Aryan /ˈɛərjən/ is an English language loanword derived from the Sanskrit ārya ('Noble'). In present-day academia, the terms "Indo-Iranian" and "Indo-European" have, according to many, made most uses of the term 'Aryan' minimal, and 'Aryan' is now mostly limited to its appearance in the term "Indo-Aryan" to represent (speakers of) North, West and Central Indian languages.
Western notions of an "Aryan race" rose to prominence in late-19th and early-20th century racialist thought, an idea most notably embraced by Nazi ideology (see master race). The Nazis believed that the "Nordic peoples" (who were also referred to as the "Germanic peoples") represent an ideal and "pure race" that was the purest representation of the original racial stock of those who were then called the Proto-Aryans. The Nazis declared that the Nordics were the true Aryans because they claimed that they were more "pure" (less racially mixed with non-native Indo-European peoples) than other people of what were then called the Aryan peoples (now generally called the Indo-European peoples).
Usage of Aryan
- The "Aryan race" taken to correspond to the original speakers of Indo-European languages and their present day descendants.
- within the ideology of white supremacy, the "White race", i.e., Caucasians who are native Indo-Europeans of the Western or European branch of the Indo-European peoples, as opposed to the Eastern or Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European peoples.
Derivation of the word "Aryan"
The English word "Aryan" is borrowed from the Sanskrit word ārya meaning 'Noble'; it was used initially as a national name to designate the worshippers of the Hindu deities and especially Indra according to Brahmanical principles (performance of sacrifice, Yajna). The Zend airya 'venerable' and Old Persian ariya are also considered as national names.
In colloquial English, the word has been adopted in accordance with Nazi racial theory's appropriation of the term to describe persons corresponding to the "Nordic" physical ideal ofNazi Germany (the "master race" ideology).[n 1]
In Iranian context the original self-identifier lives on in ethnic names like "Alani", "Ir". Similarly, The word Iran is the Persian word for land/place of the Aryans(see also Iranian peoples).
Possible derivations from Proto-Indo-European
According to a 1957 theory by Laroche, Indo-Iranian ar-ya- descends from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *ar-yo-, a yo-adjective to a root *ar "to assemble skillfully", present in Greekharma "chariot", Greek aristos, (as in "aristocracy"), Latin ars "art", etc. Thus, according to this theory, an Aryan is "one who skillfully assembles". Proto-Indo-Iranian *ar-ta- was a related concept of "properly joined" expressing a religious concept of cosmic order.
Various attempts to find an etymon are as follows:
- Before 1950 – all are reductions of the historical variety to an original unity:[clarification needed]
- Bopp (1830): ar- "to go, to move", read as "one who roams" (like a nomad)
- Müller (1862): ar- "to plough", read as "cultivator of the land" 
- Güntert (1924): ar- "to fit", read as "allied, friendly"
- Thieme (1938): ar- "to give, allot, share", read as "hospitable"
- After 1950 – all treat the autonym as distinct from similar-looking words:[clarification needed]
- Laroche (1957): ara- "to fit", read as "fitting, proper"
- Dumézil (1958): ar- "to share", read as a uniting property of "appartenant au monde aryen"
- Bailey (1959): ar- "to beget", read as "born, nurturing"
- Benveniste (1969): ar- "to fit", read as "companionable"
A review of these and numerous other ideas, and the various problems with each is given by Oswald Szemerényi.
Usage and adaptation in other languages
In Indian/Sanskrit literature
In Sanskrit and related Indic languages, Arya refers to one who does Noble deeds . Āryāvarta (Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, "abode of the Aryans") is a name for Northern India in classical Sanskrit literature. The Manu Smriti (2.22) gives the name to "the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the eastern to the Western Sea"The title of Arya was used with various modifications throughout the Indian Subcontinent. Kharavela, the Emperor of Kalinga around 1 BCE is referred as an Arya in the Hatigumpha inscriptions of theKhandagiri–Udaigiri cave complex in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The Gurjara Pratihara rulers in the tenth century was entitled as Maharajadhiraja of Āryāvarta ('the lord of great kings of the land of the Aryans'). Various Indian religions, chiefly Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism use the term Arya as an epithet of honour and it occurs as such in their religious texts and groups such as the Arya Samaj.
