Nazism: Utopia of Life, Dystopia of Death

  • Date: –11:00
  • Location: Online Lecture (pre-registration through event@hist.uu.se)
  • Lecturer: Johann Chapoutot (Professor of Modern History at the Sorbonne Université)
  • Organiser: Hugo Valentin Centrum, Historiska institutionen
  • Contact person: Tomislav Dulic
  • Föreläsning

A hundred years ago, the defeat struck the Germans as the worst catastrophe of their modern history – even worse than the Thirty Years War and the defeat against the French in 1806.
Not surprisingly, this catastrophe was interpreted in biological terms : not only had Germany lost 2.5 million people (civilians included), but it was, according to many Germans, deprived of its very means of survival by the Treaty of Versailles.
This biological panic was by no means another German Sonderweg, for biological anxieties had grown in the Western World alongside with the progress of natural sciences and medicine, and the triumph of social-darwinism, since the end of the 19th Century.
But it was a panic in Germany alone, all the more after 1929, when it seemed to become clear that the country and its people, or race ,would not escape recurring catastrophes : after famine in the First World War, tuberculosis and famine again broke out in the wake of the Great Crisis.
In this context, the text – the “vision of the world” – that the Nazis were able to fabricate from a great number of sources, became audible, for it gave an explanation and delivered solutions.
It was high time, the Nazis said, Germany went back to nature and the law of nature if it wanted to survive.