Germans Dominate - History

Germans Dominate - History

In 1915 the Germans introduced a new aircraft into the battlefield the Fokker E III. The Fokker soon totallyh dominated the skies. The Fokker was equipped with a forward firning gun which gave it a big advantage. Max Immelmann was the German Fokker at the time.

History of Germany

Germanic peoples occupied much of the present-day territory of Germany in ancient times. The Germanic peoples are those who spoke one of the Germanic languages, and they thus originated as a group with the so-called first sound shift ( Grimm’s law), which turned a Proto-Indo-European dialect into a new Proto-Germanic language within the Indo-European language family. The Proto-Indo-European consonants p, t, and k became the Proto-Germanic f, [thorn] (th), and x (h), and the Proto-Indo-European b, d, and g became Proto-Germanic p, t, and k. The historical context of the shift is difficult to identify because it is impossible to date it conclusively. Clearly the people who came to speak Proto-Germanic must have been isolated from other Indo-Europeans for some time, but it is not obvious which archaeological culture might represent the period of the shift. One possibility is the so-called Northern European Bronze Age, which flourished in northern Germany and Scandinavia between about 1700 and 450 bc . Alternatives would be one of the early Iron Age cultures of the same region (e.g., Wessenstadt, 800–600 bc , or Jastorf, 600–300 bc ).

Evidence from archaeological finds and place-names suggests that, while early Germanic peoples probably occupied much of northern Germany during the Bronze and early Iron ages, peoples speaking Celtic languages occupied what is now southern Germany. This region, together with neighbouring parts of France and Switzerland, was the original homeland of the Celtic La Tène culture. About the time of the Roman expansion northward, in the first centuries bc and ad , Germanic groups were expanding southward into present-day southern Germany. The evidence suggests that the existing population was gradually Germanized rather than displaced by the Germanic peoples arriving from the north.

Solid historical information begins about 50 bc when Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars brought the Romans into contact with Germanic as well as Celtic peoples. Caesar did cross the Rhine in 55 and 53 bc , but the river formed the eastern boundary of the province of Gaul, which he created, and most Germanic tribes lived beyond it. Direct Roman attacks on Germanic tribes began again under Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, who pushed across the Rhine in 12–9 bc , while other Roman forces assaulted Germanic tribes along the middle Danube (in modern Austria and Hungary). Fierce fighting in both areas, and the famous victory of the Germanic leader Arminius in the Teutoburg Forest in ad 9 (when three Roman legions were massacred), showed that conquering these tribes would require too much effort. The Roman frontier thus stabilized on the Rhine and Danube rivers, although sporadic campaigns (notably under Domitian in ad 83 and 88) extended control over Frisia in the north and some lands between the Rhine and the upper Danube.

Both archaeology and Caesar’s own account of his wars show that Germanic tribes then lived on both sides of the Rhine. In fact, broadly similar archaeological cultures from this period stretch across central Europe from the Rhine to the Vistula River (in modern Poland), and Germanic peoples probably dominated all these areas. Germanic cultures extended from Scandinavia to as far south as the Carpathians. These Germans led a largely settled agricultural existence. They practiced mixed farming, lived in wooden houses, did not have the potter’s wheel, were nonliterate, and did not use money. The marshy lowlands of northern Europe have preserved otherwise perishable wooden objects, leather goods, and clothing and shed much light on the Germanic way of life. These bogs were also used for ritual sacrifice and execution, and some 700 “bog people” have been recovered. Their remains are so well preserved that even dietary patterns can be established the staple was a gruel made of many kinds of seeds and weeds.

Clear evidence of social differentiation appears in these cultures. Richly furnished burials (containing jewelry and sometimes weapons) have been uncovered in many areas, showing that a wealthy warrior elite was developing. Powerful chiefs became a standard feature of Germanic society, and archaeologists have uncovered the halls where they feasted their retainers, an activity described in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. This warrior elite followed the cult of a war god, such as Tyr (Tiu) or Odin (Wodan). The Roman historian Tacitus relates in the Germania that in ad 59 the Hermunduri, in fulfillment of their vows, sacrificed defeated Chatti to one of these gods. This elite was also the basis of political organization. The Germanic peoples comprised numerous tribes that were also united in leagues centred on the worship of particular cults. These cults were probably created by one locally dominant tribe and changed over time. Tribes belonging to such leagues came together for an annual festival, when weapons were laid aside. Apart from worship, these were also times for economic activity, social interaction, and settling disputes.


White supremacy has ideological foundations that date back to 17th-century scientific racism, the predominant paradigm of human variation that helped shape international relations and racial policy from the latter part of the Age of Enlightenment until the late 20th century (marked by decolonization and the abolition of apartheid in South Africa in 1991, followed by that country's first multiracial elections in 1994).

United States

White supremacy was dominant in the United States both before and after the American Civil War, and it persisted for decades after the Reconstruction Era. [5] In the antebellum South, this included the holding of African Americans in chattel slavery, in which four million of them were denied freedom. [6] The outbreak of the Civil War saw the desire to uphold white supremacy being cited as a cause for state secession [7] and the formation of the Confederate States of America. [8] In an editorial about Native Americans and the American Indian Wars in 1890, author L. Frank Baum wrote: "The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians." [9]

The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only. [10] In some parts of the United States, many people who were considered non-white were disenfranchised, barred from government office, and prevented from holding most government jobs well into the second half of the 20th century. Professor Leland T. Saito of the University of Southern California writes: "Throughout the history of the United States, race has been used by whites for legitimizing and creating difference and social, economic and political exclusion." [11]

The denial of social and political freedom to minorities continued into the mid-20th century, resulting in the civil rights movement. [12] Sociologist Stephen Klineberg has stated that U.S. immigration laws prior to 1965 clearly declared "that Northern Europeans are a superior subspecies of the white race". [13] The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 opened entry to the U.S. to non-Germanic groups, and significantly altered the demographic mix in the U.S. as a result. [13] 16 U.S. states banned interracial marriage through anti-miscegenation laws until 1967, when these laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in Loving v. Virginia. [14] These mid-century gains had a major impact on white Americans' political views segregation and white racial superiority, which had been publicly endorsed in the 1940s, became minority views within the white community by the mid-1970s, and continued to decline into 1990s polls to a single-digit percentage. [15] [16] For sociologist Howard Winant, these shifts marked the end of "monolithic white supremacy" in the United States. [17]

After the mid-1960s, white supremacy remained an important ideology to the American far-right. [18] According to Kathleen Belew, a historian of race and racism in the United States, white militancy shifted after the Vietnam War from supporting the existing racial order to a more radical position (self-described as "white power" or "white nationalism") committed to overthrowing the United States government and establishing a white homeland. [19] [20] Such anti-government militia organizations are one of three major strands of violent right-wing movements in the United States, with white supremacist groups (such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi organizations, and racist skinheads) and a religious fundamentalist movement (such as Christian Identity) being the other two. [21] [22] Howard Winant writes that, "On the far right the cornerstone of white identity is belief in an ineluctable, unalterable racialized difference between whites and nonwhites." [23] In the view of philosopher Jason Stanley, white supremacy in the United States is an example of the fascist politics of hierarchy, in that it "demands and implies a perpetual hierarchy" in which whites dominate and control non-whites. [24]

In a 2020 article in The New York Times titled "How White Women Use Themselves as Instruments of Terror", black columnist Charles M. Blow wrote that: [25]

We often like to make white supremacy a testosterone-fueled masculine expression, but it is just as likely to wear heels as a hood. Indeed, untold numbers of lynchings were executed because white women had claimed that a black man raped, assaulted, talked to or glanced at them. The Tulsa race massacre, the destruction of Black Wall Street, was spurred by an incident between a white female elevator operator and a black man. As the Oklahoma Historical Society points out, the most common explanation is that he stepped on her toe. As many as 300 people were killed because of it. The torture and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, a lynching actually, occurred because a white woman said that he "grabbed her and was menacing and sexually crude toward her". This practice, this exercise in racial extremism has been dragged into the modern era through the weaponizing of 9-1-1, often by white women, to invoke the power and force of the police who they are fully aware are hostile to black men. This was again evident when a white woman in New York's Central Park told a black man, a bird-watcher, that she was going to call the police and tell them that he was threatening her life.

Some academics argue that outcomes from the 2016 United States Presidential Election reflect ongoing challenges with white supremacy. [26] [27] Psychologist Janet Helms suggested that the normalizing behaviors of social institutions of education, government, and healthcare are organized around the "birthright of. the power to control society's resources and determine the rules for [those resources]". [4] Educators, literary theorists, and other political experts have raised similar questions, connecting the scapegoating of disenfranchised populations to white superiority. [28] [29] As of 2018, there are over 600 white supremacy organizations recorded in the U.S. [30]

On July 23, 2019, Christopher A. Wray, the head of the FBI, said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the agency had made around 100 domestic terrorism arrests since October 1, 2018, and that the majority of them were connected in some way with white supremacy. Wray said that the Bureau was "aggressively pursuing [domestic terrorism] using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners," but said that it was focused on the violence itself and not on its ideological basis. A similar number of arrests had been made for instances of international terrorism. In the past, Wray has said that white supremacy was a significant and "pervasive" threat to the U.S. [31]

On September 20, 2019, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, announced his department's revised strategy for counter-terrorism, which included a new emphasis on the dangers inherent in the white supremacy movement. McAleenan called white supremacy one of the most "potent ideologies" behind domestic terrorism-related violent acts. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, McAleenan cited a series of high-profile shooting incidents, and said "In our modern age, the continued menace of racially based violent extremism, particularly white supremacist extremism, is an abhorrent affront to the nation, the struggle and unity of its diverse population." The new strategy will include better tracking and analysis of threats, sharing information with local officials, training local law enforcement on how to deal with shooting events, discouraging the hosting of hate sites online, and encouraging counter-messages. [32] [33]

