Ernst Haeckel, introduced Darwinism into Germany and formulated a racist social policy for the Nazis.

The greatest influence in the sudden development of racism in the 19th century Europe was the replacement of the Christian belief that “God created all people equal” by “Darwinism”. By suggesting that man had evolved from more primitive creatures, and that some races had evolved further than others, it provided racism with a scientific mask.

Indeed, a heavy Darwinist influence can be seen in all the Nazi ideologues. When this theory, which was given form by Hitler and Alfred Rosenburg is examined, one sees concepts such as ‘natural selection,’ ‘selective mating,’ and ‘the struggle for survival between the races,’ which are repeated dozens of times in Darwin’s The Origin of Species. The name of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf was inspired by Darwin’s principle that life was a constant struggle for survival, and those who emerged victorious survived. In the book Hitler talked of the struggle between the races, and said:

History would culminate in a new millennial empire of unparalleled splendour, based on a new racial hierarchy ordained by nature herself. 

This biological view that forms the basis of the Nazi’s race theory is undiluted Darwinism. Nonsense such as that nature’s aim is to ’cause superior species to evolve,’ that it uses natural selection to do so, and that the weak are inevitably eliminated are really just a summary of Darwinism.

Charles Darwin

One of the most important yet least-known aspects of Darwin is his racism: Darwin regarded white Europeans as more “advanced” than other human races. While Darwin presumed that man evolved from ape-like creatures, he surmised that some races developed more than others and that the latter still bore simian features. In his book, The Descent of Man, which he published after The Origin of Species, he boldly commented on “the greater differences between men of distinct races”.  In his book, Darwin held blacks and Australian Aborigines to be equal to gorillas and then inferred that these would be “done away with” by the “civilised races” in time. He said:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes… will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

Social Darwinism contends that existing human races are located at different steps of the “evolutionary ladder”, that the European races were the most “advanced” of all, and that many other races still bear “simian” features.