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Alfred Rosenberg in Translation

[1]

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 [2], 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.