PART 1 OF 2Chapter 4: The Expansion of the Living Space
We need have no fears for our own future. I shall leave behind me not only the most powerful army, but also a Party that will be the most voracious animal in world history.
There comes a time when this desire for expansion can no longer be contained and must burst into action.
-- Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations
We have seen that Hitler, the self-appointed political genius. prescribed the leadership principle as the indispensable magical tool for implementing all the requirements of racial destiny. Moreover, by mid-1933 he presumably had become that folk-appointed supreme leader that the leadership principle so clearly mandated. Being the right person in the right position, he knew what was happening and what had to be done to effect national recovery. At long last the degrading national impotence was being neutralized by the establishment of the leadership principle at all levels of the central nervous system. so to speak, of the folkish state. As the national energy was thus being restored and the power to act fully centralized, the time was finally coming to do what was so long overdue: to unleash the radical actions necessary to implement a total metamorphosis akin to nothing less than rebirth. This longed-for national resurrection implied a complete psychological switch from a feeling of impotence to one of near omnipotence. It was within this psychological framework that the ability to take ultimate actions assumed new and unprecedented meanings of potency and invincibility.
What Hitler had in mind, as indicated earlier, was a two-pronged action that was mandated by his ideology. In his weltanschauung of a psychophysical racial health, both courses of action were closely interwoven and interdependent. What he specifically wished to do was to reach out for world domination by expanding the German living space, or lebensraum, while at the very same time cleansing the earth thoroughly of Jews and everything else they stood for such as bolshevization, poisoning, racial decay, enslavement, and death. The cleansing of the living space could produce greater homogeneity and internal unity, which translated into greater power, because the will of the more homogenized collective becomes even more unified and focused. Similarly, the expansion of the living space could produce more material resources but less oppressive crowdedness. These new conditions were bound to lead not only to greater wealth, but also to lesser internal dissension and greater internal harmony, as the physical and psychological impacts of deprivation and crowdedness were alleviated. Once again it was expected that the increased resources and internal unity would generate greater power with which to face whatever enemies were still left, both within and without the mighty and expanding folkish power base. In other words, using the catapulting power of the leadership principle, which was now implemented throughout the folkish state, the providential magician on top was going to multiply this power geometrically by a dual and mutually reinforcing action. The two linked and forceful courses to follow were the cleansing, as well as the expansion, of the existential "must": the lebensraum. Underlying both courses of action was the desired metamorphosis from extreme weakness to the heights of strength. While the urge to purge accentuated the desire to do away with sickness and' to eliminate impotence, the drive to expand focused on rectifying historical injustice and on exercising power. Rudolph Binion correctly emphasized the great importance of this "double track" where one political track ran to Auschwitz, the other to Stalingrad. He also speculated that for Hitler personally, the Jewish track was of greater importance for satisfying his own unconscious needs (Binion 1979, 85). Be that as it may, the two main political courses formed an inseparable ideological package deal. This was so because Jews, Marxists and other enemies, both within and without, were all the same and were all presumed responsible for Germany's diminished size and strength.
From the very start, the notion of the dual application of the newly won national magic power involved the riddle of limits versus limitlessness. The expectation that things would progress in stages implied a limited beginning (expanded German living space) as well as a limitless end (world domination). The true limits of cleansing and of expansion were left somewhat vague yet ominously open-ended. It was not entirely clear how far cleansing could go before the diseased national body, not to mention the whole sick world, would be considered finally free from racial infection. It was not specified how many Jews and others must be extirpated by whatever means before the feeling of security, which comes from an integrated sense of psychophysical health, sets in. Nor was it spelled out how long this cleansing process would last, as it was most likely going to be prolonged by the concurrent process of the expansion of the living space. The latter process, after all, inevitably involved the enlargement of areas to be cleansed as well as possible increases in the number of "disease agents," which would need to be identified and removed from the expanded area by whatever a method left to be specified. Hitler set out to cleanse not just the national body but all of Europe, even the world, otherwise the disease would not be licked. Thereon hinged a contradiction as discussed by Binion (1983). Theoretically, German expansionist interest lay in exporting its Jews to potential enemy countries (France, England, the United States), thereby weakening those countries. Yet by making other countries less receptive to accepting Jews, the Nazi policy of exporting anti-Semitism compromised the policy of exporting Jews. But Hitler's messianic anti-Semitism nevertheless impelled him to export anti-Semitism while doing France (etc.) the favor of killing French Jews at Germany's expense. Such contradictions, however, could be ultimately resolved as events would move in the direction of limitless, rather than limited, goals. "Removal" of the Jews could thus progress from pressure to emigrate to forced expulsion and finally to extermination.
