The Green Reich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
“We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole.
This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought.”

Professor Ernst Lehmann

Germany is not only the birthplace of the science of ecology and the place where ecological politics’ rose to prominence; it has also been home to a peculiar synthesis of naturalism and nationalism forged under the influence of the Romantic tradition’s anti-Enlightenment philosophy.
Two nineteenth century figures exemplify this conjunction: Ernst Moritz Arndt and Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl
Ernst Moritz Arndt 

Ernst Moritz Arndt (26 December 1769 – 29 January 1860) was a German patriotic author and poet. Early in his life, he fought for the abolition of serfdom, later against Napoleonic dominance over Germany, and had to flee to Sweden for some time due to his anti-French positions. He is one of the main founders of German nationalism and the movement for German unification. After the Carlsbad Decrees, the forces of the restoration counted him as a demagogue and he was only rehabilitated in 1840.
Arndt played an important role for the early national and liberal Burschenschaft movement and for the unification movement, and his song "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?" acted as an unofficial German national anthem.

Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl
Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl (6 May 1823 – 16 November 1897) was a German journalist, novelist and folklorist.
Riehl was born in Biebrich in the Duchy of Nassau and died in Munich.
Riehl's writings became normative for a large body of Volkish thought. He constructed a more completely integrated Volkish view of man and society as they related to nature, history, and landscape. He was the writer of the famous 'Land und Leute' (Places and People), written in 1857-63, which discussed the organic nature of a Volk which he claimed could only be attained if it fused with the native landscape.
He rejected all artificiality and defined modernity as a nature contrived by man and thus devoid of that genuineness to which living nature alone gives meaning. Riehl pointed to the newly developing urban centres as the cause of social unrest. For many Volkish thinkers, only nature was genuine. He desired a hierarchical society that patterned after the medieval estates. In 'Die bürgerliche Gesellschaft' (Bourgeois Society) he accused those of Capitalist interest of disturbing ancient customs and thus destroying the historicity of the Volk. Animosity towards the city was an integral part of the rise of Volkish thought. At times it was expressed in the slogan "Berlin is the domain of the Jews" or in the remark by another writer that "cities are the tombs of Germanism" Such ideas secured a place for Riehl in the history of Volkish thought. 
Riehl, born into a settled middle-class background, was a professor at the University of Munich.

Sterbender Hirsch
Wilhelm Diefenbach

Riehl's 1853 essay 'Feld und Wald' (Field and Forest) ended with a call to fight for “the rights of wilderness.” 
But even here nationalist pathos set the tone: “We must save the forest, not only so that our ovens do not become cold in winter, but also so that the pulse of life of the people continues to beat warm and joyfully, so that Germany remains German.”
Riehl was an implacable opponent of the rise of industrialism and urbanization; his overtly anti-semitic glorification of rural peasant values, and undifferentiated condemnation of modernity established him as the “founder of agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism.

'Nature Mysticism'
These latter two fixations matured in the second half of the nineteenth century in the context of the völkisch movement, a powerful cultural disposition and social tendency which united ethnocentric populism with 'nature mysticism'.
At the heart of the völkisch weltanschauung was a negative response to modernity.
In the face of the very real dislocations brought on by the triumph of industrial capitalism and national unification, völkisch thinkers preached a return to the land, to the simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature’s purity.
The movement aspired to reconstruct the society that was sanctioned by history, rooted in nature, and in communion with the cosmic life spirit.
The emergence of modern ecology forged the final link in the chain which bound together nationalism, mystically charged racism, and environmentalist predilections.

Ernst Haeckel 
In 1867 the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term ‘ecology’ and began to establish it as a scientific discipline dedicated to studying the interactions between organism and environment.

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny") claiming that an individual organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species' evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures (Kunstformen der Natur, "Art Forms of Nature"). As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote 'Die Welträtsel' (1895–1899, in English, The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term "world riddle" (Welträtsel); and 'Freedom in Science and Teaching' to support teaching evolution.

Haeckel developed a philosophy he called ‘monism.’
The 'German Monist League' he founded combined scientifically based ecological holism with völkisch social views.
Haeckel believed in nordic racial superiority, strenuously opposed race mixing and enthusiastically supported racial eugenics.

