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Heil, Professor! By: Phil Orenstein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 14, 2006


Far too little attention has been paid to addressing the fundamental role that ideological indoctrination in classrooms and lecture halls has played in delivering the atrocities of Nazism to the world. The German university was the ideological originator of Nazism, turning romantic racial myths and superstitions about Germany and the Jews into a systematic “scientific” body of knowledge that gave rise to Nazi racial policy and justified the horrors of the Nazi atrocities. Professors and academics with multiple Ph.D.s eagerly collaborated with the Nazi leadership and selected who was to be sterilized and who lived or died for the glory of the Volk, advocated which races were to be exterminated and which nations were to be invaded and conquered for lebensraum.

Lately, many notable historians and political commentators have been comparing our own time to the ominous prelude to World War II. Herbert London, renowned historian and President of Hudson Institute declared, “we are back in 1940” (4) as global terrorist attacks, proclamations of Jihad, the threat of a nuclear Iran, fatwas against the West and the annihilation of Israel are broadcast from the Middle East on a daily basis. Other historians compare these times to Germany in 1938, when Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler while Nazi tanks thundered across Europe. Charles Krauthammer, concluding from the current alarming trends that the lessons of the Holocaust are still unlearned, he recounted the apprehension of Bernard Lewis, the world’s preeminent Middle East scholar saying he “confessed that for the first time he feels it is 1938 again….in 1938, in the face of the gathering storm -- a fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the West, and most determinedly of the Jews -- the world did nothing”. (5)

 

How could Germany, the home of Goethe, Bach and Beethoven in the heart of advanced European civilization, boasting the world’s highest literacy rate and most highly industrialized economy and a haven for the persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe, give rise in a matter of years to the one of the most barbaric, evil political regimes in human history dedicated to the total extermination of every single Jew in Europe? How did a madman like Hitler, a nobody in 1923, become the Chancellor of Germany in 10 years? How did the Nazis impose their will with astonishing ease on such a highly civilized nation leading the population to willingly, with little or no opposition, participate in institutionalized mass murder?

 

Scholars have focused on  the legacy of Prussian militarism, the dislocations of the Great Depression, the severity of the humiliating treaty of Versailles, Goebbels’ massive propaganda campaign, or the continuing hold of medieval Christian antisemitism. But I believe that the sudden rise of Hitler, the atrocities of World War II, and the Holocaust were the direct result of decades of indoctrination in mythical nationalism and racialist ideologies by German universities, indoctrination that parallels the current work of American universities with respect to identity politics, multiculturalism, deconstructionism, scholar-activism and education for social justice.   What happened in Germany in the prewar period is, therefore, a cautionary tale. 

 

Political Indoctrination in the German University

 

In the early 19th century, liberal ideals of equality, freedom and civil rights from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution spread throughout Europe and into Germany. In country after country, Jews were emancipated and started to enjoy equal rights as citizens; this was true of Germany too, after Napoleon’s triumphant march into Berlin in 1806. “… In  the city of Bonn … the Christian citizenry broke down the ghetto walls and jubilantly linked arms with the Jews”. (8)

 

But in 1819, university students from Wurzburg suddenly burst out in violent mob attacks against Jews unlike anything witnessed since the Middle Ages. Spreading to other cities, this was the massive, but historically obscure German pogrom of the 19th century called the Hep-Hep riots. These rebellious students led angry mobs to unleash their fury on Jewish business owners and citizens blaming them for the woes of the German economy. Seeing themselves as neo-Christian knights, they shouted the wild crusaders’ cry “Hep! Hep!” meaning, “Jerusalem is destroyed” as they terrorized and attacked Jews throughout the country, chasing and assaulting them in the streets, vandalizing and plundering their homes and businesses. (9)  

 

The student rioters were incited to violence by a growing breed of radical German professors and scholars who disseminated provocative romantic, and nationalist political ideologies in the lecture halls of the finest German academic institutions in early 19th century. This marked the beginnings of the German Volkisch  movement, the precursor of National Socialist (Nazi) ideology. The concept of Volksgeist - the spirit of the people - was conceived in the late 1700’s by Johann Gottfried Herder, an eminent scholar, preacher and teacher. The Volk, a group of people with a shared history, fatherland and folklore, was inseparable from its Geist, the collective spirit. They were one and the same – an actual living organism, a mystic union of the people with their common cultural heritage, the fundamental Germanic soul.  Herder’s powerful idea was originally intended as a cultural romantic movement, advocating the existence of universal truths beyond the grasp of rationality, an alternative to the revolutionary Enlightenment tradition of reason and individual liberty. But it aroused the intellectual community with an obsessive passion to re-examine their beloved German historic, cultural, and medieval mythical roots. It was soon transformed into a fanatical political movement in the universities, with a battle cry for German unity, supremacy and statehood. This provided for a new pride and mythology of sacred Germanic blood and soil for a frightened pastoral people torn and confused by the turmoil of the industrial revolution and modernity. Jews, viewed as the quintessential outsider, dwelling in the industrialized urban centers, came to be detested as a contaminating alien presence that had to be purged from the pure integrity of the German Volk. A wandering Semitic race, they were viewed as parasites living off their generous European hosts, disconnected from the land and the Volk, deriving their exploitive power through the modern “evils” of commerce, capital, and moneylending. (11)

 

Berlin University was one of the many hotbeds of Volkish ideology since its founding in 1810. The scholar known as the father of German nationalism, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who was the first rector of Berlin University, lectured on the superiority of Germans, resisting the Enlightenment ideals of the French and argued against Jewish emancipation. Hitler later devoured Fichte’s writings, which later became core beliefs of Nazi ideology. One of the major disciples of German professor Immanuel Kant, Fichte twisted Kantian metaphysics into a radical form of German Idealism, propounding a consciousness-only doctrine which opened a Pandora’s box of wild dream-like myths of Germanic racial supremacy and imaginary evils of the Jews, which was well received in academic circles.

 

Fichte ushered in a virulent strain of antisemitism into the halls of academia while appearing to be a noble defender of human rights and virtue. He incited and mobilized his students for future violent political action by preaching that the redemption of the German people, the renewal of humankind and the total salvation of the soul and the mind were to be accomplished by the annihilation of this wicked “Jewishness.”

 

His influence spread far and wide throughout the German academic world where his devoted students and disciples devoured and spread his teachings.

 

In Revolutionary Antisemitism from Kant to Wagner, Paul Rose discusses the professors who inherited this revolutionary ideology from Fichte and played a key political and organizational role in encouraging a climate of extreme nationalism and antisemitism that inflamed their students to commit violent actions.  University of Jena professor, Jakob Fries, Fichte’s leading disciple and one of the most zealous Jew-hating pamphleteers, wrote “Endangering German Welfare and Character by the Jews” (1816) demonizing the Jews as “bloodsuckers”. In other writings, he called for the “radical extermination of the caste of Jews.”  Meanwhile, Ernst Moritz Arndt, a politician, pamphleteer and professor of history at the University of Bonn, argued against the external enemy - the liberal ideals of the French-- and the internal enemy - the Jews.

