Darwinism's Preparatory Role in the First and Second World Wars
In his book Europe Since 1870 the famous British professor of history James Joll explains one of the factors leading to the outbreak of the First World War as being the belief of the leaders of Europe of the time in Darwinist ideas:
We have seen how Darwinian ideas had a great influence on the ideology of imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century, but it is important to realise how literally the doctrine of the struggle for existence and of the survival of the fittest was taken by the majority of the leaders of Europe in the years preceding the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian chief of staff for example, Franz Baron Conrad von Hoetzendorff, wrote in his memoirs after the war:
Philanthropic religions, moral teachings and philosophical doctrines may certainly sometimes serve to weaken mankind's struggle for existence in its crudest form, but they will never succeed in removing it as a driving motive of the world... It is in accordance with this great principle that the catastrophe of the world war came about as the result of the motive forces in the lives of states and peoples, like a thunderstorm which must by its nature discharge itself."
Seen against this sort of ideological background, Conrad's insistence on the need for a preventive war in order to preserve the Austro-Hungarian monarchy becomes comprehensible.
We have seen too how these views were not limited to military figures, and that Max Weber for example was deeply concerned with the international struggle for survival. Again Kurt Riezler, the personal assistant and confidant of the German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, wrote in 1914: "Eternal and absolute enmity is fundamentally inherent in relations between peoples; and the hostility which we observe everywhere... is not the result of a perversion of human nature but is the essence of the world and the source of life itself." 14
Friedrich von Bernhardi, a First World War general and German Social Darwinist, was also one of these leaders. "War" declared Bernhardi "is a biological necessity"; it "is as necessary as the struggle of the elements of nature";it "gives a biologically just decision, since its decisions rest on the very nature of things." 15
As we have seen, the First World War emerged because of the European thinkers, generals, and leaders who saw waging war, spilling blood, suffering, and inflicting suffering as a kind of "development" and an immutable law of nature. The ideological inspiration which dragged this whole generation to ruin with these completely false ideas was none other than Darwin's concepts of "struggle for life" and "favoured races." Two years after Bernhardi said those words, the First World War, which was to bring about biological development (!) began, leaving behind it 8 million dead, hundreds of cities in ruins, and millions of wounded, crippled, homeless and unemployed. The roots of the Nazi war, which started 21 years later and left some 50 million dead, also lie in Darwinism.
Hitler often used to link his policies of war and genocide to Darwinism. He saw war as not only for eliminating weaker races, but also as a force for disposing of weaker members of the master race. Nazi Germany praised war partly for this reason, because in their twisted thinking war was an essential step for the progress of the race.
The evolutionist A. E. Wiggam explained "the belief that war develops men," on which Hitler based his policy, in a book published in 1922:
... at one time man had scarcely more brains than his anthropoid cousins, the apes. But, by kicking, biting, fighting ... and outwitting his enemies and by the fact that the ones who had not sense and strength enough to do this were killed off, man's brain became enormous and he waxed both in wisdom and agility if not in size ... 16
Hitler drew support from evolutionists such as Wiggam and saw war as an obligation for those who wished to survive. He stated this openly in Mein Kampf:
The whole world of Nature is a mighty struggle between strength and weakness-an eternal victory of the strong over the weak. There would be nothing but decay in the whole of nature if this were not so. He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist. To think otherwise is to "insult" nature. Distress, misery and disease are her rejoinders. 17
With the Darwinists' claims that the strong remained after the fight for survival and that species developed by this means being adapted to human societies, wars also began to be viewed as a necessity for the development of mankind. For example, Hitler ascribed Germany's greatness to the elimination by war of its weaker members over the centuries. Although the Germans were no strangers to war this new "scientific" justification was a force to back up their warlike policies.
Elsewhere, Hitler had claimed, "human civilization as we know it would not exist if it were not for constant war" 18
Haeckel proposed, on the subject of war, that the savage methods of the Spartans, one of the city states that made up Ancient Greece, should be implemented. He wrote that "by killing all but the 'perfectly healthy and strong children' the Spartans were 'continually in excellent strength and vigor'." 19
War was viewed as "an indispensable regulator" of populations all over Europe, and not just in Germany. "If it were not for war," German Social Darwinist Friedrich Von Bernhardi writes, "we should probably find that inferior and degenerate races would overcome healthy and youthful ones by their wealth and their numbers. The generative importance of war lies in this, that it causes selection, and thus war becomes a biological necessity."20
As we have seen from our account so far, Hitler and the Nazi ideologues who supported him saw war as a necessity with the inspiration they drew from Darwinism. And by implementing this necessity they visited various miseries on their own people, and on the other peoples of the world. From this point of view it will therefore be absolutely correct to identify Charles Darwin as one of those primarily responsible for the sufferings experienced in World War II.