School curriculum

White supremacy has also played a part in U.S. school curriculum. Over the course of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, material across the spectrum of academic disciplines has been taught with a heavy emphasis on White culture, contributions, and experiences, and a lack of representation of non-White groups' perspectives and accomplishments. [34] [35] [36] [37] In the 19th century, Geography lessons contained teachings on a fixed racial hierarchy, which white people topped. [38] Mills (1994) writes that history as it is taught is really the history of White people, and it is taught in a way that favors White Americans and White people in general. He states that the language used to tell history minimizes the violent acts committed by White people over the centuries, citing the use of the words "discovery," "colonization," and "New World" when describing what was ultimately a European conquest of the Western Hemisphere and its indigenous peoples as examples. [35] Swartz (1992) seconds this reading of modern history narratives when it comes to the experiences, resistances, and accomplishments of Black Americans throughout the Middle Passage, slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil rights movement. In an analysis of American history textbooks, she highlights word choices that repetitively "normalize" slavery and the inhumane treatment of Black people (p. ). She also notes the frequent showcasing of White abolitionists and actual exclusion of Black abolitionists, as well as the fact that Black Americans had been mobilizing for abolition for centuries before the major White American push for abolition in the 19th century. She ultimately asserts the presence of a masternarrative that centers Europe and its associated peoples (White people) in school curriculum, particularly as it pertains to history. [39] She writes that this masternarrative condenses history into only history that is relevant to, and to some extent beneficial for, White Americans. [39]

Elson (1964) provides detailed information about the historic dissemination of simplistic and negative ideas about non-White races. [35] [40] [41] Native Americans, who were subjected to attempts of cultural genocide by the U.S. government through the use of American Indian boarding schools, [40] [42] were characterized as homogenously "cruel," a violent menace toward White Americans, and lacking civilization or societal complexity (p. 74). [38] For example, in the 19th century, Black Americans were consistently portrayed as lazy, immature, and intellectually and morally inferior to white Americans, and in many ways not deserving of equal participation in U.S. society. [36] [40] [38] For example, a math problem in a 19th century textbook read, "If 5 white men can do as much work as 7 negroes. " implying that white men are more industrious and competent than black men (p. 99). [43] In addition, little to none was taught about Black Americans' contributions, or their histories before being brought to U.S. soil as slaves. [40] [41] According to Wayne (1972), this approach was taken especially much after the Civil War to maintain Whites' hegemony over emancipated Black Americans. [40] Other racial groups have received oppressive treatment, including Mexican Americans, who were temporarily prevented from learning the same curriculum as White Americans because they were supposedly intellectually inferior, and Asian Americans, some of whom were prevented from learning much about their ancestral lands because they were deemed a threat to "American" culture, i.e. White culture, at the turn of the 20th century. [40]

Effect of the media

White supremacy has been depicted in music videos, feature films, documentaries, journal entries, and on social media. The 1915 silent drama film The Birth of a Nation followed the rising racial, economic, political, and geographic tensions leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Southern Reconstruction era that was the genesis of the Ku Klux Klan. [44]

David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, believed that the Internet was going to create a "chain reaction of racial enlightenment that will shake the world." Jessie Daniels, of CUNY-Hunter College, also said that racist groups see the Internet as a way to spread their ideologies, influence others and gain supporters. [45] Legal scholar Richard Hasen describes a "dark side" of social media:

There certainly were hate groups before the Internet and social media. [But with social media] it just becomes easier to organize, to spread the word, for people to know where to go. It could be to raise money, or it could be to engage in attacks on social media. Some of the activity is virtual. Some of it is in a physical place. Social media has lowered the collective-action problems that individuals who might want to be in a hate group would face. You can see that there are people out there like you. That's the dark side of social media. [46]

With the emergence of Twitter in 2006, and platforms such as Stormfront which was launched in 1996, an alt-right portal for white supremacists with similar beliefs, both adults and children, was provided in which they were given a way to connect. Daniels discussed the emergence of other social media outlets such as 4chan and Reddit, which meant that the "spread of white nationalist symbols and ideas could be accelerated and amplified." Sociologist Kathleen Blee notes that the anonymity which the Internet provides can make it difficult to track the extent of white supremacist activity in the country, but nevertheless she and other experts [47] see an increase in the amount of hate crimes and white supremacist violence. In the latest wave of white supremacy, in the age of the Internet, Blee sees the movement as having primarily become a virtual one, in which divisions between groups become blurred: "[A]ll these various groups that get jumbled together as the alt-right and people who have come in from the more traditional neo-Nazi world. We're in a very different world now." [48]

A series on YouTube hosted by the grandson of Thomas Robb, the national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, "presents the Klan's ideology in a format aimed at kids — more specifically, white kids." [49] The short episodes inveigh against race-mixing, and extol other white supremacist ideologies. A short documentary published by TRT describes Imran Garda's experience, a journalist of Indian descent, who met with Thomas Robb and a traditional KKK group. A sign that greets people who enter the town states "Diversity is a code for white genocide." The KKK group interviewed in the documentary summarizes its ideals, principles, and beliefs, which are emblematic of white supremacists in the United States. The comic book super hero Captain America was used for dog whistle politics by the alt-right in college campus recruitment in 2017, an ironic co-optation because Captain America battled against Nazis in the comics, and was created by Jewish cartoonists. [50] [51]

British Commonwealth

I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

British historian Richard Toye, author of Churchill's Empire, said that "Churchill did think that white people were superior." [52]

South Africa

A number of Southern African nations experienced severe racial tension and conflict during global decolonization, particularly as white Africans of European ancestry fought to protect their preferential social and political status. Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times under the Dutch Empire. It continued when the British took over the Cape of Good Hope in 1795. Apartheid was introduced as an officially structured policy by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party after the general election of 1948. Apartheid's legislation divided inhabitants into four racial groups—"black", "white", "coloured", and "Indian", with coloured divided into several sub-classifications. [53] In 1970, the Afrikaner-run government abolished non-white political representation, and starting that year black people were deprived of South African citizenship. [54] South Africa abolished apartheid in 1991. [55] [56]


In Rhodesia a predominantly white government issued its own unilateral declaration of independence from the United Kingdom during an unsuccessful attempt to avoid immediate majority rule. [57] Following the Rhodesian Bush War which was fought by African nationalists, Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith acceded to biracial political representation in 1978 and the state achieved recognition from the United Kingdom as Zimbabwe in 1980. [58]


Nazism promoted the idea of a superior Germanic people or Aryan race in Germany during the early 20th century. Notions of white supremacy and Aryan racial superiority were combined in the 19th century, with white supremacists maintaining the belief that white people were members of an Aryan "master race" that was superior to other races, particularly the Jews, who were described as the "Semitic race", Slavs, and Gypsies, who they associated with "cultural sterility". Arthur de Gobineau, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ancien régime in France on racial degeneracy caused by racial intermixing, which he argued had destroyed the "purity" of the Nordic or Germanic race. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany, emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan or Germanic peoples and Jewish culture. [ citation needed ]

As the Nazi Party's chief racial theorist, Alfred Rosenberg oversaw the construction of a human racial "ladder" that justified Hitler's racial and ethnic policies. Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory, which regarded Nordics as the "master race", superior to all others, including other Aryans (Indo-Europeans). [59] Rosenberg got the racial term Untermensch from the title of Klansman Lothrop Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man. [60] It was later adopted by the Nazis from that book's German version Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925). [61] Rosenberg was the leading Nazi who attributed the concept of the East-European "under man" to Stoddard. [62] An advocate of the U.S. immigration laws that favored Northern Europeans, Stoddard wrote primarily on the alleged dangers posed by "colored" peoples to white civilization, and wrote The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. In establishing a restrictive entry system for Germany in 1925, Hitler wrote of his admiration for America's immigration laws: "The American Union categorically refuses the immigration of physically unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races." [63]

German praise for America's institutional racism, previously found in Hitler's Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s. Nazi lawyers were advocates of the use of American models. [64] Race-based U.S. citizenship and anti-miscegenation laws directly inspired the Nazis' two principal Nuremberg racial laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. [64] To preserve the Aryan or Nordic race, the Nazis introduced the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which forbade sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, and later between Germans and Romani and Slavs. The Nazis used the Mendelian inheritance theory to argue that social traits were innate, claiming that there was a racial nature associated with certain general traits such as inventiveness or criminal behavior. [65]

According to the 2012 annual report of Germany's interior intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, at the time there were 26,000 right-wing extremists living in Germany, including 6000 neo-Nazis. [66]


Neo-Nazi organisations embracing white supremacist ideology are present in many countries of the world. In 2007, it was claimed that Russian neo-Nazis accounted for "half of the world's total". [67] [68]


In June 2015, Democratic Representative John Conyers and his Republican colleague Ted Yoho offered bipartisan amendments to block the U.S. military training of Ukraine's Azov Battalion — called a "neo-Nazi paramilitary militia" by Conyers and Yoho. [69] [70] [71] Some members of the battalion are openly white supremacists. [72]

New Zealand

Fifty-one people died from two consecutive terrorist attacks at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre by an Australian white supremacist carried out on March 15, 2019. The terrorist attacks have been described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as "One of New Zealand's darkest days". On August 27, 2020, the shooter was sentenced to life without parole. [73] [74] [75]

The term white supremacy is used in some academic studies of racial power to denote a system of structural or societal racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or the absence of racial hatred. According to this definition, white racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level (ceteris paribus, i. e. , when individuals are compared that do not relevantly differ except in ethnicity). Legal scholar Frances Lee Ansley explains this definition as follows:

By "white supremacy" I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings. [76] [77]

This and similar definitions have been adopted or proposed by Charles W. Mills, [78] bell hooks, [79] David Gillborn, [80] Jessie Daniels, [81] and Neely Fuller Jr, [82] and they are widely used in critical race theory and intersectional feminism. Some anti-racist educators, such as Betita Martinez and the Challenging White Supremacy workshop, also use the term in this way. The term expresses historic continuities between a pre–civil rights movement era of open white supremacy and the current racial power structure of the United States. It also expresses the visceral impact of structural racism through "provocative and brutal" language that characterizes racism as "nefarious, global, systemic, and constant". [83] Academic users of the term sometimes prefer it to racism because it allows for a distinction to be drawn between racist feelings and white racial advantage or privilege. [84] [85] [86] John McWhorter, a specialist in language and race relations, explains the gradual replacement of "racism" by "white supremacy" by the fact that "potent terms need refreshment, especially when heavily used", drawing a parallel with the replacement of "chauvinist" by "sexist" [87] .

