What if the Nazis Had Really Lost World War II? Part 1: Hitler Was Darwin’s St. Paul
One of the best things released on television in the past few years was The Man in the High Castle. It was based on a short, intriguing novel by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. That author was brilliant at coming up with fascinating premises for stories, but not that skilled at carrying them out, via story-telling, character development, or dialog. That’s why the movie adaptations of his stories are often better than the books. (For instance, Blade Runner was a far better movie than Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was a book, I think.)
In both genres, The Man in the High Castle’s premise is simple: What would the world be like if the Nazis had resoundingly won World War II? Of course, this is a very popular premise for “What If” or “alt-history” fiction, just ahead of “What if the South had won the Civil War?”
Should I Write this Novel?
But I have another idea. One that would be harder to pull off. A project that in fact exceeds my gifts as an imaginative writer. I’ll probably never find the time to write it. But rather than let it go completely to waste, let me at least share its premise with you. If some literary agent out there thinks he can land me a large advance, he should contact me. I’ll make time, in that case. Okay, here goes:
What would the world be like if the Nazis had really lost World War II?
So whaddaya think? I’m hearing crickets. Let me explain. I mean what if the explosively repulsive evils the Nazis carried out for Hitler had really led the world to reject his premises? To renounce the deeper worldview which had made those horrors possible, and return to healthier ones. Instead of, you know, what happened: Denouncing the obvious atrocities, putting band-aids on everything, and letting the same secret evils go underground for a few years, before taking control again — as they clearly have, all around us, today.
That’s right. We live in a world where the core beliefs of Nazism in fact are triumphing here in the West, wearing disguises no more convincing than Bruce Jenner’s negligee. (I’ll prove that alarming assertion in Part 2, don’t worry.) But that observation isn’t unique to me. I can’t claim credit.
Another genius sci-fi writer, Jorge Luis Borges, made it in a very short story, Eine Deutsches Requiem. It’s available online, so I suggest you go and read it. My short summary: the particulars of the German Nazi regime had to suffer short-term defeat, but their principles would rise from the grave, triumphant, among the very Allies who thought they’d crushed them. Because as modern people, they were just as infused with the Nazis’ core, really core beliefs as Hitler was himself. They’d prove it, by eventually following most of the paths that he laid down. And he’d laugh at them, from Hell.
Hitler Didn’t Create Ex Nihilo
When Adolf Hitler and his circle pulled together National Socialism, they weren’t working with ideas channeled from aliens in outer space. The materials they used to craft a distinctive, attractive worldview were already all around them. With a certain demonic genius, the Nazis created a synthesis based on
- What people already believed.
- What they wanted to think was true. And
- What they hoped they could get away with.
In fact, you might fruitfully analyze any political ideology according to those three things. Try it with today’s Woke liberals, for instance, or NeverTrump Republicans.
If you’re coming up with a worldly, Mammon-based political program, you won’t get very far if items 1-3 above don’t match up well with large swathes of the population. You must echo (and amplify, press harder on) already popular beliefs. You must flatter, and offer support for, the wishful thinking that’s around you, disguised as “hope.” And finally, you must offer people license, sanction, and the promise of power to carry out their secret wishes.
Hitler Was Darwin’s St. Paul
Hitler did a brilliant job, better than anyone in his century, of executing the Machiavellian task I laid out here. It was an uphill struggle, inventing an ideology from scratch, a movement out of nothing, that would seize control of the world’s best-educated country, and try to conquer the world. His competitors were entrenched, with extensive prestige. The Marxists had the glamor of a well-known philosopher, and control of the vast country of Russia. The liberal capitalists had 200 years of “liberal” philosophy, and the approval of the upper classes. The conservative nationalists had the prestige of the nobility, and support from most of the churches. What did Hitler have?
He had Darwin, and that was all he really needed. Adolf Hitler was to Charles Darwin what V.I. Lenin was to Karl Marx: the St. Paul who’d preach the gospel, the engineer who would build from the blueprints, the man of practical politics who would make real what had been theory. To really understand what I mean, in all its depth and breadth, you’d need to read two history books I wolfed down in 2020. The first is by Richard Weikardt, Hitler’s Religion, the second by Johann Chaputout, The Law of Blood.
Not Providence but Cruelty Made the World
Together, those books establish that Hitler saw himself as the most sincere, consistent advocate of Darwin’s theory in the world. And he was right. He was willing to really take to heart Darwin’s core belief: that the source of all progress, from the amoeba up to man, and from the cave man to the scientist, was ruthless, bloody struggle. The survival of the fittest, not any divine design, formed life itself from the rough materials of mere mechanical chance. That same ruthless, cruel taskmaster forced life ever upward, culled and refined it by killing off the weaklings.
The duty of the government, given the cold hard facts we learn from biological science, is simple. It is to promote the health, survival, and improvement of the race. To work with nature, not flail impotently against it. To make life higher, happier, longer, and ever more technologically advanced. And not to be distracted or restrained by old-fashioned leftovers from superstitious “creationist” creeds, such as individual “rights,” human “dignity” or the so-called “sanctity” of life.
In Part 2 I explain just how comprehensively the Nazi ideal in fact has triumphed, something we can only really see with perfect clarity in the wake of the COVID crisis, as public health dictatorships rise to power around the world.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”