Lothrop Stoddard

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Lothrop Stoddard
Lothrop Stoddard.JPG
Theodore Lothrop Stoddard

(1883-06-29)June 29, 1883
DiedMay 1, 1950(1950-05-01) (aged 66)
Alma materHarvard, Boston University
OccupationAuthor, political scientist, historian, journalist
Movementwhite supremacy
white nationalism
scientific racism
  • John Lawson Stoddard (father)
  • Mary H Stoddard (mother)

Theodore Lothrop Stoddard (June 29, 1883 – May 1, 1950) was an American historian, journalist, political scientist, white supremacist, and white nationalist. Stoddard wrote several books which advocated eugenics and scientific racism, including The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy (1920). He advocated a racial hierarchy which he believed needed to be preserved through anti-miscegenation laws. Stoddard's books were once widely read both inside and outside the United States.

He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, where his books were recommended reading.[1][2][3][4] He was also a member of the American Eugenics Society[5] as well as a founding member (along with Margaret Sanger) and board member of the American Birth Control League.[6]

Stoddard's work influenced the Nazi government of Germany. His book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man (1922) introduced the term Untermensch (the German translation of Under-man) into Nazi conceptions of race. As a journalist he spent time in Germany during the first “phony war” months of World War II, where he interviewed several prominent Nazi officials. After the end of the war, Stoddard's writing faded from popularity.

Early life and education[edit]

Stoddard was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of John Lawson Stoddard, a prominent writer and lecturer, and his wife Mary H. Stoddard.[7] He attended Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1905, and studied law at Boston University until 1908. Stoddard received a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 1914.[8]


Stoddard was a member of the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Academy of Political Science.[9]

In 1923, an exposé by Hearst's International revealed that Stoddard was a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and had been acting as a consultant to the organization. A letter from the KKK to members had praised The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in explicitly racial terms. Stoddard privately dismissed the Hearst magazine as a "radical-Jew outfit".[1]


Stoddard's analysis divided world politics and situations into "white," "yellow," "black," "Amerindian," and "brown" peoples and their interactions.

Stoddard authored many books, most of them related to race and civilization. He wrote primarily on the alleged dangers posed by "colored" peoples to white civilization. Many of his books and articles were racialist and described what he saw as the peril of nonwhite immigration. He develops this theme in The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy originally published in 1920[10][11] with an introduction by Madison Grant.[12] He presents a view of the world situation pertaining to race and focusing concern on the coming population explosion among the non-white peoples of the world and the way in which "white world-supremacy" was being lessened in the wake of World War I and the collapse of colonialism.[page needed] In the book, Stoddard blamed the ethnocentrism of the German "Teutonic imperialists" for the outbreak of World War I.[13]

Stoddard argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization and that the elimination or absorption of the "white" race by "colored" races would result in the destruction of Western civilization. Like Madison Grant in The Passing of the Great Race, Stoddard divided the white race into three main divisions: Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean. He considered all three to be of good stock and far above the quality of the colored races but argued that the Nordic was the greatest of the three and needed to be preserved by way of eugenics. He considered most Jews to be racially "Asiatic" and argued for restricting Jewish immigration because he considered them a threat to Nordic racial purity in the US. He warned that US was being "invaded by hordes of immigrant Alpines and Mediterraneans, not to mention Asiatic elements like Levantines and Jews."[14][15][16] Stoddard's racist beliefs were especially hostile to black people. He claimed that they were fundamentally different from other groups, they had no civilizations of their own, and had contributed nothing to the world. Stoddard opposed miscegenation, and said that "crossings with the negro are uniformly fatal".[1] During a 1921 speech in Birmingham, Alabama, President Warren G. Harding praised the book.[12]

In The Revolt Against Civilization (1922), Stoddard put forward the theory that civilization places a growing burden on individuals, which leads to a growing underclass of individuals who cannot keep up and a "ground-swell of revolt".[17] Stoddard advocated immigration restriction and birth control legislation to reduce the numbers of the underclass and promoted the reproduction of members of the middle and upper classes. He considered social progress impossible unless it was guided by a "neo-aristocracy" from the most capable individuals that was reconciled with the findings of science rather than based on abstract idealism and egalitarianism.[18] Stoddard was one of several eugenicists who sat on the board of the American Birth Control League.[19]

The Nazi Party's chief racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg appropriated the racial term Untermensch from the German version of Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man. The German title was Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).[20]

Debate with W.E.B. Du Bois[edit]

In 1929, Stoddard debated African American historian W.E.B. Du Bois on white supremacy and its assertion of the natural inferiority of colored races.[21][22] The debate, organized by the Chicago Forum Council, was billed as "One of the greatest debates ever held".[12] Du Bois argued in the affirmative to the question "Shall the Negro be encouraged to seek cultural equality? Has the Negro the same intellectual possibilities as other races?"[23]

Du Bois knew the racism would be unintentionally funny onstage; as he wrote to Moore, Senator James Thomas Heflin "would be a scream" in a debate. "Du Bois let the overconfident and bombastic Stoddard walk into a comic moment, which Stoddard then made even funnier by not getting the joke".