Looming large over the whole question of limits was the issue of how much should the living space expand. What would constitute justice? How far should German boundaries expand? If the expansion were to proceed in stages, would it someday encompass the whole world after an anticipated intercontinental settling of scores with America? Whatever the limits were going to be, their mere hovering over the racial ideological horizons constituted a dizzying stuff for the leader and also for the masses.
Such questions, which were implied in the ideological package deal of Nazism, were not really meant to be answered by the increasingly homogenized masses who were supposed just to put their unquestioning faith at the disposal of their leader's will. The people were simply expected to respond with a leap of faith and get caught up with an elation that comes about as they make a dash from the confines of realistic power toward the domain of illusionary omnipotence. This represents a fascinating psychological phenomenon. Very deep in the recesses of their minds, the people may occasionally still have sensed that such a gigantic power grab was impossible and that it would mean that somewhere down the road the next so-called collapse would inevitably come. After all, since this enchanting magical cure by Hitler for the ignominious collapse during the previous world war was constructed at the expense of reality, it consequently carried with it the seeds of the next collapse in a second world war. People may have had dim realizations that when the myth of omnipotence would be finally punctured, the horrendous consequences would most likely involve the recurrence of a major catastrophe, a repetition of the trauma. But any such dim realizations fell far short of the German people's ability to apply the brakes to the unfolding process. Apparently there was an irresistible collective need to relive the trauma of the First World War as indicated by Binion (1979, 117). Under this enormous pressure, the shocking defeat had been mishandled by self-defeating psychological reactions such as paranoid explanations of what happened coupled with grandiose dreams of future revenge., So potent was this need to heal the narcissistic open wound -- caused by the self-image of defeat and collapse at the end of World War I -- that future reality gave way to present magic. A collapse, after all, would not constitute anything that had not already happened in the past to poor torn-apart Germany. But the joy ride of omnipotence in the here-and-now felt truly unprecedented and wonderfully overwhelming. To live through this wondrous group experience, if only once, meant that each person would receive personal metaphysical validation. Each person would finally know that he had truly lived life to the fullest, to the point of transcendence. And only der Fuhrer could enable the people to accomplish such a feat. He, and he alone, was commissioned by Providence, i.e., by both nature and the folk comrades, to launch the German nation onto the path of greatness through a quest for the limitless.
Hitler's preoccupation with the necessity of an adequate living space was pervasive indeed. When delivering his ringing speeches, he loved to throw numbers around showing how shortchanged Germany was by comparison with other countries when total area and population density were taken into account. There was much more to this than mere tendentious propaganda for the purpose of whitewashing aggressive geopolitical intents. Underlying this constant obsession was a self-righteous and compulsive search for justice, which was driven by a basic sense of insecurity about national health and survival. Historical wrongs had to be corrected not only for the sake of justice but also because their occurrence put into question Germany's future and the ability of the Germans to survive. When it is understood that an expanded lebensraum was meant to be the effective answer to a constant underlying dread about one's sheer existence, it is also understood why it could never work. The geographic diagnosis of an inadequate living space may have represented a reshuffling of the location of insecurity away from the internal psychological realm into a highly symbolic external geographic one. Similarly, the expansion cure may have served as a geographic answer to psychological problems. Such illusory shifts, which are embedded in psychogeographic fantasies, are notoriously unrealistic.
An early clue as to the psychological loadings and ideological importance of the lebensraum issue appears in the second chapter of the first volume of Mein Kampf (Hitler 1943,30-34). Hitler was discussing the deplorable lack of national pride among the Germans. This issue led him to focus on the importance of "the infinite number of separate memories of the greatness of our national fatherland in all the fields of cultural and artistic life" to inspire national pride. He focused this discussion on errors of omission and of commission in education. German education suffered not only from "the negative sin of omission" of memories of German greatness in all fields of endeavor, but also from the added "positive destruction" of even the little that is being taught. In other words, the education omitted most of what should be taught, while at the very same time it distorted and destroyed that which was taught. No wonder therefore that such a dismal teaching failed to instill national pride in children. Who was to blame for this failure? "The rats [politicians, Bolsheviks, Jews, and whoever else Hitler meant by rats] that politically poison our nation gnaw even this little [what is left of nationalistic education] from the heart and memory of the broad masses." At this point, in order to make the situation more vivid for his readers, Hitler drew an imaginary picture of how a three-year-old boy grows up. The picture may contain autobiographical elements.
