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Considering some of the questions/questioners that have cropped up recently on this site, what was the Nazi attitude towards India and specifically the Aryans of India? Did Hitler consider them to be just as superior as the Nordic race? Did this perhaps motivate his support of the Indian National Army during WW2?

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Share with us the places you have looked already so we won't have to? –  Eugene Seidel Jul 9 '13 at 18:19
history.stackexchange.com/a/7669/1569 and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… seem to more or less nail it... –  Felix Goldberg Jul 9 '13 at 18:21
Given the infamous Tibet expeditions and Thule society, he clearly considered Indian sub-continent related in some way to Aryan race. However, support for INA didn't need to be related to "superior race" - after all, Nazis happily supported "subhuman" slavic factions that fought against their targets (e.g. Vlasov's army etc...) and INA was an enemy of British. –  DVK Jul 9 '13 at 21:25
@FelixGoldberg While the question is related to the above, it is not identical since it deals with Hitler's attitude on Indians racial character. That's why I am answering it. –  Arani Jul 10 '13 at 19:37
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2 Answers

Hitler did not consider Indians to be Aryans at all. Instead, he believed them to be barbaric Asians who did not deserve to enjoy freedom as a country. He wanted India to remain subjugated under the British (he said this openly in his book) permanently. He pointedly refused Bose's request to withdraw this statement in his only meeting with Bose. As for support for the Indian National Army, it was more Bose's determination and excellent relations with senior officers of the Abwehr (Nazi Germany's intelligence agency) that forced Hitler to deal with the issue of Indian independence. Even then he refused to issue an open declaration in support of India[1]. And Bose, it must be said, returned this subtle hostility. For example, after Germany's surrender, Bose profusely thanked the Germans for their help, but did not forget to add that Germany had been let down by its leaders in both the world wars[2].

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Thank you. Besides Hitler, what was the Nazi POV on Indian Aryans in general? E.g., Schopenhauer, who influenced Nazi ideology, went gaga over ancient Hindu literature, philosophy, and mythology. Himmler was apparently very taken by the stuff likening Hitler to Krishna, etc. and also praised the caste system of India comparing the SS to the upper-caste warriors who subjugated the lesser lower classes. Were upper caste Indian Aryans perhaps considered acceptable? –  coleopterist Jul 11 '13 at 5:56
A reference or two would be good to have. –  Eugene Seidel Jul 13 '13 at 9:20
@EugeneSeidel References have been added, please check. –  Arani Jul 13 '13 at 15:53
@coleopterist The Abwehr, as you might know, was staunchly anti-Nazi, and did not believe in the racial policy of the Nazis. But, for most Germans, even upper caste Indian Aryans were not acceptable. For example, India's first president Rajendra Prasad was of upper caste, but was badly beaten up by the Nazis in Vienna. –  Arani Jul 13 '13 at 16:00
I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Abwehr was "staunchly anti-Nazi". Rather, they seem to have been very pragmatic people who served the Nazis well while they were in the ascendant and later began to plot and scheme against them, when they declined. They kinda sorta ended up on the right side, very very broadly speaking, but that doesn't make them good guys at all, just a lighter shade of bad. –  Felix Goldberg Jul 13 '13 at 16:35
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Hitler was an Chameleon opportunist who used the word "Aryan", in different contexts to supplement his political ideologies, which were mainly to conquer Europe, and the systematic eradication of Jews.

The Earliest definition of Aryan, given out by the Nazis, was a race of people belonging to "Indo-European tribes" and the five European sub-races Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic, of which the Nordic heritage was inherently considered superior, and of course predominantly recurring among the German race.

However, as time passed,he managed to change the description to better suit his current political needs. Here are some instances, where he twisted this "Aryan" term...

  • 1) The Slavic race, was clearly an Indo-European tribe, and has its origins in eastern and central Europe. But because he happened to declare war on the Slavs for more lebansraum , he considered Slavs not to be Aryan, describing them as "having dangerous Jewish and Asiatic influences"[Ref1]

    He also went to the extent of classifying them under the sub-human race (untermenchen), and hence evading the Geneva convention.

  • 2) The Independant State of Croatia, is Nazi Germany's ally. But they were also a predominantly a southern Slavic people. But that notion was rejected, and the idea that the croatians were descendants of German goths, was hereby enforced. [Ref2]
  • 3) The single most suffered people, by means of genocide , were the Romanis or Gypsies, who clearly spoke Indo-European languages, and they were also found to contain Indian roots.[Ref3] . So even by the definition of Aryan , these Indo-European people were not spared.
  • 4) The Japanese people are inherently in no way Aryan, but since they were Hitler's allies, they were granted the status of being Honorary Aryans.

So Sum it all up, my conclusion is

Aryan = Germany and its allies.

Non Aryan = Rest of the World.

The Most famous opinion of Hitler on India written in his book "Mein Kempf", was that Indians are not capable of self rule, and he would rather see the Indians under British rule than anyone else.

So i seriously doubt, he considered the Indians as Aryans since, Aryans were a superior race capable of ruling the world, but according to him, Indians were not even capable of self-rule,


Ref 1 = André Mineau. Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity. Rodopi, 2004. Pp. 34-36.

Ref 2 = Rich, Norman (1974). Hitler's War Aims: the Establishment of the New Order, p. 276-7. W. W. Norton & Company Inc., New York.

Ref 3 = Kenrick, Donald (2007). Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies (Romanies) (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. xxxvii. "The Gypsies, or Romanies, are an ethnic group that arrived in Europe around the 14th century. Scholars argue about when and how they left India, but it is generally accepted that they did emigrate from northern India sometime between the 6th and 11th centuries, then crossed the Middle East and came into Europe."

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