The question about whether or not Hitler or the "Nazis" believed Slavs to be "Subhuman" is certainly a contentious issue, particularly because it helps to lend non-Jewish European sympathy to the Holocaust narrative. The claim is false, the National Socialists considered the Slavs to be a linguistic group as opposed to a racial group.
There was no uniformity of thought on racial questions - to expect that there was some single "National Socialist" conception of race is to gloss over the debates that raged on within Germany during the Third Reich as to various definitions of race as the concept evolved. Much of the racial thinking in Germany was no different to anywhere else, the same authors that elucidated the Nazi thoughts on race were widely popular around the world and in Germany before the National Socialists came to power.
Names like Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Arthur de Gobineau, Eugene Fischer, Hans F.K. Gunther, Madison Grant, Charles Darwin etc. were known around the world.
For example, Madison Grant was an American author, and he had an important influence on Hitler as he did many Americans:
I found a translation of Madison Grant’s 1916 classic racist tract, The Passing of the Great Race; or, The Racial Basis of European History. Hitler’s copy, a fourth edition published in 1925...
Timothy W. Ryback, Hitler's Private Library: The Books that Shaped his life (Vintage Books Paperback, 2010), Pp. 110
Apart from just owning books by Grant, Hitler also sent a letter to him, and corresponded with many other American Eugenicists:
In 1934, one of Hitler's staff members wrote to Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society and asked in the name of the Führer for a copy of Whitney's recently published book, The Case for Sterilization. Whitney complied immediately, and shortly thereafter received a personal letter of thanks from Adolf Hitler. In his unpublished autobiography, Whitney reported a conversation he had with Madison Grant about the letter from the Führer. Because he thought that Grant might be interested in Hitler's letter he showed it to him during their next meeting. Grant only smiled, reached for a folder on his desk, and gave Whitney a letter from Hitler to read. In this, Hitler thanked Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race and said that "the book was his Bible." Whitney concluded that, following Hitler's actions, one could believe it.
Hitler's personal correspondence with American eugenicists reveals both the influence that American eugenicists had on the highest figures of the Nazi regime and the crucial importance that National Socialists placed on garnering support for their policies among foreign scientists. The Nazi government consistently relied on the support of scientists to propagate their race policies both at home and abroad.
Stefan Kühl, Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (Oxford University Press, 2002), Pp. 85-86
Hitler seems to have been mostly influenced by Hans F.K. Gunter, who was popular in Germany before Hitler ever came to power:
Along with Grant’s Passing of the Great Race, the most notable books are those by Hans F. K. Günther, whose works Hitler included among his recommended readings for Nazi Party members. The former literary scholar turned social anthropologist produced a series of infamous studies on racial typology that veritably defined the Nazi discipline of racial anthropology and laid the groundwork for its racial laws and eugenics programs. Günther’s efforts earned him the sobriquet “Racial Günther” (Rassengünther), and the personal attendance of Adolf Hitler at his appointment ceremony as a professor at the University of Jena.
Four of Hitler’s six Günther volumes are copies of Racial Typology of the German People, a dense five-hundred-page tome that provides a compendium of Aryan identity. The earliest volume, a third edition published in 1923, is inscribed by Lehmann to “the successful champion of German racial thinking,” and is followed by a 1928 edition sent as a “Christmas greeting,” a fourteenth edition in 1930, and a copy of the sixteenth edition in 1933 with a handwritten inscription that hails Hitler as “the trailblazer of racial thinking.”
This latter volume, bound in simple gray linen with the author and title imprinted in old German script on the cover and an extended appendix of European Jews, shows signs of frequent or sustained study. It opens effortlessly to reveal worn pages and a ragged tear along the inside cover where the spine has begun to come apart.
With this cache of Lehmann books we are in possession of a core collection within the Hitler library and the primary building blocks not only for Hitler’s intellectual world but for the ideological foundations of his Third Reich.
Timothy W. Ryback, Hitler's Private Library: The Books that Shaped his life (Vintage Books Paperback, 2010), Pp. 110-111
If anyone wants to best try and grasp what Hitler thought about race, then he should probably read Hans Gunther's 'Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes'
(Racial Typology of the German People). I would even say that Gunther probably had more of an affect on Hitler than Grant did, but according to Gunther himself, the Americans played a large part in the foundations of German attitudes towards race at that point in time:
In February 1934, Hans F. K. Giinther, race anthropologist and a special protege of the Nazis, explained to his audience in a crowded hall at the University of Munich that it was remarkable that "American immigration laws were accepted by the overwhelming majority, although the United States appeared the most liberal country of the world." He referred to Grant and Stoddard as the "spiritual fathers" of immigration legislation and proposed that the laws serve as a model for Germany.9 Nazi racial hygienists were especially impressed by the way in which American immigration policy combined eugenic and ethnic selection.10
Stefan Kühl, Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (Oxford University Press, 2002), Pp. 38-39
For the race deniers among the left today, this proves that the Americans are guilty of inspiring Hitler and can now feel justified in berating their own nation for yet "another" historical misdeed. To white nationalists that aren't willing National Socialists, this is something they'd like to deny or mitigate, because they do not want to believe that their historical institutions of race science were interacting let alone inspiring Hitler and National Socialism whom they'd rather depict as "weird" fanatics who didn't follow conventional notions of race at that time.
Robert Gellately tells us in a review of Michael Burleigh's "The Racial State":
the Nazis' plans for establishing a "racial new order," these, too, are modern notions. The scientists who formulated and propagated the ideas on which the future society was to be based were generally not marginal quacks or ideologically blinded Nazi fanatics, much less simpleminded "reactionaries." These people were to be found in the newly emerging racial science and in certain branches of medicine, and many were firmly rooted in the academic establishment. They were considered to be farsighted "reformers" before 1933 as well as in the Nazi era, when it became possible to attempt to implement their ideas.
The authors are distressed because, as they see it, "if the modernising theory is correct, then not only do the crimes of Nazi Germany cease to be singular, but they become comparable with the crimes of other regimes" (p. 304).Robert Gellately, The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945. Michael Burleigh , Wolfgang Wippermann,
Book Review in The Journal of Modern History, Volume 66, No. 4.
The point I wish to impress upon the reader of this post, is that Hitler and the National Socialists really weren't that bizarre or weird in their way of thinking about race than any other European populated country. The Germans simply had other racial problems that they needed to solve. The Americans had their blacks, and Germany had their Jews. The Slavic question is harder to discern because of the amount of conflation that exists and the presumption of what the German attitude was in regards to foreign policy, racial policy, allied policy, friendship policy, and whatever else.
No people of Europe is racially homogeneous, also Germany is not. According to the latest research, we accept five races all of which reveal perceptibly different types. But it is beyond question that the true culture bearer for Europe has been in the first place the Nordic race. Great heroes, artists and founders of states have grown from this blood. [...] "…nothing would be more superficial than to measure a man's worth by his physical appearance (with a centimetre rule and cephalic indices). A far more accurate measure of worth is conduct.
Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (Hoheneichen Verlag, 1930), Pp. 576, 596
Rosenberg's 'Myth of the 20th Century'
is probably the second most infamous book to come out of the National Socialist era besides 'Mein Kampf'
. Yet there is more nuance here than anyone is willing to give the National Socialists credit for. I cannot claim though, that Rosenberg's views were accepted by all National Socialists, I would be a hypocrite to suggest such a thing. But I am saying that Rosenberg's admissions here, in this work that is still a key piece of National Socialist philosophy does a lot to discredit many malicious myths.
