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Alfred Rosenberg in Translation

Alfred Rosenberg, 1893–1946

1,707 words

Contemporary society in decline, the sudden, massive implosion of Western civilization, the biological extermination of the white race—the entire collective phenomenon—has many bizarre facets.

Reason and empiricism have been banished, outlawed by governments or suppressed by dominant cultural elites and institutions in a manner essentially replicative of Communism. Bizarre fantasies and cult beliefs of the most primitive sort reign in their stead.

In particular, the history of Germany, 1933–1945, has been subsumed to the needs of a bizarre new religious cult. Its elaborate mythology, in which Jews crucified at Auschwitz supplant Jesus Christ, their lives sacrificed not for the salvation of mankind, but to justify the physical extermination of the white race (Evil, the Devil) and the deification and elevation of Jews over all other peoples on Earth, was constructed and imposed during the lifetimes of people who actually lived through the historical events, proving the supremacy of collective social constructions, even false ones, over the limited personal experiences of individuals. Surprised National Socialists formally accused of genocide universally responded with half-belief: “This is the first I’ve heard of it!”

The central problem for honest individuals seeking an understanding of the Germany of that era is the recovery of historical truth, the discovery of what actually happened. This is not easy, and requires a desire and ability to crawl out from beneath the now-massive rubble of religious dogma that crushes the life out of us all.

And yet, the truth about Germany is vital, more important for us to discover, explore, understand, and embrace, than is the truth about any other segment of white history that has been grotesquely twisted and distorted by our enemies. For it is the only place where whites, under modern conditions essentially identical to our own, have demonstrated unequivocally that they do possess a latent capacity to think and act effectively in their own interests, to preserve themselves as a race and civilization, to burst asunder the shackles of those who hate them and are determined to destroy them utterly.

Nevertheless, the obstacles blocking the way of adventurous intellectual heretics are many.

A major one is the language barrier that has long divided the European peoples. It is one factor that has conned white Americans or Englishmen into believing that Jews and blacks are their fellow countrymen, while Germans are “evil Huns” or some other bizarre form of stranger.

Even German Americans only one or two generations removed from their European roots fought to the death against the evil Huns, or for unconditional surrender: General John J. Pershing, WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Carl Spaatz, Admiral Chester Nimitz, General Albert Wedemeyer, WWII fighter pilot Chuck Yeager, Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie—not to mention scores of officers and soldiers in the ranks.

Language, as a major psychological determinant of identity, played no small role in this.

When important books or documents in German are unavailable or not readily accessible in translation, then the facts, ideas, and information they contain effectively do not exist for non-German speakers of every European nationality.

Thirty years ago Alfred Rosenberg was widely referred to as the Nazis’ chief ideologist. You don’t hear that description much anymore, but back then it was common. Of course, he was invariably belittled.

Rosenberg, a Baltic German from Estonia who was hanged at Nuremberg in 1946, studied architecture at the Riga Polytechnical Institute and received his Ph.D. in engineering at the Moscow Highest Technical School in 1917. He developed a fierce hatred for Communism, which he experienced first hand after November 1917. Arriving in Munich as a penniless refugee in 1919, his German was initially poor and highly accented. He was looked upon by some in top NS circles as a foreigner, an outsider; they gossiped about nonexistent Mongolian or Jewish ancestry—a fate also suffered by Freikorps activist, author, and Third Reich screenwriter Ernst von Salomon because of his Jewish-sounding name.

A member of the völkisch and occult Thule Society, Rosenberg in 1941 was named Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, in which capacity he established a think tank for the study of “Judaism without Jews.”

In the 1970s, as now, Nazis were the great bugbear of the ruling class and its academic priesthood.

As an inquisitive student of political science and history, I was much interested in reading Rosenberg’s masterwork The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts) (1930), a kind of sequel to Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s classic bestseller The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts) (1899). By 1936 Rosenberg’s book had sold more than half a million copies, and by 1944 more than a million. What better way to assess the unique evil of Nazism?

Heavy-handed hate speech and other Communist-inspired limitations on intellectual freedom had not yet been imposed. And volumes of the complete works of Marx, Lenin, and even Stalin graced the university’s bookshelves—I’d looked into them.

 

So imagine my surprise—and I was surprised!—at discovering that neither The Myth of the Twentieth Century nor any other work by Rosenberg was available in English translation. That seemed incomprehensible to me, completely anomalous. The simple absence of any work by Rosenberg in translation made a lasting impression upon me.

 

There existed in English at the time only one book: a slender, edited collection of excerpts from the Myth and a few other works called Alfred Rosenberg, Race and Race History and Other Essays, edited and introduced by Robert Pois (1970).

 

The book was part of a series, Roots of the Right, whose general editor was the chauvinist Jew George Steiner. At the time I was clueless about Jews, so his name meant nothing to me.

