Whoever professes himself to be a member of the German nation is a member of the German nation, provided that this profession is confirmed by certain facts, such as language, upbringing, culture, etc. Persons of alien blood, particularly Jews, are never Germans. . . . Because professing to be a member of the German nation is of vital significance, even someone who is partly or completely of another race—Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Hungarian, or Polish, for example—can be considered a German. Any more precise elaboration of the term "German national" is not possible given current relationships.
Leading racist scholars like Hans Günther rejected the idea that there was an Aryan race. For them, 'Aryan' was a term that belonged to linguistics. As a result, the term 'Aryan' was neither used in the Nuremberg racial laws nor in many other relevant Nazi laws starting in the second half of 1933. Historically, the European idea of Aryanism had emerged from structural similarities between Indian and European languages that were discovered in the late eighteenth century. Through much of the nineteenth century, the theory of an Indo-Germanic language spurred imaginings that there were also relations of blood among most European and Indian peoples; and some, such as the Iranians, who were in between. The 'Aryan' family of people was supposed to exclude, for example, 'Semites' like Arabs and Jews and 'Asian' peoples like Turks, Hungarians or Sami (Lapps). The Aryan myth had been in decline since the late nineteenth century, but, on a popular level, ideas persisted that relatively close relations existed among certain (European) races, and so did the (often non-official) use of the term 'Aryan'. Hitler used the term in his book, Mein Kampf, without defining it or reflecting on it. In his later speeches he talked about "Aryan peoples," Aryan peoples and races" and "European-Aryan peoples" interchangeably.
Explications of who was supposed to be Aryan, if that concept was used, differed slightly. Addressing the diplomatic corps in 1934, Minister of the Interior Frick stated that all "non-Jewish members of all European peoples" were Aryan. Poles were defined as Aryan, but "gypsies" and "Negroes" were not. The view that Poles were Aryans can be found in documents of occupation authorities, and non-Jewish Poles were told as much. The former applied to Slavs in general — Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians and Serbs — whom earlier theorists also considered Aryan.
The fact that 'Aryan' was a popular buzzword, but expressed no definite concept, is underlined by racists' widely varying and ambivalent assessments of Slavs. Slavs, of course, were not supposed to be a race. Even important Nazi politicians-cum-ideologues did not agree on how to evaluate them: Himmler, who wanted Germany to lead a struggle against Asia, advocated radical policies against Slavs and racial screenings of them, but he also had Slavic (and Asiatic) ethnicities recruited iinto the Waffen-SS; whereas Rosenberg viewed certain Slavic peoples as potential allies who should be allowed a separate, appropriate, segregated and dependent development. Erich Koch had praised the "young peoples of the East" prior to 1933, even proposing "racial mixing" between Prussians and Slavs, and he saw positive aspects of Soviet society as late as 1939-41, before turning to brutal racist oppression as the Reich Commissar for Ukraine. Like Hitler, many Nazi leaders had said little (and little negative) about Slavs in their early writings. The general view in Germany was that the Slavs were a mixture of races.
The Polish people were supposed to consist of the same races as the Germans, although in a different mixture. Russians were said to have also incorporated Mongol blood. Anti-Slav prejudices were old and widespread in Germany but they were also displayed, for example, by Italian diplomats. Yet some scholars argue that in German academia views hostile to Slavs were only frequently expressed. Apparently, no general Nazi guidelines for Slavic philology or eastern European history existed. In a 1944 propaganda brochure entitled "What are we fighting for?" the Supreme Command of the Ground Forces omitted explicit anti-Slavic arguments, listing Jews, Bolshevism, the USA and England as Germany's main enemies.
Given all these inconsistencies, old prejudices — also cultivated by intellectuals — influenced German policies strongly. According to these attitudes, Slavs were uncultured, stupid, alcoholic, disorderly and undisciplined. During the Weimar Republic they were also portrayed as treacherous, brutal and revengeful. In Germany after 1939, when large numbers of Polish forced laborers were used, Poles were portrayed as lazy, undisciplined, envious, hateful, revengeful, and as only pretending to be subservient, and their country was described as pre-industrial. Even to writer Heinrich Böll, an admirer of Russian literature, Russia appeared "sad and vast and demonic, the country without fences."
Racists held that Slavs were incapable of sustained state-building and of bringing order to environments. On the one hand, the old stereotypes allowed for the publication shortly after the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty in 1939 of a relatively respect brochure on Soviet Russia that described the Russians' national character as natural, friendly, pious, down-to-earth, passionate, adaptable, and ambitious though non-achieving; but on the other hand it did emphasize some negative elements of prejudice by adding that Russians were also passive, melancholic and devoid of individual personalities. And even during the ongoing German war against Poland in 1939, Hitler publicly praised the bravery of Polish soldiers. Thus, Aryanism and, so, racist thinking itself, to a degree had room for such contradictory evaluations. Nevertheless, after 1943 calls for treating the Slavs well, and the 'Europe versus Bolshevism' propaganda, were rarely justified by reference to Slavs' positive 'racial' value.
German anti-Slavic racism was also the basis for extreme forms of racist dehumanization. For it was not only Bolsheviks, commissars and Jews against whom the concept of the "subhuman" was employed, but also the Soviet people collectively. To be sure, this term was also applied to German criminals and people of supposedly low intelligence as well as 'Negroes' and 'Mongoloids.'
, pages 157-160.