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“Fusing into an Enthusiastic Mass” and “The Melting Pot”
Parts IV & V of  “Nazism as Bodily Fantasy”
by Richard A. Koenigsberg
“Fusing into an Enthusiastic Mass” and “The Melting Pot” appear below.
Click here to read the complete paper, “Nazism as Bodily Fantasy”
“The Nazi dream of "unity" was rooted in a fantasy of the nation as a gigantic "body politic" consisting of the German people as the flesh and blood of this body.  Margaret Mahler defined symbiosis (1969) as the fantasy of "somatopsychic omnipotent fusion:" delusion that two separate organisms are “contained within a common boundary.”

“Nazi ideology recreated the delusion of symbiosis in the individual's tie to his nation. Nazism imagined that German bodies were bound to a national organism. The fantasy of fusion was enacted in mass rallies where tens-of-thousands of bodies massed together to create the illusion of a single body acting in unison.”
IV: Fusing into an Enthusiastic Mass

The ideal of an omnipotent nation enhancing the power of the self—also denies the self. Hitler explained to his people, "You are nothing, your nation is everything." Fritz Reinhardt, Nazi political theorist, observed that

Hitler has set his stamp on the word folk-community (Volksgemeinschaft). This word is to make completely clear to the members of our people that the individual is nothing when not a member of a community.

Nazism was an orgy of nationalistic self-exaltation, but also an orgy of masochistic self-abnegation. According to Nazi ideology, human beings could not exist for themselves—could attain existence only through and in the nation.

Nazism was the quest for omnipotence through identification—leading to the adoption of a subservient, masochistic posture toward the state. The Nazi simultaneously is enhanced and diminished by his dream of symbiotic unity with an omnipotent nation.

Hitler himself was enthralled, mesmerized by the idea of Germany. The aspiration of national unity, of course, is at the heart of many nationalist movements, expressed in phrases like "bringing the people together" and "overcoming differences that keep people apart." Hitler, however, was not content with the abstract form of this dream.

A unique aspect of Hitler’s Nazism was its quest to actualize the dream of national union—symbiosis— as bodily experience. Speaking to his youth, Hitler declared: “You are flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. You are all one, belonging to me.” Hitler’s fantasy was that all Germans would become “one:” a single “substance of flesh and blood.”

The mass-meeting and rallies expressed Hitler’s desire to create the physical experience of oneness—as thousands, tens-of-thousands of human beings massed together, concentrated in a single space. Hitler describes this experience:

The individual who at first feels lonely and easily succumbs to the fear of being alone— for the first time gets the picture of a larger community, which has a strengthening, encouraging effect. But the community of the great demonstration not only strengthens the individual, it also unites and helps to create an esprit de corps.

Man needs that strengthening which lies at the conviction of being a member and fighter in a great comprehensive body. And he obtains an impression of this body for the first time in the mass demonstrations. People came to my speeches as my enemies, but gradually it transpired that after my speech lasting three hours, adherents and adversaries fused into a single enthusiastic mass.

By virtue of these rallies, individuals abandoned autonomy, uniting with the group. But Hitler’s fantasy went deeper. The climax of his speeches occurred, Hitler says, when listeners "fused into a single enthusiastic mass." It was at that moment that individuals united to constitute a "great comprehensive body."

The Nazis architectural structures were designed in order to enhance this experience of people as a unified body. Scobie writes in Hitler's State Architecture (1990) that Hitler's vast stadia & assembly halls were part of his plan to establish domination over masses of people by molding them into a single unified body enclosed within a single, all-embracing building.

V: The Melting Pot

The following passage (from a Hitler speech) contains the central idea that defined Nazism:

My Movement encompasses every aspect of the entire Volk. It conceives of Germany as a corporate body, as a single organism. There is no such thing as non-responsibility in this organic being, not a single cell which is not responsible, by its very existence, for the welfare and well-being of the whole. Thus in my view there is not the least amount of room for apolitical people.

Nazi political theorist Gottfried Nesse (1935) wrote, similarly, that in contrast to the state, the people form “a true organism—a being that leads its own life and follows its own laws.” The living unity of the people, he said, has “cells in its individual members.” And just as in every body there are cells to perform certain tasks, “this is likewise the case in the body of the people.” The individual is bound to “the people”—physically, mentally and spiritually.

