Master race is a translation of the rarely used German words "Herrenvolk", "Herrenmensch", and "Herrenrasse". It is claimed to have been an important racist concept in National Socialist Germany. Revisionists have disputed this translation and interpretation and argued that it is an example of Allied psychological warfare.
The word Herrenvolk (gentlemen people) was often (deliberately?) mistranslated into English as "master race", after which it was falsely assumed (without looking at the original text) that the original word must have been "Herrenrasse".
This created the false impression that the word "Herrenrasse" was widely used in Germany. In reality, however, instead of the word "Herrenrasse" the word Herrenvolk was the one that was used in Germany, and even this word was used only rarely by National Socialists. Thus, Joseph Goebbels said on 17 January 1936 in a speech on the Berlin region day:
- "Heute steckt in jung und alt, in hoch und niedrig, in arm und reich der besessene Wille, die deutsche Nation wieder zu einem Weltvolk emporzuführen. Jedermann bei uns ist davon überzeugt: Wir müssen an der Beherrschung der Welt teilnehmen. Wir müssen deshalb ein Herrenvolk werden, und deshalb müssen wir unser Volk zum Herrenvolk erziehen. Das muß schon beim kleinsten Pimpf anfangen, der schon in dieser Herrenmoral erzogen werden muß."
- "Today there is in young and old, in high and low, in poor and rich the will, to make German nation again to a people of world. Each with us is persuaded of it: We must take part in the control of the world. Therefore, we must become a people of gentlemen, and, therefore, we must educate our people to be a people of gentlemen. This must already start with the smallest schoolboy who must be already educated in this gentleman's morality."
People are by no means the same as race, and the right translation of "Volk" into English would be people, folk or nation. The English word "master" is not the right translation of the German word "Herr" in the context of the word "Herrenvolk", because the word "master" is connotated with the slave-master constrast. But the Germans were never involved in slavery, so a more appropriate translation of "Herr" would be gentleman (which means a fine, distinguished person with high morality). Certainly, "master" is an inappropriate translation in this context.
As in other cases, this Allied propagandist "master race" lie was also continued in the course of the re-education and "denazification" after the war and German-hostile forces state even in the present days that "Herrenrasse" has been a central concept during the time of National Socialism, although not the slightest proof exists for this.
The revisionist Hadding Scott has argued that "master race" was used in English already in 1868, long before the creation of National Socialism. Regarding accusations against Germany, "master race" accusations were made already during the First World War, as one part of essentially false Allied propaganda. The WWI Allied propaganda selectively cited the eccentric Karl Felix Wolff, claiming he was a "Pan-German leader", when he was merely a writer without academic credentials.
Scott also writes that "Contrary to widespread belief in the United States, Germans during the period of Hitler's rule did not habitually refer to themselves as members of “the master race.”" Furthermore, "The term master-race (Herrenrasse), while it had been used by a fringe-figure during the First World War, seems not to have been used in German National-Socialist literature at all. The word does not appear in Mein Kampf, nor in Rosenberg's Mythus, nor in any German National-Socialist material that I have seen.
Herrenvolk appears several times in Mein Kampf, but this word is not properly translated as “master-race” (although such invidious mistranslation is commonplace). Herrenvolk is a general term referring to any people that happens to rule over another people, like the Normans in Mediaeval England, or, subsequently, the British in their empire. A German publication from 1933 states: “The Romans were undoubtedly the most important hegemonic people (Herrenvolk) of world-history” (Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Geistesleben, 1933, p. 317). Herrenvolk thus denotes imperial achievement rather than racial quality.
Even this misunderstood word Herrenvolk was not, however, an important element of National-Socialist propaganda."
An article in states that "A common deception technique is to falsely caption or otherwise misrepresent an authentic photograph. Shown here is the front cover of a 1943 issue of the British magazine Parade, which was a tool of wartime Allied anti-German propaganda. It purports to show a disheveled and malevolent-looking German soldier, above the caption "Master Race." Derek Knight, an Englishman who served during World War II with the British "Army Film and Photographic Unit," revealed later that the man in this photo was actually an uncomprehending Egyptian who had been found on a Cairo street. He was persuaded to put on German helmet and a uniform-like jacket, and to permit himself to be photographed."
- "MASTER RACE" NOT A TERM USED BY THE NATIONAL SOCIALISTS or THE STORY OF HOW A SINGLE RARE WORD -- "HERRENVOLK" -- WAS MISTRANSLATED AS "MASTER RACE"
- Use of word "Master Race" at First Nuremberg Trial
- Wartime "Master Race" Photo Deceit
- "MASTER RACE" NOT A TERM USED BY THE NATIONAL SOCIALISTS or THE STORY OF HOW A SINGLE RARE WORD -- "HERRENVOLK" -- WAS MISTRANSLATED AS "MASTER RACE" http://www.cwporter.com/rauschningnote.htm
- Use of word "Master Race" at First Nuremberg Trial http://www.cwporter.com/mran.htm
- The Joseph Hirt Story, Twenty Years as a Fake Auschwitz-Survivor https://codoh.com/library/document/4074/
- Wartime "Master Race" Photo Deceit http://www.codoh.com/library/document/2832/