Was Nationalsocialism the product of distorted Hindu ideas by Germans?
An Indian professor aired the thesis that Nationalsocialism was a product of the distortion of Hindu ideas by the Germans. The video is available here:
As far as I know, the first traditional German grand narrative was taken from the mythological pagan writings of the pre-Christian Edda, the Nibelungen, the historical person of Arminius/“Hermann“ who defeated the Romans and the Kyffhäuser. At that time it had nothing to do with the Veddas or Hindu mythology or whatever. It was a later development when racism came up and German racists spoke of the Aryans. Some saw the roots of the Aryans in the Indo-Iranians or Indo-Aryans. Some also liked the caste system. The idea that there was a blond-haired, blue-eyed superior Aryan race which were the Germans` ancestors and which was coming from Nothern Europe via Persia to India while the „real Aryans“ in India were vanishing because of race and blood mixing. Drawing on misinterpreted references in the Rig Veda by Western scholars in the 19th century, the term „Aryan“ was adopted as a racial category through the works of Arthur de Gobineau whose ideology of race was based on an idea of blond northern European „Aryans“ who had migrated across the world and founded all major civilizations, before being diluted through racial mixing with local populations.
Through the works of Houston Stewart Chamberlain who was also member of the Richard Wagner circle which was admired by Hitler, Gobineau’s ideas later influenced the Nazi racial ideology which saw „Aryan peoples“ as innately superior to other putative racial groups. The atrocities committed in the name of this racial ideology have led academics to avoid the term „Aryan“, which has been replaced in some cases by „Indo-Iranian“. However, I don’t know the exact discussion at that time and what Hegel had to do with it.
In Hitler’s s programmatic book Mein Kampf/My Struggle , there is constant talk of Aryans and Jews, but nothing about Hindu origins, Hindu mythology, Hindu ideas, etc. The Nazi ideology was also very eclectic and syncretic. The grand narrative was also work-in-progress. Himmler’s SS Ancestors Heritage (SS Ahnenerbe) made many expeditions in search of the real origins of the Aryans-from Latin America to Tibet to the North Pole. Therefore I think this professor’s thesis is an overinterpretation of the real facts. The Indo-Aryans were a language group, but not a race. This was the most important distortion which lead to Nazism.
Our post-war generation never got in contact with these crude ideologies. As part of US reeducation, the question of Aryans, Hindu ideas/mythology, race and that sort of stuff never was important. The German grand narrative became Rock’n Roll, Coca Cola and US lifestyle.If Today someone speaks of Aryans, he would be perceived as the class clown, old-style German racist and national socialist. At „best“ some esoteric circles are mentioning these ideas, some even referring to esoteric queen Blavatsky and her theory of root races. Or some self-proclaimed hobby historians like this outdated concept. Even AfD-frontman and history teacher Björn Höcke in his book refers to old German mythology of the Rhine as eternal German river and history, Nibelungen, Arminius, but never to Aryans or Hindu ideas or mythology. „The Wing“faction of the AfD, Höcke and others like Gauland regularly having their meeting at the old German mythological site of the Kyffhäuser, waiting for the return of the mythological „German“Emperor with the blue beard Friedrich Barbarosa to save Germany—similar to the Shiites who wait for the return of the 14th Imam Ali whom they celebrate in their Ashurafestival. If Höcke and his followers have a hidden mythological agenda with racist theories about Aryans, with distorted Hindu ideas remains to be seen. Or better not. However, Höcke already aired crude reproduction theories about German and African races, demands a 180-degree-U-Turn in German history and education and he calls the Holocaust memorial a shame for Germany. It would be interesting to know how far this U-Turn will go – or better not.
However, it would be nice to ask the Indian professor if the Hindu nationalists are nowadays referring to the concept of Hindu Indians as the real Aryans and superior race or culture and if the BJP, the RSS or other Hindu nationalist and racist parties and groups think of Indians as the new superior Aryan race. In India, there is now a fierce debate about Hinduism and Hindutva between political forces who have a more moderate, inclusive concept of Hinduism and apologetics who have a more exclusive model. One has to watch how far this exclusiveness will develop and if it is becoming racist.