 

Rose also discusses the key role played by the Burschenschaften, radical German student fraternities in instigating the riots. These fraternities, one of the more visible manifestations of Fichtean nationalist ideology, were an amalgamation of French liberal revolutionary ideals and extreme German nationalism inciting hatred of the Jews to a fiery new level. Love of the fatherland, the German Volk, and German unity were their guiding principles. They glorified a mythical golden past of idealized heroic warriors and medieval Teutonic Knights. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, a Prussian gymnastics educator in Berlin organized the Burschenschaften in Jena, was a fiery German patriot was worshipped as a Fuhrer by his students and founder of the German gymnastics movement, which grew into a paramilitary army. Jahn’s gymnasts were the precursors of the Nazi party’s military arm, the SA brown shirts, and as writer Peter Viereck noted, “Father Jahn” was considered “the first storm trooper”.  As a champion of the Volk, he took the concept a step further laying the political and spiritual foundations for German unification and expansion, which later became the basis of Nazi thought. He wrote in 1810:

 

A state without Volk is nothing, a soulless artifice; a Volk without a state is nothing, a bodiless airy phantom, like the Gypsies and the Jews. Only state and Volk together can form a Reich, and such a Reich cannot be preserved without Volkdom. (24)

 

The net effect of the provocative scholarship and advocacy of the professors was the angry expressions of the students, which intensified year after year until they exploded into violence in 1819. The end result of the revolutionary ideology of Fichte and his disciples - the professors, pamphleteers, antisemitic student festivals, the gymnastic movement, and the Burschenschaften, is revealed in the outpouring from the depths of the student’s tormented souls, in the prelude to the vicious Hep-Hep riots. These shocking writings from student diaries reveal the real seeds of Nazi antisemitism:

 

The shameful confederation against Prussia which, as everybody knows, was made possible by the typically treacherous Jewish espionage, makes me feel as if my limbs were torn from my own body….I now swear that my whole life will be dedicated to the resurrection of the Reich.

 

The Jewish emancipation (of 1812) was the destruction not only of Prussia but of the whole German nation, the totality of the Volk. (25)

 

The anguish of a revolutionary Jewish student who was swept up in the thrill of the movement, but suffered the tragic fate of being condemned by his Jewish identity, is expressed in his words:

 

Never in my life have I been asked so often, so intensively, so persistently, about my being a Jew, as during the last week.  It was the week…of that great event at Wartburg….Some pitied me for being doomed to be a Jew, others accused me; some insulted me, others praised me for it….but all my comrades were constantly aware of it. Oh, how deeply disappointed, how deeply wounded, frustrated, humiliated, how much in pain, in despair – and now ever since then, how perplexed, how bewildered, how hopeless am I… Didn’t we all believe that these days, when the light of such great men as Fichte, Jahn, or Arndt brightens our life, are the days of a total renewal of man, of Germanic man, days of moral regeneration, of national unity, of a complete and final redemption of our soul and our mind, of mankind, of a complete return to the womb of our entire existence, to nature. (26)

 

In order to restore order to a land overwhelmed by antisemitic rioting and revolution, the authoritarian Prince Metternich quickly imposed the repressive Karlsbad Decrees. The Burschenschaften were banned, books and newspapers were censored, professors were dismissed, and most German reform movements came to an end. Professors who were questioned by the Prussian police quickly changed their violent tone regarding the Jews.  However, Metternich’s draconian measures, designed to choke off both liberalism and nationalism for good, only bottled up the turmoil of the Volkish ideologies in the pressure cooker of academia until they boiled over into 20th century Nazism and the Third Reich.

 

March of Absolute Spirit Through History

 

Meanwhile, in Berlin University, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, revered professor of philosophy, later appointed rector, was molding and shaping minds for the coming century of ideology. His ideas spread like wildfire through the German academy, inspiring disciples on both the left and the right. Hegel, who belonged to the German idealist school of thought, turned Kantian metaphysics on its head by teaching that the ultimate reality, Absolute Spirit was ultimately knowable through our understanding of the daily phenomena we experience around us. Absolute Spirit, according to Hegel, is a living, self-conscious organism that expresses itself through a process of continuous historical change known as the dialectic. The dialectic is the march of Spirit through human affairs manifesting itself through its chosen agents, the great historical leaders and nations guiding the human race toward greater freedom. Spirit was initially working through the French and the great leader Napoleon, tearing down the old order and bringing liberal changes throughout Europe. When it was finished working with Napoleon’s destiny, at his fated Waterloo, Spirit started working through its next chosen agent – the German people. According to Hegel, the goal of history is to be found in Spirit’s final agent, the unified German state, the highest form of human association, where true freedom is to be attained as the German people attune their national consciousness to Spirit’s ultimate manifestation in the state. The supreme ideal of freedom entailed the subordination of individual wills in obedience to the dictates of the state. Hegel wrote, the individual’s “highest duty….is to be a member of the state.”

 

Rose reveals Hegel’s dialectical narrative of the Jewish people who, according to Hegel, had completed their historical destiny in ancient times and were now mere wanderers, transient “ghost-people” without a land or national Spirit to guide them, consigned to eternal parasitism, living off the fruits of healthy nations. Absolute Spirit had passed from the ancient to the modern Christian world, and since the Jews had rejected Christ’s teaching of love, history had passed them by and they now must die out and thus be relegated to the scrap heap of history. Hegel wrote:

 

The teaching of love failed to overcome the whole fate of Judaism…The Jewish multitude were bound to wreck His attempt to give them a (new) consciousness of something divine…. All the conditions of the Jewish people, including the wretched, abjectly poor, and squalid state they are in today, are nothing more than the consequences and developments of their original destiny – an infinite power that they desperately sought to surmount – a destiny that has maltreated them and will continue to do so until this people conciliates it by the spirit of beauty, abolishing it as a result of this conciliation. (29) 

 

While Hegel often argued for the protection of the civil rights of Jews, as one of the duties of the state, his historical philosophy of the obsolescence of the Jewish people became one of the theoretical pillars of antisemitism that spread among his followers in the German academy and provided the fuel for future persecution and attacks.

