Editorial: Lesson for the master race (11-18-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 18, 1944)

Editorial: Lesson for the master race

If recent reports from within Germany are to be credited, the Nazis themselves have accommodatingly started the difficult task of de-educating and reeducating their followers. This is being done not through books, but through impressive laboratory demonstrations in their own city streets.

It seems that their dwindling manpower reserve has forced the Nazis to impress prisoners from Asiatic Russia into service, and thus knock the racial supremacy theory for a loop. For today the Germans see about them a conglomerate collection of men in German uniforms whose complexion and bone structure proclaim them to be “inferior,” according to the master-race diet which Hitler fed his people for 10 years.

That must be quite a jolt. And particularly since many of these foreigners wear the SS used to be the cream of the Nazi crop. Its fanatic members were intent on proving, by blood and slaughter, that the “Nordics” living inside certain artificial political boundaries were ordained by nature’s laws to enslave and rule their neighbors.

Today, thousands of those ardent disciples of the New Order lie buried in distant lands. So many are gone that the Nazi leaders must now force members of the destined slaved race, on pain of death, to defend the master race against inevitable defeat by the conquering “inferior” armies.

It would be a baffling task to try to explain such an anomaly. Here are prisoners compelled to take up arms in defense of a philosophy which would enslave them but which, by defending, they also destroy. The significance behind the sight of a Mongoloid face above an SS uniform can hardly be lost upon the most obtuse German.

And yet it may be wondered how lasting an impression the lesion will make.

Super-racism isn’t a Nazi invention. It has flourished in Germany for more than a century, in such things as Hegel’s theory of the dominance of the Germanic people as world rulers; Nietzsche’s vision of a superman and a “daring and ruler race” triumphing over slave types paralyzed by Jewish-Christian morality; Wagner’s grandiose Teutonic myths; Treitschke’s anti-Socialist, anti-Catholic, anti-Polish and anti-Jewish writings.

Hitler’s circle weren’t the first small men to pervert philosophic thought to despicable practice.

Germany was also the cradle of modern anti-Semitism. In the last quarter of the 19th century, this bigotry spread to Russia, Hungary, Romania and France, climaxed there by the infamous Dreyfus persecution. Directly after the last war, anti-Semitism reappeared in Germany, and it took but little encouragement for Hitler to fan it into flame.

Racism is a congenial German aberration. Its eradication will be a hard, perplexing problem for Germany’s conquerors. But a practical example of its inconsistent folly, presented unwillingly by German authorities, may be as hopeful a beginning as could be asked for.