Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (Russian: Альфред-Эрнст Вольдемарович Розенберг, tr. Al'fred-Ernst Vol'demarovich Rozenberg; 12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) 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.
The author of a seminal work of Nazi ideology, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), Rosenberg is considered one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to what was considered "degenerate" modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity, having played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity. At Nuremberg he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
photograph by Heinrich Hoffmann, 1941
|Leader of the Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Commissar for the Supervision of Intellectual and Ideological Education of the NSDAP (aka Rosenberg office)|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories|
|President||Adolf Hitler (as Führer)|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
2 June 1933 – 8 May 1945
Alfred Ernst Rosenberg
12 January 1893
Reval, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire
|Died||16 October 1946 (aged 53)|
Nuremberg, Bavaria, Allied-occupied Germany
|Cause of death||Hanging|
|Political party||Nazi Party|
(m. 1915; div. 1923)
|Alma mater||Riga Polytechnical Institute |
Moscow Highest Technical School
Rosenberg was born on 12 January 1893 in Reval (now Tallinn) in the Russian Empire, the capital of modern Estonia, to a family of Baltic Germans. His father, Waldemar Wilhelm Rosenberg, was a wealthy merchant from Latvia, and his mother, Elfriede (née Siré), was a teacher of French language in Reval.
The Hungarian-Jewish journalist Franz Szell, who was apparently residing in Tilsit, Prussia, Germany, spent a year researching in Latvian and Estonian archives before publishing an open letter in 1936, with copies to Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, German foreign minister Konstantin von Neurath and others, accusing Rosenberg of having "no drop of German blood" flowing in his veins. Szell wrote that among Rosenberg's ancestors were only "Latvians, Jews, Mongols, and French." As a result of his open letter, Szell was deported by Lithuanian authorities on 15 September 1936. His claims were repeated in 15 September 1937 issue of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
The young Rosenberg graduated from the Petri-Realschule (currently Tallinna Reaalkool) and went on to study architecture at the Riga Polytechnical Institute and engineering at Moscow's Highest Technical School completing his PhD studies in 1917. During his stays at home in Reval, he attended the art studio of the famed painter Ants Laikmaa, but even though he showed promise, there are no records that he ever exhibited.
During the German occupation in 1918, Rosenberg served as a teacher at the Gustav Adolf Gymnasium. He gave his first speech on Jewish Marxism on 30 November, at the House of the Blackheads, after the outbreak of the Estonian War of Independence. He emigrated to Germany with the retreating imperial army, along with Max Scheubner-Richter, who served as something of a mentor to Rosenberg and to his ideology. Arriving in Munich, he contributed to Dietrich Eckart's publication, the Völkischer Beobachter (Ethnic/Nationalist Observer). By this time, he was both an antisemite – influenced by Houston Stewart Chamberlain's book The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, one of the key proto-Nazi books of racial theory – and an anti-Bolshevik. Rosenberg became one of the earliest members of the German Workers' Party – later renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party, better known as the Nazi Party – joining in January 1919, eight months before Adolf Hitler joined in September. According to some historians, Rosenberg had also been a member of the Thule Society, along with Eckart, although Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke contends that they were only guests. After the Völkischer Beobachter became the Nazi party newspaper in December 1920, Rosenberg became its editor, in 1923. Rosenberg was a leading member of Aufbau Vereinigung, Reconstruction Organisation, a conspiratorial organisation of White Russian émigrés which had a critical influence on early Nazi policy.
In 1923, after the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler, who had been imprisoned for treason, appointed Rosenberg as the leader of the National Socialist movement, a position he held until Hitler's release. Hitler remarked privately in later years that his choice of Rosenberg, whom he regarded as weak and lazy, was strategic; Hitler did not want the temporary leader of the Nazis to become too popular or hungry for power, because a person with either of those two qualities might not want to cede the party leadership after Hitler's release. However, at the time of the appointment Hitler had no reason to believe that he would soon be released, and Rosenberg had not appeared weak, so this may have been Hitler reading back into history his dissatisfaction with Rosenberg for the job he did.
In 1929 Rosenberg founded the Militant League for German Culture. He later formed the "Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question," dedicated to identifying and attacking Jewish influence in German culture and to recording the history of Judaism from a radical nationalist perspective. He became a Reichstag Deputy in 1930 and published his book on racial theory The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts) which deals with key issues in the National Socialist ideology, such as the "Jewish question." Rosenberg intended his book as a sequel to Houston Stewart Chamberlain's above-cited book. Despite selling more than a million copies by 1945, its influence within Nazism remains doubtful. It is often said to have been a book that was officially venerated within Nazism, but one that few had actually read beyond the first chapter or even found comprehensible. Hitler called it "stuff nobody can understand" and disapproved of its pseudo-religious tone.
