The Statism examined in chapter one contributed to both Russian Socialism and the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin, but Racialism involved another set of commitments and ideas which did not operate in a direct ideological way in Socialist Russia. Many people would draw a sharp distinction between Racialism and Nationalism, but the understanding in this chapter is that they have much of the same underlying commitment. That position needs elaborating and justifying. Nationalism is an old European attitude and in the 20thC obviously helped generate the First World War, but it was intermingled with ideas which were racialist and a long part of European history, the practice of the slave trade and 19thC colonialism. In the 20thC Racialism focussed in Fascism. The only difference in Nazi and Italian Fascist ideology is in the way it was relatively unmodified by christian and liberal perceptions and in the particular union it achieved with Statism. Nationalism, Racialism and Fascism are therefore closely linked.
The underlying idea in all three is of a people who are a natural organic unity and provide the meaning of life for its members. The “natural” theme is important, because the roots are normally seen in terms of blood relationships, biology and an ethnic identity. They can also be seen in terms of the land or the “soil”. The roots of every person are there, and they must affirm their identity in some way or another with their blood brothers and sisters. The principle thus draws on the particularity of family, tribe, ethnic group and nation as an ultimate reality by birth. It is an organic unit, because membership is automatic, and the understanding is that you sink and swim together. Through history this unit has always fought together to attack or defend itself against aliens. The relationship between the people is pre-ideological, because it is based on birth, and it also does not allow division. Anything which would divide a people is the enemy and must be eliminated. This description is, of course, too formal for a set of beliefs which are felt, automatic, in the blood and allow no higher authority. In every circumstance the tribe, the team, the nation, the volk provide the framework of meaning, the ethic and the pattern of understanding within which people live.
This religion, because, of course, it is the great folk religion, has fought a long war with Christianity. Christianity begins with the created unity of humankind in Adam and Eve. It sees the fragmentation of nations as the result of sin. God is no respecter of nations. The Jews, although given God’s revelation, are also judged according to higher standards and are required to treat the alien with justice and care. In the Gospels Jesus relativizes the importance of family, and treats the idea that having “Abraham as our Father” is significant with contempt. He strongly criticizes Jewish ethnic faith and self-righteousness and goes out of his way to commend non-Jewish believers. He makes clear that faith in God and being his disciple divides nations and families, and the Gospel is clearly for every tribe and nation. Paul comes to the great conclusion that in Christ every ethnic dividing wall has been broken down and there is “neither Jew nor Greek..for you are all one in Jesus” (Gal 3 28) This has with aberations been the message of the churches down through the ages. Latin was used as a universal language for much of its history, and this motive has been behind Christian mission. Against this background there has been a continual ideological war, of which this immediate history is but one more stage. Let us follow it through.
The impact of Social Darwinism was widespread throughout Europe [II p ???] and its effect was to create the assumption that races and ethnic groups were engaged in a struggle, that it was natural to be so, and that it was also natural for there to be rulers and ruled. This was the philosophy of Empire and it ruled as orthodoxy in many people’s thought. Each nation had its own ethnic idiom.
Ethnology. It is interesting the way this so-called science has lapsed. It was the study of how and why the races differed, and although it is now pushed int the background, once it was orthodox social science. Its attitudes can be gauged from the following quotation in a reputable encyclopedia of 1912. It describes the chief ethnic groups and among other things their mental characters.
“Mental characters – Negro African: sensual, unintellectual, fitful, passing readily from tragedy to comedy: mind arrested at puberty, hence unprogressive, this trait being attributed to the early closing of the cranial sutures; no science or letters; few industrial arts. Mongolic: generally somewhat reserved, sullen, apathetic, outwardly very courteous, but supercilious; very thrifty, frugal and industrious in China and Japan, elsewhere mostly indolent; nearly all reckless gamblers, science slightly, arts and letters, moderately, developed; porcelein, bronze work etc scarcely supassed, but all plastic and pictoral art defective, lacking perspective, and the human figure mostly charicatured. Caucasic or White: I (European) II (East Africa and India) III (Mediterranean) I is slow and somewhat stolid, cool, collected, resolute, tenacious, enterprising. II and III are fiery, fickle, bright, impulsive, quick, but unsteady, with more love of show than sense of duty. All three are highly imaginitive and intellectual; hence science, arts and letters fully developed, to some extent even from early historic times; most civilisations have had their roots on Caucasian soil.” (Hastings 1912 vol V 527 – 31)
This is beneath distain, but it is part of the general culture of the time in many countries other than Britain. Ethnology aimed to be a quite general theory of human behaviour. Its first effective scholar was Edward Tylor (1832-1917) who was firmly convinced that all cultures could be placed in a progressive hierarchy from savage to civilised, from lower to higher. He was the first anthropology Professor at Oxford 1896-1909. His views were opposed by Franz Boas, teaching at Columbia, NY, 1896-1936 who had a much more plural view of cultures. His The Mind of Primitive Man (1911) got up Hitler’s nose. During this early period ethnology and anthropology were often armchair occupations mediated through traders, colonial administrators and missionaries, and it was only in 1914-8 that Bronislaw Malinowsky (1884-1942) undertook detailed descriptive ethnography which aimed to understand the cultures in their own terms..
