Aryan race

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

The Aryan race was a racial grouping commonly used in the period of the late 19th century to the mid 20th century to describe peoples of European and Western Asian heritage. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or subrace of the larger Caucasian race.[1]

While originally meant simply as a neutral ethno-linguistic classification, from the late 19th century onwards the concept of the Aryan race has been used by proponents of ideologically-motivated racism and white supremacism such as in doctrines of Nazism and neo-Nazism. Aryanism developed as a racial ideology that claimed that the Aryan race was a master race.

Origin of the term

The earliest epigraphically-attested reference to the word arya occurs in the 6th century B.C. Behistun inscription, which describes itself to have been composed "in arya [language or script]" (§ 70). As is also the case for all other Old Iranian language usage, the arya of the inscription does not signify anything but "Iranian".[2]
The region Aria as depicted by Waldseemuller in 1507

The term Aryan originates from the Sanskrit word ārya, in origin an ethnic self-designation, in Classical Sanskrit meaning "honourable, respectable, noble".[3][4]

In the 18th century, the most ancient known Indo-European languages were those of the ancient Indo-Iranians. The word Aryan was therefore adopted to refer not only to the Indo-Iranian peoples, but also to native Indo-European speakers as a whole, including the Romans, Greeks, and the Germans. It was soon recognised that Balts, Celts, and Slavs also belonged to the same group. It was argued that all of these languages originated from a common root—now known as Proto-Indo-European—spoken by an ancient people who were thought of as ancestors of the European, Iranian, and Indo-Aryan peoples. The ethnic group composed of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their modern descendants was termed the "Aryans".

This usage was common in the late 19th and early 20th century. An example of an influential best-selling book that reflects this usage is the 1920 book The Outline of History by H. G. Wells.[5] Wells wrote about the accomplishments of the Aryan people, stating how they "learned methods of civilization" while "Sargon II and Sardanapalus were ruling in Assyria and fighting with Babylonia and Syria and Egypt". As such, Wells suggested that the Aryans had eventually "subjugated the whole ancient world, Semitic, Aegean and Egyptian alike".[6] In the 1944 edition of Rand McNally’s World Atlas, the Aryan race is depicted as being one of the ten major racial groupings of mankind.[7] The science fiction author Poul Anderson (1926–2001), an anti-racist libertarian of Scandinavian ancestry, in his many novels, novellas, and short stories, consistently used the term Aryan as a synonym for Indo-Europeans. He spoke of the Aryan bird of prey which impelled those of the Aryan race to take the lead in developing interstellar travel, colonize habitable planets in other planetary systems and become leading business entrepreneurs on the newly colonized planets.[8]

The use of "Aryan" as a synonym for "Indo-European" or to a lesser extent for "Indo-Iranian", is regarded today by many[who?] as obsolete and politically incorrect[citation needed], but may still occasionally appear in material based on older scholarship, or written by persons accustomed to older usage, such as in a 1989 article in Scientific American by Colin Renfrew in which he uses the word "Aryan" in its traditional meaning as a synonym for "Indo-European".[9] However, the term Indo-Aryan is still commonly used to describe the Indic half of the Indo-Iranian languages, i.e. the family that includes Sanskrit and modern languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Bengali.

19th-century physical anthropology

The 4th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (Leipzig, 1885-1890) shows the Caucasian race (in various shades of grayish blue-green) as comprising Aryans, Semites, and Hamites. Aryans are further subdivided into European Aryans and Indo-Aryans (the term "Indo-Aryans" was then used to describe those now called Indo-Iranians).

In 19th century physical anthropology, represented by some[who?] as being scientific racism, the "Aryan race" was defined as the subgroup of the Caucasian (or Europid) race consisting of the native speakers of Indo-European languages descended from the original Proto-Indo-Europeans, that in modern times reside in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Anglo-America, Canada, Russia, South Africa, Latin America, Afghanistan, Iran, Armenia, Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Northern India, and Nepal.[10]

The original 19th-century and early 20th-century use of the term Aryan referred to "the early speakers of Proto-Indo European and their descendents".[11][12] Max Müller is often identified as the first writer to speak of an Aryan "race" in English. In his Lectures on the Science of Language in 1861[13] he referred to Aryans as a "race of people". At the time, the term race had the meaning of "a group of tribes or peoples, an ethnic group".[14]

When Müller's statement was interpreted to imply a biologically distinct sub-group of humanity, he soon clarified that he simply meant a line of descent, insisting that it was very dangerous to mix linguistics and anthropology. "The Science of Language and the Science of Man cannot be kept too much asunder ... I must repeat what I have said many times before, it would be wrong to speak of Aryan blood as of dolichocephalic grammar".[15] He restated his opposition to this method in 1888 in his essay Biographies of words and the home of the Aryas.[13]

Arthur de Gobineau, one of the key formulators of the theory of the "Aryan race"

Müller was responding to the development of racial anthropology, and the influence of the work of Arthur de Gobineau who argued that the Indo-Europeans represented a superior branch of humanity. A number of later writers, such as the French anthropologist Vacher de Lapouge in his book L'Aryen, argued that this superior branch could be identified biologically by using the cephalic index (a measure of head shape) and other indicators. He argued that the long-headed "dolichocephalic-blond" Europeans, characteristically found in northern Europe, were natural leaders, destined to rule over more "brachiocephalic" (short headed) peoples.[16]

The division of the Caucasian race into Aryans, Semites and Hamites is in origin linguistic, not based on physical anthropology, the division in physical anthropology being that into Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. However, the linguistic classification of "Aryan" later became closely associated, and conflated, with the classification of "Nordic" among some archaeologists and anthropologists.