 

Hegel’s philosophy dominated German scholarship into the next century. His concept of Absolute Spirit laid the foundation for a messianic quasi-religious cult of nation-worship employing his concept that the state is the “Divine Idea as it exists on Earth” and the Germans were given the pride that they were the new “chosen people” whom Spirit selected as its agent in human history. This scholarship moreover sowed the seeds for the messianic fervor after World War I when the German people longed for a Fuhrer, the human incarnation of Hegel’s Spirit walking on earth, to lead them out of the darkness to the promised Aryan land of true freedom. The highest principle, supremacy of the state, to which all individuals must be subordinate, and who are worthless ghosts without it, inspired all the horrific political ideologies of the 20th century including Communism, Fascism and Nazism. One of his foremost disciples was the Young Hegelian by the name of Karl Marx who utilized this scholarship to open vast new radical horizons of destruction and mass murder in the coming century. (30) But there was something even more sinister brewing in the German University.

 

Crossing The Academic Threshold of Evil

 

The Volkish movement in German universities through the 19th century took myths and superstitions to a whole new scholarly level. Professors and their young idealistic students took the old, and newly minted myths of the German heroic past and imaginary evils of the Jews and turned them into a systematic body of thought, which ultimately emerged as racial policy and institutionalized mass murder after the Nazis seized power.

 

One of the myths was that Germanic people were descendants of the ancient “Aryans”. The assertion that Aryans were a pureblooded “blond, blue-eyed” master race with superior racial features was a myth presented as fact, as well. According to historians, the Aryan people, if they ever existed at all, intermingled with others somewhere in the region of Afghanistan, Iran, and northern Pakistan some four thousand years ago and lost their identity as a people. However their purported language, with similarities to Sanskrit and Persian, spread out over the centuries after the Persian conquest of India, and is considered to be the basis of most European languages today. (31)

 

Volkish mythology presented as fact the unfounded notion that Germans were the descendents of a heroic Teutonic or Aryan god-like race of human beings, who fell from grace, as their land was contaminated with non-Germanic aliens, the Jews and Gypsies who infiltrated and polluted the German Volk, the sacred fatherland and folk of the ancient Aryan master race. This fabricated mythology inculcated in students the belief that the eradication of the Jews and Gypsies would restore the golden age of the Aryans and save mankind from ruination. Volkish nationalist indoctrination intensified in later part of the 19th century as professors and scholars in the German university produced voluminous writings and dissertations defending their racial nationalist screeds and lectured vociferously “to overflowing university classrooms.” (32) Volkish ideology was widely disseminated in the German high schools and universities. The agents were the teachers, professors, textbooks, curricula, student fraternities, professional associations, and the dozens of boarding schools established to transmit Volkish ideology. (33)

 

The supremacy of the Aryan “race,” as well as the myth that cultural degeneration is caused by the mixing of races, was asserted as objective fact by the writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain, one of Germany’s most revered thinkers of the 19th century. He proclaimed that history was driven by the struggle between races in which the Germans, the purest Aryan species, were pitted against the Jews who were the most devious, parasitic and wicked “race,” agents of a morally hollow capitalism and liberalism. His antisemitic tomes provided the spiritual foundation for Nazi ideology and Hitler, who praised him as “the prophet of the Third Reich,” and the inspiration for an Aryan empire to rule the world. (34) Chamberlain and the Volkish scholars zealously spread racial and nationalistic theories that glorified war based upon Chamberlain’s writings and trumpeted the racial theories of history to which they had become recently indoctrinated by colleagues and contemporaries of Chamberlain.

 

One such contemporary, Paul de Lagarde, professor of oriental languages, who also taught at a Berlin public school in the later part of the 19th century, was a virulent Volkish antisemite, and had widespread influence as a popular voice for Volkish ideology. Inspired by Hegel and Fichte, he called for a German faith, divorced from Christianity, but related to the mystical Volk that underlies the German nation. Lagarde saw the Jews as aliens living on German soil, the enemies of Germany. Referring to the Jews as vermin that had to be wiped out, he said: “With trichinae and bacilli (bacteria) one does not negotiate, nor are trichinae and bacilli to be educated; they are exterminated as quickly and thoroughly as possible.” (35) Another influential romantic Volkish thinker, professor Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, an historian who taught at the University of Munich in the later half of the century published a massive tome, The Natural History of the Volk as the Foundation of a Germanic Sociopolitical System, where he idealized the pristine life of the German countryside and condemned the commercialization and artificiality of the industrialized urban centers. (36) Christian Lassen, professor of ancient civilizations at the University of Bonn, contrasted the Semites with the Aryan “race”, in a work entitled, Indian Antiquities, argued that: “History proves that Semites do not possess the harmony of psychical forces that distinguishes the Aryans.” (37) These figures of the Volkish movement, popular in academic circles, were later worshipped by Hitler and Nazi elites. However one more vital element was needed to complete the ideological foundation of Nazi Germany. This element was the new and growing academic movement that joined the pure fantasy of Volkish romanticism with the distinguished field of biological science.

 

Chamberlain and many of his contemporaries spent much effort twisting Darwin’s theory of evolution into the doctrine of social Darwinism. These pseudoscientists held that the fittest race, the Aryan race or pure Germans, would dominate those deemed biologically inferior just as the fittest individuals dominated species in the natural world.  The leading proponent of nationalism, racism and social Darwinism in Germany was Ernst Heinrich Haeckel. He was the distinguished professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Jena who is primarily responsible for reversing the humane progress of Western civilization in Germany.  "Haeckel was able to attract students from all over Europe and the world to Jena, where he gained enormous fame as a teacher. Haeckel transformed the University of Jena into one of the most exciting centers in Germany for biological study." (39) Only such a celebrated and distinguished scientist as Haeckel could take the mystical Volkish fantasies across the academic threshold, a daunting task no mere romantic scholar or writer like Chamberlain could accomplish. Haeckel was an illustrious academic whose career as an acclaimed research zoologist gave his perverse pseudoscience  widespread legitimacy. In “The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide,” Robert Lifton describes Haeckel as “a towering figure in German biology and an early Darwinian, …also a racist, a believer in a mystical Volk, and a strong advocate of eugenics who ‘can be claimed as a direct ancestor’ of the Nazi ‘euthanasia’ project.” (40) The Nazi ethos of “life unworthy of life” and the euthanasia program put into practice by the Nazi doctors, as Lifton explains, relied strongly upon the solid grounding in claims to scientific, logical and rational legitimacy. For Nazi doctors initially trained in the healing arts to be cool, detached practitioners of euthanasia – “direct medical killing”- and directing the “killing program” at Auschwitz “from beginning to end”, the boundary between healing and killing had to be destroyed. The scientific tradition established by the work of Haeckel and his followers enabled the Nazi doctors to erase the healing/killing boundary by enforcing the grandiose Volkish mission for the healing of the German race by killing off the “lower races”. It was the stamp of scientific legitimacy afforded by academia that enabled the great evils to come. Lifton elaborates:

 