The imaginary scene that Hitler portrayed involved a family life in a crowded basement apartment. A working family of seven lives in two stuffy rooms. One of the five boys is a three-year-old: "This is the age in which the first impressions are made on the consciousness of the child. Talented persons retain traces of memory from this period down to advanced old age. The very narrowness and overcrowding of the room does not lead to favorable conditions. Quarreling and wrangling will very frequently arise as a result. In these circumstances, people do not live with one another, they press against one another. Every argument, even the most trifling, which in a spacious apartment can be reconciled by a mild segregation, thus solving itself, here leads to loathsome wrangling without end" (Hitler 1943, 31-32). As the loathsome quarreling without end continues among the parents, it includes brutal attacks and beatings of the mother by the drunken father. The impact on the child is to contemplate life with horror by the time he is six years old. He is therefore "morally poisoned" and "physically undernourished" by the time he goes to school. As life goes on in this fashion and the parents keep denigrating the teachers during talks at home in front of the children, by the time the boy becomes fourteen or fifteen years old he despises all authority, ranging from his teacher to the head of the government. Within the next few years, he gets embroiled in criminal activities so that his education receives its last polish in the house of correction. In the meantime, his dear bourgeois fellow men are utterly amazed at his lack of national enthusiasm. This last barb was a typical sarcasm to which Hitler frequently resorted when he wanted to accentuate an ideological point. And the ideological point he raised at the conclusion of his discussion was the necessity for total reeducation of the people: "The question of the 'nationalization' of a people is, among other things, primarily a question of creating healthy social conditions as a foundation for the possibility of educating the individual" (Hitler 1943, 33-34). Embedded here is a totalistic vision of how to manage society in the folkish state. This central theme was later explored and analyzed by historian George Mosse (1977) in The Nationalization of the Masses. He emphasized that in this totalistic management of society, the regular liturgic and cultic forms disguised the pragmatism of daily politics and became a "magic" believed by both leaders and people. Moreover, he ascertained that this form of secular religion enabled its adherents to act out their hopes and fears by viewing the world through myths and symbols (Mosse 1977, 15,214). Actually, Nazism, the new form of secular religion to be practiced arduously and ceremonially on a daily basis, included many millenarian, apocalyptic, Gnostic, and Manichean features, as was well illustrated by James Rhodes (1980).
While this story has been used as a basis of psychobiographical speculations by many authors, our primary concern is with its ideological significance. Hitler's description contains about seven ideological points, some of which he delivered in repeated messages, while others were transmitted in telegraphic language. The first point concerns the rats. These are most likely the failed leaders and educators, Jews or politicians under Jewish influence. Since their deadly impact falls upon German education they most likely represent an internal weakness and the enemy within Germany's borders. What is implied here is that to whatever degree the existing rank of rats includes the old style and failing German political leaders, these leaders should be removed.
The second point concerns the quarreling family members and by extension the wrangling masses. Their behavior is not smart; they denigrate the child's teachers while raising up a criminal child who lacks valuable memories. The implied verdict is that the people fail miserably in coping with the hardships of life not only because of failed leadership but also in consequence of the basic fact that the masses, rather than being bright, are actually stupid.
The third point relates to the description of the young boy or "citizen" as morally poisoned and physically undernourished. This kind of combined damage to both mind and body alludes to an underlying assumption of psychophysical integrity as the cornerstone of folkish health. To the degree that the psychological and the physical remain inseparable, a magic promise of health and well-being is held out at the same time that a totalistic practice of control is deemed necessary. It is this inseparability of the physical from the psychological that justifies exercising full state control over all behavior, which affects both. Since infecting the mind affects the body and vice versa, totalitarian measures are needed for reasons of folkish health.
The fourth point deals with disrespect toward all authority, be it teacher or head of state, as one of the reasons for the nation's failure. Hitler fanatically insisted on absolute obedience to all meritorious authorities, especially the supreme leader. For him, therefore, the loss of respect toward. all authorities, which resulted from the flawed education, represented a serious undermining of the leadership principle central to his ideology.