This claim became increasingly important during the 19th century. In the mid-19th century, it was commonly believed that the Aryans originated in the southwestern steppes of present-day Russia. However, by the late 19th century the steppe theory of Aryan origins was challenged by the view that the Aryans originated in ancient Germany or Scandinavia, or at least that in those countries the original Aryan ethnicity had been preserved. The German origin of the Aryans was especially promoted by the archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna, who claimed that the Proto-Indo-European peoples were identical to the Corded Ware culture of Neolithic Germany. This idea was widely circulated in both intellectual and popular culture by the early twentieth century,[17] and is reflected in the concept of "Corded-Nordics" in Carleton S. Coon's 1939 The Races of Europe.

Other anthropologists contested such claims. In Germany, Rudolf Virchow launched a study of craniometry, which prompted him to denounce "Nordic mysticism" in the 1885 Anthropology Congress in Karlsruhe, while Josef Kollmann, a collaborator of Virchow, stated in the same congress that the people of Europe, be they English, German, French, and Spaniard belonged to a "mixture of various races," furthermore declaring that the "results of craniology...[are] against any theory concerning the superiority of this or that European race" to others.[13]

Virchow's contribution to the debate sparked a controversy. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a strong supporter of the theory of a superior Aryan race, attacked Josef Kollmann arguments in detail. While the "Aryan race" theory remained popular, particularly in Germany, some authors defended Virchow's perspective, in particular Otto Schrader, Rudolph von Jhering and the ethnologist Robert Hartmann (1831–1893), who proposed to ban the notion of "Aryan" from anthropology.[13]

Indo-Aryan migration

"The Forenoon of Life - Aryans entering India, 3500 B.C.", from Hutchinson's History of the Nations, c.1910, an early 20th century portrayal of "Aryan" migration.

Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the early Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent and from there further across all of North India. Claims of Indo-Aryan migration are primarily drawn from linguistic[18] evidence but also from a multitude of data stemming from genetics,[19] Vedic religion, rituals, poetics as well as some aspects of social organization and chariot technology.

All discussion of historical Indo-Aryan migrations or Aryan and Dravidian races remains highly controversial in India to this day, and continues to affect political and religious debate. Some Dravidians, and supporters of the Dalit movement, most commonly Tamils, claim that the worship of Shiva is a distinct Dravidian religion going back to the Indus Civilization,[20] to be distinguished from Brahminical "Aryan" Hinduism. In contrast others[21] argue that no Aryan invasion or migration ever occurred,[22] asserting that Vedic beliefs emerged from the Indus Valley Civilisation,[23] which pre-dated the supposed advent of the Indo-Aryans in India, and is identified as a likely candidate for a Proto-Dravidian culture.

Some Indians were also influenced by the debate about the Aryan race during the British Raj. The Indian nationalist V. D. Savarkar believed in the theory that an "Aryan race" migrated to India,[24] but he didn't find much value in a racialized interpretation of the "Aryan race".[25] Some Indian nationalists supported the British version of the theory because it gave them the prestige of common descent with the ruling British class.[26]



Mme. Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, a lawyer, agricultural expert, and journalist who covered the Spiritualist phenomena.

The Theosophical movement, founded by Helena Blavatsky and Henry Olcott at the end of the nineteenth century, took inspiration from Indian culture, in this case, perhaps, from the Hindu reform movement the Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayananda. Blavatsky argued that humanity had descended from a series of "Root Races", naming the fifth root race (out of seven) the Aryan Race. She thought that the Aryans originally came from Atlantis and described the Aryan races with the following words:

"The Aryan races, for instance, now varying from dark brown, almost black, red-brown-yellow, down to the whitest creamy colour, are yet all of one and the same stock -- the Fifth Root-Race -- and spring from one single progenitor, (...) who is said to have lived over 18,000,000 years ago, and also 850,000 years ago -- at the time of the sinking of the last remnants of the great continent of Atlantis."[27]

Blavatsky used "Root Race" as a technical term to describe human evolution over the large time periods in her cosmology. However, she also claimed that there were modern non-Aryan peoples who were inferior to Aryans. She regularly contrasts "Aryan" with "Semitic" culture, to the detriment of the latter, asserting that Semitic peoples are an offshoot of Aryans who have become "degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality."[28] She also states that some peoples are "semi-animal creatures". These latter include "the Tasmanians, a portion of the Australians and a mountain tribe in China." There are also "considerable numbers of the mixed Lemuro-Atlantean peoples produced by various crossings with such semi-human stocks -- e.g., the wild men of Borneo, the Veddhas of Ceylon, most of the remaining Australians, Bushmen, Negritos, Andaman Islanders, etc."[29]

Despite this, Blavatsky's admirers claim that her thinking was not connected to fascist or racialist ideas, asserting that she believed in a Universal Brotherhood of humanity and wrote that "all men have spiritually and physically the same origin" and that "mankind is essentially of one and the same essence".[30] On the other hand, in The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky states: "Verily mankind is 'of one blood,' but not of the same essence."

