The Origin Of The Fascist Mentality
is an ideology which has its roots in Europe. The foundation of fascism
was laid by a number of European thinkers in the19th century,
and put into practice in the 20th century by such countries
as Italy and Germany. Other countries, which were influenced by fascism
or adopted it, "imported" the ideology from Europe. So, in order to examine
the roots of fascism, we must turn to the history of Europe.
European history has gone through several stages and periods. But, in
the broadest sense, we can divide it into three fundamental periods:
War and violence exercised an important role in pagan culture, as
indicated in these figures of warriors on murals and gravestones.
1) The pre-Christian (pagan) period.
2) The period when Christianity assumed cultural dominance in Europe.
3) The post-Christian (materialist) period.
The idea of a "Post-Christian" period may strike many readers as odd,
because Christianity is still by far the majority religion in European
society. But Christianity is no longer a dominant aspect of European culture:
all that remains is lip-service paid to it. The real ideologies and concepts
that now direct society have been formed, not by the dictates of religion,
but from the materialist philosophy. This anti-religious current began
in the 18th century, and came to dominate science and the realm
of ideas in the 19th. And, it was the 20th century
when the catastrophic results of materialism were finally witnessed.
In regards to these three periods, we can see that fascism belongs to
the first and third. In other words, fascism is a product of paganism,
and was later reinforced with the rise of materialism. Fascist ideology
or practice was non-existent throughout the thousand or so years when
Christianity dominated Europe. The reason being that Christianity
is a religion of peace and equality. Christianity, which calls people
to love, compassion, self-sacrifice, and humility, is the complete antithesis
Christianity is originally a divine religion, incepted by the Prophet
Jesus. After Jesus, it departed from its original form with some applications
and interpretations. Nevertheless, it has managed to maintain certain
aspects of the essence of the true religion, with concepts such love,
compassion, sacrifice, and humility, as set out above.
Let us now have a brief look at pre-Christian Europe and examine the
roots of fascism.
FASCISTS IN THE PAGAN WORLD
Essentially, as a pagan culture, religion in pre-Christian Europe was
polytheistic. Europeans believed the false gods they worshipped represented
various forces or aspects of life, and most important were the gods of
war, much like those who have appeared in just about every pagan society.
THE CULTURE OF VIOLENCE IN THE PAGAN WORLD
In pagan Rome, people were torn apart by wild animals, or else made
to fight to the death in the Colosseum. The audiences, who had fallen
prey to paganism's immorality and degeneracy, watched this violence
with great enjoyment and excitement.
Nero: an example of a "fascist" lover of violence from the pagan
This prestige the gods of war enjoyed in pagan belief was the result
of these societies' regarding violence as sacred. Pagan peoples were essentially
barbaric and lived in a state of permanent warfare. To kill and spill
blood in the name of their nation was seen as a sacred duty. Savagery
and violence of almost every kind could find justification in paganism.
There was no ethical foundation to forbid violence or brutality. Even
Rome, thought of as the most "civilized" state in the pagan world, was
a place where people were made to fight to the death or torn to pieces
by wild animals. The Emperor Nero came to power by having countless numbers
of people killed, including his own mother, wife, and stepbrother. He
had Christians devoured by wild animals in the arena, and tortured thousands
of people simply because of their beliefs. An example of his cruelty was
his setting the city of Rome on fire, as he played the lyre and watched
the horrible scene from a window in his palace.
Though Rome was immersed in a culture of violence, the barbarian and
pagan nations of the north, such as the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths,
were still more savage. They strove to wreak devastation on each other,
as well as plundering Rome. The pagan world was a place where violence
prevailed, where the use of brutality of every kind was encouraged, and
where there was no consideration at all for ethics.
The best example in the pagan world of a "fascist" system, in the modern
sense, was the Greek city-state of Sparta.
SPARTA: A MODEL FOR ALL FASCISTS
Lycurgus, the founder of the Spartan State
Sparta was a military state, dedicated to war and violence, and alleged
to have been founded by Lycurgus in the 8th century BC. The
Spartans implemented highly regimented system of education. Under the
Spartan system, the state was very much more important than the individual.
Peoples' lives were measured according to whether or not they would be
of use to the state. Strong, healthy male children were dedicated to the
state, while unhealthy babies were abandoned to the mountains to die.
(This Spartan practice was taken as an example by the Nazis of Germany,
and it was claimed, under the further influence of Darwinism, that the
sickly needed to be eliminated to maintain a "healthy and superior race.")
In Sparta, parents were responsible for raising their sons until the age
of seven. From then, until the age of 12, children were placed in teams
of 15, and those who stood out for their abilities were selected to be
leaders. Children spent their time strengthening their bodies and preparing
for war by practicing sports.
The pagan world possessed a culture in which only brute force was
seen to matter. Like the Romans, northern barbarian pagan tribes
such as the Vandals, Goths and Visigoths took great pleasure in
Literacy was not considered important, and there was little interest
in music or literature. The only songs children were allowed to sing and
learn were those of war and violence. (The education of children from
the age of four under the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler was very similar).
The Spartan custom was to indoctrinate people in the spirit of war, at
the expense of art, literature, and education.