The fifth point, which emphasizes the importance of memories, requires a lengthier discussion. The lessons drawn by Hitler from his portrayal of a miserable family life are supposedly anchored in the earliest impressions and memories that talented persons can have. In essence this is a reference to the capacity for memory. But Hitler also spoke about the infinite number of separate memories of the greatness of the national fatherland. This is a reference to the content of memory or its meaning. These references bear the influence of Otto Weininger, whose ideas created such a splash in Vienna in the early twentieth century. Hitler was no lover of Jews, but, as discussed in chapter 3, Weininger was one of the very few Jews whom he appreciated, as indicated by Hitler's secret conversations (Trevor-Roper 1953, 116). Weininger contrasted the poor memory of the average person with the exceptional memory of the genius. In a related fashion, he contrasted the meaningless drift of the ordinary person in the momentary stream of events with the ability of the genius to endow his experiences with meaning and thus make them timeless and memorable. After pointing out that the genius excels in imparting meaning and value to events, Weininger suggested that the genius is the only timeless man, that a nation orients itself by its own geniuses, and that the timeless men are those who make history (Weininger 1906, 138). The sensational ideas of Weininger were floating in the zeitgeist, from which Hitler is likely to have drawn them. Therefore, when Hitler depicted the life of an ignorant boy who lacks meaningful memories, he positioned himself in the role of a talented boy who grew up to become a true genius as an adult. In contrast to the boy in the imaginary scene, Hitler, in his own eyes, is a person who remembers meaningful impressions from the very age at which memories begin to form. In that sense he identified himself as a different kind of small boy who grew up to write Mein Kampf And when the adult Hitler thus implies that even his (manufactured) boyhood memories were so meaningful that they carried the seeds of momentous lessons for the conduct of the nation, he basically identifies himself as a Weiningerian political genius. He thus merits being the supreme leader because he is that timeless man who can impart value to events and define a meaningful destiny for others.
The sixth ideological point that is embedded in the narrative deals with the impact of overcrowding. Quarreling and wrangling result from the narrowness and overcrowding of the room, which precludes reconciling arguments by means of a mild segregation, which would have been possible in a more spacious apartment. One may conclude that an inadequate family living space was instrumental in fostering the conditions that hinder proper education and produce fateful results. The core national memories are not being instilled in the people, and one of the consequences is that they lack pride. Moreover, people who do not live with one another but press against each other are not likely to work in unison, which dooms them to national impotence. It is important to note that Hitler emphasized the memories that would make a person proud of being a member of the nation. Thus, when he implied that insufficient family living space leads to internal division, disunity, bad memories, and lack of national pride, he was talking not only about one little family but about the larger national family, which was also biologically related. It is important to emphasize here that for Hitler, lack of national pride was a designation of an extreme state of racial ill health. Corrective measures for this mortal sickness were literally a dictate of proper racial consciousness -- which he already possessed.
This brings us to the seventh ideological point, which is the nationalization of the people. The implied lesson from Hitler's portrayal of a failed family life is that inadequate living space fosters improper education. In turn, this bankrupt education produces persons who are devoid of significant memories and who therefore lack national pride. What is more, the inadequate living space gives rise to a quarreling citizenry, which fosters disunity and does not respect any leadership principle. The remedies to these situations, which seem to suggest themselves from the text, are proper leadership and adequate living space, where people could "live with one another" (with the added proviso that non-Aryans need not apply). The additional remedy, which was proclaimed by Hitler, was the nationalization of the people by creating healthy social conditions. For this reeducation program to accomplish the totalistic behavioral and thought control that Hitler had in mind, a folkish state would have to be created. That future totalitarian state would succeed in nationalizing the masses, instilling pride and health in them, and mobilizing them under a providential political leader who would inspire them to enlarge their living space.
Hitler clarified his stand concerning the sensitive issue of living space in a speech he delivered on March 7, 1936, before the Reichstag (de Roussy de Sales 1941, 362-83). He bemoaned the fact that sixty-seven million Germans lived in a very restricted and only partially fertile area. This represented much less ground per capita than the Russians had. It would therefore be in the interest of the rest of the world if Germany succeeded in securing the necessities of the struggle for existence. Well-fed people are more sensible than hungry ones. There is no better proof of the innate love of peace of the German people than the fact that in spite of its dense population it has secured for itself only a modest share of space for living. Very significantly, Hitler broadened his subject matter to Europe at large. He asserted that in spite of their quarrels, the European people are related to one another and not separable spiritually, culturally, or economically. It was time for the European family of nations to use the wisdom of constructiveness and apply inner state laws externally. Inner state laws are what, in an earlier speech, he termed laws of cool, considered reasonableness. In his worldview, however, only the laws of the folkish state can be so regarded. Now Hitler was asserting that in the space of a restricted house, such as Europe, it would not be a sound idea to keep the community of nations under different principles of law. Different laws and legal principles will produce in those suffering from injustice an accumulation of will and energies driven by resentment. On the other hand, among those who cause the injustice, these inequities will produce an accumulation of psychosis and fear. What he implied by this threat was that unless the house of Europe were to be consistently governed by the laws of the folkish state, the ensuing injustice would result in dangerous instability.