Rosenberg convinced Hitler that communism was an international threat due to the fragility of the Soviet Union's internal political structure. "Jewish-Bolshevism" was accepted as a target for Nazism during the early 1920s.
In Rome during November 1932 Rosenberg participated in the Volta Conference. British historian Sir Charles Petrie met him there and regarded him with great distaste; Petrie was a Catholic and strongly objected to Rosenberg's anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic sentiments.
The following year, once Hitler had become Chancellor, Rosenberg was named leader of the Nazi Party's foreign political office, but he played little practical part in the role. Another event of 1933 was Rosenberg's visit to Britain, intended to give the impression that the Nazis would not be a threat and to encourage links between the new regime and the British Empire. It was a notable failure. When Rosenberg laid a wreath bearing a swastika at the Cenotaph, a Labour Party candidate slashed it and later threw it in the Thames and was fined 40 shillings for willful damage at Bow Street magistrate’s court. In January 1934 Hitler granted Rosenberg responsibility for the spiritual and philosophical education of the Party and all related organizations.
As the Nazi Party's chief racial theorist, Rosenberg oversaw the construction of a human racial "ladder" that justified Hitler's racial and ethnic policies. Rosenberg built on the works of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Madison Grant, the Klansman Lothrop Stoddard as well as on the beliefs of Hitler. Rosenberg placed Blacks and Jews at the very bottom of the ladder, while at the very top stood the white "Aryan" race. Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory which regarded Nordics as the "master race",[notes 1] superior to all others, including to other Aryans (Indo-Europeans). He was also influenced by the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory promoted by the Catholic counter-revolutionary tradition, such as the book Le Juif, le judaïsme et la judaïsation des peuples chrétiens (1869) by Roger Gougenot des Mousseaux, which he translated into German under the title The Eternal Jew.
Rosenberg got the racial term Untermensch from the title of Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man, which had been adopted by the Nazis from that book's German version Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).
Rosenberg reshaped Nazi racial policy over the years, but it always consisted of Aryan supremacy, extreme German nationalism and rabid antisemitism. Rosenberg also outspokenly opposed homosexuality – notably in his pamphlet "Der Sumpf" ("The Swamp", 1927). He viewed homosexuality as a hindrance to the expansion of the Nordic population.
Rosenberg's attitude towards Slavs was flexible and depended on the particular nation involved.[notes 2][notes 3] As a result of the ideology of "Drang nach Osten", Rosenberg saw his mission as the conquest and colonization of the Slavic East. In Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts Rosenberg describes Russian Slavs as being overwhelmed by Bolshevism.[notes 4] Regarding Ukrainians, he favoured setting up a buffer state to ease pressure on the German eastern frontier, while agreeing with the notion of the exploitation of Russia for the benefit of Germany. During the war, Rosenberg was in favour of collaboration with the East Slavs against Bolshevism and offering them national independence unlike other Nazis such as Hitler and Himmler who dismissed such ideas.
Rosenberg argued for a new "religion of the blood," based on the supposed innate promptings of the Nordic soul to defend its noble character against racial and cultural degeneration. He believed that this had been embodied in early Indo-European religions, notably ancient European (Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Roman) paganism, Zoroastrianism, and Vedic Hinduism.
He rejected Christianity for its universality, for its doctrine of original sin (at least for Germans whom he declared on one occasion were born noble), and for its teachings on the immortality of the soul, saying, "indeed, absorbing Christianity enfeebled a people." Publicly, Rosenberg affected to deplore Christianity's degeneration owing to Jewish influence. Following Chamberlain's ideas, he condemned what he called "negative Christianity" (the orthodox beliefs of Protestant and Catholic churches), arguing instead for a so-called "positive" Christianity[notes 5][notes 6] based on Chamberlain's claim that Jesus was a member of an Indo-European, Nordic enclave resident in ancient Galilee who struggled against Judaism.[notes 7][notes 8] Significantly, in his work explicating the Nazi intellectual belief system, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, Rosenberg cryptically alludes to and lauds the early Christian heretic Marcion (who rejected the Old Testament as well as the notion of Christ as the Jewish Messiah) and the Manichaean-inspired, "Aryo-Iranian" Cathari, as being the more authentic interpreters of Christianity versus historically dominant Judaeo-Christianity;[notes 9] moreover these ancient, externally Christian metaphysical forms were more "organically compatible with the Nordic sense of the spiritual and the Nordic 'blood-soul'." For Rosenberg, the anti-intellectual, religious doctrine was inseparable[notes 10] from serving the interests of the Nordic race, connecting the individual to his racial nature.[notes 11] Rosenberg stated that "The general ideas of the Roman and of the Protestant churches are negative Christianity and do not, therefore, accord with our (German) soul."[notes 12] His support for Luther as a great German figure was always ambivalent.[notes 13][notes 14][notes 15]
In January 1934 Hitler had appointed Rosenberg as the cultural and educational leader of the Reich. The Sanctum Officium in Rome recommended that Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century be put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of books forbidden by the Catholic Church) for scorning and rejecting "all dogmas of the Catholic Church, indeed the very fundamentals of the Christian religion". During World War II Rosenberg outlined the future envisioned by the Hitler government for religion in Germany, with a thirty-point program for the future of the German churches. Among its articles:
In 1940 Rosenberg was made head of the Hohe Schule (literally "high school", but the German phrase refers to a college), the Centre of National Socialist Ideological and Educational Research, out of which the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg developed for the purpose of looting art and cultural goods. The ERR were especially active in Paris in looting art stolen from famous Jewish families such as the Rothschilds and that of Paul Rosenberg. Hermann Göring used the ERR to collect art for his own personal gratification. He created a "Special Task Force for Music" (Sonderstab Musik) to collect the best musical instruments and scores for use in a university to be built in Hitler's home town of Linz, Austria. The orders given to the Sonderstab Musik were to loot all forms of Jewish property in Germany and of those found in any country taken over by the German army, and any musical instruments or scores were to be immediately shipped to Berlin.
