The Struggle of Humanism and Barbarism. Georg Lukács 1943

1. Racial Theory: Enemy of Human Progress

Written: 1943;
First Published: “Борьба гуманизма и варварства” (The Struggle of Humanism and Barbarism), State Publishing House of the USSR, 1943;
Source: MIA Russian Section;
Translated: by Anton P.

Racial theory is the central point of the so-called “National Socialist worldview,” the ideological basis of all the atrocities that the Nazis committed and are committing in Germany itself and in other countries, both in peacetime and during war. It is not of major importance whether all German soldiers, or the entire German population, are imbued with faith in the racial theory, and indeed, whether they are familiar with it. With the help of racial theory, the Germans were turned into conscious or unconscious, active or passive accomplices of fascist atrocities; with its help, the German army was turned into a gang of executioners, robbers, murderers and arsonists. Fascist barbarism is a phenomenon never seen before in the history of mankind. Of course, in the course of the uneven and contradictory development of society, there have been various periods of dark reaction. Humanity has repeatedly experienced dark times when obscurantists triumphed, fiercely fighting against progress. One religion suppressed and persecuted another, one class and its party another. But all the sad and shameful phenomena of the past completely pale before fascism. Fascism suppresses and persecutes everything that does not totally obey it. Any independent beliefs – from communism to Catholicism – are punished in modern Germany by prison, concentration camp, torture and execution.

This massive pogrom against dissidents extends to many followers of the program once proclaimed by the fascist party itself – to those workers who took it seriously and tried to realize its demagogic slogans of “Germanic socialism” and “National Socialist revolution.” of the destruction of “greedy capital,” of the “liberation from interest-bearing slavery” (remember the bloody massacre of the SA in 1934).[[1]

Already here we see that a new quality grows out of the quantitative increase and expansion of reactionary terror. In the history of mankind, there has not yet been a reactionary regime that in this way would oppress the people in all social and ideological directions, which, to a similar extent, would impose on everyone its vile way of thinking and acting.

The transition of the number of atrocities of the reactionary government to a new quality is also expressed in the methods of their implementation. The organs of white terror in the past reactionary coups were usually made up of mercenaries, of soldiery bribed and corrupted by fanatics, of the lumpen proletariat and the lumpen bourgeoisie. The broad masses of the people were, for the most part, indignant or intimidated witnesses of the atrocities of the reactionary restorers. Fascism carries out its terrible repression with the help of a powerful mass party with millions of members. In addition, this party is supported by numerous auxiliary organizations (“Hitler Youth,” etc.). Its propaganda braces and involves millions of people in atrocities; with national and social demagogy, it fanaticizes and hypnotizes significant masses, pushes them to take an active part in reactionary terror and, sometimes, even assigns them a leading role in it. And many of those who were not fully affected by fascist hypnosis are so intimidated by this massive show of force that they lose their ability to defend themselves and not only accept Hitler’s terror without any protest, but also take part in it.

Finally, the terrible power of fascism over the masses is based on sheer arbitrariness. True, the “National Socialist revolution” from the very beginning had a completely definite class goal – to turn the most reactionary circles of German imperialism into unbridled rulers of the fatherland, and then, having achieved the militarization of Germany, to give them dominion over the whole world. This clear and concrete barbaric goal is nowhere expressed in the fascist program.[2]

Its content, demagogically presented to the masses, is essentially devoid of meaning: this program is a heap and confusion of contents that most flagrantly contradict each other. Fascist propaganda with crude, bazaar demagoguery promises every class, every nation exactly what they want; at the same time, cynical reservations are made that nullify all promises. So, before the seizure of power, the Nazis promised tenants a reduction in rent, homeowners an increase, workers an increase in wages, capitalists a decrease, etc.; in the same way, German diplomats promise Hungary all of Transylvania, Romania – the return of the part of Transylvania inherited by Hungary, etc.

The masses, driven into despair by the grave crisis of 1929, and considering their position hopeless and desperate, did not grasp, or, in any case, did not sufficiently grasp these gross contradictions. The national and social demagogy of fascism led the masses into a state of intoxication, of hypnosis, in which they were not capable of any criticism and expected a miracle from the “National Socialist revolution,” the complete deliverance from all hardships. The fascist leaders used this intoxication of the masses with the greatest cynicism. And racial theory was an ideological tool of deception, constantly changing its content, but retaining all the same methods and goals.

