Between 1933 and 1945 the Nazi regime in Germany tried to restructure a 'class' society along racial lines. This book deals with the ideas and institutions which underpinned this mission, and shows how Nazi policy affected various groups of people, both victims and beneficiaries. The book begins with a serious discussion of the origins of Nazi racial ideology, and then demonstrates the thoroughness and purposiveness with which this was translated into official policy. The book deals with the systematic persecution not only of the Jews, the largest group of victims of Nazism, but also with the fate of lesser-known groups such as Sinti and Roma, the mentally handicapped, the 'asocial', and homosexuals. Finally, the book examines the racially-motivated social policies of the regime which affected every German 'national comrade'. The authors argue that the Third Reich was fundamentally different from other totalitarian regimes because of the all-encompassing nature of its racial policies. These were neither exclusively reactionary nor 'modern', but were rather an unprecedented form of progress into barbarism.
'The greatest strength of the book is the way in which Burleigh and Wippermann demonstrate the 'all-pervasive racism of the Nazi state'. They capture the obsessive nature of Hitler's racism, while sensibly concluding that 'racial anti-Semitism' was its 'most important element' ... The major importance of The Racial State, however lies rather in the following chapters, on the persecution of the 'Gypsies' (Sinti and Roma), the mentally, congenitally and hereditarily ill, 'Rhineland bastards', 'asocials' and homosexuals, all of which groups were perceived as threats to the Nazis' vision of a purified and homogenous national community. If the Jews were perceived as the chief, demonic threat, these other victims were also seen as intolerable blemishes, to be eliminated with measures of uninhibited violence ranging from compulsory sterilisation/castration/abortion and often fatal incarceration to systematic murder.' Times Literary Supplement ' ... deserves a wide readership ... the lessons taught by this book should be learned by all of us'. Times Higher Education Supplement 'The Racial State may be recommended as one of the best introductions available to the still burgeoning and highly charged scholarly literatures on the Third Reich.' Ethnic and Racial Studies