Born: 12 January 1893 in Tallinn, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire.
Died: 16 October 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany..
Leader of the Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP 1933 to 1945
Commissar for Supervision of Intellectual and Ideological Education of the NSDAP 1934 to 1945
Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories 1941 to 1945
Reichsleiter 2 June 1933 to 8 May 1945
Alfred Ernst Rosenberg was born on 12 January 1893 and became an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Alfred Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart he later held several important posts in the National Socialist government. He is considered one of the main authors of key Nazi ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to degenerate modern art. He is also known for his rejection of Christianity, having played an important role in the development of Positive Christianity, which he intended to be transitional to a new Nazi faith. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and executed by hanging as a war criminal.
Alfred Rosenberg was born in 1893 in Reval (today's Tallinn, in Estonia, then part of the Russian Empire) to a family of Baltic Germans: his father, Waldemar Wilhelm Alfred Rosenberg, was a wealthy merchant from Latvia, his mother, Elfriede, from Estonia. (Tallinn archivist J. Rajandi claimed in the 1930s that Alfred Rosenberg's family had Estonian origins).
The young Alfred Rosenberg studied architecture at the Riga Polytechnical Institute and engineering at Moscow Highest Technical School completing his Ph.D. studies in 1917. While in Riga, he was a member of the Baltic German student fraternity Rubonia. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 Alfred Rosenberg supported the counterrevolutionary following their failure he emigrated to Germany in 1918 along with Max Scheubner-Richter who served as something of a mentor to Alfred Rosenberg and to his ideology. He arrived in Munich and contributed to Dietrich Eckart's publication, the Völkischer Beobachter (People's Observer). By this time, he was both an anti-Semite - influenced by Houston Stewart Chamberlain's book The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (one of the key pro-Nazi books of racial theory) - and an anti-Bolshevik (as a result of his family's exile).
Alfred Rosenberg became one of the earliest members of the German Workers Party (later the National Socialist German Workers Party, better known as the Nazi Party), joining in January 1919 Adolf Hitler did not join until October 1919. Alfred Rosenberg had also been a member of the Thule Society, with Eckart. After the Völkischer Beobachter became the National Socialist Party newspaper (December, 1920), Alfred Rosenberg became its editor in 1923. Alfred Rosenberg was a leading member of Aufbau Vereinigung, Reconstruction Organisation, a conspiratorial organisation of White Russian émigrés which had a critical influence on early National Socialist policy.
In 1923, after the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Adolf Hitler who had been imprisoned for treason appointed Alfred Rosenberg as a leader of the Nazi movement, a position he held until Adolf Hitler's release. Adolf Hitler remarked privately in later years that his choice of Alfred Rosenberg, whom he regarded as weak and lazy, was strategic Adolf Hitler did not want the temporary leader of the Nazis to be overly popular or hungry for power, because a person with either of those two qualities might not want to cede the party leadership after Adolf Hitler's release. However, at the time of the appointment Adolf Hitler had no reason to believe that he would soon be released, and Alfred Rosenberg had not appeared weak, so that this may been reading back into history his dissatisfaction with Alfred Rosenberg for the job he did.
In 1929 Alfred Rosenberg founded the Militant League for German Culture. He later formed the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question, dedicated to identifying and attacking Jewish influence in German culture and to recording the history of Judaism from an anti-Semitic perspective. He became a Reichstag Deputy in 1930 and published his book on racial theory The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts) which deals with key issues in the national socialist ideology, such as the Jewish question. Alfred Rosenberg intended his book as a sequel to Houston Stewart Chamberlain's above-cited book. Despite selling more than a million copies by 1945, its influence within Nazism (beyond providing specious intellectual cover for unintellectual governance) remains doubtful. It is often said to have been a book that was officially venerated within Nazism, but that few actually read beyond the first chapter or even found comprehensible. Adolf Hitler called it stuff nobody can understand and disapproved of its pseudo-religious tone.
Alfred Rosenberg's attitude towards Soviet Bolshevism obviously original research? had some influence on Adolf Hitler. He convinced Adolf Hitler of the Communist threat and of the supposed fragility of the Soviet political structure. Jewish-Bolshevism was accepted as a target for Nazism during the early 1920s.
Alfred Rosenberg was named leader of the National Socialist Party's foreign political office in 1933, but he played little practical part in the role. His visit to Britain in that year was designed by whom? to reassure the British that the Nazis would not be a threat, and to encourage links between the new regime and the British Empire. It was a notable failure. When Alfred Rosenberg laid a wreath bearing a swastika at the tomb of the unknown soldier, a British war veteran threw it into the Thames. In January 1934 Adolf Hitler granted Alfred Rosenberg responsibility for the spiritual and philosophical education of the Party and all related organisations
As the National Socialist Party's chief racial theorist, Alfred Rosenberg was in charge of building a human racial ladder that justified Adolf Hitler's genocidal policies. Alfred Rosenberg built on the works of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Madison Grant, as well as the beliefs of Adolf Hitler. He considered blacks and Jews to be at the very bottom of the ladder, while at the very top stood the white or Aryan race. Alfred Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory which considered Germans to be the master race, superior to all others, including other Aryans (Indo-Europeans).
