THE MYTH OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (German : DER MYTHUS DES
ZWANZIGSTEN JAHRHUNDERTS) is a 1930 book by
Alfred Rosenberg , one of
the principal ideologues of the
Nazi Party and editor of the Nazi
The book has been described as "one of the two great unread
bestsellers of the Third Reich" (the other being
Hitler awarded the first State Prize for Art and Science to the author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century. The official document accompanying the prize "expressly praises Rosenberg as a 'person who has, in a scientific and penetrating manner, laid the firm foundation for an understanding of the ideological bases of National Socialism.'"
* 1 Rosenberg\'s influences * 2 Outline of contents of the book * 3 Influence of the book * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links
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Rosenberg was inspired by the theories of
Arthur de Gobineau
Other influences included the anti-modernist, "revolutionary" ideas
Friedrich Nietzsche ,
Richard Wagner 's
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS OF THE BOOK
Rosenberg's racial interpretation of history concentrates on the
negative influence of the
In Rosenberg's view of world history, migrating Aryans founded various ancient civilizations which later declined and fell due to inter-marriage with lesser races. These civilizations included the Indo-Aryan civilization , ancient Persia , Greece, and Rome. He saw the ancient Germanic invasions of the Roman empire as "saving" its civilization, which had been corrupted both by race mixing and by "Judaized-cosmopolitan" Christianity. Furthermore, he claimed that the persecutions of Protestants in France and other areas represented the wiping out of the last remnants of the Aryan element in those areas, a process completed by the French revolution. In contemporary Europe, he saw the northern areas that embraced Protestantism as closest to the Aryan racial and spiritual ideal.
Following H. S. Chamberlain and other völkisch theorists, he
believed that Jesus was an Aryan (specifically an
Amorite or Hurrian
Hittite ), and that original Christianity was an "Aryan" (Iranian)
religion, but had been corrupted by the followers of
Paul of Tarsus .
The "Mythus" is very anti-Catholic, seeing the Church's
cosmopolitanism and "Judaized" version of Christianity as one of the
factors in Germany's spiritual bondage. Rosenberg particularly
emphasizes the anti-Judaic teachings of the heresies
Manicheanism as more representative of the true,
"anti-Judaic" Jesus Christ and more suited to the Nordic world-view.
Martin Luther and the
When he discussed the future of religion in the future Reich, he suggested that a multiplicity of forms be tolerated, including "positive Christianity ", neo-paganism , and a form of "purified" Aryan Hinduism. He saw all these religious systems as allegorical after the manner of Schopenhauer's teaching of religion as "folk-metaphysics", and was skeptical that the Nordic gods, of which the keys of interpretation had been largely lost in involutive time, could gain a foothold in modern times, without even conceding the desirability of the possibility.
Another myth, to which he gave "allegorical" and esoteric credence,
was the hermetical idea of
And so today the long derived hypothesis becomes a probability, namely that from a northern centre of creation which, without postulating an actual submerged Atlantic continent, we may call Atlantis, swarms of warriors once fanned out in obedience to the ever renewed and incarnate Nordic longing for distance to conquer and space to shape.
This account of world history is used to support his dualistic model of human experience, as are ideas co-opted from Nietzsche and Social Darwinist writers of the era.
INFLUENCE OF THE BOOK
Thanks to Nazi support, the book had sold more than one million copies by 1944. However, Adolf Hitler is said never to have read the book, and declared that it wasn't to be considered the official ideology of the Nazi Party :
“ I must insist that Rosenberg's "The Myth of the Twentieth Century" is not to be regarded as an expression of the official doctrine of the party. The moment the book appeared, I deliberately refrained from recognizing it as any such thing. In the first place, its title gives a completely false impression... a National Socialist should affirm that to the myth of the nineteenth century he opposes the faith and science of our times... I have myself merely glanced cursorily at it. ”
According to Konrad Heiden , Rosenberg had given the manuscript to Hitler to vet before its publication. After a year Hitler still had nothing to say. Hitler gave the still-unread work back to him saying, "I feel sure that it's all right." In his diary Joseph Goebbels called the book "very good" when he first read it. Albert Speer however remembered that Goebbels mocked Alfred Rosenberg. Goebbels also called the book a "philosophical belch".
Its overt statement of anti-Christian sentiment made it difficult to give Rosenberg any position of prominence when the Nazis ascended to power. Even in their stronghold Hamburg only 0.49% of the inhabitants identified as belonging to the anti-Christian neopagan faith movement (in 1937), whereas the German Christians and their Positive Christianity had a strong standing. Many of the attacks on the book after its 1930 publication came from its explicit anti-Christian message. Rosenberg wrote two supplements to the work, replying to Catholic and Protestant critics. In the first, On the Dark Men of Our Times: A Reply to Critics of the Myth of the Twentieth Century, he accused Catholics of attempting to destroy the national character by promoting separatism within Catholic parts of the country. His second reply. Protestant Pilgrims to Rome: The Treason Against Luther and the Myth of the Twentieth Century, argued that modern Lutheranism was becoming too close to Catholicism.
* ^ Quoted in Viereck, 2003, p. 229. * ^ Robert E. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg, New York: Harper and Row, 1983, p. 216. * ^ A B Hitler, Adolf; Hugh-Trevor Roper. Adolf Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944, p. 400. * ^ Roger Griffin. Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion. Oxon, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2005. p. 85. * ^ The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich: Facts and Documents * ^ Snyder, Louis L. (1939). "Gobinism: The \'Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races\'," in Race: A History of Ethnic Theories. New York: Longmans, Green at Djebel Sheshor they are even more numerous", Al