This 1940 essay by Alfred Rosenberg (1893–1946) serves as a supplement to Chamberlain’s 1914 essay on ‘England’ in his Kriegsaufsätze. It continues Chamberlain’s delineation of the degeneration of the aristocratic English gentleman into an unscrupulous businessman with a characteristic National Socialist focus on the Jewish contribution to this degeneration. At the same time, it highlights the socialist, ‘worker’-oriented aspect of National Socialism in general.
Alfred Rosenberg: The Overthrow of the Gentleman
When the French Revolution smashed an old system, there fell, along with the political regime, also a social type that had been exemplary for the French of that time: the chevalier. The chevalier was the perfectly formed courtier of the culture of his time. He represented what was then called French culture. In his attitude, his sceptical way of observing the world, devotion to the king, social sleekness, he was doubtless the model for several phenomena of the eighteenth century. To his honour one can say that this type of gallant nobleman bravely retained itself in the end against the regime of Terror. In France there entered in the place of this chevalier a no longer definable mixture of sated bourgeois and Jacobin imitator, especially a stock-exchange speculator — in short, the ideal of the man of private means.
What played itself out in France a hundred and fifty years ago is repeated now to a greater extent in England. Even here a social type is declining: the English gentleman. This gentleman has become increasingly the ideal of the entire British world empire, but the significance and conception of this gentleman seemed, besides, to be somehow worth striving for even among other states and peoples.
The gentleman was, from the start, a man provided with ample wealth, educated according to the rules of social self-discipline, a privileged man, who could make financial manoeuvres that were not innocent and yet within the limits of that which was accepted by society, a man who offended nowhere and acknowledged all the narrow, even if unwritten, laws of British social intercourse as an obvious principle of life. Becoming such a gentleman had become the ideal not only of some bourgeois English circles but, beyond that, of most Englishmen in general. This striving was doubtless so powerful that no social revolution could emerge with greater force because every leader of such workers’ movements inevitably fell under the spell of the gentlemen, was elevated by them, accepted and then absorbed by them. Increasingly the gentleman became the British type characteristic of a big capitalistic age for his existence was bound to abundant financial means. But abundant financial means were to be striven for in the last decades only through big industrial and financial undertakings, and the latter were once again dependent on the exploitative possibilities of a large colonial possession. In order to maintain a large stratum of such rich gentlemen millions and millions of people had to, all over the world, and in England itself, labour with their slave work. England went to war in 1914 in order to maintain this condition of the gentleman forever, and one has not wrongly said that Great Britain conducted the war for the sake of the leisurely long weekend! The advantages of this British type — considering democracy as a political fact — doubtless lay in the fact that a certain stratum was, on account of their property, politically independent and did not need to become so corrupt as the poor parliamentarian devils in France, whose purse had to be repeatedly filled to make them amenable to great transactions, whether it be the Panama scandal or other great profiteering schemes. But the great disadvantages lie exposed today, for the gentleman stratum wishes in principle for the eternalisation of the world capitalistic condition and it finally implies a contempt for work as a decisive value.
At this point intervenes the National Socialist Revolution, whose vocation it is to replace the type of British gentleman living on the work of others with a modern German type of work, though possible for every nation. Work in this National Socialist ethos has once again been recognised as the great decisive value, the real touchstone of the creative and performative capacity of the individual. And therefore every work that takes place on German soil is worthy of respect. It would be an absolutely false, ‘lordly’, standpoint if one wished to declare that any work in Germany could not be done by a German because it would offend his ‘lordly’ consciousness. This standpoint, explicable in Africa and under tropical conditions, would be intolerable for the German nation because therewith the possibility of a class warfare would enter once again on the horizon. If we wished to represent any work on German soil as unworthy of a German, then immediately so many subjective views would gain ground and nobody knows when the evaluation would pass from a negative to a positive one. We must rather hold fast, precisely now, to our old National Socialist principle that every work honestly performed extends to the benefit of the entire Reich and nation, that therewith also every industrious work, even the smallest, possesses its value and its share in the entire national work. Obviously we are not levelling here in any way and know that social justice does not consist only in giving to each honest worker a social security corresponding to his work and in increasing this according to the increase in performance; but it is equally a part of social justice that great work performances be also honoured appropriately in front of the entire nation with regard to the bearer of this performance. Only this correlation ensures what we call a ranking of life conditioned by value (emphasis added), and it is at the same time a truly national social attitude. Only through this can it be prevented that at any time a caste arise once again, and it be made possible that that hard type of our battle period remains decisive in the future — in another selective form but one still conditioned by work performance — for the National Socialist attitude even in the time of peace that follows.
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Even the British gentleman, before he disappears now from the stage as a social ideal, has undergone a change. He was earlier predominantly the independently operative politician; with increasing capitalistic development he became to a decisive degree a businessman, the business idea became finally predominant, until Edward VII allowed even the rich Jews to enter increasingly into this capitalistic gentlemen’s society and, in the end, helped, through clubs and the press, to bring in a quick degeneration. The German language has already observed this change through certain nuances. Whereas earlier one spoke of a gentleman in a certain respectful tone, one speaks today of ‘gents’, and certain types of the present ruling Englishmen arouse in us only contemptuous laughter. In this way it has proceeded to such an extent that ‘honourable man’ and ‘gentleman’, which were perhaps similar concepts a hundred years ago, are today so differentiated that they often signify opposites. And when they emphasise ever so eagerly in London that they are fighting for the ‘old British’ and ‘humanitarian’ ideal, the present age is sufficiently enlightened about the actual facts of the social and political development to be able to view certain types of Great Britain today as real representatives of phenomena that were possible and understandable earlier. For, earlier, even dubious lapses were tempered by a certain moderation; today, British representatives have lost all form, and therewith all synoptic vision and attitude.
Today, we may say, to speak personally, that many outstanding people are definitely not honourable men but recent ‘gentlemen’ who are bound to the Jews. That is, personally, an insult but, in a social sense, a symbolic confirmation of an actual condition of social and political degeneracy. Whether it can still be changed is a question for the future. And so the faded gentleman must, like the French chevalier in the eighteenth century, disappear as an ideal worthy striving for, because the nations search for and wish to develop out of a new ethos also a new form of life.
 “Die Überwindung des Gentleman,” Völkischer Beobachter, 30 June, 1940.
 See “Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s England ,”Occidental Observer, December 13, 2021.
 The Panama scandal resulted from the floating of a lottery loan by the French Panama Canal Company to overcome a financial crisis in 1888. French parliamentarians were accused of taking bribes to vote for this loan, and the bribery was organised principally by the Jews, Baron Jacques de Reinach, Léopold Arton and Cornélius Herz. The loan itself proved incapable of preventing the collapse of the Panama company in 1889.
 Cf. H.S. Chamberlain’s comment on the degeneration of the British gentleman in A. Jacob, ‘Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s “England”, Occidental Observer, December 13, 2021: ‘This crudeness has slowly imbued almost the entire nation from the bottom to the top — as is always the case. Even fifty years ago it was an offence against class dignity if a member of the nobility took part in industry, trade and finance; today, the head of the oldest and greatest house of Scotland, brother-in-law of the king, a banker!’
 King Edward VII (1841-1910) was the eldest son of Queen Victoria was groomed by his parents to be the ‘first gentleman of the country’ and became an arbiter of men’s fashions in his time (see Maurice Muret, The Greatness of Elites, tr. Alexander Jacob, Arktos, 2022, forthcoming, Ch.V).