Other intellectuals have criticized the term's recent rise in popularity among leftist activists as counterproductive. John McWhorter has described the use of "white supremacy" as straying from its commonly accepted meaning to encompass less extreme issues, thereby cheapening the term and potentially derailing productive discussion. [88] [89] Political columnist Kevin Drum attributes the term's growing popularity to frequent use by Ta-Nehisi Coates, describing it as a "terrible fad" which fails to convey nuance. He claims that the term should be reserved for those who are trying to promote the idea that whites are inherently superior to blacks and not used to characterize less blatantly racist beliefs or actions. [90] [91] The academic use of the term to refer to systemic racism has been criticized by Conor Friedersdorf for the confusion it creates for the general public inasmuch as it differs from the more common dictionary definition he argues that it is likely to alienate those it hopes to convince. [91]

Supporters of Nordicism consider the "Nordic peoples" to be a superior race. [92] By the early 19th century, white supremacy was attached to emerging theories of racial hierarchy. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer attributed cultural primacy to the white race:

The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. [93]

The eugenicist Madison Grant argued in his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, that the Nordic race had been responsible for most of humanity's great achievements, and that admixture was "race suicide". [94] In this book, Europeans who are not of Germanic origin but have Nordic characteristics such as blonde/red hair and blue/green/gray eyes, were considered to be a Nordic admixture and suitable for Aryanization. [95]

In the United States, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is the group most associated with the white supremacist movement. Many white supremacist groups are based on the concept of preserving genetic purity, and do not focus solely on discrimination based on skin color. [96] The KKK's reasons for supporting racial segregation are not primarily based on religious ideals, but some Klan groups are openly Protestant. The KKK and other white supremacist groups like Aryan Nations, The Order and the White Patriot Party are considered antisemitic. [96]

Nazi Germany promulgated white supremacy based on the belief that the Aryan race, or the Germans, were the master race. It was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene through compulsory sterilization of sick individuals and extermination of Untermenschen ("subhumans"): Slavs, Jews and Romani, which eventually culminated in the Holocaust. [97] [98] [99] [100] [101]

Christian Identity is another movement closely tied to white supremacy. Some white supremacists identify themselves as Odinists, although many Odinists reject white supremacy. Some white supremacist groups, such as the South African Boeremag, conflate elements of Christianity and Odinism. Creativity (formerly known as "The World Church of the Creator") is atheistic and it denounces Christianity and other theistic religions. [102] [103] Aside from this, its ideology is similar to that of many Christian Identity groups because it believes in the antisemitic conspiracy theory that there is a "Jewish conspiracy" in control of governments, the banking industry and the media. Matthew F. Hale, founder of the World Church of the Creator, has published articles stating that all races other than white are "mud races", which is what the group's religion teaches. [96]

The white supremacist ideology has become associated with a racist faction of the skinhead subculture, despite the fact that when the skinhead culture first developed in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s, it was heavily influenced by black fashions and music, especially Jamaican reggae and ska, and African American soul music. [104] [105] [106]

White supremacist recruitment activities are primarily conducted at a grassroots level as well as on the Internet. Widespread access to the Internet has led to a dramatic increase in white supremacist websites. [107] The Internet provides a venue to openly express white supremacist ideas at little social cost, because people who post the information are able to remain anonymous.

White separatism

White separatism is a political and social movement that seeks the separation of white people from people of other races and ethnicities, the establishment of a white ethnostate by removing non-whites from existing communities or by forming new communities elsewhere. [108]

Most modern researchers do not view white separatism as distinct from white supremacist beliefs. The Anti-Defamation League defines white separatism as "a form of white supremacy" [109] the Southern Poverty Law Center defines both white nationalism and white separatism as "ideologies based on white supremacy." [110] Facebook has banned content that is openly white nationalist or white separatist because "white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups". [111] [112]

Use of the term to self-identify has been criticized as a dishonest rhetorical ploy. The Anti-Defamation League argues that white supremacists use the phrase because they believe it has fewer negative connotations than the term white supremacist. [113]

Dobratz & Shanks-Meile reported that adherents usually reject marriage "outside the white race". They argued for the existence of "a distinction between the white supremacist's desire to dominate (as in apartheid, slavery, or segregation) and complete separation by race". [114] They argued that this is a matter of pragmatism, that while many white supremacists are also white separatists, contemporary white separatists reject the view that returning to a system of segregation is possible or desirable in the United States. [115]

Notable white separatists

Aligned organizations and philosophies

The Tuskegee Institute has estimated that 3,446 blacks were the victims of lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1968, with the peak occurring in the 1890s at a time of economic stress in the South and increasing political suppression of blacks. If 1,297 whites were also lynched during this period, blacks were disproportionally targeted, representing 72.7% of all people lynched. [116] [117] According to scholar Amy L. Wood, "lynching photographs constructed and perpetuated white supremacist ideology by creating permanent images of a controlled white citizenry juxtaposed to images of helpless and powerless black men." [118]

History Facts: Nazi Germany Created "Blitzkrieg" By Accident

Germany’s victory over Poland was over-determined by numerous factors. However, the success of mechanized units informed the Wehrmacht’s maneuver-oriented strategy in the Battle of France eight months later.

Here's What You Need To Remember: While “Blitzkrieg” is a useful shorthand for the revolution in mechanized warfare, it should not be misinterpreted as suggesting the Blitzkrieg arose from a doctrinal “master plan,” or that the victories were due to superior German technology. Instead, the Blitzkrieg arose organically from the interaction of new technologies, German force structure, and the vulnerabilities of unprepared foes.

When over 1.5 million German soldiers poured over the Polish border on September 1, 1939 in an Operation codenamed Fall Weiss (“Case White”), they kicked off not only the bloodiest conflict in human history, but also a terrifying new form of fast-paced mechanized warfare popularly known as the Blitzkrieg or “Lightning War.”

However, the officers of the Wehrmacht never really used the term “Blitzkrieg,” which was popularized by the British press. Indeed, the Wehrmacht did not think of itself as practicing a new form of warfare, but rather practicing an old-fashioned war of maneuver using new means.

Enter the Tank

In World War I, newly-developed tanks had helped break the defensive stalemate imposed by artillery and machineguns. Post-war Russia, America, and Germany experimented with new ways to employ armor. However, while young officers like Charles de Gaulle and Patton theorized about the tank’s transformative potential, the old guard in France, the United Kingdom and the United States remained skeptical that the still-unreliable vehicles would radically change warfare.

After all, most tanks could be easily penetrated by cheaper anti-tank guns. Those with heavier armor were often cripplingly slow and unreliable. Thus, armored vehicles were primarily regarded as enhancing existing infantry and cavalry formations. But this analysis proved short-sighted.

German military theorists in the nineteenth-century emphasized massing forces to achieve local superiority at a single schwerpunkt (“main target” or “center of gravity”). Once the enemy position was ruptured, troops would pour through the breach, cutting off lines of communication for neighboring enemy units and encircling those that failed to extricate themselves.

Mechanization didn’t change this strategy so much as greatly enhance its effectiveness, because armored vehicles could mass and advance more rapidly than infantry or cavalry, and overrun or bypass small delaying forces once the more formidable (and fairly static) anti-tank defense at the frontline had been overwhelmed.

At the urging of the pioneering strategist Heinz Guderian, the Wehrmacht concentrated its tanks into its first three Panzer Divisions in 1935, each with organic artillery, engineering and infantry assigned to support the tanks rather than the other way around.

This contrasted with the French, British and Polish armies, which did field a few tank brigades or divisions, but still spread most of their tanks out in small units tied to slow-moving infantry divisions.

Germany also invested in what by 1939 was the world’s most powerful air arm. The Luftwaffe proved a potent force multiplier for mechanized units. Air power could be rapidly concentrated to key battlefronts and priority targets such as artillery and tank concentrations. It could also serve as “flying artillery” for armored units which had outrun their towed artillery support.

Furthermore, aircraft could disrupt and slow down the movements of opposing formations behind frontline, hampering the speed of enemy responses.

This high tempo of operations paralyzed enemy command-and-control, and starved frontline units of necessary fuel and ammunition, leaving the enemy continually off-balance. The ensuing demoralization, panic and confusion often caused theoretically still-effective formations to evaporate.

However, most historians agreed the Blitzkrieg’s disruptive effects were not planned for, but instead arose as natural consequences of the Wehrmacht’s disposition and force structure.

A Technological Edge?

However, the Wehrmacht’s mechanization is frequently exaggerated. Throughout World War II, a large proportion of the German military relied on horse-drawn carriages. In 1939, the Wehrmacht infantry had only 230 Hanomag half-track armored personnel carriers, and even truck-born units were considered “elite.”

Of the roughly 2,500 German tanks committed to the campaign in six Panzer divisions and five Light divisions, 2,100 were small Panzer Is armed only with machineguns and Panzer IIs with 20-millimeter cannons. Artillery and anti-tank rifles could easily penetrate their 5 to 15 millimeters of armor.

