The Homosexual Roots of Fascism
Another area of history we must explore in order to understand the Nazis is the origin of fascism and national socialist ideology. Fascism is a term which eludes easy definition but most would probably agree that in its narrowest sense fascism is a form of government characterized by three things: one-party dictatorship, centralized government control of finance and industry, and militant nationalism. It is important to emphasize here that fascism is a form of socialism. It is thus inaccurate and misleading to call the Nazi Party ``right wing'' although this misidentification is nearly universally accepted today. In his 1964 work, Varieties of Fascism, historian Eugen Weber said ``we should do well to remember that Fascism...considered itself a form of Socialism, freed of humanitarian sentimentalism and Marxist dialectic, truer to fundamental Socialist aims in that it tried to adapt itself to a changing historical reality which the old Marxist interpretation no longer suited'' (Weber:29).
In seeking the roots of fascism we once again find a high correlation between homosexuality and a mode of thinking which we identify with Nazism. It is interesting that Weber, without noting the homosexual connection, traced ``the pattern of the planned totalitarian state back to Plato's Republic, and the Fascist mentality to the turbulent, unscrupulous Calicles who appears in another Platonic dialogue, Gorgias'' (Weber:11).
So here we begin. The inspiration for the fascist state comes from Plato, the male supremacist and apologist for pederasty. Plato is revered as the preeminent classical philosopher, although his apparent advocacy of man/boy sex is not commonly known. A prototypical statement by the philosopher is recorded in George Grant's Legislating Immorality: ``Through the nightly loving of boys, a man, on arising, begins to see the authentic nature of true beauty'' (Grant, 1993:24). Voltaire once remarked of the propensity of classical philosophers, ``Once, a philosopher, twice, a sodomite!'' (ibid.:28). Plato's Republic is his best known work. The following is a summary of the Republic from W.K.C. Guthrie's A History of Greek Philosophy:
The Republic (c.370 BC) advances many of Plato's principal ideas, notably those concerned with government and justice. Composed as a debate between Socrates and five other speakers, The Republic is best known for its description of the ideal state (based on Sparta), which Plato argues should be ruled by philosopher-kings (Guthrie in Grolier).
As we have noted, the Spartan society was dominated by a pederastic warrior cult that featured mandatory induction of twelve-year-old boys into homosexual partnerships with adult men. Like all such cults, the Spartan military was rigidly hierarchical and elitist. Plato's concept of the ``philosopher-king'' is that of an autocratic leader appropriate to such a culture. The philosopher-king rules over a kind of fascist utopia. Interestingly, Plato's idealized society in the Republic includes the elimination of the family as a social unit and the elimination of private property .
The next figure cited by Weber in the historic development which would culminate in National Socialism is Frederick the Great (1712-1786) ``founder of the perfect Prussian bureaucracy'' (Weber:11). He writes, ``The Nazi Siegfried [a Teutonic mythological hero] looked back to the equalitarian elitism of Sparta [and] to the barracks of [Frederick's] Prussian army'' (ibid.:82). Frederick clearly fit Plato's description of a philosopher-king. He established a strict military order on the Spartan model and used his elite forces to great advantage, expanding his Prussian empire through ruthless lightning strikes against neighboring countries. He was also a homosexual, and, coincidentally, one of Adolf Hitler's greatest heroes (Waite, 1977:112). Homosexualist historian Noel L. Garde writes,
Frederick's homosexual inclinations, of which Lt. Katte in his youth was the principle object, were attested by many authorities, notably Voltaire and Frederick himself...The other young men besides Katte were...Baron Frederick Trenck, Count Keyserlingk, Count Goerz and an Italian named Barbarini (Garde:448).
In recent years Frederick has been praised as a model of social liberalism and humanitarianism. Another side of this man, however, explains the attraction of Hitler and the Nazis to him. Igra describes him:
Frederick hated women, as such. Die Frau was always a Schimpfwort, an expression of contempt, with him...Though he felt obliged by reason of his position to have a queen, which involved the necessity of getting married, Frederick never lived a husband's life. And though [Martin] Luther's Reform inculcated the marriage of the clergy, with a view to stamping out the vices that had characterized celibacy in Germany, and though the same injunction logically applies to soldiers, Frederick forced the majority of his officers to remain unmarried...In his armies he revived the vices of the Teutonic Knights and the Templars. Frederick is rightly looked upon as the founder of modern German militarism, not merely as state policy but as a worship of destruction for its own sake. He despised humanity in general and looked on human life, even his own life, as a bagatelle. He constantly carried a phial of poison on his person so that he might put an end to his own life at any moment he considered opportune (Igra:18f).