One could argue that Rosenberg's views were only one set of views out of many, but this would require the hostile academic establishment to stop applying fallacious holistic descriptions to the alleged "Nazi" views on race or anything else. They would have to admit that there wasn't some uniform "Nazi view" of things, but wide varieties of views to varying degrees. Rosenberg, lest we forget, was minister in the Eastern Occupied territories and attempted to push for a more pro-Slavic policy:
Rumors of these atrocities distressed Rosenberg, ordered by Hitler to draw up a blueprint for occupation of the conquered Eastern territories. He had envisaged a far different program with a degree of self-rule. Since the Führer had earlier agreed to establish “weak socialist states” in the conquered lands of Russia, Rosenberg optimistically assumed that Hitler approved his own plan in principle and that it would be accepted at a special conference on the subject to be held at the Wolfsschanze on July 16. “It is essential,” said Hitler (according to Bormann’s notes of the meeting), “that we do not proclaim our views before the whole world. There is no need for that but the main thing is that we ourselves know what we want.” If this did not reveal to Rosenberg that Hitler had changed his mind about establishing “weak socialist states,"
Although Rosenberg left the meeting with the title of Reich Minister of the East, it was a hollow one, for he realized his own dream of the East now had little chance to materialize. What a tragedy, he thought, that Hitler still maintained the false conception of Slavs, born during his youthful days in Vienna out of inflammatory pamphlets which described the Slavs as lazy primitives, a hopelessly second-class race. Equally disastrous was Hitler’s complete misunderstanding of the structure of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainians and other tribes under the yoke of the Great Russians were potential allies of the Third Reich and could be a bulwark of defense against Bolshevism if treated properly and given a measure of self-rule. But the Führer had been persuaded by Bormann and Göring that they were enemies to be controlled by the whip. The struggle to turn Hitler from this path seemed hopeless but Rosenberg resolved to keep trying.
John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (Doubleday, 1976), Pp. 677
Hitler had indeed intended at one state to allow the Slavic populations to live autonomously in Weak Socialist States, Shirer also confirms this intention:
Hitler also declared in this order that as soon as military operations were concluded Russia would be ”divided up into individual states with governments of their own.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), Pp. 832
When Hitler offered peace to Britain he offered to grant the Poles their own rump state, initially having no intention to occupy the entire country. Only later did this occur due to British obstinance and Polish disobedience:
That said, Hitler kept his options open in Poland for at least six weeks after the invasion began, partly in the residual hope of securing its assistance against the Soviet Union, but mainly in order to facilitate an agreement with London. In his remarks to Halder shortly after the British declaration of war, he held out the possibility that ‘rump Poland’ would be ‘recognized’, adding that while Germany would control the Narew and the Warsaw industrial area, ‘Krakau, Polen’ and ‘Ukraine’ [sic] would be ‘independent’.50 A month into the invasion, Hitler was still considering options for Poland, one of which was a ‘rump state’.51 This suggests that Hitler had not given up his idea of a modus vivendi with Poland based on joint expansion eastwards. A certain residual respect for Poland, even after the invasion, was evident in the fact that Hitler praised Marshal Piłsudski as ‘a man of indisputable realist understanding and energy’ in his Danzig speech of 19 September, blaming his death for the renewed hostility between Germany and Poland.52 The Führer also ordered an honour guard to be placed outside Marshal Piłsudski’s final resting place in Cracow, where it remained throughout the entire German occupation.53
These moves culminated in a dramatic Reichstag address on 6 October 1939, in which Hitler announced victory in Poland and offered Britain a peace settlement which would include an ill-defined rump Polish statehood.54 This offer was not merely tactically motivated but–by his own lights–sincerely meant.55 Failure to accept the proffered hand, he warned, would lead to the destruction of the British Empire. ‘This annihilatory struggle,’ Hitler proclaimed, ‘will not be limited to the mainland [of Europe]. No. It will spread far across the sea. There are no more islands today.’56
Brendan Simms, Hitler: Only the World Was Enough (Penguin, Allen Lane, 2019), Pp. 355-356
This has been confirmed many times, most notably and controversially by David Irving:
hitler’s territorial plans for Poland were still indeterminate. In a secret speech to his generals on August 22 he had set as his goal ‘the annihilation of the Polish forces’ rather than any particular line on the map. But on September 7 he also mentioned to his army Commander in Chief, General von Brauchitsch, the possibility of founding an independent Ukraine. Hitler’s notion was to mark the ultimate frontier between Asia and the West by gathering together the racial German remnants scattered about the Balkans, Russia, and the Baltic states to populate an eastern frontier strip along either the River Bug or the Vistula. Warsaw would become a centre of German culture; or alternatively it would be razed and replaced by green fields on either side of the Vistula. Between the Reich and the ‘Asian’ frontier, some form of Polish national state would exist, to house the ethnic Poles – a lesser species of some ten million in all. To stifle the growth of new chauvinistic centres, the Polish intelligentsia would be ‘extracted and accommodated elsewhere.’ With this independent rump Poland, Hitler planned to negotiate a peace settlement that had some semblance of legality and thereby spike the guns of Britain and France. If however this rump Poland fell apart, the Vilna area could be offered to Lithuania, and the Galician and Polish Ukraine could be granted independence – in which case, as Canaris noted, Keitel’s instructions were that his Abwehr-controlled Ukrainians ‘are to provoke an uprising in the Galician Ukraine with the destruction of the Polish and Jewish element as its aim.’
David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Millennium Edition, Focal Point Publications, 2002), Pp. 225-226
The infamous conference of August 22nd 1939 was heavily quoted at Nuremberg to support the Allied contention that Hitler planned an aggressive war. This was utterly untrue, but it didn't stop them from using the line, allegedly spoken by Hitler that it "wasn't about reaching any line on a map" which was taken to mean that Hitler was planning the destruction of Poland and unceasing Imperial aggression in Eastern Europe. Irving refutes this ridiculous claim in a footnote, putting this phrase into its proper context:
The reference to crushing ‘the living daylights’ – die lebendigen Kräfte – out of Poland was misinterpreted by the Allied prosecutors at Nuremberg. In fact Hitler was just stating the basic military fact that the strategic objective was to destroy the enemy, not attain some line on a map. The professional soldiers present understood this perfectly (see, e.g., Bock’s diary). Note that Hitler used precisely the same turn of phrase in his harangue to the generals before the Battle of the Ardennes, on Dec 12, 1944 (Heiber, op. cit., 721).