In Germany there was an understanding that the pure Teutonic race had to avoid corruption by Latin, Jewish, Slavic and other elements. The German character was pure, noble, honest and courageous; it contrasted with Jewish and Christian elements which emphasized either thought and scheming or weakness and servility, and it was also not fickle and emotionally unstable. Germans had soul. The coming together of the German state under Bismarck was a great triumph for the race, although Bismarck let go of his early anti-semitism and found that the Jews had sparkle. ( Ludwig 1926 330) The culture was strongly German. Wagner’s operas were constructed to create a kind of pagan sacred mythology which would enshrine German values of heroism and purity. He hated the Jews and they function as scarcely veiled villans in his work. There was a tide of mystical worship of the German Spirit as a kind of central unifying principle of life.
In Italy the resurrection (Risorgimento) of the Italian nation was linked to the glory of the Roman Empire and people. It was seen as the fount of European culture reborn after a long period of domination. It was a young, expansive movement, full of its new destiny. The enemies were Austria and Germany, and to some extent France. This nation longed to expand and looked with anxiety at the millions leaving Italy to go to America, weakening the Italian nation.
French ethnicity was more traditional. It looked back to the monarchy, Catholic Church, aristocracy, army and the land as the basis of French ethnic greatness going back to the period before the revolution. The defeat by Germany in 1870 was regarded with obsessive concern as that which must be revenged.
Britain, or Great Britain, as it liked to call itself, was heavily focussed on the Empire and the white ethnic colonial powers which gave it a grip on the world-wide Empire. Since Disraeli made Queen Victoria Empress of India there had been an increasing air of superiority in relation to Europe (which had no comparable Empire) and which was less secure as other nations caught up and overtook Britain economically and educationally.
Thus, ethnically focussed thinking grew in many of the countries of Europe through to the First World War and beyond. There was an ethnic struggle and someone had to lose or win.
German Nationalist and Racist Thought: Johann Herder (1744-1803) emphasized that culture was and should be national, romantic. Ernst Arndt (1769-1860) had a post Napoleonic pan-Germanic vision. Jakob (1783-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) Grimm emphasized the Fatherland, German character and anti-semitism. Fairy tales with a vengence. Johann Fichte (1762-1814) Addresses to the German Nation on historical mission and refusing to submit to tyranny. Friedrich List (1789-1846) was a supporter of economic nationalism, protection and the Zollverein. Key work was The National System of Political Economy (1841) Johann Droysen (1808-84) historian who focussed on and glorified Prussia. Richard Wagner (1813-83) created mythical operas on the heroic triumph of the German virtues. Anti-Jewish. Heinrich von Sybel (1817-95) another pro-Prussian historian. Heinrich Von Treitschke (1834-1896) Statist and nationalist historian. Adolf Stoecker (1835-1909) Chaplain, founder of the Christian-Social Workers Party, viciously anti-Semitic, and worshipped the Germanic-Christian culture ideal. Shows level of Christian failure. Ewald Banse (1883-1953) geographer who advocated war, territorial expansion and extreme German nationalism. Nutter.
French Nationalist and Racist Thought: Ernest Renan (1823-92) “The nation is a soul”. Paul Déroulède, (1846-1914) poet, organized the League of Patriots (1882) to avenge German defeat. Auguste-Maurice Barrès (1862-1923) emphasized French national energy against France – traditional Catholic church/monarchy/army values, inspiring man of letters. Charles Maurras (1868-1952) led Action Français and had anti-Jewish, anti-German bias. Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) believed in La Patrie, France libre leader during WWII and later President. “La France, c’est moi”.