Hitler was alluding to the need to create a spiritually, culturally, and economically unified community within the restricted European living space. This was to be accomplished by exporting and imposing the German inner state laws onto neighboring European states. It would be a peace-loving act by a peace-loving people and would successfully eliminate growing tensions, which were otherwise bound to explode into future international conflict. These tensions increase because of different developments in various countries. In wrongfully treated Germany, the masses accumulate energies while the leader accumulates the willpower with which to guide these energies. By contrast, in the guilty countries, which mistreated Germany, psychosis and fear mount. It would therefore be better to have a constructive settlement of historical disparities that stem from past mistreatments before they continue to develop and reach a boiling point. The outwardly reasonable Hitler was of course a master at delivering peace-loving threats. Moreover, his attribution of psychosis and fear to others, rather than to Germans themselves, was in the best tradition of collective projection. In voicing these sentiments, he was speaking for many Germans and not only for himself. And being set on the lebensraum course, he went on to assert, "I tremble for Europe and the thought of what would happen to our old, overpopulated continent if the chaos of a bolshevistic revolution should be successful through the outbreak of this destructive Asiatic world conception, which strikes at all hitherto recognized values" (de Roussy de Sales 1941, 373). This is no longer the vision of the guardian of the German living space who contemplates expansion to Middle Europe. By now it is the enlarged vision of the guardian of the living space of Middle Europe fearing an Asiatic and racially foreign destructive world conception, and consequently envisioning a preemptive expansion into Russia's Eurasian space in the name of self-defense.
It is interesting to note that as Hitler was contemplating the big dream of reforming the European continent by an expansion of the German living space, he trafficked concurrently with megalomania and with humility. The grandiosity revealed itself as he promised to demand of history at some future date to recognize that he was acting not only on behalf of Germany but also for the preservation of European cultural civilization. Thus he thought of himself as the omnipotent master of history who is able to summon it to serve him at will. He was going to demand of history itself to ratify after the fact that his actions were indeed whatever he had already asserted them to be. The willpower of such a person should therefore reign supreme to compel people and history. So powerful is the will that sheer willing makes anything happen, i.e., a form of the omnipotence of thought where mere thinking materializes action. Yet no matter how grandiose the leader who summons history to his command, he nevertheless ended his speech with a most humble plea. He entreated his listeners (de Roussy de Sales 1941,383): "I now ask the German people to strengthen me in my faith and to give me, through the strength of its will, further individual strength with which to fight always courageously for its honor and freedom and to be able to take care of its economic well-being. And especially to support me in my struggle for a new peace."
What we witness here is how the flow of eloquence creates the appearance of false modesty that reverses traditional Nazi roles. Hitler is now the one who operates by faith, like Le Bon's crowds, while the masses are now the providers of a strength of will as if they were the supreme Nazi leader. Suddenly Hitler is the humble follower through faith guided by the indomitable will of the masses. But this is just a fleeting, though deliberate, deception of the masses in order to allow them to share momentarily in supreme glory. It also renews the mandate to rule which der Fuhrer receives directly from the people. Nevertheless, there is not really a serious question as to whose will shall take care of honor, freedom, economic well-being, and peace -- a collection of flowery euphemisms that stand for lebensraum. The expansion of the living space through the strength generated by a unified will is too serious a matter to be left to "the confused and excited masses of people," to use Hitler's own phrase earlier in the speech (de Roussy de Sales 1941, 367). With his clever lip service, Hitler, "the humble follower of the followers," has reasserted that he is the true leader of the masses. Theirs is the faith. His is the will.