Ibid., p. 861
Of course Hitler is right. In the case of war with Poland, it wasn't about reaching some line, all of Poland needed to be destroyed if that's what it took to win against them. Hitler's attitude towards the Poles evolved over time, initially prior to the war with Poland, Hitler really had no problem with the Poles as a group, it was only after that he took a particularly harsh line with them in particular and decided against creating a Rump state when the British showed how adamant they were to continue the war:
Hitler’s hope for a peaceful solution with Britain drove his policy towards Poland. To be sure, his attitude towards that country had hardened considerably since the spring of 1939 and it deteriorated further in the course of the campaign. His visits to the front had left him with a highly unfavourable impression. The Poles had only a ‘thin Germanic layer’ below which the ‘material’ was ‘terrible’, he told Rosenberg in late September 1939, adding that the ‘Jews’ were the ‘most awful thing one could image’ and that the ‘cities were bristling with dirt’.47 This was not just rhetoric. Shortly after the fighting started, Hitler instructed the army not to interfere with the murderous activities of the SS. So while the Wehrmacht fought the Poles largely according to the rules of war, the treatment meted out to them by the SS and other formations was extraordinarily brutal from the start.48 When all is said and done, however, it is possible that it was the approach of war, and the conflict itself, which irrevocably turned Hitler into an extreme anti-Polish racist rather than the other way around.49 In his mind, the Poles had forced him to treat them badly, and he never forgave them for it.
Brendan Simms, Hitler: Only the World Was Enough (Penguin, Allen Lane, 2019), Pp. 355
An indirect result of the British snub of his peace overture was a further hardening in Hitler’s attitude to the future of Poland. He did not renew his offer to set up a rump Polish state. The Poland of 1939 would be subdivided, dismembered, and repopulated in such a way that it would never again rise to embarrass Germany or the Soviet Union
David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Millennium Edition, Focal Point Publications, 2002), Pp. 245-246
The fact that Hitler was never preoccupied by hatred of the Poles, or Slavs in general is confirmed here too:
From the outset, Hitler’s particular hatred, and that of the Nazi leadership, was reserved for the so-called Slavic peoples, who were considered inferior and intended for the future slave class of Europe. From a purely racial standpoint, however, this was incapable of satisfactory proof, since even according to German ethnology it was impossible to speak of a Slavic race.223 According to National Socialist doctrine ,justification for discrimination against the Slavs lay rather in the “ethnic threat” presented by their fecundity. This is why Hitler quite early sketched precise outlines for the future “depopulation policy” in the East, which foresaw the annihilation of these peoples224 and which was later carried out virtually to the letter by the civil administration and the police forces. Such arguments already imply that the treatment of the “non-Germans” under special law was actually justifiable only from the standpoint of (population) policy; nevertheless, the National Socialist leadership clung fast to the concept of racial value or lack thereof, in an attempt to concoct their policy on the basis of absolutely untenable racial arguments.
Where members of neutral or allied nations in (southern) Europe were concerned, of course, it was not possible to speak of inferiority; therefore, these peoples were either classified as “Southern Slavs,” as “Dinarians” and thus as racially related;225 or else they were simply not counted among the Slavs at all.226 Members of enemy states, by contrast, were turned into “racial foes” as a means of justifying their classification under special law. Thus Hitler simply insinuated that the Czechs were (racially) inferior (descended from “Mongoloid tribes”), since he desired to rid himself of them in order to incorporate “Bohemia and Moravia” into the Reich; also “inferior” were Ukrainians, east-European Jews, Soviet Russians, Bulgarians,227 Lithuanians, and members of other Eastern European peoples. Of course, this was nothing more than sloganeering and from a racial perspective not acceptable as justification even in the Nazi sense of the word. More imprecise than anything else was the position of the Soviet Russians in the Nazi racial scheme. Since they were declared to be political mortal enemies (as Bolshevists) while simultaneously being considered the incarnation of the racial foe (Jewry), Bolshevism and Jewry were flatly equated with one another, referred to as the “Jewish-Bolshevist threat,” and made out to be the very quintessence of all types of inferiority.228
Analogously, no convincing race-theoretical explanation could be found to justify the discrimination against Poles. According to National Socialist racial doctrine, all European peoples belonged to the family of the Aryans and were thus fundamentally “racially equivalent,” that is, recognized as equal before the law. 229 Discrimination against Poles was justified, however, because, like all Slavs, they represented a major völkisch and racial threat to Germany. Yet here, too, such reasoning was merely pretext. In his early statements on the Slavs, Hitler did not even mention the Poles, because at that time Poland was signatory to the Non-Aggression Treaty of 1934, and its position in the National Socialist scheme of conquest was not yet settled. The “ethnic threat” posed by the Poles was not discovered until the invasion of Poland. The placement of the Poles under rule of special law was done from fundamentally political motives, which were considerably intensified by the antipathy toward the Poles that, for reasons both political (voting disputes [Abstimmungskampf] in East and West Prussia, fighting in West Prussia and Upper Silesia, and the activities of the Freikorps) and religious, had been present in the eastern part of Germany in a particularly intense form since 1918. The main reason, however, was that the Nazi leadership considered the Poles to be the most dangerous of all peoples in Eastern Europe on account of their staunch insistence upon their national rights and identity as a people.230 The race-political grounds for hatred of the Poles were merely the ideological mask justifying the National Socialist policy of violent force.231
The political basis for the systematically fomented hatred of and malice against Poles reveals itself in the thesis, invented ex post facto, of their “threat to the community,” which then became the dominant argument in both theory and practice. According to this, the Poles had to be excluded from the European community of rights on account of their “Germanophobia” and their political incompetence and “lack of culture.”232 In contrast with this political argument, neither the racial window dressing of Nazi propaganda that commenced in 1939, according to which the Poles were “racial foes”233 with regard to whom legal restraints were not to be observed, nor the elaborate attempts of the Race Policy Office to set up a racial classification of the Poles achieved much of an echo.234 Finally, the political basis for the unequal treatment of the peoples of Eastern Europe is seen in the about-face of the Nazi leadership when the fortunes of war were reversed and the labor of the “non-Germans” was required ever more urgently. On instructions from the Central Office of Propaganda of the NSDAP dated February 15, 1943, all chiefs of propaganda of the Reich Gaue were obliged, “within the framework of the war against Russia, for which the energies of all the peoples of Europe are required,” to cease insulting the “Eastern nations” either directly or indirectly, and no longer characterize them as “beasts,” “subhumans,” and so forth, in order to gain their aid “in the struggle against Bolshevism.”235
Diemut Majer, "Non-Germans" Under the Third Reich: The Nazi Judicial and Administrative System in Germany and Occupied Eastern Europe with Special Regard to Occupied Poland, 1939-1945 (John Hopkins University Press, 2003), Pp. 62-64
This long quotation might be very confusing, because, as Majer points out, the National Socialists recognised the Slavs to be Aryans, but when they constituted a threat they needed to be othered
in order to protect the German people. Whether they actually believed the negative things Majer claims they did doesn't seem likely, even through the particularly hostile portrait Majer paints.
The source for note 224 where he says "annihilation of these peoples" is Hermann Rauschning's "Gespräche mit Hitler"
the well known forgery. We can ignore this rubbish quite safely and ignore his comment about the alleged "annihilation" of the Slavs. For the sake of displaying how truly malicious this alleged quotation is, I would like to quote it, because simply calling it a "forgery, which it is, doesn't hammer the point home enough as to how ridiculous the Rauschning books are:
an asocial, inferior section of the population is gradually edging its way into the position of a leading social class…. This is a source of great danger for the German people…. I admit that the danger will not be reduced by the forthcoming occupation of mixed Slav areas, where there will be no quick way of ridding ourselves of the Slav population…. We have a duty to depopulate such areas, just as we have a corresponding duty to take care of the German population. A systematic method of depopulation will have to be developed. What, you may ask, does depopulation mean? Do I propose to eliminate whole population groups? Yes, indeed, something like that will have to be done…. Nature is cruel; that is why we can permit ourselves to be cruel, as well. If I am to send the flower of German manhood into the pitiless storm of the coming war, should I not have the right to eliminate millions of members of an inferior race who multiply like vermin, not by exterminating them but by systematically preventing their marked natural fertility from taking its course. For example, by ensuring that the men are separated from the women for years…. We declare our faith in such a methodical control of population movement.