Racial theory, borrowed by the Nazis from Gobineau[3], Chamberlain[4] and others, is presented in Nazi propaganda in a demagogically simplified form, as a “doctrine” of the national and social revival of the German nation, of the domination of the Germans over the whole world. According to racial theory, the “Aryans,” and among them primarily the Germanics, and among the latter, primarily the Germans, are a race destined for world domination, the only pure race that “naturally” should rule over the inferior and bastard. However, Hitler and Rosenberg preach, the German people in the nineteenth century deviated from the path of pure racial development. In its history and state there are phenomena that are not characteristic of the Germanic race, that are organically “not inherent.” (This applies primarily to democracy and socialism.) Thus, the task of the “National Socialist Revolution” is to return the German people to the purity of their race, to give them their “inherent” political and social structure and therefore to make the German nation capable of world domination.

Racial theory teaches, on the one hand, that all social contradictions, classes, etc. are insignificant, superficial phenomena, the invention of racially alien elements (primarily Jews); that all Germans, since they have pure blood, constitute a single, monolithic nation. On the other hand, it teaches that there can be no agreement or compromise between individual races. Any doubt is detrimental to the superior race. Races cannot live peacefully next to each other: they must destroy or completely conquer one another, enter into a relation of masters and slaves.

In domestic policy, it is concluded from this that those Germans who otherwise seek to assert their rights and restore their homeland should be branded as racially alien “subhumans” (Untermenchen); in relation to them, the only possible, “inherent” means is the most merciless, lawless terror, the most unbridled tyrannical oppression. In foreign policy, it is concluded from this that all non-German peoples should be viewed as potential targets of exploitation by German imperialism, since they are “naturally” intended to serve the superior race.

This “theory” is being applied in practice with the greatest arbitrariness. Arbitrariness, here in its own way, is principled: in each individual case, the decisive moment is the mystical “racial expediency.” Since non-German peoples are by their “nature,” “according to the law” of racial expediency, destined to serve the Germans, it makes no difference in what ways, by deception (“northern cunning” in Nazi terminology) or by force, they will be forced to fulfill their “eternal destiny.” The rebirth of the German people presupposes the purity of its its members, the “inherent” nature of its institutions – and again it is completely indifferent by what means this goal will be achieved. Indeed, in relation to racially alien “subhumans” who defile purity and weaken the strength of the Germanic race, all means are allowed.

There is no objective criterion for determining belonging to a racially pure people. The fascists – and first of all their “Führer,” in whose person the racial theory is embodied as a “savior” – themselves “sovereignly” decide who and to what extent can be considered racially pure. In the face of racial purity, all objections of reason, all criticism of the actions of the “Führer” must be silenced; anyone who does not obey his commands is exposed by the very fact of criticism as a racially unclean, bastard element and may, therefore, with good reason be outlawed and subjected to tyrannical terror.

Thus racial theory, by the power of its illogical logic, is mystically crowned with the personality of the “Führer.” Racial theory, although its implementation is constantly hedged with quack pseudo-science, is basically a mystery, a myth. Any decision taken both on issues of principle and in individual cases is a mystical broadcast of the “Führer.” Reason and science, insofar as they are not degraded to the rank of servants of racial demagoguery, are prohibited and persecuted. The imperious word of such a clearly inferior personality as Hitler (the imperious word of bloodthirsty and greedy German imperialism), without admitting objections, decides all questions, gives slogans for every barbaric deed.

Racism thus forms the “theoretical” foundation of the most vile, unheard-of barbarism. But even if racial theory is scientifically a ridiculous caricature; even if this theory, used as a fascist surrogate for religion, is infinitely absurd, we should still take a closer look at it. During the period of the deepest national and social crisis of the German people, the clever scoundrels managed to demagogically use the despair of the broad masses and seize power. Racial theory – no matter how idiotic its content, how fraudulent its justification and how cynical its application, nevertheless represents the ideological basis for a new onslaught of barbarism on civilization, an attempt to divert humanity from the path along which it has walked for millennia, to destroy the results of its centuries-old struggle for culture. Not only is the practice of fascism barbaric; its very “theory” elevates barbarism to the principle of human behavior.

Racial theory is the enemy of human progress primarily because it proclaims the fundamental inequality of people and nations, because it fundamentally intends to eliminate the equality of people and nations.

Therefore, to fight against fascism means to defend the freedom and equality of individuals and peoples. For with the creation of racial theory and its application by fascism in practice, a principle appeared in life that could immediately destroy the most important values that humanity had conquered for millennia.