One of the most important thinkers to have offered detailed statements
about Sparta was the famous Greek philosopher Plato. Although he lived
in Athens, which was governed democratically, he was impressed with the
fascist system in Sparta, and in his books portrayed Sparta as a model
SPARTA: THE FIRST FASCIST STATE
The Greek city-state of Sparta was a brutal war machine. Citizens
were raised from infancy to become ruthless warriors. Reading and
writing, music, art and literature were seen as unimportant. The
savage culture of the Spartans became the inspiration behind the
fascist ideologues of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Because of Plato's fascist tendencies, Karl Popper, one of the foremost
thinkers of the20th century, in his famous book, The Open Society
and Its Enemies, describes him as the first source of inspiration for
oppressive regimes, and an enemy of open society. In support of his contention,
Popper refers to how Plato calmly defended the killing of infants in Sparta,
and describes him as the first theoretical proponent of "eugenics":
...[I]t is important that the master class should feel as one superior
master race. 'The race of the guardians must be kept pure', says Plato
(in defence of infanticide), when developing the racialist argument that
we breed animals with great care while neglecting our own race, an argument
which has been repeated ever since. (Infanticide was not an Athenian institution;
Plato, seeing that it was practised at Sparta for eugenic reasons, concluded
that it must be ancient and therefore good.) He demands that the same
principles be applied to the breeding of the master race as are applied,
by an experienced breeder, to dogs, horses or birds. 'If you did not breed
them in this way, don't you think that the race of your birds or dogs
would quickly degenerate?' Plato argues; and he draws the conclusion that
'the same principles apply to the race of men'. The racial qualities demanded
from a guardian or from an auxiliary are, more specifically, those of
a sheep-dog. 'Our warrior-athletes .. must be vigilant like watch-dogs',
demands Plato, and he asks: 'Surely, there is no difference, so far as
their natural fitness for keeping guard is concerned, between a gallant
youth and a well-bred dog?'3
These views of Plato, who regarded human beings as a species of animal,
and proposed that they should be "evolved" through "forced mating," came
to the fore once again with the advent of Darwinism in the 19th
century, and were implemented by the Nazis in the20th. We shall
be examining this in the pages that follow.
While defending the Spartan model, Plato also advanced another aspect
of fascism, the state use of repression to administer society. In Plato's
view, this pressure should be so comprehensive that people should be unable
to think of anything apart from the orders of the state, and behave in
complete adherence to state policy, forsaking the use of their intelligence
and free will. The following words of Plato, quoted by Popper as a complete
statement of the fascist mentality, describe the structure of fascist
A bronze statue of a Spartan soldier going to war.
A Spartan soldier
The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female,
should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated
to letting him do anything at all on his own initiative; neither out of
zeal, nor even playfully. But in war and in the midst of peace-to his
leader he shall direct his eye and follow him faithfully. And even in
the smallest matter he should stand under leadership. For example, he
should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals .. only if he has been
told to do so. In a word, he should teach his soul, by long habit, never
to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it.4
These ideas and practices, promoted by the Spartans, as they were by
Plato, exemplify the fundamental characteristics of fascism-the perception
of human beings as mere animals, fanatical racism, the promotion of war
and conflict, state-sponsored repression, and "formal indoctrination."
Similar fascistic practices are also discoverable in other pagan societies.
The system set up by the pharaohs, the rulers of ancient Egypt, is in
certain aspects comparable to Spartan fascism. The Egyptian pharaohs built
up state systems founded on ideals of military discipline, and used them
to oppress even their own people. Rameses II, the tyrannical Egyptian
ruler, who is believed to have lived in the time of the Prophet Moses,
ordered that all male Jewish children be killed, a cruelty reminiscent
of the infanticide in Sparta, and the psychological forms of oppression
he inflicted on his own subjects also recalls the fascistic system described
by Plato. As God revealed in the Koran, Pharaoh offered his subjects the
following tyrannical ultimatum: "...I only show
you what I see myself and I only guide you to the path of rectitude."
(Koran, 40:29) And he threatened those magicians who rejected his
pagan beliefs and led to the true religion by following Moses,
"...Have you believed in him before I authorized you to do so?...I will
cut off your alternate hands and feet and then I will crucify every one
of you." (Koran, 7:123-124)
FASCISM'S RETREAT IN THE FACE OF RELIGION
The fascistic pagan culture which dominated Europe disappeared in stages
with the spread of Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, first
to Rome, and then to all of Europe. Christianity carried to European society
the basic ethical characteristics of the true religion revealed to man
by the Prophet Jesus. Europe, which had once encouraged violence, conflict
and bloodshed as sacred, and been composed of different tribes, races
and city-states constantly at war with one another, underwent an important
1) Racial and tribal wars disappeared: In
the pagan world, all tribes and races saw each other as enemies, and there
was constant fighting between them. Each pagan society had its own gods
and totems which it invented, waging war in their name. With the coming
of Christianity, there was a single belief, culture, and even language
in Europe as a whole, thus the conflicts of the pagan world came to an
2) Peace and compassion came to be considered sacred,
instead of violence: In pagan societies, inflicting bloodshed,
suffering and torture was seen as heroic, actions that appeased the imaginary
"gods of war." Under Christianity however, European societies learned
that people should love each other and exercise compassion (even for their
enemies), and that the shedding of blood was a great sin in the sight
3) The perception of human beings as a species
of animal disappeared: The Spartans regarding their warriors as
equivalent to "watch-dogs" was an extension of the "animist" belief widespread
in pagan societies. Animism implied ascribing a soul to nature and animals.
According to animism, there was no difference between a human being and
an animal, or even a plant. But when religion came to predominate, this
superstition disappeared, and European societies realized that human beings
possessed a soul given to them by God, and were completely different from
animals, and could not, therefore, be subject to the same laws.
These three aspects of paganism-racism, bloodshed, and equating human
beings with animals-are also the basic characteristics of fascism. In
Europe, they were vanquished by Christianity. In the Middle East, the
same victory was achieved by Islam over Arab paganism. Before the advent
of Islam, the Arabs (and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies)
were warlike, blood-thirsty, and racist. The Spartans' barbaric "abandonment
of unwanted children to die" was adopted by the pagan Arabs, in the form
of burying their female children alive. The Koran mentions this savage
When the baby girl buried alive is asked for what crime
she was killed. (Koran, 81: 8-9)
When any of them is given the good news of (the birth
of a daughter) the very thing which he himself has ascribed to the All-Merciful
his face darkens and he is furious. (Koran, 43:17)
The Arabs, and other Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures, were
only transformed into peaceful, civilized, intelligent societies opposed
to bloodshed after they were enlightened by Islam. Thus they were freed
from the old tribal wars and nomadic savagery, and found peace and stability
NEO-PAGANISM AND THE BIRTH OF FASCISM
THE LIBERTY CAP:
The picture below was thought to represent the unity and indivisibility
of the republic established after the French revolution. In this
and many other illustrations of the period, the symbol of the liberty
cap was used to represent the revolution, but was actually a legacy
of the pagan myth of Mithras from the ancient world.
