Chamberlain, Houston Stewart°

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CHAMBERLAIN, HOUSTON STEWART°

CHAMBERLAIN, HOUSTON STEWART ° (1855–1927), racist, antisemitic author; British by birth, French by upbringing, German by choice. An enthusiastic Germanophile, Chamberlain settled in Bayreuth where he became friendly with Richard *Wagner, whose daughter he married. Influenced by the ideas of *Gobineau, *Lagarde, and Wagner, Chamberlain, who was partially paralyzed and highly neurotic, developed his theory of the supremacy of the "blond, dolichocephalic Nordic." Those of Teutonic race and blood, he considered, were the born leaders of humanity, responsible for everything of value in civilization, while all regressive tendencies stemmed from racial admixture. According to Chamberlain, the Jews are a mongrel race, incapable of creative activity and essentially irreligious, whose existence is a crime against humanity; all the important personalities in early Jewish history, such as King David, the prophets, and Jesus, were of Germanic descent. He found an ardent supporter in Emperor William ii. Chamberlain's Die Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhunderts (1899) became the fount of National-Socialist ideology. He admired Adolf Hitler and they were on friendly terms. Chamberlain is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the evolution of modern antisemitism.

bibliography:

J. Comas, Racial Myths (1951), 36; H.S. Chamberlain, Lebenswege meines Denkens (1919); W.L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), 104–9; F. Heer, Gottes erste Liebe… (1967), index; H. Meyer, Houston Stewart Chamberlain als voelkischer Denker (1939; written from the Nazi viewpoint); Schulmann, in: jqr, 5 (1914/15), 163–200; Kaltenbrunner, in: wlb, 22 (1967/68), 6–12; Real, in: The Third Reich (1955), 243–86. add. bibliography: G.G. Field, Evangelist of Race: The Germanic Vision of Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1981); odnb online.