“…Haeckel embraced a widely held nineteenth-century theme….that each of the major races of humanity can be considered a separate species. Haeckel believed that varied races of mankind are endowed with differing heredity characteristics not only of color but, more important, of intelligence, and that external physical characteristics are a sign of innate intellectual and moral capacity….Haeckel went so far as to say, concerning these ‘lower races’ (‘woolly-haired’ Negroes), that since they are ‘psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes and dogs) than to civilized Europeans, we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives. The Auschwitz self (of Nazi doctors) could feel a certain national-scientific tradition behind its harsh, apocalyptic, deadly rationality.”(41)

 

In “The Scientific Origins of National Socialism,” Daniel Gasman details Haeckel’s rapturous discovery of Darwinism, which he instantly elevated into his unifying evolutionary theory of the cosmos. He used it to shape the new religion of “applied biology” that elucidated all social, political, ethical, racial and biological phenomena and “called his new evolutionary philosophy ‘Monism,’ and contrasted it with all of traditional thought, which he rather disdainfully labeled ‘Dualism,’ condemning the later for making distinctions between matter and spirit, and for invidiously separating man from nature.” (42)

 

It was this wildly popular scientifically reasoned application of Darwinism as a social and political ideology that turned the heritage of Western civilization on its head. Haeckel and his Monist followers utterly rejected the summit of Western civilization that places man over the beast, bringing the humane progress of civilization, from the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian heritage to the Age of Enlightenment, to a halt. They reasoned that nature’s laws that apply to the animal kingdom should apply to human society as well, and be the ultimate source of morality. Since human beings were mere animals, they reasoned, the laws of the jungle should prevail. In the struggle for survival, the stronger races and nations would survive and the weaker ones would perish. There was "an exact parallel between the laws of nature and those of society."(46) This new morality and jungle ethics ushered in the evil consequences of racial nationalism, which proliferated swiftly thanks to the enthusiasm of the scientific Monists who formed an unholy alliance with the Volkish nationalists within the academic community. The survival and betterment of the German race was to be the sole determinant of this new ethics and moral law.

 

Gasman goes on to describe Haeckel’s attitude toward the Jews, who were seen  as possessing “inborn racial characteristics which apparently were resistant to change…. Haeckel was one of the most vociferous opponents of the Jews, and his importance for the history of antisemitism in Germany is that he did much to bring the Jewish question into the realm of biology.” (49)

 

Haeckelian Monists were the first to argue for German racial imperialism in the clash of conflicting races and nations, which was the ideological precursor to Nazi lebensraum (living space) and the underlying principle behind Hitler’s great push eastward in the subsequent war with Russia. Haeckel’s strong advocacy of eugenics was the forerunner of the Nazi euthanasia program. Applying nature’s doctrine of struggle for survival, he advocated terminating the weak and sickly with “a dose of some painless and rapid poison,” and said, “the same benefit is done by destroying luxuriant weeds, for the prosperity of a well-cultivated garden.” (52)

 

The legacy of the doctrines of Haeckel and Monist academics permeated beyond university circles into the grade schools, the curricula, and textbooks which were used to indoctrinate future generations of teachers, professors, doctors, and scientists to the biological-racial ideology that culminated in Nazi foreign policy, racial policy, euthanasia and the extermination of the Jews and the unfit. “It was Haeckel, in other words, who was largely responsible for forging the bonds between academic science and racism in Germany in the later decades of the nineteenth century.” (54) He created the ideological tools that allowed the Nazi regime to carry out the mass murder of millions of innocent citizens, and initiate World War II, with the entire German population acting as willing accomplices and dedicated cannon fodder.

 

The Psychology of Genocide

 

In the later part of the 19th century Bismarck unified Germany and turned it into one of the major economic powers of the world. Germany enjoyed a long period of relative peace and prosperity into the early 20th century. Intellectual poisons were being brewed in the universities, but outside the hallowed academic walls, Jews were fully emancipated as active German citizens with equal rights in society. They played an active role in the economic and cultural progress of Germany and distinguished themselves in all the professions, business, the arts and sciences, medicine and in the military. Jewish citizens enjoyed greater liberties and status than in many other European countries and flooded into Germany from other parts of Europe and Russia where they were often cruelly oppressed and persecuted.

 

Antisemitic political parties often initiated by academics, advocating for racial policy against Jewish civil rights, had little success in society with the German people, consistently failed to get antisemitic laws passed.  By the early 1900s, they had lost touch with the German people and almost died out completely as a political force. But all the basic ideological ingredients for genocide-- racial nationalism and biological racism – continued being assembled in the laboratory of academia.  All that was a Fuhrer to ignite the flame. “Hitler only promised to fulfill a concept of life which had permeated much of the nation before he ever entered the scene.” (56)

 

The appearance of Nazism on the world stage was not an anomaly.  Rather, it was the end product of a systematic process of ideological indoctrination over a period of many decades that turned romantic fantasy into truth, while the functions of the psyche known as conscience, rationality, critical thinking and scientific objectivity were being numbed and virtually snuffed out altogether..

 

Hitler’s Professors

 

The German university preserved and transmitted racial nationalist dogma from generation to generation into the 20th century. Future Nazi minds were shaped and molded in the widespread Volkish and scientific Monist tradition in the grade schools, universities, medical schools and the Burschenschaften, the Volkish student organizations. In 1904, Professor Alfred Ploetz, founder of the German Society for Racial Hygiene, instructed his students in the Haeckelian tradition of social Darwinism. One student, Fritz Lenz, a “German physician-geneticist advocate of sterilization” later became “a leading ideologue in the Nazi program of ‘racial hygiene’.” (59) He advocated for the dire need for a radical eugenics program to save the Nordic race from extinction. Professor Ploetz and his Society were part of an early circle of scientific racists in Munich who championed the new medical paradigm that the health and fitness of the Volk and the state came before the individual. He believed that, not only must the state maintain the right to war, where thousands must be sacrificed for the good of the state, but also in the medical right to biological death of the individual for the good of the state: “‘The rights to death (are) the key to the fitness of life.’ The state must own death – must kill – in order to keep the social organization alive and healthy” (60)    

 

Hitler was profoundly influenced by the long lineage of Volkish and Monist professors and scholars. He was an avid reader of Fichte and Chamberlain. The antisemitic 19th century Volkish academic, Lagarde, who provided inspiration for the extermination of the Jews, was one of Hitler’s ideological heroes. Hitler’s own contemporary professor and private tutor, Karl Haushofer, some insist, “was Hitler’s guiding brain…He was called everything from ‘Hitler’s idea man’ to ‘the man who will in the end take the Fuhrer’s place…” (61) A distinguished professor and director of the Institute of Geopolitics at the University of Munich, during the Weimar Republic era, Haushofer taught “that ‘war is the father of all things’ and that Japan and Germany had a common destiny: to appropriate more ‘living space’ from other nations…. His disciples and pupils slavishly followed his theories and style, and evolved a strategy of German world conquest, which presently had a unique opportunity of fulfillment. His most famous disciple was Rudolf Hess. He followed Haushofer to the University of Munich and sat at his feet, ardently drinking in the pseudoscientific political theories.” (62) Hess introduced Haushofer to Hitler, then in prison, following the Munich Putsch. “It was Haushofer who taught the hysterical, planless agitator in a Munich jail to think in terms of continents and empires. Haushofer virtually dictated the famous Chapter XVI of Mein Kampf which outlined the foreign policy Hitler has since followed to the letter.” (63)

