Untermensch (German pronunciation: [ˈʔʊntɐˌmɛnʃ] (
Although usually incorrectly considered to have been coined by the Nazis, the term "under man" was first used by American author and Ku Klux Klan member Lothrop Stoddard in the title of his 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man.Stoddard uses the term for those he considers unable to function in civilisation, which he generally (but not entirely) attributes to race. It was later adopted by the Nazis from that book's German version Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).
The German word Untermensch had been used earlier, but not in a racial sense, for example in the 1899 novel Der Stechlin by Theodor Fontane. Since most writers who employed the term did not address the question of when and how the word entered the German language, Untermensch is usually translated into English as "sub-human". The leading Nazi attributing the concept of the East-European "under man" to Stoddard is Alfred Rosenberg who, referring to Russian communists, wrote in his Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (1930) that "this is the kind of human being that Lothrop Stoddard has called the 'under man.'" ["...den Lothrop Stoddard als 'Untermenschen' bezeichnete."]Quoting Stoddard: "The Under-Man – the man who measures under the standards of capacity and adaptability imposed by the social order in which he lives".
It is possible that Stoddard constructed his "under man" as an opposite to Friedrich Nietzsche's Übermensch (superman) concept. Stoddard does not say so explicitly, but he refers critically to the "superman" idea at the end of his book (p. 262). Wordplays with Nietzsche's term seem to have been used repeatedly as early as the 19th century and, due to the German linguistic trait of being able to combine prefixes and roots almost at will in order to create new words, this development can be considered logical. For instance, German author Theodor Fontane contrasts the Übermensch/Untermensch word pair in chapter 33 of his novel Der Stechlin. Nietzsche used Untermensch at least once in contrast to Übermensch in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882); however, he did so in reference to semi-human creatures in mythology, naming them alongside dwarfs, fairies, centaurs and so on. Earlier examples of Untermensch include Romanticist Jean Paul using the term in his novel Hesperus (1795) in reference to an Orangutan (Chapter "8. Hundposttag").
In a speech in 1927 to the Bavarian regional parliament, the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, publisher of Der Stürmer, used the term Untermensch referring to the communists of the German Bavarian Soviet Republic:
It happened at the time of the [Bavarian] Soviet Republic: When the unleashed subhumans rambled murdering through the streets, the deputies hid behind a chimney in the Bavarian parliament.
Nazis repeatedly used the term Untermensch in writings and speeches directed against the Jews, the most notorious example being a 1942 SS publication with the title Der Untermensch, which contains an antisemitic tirade sometimes considered to be an extract from a speech by Heinrich Himmler. In the pamphlet "The SS as an Anti-Bolshevist Fighting Organization", published in 1936, Himmler wrote:
We shall take care that never again in Germany, the heart of Europe, will the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans be able to be kindled either from within or through emissaries from without.
In his speech "Weltgefahr des Bolschewismus" ("World danger of Bolshevism") in 1936, Joseph Goebbels said that "subhumans exist in every people as a leavening agent".At the 1935 Nazi party congress rally at Nuremberg, Goebbels also declared that "Bolshevism is the declaration of war by Jewish-led international subhumans against culture itself."
Another example of the use of the term Untermensch, this time in connection with anti-Soviet propaganda, is a brochure entitled "Der Untermensch", edited by Himmler and distributed by the Race and Settlement Head Office. SS-Obersturmführer Ludwig Pröscholdt, Jupp Daehler and SS-Hauptamt-Schulungsamt Koenig are associated with its production.Published in 1942 after the start of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, it is around 50 pages long and consists for the most part of photos portraying the enemy in an extremely negative way (see link below for the title page). 3,860,995 copies were printed in the German language. It was translated into Greek, French, Dutch, Danish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Czech and seven other languages. The pamphlet says the following:
Just as the night rises against the day, the light and dark are in eternal conflict. So too, is the subhuman the greatest enemy of the dominant species on earth, mankind. The subhuman is a biological creature, crafted by nature, which has hands, legs, eyes and mouth, even the semblance of a brain. Nevertheless, this terrible creature is only a partial human being.