Although European paganism was suppressed by Christianity, it did not
die out. It survived under the guise of various teachings, movements,
and secret societies, such as the Freemasons, and re-emerged in a definite
form in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. A
number of European thinkers, influenced by the works of ancient Greek
philosophers, such as Plato or Aristotle, began to revive concepts from
the pagan world.
This neo-pagan current became increasingly influential, and in the 19th
century, surpassed Christianity and imposed itself on Europe. It will
be useful to examine the main outline of this lengthy process here, without
necessarily going into details.
The vanguard of neo-pagan movement were those thinkers known as "humanists."
Influenced by ancient Greek sources, they tried to spread the pagan philosophies
of such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. The belief they professed
in the name "humanism" was a perverted philosophy that ignored the existence
of God and man's responsibilities to Him, but instead considered man a
great, superior, and independent being. The influences of humanism took
on further aspects with the philosophy of the Enlightenment in the 17th
and 18th centuries.
In this picture, painted in honor of Jean Jacques Rousseau after
the French Revolution, are symbols of ancient paganism, such as
the liberty cap and the tied staves.
Enlightenment philosophers were influenced by and fiercely defended
materialism, an idea which developed in ancient Greece. (Materialism is
a dogmatic philosophy put forward by such Greek thinkers as Leucippus
and Democritus, positing that only matter exists).
The rebirth of paganism is clearly evident in the French Revolution,
widely accepted as the political end-product of Enlightenment philosophy.
The Jacobins, who led the bloody "terrorist" period of the French Revolution,
were influenced by paganism, and nurtured a great hatred for Christianity.
As a result of intensive Jacobin propaganda during the fiercest days of
the revolution, the "rejection of Christianity" movement became widespread.
In addition, a new "religion of reason" was established, which was based
on pagan symbols rather than Christianity. Its first signs were seen in
the "revolutionary worship," on the Festival of Federation on July 14,
1790, which were then widely disseminated.
Robespierre, the ruthless leader of the Jacobins, brought about new rules
for "revolutionary worship," setting out their principles in a report
under the name "Cult of the Supreme Being." The most significant outcome
of these developments was the conversion of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral
into a "temple of reason."
The Cordeliers Club card belonging to Robespierre, ruthless leader
of the French revolution. Pagan symbols such as the red cap and
a bundle of rods strapped around an axe are particularly evident.
The Christian icons on its walls were torn down, and a female statue
known as the "goddess of reason" was erected in the center of it, in other
words, a pagan idol.
These pagan tendencies were portrayed among the revolutionaries by a
number of symbols. The liberty cap worn by the revolutionary guards of
the French Revolution, and which often became a symbol of the revolution,
descended from the pagan world and the worship of Mithras.5
The rebirth of paganism, and the beginning of its intellectual dominance
over Europe, also led the way
to a rebirth of fascism, itself a system rooted in the pagan world. In
fact, Nazi Germany, with its system reminiscent of that practiced in Sparta,
was based on paganism. Towards this development, a number of fundamental
cultural changes were necessary between the French Revolution, at the
end of the 18th century, and Nazi Germany, at the beginning
of the 20th. These important changes were
brought about by a number of thinkers during the 8th century.
The most important of these was Charles Darwin.
DARWINISM AND THE REVIVAL OF THE PAGAN SUPERSTITION OF
One of the superstitions to survive from paganism, but which only began
to be revived in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries,
was the "theory of evolution," a theory which maintained that all living
things came into existence as the result of pure chance, and then developed
from one to another.
Thales, one of the first proponents of the myth of "evolution."
Unaware of the existence of God, and worshipping false idols which they
themselves devised, pagans answered the question of how life came about
with the concept of "evolution." This notion is first seen in inscriptions
from ancient Sumeria, but was given shape in ancient Greece. Pagan philosophers
such as Thales, Anaximander and Empedocles, claimed that living things,
in other words human beings, animals and plants, formed themselves from
such inanimate substances as air, fire and water. According to their theories,
the first living things suddenly emerged in water and then adapted to
the land. Thales had spent time in Egypt, where the superstition that
"living things formed themselves out of mud" was widespread. The Egyptians
believed that in this way the frogs which appeared when the waters of
the Nile receded were formed.
Thales adopted the superstition and attempted to present a number of
arguments on its behalf, proposing that all living things came into existence
by and of themselves. These claims of his were based solely in theory,
not on experiment and observation. Other ancient Greek philosophers employed
the same method.
Anaximander, a student of Thales, developed the theory of evolution,
giving rise to to two important modes of Western thought. The first of
these was that the universe had always existed and will continue to exist
into eternity. The second was the idea that living things evolved from
each other, an idea which had slowly begun to take shape in Thales' time.
The first written work to discuss the theory of evolution was the classical
poem On Nature, in which Anaximander wrote that creatures arose from slime
that had been evaporated by the sun. He thought that the first animals
lived in the sea and had prickly, scaly coverings. As these fish-like
creatures evolved, they moved onto land, shed their scaly coverings, and
became humans.6 Books on philosophy describe how Anaximander
shaped the foundation of the theory of evolution:
We find that Anaximander of Miletus (611 B.C.-546 B.C.) advanced the
traditional evolutionary idea, already quite common in his day, that life
first evolved from a type of pre-biotic soup, helped along a bit by the
rays of the sun. He believed that the first animals developed from sea
slime which had been evaporated by the sun rays. He also believed that
men were descended from fish.7
That is because God-He is the Truth, and what you
call upon besides Him is falsehood. God is the All-High, the Most
Great. (Koran, 31:30)
In short, one of the two fundamental components of Darwinism, the claim
that living things evolved from each other as a result of coincidences,
was the product of pagan philosophy. The second important element of Darwin's
theory, "the struggle for survival," was also a pagan belief. It was the
Greek philosophers who first suggested there was a war for survival between
living things in nature.
With his theory defending war, conflict and the struggle for survival
between the races, Charles Darwin prepared the ideological foundation
Erasmus Darwin's book Zoonomia.