Bayerische Räterepublik - Munich
His nationalism became more fervent with the onset of World War I, and he fulminated in anti-semitic tones against the post-war Jewish/Soviet Republic in Bavaria.
In this way Haeckel contributed to that special variety of German thought which served as the seed bed for National Socialism.
The pioneer of scientific ecology, along with his disciples Willibald Hentschel, Wilhelm Bölsche and Bruno Wille, profoundly shaped the thinking of subsequent generations of environmentalists by embedding concern for the natural world in a tightly woven web of Völkisch social themes.
Thus, for the Monists, perhaps the most pernicious feature of European bourgeois civilization was the inflated importance which it attached to the idea of man in general, to his existence and to his talents.

Raoul Francé
The biologist Raoul Francé, founding member of the 'Monist League', elaborated so-called 'Lebensgesetze', ‘laws of life’ through which the natural order determines the social order.
He opposed racial mixing, for example, as “unnatural.”
The chief vehicle for carrying this ideological constellation to prominence was the German youth.
The world’s first self-conscious “youth” movement sprang up in response to, and as a rejection of, urban life and the cold, impersonal mechanics of modernity.
It’s members wanted to reunite themselves with nature.
They went vegetarian, sometimes favoured nudism, hiked and even camped out in the wilderness, creating alternative societies to the mainstream.
It was a romantic, spiritual movement.
Many saw themselves as pagans, worshipping the sun, conceived of as an ancient Teutonic deity.
The young men sang songs and played guitars around campfires in a movement that was closely involved with Lebensreform ("life reform").


Lebensreform ("life reform") was a social movement in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany, Austria and Switzerland that propagated a back-to-nature lifestyle, emphasizing among others health food/raw food/organic food, nudism, sexual liberation, alternative medicine, and religious reform and at the same time abstention from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and vaccines.

'Gebet zum Licht'
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)
Important Lebensreform proponents were Sebastian Kneipp, Louis Kuhne, Rudolf Steiner, Karl Wilhelm 
Diefenbach, Fidus (Hugo Höppener), Gusto Graeser, and Adolf Just.
Hugo Höppener (1868-1948), who used the pseudonym Fidus was one of the most significant artists of the movement.
Depicting nude figures among the natural landscape, not sexualized, but in harmony with nature, and working in cooperation with each other, Fidus gained wide recognition. Several of his works show a male-female couple embracing, not out of lust, but in a kind of Tantric reaching for Deity.
His most famous work (of which he made several versions), 'Gebet zum Licht' (Prayer to the Light), shows a man standing on a rock mound, with his arms outstretched to the sky.
In 1932, Fidus joined the NSDAP.. Fidus was probably impressed by the National Socialist’s environmentalism and romantic portrayals of the German people.

Ideology in Germany

The Lebensreform movement in Germany originally was a politically diverse movement.
There were hundreds of groups across Germany dedicated to some of all of the concepts associated with Lebensreform: ecology and organic farming, vegetarianism, naturalism (Nacktkultur), and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.
Dozens of magazines, books, and pamphlets were published on these topics.
Some groups were made of socialists, some were apolitical, and some were right-wing and nationalist in outlook.
One outstanding prophet of Lebensreform was the painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1861-1913), pacifist and tolstoyan anarchist who founded the community Himmelhof near Vienna.

 Geige spielender Knabe
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (February 21, 1851, Hadamar, Duchy of Nassau – December 15, 1913, Capri) was a German painter and social reformer.
Diefenbach was a pioneer of nudism and the peace movement. His country commune in Vienna (1897–1899) was one of the models for the reform settlement Monte Verità in Ascona. His ideas included life in harmony with nature and rejection of monogamy, turning away from any religion (although he was a follower of theosophy, and a vegetarian diet. One of his students was the artist Konstantinos Parthenis.
As a painter he was an independent representative of Art Nouveau and Symbolism.

Among his disciples were three painters: Fidus, Frantischek Kupka and Gusto Graeser.
In 1900 Graeser became the co-founder and inspiring pioneer of the community Monte Verità near Ascona, Switzerland. Monte Verità attracted lots of artists from all of Europe, during World War I conscientious objectors from Germany and France.

