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I am reading Theories of Culture by Arnold Groh that states the following about Nazi Germany:

When we speak of cultures in the plural, imbalance of dominance often comes to bear, as some representatives of the global, (1) industrial culture tend to see themselves on a stage that is ‘higher’, ‘better’ or ‘more developed’ than that to which they assign members of other, especially non-European, cultures.

This is footnoted with:

(1) It should be noted that the term global was popularised by the Nazis of Germany’s so-called Third Reich.

Can someone explain how Nazi's popularised the term global? The wiki pages on the Third Reich and Nazism reference lose concepts of global domination but nothing specific about their use of 'global' as a term.

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  • Is this the distinction between multicultural and monoculture (aka global) culture?
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 18:06
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    I have included the full sentence for further context and included the footnote in parenthesis. Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 18:19
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    While the claim of the footnote is news to me, it seems somewhat plausible. I found two German books from 1925 that talk about a new global age (global politics plus global economy) prior to any publications in English. Based on quick perusal, the authors seem to have been on the conservative-nationalistic part of the political spectrum. Their ideas may have been adopted by Nazis. Arthur Dix, Geoökonomie, Einführung in erdhafte Wirtschaftsbetrachtung, München & Berlin: R. Oldenbourg 1925; August Schmidt, Das Neue Deutschland in der Weltpolitik und Weltwirtschaft, Berlin: R. Hobbing 1925.
    – njuffa
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 0:33
  • @njuffa I do not see the word "global" in those book titles. "erdhaft" could mean something like "earthly" (I do not think I have seen this German word before) and "Welt" simply means "world".
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 5:56
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    @OP have you tried using google ngram? My superficial impression is the term was always more popular in English than in German, but I do not have much experience with ngram and I may be wrong.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 8:26

2 Answers 2

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Arnold Groh is not a historian, instead he holds degrees in psychology, literature and linguistics. When I asked him if he could expand on his footnote he said the following:

My father (1913-2014) witnessed the Nazis. When the terms "global", "globalization" etc. became popular around the turn of the millenia, he said that Hermann Göring liked to use the term "global" a lot. As you know, guys like Göring, Goebbels, Hitler etc. kept giving speeches in front of large audiences that were also broadcast. Thus, the term was popularised.

While the footnote was based on the subjective experience of the author's father there is some evidence that the term "global" was used deliberately in Nazi propaganda.

Back in 1925 Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (British translation of the unexpurgated edition) that he viewed global domination as a missed opportunity with unclaimed land a requirement for population growth of a nation.

Page 84:

For, as things stand today, vast spaces still lie uncultivated all over the surface of the globe. Those spaces are only waiting for the ploughshare. And it is quite certain that Nature did not set those territories apart as the exclusive pastures of any one nation or race to be held unutilized in reserve for the future. Such land awaits the people who have the strength to acquire it and the diligence to cultivate it.

Page 84:

If a nation confines itself to ‘internal colonization’ while other races are perpetually increasing their territorial annexations all over the globe, that nation will be forced to restrict the numerical growth of its population at a time when the other nations are increasing theirs.

Page 223:

If in its historical development the German people had possessed the unity of herd instinct by which other peoples have so much benefited, then the German Reich would probably be mistress of the globe to-day.

It should be noted that more accurate translations of Mein Kampf could exist and "globe" could be mistranslated as "Earth" but conceptually they are the same thing and reflects how it was read at the time.

It wasn’t until the launch of the war that the threat of the “international Jewry” was created as noted by Jeffrey Herf who wrote in The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust

Page 1:

Though Hitler had long planned to launch the war at a time and place of his choosing, he and his propagandists insisted that the “extermination” of the Jews was a justified response to a war launched against Germany by “international Jewry.”

He then explains that this would have created a global threat:

Page 6:

Radical anti-Semitism rested on the belief that the Jews were a cohesive, politically active subject—that is, a group united on a global scale by racial bonds that transcended any allegiance to nation-states. In the Nazi view, this powerful and autonomous entity, international Jewry, controlled assorted stooges and accomplices who served its evil interests.

According to Wikipedia between 1933 and 1945 Hitler gave a total of 1,525 speeches and I am not able to check them all but I did make use of the Nazi and East German Propaganda Archive from Calvin University. Using Google search I found 15 references of the term "globe" or “global” and the use of it ranges from the threat of "international Jewry" by Joseph Goebbels in 1935 to loose concepts of "global struggles" in 1944

It has been thought out, set afoot and led under the inspiration of the Mammon worship and materialist thought which is incarnated in international Jewry, scattered throughout every country of the globe.