In the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Arya is used as an honorific for many characters including Hanuman and Ravana.
In Iranian literature
Unlike the several meanings connected with ārya- in Old Indic, the Old Iranian term has solely an ethnic meaning.That is in contrast to Indian usage, in which several secondary meanings evolved, the meaning of ar- as a self-identifier is preserved in Iranian usage, hence the words "Iran"/"Iranian" themselves. Iranian airya meant and means "Iranian", and Iranian anairya  meant and means "Un-Iranian".Arya may also be found as an ethnonym in newer Iranian languages, e.g., Alan/Persian Iran and Ossetian Ir/Iron
The name Iran, Iranian is itself equivalent to Aryan, where Iran means "land of the Aryans," and has been in use since Sassanid times
The Avesta clearly uses airya/airyan as an ethnic name (Vd. 1; Yt. 13.143-44, etc.), where it appears in expressions such as airyāfi; daiŋˊhāvō "Iranian lands, peoples", airyō.šayanəm "land inhabited by Iranians", and airyanəm vaējō vaŋhuyāfi; dāityayāfi; "Iranian stretch of the good Dāityā", the river Oxus, the modern Āmū Daryā. Old Persian sources also use this term for Iranians. Old Persian which is a testament to the antiquity of the Persian language and which is related to most of the languages/dialects spoken in Iran including modern Persian, Kurdish, Gilaki and Baluchi makes it clear that Iranians referred to themselves as Arya.
The term "Airya/Airyan" appears in the royal Old Persian inscriptions in three different contexts:
- As the name of the language of the Old Persian version of the inscription of Darius the Great in Behistun
- As the ethnic background of Darius in inscriptions at Naqsh-e-Rostam and Susa (Dna, Dse) and Xerxes in the inscription from Persepolis (Xph)
- As the definition of the God of Aryan people, Ahuramazda, in the Elamite version of the Behistun inscription.
For example in the Dna and Dse Darius and Xerxes describe themselves as "An Achaemenian, A Persian son of a Persian and an Aryan, of Aryan stock". Although Darius the Great called his language the Aryan language, modern scholars refer to it as Old Persian because it is the ancestor of modern Persian language.
The Old Persian and Avestan evidence is confirmed by the Greek sources". Herodotus in his Histories remarks about the Iranian Medes that: "These Medes were called anciently by all people Arians; " (7.62). In Armenian sources, the Parthians, Medes and Persians are collectively referred to as Aryans. Eudemus of Rhodes apud Damascius (Dubitationes et solutiones in Platonis Parmenidem 125 bis) refers to "the Magi and all those of Iranian (áreion) lineage"; Diodorus Siculus (1.94.2) considers Zoroaster (Zathraustēs) as one of the Arianoi.
The name of Ariana is further extended to a part of Persia and of Media, as also to the Bactrians and Sogdians on the north; for these speak approximately the same language, with but slight variations.— Geography, 15.8
The trilingual inscription erected by Shapur's command gives us a more clear description. The languages used are Parthian, Middle Persian and Greek. In Greek the inscription says: "ego ... tou Arianon ethnous despotes eimi" which translates to "I am the king of the Aryans". In the Middle Persian Shapour says: "I am the Lord of the EranShahr" and in Parthian he says: "I am the Lord of AryanShahr".
The Bactrian language (an Middle Iranian language) inscription of Kanishka the founder of the Kushan empire at Rabatak, which was discovered in 1993 in an unexcavated site in the Afghanistan province of Baghlan clearly refers to this Eastern Iranian language as Arya In the post-Islamic era one can still see a clear usage of the term Aryan (Iran) in the work of the 10th century historian Hamzeh Isfahani. In his famous book "the history of Prophets and Kings" writes: "Aryan which is also called Pars(Persia) is in the middle of these countries and these six countries surround it because the South East is in the hands China, the North of the Turks, the middle South is India, the middle North is Rome, and the South West and the North West is the Sudan and Berber lands". All this evidence shows that the name arya "Iranian" was a collective definition, denoting peoples (Geiger, pp. 167 f.; Schmitt, 1978, p. 31) who were aware of belonging to the one ethnic stock, speaking a common language, and having a religious tradition that centered on the cult ofAhura Mazdā.