The National Socialist brand of fascism began in the mid-1800s with the German socialist leader Ferdinand Lassalle, founder of the radical Universal German Workingmen's Association (UGWA) (Weber:11). Lassalle is remembered for his political rehabilitation of the notorious pederast, Jean Baptiste von Schweitzer, after the Social Democrat Party had expelled him. Schweitzer was a talented lawyer who, in 1862, had become editor of the main periodical of the German socialist movement, Sozialdemokrat. In August of that year, two elderly ladies, enjoying a quiet stroll in a public park in Mannheim, accidentally came upon Schweitzer and a schoolboy. Schweitzer was sodomizing the boy in the bushes. He was arrested, given two weeks in jail, and disbarred (Steakley:1).
The Social Democrats disowned Schweitzer, but only one year later Lassalle took Schweitzer under his wing (J. Katz:567n.), stating that a person's sexual tastes had ``absolutely nothing to do with a man's political character'' (Linsert:178). Schweitzer became president of the UGWA, and on September 7, 1867, was elected to the Reichstag (parliament) of the North German Confederation (Steakley:1ff).
Among the several men who have been dubbed ``the Father of National Socialism'' (including Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) is probably most deserving of this distinction, being so labeled by Nazi luminaries Dr. Alfred Rosenberg and Dr. Franck (Peters:221). Others have called him the ``Father of Fascism'' (ibid.:ix). Rabidly anti-Christian and a homosexual, Nietzsche founded the ``God is dead'' movement and contributed to the development of existentialist philosophy. Nietzsche's publisher, Peter Gast, called Nietzsche ``one of the fiercest anti-Christians and atheists,'' and described his book, The Antichrist, as a ``ferocious curse'' on Christianity (ibid.:119). Nietzsche called Christianity and democracy the moralities of the ``weak herd,'' and argued for the ``natural aristocracy'' of the Uuebermensch or Superman, whose ``will to power'' was grounded in the material world (Wren in Grolier).
According to Macintyre in Forgotten Fatherland: The Search For Elisabeth Nietzsche, Frederich Nietzsche never married and had no known female sex partners, but went insane at age 44 and eventually died of syphilis. According to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Nietzsche had caught the disease at a homosexual brothel in Genoa, Italy (McIntyre:91f). Nietzsche's unflattering opinion of women was widely known. His works were ``peppered with attacks against women,'' and, like the pederasts of the Community of the Elite, he relegated women to the role of breeders and sexual slaves. Men, on the other hand were to be bred for war (Agonito:265f).
One of Nietzsche's closest friends and another hero of Adolf Hitler was Richard Wagner, the composer. Wagner was the subject of a 1903 book by Hans Fuchs called Richard Wagner und die Homosexualitaet (``Richard Wagner and Homosexuality'') in which Fuchs recommends art as a means for homosexual emancipation (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:86). We do not suggest that Wagner was homosexual.
Nietzsche's philosophy was grounded in Greek and Roman paganism, and in his writings he called for ``a new Caesar to transform the world'' (Peters:viii). Years later, Nietzsche's sister and chief promoter, Elisabeth, would enthusiastically dub Hitler the ``Superman'' her brother had predicted (ibid.:220). Indeed, Elisabeth's adulation of Hitler was mirrored by the Fuehrer's admiration for her brother. Hitler and the Nazis were indebted to Nietzsche for his contribution to German nationalism. ``It is not too much to say,'' writes historian George Lichtheim, ``that but for Nietzsche the SS -- Hitler's shock troops and the core of the whole movement -- would have lacked the inspiration to carry our their programs of mass murder in Eastern Europe'' (McIntyre:187). And W. Cleon Skousen writes that when ``Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, it was as though Nietzsche was speaking from the dead'' (Skousen:348).
Nietzsche's importance to Nazism is immeasurable. His most celebrated book, Also Sprach Zarathustra, (``Thus Spake Zarathustra'') was considered the ``bible'' of the Hitler Youth and was ``enshrined with Hitler's Mein Kampf and Alfred Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century -- in the vault of the Tannenberg Memorial, which had been erected to commemorate Germany's victory over Russia in the First World War'' (Peters:221). Hitler and the Nazis often used Nietzschean phrases such as ``will to power,'' ``live dangerously,'' and ``Superman,'' but more significantly, Nietzsche became a hero to the masses as well. Certain German intellectuals canonized Nietzsche through the popular media of the day. Peters writes,
Germany's intellectual elite, including poets like Stefan George and writers like Thomas Mann, saw in Nietzsche's ``aristocratic radicalism'' an answer to the decadent democratic ideals of the West. Fervent young men and women met for ritualistic readings from Zarathustra. Hymns were composed to celebrate the new religion, and by the time the body of the sick philosopher was finally put to rest, he was proclaimed a saint (Peters:ix).
