in Nazi Germany.

In the early years of Nazi rule, there were efforts to secure the elimination of Jews by expulsion; later, a more explicit commitment was made to extermination. On August 25, 1933, the Nazis signed the Haavara Agreement with Zionists to allow German Jews to emigrate to Palestine in exchange for a portion of their economic assets. The agreement offered a way to leave an increasingly hostile environment in Nazi Germany; by 1939, 60,000 German Jews (about 10% of the Jewish population) had emigrated there. Thereafter, Nazi policy eventually changed to one of total extermination. Nazi doctrine culminated in the Holocaust, or so-called "Final Solution", which was made official at the January 1942 Wannsee Conference.

1935 Chart from Nazi Germany used to explain the Nuremberg Laws. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 employed a pseudo-scientific basis for racial discrimination against Jews. People with four German grandparents (white circles) were of "German blood", while people were classified as Jews if they were descended from three or more Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). Either one or two Jewish grandparents made someone a Mischling (of mixed blood). The Nazis used the religious observance of a person's grandparents to determine their race. Nuremberg laws Racial Chart.jpg
1935 Chart from Nazi Germany used to explain the Nuremberg Laws. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 employed a pseudo-scientific basis for racial discrimination against Jews. People with four German grandparents (white circles) were of "German blood", while people were classified as Jews if they were descended from three or more Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). Either one or two Jewish grandparents made someone a Mischling (of mixed blood). The Nazis used the religious observance of a person's grandparents to determine their race.

Nuremberg Laws

Between 1935 and 1936, persecution of the Jews increased apace while the process of " Gleichschaltung " (lit.: "standardisation", the process by which the Nazis achieved complete control over German society) was implemented. In May 1935, Jews were forbidden to join the Wehrmacht (the armed forces), and in the summer of the same year, anti-semitic propaganda appeared in shops and restaurants. The Nuremberg Laws were passed around the time of the great Nazi rallies at Nuremberg; on September 15, 1935, the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor" was passed. At first this criminalised sexual relations and marriage only between Germans and Jews, but later the law was extended to "Gypsies, Negroes and their bastard offspring"; it became punishable by law as Rassenschande or racial pollution. [42] [43] After this, the "Reich Citizenship Law" was passed, and was reinforced in November by a decree; it included only people of "German or related blood", which meant that all Jews were stripped of their citizenship and their official title became "subjects of the state". This meant that they were deprived of basic citizens' rights, e.g. the right to vote. This removal of citizens' rights was instrumental in the process of anti-semitic persecution: the process of denaturalization allowed the Nazis to exclude— de jure —Jewish people from the "Volksgemeinschaft" ("national community"), thus granting judicial legitimacy to their persecution and opening the way to harsher laws and, eventually, extermination of the Jews. Philosopher Hannah Arendt pointed out this important judicial aspect of the Holocaust in The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), where she demonstrated that to violate human rights, Nazi Germany first deprived human beings of their citizenship. Arendt underlined that in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, citizens' rights actually preceded human rights, as the latter needed the protection of a determinate state to be actually respected.

The drafting of the Nuremberg Laws has often been attributed to Hans Globke. Globke had studied British attempts to "order" its empire by creating hierarchical social orders, for example in the organization of "martial races" in India.

Jewish prisoners are issued food on a building site at Salaspils concentration camp, Latvia, in 1941. Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Duerr-053-29, Lettland, KZ Salaspils, Essensausgabe.jpg
Jewish prisoners are issued food on a building site at Salaspils concentration camp, Latvia, in 1941.

In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them from having any influence in education, politics, higher education, and industry. There was now nothing to stop the anti-Jewish actions that spread across the German economy.

Between 1937 and 1938, new laws were implemented, and the segregation of Jews from the "German Aryan" population was completed. In particular, Jews were punished financially for being Jewish.

From March 1, 1938, government contracts could not be awarded to Jewish businesses. On September 30, "Aryan" doctors could only treat "Aryan" patients. Provision of medical care to Jews was already hampered because Jews were banned from being doctors.