In Iranian context the original self-identifier lives on in ethnic names like "Alani", "Ir". Similarly, The word Iran is the Persian word for land/place of the Aryan(see also Iranian peoples). In present-day academia, the terms "Indo-Iranian" and "Indo-European" have, according to many, made most uses of the term 'Aryan' obsolete, and 'Aryan' is now mostly limited to its appearance in the term "Indo-Aryan" to represent (speakers of) North, West and Central Indian languages. Notions of an "Aryan race" defined as being composed of those of the Western or European branch of the Indo-European peoples is used in the context of fascist nationalism, an ideology of nationhood defined by ancestry.
In Latin literature
As an adaptation of Latin Arianus referring to Ariana, 'Arian' has "long been in English language use". Its history as a loan word began in the late 18th century, when the word was borrowed from Sanskrit ārya to refer to speakers of North Indian languages. When it was determined that Iranian languages — both living and ancient — used a similar term in much the same way (but in the Iranian context as a self-identifier of Iranian peoples), it became apparent that the shared meaning had to derive from the ancestor language of the shared past, and so, by the early 19th century, the word 'Aryan' came to refer to the group of languages deriving from that ancestor language, and by extension, the speakers of those languages.
In European languages
Then, in the 1830s, partly based on the theory (now regarded as erroneous & completely baseless) that words like "Aryan" could also be found in European languages (such as the idea that "Éire" derived from "Aryan"), the term "Aryan" came to be used as the term for the Indo-European language group, and by extension, the original speakers of those languages. In the 19th century, "language" was considered a property of "ethnicity", and thus the speakers of the Indo-Persian or Indo-European languages came to be called the "Aryan race", as contradistinguished from what came to be called the "Semitic race". By the late 19th century, among some people, the notions of an "Aryan race" became closely linked to Nordicism, which posited Northern European racial superiority over all other peoples (including Indians and Iranians). This "master race" ideal engendered both the "Aryanization" programs of Nazi Germany, in which the classification of people as "Aryan" and "non-Aryan" was most emphatically directed towards the exclusion of Jews.[n 2]By the end of World War II, the word 'Aryan' had become associated by many with the racial theories and atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.
Before the 19th century
While the original meaning of Indo-Iranian *arya as a self-designator is uncontested, the origin of the word (and thus also its original meaning) remains uncertain.[n 3] Indo-Iranian ar-is a syllable ambiguous in origin, from Indo-European ar-, er-, or or-. No evidence for a Proto-Indo-European (as opposed to Indo-Iranian) ethnic name like "Aryan" has been found.
The meaning of 'Aryan' that was adopted into the English language in the late 18th century was the one associated with the technical term used in comparative philology, which in turn had the same meaning as that evident in the very oldest Old Indic usage, i.e. as a (self-) identifier of "(speakers of) North Indian languages".[n 4] This usage was simultaneously influenced by a word that appeared in classical sources (Latin and Greek Ἀριάνης Arianes, e.g. in Pliny 1.133 and Strabo 15.2.1-8), and recognized to be the same as that which appeared in living Iranian languages, where it was a (self-)identifier of the "(speakers of) Iranian languages". Accordingly, 'Aryan' came to refer to the languages of the Indo-Iranian language group, and by extension, native speakers of those languages.
The term Arya is used 36 times in 34 hymns in the Rigveda. According to Talageri (2000, The Rig Veda. A Historical Analysis) "the particular Vedic Aryans of the Rigveda were one section among these Purus, who called themselves Bharatas." Thus it is possible, according to Talageri, that at one point Arya did refer to a specific tribe. "Brahma of glory is he to whom both the Aryans and the Dasas belong" (RV 8.8.9).