Professor Dr. Jerry Bergman demonstrates the effect of Darwinism on the Second World War:
The evidence is very clear that Darwinian ideas had a tremendous impact on German thought and practice... In fact, Darwinian ideas had a tremendous influence on causing WWII, the loss of 40 million lives, and the waste of about 6 trillion dollars. Firmly convinced that evolution was true, Hitler saw himself as the modern savior of humankind... By breeding a superior race, the world would look upon him as the man who pulled humanity up to a higher level of evolution. 21
Of course there had been countless wars in the world before Darwin put his theory forward. But due to the effects of his theory, war was for the first time given a false approval by science. Max Nordau drew attention to Darwin's negative role in the subject of wars in an article called The Philosophy and Morals of War, which made waves in America:
The greatest authority of all the advocates of war is Darwin. Since the theory of evolution has been promulgated, they can cover their natural barbarism with the name of Darwin and proclaim the sanguinary instincts of their inmost hearts as the last word of science. 22
It was no coincidence that the 20th century should see the bloodiest wars the world has known, coming as it did after the 19th century, which was formed by the ideas of such materialist ideologues as Darwin, Marx, and Freud. Darwinism had prepared the theoretical and so-called scientific ground which would end in war, and the despots who saw war as indispensable for the growth of humanity killed a total of 60 million people in both world wars.
Even though Fascist leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini, and the Nazi organisations linked to them (the SA, the SS, the Gestapo) or Mussolini's "Blackshirts" today seem like a thing of the past, Neo-Nazi organisations which follow their ideas are still active. In recent years in particular, racist and Fascist movements have re-awoken in many European countries. At the forefront of these movements come the Neo-Nazis in Germany.
The Neo-Nazis consist of unemployed hooligans, drug addicts, and bloodthirsty types, and possess all features of the Fascist mentality. One news article about the Neo-Nazis shows how attracted they are to blood and violence:
Blood, honour, and fanaticism... It is possible to sum up the values of the members of the Fascist Olympia Group in just these three words. Today the organisation has 35,000 members. And in all their eyes can be seen the inordinate desire to rise. 23
The Neo-Nazis have been influenced by the same Darwinist understanding as their "greats," Hitler and the other Nazi leaders. On the Internet pages which they set up for Nazi and racist propaganda it is possible to come across Darwin's words and praise for Darwin, because Darwin gives support to all the Neo-Nazis' movements and ideas. In their pages, therefore, they put Darwinism forward as a theory which must be accepted, without feeling the need for any evidence.
The attacks and murders the Neo-Nazis carry out are completely ruthless. Neo-Nazis take pleasure in burning people to death, frightening them, and torturing little children, and Turks are one of their main targets. Neo-Nazis reveal their hatred and enmity of Turks in every corner of their Internet sites, and show this hatred in action. This statement about Turks appeared in one Neo-Nazi site:
For instance, if it were in my power today, I would like to see a large part of the Turks in gas chambers. 24
The name the Neo-Nazis base their enmity of the Turks on is once again Charles Darwin. The Neo-Nazis think they are providing a so-called scientific explanation for their hatred of Turks by making extracts from Darwin's false and unintelligent claims regarding them. On the last page of this chapter you can see some Neo-Nazi Internet sites which praise Darwin and show the kind of things they have to say about the Turkish nation.
Neo-Nazi violence against Turks and other peoples has recently been on the rise. The Turkish daily Sabah dated August 12, 2000 gave a list of Neo-Nazi attacks during the summer of 2000:
- In June, the windows of the El Rahman Mosque in the town of Gera in the state of Thüringen were broken.
- Two molotov cocktails were thrown at a Turkish mosque in the small town of Eppingen in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
- A molotov cocktail was thrown at the Green Mosque in the Utersen quarter of Pinneberg.