The Cultural Elites
Who were these ``intellectuals'' who popularized Nietzschean fascism in Germany? Stefan George, one of Germany's most popular poets of the time, was a pederast and ``a guiding example'' to the Community of the Elite. ``George and his disciples,'' write Oosterhuis and Kennedy, ``...revivified Holderlin's concept Griechendeutschen (Hellenic Germans), [and] contrasted in their poetry and lifestyle the `eternal spring of homoerotic friendship' from the family'' (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:91). Homosexualist Ian Young wrote that ``In George, aestheticism, Nietzscheanism and homosexual idealism were transmuted into a poetic philosophy'' (Young:183).
In 1903, George became infatuated with a 15-year-old boy and made him a figure of worship in a 1907 book called Der siebente Ring (``The Seventh Ring''). His last book, Das neue Reich (``The New Kingdom''), published in 1928, ``prophesied an era in which Germany would become a new Greece'' (Miles in Grolier). In 1933, when Hitler came to power, he offered George the position of President of the Nazi Academy of Letters (a post which he turned down) (Mosse:60).
Thomas Mann's identification with Nietzsche may also have had something to do with the latter's homosexuality. Among other works, Mann is famous for a 1912 novella called Der Tod in Venedig (``Death in Venice''), in which ``an aging writer risks life and reputation in his attempts to gaze on the Apollonian beauty of the 14-year-old Tadzio'' (Reiter in Grolier). Homosexualist historian A.L. Rowse called this novella ``the most publicized homosexual story of the century'' (Rowse:212). A recently published biography, Thomas Mann: A Life, by Donald Prater, confirms the above. A review of this book in The San Francisco Examiner (December 23, 1995) states that the book is based in part on Mann's private diaries, which reveal a ``secret homoerotic life.'' Mann was married and had six children for whom he was ``a remote and sometimes terrifying figure.'' The article reveals that two of these children, Klaus and Michael, committed suicide. Two of his children became homosexuals (Rowse:212). Mann confesses in his diary that the character Tadzio, the 14-year-old boy in ``A Death in Venice,'' was actually modelled after a boy on whom Mann ``developed a crush while holidaying in Venice.'' We must be clear, however, that Mann's contribution to Nazism, his role in popularizing Nietzsche, was unintended. Mann was personally anti-Nazi.
Nietzsche's influence extended beyond the German border. Adapting for its subject ``the Nietzschean ecstasy'' in the Italian art world, playwright Frank Wedekind's play, Spring's Awakening, features a cast of schoolboys whom he ``allowed...to experience all forms of sexuality ...[including] masturbation, heterosexual promiscuity and..homosexual love making between the boys'' (Mosse:61). Benito Mussolini himself acknowledged a debt of gratitude to Nietzsche during his dictatorship (Peters:212).
Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth, figured prominently in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany. After Nietzsche's death in 1900, she assumed control of his estate and relentlessly promoted her brother's writings, establishing the Nietzsche Archives. During the Weimar Republic the Archives became ``the center of a powerful counter-revolutionary current'' of German nationalism (ibid.:206). At one point Nietzsche's followers wanted to build a Nietzsche Temple, complete with statues of Apollo and Dionysos (ibid.:200). While the temple was never built, Adolf Hitler himself commissioned a shrine to Nietzsche, a memorial auditorium and library ``where German youth could be taught Nietzsche's doctrine of a master race'' (ibid.:222). The Friedrich Nietzsche zum Gedachinis erbaut (``Friedrich Nietzsche Memorial Building'') was opened in August of 1938 (McIntyre:192).
An interesting aside to this story is the fact that in 1886 Elisabeth Nietzsche and her husband founded a colony in Paraguay, South America called Nueva Germania (``New Germany''). After the fall of the Third Reich, Nueva Germania sheltered hundreds of fleeing Nazi war criminals, including the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele (McIntyre: 5,205ff). Another interesting fact is that Rudolf Steiner, who would later found the occultic Anthrosophical Society, was briefly involved with Elisabeth in the management of the Nietzsche Archives.
Frederich Nietzsche's influence on the Nazis is reflected in all they did. ``Become hard and show no mercy,'' Nietzsche taught, ``for evil is man's best force'' (Peters:227). One wonders whether history might have been different if Germany had been aware that the writings of their fascist ``genius'' may have been influenced by impaired brain function ``caused by...the tertiary phase of cerebral syphilis'' (ibid.:35). In 1902, a doctor by the name of P.J. Mobius attempted to warn his countrymen ``that they should beware of Nietzsche, for his works were the products of a diseased brain'' (ibid.:184). Unfortunately for the world, Mobius's report was squelched by Elisabeth and her powerful friends.