Following the invasion of the USSR, Rosenberg was appointed head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete). Alfred Meyer served as his deputy and represented him at the Wannsee Conference. Another official of the Ministry, Georg Leibbrandt, also attended the conference, at Rosenberg's request.
Rosenberg had presented Hitler with his plan for the organization of the conquered Eastern territories, suggesting the establishment of new administrative districts, to replace the previously Soviet-controlled territories with new Reichskommissariats. These would be:
Although Rosenberg regarded all the Soviet peoples as subhumans for their communist beliefs, such suggestions were intended to encourage certain non-Russian nationalism and to promote German interests for the benefit of future Aryan generations, in accord with geopolitical "Lebensraum im Osten" plans. They would provide a buffer against Soviet expansion in preparation for the total eradication of Communism and Bolshevism by decisive pre-emptive military action.
Following these plans, when Wehrmacht forces invaded Soviet-controlled territory, they immediately implemented the first of the proposed Reichskommissariats of Ostland and Ukraine, under the leadership of Hinrich Lohse and Erich Koch, respectively. The organization of these administrative territories led to conflict between Rosenberg and the SS over the treatment of Slavs under German occupation. As Nazi Germany's chief racial theorist, Rosenberg considered Slavs, though lesser than Germans, to be Aryan. Rosenberg often complained to Hitler and Himmler about the treatment of non-Jewish occupied peoples. He proposed creation of buffer satellite states made out of Greater Finland, Baltica, Ukraine, and Caucasus.
In an 18 November 1941 press conference speaking about the Jewish Question, he said:
Some six million Jews still live in the East, and this question can only be solved by a biological extermination of the whole of Jewry in Europe. The Jewish Question will only be solved for Germany when the last Jew has left German territory, and for Europe when not a single Jew stands on the European continent as far as the Urals... And to this end it is necessary to force them beyond the Urals or otherwise bring about their eradication.
He made no complaints about the murders of Jews. At the Nuremberg Trials he claimed to be ignorant of the Holocaust, despite the fact that Leibbrandt and Meyer were present at the Wannsee conference.
Since the invasion of the Soviet Union intended to impose the New Order, it was essentially a war of conquest. German propaganda efforts designed to win over Russian opinion were, at best, patchy and inconsistent. Alfred Rosenberg was one of the few in the Nazi hierarchy who advocated a policy designed to encourage anti-Communist opinion among the population of the occupied territories. His interest here was mainly in the non-Russian areas such as Ukraine and the Baltic States; however, supporters of the Russian Liberation Army were somewhat able to win him over.
Amongst other things, Rosenberg issued a series of posters announcing the end of the Soviet collective farms (kolkhoz). He also issued an Agrarian Law in February 1942, annulling all Soviet legislation on farming and restoring family farms for those willing to collaborate with the occupiers. But decollectivisation conflicted with the wider demands of wartime food production, and Hermann Göring demanded that the collective farms be retained, save for a change of name. Hitler himself denounced the redistribution of land as "stupid".
There were numerous German armed forces (Wehrmacht) posters asking for assistance in the Bandenkrieg, the war against the Soviet partisans, though, once again, German policy had the effect of adding to their problems. Posters for "volunteer" labour, with inscriptions like "Come work with us to shorten the war", hid the appalling realities faced by Russian workers in Germany. Many people joined the partisans rather than risk being sent to an unknown fate in the west.
Another of Rosenberg's initiatives, the "Free Caucasus" campaign, was rather more successful, attracting various nationalities into the so-called Eastern Legion (Ostlegionen), though in the end this made little difference in the outcome of the war on the Eastern Front.