While the word may ultimately derive from a tribal name, already in the Rigveda it appears as a religious distinction, separating those who sacrifice "properly" from those who do not belong to the historical Vedic religion, presaging the usage in later Hinduism where the term comes to denote religious righteousness or piety. In RV 9.63.5, ârya "noble, pious, righteous" is used as contrasting with árāvan "not liberal, envious, hostile":
- índraṃ várdhanto aptúraḥ kṛṇvánto víśvam âryam apaghnánto árāvṇaḥ
- "[the Soma-drops], performing every noble work, active, augmenting Indra's strength, driving away the godless ones." (trans. Griffith)
Arya and Anarya are primarily used in the moral sense in the Hindu Epics. People are usually called Arya or Anarya based on their behaviour. Arya is typically one who follows Dharmic principles. This is historically applicable for any person living anywhere in Bharata Varsha or vast India.
In the Ramayana, the term Arya can also apply to Raksasas or to Ravana. In several instances, the Vanaras and Raksasas called themselves Arya. The vanara's king Sugriva is called an Arya (Ram: 505102712) and he also speaks of his brother Vali as an Arya (Ram: 402402434). In another instance in the Ramayana, Ravana regards himself and his ministers as Aryas (Ram: A logical explanation is that, Ravana and his ministers belonged to the highest varna (Ravana being a Brahmin), and Brahmins were generally considered 'noble' of deed and hence called Arya (noble). Thus, while Ravana was considered Arya (and regarded himself as such), he was not really an Arya because he was not noble of deeds. So, he is widely considered by Hindus as Anarya (non-Arya).
The Ramayana describes Rama as: arya sarva samascaiva sadaiva priyadarsanah, meaning "Arya, who worked for the equality of all and was dear to everyone."
In the Mahabharata, the terms Arya or Anarya are often applied to people according to their behaviour. Dushasana, who tried to disrobe Draupadi in the Kaurava court, is called an "Anarya" (Mbh:0020600253). Vidura, the son of a Dasi born from Vyasa, was the only person in the assembly whose behaviour is called "Arya", because he was the only one who openly protested when Draupadi was being disrobed by Dushasana. The Pandavas called themselves "Anarya" in the Mahabharata (0071670471) when they killed Drona through deception.
According to the Mahabharata, a person's behaviour (not wealth or learning) determines if he can be called an Arya. Also the whole Kuru clan was called as Arya .
The word ārya is often found in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts. In the Indian spiritual context it can be applied to Rishis or to someone who has mastered the four noble truths and entered upon the spiritual path. The religions of India are sometimes called collectively ārya dharma, a term that includes the religions that originated in India (e.g. Hinduism ,Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism).
"O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a Chandala, is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacrifices according to Vedic literatures many, many times after taking bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Arya family" (Bhagavata Purana 3.33.7).
According to Swami Vivekananda, "A child materially born is not an Arya; the child born in spirituality is an Arya." He further elaborated, referring to the Manu Smriti: "Says our great law-giver, Manu, giving the definition of an Arya, 'He is the Arya, who is born through prayer.' Every child not born through prayer is illegitimate, according to the great law-giver: "The child must be prayed for. Those children that come with curses, that slip into the world, just in a moment of inadvertence, because that could not be prevented - what can we expect of such progeny?..."(Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works vol.8)
Swami Dayananda founded a Dharmic organisation Arya Samaj in 1875. Sri Aurobindo published a journal combining nationalism and spiritualism under the title Arya from 1914 to 1921.
The word ārya (Pāli: ariya), in the sense "noble" or "exalted", is very frequently used in Buddhist texts to designate a spiritual warrior or hero, which use this term much more often than Hindu or Jain texts. Buddha's Dharma and Vinaya are the ariyassa dhammavinayo. The Four Noble Truths are called the catvāry āryasatyāni (Sanskrit) or cattāri ariyasaccāni(Pali). The Noble Eightfold Path is called the āryamārga (Sanskrit, also āryāṣṭāṅgikamārga) or ariyamagga (Pāli). Buddhists themselves are called ariyapuggalas (Arya persons). In Buddhist texts, the āryas are those who have the Buddhist śīla (Pāli sīla, meaning "virtue") and follow the Buddhist path. Those who despise Buddhism are often called "anāryas".
In Buddhism, those who spiritually attain to at least "stream entry" and better are considered Arya Pudgala, or the Arya people.
In Chinese Buddhist texts, ārya is translated as 聖 (approximately, "holy, sacred", pinyin shèng, on'yomi sei).