Blavatsky connects physical race with spiritual attributes constantly throughout her works:

"Esoteric history teaches that idols and their worship died out with the Fourth Race, until the survivors of the hybrid races of the latter (Chinamen, African Negroes, &c.) gradually brought the worship back. The Vedas countenance no idols; all the modern Hindu writings do".[31]
"The intellectual difference between the Aryan and other civilized nations and such savages as the South Sea Islanders, is inexplicable on any other grounds. No amount of culture, nor generations of training amid civilization, could raise such human specimens as the Bushmen, the Veddhas of Ceylon, and some African tribes, to the same intellectual level as the Aryans, the Semites, and the Turanians so called. The 'sacred spark' is missing in them and it is they who are the only inferior races on the globe, now happily -- owing to the wise adjustment of nature which ever works in that direction -- fast dying out. Verily mankind is 'of one blood,' but not of the same essence. We are the hot-house, artificially quickened plants in nature, having in us a spark, which in them is latent".[32]

According to Blavatsky, "the MONADS of the lowest specimens of humanity (the "narrow-brained" savage South-Sea Islander, the African, the Australian) had no Karma to work out when first born as men, as their more favoured brethren in intelligence had".[33]

She also prophesies of the destruction of the racial "failures of nature" as the future "higher race" ascends:

"Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun, to change, each tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favoured groups -- the failures of nature -- will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind".[34]

The second subrace of the Fifth or Aryan root race, the Arabian, is regarded by Theosophists as one of the Aryan subraces. It is believed by Theosophists that the Arabians, although asserted in traditional Theosophy to be of Aryan (i.e., Indo-European) ancestry, adopted the Semitic language of the people around them who had migrated earlier from Atlantis (the fifth or (original) Semite subrace of the Atlantean root race). Theosophists assert that the Jews originated as an offshoot of the Arabian subrace in what is now Yemen about 30,000 BC. They migrated first to Somalia and then later to Egypt where they lived until the time of Moses. Thus, according to the teachings of Theosophy, the Jews are part of the Aryan race.[35]

Samael Aun Weor published a book in 1967 retitled in 2008 The Doomed Aryan Race in which he asserted that the Aryan "Root Race" is doomed to be destroyed by hydrogen bombs unless the people of the Aryan race learn tantric yoga.[36]


Guido von List (and his followers such as Lanz von Liebenfels) later took up some of Blavatsky's ideas, mixing her ideology with nationalistic and fascist ideas; this system of thought became known as Ariosophy. It was believed in Ariosophy that the Teutonics were superior to all other peoples because according to Theosophy the Teutonics or Nordics were the most recent subrace of the Aryan root race to have evolved.[37] Such views also fed into the development of Nazi ideology. Theosophical publications such as The Aryan Path were strongly opposed to the Nazi usage, attacking racialism.



The ideology of Nazism was based upon the conception of the Aryan race being a master race. The Nazi conception of the Aryan race arose from earlier proponents of a supremacist conception of the race as described by racial theorist figures such as Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. The Nazis were divided on some parts of the constitution of the Aryan race.[citation needed]

Nazi racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther identified the Aryan race in Europe as having five subtype races: Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic.[38] Günther applied a Nordicist conception that Nordics were the highest in the racial hierarchy amongst these five Aryan subtype races.[38] In his book Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (1922) ("Racial Science of the German People"), Günther recognized Germans as being composed of all five Aryan subtypes, but emphasized the strong Nordic heritage amongst Germans.[39] He defined each racial subtype according to general physical appearance and their psychological qualities including their "racial soul" - referring to their emotional traits and religious beliefs, and provided detailed information on their hair, eye, and skin colours, facial structure.[39] He provided photographs of Germans identified as Nordic in places like Bedan, Stuttgart, Salzburg, and Schwaben; and provided photographs of Germans he identified as Alpine and Mediterranean types, especially in Vorarlberg, Bavaria, and the Black Forest region of Baden.[39] Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler read Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes that influenced his racial policy, and with Nazi backing, Günther attained a position in the anthropology department at the University of Jena in 1932 where Hitler attended Günther's inaugural lecture at Jena.[40]