Although it has features similar to a human, the subhuman is lower on the spiritual and psychological scale than any animal. Inside of this creature lies wild and unrestrained passions: an incessant need to destroy, filled with the most primitive desires, chaos and coldhearted villainy.
A subhuman and nothing more!
Not all of those who appear human are in fact so. Woe to him who forgets it!
Mulattoes and Finn-Asian barbarians, Gypsies and black skin savages all make up this modern underworld of subhumans that is always headed by the appearance of the eternal Jew.
Nazis classified those they called the sub-humans into different types; they placed priority on extermination of the Jews, and exploitation of others as slaves.
Historian Robert Jan van Pelt writes that for the Nazis, "it was only a small step to a rhetoric pitting the European Mensch against the Soviet Untermensch, which had come to mean a Russian in the clutches of Judeo-Bolshevism."
The Untermensch concept included Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), and Slavic peoples such as Poles, Serbs and Russians.The Slavs were regarded as Untermenschen, barely fit for exploitation as slaves. Hitler and Goebbels compared them to the "rabbit family" or to "stolid animals" that were "idle" and "disorganized" and spread like a "wave of filth". However, some among the Slavs who happened to have Nordic racial features were deemed to have distant Germanic descent which meant partially "Aryan" origin, and if under 10 years old, they were to be Germanized (see: kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany).
The Nazi views on the Slavs were explicitly contemptuous, as even prior to the World War II, Slavs, particularly the Poles, were deemed as being inferior to Germans. After Adolf Hitler gained political power in Germany, the concept of Non-Aryan "sub-human slave-material" was developed and started to be used also towards other Slavic peoples.Poles and Serbs were at the bottom of the Slavic "racial hierarchy" established by the Nazis. Soon after Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact expired, also Russians started to be seen as part of the "subhuman" race. Similarly, also Belarusians, Czechs, Slovaks, and Ukrainians were considered to be inferior, despite some collaborative groups were found among these nations. Nonetheless, there were Slavs such as Bosniaks, Bulgarians, and Croats who collaborated with Nazi Germany that were still being perceived as not racially "pure" enough to reach the status of Germanic peoples, yet they were eventually considered ethnically better than all other Slavs, mostly due to pseudoscientific theories about these nations having a minimal amount of Slavic genes and considerable admixtures of Germanic and Turkic blood.
In order to forge a strategic alliance with the Independent State of Croatia – a puppet state created after the invasion of Yugoslavia – and the Kingdom of Bulgaria, the Nazis deviated from a strict interpretation of their racial ideology, and Croats were officially described as "more Germanic than Slav", a notion supported by Croatia's fascist dictator Ante Pavelić who maintained that the "Croatians were descendants of the ancient Goths" and "had the Panslav idea forced upon them as something artificial". Hitler also deemed the Bulgarians to be "Turkoman" in origin.
While the Nazis were inconsistent in the implementation of their policy – for instance, mostly implementing the Final Solution while also implementing Generalplan Ost – the democidal death toll was in tens of millions of victims. It is related to the concept of "life unworthy of life", a more specific term which originally referred to the severely disabled who were involuntarily euthanised in Action T4, and was eventually applied to the extermination of the Jews. That policy of euthanasia started officially on Sept 1st 1939 when Hitler signed an edict to the effect, and the poison gas carbon monoxide was used first to murder disabled patients. The same gas was effectively used in the death camps to murder Jews and other groups. The death camps included Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka, although the nazis used cheaper engine exhaust gases to achieve the same end.
In the directive No. 1306 by Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda from 24 October 1939, the term "Untermensch" is used in reference to Polish ethnicity and culture, as follows:
It must become clear to everybody in Germany, even to the last milkmaid, that Polishness is equal to subhumanity. Poles, Jews and Gypsies are on the same inferior level. This must be clearly outlined [...] until every citizen of Germany has it encoded in his subconsciousness that every Pole, whether a worker or intellectual, should be treated like vermin".
Biology classes in Nazi Germany schools taught about differences between the race of Nordic German "Übermenschen" and "ignoble" Jewish and Slavic "subhumans".The view that Slavs were subhuman was widespread among the German masses, and chiefly applied to the Poles. It continued to find support after the war.