That meant only 17 percent were Panzer III and IV tanks and Czech Panzer 35(t) and 38(ts) with more capable guns and a modest 15-30 millimeters of armor. Compared to French Soviet and British contemporaries, the most consistent technical advantage in early-war German Panzers lay in their fleet-wide radio communications.

In the air, the Luftwaffe possessed a more decisive technical lead in its Messerschmitt Bf-109E fighter, which had a top speed of 354 miles per hour, compared to Poland’s PZL P.11 fighters that could barely exceed 240 mph.

Nonetheless, Germany already had the deck stacked ridiculously in its favor against Poland, benefitting not only from far greater population and industrial capacity, but with troops encircling Poland from the South, West and Northeast (in East Prussia). Furthermore, Poland lay on a plain with few natural obstacles that could seriously impede a German attack, while Warsaw’s best allies—France and the UK—had no land corridor to come to Warsaw’s aid.

To add insult to overwhelming injury, the Soviet Union swooped in vulture-like to invade eastern Poland on September 17.

The Poles fatally spread out their divisions in a forward defense of the border rather than concentrating them densely in the heartland. This made it easier for Panzers to penetrate their lines and cut of supply and communication lines. The spread-out Polish infantry lacked the mobility to extricate themselves, and units that were not encircled and destroyed suffered heavy losses retreating.

The air campaign was initially less one-sided than Berlin subsequently claimed. The Luftwaffe correctly prioritized knocking out Polish air bases—but the Polish aviation units had dispersed to secret bases prior to the commencement of hostilities. The PAF managed to eek out a superior air-to-air kill ratio versus faster Luftwaffe aircraft, and even slowed the advance of Panzer columns on a few occasions. But after a week of effective resistance, their bases were overrun, or located and bombed to oblivion.

At the river Bzura on September 9, bypassed Polish forces with tank support launched an initially successful counteroffensive. But Panzer Divisions and Luftwaffe units rapidly massed to reverse the tide, resulting in a devastating Polish defeat.

Germany’s victory over Poland was over-determined by numerous factors. However, the success of mechanized units informed the Wehrmacht’s maneuver-oriented strategy in the Battle of France eight months later.

This campaign involved a one-two punch: elite Allied forces were lured to the rescue of Belgium and Holland by the initial German attack in May—and then cut off from France by a second offensive that blazed through the “uncrossable” Ardennes forest to the Channel ports.

Again, air power played a critical role in supporting Panzers that had rolled ahead of their artillery, and the destabilizing and demoralizing effects of the German advance led to a rapid collapse in the Allied will to fight.

From then on “Blitzkrieg”-style mechanized campaigns were frequently attempted by all belligerents, leading to the devastating initial Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), the Soviet Bagration offensive of 1944 that wiped out 28 German divisions, and the U.S. breakout from Normandy (Operation Cobra).

However, the armies that survived their early encounters with the Blitzkrieg evolved tactics to counter it. Infantry and artillery were trained to continue resisting even when bypassed by armored units on their flanks. This constrained the penetration achieved by enemy armor until counter-attacking forces—led by tanks, naturally—could come to their rescue. A famous example is the stubborn American defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

A complementary method defense-in-depth: preventing armored formations from exploiting breakthroughs by bogging them down with additional hardened defensive positions behind the frontline. At the epic 1943 Battle of Kursk in 1943, nearly 3,000 Panzers faced six concentric belts of fortifications, minefields and anti-tank obstacles defended by the Red Army. In eleven grueling days, the Panzers advanced roughly 20 miles before foundering before the third belt.

While “Blitzkrieg” is a useful shorthand for the revolution in mechanized warfare, it should not be misinterpreted as suggesting the Blitzkrieg arose from a doctrinal “master plan,” or that the victories were due to superior German technology.

Instead, the Blitzkrieg arose organically from the interaction of new technologies, German force structure, and the vulnerabilities of unprepared foes. Once the Blitzkrieg’s impact was observed, both Nazi Germany and the Allies sought to replicate them more intentionally. However, both also developed tactics and technology that curtailed its effectiveness throughout the course of the war.

Perhaps the most unsettling lesson of Blitzkrieg today is that the disruptive effects of new technologies on old paradigms of warfare are likely to arise organically and unpredictably in conflict, rather than be completely “figured out” in advance.

For now, we can only dimly forecast how technologies ranging from cyber and information warfare to artificial intelligence, hypersonic missiles, space-based sensors, and drone swarms will transform future wars. The discovery of their actual potential may well surprise both sides in a conflict.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This article first appeared in September 2019.

The Afro-German Experience Under Hitler

But I am writing this post in February. Black History Month. We must remember the victims and the survivors of African descent who were persecuted by Nazis because their skin was darker.

"Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate."

Words by Adolf Hitler, from his diatribe, Mein Kampf (My Struggle)

Hilarius Gilges

One day in June 1933, about a dozen SS officers abducted 24-year-old performing artist Hilarius Gilges in the city where he grew up, Düsseldorf, Germany. The son of a German textile worker and an African man of uncertain origins, Hilarius had caught the attention of the Nazis because of his political affiliation and his mixed-race identity. Nazi SS officers (SS stands for Schutzstaffel, the elite paramilitary and surveillance organization established by Adolf Hitler in 1925) tortured and killed Hilarius. The murder is marked as the first death in Düsseldorf under Nazi Germany. Today, a plaza in Düsseldorf named after Gilges in 2003 is situated not far from a plaque COMMISSIONED in 1988 to commemorate the life of the slain Afro-German.

Valaida Snow

Louis Armstrong called her "Little Louis" and described her as the world's best second best jazz trumpet player after him. Even W.C. Handy, the father of blues, dubbed her the "Queen of the Trumpet." Valaida Snow was a gifted singer, dancer and instrumentalist. She also played cello, bass, violin, banjo, mandolin, harp, accordion, clarinet, saxophone. You may not have heard of her, because she spent many of her heyday years abroad in Europe. She was a bright musical sensation. But, in 1939, something dark happened. Valaida's friend and fellow performer, Josephine Baker - who was a French Resistance fighter- pleaded with her to return to America with a vehement warning about the Nazis. But Valaida traveled to Denmark, one of the first countries that the Nazis invaded. Snow was arrested by the Nazi Germans and kept in a concentration camp at Wester-Faengle. After 18 months she was released as an exchange prisoner and returned to New York, near death and weighing only 65 pounds. Snow went back to the stage but she already psychologically scarred and was never the same again.

Jean Marcel Nicolas

Jean Marcel Nicolas, a Haitian Creole, was arrested by the Gestapo (Nazi Secret Police) in Paris and charged with collaborating with the French resistance. In 1943 he was sent to Fresnes prison, then transferred to Royallieu concentration camp near Paris. On January 1, 1944, he was registered at Buchenwald and given the number 44451. In October, he was transferred to Dora, then Mittelbau. Then he was transferred again to the subcamp Rottleberode. On April 4, 1945, approximately 2,000 inmates were marched from Rottleberode to Niederachswerfen, Germany. The inmates then embarked on two trains ostensibly for another camp. Nicolas was reportedly on one of these trains. After an Allied air attack, the trains had to be abandoned at Mieste and Zienau. At this point Nicolas disappears from history. (Excerpted and adapted from The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, edited by Michael Berenbaum and Abraham Peck.

Lieutenant Darwin Nichols

The African American pilot from Portland Oregon, was pronounced missing in action September 12, 1944. He was incarcerated in a Gestapo prison in March 1945. Blacks incarcerated by the Nazis (especially prisoners of war, who were kept separate from white POWs) often faced greater maltreatment than white inmates. It is believed that he was killed trying to escape. He fell into the Lahn river. His body was identified in June 1945. He is buried at the The Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium.

French prisoners-of-war being rounded up by German soldiers after the fall of France, June 1940

Gert Schramm

Gert Schramm, former inmate of the concentration camp Buchenwald, is a prominent member of the Afro-German community

In 1941, Gert Schramm's father, a black man from America who traveled to Europe to work at a construction company, was arrested for violating racial purity laws and having a child with a white German woman. In 1944, that black man's 15-year-old son, Gert Schramm was arrested by the Gestapo. The number 49489 was tattooed on his left arm at Buchenwald camp. Somehow, he survived and is one of the few still alive to tell his story.

Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed made history in Germany when he became the first black person to be given a memorial in his adopted country as an individual victim of the genocide of the Third Reich.

Tanzanian native Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed (also known as Bayume Mohamed Husen) was a young soldier serving in the German colonial army in German East Africa. After World War I, he moved to Germany, married a woman from the Sudetenland. Like many blacks in Germany at the time, he was cast in films that needed black people. Mohamed had sexual affairs with several German women and had children with them. The Nazis did not like that. Mohamed was arrested and charged with racial defilement. He languished in Sachsenhausen concentration camp without trial. He died there three years later.

Bin Adam is the first black person given a memorial in Germany as a victim of genocide by the Nazis. A memorial erected in 2007 stands in front of the house in Berlin where he lived. He is the subject of the book Truthful Till Death by Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst.

When we talk about the Holocaust and the horrors of the Nazi regime, we remember the persecution of the Jews. I was introduced to Anne Frank in my adolescent years. I spent many days engulfed in her diary. The imprints of my tears are still between the pages. It's a book that I cherish til this day.

I watched La vita è bella "Life Is Beautiful" in my high school senior literature class. I wished I could meet a man as funny as Guido Orefice, the Italian Jewish waiter and I wondered if I was as dainty as his lover, Dora. The little boy was one of the cutest I had ever seen. And when the Americans came to rescue him, I couldn't stop smiling.

The Jews, the homosexuals, the handicapped and mentally disabled, the Roma- all victims of Hitler's vision of the master race.