Günther distinguished Aryans from Jews, and identified Jews as descending from non-European races, and particularly what he classified as the Near Asian race (Vorderasiatische) more commonly known as the Armenoid race, and said that such origins rendered Jews as fundamentally different and incompatible with Germans and most Europeans.[41] This association of Jews with the Armenoid type had been utilized by Zionist Jews who claimed that Jews were a group within that type.[42] He claimed that the Near Eastern race descended from the Caucasus in the fifth and fourth millennia BC, and that it had expanded into Asia Minor and Mesopotamia and eventually to the west coat of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.[41] Aside from ascribing Armenians and Jews as having Near Eastern characteristics, he ascribed them to several other contemporary peoples, including: Greeks, Turks, Syrians, and Iranians.[43] In his work Racial Characteristics of the Jewish People, he defined the racial soul of the Near Eastern race as emphasizing a "commercial spirit" (Handelgeist), and describing them as "artful traders" - a term that Gunther ascribed as being used by Jewish racial theorist Samuel Weissenberg to describe contemporary Armenians, Greeks, and Jews.[41] Günther added to that description of the Near Eastern type being commercially spirited and artful traders, that the type held strong psychological manipulation skills that aided them in trade.[41] He claimed that the Near Eastern race had been "bred not so much for the conquest and exploitation of nature as it was for the conquest and exploitation of people".[41]

Hitler's conception of the Aryan Herrenvolk ("Aryan master race") explicitly excluded the vast majority of Slavs, regarding the Slavs as having dangerous Jewish and Asiatic influences.[44] The Nazis because of this declared Slavs to be untermenschen (subhumans).[45] Exceptions were made for a small percentage of Slavs who were seen by the Nazis to be descended from German settlers and therefore fit to be Germanised to be considered part of the Aryan master race.[46] Hitler described Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need of a master".[47] Hitler declared that because Slavs were subhumans that the Geneva Conventions were not applicable to them, and German soldiers in World War II were thus permitted to ignore the Geneva Conventions in regards to Slavs.[48] Hitler called Slavs "a rabbit family" meaning they were intrinsically idle and disorganized.[49] Nazi Germany's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had media speak of Slavs as primitive animals whom were from the Siberian tundra who were like a "dark wave of filth".[50][51] The Nazi notion of Slavs being inferior was part of the agenda for creating Lebensraum ("living space") for Germans and other Germanic people in eastern Europe that was initiated during World War II under Generalplan Ost, millions of Germans and other Germanic settlers would be moved into conquered territories of Eastern Europe, while the original Slavic inhabitants were to be annihilated, removed, or enslaved.[52] Nazi Germany's ally the Independent State of Croatia rejected the common conception that Croats were primarily a Slavic people and claimed that Croats were primarily the descendents of the Germanic Goths.[53] However the Nazi regime continued to classify Croats as "subhuman" in spite of the alliance.[54] Nazi Germany's policy changed towards Slavs in response to military manpower shortages, in which it accepted Slavs to serve in its armed forces within occupied territories, in spite of them being considered subhuman, as a pragmatic means to resolve such manpower shortages.[54] Hitler often doubted whether Czechs were Aryan or not, he said in his table talk "It is enough for a Czech to grow a moustache for anyone to see, from the way the thing droops, that his origin is Mongoloian.[55] After the occupation of Poland, most Poles were regarded as untermenschen to be used by Germany as manual labourers.[56] The question of whether Italians were Aryan enough was questioned by the Nazi racial theorists, Hitler viewed northern Italians as strongly Aryan but not southern Italians. The Nazis viewed the downfall of the Roman Empire as being the result of the pollution of blood from racial intermixing, claiming that Italians were a hybrid of races, including black African races. Hitler even mentioned his view of the presence of Negroid blood in the Mediterranean peoples during his first meeting with Mussolini in 1934.[57]

German Interior Ministry official Albert Gorter drafted an official definition of the Aryan Race for the new Civil Service Law that included European Aryans and Asian Aryans of the subtype race known as Irano-Afghan.[58] However Achim Gerke revised Gorter's draft of the Civil Service Law by removing such contemporary Asian people from the definition of the Aryan race, as they were considered too foreign to be connected with the Aryan Race as in Europe.[58] This official definition of Aryan was for the Nuremberg race laws of 1935 which classified all non-Jewish White Europeans as Aryans.[58]

The idea of the Northern origins of the Aryans was particularly influential in Germany. It was widely believed that the "Vedic Aryans" were ethnically identical to the Goths, Vandals and other ancient Germanic peoples of the Völkerwanderung. This idea was often intertwined with antisemitic ideas. The distinctions between the "Aryan" and "Semitic" peoples were based on the aforementioned linguistic and ethnic history. A complete, highly speculative theory of Aryan and anti-Semitic history can be found in Alfred Rosenberg's major work, The Myth of the Twentieth Century. Rosenberg's account of ancient history, melded with his racial speculations, proved to be very effective in spreading racialism among German intellectuals in the early twentieth century, especially after the First World War.