The notion of evolution, which the pagan philosophers had construed,
not by experiment and observation, but by abstract reasoning, began to
be reiterated in 18th century Europe. In pagan thought, the
concept of evolution was called "the Great Chain of Being," an idea that
influenced such early defenders of evolutionary theory as the French scientists
Benoit de Maillet, Pierre de Maupertuis, Comte de Buffon and Jean Baptiste
Lamarck. In his Histoire Naturelle, Buffon reveals himself as "an exponent
of the doctrine of the Great Chain of Being, with man being placed at
the tope of the Chain."8 Buffon's evolutionist views
were passed on to Lamarck, and eventually inherited by Charles Darwin.
Charles Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was an evolutionist who
adhered to pagan beliefs. Erasmus Darwin was one of the masters at the
famous Canongate Kilwining Masonic lodge in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also
had close connections to the Jacobins in France, and the Masonic organization
of the Illuminati, whose founding principle was the hatred of religion.
From the research he carried out in his eight-hectare botanical garden,
he developed the ideas that would later go on to shape Darwinism, collected
together in his books The Temple of Nature and Zoonomia. The concept of
"the temple of nature" that Erasmus employed was a testament to the pagan
beliefs he adopted, a repetition of the old pagan belief that nature possesses
a creative force.
DARWINISM PREPARED THE FOUNDATION FOR FASCISM
The myth of evolution, a legacy of Sumerian and Greek paganism, was introduced
into the Western agenda with Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, published
in 1859. In this work, as in The Descent of Man, he discussed certain
pagan concepts that had disappeared in Europe under Christianity, and
gave them "justification" under the guise of science. We can outline these
pagan concepts which he attempted to justify, thus preparing the groundwork
for the development of fascism, as follows:
1) Darwinism provided the justification for racism:
In the subtitle to The Origin of the Species, Darwin wrote: "The Preservation
of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." With these words, Darwin
was claiming that certain races in nature are more "favored" than others,
in other words, that they were superior. He revealed this dimension of
his ideas regarding human races in The Descent of Man, where he proposed
that European white men were superior to races such as Africans, Asians
and Turks, and were permitted to enslave them.
2) Darwinism provided a justification for bloodshed:
As we have seen, Darwin proposed that a deadly "struggle for survival"
takes place in nature. He claimed that this principle applied to both
societies and to individuals, that it was a struggle to the death, and
that it was quite natural for different races to try to eliminate others
for its own sake. In short, Darwin described an arena where the only rule
was violence and conflict, thus replacing the concepts of peace, cooperation,
self-sacrifice, that had spread to Europe with the advent of Christianity.
Darwinism thus resurrected the notion of the "arena," an exhibition of
violence devised in the pagan world (the Roman Empire).
The American historian Paul Crook's book 'Darwinism, War and History'
3) Darwinism brought the concept of eugenics back
into Western thought: The concept of maintaining racial supremacy
through breeding, known as eugenics, which the Spartans had implemented,
and which Plato defended by the words, "Our warrior-athletes must be vigilant
like watch-dogs," re-emerged in the Western world with Darwinism. Darwin
devoted whole chapters in The Origin of Species to discussing the "improvement
of animal races," and maintained, in The Descent of Man, that human beings
were a species of animal. Some time later, Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton,
was to take his uncle's claims a step further, and put forward the modern
theory of eugenics. (Nazi Germany would be the first state to implement
eugenics as official policy).
As we have seen, Darwin's theory seems to be a concept that concerns
only the science of biology, but it actually formed the basis for a totally
new political outlook. Within a very short time, this new attitude was
redefined as "Social Darwinism." And as many historians have come to accept,
Social Darwinism became the ideological basis of fascism and Nazism.
The effect of Darwinism's portrayal of war and conflict as necessary
has been analyzed in great detail in Paul Crook's Cambridge University
publication Darwinism, War and History: The Debate over the Biology of
War from 'The Origin of Species' to the First World War. Crook has made
it clear that by presenting war as a "biological necessity," Darwinism
formed both the formal justification for the First World War, as well
as for various other warlike tendencies in fascism. Crook writes:
Darwinist discourse conferred approval on a range of doctrines glorifying
power, status, elitism, conquest and repression. Differences between cultures,
genders, classes and races were reduced to fixed biological differences,
imprinted in humans during eons of selective struggle. Darwin's conflict
model generated militarist and racist extrapolations that conferred approval
on war and imperial struggle as 'biological necessities'.9
From such [Darwinist] assumptions, a variety of unpleasant consequences
could be derived... War is rationalised... As Frederick Wertham has argued,
if violence 'is all in human nature, and if we are all guilty, then nobody
is guilty. And if we are all responsible, no man is responsible' ...The
First World War was portrayed as the final vindication of the mythology
of bestiality, encoded anew in terms of neo-Darwinian genetics and instinct
You who believe! Enter absolutely
into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He
is an outright enemy to you. (Koran,
Darwin thought of using Hobbes's phrase 'war of nature' as a heading
to his chapter on struggle in his projected 'big book' Natural Selection
...He spoke of creatures 'overmastering' one another: 'through his continual
use of highly dramatic language representing the life of organisms in
nature as some heroic war, with attendant battles, victories, famine,
dearth, and destruction, Darwin creates the image of a great literal struggle
for existence - an image which pervades the Origin.'11
As Crook has stated, Darwin not only proposed that human beings were
a "species" descended from animals, but portrayed war and conflict as
"the origin of species." This fallacy would be the justification for the
promotion of war and the ideology of conflict, in fact, for the growth
of fascism itself.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE: AN ILL MIND WHO PRAISED VIOLENCE
There was another 19th century thinker influenced by the neo-paganism
attendant to Darwinism, and who expanded on it, thus helping to establish
the foundation for fascism: The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
NIETZSCHE, A FANATICAL OPPONENT OF RELIGION
Nietzsche was influenced by the neo-pagan
ideas brought about by the popularity of Darwin's theory, and laid
the foundations of fascism. Nietzsche was a fierce enemy of religion,
and his books Anti-Christ and Thus Spake Zarathustra, are clear
evidence of his interest in paganism.