Rosenberg was captured by Allied troops at the end of the war in Flensburg-Mürwik. He was tried at Nuremberg and found guilty of all four counts: conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes; and crimes against humanity. The final judgment against him named him one of the principal planners of the invasions of Norway and the Soviet Union. It also held him directly responsible for the systematic plunder of the occupied countries of Europe, as well as the brutal conditions in Eastern Europe. During his trial he wrote his memoirs, which were published posthumously and with analytical commentary by Serge Lang and Ernst von Schenck.
He was sentenced to death and executed with other condemned co-defendants at Nuremberg Prison on the morning of 16 October 1946. His body, like those of the other nine executed men and that of Hermann Göring, was cremated at Ostfriedhof (Munich) and the ashes were scattered in the river Isar.
Throughout the trial, it was agreed that Rosenberg had a decisive role in shaping Nazi philosophy and ideology. Examples include: his book Myth of the Twentieth Century, which was published in 1930, where he incited hatred against "Liberal Imperialism" and "Bolshevik Marxism"; furthering the influence of the "Lebensraum" idea in Germany during the war; facilitating the persecution of Christian churches and the Jews in particular; and opposition to the Versailles Treaty.
According to Joseph Kingsbury-Smith, who covered the executions for the International News Service, Rosenberg was the only condemned man who, when asked at the gallows if he had any last statement to make, replied with only one word: "No".
Hitler was a leader oriented towards practical politics, whereas, for Rosenberg, religion and philosophy were key and culturally he was the most influential within the party. Several accounts of the time before the Nazi ascension to power, indeed, speak of Hitler as being a mouthpiece for Rosenberg's views, and he clearly exerted a great deal of intellectual influence.
The question of Rosenberg's influence in the Nazi Party is controversial. He was perceived as lacking the charisma and political skills of the other Nazi leaders, and was somewhat isolated. In some of his speeches Hitler appeared to be close to Rosenberg's views, rejecting traditional Christianity as a religion based on Jewish culture, preferring an ethnically and culturally pure "Race" whose destiny was supposed to be assigned to the German people by "Providence". In others, he adhered to the Nazi Party line, which advocated a "positive Christianity".
After Hitler's assumption of power he moved to reassure the Protestant and Catholic churches that the party was not intending to reinstitute Germanic paganism. He placed himself in the position of being the man to save Positive Christianity from utter destruction at the hands of the atheistic antitheist Communists of the Soviet Union. This was especially true immediately before and after the elections of 1932; Hitler wanted to appear non-threatening to major Christian faiths and consolidate his power. Furthermore, Hitler felt that Catholic-Protestant infighting had been a major factor in weakening the German state and allowing its dominance by foreign powers.
Some Nazi leaders, such as Martin Bormann, were anti-Christian and sympathetic to Rosenberg. Once in power, Hitler and most Nazi leaders sought to unify the Christian denominations in favor of "positive Christianity". Hitler privately condemned mystical and pseudoreligious interests as "nonsense". However, he and Joseph Goebbels agreed that after the Endsieg (Final Victory) the Reich Church should be pressed into evolving into a German social evolutionist organisation proclaiming the cult of race, blood and battle, instead of Redemption and the Ten Commandments of Moses, which they deemed outdated and Jewish.
Heinrich Himmler's views were among the closest to Rosenberg's, and their estrangement was perhaps created by Himmler's abilities to put into action what Rosenberg had only written. Also, while Rosenberg thought Christianity should be allowed to die out, Himmler actively set out to create countering pagan rituals.
Lieutenant Colonel William Harold Dunn (1898–1955) wrote a medical and psychiatric report on him in prison to evaluate him as a suicide risk:
He gave the impression of clinging to his own theories in a fanatical and unyielding fashion and to have been little influenced by the unfolding during the trial of the cruelty and crimes of the party.
Summarizing the unresolved conflict between the personal views of Rosenberg and the pragmatism of the Nazi elite:
The ruthless pursuit of Nazi aims turned out to mean not, as Rosenberg had hoped, the permeation of German life with the new ideology; it meant concentration of the combined resources of party and state on total war.
Rosenberg was married twice: to Hilda Leesmann (1891-1928), an ethnic Estonian, in 1915 (divorced in 1923), and to Hedwig Kramer in 1925, with whom he was married until his execution. He and Kramer had two children: a son who died in infancy and a daughter, Irene, who was born in 1930. Great-grandchild Tytus L Rosenberg (born in 1974) in Poland.
