Who Were the Germans?

Today, many are confused regarding the word "German" as commonly used in history books. Modern Germans have never referred to themselves as "Germans." They call themselves Deutsch-and their country, Deutschland. Spanish-speaking peoples today call Germany by the name Alemania. There are two French words for "German." One is Allemand, which, according to the authoritative French dictionary, Le Petit Robert, is derived from the Latin word Alamanni, a people who were part of the confederation of German peoples (p. 50). The other word is Germain, from the Latin word Germanus. The French dictionary offers a possible etymological sense (descriptive, literal meaning from root word origins) of "born of the same father and mother" or "of the same blood" (p. 862). When the Norman French conquered England in 1066 A.D., a whole host of French words entered into Anglo-Saxon-Celtic usage, which in this case is easily seen.

The first-mentioned "Germans" were actually a Celtic tribe, which had formerly lived east of the Rhine River. Notice what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says: "Of the Gaulish [Celtic] tribes west of the Rhine... the Treveri claimed to be of German origin, and the same claim was made by a number of tribes in Belgium.... The meaning of this claim is not quite clear, as there is some obscurity concerning the origin of the name Germani. It appears to be a Gaulish term, and there is no evidence that it was ever used by the Germans themselves. According to Tacitus it was first applied to the Tungri, whereas Caesar records that four Belgic tribes... were collectively known as Germani.

"There is no doubt that these tribes were all linguistically Celtic, and it is now the prevailing opinion that they were not of German origin ethnologically, but that their claim had come from over the Rhine (Caesar de Bellico Gallico ii 4). It would therefore seem that the name Germani originally denoted certain Celtic tribes to the east of the Rhine" ("Germany," 11th ed., p. 830). According to Kephart's Races of Mankind, the word "German" simply means "warrior" (p. 380)-i.e. Guerre-man = "war man." Therefore, it is fairly easy to see how later warlike invaders of this same territory-the northern Teutonic or Scythian peoples as well as the modern Germans-could have easily been referred to as "Germans.--

This also explains how some Germans have been labeled as Celts. Notice this description of the Celts in the Britannica: "The ancient writers regarded as homogeneous all the fair-haired peoples dwelling north of the Alps, the Greeks terming them all Keltoi. [The Romans called the same Celtic peoples Galli or Gauls.] Physically they fall into two loosely-divided groups, which shade off into each other. The first of these is restricted to northwestern Europe, having its chief seat in Scandinavia. It is distinguished by a long head, a long face, a narrow aquiline nose, blue eyes, very light hair and great stature....

"The other group is marked by a round head, a broad face, a nose often rather broad and heavy, hazel-gray eyes, light chestnut hair; they are thick-set and of medium height. This race is often termed Celtic or ALPINE from the fact of its occurrence all along the great mountain chain.... It thus stands MIDWAY not only geographically but also in physical features BETWEEN the Teutonic type of Scandinavian and the so-called [olive-complexioned] Mediterranean race with its long head, long face, its rather broad nose, dark brown or black hair, dark eyes, and slender form of medium height" ("Celt," 11th ed., vol. 5). Though the "Alpine" group contains some truly Celtic people (as not all Celts are tall and fair-haired), the majority of the Alpine people are actually true Germans. Notice that they are a completely different stock of people from the Northwest European types mentioned first.

How do we know that the Germans should be identified with this "Alpine" people? Madison Grant, in The Passing of the Great Race (1916) writes that "from the time of the 30 Years War [ended 1648], the purely Teutonic race in Germany has been largely replaced by the ALPINE types in the south and by the Wendish [Slavic] and Polish types in the east. This change of race in Germany has gone so far that it has been computed that out of 70,000,000 inhabitants of the German Empire [at the time], only 9,000,000 are purely Teutonic in color, stature, and skull characters" (p. 185).

Fleure, in The Peoples of Europe, says that "the dominant broad-headedness of the Alpine" race has spread over most of modern Germany (p. 42). It is simply indisputable that this is the modern type of German today.

My comment: I am posting this because of the first part. As for the end, I do not think that Germans (whether in Northern Switzerland, Austria or Germany) are predominantly Alpinid. That has not been my observation.