Hermann Rauschning, Gespräche mit Hitler, p. 128f.
What's funny, is that even in this fake quotation, not even Rauschning has Hitler claim he wants to murder all the Slavs. In any case, his wording is much too vulgar to be taken seriously, Hitler only ever met Rauschning on a few occasions and never spent time alone with him. Nor would we expect Hitler to have relayed his most intimate thoughts to this man. This has been emphasised by others before:
Lothar Kettenacker is the first of the contributors to this volume to make use of Hermann Rauschning’s Hitler Speaks (Gesprache mit Hitler), a source about whose original value some other historians have already expressed reservations. Ernst Nolte, for instance, once remarked that in no document, neither in Mein Kampf nor in his speeches nor in his table talk was Hitler as literate as in Rauschning’s conversations with him. In 1983 the Swiss historian Wolfgang Hanel in a piece of highly detailed research concluded that Rauschning’s work was a collaboration with a British and French journalists, backed by an American publishing house in 1939. Rauschning, by then a poor emigre in Paris, got to work and by using his own ‘The Revolution of Nihilism’ plus ample quotations from Ernst Junger as well as from Nietzsche turned this amalgam into Hitler’s own words. Rauschning met Hitler on five occasions at most, and then always in the company of others.”
H.W. Koch ed. Aspects of the Third Reich (Macmillan, 1985), Pp. 13-14
Hermann Rauschning’s Conversations with Hitler (Zürich, 1940) has bedevilled analysis of Hitler’s policies ever since it was published by the evil propagandist Emery Reves (Imre Revész) along with a host of other fables. Rauschning, a former Nazi Danzig politician, met Hitler on only a couple of formal occasions. It was being republished in Vienna as recently as 1973, although even the otherwise uncritical West German historian Professor Eberhard Jäckel – who carelessly included 78 forgeries in a serious volume of Hitler’s manuscripts, and then dismissed this poisonous injection as making up less than 5 percent of the total volume! – emphasised in a learned article in Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht (No. 11, 1977) that Rauschning’s volume has no claim to credibility at all. Reves was also publisher of that other famous ‘source’ on early Nazi history, Fritz Thyssen’s ‘memoirs,’ I Paid Hitler (London, 1943). Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., has pointed out in a paper in Vierteljahrsheft für Zeitgeschichte (No. 3, 1971) that the luckless Thyssen never even saw eight of the book’s nineteen chapters, while the rest were drafted in French! The list of such spurious volumes is endless.
David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Millennium Edition, Focal Point Publications, 2002), Pp. xiv,xv
In the long wall of text I posted from Majers book, he claims that the Hitler thought the Bulgarians were "inferior". This is utterly untrue. He cites for this claim (footnote 227) the Table Talks, specifically a conversation that took place on January 22nd, 1942, (See: Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944: His Private Conversations (Enigma Books, New York City, 2000), Pp. 228-230
) I will refrain from posting any excerpt from this part of the Table Talks, as there is nothing worthy of quoting. Hitler doesn't mention any of the groups Majer cites, nor does he make any statements about inferiority. Hitler does talk about how Austria used to rule over the Czechs, but nothing of their intrinsic worth as a people. The only comment that comes close to such a statement is when Hitler said that the Czechs "were better than the Hungarians, Rumanians and Poles"
), praising them, rather than admonishing them. And he doesn't mean that the Czechs are better than the latter three groups racially, he says it in the context that the Czechs "There had grown up amongst them a hard-working and conscientious small bourgeoisie, quite aware of its limitations."
Majer was using the Henry Picker German Edition (Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche, 1968
) so perhaps that edition contains some phrase not in the English version? Who knows? if that were the case it would definitely cast poor light on the Table Talks which aren't the most trustworthy source to begin with.
In any case, the claim made by Majer is contradicted by another source also from 1942. In Der Untermensch
many Slavs and Southern Europeans are described as "Aryan", but not only that, they're antithesis of what it means to be "Subhuman" and inferior. The Bulgarians, are one of these groups that are singled out as such:The Subhuman
And in the front lines as radcial feminist, as partisan, and as harlot all in one person, stands the Jewess. Along with her like-minded beasts, she forms up and leads the attack to make all the women of Europe like her.
Der Untermensch/The Underman: in German and English SS-Hauptamt - Schulungsamt / Jupp Darhler (Ostara Publications.)
You can read 'Der Untermensch' in full here: https://archive.vn/lrGBs, https://archive.vn/BTLJ6, https://archive.vn/di6lr. The translation of this online version you will see is a bit different, but not too different. I would still recommend you read the Ostara edition.
The healthy craftsmanship of the Bulgarian farmers, the noble grace of the Spaniards, the nobility and grance of Italian women, the faith and beauty of German Girls - all this they want to erase, to destroy from the earth
Der Untermensch/The Underman: in German and English SS-Hauptamt - Schulungsamt / Jupp Darhler (Ostara Publications.)
On the foremost line next to Jews stood Jewesses, the armed heroines – gangsters, partisans and prostitutes all rolled up into one person. They are trained and tasked to turn European women into subhuman beasts just like them!
In contrast to European women! We see the healthy energetic peasant woman of Bulgaria, the noble women of Spain, majesty and charm of Italian women! The honesty, decency and beauty of German girls all this was intended to be destroyed and to erased from the face of the earth.Source: https://archive.vn/BTLJ6
The European woman was comprised of those women from nations all over Europe that weren't Subhuman Communists. And in fact the line "They are trained and tasked to turn European women into subhuman beasts just like them!"
refutes the idea that being a "Subhuman" was some kind of tenant of Nazi "scientific racism", it wasn't a biological category. The fact that Bolshevism could turn
European women into Subhumans having not been Subhuman before means that it was a designation intended to shame those who succumbed to a feeble ideology, steeped in selfishness, poverty, and materialism. That being Subhuman was environmental, a state of mind, an ideological label that fully falls in line with how many National Socialists used the term.
Does the question still need to be answered? How do you turn a European into a "subhuman" if subhuman is supposed to be some biological designation? It ultimately doesn't make sense. The "National Socialist" terminology and definitions certainly suffer from age, misinterpretation, and prejudice. The nuanced positions are often ignored. The 'Der Untermensch'
pamphlet doesn't say that any race is Subhuman
, only that from many races emerges Subhumans
. Which I would agree with. Never have I seen more Subhumans these days who are emerging from the white race.
For Majer's part, he displays a pervasive misunderstanding of what "inferior" and "superior" means in the National Socialist worldview. To Hitler, all Europeans were Aryans, but not all Aryans were "superior" beings, many of them were "subhumans":
Even if somebody’s appearance is Nordic he might be a bastard inside. That somebody is blond and blue-eyed does not mean that he is racially pure. He might even be a degenerate coward. Bastardization shows in different aspects. We have to be on our guard against racial arrogance. Racial arrogance would be as devastating as hatred among classes.