During the Nuremberg trials, Rosenberg's handwritten diary was translated by Harry Fiss, Chief of Documentation for the American prosecution. After its use in evidence during the Nuremberg trials, the diary went missing, along with other material which had been given to the prosecutor Robert Kempner (1899–1993). It was recovered in Lewiston, N.Y., on 13 June 2013. Written on 425 loose-leaf pages, with entries dating from 1936 through 1944, it is now the property of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington. Henry Mayer, the museum's senior archivist, and the son of a Holocaust survivor, was able to access the material and while "not given enough time to read [the] diary entry from beginning to end," he "could see that Rosenberg focused on certain subjects, including brutality against Jews and other ethnic groups and forcing the civilian population of occupied Russia to serve Germany." Meyer also noted Rosenberg's "hostile comments about Nazi leaders," which he described as "unvarnished." While some parts of the manuscript had been previously published, the majority had been lost for decades. Former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert King Wittman, who helped track down the diary, said, "there is no place in the diary where we have Rosenberg or Hitler saying the Jews should be exterminated, all it said was 'move them out of Europe'". The New York Times said of the search for the missing manuscript that "the tangled journey of the diary could itself be the subject of a television mini-series." Since the end of 2013, the USHMM has shown the 425-page document (photos and transcripts) on its homepage.
Hitler's evident ability to simulate, even to potentially critical Church leaders, an image of a leader keen to uphold and protect Christianity was crucial to the mediation of such an image to the church-going public by influential members of both major denominations. It was the reason why church-going Christians, so often encouraged by their 'opinion-leaders' in the Church hierarchies, were frequently able to exclude Hitler from their condemnation of the anti-Christian Party radicals, continuing to see in him the last hope of protecting Christianity from Bolshevism.
Alexander Raven Thomson, usually known as Raven (1899–1955), was a Scottish politician and philosopher. He joined the British Union of Fascists in 1933 and remained a follower of Oswald Mosley for the rest of his life; he was considered to be the party's chief ideologue. He has been described as the "Alfred Rosenberg of British fascism".Amt Rosenberg
Amt Rosenberg (ARo) was an official body for cultural policy and surveillance within the Nazi party, headed by Alfred Rosenberg.
It was established in 1934 under the name of Dienststelle Rosenberg (DRbg), with offices at Margarethenstraße 17 in Berlin, to the west of Potsdamer Platz.
Due to the long official name of Rosenberg's function, Beauftragter des Führers für die gesamte geistige und weltanschauliche Erziehung der NSDAP, the short description Reichsüberwachungsamt "Reich surveillance office" was used alongside., also shortened simply to Überwachungsamt "surveillance office".
In post-World War II historiography, "Amt Rosenberg" is also used in a wider sense as a term for a number of official functions of Rosenberg which he held between 1928 and 1945.
These included the Außenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP (APA "foreign policy office", including the Nordische Gesellschaft), Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur (KfdK), NS-Kulturgemeinde (including the Kraft durch Freude and Deutsche Bühne theatres), Hohe Schule der NSDAP and Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), an organisation devoted to acquiring and stealing art objects across the occupied territories of the Reich.
Not included in the term as used by Bollmus (2007) is the Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete (RMfdbO), because it was a government office, not a party office.Georg Leibbrandt
Georg Leibbrandt (6 September 1899 – 16 June 1982) was a Nazi German bureaucrat and diplomat. He occupied leading foreign policy positions in the Nazi Party Foreign Policy Office (APA) and the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (RMfdbO) as an expert on issues relating to Russia. Both agencies were headed by Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg. Leibbrandt was a participant of the Wannsee Conference. In the postwar period, criminal proceedings against Leibbrandt were initiated, but the case against him was ultimately dismissed.Lăncieri
The Lăncieri ("Lancers", Romanian pronunciation: [lən.tʃi'erʲ]) were a Romanian fascist paramilitary movement whose members adopted a blue shirted uniform and contributed to the country's political street battles in the 1920s and 1930s.
The group was initially attached to the National-Christian Defense League and became noted in the 1920s for their attacks on that party's main target the Jews, as well as general disruption of university life. Following the emergence of the National Christian Party the Lăncieri became associated with that group and continued their wild ways, rivalling the Iron Guard (with whom they frequently clashed) in their violence and mayhem. The 1937 general election campaign in particular was marred by clashes between the two fascist groups and not even the intervention of Alfred Rosenberg could unite the warring factions. Clashes between the two groups would continue, although the Lăncieri owed much of their organisation to the Iron Guard and indeed their continuing existence was as much an attempt to attract interest away from that group.Master race
The master race (German: Herrenrasse, also referred to as Herrenvolk "master people") 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 ("master humans").
The Nazi official Alfred Rosenberg believed that the Nordic race was descended from Proto-Aryans, who he believed had prehistorically dwelt on the North German Plain and who had ultimately originated from the lost continent of Atlantis. The Nazis declared that the Nordics (now referred to as the Germanic peoples), or Aryans as they sometimes called them, were superior to all other races. The Nazis believed they were entitled to expand territorially. This concept is known as Nordicism. The actual policy that was implemented by the Nazis resulted in the Aryan certificate, the one official document that was required by the law for all citizens of the Reich was the "Lesser Aryan certificate" (Kleiner Ariernachweis), which could be obtained through an Ahnenpass, which required the owner to trace her or his lineage through baptism, birth certificates or certified proof thereof that all grandparents were of "Aryan descent".