 

In his brief Editor’s Preface, Steiner wrote that “Reliable estimates put at about seventy million the figure of those dead through war, revolution and famine in Europe and Russia between 1914 and 1945.”

It is clear from the context that the author was loosely tallying the total number of victims of both Communism and Nazism.

But his series was not about Communism, nor did Steiner so much as mention the word Communist or the name of a single Communist in his preface. Instead, everything was Fascism, Nazism, the Falange, Gobineau, de Maistre, Maurras, Primo de Rivera, France, Germany, Italy, Spain. Steiner deliberately and falsely conveyed the impression to his readers that the 70 million dead were murdered solely by the Right with its “often lunatic and nakedly barbaric” vision.

Steiner continued, “The most ‘radical’ attack—’radical’ in that it demands a total revaluation of man’s place in society and of the status of the different races in the general scheme of power and human dignity—has come from the Right.” And because the political and philosophical program of the Right “has come so near to destroying our civilization and is so still alive, it must be studied.” Hence the reason for his series.

So much for the moral and intellectual integrity of George Steiner.

The only thing Steiner got right was his observation that there is “an almost complete gap in the source material available to any serious student of modern history, psychology, politics and sociology (most of the texts have never been available in English and several have all but disappeared in their original language).”

I remember at the time feeling extremely dissatisfied with the Rosenberg volume. Despite being a Leftist unsympathetic to whites or Nazis, I knew that I was being sold a bill of goods. I wanted Rosenberg’s message unmediated, so that I could evaluate it for myself. I didn’t want anyone else doing my thinking for me.

In retrospect, it is clear from that fact alone that I did not have a Leftist bone in my body. I was simply muddled in the head.

In 1980 the right-wing Noontide Press of Torrance, California (associated with the Institute for Historical Review) published the first full-length English translation (by Vivian Bird) of The Myth of the Twentieth Century: An Evaluation of the Spiritual-Intellectual Confrontation of Our Age, with a preface by Peter Peel and an introduction by James B. Whisker, professor of political science at West Virginia University.

Despite criticisms of the book, Whisker wrote that along with Mein Kampf and Hermann Göring ‘s Germany Reborn, the Myth “created the basis of German National Socialist political thought.” In his judgment, “it is the first and most important book on Nazi philosophy. It contains the essence of the state and the directive power of its leaders. It projects in a concise way the new state that Rosenberg and the others wished to build.”

I remember feeling disappointed with the translation, but gladdened that someone had at last, half a century after its publication in German, gone to the trouble of making the complete text available to English-language readers.

The book did not influence me in any way; nor did the few excerpts translated by Robert Pois for George Steiner. In that sense the Myth resembled Mein Kampf and Triumph of the Will. I found all three books—the two Rosenberg translations and Hitler’s memoirs—and the movie, tedious and unmoving at the time I read them or, in the case of the film, saw it. Triumph of the Will I considered overlong and a colossal bore. Based upon its reputation I’d hoped for much more.

I’d have to re-read or re-watch all of them today to reevaluate what I think in light of everything I’ve learned since. But in view of my reaction, the concluding words of Professor Whisker’s Introduction to the Myth offer an unexpected perspective:

Much of the book will appeal only to the German mind of the 1930s. It constantly reminded me of the movie, Triumph of the Will. Neither were really designed for export and both were aimed only at a specific audience. If a contemporary reader in America were to fail to respond to either it would not bother Rosenberg. Both were meant to be felt more than rationally analyzed or understood. Both were to leave more of an impression on the audience than is evident to the average reader today. The message is very difficult to bring to a contemporary audience in a different culture operating under a different myth. It was an ideology wholly fitted to one and only one society at one particular time.

 

7 Comments

  1. Adam Ulrich
    Posted August 19, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I certainly cannot see how someone could fail to be inspired by the works of Alfred Rosenberg nor Riefenstahl’s epic masterpiece, but I guess it is just a matter of taste. To me, “The Myth of the Twentieth Century” is the “Imperium” of its time. Personally, Rosenberg and Yockey have had the biggest influences on me.

    As for Rosenberg’s supposed Jewish ancestry, another book also makes the claim. The long out-of-print U.S. published Rosenberg memoirs features an introduction (written by a German historian) that claims Rosenberg had Jewish and Slavic ancestry. In my opinion, he looks like a Slav (and certainly not of a purely Nordic background).

    I also found the “Roots of the Right” volume on Rosenberg at my university’s library. Needless to say, I pinched it. It hadn’t been checked out in 30+ years so I figured the library wouldn’t miss it.

    Whisker’s book on Rosenberg (also published by Noontide) is a must read and I also felt Noontide’s edition of Rosenberg’s Myth was nothing short of exquisite (both in physical design and translation). In fact, the book “converted” me. I was never a leftist but I never could find anything redeeming about the Third Reich until I was exposed to Rosenberg. I read Uncle Adolf’s Mein Kampf and felt it was a tiring bore.