The magical and greedy grab for expansion, which would involve the redistribution of the world, was perceived and justified as a redress of an intolerable injustice. The most prominent symbol of the injurious injustice that was inflicted upon Germany was of course the Diktat of Versailles, which became akin to a generic term standing for all past wrongs done to Germany. Since it seemed only right to redress past wrongs, the drive to expand powerfully and magically was viewed as a traditional quest for justice. As Sigmund Neumann put it, "to be a 'Have-not' nation made the quest for redistribution of worldly goods a moral issue" (Neumann 1965, 8). But it was more than that. It was also an issue of tapping into the realm of magic in order to influence events. There is an underlying link between ideas of magic and notions of primitive justice, which requires greater elaboration. Whenever people resort to magic, they implicitly acknowledge that they wish somehow to redistribute the good and the bad in this world with greater power than the way normal rules and realistic constraints usually allow. The magical power grab is really a grab for an ultramanipulative ability that transcends traditional realistic limits. Yet a limitless power in an infinite universe would be too diffuse to remain psychologically effective. It would simply be too open-ended as well as too structureless to permit defined and directed actions. It would not be possible for a person to operate within such an amorphous state and still feel safe because he would no longer feel linked to the familiar world. A different way of stating this principle would be to say that although magic is conjured up in order to change the face of the earth, it is not summoned for the purpose of dispensing with the earth altogether. However, what magic is meant to do is to tilt the existing power equation in favor of the practitioner of this art (Hitler) or his client (the German folk) or both (when a psychological fusion of the two takes place). Thus the ultimate aim of magic is to grant the practitioner or his client a greater share of good fortune. In black magic, the complementary aim is to inflict malfeasance and all sorts of misfortune on others. Psychologically, however, this damage to others entails a gain to self. This point relates to the archaic notion of symmetry embedded in the concepts of justice. For now, however, it is worth noting that in the Middle Ages malfeasance was regarded a~ one of the favorite pastimes of witches who dabbled in black magic. But in Nazi ideology the old image of witches was eclipsed by the Jews, who were seen as the timeless inflicters of the worst malfeasance of all: blood pollution. Thus they did ultimate damage, but always to their own advantage. With this particular assertion, Nazi ideology reinforced and replaced the earlier Christian view of the Jews as timeless inflicters of the worst malfeasance of all: killing Jesus. The old religious hatred for the alleged Jewish killing of the Son of God could now find new racial expression as hatred for the agents of decomposition who destroy everything of value and for whom nothing is too precious to escape destruction.
Since magic is not designed to operate in an unfamiliar universe beyond recognition, a limit is imposed on the game, so to speak. The limits insure that the psychological universe, meaning the individual self as well as the extended collective self, must remain viable. They thus insure that any magical manipulations would not change the world so much that it would defeat the basic purpose of magic to begin with, which is to provide better fortune and greater security in the still familiar world. These limits are achieved by restricting the ultramanipulative game to fixed quantities. What this means is that the magical game is actually a zero-sum game: the quantitative changes of fortune and misfortune cancel each other out.
This assumption of limits consists of fixed quantities of both "goodies" and "baddies," with the actual allotments left to chance, God, nature, or as is the case with Hitler, to a manly grab for magical ultramanipulative abilities in the name of destiny. This is not a new idea in western civilization and is not peculiar to German culture. It is an old assumption, which can be detected even in some of the ancient Mesopotamian roots of western civilization, as will be demonstrated later. At present, suffice it to say, the Jewish Talmud for instance includes such sayings as "ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem and one by the rest of the world" or "ten measures of talk descended to the world, nine were taken by women and one by the rest of the world." What we have here is a fairly benign expression of admiration for Jerusalem's beauty but a less benign imputation of prattle to women. But the framework of these expressions concerning the distributions of the "goodie" of beauty as well as of the "baddie" of overtalkativeness, reveals that same basic assumption of a zero-sum game governing the universe. Whatever comes one's way has to come from what there is in this world. Therefore if there is more in one place, there is less in another. This applies to all tangibles as well as intangibles such as happiness, wealth, and power. This is the untranscendable constraint that insures that no man made magic or human ultramanipulativeness could change the world beyond recognition.
The pitfall of this notion of fixed quantities that governs the world of man is that it can easily turn into something nasty as people become manipulative and even turn into something lethal when they grope for magical redistributions of whatever exists. Existence, or the human condition, can then be perceived as a Darwinian struggle for justice: namely, the improved and more favorable distribution of all material as well as psychological assets. Since the additions and subtractions of tangible as well as symbolic fortunes among people add up to zero, every one person's good fortune is another person's bad fortune. Similarly, a misfortune that strikes in one place benefits others elsewhere. This can lead to a Manichean and a paranoid view of the world.
If the world is thought to work in such a manner that one can improve his lot only at the expense of others, then one may readily develop a paranoid attitude toward others. There is no great need then to wonder what the others may be up to, since at some level one knows what one is up to oneself. After all, if this is how the world really works, then one should not trust others not to seek unfair advantages through extraordinary means. And no means are as extraordinary as the total mobilization of a compact and united nation to effect a magical redistribution of the fixed quantities of both good and bad fortunes. In such a world, hypervigilance provides an existential advantage. What is more, a touch of paranoia is commendable since it makes one more prudently cautious. Finally, doing unto others first what they would do unto you becomes a dictate of survival and therefore of justice. Thus it is just to survive even as others must perish in a world of fixed, scarce resources. It was the zero-sum game premise of Nazi magic that made it so Darwinian by dictating the survival of the manipulative fittest.
