A – Aryan

One of Hitler’s more famous political views was the superiority of the “Aryan race”. The defining qualities of a pure Aryan was said to be blue eyes and blond hair. Hitler believed that the ancient Aryan people were the conquerors of India, they came from the north with their “Vedic” religion and culture. The values of this religion then later helped give birth to Hinduism. Germans believed that Aryans were the master/perfect  race, and that they were descended from it. This is partially because “Arya” is the Sanskrit word for noble.

The truth about the Aryan Race

A baby with blond hair and blue eyes, a "perfect Aryan".

However, Hitler’s beliefs don’t match up to what scholars have learned since then. Scholars believe that the Aryans weren’t conquerors of India, they were settlers who spread their religion as they migrated into India. Because of that fact, scholars also believe that “Aryan” was a social adjective, instead of being ethnic. They believe the “perfection” wasn’t describing the appearance and genetic superiority of the northern settlers, but instead it described the language that the Aryan people spoke.

"Aryan" twins, valued highly in society in Nazi Germany

The belief of a “perfect Aryan Race” didn’t originate from Hitler. The idea was conceived in 1850’s Europe, and spread by Comte de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlin. They thought that Nordics and Germans were the closest descendants of the Aryan race. Hitler took this idea, and used it to justify his actions in the creation of a “master” race.