Robert Ley, Tatsachen – Die Leipziger DAF-Tagung 2.-6 Dez. 1935, Published by the German Labour Front, Printed by Buch- und Tiefdruck DmbH, 1935 Dr. Robert Ley: Fatherland, Race, Discipline and Love of Life.
In all the utterances of Hitler using the word "Subhuman" it was always in the context of ideology, attitudes and aptitudes. You could, theoretically, consider the Slavs to be Subhumans, because they readily embraced Communism. This doesn't mean Hitler is saying they're not biologically human.
There was no National Socialist ‘subhuman’ policy or program metered out ideologically. And to claim it literally meant ‘not human’ would just be absurd. To reiterate, ‘subhuman’ applied to a temperament, or adherent to particular ideology. ‘Subhuman’ is essentially the old fashioned way of how we would call a paedophile ‘subhuman’ or that he committed an act that’s ‘not human’. It isn’t literal, nor scientific.
Himmler once stated:
“We must assume that this struggle will last for generations, for it’s the age-old struggle between humans and subhumans in its current new phase of the struggle between the Aryan peoples and Jewry and the organizational form Jewry has adopted of Bolshevism.”
– Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, Speech on taking office as Chief of the German Police, Prussian Interior Ministry 18 June 1936 [Peter Longerich ‘Heinrich Himmler’ p.204]
This quote was once presented to me as "proof" that the Nazis considered Jews to be "subhuman". I will say what I told the person who showed me this. Himmler from this quote is very clearly talk about the people who hold ‘human’ ideals over those who espouse Jewish Bolsheviks ‘subhuman’ ideals. There's no indication that he's talking about Race. He says "Jewry", no doubt racially analogous to the Jewish people, but also to a general set of political ideals that manifested as "Bolshevism". This is what Himmler is characterizing as "Subhuman" and I would agree with him.
Another good example, is when Hitler called Otto Strasser a ‘white Jew’. No doubt Strasser would be considered ‘subhuman’. Not racially, but for holding ‘subhuman’ views which Hitler deemed to be ‘pure Marxism’ (Hitler, Volker Ullrich, p. 228)
In Note 228, Majer states:
The extent to which this hatred of the Russians was racially founded cannot be determined conclusively. There are strong arguments for the equal importance of political motivations: for example, the fact that the non-Communist White Russians received better treatment than the Soviet Russians and that, in 1939, Hitler united with the Soviet Russians in the nonaggression pact and spoke in praise of Stalin and his policy (quoted in Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche, 133, 242: “Behind Stalin there are the Jews”; 245: “In front of Stalin one should have unconditional respect … he knows his role models such as Ghengis Khan intimately”).
What we learn from this is that the Third Reich clearly differentiated between groups of Russians and Poles, not painting them all with the same brush and acting accordingly. Many Slavic ethnicities were treated better by Hitler than others. The Czechs and Slovaks are two examples:
This dire fate. however, faced the Poles in particular rather than the Slavs as a whole. Despite the Nazis' rhetoric, in theory, and increasingly in practice, racial scientists and policy advisors distinguished between groups of Slavs. The Slovaks were allowed to govern themselves, and even in the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia the Germans ruled through a Czech bureaucracy and a figurehead Czech president - something denied to the Poles. The principles applied to the Bohemian-Moravian space could not be apllied to the Polish space owing to the unbridled Polish character, which was sharply revealed during the Polish campaign as an element which requires a different method of domination,' explained a German journalist in Poland later on [...] Nevertheless, in Prague, Von Neurath Retained the Fuhrer's ear while hewing a more moderate course. He was an old-fashioned conservative, not a Nazi, and Hitler was happy to allow him to do whatever kept the peace politically and the factories working. The Government managed to continue to fund the Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Czech rations remained as high as if not higher than those in the Reich itself
Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe (Penguin Books, 2008), Pp. 74-75
The attitude Hitler had was a "German attitude" - all Europeans, including Slavs were considered Aryan, but not all were considered German
. This is a key difference that is perhaps easy to overlook. The contradictory nature of Hitler's attitudes towards eastern people must be seen as a multi-pronged policy of separating the hostile elements and integrating the positive elements. Hence why Hitler also allowed Poles to be assimilated into the Reich:
Facing the prospect that the whole resettlement programme would end up depopulating the Reich's new eastern borderlands by getting rid of Poles before enough Germans had been found to come in, the local authorities in the Warthegau moved back towards an assimilation policy and sought to introduce new citizenship guidlines in order to work out whom to give German ID papers to. Less dogmatic than Himmler, Hitler himself understood the problem and once he clarified that he tolerate some degree of assimilation the guidlines were finalized
Mazower, Ibid., p. 194
Mazower points out that by 1944 30 percent of Western Poland were eligible for German citizenship (p. 196
) and that in the General Government itself, Hans Frank thought the Poles could be assimilated because they were biologically compatible:
I speak openly of Germanization. How often have we not seen with astonishment some blond, blue-eyed child speaking Polish. To which I say: ‘If this child learned German, it would be a pretty German girl’
Mazower, Ibid., p. 193
German racial policy at this time was dealing with a number of questions regarding who could be assimilated, and who couldn't. None of it was easy to decipher on a biological basis:
Prewar Germany funded racial science well - as it did the sciences in general - and the Third Reich was a particularly generous sponsor. After 1939, the Third Reich's racial experts were no longer consulted merely on the health of Germany's own population but helped to make decisions affecting the continent as a whole. Men in white coats ran classification panels and training programmes to decide which of the Slavs of ethnic Germans they stripped and measured were 're-Germanizable". -- Yet allowing them to pronounce on policy had unexpected results. The discipline of racial science itself was in turmoil, and many German scolars had already become aware of the difficulties. Old -Fashioned racial determinism seemed hard to square with new findings in genetics, and it was not particularly helpful either when explaining the characteristics of a people or Volk. -- But knowing how to distunguish a German from a non-German the key concern for those running the new empire - was not something upon which it was possible to get expert consensus. 'Every German had his own idea of race,' comments a recent historian. The subject was certainly in flux. The breslau school believed in tracking blue eyes and blond hair, but Otto Reche abd Fritz Lenz - two luminaries of academic racism - thought physical characteristics were crude markers since most individuals were themselves mixed racially. For Hans Gunther, a popularizer of Nazi science, even Germany contained strains of all the major European races - the Nordic, East Baltic, Alpine and Dinaric as well as forunately small quantaties of Mediterranean and Inner Asian blood. A few heretics solved the problem of matching up the catergories of race and Volk by talking about a 'German Race', but this simple solution was critisized by most of the academics as unscientific. There were similar doubts about the usefullness of talking about 'Slavs', whom experts thought were made up of a variety of much smaller sub-groups of differing racial 'value'. The value question itself was divisive - some believing in racial hierarachies, others insisting that difference carries no connotation of worth
Mazower, Ibid., p. 182-183
It must be emphasised again, that Hitler's treatment of the Poles was not the kind of treatment he metered out to all Slavic groups. It mustn't be deemphasized either that Hitler's attitude towards Poland was definitely harsh, but this isn't unexpected. The German-Polish conflict had existed for centuries, the war in 1939 was merely the bloody eruption of this mutual hatred and distrust that couldn't be solved even though Hitler tried to do so:
Everyone knew how, after 1918, their [ethnic Germans’] land had been confiscated or surrounded with subsidized clusters of new settlements. Hostile officials had discouraged them from speaking German or declaring themselves as Germans in censuses and even the landscape itself had been de-Germanized through changes to the names of families, streets and entire towns. In many areas Germans had been deliberately expelled; in others they had sold up and left, or bowed to the pressure to change their nationality. The Nazi regime saw reversing the effect of these decades as a priority. “Make this land German for me again!” Hitler had ordered an official after the conquest of northern Yugoslavia in 1941. His message to those he appointed to the Reich’s other borderlands was basically the same.