On August 17, Jews with first names of non-Jewish origin had to add "Israel" (males) or "Sara" (females) to their names[ citation needed ], and a large letter "J" was to be printed on their passports on October 5. On November 15, Jewish children were banned from going to state-run schools. By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or been persuaded to sell out to the government, further reducing their rights as human beings; they were, in many ways, effectively separated from the German populace.

The increasingly totalitarian regime that Hitler imposed on Germany allowed him to control the actions of the military. On November 7, 1938, a young Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan attacked and shot German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in the German embassy in Paris. Grynszpan's family, together with more than 12,000 Polish-born Jews, had been expelled by the Nazi government from Germany to Poland in the so-called " Polenaktion " on October 28, 1938. Joseph Goebbels ordered retaliation. On the night of November 9, the SS and SA conducted "the Night of Broken Glass" (" Kristallnacht "), in which at least 91 Jews were killed and a further 30,000 arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. After the start of the war, and the conquest of numerous European countries, the Jewish population was put into ghettos, from which they were shipped to death camps where they were killed.

Jewish responses to the Nuremberg Laws

Gymnastics lesson in a Berlin Jewish school, 1936. Jewish Children in Nazi Germany Exercise Class.jpg
Gymnastics lesson in a Berlin Jewish school, 1936.

After the promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws, the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden (Representation of the German Jews) announced the following:

The Laws decided upon by the Reichstag in Nuremberg have come as the heaviest of blows for the Jews in Germany. But they must create a basis on which a tolerable relationship becomes possible between the German and the Jewish people. The "Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden" is willing to contribute to this end with all its powers. A precondition for such a tolerable relationship is the hope that the Jews and Jewish communities of Germany will be enabled to keep a moral and economic means of existence by the halting of defamation and boycott.

The organization of the life of the Jews in Germany requires governmental recognition of an autonomous Jewish leadership. The Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland is the agency competent to undertake this.

The most urgent tasks for the "Reichsvertretung", which it will press energetically and with full commitment, following the avenues it has previously taken, are:

Our own Jewish educational system must serve to prepare the youth to be upright Jews, secure in their faith, who will draw the strength to face the onerous demands which life will make on them from conscious solidarity with the Jewish community, from work for the Jewish present and faith in the Jewish future. In addition to transmitting knowledge, the Jewish schools must also serve in the systematic preparation for future occupations. With regard to preparation for emigration, particularly to Palestine, emphasis will be placed on guidance toward manual work and the study of the Hebrew language. The education and vocational training of girls must be directed to preparing them to carry out their responsibilities as upholders of the family and mothers of the next generation.[ citation needed ]

Sinti and Roma about to be deported from the German town of Asperg, 22 May 1940. Bundesarchiv R 165 Bild-244-52, Asperg, Deportation von Sinti und Roma.jpg
Sinti and Roma about to be deported from the German town of Asperg, 22 May 1940.

Sinti and Roma

Nazi Germany began persecution of the Romani as early as 1936 when they began to transfer the people to municipal internment camps on the outskirts of cities, a prelude to the deportation of 23,000 Gypsies to concentration camps. "Pure-blooded" Gypsies were considered by the Nazis to be Aryan, however, only about 10% were categorized as such.

Heinrich Himmler suggested creating a "Gypsy Law" to separate Gypsies from the German people:

The aim of measures taken by the State to defend the homogeneity of the German nation must be the physical separation of Gypsydom from the German nation, the prevention of miscegenation, and finally, the regulation of the way of life of pure and part-Gypsies. The necessary legal foundation can only be created through a Gypsy Law, which prevents further intermingling of blood, and which regulates all the most pressing questions which go together with the existences of Gypsies in the living space of the German nation. [44]

A "Gypsy Law" to the liking of Himmler was never passed.

Afro-Germans

In Mein Kampf , Hitler described children resulting from marriages to African occupation soldiers as a contamination of the white race "by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe." [45] He thought that "Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate." [46] He also implied that this was a plot on the part of the French, since the population of France was being increasingly "negrified". [47] [48]

Eugen Fischer with photographs of South African Basters, c. 1938. Eugen Fischer.jpg
Eugen Fischer with photographs of South African Basters, c. 1938.