 

Contemporary professors in the 1920s gave Nazism the concepts of “life unworthy of life” and “destruction of worthless life” which were the moral underpinnings for murder of the weak and unfit disseminated in the pre-Nazi academic community and medical schools. These concepts had already become mainstream in academic circles in particular through the publication in 1920 of a medical treatise, Permission for the Destruction of Worthless Life, and were on their way to informing the public debate over the morality of euthanasia, also known as “direct medical killing” in Lifton’s terminology.  This book professionalized the notion that therapy and healing is the ethical medical obligation to destroy the “unworthy life” of not only the terminally ill, but also the mentally ill, feebleminded, deformed, disabled and even babies and children judged unfit. It was co-authored by two distinguished German professors: Karl Binding who taught for 40 years at the University of Leipzig, and by Professor Alfred Hoche, professor of Psychiatry at Freiberg University. The gist of their unholy thesis was since Germany was suffering under an intolerable weight of “living burdens” due to the overabundance of “mental defectives”, from the “exaggerated humanitarianism” of the Weimar era, the decisions to terminate life had to be made not by the individual, but by the state for the betterment of the community, in order to devote the maximum healthy and robust human resources toward a national revival.

 

Professors and students were Hitler’s principal supporters during his rise to power in the 1920’s. 60% of all undergraduates supported Nazi student organizations. (66) In Rethinking the Holocaust, Yehuda Bauer describes the major role played by academics, scientists and intellectuals in the overall operations of the Nazi killing machine: “the murder groups (Einsatzgruppen) detailed in 1941 to kill targeted groups, mainly Jews, in the newly occupied Soviet territories, were commanded by Dr. Walter Stahlecker, and Dr. Otto Rasch (another intellectual with two Ph.D.s)... Some of the concentration camp commanders boasted university degrees. The doctors, biologists, chemists, engineers, bureaucrats, and so on, who were involved in everything form deportations to death camps to medical ‘experiments’, were central, not incidental, parts of the murder machine. The same must be said about the scientists, philosophers, historians, and theologians at universities, who supplied the rationalizations for the murder machine with verve and a great deal of individual initiative.” (68) He discusses the notorious Dr. Joseph Mengele, boasting both an M.D. and Ph.D., who played a major role in the murder machine: “the main figure among the twenty-three Auschwitz doctors who selected many hundreds of thousands of Jews to die, had no previous record of antisemitism. He had, however, acquired, as a typical intellectual, total identification with the Fuhrer and the Party. He and his peers were the product of a network of the best universities in Europe, which had turned out…‘technically competent barbarians.’” (69)

 

When ordinary Germans and physicians became uncomfortable with the mandatory sterilization policies, euthanasia program and the racial policies of the Nuremberg Laws, they were often mesmerized into compliance by the ideological enthusiasm of academics who provided the ethical justifications for the Nazi eugenics program to better the human race through proper breeding, and provided suitable euphemisms and innocent sounding buzzwords, to disguise the acts of racism and murder, such as “racial hygiene”, “applied biology”, and the national objective of “keeping our blood pure”. Then a sedated and “Nazified” population and medical profession could easily make “the transition from sterilization to direct medical killing… An influential manual by Rudolf Ramm of the medical facility of the University of Berlin proposed that each doctor was to be no longer merely a caretaker of the sick but was to become a ‘cultivator of the genes’, a ‘physician to the Volk’ and a ‘biological soldier.’” (70)

 

After the passage of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, academic institutions vied with one another to curry favor with the Nazis by swiftly enacting racial quotas, expelling Jewish teachers and banning Jewish students. Schools and universities quickly became Nazi indoctrination centers, suppressing freedom of expression, free inquiry, independent research and all objectivity. They became the training grounds for the intellectual troops dedicated to serving the German Volk and Hitler. The last vestiges of academic freedom, scholarly autonomy, and freedom of research and teaching were stamped out. Professors were told by the new Nazi minister: “From now on, it will not be your job to determine whether something is true, but whether it is in the spirit of National Socialist revolution.” (71)

 

All but a small minority of professors quickly adopted Nazi ideology for career advancement and power and eagerly collaborated to intellectually justify the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies and the mentally and physically disabled. In 1933, the year Hitler seized power, 1,000 leading German professors signed a public vow to support him and the Nazi regime. (72) They provided Nazism with “an intellectual fig leaf with which to cover its project of naked barbarism”, as did the renowned philosopher Martin Heidegger, rector of Freiburg University, who was one of the signatories of the vow, declaring: “The Fuhrer, and he alone, is the sole German reality and law, today and in the future.”(73) He became a member of the Nazi party in 1933, and willingly collaborated with the Nazi leadership to advance his own academic career and goal of changing the university into a “site for the transformation of human existence… To achieve this aim, he fully exercised his absolute powers as rector resulting in the ‘destruction of the remnants of any autonomy the university still preserved’.” (74) As rector, he abolished all democratic procedures, expelled all Jewish faculty, established an obligatory racial purity oath, mandated attendance in classes on military science, racial theory and German culture, and instituted the “Fuhrer Principle” and other Nazi policies. (75)

 

Buoyed by their new found aggressiveness, professors flocked like lemmings to the Nazis. As one historian-turned-true believer tellingly declared: “We repudiate international science, we repudiate the international community of scholars, we repudiate research for the sake of research. Sieg Heil!”. (78) The utter wild-eyed fanaticism of the academic community is demonstrated by the following observation:

 

For 70 years or more, the professors had preached aggressive nationalism, the German destiny of power, hero worship, irrational political romanticism, and so forth, and had increasingly de-emphasized, if not eliminated, the teachings of ethical and humanist principles…. Essentially neither (professors nor students) wanted to have anything to do with democracy. In the Weimar Republic…both groups, on the whole, seemed equally determined to tear down that Republic. The professors did their part by fiery lectures, speeches and writings; the students did theirs in noisy demonstrations, torch-light parades, vandalism, and physical violence…. When Hitler came to power, both professors and students fell all over themselves to demonstrate their allegiance. (79)

 

The Humboldtian University

 

The University of Berlin, established by Prussian education minister, Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1810, “emphasized a humanistic approach to learning, that is, a completely disinterested and politically aloof sojourn towards a greater human understanding of the world, with philosophy acting as the glue between the different disciplines and faculties” (81) The founding principles of the University of Berlin were based on the idea that no past, present or future school of thought or scholars, can have a monopoly on the truth. Rather the pursuit of truth in an ongoing process of exploration and analysis of the plurality of ideas, in a process of continuous revision, research, and free inquiry with the faculty taking the lead, and the student acting as research assistant. This ideal, free from the vested interests of the state, religious bodies or local princes, purported to develop the qualities of rigorous thinking and scientific objectivity, and to reject the tradition of seeking inherited ideas and beliefs of the past for spiritual or political guidance.

