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Master Race

In opposition to this, the Volkish view recognizes the importance of mankind in its racially innate elements. In principle, it sees in the state only a means to an end, and as its end it considers the preservation of the racial existence of men. Thus it by no means believes in an equality of the races, but with their differences it also recognizes their superior and inferior values, and by this recognition it feels the obligation in accordance with the Eternal Will that dominates this universe to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and to demand the submission of the worse and the weaker. Thus in principle it favors also the fundamental aristocratic thought of nature and believes in the validity of this law down to the last individual.

Rather than just feeling Fantastic Racism towards a particular group, these people look down on everyone who isn't them. They'll likely be The Empire or The Horde (generally led by an Evil Overlord or a charismatic President Evil), and might possibly be Always Chaotic Evil, though it's also possible most of them are simply fed on propaganda rather than seriously believing this. In any case, they'll hold to an ideology based around the idea that they and they alone deserve to rule the world/universe, and everyone else needs to fall into line or be exterminated. In extreme cases, they may simply want to exterminate everyone else without bothering to dominate them.

See also Scary Dogmatic Aliens, and there will likely be in- or out-of universe comparisons made to Those Wacky Nazis. If said comparisons are explicitly in-universe, they'll likely be Nazis By Any Other Name who go round Putting on the Reich. May show up as a central teaching of the Religion of Evil or Path of Inspiration. Contrast Superior Species, where the work itself presents a race as inherently better. They're almost always bad guys (as you can't play them as heroes without getting into a motherlode of Unfortunate Implications, though individual members can be sympathetic, especially if My Species Doth Protest Too Much is in force) and they'll often show up as villains in works that are preaching An Aesop against racism.

Note: Does not apply to races or cultures who think they're superior but have no interest in conquering the outside world. The Master Race wants to master the rest of the world, not be apart from it. They may already be served by a Slave Race, Servant Race, or Henchmen Race, though some extreme examples are too xenophobic even for that. Compare and contrast the Absolute Xenophobe, who skips the "mastering" part and goes straight for extermination.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Both Ghiren Zabi of Mobile Suit Gundam and Patrick Zala of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED both believe that because of who their factions are (spacenoids - humans born in space - for Zeon and Coordinators - genetically modified humans - for ZAFT), that they are already the better race and that those on Earth (Earthnoids and Naturals respectively) need to be destroyed. Those within Blue Cosmos and Titans and, by extension, the Earth Alliance and the Earth Federation who feel that Naturals and Earthnoids-Earth race are the truly superior ones and that it's the Coordinators and Space that need to be eliminated.
    • It's worth noting that Gihren may not really believe this, but is instead using it's propaganda effect to keep Zeon behind him and in the war.
  • Alesiter Crowley of A Certain Magical Index believes that Espers are the better race than normal humans and that normal humans need to be destroyed.
  • The Fishmen, most notably of the Arlong Pirates, in One Piece. In a world mostly made-up of water, being able to breath on both land AND water, and also just naturally be strong, is admittedly a very positive trait. Doesn't stop the Straw Hats for too long, though.
    • However, several hundred chapters later, it was revealed that this was actually an attempt to undermine humans pulling this on them, due to the humans's superior numbers and the presence of Charles Atlas Superpower'd humans who can mop the floor with any fishman, regardless of greater natural strength.

    Comicbooks 
  • Some factions of Mutants believe they are a superior breed of humans and came up with the name homo sapiens superior to describe themselves. Magneto was one of the strongest proponents of this idea, though he has moved past it after realizing his actions ultimately hurt mutantkind instead of saving it.