The number of black people in Germany when the Nazis came to power is variously estimated at 5,000 to 25,000. [47] [49] According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., "The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder. However, there was no systematic program for their elimination as there was for Jews and other groups." [47]

Prior to Hitler coming to power, black entertainers were popular in Germany, but the Nazis banned jazz as "corrupt negro music". [47]

However, contrary to popular myth, [47] black American sprinter Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in beating German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, faced less segregation there than in the US, and felt snubbed by Roosevelt rather than by Hitler. [50]

Of particular concern to the Nazi scientist Eugen Fischer were the "Rhineland Bastards": mixed-race offspring of Senegalese soldiers who had been stationed in the Rhineland as part of the French army of occupation. He believed that these people should be sterilized in order to protect the racial purity of the German population. At least 400 mixed-race children were forcibly sterilized in the Rhineland by 1938. This order only applied in the Rhineland. Other African Germans were unaffected. Despite this policy, there was never any systematic attempt to eliminate the black population in Germany, though some blacks were used in medical experiments, and others mysteriously disappeared. [47]

According to Susan Samples, the Nazis went to great lengths to conceal their sterilization and abortion program in the Rhineland. [51] Hans Massaquoi describes his experience as a half-African in Hamburg, unaware of the Rhineland sterilizations until long after the war. [52] Samples also points to the paradoxical fact that African-Germans actually had a better chance of surviving the war than the average German. They were excluded from military activity because of their non-Aryan status, but were not considered a threat and so were unlikely to be incarcerated. Samples and Massaquoi also note that African-Germans were not subjected to the segregation they would have experienced in the United States, nor excluded from facilities such as expensive hotels. However, they both state that downed black American pilots were more likely to become victims of violence and murder from German citizens than white pilots. [47]

In March 1941 Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess and Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler visit an exhibition of proposed rural German settlements within occupied Eastern Europe. Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1974-079-57, Berlin, Ausstellung "Planung und Aufbau im Osten".jpg
In March 1941 Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler visit an exhibition of proposed rural German settlements within occupied Eastern Europe.

Policies regarding Poles, Russians and other Slavs

As early as 1925, Hitler suggested in Mein Kampf that the German people needed Lebensraum ("living space") to achieve German expansion eastwards ( Drang nach Osten ) at the expense of the inferior Slavs. Hitler believed that "the organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race." [53]

After the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler expressed his future plans for the Slavs:

As for the ridiculous hundred million Slavs, we will mould the best of them as we see fit, and we will isolate the rest of them in their own pig-styes; and anyone who talks about cherishing the local inhabitants and civilising them, goes straight off into a concentration camp! [54]

Nazi ideology viewed the Slavic peoples as non-Aryan Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), who were targeted for enslavement, expulsion and extermination. [11] The racial status of Slavs during the Third Reich was inconsistent over time. [55] Hitler viewed the Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need of a master". [56] Nazi propaganda portrayed the Germanic peoples as "heroes" in contrast to the Jewish and Slavic "sub-humans". [57] Nazi propaganda depicted Eastern Europe as racially mixed "Asiatic" that was dominated by the Jews with the aid of Bolshevism. [15] The Nazis considered some people in Eastern Europe to be suitable for Germanization (they were presumed to be of German descent); if they were considered racially valuable they were to be re-Germanized and forcefully taken from their families to Germany and raised as Germans. [12]

The final version of Generalplan Ost, essentially a grand plan for ethnic cleansing, was divided into two parts: the Kleine Planung ("Small Plan"), which covered actions which were to be taken during the war, and the Grosse Planung ("Big Plan"), which covered actions to be undertaken after the war was won (to be carried into effect gradually over a period of 25–30 years). The Small Plan was to be put into practice as the Germans conquered the areas to the east of their pre-war borders. The individual stages of this plan would then be worked out in greater detail. In this way, the plan for Poland was drawn up at the end of November 1939.