Semitic peoples came to be seen as a foreign presence within Aryan societies, and the Semitic peoples were often pointed to as the cause of conversion and destruction of social order and values leading to culture and civilization's downfall by proto-Nazi theorists such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

These and other ideas evolved into the Nazi use of the term "Aryan race" to refer to what they saw as being a master race, which was narrowly defined by the Nazis as being identical with the Nordic race, followed by other sub-races of the Aryan race. They worked to maintain the purity of this race through eugenics programs (including anti-miscegenation legislation, compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill and the mentally deficient, the execution of the institutionalized mentally ill as part of a euthanasia program).

Heinrich Himmler (the Reichsführer of the SS), the person ordered by Adolf Hitler to implement the Final Solution, or The Holocaust,[59] told his personal masseur Felix Kersten that he always carried with him a copy of the ancient Aryan scripture, the Bhagavad Gita because it relieved him of guilt about what he was doing – he felt that like the warrior Arjuna, he was simply doing his duty without attachment to his actions.[60]

Italian Fascism

In a 1921 speech in Bologna, Mussolini stated that "Fascism was born... out of a profound, perennial need of this our Aryan and Mediterranean race".[61][62] In this speech Mussolini was referring to Italians as being the Mediterranean branch of the Aryan Race, Aryan in the meaning of people of an Indo-European language and culture.[63] Italian Fascism emphasized that race was bound by spiritual and cultural foundations, and identified a racial hierarchy based on spiritual and cultural factors.[63] While Italian Fascism based its conception of race on spiritual and cultural factors, Mussolini explicitly rejected notions that biologically "pure" races existed though biology was still considered a relevant factor in race.[64]

Italian Fascism strongly rejected the common Nordicist conception of the Aryan Race that idealized "pure" Aryans as having certain physical traits that were defined as Nordic such as blond hair and blue eyes.[65] The antipathy by Mussolini and other Italian Fascists to Nordicism was over the existence of what they viewed as the Mediterranean inferiority complex that they claimed had been instilled into Mediterraneans by the propagation of such theories by German and Anglo-Saxon Nordicists who viewed Mediterranean peoples as racially degenerate and thus in their view inferior.[65] Mussolini refused to allow Italy to return again to this inferiority complex, initially rejecting Nordicism.[65] However traditional Nordicist claims of Mediterraneans being degenerate due to having a darker colour of skin than Nordics had long been rebuked in anthropology through the depigmentation theory that claimed that lighter skinned peoples had been dipigmented from a darker skin, this theory has since become a widely accepted view in anthropology.[66] Anthropologist Carleton S. Coon in his work The races of Europe (1939) subscribed to depigmentation theory that claimed that Nordic race's light-coloured skin was the result of depigmentation from their ancestors of the Mediterranean race.[67]

In the early 1930s, with the rise to power of the Nazi Party in Germany with Führer Adolf Hitler's emphasis on a Nordicist conception of the Aryan Race, strong tensions arose between the Fascists and the Nazis over racial issues. In 1934, in the aftermath of Austrian Nazis killing Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, an ally of Italy, Mussolini became enraged and responded by angrily denouncing Nazism. Mussolini rebuked Nazism's Nordicism, claiming that the Nazis' emphasizing of a common Nordic "Germanic race" was absurd, saying "a Germanic race does not exist. ... We repeat. Does not exist. Scientists say so. Hitler says so."[68] The fact that Germans were not purely Nordic was indeed acknowledged by prominent Nazi racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther in his book Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (1922) ("Racial Science of the German People"), where Günther recognized Germans as being composed of five Aryan subtype races: Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic while asserting that the Nordics were the highest in a racial hierarchy of the five subtypes.[39]

By 1936, the tensions between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany reduced and relations became more amicable. In 1936, Mussolini decided to launch a racial program in Italy, and was interested in the racial studies being conducted by Giulio Cogni.[69] Cogni was a Nordicist but did not equate Nordic identity with Germanic identity as was commonly done by German Nordicists.[70] Cogni had travelled to Germany where he had become impressed by Nazi racial theory and sought to create his own version of racial theory.[71] On 11 September 1936, Cogni sent Mussolini a copy of his newly published book Il Razzismo (1936).[69] Cogni declared the racial affinity of the Mediterranean and Nordic racial subtypes of the Aryan race and claimed that the intermixing of Nordic Aryans and Mediterranean Aryans in Italy produced a superior synthesis of Aryan Italians.[70] Cogni addressed the issue of racial differences between northern and southern Italians, declaring southern Italians were mixed between Aryan and non-Aryan races, that he claimed was most likely due to infiltration by Asiatic peoples in Roman times and later Arab invasions.[69] As such, Cogni viewed Southern Italian Mediterraneans as being polluted with orientalizing tendencies.[69] Initially Mussolini was not impressed with Cogni's work, however Cogni's ideas later entered into the official Fascist racial policy several years later.[69]

In 1938 Mussolini was concerned that if Italian Fascism did not recognize Nordic heritage within Italians, that the Mediterranean inferiority complex would return to Italian society.[65] Therefore in summer 1938, the Fascist government officially recognized Italians as having Nordic heritage and being of Nordic-Mediterranean descent and in a meeting with PNF members, and in June 1938 in a meeting with PNF members, Mussolini identified himself as Nordic and declared that previous policy of focus on Mediterraneanism was to be replaced by a focus on Aryanism.[65]