    Fan Fics 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Dracula's obsession with blood goes a lot deeper than just wanting to drink it. He tells Jonathan Harker at length about the history of Transylvania, explaining that the Szekelys are descended from both Vikings and Huns and thus his race is stronger and purer than the other noble dynasties of Europe. The second that technology provides him the ability to leave his provincial domain, he sets into motion his plan for world domination. So he's also a racist.
  • The Draka, who talk the talk and walk the walk, enslaving the rest of humanity. Things only get worse once they map the human genome.
  • The elves in The Halfblood Chronicles.
  • Many pureblood families of wizards from Harry Potter view themselves this way; Voldemort, whose reasons for hating muggles are much more personal in nature, plays on this to attract followers.
  • From John Carter of Mars, the Holy Therns (white Martians) and the First Born (Black Martians) both see themselves as being the Master Race (the First Born take this to the extreme of considering it beneath them to do any kind of work but fighting- lesser beings work, and the First Born take what they need from them). Needless to say, the two races hate each other's guts, though in the third book the Thern Priest King and a First Born nobleman pull a (very tense) Villain Team-Up against the eponymous hero.
    • Subverted from the very first book, where Burroughs explicitly tells the reader that the Red Martians are a blend of the best of the White, Black, and Yellow Martians. (The Green Martians are different — they're not even humanoid, can't interbreed with the other Martian races or with humans, and are subtly implied at one point to be descended from carnivorous plants. But John Carter treats them as equals too, finding his best friend in one of them.)
  • Deconstructed with the Dúnedain in the backstory for The Lord of the Rings (adapted from the Atlantis myth)— in many ways they are superior to other races of men, which leads them to ultimately turn themselves into The Empire, as well as arrogant and corrupt. Then their king makes Sauron his chief advisor, and he plays on these factors to lead the Dúnedain to ruin. By the time of Lord of the Rings there are very few pureblood Dúnedain left, and their culture exists in an After the End of their own making.
    • Yet for some reason nobody has a problem with putting another one of them on the throne with no fear that the same pattern might repeat itself after a few generations...
    • Considering there are so few of them left, and the survivors give no indication of still buying into the whole Master Race thing, this seems unlikely, though Tolkien's unfinished sequel to The Lord of the Rings does indicate that in a few generations all won't be well in Gondor... (See Discussion page for overflowing Natter.)
  • The Itorloo from Raymond Z. Gallun's "Seeds of the Dusk" (1938) who consider themselves this (despite being confined to a single dying planet), cruelly treat the numerous other sapient races inhabiting the Earth and plan to invade Venus and exterminate its inhabitants for no better reason than that they want a younger, warmer world. This story was written in 1938, when the real Nazis were already well embarked on the career of aggression which would result in global cataclysm.
  • In the very first original Star Trek novel, STAR TREK Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds, the inhabitants of the planet Bavarya (sic!) are divided into artificially replicated people called "doppelgangers" (again, sic) and biologically engendered people called the "Herr-Elite" (sic, sic, sic) — obvious stand-ins for Nazi Untermenschen and Herrenvolk. The "Herr-Elite" plan to invade the planets Neolithia and Mythra and enslave their inhabitants. It turns out that the dictator, "Nummer Ein," is himself a doppelganger. Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • Khan Noonien Singh was considered the "ubermensch" ("superman" in German), mentally and physically superior to normal humans. Interestingly, this "ubermensch" was portrayed as an Indian male rather than a white male. This might have something to do with the term "Aryan" having Indian (and Iranian) roots, before the term was adopted by white supremacists like the Nazis.
      • And yet, on screen, the actor portraying him is either a Mexican or a Brit. See Race Lift.
  • The very aptly named Masters from The Stone Dance of the Chameleon. Even within their own ranks, the weight of their votes is decided by blood purity.
  • The Cyrgai in David Eddings's Tamuli are a bit of a deconstructive parody. For a fun question, how do you really, really piss off a Master Race? You seal them in an area so that anyone who tries to cross a line in the sand dies, no saves. After thousands of years of being isolated in this way, the Cyrgai suffered what would likely befall any master race given enough time: They've become so massively inbred and obsessed with their own physical perfection that they are a race of entirely beautiful, statuesque morons.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker series, the oni. Characterized by a Lack of Empathy and a view of other species as breeding stock.
  • The Race in Harry Turtledove's World War. While not racist (speciest?) in the typical sense, they believe that it is not just their right but their duty to take over other intelligent races and add them to their empire. They are horrified by Nazi Germany, however.
    • They are arrogant enough to conclude that they are the most advanced race in the galaxy after meeting only two other races and only looking in the galactic equivalent of a neighborhood. They also naturally assume that all intelligent life forms are like them, including their fear of change and an extremely methodical approach to everything. Then they come to Earth and they really don't like how different from them we are. How dare we have radar, landcruisers, killercraft, etc., when we have absolutely no business having this technology in such a short (800 years) timeframe since their probe scanned Earth. As far as the Race are concerned, Humans Are Bastards for not immediately recognizing the Race's superiority and submitting to their rule.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Scourge on Angel, a small army of "pure-breed" demons bent on wiping out "half-breeds" like Doyle. The hypocrisy here is even thicker than usual, as all truly "pure" demons were colossal super-beings that were killed or banished before human civilization. Years after the show ended, the comics confirmed the Scourge were all talk when they tried to resurrect an Old One - and it wiped them all out.
  • The Daleks from Doctor Who, who actually refer to themselves as "the master race" during the WWII-set Victory of the Daleks. And the Cybermen. As well as a number of less scrupulous Time Lords.
    • And the mockingly-named "Master Race" which came into being when The Master temporarily turned every human on Earth into a copy of himself.
  • The Scarrans from FarScape consider themselves the master race of the galaxy. Their hides easily shrug off small-arms fire, they posses a natural Agony Beam and have the strongest dreadnoughts. If a species cannot provide them with either servants or breeding stock, they will be marked for extermination.
  • In the MST3K episode Teenagers from Outer Space, the leader of the saucer crew likes to go on about this:
    Bombastic Alien: "We are the supreme race!"
    Tom Servo: "We make the supreme pizzas!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Dragonblooded of The Realm often get this treatment, especially when used as the main antagonists of a campaign.
  • Dark elves don't get this nearly as often as the regular sort of elf, but the ones in Forgotten Realms have never met a species they don't have some reason to look down upon. R.A. Salvatore's novels repeatedly and blatantly contrast this with the dark elves' inability to maintain a functioning culture without direct and repeated Divine Intervention.
    • The drow grudgingly acknowledge illithids and beholders (and, in space, the neogi) as approximate equals...which mostly just makes them want to wipe out those races even more than they want to kill the surface-dwellers.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a few. Mostly elves. Oddly not Proud Warrior Race types. Ironically, on the color wheel, black has Master Race attributes, in that black is more likely to not hurt other black cards. To give you an idea, white has Crusade, blue has Sunken City, but black has everything that has or grants Fear, Bad Moon, Ascendant Evincar...
    • Blue also has Invoke Prejudice, which doubles the cost of creatures your opponents play that don't share a colour with any of yours (and its art looks like black-robed KKK members with axes).
  • Everything in Warhammer 40,000 that's intelligent enough to be political and isn't straight up omnicidal Always Chaotic Evil either belongs to or is subjected by one of these.
    • Startlingly, mostly averted in the source material, where humans and High Elves have managed to swallow their pride enough to work together against the forces of Chaos, and humans and dwarves at least respect each other. The Dark Elves are still convinced of their superiority, though. The Skaven also consider themselves superior to other races they deemed as inferior(which is all of them).

