Chapter IX Part Three


THE racial history of France is clearly written. The blood of Goths, Burgundians, Franks, and Normans gave France (the kingdom of the Franks) its best national strength. Montesquieu has said that all that France holds of honour, right, and freedom comes from the Franks. The French nobility had already been traced by Guizot to the Germanic immigrants, when Gobineau showed that the nobility of all the European peoples is to be traced to Germanic conquests. The truly Nordic achievement of Gothic architecture arose in northern France, when the population in the Middle Ages was still almost purely Nordic. The French nobility seems to have been less Nordic than that of other lands in the area of the Germanic conquests. A good deal of un-Nordic blood seems to have made its way into its ranks through relations with an ennobled but racially darker class belonging to late Gallo-Roman times. But the ideal of beauty of the Provençal troubadours, and therefore of southern France also, was Nordic. At an early date, however, the Crusade against the Albigenses (1209-29) probably wiped out a great part of the more Nordic upper class in Provence. The loss of the Nordic element, too, in the more northerly part of France, as in all parts of Europe, made rapid progress owing to the fact that the medieval wars were waged only by those of knightly birth. The process of making firm the French State started from the most Nordic districts of France. A flourishing period of French culture began. The Norman Corneille wrote his heroic dramas, which came from the Nordic spirit; and in his time other Nordic men created a highly vigorous political and cultural life. The noble classes throughout France, and the higher burgher classes of the northern half of France, are seen to be for a long time still predominantly Nordic. Then the religious struggles destroyed a great part of the Nordic blood. Owing to them, France lost once more a part of its best men and of its most steadfast families. The Protestants who emigrated, or were driven out, because of their faith -- 50,000 families emigrated (1685) to Holland, England, and Brandenburg -- brought in many cases the benefit of their blood to the German people, weakened by the Thirty Years War. England and Germany received through these emigrants very capable men of Nordic blood. It is noteworthy that the temporary refuge of the Huguenots, the town of La Rochelle and its neighbourhood, still strikes one to-day by the blondness of its people. We are reminded of the saying of the French anthropologist, de Lapouge, that the Nordic man is Protestant by his disposition. The French Revolution, too, brought Germany Nordic blood again through the flight or banishment of French nobles (émigrés) and of others suspected by those in power. The French Revolution was a very thorough denordization of France. At that time it was often enough to be blond to be dragged to the scaffold. The French Revolution must be read as an Alpine-Mediterranean rising against a noble and burgher upper class of Nordic race. Those who prepared and led the Revolution, however, were, it is noteworthy, often Nordic men. One of these leaders, Sieyès, himself of Nordic blood, must have realized the connexion between the Germanic conquest and the existence of a nobility; hence his exhortation to drive the nobles back again into the 'Frankish forests' whence they had come.

Fig. 271 - Marie of Anjou, Queen of France, Nordic

Fig. 272 - Claude of France, wife of Francis I, 1499-1524, Nordic

Fig. 273 - King Henry II, 1518-59 (by Goujon), Nordic

Fig. 274 - Admiral Coligny, Nordic

Fig. 275 - Colbert, statesman (by Coyzevox), Nordic

Fig. 276 - Poussin (self-portrait), tall, H, mixed colouring, E, light, predominantly Nordic

Fig. 277 - Corsica, Napoleon I, of the Florentine nobility

Fig. 278 - G. Cuvier, scientist, middling height, E, blue, Nordic

Fig. 279 - Lamartine, poet, tall, E, brown, H, light, Nordic-Dinaric (the Dinaric strain is clearer in other portraits)

Fig. 280 - Prince of Orleans, Nordic (engraving: Calametta, after Ingres)

Fig. 281 - Carnot, statesman (after David d'Angers), tall, E, light, H, light, Nordic