The spiritual character of the use of the term ārya in Buddhist texts can also be seen in the Mahavibhasa and in the Yogacarabhumi. The Mahāvibhasa  states that only the noble ones (āryas) realize all four of the four noble truths (āryasatyāni) and that only a noble wisdom understands them fully. The same text also describes the āryas as the ones who "have understood and realized about the [truth of] suffering, (impermanence, emptiness, and no-self)" and who "understand things as they are". In another text, theYogācārabhūmi (Taishō 1579, vol. xx, 364b10-15), the āryas are described as being free from the viparyāsas.
Several Buddhist texts show that the ārya dharma was taught to everybody, including the āryas, Dasyus, Devas, Gandharvas and Asuras. The Bhaiṣajyavastu (from theMūlasarvāstivādavinaya) describes a story of Buddha teaching his dharma to the Four Heavenly Kings (Catvāraḥ Mahārājāḥ) of the four directions. In this story, the guardians of the east (Dhṛtarāṣṭra) and the south (Virūḍhaka) are āryajatiya (āryas) who speak Sanskrit, while the guardians of the west (Virūpākṣa) and the north (Vaiśravaṇa) are dasyujatiya (Dasyus) who speak Dasyu languages. In order to teach his Dharma, Buddha has to deliver his discourse in Aryan and Dasyu languages. This story describes Buddha teaching his Dharma to the āryas and Dasyus alike. The Karaṇḍavyūha (a Mahāyāna sūtra) describes how Avalokiteśvara taught the ārya Dharma to the asuras, yakṣas and rakṣasas.
In many parts of the South India, if somebody (new) is supposed to be addressed respectably, the prefix "Ayya", derived from "Arya" is used. South Indians used to call them "Arya" which is now transformed to "Ayya". This term is used even today.
The word Arya is also often used in Jainism, in Jain texts such as the Pannavanasutta.
In the 19th century, linguists still supposed that the age of a language determined its "superiority" (because it was assumed to have genealogical purity). Then, based on the assumption that Sanskrit was the oldest Indo-European language, instead of the Greek alphabet, and the (now known to be untenable) position that Irish Éire was etymologically related to "Aryan", in 1837 Adolphe Pictet popularized the idea that the term "Aryan" could also be applied to the entire Indo-European language family as well. Hence, European dictators, in an attempt to try to convince themselves that their people were also descendents of Sanskriti People of modern day India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afganastan, begin to call themselves "Aryans." The groundwork for this had been laid in 1808, when Friedrich Schlegel, a German scholar who was an important early Indo-Europeanist, came up with a theory that linked the Indo-Iranian words with the German word pie, 'honor', and older Germanic names containing the element ario-, such as the Swiss [sic] warrior Ariovistus who was written about by Julius Caesar Schlegel theorized that far from being just a designation of the Indo-Iranians, the word *arya- had in fact been what the Indo-Europeans called themselves, meaning [according to Schlegel] something like 'the honorable people.' (This theory has since been called into question.)
Following this linguistic argument, in the 1850s Arthur de Gobineau supposed that "Aryan" corresponded to the suggested prehistoric Indo-European culture (1853–1855, Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races). Further, de Gobineau believed that there were three basic races – white, yellow and black – and that everything else was caused by racemiscegenation, which de Gobineau argued was the cause of chaos. The "master race", according to de Gobineau, were the Northern European "Aryans", who had remained "racially pure". Southern Europeans (to include Spaniards and Southern Frenchmen), Eastern Europeans, North Africans, Middle Easterners, Iranians, Central Asians, Indians, he all considered racially mixed, degenerated through the miscegenation, and thus less than ideal.
By the 1880s a number of linguists and anthropologists argued that the "Aryans" themselves had originated somewhere in northern Europe, which would imply that The Vedas and Hinduism started in Europe, a claim that reveals both ignorance and racism. A specific region began to crystallize when the linguist Karl Penka (Die Herkunft der Arier. Neue Beiträge zur historischen Anthropologie der europäischen Völker, 1886) popularized the idea that the "Aryans" had emerged in Scandinaviaand could be identified by the distinctive Nordic characteristics of blond hair and blue eyes. The distinguished biologist Thomas Henry Huxley agreed with him, coining the term "Xanthochroi" to refer to fair-skinned Europeans (as opposed to darker Mediterranean peoples, who Huxley called "Melanochroi").