Mazower, Ibid., p. 180
Is it then any wonder that the brutal actions in Poland by the Germans occured?
The Poles’ treatment of the ethnic Germans played an important part in fueling ‘the war of the peoples’. Worried about Nazi-funded underground organizations and ‘self-defence’ militias, they had closed down many German cultural and religious institutions after the invasion of Poland began, police arrested 10-15,000 members of the minority on the basis of prepared lists and marched them away from the front lines. Attacked by Polish bystandards and soldiers, between 1,778 and 2,200 Germans died, some of exhaustion and maltreatment, others through mass shootings.
When they uncovered evidence of these deaths, the invading Germans were provoked into an even more violent response. In Bydgoszcz – the most notorious case – hundreds of local Germans had been killed because of rumours that snipers were firing on Polish troops. The death toll amounted to 700-1,000 people, and some of the bodies were horrifically mutilated
Mazower, Ibid., p. 68
Nazi intentions toward the Poles and other Slavic groups in Eastern and Southeastern Europe were relatively open. If the Polish state had
been willing to collaborate with Hitler in 1939, it might have survived as a satellite similar to Slovakia, that is, a land to the south of the corridor
leading to Lebensraum.101 It was by blocking that path that the Poles became the sort of "Slavs" destined for destruction. Thus it was not longstanding Nazi plans to destroy the Poles which engendered Polish resistance in 1939 and thereafter, but rather Polish resistance which brought forth such plans.
John Connelly, Nazis and Slavs: From Racial Theory to Racist Practice (Central European History, Vol. 32, no. 1), Pp. 22
While the Germans and the Czechs got on much better:
Neither Czechs nor Germans had an incentive to upset the relative calm; the Germans valued the steady production of war materials from Czech industry, and the Czechs the significant spaces that remained for pursuit of economic and cultural interests. So powerful was the dynamic of mutual accommodation that even the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 could not upset it.
In his recent Hitler biography Brendan Simms writes this about Hitler's views on race:
Hitler did not depart from his view that Germany was racially fragmented, and the German people themselves of decidedly mixed quality. He seemed at this point to include Germans, Romans, Celts and even Slavs among the Aryans. They were subdivided into families of nations. The Italians, Spaniards and southern Frenchmen were part of the Romance family; the Danes, Swedes, Germans and Anglo-Saxons formed the Germanic family; and the Ukrainians, White Russians, Bulgarians and Yugoslavs were part of the Slavic family. Far from believing in existing racial purity, it seems, Hitler was clear that patterns of migrations over the past millennium had led to displacements and admixtures, rather than pure races, generally speaking. The only people, Hitler claimed, who had managed to maintain their blood completely pure and unadulterated, thanks to their marriage laws and other factors, were the Jews. Everybody else, and particularly the fragmented Germans, were racially a melange.
This presented a problem for Hitler. On the one hand, he wanted German racial purity to overcome the divisions of the past; that was a central part of his programme. On the other hand, the public diagnosis of current German racial inferiority could only deepen divisions and damage the NSDAP at the polls. The German Volk, he remarked privately, would be only more splintered, set against one another, and atomized by stirring up the racial problems. This would render it insignificant as far as foreign policy goes. Racial theories could be discussed among the inner circle, Hitler explained, but for the public at large they were poison. Such discussion would only rouse superiority and inferiority complexes.37 For all the candour in Mein Kampf and his various speeches, Hitler could not level with the German people on this matter. The Second Book remained safely locked in a drawer.
For this reason, Hitler was careful to avoid public rhetoric which would divide Germans racially. References on his part to blond hair and blue eyes were relatively rare, not just because Hitler possessed neither. The only known remark he made at this time was with reference to his American prisoners of July 1918, supposedly descended from German emigrants. He remarked in private conversation that one should not harbour the narrow belief that every teacher must be a blond Germanic type. This he considered complete nonsense. For this reason, Hitler expressly and repeatedly forbade any talk of dividing the German people into two racial halves: the Germanic and the non-Germanic people, even though this was very much his own view. Instead, Hitler laid down that the Germans in particular must avoid anything that tended to create even more divisiveness in the religious, political and ideological spheres. If people were told that they were racially different, then the result would be not the unification of all Germans, but the bringing about of the final separation and dissolution of the concept of Germany.38
Instead, Hitler planned a more gradual and comprehensive racial reformation of the Germans over the longer term. One should accept the mixing of blood as it was, Hitler argued privately, and not call one [German] blood worse than the other, one mixture better than another. Rather, one should employ other means to breed a higher form from what he rather unflatteringly described as the existing grey mass. Here Hitler had not so much medical eugenics in mind as a much broader range of social and cultural instruments. One must try to bring to the surface the valuable traits of the people living in Germany, Hitler argued, in order to cultivate and to develop them. This required ways and means to prevent the propagation of all the bad, inferior, criminal, decadent tendencies and congenital diseases likely to damage the people. Central to this project, Hitler explained, would be educating young people in the beauty of movement, the beauty of the body and the beauty of the spirit, through athletics, personal grooming, physical training, public performances of competitive games and contests and the revival of the performing arts along the old Greek models. This selective breeding would be furthered by the encounter of Germans of all backgrounds in kindergarten, primary school, the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls. Then, when these children grew up, they would be able to leave all party considerations behind and elect the man, the only one, who represented them and went to the Reichstag on their behalf. Only then, Hitler claimed, would they see true democracy in Germany. 39
Brendan Simms, Hitler: Only the World Was Enough (Penguin, Allen Lane, 2019), Pp. 146-148
Hitler's view of race wasn't purely biological, it encompassed many aspects of cultural life and inner life reflected in the Soul. This attitude towards the Germans was also displayed to the non-German Aryans of Europe too, hence why Hitler could be so hostile to certain Aryan Slavic groups, and deem them to be of lesser worth, purely because of their character, not of their race. When these groups showed their worth, he was quick to praise them:
When one examines the early writings of Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders, however, one finds few signs of intentions toward Slavs. Especially noticeable in Hitler's writing is an absence of hostility toward Poles. If any Slavic people provoked Hitler's ill will it was the Czechs, about whom he had formed opinions as a young man in Austria.9 Yet as will be shown, the Czechs survived the war in relative peace.