Mass expulsion of Poles in 1939 as part of the German ethnic cleansing of western Poland annexed to the Reich. Bundesarchiv R 49 Bild-0131, Aussiedlung von Polen im Wartheland.jpg
Mass expulsion of Poles in 1939 as part of the German ethnic cleansing of western Poland annexed to the Reich.

The plan envisaged removal of the majority of the population of conquered counties, with very small and varied percentages of the various conquered nations undergoing Germanisation, expulsion into the depths of Russia, and other fates, the net effect of which would be to ensure that the conquered territories would be Germanized. [11] Himmler declared during the Germanization process that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind to mingle with any "alien races". [58] The Wehrbauer ("soldier-peasants") would settle in a fortified line to prevent civilization arising beyond and threatening Germany. [59]

The Nazis issued the Polish decrees on 8 March 1940 which regulated the working and living conditions of Polish laborers (Zivilarbeiter) used during World War II in Germany. The decrees set out that any Pole "who has sexual relations with a German man or woman, or approaches them in any other improper manner, will be punished by death." [60] The Gestapo were extremely vigilant about sexual relations between Germans and Poles and pursued any case relentlessly where this was suspected. [61] There were similar regulations used against the other ethnic groups brought in from Eastern Europe, including the death penalty for sexual relations with a German person. [61] During the war, hundreds of Polish and Russian men were executed for their relations with German women. [62] [63]

Heinrich Himmler, in his secret memorandum "Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East" dated 25 May 1940, expressed his own thoughts and the future plans for the populations in the East. [64] Himmler stated that it was in the German interest to discover as many ethnic groups in the East and splinter them as much as possible, find and select racially valuable children to be sent to Germany to assimilate them and restrict non-Germans in the General Government and conquered territories to four-grade elementary school which would only teach them how to write their own name, to count up to 500 and to obey Germans. [64] Himmler believed the Germanization process in Eastern Europe would be complete when "in the East dwell only men with truly German, Germanic blood". [65]

Other "non-Aryans"

Volunteer freiwillige troops of the Turkestan Legion in France, 1943 Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-295-1560-21, Nordfrankreich, Turkmenische Freiwillige.jpg
Volunteer freiwillige troops of the Turkestan Legion in France, 1943

Though the laws were primarily directed against Jews, [66] other "non-Aryan" people were subject to the laws, and to other legislation concerned with racial hygiene. The definition of "Aryan" was never fully defined as the term was too imprecise and ambiguous, it was attempted to be clarified over time in a number of judicial and executive decisions. Jews were by definition non-Aryan, because of their Semitic origins. Outside of Europe in North Africa, according to Alfred Rosenberg's racial theories (The Myth of the Twentieth Century), some of the Berbers, particularly the Kabyles, were to be classified as Aryans. [67] The Nazis portrayed Swedes, the Afrikaaners who are white European descendants of Dutch-speaking Boers in South Africa and higher-degree Northern/Western Europeans of South America (mainly from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina) as ideal "Aryans" along with the German-speaking peoples of Greater Germany and Switzerland (the country was neutral during the war). The Roma (Gypsies), who, while considered originally Aryan, were deemed a threat to the Aryan race because of their racial mingling. [68]

Although Turkic peoples had been perceived initially as "racially inferior" by the Nazis, this attitude changed in autumn 1941, when, in view of the difficulties faced in their invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis attempted to harness the anti-Russian sentiment of Turkic peoples in Soviet Union for political gain. The first Turkestan Legion was mobilized in May 1942. The East Battalions contained between 275,000 and 350,000 “Muslim and Caucasian” volunteers and conscripts. [69]

Other groups

About 10,000 Japanese nationals (mostly diplomats and military officials) residing in Nazi Germany were given the status of "Honorary Aryan" which allowed them to have more privileges than any other "non-Aryans". In Norway, the Nazis favored and promoted children between Germans and Norwegians, in an attempt to raise the birth rate of Nordic Aryans. Around 10,000–12,000 war children (Krigsbarn) were born from these unions during the war. Some of them were separated from their mothers and cared for in so-called " Lebensborn " clinics ("Fountain of Life" clinics). [70] [71]