    Videogames 
  • The Thalmor in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim don't just want to kill everyone who isn't an elf — they want to remove the possibility of mankind existing (though partly for reasons that aren't actually to do with elven supremacy. Still, their propaganda proudly trumpets Elven Supremacy).
    • On the other side, the Stormcloak uprising believe that humans - particularly Nords, who are big, blond, and north-western European - are the supreme race. In the Stormcloaks' home city, Windhelm, Dark Elves and Argonians are forced to live in ghettos.
  • The encyclopedia in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn heavily suggests that the ancestral Adepts were like this: their term for Muggles as an insult (roughly equal to "good-for-nothing"), and it is stated on-screen that they enslaved the beastmen to build Apollo Sanctum, where concentrated energy is strong enough to kill anyone... even with protective gear.
  • The Stone Summit of Guild Wars believed this of dwarves and tried to enforce their vision of enslaving all non-dwarves in the Shiverpeaks.
    • A more comic version is the Asura, whose natural intelligence leads them to look down on all other races as useful primarily for labor. Somewhat less comic are the Inquest, who exemplify the worst aspects of this belief, and the past attempts of the Asura to exterminate the intelligent skrit due to them being "vermin".
  • The Viscanti in Lusternia - which is particularly ironic, since they were transformed by The Corruption into a race of amoral mutants. They inbreed extensively to maintain their blood purity, and have no qualms about enslaving, murdering, and eating lesser races, though they do have a certain respect for the (markedly less intelligent) Taurian and Orclach races, who they often utilize as front-line warriors.
    • To a lesser extent, the Merian race. Their claim to being a master race is a little more justified, considering their long, illustrious history and innate intelligence, and they're much more accepting of other races (though still arrogantly self-assured about their own superiority). However, it was also the Merians who inadvertently released the aforementioned corruption. Unsurprisingly, the Merian and Viscanti hate each other.
  • The leviathans in Mass Effect 3.
    "We were the first, the apex race. We will survive."
    • The Protheans as well, although they were more of a "Master Culture". Javik says that many species eventually called themselves "Prothean" after being conquered.
  • In World of Warcraft, the fourth expansion, brings us the Mogu, who fit this trope to a T. Let's see: Always Chaotic Evil? Check. Fantastic Racism towards everyone but them? Check. Built an Empire by enslaving the other races of Pandaria? Check. Their leaders are despots who rule by iron fist and/or terror, and becoming one involves executing a Klingon Promotion? Check. Created a Servant Race to police their empire for them, and created and army of Living Statues by transfering the soul of captured slaves into the statues when said race rebelled? Check and check. They are back to try to conquer Pandaria, enslave it's inhabitants and kill them if they don't submit? Check, but arguably they wouldn't want to exterminate everyone and would leave some population alive to be enslaved, especially since their dark magics are powered by fear, and arguably not having slaves to bully/torture into fearing them would leave them unable to use magic.
    • Garrosh, warchief of the Horde and Big Bad of the fourth expansion, has shown some belief that this applies to the Orcs, and many of his elite soldiers agree. He looks down on Goblins and Blood Elves as useful but unreliable; he despises the Forsaken and views them as little more than cannon fodder; and he openly mocks the Darkspear for their long-standing difficulties reclaiming the Echo Isles. It is rather telling that while visiting the former heart of the Mogu Empire, he praised the Mogu's approach to ruling.
      • This trend becomes evem more evident after the other races of the Horde rebel against Garrosh. Now Garrosh forces, composed of the aforementioned orc supremacists and goblin mercenaries whose loyalty can be bought, has taken to call themselves "The True Horde", and are at war with basically the entire rest of the world.
    • The Grimtotem believe that the Tauren are the true masters of Kalimdor, and all other races should be driven out or exterminated.