No one will dare to assert that real equality of all people prevails in a class society. The mutual relations of peoples in peacetime and in wartime in the capitalist world, of course, are very far from equality. One can and should sharply criticize the actual inequality of individuals and nations in the capitalist world. But it is important to note that among civilized people no one will dispute the very principle of equality – even if only formal. This principle is the result of many years of development. Now fascism wants to turn back the wheel of progress and make inequality the highest law, abolishing the principle of equality of individuals and of peoples.

Of course, this is not the first attempt of reaction to resist the progress of humanity. There is a common feature in the history of successful and unsuccessful restoration attempts. When humanity, as a result of a hard struggle, reaches a new, higher level of equality, reaction tries to turn it back, to re-establish outdated inequality. Let us recall the ideology and practice of the French restoration, which tried to restore the feudal class division to replace the social foundations of modern bourgeois society, created by the liberation struggle of the English, American and French peoples in the 17th and 18th centuries. We know what a pitiful defeat the restoration suffered – despite temporary political success – in the face of unrelenting economic and social development.

It was no coincidence that this outbreak of reaction followed the French Revolution (and the proclamation of American independence). In these large popular movements, the political and legal foundations of modern bourgeois society, its culture and civilization were laid: the equality of people before the law, the equality of their political rights and obligations, the equality of nations. With this proclamation of human rights, mankind made a decisive step forward, which predetermined both the positive and negative aspects of the entire subsequent period.

No matter how sharp this turn in the history of mankind was, nevertheless it was just the completion of social and ideological tendencies that have matured for millennia, the thousand-year dreams of the best representatives of humanity. There is no people who, in any form, would not have preserved the legend of the “golden age” – the memory of the state of complete equality, which humanity once possessed, but which it has lost in the process of its development. Since the fundamental research of Bachofen and Morgan [[5], we know that this legend is based on historical reality. And since the time of the research of Marx and Engels, we know that humanity left this paradise of its childhood not as a result of the mythical fall, but as a result of the iron necessity of historical development. We know that the existence of gross inequalities between people was an inevitable stage in human development in the past.

But admitting necessity does not mean fatalistically reconciling with it. The best and greatest people in the name of the future of humanity have always passionately protested against inequality, no matter how socially and economically inevitable it may be in their era. Ancient society was inevitably based on a sharp inequality between free and slave; Greeks and barbarians, Romans and barbarians were separated from each other by strictly observed boundaries. But already in Herodotus we find a serious desire to substantiate the peculiarities of foreign peoples, to learn from them. And from here, through the tragedians to the Stoics, to Epicurus, to mystical sects at the end of antiquity, there is an ascending line: the struggle for the ideological overcoming of the social boundaries of one’s own society, for the recognition of slaves as equal, for understanding the conquered peoples, for the elimination of inequality among people.

This is not the place to even briefly recount the history of this struggle between progress and reaction, between freedom and oppression, between equality and inequality. This struggle is a significant honor in the history of mankind, human thought, the development of culture, feelings. Progressive and cultured people all over the world enthusiastically welcomed the French Revolution, this “splendid dawn,” as Hegel said, for they felt that it was here that humanism had won one of the most important battles. On the ideological conquests of the French Revolution, Hegel bases his philosophy of history, his criterion of progress in the development of mankind. The meaning of history for Hegel is in the conquest of freedom by humanity. His periodization of history is built according to the stages that were won in this struggle; ancient oriental culture, according to Hegel, is an era, in which only one is free – the eastern despot; antiquity is a period of freedom for a few; the new era is characterized by a tendency towards freedom for all.