The Nazi dream of "unity" was rooted in a fantasy conceiving of the nation as a gigantic "body politic" consisting of the German people as the flesh and blood or cells of this body. Margaret Mahler defined symbiosis (1969) as the fantasy of "somatopsychic omnipotent fusion:" delusion that two separate organisms are “contained within a common boundary.”

Nazi ideology recreated the delusion of symbiosis in the individual's tie to his nation. Nazism imagined that German bodies were bound to a "national organism," and that separation from this organism was inconceivable. The fantasy of fusion was enacted in mass rallies where tens-of-thousands of bodies massed together to create the illusion of a single body acting in unison.

The Nazi identified his body with the body politic, or more precisely substituted the idea of the nation for his own ego. In substituting the nation for himself, the Nazi negated himself. James Grotstein suggests (1977) that one of the functions of projective identification is to permit the individual to disappear. The Nazi strove to disappear: abandon his own ego by fusing with a collective body.

According to Hitler, what united the German people was good, and what separated Germans from one another was bad. The whole German nation, Hitler declared, must once more be brought to a “unity of spirit and of will.” The pre-condition for relieving the distress in Germany was the “restoration of the consciousness of belonging together.”

In order to bring men gradually nearer to each other, Hitler explained, they had to be thrown into the “great melting pot, the nation”— that they might be “purified and welded one to another.” Organizations promoting disunion or disintegration had to be uprooted and “all those must be ruthlessly eliminated who disturb this community.”

The struggle to achieve unity in the face of forces working toward disunity is a theme appearing repeatedly in Hitler's speeches. What brought the National Socialist Movement into being, Hitler said, was the yearning for a “true community of the German Volk.” Fate had given National Socialism the great task of eliminating the “disunity of the German Volk, the roots of its misfortune.” Yet the Movement could fulfill its one great mission only if it “uncompromisingly exterminates the things which tear our Volk apart.”

It would appear that the quest for absolute good and creation of absolute evil went hand in hand. The ideal of creating a unified community could be achieved only if Germany “exterminated the things that tear our Volk apart.”

The objective of the mass rallies was to bring into being an omnipotent, indestructible community. Discussing the ideal of Volksgemeinschaft, Scobie notes that this concept in turn generated the “concept of the enemy of the Volk,” that is, any person (or group) conceived to be hostile to the commonly pursued goals of the nation, for example, the Jews, who were branded enemies of the state.

Such people were excluded from participation in national rituals and festivities that took place within the confines of the community buildings in Nuremberg since, as outcasts, “their presence would have hindered the creation of the feeling of oneness between leader and led,” which it was Hitler's aim to create.

The Jew, Hitler declared, is the “ferment of decomposition in peoples,” which meant that the Jew “destroys and must destroy”—because he “completely lacked the conception of an activity which builds up the life of the community.” Jews, by their very nature, acted to tear down the national community.

The Nazi's symbiotic fantasy of oneness was projected as a bodily fantasy. Hitler conceived of Germany as an organism with which his own body—and the bodies of all other Germans—were fused. The good Nazi would so completely identify with Germany that he would experience the nation as a part of himself,thus would not hesitate to submit to and do the bidding of this object.

According to Wegner (1990), the SS saw the individual as an “integral element of a social organism.”  The individual's personal value and justification for his very existence depended solely on the advantages he furnished the national community. The individual was, in the eyes of the SS, only a “fragment of the body politic to which he owed allegiance.” Himmler informed his SS that everyone should be fully aware that “our lives do not belong to us, but to the Fuhrer and the Reich."

As a fragment of the body politic, the SS-man could not rebel against the body of which he was a part. His life belonged to “the Fuhrer and the Reich.” The SS-man was compelled to abandon the subjective willing function and to internalized the “will of the Reich," the state's destructive power, as his own will. When the SS-man dominated Jews in the death camps, he externalized the state’s destructive power, turning the Jew into someone precisely like him: A slave compelled to obey the will of the state.