 

 This ideal of Humboldt became the educational blueprint for universities worldwide, especially for American universities. (82) However, in Germany, attempts to realize this ideal were frustrated and thwarted from the outset when it came into conflict with the scholar-activist brand of Volkish professors and pamphleteers. 

 

Although there were later attempts to resurrect the Humboltian ideal in Germany, they never gained traction  and eventually died when the Nazi regime seized power. Sylvia Paletschek discusses the “defeat of the Humboldtian ideal” as the university concept came under Nazi domination, demonstrated in the thinking of the following two academics, who became university professors and later rectors as they charted a Nazi career path:

 

In his [professor Adolf Rein’s] view, the guiding principle of the age could only be that of politics. Thus the political university was the university aligned with the state… The center of the proposed political university was supposed to be the new faculty of politics, where humanities and social sciences were to be combined. Rein was a convinced opponent of democracy. He was committed to a nationalist conservative view, which was widespread among professors in the 1920s…He considered the idea that the university might hold a neutral view to be a fiction of the liberal and natural scientific era. (83)

 

In [professor Ernst] Krieck’s opinion, science was ‘of use to nobody and nothing, without meaning, without educational purpose, without ethos, surviving on the basis of a traditionally fostered prejudice’…It no longer had any educational value and restricted itself to technical utilization. Only via an external link to a volkisch-politisch Weltanschauung (Volkish political worldview) would science once again regain its educational function. This would put an end to ‘the liberalistic illusion, arbitrariness, the senseless and disconnected plurality.’ (84)

 

The University of Berlin, Germany’s most prestigious university, markedly degenerated into a hotbed of racial nationalism and finally in 1933, the Nazis took control and turned it into an indoctrination center for the Third Reich, marking the death of the Humboldtian ideal of scientific objectivity, free inquiry, intellectual pluralism and faculty autonomy. There, the notorious book burnings took place. Jews and political opponents were expelled and murdered with the dutiful complicity of their academic colleagues. After the war, it fell into communist hands and was renamed Humboldt University. But it quickly became an indoctrination center for communist ideology, and thus was Humboldtian in name only. Finally, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was restructured as a free Western institution and resumed the futile efforts to resurrect the long gone and eternally disputed ideals of its founding principles. How ironic that this world-class university dedicated to the disinterested pursuit of truth and scholarship, lost its purpose and turned into the very opposite, a political university for the purpose of Nazi indoctrination, consequently giving rise to the most barbaric evils of the 20th century.

 

Ideas Have Consequences

 

Professors are in a position of enormous power and authority in front of the classroom, in molding and shaping young minds, and there is a corresponding responsibility that comes with this position of authority that can leverage the passion and raw energy of youth for good or for evil. To abuse this power is the greatest evil that can lead to horrific consequences as it has since the early 19th century in Germany. The maxim that “ideas have consequences” is well known. Moreover, dangerous ideas and the manner in which they are disseminated can lead to dangerous consequences. Accordingly, their purveyors should be held accountable for the results, when the results are world war, mass-murder, genocide, or Holocaust.

 

The outcome of The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, was death by hanging and life imprisonment for Nazi officials who were tried for war crimes committed during World War II and crimes against humanity where millions were murdered in the concentration camps and by slave-labor policies of the German government. In later trials, dozens more doctors who performed human medical experiments, SS leaders and military officials who administered the Nazi racial policies, and carried out the mass extermination of Jews, were sentenced to death by hanging and given long prison sentences. But how many thousands of professors whom Bauer refers to as “technically competent barbarians in our universities” got away scot-free and have led long trouble-free lives, with only their consciences rotting away as the murderous accomplices of the Third Reich? 

 

Martin Heidegger lived to the ripe old age of 87 enjoying a reputation as one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century.  After the war, the French Occupation Authority barred him from teaching, due to his Nazi affiliation, but two years later withdrew the decision, allowing him to teach freely. His earlier role as a prominent Nazi collaborator was quickly forgotten and he was welcomed back with open arms to Freiberg as an esteemed professor emeritus. But his racialist mindset was still evident in his denials and rationalization of the evils of Nazism and his unwillingness ever to condemn the Holocaust as evil, although his followers often pleaded with him to do so.  His inscrutable “scholarship” of the supremacy of Being, a Zen Buddhist-like state he called dasein, not only endeavored to assuage his own guilt, but also helped to remove all remnants of guilt from succeeding generations of intellectuals for the consequences of their ideas. Acclaimed by Jacques Derrida as the forefather of deconstruction, Heidegger profoundly influenced Michael Foucault, Derrida and others in the French deconstructionist school. In order to forget their wartime guilt as a nation of Nazi collaborators, the French philosophers were eager to embrace the Heideggerian anti-humanist doctrine that condemned all Western metaphysical thinking as the debauchery of pure Being, the fall from a primordial pre-Socratic grace, which culminated in nationalism, communism, capitalism, modern science and technology, and ultimately Nazism as well.  This postmodern scholarship, based on the assumption that there is no objective truth or meaningful knowledge that can be gained from applying Western thought to the analysis of literature, questions our entire inheritance in terms of ideals, morals, values and beliefs.

 

In addition to being used for the advancement of radical political agendas by the literary critics of Western texts, deconstructionism has been manipulated for the purposes of concealment and denial of culpability of other Nazi collaborators besides Heidegger. A leader of the Yale school of deconstruction, Paul de Man, Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale, was known as the “godfather of deconstruction.” But as it is now well known, he had been hiding the skeletons of his Nazi collaborationist past in his closet. After his death, public information came to light in 1987 that he had written almost 200 articles for a collaborationist newspaper in Belgium during the war. His antisemitic and pro-Nazi articles called for, among other things, “resistance to ‘Semitic infiltration of all aspects of European life’… for Jews to be deported to an island colony (and)… he praised French collaboration with Hitler.” But he never retracted or owned up to his statements; “instead, throughout his later life he lied about his Nazi record, refusing to express a word of remorse about it.” (102) No sooner than these revelations about their hero came to light, did the deconstructionist apologists begin in earnest, to abolish all distinctions between guilt and innocence and to obscure all ethical and moral judgments on the collaborationist crimes of the man they considered to be “one of the most brilliant literary critical minds of his generation.” (103) The mental gymnastics and contortions of de Man’s academic loyalists, attempted to excuse him of all culpability by declaring his blunder to be merely a literary error rather than a moral offense. They repudiated the conventional wisdom, specifically in the case of de Man’s articles, that literature refers to the real world. Rather all literature consists of linguistic events that merely refer to “a previous text.” Consequently, according to the deconstructionist approach, “the atrocities we read about are merely literary phenomena, referring not to the sufferings of real people, real ‘originals’ but only to ‘a previous text’.” (104) This is an object lesson in the power of deconstruction to condone evil by obliterating the distinction between text and meaning.

