Τετάρτη, 8 Μαΐου 2013

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A History of German Racial Psychology

Racial Psychology or Race Psychology is the systematic study and analyses of the psychological characteristics and tendencies of the various human races.

In racialist science and research in the early 20th Century, there were very few in-depth studies of the particular hereditary mental characteristics and traits, the behavior, the personality, and the style of expression (that is, the style in which character traits are expressed) of the different races; namely, race psychology. But this was the era in which such studies would be most predominant. Of course, it was well known to both the common person as well as the intellectual both in America and in Europe that races had psychological characteristics and expressive styles which influenced culture, but this was oftentimes simply taken for granted and not given any extensive study. In fact, most racial scientists paid attention only to physical anthropology when studying races and almost completely ignored the importance of the mental qualities.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain in his The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century mentioned the significance of the "definite tendencies of mind" in race, which he referred to as a "soul of the race" or "race soul". [1]
This idea would later influence the prominent National Socialist philosopher Alfred Rosenberg, who would emphasize the metaphysical nature of the Race Soul in his The Myth of the Twentieth Century, moving beyond only psychological study. "Soul means race seen from within," wrote Rosenberg, "and conversely, race is the external side of a soul." [2]

However, another early figure who was more signficant in the foundations of race psychology, and who mentioned its importance, was Fritz Lenz. Lenz, in 1923, Professor of Racial Hygiene in Germany at the University of Munich and later a director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Human Heredity, Anthropology, and Eugenics in Berlin. In his book Human Heredity, Lenz wrote that “if it was only about physical racial differences, (…) then the whole question of race would be meaningless,” and thus wrote a whole chapter on the inheritance of mental traits. It is also important to note a work titled Race Psychology in 1931 by an American named Thomas Russell Garth (whose study on psychical differences would influence Egon von Eickstedt). [3]

In 1927, the anthropologist Hans F.K. Günther presented in The Racial Elements of European History an anthropological study of five sub-races in Europe and what he believed were the mental characeristics of these sub-races, and thus became one of the most popular scientists in the study of race psychology. [4] Not everyone agreed with Gunther's specific divisions, but he came to have extensive influence later in the Third Reich. Another scientist who wrote on race psychology in the 1920s but who became prominent particularly after the rise of National Socialism was Ludwig F. Clauss, whose most notable works appear to be Rasse und Seele ("Race and Soul") and Rasse und Character ("Race and Character"), although he wrote numerous others (In recent times, Dr. Tomislav Sunic has attempted to revive interest in Clauss's work). [5] [6] Clauss, unlike most racial theorists, rejected the purely biologistic theory of race and held that the racial psychological form was essentially a behavioral style largely independent from genetic influences, although the style of the body (or physical racial form) was important as an expressive medium for the psyche. Clauss wrote in Rasse und Charakter that "One does not recognize the race of a human being based on the possession of specific characteristics, but rather in the style in which these characteristics are expressed" [7] and in Rasse und Seele that

""The style of the psyche expresses itself in its arena, the animate body... The psyche's expressive style is inhibited if the style of its body does not conform perfectly with it." [8] Similarly to Clauss, a key National Socialist educator, Ernst Krieck, did not think mere biology was enough, and that race "Race manifests itself as a way of life, the attitude, the direction of the Will and history through a working power..." [9].
Later, an influential academic (professor at the University of Breslau) in the Third Reich named Egon von Eickstedt published Grundlagen der Rassenpsychologie ("Foundations of Race Psychology"). He decided to establish anthropology as a holistic science focusing on both physical and psychological characteristics of races by combining finds in other fields of study. Eickstedt was influenced by Gunther, but criticized him for having inaduate methods, and proceeded to create a scientific "race formula" which experts could use to identify Nordic psychological characteristics in various territories. It should also be noted that while it was already self-evident to many that Volk ("Folk", "People", or "Nation") and Race were two different things, Eickstedt took care to clarify the differences so that the two were not confused. He wrote that Folks were “based on races, and races represented themselves in peoples.” [10]

Another German who received specific training in modern psychology, Rudolf Hippius, worked with SS teams to identify people in occupied territories as German or non-German based on their psychological characteristics which he asserted was linked with race. However, it is interesting that Hippius did not use either Gunther's or Eickstedt's methodology and thought and oftentimes did not distuingish between ethnicity and race. Of course, race psychology continued after Eckstedt and Hippius and there were far more scientists involved in it, but with the end of the Third Reich in 1945 this field of study nearly collapsed due to a lack of support from abroad. [11] [12] However, the study of racial psychology did continue after World War II, most interestingly in the works of Julius Evola. [13]


The concept of race psychology continues today among many racial scientists and thinkers, although taking different forms. What is important to note, however, is the difference between two different factions in racialist thought: those theorists who believe that all psychological traits are entirely (or almost entirely) hereditary and thus the human being's personality is largely the result of genetics... and those theorists who hold that the psychological form carries only a limited influence from genetics and thus the human being's personality is formed much more by character-building and perhaps culture (and in the case of Rosenberg and Evola, by metaphysical forces as well). While the former position holds that race is entirely biological and should therefore be identified by genetic tests and anthropological measurements, the latter holds that race is essentially spiritual with the body being an expression ground and should therefore be identified through both anthropological and psychological tests.