Germanization between 1939 and 1945

Nazi policy stressed the superiority of the Nordic race, a sub-race of the white European population defined by the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body models of racial difference. [72] From 1940 the Nazis in General Government (occupied Poland) divided the population into different groups. [73] Each group had different rights, food rations, allowed strips in the cities, separated residential areas, special schooling systems, public transportation and restricted restaurants. Later adapted in all Nazi-occupied countries by 1942, the Germanization program used the racial caste system of reserving certain rights to one group and barred privileges to another. Ethnic Poles were believed by Hitler to be "biologically inferior race" that could never be educated or elevated through Germanization. [74] In 1940, Hitler approved of a plan regarding the Germanization of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, he estimated around half of the Czech population were suitable for Germanization but made clear that the "mongoloid" types and Czech intelligentsia were not allowed to be Germanized. [75]

During the occupation of Poland, the Nazis kept an eye out for children with Nordic racial characteristics, those among them found to be classified as "racially valuable" were sent from here to the German Reich for adoption and to be raised as Germans, those who failed the tests would be used as slaves or murdered in medical experiments. [76]

Nordicist anthropometrics was used to "improve" the racial make-up of the Germanized section of the population, by absorbing individuals into the German population who were deemed suitably Nordic. [11]

Germanization also affected the Sorbs, the minority Slav community living in Saxony and Brandenburg, whose Slavic culture and language was suppressed to absorb them into German identity. [77] Tens of thousands suffered internment and imprisonment as well, to become lesser-known victims of Nazi racial laws. [78] Similarly, the Nazis considered the people living in the Goralenvolk area to be descended from ethnic Germans and were therefore classified as Aryans. [79]

See also

Related Research Articles

Alfred Rosenberg German architect and politician

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg was a Baltic German-born theorist and an influential ideologue of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and later held several important posts in the Nazi government.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Lebensraum</i> "Living space", one of the Nazi Partys goals at obtaining for superior races

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Master race Nazi idea about how Aryan people are the best

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A German Blood Certificate was a document provided by Hitler to Mischlinge, declaring them deutschblütig. This practice was begun sometime after the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and allowed exemption from most of Germany's racial laws.

Blood and Soil Nazi slogan

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<i>Rassenschande</i> Nazi term for sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans, punishable by law

Rassenschande or Blutschande was an anti-miscegenation concept in Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans. It was put into practice by policies like the Aryan certificate requirement, and later the Nuremberg Laws, adopted unanimously by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935. Initially, these laws referred predominantly to relations between Germans and non-Aryans. In the early stages the culprits were targeted informally, and then later on punished systematically by a repressive legal apparatus.

Propaganda in Nazi Germany

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Nuremberg Laws Antisemitic and racist laws of Nazi Germany

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Honorary Aryan was an expression used in Nazi Germany to describe the unofficial status of persons, including Mischlinge, who were not recognized as belonging to the Aryan race, according to Nazi standards, but informally considered to be part of it.

Hans F. K. Günther German Eugenicist

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Nazi eugenics Nazi Germanys racially based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race or Germanic

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Holocaust victims individual who died because of the Holocaust

