Nazi ideology was total, in that it was a world view that claimed to explain everything about the world and how it functions.
At its core, the Nazi world view was racist and biological, positing that the so-called “Aryan” race – primarily the North Europeans – was the superior race of human beings. Their superiority granted the Aryans the right and obligation to rule over other races and peoples, for the benefit of humankind. The Jews, in complete contrast, were seen as a kind of “anti-race”, dangerous inhuman beings in seemingly human form. They were viewed alternatively as microbes and parasites, or as devils, that is, inhuman creatures with superhuman power.
In this video, Dr. David Silberklang presents the topic of Nazi ideology and answers the following questions:
What is Nazi Ideology? What were its roots? From where did the Nazis derive the ideas which served as the basis of their ideology?
Dr. David Silberklang is Senior Historian and Editor of Yad Vashem Studies, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem.
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Christian Anti-Judaism
- Part 3: Social Sciences
- Part 4: Modern Racism
- Part 5: Modern Antisemitism
- Part 6: The Nazi Ideology
Further pedagogical considerations
- We see that Nazi ideology emerged in a modern world, "bolstered", as it were, by scientific discourse.
- Nazi ideology is composed of Antisemitic and pseudo-scientific ideas grafted together.
- Ideology combines the old with the new – the old provides the ostensibly traditional, "classic" foundations, while the new provides the air of (supposed) objectivity.
- In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, science was inextricably linked to progress and so as essentially positive. We see from the events since that science can raise ethical questions – science itself is ethically neutral, but when it was joined to a destructive ideology, its application became negative.
- Ideology informs a world view – what ideologies do we have to today?