It may be suggested that the latter faction (stressing the psychological and spiritual aspects of race) has more validity considering that even the Third Reich government, often accused of being "race-materialist," recognized to some extent that race cannot be considered merely physical, regardless of what one's beliefs are concerning the level of genetic influence on personality. [14] It was clear that people of the same physical racial type could develop through their upbringing and conditions a racial character and behavioral style which was not in accordance to their physical racial form. Ernst Krieck expressed the basic issue when he wrote that "Breeding has never been about the obtainment of 'pure lines' in the biological sense; it is not a biologically certain process, but ultimately always rests on spiritual goals, evaluation and education." [15] The psychological character we often associate with physical race do not always occur, and thus good breeding and racial purity should be considered more than simply a matter of physical type, even if that is a requirement as well. It was for this reason that the theories of prominent people such as Alfred Rosenberg, Ludwig F. Clauss, Ernst Krieck and others became influential in Germany in the early 20th Century.


1. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (London: Ballantyne & Co. Limited, 1912) pg. 193. The original term was "rassenseele."
2. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Sussex, England: Historical Review Press, 2004).
3. Egbert Klautke, "German 'Race Psychology' and its Implementation in Central Europe", from: Turda, M and Weindling, PJ, (eds.) Blood and Homeland: Eugenics and Racial Nationalism in Central and Southeast Europe, 1900-1940. (23 - 40). (Budapest, New York: Central European University Press, 2007). Online: <http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/12974/1/12974.pdf>. Note that Klautke's essay is from a non-racialist perspective, although it is somewhat neutral in tone overall.
4. Hans F. K. Günther, The Racial Elements of European History (London: Methuen & Company, 1927).
5. See Dr. Tomislav Sunic's "Ludwig F. Clauss: Racial Style, Racial Character" (Parts I and II) at The Occidental Observer, published in August, 2011. Available online here: <http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/08/ludwig-f-clauss-racial-style-racial-character-part-i/> and <http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/08/ludwig-f-clauss-racial-style-racial-character-part-ii/>.
6. Interestingly, Sunic expressed concerns about the typical modern understanding of race (to which the studies of Clauss and Evola are an answer) by stating that "If we concede that the White man evolved from lesser species, why panic today at the sight of interbreeding we are witnessing in modern multicultural society? Accordingly, sooner or later all of mankind (based on the liberal-communist dogma of progress) will end up being beautiful and the same and sport very high IQs."
7. Ludwig F. Clauss. Rasse und Charakter – das lebendige Antlitz. (Frankfurt am Main: M. Diesterweg, 1936).
8. Ludwig Clauss, Rasse und Seele. Eine Einführung in die Gegenwart (München: J.F. Lehmann, 1926).
9. Ernst Krieck, Philosophie der Erziehung (Jena: Diederich, 1930).
10. Egbert Klautke, "German 'Race Psychology' and its Implementation in Central Europe"
11. Egbert Klautke, "German 'Race Psychology' and its Implementation in Central Europe"
12. Other race psychologist works from the Third Reich which are mentioned by Klautke are the following: Friedrich Keiter, Rassenpsychologie. Einführung in eine werdende Wissenschaft. (Leipzig: Reclam, 1941); Wilhelm E. Mühlmann, Rassen- und Völkerkunde. (Braunschweig: Vieweg, 1936); Bruno Petermann, Das Problem der Rassenseele. Vorlesungen zur Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Rassenpsychologie. (Leipzig: Barth, 1935); Eduard Ortner, Biologische Typen des Menschen und ihr Verhalten zu Rasse und Wert. Zugleich ein Beitrag zur Clauss‘schen Rassenpsychologie. (Leipzig: Thieme, 1937); Kurt Rau, Untersuchungen zur Rassenpsychologie nach typologischer Methode. (Leipzig: Barth, 1936); Ottmar Rutz, Grundlagen einer psychologischen Rassenkunde. (Tübingen: Heine, 1934).
13. See Julius Evola's Men Among the Ruins (Rochester: Inner Traditions, 2002) and The Elements of Racial Education (Conway, SC, USA: Thompkins & Cariou, 2005). Evola is often accused of attempting to deny the importance of physical racial type, although this is demonstratably false.
14. Tomislav Sunic, "The Beauty and the Beast: Race and Racism in Europe, Part V," The Occidental Observer (Sept. 22, 2009), <http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2009/09/sunic-race-v/>.
15. Ernst Krieck, Philosophie der Erziehung, p. 123.


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