For Hegel, the problem of the equality of all people is so decisive that it penetrates into the most abstract conclusions of his theory of knowledge and logic. His criticism of Schelling’s philosophy, which recognizes the ability to cognize truth, “intellectual intuition” only for a select few, for philosophical geniuses, proceeds precisely from these positions. Hegel indignantly refutes the view that knowledge of the truth is not accessible to everyone. The question of whether this or that person can rise to this level of mental culture depends, of course, according to Hegel, on external and internal circumstances. But everyone has this opportunity, everyone should have it. And he illustrates his train of thought with a typical example: not every person actually becomes a king or a marshal, but potentially everyone can become one. A similar spirit is imbued with the great progressive literature that arose under the direct impression of the French Revolution. We will point out only one typical page on which a deep feeling for this equality and equity of all people was expressed in poetic form: the portrayal in literature of outstanding persons who came from the lower classes and, in their external culture, did not outgrow their environment, but reach a high human and moral level. Even before the French Revolution, Goethe in Egmont created such an image in the person of Klärchen, a brave and selfless Dutch girl, who in this revolutionary drama with organic necessity appears before the dying Egmont as a genius of freedom. In Dorothea (Hermann and Dorothea) and Philine (Wilhelm Meister), Goethe, under the impression of the French Revolution, consistently and courageously continues this line of development. Decades later, Walter Scott creates the image of Jenny Deans (Heart of Middle Lothian) – a simple Scottish peasant woman who, with her unshakable moral honesty, human integrity and courage, triumphantly proves the superiority of the plebeian masses over higher and more cultured social circles.

Goethe’s concept of world literature is also based on the leading ideas of this era. It is based on the feeling, on the conviction that the poetry of any people, if only it is genuine, is completely equal to that of any other, that real human culture can arise only from the mutual study of national literatures, from the interpenetration of cultures of individual nationalities, peaceful cultural competition between equal peoples. Therefore, Goethe’s world literature covers the whole world – from Homer to Hafiz [6], Balzac and Stendhal, from the Bible considered as a product of poetry, to Serbian and Modern Greek folk songs, to the rudiments of Czech literature.

The great writers of this time overcome, in the images they create, the prejudices of narrow chauvinism, religious and racial prejudices that erect hostile barriers between people and nations. Let’s remember Ivanhoe by Walter Scott. It is not only about the destruction of the borders that separate the Normans from the Saxons in England. The most interesting and outstanding figure in the novel is the Jewess Rebecca. In the dark world of medieval prejudices, she, with her humble and persistent humanism – not giving up even in the face of the threat of being burned at the stake – grows into a harbinger of a new era of true equality of people and nations.

Such was the “splendid dawn.” But the day that followed it was full of labor and struggle. The French Revolution was the fulfillment of the age-old aspirations of the best representatives of humanity, but in the actual history of class society it looked differently than in dreams. The enlighteners who prepared it ideologically expected it to be a realized kingdom of reason. But it turned out that “this kingdom of reason was nothing more than an idealized kingdom of the bourgeoisie” [7] (Engels).

The elimination of feudal barriers, feudal inequality, the establishment of bourgeois-democratic equality of rights and obligations, equality and equity of people before the state and the law, inevitably revealed the remaining inequality of people in economic and social terms. The productive forces liberated by the great revolution have elevated this inequality to a higher level, made it more undisguised, sharper than it was under the preceding social order.

This explains the disappointment that gripped the best and noblest people in the world. Reaction was able to use this disappointment for its temporary victory and domination, But this disappointment served as a source for the most important progressive trends in science, politics and art of the 19th century. This disillusionment provided a practical and theoretical starting point for the systems of the great utopians – Saint-Simon, Fourier and Owen. This disappointment, the struggle with it, the attempt to overcome it is the central problem of the great literature of the 19th century. Balzac’s creativity proceeds from these problems, as well as that of Dickens. And half a century later, we find in the center of Tolstoy’s entire work an acute formulation of the question: is it possible in the economic, political and cultural conditions created mainly by the French Revolution and its consequences,- that is, in conditions of developed capitalism – to achieve real equality of people? The actual inequality, exacerbated by the development of the productive forces liberated by the bourgeois revolution, was defined by the young Disraeli with great precision, saying that the English people, in essence, consist of two nations: the rich and the poor. And Anatole France, long before he became a socialist, expressed his disappointment and discontent in a bitter aphorism, saying that the law of modern society equally majestically forbids the rich and the poor to sleep under the bridge.

A similar disappointment was experienced in the question of the equality of nations. The German thinker Anacharsis Cloots [8] enthusiastically welcomed the French Revolution as the beginning of the fraternal unification of all peoples. But very soon the wars of the revolution, which were at first defensive wars of progress against the united feudal-absolutist reaction, turned into wars of conquest. The consequence of these conquests, especially in the Napoleonic period, was the awakening of modern nationalism in the peoples, in any case – a fierce struggle against the conquerors, which in turn turned into conquests, into the suppression of other peoples. Thus, as a result of the French Revolution, a new national life arose in Europe, the awakening of all peoples to fight for their national liberation, for national independence in all respects. But this awakening also brings disappointment, since the liberation of one people again turns into suppression, enslavement, and fragmentation of another (for example, the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine during the national unification of Germany in 1871).