The transcript records Stoddard saying:

"'The more enlightened men of southern white America ... are doing their best to see that separation shall not mean discrimination; that if the Negroes have separate schools, they shall be good schools; that if they have separate train accommodations, they shall have good accommodations.' [laughter]."

Du Bois, in responding to Stoddard, said the reason for the audience laughter was that he had never journeyed under Jim Crow restrictions. "We have," Du Bois told him and the mixed audience.[12]

This moment was captured in The Chicago Defender's headline: "DuBois Shatters Stoddard’s Cultural Theories in Debate; Thousands Jam Hall ... Cheered As He Proves Race Equality." The Afro-American reported: "5,000 Cheer W.E.B. DuBois, Laugh at Lothrop Stoddard."[12]

Reporting from Nazi Germany[edit]

Between 1939 and 1940, Stoddard spent four months as a journalist for the North American Newspaper Alliance in Nazi Germany. He received preferential treatment from Nazi officials compared to other journalists. An example was the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda's insisting that NBC's Max Jordan and CBS's William Shirer use Stoddard to interview the captain of the Bremen.[24][25]

Stoddard wrote a memoir, Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today (1940), about his experiences in Germany. Among other events, the book describes interviews with such figures as Heinrich Himmler (whom he asked critical questions about the Gestapo’s persecution of political dissidents and Martin Niemöller specifically[26],) Robert Ley and Fritz Sauckel, as well as a brief meeting with Hitler himself.[24] Stoddard visited the “Hereditary Health Court” in Charlottenburg, an “appeals court” that decided whether Germans would be voluntarily or involuntarily sterilized. After having observed 4 dysgenics cases at the “court,” in each of which the “court” refused to order sterilization, and, in one case, refused even to permit a voluntary request for sterilization,[26] Stoddard stated that the eugenics legislation was "being administered with strict regard for its provisions and that, if anything, judgments were almost too conservative" and that the law was "weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way."[26] [24][27]

Although Stoddard kept editorializing to a minimum in his book, - as he wrote, he took pride in his professionalism and also wanted to preserve access to Nazi government sources - his reporting on the Nazi government’s treatment of Germany’s Jews can easily be perceived as sympathetic to Germany’s Jews and condemning their brutal treatment at the hands of the Nazis:

“The average German seems disinclined to talk much to the foreign visitor about this oppressed minority. However, I gathered that the general public does not approve of the violence and cruelty which Jews have suffered. But I also got the impression that, while the average German condemned such methods, he was not unwilling to see the Jews go and would not wish them back again. I personally remember how widespread anti-Semitism was under the Empire, and I encountered it in far more noticeable form when I was in Germany during the inflation period of 1923. The Nazis therefore seem to have had a popular predisposition to work on when they preached their extreme anti-Semitic doctrines.

The prevailing attitude toward the Jews in present-day Germany reminds me strongly of the attitude toward the Christian Greeks and Armenians in Turkey when I was there shortly after the World War. The Turks were then in a fanatically nationalistic mood; and, rightly or wrongly, they had made up their minds that the resident Greeks and Armenians were unassimilable elements which must be expelled if they were to realize their goal of a 100 per cent Turkish Nation-State [28].”

“I was told that, while the situation of the 20,000 Jews still in Berlin was a hard and distressful one, there had been no organized violence against them since the great synagogue-burning riots of November, 1938. Jews were occasionally beaten up or otherwise mistreated; several instances had occurred after the Munich attempt on Hitler’s life….The most difficult aspect of their existence arose from the continual limitations and discriminations which they suffered…” [28]

“The Jews naturally find such a life intolerable and long to emigrate. But that is most difficult because they can take almost no money or property with them, and other countries will not receive them lest they become public charges. Their greatest fear seemed to be that they might be deported to the Jewish “reservation” in southern Poland which the German Government is contemplating. [28]

Stoddard, a Harvard PhD, disparaged Nazi party leaders as largely being lower middle class parvenus:

I did not care much, however, for the other local notables. They looked to me like German equivalents of our own ward politicians. Few of them could have amounted to much before they landed a Party job. Even more revealing were their womenfolk, who joined us in the big hotel lounge for Ersatz coffee and liqueurs after the banquet was over. Most of them were pretentiously dowdy. They exemplified better than anything I had yet seen the fact that National Socialism is not merely a political and economic upheaval but a social revolution as well. To a very large extent it has brought the lower middle class into power. To be sure, one finds quite a few aristocrats and intellectuals in the Nazi regime. Furthermore, there are plenty of Nazis sprung from peasant or worker stock, some of whom, like the Weimar Gauleiter, would rise in any society. Yet the lower middle class seems to be inordinately in evidence. One does not notice this so much in Berlin, because the ablest elements in the Party tend to gravitate to the seat of power. In the provinces the Spiessbuergertum comes much more to the front. [26]

Stoddard was taken aback by the forthrightness of the Nazis' anti-Jewish views, writing that in Nazi Germany that the "Jewish problem" “was regarded as …soon [to] be settled by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich."[27] Stoddard quoted and criticized Himmler telling him in his interview that the Nazis intended to expel all Jews from Germany:

“That policy,” replied Himmler, “can best be expressed in the words of our Fuehrer: ‘To give lasting peace to our eastern borders.’ For centuries, that region and others in Eastern Europe have been chronically disturbed by jarring minorities hopelessly mixed up with one another. What we are now trying to do is to separate these quarreling elements in just, constructive fashion. We have voluntarily withdrawn our German minorities from places like the Baltic States, and we shall do the same in Northern Italy. We are even marking out a place for the Jews where they may live quietly unto themselves. Between us and the Poles we seek to fashion a proper racial boundary. Of course, we are going about it slowly–you can’t move multitudes of people with their livestock and personal belongings like pawns on a chessboard. But that is the objective we ultimately hope to attain.”

Himmler talked further about his resettlement policies, carefully avoiding the tragic aspects that they involve. He then returned briefly to the subject of his S.S. At that point, a smart young aide…”[26]

After World War II, Stoddard's theories were deemed too closely aligned with those of the Nazis and so he suffered a large drop in popularity.[29] His death from cancer in 1950 went almost entirely unreported despite his previously broad readership and influence.[30]


In The Great Gatsby (1925), by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is an allusion, by re-worded title, to The Rising Tide of Color,[31] wherein the antagonist Tom Buchanan says:

"Civilization's going to pieces," broke out Tom violently. "I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?"

"Why no," I answered, rather surprised by his tone.

"Well, it's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved."

"Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. "He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we — "

"Well these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things."

"We've got to beat them down," whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun.

"You ought to live in California —" began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.

"This idea is that we're Nordics. I am, and you are, and you are, and —" After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod, and she winked at me again. " — And we've produced all the things that go to make civilization — oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?"

There was something pathetic in his concentration, as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more.[32]



  • The French Revolution in San Domingo, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914.
  • Present-day Europe, its National States of Mind, The Century Co., 1917.
  • Stakes of the War, with Glenn Frank, The Century Co., 1918.[33]
  • The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921 [1st Pub. 1920]. ISBN 4-87187-849-X
  • The New World of Islam, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922 [1st Pub. 1921]. [2]
  • The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.
  • Racial Realities in Europe, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924.
  • Social Classes in Post-War Europe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
  • Scientific Humanism. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926.
  • Re-forging America: The Story of Our Nationhood. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927.
  • The Story of Youth. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1928.
  • Luck, Your Silent Partner. New York: H. Liveright, 1929.
  • Master of Manhattan, the life of Richard Croker. Londton: Longmans, Green and Co., 1931.
  • Europe and Our Money, The Macmillan Co., 1932
  • Lonely America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1932.
  • Clashing Tides of Color. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935.
  • A Caravan Tour to Ireland and Canada, World Caravan Guild, 1938.
  • Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc., 1940.[34]

Selected articles[edit]