This "Nordic race" theory gained traction following the publication ofCharles Morris's The Aryan Race (1888), which argued that the "original Aryans" could be identified by their blond hair and other Nordic features, such as dolichocephaly (long skull). A similar rationale was followed by Georges Vacher de Lapouge in his book L'Aryen et son rôle social (1899, "The Aryan and his Social Role"), in which the French anthropologist argued that the "dolichocephalic-blond" peoples were natural leaders, destined to rule over more brachiocephalic (short-skulled) peoples. Archetypes of these short-skulled people, according to Vacher de Lapouge, were the Jews. To this idea of "races", Vacher de Lapouge espoused what he termedselectionism, and which had two aims: first, achieving the annihilation of trade unionists, considered "degenerate"; second, the prevention of labour dissatisfaction through the creation of "types" of man, each "designed" for one specific task (See the novel Brave New World for a fictional treatment of this idea).
Meanwhile, in India, the British colonial government had followed de Gobineau's arguments along another line, and had fostered the idea of a superior "Aryan race" that co-opted the Indian caste system in favor of imperial interests. In its fully developed form, the British-mediated interpretation foresaw a segregation of Aryan and non-Aryan along the lines of caste, with the upper castes being "Aryan" and the lower ones being "non-Aryan". The European developments not only allowed the British to identify themselves as high-caste, but also allowed the Brahmans to view themselves as on-par with the British. Further, it provoked the reinterpretation of Indian history in racialist and, in opposition, Indian Nationalistterms, and – in following a special interpretation of Max Müller's identification of "Aryan" as a national name – this gave rise recently among Hindu nationalists (the "Saffron Brigade") to the "indigenous Aryans" or so-called "Out of India" theory, disputed by many scholars in academia, which seeks an Indian origin of the Indo-European "Aryans".
In The Secret Doctrine (1888), Helena Petrovna Blavatsky described the "Aryan root race" as the fifth of seven "Root races", dating their souls as having begun to incarnate about a million years ago in Atlantis. The Semites were a subdivision of the Aryan root race. "The occult doctrine admits of no such divisions as the Aryan and the Semite, ... The Semites, especially the Arabs, are later Aryans — degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality. To these belong all the Jews and the Arabs." The Jews, according to Blavatsky, were a "tribe descended from the Tchandalas of India, theoutcasts" as they were born of Abraham, which she believed to be a corruption of a word meaning "No Brahmin".
The name for the Sassanian Empire in Middle Persian is Eran Shahr which means Aryan Empire. In the aftermath of theIslamic conquest in Iran, racialist rhetoric became a literary idiom during the 7th century, i.e., when the Arabs became the primary "Other" – the anaryas – and the antithesis of everything Iranian (i.e. Aryan) and Zoroastrian. But "the antecedents of [present-day] Iranian ultra-nationalism can be traced back to the writings of late nineteenth-century figures such as Mirza Fatali Akhundov and Mirza Aqa Khan Kermani. Demonstrating affinity with Orientalist views of the supremacy of the Aryan peoples and the mediocrity of the Semitic peoples, Iranian nationalist discourse idealized pre-Islamic [Achaemenid and Sassanid] empires, whilst negating the 'Islamization' of Persia by Muslim forces." In the 20th century, different aspects of this idealization of a distant past would be instrumentalized by both the Pahlavi monarchy (In 1967, Iran's Pahlavi dynasty [overthrown in the 1979 Iranian Revolution] added the title Āryāmehr Light of the Aryans to the other styles of the Iranian monarch, the Shah of Iran being already known at that time as the Shahanshah (King of Kings)), and by the Islamic republic that followed it; the Pahlavis used it as a foundation for anticlerical monarchism, and the clerics used it to exalt Iranian values vis-á-vis westernization.
In the United States, the best-selling 1907 book Race Life of the Aryan Peoples by Joseph Pomeroy Widney consolidated in the popular mind the idea that the word "Aryan" is the proper identification for "all Indo-Europeans", and that "Aryan Americans" of the "Aryan race" are destined to fulfill America's manifest destiny to form an American Empire.
