Dienstag, 17. Februar 2009

Tolkien on the Germanic Ideal

Strictly speaking, this has nothing to do with ‘German Orthodoxy’, but it does represent a very Orthodox view of national pride, one that is most definitely in conflict with Nazism. Furthermore, an important part of the Daseinszweck of this blog is specifically the response to those who would have German identity—and even love of the German land and people—and hatred of others go hand in hand. From a letter of J.R.R. Tolkien to his son Michael, dated 9 June 1941, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Humphrey Carpenter with Christopher Tolkien (Boston: Houghton, 1981), p. 55-6:

People in this land seem not even yet to realize that in the Germans we have enemies whose virtues (and they are virtues) of obedience and patriotism are greater than ours in the mass. Whose brave men are just about as brave as ours. Whose industry is about 10 times greater. And who are—under the curse of God—now led by a man inspired by a mad, whirlwind, devil: a typhoon, a passion: that makes the poor old Kaiser look like an old woman knitting.

I have spent most of my life, since I was your age, studying Germanic matters (in the general sense that includes England and Scandinavia). There is a great deal more force (and truth) than ignorant people imagine in the ‘Germanic’ ideal. I was much attracted by it as an undergraduate (when Hitler was, I suppose, dabbling in paint, and had not heard of it), in reaction against the ‘Classics’. You have to understand the good in things, to detect the real evil. But no one ever calls on me to ‘broadcast’, or do a postscript! Yet I suppose I know better than most what is the truth about this ‘Nordic’ nonsense. Anyway, I have in this War a burning private grudge—which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler (for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature: it chiefly affects the mere will). Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.