Additionally, Stoddard wrote several articles for The Saturday Evening Post.[35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Yudell, Michael (2014). Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in The Twentieth Century. Columbia University Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 9780231537995. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ African Fundamentalism: A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance
  3. ^ Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan
  4. ^ The Ku Klux Klan: History, Organization, Language, Influence and Activities of America's Most Notorious Secret Society, p. 99. "Stoddard, Lothrop - The 1920s exalted cyclops of Massachusetts Provisional Klan No. 1"
  5. ^ Messall, Rebecca R. (2018). "Book Review: An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics". The Linacre Quarterly. 85 (3): 299–306. doi:10.1177/0024363918777508. ISSN 0024-3639. PMC 6161230.
  6. ^ Carey, Jane (2012-11-01). "The Racial Imperatives of Sex: birth control and eugenics in Britain, the United States and Australia in the interwar years". Women's History Review. 21 (5): 733–752. doi:10.1080/09612025.2012.658180. ISSN 0961-2025. S2CID 145199321.
  7. ^ Cox, Michaelene (2015). The Politics and Art of John L. Stoddard. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, p. 36-38.
  8. ^ Gossett, Thomas F. (1963). Race, the History of an Idea in America. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, p. 391; Alfred L. Brophy & Elizabeth Troutman, The Eugenics Movement in North Carolina, North Carolina Law Review 94 (2016): 1871, 1883 (discusing Stoddard's ph.d. dissertation and first book on the Haitian Revolution, The French Revolution in San Domingue (1914), and noting his early concern over race).
  9. ^ Margaret Sanger (1922). The Birth Control Review. M. Sanger. pp. 26, 50, 74, 89, 100.
  10. ^ The Rising Tide of Color, (1920). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. xi.
  11. ^ Huntington, Ellsworth (1922). "The Racial Problem in World-Politics," Geographical Review 12 (1), pp. 145–146.
  12. ^ a b c d e Frazier, Ian (August 19, 2019). "When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  13. ^ The Rising Tide of Color (1920), p. 227.
  14. ^ Leonard Dinnerstein. 1995. Antisemitism in America. Oxford University Press. page 94 [1]
  15. ^ Marcel Stoetzler. 2014. Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology. U of Nebraska Press
  16. ^ Jerome Karabel. 2006. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 84
  17. ^ Stoddard, Lothrop (1922). "The Ground-Swell of Revolt." In: The Revolt Against Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 142–176.
  18. ^ Stoddard, Lothrop (1922). "Neo-Aristocracy." In: The Revolt Against Civilization. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 237–268.
  19. ^ Carey, Jane (November 2012). "The Racial Imperatives of Sex: birth control and eugenics in Britain, the United States and Australia in the interwar years". Women's History Review. 21 (5): 741. doi:10.1080/09612025.2012.658180. S2CID 145199321.
  20. ^ Losurdo, Domenico (2004). Translated by Marella & Jon Morris. "Toward a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism" (PDF, 0.2 MB). Historical Materialism. Brill. 12 (2): 25–55, here p. 50. doi:10.1163/1569206041551663. ISSN 1465-4466.
  21. ^ Shall the Negro be Encouraged to Seek Cultural Equality?: Report of the Debate Conducted by the Chicago Forum, Chicago Forum, 1929.
  22. ^ Taylor, Carol M. (1981). "W.E.B. DuBois's Challenge to Scientific Racism," Journal of Black Studies 11 (4), pp. 449–460.
  23. ^ Taylor, Carol M. (1981). "W.E.B. DuBois's Challenge to Scientific Racism". Journal of Black Studies. 11 (4): 449–460. doi:10.1177/002193478101100405. ISSN 0021-9347. JSTOR 2784074. PMID 11635221. S2CID 45779708.[verification needed]
  24. ^ a b c Stefan Kühl (2001). The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press US. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-19-514978-4. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  25. ^ William L Shirer (2004). Berlin Diary. Tess Press / Black Dog & Leventhal. p. 207. ISBN 1-57912-442-9.
  26. ^ a b c d e Stoddard, Lothrop (1940). Into the Darkness. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce Inc.
  27. ^ a b Spiro, Jonathan P. (2009). Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant. Univ. of Vermont Press. pp. 373–374. ISBN 978-1-58465-715-6. Lay summary (29 September 2010).
  28. ^ a b c Stoddard, Lothrop (1940). Into the Darkness. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce Inc. pp. 286–287.
  29. ^ Guterl, Matthew Pratt. The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940, Harvard University Press, 2004.
  30. ^ Fant, Jr. Gene C. "Stoddard, Lothrop," American National Biography Online, 2000.
  31. ^ Slater, Peter Gregg (1973). "Ethnicity in The Great Gatsby," Twentieth Century Literature, 19 (1), pp. 53–62.
  32. ^ "The Great Gatsby," Chap. 1.
  33. ^ "Defining the Stakes of the War," The New York Times, September 15, 1918.
  34. ^ Stone, Shepard. "Mr. Hitler's 'New Sparta'," The Saturday Review, June 29, 1940.
  35. ^ "Stoddard, Lothrop," Archived 2013-01-10 at the Wayback Machine The Fiction Mags Index.
  36. ^ "New-York Tribune," November 02, 1922.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]