 

Not only have academic deconstructionists and their followers been blinded to the moral difference between good and evil, but it seems that their focus has been averted from the visible world, their objectivity and critical thinking capabilities have been undermined, and their consciences have been numbed. Here, the copious critical theses of the postmodern academic historians with their own political agendas become more important than the history itself, thus setting the stage for totalitarian ideologies, real crimes, genocide, terrorist attacks, the Holocaust, even the 9/11 attacks on our country, to be viewed as literary phenomena. This growing cadre of academics and scholars and their disciples have been indoctrinated in an academic cult of literary criticism, worshiping the masters, regardless of the past crimes they committed aiding and abetting the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. Today they are busy writing voluminous dissertations vindicating our enemies, radical Islamic terrorists who have declared war on America and have vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.” What’s worse is that these relativist theories have provided the scholarly stamp for the soft-core relativism that engulfs American popular culture today, that has numbed American political conscience to the war against our nation.

 

It is worth remembering that not all academics in the German university of the 1930s allowed themselves to be sucked into the Nazi maelstrom. There were a few with the integrity to stand up against the storm, hold onto their beliefs, who paid the price, and there were also a few who lived to tell their stories. Victor Klemperer, a professor of Literature at the University of Dresden, already in the minority for his unpopular views on the French Enlightenment, and formerly a Jew, was expelled after the Nuremberg Laws were enacted. To his great dismay, faculty, former friends and colleagues deserted him. He witnessed them grovel at the feet of the Nazis, compromise their consciences and bend their scholarship to the Nazi’s will. He observed the fake righteous self-interest of his contemporaries vying with one another to achieve coveted Nazi credentials. They were the guilty party, not the ordinary Germans. Given the opportunity to mete out punishment after it’s all over, he wrote the following in one of his published diaries, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941:

 

If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honorable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene. (106)

 

 

Notes:

 

I gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance, inspiration and criticism from the following colleagues: Candace de Russy, Ph.D., (SUNY Trustee, Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson Institute), Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Business and Economics, Brooklyn College), Gerald Matacotta, (MA, History Professor, Queensborough Community College), Joseph Keysor, (Author, English Teacher. He has liberally provided quotes and citations from his forthcoming book: Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: An Evangelical Protestant Analysis of National Socialism. Also his essay, A Christian Looks at the Holocaust. Available online: http://www.bedfordgaol.com/index.html)

 

1)      Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 33, Italics added for emphasis. Yehuda Bauer is the international director of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars.

2)      Online review of The Scientific Origins of National Socialism, by Daniel Gasman, Amazon.com online review, October 3, 2004, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765805812/qid=1151986382/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-2934964-3601724?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

3)      Gerald Matacotta, MA, History Seminar Series: Past Times, Queensborough Community
College, 2005-06, History Professor. He inspired the overall theme of the paper and research into some historically obscure topics, perhaps not often encountered in your typical Western Civilization curriculum.

4)      Herbert London, 1940 Redux, New York Sun, 3/29/06 p.10

5)      Charles Krauthammer, Never Again? By Charles Krauthammer Friday, May 5, 2006; Page A19 Available online: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2006/05/04/AR2006050401458.html

6)      John Bachelor, The Iran Threat, New York Sun, 5/17/06 p. 10.

7)      Thomas Childers, A History of Hitler’s Empire, 2nd Edition (Chantilly: The Teaching Company, 2001), p. 9. These lectures in text and CD format were used for reference throughout this paper.

8)      Rita Steinhardt Botwinick, A History of the Holocaust (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1995), p. 20

9)      R Larry Todd, Mendelssohn: A Life in Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) p. 50

10)  Carrie Supple, From Prejudice to Genocide (Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books Ltd., England, 1993), p. 24

11)  Marvin Perry et.al., Western Civilization, Ideas Politics and Society Vol. II, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), pp. 556-7. This text was used as a reference throughout the paper and for specific quotes as noted.

12)   Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Eighth Address, quoted in John Rosenthal, The Ummah and das Volk: On the Islamist and "Völkisch" Ideologies, April 22, 2005. Available online: http://trans-int.blogspot.com/2005/04/ummah-and-das-volk-on-islamist-and.html

13)   Fichte, Thirteenth Address, Addresses to the German Nation, ed. George A. Kelly (New York: Harper Torch Books, 1968), Available online: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1806fichte.html

14)   Fichte quoted in Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews 1933-1945, pp. 26-27. Thanks to professor Steven Saltzman, History Syllabus: Nineteenth Century Europe, Available online: http://members.surfbest.net/shsaltzman/Dawidowicz.html

15)  Fichte quoted in Paul Lawrence Rose, Revolutionary Antisemitism in Germany from Kant to Wagner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp. 119-120

16)   Rose, p. 128

17)   Todd, p. 50

18)   Dawidowicz, p. 28 

19)   Rose, pp. 125-131

20)   Perry, p. 149

21)   Rose, pp. 127-128

22)   Ibid., p.127

23)   Peter Viereck, Meta-politics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind (New York: Capricorn Books, 1965), p. 63 

24)   Dawidowicz, p. 27

25)   Rose, p.126 

26)   Ibid., p.126 

27)   Ibid., p. 35

28)   Hegel quoted in Perry, p. 541

29)   Hegel quoted in Rose, p. 111

30)   Perry, p. 539-542

31)   Ibid., p. 628. See footnote.

