Theodore Lothrop Stoddard
June 29, 1883
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||May 1, 1950 (age 66)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard, Boston University|
|Occupation||Author, political scientist, historian, journalist|
Stoddard wrote several books advocating eugenics and scientific racism, the most famous of which was The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. He advocated a racial hierarchy which needed to be preserved through anti-miscegenation. Stoddard's books were widely read both in the United States and internationally.
Stoddard's work influenced the Nazi government of Germany, and a 1922 book of his introduced the term Untermensch into Nazi conceptions of race. As a journalist he spent time in Germany during World War II, interviewing several prominent Nazi officials. After the end of the war, Stoddard's writing faded from popularity.
Stoddard authored many books, most of them related to race and civilization. He wrote primarily on the alleged dangers posed by "colored" peoples to white civilization. Many of his books and articles were racialist and described what he saw as the peril of immigration. His most famous book was The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. In this book, he presented a view of the world situation pertaining to race and focusing concern on the coming population explosion among the non-white peoples of the world and the way in which "white world-supremacy" was being lessened in the wake of World War I and the collapse of colonialism.[page needed] In the book, Stoddard blamed the ethnocentrism of the German "Teutonic imperialists" for the outbreak of World War I.
Stoddard argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization and that the elimination or absorption of the "white" race by "colored" races would result in the destruction of Western civilization. Like Madison Grant in his The Passing of the Great Race, Stoddard divided the white race into three main divisions: Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean. He considered all three to be of good stock and far above the quality of the colored races but argued that the Nordic was the greatest of the three and needed to be preserved by way of eugenics. He considered most Jews to be racially "Asiatic" and argued for restricting Jewish immigration because he considered them a threat to Nordic racial purity in the US. He warned that US was being "invaded by hordes of immigrant Alpines and Mediterraneans, not to mention Asiatic elements like Levantines and Jews." Stoddard's racist beliefs were especially hostile to black people. He claimed that they were fundamentally different from other groups, they had no civilizations of their own, and had contributed nothing. Stoddard opposed miscegenation, and said that "crossings with the negro are uniformly fatal".
In The Revolt Against Civilization (1922), Stoddard put forward the theory that civilization places a growing burden on individuals, which leads to a growing underclass of individuals who cannot keep up and a 'ground-swell of revolt'. Stoddard advocated immigration restriction and birth control legislation to reduce the numbers of the underclass and promoted the reproduction of members of the middle and upper classes. He considered social progress impossible unless it was guided by a "neo-aristocracy" from the most capable individuals that was reconciled with the findings of science rather than based on abstract idealism and egalitarianism.
"Civilization's going to pieces," broke out Tom violently. "I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?"
"Why no," I answered, rather surprised by his tone.
"Well, it's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved."
"Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. "He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we — "
"Well these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things."
"We've got to beat them down," whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun.
"You ought to live in California —" began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.
"This idea is that we're Nordics. I am, and you are, and you are, and —" After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod, and she winked at me again. " — And we've produced all the things that go to make civilization — oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?"
There was something pathetic in his concentration, as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more.
Personal life and educationEdit
Stoddard was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of John Lawson Stoddard, a prominent writer and lecturer, and his wife Mary H. Stoddard. He attended Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1905, and studied Law at Boston University until 1908. Stoddard received a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1914.
Stoddard was a member of the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Academy of Political Science. He was also on the board of directors for the American Birth Control League and was part of its founding.
In 1923, an expose by Hearst's International revealed that Stoddard was a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and had been acting as a consultant to the organization. A letter from the KKK to members had praised The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in explicitly racial terms. Stoddard privately dismissed the paper as a "radical-Jew outfit".
Links to Nazi GermanyEdit
The Nazi Party's chief racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg got the racial term Untermensch from the German version of Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man. The German title was Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).
Between 1939 and 1940, Stoddard spent four months as a journalist for the North American Newspaper Alliance in Nazi Germany. He got preferential treatment by Nazi officials compared to other journalists. An example was the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda's insisting that NBC's Max Jordan and CBS's William Shirer use Stoddard to interview the captain of the Bremen.
Stoddard visited the Hereditary Health Court in Charlottenburg, an appeals court that decided whether Germans would be forcibly sterilized. After having observed several dysgenics trials at the court, Stoddard stated that the eugenics legislation was "being administered with strict regard for its provisions and that, if anything, judgments were almost too conservative" and that the law was "weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way." However, Stoddard was taken aback by the forthrightness of the Nazis' anti-Jewish views, foreseeing that the "Jewish problem" would soon be settled "by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich."
Stoddard wrote a memoir, Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today (1940), about his experiences in Germany. Among other events, the book describes interviews with such figures as Heinrich Himmler, Robert Ley and Fritz Sauckel, as well as a brief meeting with Hitler himself.
After World War II, Stoddard's theories were deemed too closely aligned with those of the Nazis and so he suffered a large drop in popularity. His death from cancer in 1950 went almost entirely unreported despite his previously broad readership and influence.
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- Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan
- The Ku Klux Klan: History, Organization, Language, Influence and Activities of America's Most Notorious Secret Society, p. 99. "Stoddard, Lothrop - The 1920s exalted cyclops of Massachusetts Provisional Klan No. 1"
- The Rising Tide of Color, (1920). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. xi.
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- Marcel Stoetzler. 2014. Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology. U of Nebraska Press
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- "The Great Gatsby," Chap. 1.
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- Gossett, Thomas F. (1963). Race, the History of an Idea in America. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, p. 391; Alfred L. Brophy & Elizabeth Troutman, The Eugenics Movement in North Carolina, North Carolina Law Review 94 (2016): 1871, 1883 (discusing Stoddard's ph.d. dissertation and first book on the Haitian Revolution, The French Revolutuion in San Domingue (1914), and noting his early concern over race).
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