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THE descriptions that have been given1 by observers from various countries of the psychology of the Nordic race agree very well together; anthropological investigations on height, the shape of the head, and of the face, and so forth in relation to calling, and school performance, and on the bodily attributes of noteworthy men in the various European peoples, the details of which cannot here be gone into, all give a clear picture of the mental characteristics of the Nordic race.


In accordance with this picture we may take judgment, truthfulness, and energy to be the qualities which are always found marking out Nordic man. It is by a certain mastering of his own nature that he comes by his power of judgment and keeps it, standing as a free man over against himself, and still more over against the influence of others. He feels a strong urge towards truth and justice, and shows, therefore, a practical attitude, an attitude of weighing, which often makes him look cool and stiff. He is distinguished by a highly developed sense of reality, which, in combination with an energy that may rise to boldness, urges him on to far-reaching undertakings. Together with this he has a decided sense for competitive achievement, and develops a characteristic passion for the real, while passion in the usual meaning of the rousing of the senses or the heightening of the sexual life has little meaning for him. His inclinations are always towards prudence, reserve, steadfastness, calm judgment. Just as he himself quickly grasps the idea of duty, so he is inclined to demand the fulfilment of duty from those around him, as he does from himself; and in this he easily becomes hard, and even ruthless, although he is never without a certain knightliness. In his intercourse with his fellows he is reserved and individualistic, shows little insight, or at any rate inclination for insight, into the nature of others, but rather a certain lack of knowledge of mankind. This knowledge is much more something he has to win for himself than an inborn endowment. The gift of narrative, with a sense for describing events and landscape and a tendency to roguish humour, is common in the Nordic race. The disinclination to show his feelings often springs in the Nordic man from a remarkable depth of character, which cannot and will not express itself quickly and vividly in word and bearing. This disinclination may become a deep reserve, and then it is generally all the more the sign of a steadfast character, thorough truthworthiness, and a lively sense of honour. Fairness and trustworthiness are peculiarly Nordic virtues. His word once given after reflection he looks on as inviolable.


His imaginative powers are not easily roused, but rather show a calm evenness, while not lacking in boldness, and even extravagance. They lead him not so much into the boundless, as rather out of reality and back again into it. Hence comes the fitness of the Nordic race for statesmanlike achievements. Treitschke has called Lower Saxony 'the land of statesman-like heads,' and Bismarck praises in it 'the striving after the attainable.' Lower Saxony is just that German-speaking district where the Nordic race is most predominant. The sense for reality, the energy, self-reliance, and boldness of the Nordic race are one reason why all the more important statesmen in European history would seem, judging from the portraits, to be predominantly Nordic.


Nordic boldness easily rises in some Nordic men to such heights that they incline to foolhardiness, carelessness of their own good, levity, and prodigality, that strongly developed forethought which is generally to be found in the race becoming less prominent. The Nordic inclination towards a care-free life is also to be seen in the fact that the Nordic man seems to find it absolutely necessary to have times of joyous laziness or untroubled devotion to bodily exercise, wandering, or travelling. Town life, as such, seems to weigh on him far sooner than it does on the men of the other European races (except, perhaps, the Dinaric). The Nordic man (like the Dinaric) has a decided feeling for nature.


The dying out of the Nordic race (to be examined into more closely in Chapters XI and XII) is, however, brought about through the very fact that there is always a stream of Nordic blood flowing from the countryside into the towns, whither the Nordic man has always been, and always will be, led by his lust for competition, for culture, for leadership, and for distinction. The flow of population from the land whose more capable and energetic members rise by way of the middle class into the leading professions, is, judging by the appropriate anthropological investigations, at the same time a flow of the more Nordic element, which thus, along with the upper section of society, often shows a tendency towards a lowered birth-rate.2


Thus it is the very qualifications for leadership in the Nordic race that bring it down in the struggle for existence (for it is the birth-rate only that decides).