Alfred Rosenberg reshaped Nazi racial policy throughout the years, but it always consisted of Aryan supremacy, extreme German nationalism and rabid anti-Semitism. Alfred Rosenberg was also an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, notably in his pamphlet Der Sumpf (The Swamp), having viewed homosexuality (particularly lesbianism) as a hindrance to the expansion of the Nordic population.
Alfred Rosenberg's attitude towards the Slav depended on the particular nation involved. He despised Czechs and Poles, and wrote no considerations can be taken for Poles, Czechs etc., who are as impotent as they are valueless and overbearing. They must be driven back to the east, so that the soil may become free to be tilled by the horny hands of Teutonic peasants, as a result of the ideology of Drang nach Osten Alfred Rosenberg believed his mission to be conquest and colonisation of Slavic east. In Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts, Alfred Rosenberg describes Slavs, in particular Poles, as racial sub humans. Regarding Ukrainians he was in favour of creating a buffer state to ease pressure on German eastern frontier, while agreeing with the notion that Russia should be exploited for the benefit of Germany
Alfred Rosenberg argued for a new religion of the blood, based on the supposed innate promptings of the Nordic soul to defend its noble character against racial and cultural degeneration. He believed that this had been embodied in early Indo-European religions, notably ancient European (Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Roman) paganism, Zoroastrianism and Vedic Hinduism. Unlike Heinrich Himmler, he had less attachment to Buddhism.
He rejected Christianity for its universality, for original sin, at least for Germans whom he declared on one occasion were born noble, and for the immortality of the soul. Indeed, absorbing Christianity enfeebled a people. Publicly, he affected to deplore Christianity's degeneration owing to Jewish influence. Following Chamberlain's ideas, he condemned what he called negative Christianity, the orthodox beliefs of Protestant and Catholic churches, arguing instead for a so-called positive Christianity based on Chamberlain's claim that Jesus was a member of a Nordic enclave resident in ancient Galilee who struggled against Judaism. For Alfred Rosenberg religious doctrine was not important what mattered was that a belief should serve the interests of the Nordic race, connecting the individual to his racial nature. Alfred Rosenberg stated that The general ideas of the Roman and of the Protestant churches are negative Christianity and do not, therefore, accord with our (German) soul. His support for Luther as a great German figure was always ambivalent.
In 1940 Alfred Rosenberg was made head of the Hohe Schule (literally high school, but in Germanic languages refers to a college), the Centre of National Socialist Ideological and Educational Research. He created a Special Task Force for Music (Sonderstab Musik) to collect the best musical instruments and scores for use in a university to be built in Adolf Hitler's home town of Linz, Austria. The orders given the Sonderstab Musik were to loot all forms of Jewish property in Germany and of those found in any country taken over by the German army and any musical instruments or scores were to be immediately shipped to Berlin.
Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Following the invasion of the USSR, Alfred Rosenberg was appointed head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete). Alfred Meyer served as his deputy and represented him at the Wannsee Conference. Another official of the Ministry, Georg Leibbrandt, also attended the conference, at Alfred Rosenberg's request.
Alfred Rosenberg had presented Adolf Hitler with his plan for the organisation of the conquered Eastern territories, suggesting the establishment of new administrative districts, to replace the previously Soviet-controlled territories with new Reichskommissariats. These would be:
Ostland (Baltic countries and Belarus),
Ukraine (Ukraine and nearest territories),
Kaukasus (Caucasus area),
Moskau (Moscow metropolitan area and the rest of nearest Russian European areas)
Such suggestions were intended to encourage certain non-Russian nationalism and to promote German interests for the benefit of future Aryan generations, in accord with geopolitical Lebensraum im Osten plans. They would provide a buffer against Soviet expansion in preparation for the total eradication of Communism and Bolshevism by decisive pre-emptive military action.
Following these plans, when Wehrmacht forces invaded Soviet-controlled territory, they immediately implemented the first of the proposed Reichskommissariats of Ostland and Ukraine, under the leadership of Hinrich Lohse and Erich Koch, respectively. The organisation of these administrative territories led to conflict between Alfred Rosenberg and the SS over the treatment of Slavs under German occupation. As Nazi Germany's chief racial theorist, Alfred Rosenberg considered Slavs, though lesser than Germans, to be Aryan. Alfred Rosenberg often complained to Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler about the treatment of non-Jewish occupied peoples. He proposed creation of buffer satellite states made out of Greater Finland, Baltica, Ukraine, Caucasus. He made no complaints about the murders of Jews. At the Nuremberg Trials he claimed to be ignorant of the Holocaust, despite the fact that Leibbrandt and Meyer were present at the Wannsee conference.
Because the invasion of the Soviet Union to impose the New Order was essentially a war of conquest and extermination, German propaganda efforts designed to win over Russian opinion were patchy and inconsistent. Alfred Ernst Alfred Rosenberg was one of the few in the Nazi hierarchy who advocated a policy designed to encourage anti-Communist opinion.