However, there's another set of people who we overlook over and over again.

People of African descent.

Children of African parentage

The Nazis did not have any systematic plan to eliminate them, but the Nazis did not make life easy for them either.

But let's go back in history.

There were not many blacks in Germany before World War I. After the war, the number of black in Germany multiplied. After defeat, Germany lost all its African colonies and as part of the peace Treaty of Versailles, Allied forces occupied its Rhineland region in Western Germany along the Rhine River. Black soldiers from French African colonies were deployed in Rhineland, alongside French troops. Firpo Carr in Germany's Black Holocaust: 1890-1945, estimates that over 200,000 French troops occupied the Rhineland region. We don't know how many of them were black. Many of the black soldiers came from Senegal, Morocco and Algeria.

The presence of black soldiers exacerbated racism and social hysteria among native Germans, who viewed their presence as an invasion.

Conservative voices blamed the black soldiers for raping and murdering German women. The panic attracted the attention of women's rights activists and religious groups who advocated for the withdrawal of the black troops.

"It is a serious violation of the laws of European civilization to use black troops to occupy the territory of a people as civilized and intelligent as the Germans," stated Friedrich Ebert, president of the Weimar Republic.

"The Nazis, at the time a small political movement, viewed them as a threat to the purity of the Germanic race," according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Even Pope Benedict XV asked for the removal of black troops in Europe. President Woodrow Wilson came under pressure to oversee the withdrawal of the black soldiers in Europe.

"The crimes supposed to have been perpetrated by the black soldiers of the occupation forces- as we know now from the original records - were no more significant than the crimes of white soldiers. However, the basic fear of the "anti-colored" movement in Germany, in Europe and in the United States was the possible impact of black people on the European social order and its culture," writes Professor Pommerin.

More black people immigrated to Germany after World War I from former German colonies. They came to Germany as colonial officers, students, artisans, performing artists and former soldiers.

Soon enough, black men and German women admired one another, some fell in love, some got married.

"The German government kept officially silent about these children for several reasons. First, the voluntary liaison of a German woman with a black soldier did not fit into the national concept of German womanhood."

Professor Reiner Pommerin, The Fate of Mixed Blood Children in Germany, Published in German Studied Review. Vol 5, No 3 (Oct. 1982) pp. 315 -323.

The children of black men (particularly black soldiers occupying Rhineland) and German women were called "Rhineland Bastards" or the "Black Disgrace" or "Rhineland Mischlingers" (mixing their blood with "alien" races).

Even before Adolf Hitler became the Reich Chancellor of Germany in 1933, the estimated 25,000 people of African descent living in Germany in the 1920s (a relatively small community in a country of about 65 million) already endured intense discrimination and were not allowed to acquire jobs in many places, particularly the military.

Black people (and people of African ancestry) living under the oppressive Adolf Hitler regime in Germany and Nazi-occupied lands from 1933 - 1945 endured all manner of persecution from incarceration to torture. They were not allowed to attend universities. Several medical and anthropological studies denigrated black people to scientific experimentation.

Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the idea of racial purity and he was disturbed by the growing number of mixed race children. There were reportedly more than 800 such children in the Rhineland and Hitler wanted to get rid of them "because he considered them an insult to the German nation."

"The mulatto children came about through rape or the white mother was a whore. In both cases, there is not the slightest moral duty regarding these offspring of a foreign race."

Hitler in Mein Kampf

When the Nazis came into power, many interracial couples fled Germany with their children. Many were forced to separate and were thrown in prison and camps if they refused. Others were killed by the Gestapo or SS.

Their children were medically sterilized.

Sterilization & Medical Experimentation

Enthusiasts of eugenics gave long-winded quasi-scientific arguments about the inferiority of mixed children. The secret sterilization program was brought to light in 1979 with the publication of a book by German historian Prof. Reiner Pommerin called Sterilisierung der Rheinlandbastarde. Das Schicksal einer farbigen deutschen Minderheit 1918 - 1937. (Sterilization of the Rhineland Bastards: the fate of a colored German minority 1918 - 1937)

The growing population of mixed race children frightened and angered Nazis. In 1920, the popular publication Medical Review featured an article by Dr. F. Rosenberger. The doctor wrote:

According to Professor Pommerin, many prominent members of society expressed alarm over the "Rhineland Bastards." One Protestant minister wrote several letters to the German Minister of Interior, which provoked the Minister to launch an investigation into the Rhineland Bastards.

Pommerin reports that on April 14, 1933, nine weeks after the Nazis took over, Herman Goring, Minister of the Interior, ordered an examination into the exact number of mixed blood children in Germany. Doctors took photographs and measured the bodies of mixed children. Dr. Wolfgag Abel of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut for Antrhopologie noted "that their education level was lower than that of German children of the same age. He described the children generally as uneducated, disorderly and violent. But he did not find any 'hereditary disease' - nor did he have a solution to the problem," according to Pommerin.

Then came the Nürnberg Laws.

"On July 14, 1933, a law was approved which sanctioned sterilization in cases of 'hereditary disease.' An amendment in 1936 allowed sterilization of alcoholics, but it made no mention of sterilization for individuals of mixed race. Another law prohibited people with Jewish or black ancestors from being farmers - to prevent the inheritance of German lands by non-Germans. Yet another law restricted civil servant appointments to persons of non-Aryan descent. These new race laws caught the attention of foreign countries, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their reaction caused the German Foreign Ministry to call for concentration of the laws 'only on Jews.' The laws were not changed by Frick, the new Minister of the Interior, was forced to make an official statement about the new German race policy. Because of this initiative on the part of the Foreign Ministry, the Nürnberg Race Laws of September 1935 incorporated the specification 'Jewish' in place of the earlier 'non-Aryan.' This was done in order to maintain friendly relations with countries with non-white populations towards some of whom Germany already harbored imperialistic intentions. Frick's statement had emphasized that German efforts with respect to race were directed specifically towards Jews in Germany and were not intended to reflect a judgement on the quality of other races. The exclusion of black students from the swimming pool at Tübingen and the cancellation of contracts with black musicians, among many other steps, revealed the true direction of Nazi race policy. Meanwhile, a secret meeting had taken place in Berlin in March 1935."

Pommerin reports that this group, called together by the Minister of Interior, met to discuss the "problem" of mixed raced children. Some of the attendants suggested sterilization to prevent the mixed race individuals from producing children, but there was still the fear of backlash from foreign governments. Others suggested sending the mixed race children to countries with large black populations and having them be raised there. The German government give the children "10,000 German marks" as compensation or resettlement fare. But this suggestion was eventually let go because it seemed expensive. Pommerin reports that the committee eventually decided to sterilize the children in a "top-secret operation," called Commission Number 3.

And so the sterilizations began.

". these children were taken from their homes or schools without parental permission and put before the commission. Once a child was decided to be of black descent, the child was taken immediately to a hospital and sterilized. many times without their parents' knowledge."

"J.F., of German nationality, born September 20, 1920, living in Mainz, is a descendant of the former colored Allied occupation forces, in this case from North Africa, and shows corresponding typical anthropological characteristics, for which reason he shall be sterilized.

C.M.B., of German nationality, born July 5, 1923, living in Koblenz, is a descendant of a member of the former Allied occupation forces, in this case an American negro, and shows corresponding typical anthropological characteristics, for which reason she shall be sterilized.

A.A. of German nationality, born March 14, 1920, living in Duisburg, is a descendant of a member of the former Allied occupation forces, in this case a negro from Madagascar, and shows corresponding typical anthropological characteristics, for which reason he shall be sterilized."

The Fate of Mixed Blood Children in Germany by Reiner Pommerin. German Studies Review. Vol. 5, No. 3 (Oct., 1982), pp. 315-323

Hans Hauck, a black Holocaust survivor, shares his sterilization experience in the documentary, "Black Survivors of the Holocaust", also called, "Hitler's Forgotten Victims. Hauck says he did not receive any anesthesia during the operation. After he received the sterilization certification, he was "free to go" and was told to ensure that he would not have sex with Germans.

Pommerin's revelations did not attract much public attention. But, according to the news outlet Deutsche Welle, one politician of the Social Democratic Party was interested and sought the names of the victims. He proposed to compensate those who were sterilized and give them 3,000 German marks, ($2,190).

Afro-German women who got pregnant were force to have an abortion, writes Martin Smith.

I could go on about the incarcerations, the bigotry, the internment, the murders of black people in the Nazi regime, but I will round off here.

This Black History Month, let's strive to learn new stories and unearth forgotten accounts.

USA Today gives a chilling account on the Germans' "Massacre of 100 black soldiers."

The story of the Liberian-German, Hans Massaquoi, who died at age 87 in 2013. He was a former managing editor of the American Ebony magazine and he wrote a memoir about his childhood in Nazi Germany. As a boy, Hans was sucked into the Nazi propaganda. Here he is in this iconic photo, the brown kid with a swastika stitched on his shirt.

His life was featured in a drama series that aired on German television a few years ago.

6 Answers 6

@SteveBird makes a good point. You would have to go a good way back to find any ancestor of Britain's present Queen who was actually born in Germany.

But the reason for so many Germans in the 18th & 19th centuries may have been due to the fact that there were so many German royals.

In 1866 there were 42 German states, including Austria and Prussia. Some were no larger than a good sized university campus. But they all had royals, or at least "electors" of some description.

So there were a lot of German princes and princesses available. It was the Hanoverians who got their hands on the British throne.

In contrast France dismissed its last Bourbon in 1830, and Britain its last Jacobite (arguably Scottish anyway) went in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, its last Tudor in 1603.

I will also try to answer the OP's question: Wouldn't it be more appealing to the common people if their King was one of their own, not someone imported from Germany who would have to learn the language of the country and shape his children to the culture of his subject nation?

