By Richard Weikart (auth.)
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Extra info for Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress
This was an integral part of his worldview (see chapter 8). Second, we know that it served Hitler’s political purposes to lie to the international community about his militarist and expansionist intentions, because he wanted to allay their fears while abolishing the Versailles Treaty and rearming Germany. He could not afford to arouse any vigorous opposition from France and Britain before he had fully armed. Third, Hitler privately spoke about the need for expansion by military means, even while denying it publicly.
Many German scientists and social thinkers exulted in the struggle for existence as a beneficial force in human history. Ernst Haeckel not only claimed that the human struggle for existence produced progress, but he also believed that Darwinism had demolished “anthropocentrism,” the view that humans are special or sacred. ”8 By the early twentieth century the idea that the human 36 Hitler’s Ethic struggle for existence was beneficial was commonplace among German biologists, anthropologists, eugenicists, racial theorists, and other social thinkers.
If one examines how the Nazis used their propaganda in the educational system once they came to power, it is apparent that they were interested in molding the minds of the German youth to embrace a coherent Nazi worldview. That worldview revolved around evolutionary ethics, as I will explain in the following chapters. CH A P T E R T WO The Cult of Evolutionary Progress The Centrality of the Struggle for Existence in Hitler’s Worldview Kampf, meaning struggle or battle, was one of Hitler’s favorite words.