It cannot be ignored that anti-Bolshevism and its related anti-Semitism has significantly increased in all warring nations during the course of this war, particularly over the last six months. That is the result of the length of the war on one hand, but also because of our extraordinarily intensive educational work on the fundamental problems of this global struggle that extends to the whole world.

Without doing original research all I can show is that, conceptually, Hitler had global ambitions and created a global threat. It goes some way to explain the sudden increase in the word "global" from 1940 onwards. Given that the term didn’t appear during WW1 shows that something more is happening than just a reaction to a global war. If we use alternative German words suggested by Google Translate like "Weltweit_INF", "Allumfassend_INF" and "weltumspannend_INF" they all existed before in the 1800s and peaked during WW1 and WW2 but it seems the Third Reich was more directly responsible for “global”.

In the end it might have been that Groh’s father meant “Earth” since that word also increased in usage during the 1940s and Göring certainly used it in his speeches. However there still exists a sudden introduction of the word "global" from the 1940s. If someone can provide a better explanation then I will gladly accept your answer as the solution.

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    This answers "What does Groh mean"/think is true? Here: someone felt that Göring "used it a lot". Hitler eg did not (favourite seems to be whistling 'international'), and Goebbels gives one example for "globales Ringen" as pleonasm which seems not that common in his output either? Göring seems to be not overly 'intellectually influential' (& proof for usage still lacking), the usual top suspects seem to bring no real evidence either. While World War lends itself to talk more often about the globe, unless more minor matching nazi paper output comes along, it looks like Groh exaggerates? Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 9:39
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    Can you check for the original German version of MeinKampf and the word usage there (full citations please, including page numbers and translation/edition)! I do not find that passage in there! Where did you get that from? The "Jewish Enemy" quotes you also make look like being from Hitler, although it is secondary material—thus no proof at all for the hypothesis, but mere later usage. Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 9:54
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    MeinKampf: 1st quote: "dieser Erde"; 2nd "Erde"; 3rd quote: "Erdballs"; the term"globe" only comes in via translations? via critical edition mein-kampf-edition.de Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 10:53
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    Thx for patience & persistence, but I disagree very much with your summary that Erde-, Welt- etc would mean the same thing, and therefore this would be a match. Mere synonyms change the meaning of the Q imo quite a lot and do not match the unreliable ngram data for the specific term 'global'! Although, my guess is that Groh indeed does confuse this as well (I searched quite a lot material from some top nazis and globales Ringen by Goebbels is pretty much the only match. If eg they talk Globus it is seldom 'the planet', but almost always the concrete little sphere for teaching). Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 16:34
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    It's tempting to ask a new question, whether 'did Göring use the specific character sequence global a lot' (his material is missing from my collection… Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Streicher, Darre etc do not) or amend this one with the imo necessary prolegomena, which nazi writers/speakers did use the specific word at all? // Things like Weltmacht, world power, dominance, 'Weltpolitik' is pretty much a thing since 1871. I therefore conclude that it is primarily Groh's obligation to provide evidence for his claim, before we have to come up with limited resources & post-rationalise this? Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 16:40
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This is Arnold Groh. My father certainly did not mean "Earth". We were speaking about the word G-L-O-B-A-L, which is spelled the same way in German as it is in English (my father was half-English, by the way). I suppose Göring and the like delivered radio speeches almost every day. Most of them might not be preserved in any recordings. Perhaps it was a temporary quirk of Hermann Göring (who was somewhat eccentric, anyway) to excessively use that word. Chaplin's play with the globe in his Great Dictator metaphorises the Nazi's megalomania. Ceterum censeo that we, the globalising, dominant, industrial culture should be more self-critical instead of constantly overestimating ourselves. The Nazis have left too many traces and spread seeds, some of which are sprouting now in what is called globalisation.

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  • This does not seem to answer the question. Also, we strive for answers to be based on evidence (if possible, primary sources), not hearsay and/or conjecture.
    – njuffa
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 23:01
  • Responses to what others have written should go as comments on what they wrote. Unfortunately as a new contributor you don't have the ability to write comments yet. This may seem weird given that you are the one being quoted that you are not permitted to respond, but unfortunately on the internet we have no way of knowing if you are really that person or not. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 23:08
  • Just tell me how I can prove that I am a real person and the one being quoted. Perhaps look up the Berlin phone directory and call me? Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 12:16

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