The idea of a national identity did not start to gather traction in Europe until the French Revolution in 1789. Indeed prior to the 30 years war, ending in 1648, mainland Europe had been essentially governed by two great families - the Bourbons in Paris and the Habsburgs in Vienna.

People's loyalty was to their Emperor. And since the Habsburgs governed Spain as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and at times the Netherlands, a sense of ethnicity was not important. There are exceptions to this and Britain, an island nation, does have elements of nationhood that go back to earlier centuries.

People also felt a sense of identity with their confessional belief - Protestant or Catholic. That took priority over ethnicity before the late 18th century.

But it was the events in Paris and the wars of Napoleon that started to engender a spirit of ethnic nationalism. Nowhere does this catch on more than in Germany. All kinds of strange devices are invented to bond people together - German Eagles, Scottish kilts etc. And languages start to be rationalised into nationwide systems. (Prior to Louis XIV more than half the territory of what is now France never spoke anything which was recognisably French. The trend to a national tongue was accelerated after the Revolution.)

There were no great international sporting events like the Olympic Games, or the World Cup where fans could wear their country's colours, national anthems be played etc. All that started in the 19th century. So prior to then people were perhaps not that concerned where their rulers came from as long as they had enough to eat.

Two reasons, sheer volume and the Holy Roman Empire. Germany has an incredibly vast number of royal families which increased their odds of succeeding a throne upon either intermarriage or death without an heir. This plus the HRE caused the rapid expansion of the Karling, Luxembourg, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg dynasties in the Middle Ages, uniting almost all of Western Europe under German dynasties early on. Then when France started flexing its own noble power, the Germans turned east to marry into the royalty of Hungary, Russia, Poland and the Balkans. At this point every European dynasty is either German in name or in bloodline.

Some people say that the Holy Roman Empire had a lot of royal families. But at anyone time there is only one royal family per kingdom. In the earlier middle ages the Holy Roman Emperor was sometimes the over lord of several different European kingdoms with their own royal families.

The previously more or less hereditary positions of king of Germany and King of Italy or Lombardy were united with the position of Emperor in 962 when Otto I the Great, King of Germany and Italy, was crowned Emperor. The previously hereditary position of King of Arles or Burgundy was united with the position of Emperor in 1032.

So the Holy Roman Empire, and the Kingdom of Germany within it, didn't have lots of royal families.

What Germany did have a lot of was princely families. The princes (fursten) of the Holy Roman Empire were individually the first men in their principalities and collectively the first men in the Empire as a whole.

A noble counted as a prince of the Empire if he ruled an immediate fief directly subordinate to the emperor and had one of the princely titles which ran from lowest to highest as:

A number of states and fiefs were also ruled by clergy, including Bishops, Archbishops, Abbots, and Abbesses, and some of them counted as princes of the Empire.

There were also hundreds of small immediate fiefs ruled by the imperial knights, who didn't count as princes. And there were a number of Free Imperial Cities.

And of course there were many fiefs ruled by nobles who were vassals of other nobles and who thus didn't count as princes of the Empire.

In the earlier middle ages European royal families married with nobles in their own kingdoms and foreign nobles as well as with other royal families. But in the later middle ages and modern times the royal families of Europe married almost exclusively only members of other royal families, becoming a separate caste which has only begun to marry with other families in the last few generations. In fact in many countries royals who married beneath them lost the right to pass on the throne to their descendants.

But the princely families of the Holy Roman Empire and Germany were the exception to that rule. They were considered much higher than nobles with equivalent titles in other European countries and high enough to intermarry with royal families, in part because they continued to rule principalities when most other nobles had lost their right to rule fiefs.

If European royal families had considered the German princely dynasties to be beneath them and not suitable marriage partners, they would have had a hard time finding suitable marriage partners, since there were usually only about ten separate catholic royal families in Europe in the later middle ages. When royal families stopped marrying with ordinary nobles in their kingdoms and foreign kingdoms and became a separate royal caste, they had to include the German princely dynasties within that caste in order to have enough suitable potential marriage partners.

After the Protestant Reformation caused a split between various Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church, it became rare for royalty to marry members of the other side of the split. Thus it became even more necessary for European royalty to consider German princely families of the same faith as equal and valid marriage partners in order to have enough potential marriage partners.

Thus as a result of those intermarriages, it became possible for a person to inherit both a principality within the Holy Roman Empire and a kingdom outside it. For example, for about half a year in 1762 there were 10 persons who ruled both fiefs and principalities within the Holy Roman Empire and kingdoms or nations outside of it.

After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 there were tens of former principalities in Germany which were now independent states, even though only a minority of their rulers took the title of king. And many of those states remained as semi independent states in the German Empire between 1871 and 1918. So until 1918 Germany had many reigning princes and dukes who were considered almost the equal of royal families in other countries, as well as mediatised (formerly ruling) families which were still considered to be of almost royal rank.

Thus during the 19th century many members of the German princely dynasties married into European royal families and sometimes inherited their thrones, while other members were considered, and sometimes selected, to become the new monarchs of newly independent countries.

English or Spanish or French nobles wouldn't have been considered to become the monarchs of new kingdoms because their status was so much lower than that of the almost royal status of the German princely dynasties.

So that is why the majority of the European royal families in the 19th and 20th centuries were descended in the male line from royal or princely dynasties ruling in Germany.

Politics and Government

On the whole, Germans in America have been reluctant to participate in politics. They arrived without the necessary language skills, even if they had not lacked a tradition that conditioned them for political participation. Thus, at the national level, the first and most prominent German figure in American politics was Carl Schurz, who was influential in the election of Abraham Lincoln, served as ambassador to Spain, became a general in the Civil War, later was elected U.S. senator from Missouri, and finally was appointed Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford Hayes. At the state level, too, the Germans seem to have avoided public office. Except for John P. Altgeld, the German-born governor of Illinois from 1893 to 1897, no German was ever elected to head an American state. Even in the U.S. Senate, few German-born and a surprisingly small number of German Americans have ever entered that upper house.

Not until Dwight D. Eisenhower was there an American president with a German surname. Eisenhower's ancestors were colonial Pennsylvania Germans who had moved to Texas and then Kansas, but certainly this president was no friend of Germans. Political scientists have shown how strongly the Germans came to resent Franklin Roosevelt and General Eisenhower for their defeat of Germany during World War II. This resulted in a fading from Democratic Party support until the candidacy of President Harry Truman in 1948. During that campaign the German American electorate returned in droves to their traditional Democratic Party, handing Truman a surprise victory over Republican Thomas E. Dewey. Apparently, Truman's strong stand against Stalin at Potsdam, his subsequent anti-communist actions in Greece, and his May 1948 decision to save Berlin by airlift aided his November reelection chances with German Americans. There was no similar outpouring for Eisenhower in 1952, who won in spite of only mild German support.


Occupationally, the Germans were skilled in such trades as baking, carpentry, and brewing. They were also laborers, farmers, musicians, and merchants. According to the 1870 census figures, 27 percent of German Americans were employed in agriculture, 23 percent in the professions, and 13 percent in trades and transportation. By 1890, however, some 45 percent reportedly were laborers or servants, perhaps as a result of industrial workers' migration rather than a farmers' migration. This may explain why the labor movement in the United States gained considerable impetus from its German component.

The mid-nineteenth century witnessed the introduction of the communist ideologies of Wilhelm Weitling (1808-1871) and Joseph Weydemeyer (1818-1866), which gave impetus to early struggles for social and economic reform. The International Workingmen's Association in America was founded in 1869 as the first of the communist and socialist groups in America and its membership was predominantly German American. And in 1886, German American anarchists were also instrumental in the forming of the labor movement implicated in the infamous Chicago Haymarket bombing during the labor strikes of that period. Had it not been for the greater need for workers to unite against their employers and join the American Federation of Labor (AFL), German trade unions might have been consolidated in the late 1880s. In future years many leaders of American labor were German American, including Walter Reuther, who fought on the picket lines during the 1930s before becoming president of the AFL-CIO following World War II. For German immigrants, labor union membership enabled them to not only improve working conditions, it helped them to form a solidarity with workers from other ethnic backgrounds.


During the period from 1945 to 1990, the United States, with allies Great Britain and France, officially occupied West Germany, each in a special zone. The Americans occupied Bavaria, the Rhine-Main Frankfurt, and Palatinate areas. Each country was also allocated a sector in the capital of Berlin. During the Cold War, dramatic confrontations focused on Berlin because it lay 110 miles behind the Iron Curtain. For 11 months in 1948 and 1949, the Soviets noosed a land blockade around the city, only to have the Allies supply the needs of two million inhabitants by air. For example, when the city's electrical power supply was severed, West Berliners lived in darkness until an entire generating plant could be flown in and assembled on site.

After Khrushchev met John F. Kennedy at a June summit in Vienna, East German border police erected the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961. Throughout the Cold War, the wall was an important political symbol. It figured in the political phraseology of each U.S. president, most prominently in Kennedy's "Ich bein ein Berliner" speech at the city hall, which endeared him to Berliners for all time. After the collapse of Communism the wall was dismantled in 1990. Today a small portion of the wall stands as a museum. Before unification of the two Germanies on October 3, 1990, the four World War II Allied victors' flags were lowered from the Komandatura palace in Berlin. Thus ended four decades of control, returning Germany to full international autonomy, which further restored the confidence of Americans in their German descent. With its strong economy and continuous universal military conscription, Germany remains the linchpin of NATO and the core member in the European Community.