British Racist/Nationalism: Charles Dilke (1843-1911) wrote Anglo-Saxon panegyrics. Everywhere countries ruled by “an Anglo-Saxon race whose very scum and outcasts have founded empires in every portion of the globe.” J A Cramb (1862-1913) Queen’s College, London History Prof. “God for Britain stuff. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) champion of British Empire, seeing it based on moral authority not force.
Italian Racist/Nationalism: Vicenzo Gioberti (1801-52) developed a vision of Catholic Italian superiority. Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82) internationalradical brigand who came back to Italy to lead fight for national unificationin 1861. Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863-1938) “Italy or Death” romantic nationalist.
American Racist/Nationalism: George Bancroft (1800-91) anti-British American historian. Theodore Roosevelt (1855-1919)
Irish National/Racism: Eamon De Valera (1882-1975) was an anti-British, Irish nationalist. President of Sinn Féin and Eire. Kept Ireland out of World War II. Michael Collins (1890-1922) In Easter 1916 Uprising. Leader of Sinn Féin.
Other Countries: Louis Kossuth (1802-1894) Hungarian nationalist struggle against Austria. Vyacheslav Plehve (1846-1904) championed Russian domination of other ethinic groups, possibly Jewish pogrom. Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) scientist, leader of World Jewish Congress and Zionist leader. First President of Israel. Karl Lueger (1844-1910) Austrian strong Anti-Semite who formed the Christian Social Party, Mayor of Vienna during Hitler’s time there.
Chinese Nationalism. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1975) developed nationalist ideology to combat rival war-lords. Founded Kuomintang Nationalist Party. Chiang Kai-Shek (1887-1975) led the Kuomintang to national supremacy. 1927 Purge. 1928 leader and generalissimo until 1949.
Pan Europeanism. Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) Pan European between the wars seen as solution to European Nationalism. Secretary General of European Parliamentary Union 1947. Carl Friedrich (1901-84) was leading American commentator on Pan-Europeanism.
The Structure of Fascism.
The Fascist and Nazi movements had a structure to them which reflected their racialist political philosophy. It was a step beyond Statism, which still had aspects of the old autocratic state, because it involved a direct popular appeal, but it also drew on many of the structural principles of Statism.
* The Volk, the people, the nation, were collectively the source of inspiration for life. This was a religion, an ultimate frame of reference.
* The people were involved in an historical struggle which involved a time when their identity had emerged and a destiny towards which they were travelling – ethnic historicism.
* The source of evil, the enemy, was to be found in other ethnic groups either within or outside the nation whose aim was to undermine national integrity.
* The unity and identity of the nation was mystical, had its roots in blood and nature, and was opposed to faith commitments, disagreement, rational discussion which would compromise the ultimate commitment of members of the nation to its identity.
* The leader could personify the identity of the people or national. By offering himself as national leader and being accepted by the people he became their embodiment. The traditional institutions of State and Constitution could be bypassed.
* Christianity was dangerous because (i) it was a universal faith, not national. (ii) it claimed ultimate commitment beyond the nation. (iii) it came from overseas. (iv) the teaching of Jesus undermined national virtues of strength, heroism and the glory of war. (v) in stressed the unity of humankind.
* Socialism was dangerous because (i) it divided the nation. (ii) it was internationalist in its Marxist-Leninist conception. Arguably, many of the rich, because they feared Socialism tried to use fascism as a way of taming working class socialist appeal. Fascism was a deliberately manipulative ideology, whipping up the masses against Socialism.
* Liberalism was dangerous, because (i) it emphasized the individual and self-interest over against the nation. (ii) it was committed to free trade and limited government. (iii) it allowed individual convictions to override national interests.
* Total government was needed to carry the people forward to their liberation. Salvation was national and the leader was the national saviour.
The Fight against Fascism.
It is difficult, but important, to distinguish those who in their thinking and actions opposed Fascism from those who merely fought German and Italian nationalism when it became sufficiently belligerent. Much of the opposition to the Axis, although less than during the First World War, was straightforward national, either defensive, or nationalist according to the established European pattern. Churchill’s appeal was substantially but not exclusively nationalist. The principled opposition to Racism was far less consistent and well -established.
