Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

The Emersonian Adolf Hitler (Quotes)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

Hitler was more of an intellectual, however perverse, than most people give him credit for. He spoke often about certain laws of nature, in Darwinian and Romantic terms. He reminds me of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which should make us pause and question the value of Emerson’s thought and its affinity with Nazism. It is no wonder that Emerson was heavily influenced by German Romanticism.

“What we need are men gifted with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature—whether or not they know anything about isotherms and isobars.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

“It’s possible to satisfy the needs of the inner life by an intimate communion with nature, or by knowledge of the past.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 60

“Everything in nature happens in conformity with what ought to happen.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 153

“Nature spontaneously eliminates all that has no gift for life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 152

“Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

“Whoever sees God only in an oak or in a tabernacle, instead of seeing Him everywhere, is not truly pious.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 84

“From that point of view, one can envy the Japanese. They have a religion which is very simple and brings them into contact with nature.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

“All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59-60

“The man who lives in communion with nature necessarily puts himself in opposition to the Churches.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“An educated man retains the sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“Man has a gift for seizing hold of what is beautiful. And what inexhaustible riches the world contains for the man who knows how to enjoy his senses ! Moreover, nature has given man the desire to make others share in the joys he feels. The beautiful always claims its right to primacy.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142

“The beauties of the woods were discovered, not by the peasant, but by the professor.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 619

“There are other parts of Germany, apart from the Rhineland, which give me intense pleasure to visit—the Kyffhaeuser, the forests of Thuringia, the Harz and the Black Forest. It is most exhilarating to drive for miles through the woods and forests, far away from the throng. One of my greatest delights has always been to picnic quietly somewhere on the roadside….” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“It is a great pity that Germans know so little of their own country. Since 1938 the number of beauty spots within the boundaries of the Reich has increased considerably. In addition to Austria, we have the wonderful countryside of Bohemia and Moravia, which is a closed book to all but a few Germans. Some of them may have heard of the virgin forests of Bohemia, but how many have ever seen them? I have a collection of photographs taken in Bohemia, and they remind one of the vast forests of the tropics. To visit all the beauties of his country, a German to-day would require to take a holiday in a different district each year for the rest of his life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“One must start by accepting the principle that nature herself gives all the necessary indications, and that therefore one must follow the rules that she has laid down.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 508

“Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 248

“The fly feeds on fresh leaves, the frog swallows the fly as it is, and the stork eats the living frog. Nature thus teaches us that a rational diet should be based on eating things in their raw state.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 443

“In the long run nature eliminates the noxious elements. One may be repelled by this law of nature which demands that all living things should mutually devour one another.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 141

“Nature, in creating a being, gives it all it needs to live. If it cannot live, that’s either because it’s attacked from without or because its inner resistance has weakened.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 115

“By the law of nature, the most important person of a nation should be the best man.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 121

“Nature doesn’t care the least bit whether, as a preliminary, the people concerned have paid a visit to the registrar. Nature wants a woman to be fertile.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 92

“He might be a man who has never set foot outside his own village, but who understands the flight of midges and swallows, who can read the signs who feels the wind, to whom the movements of the sky are familiar. Elements are involved in that kind of thing that are imponderable and beyond mathematics.There are bits of knowledge that are developed in the course of an existence intimately associated with the life of nature, which are often passed on from father to son.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 63

“As in everything, nature is the best instructor, even as regards selection. One couldn’t imagine a better activity on nature’s part than that which consists in deciding the supremacy of one creature over another by means of a constant struggle.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 396 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“If the individual were important in the eyes of nature, nature would take care to preserve him. Amongst the millions of eggs a fly lays, very few are hatched out—and yet the race of flies thrives.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“The man who wishes to bring up his child rightly must not lose sight of the example of nature, which shows no peculiar tenderness.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 395 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“Social prejudices are in the process of disappearing. More and more, nature is reclaiming her rights. We’re moving in the proper direction.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 353

“The wisdom of nations sometimes expresses truths as old as the world, that perfectly reproduce nature’s intentions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 341

“It is perfectly true that we are a people of romantics, quite different from the Americans, for example, who see nothing beyond their sky-scrapers. Our romanticism has its origins in the intense appreciation of nature that is inherent in us Germans.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 707

H. R. Trevor-Roper on  Hitler’s conception of nature:

“He had views indeed on Nature and often spoke of his ‘communion’ with it, but it was a hideous Nature, the devouring Nature whose cruelty justified his own : not a sociable pagan Nature of nymphhaunted woods and populated streams, but a romantic Wagnerian Nature of horrid Alps in whose intoxicating solitude he could best hatch his own equally violent and implacable interventions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, Introduction: The Mind of Adolf Hitler, pg XXXV11

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3 Responses to “The Emersonian Adolf Hitler (Quotes)”

  1. Why does he remind you of Emerson? Hitler’s comments about Nature do not seem comparable to Emerson’s. Hitler expresses a Darwinian Nature, a cruel Nature, which is inconsistent with American Transcendentalism as characterised by Emerson (or Romanticism in general – the rudiments of which can be found in Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Notes on the State of Virginia’), because Hitler was looking for a scientific theory of Nature.

    But let us turn to his tax policy as stated in ‘Compensation’: “If you tax too high, the revenue will yield nothing.” Who does that sound like? Certainly not Hitler.

  2. foospro86 said

    Both Nazism and Transcendentalism grew out of the soil of German Romanticism. There is just no denying that (click on the link in my post to see the influence on Emerson). My last quote demonstrates Hitler’s acknowledgment of his debt to Romanticism.

    Hitler’s Darwinian Nature may seem to cruel to you and I, as it should. But with a twisted mind, one can find something very Romantic about Darwinian Nature. There is something Romantic about constant power struggle, especially with the warrior ethos on top of it. Emerson was no warrior and may not have seen much struggle in nature. But his view that there is an occult relationship between man and nature is EXACTLY how Hitler and the Nazis saw the relationship. Both Emerson and Hitler thought of this relationship in the exact same way, even though each may have had very different ideas of the nature of Nature.

    I don’t know much about Emerson’s economic views. Economics was not really his thing. But I do know he sympathized with many of the socialist utopian experiments being tried out in America during his lifetime.

    Hitler taxed the rich heavily and took advantage of class envy. Who does that sound like?

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