Labor Issues and the German-American Community

Breweries were an important part of the labor movement of the nineteenth century. Early breweries were small, often just the master brewer and a few workers, reflecting the traditional master-journeymen-apprentice division of labor, even if the apprenticeship system for brewing did not catch on in the United States. As the breweries grew, of course the workforces they hired did as well. Days were long fourteen to eighteen hours a day, six days a week, plus six to eight hours on Sundays, were common. As one union publication noted:

&hellipit might be said that they were always working except when they were asleep. [In 1863,] a foreman malter from Buffalo report[ed]&hellip &ldquoWork began at five o'clock in the morning, and, with the exception of an hour for breakfast and for dinner, it lasted until six in the evening. At eight the men went to work again, in order to finish their floor and kiln work, which lasted until half-past nine or ten o'clock.&rdquo[64]

In the 1870s and 1880s the day often began at four in the morning, and sometimes as early as two a.m., with the workday continuing until dark the following evening. It&rsquos telling that in 1889, when St. Louis brewery workers got a new contract, their union succeeded in reducing their work week to twelve hours a day, six days a week. Wages for these long hours were not generous. In the 1860s they averaged about twenty to twenty-five dollars a month (in annual terms, between $5,100 and $5,670 in 2010 dollars), increasing to about fourteen dollars a week by the 1880s (in annual terms, about $17,400 in 2010 dollars).[65] One benefit was the sternewirth, the traditional German brewery beverage privilege, providing the worker all the free beer he could consume. This, supposedly, made up for the long hours, but it could also lead to alcoholism. Some breweries provided room and board, which in a small brewery might simply mean that the workers lived with the brewery owner&rsquos family. Larger breweries could contract with local boarding houses, which also sold the brewery&rsquos beer, copying a practice common in the German system where boarding houses were established specifically for journeymen to live. Some brewers charged for room and board, often about five dollars a week, which could significantly decrease a worker&rsquos salary. Sometimes the &ldquoroom&rdquo in &ldquoroom and board&rdquo was simply allowing the exhausted worker to sleep on a hops sack in the brewery. Finally, violence in the workplace was not uncommon, as managers could strike workers as a disciplinary measure.[66]

Most breweries were still very small, five or six workers were the norm, including the owner/brewer. The number of employees on average in American breweries doubled from 1870 to 1880 and then doubled again from 1880 to 1890 when the average had increased to twenty-six workers per brewery, and the majority were still from the German-American community. These larger numbers included foremen, but not necessarily the owner except in the smallest firms. Working conditions varied, although the work was always hard, and the conditions often unpleasant. The brew kettles had to be kept hot, which could lead to stifling conditions. In 1888 ten brewery workers died of heatstroke in St. Louis alone during the hot summer. On the other extreme, working in the cold lagering vaults and ice houses could lead to rheumatism. Workers who were too old to work elsewhere might find themselves in the bottle shop, at least after 1880 when bottling became more common. This could also be dangerous as over-pressurized bottles could explode into the worker&rsquos eyes. It says something about this period of industrialization, however, that conditions in other industries were often worse, and breweries rarely, if ever, lacked for workers. One benefit, at least, was that brewery workers were able to control the pace of their labor, notwithstanding the spread of mechanization, a condition that gradually disappeared in most other industrialized workplaces over the final decades of the nineteenth century.[67]

Brewery unions&rsquo strength waxed and waned through the labor battles in the decades after the Civil War. Even before 1860 there were brewers&rsquo aid associations organized by and for brewery workers. For example in Cincinnati in 1850, the German workers in the city held a mass meeting to discuss forming &ldquoassociations&rdquo influenced by the ideas of Christian communist Wilhelm Christian Weitling. The association created committees for each industry, including brewery workers, but the organization apparently did not last long. In 1860 New York German brewers formed &ldquoThe Original Brewers&rsquo and Coopers&rsquo Guard&rdquo which included workers and the brewery owners alike. They organized a mutual aid society in 1867 which lasted into the twentieth century. Its original president was John Christian Glaser Hüpfel, a first-generation German-American, who owned the Hüpfel Brewing Company.[68]

The brewery workers&rsquo union effort was especially notable in New York City, led by German workers. In 1872 a general strike of construction workers demanding an eight-hour day inspired the brewery workers to demand shorter working hours and better pay. Lacking an effective organization the nascent strike failed, broken up by police. Their pay did increase somewhat, from $40 a month on average to $52 a decade later (i.e., from approximately $737 per month to $1,140 per month, in 2010 dollars).[69] German brewery workers in Cincinnati hoped to follow suit, but efforts to organize in 1877 and 1878 failed. In late 1879, however, they formed the Brauer Gesellen Union, which joined the local Central Trades Assembly, thus allying with other workers&rsquo organizations. In 1881 the Brauer Gesellen Union decided that no brewery would be considered &ldquounion&rdquo unless a majority of workers employed there were members. Furthermore, they presented the city&rsquos breweries with a series of demands: replacing the thirteen-hour day with a ten-and-one-half-hour work day, six days a week, and the eight-hour Sunday work shift with a four-hour day a minimum wage of $60 a month (or $1,320 in 2010 dollars) and permission for workers to arrange room and board wherever they pleased, freeing them from having to rent from their employers. Only four of the two dozen breweries in Cincinnati agreed and workers at the others went on strike. Unfortunately for the workers, while the smaller breweries sometimes gave in to their demands, the largest companies held firm and the strike eventually failed. The union lost many members, but they did win some of their demands, including a reduced work day. So the strike was not a total failure, especially as a similar strike in St. Louis at the same time failed to win the workers any concessions.[70]

That same spring 1881, the Brewery Workers&rsquo Union attempted a strike against the entire New York City brewing industry. It began with an accident at the Peter Doelger Brewery, one of the largest in New York, originally founded by Bavarian emigrants Joseph and Peter Doelger. Four workers were killed in a fire that started after an industrial accident at the brewery. The coroner&rsquos report blamed the foreman and lax safety procedures. The press emphasized not the unsafe conditions but blamed workers drinking on the job for the accident. The notable exception was the German workers&rsquo paper, the New Yorker Volkszeitung, which attributed the tragedy to the poor working conditions. Brewery workers formed a new union, led by German workers and urged on by the Volkszeitung. When some of the breweries began firing workers that joined, the Volkszeitung rallied support from the Piano Makers&rsquo Union, dominated by German migrants, and the German Cigar Makers&rsquo Union as well as the local carpenters&rsquo and joiners&rsquo unions which were also heavily German. With German workers from a variety of different trades boycotting beer from the anti-union companies, the brewery management backed down and recognized the new organization.

This emboldened the new union and they attempted a wider strike, despite the warnings of the other German labor groups that they were not yet strong enough. They should have heeded the warnings. The strike failed and the union collapsed. However, by 1884 brewery workers in New York City were forming a new organization as part of the Knights of Labor. In the spring of 1885, the Doelger brewery fired several workers for union activity. The union called for a boycott of the brewery&rsquos products, and the brewery was forced to back down. Peter Doelger agreed to the union&rsquos demands and even paid $1,000 (or $23,400 in 2010 dollars) to reimburse the union for some of the boycott&rsquos cost. The 1885 success against Doelger was unique. The major breweries in New York City after the strike actually encouraged workers to join and went so far as to threaten workers who did not. By 1886, 90% of the city&rsquos brewery workers were members, which, ironically, gave the brewery owners greater control of their workforce because the union now existed because the owners allowed it to do so.[71]

There were limitations to boycotts. They were difficult to organize against multiple businesses in the same city. This was an issue in New York, as the brewery workers struggled to convince workers not to buy from the companies being boycotted which provided most of the beer for the entire city. That meant getting support from not only those workers immediately affected, but by different groups of consumers in general, workers, and middle class alike. In extreme cases this meant importing union-made beer so consumers had an alternative. Boycotting a single company, or a small group of companies, was more practical, and statistics from New York between 1885 to 1892 show that boycotts were most frequently employed against smaller-scale producers where there was sufficient competition to allow consumers to take their business elsewhere. Finally, for a boycott to succeed, it sometimes had to gain support from other businesses. For brewery boycotts this meant winning support from saloon-keepers, bar-tenders and liquor dealers. Because a significant number of these retailers were also German, such labor battles would be fought out within a city&rsquos German community.[72]

Ethnic groups

The Germans, in their various changes of territory, inevitably intermingled with other peoples. In the south and west they overran Celtic peoples, and there must at least have been sufficient communication for them to adopt the names of physical features such as rivers and hills the names Rhine, Danube, and Neckar, for example, are thought to be of Celtic origin. Similarly, in occupying the Slavic lands to the east, Germans seem to have taken over and reorganized the Slavs along with their established framework of rural and urban settlements, many of which, along with numerous physical features, still bear names of Slavic origin. The same is true of family names. In addition, large numbers of immigrants added to the mixture: French Huguenots at the end of the 16th century, Polish mine workers in the Ruhr at the end of the 19th, White Russians in Berlin after the communist revolution of 1917, and stateless “displaced persons” left behind by World War II.

Prior to the 1950s there were few ethnic minorities in Germany, except Jews, whose population was decimated during the Holocaust. A population of Slavic-speaking Sorbs (Wends), variously estimated at between 30,000 and an improbable 100,000, have survived in the Lusatia (Lausitz) area, between Dresden and Cottbus, and a small number of Danish speakers can still be found in Schleswig-Holstein, even after the Versailles boundary changes there. Of the so-called “guest workers” (Gastarbeiter) and their families who immigrated to Germany beginning in the mid-1950s, the largest group is of Turkish ancestry. Distinct both culturally and religiously, they are scattered throughout German cities. Even more culturally distinct groups have been added by asylum seekers from countries such as Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and the opening of the eastern frontiers brought many more immigrants, including several thousand Jews seeking religious and ethnic tolerance and economic opportunity.

By the beginning of the 21st century, nearly one-tenth of the population—some eight million people—were non-German. More than one million migrants entered Germany in 2015 alone, and a populist xenophobic backlash soon followed. This fueled the rise of the far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland AfD) party.