One base for it was found in the United States. The United States Civil War was fought on the issue of race and slavery, and the abolitionists had mounted a strong Christian critique based on the unity of humankind and the race negating character of the Gospel. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lincoln, Sojourner Truth and many others had planted this theme in American culture, despite massive opposition. At the turn of the century the influx of European races was so massive – a million a year – that the States had to become racially pluralist. The push westwards, ethnic zoning, and a strong requirement that people identify with The United States nation and flag helped this to come about. The relative absence of Protestant and Catholic political power and denominational hostility also helped greatly. The ethos of the United States, especially in the person of Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson at the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the First World War, was anti-colonial, and remained so. But the United States also had a post-colonial racial problem in its midst in the pink-brown relations in its major cities. A key figure to address this was Burckhardt Du Bois, who worked for Negro and African integrity, as did, in a different way, Marcus Garvey. One bright spot was the career of Carlton Hayes at Columbia University, New York between 1900-1950. In his teaching and seminar on nationalism he both encouraged generations of aware students and spawned other scholars who could analyse critically the growth and structure of nationalism.
United States: Burckhardt Du Bois (1868-1963) Against “separate but equal” doctrine. Helped found Niagara Movement (1905) and NAACP (1909). Praised African culture and set up Pan-African Congress. Radical. Carlton Hayes (1882-1964) Catholic History Professor at Columbia,NY, developed strong critique of nationalism. Books include Essays on Nationalism (1926), France, A Nation of Patriots (1930), The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (1931) and Nationalism: A Religion (1960) As Ambassador to Spain Hayes helped keep Spain out of WWII. Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) American black advocate founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1914). Imprisoned. Rastafarian origins.
In Europe there was stiff opposition between Socialism and Fascism. But its focus was often not on race and racialism. The Fascists had been Socialists (Mussolini, Hitler, Moseley) and had ratted. They often attacked the Socialists physically, because of their anti-nationalism, and because of the Left-Right split. The Socialists by reaction recognized Fascists as enemies and countered their aggression. Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebnecht, Lenin and other Socialists were not strongly concerned about race, but did, of course share the Marxist critique of international capitalism. Because the problem was Capital, although the Socialists were Internationalist, they were not srongly anti-nationalist. Capital was an international conspiracy.
The strongest opposition to Fascism in Europe came from the Christian Democratic Parties.
Oldham Christianity and the Race Problem
There were a number of roots to Apartheid. Racial antagonism occurred between the British and the Boers, culminating in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), during which the British used Concentration Camps in which about 20,000 people died through disease.This provoked an underlying bitterness against the British when the Union of South Africa, a self-governing dominion of the Cape, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Natal was set up in 1910. The subjugation of the Zulus and Bantus was assumed by the pinks; an apartheid system was effectively in place, supported by both British and Afrikaaners. The 1911 Color Bar Act kept brown people out of skilled jobs. The 1913 Native Land Act kept them to the reserves. The 1926 Labor Act defined civilized and uncivilized labour for different races. A steady influx of poor, unskilled Dutch workers and families made the Afrikaaners into a majority of the pinks. This allowed James Herzog to come to power in 1924 heading a National Party committed to protecting poor pinks against competition with brown labour. Another important factor was the way the Afrikaaner Reformed Churches became very ethnically focussed, interpreting the Bible in terms of their own ethnic history – the Exodus, Promised land and so on. The 1919-24, 1939-48 governments of Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950) achieved some reconciliation of British and Afrikaaners, but in 1934 the leaders Jan Herzog and Danie F Malan broke away and formed the Purified National Party which had a strong racist and nationalist agenda. When Smuts took South Africa into the Second World War, a lot of Afrikaaners were upset and sided more with Germany. Some of them went to Germany secretly; various black and brown shirt brigades were established, especially a group called the Ossewa Brandwag, which inculcated the idea that you fight for your race. At the end of the War there was a swing towards the Purified Nationalists and they came to power in 1948
Once the Afrikaaners had established political control, they set out to make Apartheid permanent by focussing loyalty, using government, labelling opponents and creating fear. One organisation which helped this process was the Broederbond, a secret organisation which linked together key figures in church, state, military, police and Afrikaaner business to determine what policies should be followed in an extra-political covert way. By the 50s and 60s the National Party had government sewn up. It was able to secure easy majorities based on the principle of protecting the way of life of the white person. Although the English-speaking people often had great business clout, they also depended on the political control of the National Party to guarantee cheap black labour and the security of property. The political dominance was therefore substantial. It was also gradually backed up by intimidation. Opposition was limited but began to come from extra-political sources.