The Slavs (along with Gypsies and Jews) were defined as being racially inferior and non-Aryan Untermenschen, and were thus considered to be a danger to the "Aryan" or Germanic master race. According to the Nazi secret Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost, the Slavic population was to be removed from Central Europe through expulsion, enslavement, starvation, and extermination, except for a small percentage who were deemed to be non-Slavic descendants of Germanic settlers, and thus suitable for Germanisation.Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter
Ludwig Maximilian Erwin von Scheubner-Richter or Max Scheubner-Richter, born Ludwig Maximilian Erwin Richter (21 January 1884 – 9 November 1923) was a Russian-born German officer and activist who was an early member of the Nazi Party. Along with fellow member Alfred Rosenberg, he devised the plan to drive the German government to revolution through the Beer Hall Putsch. During the Putsch, he was shot in the lungs and died instantly, dislocating Adolf Hitler's right shoulder as he fell.NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs
The NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs (German: Außenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP, A.P.A. or APA) was a Nazi Party organization. It was set up in April 1933 in the Hotel Adlon in Berlin immediately after the Nazis' 'Machtergreifung'. It was led by Alfred Rosenberg. It was one of the central authorities for the foreign policy of Nazi Germany, alongside the Auswärtigen Amt or Foreign Office (AA) under the leadership of Neurath, the Auslandsorganisation (NSDAP/AO) of Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, the Bureau under Joachim von Ribbentrop (Dienststelle Ribbentrop) and part of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (RMVP) under Joseph Goebbels.NSDAP Office of Military Policy
The NSDAP Office of Military Policy (German: Wehrpolitisches Amt der NSDAP, W.P.A. or WPA, literally "NSDAP Office of Defense Policy" in English) was a Nazi Party organization. It was led by Franz Ritter von Epp and Anton Haselmayer, and housed in the same building as the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs, headed by Alfred Rosenberg.During the remilitarization of Germany, started by the Nazis shortly after they took power, its avowed aim was to "clarify military-political questions, to conduct propaganda campaigns for the purpose of creating a belligerent spirit and a better understanding of military matters among the people, and to control all activities in the fields of military politics and sciences."This attempt to gain sole authority in all matters of defense education and training brought it into conflict with the Defense Ministry, which objected to this intrusion into its monopoly on arms-bearing. As a result, it was dissolved in 1935, which did not bother Adolf Hitler; aside from the propaganda and war ministries there were also numerous other institutions and organizations already concerned with the 'remilitarization' of the German people.National Socialist Dutch Workers Party
The National Socialist Dutch Workers Party (Dutch Nationaal-Socialistische Nederlandsche Arbeiderspartij (Dutch pronunciation: [naːʃoːˈnaːlsoːʃaːˈlɪstisə ˈneːdərlɑntsə ˈʔɑrbɛidərspɑrˌtɛi]) or NSNAP (Dutch pronunciation: [ɛnɛsɛnaːˈpeː])) was a minor Dutch national socialist party founded in 1931 and led by Ernst Herman van Rappard. Seeking to copy the fascism of others, notably Adolf Hitler, the group failed to achieve success and was accused by rivals such as the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB) and the General Dutch Fascist League of being too moderate for a fascist movement.The group looked to the National Socialist German Workers Party for its inspiration, setting up its own Storm Trooper battalion in imitation of the Sturmabteilung and its own Holland Youth like the Hitler Youth, as well as copying the black swastika in a white circle on a red background as its emblem. Unlike its far right counterparts, who claimed to endorse Dutch patriotism, the NSNAP sought full incorporation of the Netherlands into the Third Reich, a policy which won it little support as the 998 votes which the party captured in the 1937 election demonstrated. Unlike the NSB, the NSNAP focused on anti-semitism, and denounced the NSB as a Jewish-dominated, pseudo-National Socialist organisation.Van Rappard was unable to hold the party together and before long three separate group were claiming the NSNAP name, one under Major Cornelis Jacobus Aart Kruyt and the other under Albert van Waterland (who had dropped his real surname of de Joode as it meant 'the Jew'). This factionalism in what was already a small party ensured that Alfred Rosenberg, who had considered the possibility of supporting the group with German money, lost interest and so the three NSNAPs faded from significance.The NSNAP did not gain from the German invasion of 1940 as the German authorities chose Anton Mussert of the rival NSB as their main beneficiary and Major Kruyt's version of the party merged into Mussert's movement in late 1940. The NSNAP finally disappeared altogether on December 14, 1941 when Arthur Seyss-Inquart banned all parties except the NSB. With van Rappard on active service with the Waffen-SS most of the remaining NSNAP members accepted the decision and switched their support to Mussert.Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte
The Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte (National Socialist Monthly) was a political and cultural journal produced by the Nazi Party and edited by Alfred Rosenberg. Its first edition was published in 1930. It served as a forum for specialists of various academic disciplines, including linguistics and history, to present their research in a popular format, often with a racial emphasis.Nazi archaeology
Nazi archaeology was the movement led by various Nazi leaders, such as Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, archaeologists and other scholars to research the German past in order to strengthen nationalism.Positive Christianity
Positive Christianity (German: Positives Christentum) was a movement within Nazi Germany which mixed ideas of racial purity and Nazi ideology with elements of Christianity. Adolf Hitler used the term in article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform, stating: "the Party represents the standpoint of Positive Christianity". Nondenominational, the term could be variously interpreted. Positive Christianity allayed fears among Germany's Christian majority as expressed through their hostility towards the established churches of large sections of the Nazi movement. In 1937, Hans Kerrl, the Nazi Minister for Church Affairs, explained that "Positive Christianity" was not "dependent upon the Apostle's Creed", nor was it dependent on "faith in Christ as the son of God", upon which Christianity relied, rather, it was represented by the Nazi Party: "The Führer is the herald of a new revelation", he said. To accord with Nazi antisemitism, positive Christianity advocates also sought to deny the Semitic origins of Christ and the Bible. In such elements positive Christianity separated itself from Nicene Christianity and is considered apostate by all of the historical Trinitarian Christian churches, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.