Nietzsche was born in a village near Leipzig in 1844, and was fascinated
by Greek culture, learning Greek at an early age. In 1868, he began studying
philosophy in the Swiss city of Basel. Nietzsche hated divine religions,
such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism, but was fascinated by the pagan
culture of ancient Greece. He formed a close friendship in Basel with
Wagner, the best-known composer of the age. Wagner, who had come to fame
with his Die Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), was a German
racist who was also fascinated by pagan culture and hated divine religions.
(Wagner would be regarded as Germany's greatest cultural genius throughout
the Hitler period).
The German racist Wagner, known for his reverence of European paganism
and hatred of divine religions, was regarded in Hitler's time as
the greatest artistic genius.
Nietzsche's publisher, Peter Gast, called Nietzsche "one of the fiercest
anti-Christians and atheists."12 Another testament to
Nietzsche's hatred of religion is the title of his book Anti-Christ. In
his book Thus Spake Zarathustra, he tried to set up an ethical system
beyond divine religion. According to H. F. Peters, Nietzsche's biographer,
his philosophy rested on Roman and Greek paganism, and in his writings
he called for "a new Caesar" to transform the world.13
had a particular hatred of the ethical views of Christianity, Islam and
Judaism. In his opinion, concepts such as love, compassion and humility,
must be abandoned and replaced with a so-called "master morality" which
accepted the warlike and ruthless state of nature. In Thus Spake Zarathustra,
he wrote, "Of all that is written I love only what a man has written with
his blood. Write with blood, and you will experience that blood is spirit."14
Nietzsche was also a racist. He maintained that one part of mankind was
composed of übermensch (superman), and that the others had to serve and
obey them. Furthermore, he claimed that these so-called "supermen" would
found an aristocratic world order, a theory which was put into practice
by Hitler's armies at the start of the Second World War in 1939.
These two aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy, his racism and reverence
for violence, are allied closely to Darwinism. Nietzsche's thought was
in fact strongly influenced by Darwin. Darwin's discrimination between
the different races conformed closely to Nietzsche's perception of "superior
and inferior peoples." Nietzsche also adapted his hatred of religion with
the atheism of Darwin.
In his book Darwin's Dangerous Idea, the Darwinist writer Daniel C. Dennett
describes Darwin's influence on Nietzsche in the following way: "Friedrich
Nietzsche saw …an even more cosmic message in Darwin:...If Nietzsche is
the father of existentialism, then perhaps Darwin deserves the title of
grandfather."15 Dennett explains in great detail how
Darwin and Nietzsche's ideas run parallel, and although Nietzsche seems
to criticize Darwin in some of his writings, he gives many examples where
Nietzsche clearly approves of Darwinist thought.
The likeness of those who disbelieve is that of
someone who yells out to something which cannot hear-it is nothing
but a cry and a call. Deaf-dumb-blind. They do not use their intellect.
According to the historian W. Cleon Skousen, Hitler's Mein Kampf
was as if "Nietzsche was speaking from the dead."
After Nietzsche's death, the most important exponent of his philosophy
was his sister, Elisabeth Nietzsche. She stood out as an avowed supporter
of Nazi ideology in Hitler's Germany, and announced that her brother's
model of the "Superman" had been brought to life by Hitler.16
Nietzsche's influence on Nazi ideology is a reality that has been stressed
by a great many historians. W. Cleon Skousen writes that, when "Hitler
wrote Mein Kampf, it was as though Nietzsche was speaking from the dead."17
Another historian, George Lichtheim, writes, "It is not too much to say
that but for Nietzsche the SS-Hitler's shock troops and the core of the
whole movement-would have lacked the inspiration to carry our their programs
of mass murder in Eastern Europe."18
As the historian H. F. Peters puts it, many have cursed Nietzsche as
"the father of fascism."19 In his book, The Myth of
the 20th Century, the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg openly
praised Nietzsche. Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), the youth wing of the
Nazi movement, took Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra as a sacred text.
Adolf Hitler had a special monument erected in Nietzsche's memory, and
incepted the foundations of an educational center and library "where German
youth could be taught Nietzsche's doctrine of a master race."20
Finally, the Friedrich Nietzsche Memorial Building was opened by Hitler
in August 1938.
THE NAZI MASSACRES IN EASTERN EUROPE
According to historian George Lichtheim, Nietzsche was the main
inspiration behind Hitler, whose SS units were responsible for
terrible massacres of Jewish and Slav populations in eastern Europe.
Nietzsche's influence was not limited to Germany, it was also important
in Italy, the birthplace of fascism. The poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, who
may be regarded as the inspiration behind Mussolini, was greatly influenced
by Nietzsche's philosophy.21 Historians note that D'Annunzio's
successor, Benito Mussolini acknowledged a debt of gratitude to Nietzsche
Hitlerjugend (The Hitler Youth), the Nazis' youth wing, considered
Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra to be a "sacred text."
The disasters inflicted upon mankind by fascism, which Nietzsche had
inspired, provide historical evidence of just how harmful were the German
philosopher's Darwinist ideas. Nietzsche, who opposed the divine morality
that God revealed to mankind to show it the true path, and who proposed
taking mankind to the modern age by replacing that morality with a brutal
and oppressive society, had put forward Darwin's idea that man is a species
of animal, and divided man into superior and inferior races, is the best
example of the dark reality into which a lack of religion draws individuals
and societies. Moreover, Nietzsche's life itself serves a warning.
Dr. P. J. Mobius (above) stated that Nietzsche had a "diseased brain"
and warned people against the ideas produced by that brain.
At 44 he was taken to a mental hospital, where his illness grew steadily
worse, until he died raving mad. In 1902, a doctor called P. J. Mobius
warned people "that they should beware of Nietzsche, for his works were
the products of a diseased brain."23 But the Germans
had great respect for the diseased philosophy of this disturbed mind,
and so Nazi Germany was born.
Nietzsche died of syphilis in a state of mental decay in a lunatic asylum.
His private life was no less troubled or diseased than his philosophy.