The black opposition had existed since 1912 with the forming of the SA Native National Congress, later named the African National Congress (ANC). It largely sought nonracial justice. When Verwoerd tried to impose Apartheid institutionally on the churches in 1957 there was a civil disobedience by the Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Seventh Dat Adventists and others which forced the Government to back down. In the late 50s there was a defiance campaign by Blacks. The police reacted in March 1960 by killing 72 people, injuring another 180 and imprisoning thousands. It was a brutal reaction which showed the moral bankruptcy of the regime. It led to further suppression and the banning of the ANC. Mandela was imprisoned in 1961. A trial which he and others faced in 1963. A key person at this time was Beyers Naudé. He was a member of the inner circle of the Broederbond, an elite secret society, and Moderator of the DRC General Synod, but on the basis of direct contact with black Christians and Bible study he became convinced of the wrongness of Apartheid and formed the Christian Institute. It opposed on Christian principle all that the Government was doing.
Gradually, although a repressive Government was set in place, together with a brutal Police system, the moral weakness of the system grew. It slowly lost the backing of the Reformed Churches, pink as well as black. The publication of the Kairos Document …
Apartheid. Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950) Afrikaaner. Educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and had English sympathies. Worked with Herzog in Nationalist Party. Prime Minister 1919-24, 1939-48. Botanist. Liberal. Danie F Malan (1874-1959) Doctor of Divinity. Dutch Reformed Church Minister. Left pulpit in 1915 for journalism and politics. Broke with Smuts and Herzog in 1934 to form the Purified National Party which eventually came to power in 1948 on a racial ticket. John Voster (1915-83) educated at Stellenbosch, member of Ossewa Brandwag, pro-Nazi, key member of Malan’s Party and Governments. Prime Minister. Hendrik Verwoerd (1901-61) Stellenbosch. National Party. Helped establish Bantustans. Prime Minister 1958-61, then shot. Beyers Naudé (19????) One of the Afrikaaner elite who became aware of how wrong Apartheid was through reading Bible. Set up Christian Institute in 1963, worked with black groups, attacked Police State and Torture, banned and imprisoned. Recognized that the cost of dismantling Apartheid was a lower Afrikaaner standard of living and changed economic structure. A good man. Trevor Huddleston. Desmond Tutu. Nelson Mandela. Steve Biko.
Post-Colonial Racial/Nationalist Movements.
One powerful movement was a set of reactive racial/nationalist movements which followed the colonial era. Colonial powers see their rule benignly, and fail to recognize how deep is the disrespect and arrogance which is enbedded in the pattern of control, exploitation and socialisation.
The archetypal development was of Arab Nationalism with Gamal Abdul Nasser’s eminently reasonable nationalisation of the Suez Canal in July 1956, which the British and French had hung onto for a hundred years because they built it, although it ran through the middle of Egypt. The British and French responded with a military attack on the area, disabling ships in the area, until President Eisenhower used his clout to rule the naughty boys in. Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister. The moral and effective victory meant that the Arab countries emerged from colonial dominance. The oil reserves they controlled gave them considerable power, and in 1972 the organisation of a tight OPEC oil cartel for a while pushed the price of oil high and gave the Arab States vast resources.
Syrian Ba’ath Party. Lybia and Ghaddafi. Suadi Arabia. Iran. Iraq. Egypt. Sudan.
Religion and Race.
Race and Poverty.
Lucy Dawidowicz The War against the Jews (Middlesex: Pelican, 1977)
(ed) James Hastings Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1912) Vols
Marjorie Hope and James Young The South African Churches in a Revolutionary Situation (NY: Orbis, 1981)
(eds) J Leatt, T Kneifel and K Nürnberger Contending Ideologies in South Africa (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986)
Emil Ludwig Bismarck trans.by Eden and Cedar Paul (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1927)
J H Oldham Christianity and the Race Problem (London: SCM, 1924,33)
Louis Snyder Encyclopedia of Nationalism (Chicago/London: St James Press, 1990)
C Villa-Vicenzio Between Christ and Caesar: Classic and Contemporary Texts on Church and State [includes Kairos etc] (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986)