The Fascist regime began publication of the racialist magazine La Difesa della Razza in 1938.[72] The Nordicist racial theorist Guido Landra took a major role in the early work of La Difesa, and published the Manifesto of Racial Scientists in the magazine in 1938.[73] The Manifesto received substantial criticism, including its assertion of Italians being a "pure race", as it was viewed as absurd.[73] La Difesa published other theories that described long-term Nordic Aryan amongst Italians, such as the theory that in the Eneolithic age Nordic Aryans arrived to Italy.[74] Many of the writers took up the traditional Nordicist claim that the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was due to the arrival of Semitic immigrants.[74] La Difesa's writers were divided on their claims that described how Italians extricated themselves from Semitic influence.[73]

The Nordicist direction of Fascist racial policy was challenged in 1938 by a resurgence of the Mediterraneanist faction in the PNF.[75] By 1939, the Mediterraneanists' advocacy of a nativist racial theory that rejected ascribing the achievements of the Italian people to Nordic peoples.[75] This nativist racial policy was prominently promoted by Ugo Rellini.[75] Rellini rejected the notion of large scale invasions of Italy by Nordic Aryans in the Eneolithic age, and claimed that Italians were an indigenous people descended from the Cro-Magnons.[76] Rellini claimed that Mediterranean and Nordic peoples arrived later and peacefully intermixed in small numbers with the indigenous Italian population.[76]

In 1941 the PNF's Mediterraneanists through the influence of Giacomo Acerbo put forward a comprehensive definition of the Italian race.[77] However these efforts were challenged by Mussolini's endorsement of Nordicist figures with the appointment of staunch spiritual Nordicist Alberto Luchini as head of Italy's Racial Office in May 1941, as well as with Mussolini becoming interested with Julius Evola's spiritual Nordicism in late 1941.[77] Acerbo and the Mediterraneanists in his High Council on Demography and Race sought to bring the regime back to supporting Mediterraneanism by thoroughly denouncing the pro-Nordicist Manifesto of the Racial Scientists.[77] The Council recognized Aryans as being a linguistic-based group, and condemned the Manifesto for denying the influence of pre-Aryan civilization on modern Italy, saying that the Manifesto "constitutes an unjustifiable and undemonstrable negation of the anthropological, ethnological, and archaeological discoveries that have occurred and are occurring in our country".[77] Furthermore the Council denounced the Manifesto for "implicitly" crediting Germanic invaders of Italy in the guise of the Lombards for having a "a formative influence on the Italian race in a disproportional degree to the number of invaders and to their biological predominance".[77] The Council claimed that the obvious superiority of the ancient Greeks and Romans in comparison with the ancient Germanic tribes made it inconceivable that Italian culture owed a debt to ancient Aryan Germans.[77] The Council denounced the Manifesto's Nordicist attitude towards Mediterraneans that it claimed was "considering them as slaves" and was "a repudiation of the entire Italian civilization".[77]


The sun wheel has been used as a symbol of the Aryan race by some neo-Nazis.

Since the military defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies in 1945, some neo-Nazis have developed a more inclusive definition of "Aryan", claiming that the peoples of Western Europe are the closest descendants of the ancient Aryans, with Nordic and Germanic peoples being the most "racially pure." [78]

According to Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, many neo-Nazis want to establish an autocratic state modeled after Nazi Germany to be called the Western Imperium. It is believed this proposed state would be able to attain world domination by combining the nuclear arsenals of the four major Aryan world powers, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia under a single military command.[79]

This proposed state would be led by a Führer-like figure called the Vindex, and would include all areas inhabited by the "Aryan race", as conceived by Neo-Nazis. Only those of the Aryan race would be full citizens of the state. The "Western Imperium" would embark on a vigorous and dynamic program of space exploration, followed by the creation by genetic engineering of a super race called Homo Galactica. The concept of the "Western Imperium" as outlined in the previous three sentences is based on the original concept of the Imperium as outlined in the 1947 book Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics by Francis Parker Yockey as further updated, extended and refined in the early 1990s in pamphlets published by David Myatt.[80][81][82]


A neo-Nazi esoteric Nazi Gnostic sect headquartered in Vienna, Austria called the Tempelhofgesellschaft, founded in the early 1990s, teaches a form of what it calls Marcionism. They distribute pamphlets claiming that the Aryan race originally came to Atlantis from the star Aldebaran.