During the war, Nazi propaganda instructed Wehrmacht officers to tell their soldiers to target people described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans" and that the war in the Soviet Union was between the Germans and the Jewish, Gypsies and Slavic Untermenschen.
During the Warsaw Uprising, Himmler ordered the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto because according to him it allowed the "living space" of 500,000 subhumans. [ clarification needed ]
As a pragmatic way to solve military manpower shortages, the Nazis used soldiers from some Slavic countries, firstly from the Reich's allies Croatia and Bulgariaand also within occupied territories. The concept of the Slavs in particular being Untermenschen served the Nazis' political goals; it was used to justify their expansionist policy and especially their aggression against Poland and the Soviet Union in order to achieve Lebensraum , particularly in Ukraine. Early plans of the German Reich (summarized as Generalplan Ost) envisioned the displacement, enslavement, and elimination of no fewer than 50 million people, who were not considered fit for Germanization, from territories it wanted to conquer in Europe; Ukraine's chernozem ("black earth") soil was considered a particularly desirable zone for colonization by the Herrenvolk ("master race").
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust.
Alfred Ernst Rosenberg was a Baltic German Nazi theorist and ideologue. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and held several important posts in the Nazi government. He was the head of the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs during the entire rule of Nazi Germany (1933–1945), and led Amt Rosenberg, an official Nazi body for cultural policy and surveillance, between 1934 and 1945. During World War II, Rosenberg was the head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (1941–1945). After the war, he was convicted of crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes; and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. He was sentenced to death and executed on 16 October 1946.
In Nazi German terminology, Volksdeutsche were "people whose language and culture had German origins but who did not hold German citizenship". The term is the nominalised plural of volksdeutsch, with Volksdeutsche denoting a singular female, and Volksdeutsche(r), a singular male. The words Volk and völkisch conveyed the meanings of "folk".
The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
The master race is a concept in Nazi ideology in which the putative Nordic or Aryan races, predominant among Germans and other northern European peoples, are deemed the highest in racial hierarchy. Members of this alleged master race were referred to as Herrenmenschen.
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.
Following the Invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic was annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration. The rest of Nazi occupied Poland was renamed as the General Government district. The annexation was part of the "fourth" partition of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, outlined months before the invasion, in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
The Generalplan Ost, abbreviated 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 attempted during the war, resulting indirectly and directly in millions of deaths of ethnic Slavs by shootings, starvation, disease, or extermination through labor. But its full implementation was not considered practicable during the major military operations, and was prevented by Germany's defeat.
Aryanism is an ideology of racial supremacy which views the supposed Aryan race as a distinct and superior racial group entitled to rule the rest of humanity. Promoted initially by racist theorists such as Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Aryanism reached its peak of influence in Nazi Germany, where it was used to justify discrimination against minorities, which eventually culminated in the Holocaust.
Odilo Globočnik was an Austrian war criminal. He was an official of the Nazi Party and later a high-ranking leader of the Schutzstaffel (SS). As an associate of Adolf Eichmann, he had a leading role in Operation Reinhard, which saw the murder of over one million mostly Polish Jews during the Holocaust in the Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibór and Bełżec extermination camps. Historian Michael Allen described him as "the vilest individual in the vilest organization ever known".
This is a list of words, terms, concepts and slogans of Nazi Germany used in the historiography covering the Nazi regime. Some words were coined by Adolf Hitler and other Nazi Party members. Other words and concepts were borrowed and appropriated, and other terms were already in use during the Weimar Republic. Finally, some are taken from Germany's cultural tradition.
Anti-Slavism, also known as Slavophobia, a form of racism, refers to various negative attitudes towards Slavic peoples, the most common manifestation is the claim that the inhabitants of Slavic nations are inferior to other ethnic groups, most notably made by Germanic peoples, Italian people and Greek people. Slavophilia, by contrast, is a sentiment that celebrates Slavonic cultures or peoples and it has sometimes included a supremacist or nationalist tone. Anti-Slavism reached its highest peak during World War II, when Nazi Germany declared Slavs, especially neighboring Poles and Russians to be subhuman and planned to exterminate the majority of Slavic people.