Hermann Hesse
Gusto Graeser, thinker and poet, greatly influenced the German Youth Movement, and such writers as Hermann Hesse and Gerhart Hauptmann.
He was the model for the master figures in the books of Hermann Hesse.
An important influence on Völkisch ideology was Ludwig Fahrenkrog (20 October 1867 – 27 October 1952) who was a German writer, playwright and artist.
He was born in Rendsburg, Prussia, in 1867.
He started his career as an artist in his youth, and attended the Berlin Royal Art Academy before being appointed a professor in 1913.
He taught at the School of Arts and Crafts in Bremen from 1898 to 1931.
He was also involved in the founding of a series of Völkisch groups in the early 20th century.
The first group started by Fahrenkrog was the 'Deutscher Bund für Persönlichkeitskultur' (German League for the Culture of the Personality), which also supported a publication called Mehr Licht! ("More Light!", the famous last words of Goethe).

Ludwig Fahrenkrog
Ludwig Fahrenkrog - The Holy Hour (Die heilige Stunde), 1918
He was also involved with the 'Deutsche Religionsgemeinschaft' (German Religious Community [DRG]), which would later change its name several times, first in 1912 to Germanische-Deutsche Religionsgemeinschaft (Germanic-German Religious Community [GDRG]), then in 1915, following a split in the membership, to the Deutschgläubige Gemeinschaft (Association of the German Faithful [DGG]).

Earth and the Sun Heaven and Earth, Baldur and Gerda
(Erde und Sonne, Himmel und Erde, Baldur und Gerda), 1921
Ludwig Fahrenkrog
Other groups which emerged from völkisch Romanticism gradually became part of National Socialist ideology by the 1930s, known as 'Blut und Boden' (blood and soil).
As early as 1907, Richard Ungewitter published a pamphlet called 'Nudity and Culture' (which sold 100,000 copies), arguing that the practices he recommended would be:
"the means by which the German race would regenerate itself and ultimately prevail over its neighbours and the diabolical Jews, who were intent on injecting putrefying agents into the nation's blood and soil".
The most significant of these Lebensreform movements was the Wandervogel.

Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward.
The name can be translated as rambling, hiking or wandering bird (differing in meaning from "Zugvogel" or migratory bird) and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom.
Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organisationally independent, nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.
The Wandervogel movement was officially established on 4 November 1901 by Herman Hoffmann Fölkersamb, who in 1895 had formed a study circle at the boys' Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching.

The Wandervogel soon became the pre-eminent German youth movement.
It was a back-to-nature youth organization emphasizing freedom, self-responsibility, and the spirit of adventure, and took a Völkish approach, stressing Germany's mystical Teutonic roots.
After World War I, many of the leaders returned disillusioned from the war.
The same was true for leaders of German Scouting, so both movements started to influence each other heavily in Germany.