Like all those who have ever denied the existence of God, he met a very
Do not let those who rush headlong into disbelief sadden
you. They do not harm God in any way. God desires to assign no portion
to them in the hereafter. They will have a terrible punishment. Those
who sell belief for disbelief do not harm God in any way. They will have
a painful punishment. Those who disbelieve should not imagine that the
extra time We grant to them is good for them. We only allow them more
time so they will increase in evildoing. They will have a humiliating
punishment. (Koran, 3:176-178)
FRANCIS GALTON: THE INSPIRATION BEHIND EUGENIC KILLINGS
Another important 19th century ideologue, who helped lay the
foundations of 20th century fascism, was Francis Galton, known
as the founder of the theory of "eugenics."
We have already discussed the concept of eugenics. It saw people as a
species of animal and was the product of a mentality that imagined that
the same rules applied to human beings as to animals. It held the belief
that the human race could be developed by "breeding methods," as with
dogs or cattle. According to the theory, society's sick and deformed must
be prevented from multiplying, (if necessary, they should even be killed),
and healthy individuals should "reproduce" as much as possible to ensure
strong and healthy later generations. This policy was one that had been
implemented by the warrior city-state of Sparta, and defended by Plato.
Francis Galton Charles Darwin
Francis Galton (left), Charles Darwin's
(right) cousin, was influenced by Darwin and the French physicist
Paul Broca, himself another evolutionist. Galton put forward the
theory of "eugenics," which suggested that some races were superior
to others and that the strong should be kept uncontaminated by the
With the domination of Christianity, eugenics had found itself relegated
to the dusty shelves of history. Until Darwin's The Origin of Species
was published. Darwin devoted the opening chapters of his book to the
subject of raising animals, drew attention to those breeders who raised
more productive breeds of horses and cattle, and then proposed, later
on in the book, that these methods could be applied to human beings. Ultimately,
it was Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, who widened the road of eugenics
opened by his uncle, and who brought the subject onto the world stage
by formulating it into a comprehensive program.
As we might imagine, Galton was a fierce supporter and follower of Darwin.
In his autobiography Memories of My Life, he writes:
The publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made
a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human
thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic
barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against
all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements
were contradicted by modern science.24
The concepts that Galton denigrated as "dogmatic barriers" and "ancient
authorities" were religious systems and beliefs. In other words, Darwin
was the reason for Galton's "great turning point," giving up his beliefs,
and turning to the atheism and the racism, remnants of paganism.
Other than Darwin, Galton was also influenced by another evolutionist
ideologue, the French physicist Paul Broca, who proposed that human intelligence
was directly related to brain size and, hence, to the size of the head.
In order to allegedly "prove" this, he tore up Paris graveyards and measured
hundreds of skulls. Galton united Broca's superstition about brain size-which
would subsequently be proved to be utterly wrong-and Charles Darwin's
"animal breeding" philosophy. The result was the theory of "eugenics,"
being that certain races of humanity are superior to others, and that
those superior must be kept uncontaminated by those inferior.
THE RACIST SCIENCE OF DARWINISM:
Paul Broca, one of several Darwinists to have
influenced Francis Galton, proposed that human intelligence was
directly related to brain size, and consequently, to the size of
the head. In order to "prove" his theory, he dug up Paris graveyards
and measured hundreds of skulls. Although Broca's theories were
subsequently proved wrong, skull measurements were carried out in
a number of countries, particularly Germany. "Superior people" were
supposedly identified from these measurements.
Galton first published his ideas in 1869, in his book Hereditary Genius.
It discusses a number of "geniuses" in British history and claims that
they bore pure racial characteristics. (Among these "geniuses," he did
not neglect to include his uncle, Charles Darwin). In accordance to his
claim, Galton then suggested that the English nation possessed an inherently
superior blood to other races, and that steps needed to be taken to protect
that blood from contamination. These theories he considered to be applicable
not just to the British, but to all races. The Canadian author Ian Taylor
has this to say in his book In the Minds of Men, in which he considers
the social effects of Darwinism:
A document describing the measures applied in California, one of
the American states which implemented the racist "Sterilization
Laws" in the 1930s.
He [Galton] was now left with the claim that certain races were inherently
superior and that their superiority was fixed forever from the past as
well as into the future… The conclusion to Galton's argument then followed
that, for the sake of mankind's future, pollution of the precious superior
gene pool by interbreeding with inferior stock had to be stopped at all
Galton proposed that legal measures needed to be taken to prevent "inferior
races polluting the superior." In his view, marriages needed to be legally
regulated. To name his racist-evolutionist theory, Galton looked to the
pagan world which had once practiced the same ideology. It was Galton
who coined and first used the word "eugenics," from the Greek for "good
birth." Inevitably, those who believed in Darwinism, also believed in
eugenics. Finally, the Eugenics Education Society was established in 1907,
based at the statistics department of University College, London. In 1926,
the name was simplified, and it became the "Eugenics Society."
The Eugenics Society maintained that all handicapped people should be
"sterilized." Charles Darwin's son, Leonard Darwin, was president of the
organization between 1911 and 1928, and its most active member.
After Great Britain, eugenics began to attract supporters in the United
States. Evolutionist circles there carried out a great deal of propaganda
on the subject in the 1920s and 30s, and certain states passed the laws
known as "Sterilization Laws." These laws allowed men and women believed
to be genetically weak or sick to be sterilized.
These laws are now seen in the United States as an example of the detriment
of racism. What is more, the idea is now seen as a superstition, totally
at variance with the scientific facts. The recent human genome project
has shown that the genetic differences between races and individuals are
very small, and that it is stupid to even attempt to construct any reproduction
policy based on them. Human races were created equal by God. In the Koran,
Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made
you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other.
The noblest among you in God's sight is that one of you who best performs
his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Koran, 49:13)
The weak and genetically sick must be treated with affection and compassion,
protected and nurtured, not "sterilized." But instead of this approach,
revealed to us by God as a religious moral duty, the Western world, at
the beginning of the20th century, turned to eugenics, a product
of paganism and the theory of evolution. And, the scale of the savagery
that this pagan-evolutionary theory led to will be revealed when we consider
the case of Germany.