Of course peoples throughout history have not always behaved according to the basic assumption of fixed and limited quantities of worldly largess. But this more civilized model never held full sway or we would have been closer to utopia. Just think, for instance, of how much nicer the world would be if rival national groups could either divide a land equitably or live together peacefully on the same land. Put succinctly, what if "goodies" could come many peoples' way with the sum total of all changes landing squarely in the plus column rather than good and bad changes canceling each other out? Then there would be no need to quarrel over living spaces for the sake of "autarky" or absolute independence and self-sufficiency. Sharing would be perceived not as a loss, but as a mutual gain because it fosters interactions to create a larger pie for all. People could afford to be altruistic without being seen as self-sacrificing because "to give" becomes psychologically equated with "to receive." Think of the demise of nationalism as we know it in this kind of a "new, improved" world. Nations could afford to be benevolent and even altruistic toward each other. Moreover, the demand for sacrifice would cease because there would no longer be a lethal basic assumption of both magic and justice that stipulates that to gain or secure life, it is necessary to sacrifice a life.
Even though humanity rises on occasions to this civilized level, the psychological equation of "to give" with "to receive" has been only inconsistently held while the archaic principle of "a life for a life" largely prevailed. Only too frequently the basic assumption of a zero-sum game gained the ascendancy. People jockey around to gain the "goodies" of longevity and health (sometimes symbolized by wealth) while relegating the "baddies" of sickness and death to others. In this desperate shuffle, magic prowess could appear as a timely help in tilting the worldly distribution in the desired direction. People with ultramanipulative knowhow could be expected to seek extra advantage at the expense of others. Could this be fair? On the fixed quantities assumption, the answer would be that if we do it, then it is fair, but whenever others do it, it is foul. As a matter of fact, when others do the same thing to us, it is so patently unfair that it constitutes injustice. This is a good example of the double standard of perception that characterizes narcissistic persons according to Erich Fromm. And it was not for naught that he viewed group narcissism as one of the most important sources of human aggression (Fromm 1973, 200-205). Another way of putting it would be to say that in a world that is seen through a narcissistic tunnel vision, only one's self or one's group has any rights. If these rights are encroached upon, all corrective measures, no matter how aggressive, seem justified.
This brings us to the issue of primitive justice. The basic conception of justice in its most archaic origins is thoroughly symmetrical. The symmetry of justice can easily be sensed in the historically prevalent moral code of the Lex Talionis or Law of Talion. This is the old biblical law of "an eye for an eye," which has been so influential in western concepts of justice. It carries with it a sense of psychological satisfaction that is derived from the symmetry of the dictate. The punishment is made to fit the crime. Yet the biblical code of "a life for a life" is actually derived from an older Mesopotamian heritage that had already promoted highly symmetrical notions of justice. Among the more famous examples are the laws of retribution in the code of law of the Babylonian king Hammurabi, which dates from the first half of the eighteenth century B.C. This code contains explicit examples of the eye for an eye or bone for a bone principle. Similarly, the twelfth century B.C. Middle Assyrian laws from the time of Tiglath Pileser I include the principle of a life for a life. For example, if a man strikes another man's wife and causes a miscarriage then in retaliation his own wife will be forced to miscarry. But if the other man's wife died as she was struck then the offending man himself would be killed. What was of paramount importance was that the principle of compensating with a life for a life would be upheld. This principle has been bequeathed to western culture mostly by the Bible. The ancient and psychologically potent primitive origins of the basic conception of symmetrical retribution retained a tremendous drawing power that causes people to regress to both magic and cruelty under personal stress and historical duress.
There is indeed an element of magic that is imbedded in "commonsense" justice that requires that the punishment be made to fit the crime. The crudest but seemingly logical way of creating a perfect fit is to replicate the damage on the other side of the scales. It is as if the victim who lost an eye regained it through the newly removed eye of the perpetrator. In reality it is of course not so, but psychologically it feels that way. The other person's loss is thus one's own gain, and justice is therefore done not only to the perpetrator but also for the victim. Psychologically speaking, the victim does get something out of the perpetrator's loss, but there has to be symmetry; the punishment has to fit the crime.