From the Wandervogel came a stronger culture of hiking, nacktkultur, (see below) - German naturism was part of the Lebensreform movement and the Wandervogel youth movement, which promoted ideas of fitness and vigour.
At the same time doctors of the Natural Healing Movement were using heliotherapy to treat diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight
During the National Socialist Gleichschaltung period, after Adolf Hitler came to power, nudism benefited from official recognition and sponsorship for its health benefits.
Nevertheless, all naturism clubs had to register with Kraft durch Freude.
The Wandervogel movement also encouraged adventure, Völkish mysticism, romanticism and a younger leadership structure.
Scouting brought uniforms, flags, more organization, more camps and a clearer ideology.
There was also an educationalist influence from Gustav Wyneken.
Together this led to the emergence of the Bündische Jugend.
The Wandervogel, German Scouting and the Bündische Jugend together are referred to as the German Youth Movement.
They had been around for more than a quarter of a century before National Socialists began to see an opportunity to adopt some methods and symbols of the German Youth Movement to use it in the Hitler-Jugend - (Hitler Youth).
This movement was very influential at that time.
Its members were romantic and prepared to sacrifice a lot for their ideals.
The philosopher Ludwig Klages profoundly influenced the youth movement, and particularly shaped their ecological consciousness.
He authored a tremendously important essay titled 'Mensch und die Erde' (Man and Earth) for the legendary Meissner gathering of the Wandervögel in 1913.
An extraordinarily poignant text and the best known of all Klages’ work, it is one of the very greatest manifestos of the radical ecology movement in Germany.
'Mensch und die Erde' anticipated just about all of the themes of the contemporary ecology movement.
It decried the accelerating extinction of species, disturbance of global ecosystemic balance, deforestation, destruction of wild habitats, urban sprawl, and the increasing alienation of people from nature.
In emphatic terms it disparaged Christianity, capitalism, economic utilitarianism, hyper-consumption and the ideology of ‘progress.’
Martin Heidegger.
Another philosopher and stern critic of the 'Enlightenment', who helped bridge Völkisch ideology and environmentalism was Martin Heidegger.
A much more renowned thinker than Klages, Heidegger preached “authentic Being”, and harshly criticized modern technology, and is therefore often celebrated as a precursor of ecological thinking.
Heidegger’s critique of anthropocentric humanism, his call for humanity to learn to “let things be,” his notion that humanity is involved in a “play” or “dance” with earth, sky, and gods, his meditation on the possibility of an authentic mode of “dwelling” on the earth, his complaint that industrial technology is laying waste to the earth, his emphasis on the importance of local place and Heimat (homeland) his claim that humanity should guard and preserve things, instead of dominating them - all these aspects of Heidegger’s thought help to support the claim that he was a major ecological theorist.
Heidegger was an active member of the NSDAP party, and enthusiastically supported the Führer.
His mystical panegyrics to Heimat (homeland) were complemented by a deep anti-semitism, and his metaphysically phrased broadsides against technology and modernity converged neatly with populist thought.
Although he lived and taught for thirty years after the fall of the Third Reich, Heidegger never once publicly regretted, much less renounced, his involvement with National Socialism.

click below for more information about the life and philosophy of
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The nationalist youth movements, promoting right wing ideology, eventually became popular with the NSDAP and their supporters, including Heinrich Himmler, who belonged to the right-wing farming organization the 'Artaman League'.

Artamanen Gesellschaft 

The Artamanen-Gesellschaft (Artaman League) was a German agrarian and völkisch movement dedicated to a 'Blood and Soil' inspired ruralism.
Active during the inter-war period, the League became closely linked to, and eventually absorbed by, the NSDAP
The term Artamanen had been coined before the First World War by Dr. Willibald Hentschel, a believer in racial purity, who had founded his own group, the 'Mittgart Society', in 1906.

Georg von Sluyterman Langeweyde
The term was a portmanteau word of art and manen, Middle High German words meaning 'agriculture man' and indicating Hentschell's desire to see Germans retreat from the decadence of the city in order to return to an idyllic rural past.
The society itself was not formed until 1923, even though Willibald's ideas were somewhat older.
The Artamans were part of the German Youth Movement, representing its more right-wing back-to-the-land elements.
Under the leadership of Georg Kenstler they advocated blood and soil policies with a strong undercurrent of Anti-Slavism.
This völkisch movement believed that the decline of the Aryan race could only be halted by encouraging people to abandon city life in favour of settling in the rural areas in the east.
Whilst members wished to perform agricultural labour as an alternative to military service they also saw it as part of their duty to violently oppose Slavs and to drive them out of Germany.

Adolf Wissel - Bauernfamilie
The concepts were combined in the figure of the Wehrbauer, or soldier-peasant.
As such the League sent German youth to work on the land in Saxony and East Prussia, in an attempt to prevent these areas being settled by Poles.
To this end 2000 settlers were sent to Saxony in 1924, to both work on farms and serve as an anti-Slav militia.
They also gave classes on importance of racial purity and the Nordic race, and the corrupting influence of city living and Jews.
Like many similar right-wing youth movements in Germany the Artaman League lost impetus as the NSDAP grew. By 1927, 80% of its membership had become National Socialists.
As such the League had disappeared by the early 1930s with most of its membership having switched to the NSDAP.
In the late 1920s, some of the Artamans were drawn deeper into politics, and engaged in a holy war against their enemies: liberals, democrats, Free-Masons and Jews.