John Connelly, Nazis and Slavs: From Racial Theory to Racist Practice (Central European History, Vol. 32, no. 1), Pp. 3
While many decry the brutal treatment of Ukranians, what hardly gets mentioned is what good the Germans did for Ukraine between 1939-1945:
As is well known, many Ukrainians had looked upon the Nazis as potential liberators, and leading Nazis toyed with the idea of permitting a Ukrainian state to emerge.29 [...] In 1939 the Germans tolerated the foundation of a Ukrainian Relief Committee (renamed in 1940 Ukrainian Central Committee) which oversaw a strengthening of Ukrainian social, cultural, educational, and economic organization within the General-gouvernement. Before the war there had been 2,510 Ukrainian language schools in this region; by 1942/43 the number had increased to 4,173,
including several secondary schools. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offered scholarships for study in Germany to Ukrainian students. Furthermore, the economic position of many Ukrainians improved as the Germans permitted an expansion from 161 cooperatives in 1939 to 1,990 in 1941.35 In April 1943 the Germans recruited a Ukrainian SS division (Galicia) and attracted 80,000 volunteers, of whom some 12,000 received training.36
Connelly, Ibid., p. 7-8
There was no policy towards Poles prior to 1939, as we know, all of German policy in 1939 was largely made up as they went along:
Similarly, when one looks for the prewar sources of Nazi anti-Polonism, one finds little of substance. Despite the apparently well-planned and thorough policies of wartime destruction, there was no set National Socialist policy toward Poland before 1939. Poland appears marginally in Hitler's writings and speeches. Hitler clearly thought of Poles as "racially foreign elements,"51 yet according to Martin Broszat, the Polish victory over the Soviet Union in 1920 had made it difficult for him to conceive of Polish racial inferiority.52 For him Poland was above all a "border state" to be courted for alliance against "enemy No. 1": the Soviet Union.53 [...] Nazi leaders respected Polish counterparts: Hermann Goering, who visited Poland repeatedly on hunting excursions, even wrote the introduction to the German edition of Pitsudski's collected works.54
Connelly, Ibid., p. 11
Connely claims that prior to 1939, the National Socialist leaders weren't overly fond of Slavs, but still considered them European Brothers, Aryans:
Before 1939, a vague notion thus seems to have existed in leading Nazis' minds that Slavs constituted an inferior group, but just how inferior was an issue to be decided later. In the meantime it was possible to think of them not only as potential allies, but also as Europeans. A brochure was issued for the 1938 Nuremberg rally proclaiming Slavs part of the "Indogermanic peoples."
Central and Northern Europe are the homeland of the Nordic race. At the beginning of the most recent Ice Age, around 5,000 BC, a Nordic-
Indogermanic Urvolk of the Nordic race [artgleicher nordrassischer Menschen] existed, with the same language and unified mode of behavior [Gesittung], which divided into smaller and larger groups as it expanded. From these went forth Germans, Celts, Romans, Greeks, Slavs, Persians, and Aryan Indians . . . The original racial unity and common ownership of the most important cultural artifacts remained for thousands of years the cement holding together the Western peoples.58
Connelly, Ibid., p. 12
However, the racial uncertainty about Slavs still presented a problem to the Germans:
59 Yet these words were not written in stone; a certain range of views on Slavs existed among those writing on the subject within Nazi Germany. Early the following year a prehistory of Eastern Europe admitted that the "racial history of the Slavs" was still an "open question." Major racial theoreticians Hans F. K. Giinther, Otto Reche, and Egon von Eickstedt had determined that the oldest Slavic remains were "mostly Nordic," yet it seemed that later Slavic populations were by no means racially uniform; according to the work of von Eickstedt and Polish anthropologist J. Czekanowski they exhibited "eastern Baltic and dark forms."60 These unsettled questions on Slavs' racial attributes invited opportunistic wartime practice.
Connelly, Ibid., p. 12-13
But again, Connelly makes the point that Hitler's aversion to Poles only came about after 1939:
Hitler's views on Poland changed radically in the course of 1939. After the Munich crisis of the previous year, the Germans had made three
demands of Poland: the surrender of Danzig, the construction of an extraterritorial rail- and highway through the Polish Corridor, and Polish collaboration in the Anti-Comintern Pact. In return, they offered to guarantee Poland's borders, and dangled a share of the spoils of war with the Soviet Union. Poland decisively refused these proposals, and to Hitler's outrage, received promises of support from Great Britain in late March 1939 [...] With the ruins of Warsaw still smoldering, leading Eastern expert and historian Albert Brackmann of the University of Berlin hurried a booklet into print relegating the Poles and other Slavs to non-European status:
"The German people were the only bearers of culture in the East and in their role as the main power of Europe protected Western culture and carried it into uncultivated regions. For centuries they constituted a barrier in the East against lack of culture (Unkultur) and protected the West against barbarity. They protected the borders from Slavs, Avars, and Magyars.62"
Connelly, Ibid., p. 13
Nowhere in the quoted section does Brackmann "relegate" the Poles and other Slavs to "non-European" status. That Connelly suggests that the Nazis just decided to make the Slavs into Europeans whenever they wanted, as if being European was a question of culture is laughable. They never questioned the biological nature of Slavs as European (Aryans), only that they were culturally backward and "Asiatic" people who were culturally inferior to the Germans:
Later that fall Joseph Goebbels noted after a visit that Poland was already "Asia."63 Hitler and Rosenberg too learned from new experiences. The latter noted in his diary in late September:
The Poles: a thin Germanic layer, underneath frightful material. The Jews, the most appalling people one can imagine. The towns thick with dirt. He's [Hitler] learnt a lot in these past few weeks. Above all, if Poland had gone on ruling the old German parts for a few more decades everything would have become lice-ridden and decayed.64
Two years later, while German troops were advancing deep into the Soviet Union, Hitler would proclaim that the border between Europe and Asia ran between the Germanic and Slavic peoples. The issue was to "place it where we wish."65 He and Goebbels routinely referred to Russians as "beasts" and "animals."
Connelly, Ibid., p. 14
Goebbels referred to Russians as "beasts" and "animals" is vague, the Russians said the same and worse about the Germans. Yet we do not accuse them of believing the Germans weren't European or something. Nor would we do this if we characterized an individual as a "beast" or "animal". This point by Connelly is irrelevant.
Connelly also points out that Hitler criticised the Russian view of what they considered to be "Slavic", where to draw the line was a matter of debate and it's hard to know what definition of a Slav he was using. It's vague and not very helpful for us to get an understanding about what Hitler was talking about, and it's an outright contradiction of his later actions where various Slavic groups were being assimilated despite the fact that they were derived from nations of low-cultural worth in the German opinion. What Brackman said about the Poles is quite simple, after experiencing conditions in Poland the conclusion that was arrived at by many leaders in Germany was that it was a backward nation with little culture to offer. Is it any surprise that they thought this way?
Hitler’s tours of these Polish battlefields were his first real contact with ‘the east.’ They reinforced his unhealthy fantasies about the ‘sub-humans’ and the Jews. Was this still Europe? Indiscriminately scattered about the untended acres were wretched wooden hutlike dwellings with thatched roofs. At the roadsides, knots of submissive Polish civilians stood in the swirling dust of Hitler’s motorcade. Among them he glimpsed Jews in highcrowned hats and caftans, their hair in ritual ringlets; they looked for all the world like figures out of mediæval antisemitic drawings. Time had stood still here for centuries.