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Ahnenpass

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References

Notes

  1. Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics against Human Dignity, by André Mineau, (Rodopi, 2004) page 180
  2. The Czechs under Nazi Rule: The Failure of National Resistance, 1939–1942, Vojtěch Mastný, Columbia University Press [ page needed ]
  3. Hitler's Home Front: Wurttemberg Under the Nazis, Jill Stephenson p. 135, Other non-'Aryans' included Slavs, Blacks and Roma .
  4. 1 2 The Politics of Fertility in Twentieth-Century Berlin - Page 118 Annette F. Timm - 2010 The Nazis' singleminded desire to "purify" the German race through the elimination of non-Aryans (particularly Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs)
  5. The Holocaust and History The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined Edited by Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck, Indiana University Press page 59 "Pseudoracial policy of Third Reich(...)Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, Mischlinge, and Jews are not Aryans."
  6. Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection Paul R. Bartrop, Steven Leonard Jacobs page 1160, "This strict dualism between the "racially pure" Aryans and all others—especially Jews and Slavs—led in Nazism to the radical outlawing of all "non-Aryans" and to their enslavement and attempted annihilation"
  7. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 Cyprian Blamires page 63 "the "racially pure" Aryans and all others—especially Jews and Slavs— led in Nazism to the radical outlawing of all "non-Aryans" and to their enslavement and attempted annihilation
  8. 1 2 Davies 2006, p. 167.
  9. Davies 2006, p. 44.
  10. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. William Shirer. p. 939. ISBN   978-1-4516-5168-3.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Gumkowski, Janusz; Leszczynski, Kazimierz; Robert, Edward (translator) (1961). Hitler's Plans for Eastern Europe. Poland Under Nazi Occupation (First ed.). Polonia Pub. House. p. 219. ASIN   B0006BXJZ6. Archived from the original (Paperback) on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  12. 1 2 Bendersky, Joseph W. (11 July 2013). A Concise History of Nazi Germany. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 180. ISBN   978-1-4422-2270-0.
  13. Gellately, Robert; Stoltzfus, Nathan (2001). Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. p. 106. ISBN   978-0-691-08684-2.
  14. 1 2 Davies 2006, pp. 167, 209.
  15. 1 2 Longerich 2010, p. 241.
  16. 1 2 Simone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. The Holocaust: A Reader. Malden, Massachusetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. Pp. 14.
  17. "Hitler's Home Front: Wurttemberg Under the Nazis" Jill Stephenson page 113 " Other non-'Aryans' included Slavs, Blacks and Roma and Sinti (Romanies)"
  18. 1 2 George Victor. Hitler: The Pathology of Evil. Washington, DC, USA: Potomac Books, Inc, 2007. Pp. 117.
  19. Aly, Götz (2014). Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust., p.154
  20. Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich, p.33
  21. The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus Page 294 A. J. Woodman - 2009 The white race was defined as beautiful, honourable and destined to rule; as 'cette illustre famille humaine, la plus noble'.74 Originally a linguistic term synonymous with Indo-European,7S 'Aryan' became, not least because of the Essai, the designation of a race, which Gobineau specified as 'la race germanique'
  22. So that the reader not be left in ignorance as to who the Aryans are, Gobineau stated: "La race germanique était pourvue de toute l'énergie de la variété ariane." We see, then, that Gobineau presents a racist theory in which the Aryans, or Germans, are all that is good Comparative literature by American Comparative Literature Association.; Modern Language Association of America. Comparative Literature Section.; University of Oregon. 1967, page 342
  23. Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York, p.33-34
  24. Aly, Götz (2014). Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust, p.157
  25. Kühl, Stefan (2002). Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, p.85.
  26. he Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science Marek Kohn Vintage, 1996 page 48 pages
  27. Hund, Wulf D.; Koller, Christian; and Zimmerman, Moshe (2011) Racisms Made in Germany LT Verlag. p.19 ISBN   9783643901255
  28. Wegner, Gregory (2002) Anti-Semitism and Schooling Under the Third Reich. New York: Routledge. p.14 ISBN   9780815339434
  29. Race, Color, Identity: Rethinking Discourses about "Jews" in the Twenty-first Century Efraim Sicher Berghahn Books, 15 May 2013
  30. Oisteanu, Andrei (2009) Inventing the Jew: Antisemitic Stereotypes in Romanian and Other Central-East European Cultures. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. p.68 ISBN   9780803220980