All these collisions led to the crisis of the ideas of 1789, especially since the economic and social contradictions of bourgeois society found a clear political and ideological solution in socialism. The defenders of the ideas of 1789 had to fight not only against attempts to restore the old, pre-capitalist inequality; they were also compelled to defend themselves against the impending new, higher form of economic, social and cultural equality of nations and people.

The history of this struggle is the history of the 19th and 20th centuries. The crisis of bourgeois-democratic thought, which has arisen in this way, has determined by itself both the political and social life of all peoples in modern times; it determined the form and content of all the spiritual products of the era.

In a deep crisis, humanity is always looking for a variety of outcomes. But prospects for an escape can lead both forward and backward.

In the ideological struggle of the 19th century, the tendency towards a simple restoration of pre-capitalist inequality is gradually dying out: it is too blatantly contradicting the facts of social life to still have influence. But the efforts of theorists who tried to eliminate all contradictions and opposites of the economic and social structure of capitalist society by creating a harmonious system out of the now dominant economy were also in vain. These efforts were shattered by actual contradictions. The greatest theorist of capitalist economy, David Ricardo, made such a “harmonizing” mistake in a dispute with Sismondi. He originally argued that when newly introduced machines “liberate” workers, the increase in production achieved due to their introduction again causes the involvement of workers in the production process and thus the harmony of supply and demand is restored in the labor market. Subsequently, with the unconditional honesty of a great thinker, he admitted his mistake.

Thus the internal contradictions of capitalist society cannot be hidden. But criticism of real inequality, even if it is valid, can easily take on a reactionary connotation. This happens if the condemnation of existing inequality is not connected with the demand for a more highly organized equality, but degenerates into a criticism of all equality; if the criticism of bourgeois progress and bourgeois humanism turns into a denial of progress and humanism in general. Thinkers of this kind proceed from the feeling that the current state of society does not correspond to human nature (that is, those requirements that arise from the level of this society, from its achievements, boundaries and contradictions), and therefore seek inequality “corresponding to its nature.”

Such a train of thought, as witty as it may seem, is essentially reactionary, since it submits itself to the logic of progress in the history of mankind. Thus Carlyle’s criticism of capitalist society in England acquires a reactionary tendency of a kind of restoration of the Middle Ages. Thus the anarcho-syndicalist theorist Sorel’s critique of modern democracy, a critique on often vulgarized concepts of progress, is associated with reactionary aspirations. Thus Nietzsche’s struggle against “decadence” (according to Nietzsche, decadence is modern democracy, plebeian “rancorousness”) and the creation of the “Superman” as the goal of human development are essentially reactionary.

Such theories have caused many misconceptions, especially among the intelligentsia, leading to the wrong path many honest people who had the will and ability to serve true progress, and made many valuable representatives of the Western intelligentsia ideologically defenseless in the struggle against reaction.

But all this could not stop progress. For to this day, modern reactionary ideas have entered only into peaceful competition with progressive ones. An example is the verbal and literary duel between Chesterton and Shaw, which lasted for decades. And if the reactionary tendencies of inequality took certain organizational forms, then it was a relatively innocent game of small isolated groups, such as, for example, the aristocratic circle of friends of the German poet George [9]. A racial understanding of history and culture among Nietzsche’s students, or independently of Gobineau, Chamberlain, Adolf Bartels [10], and others, could directly cause politically significant reactionary confusion only in a relatively small circle of followers.

Only fascism, with its barbaric practice, carried the concentrated ideas of reaction from the salons of the intelligentsia to the streets and turned them into the basis of the social system, the domestic and foreign policy of a powerful state. (Of course, fascism had its own, albeit more modest, forerunners: the “Black Hundreds” in Tsarist Russia, Lueger’s anti-Semitic movement in old Austria [11], the Ku Klux Klan in the United States.) But the fascists turned all the desperate, confused ideas of theorists disillusioned since the French Revolution into the basest demagogy of strictly organized barbarism. The most advanced technology, the highest achievements of material culture, from American advertising to tanks and airplanes – everything was mobilized and put into motion by fascism to destroy culture and civilization.