David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Millennium Edition, Focal Point Publications, 2002), Pp. 228
Connelly goes on to say:
As the learning process continued, Nazi leaders began to recognize that certain Slavs could be useful. Hitler, though harboring the strongest suspicions of germanizing foreign populations, ruled in September 1940 that the assimilation of the greater part of the Czech people is possible for historical and racial reasons."67 In March of the following year he praised to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels the "hard work and inventiveness of the Czechs" and in 1942 he told his dinner companions that the Czechs were "industrious and intelligent workers."68 Nazi racial experts estimated that up to half of the Czechs were of Nordic origin, and Hitler agreed.69 He also came to view the Croats as fully assimilable, though he never wavered in antipathy toward Serbs.70
Even the Ukrainians were gradually seen in a more favorable light. Though he continued to oppose plans for Ukrainian statehood, visual impressions gained in the Ukraine softened Hitler's views on Ukrainians' racial character.71 In September 1941 Hitler approved the use of women from the East as domestic servants in Germany, and he instructed aids to revise "school knowledge about the great migration of peoples," for the many blond, blue-eyed Ukrainians might be "peasant descendants of German tribes who never migrated."72
In August 1942 Hitler came out in support of assimilating Ukrainian women, who would help foster a "healthy balance" among the Germans. A "ludicrous hundred million Slavs" would either be absorbed or displaced.74 Though perhaps the most determined racist in the upper leadership of the Nazi movement, Heinrich Himmler likewise wavered under the pressures of war. Ukrainians were seen fit to join the SS, and were also used as police and camp guards. Those who doubted the racial logic of such moves were accused of lacking an understanding for the "revolutionary idea of National Socialism, which transcended the boundaries of national states." According to a training brochure for ideological schooling of the SS and police (ca. 1943), the force of the war had caused the "common roots of the European family of peoples to come to the surface."
John Connelly, Nazis and Slavs: From Racial Theory to Racist Practice (Central European History, Vol. 32, no. 1), Pp. 14-15
As we can see, despite the hesitancy and contradictory policy decisions that are quite complicated and hard to follow, the National Socialists had no problem adopting position positions towards Slavic groups. They were considered Aryan but judged on an individual basis:
Hitler said that nothing in general could be said about the germanizability of the Slavs, because the word "Slavs" had been propagated by Tsarist Russia in the wake of its Pan-Slavic policy as a collective description for peoples that are completely different racially. For example it is complete nonsense to call the Bulgarians Slavs, because they are of Turkic origin. And you only need to let a Czech grow a mustache and you will see by the way it grows downward that he is a descendent of Mongoloid tribes. The so-called Southern Slavs are almost entirely Dinarian. For that reason the germanization of the Croats would be welcome from the racial [volkstumsmdssigen] point of view, but from the political point of view it is out of the question. In any attempted germanization one may not act on the basis of abstract collective concepts, but has to ask in each individual case whether the person to be germanized belongs to a race which would improve our own people [Volkstum], or whether the person exhibits qualities of a race which, like the Jewish, would have a negative effect of mixing with German blood.82
Connelly, Ibid., p. 16-17
Policies adopted by Nazi Germany toward Slavic peoples cannot be fully explained by Nazi racial ideology. This is evident both in the contradictory and opportunistic nature of policies pursued during the war, and in the absence of any coordinated thinking on this issue in the prewar period. Hitler in particular had at best a vague notion of what "Slavs" were, and precise connections between his supposed "anti-Slavism" before 1939, and the policies adopted toward Slavic peoples after 1939, defy attempts at documentation.93
policies toward Slavs appear as constant improvisation, in which opportunity and ideology shaped one another.148
Connelly, Ibid., p. 20, 33
Policies towards Slavs were not consistent, thus it isn't easy to make widespread judgements. It's more difficult to come to the truth because of how pervasive the Holocaust narrative is, and that the Slavs are thoroughly caught up in it.
The Russian historian Vladimir Avdeyev also disputes the myth that the Slavs were considered Subhumans:
Respected reader, turn your attention to the fact that the above book [Editor note: Schattenfroh, Franz; Will and Race (1943)]
was published, with the approval of the ideological high management of the Third Reich, even though Stalingrad and the Battle of the Kursk Salient had already concluded, and the situation at the fronts did not lend itself to good sentiments in the address of the Slavs. However, no Slavophobia is shown; supposedly it had a place in German political propaganda, but there was no [such] talk. That was a much later fabrication by the forgers of communist and liberal myth. The Third Reich did not struggle with Slavdom, but with the threat Bolshevism [posed] to the foundations of European Civilization. Incidentally, to this day, not one official German document from that time has been published, in which the Slavs are called a “race of sub-humans,” something which devoted warriors of antifascism like to broadcast. By “sub-humans,” in the anthropological sense of the word, Himmler’s department was referring to Bolshevik commissars, like Lev Mekhlis, and open racists like Ilya Ehrenburg, an instigator who hid behind the backs of Russian soldiers, shouting “Kill the Germans!”Vladimir Avdeyev, Raciology: The Science of the Hereditary Traits of Peoples (2nd edition, 2007), Pp.77
See: http://anoccasionalcomment.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-third-reich-and-hitler-on-slavs.html Archive: https://archive.vn/yjWdY
The final person I want to quote is Walter Gross, who was the head of the German Office of Racial Policy (Rassenpolitisches Amt) until 1945. He was the authority on National Socialist Racial "ideology". And like Rosenberg, he espoused a similarly cordial view of race that wasn't antagonistic, nor viscerally bigoted and filled with irrational hatred:
We appreciate the fact that those of another race are different from us… Whether that other race is 'better' or 'worse' is not possible for us to judge. For this would demand that we transcend our own racial limitations for the duration of the verdict and take on a superhuman, even divine, attitude from which alone an 'impersonal' verdict could be formed on the value or lack of such of the many living forms of inexhaustible Nature.
Walter Gross, Der deutsche Rassengedanke und die Welt (Junker und Dünnhaupt / Berlin, 1939), Pp. 24-28.
Gross also commented on the criticism of outside groups whom felt attacked by race theory of National Socialism:
A serious situation arose through the fact that other people and States, because of German race laws… felt themselves attacked and defamed … For example the whole world of the Far East remained for a long time under the impression that the Germans… had designated them as non-Aryan, and as non-Aryans inferior rabble - (that the) Germans had designated (them) unworthy, second class humanity and that the Germans imagined themselves as the sole bearers of culture… What could we say to those who saw in German racism a fundamental defamation of men of other races? We could do nothing other than, with patience and conviction, repeat that German racism does not evaluate or deprecate other racial groups… It only recognizes, scientifically, that differences exist… We have often been disturbed by the indiscretion or even stupidity in our own land when, just after we had carefully made clear to some people or other that we respected and honoured… their racial qualities, some wild fool manufactured his own ideas about race and declared that these same people were racially inferior and stood somewhere below the cow or the ass, and that their characteristics were degrading or impure and lord knows what else! By such idiotic assertions were repelled and offended not only alien peoples in distant parts of the world but even our own neighbours in Europe, many times even friends of National Socialist Germany bound to us historically and in destiny. Walter Gross, cited in 'National Socialism and Race' by A. James Gregor, see: http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/gregor.html Archive: https://archive.vn/e82g6
Unfortunately the footnote for this quotation was missing. Although it surely exists.
I don't think I really have a point with this post, other than to bring together a variety of sources and quotes I've collected about Slavs and information about National Socialist views on race generally. I've not had much commentary and just preferred to let the quotations speak for themselves. It took me a very long time to put this together today, and I fear it's not perfect. Hopefully this post provided some useful information that can help illuminate this situation for others.