  31. Steinweis, Alan E. (2006) Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, p.26 ISBN   9780674022058
  32. The law for the prevention of hereditarily diseased offspring. (Approved translation of the "Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses"). Enacted on July 14th, 1933. Published by Reichsausschuss für Volksgesundheitsdienst. (Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1935). (Official translation of the law into English)
  33. Maynes, Mary Jo., and Ann Beth. Waltner (2012) "Powers of Life and Death": The Family: A World History Oxford: Oxford University Press. p.103
  34. USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia
  35. Shirer 1960, p. 203.
  36. Koonz 2003, p. 170.
  37. Koonz 2003, p. 171.
  38. Koonz 2003, p. 174.
  39. Koonz 2003, p. 184.
  40. Koonz 2003, p. 187.
  41. Eric Ehrenreich, The Nazi Ancestral Proof, 2007, pp.1, 165–167
  42. S. H. Milton (2001). ""Gypsies" as social outsiders in Nazi Germany". In Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus. Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. pp. 216, 231. ISBN   9780691086842.
  43. Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, p. 49.
  44. Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, p. 121.
  45. Mein Kampf, volume 1, chapter XIII.
  46. Mein Kampf, volume 1, chapter XI.
  47. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "The forgotten black victims of Nazi Germany". Voice Online. GV Media Group Ltd. 16 February 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  48. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. II, chapter XIII
  49. "Black people in Nazi Germany". Anne Frank Guide. Anne Frank House.
  50. "'SNUB' FROM ROOSEVELT". St. Joseph News-Press. 1936-10-16. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  51. Samples, S., "African Germans in the Third Reich", The African German Experience, Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay ed.
  52. Massaquoi, Hans J., Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, Harper Perennial, 2001. He mistakenly states that they were later murdered in the Holocaust, p.2
  53. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925 [ page needed ]
  54. H. R. Trevor-Roper; Gerhard L. Weinberg (18 October 2013). Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books. p. 466. ISBN   978-1-936274-93-2.
  55. Ehrenreich (2007), p.10
  56. David Welch (17 June 2013). Hitler: Profile of a Dictator. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN   978-1-136-40156-5.
  57. Longerich 2010, p. 83.
  58. Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, p 543 ISBN   0-393-02030-4
  59. Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology p190 ISBN   0-396-06577-5
  60. Robert Gellately (8 March 2001). Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. p. 155. ISBN   978-0-19-160452-2.
  61. 1 2 Robert Gellately (1990). The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933–1945. Clarendon Press. p. 224. ISBN   978-0-19-820297-4.
  62. Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. January 2007. p. 58. ISBN   978-0-89604-712-9.
  63. Diemut Majer, "Non-Germans" Under the Third Reich, p. 855
  64. 1 2 Himmler, Heinrich (25 May 1940). Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East. Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law. US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia. pp. 147–150, No. 10. Vol. 13.
  65. Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe, p.181
  66. "The Concept "Jew" in Nazi German "Race" Legislation". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  67. (a)"The Berbers, among whom even today one finds light skins and blue eyes, do not go back to the Vandal invasions of the fifth century A.D., but to the prehistoric Atlantic Nordic human wave. The Kabyle huntsmen, for example, are to no small degree still wholly Nordic (thus the blond Berbers in the region of Constantine form 10 % of the population; at Djebel Sheshor they are even more numerous).", Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century , 1930; (b) "Among the Berbers a Nordic strain shows itself clearly", Hans F.K. Günther, The racial elements of European History, 1927
  68. "Gypsies in the Holocaust".
  69. Audrey L. Alstadt (2013). "The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule". p. 187. ISBN   9780817991838
  70. BBC, 4 February 2003, Norway's Nazi legacy (in English)
  71. Le Figaro, 8 March 2007, Les enfants des nazis traînent la Norvège devant les tribunaux (Children of Nazis bring Norway before the Courts) (in French)
  72. Hutton 2005, pp. 9–10, 36–38, 101–105.
  73. Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, p. 543 ISBN   0-393-02030-4
  74. Weikart 2011, p. 73.
  75. Weikart 2011, p. 67.
  76. Stackelberg, Roderick; Winkle, Sally A. (15 April 2013). The Nazi Germany Sourcebook: An Anthology of Texts. Routledge. p. 271. ISBN   978-1-134-59693-5.
  77. Hutton 2005, p. 159.
  78. Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, pp. 131–135.
  79. Wendt 2010, p. 85.

Bibliography

Further reading