Hitler identified himself as a Christian in a 12 April 1922 speech. Hitler also identified himself as a Christian in Mein Kampf. However, historians, including Ian Kershaw and Laurence Rees, characterize his acceptance of the term positive Christianity and his involvement in religious policy as being driven by opportunism, and by a pragmatic recognition of the political importance of the Christian Churches in Germany. Nevertheless, efforts by the regime to impose a Nazified "positive Christianity" on a state-controlled Protestant Reich Church essentially failed, and it resulted in the formation of the dissident Confessing Church which saw great danger to Germany from the "new religion". The Catholic Church also denounced the creed's pagan myth of "blood and soil" in the 1937 papal encyclical Mit brennender Sorge.
The official Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg played an important role in the development of "positive Christianity", which he conceived in discord with both Rome and the Protestant church, whom he called "negative Christianity". Richard Steigmann-Gall queries whether this made Rosenberg a genuine anti-Christian. Rosenberg conceived of positive Christianity as a transitional faith and amid the failure of the regime's efforts to control Protestantism through the agency of the pro-Nazi "German Christians", Rosenberg, along with fellow radicals Robert Ley and Baldur von Schirach backed the neo-pagan "German Faith Movement", which more completely rejected Judeo-Christian conceptions of God. During the war, Rosenberg drafted a plan for the future of religion in Germany which would see the "expulsion of the foreign Christian religions" and replacement of the Bible with Mein Kampf and the cross with the swastika in Nazified churches.Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (German: Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete or RMfdbO) was created by Adolf Hitler in July 1941 and headed by the Nazi theoretical expert and Baltic German, Alfred Rosenberg. Alfred Meyer served as Rosenberg's deputy. This ministry was created to control the vast areas captured by the Germans in Eastern Europe and Russia. It also played a part in supporting anti-Soviet groups in Central Asia.
In February 1942, under Rosenberg's plans, the Ministry tried to promulgate a program of land reform in the occupied territories in the USSR that included promises of decollectivization through the abolition of kolkhozes and the re-distribution of land to peasants for individual farming.
Germany established two Reichskommissariats, for Ostland and Ukraine, and planned for two more, for Moscow and for the Caucasus. The Wehrmacht never established firm possession of the areas designated for the last two Reichskommissariats, so German civilian control never developed there.
In practice, the appointment of Erich Koch to administer the Reichskommissariat Ukraine substantially undermined Rosenberg's authority. Hitler ordered Koch to take a hard and brutal approach; Rosenberg wished to portray the Germans as liberators of Ukraine from Soviet domination, but Koch's brutality helped to push potential Ukrainian allies back to the Soviet camp. Furthermore, Rosenberg's ministry was denied authority over army and other security formations within the occupied territories. The other Reich Commissar, Hinrich Lohse (Ostland) was widely disregarded. The SS filled the resulting power vacuum, acting as they wished.Reichskommissariat Don-Wolga
Reichskommissariat Don-Wolga, literally "Reich Commissariat Don-Volga", was a theoretical civilian occupation regime of Nazi Germany discussed during the early stages of German planning for its occupation of territories in the Soviet Union, one of several other Reichskommissariats. It is also referred to in German memoranda as simply the Dongebiet ("Don territory").It was to stretch approximately from the Sea of Azov up to the Volga German Republic, an area without any natural boundaries, economic unity, or a homogeous population. Its slated capital was Rostov-on-Don. Dietrich Klagges, the Minister-President of Braunschweig, was proposed by Nazi leader Alfred Rosenberg as its Reichskommissar.Although five occupation regimes had originally been envisaged it was eventually dropped because it did not carry a specific political objective, and because the German authorities had decided by the second half of May 1941 to limit the number of administrative units that were to be established in the east to four. At Rosenberg's suggestion its territory was divided between the Reichskommissariat Ukraine and Reichskommissariat Kaukasus, which was accepted by Adolf Hitler. Other sources state its territory as covering 55.000 km2, and including only territory later added to Reichskommissariat Ukraine, comprising its eventually planned Generalbezirke Rostov, Voronezh, and Saratov.Reichskommissariat Ostland
Nazi Germany established the Reichskommissariat Ostland (RKO) in 1941 as the civilian occupation regime in the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the northeastern part of Poland and the west part of the Belarusian SSR during World War II. It was also known initially as Reichskommissariat Baltenland ("Baltic Land").