The Posen speeches were two speeches made by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS of Nazi Germany, on 4 and 6 October 1943 in the town hall of Posen (Poznań), in German-occupied Poland. The recordings are the first known documents in which a member of the Hitler Cabinet spoke of the ongoing extermination of the Jews in extermination camps. They demonstrate that the German government wanted, planned and carried out the Holocaust.
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.
Holocaust victims were people who were targeted by the government of Nazi Germany for various discriminatory practices due to their ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, or sexual orientation. These institutionalized practices came to be called The Holocaust, and they began with legalized social discrimination against specific groups, and involuntary hospitalization, euthanasia, and forced sterilization of those considered physically or mentally unfit for society. These practices escalated during World War II to include non-judicial incarceration, confiscation of property, forced labor, sexual slavery, medical experimentation, and death through overwork, undernourishment, and execution through a variety of methods, with the genocide of different groups as the primary goal.
Baron Otto Gustav von Wächter was an Austrian lawyer, Nazi politician and a high-ranking member of the SS, a paramilitary organisation of the Nazi Party.
Wehrbauer, plural Wehrbauern, is a German term for settlers living on the borders of a realm, who were tasked with holding back foreign invaders until the arrival of proper military reinforcements. In turn they were granted special liberties. Wehrbauern were mainly used on the eastern fringes of the Holy Roman Empire and later Austria-Hungary in order to slow down attacks by the Ottoman Empire. This historic term was disinterred and used by the Nazis in WWII.
The Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany during World War II was a massive Nazi German operation consisting of the forced resettlement of over 1.7 million Poles from all territories of occupied Poland with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization between 1939–1944. The expulsions were justified by Nazi racial doctrine, which depicted Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen.
The SS Education Office (SS-Schulungsamt) was one of the Nazi organizations responsible for the ideological indoctrination of members of the SS. The office operated initially under the jurisdiction of the Reich Race and Settlement Office (RuSHA) but was later subordinated to the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt).
The category of sub-human (Untermensch) included Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, Serbs, etc.) Gypsies and Jews.
Being Slavs the Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and Serbs were only slightly above the Jews in the ravial hierarchy.
Jetzt hat man statt des wirklichen Menschen den sogenannten Übermenschen etabliert; eigentlich gibt es aber bloß noch Untermenschen, und mitunter sind es gerade die, die man durchaus zu einem ›Über‹ machen will. (Now one has established instead of the real human the so-called superhuman; but actually only subhumans are left, and sometimes they are the very ones that are tried to be declared as 'super'.)
Die Erfindung von Göttern, Heroen und Übermenschen aller Art, sowie von Neben- und Untermenschen, von Zwergen, Feen, Zentauren, Satyrn, Dämonen und Teufeln war die unschätzbare Vorübung zur Rechtfertigung der Selbstsucht und Selbstherrlichkeit des einzelnen [...]. (The invention of gods, heroes, and overmen of all kinds, as well as near-men and undermen, of dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons and devils was the inestimable preliminary exercise for the justification of the egoism and sovereignty of the individual [...]) [From the translation by Walter Kaufmann]
Obgleich Leute aus der großen und größten Welt, wie der Unter-Mensch, der Urangutang, im 25sten Jahre ausgelebt und ausgestorben haben – vielleicht sind deswegen die Könige in manchen Ländern schon im 14ten Jahre mündig –, so hatte doch Jenner sein Leben nicht so weit zurückdatiert und war wirklich älter als mancher Jüngling. (Although people from the great world and the greatest have, like the sub-man, the orang-outang, lived out and died out in their twenty-fifth year, — for which reason, perhaps, in many countries kings are placed under guardianship as early as their fourteenth, — nevertheless January had not ante-dated his life so far, and was really older than many a youth.) [From the translation by Charles T. Brooks]
Wir werden dafür sorgen, daß niemals mehr in Deutschland, dem Herzen Europas, von innen oder durch Emissäre von außen her die jüdisch-bolschewistische Revolution des Untermenschen entfacht werden kann.
The Nazis considered any human being in the "east", usually the Slavs, as "sub-human", only fit for slavery to the Germans.
We are the Master Race and must govern hard but just ... I will draw the very last out of this country. I did not come to spread bliss ... The population must work, work, and work again [...] 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 [of the Ukraine]. (emphasis added)
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