    Webcomics 
  • Aylee's species from Sluggy Freelance. They see it as their goal to devour every living thing in the universe that isn't one of them (though Leon makes a possible exception for flowers).
  • The elves in 8-Bit Theater. They're actually every bit as stupid as everyone else.

    Web Originals 
  • In Worm, the white supremacist groups — particularly Empire Eighty-Eight and Fenrir's Chosen — subscribe to this philosophy.

    Western Animation 

    Multiple media 
  • The Yuuzhan Vong see all other species as scum to be forcibly converted to the Great Doctrine or exterminated.
    • One of the underlying philosophies of The Empire in the original Star Wars movies was that of High Human Culture- the idea that humans were the superior species. It's unclear how much Palpatine really bought into this, and how much of it was to entice the ambitions of his subordinates.
      • This seems to be a bit of a running theme in Star Wars: the Rakata's Infinite Empire, first mentioned in KOTOR seemed to feel like this (It's hard to tell since their Empire collapsed long before the time period of that game, even), as they conquered many planets with their extensive technology and used the natives they found on many worlds as slaves.
  • Elves in many settings have a habit of seeing themselves as superior, but most would rather hide from the world rather than conquer it. There are exceptions, however, including most flavors of Dark Elf and The Death Gate Cycle's Tribus Elves.