32)   Gregory Paul Wegner, Antisemitism and Schooling under the Third Reich, (New York: Routledge Falmer Press, 2002). Thanks to review by Katherine T. Carroll, Loyola University, Chicago, August 24, 2003. Available online: http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/wegner.htm

33)  Joseph Keysor, from his work in progress: Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: An Evangelical Protestant Analysis of National Socialism. Documentation and quotes provided from private correspondences with the author: according to Mosse (George L. Mosse , The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1971) there were “at least forty” such “boarding schools that sought to transmit Germanic ideology to their students according to the program established by Lietz” (Mosse, p. 160)

34)   Perry, pp.628-629

35)   Lagarde quoted in Dawidowicz, p. 32

36)   Dawidowicz, p. 31

37)   Lassen quoted in Dawidowicz, p. 32 

38)  Lee Sorensen & Monique Daniels, The Dictionary of Art Historians, A Biographical Dictionary of Historic Scholars, Museum Professionals and Academic Historians of Art. Available online: http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/langbehnj.htm  

39)   Daniel Gasman, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism, (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2004) p. 12, quoted in an essay entitled, A Christian Looks at the Holocaust, by Joseph Keysor. The chapter on Haeckel is cited for reference and for supplying quotes from Gasman’s text. The chapter on Hegel was a valuable reference source as well. Available online: http://www.bedfordgaol.com/part3-7.html, 2005

40)  Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Harper Collins Basic Books, 1986), p. 125

41)  Ibid., pp. 441-2

42)  Gasman, pp. 6-7, quoted in Keysor.

43)  Ibid., p. 13

44)  Ibid., p. 31

45)  Ibid., p. 32

46)  Ibid., p. 148

47)  Ibid., pp. 126-27

48)  Ibid., p. 41

49)  Ibid., p. 157

50)  Ibid., p. 158

51)  Ibid., p. xxxviii

52)  Ibid., pp. 95-6

53)  Ibid., p. 44

54)  Ibid., p. 40

55)  Perry, pp. 627-634

56)  Mosse, p. 301, thanks to Joseph Keysor, from private correspondences.

57)  Lifton, p.128.

58)  Mosse, p. 152, thanks to Joseph Keysor, from private correspondences.

59)  Lifton, p. 23 

60)  Ibid., p. 46 

61)  Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult, (New York: Dorset Press, 1977) pp. 62-3

62)  Ibid., p. 66

63)  Ibid., p. 62

64)  See Lifton, pp. 46-48 for a complete discussion of the Binding-Hoche thesis.

65)  Lifton, p. 45 

66)  Perry, p. 796

67)  Bauer, p. 35

68)  Ibid. pp. 35-6

69)  Ibid. pp. 34-5

70)  Lifton, p. 30 

71)  Ibid., p. 37 

72)  Ibid., p. 37, the figure was actually 960.

73)   Dinesh D’Sousa, Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (New York: The Free press, Division of Macmillan, 1991), p. 191 

74)  Robert R. MacGregor, Resistance or Collaboration?: The Turmoil of Universities in Nazi Germany (Rice University, 2003) p. 10. Available online: www.drbobguy.com/papers/germ125/paper.pdf. The previous quote: “an intellectual fig leaf with which to cover its project of naked barbarism,” is also from MacGregor’s paper, quoted in his discussion on Heidegger.

75)   Jeremiah Reedy, Reflections on the Career of Martin Heidegger, Shepherd of Being,  Available online: http://www.macalester.edu/~reedy/heidegger.html. Here he cites Victor Farias work, Heidegger and Nazism in his arguments against Heidegger’s defenders.  

76)  David Horowitz, Ben Johnson, Campus Support for Terrorism (Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2004), p. 3

77)  Lifton, p.122-3

78)  Horst von Maltitz, The Evolution of Hitler’s Germany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), pp. 433-434

79)  Ibid., pp. 438-439

80)  Bauer, p. 269

81)  MacGregor, p. 3

82)  James Piereson, The Left University,  September 27, 2005, FrontPageMagazine.com, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19616  Piereson elaborates on the Humboltian ideal and its ongoing conflict with the concept of the Left University in America.

83)  Margit Szollosi-Janze, Science in the Third Reich (Oxford/New York: Berg imprint of Oxford Int’l Publishers Ltd., 2001), p. 48. Adolf Rein, nationalist-conservative professor of history at the University of Hamburg, pursued a National Socialist (Nazi) career path, later becoming rector.

84)  Ibid. p. 49. Professor Ernst Krieck, influential educator in the 1920s and 1930s, anti-democratic innovator, later becoming rector of the University of Heidelberg with help from Nazi officials.

85)  Robert Gorham Davis, Books in Review: Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals. By Peter Viereck, Commentary Magazine Archive, June 1953

86)  Mitchell Langbert, NCATE and the Nuremberg Laws, Jun. 25, 2006, Democracy Project, http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/002619.html

87)  Phyllis Chesler, The Antisemitic Divestment Campaign, Feb 14, 2006, FrontPageMagazine.com, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21281

88)  Sol Stern, "Social Justice” and Other High School Indoctrinations, April 13, 2006, FrontPageMagazine.com, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22033

89)  Marquette University School of Education Institutional Report Submitted to National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), February 2004

90)  Stern, "Social Justice” and Other High School Indoctrinations

91)   Greg Lukianoff, FIRE Statement on NCATE’s Encouragement of Political Litmus Tests in Higher Education, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)  6/6/06 http://thefire.org/index.php/article/7079.html 

92)   Ibid.

93)  Jim Downs, Jennifer Manion, Taking Back the Academy, History of Activism, History as Activism (New York: Routledge, 2004), p.xii

94)  Ibid. p. 13

95)  Mitchell Langbert, Has Higher Education Overstepped Section 501(c)(3)?, March 20, 2006, Democracy Project, http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/002437.html.

96)   John Gravois, Professors of Paranoia? Academics give a scholarly stamp to 9/11 conspiracy theories, June 23, 2006, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Faculty, Volume 52, Issue 42, Page A10, http://chronicle.com/free/v52/i42/42a01001.htm. I have also spoken to several students from Pace University and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), (both in New York City) who exposed the nature of the conspiracy theory lectures they were forced to endure in both colleges. The student from Pace described his English Composition class as a semester long rant on 9/11 conspiracy theories. He claimed that most of the students in the class became unquestioning believers. The student from BMCC took a class in World Government where the professor lectured on 9/11 conspiracy theories and secret societies. The professor failed him for his differing political opinions. His grade was later reversed after he took action and went to the dean and other professors to review his satisfactory coursework. 

97)  Stern, "Social Justice” and Other High School Indoctrinations

98)  James Piereson, The Left University, September 27, 2005, FrontPageMagazine.com,  http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19616

99)   Ibid.

100)    Mark Lalla, What Heidegger Wrought, Commentary, January 1990

101)    Ibid.

102)    D’Sousa, p. 191

103)    Roger Kimball, Tenured Radicals (Chicago, Elephant Paperbacks, Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 1990), p. 121. Kimball devotes an entire chapter to de Man, The Case of Paul de Man, where he details the obscurantist arguments of the deconstructionists.

104)    Ibid., p.135

105)    D’Sousa, p.192.  Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941, (New York: Random House, 1998), p. 184.

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Phil Orenstein is a manufacturing systems manager at Orics Industries Inc. based in Queens, NY, and formerly an adjunct lecturer of Computer Aided Manufacturing at Queensborough Community College and Farmingdale State University.


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