Back in Europe, in a summary of the status-quo, Hermann Hirt (1905, Die Indogermanen - Hirt consistently usedIndogermanen, not Arier, to refer to the Indo-Europeans) asserted that there was no longer any question that the plains of northern Germany were the Urheimat (p. 197) of the Indo-European languages, and he connected the "blond type" (p. 192) with the core population of the early, "pure" Indo-Europeans. The identification of the Indo-Europeans with the north German Corded Ware culture bolstered this position. First proposed by Gustaf Kossinna in 1902, it gained currency over the following two decades, until Vere Gordon Childe concluded that "the Nordics' superiority in physique fitted them to be the vehicles of a superior language" (1926, The Aryans: a study of Indo-European origins).
Gordon Childe would later regret having expressed that idea, but the depiction as possessors of a "superior language" became a matter of national pride in learned circles of Germany. Against the background of the lost World War I (portrayed to have been lost because Germany had been betrayed from within – miscegenation was at fault, more evidence for which was seen in the "corruption" represented by socialist trade unionists and other "degenerates"), Alfred Rosenberg asserted that there was a "racial threat" to Germany's homogeneous "Aryan-Nordic" (arisch-nordisch) or "Nordic-Atlantean" (nordisch-atlantisch, cf. Blavatsky above) civilization. In Rosenberg's view, the "racial threat" was "Jewish–Semitic race" (jüdisch-semitisch Rasse). Where Germany's homogeneous people were a "master race" capable of, or with an interest in, creating and maintaining culture, other "races" were merely capable of conversion, or destruction of culture.
Rosenberg – one of the principal architects of Nazi ideological creed – argued for a new "religion of the blood", based on the supposed innate promptings of the Nordic soul to defend its "noble" character against racial and cultural degeneration. Under Rosenberg, the theories of Arthur de Gobineau, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Blavatsky, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Madison Grant, and those of Hitler ("the exact opposite of the Aryan is the Jew") all culminated in Nazi Germany's race policies and the "Aryanization" decrees of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s. In its "apalling medical model", the annihilation of the "racially inferior" Untermenschen was sanctified as the excision of a diseased organ in an otherwise healthy body, which led to the Holocaust.
By the end of World War II, the word "Aryan" among a number of people had lost its Romantic or idealist connotations and was associated by many with Nazi racism instead. By then, the term "Indo-Iranian" and "Indo-European" had made most uses of the term "Aryan" superfluous in the eyes of a number of scholars, and "Aryan" now survives in most scholarly usage only in the term "Indo-Aryan" to indicate (speakers of) North Indian languages. It has been asserted by one scholar that Indo-Aryan and Aryan may not be equated and that such an equation is not supported by the historical evidence, though this extreme viewpoint is not widespread.
The use of the term to designate speakers of all Indo-European languages in scholarly usage is now regarded by some scholars as an "aberration to be avoided." However, some authors writing for popular consumption have continued using the word "Aryan" for "all Indo-Europeans" in the tradition of H. G. Wells, such as the science fiction author Poul Anderson, and scientists writing for the popular media, such as Colin Renfrew. Notions of the "Aryan race" as an elite group that is regarded as being superior to other races only survive in extreme right nationalist contexts, such as Neo-Nazism and Iranian nationalism. Echoes of "the 19th century prejudice about 'northern' Aryans who were confronted on Indian soil with black barbarians [...] can still be heard in some modern studies." In a socio-political context, the idea of a white, European Aryan race that includes only people of the Western and not the Eastern branch of the Indo-European peoples is entertained by certain circles, usually representing white nationalists who call for the stemming of migrations of Muslims from Turkey, the Middle East and Africa into Europe and limitingillegal immigration by Mexicans into the United States. These people feel that excessive immigration by non-white people is an unwelcome encroachment into what they regard as the Aryan homeland of Europe, Asian Russia, Armenia, Anglo-America,Southern South America, Australia, and New Zealand. They argue that a large intrusion of immigrants can lead to ethnic conflictssuch as the 2005 Cronulla riots in Australia and the 2005 civil unrest in France.