The “New Man”

Germany and the Soviet Union utilized the idea of the New Man in different ways, according to Fritzsche and Hellbeck in “The New Man in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany”. In Nazi Germany he was a tough figure, with no remorse and racial superiority was held above all. In the USSR, the New Man conformed to the new movements and was an example to others. All of this was achieved through propaganda, which Schivelbusch, inĀ Three New Deals detailed through radio broadcasts and symbols.

The Soviet New Man became part of the intelligentsia and was physically robust. The world was for the New Man, and the old must be removed. Yet in Nazi Germany it was for only the pure Aryan. To be deemed Aryan, Germans themselves had to compile Ahnenpass themselves.1The geneological passport that was created went from the current person backward. Each person was required to do this to prove their Aryan heritage. It was also inspected before marriage, and often couples were deemed unfit to marry due to their bloodlines. They were not candidates to contribute to the greatness of the Aryan race.

During the Nazi reign, some Germans, deemed Aryan and without defects, were denied the right to marriage and children. This is an area we have not discussed in class. It appears as though the Nazi regime was continually reducing the amount of people who were allowed to procreate, at a time when the population was already suffering from losses in the Great War, and soon to occur in WWII. To me it appears counterproductive. Yes they were trying to establish a master race and only wanted to pure of blood to live within Germany, yet they were continually putting the country at a great disadvantage by threatening to decrease the population of people and thus workers and soldiers.


1 Peter Fritzsche and Jochen Hellbeck, “The New Man in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany,” Beyond Totalitariansim, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, 331.

2 thoughts on “The “New Man”

  1. Did Nazi Germany’s expansive restrictions on marriage and procreation affect their birth rate? This is certainly the opposite approach from the one taken by Mussolini’s fascist state in Italy, though they may have ended up with the same result.

    What other features were representative of the “New Man” in Soviet Russia? What was “he” supposed to do besides conform to the new standard?

  2. Your argument is certainly very sound regarding the restrictions and the subsequent effect on birth rates, and you’re right, it doesn’t make sense. However, the Nazis were primarily focused on creating the master race one way or another, and this was their top goal. To the Nazis the creation of the ideal race would bring Germany back to its former glory, and allow the nation and the master race to thrive. To “infect” the race with anyone not Aryan or with a defect would in the Nazi mind detract from this ultimate goal, and the progress up until that point would be derailed. However, it is curious why some people who at least superficially fit the criteria would be denied the right to marriage and children. Maybe perhaps it was due to other “defects” seen like alcoholism, laziness, etc. What do you think was the reasoning behind this?

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