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1 Germany’s Savior: Rudolf Steiner on Race and Redemption

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Chapter Summary

At the height of his public renown in the early 1920s, Rudolf Steiner's followers referred to him as "Germany's savior", confident that future generations would one day view the founder of anthroposophy with awe. Steiner's vision of German redemption, in its racial, national, and spiritual registers, aroused millenarian hopes in his followers and cast him as Germany's savior, the one who would restore the German people to its proper place in the evolution of humankind. In its juxtaposition of racist and non-racist elements and its fundamental rejection of materialism, the blight from which Germany needed to be saved; Steiner's racial program presented an enigma to his contemporaries, compelling to some and repellent to others. Conceiving of the Germans as the spiritual vanguard of European culture, a crucial legacy of his Austrian origins, Steiner assumed the role of esoteric harbinger of the unique German mission to redeem the world.

Keywords: anthroposophy; European culture; German people; German redemption; racist; Rudolf Steiner



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