The ideological center of this barbarism, organized on the basis of the highest achievements of modern technology, was racial theory. It denies all the most important achievements of mankind’s cultural development, first of all, the equality of people and nations won in a thousand-year struggle. People, classes, nations that do not belong to a privileged race or do not think and do not act as is “inherent” in them (ie, in accordance with the wishes of the fascist leaders), are outlawed: in relation to them, everything is permissible. A communist or a Catholic, a racially related Aryan-Germanic Dutchman or a “racially inferior” Serb – all of them are equally transformed by the practice of racial theory into powerless pariahs, into coolies whose only purpose is to work for the Aryan-German masters of Germany.

The morality of the racial theory, according to which, in relation to the enemies of the race, “everything is permitted” unleashes, indeed mobilizes all the barbaric instincts that were dormant in many people, but during the domination of civilization were suppressed, softened by upbringing, directed along the rails of culture.

Fascism seeks to reduce humanity to the cultural level of cannibals and moreover – and this is not better but worse – cannibals who have modern techniques of destruction.

But fascism destroys not only the peoples it conquers, it is an equally dangerous enemy for those who follow it voluntarily or under the influence of terror. The principle of racial theory, asserting that in relation to the enemy everything is permissible, causes a monstrous moral decay in the German people.

In ancient times, peoples were separated from each other by strictly observed boundaries, but the state of primitive arbitrariness was overcome by the norms of customary law. The Middle Ages also had the brutal oppression of individual estates, but it was also limited by certain frameworks created by law and origin. Even in the cohabitation of the Eastern castes, strictly segregated from each other, a certain system of rights and obligations was created by virtue of custom and religious prescriptions. Fascism is a unique phenomenon of complete barbarism: on the one hand, the unlimited rights of a small group of masters, on the other, millions of disenfranchised slaves. Moreover – and this is the most paradoxical phenomenon in history – fascism turns the German people, for the most part enslaved, reduced by the Nazi terror to the position of a weak-willed weapon, into an army of spies and executioners of dissenting people in Germany itself and freedom-loving peoples outside Germany.

Thus the struggle against the equality of people and nations, raised to a principle, reaches its culmination in the practice of fascism, through its implementation of racial theory. In the field of “pure” theory, the dominance of the Germans over the inferior races is proclaimed; and in order to apply the theory, the fascists are trying to establish the barbaric tyranny of a small clique of monopoly capital over all mankind.

This paradoxical situation creates an unparalleled moral degradation. Dostoevsky described in Notes from the House of the Dead the head of the prison – a tyrant who treated prisoners in the most cruel and arbitrary manner. Always drunk, he kept shouting: “Here I am King and God!” Fascism wants to turn every German into such a warden.

Dostoevsky prophetically showed to what extent of moral decay can a person be brought by the principle “everything is permitted.” The half-madman Smerdyakov in “The Brothers Karamazov” commits, based on this morality, a horrendous murder conceived by himself. With the greatest realism and psychological depth, Dostoevsky shows how a murderer in this case inevitably dies both morally and mentally, becomes incapable of further life. Hitler and his clique want to transform all Germans into such Smerdyakovs, cruel and cunning, obsessed with megalomania in relation to other nations and taciturn within the country.

It is clear that the entire civilized world had to rebel against such an organized and systematic barbarism. Unfortunately, the democracies of the West did it too late, despite the timely and persistent warnings from the Soviet Union; they did this only after long hesitation, after desperate and hopeless attempts, at the cost of sacrifice, to peacefully come to terms with the barbaric reaction; only after a series of unsuccessful attempts – in the witty expression of Georgi Dimitrov “not to tease the beast” in order to live peacefully next to it. A united front of all freedom-loving people and nations against fascism is more than a tactic: it is a deep historical necessity for the salvation of human culture.

One can be a complete unbeliever, even a militant atheist, and still admire the heroic resistance of German Catholics to Hitler’s barbaric terrorist regime, support them and see in their actions the protection of human culture. When Catholics, in the name of their religion, protest against racial theory, when they declare that God did not create any difference between races, that for God all human souls, no matter what race they belong to, have the same value, this at the present time, in the fight against fascism is the voice of progress. A communist atheist and a Catholic believer can fight together with deep conviction against Hitler. The difference between them is that they protect different stages of human development from fascist barbarism, that they value different stages of development of the equality of people and nations, but both are fighting for equality against fundamental inequalities leading to modern cannibalism.

One can criticize the contradictions of bourgeois democracies in the harshest way, one can ironically look at formal equality before the law together with Anatole France and others. But when the representatives of liberalism and democracy actually fight against Hitler, they are really the defenders of culture and civilization against barbarism.