When we bear in mind how symmetrical the primitive notion of justice is, we begin also to realize that this very symmetry imposes a zero-sum game rule on the distributive act of justice. Justice is retribution through redistribution. But so long as the psychological retribution and legal redistribution operate on a principle of symmetry between crime and punishment, they also operate on a principle of symmetry between losses and gains. Crime is a victim's loss and therefore an offender's gain while punishment is an offender's loss and therefore a victim's gain. They must fit or there is no justice. But is justice nevertheless a bit elastic? Can it still be distorted or tilted? The answer every so often seems to be yes. Ultramanipulativeness in the best tradition of magic could give more justice to some but more injustice to others, all within the confines of totaling all the distributive changes into the sum of sheer zero. Not only did it seem that justice could be influenced, but it also seemed only just and proper that those persons with extra initiative or extraordinary abilities receive a greater reward, i.e., a greater share of justice. This, for instance, had been a cornerstone in Hitler's conception of the rules that govern the economic sphere. And in his famous speech of January 27, 1932, at the Industry Club in Dusseldorf, he insisted on the extension of this principle of individual differences in abilities and compensations in the economic sphere to the political sphere as well (Domarus 1990, 1:93). He averred that the logic and justification of the whole idea of private property is based on inherent individual differences in "personal value" as well as in "achievements." The administration of different achievements in the economic sector was therefore properly left to different individuals since men are not equally valuable. Hitler called for the application of the same principle to the political sector, an application that would, of course, have rendered men politically unequal. But his obsessive focus on differences in the force of personality was not only antidemocratic but also a reckless plunge into a magical concept of personality. Its major derivative -- the power of the will -- was ultramanipulative to the core. The apex was the charismatic leader with the greatest force of personality, who was willing and able to wrestle from fate greater justice for his people.
The greater justice that Hitler sought was a greater living space for the German master race. Magical prowess on a national scale was going to correct the gross injustice of the despicable Versailles peace treaty, which had been signed on June 28, 1919. In the eyes of the German public, this treaty unfairly left Germany weakened and shriveled in size after having been defeated only by treachery in the First World War. The territorial loss stood as the prime example of Germany's having been unfairly wronged. Indeed a depressing as well as enraging sense of in justice kept inflaming the German public ever since the military capitulation in 1918. It rankled deeply and remained persistent. Rudolph Binion suggested that during Hitler's early career, which culminated in the abortive Nazi putsch of November 1923, the future fuhrer left undisclosed the full meaning of his mission to deliver Germany from defeat. Expressly it meant canceling the Treaty of Versailles: "But it implied, beyond this, retrieving the lost victory-an implication close to the surface of all his early speeches and writings, yet never quite drawn in those first years" (Binion 1979, 23).
"Retrieving the lost victory" in the eastern front of World War I was indeed on Hitler's mind during his highly symbolic staging of the signing ceremony of French surrender in World War II on June 21,1940. He arranged for the signing to take place at the very same wagon-lit of Marshal Foch in Compiegne where, on November 11, 1918, at the dictation of Marshal Foch, the German emissaries signed the armistice that effectively ended fighting. The journalist William Shirer provided an apt description of the elaborate special preparations that went into releasing the original train compartment from the confines of a walled museum as well as the ceremony that followed (Shirer 1968, 975-79). At a conscious level, this historical play signified the long overdue redress of the injustice of the earlier defeat on the western front during World War 1. But it can be postulated that at an unconscious level, it signaled psychohistorical replays that were fairly fused together. One replay was not merely the present redress, but rather the retroactive reversal, of the unjust defeat on the western front, turning it into the meritorious victory it was meant to be-and thus finally winning World War 1.And the complementary replay was the equation of the present victory with inevitable future victories, which were yet to come and which will resuscitate past victories. This was the dream of the retrieval of the lost victory in the east during World War I, as was suggested by Binion, except that this time around it could serve as a springboard toward world domination. Yet this other replay signaled the resumption of the old and heady dash toward a catastrophe. Since the battle in the west was but an initial stage of securing the rear prior to the major drive to the east to acquire an extended living space, the folly of biting off more than one can chew still lay ahead. Binion (1979, 106) correctly pointed out that an unconscious reliving of a trauma requires that the second experience be distanced from the first. In the case of Germany, this distancing included underestimating Russian military strength in 1941 after it was overestimated in 1914. Indeed, this unconscious distancing of the two events in order to prevent a conscious identification of the two suggests that the whole project was unconsciously programmed for failure. Presumably the present victory in France promised even more victories to come in the east. As Binion stated, "at that aural frequency, 'living space' signified the eastern conquest of 1917-1918 and stirred associated visions of German continental sufficiency and invulnerability" (Binion 1979,69). But underneath the promise of expansion lay the threat of the next collapse. And the threat usually overtakes the promise at that point in which reality catches up to magic.