ERNST HAECKEL: THE NAZIS 'RACIST THEORETICIAN
The last name along the path from Darwin to the Nazis that we need to
consider is the zoologist Ernst Haeckel, Germany's best-known Darwinist
and a fanatical supporter of eugenics.
In the history of science, Haeckel is known for his theory that "ontogeny
recapitulates phylogeny." According to this evolutionary theory, Haeckel
was claiming that embryonic development repeats "evolutionary history."
He thought that the stages of embryonic development repeated the adult
stages of the ancestors of a species. In order to support his theory,
which he developed under the influence of Darwin, Haeckel made a number
of drawings of embryos, in which, it was later realized, he had made deliberate
distortions, and that his theory was a forgery. Haeckel was a charlatan
who used falsified evidence to make Darwinism scientifically acceptable.
Another instance of Haeckel's erroneous science is the theory of eugenics.
He adopted the theory, from such names as Charles Darwin, Francis Galton
and Leonard Darwin, and took it further, by suggesting a return to the
Spartan model of ancient Greece: In other words, to murdering children!
In his book Wonders of Life, Haeckel proposed the "destruction of abnormal
new born infants" without hesitation, and claimed that it could not "rationally
be classed as murder", becaýse these children were not yet conscious.26
Haeckel wanted all the sick and deformed, who may be an obstacle to the
so-called evolution of society, not just children, to be eliminated as
a requirement of the "laws of evolution." He opposed treatment for the
sick, claiming that this obstructed the workings of natural selection.
He complained that "Hundreds of thousands of incurables-lunatics, lepers,
people with cancer etc-are artificially kept alive in our modern communities…without
the slightest profit to themselves or the general body." He further recommended
that a commission should be set up to decide the fate of individuals.
Upon the decision of the commission the "'redemption from evil' should
be accomplished by a dose of some painless and rapid poison."27
This barbarism, upon which Haeckel built his theory, was to be put into
practice in Nazi Germany. Shortly after coming to power, the Nazis instituted
an official policy of eugenics. The mentally ill, the deformed, the blind
from birth, and those with genetic diseases, were gathered up in "sterilization
centers." These people were regarded as parasites that spoiled the purity
of the German race and its evolutionary progress. Some time after being
separated from society, they were eventually killed under special orders
It is a well known fact, pronounced by many historians who have studied
the subject, that Ernst Haeckel's ideas, and the Darwinist ideology in
general, were the ideological basis of Nazism. In his book The Scientific
Origins of National Socialism: Social Darwinism in Ernst Haeckel and the
German Monist League, the American historian Daniel Gasman presents extensive
proof of this. According to Gasman, Haeckel "became one of Germany's major
idealists for racism, nationalism and imperialism."28
Haeckel left Nazism an organizational and an ideological legacy. On the
one hand he developed the theory of eugenics and racism, and on the other
he founded the "Monist League," an atheist association, and this played
a major role in the effect the Nazis had on the educated section of society.
| THE IDEA OF MAN AS AN "ANIMAL," THE
IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION BEHIND THE NAZI MURDERS
Eugenic killings, which had been defended by Ernst Haeckel, and were
put into practice by the Nazis after 1933, as well as other Nazi genocides
carried out against various ethnic groups such as the Jews and the
Gypsies during the war, share one common principle: the idea that
people are animals.
By the inspiration they drew from Darwin's theory of evolution,
the Nazis considered mankind to consist of different animal groups
which made up the different human races, and believed that there
must necessarily be continuous conflict between them. As a result
of this superstition, they felt justified the murdering innocent
women and children, the sick and the elderly, in the name of "racial
Cambridge historian and London Times journalist Ben Macintyre explains
the Darwinist thought that Haeckel left as his legacy to the Nazis:
The German embryologist Haeckel and his Monist League told the world,
and in particular, Germany, that the whole history of nations is explicable
by means of natural selection: Hitler and his twisted theories turned
this pseudo-science into politics, attempting to destroy whole races in
the name of racial purity and the survival of the fittest...Hitler called
his book Mein Kampf, "My Struggle," echoing Haeckel's translation of Darwin's
phrase "the struggle for survival."29
This Darwinist influence at the root of Nazism and other fascist ideologies
will be examined more closely in later sections of this book.
FASCISM: THE RETURN OF PAGANISM
At the beginning of this chapter, we identified fascism as a system of
violence that emerged in pagan societies. The basic reason for this violent
tendency in fascism comes from the philosophy of "worshipping strength,"
that might is right. The strong have the right to rise to the top and
crush the weak. Fascists greatly admire the strong, but hate and despise
the weak. The fundamental principles of this perverted philosophy are
waging war, shedding blood, ruthlessness and cruelty.
Against this perverted mentality that emerged in Sparta, in the arenas
of the Roman Empire, and in the pagan barbarian tribes from the North
of Europe, there is the beautiful morality God has revealed to us by means
of religion. As revealed to man throughout history by prophets and holy
books, such as the Torah, the Gospel and the Koran, what matters is not"
strength," but "truth." Human beings must be judged by whether or not
they conform to what God has revealed as the truth, not by their strength.
The strong are charged with being gentle and compassionate to the weak,
not crushing and oppressing them. A human being's duty is to protect the
weak and be merciful and peace-loving, not to be cruel and ruthless.
The Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg maintained that Christianity could
not provide enough "spiritual energy" for the German Reich, that was
to be established under Hitler's leadership, and thought it necessary
that the German race return to their ancient pagan religion.
Modern fascism, with its roots in the 19th century, is a product
of ideologies that desire to oppose those rules of morality revealed to
man by religion, and to replace them with a racist, blood-thirsty and
cruel culture of paganism. The neo-Pagan tendency, which began with the
French Revolution, was given shape by Friedrich Nietzsche, and carried
forward to Nazi ideology. Evolutionists such as Charles Darwin, Francis
Galton and Ernst Haeckel strove to give so-called scientific support to
this rising paganism, by denying the existence of God, and attempting
to demonstrate that all of life consists of a "struggle for survival",
thus justifying racism.