Heinrich Himmler
Eventually many members of the Artaman League turned to National Socialism.
Heinrich Himmler was an early member and held the position of Gauführer in Bavaria.

 Richard Walther Darré 
Whilst a member of the League Himmler met Richard Walther Darré and the two struck up a close friendship, based largely on Darré's highly developed ideological notions of 'blood and soil' to which Himmler was attracted.

Richard Walther Darré (born Ricardo Walther Oscar Darré; 14 July 1895 – 5 September 1953) was an SS-Obergruppenführer and one of the leading Nazi "blood and soil" (German: Blut und Boden) ideologists. He was appointed by Hitler as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture. He served in that position from 1933 to 1942. Darré's works were primarily concerned with the ancient and present Nordic peasantry (the ideology of 'Blood and Soil'): within this context, he made an explicit attack against Christianity. In his two main works (Das Bauerntum als Lebensquell der Nordischen Rasse, Munich, 1927 and Neuadel aus Blut und Boden, Munich, 1930), Darré accused Christianity, with its "teaching of the equality of men before God," of having "deprived the Teutonic nobility of its moral foundations", the "innate sense of superiority over the nomadic tribes".
Darré's writings are an early example of "Green" or Conservationist thinking: he advocated more natural methods of land management, placing emphasis on the conservation of forests, and demanded more open-space and air in the raising of farm animals

Darré’s most important innovation was the introduction on a large scale of organic farming methods, significantly labeled “lebensgesetzliche Landbauweise” or farming according to the laws of life.
The impetus for these unprecedented measures came from Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy and its techniques of bio-dynamic cultivation.
The campaign to institutionalize organic farming encompassed tens of thousands of smallholdings and estates across Germany.
It was largely Darré’s influence in the Third Reich which yielded, in practice, a level of government support for ecologically sound farming methods and land use planning unmatched by any state before or since.
The Artaman vision would continue to have a profound effect on Himmler who, throughout his time as Reichsführer-SS, retained his early dreams of a racially pure peasantry.
The league was eventually dismantled, and incorporated into the Hitler Jugend in October 1934 as the Nationalist Socialist youth movement gained strength.

Later Developments

When other groups were being banned or disbanded due to political conflict during the 1930s, the nationalist ideology became connected with National Socialism.
The 'German Life Reform League' broke apart into political factions during this time.
The Nationalist physician Artur Fedor Fuchs began the 'League for Free Body Culture '(FKK), giving public lectures on the healing powers of the sun in the "Nordic sky", which "alone strengthened and healed the warrior nation".
Ancient forest living, and habits presumed to have been followed by the ancient tribes of Germany, were beneficial to regenerating the Aryan people, according to Fuchs' philosophy.
Han Sùren, a prominent former military officer, published 'Man and the Sun' (1924), which sold 240,000 copies; by 1941 it was reissued in 68 editions.
Sùren promoted the Aryan Master Race concept of physically strong, militarized men who would be the "salvation" of the German people.


In many parts of central Europe up until the 18th century, people bathed naked in rivers and lakes, although often separately by sex.
Beginning in the late 18th century, public nudity became increasingly taboo, though this never penetrated into sparsely-populated Scandinavia.
At the same time, Lord Monboddo (1714-1779) practiced and preached nude bathing as a revival of Ancient Greek attitudes toward nudity.
This found literary reference in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's (1742-1799) book 'Das Luftbad'.
In 1898 the first FKK club was founded in Essen.
In 1900 more and more Swedish baths arose in rooms in Berlin and on the North and Baltic seas.
A few years before there were mixed sex baths in many places, which, although requiring contemporary, modest bath clothes, were either forbidden or regarded as immoral.

Freikörperkultur - FKK
Behind the FKK movement lay an attitude towards life in which the naked body is not shameful. 
The nudity of FKK should not involve sexuality.
In this light, the need to be nude in the shower or sauna does not belong with Freikörperkultur, since it's practically necessary.
In FKK, nudity has prior group consensus, and therefore demands no reserved zones, such as separate beaches or club areas.