The attraction of fascism for homosexuals appears in the history of other countries as well. As we noted earlier, pro-Nazi fascist organizations in both England and France were headed by homosexuals. In England, the organization was called the Anglo-German Fellowship, and was headed by British homosexuals Guy Francis de Moncy Burgess, and Captain John Robert Macnamara. In France, the pro-Nazi fascists were represented by two groups, the Radical Socialist Party headed by Edouard Pfeiffer (Secretary General), and the French Popular Party headed by Jacques Doriot. Pfeiffer was openly homosexual. Less is known about Doriot, but, as we have shown, his organization seems to have to have had an attraction for homosexuals in any case (Costello:300ff.).
The Belgian fascist ``Rexist'' movement was led by Leon Degrelle ``who would come to regard himself as the spiritual son of Hitler'' (Toland:410). In Austria, it was Artur Seyss-Inquart, who, after Hitler's assention to power was ``appointed Minister of the Interior, with full, unlimited control of the nation's police forces'' (ibid.:434). In Norway, it was the infamous Vidkum Quisling, whose very surname became synonomous with ``traitor.'' Igra identifies all of these men as homosexual (Igra:86). A ``top leader'' of the Nazi Party in Czechoslovakia was also homosexual (Oosterhuis:243).
A connection between homosexuality and fascism in Germany's military allies is implied by historian Mary Beard In The Sex Life of the Unmarried Adult she writes that ``the Fascist movement in Germany, as in Italy and Japan, is essentially a dynamic of unmarried males..Adolph Hitler, [is] a bachelor like the majority of the thirty or forty leaders of the Nazi Party...A number of the prominent Nazis are men with records of sexual perversions as well as of military daring'' (Beard:158). Homosexualists John Lauritsen and David Thorstad report that in the Soviet Union, homosexuality became known as ``the fascist perversion'' during the 1930's. They quote the Soviet writer, Maxim Gorky: ``There is already a slogan in Germany, `Eradicate the homosexual and fascism will disappear''' (Lauritsen and Thorstad:69).
Wilhelm Reich, author of The Mass Psychology of Fascism was a prominent Germann Psychoanalyst when Hitler came to power in 1933. He wrote that homosexuality was the breeding ground of fascism. In 1936, fellow Psychiatrist Erich Fromm echoed this view and also linked homosexuality sado-masochism (Oosterhuis:242). This link has been widely recognized in past decades. Oosterhuis writes,
Dutch liberal anarchist Anton Constandse...claimed that ``because most National Socialist organizations are typically all-male societies, homosexuality was inevitable....Everybody knows that the sexual abuse of youths was quite common in Roehm's SA.'' From this he inferred that ``the great danger of male bonding, especially in the military, is indeed homosexuality.'' The anti-fascist journal Het Fundament, published in Holland, also characterized homosexuality as typical of fascism.... [F]eminist Maria Antonietta Macciocchi ...[wrote of] the extreme misogyny of ``the brotherhood of male chauvinist fascists and homosexual Nazis.'' Susan Sontag explained the popularity of sadomasochism in the gay subculture...simply as an ``eroticizing of Nazism.'' According to her, ``there is a natural link'' between homosexual sadomasochism and fascism. The stereotype was also made visible in such films as Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969), Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist (1971), Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), and Volker Schlondorff's The Tin Drum (1978) - (Oosterhuis:244f).
We can see that the roots of Nazism are fundamentally interrelated with the homosexuality of its philosophers; a fact noted by many prominent writers and thinkers. (Although it may be mere coincidence we were reminded that the Latin root of fascism is fasces ( i.e., a bundle of rods). A diminutive of fasces is ``faggot,'' a common pejorative for homosexuals.)
In the lives of such men as Plato, Frederich the Great, and Nietzsche, whose writings and deeds were foundational to modern fascism, the common denominator is homosexual behavior. Certainly not every fascist has been homosexual, just as not every homosexual has been fascist. But the glaring truth of history is that contemporary German homosexuals bore a disproportionately large share of the responsibility for the rise of Nazism.
We have now looked at three separate and distinct realms of pre-Nazi German society which contributed to the formation and success of the Nazi Party. In the German ``gay rights'' movement we saw the pederastic origins of the Hellenic revival and its influence on the youth and Freikorps movements. We also saw how the rift between the ``Butch'' and ``Femme'' factions of the homosexual movement laid the groundwork for the mistreatment of some homosexuals later on in the Nazi regime.
In the realm of pagan religion we saw the importance of homosexuality in occultism and the influence of occultism in the development of Nazi thought. We have noted that many of the prominent occultists who influenced the growth of Nazism were homosexuals, and that a number of the early Nazis themselves were both homosexuals and occultists. Finally, we have seen that homosexuals and pederasts were integral to the creation and development of fascism and National Socialist philosophy.
Now that we have explored the relationship between homosexuality and the aspects of German thought and culture which led to the development of Nazism, we can begin to examine more closely the formation and early years of the Nazi Party itself, as well as the individuals, including Hitler, who led the Nazi movement.