- A building lived in by Turks was set fire to in Memingen.
- In Bocholt a Turkish café and a building lived in by Lebanese were set on fire. Fourteen people were wounded, one seriously.
- In the East German town of Chemnitz the seven-month-old baby of an Iraqi family was thrown to the ground. The baby's face was injured when it hit the concrete. 25
There were much nastier incidents in the recent past. Taking Darwin's enmity of the Turks as their guide, the Neo-Nazis organised an attack on Turks in Möln in November 1992. Later, in 1993, five Turks were burned by Neo-Nazis in Solingen. 26 The press described this attack as, "The bloodiest racist attack in German history since the Nazi era." Attacks of this kind were often seen in the years that followed. Fires were started in Turks' homes, Turks were beaten and injured. As well as in Germany, similar attacks took place in Holland. In one attack directed at Turks a woman and her five children were killed. People who took part in the mourning march that was held received threatening letters with swastikas on.
These incidents are just a few of the racist attacks against Turks. Attacks and murders by these Fascist groups, the inheritors of Darwin and Fascists such as Hitler, still continue. Legal measures will not be enough to stop these inhuman groups' attacks. The sure way to put an end to them is to wage a serious ideological war alongside the legal measures. The outrages perpetrated by these people who see racism as a law of nature will not come to an end so long as Darwinist ideas are not knocked down as science.
1- Theodore D. Hall, The Scientific Background of the Nazi "Race Purification" Program, http://www.trufax.org/avoid/nazi.html
2- John J. Michalczyk (editor), Nazi Medicine: In The Shadow of The Reich (documentary film), First Run Features, New York, 1997
3- George J. Stein, "Biological Science and the Roots of Nazism", American Scientist, vol. 76, (January/February 1988), p. 52
4- Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1947, p. 1
5- Robert Clark, Darwin: Before and After, Grand Rapids International Press, Grand Rapids, MI, 1958. p.115
6- A. Keith, Evolution and Ethics, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, p. 230, 1946, cited by Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
7- Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live?, Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1976, p. 151; cited in Henry M. Morris, The Long war Against God, Baker Book House, 1989, p. 78
8- A. Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944, With an introductory essay on The Mind of Adolf Hitler by H.R. Trevor-Roper, Farrar, Straus and Young, New York, p. 117, 1953; cited by Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
9- Daniel Gasman, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism: Social Darwinism in Earnest Haeckel and the German Monist League, New York: American Elsevier Press, 1971, p. 168
10- Robert E.D. Clark, Darwin: Before and After, London: Paternoster Press, 1948, p. 115, cited in Henry M. Morris, The Long War Against God, Baker Book House, 1989, p. 81
11- Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini, p. 14
12- John P. Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism, Princeton University Press, 1972, p. 15
13- Çagdas Liderler Ansiklopedisi (The Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Leaders), Vol. 2, p. 669
14- James Joll, Europe Since 1870: An International History, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1990, p. 164
15- M.F. Ashley-Montagu, Man in Process (New York: World. Pub. Co. 1961) pp. 76, 77 cited in Bolton Davidheiser, W E Lammers (ed) Scientific Studies in Special Creationism, 1971, p. 338-339
16- A.E. Wiggam, The New Dialogue of Science, Garden Publishing Co., Garden City, NY, p. 102, 1922; cited by Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
17- Robert Clark, Darwin: Before and After, Grand Rapids International Press, Grand Rapids, MI, 1958., s. 115-116; cited by Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
18- Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
19- Earnest Haeckel, The History of Creation: Or the Development of the Earth and Its Inhabitants by the Action of Natural Causes, Appleton, New York, 1876, p. 170; cited by Jerry Bergman, Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust, http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.htm
20- Theodore D. Hall, The Scientific Background of the Nazi "Race Purification" Program, http://www.trufax.org/avoid/nazi.html
21- Marshall Hall, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao et al: The Role of Darwinian Evolutionism in Their Lives, http://www.fixedearth.com/hlsm.html
22- Max Nordau, The Philosophy and Morals of War, North American Review 169 (1889):794 cited in Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought, Boston: Beacon Press, 1955, p.171)
23- Tempo Magazine, 14 July 19
25- Sabah Daily, 12 August 2000
26- San Francisco Examiner, 1 April1997