Amongst other things, Alfred Rosenberg issued a series of posters announcing the end of the Soviet collective farms (kolkhoz). He also issued an Agrarian Law in February 1942, annulling all Soviet legislation on farming, restoring family farms for those willing to collaborate with the occupiers. But de collectivisation conflicted with the wider demands of wartime food production, and Hermann Göring demanded that the collective farms be retained, save for a change of name. Adolf Hitler himself denounced the redistribution of land as stupid.
There were also numerous German armed forces (Wehrmacht) posters asking for assistance in the Bandenkrieg, the war against the Soviet partisans, though, once again, German policy had the effect of adding to their problems. Posters for volunteer labour, with inscriptions like Come work with us to shorten the war, hid the appalling realities faced by Russian workers in Germany. Many people joined the partisans rather than risk being sent to an unknown fate in the west.
Another of Alfred Rosenberg's initiatives, the Free Caucasus campaign, was rather more successful, attracting various nationalities into the so-called Eastern Legion (Ostlegionen), though in the end this made little difference.
Alfred Rosenberg was captured by Allied troops at the end of the war. He was tried at Nuremberg and found guilty of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to death and executed with other condemned co-defendants at Nuremberg on the morning of 16 October 1946. Throughout the trial, it was agreed that Alfred Rosenberg had a decisive role in shaping Nazi philosophy and ideology such examples include: his book, Myth of the Twentieth Century, which was published in 1930, where he incited hatred against Liberal Imperialism and Bolshevik Marxism furthering the influence of the Lebensraum idea in Germany during the war facilitating the persecution of Christian churches and the Jews in general and opposition to the Versailles Treaty during the war.
According to Howard K. Smith, who covered the executions for the International News Service, Alfred Rosenberg was the only condemned man, who when asked at the gallows if he had any last statement to make, replied with only one word: No.
Adolf Hitler was a leader oriented towards practical politics, whereas, for Alfred Rosenberg, religion and philosophy were key and he was the most influential within the party. Several accounts of the time before the Nazi ascension to power, indeed, speak of Adolf Hitler as being a mouthpiece for Alfred Rosenberg's views, and he clearly exerted a great deal of intellectual influence.
Alfred Rosenberg's influence in the National Socialist Party is controversial. He was perceived as lacking the charisma and political skills of the other Nazi leaders, and was somewhat isolated. In some of his speeches Adolf Hitler appeared to be close to Alfred Rosenberg's views: rejecting traditional Christianity as a religion based on Jewish culture, preferring an ethnically and culturally pure Race whose destiny was supposed to be assigned to the German people by Providence. In others, he adhered to the National Socialist Party line, which advocated a positive Christianity.
After Adolf Hitler's assumption of power he moved to reassure the Protestant and Catholic churches that the party was not intending to re-Institute Germanic paganism. He placed himself in the position of being the man to save Positive Christianity from utter destruction at the hands of the atheistic antitheist Communists of the Soviet Union. This was especially true immediately before and after the elections of 1932 Adolf Hitler wanted to appear non-threatening to major Christian faiths and consolidate his power. Further, Adolf Hitler felt that Catholic-Protestant infighting had been a major factor in weakening the German state and allowing its dominance by foreign powers.
Some Nazi leaders, such as Martin Bormann, were anti-Christian and sympathetic to Alfred Rosenberg. Once in power, however, Adolf Hitler and most Nazi leaders sought to unify the Christian denominations in favour of positive Christianity. They privately complained about Alfred Rosenberg's radical, openly anti-Christian views they also did not support small neopagan groups that were seeking parity with Christianity, which Alfred Rosenberg encouraged. However, Goebbels and Adolf Hitler both agreed that after the Endsieg (Final Victory) the Reich Church should be pressed into evolving into a German social evolutionist organisation proclaiming the cult of race, blood and battle, instead of Redemption and the Ten Commandments of Moses, which they deemed outdated and Jewish.
Heinrich Himmler's views were among the closest to Alfred Rosenberg's, and their estrangement was perhaps created by Heinrich Himmler's abilities to put into action what Alfred Rosenberg had only written of. Also, while Alfred Rosenberg thought Christianity should be allowed to die out, Heinrich Himmler actively set out to create countering pagan rituals.
Lieutenant Colonel William Harold Dunn 1898 to 1955 wrote a medical and psychiatric report on him in prison to evaluate him as a suicide risk:
He gave the impression of clinging to his own theories in a fanatical and unyielding fashion and to have been little influenced by the unfolding during the trial of the cruelty and crimes of the party.
Summarising the unresolved conflict between the personal views of Alfred Rosenberg and the pragmatism of the National Socialist elite:
The ruthless pursuit of Nazi aims turned out to mean not, as Alfred Rosenberg had hoped, the permeation of German life with the new ideology it meant concentration of the combined resources of party and state on total war.
Alfred Rosenberg was married twice. He married his first wife, Hilda Leesmann, an ethnic Estonian, in 1915 after eight years of marriage, they divorced in 1923. He married his second wife, Hedwig Kramer, in 1925 the marriage lasted until his death. He and Kramer had two children a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter, Irene who was born in 1930. His daughter has refused contact with anyone seeking information about her father.
For a complete list of wikipedia