    Real Life 
  • The people of ancient Sparta had a major case of this going on, thus becoming the trope namer for The Spartan Way. They practiced strict eugenic breeding and mass infanticide in order to weed out the weak. Then they made the attainment of full citizenship conditional on completing an incredibly brutal military training regimen. Ultimately the system became self-defeating however. Since the citizens of the most ideal fitness were the warrior class, attrition took its toll on them over time. Combined with a comparatively low birth rate and deliberately high infant mortality, the population of "superior" Spartans eventually declined below the point where they could sustain their master race.
  • The Console Wars are widely based on subjective measures of quality and superiority, and that's all we'd like to say on the matter; but one thing Sony and Nintendo fans tend to agree on is that PC gamers are, allegedly, supremacists who look down on people for using consoles, instead of blowing large sums of disposable money on high-end gaming computers. So much so, in fact, that PC gamers are often explicitly referred to tongue-in-cheek as "the glorious Master Race".
  • Most infamously, this was the whole basis of Nazi (Trope Namer) and white supremacist ideology, and racial supremacist ideology in general.
    • They believed that Nordic Europeans were superior to everyone else...and then claimed Ancient Greece and Rome as "Nordic".
    • The Nazis actually believed the World Ice Theory because 1) it rejects Einstein's Relativity (rejecting the Jews is good enough), 2) its originator was an Austrian, and 3) the ice could explain Aryan supremacy. Atlantis, the Hollow Earth, Lemuria, Mu...If there's a fringe idea, the Nazis hijacked it. The World Ice Theory ends with the Earth crashing into the sun, so what's the point?
    • Nazis, while the Trope Namer, did have a few peoples we don't consider "white" who they considered Aryans. These included the Iranians and Indian brahmins (natch), Tibetans (according to Theosophy, the Aryan homeland), and the Sioux (due to Hitler's love of Karl May novels). Only the Sioux were really hostile to the "Aryan" label, because it challenged their mythic phylogeny. Not that the Nazis cared what the actual definition of "Aryan" was (tip: the actual Aryans don't include anyone north or west of Iraq).
      • The term "Aryan" in fact originates from the Indian and Iranian cultures ("Aryan" is a popular male name in the Indian subcontinent and Iranian plateau). Linguists used the term to refer to the Indo-Iranian languages (a branch of the Indo-European languages), before white supremacists began applying the term to all Indo-European peoples and assumed the original Aryans to be white. In Nazi Germany, this led to the "Gypsy Question" since the Roma ("Gypsies") originated from the "Aryans" of India, but they were still killed in the Holocaust for lacking the "racial purity" of white Germans.
    • Also, the Finns and Japanese were declared "Honorary Aryans" and Nazi party ideologues went to great pains to explain this label.
  • More recently, North Korea has given up on even pretending to be communist and adopted something which very much resembles race-based fascism, but with a twist. Koreans are the "cleanest race", but they're also child-like and guileless because they's so darn pure. This conveniently explains why they need a strong leader to protect them and why government censorship is necessary to preserve their innate innocence. The Americans and the Japanese are Always Chaotic Evil, of course. The Chinese are second best to the Koreans, but still not good enough for race-mixing. North Korean women who get pregnant from Chinese men are forced to have abortions, in order to avoid the "pure" Korean race being defiled.
  • A variant of this was common in the more tyrannical communist regimes of the 20th century, but with social classes rather than races. Most people harassed and/or interrogated and/or sent to 're-education camps' under Stalin and Mao were well-to-do-farmers, landlords, priests, lawyers, doctors, journalists, managers, clerks, accountants, schoolteachers, university lecturers and researchers, scientists, civil servants, police and military officers - jobs with 'bourgeoisie', 'rightist', 'capitalist', and/or 'feudal' leanings. This was all done in the name of empowering the peasantry/proletariat. This even extended—and extends—to *descendants* of people from the wrong social classes, regardless of their own actual jobs. (This is not what Marx wrote—but it is what actual Marxist regimes do.)
  • Pretty much any racial group has its nutters who call themselves this.

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