See also


As opposed to:

Third Reich specific

Contemporaneous concepts of race


  1. ^ Mish, Frederic C., Editor in Chief Webster's Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.:1994--Merriam-Webster See original definition (definition #1) of "Aryan" in English--Page 66
  2. ^ cf. Gershevitch, Ilya (1968). "Old Iranian Literature". Handbuch der Orientalistik, Literatur I. Leiden: Brill. pp. 1–31 , p. 2.
  3. ^ Monier-Williams (1899).
  4. ^ "Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (2008 revision)". UNIVERSITÄT ZU KÖLN. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Wells, H.G. The Outline of History New York:1920 Doubleday & Co. Chapter 19 The Aryan Speaking Peoples in Pre-Historic Times Pages 271-285
  6. ^ H.G. Wells describes the origin of the Aryans (Proto-Indo Europeans):
  7. ^ Rand McNally’s World Atlas International Edition Chicago:1944 Rand McNally Map: "Races of Mankind" Pages 278–279--In the explanatory section below the map, the Aryan race (the word “Aryan” being defined in the description below the map as a synonym for “Indo-Europeans”) is described as being one of the ten major racial groupings of mankind. Each of the ten racial groupings is depicted in a different color on the map and the estimated populations in 1944 of the larger racial groups except the Dravidians are given (the Dravidian population in 1944 would have been about 70,000,000). The other nine groups are depicted as being the Semitic race (the Aryans (850,000,000) and the Semites (70,000,000) are described as being the two main branches of the Caucasian race), the Dravidian race, the Mongolian race (700,000,000), the Malayan race (Correct population given on page 413--64,000,000 including besides the populations of the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and Madagascar also half of the Malay States, Micronesia, and Polynesia), the American Indian race (10,000,000), the Negro race (140,000,000), the Native Australians, the Papuans, and the Hottentots and Bushmen.
  8. ^ See, for example, the Poul Anderson short stories in the 1964 collection Time and Stars and the Polesotechnic League stories featuring Nicholas van Rijn
  9. ^ Renfrew, Colin. (1989). The Origins of Indo-European Languages. /Scientific American/, 261(4), 82-90.
  10. ^ Rand McNally’s World Atlas International Edition Chicago:1944 Rand McNally Map: "Races of Mankind" Pages 278–279 The domain of the Aryan race is shown as extending throughout the regions mentioned above.
  11. ^ Mish, Frederic C., Editor in Chief Webster's Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.:1994--Merriam-Webster Page 66
  12. ^ Widney, Joseph P Race Life of the Aryan Peoples New York: Funk & Wagnalls. 1907 In Two Volumes: Volume One--The Old World Volume Two--The New World ISBN B000859S6O
  13. ^ a b c d Andrea Orsucci, "Ariani, indogermani, stirpi mediterranee: aspetti del dibattito sulle razze europee (1870-1914)", in Cromohs, 1998 (Italian)
  14. ^ OED under race, n.6 I.1.c has "A group of several tribes or peoples, regarded as forming a distinct ethnic set. Esp. used in 19th-cent. anthropological classification, sometimes in conjunction with linguistic groupings."
  15. ^ Speech before the University of Stassbourg, 1872, Chaudhuri, Nirad, Scholar Extraordinary: The Life of Professor the Rt. Hon. Freidrich Max Muller, Chatto and Windus, 1974, p.313
  16. ^ Vacher de Lapouge (trans Clossen, C), Georges (1899). "Old and New Aspects of the Aryan Question". The American Journal of Sociology 5 (3): 329–346. doi:10.1086/210895. .
  17. ^ Arvidsson, Stefan (2006). Aryan Idols. USA: University of Chicago Press, 143. ISBN 0-226-02860-7.
  18. ^ The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, Edwin Bryant, 2001
  19. ^ Trivedi, Bijal P (2001-05-14). "Genetic evidence suggests European migrants may have influenced the origins of India's caste system". Genome News Network (J. Craig Venter Institute). Retrieved 2005-01-27. 
  20. ^ It is claimed that the Pashupati seal represents Shiva. J. Marshall 1931: Vol. 1, 52-55. Mohenjo-Daro and the IVC. London: Arthur Probsthain.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Although most pro-Aryan migration theory scholars also agree that a part of the IVC culture has influenced Hinduism. Renfrew says: "it is difficult to see what is particularly non-Aryan about the Indus Valley Civilization. Renfrew 1988:188-190. Archaeology and Language. New York: Cambridge University Press
  24. ^ Bryant 2001:271, Talageri 2000. The Rigveda.
  25. ^ After all there is throughout this world so far as man is concerned but a single race - the human race, kept alive by one common blood, the human blood. All other talk is at best provisional, a makeshift and only relatively true. (...) Even as it is, not even the aborigines of the Andamans are without some sprinkling of the so-called Aryan blood in their veins and vice-versa. Truly speaking all that one can claim is that one has the blood of all mankind in one’s veins. The fundamental unity of man from pole to pole is true, all else only relatively so. Savarkar: "Hindutva". Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Savarkar Samagra: Complete Works of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 10 volumes, ISBN 81-7315-331-0
  26. ^ Erdosy 1995:21, The Indo-Aryans of ancient South Asia.
  27. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, Vol.II, p.249
  28. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p. 200
  29. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, pp. 195-6
  30. ^ The Key to Theosophy, Section 3
  31. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p.723
  32. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p 421
  33. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p.168
  34. ^ Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p.446
  35. ^ Powell, A.E. The Solar System: A Complete Outline of the Theosophical Scheme of Evolution London:1930 The Theosophical Publishing House Pages 298-299