The political organization for this territory – after an initial period of military administration before its establishment – was that of a German civilian administration, nominally under the authority of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (German: Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete) led by Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, but actually controlled by the Nazi official Hinrich Lohse, its appointed Reichskommissar.
Germany's main political objectives for the Reichskommissariat, as laid out by the Ministry within the framework of National Socialist policies for the east established by Adolf Hitler, included the complete annihilation of the Jewish population, as well as the Lebensraum settlement of ethnic Germans along with the expulsion of some of the native population and the Germanization of the rest of the populace. These policies applied not only to the Reichskommissariat Ostland but also to other German-occupied Soviet territories. Through the use of Einsatzgruppen A and B with active participation of local auxiliary forces over a million Jews were killed in the Reichskommissariat Ostland. The Germanization policies, built on the foundations of the Generalplan Ost, would later be carried through by a series of special edicts and guiding principles for the general settlement plans for the Ostland.Throughout 1943 and 1944 the Red Army gradually recaptured most of the territory in their advance on Germany, but Wehrmacht forces held out in the Courland pocket. With the end of the war in Europe and the defeat of Germany in 1945, the Reichskommissariat ceased to exist.
Ostland should not be confused with Ober Ost, which had a similar role as an occupation authority for Baltic territories conquered by the German Empire in World War I.Reichskommissariat Turkestan
Reichskommissariat Turkestan (also spelled as Turkistan, abbreviated as RKT) was a projected Reichskommissariat that Germany proposed to create in the Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union in its military conflict with that country during World War II. Soviet historian Lev Bezymenski claimed that names Panturkestan, Großturkestan ("Greater Turkestan") and Mohammed-Reich ("Mohammedan Empire") were also considered for the territory.The proposal for a Reichskomissariat in this region was made by Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg; however, it was rejected by Adolf Hitler who told Rosenberg that Nazi plans ought to be restricted to Europe for the time being.The Myth of the Twentieth Century
The Myth of the Twentieth Century (German: Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts) is a 1930 book by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the principal ideologues of the Nazi Party and editor of the Nazi paper Völkischer Beobachter. The titular "myth" (in the special Sorelian sense) is "the myth of blood, which under the sign of the swastika unchains the racial world-revolution. It is the awakening of the race-soul, which after long sleep victoriously ends the race chaos."The book has been described as "one of the two great unread bestsellers of the Third Reich" (the other being Mein Kampf). In private Adolf Hitler said: "I must insist that Rosenberg's The Myth of the Twentieth Century is not to be regarded as an expression of the official doctrine of the party." Hitler objected to Rosenberg's paganism.Hitler awarded the first State Prize for Art and Science to the author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century. The official document accompanying the prize "expressly praises Rosenberg as a 'person who has, in a scientific and penetrating manner, laid the firm foundation for an understanding of the ideological bases of National Socialism.'"Thule Society
The Thule Society (; German: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum ("Study Group for Germanic Antiquity"), was a German occultist and völkisch group founded in Munich right after World War I, named after a mythical northern country in Greek legend. The society is notable chiefly as the organization that sponsored the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP; German Workers' Party), which was later reorganized by Adolf Hitler into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party). According to Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw, the organization's "membership list ... reads like a Who's Who of early Nazi sympathizers and leading figures in Munich", including Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Julius Lehmann, Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Karl Harrer.However, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke contends that Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess had been Thule members, but other leading Nazis had only been invited to speak at Thule meetings or they were entirely unconnected with it. According to Johannes Hering, "There is no evidence that Hitler ever attended the Thule Society."Völkischer Beobachter
The Völkischer Beobachter (pronounced [ˈfœlkɪʃɐ bəˈʔoːbaχtɐ]; "Völkisch Observer") was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party) from 25 December 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from 8 February 1923. For twenty-four years it formed part of the official public face of the Nazi Party until its last edition at the end of April 1945. The paper was banned and ceased publication between November 1923, after Adolf Hitler's arrest for leading the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, and February 1925, the approximate time of the rally which relaunched the NSDAP.