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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

PHILOSOPHERS  AND   SOPHISTS                    445

Low German earth resplendent in his chiaroscuro. Langbehn,
too, as a violent individualist, rejected Socialism as a reversion to
primitive massing by herds. Salvation, he foretold, would come
when the German masses and the separate States are welded to-
gether by a mighty Low German leader transfigured with the
cultural radiance of his race ('Z# einem Volk gehbrt notwendig ein
Fuhrer'\ and with this race-welding would go the incorporation
of Holland and the Scandinavian lands.

Race worship is yet more extravagant in the notorious book of
a renegade Englishman born at Portsmouth, HOUSTON STEWART
CHAMBERLAIN (i 8 5 5-1927): DieGrundlagendes ip.Jahrhunderts^yc)-
1904). The base of his philosophy is the idea of the self-willed re-
generation of a nation fyolkisch-seelische Erneuerung*}, possible in the
creative Aryan race, which is contrasted with the inferior Semitic
race. There was more of the substance of thought, perhaps, in

ARTUR MOELLER VAN DEN BRUCK'S (1876-1925) DaS Dritte Reid

(1923). His doctrine is based on his conception of 'das 'Primitive*;
in his studies of Italian art he stumbles on the discovery that
Italian beauty was based on "das Germanische\ But Italian culture
- and Romance culture generally - is exhausted; the Germans, on
the other hand, are still 'primitive': therefore their future is to
come. The Germans, too, with their eternally young idealism, are
immune against the rationalism which has eaten up the vitality of
other races. 'Wir sind heute\ he says, 'new Deutsche', nach Gescbichte
und*Bestimmung> nach Nut und Gesinnung, sine new Nation aufder ErdeS
Das Dritte ~R.eicb was a best-seller, and more than anything else
familiarized the term. The author committed suicide before his
dream was realized. This 'Third Empire', according to the doctrines
of Hitler's friend, the Russian-born ALFRED ROSENBERG (1893-
1946), which he expounds in Der My thus des 20. Jabrhunderts (1931)
and B/ut und Ehre, must be based on 'Nordic' culture, the only
possible ideal of a German 'Volkstum*. The attempt to displace
Christianity is due mainly to Rosenberg's preaching; he explains
as follows what his faith in the 'myth of blood5 is: 'der Glaube, mit
dem TSlute auch dasgottliche Wesm der Menschen uberhaupt %u verteidigen,
der mit bellstem Wissen verkorperte Glaube, doss das nordische Blutjenes
Mysterium darstellt, das die alten Sakramente ersetetfunduberwunden hat.*
This is the philosophy approved by those in authority. But it
may be that future historians of literature will give far greater
prominence to that literature of revolt which no authority was