Here is the theory:
“It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole … that above all the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual….”
“This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture…. The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call-to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness-idealism. By this we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men.”
These statements were made in our century by the leader of a major Western nation. His countrymen regarded his view point as uncontroversial. His political program implemented it faithfully.
The statements were made by Adolf Hitler. He was explaining the moral philosophy of Nazism.
And here is the ultimate practice (as described by William Shirer in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich):
“The gas chambers themselves [at Auschwitz] and the adjoining crematoria, viewed from a short distance, were not sinister-looking places at all; it was impossible to make them out for what they were. Over them were well-kept lawns with flower borders; the signs at the entrances merely said BATHS. The unsuspecting Jews thought they were simply being taken to the baths for the delousing which was customary at all camps. And taken to the accompaniment of sweet music!
“For there was light music. An orchestra of ‘young and pretty girls all dressed in white blouses and navy-blue skirts,’ as one survivor remembered, had been formed from among the inmates. While the selection was being made for the gas chambers this unique musical ensemble played gay tunes from The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffmann. Nothing solemn and somber from Beethoven. The death marches at Auschwitz were sprightly and merry tunes, straight out of Viennese and Parisian operetta.
“To such music, recalling as it did happier and more frivolous times, the men, women and children were led into the ‘bath houses,’ where they were told to undress preparatory to taking a ‘shower.’ Sometimes they were even given towels. “Once they were inside the ‘shower-room’ — and perhaps this was the first moment that they may have suspected some thing was amiss, for as many as two thousand of them were packed into the chamber like sardines, making it difficult to take a bath — the massive door was slid shut, locked and hermetically sealed. Up above where the well-groomed lawn and flower beds almost concealed the mushroom-shaped lids of vents that ran up from the hall of death, orderlies stood ready to drop into them the amethyst-blue crystals of hydrogen cyanide….
“Surviving prisoners watching from blocks nearby remembered how for a time the signal for the orderlies to pour the crystals down the vents was given by a Sergeant Moll. ‘Na, gib ihnen schon zu fressen‘ (‘All right, give ’em something to chew on’), he would laugh and the crystals would be poured through the openings, which were then sealed.
“Through heavy-glass portholes the executioners could watch what happened. The naked prisoners below would be looking up at the showers from which no water spouted or perhaps at the floor wondering why there were no drains. It took some moments for the gas to have much effect. But soon the inmates became aware that it was issuing from the perforations in the vents. It was then that they usually panicked, crowding away from the pipes and finally stampeding toward the huge metal door where, as Reitlinger puts it, ‘they piled up in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling each other even in death.’ “
Excerpted from The Cause of Hitler’s Germany by Leonard Peikoff.