Fig. 282 - Romain Rolland, writer, Nordic, or predominantly Nordic

Napoleon, sprung from the Lombard nobility, after the Revolution snatched for himself all the fighting men that France once more offered, and it would seem as if he -- who, indeed, was, but for his small stature, of Nordic blood (Fig. 277) -- carried away a great part of the Nordic men still left into battle and death. The hussars around Marshal Ney had all but one of them, according to the contemporary description of Beyle (Stendhal), yellow moustaches.18 To-day France is a predominantly (?) Alpine people. The Alpine race has spread very fast, one might say astoundingly fast, in France in the nineteenth century. 'It is in the nineteenth century that the rise in the index seems to have been especially rapid, and this movement does not stop, for wherever living persons have been measured at intervals of some years, the latest figures give the highest means. It is just the same with the colouring, and this goes on at such a speed, that not only the oldest folk, but we ourselves can observe the evident dwindling of fair colouring. The Frenchman of to-day is anthropologically quite other than he of the Middle Ages, or even of the Renaissance.' -- 'The predominance of the round-heads is not merely an anthropological fact. The attitude, too, of the French mind has changed along with the shape of the brain. The disposition of contemporary Frenchmen, their way of looking at things political, religious, and moral, even at literary questions, is quite other than it was formerly. The difference makes itself felt more and more, as the dragging down of manners and institutions to the level of the mob substitutes the influence of the lower orders for that of the higher. This can be seen in the smallest details. It is enough to compare the poetry of the café concert, real Negro poetry, with the folk-poetry of the Middle Ages to have the cultural retrogression clear before one's eyes.' This is the judgment of a Frenchman, de Lapouge; and he adds, referring to European history: 'It is the first time in history that a round-headed people has come into power. Only the future can tell us what will be the result of this remarkable experiment.'19

In this same article de Lapouge goes on to say that the Alpine race is also settling very fast in the formerly Mediterranean districts, so that the earlier distribution of races in France is only to be seen now in the more or less strong admixture of Nordic or Mediterranean blood, and in the region of the Alps and the Vosges of Dinaric blood also, within the otherwise predominantly Alpine population. 'The round-headed districts are flowing into the others, and we must be prepared to find in 100 to 200 years throughout most of the land an index of 90 and more.'20 It is noteworthy that the creative men in France, in the France of to-day that has probably lately become predominantly (?) Alpine in race, always belong to the Nordic race; this has been already indicated by Odin's investigations. Just as in earlier times Ronsard, Corneille, Poussin, Voltaire, Houdon, Montesquieu, Mirabeau, Pascal, Diderot, Cuvier, Puvis de Chavannes, Musset, Lamartine, Flaubert (tall, fair-skinned, light-eyed, blond; according to Faguet, 'un vrai viking'), and others were predominantly of Nordic blood, so, too, are leading men of the nineteenth century and the present day; so are Berlioz, Manet, and Romain Rolland, and so, too, were most of the French generals in the Great War.21 In some of the French nobility, too, there still seems to be a good deal of Nordic blood visible; but a very great number of French noble families have taken into themselves by mixed marriages much of that blood which is characteristic of the Jews.

Fig. 283 - Cardinal Richelieu, statesman, E, brown, predominantly Nordic (with Dinaric strain?)

Fig. 284 - Cardinal Fleury, statesman, Nordic

The losses by France in the Great War (3.4 per cent. of the population was killed) mean, as in the other peoples who fought in this war, a terrible contra-selection of the best blood. That in this contra-selection the Nordic race among those races represented in France is particularly involved, can be gathered also from the fact that the French high command, according to the report of the American General, Pershing, always put the northern French regiments (who had relatively most Nordic blood) in the very front, after the other regiments had, it would seem, too often failed. Since 1919 France has been seeking to make up her losses in a way that is highly dangerous from a racial and eugenic, standpoint -- that is to say, by drawing to herself the most heterogeneous immigrants from Europe, mostly Eastern Europe, but also immigrants from outside Europe. According to official sources this new immigration amounts to about three million persons. In the Rhône valley alone 50,000 Armenian refugees -- that is to say, persons mostly of Hither Asiatic race -- have been settled. To this are to be added the marriages with Negroes, which are not at all hindered by the law, and seem to be not unfrequent, and in general the immigration of natives of the French African possessions. It is very probable, indeed, that the new-comers in France for several generations to come will leave a more numerous offspring than the older French families. It is evident that the few Frenchmen who have knowledge of racial matters are overcome with a deep anxiety for their people.

To Chapter X

Back to Index

Footnotes for Chapter IX Part Three

18 From Hauser, Die Germanen in Europa, 1916.

19 de Lapouge, 'Die Rassengesch. d. französ. Nation,' Polit.-anthrop. Revue, iv., 1905-6.

20 de Lapouge, op. cit.

21 Woltmann (Die Germanen in Frankreich, 1907), among 250 celebrated Frenchmen, found 73.4 per cent. light-eyed, 23.9 per cent. brown-eyed, 66.3 per cent. blond, 23.4 per cent. brown-haired, 10 per cent. black-haired, 59 per cent. tall, 24 per cent. of middling height, 17 per cent. below this, and only 4 per cent. with brown eyes and black hair.