  36. ^ 1967 - Christmas Message 1967-1968: The Solar Bodies and Gnostic Wisdom (in Spanish), published in English as The Doomed Aryan Race in 2008 ISBN 1-934206-30-X
  37. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology New York:1992 New York University Press Chapter 13 "Herbert Reichstein and Ariosophy" Pages 164-176
  38. ^ a b Bruce David Baum. The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity. New York, New York, USA; London, England, UK: New York University Press, 2006. P. 156.
  39. ^ a b c d Anne Maxwell. Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics, 1870-1940. Eastbourne, England: UK; Portland, Oregon, USA: SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS, 2008, 2010. P. 150.
  40. ^ John Cornwell. Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact. Penguin, Sep 28, 2004. [1]
  41. ^ a b c d e Alan E Steinweis. Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press, 2008. P. 28.
  42. ^ Mitchell B. Hart. Jews & Race: Writings on Identity & Difference, 1880-1940. Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA: Brandeis University Press, 2011. P. 247.
  43. ^ Alan E Steinweis. Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press, 2008. P. 29.
  44. ^ André Mineau. Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity. Rodopi, 2004. Pp. 34-36.
  45. ^ Steve Thorne. The Language of War. London, England, UK: Routledge, 2006. P. 38.
  46. ^ Wendy Lower. Nazi Empire-building And The Holocaust In Ukraine. The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. P. 27.
  47. ^ Marvin Perry. Western Civilization: A Brief History. Cengage Learning, 2012. P. 468.
  48. ^ Anne Nelson. Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler. Random House Digital, Inc., 2009. P. 212.
  49. ^ David Downing. Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty Two Days That Decided World War II. P. 48.
  50. ^ Richard C. Frucht (31 December 2004). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 259–. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6. 
  51. ^ David Downing. Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty Two Days That Decided World War II. Read How You Want, 2010 P. 48.
  52. ^ Joseph W. Bendersky. A concise history of Nazi Germany, Plymouth, England, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2007. p. 161-2.
  53. ^ Rich, Norman (1974). Hitler's War Aims: the Establishment of the New Order, p. 276-7. W. W. Norton & Company Inc., New York.
  54. ^ a b Norman Davies. Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory. Pan Macmillan, 2008. Pp. 167, 209.
  55. ^ Adolf Hitler (30 April 2008). Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books. ISBN 978-1-929631-66-7. 
  56. ^ Halik Kochanski. The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War. Harvard University Press, 2012. xxiv.
  57. ^ Aaron Gillette (12 October 2012). Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-52706-9. 
  58. ^ a b c Eric Ehrenreich. The Nazi ancestral proof: genealogy, racial science, and the final solution. Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Indiana University Press, Pp. 9-10.
  59. ^ Himmler noted on 26 July 1942 in response to Rosenberg’s attempt to influence Jewish policy that "The occupied territories will be Jew-free. The Fuhrer has laid the implementation of this very difficult order on my shoulders." Evans, Richard J. The Third Reich at War New York:2008 Penguin Page 271; Himmler had begun the initial pre-Wansee Conference implementation of the final solution by July and August of 1941. Evans, Richard J. The Third Reich at War New York:2008 Penguin Page 240.
  60. ^ Padfield, Peter Himmler New York:1990--Henry Holt Page 402
  61. ^ Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 11.
  62. ^ Neocleous, Mark. Fascism. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. p. 35
  63. ^ a b Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 39.
  64. ^ Glenda Sluga. The Problem of Trieste and the Italo-Yugoslav Border: Difference, Identity, and Sovereignty in Twentieth-Century. SUNY Press, 2001. P. 52.
  65. ^ a b c d e Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 188.
  66. ^ Alan W. Ertl. Toward an Understanding of Europe:A Political Economic Précis of Continental Integration. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: Universal Publishers, 2008. P. 8.
  67. ^ Melville Jacobs, Bernhard Joseph Stern. General anthropology. Barnes & Noble, 1963. P. 57.
  68. ^ Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 45.
  69. ^ a b c d e Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 60.
  70. ^ a b Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 61.
  71. ^ Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 59-60.
  72. ^ Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 78.
  73. ^ a b c Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 80.
  74. ^ a b Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 81.
  75. ^ a b c Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 110-111.
  76. ^ a b Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2002. P. 110-112.
  77. ^ a b c d e f g Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 146.
  78. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and The Politics of Identity New York: 2002--N.Y. University Press, See Chapter 15 for a discussion of Aryan identity politics
  79. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2003). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York: New York University Press. p. 221. ISBN 0-8147-3155-4. 
  80. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and The Politics of Identity New York: 2002--N.Y. University Press, See Chapters 4 and 11 for extensive information about the proposed "Western Imperium"
  81. ^ “Vindex—The Destiny of the West—Imperium of the West” by David Myatt:
  82. ^ "Space Exploration: An Expression of the Aryan Soul" by John Clarke National Vanguard magazine Issue 130, January–February 2006:

Further reading

External links