In its highest representatives the Nordic race has a certain extravagance, which is, however, generally kept from showing itself outwardly: a yearning towards the sublime and heroic, towards extraordinary deeds and works calling for a life's devotion. In Nordic men there is often to be seen, too, a peculiarly wide range of development in the mental life, taking within its grasp broad fields of action and knowledge; and at the same time a wealth of emotional life, from kindliness to ruthlessness, from otherworldliness to resolute, unswerving action, from the dogmatic to the open mind. All this is characteristic, too, for the women of the race in their highest representatives; this is symbolized by the maidenly, tender Krimhild, who becomes the ruthless avenger of her husband through her pride and wifely duty. It is only in the Nordic race, too, that the various expressions of human nature and striving in sustained activities and ways of life find this sharp definition; so it is with the figures of the statesman, the commander, the man of action, the thinker, the priest, the artist, the husbandman, of the good and the bad alike. All these figures receive the form and features which are peculiarly theirs from a certain characteristic Nordic restlessness, and the need for conquest which drives them on.


It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that it is this Nordic race that has produced so many creative men, that a quite preponderating proportion of the distinguished men in European and North American history show mainly Nordic features, and that in those people with less Nordic blood the creative men always come from a district where there has been, or is, a marked strain of this blood. The creative men of France come, according to Odin's investigations,3 from the districts of greatest height, longest skull, and fairest colouring; while, taking the class from which they spring, 78.5 per cent. are from the nobility, the official class, and the liberal professions with university education -- the classes, that is to say, which in numbers make up only a small part of the nation, but at the same time have relatively the most Nordic blood. An investigation into the prize-winners at the Paris exhibitions of painting proved also that the Nordic race is the richest in creative minds; while Woltmann's researches, Die Germanen und die Renaissance in Italien (1905) and Die Germanen in Frankreich (1907), bear witness to the same thing through the portraits alone. Galton's inquiries show that the Nordic parts of England have produced far more creative men than the less Nordic. The most Nordic district in the British Isles is Scotland, and 'the Scotch yield a particularly large number of the leading and pioneer men in England and the Colonies.'4 If, then, the Nordic race has always been especially rich in creative men, it is no wonder that the peoples with Nordic blood have always gone downwards when this blood has run dry; this will be shown in Chapters VIII to X. Röse has found, as a result of his anthropometrical investigations among German school children, workmen, employees, officers, employers, professors, etc., that 'the Nordic section of the German people is the main source of its spiritual strength.'5 This is true of all peoples with a Nordic strain.


The Nordic race seems to show special aptitude in the domain of military science owing to its warlike spirit, as also in seamanship, and in technical and commercial activities. In science it seems to incline rather to the natural sciences than to the cultural; in the arts it inclines particularly to poetry, music, painting, and drawing. The especially vigorous peasant music of Sweden, and the national interest taken in it, goes to show that the Nordic race is not, as has been assumed, less gifted in this direction, although the musical gifts of the Dinaric race may be more pronounced. Scandinavia, settled by the Nordics, had, as early as the Bronze Age, a musical development standing above that of any other part of Europe; this is shown by the perfection of the lures or bronze horns, mostly found in pairs, which could be used, therefore, two at a time for music in two-part harmony. The Danes and Norwegians assign to the twelfth century the inventors of polyphonic music, on which later (after A.D. 1200) the foundations were laid for the modern music of Europe. North-west Germany, where the Nordic race shows its strongest predominance within the German tribes, has the lowest criminal percentage. The figures for crime rise as we go east and south, that is, in the direction of the lessening of the strain of Nordic blood. In north-west Germany it is dangerous bodily wounding and fraud that are especially rare, in Scandinavia fraud and theft. Ploetz ascribes to the Nordic race 'a greater regard for the neighbour's person and property.'6 In outward appearance one is struck in all classes by the relatively greater personal cleanliness of the predominantly Nordic element, and their delight in bodily exercise. Ammon found in gymnastic associations and the like more Nordic blood always on the average than in the surrounding population. The greater proportion of the more Nordic elements in all open-air callings, particularly among coachmen, is striking. 

Their Analysis (Vertical line = Average)

  • Nordic Distribution

    They scored 60% on Nordic, higher than 54% of your peers.

  • Alpine Distribution

    They scored 30% on Alpine, higher than 31% of your peers.

  • Mediterranean Distribution

    They scored 40% on Mediterranean, higher than 14% of your peers.

  • Dinaric Distribution

    They scored 20% on Dinaric, higher than 6% of your peers.

  • EastBaltic Distribution

    They scored 30% on EastBaltic, higher than 47% of your peers.

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