Germans Dominate - History

The people whom we call the "Germans," and who call themselves "die Deutschen," are a branch of the Teutonic race, which, again, belongs to the great Aryan family. At what time the Teutons broke away from their Aryan kinsfolk we have no means of knowing. In the 4th century B.C., when they are first mentioned, they were settled along the shore of the Baltic Sea but long before that time the race must have scattered itself far and wide over the countries now known as Scandinavia and Germany, and the Scandinavians and the Germans were gradually marked off from each other by important differences in languages, in customs, and in institutions.

At the time of Tacitus, whose Germania is our chief authority as to the condition of ancient Germany, central Europe was in the possession of a large number of German tribes. These tribes did not call themselves by a common name. The word "German" is of Celtic origin, meaning, according to some philologers, "shouters," according to other, "neighbours." It seems to have been applied by the Gauls in the first instance to a particular German tribe with which they were in conflict, and afterwards to the whole people. The word "Deutsch" (Goth, Thiuda, the people) does not occur till the 9th century, and was not used in the sense now given to it for time later. Although without a common name, the ancient Germans believed that they had a common origin, all of them regarding as their forefather Mannus, the first man, the son of the god Tuisco. Mannus was supposed to have had three sons, from whom had sprung the Istaevones, the Ingaevones, and the Herminones. These groups were without political significance, but they seem to have marked real distinctions. The Istaevones were the tribes with whom the Romans were brought most into contact, occupying, as they did, both banks of the Rhine. The lands held by those of them on the left bank were divided by the Romans into "Germania Superior" and "Germania Inferior," the chief tribe of the latter being the Ubii, who had an important settlement on the site of what is now Cologue. On the right bank, from the Lippe to the Ruhr, were the Usipetes and Tencteri, and to the north of them the Sicambri and the Bructeri the land now called Hesse appears to have been inhabited by the Chatti. On the island formed by the Meuse and an arm of the Rhine were the Batavi. The second great group, the Ingaevones, among whom were the Frisii, the Chauci, and the Cherusci, were settled along the shores of the North Sea, and inland along the banks of the Wesser and the Ems. The Herminones were much more numerous than either of the two other groups they held the greater part of central and eastern Germany, reaching as far as the Vistula and the Carpathians. Most prominent among them were the Suevi, a great confederation of tribes which included the Marcomanni, the dwellers in what is now Bohemia, and the Semnones, who held what is now Lusatia and Brandenburg. Oether Herminones were the Hermunduri, in and around the Thuringian forest the Lombards, at the mouth of the Elbe the vandals, at the upper parts of the same river the Heruli, to the west of the Vistula and the Quadi, in what is now Moravia.

The ancient Germans were a tall and vigorous race, with long fair hair and what Tacitus calls "fiercely blues eyes." They wore mantles of fur or of coarse woolen stuff, thrown over the shoulders and fastened by a thorn or a pin. Their dwellings were wooden huts of slight construction, the inner walls of which they roughly coloured, and in which cattle were sometimes accommodated with the family. War and the chase were the favourite occupations of the men and when engaged neither in fighting nor in hunting they often lay idly by the hearth, leaving peaceful work to women and to males incapable of bearing arms. They liked social gatherings, but after a time conversation usually gave place to drunkenness, quarreling, or excessive gambling. Although violent and cruel in moments of excitement, they were rarely treacherous, and in the ordinary intercourse of life they appear to have been kindly and considerate. They cherished the memory of illustrious ancestors, and listened often and with delight to songs celebrating their famous deeds.

The bulk of the people were freemen, who alone exercised political rights. They inherited their position, and the sign of their dignity was that they always carried arms. A limited class of freemen where nobles, whole sole privilege seems to have been that they were more respected on account of their birth than their neighbours, and more easily acquired a leading place in public life. Each freeman had slaves, who were chiefly prisoners of war and their offspring, and persons condemned to slavery for crime. They had no legal rights as against their owners, but in practice they were well treated. The Liti, composed mostly of freedmen, stood between freemen and slaves. A freeman necessarily either possessed land or was a member of a family that did the Liti could only hold land of a superior with whom they shared the produce. If any one killed a noble, a freeman, ort one of the Liti, he had to pay to the relatives a fine called afterwards the wergild, and the amount was determined by the class to which the murdered man belonged.

Great importance was attributed to family relations. Instead of the bridegroom, looking for a dowry, he was expected to present his bride with a valuable gift which should remain her property throughout life. The wife was completely subject to her husband, and is she proved unfaithful, custom allowed him to cut of her hair and to whip her through the village in which she lived but this punishment had seldom to be inflicted, the German women being famous for their chastity. They were treated as friends by their husbands, who had a high respect for their judgment, and whom they often accompanied in distant expeditions. The children, over whom the father had absolute control were hardily trained, boys being early taught the use of weapons, and girls devoting themselves to domestic duties. Relatives were held in great esteem, and, when the head of a household died, it was considered their duty to guard the interests of his family.

Many freemen lived apart from all others with their families and dependents, but the majority were grouped in villages. The land around a village—its "mark"—originally belonged to the community, and was periodically divided among the inhabitants. About the beginning of the Christian era, however, the arable land was mostly in the possession of individual freemen, the forest and waste places being almost the only common property. A number of villages made a hundred, and the "gau," if the word existed so early, may have been a higher division, although it was more probably the name for the whole land of the tribe. Each village had its chief, elected by the freemen, but the important chiefs were the heads of the hundreds and the head of the tribe, whom the power had not other source than that of other, now was it more extensive their only distinction was that they were chosen from particular noble families supposed to have sprung from the gods. The chiefs of the hundreds and of the tribes had the right of gathering around them hands of followers and they never failed to exercise it, vying with each other in the number and quality of the young men whom they attracted to their service. These young men whom they attracted to their service. These young men were generally eager for active duty, and if the tribe was at peace an adventurous chief would often give them an opportunity of distinguishing themselves by taking part in the wars of other communities. They swore to be faithful to him, and he in return supplied them with horses, with armour, and with food. The authority of the chief was extremely limited, the constitution of ancient German society being essentially democratic. Every village, hundred, and tribe had its periodical assembly, and those assemblies were attended by all freemen, no one of whom had higher rights than his fellows. Before the meeting of the assembly of the tribe, the king or other supreme chief would consult with the chiefs of the hundreds, whom formed his council but the final decision rested with the freemen, whom they could influence only by persuasion. At this assembly the chiefs were elected and in its presence freemen clad their sons in the armour which indicated that they had attained the rights of citizenship. It declared war and made peace, permitted the chiefs with their followers to undertake war-like expeditions, and settled all disputed cases of justice.

The army was not distinct institution it was made up of the whole body of freedmen, all of whom were liable at any moment to be called to service. Each had a long shield and spear, the cavalry having no other armour. The infantry were provided also with missile weapons, of which they made dexterous use, and occasionally wielded clubs and battle-axes. The men of each hundred kept together in war, and were commanded by their chief, the supreme command being undertaken by the head of the tribe, or entrusted to a "Herzog" appointed by the army. In the event of several tribes uniting, a Herzog was chosen by the chiefs of the allied communities. The Germans rushed upon their enemies with fury, shouting or chanting as they did so, and adding to the noise by putting their shields to their months. To throw away the shield in panic was perhaps the worst crime of a German and most persons guilty of it committed suicide in an agony of remorse and shame.

The religion of the ancient Germans was essentially the same as that of their Scandinavian kinsmen, but our sources of information respecting it are few and imperfect. The highest place among the gods was held by Wuotan or Wodan, the Scandinavian Odin. The Romans identified him with Mercury, and the mediaeval German writers, in referring to him, follow their example. He was the god on the air and of the sky, and was looked upon as the giver of the fruits of the earth. He delighted in battle and in the chase, and was represented as an imposing figure in a large white mantle, riding upon white horse. Along with him the Germans worshipped Donar, the Scandinavian Thor, to whom Tacitus seems to refer in speaking of Hercules as a German divinity. He was the god of thunder and of the weather, and was armed with a hammer or thunderbolt. In later times the Germans supposed him to be Jupiter. He presided over marriage, and controlled the operations of agriculture and to him were sacred the oak and the mountains ash, the bear and the ram. Another great divinity was Ziu or Tiu, the Scandibavian Tyr, the god of war, whom Tacitus speaks of as Mars, and whose symbol was the sword. Tacitus says that a powerful goddess called Nerthus was worshipped on the shores of the Baltic he also mentions Isis as a goddess of the Suevic tribea. Both names evidently refer to the same divinity. On the coasts her symbol was a ship inland, it was a wagon in some districts she was represented with the plough. Like Donar, she presided over marriage she also watched over the house and the fields, was the giver and protector of children, and ruled the world of the dead. At a later time she was known to the Saxons as Fria or Frigg, to the Franks as Holds, to the Bavarians as Perchta,—the first name indicating her freedom of manner, the second her kindness, the third her splendour. In the Scandinavian mythology Frigg is the wife of Odin and to this day, it is said, the peasants in certain parts of Low Germany speak of Fru Fricke, the wife of the wild hunter Wod. The mythology of the Germans, like that of the Scandinavians, included the three sisters of fate, two of whom were fair and good, and third dark and evil. Beneath the gods were giants, elves, and dwarfs. After death, it was believed, good men were received into Walhalla any by good men were meant warriors who never shrank in battle—above all, warriors who died fighting. The Germans were profoundly influenced by their religious faith, and both in daily life and on special occasions attended scrupulously to the duties and precautions it was supposed to involve. Each god and goddess had its and her own festival, and their images were preserved in sacred groves. Sacrifices were offered to them, and their will was discovered by means of lots, the neighing of wild horses, and the flight of birds. Priests, without dominating the whole of life, exercised considerable influence, especially when the freemen met in public assembly, and when they were advancing against an enemy.