Fascism, fascist racial theory means the complete destruction of human culture and civilization. Therefore, the most decisive war of extermination against it will always be a defensive war. “The German invaders want to have a war of extermination ... well, if the Germans want to have a war of extermination, they will get it,” says the Soviet people through the lips of Stalin [12]. Fascism must be destroyed, because by the very fact of its existence, it threatens to exterminate all freedom-loving peoples, and only after its destruction can equilibrium be achieved in this world. It is possible and necessary to argue about the historical value, possibilities and directions of development of this equilibrium only later, after the destruction of the barbaric enemy. But the destruction of fascist barbarism is a prerequisite for everything that follows: in it is the salvation of the future, salvation of oppressed people and nations from the deepest political and moral humiliation.

It is no coincidence that Hitler collapses precisely because of the resistance of the Red Army, because of the resistance of the Soviet people. Here his regime of barbaric inequality collided with a classless society, with the highest form of social and national equality achieved so far, with a fraternal union of free peoples. Since there is still cultural inequality between these peoples, it is expressed in the fact that a stronger people extends a helping hand to a weaker one for general cultural progress, for eliminating inequality, for raising the cultural level of both peoples. In the collision of fascism and the Soviet Union, two opposing camps of our time faced off against each other: socialism as a system that destroys all the contradictions of progress in class society, leading humanity forward, and fascism as the concentration of all reactionary aspirations, all tendencies that not only retard the forward movement of mankind but want to throw it down from the level of culture it has reached so far. It is clear that the struggle between the two systems must be the fiercest. The people and the nationalities of the socialist country are defending not a problematic, not a contradictory, but a quite concrete and real equality. And the fascist criminals know with certainty that their most dangerous and implacable enemy is precisely socialist democracy. This is a life-and-death struggle. The outcome of this struggle is beyond doubt. Culture will defeat barbarism.


1. Also known as the Night of the Long Knives (30 June 1934) was the massacred, ordered by Hitler, of the dissenting Sturmabteilung leaders Ernst Rhöm, Gregor Strasser and others.

2. The Twenty Five-Point Programme of the Nazi Party was drafted in 1920 authored by Anton Drexler, containing many “anti-capitalist” demands, and was largely abandoned in practice by the Nazis after 1933.

3. Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) was a French ultra-reactionary aristocrat and monarchist author, who with his work An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1855) laid the foundations of the theory of “Aryan racial superiority” and pseudo-scientific racism.

4. Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927) was a British aristocrat who became a naturalized citizen of Germany and a supporter of German imperialism; he is most known for his book The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899) which expanded upon Gobineau’s theories, providing a theoretical outline for a Germanic domination of the world. Both Gobineau and Chamberlain were admired and widely quoted by Hitler and the Nazis.

5. Jakob Johann Bachofen (1815-1887) and Lewis H. Morgan (1818-1881) were pioneering anthropologists examining the origin and social conditions of primitive societies. Friedrich Engels used Bachofen and Morgan’s discoveries as the basis for his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.

6. Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī known by his pen name Hafez and as “Hafiz,” was a Persian poet, whose collected works are regarded as the pinnacle of medieval Persian culture.

7. Friedrich Engels, /archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch01.htm Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Chapter I.

8. Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots (1755-1794) better known as Anacharsis Cloots (also spelled Clootz) was a Prussian nobleman and an importer of French revolutionary ideas into Germany. He was nicknamed “orator of mankind,” “citoyen de l'humanité” and “a personal enemy of God.”

9. Stefan George (1868-1933): German lyric poet and translator, whose works influenced many reactionary, right-wing, and Nazi intellectuals of the interwar period (most notably his last work Das Neue Reich (The New Empire).

10. Adolf Bartels (1862-1945): German pastor, journalist, poet and literary critic. Known for interpretting German literary history in a reactionary way and introducing virulent anti-Semitism into German literary criticism, he has been seen as a harbinger of Nazi cultural policy.

11. Karl Lueger (1844-1910): mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910, founder of the Austrian Christian Social Party. An advocate of pan-Germanism and anti-Semitism, his policies are thought to have influenced Hitler, who lived in Vienna at the time.

12. From Stalin’s /reference/archive/stalin/works/1941/11/06.htm Speech at Celebration Meeting of the Moscow Soviet of Working People’s Deputies and Moscow Party and Public Organizations on 6 November 1941.