History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Hungary and Japan were Nazi Germany's allies during WWII, yet it could not possibly be argued that the Japanese belong to the "Aryan race", and Hungarians speak a non-Indo-European language, which probably disqualifies them as Aryans too. Did the German propaganda try to account for that? Were there any statements from the Nazi officials or scholars regarding the racial status of the Hungarian and Japanese people?

Additionally, considering that the Nazi leaders planned enslavement and subsequent extermination of Poles on racial grounds, were any analogous statements made about Russians during the time the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact held? What about other Axis or pro-Axis Slavic nations such as Slovaks or Bulgarians?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The German government considered the Japanese people as "honorary Aryans". According to Hitler, the Japanese and the Chinese, like the Germans, belonged to ancient civilizations. Wikipedia also discusses this.

share|improve this answer
Interesting! Thanks a lot! – ymar Aug 12 '12 at 10:55
I think (really it is my personal opinion, but maybe I am not alone) Hitler and so the Nazi Germany was less racist as they show in movies and documentaries. They obviously hated jews, gypsies, but over that he thought in alliances and cultures. Race itself wasn't that marginal in those times. He admired Budapest as city and had a plan to reshape Salzburg to beat Budapest's beauty. He was more sort of "cultural nazi". – CsBalazsHungary May 7 '13 at 12:04
This would get an upvote from me, if you could dig up a reference and some text for the Hungarian half of the question. – T.E.D. May 7 '13 at 12:49
@T.E.D. no prob, but it will take some time. I have a Hungarian source, which I guess is not the best in an English site :) – CsBalazsHungary May 7 '13 at 14:24
@CsBalazsHungary: What I'd do is to link the Hungarian source, and then translate a few relevant portions into English. – Tom Au Oct 26 '13 at 21:39

There was no consistent racial theory that the Nazis endorsed as somehow "official". All decisions were made on case-by-case basis depending on current situation and Hitler's personal preferences.

The Hitler's personal preferences were that he hated Jews, Poles and Russians. He was quite neutral regarding some other nations, including Slavic. He regarded Ukrainians better than both Poles and Russians.

He regarded Turkmens (who are Mongoloid, spoke Turkic language and Muslims) better than Lithuanians and Latvians, who are white, Christian and spoke languages which retain the most features of the ancient Indo-Europen.

He preferred Tatars to both Russians and Ukrainians.

This all was completely arbitrary.

It should be noted that along the so-called "Aryanism" ideology there were competing ideologies of Nordicism and Germanism and racial purity theory, as well as others. Of the first three it seems that Hitler liked Germanism the most while Nordicism the least.

All these were cited in different contexts depending on situation. For example, Aryanism was used to exclude Jews, Germanism - to exclude Slavs and Nordicism and racial purity - to attack the French and Italians, as well as Gypsies.

Another theory was that "heroic" nations, i.e. nations that conquered and enslaved their neighbors should be preferred to merchant nations that expanded by trade and the both should be preferred to the nations that were sometime in their history enslaved themselves.

From this point of view Jews were excluded as both merchant and enslaved nation (enslaved as long ago as Biblical times). Russians were seen as being "natural slaves" because they invited the Scandinavian Varangians to rule them, because the majority of pre-revolutionary Russian nobility and the Tsar himself were of German descent (while the serfs were Slavs) and because the Nazis believed that the very word "Slave" was derived from 'Slav" (in German the both words coincide). On the similar grounds Arabs (as "heroic") were preferred to the British (as "merchant") and African blacks were preferred to American blacks (the descendants of the slaves), warlike Caucasus dwellers, Chechens and Cossacks were preferred to "peaceful" Russians etc.

share|improve this answer
Citations? Sources? – Mark C. Wallace May 6 '13 at 14:43
Definitely needs citations but +1 for now. – Felix Goldberg May 7 '13 at 8:38
Seconding (or thirding?) the call for sources. I'd heard elsewhere that he rather liked the English, as fellow "Aryans", and felt that he ought to be able to make some kind of accomodation with them after defeating their Polish and French allies. – T.E.D. May 7 '13 at 12:46
Please do not make wrong edits. Slav and Slave ARE NOT etymologically connected. Slave is derived from Latin "sclavus" and cognate to "conclave", "enclave", "clavis" etc. – Anixx Feb 18 '14 at 3:42
@Noldorin sclavus meant prisoner, slave in Latin, that's all. It is cognate to clavis "key", conclave "locked room", enclave "isolated area". Further cognates include English close, clue, claw. It is an old IE root (klea̯u̯is = hook, bolt in PIE). The word cannot derive from Slave because of /k/ in the second position. – Anixx Apr 29 '14 at 5:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.