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Sample Expository Essay: The Nazi Ideology and the Aryan Race
Aryan superiority is a core concept in Nazi ideology . The Nazis believed that their race was superior to others and the non-Aryans were detrimental to society. This belief motivated many of the Nazis’ actions, especially against Jews, other minorities, and other non-Aryans. Individuals belonging to the Aryan race received good treatment from the Nazis while the non-Aryans suffered bigotry and racism. Aryan superiority aligned with the Nazis’ anti-Semitic and discriminatory views, making it an effective tool to advance Nazism and exterminate the Nazi Party’s enemies.
The Aryan Race
The term “Aryan” originally referred to a linguistic category involving many European languages until various theorists started using the term as a racial classification. The theorists, such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Arthur Gobineau, claimed that the Aryans were superior to other races and popularized the use of the term as a racial category (Aryan, n.d.). Eventually, many Germans, including Hitler, accepted the use of Aryan to refer to the superior race. Along with this, the Nazis realized they can utilize Aryan superiority to promote the Germans as the master race. The Nazis also recognized they could weaponize the Aryan race against the Jews and communists. These realizations cemented the concept of Aryan superiority as a core idea in Nazism.
To weaponize Aryan superiority, the Nazis spread the idea that non-Aryans were inferior and should not intermingle with Aryans. The Nazis defined non-Aryans as non-Europeans and individuals with no German blood. They mostly applied the term to Jews since the Nazis considered them Nazi Germany’s major enemy. However, since the Nazis were hostile to most non-Germans, the term also applied to Roma, Sinti, Black people, and other non-Europeans (Aryan, n.d.). By categorizing these groups as non-Aryans, the Nazis established their superiority over them. This made the Nazis more powerful in the public’s eye and aided in the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in Germany.
Who belongs to the Aryan Race?
Despite the Nazis’ establishment of the non-Aryan definition, legal issues arose regarding the term. The Nazis defined the non-Aryans, not through the scientific method but through a generalization towards non-Europeans. Furthermore, the Civil Service Decree showed that a German can be a non-Aryan if they have a Jewish grandparent while Aryans will have to prove their racial status by tracing their ancestry (Aryan, n.d.). This complicated the Aryan and non-Aryan categories since the fact that a German can be a non-Aryan may oppose the ideas of Nazism. Eventually, the Nazis abandoned the term Aryan and replaced it with “those of German or related blood” (Aryan, n.d.). However, many Nazis continued to use the term Aryan, allowing it to persist. Even today, some neo-Nazi groups use the term Aryan and Aryan superiority as rationalizations for their ideologies.
The Aryan Paragraph
As mentioned, the Nazis weaponized Aryan superiority against the Jews before they revoked the term. The Arierparagraph or Aryan Paragraph is one of the manifestations of this weaponization. In April 1933, the Nazis issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, a clause under the Civil Service Law, to remove non-Aryans from government institutions (Laws for the Restoration, n.d.). Many referred to the clause as the Aryan Paragraph since it targeted non-Aryans, especially Jews, and forcibly removed them from any government positions. The clause specifically stated that non-Aryan civil servants, regardless of position, were to be retired. It revoked pensions and other benefits to most civil servants. Still, some individuals who meet specific requirements received some benefits, such as immunity to some of the clauses. The Aryan Paragraph was one of the initial steps that the Nazis took to establish Aryan superiority and remove the power and influence the Jews had in the government.
Jewish Marxism is another form of weaponizing the Aryan and non-Aryan concepts against the Jews. For the Nazis, communism and the Jews were their major opponents and it was necessary to incorporate the two with each other. Through Jewish Marxism, the Nazis created the idea that the Jews established Bolshevism in Germany (Carletta, 2019). This led the public to see Jews as enemies of democracy. Furthermore, the Nazis incited the public’s hate and spite towards Jews by depicting them as undesirables through propaganda, including the incorporation of Jews with non-Aryans. The images of Jews being ugly, racially inferior, and communist supporters promoted anti-Semitism in Germany, solidifying Aryan superiority.
During the Nazi Party’s regime, they issued the Euthanasia Decree as a way to remove disabled individuals from society. The Euthanasia Decree initially targeted disabled individuals, including children, killing more than 200,000 disabled individuals (Berenbaum, 2018). However, the requirement for the Euthanasia Decree also extended to individuals who were not contributing to economic productivity and inferior individuals (Berenbaum, 2018). This included the elderly, unemployed individuals, and non-Aryans. The Euthanasia Decree targeted even disabled Germans, mostly because they represented a weakness in the Aryan race. This became a form of eugenics as the Nazis removed the capacity of disabled individuals to reproduce and potentially pass down their genes. The Nazis’ decision to euthanize the unproductive economic members was their attempt to exterminate societal members they deemed embarrassing for the superior Aryan race.
Lastly, the pinnacle manifestation of Aryan superiority was the Holocaust. This event led to the death of Jews, Blacks, Roma, Sinti, war prisoners, and other non-Aryans. The Holocaust was not a single event but multi-stage persecution, leading to the deaths of non-Aryans. One can consider the spread of Jewish Marxism, the Euthanasia Decree, and other anti-Semi and anti-non-Aryan propaganda as early stages of the Holocaust. Around 1941, the Nazis issued the “Endlösung der Judenfrage” or “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. This was the final stage of the Holocaust, leading to mass shootings, the creation of killing centers and gas chambers, and the establishment of Jew Ghettos (Introduction to the Holocaust, n.d.). The culmination of these events led to the millions of deaths of non-Aryans. The mass shootings mainly targeted the Jews. Killing centers became the settings for mass genocide involving non-Aryans. The Ghettos became overcrowded and unsanitary habitats where the Nazis kept the Jews to isolate them from German society.
The Nazis utilized the Aryan race’s supposed superiority over other races to spread their ideologies and persecute the non-Aryans. They utilized Aryan superiority to influence public opinion regarding Nazi Germany and its opponents. They pictured the non-Aryans as undesirable individuals and enemies of Germany, turning the country against Jews, Blacks, and other minorities. Through propaganda, government decrees, and outright discrimination, the Nazis persecuted the non-Aryans to strengthen Aryan superiority and accomplish Nazism’s goals. The Nazis’ concept of the Aryan race is a testament to the dangers of racial discrimination and how the public can easily fall prey to the manifestations of racism.
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Aryan. (n.d.). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Available at https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/aryan-1. Accessed: October 9, 2022.
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Carletta, D. (2019). Book Review: A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism by Paul Hanebrink. International Social Science Review, vol 95(1). Available at https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1335&context=issr . Accessed: October 9, 2022.
Introduction to the Holocaust. (n.d.). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Available at https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust . Accessed: October 9, 2022.
Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (“Civil Service Law”). (1933). Pages.uoregon.edu. Available at https://pages.uoregon.edu/dluebke/Holocaust444-544/Arierparagraph.html. Accessed: October 9, 2022.
Lukacs, J., Bullock, A., Bullock, B. & Knapp, W. (2022). Adolf Hitler. Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Hitler. Accessed: October 9, 2022.
Mendes, P. (2019). Review of the Book A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism, by Paul Hanebrink. Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History. Available at https://muse.jhu.edu/article/777258/pdf. Accessed: October 9, 2022.