  2. Andrew Hamilton
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    GB,

    I don’t know whether Whisker kept writing. In the essay above I link to a JHR article he wrote in the 1980s, linking Rosenberg with Gnosticism.

    James,

    I’m amazed you’re familiar with that obscure series, and the background you provided was most interesting. I was unaware of the price spread you mention. Also, I deliberately omitted Stirner’s name from the others I listed due to puzzlement. I thought, “Stirner? What the hell?” Perhaps your explanation is the correct one!

  3. GB
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I understand that James Whisker still lives in West Virginia, although he is now retired. Does anyone know if he’s kept writing? He’d certainly be an interesting person to interview.

  4. wp-hh
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    If Rosenberg doesn’t inspire us, can we get enough of him through Savitri Devi, who does move us with a magnificent feeling? Same feeling we get when we read the grand inscriptions on monuments of the Lost Cause, i.e. Confederate monuments across the South.

    “Brave Men May Die- Right Has No Death- Truth Shall Never Pass Away!”

    As far as the Jews go, this year is the 400th of the King James Bible. In honor for our English language, and in recognition of how influential the KJV has been on our culture, I’m reading it through.

    Genesis lays much of the ground for why we are supposed to love the Jews. Christians of the kinist variety are free from the snares of Jew-love, but the mass of Anglo-Gentile Christians are trapped in the hope that God will make their dreams come true if we sacrifice for Israel.

    We have sacrificed for Israel. Do we seem blessed? America is becoming non White. Is that a blessing? Many of us have sent money to churches in hopes that God would multiply our sacrifice, that he would bless us ten-fold. Long before we quit giving, we still had positive equity in our homes. Now we are under water. Too bad we can’t get our money back from the 700 Club.

    Abram used deception when needed, so why should I trust Jews?

    Christians are taught to rely on the Jews for blessings and goodness. It’s right there for all to read, and it permeates evangelical culture, especially fundraising:

    Genesis 12:

    1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

    2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

    3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    Genesis 18

    17And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

    18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

    19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

    So, I’m supposed to believe that the Jews at the SPLC, NAACP, ADL, ACLU are doing justice and judgment, and that by our suffering continual losses of our deserved White Privileges, Israel becomes a great nation because God told Abraham that it would?

    I’m a Christian, but I refuse to believe that my loving God wants me to be submerged so that Heidi Beirich and Abe Foxman can be exalted. Who would believe an a God that would?

    For other WNs who are conflicted, CWNY gives solace through organic, kinist Christianity- blood faith-

    http://cambriawillnotyield.blogspot.com/

    Does anyone know if the “Jews give us our justice and judgment” theme is expanded upon in the Talmud?

  5. Posted August 15, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Ah, “Roots of the Right”! The series certainly had its failings — even commercially, as I don’t recall ever seeing a lot of them around. But who could resist the black covers, and the series subtitle: “Readings in Fascist, Racist and Elitist Ideology”! Highly recommended as a model for anyone planning a similar series now; hell, why not rip off the whole package, subtitle and all?

    Like the author, back then I was still a lumpen-liberal college student, but it was enough to catch my eye. The one random volume I picked up at the Am. Phil. Assoc. conference in Detroit was an “anthology” of Max Stirner, with an edited version of Ego & His Own and excerpts from his few other writings, and an Introduction by an English Academic that was second only to Harold Beaver’s phallus-obsessed notes to Penguin’s edition of Moby Dick for genial nuttiness. He desperately tries to link Stirner to the Nazis via Nietzsche, anti-rationalism, etc., but before you say “that’s as crazy as linking them to Dostoyevsky” by gum he does that too! I suspect he was looking to get his book published and Steiner seemed the way to do it, so he had to shoehorn Stirner into a series with Rosenberg etc.

    Nevertheless, it was good to have Stirner in print, in the days before the Internet etc.

    I’ve picked up a few since, including the Rosenberg. Sometimes they’re a $1, sometimes $250 depending on whether the seller knows what he’s got. The fine line between ‘rare’ and ‘no one wants it’ again, like so much pre-PC lit [Cozzens, for example].

    The books are mostly ‘anthologies’ like the Stirner, which I like, especially since there is still precious little in English from Primo, Gobineau etc., although the translations are a bit iffy and of course the introductions are full of sneers and slander.

    • White Republican
      Posted August 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      I have a copy of José Antonio Primo de Rivera’s Selected Writings in the Roots of the Right series. (I think I ordered my copy from the Strand Bookshop, which James J. O’Meara seems to frequent.) It’s not a bad work but it seems to be quite rare. This is probably because very few people in the English-speaking world are interested in José Antonio. I wouldn’t be surprised if most readers of Counter-Currents haven’t heard of him, although he was admired by many eminent authors of the European Right, including Julius Evola, Adriano Romualdi, Robert Brasillach, Maurice Bardèche, and Armin Mohler. Is he on Counter-Currents’ list of commemorations?

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