PROPAGANDA BY MEANS OF ART
The Nazis also employed art to re-awaken paganism. Ancient Greek
forms, statues and symbols suddenly also became a part of German
culture. Portrayals of powerful men and women, intended to represent
the Aryan race, were made to resemble ancient Greek statues.
The American historian, Gene Edward Veith, sums up these developments
in his book Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview
this way: "Fascism is the modern world's nostalgia for paganism.... It
is a sophisticated culture's revolt against God."30
Nazism clearly revealed that fact. The Nazis defended paganism, both
during the early stages, and also when they came to power in 1933. They
tore German society away from Christianity, and tried to turn it to pagan
Even in the 1920s, Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazis' foremost ideologue, was
already claiming that Christianity would be unable to generate sufficient
spiritual energy under the Third Reich that was to be set up under Hitler's
leadership, and that the German people would have to return to the old
pagan religion. According to Rosenberg, when the Nazis came to power they
would have to replace all the Christian symbols in churches with swastikas,
copies of Mein Kampf, and swords symbolizing German invincibility. Hitler
was influenced by these views of Rosenberg, although he refrained from
implementing the so-called German religion because he was afraid of what
society's reaction might be.31
Another person who tried to revive German paganism was Stefan George,
known as one of Germany's great poets, and for his deviant sexual
inclinations towards small boys. George and his supporters claimed
that Germany would become a new Greek state..
However, important neo-pagan practices were experimented with during
the Nazi era. Not long after Hitler came to power, Christian holidays
and festivals were replaced by pagan ones. "Mother Earth" or "Father Sky"
were called on at wedding ceremonies. In 1935, Christian prayers in schools
were stopped, and then all lessons concerning Christianity were banned.
As made clear in the book The Pink Swastika, which discusses the Nazis'
pagan ideologies (and homosexual tendencies), "the revival of Hellenic
paganism became a fundamental aspect of the Nazi identity."32
The same book stresses the fact that there was a homosexual tendency
in that pagan movement which formed the basis of Nazi identity. It also
gives an interesting example of the Nazis' links to Greek pagan culture:
NAZI CEREMONIES WERE IN IMITATION OF ANCIENT PAGAN RITES
Who were these "intellectuals" who popularized Nietzschean fascism in
Germany? Stefan George, one of Germany's most popular poets of the time,
was a pederast, and "a guiding example" to the Community of the Special….
"George and his disciples" writes Oosterhuis and Kennedy "revivified Holderlin's
concept Griechendeutschen (Hellenic Germans)... His [Stephen George's]
last book, Das neue Reich (The New Kingdom) published in 1928, "prophesied
an era in which Germany would become a new Greece". In 1933, when Hitler
came to power, he offered George a position as President of the Nazi Academy
Under Nazi rule, many policies were implemented that were aimed at establishing
a re-awakening of pagan culture. Schoolchildren were taught the so-called
"Glorious pre-Christian German history," and various rites and ceremonies,
legacies of pagan culture, were held all over Germany. All Nazi meetings
were in the form of traditional pagan ceremonies. There was almost no
difference between Nazi rallies, held under the shadow of flaming torches,
where slogans full of hate and hostility were shouted and Wagner's pagan
music played, and the perverted ceremonies carried out thousands of years
ago at pagan temples and altars.
To re-awaken paganism, the Nazis also used the arts. Ancient Greek concepts
and symbols began to predominate under Nazi rule, and many statues similar
to Greek one were made portraying strong men and women of the Aryan race.
Hitler dreamed that a "superior race" would be formed through eugenics,
and a cruel and oppressive "world kingdom" would be established based
on the Spartan model. The expression "The Third Reich" is a testament
to this dream. (Hitler attempted to found the third and greatest German
kingdom after two others which had existed previously). Because of this
dream, 55 million people lost their lives in the Second World War, the
bloodiest conflict that the world had ever seen. The genocides Nazis carried
out against various ethnic groups such as the Jews, Gypsies, and Poles,
as well as prisoners of war from other nations, were of a savagery unprecedented
In the next chapter, we will see under what conditions fascism came to
power, and how it proceeded once it had done so.
THE PAGAN SYMBOLS OF FASCISM
The Nazi symbol of the swastika is often
thought to be a Christian symbol because of its similarity to the
cross. However, it is actually a pagan symbol originating from pre-Christian
pagan German beliefs.
Liebenfels, who abandoned Christianity and turned to paganism,
was the first person to use the swastika in 20th century Nazi
Germany. The seal on the left is from Liebenfels' book cover.
The symbol of the war god Wotan (Odin) was later taken over
by the Nazis.
The first person to use the swastika as a
symbol in 20th century Germany was Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, one
of the foremost ideologues in the development of Nazi ideology,
who may be regarded as the true founder of the racist theories concerning
the German race. In his youth he was a Christian priest, but because
of his deviant sexual tendencies, he was expelled from the Church,
abandoning Christianity and turning to pagan beliefs. He founded
the pagan organization Ordo Novi Templi (Order of the New Temple),
and announced that they worshipped Wotan, one of the pagan gods
of old German myth. (Wotan, or Odin in northern languages, was a
god of war who rode an eight-legged horse and carried a spear).
Von Liebenfels wanted to re-instate this aberrant belief, and announced
that he had selected the swastika as the symbol of Wotan. This pagan
symbol was later taken over by the Nazis, who also became devoted
to the paganism of barbarian Europe, and who thought they were carrying
out their massacres, conquests and killings in the name of Wotan.
Adherence to pagan beliefs may also be discerned
in symbols employed by Mussolini. As mentioned before, "fascism,"
which was an invention of Mussolini's, comes from the Latin word
fasces, that is, a bundle of rods tied around an axe, used in ancient
Rome. Senior officials known as "lictors" would carry this item
before them, believed to be a symbol of power and sovereignty.
They are nothing but names
which you yourselves have given, you and your forefathers. God has
sent down no authority for them. They are following nothing but
conjecture and what their own selves desire. And that when guidance
has reached them from their Lord! (Koran,