Untermensch

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Serbien muss sterbien! ("Serbia must die!"; sterbien a play on words on steben - die ), an old Austrian propaganda caricature, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914

Untermensch (plural: Untermenschen) is a term many racist ideologiers use. It can be translated as sub-human or under-human. Nietzsche, and others developed the term Übermensch, to refer to someone who has outgrown himself, and who no longer has all the problems ordinary people have For the Nazis, the Übermensch was someone of Aryan descent. The Untermensch, on the other hand was used for all the people of the races seen as inferior, such as the Jews, the Slavic people, gypsies or black people.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, Heinrich Himmler published a booklet, called "Der Untermensch". This brochure was distributed in Germany: it was made to increase the hatred towards the people of the Soviet Union (note: not the Slavic people, the term Slavic people never occurs in the brochure). The booklet was very popular, also with the German allies, such as the people in Croatia, Slovakia or Bulgaria. These people received copies in their own language. The booklet didn't provide much information about the Soviet union, it was mainly used to race hatred. Some people in the Nazi government were against the publication of the booklet: they thought they could convince the common people of the Soviet Union to fight against the Bolsheviks in power. During 1942, the publication of the booklet was stopped.

In 1924, Fritz Lang published his movie Die Nibelungen, where he shows that the smith Mime (also called Mimir) as an Untermensch. During the Wochenshau, the Nazis showed several movies with Russian people in simple wooden houses, travelling on badly maintained roads. This was done to show the German people how inferior the people of the Soviet Union were. Needless to say: these clips also were propaganda.

Movies that were made after the second world war, also show the concept of Untermensch: Louis de Funès has a few of these movies: In his movies, the term is not used for people of other nations seen as inferior, but rather: for people of the own nations, who have character traits that are seen as bad.

During the Second World War, Japan expanded to China and in Southeast Asia. During that time, prisoners of war and civilians were used for experiments on humans. Unit 731 became known for experiments with chemiclal agents and pathogens, such as those causingthe plague, or smallpox. They also did experiments with poison gas. In Japanese, the people were called maruta, which can be translated as wood, or material. This a similar value judgement than that of Untermensch.