Freikörperkultur - FKK
A while later, after the political liberalization, conservative circles tried to challenge the increasingly popular (especially among urban intellectuals) nude baths as a corruption of morality.
The first nude beach in Germany was established in 1920 on the island of Sylt.
In 1933 after the National Socialists came to power, nudist organizations were integrated into the NSDAP.
The first dissertation about the FKK movement was written in the 1930s.
Himmler and the SS supported Naturism.
The 'Kampfring für völkische Freikörperkultur', established in May 1933, was a National Socialist völkisch umbrella body for German Freikörperkultur nudist groups, which excluded Jews and communist nudist groups.

National Socialist Ecology

The National Socialist “religion of nature,” was a mixture of primeval teutonic nature mysticism, ecological ideology, anti-Enlightenment, and a philosophy of racial salvation through a return to the land.
Its predominant themes were ‘natural order,’ organicist holism and denigration of post industrial Humanism.
Throughout the writings, not only of Hitler, but of most Völkisch ideologues, one can discern a fundamental deprecation of humans vis-à-vis nature, and, as a logical corollary to this, an attack upon human efforts to over-master nature.
Many anthropocentric views in general had to be rejected.
They would be valid only ‘if it is assumed that nature has been created only for man. We decisively reject this attitude. According to our conception of nature, man is a link in the living chain of nature just as any other organism’.

Adolf Hitler
According to Hitler is was essential to ascertain “the eternal laws of nature’s processes” and organizing society to correspond to them.
In the National Socialist world view ecological themes were linked with traditional agrarian romanticism, and hostility to urban civilization, all revolving around the idea of rootedness in nature.
Hitler discussed, in detail, various renewable energy sources (including environmentally appropriate hydro-power and producing natural gas from sludge) as alternatives to coal, and declaring “water, winds and tides” as the energy path of the future.

Organisation Todt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Fritz Todt
The two men principally responsible for sustaining this environmentalist commitment in the midst of intensive industrialization were Reichsminister Fritz Todt and his aide, the high-level planner and engineer Alwin Seifert, whom Todt had called a “fanatical ecologist.”
Todt was “one of the most influential National Socialists,” directly responsible for questions of technological and industrial policy.
At his death in 1942 he headed three different cabinet-level ministries in addition to the enormous quasi-official 'Organisation Todt', and had “gathered the major technical tasks of the Reich into his own hands.

Albert Speer
According to his successor, Albert Speer, Todt “loved Nature” and “repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg.” 
Another source calls him simply “an ecologist.”

This reputation is based chiefly on Todt’s efforts to make Autobahn construction - one of the largest building enterprises undertaken in this century - as environmentally sensitive as possible.
Todt demanded of the completed work of technology a harmony with Nature and with the landscape, thereby fulfilling modern ecological principles of engineering as well as the ‘organological’ principles of his own era along with their roots in völkisch ideology.

The ecological aspects of this approach to construction went well beyond an emphasis on harmonious adaptation to the natural surroundings for aesthetic reasons; Todt also established strict criteria for respecting wetlands, forests and ecologically sensitive areas.
But just as with Arndt, Riehl and Darré, these environmentalist concerns were inseparably bound to a völkisch-nationalist outlook.
Todt himself expressed this connection succinctly:
The fulfillment of mere transportation purposes is not the final aim of German highway construction. The German highway must be an expression of its surrounding landscape and an expression of the German essence.
Seifert, Todt’s aide, bore the official title of 'Reich Fürsprecher für die Landschaft'.
The appellation was deserved; Seifert dreamed of a “total conversion from technology to nature,” and would often wax lyrical about the wonders of German nature, and the tragedy of “humankind’s” carelessness.
As early as 1934 he wrote to Heß demanding attention to water issues, and invoking “work methods that are more attuned to nature.”

Farming, ‘Independent of Capital’.
In discharging his official duties Seifert stressed the importance of wilderness, and energetically opposed monoculture, wetlands drainage and chemicalized agriculture.
He also “called for an agricultural revolution towards ‘a more peasant-like, natural, simple’ method of farming, ‘independent of capital’.
With the Third Reich’s technological policy entrusted to figures such as these, even the National Socialists’ massive industrial build-up took on a distinctively ecological quality.
The prominence of Nature in the party’s philosophical background helped ensure that more radical initiatives often received a sympathetic hearing in the highest offices of the National Socialist state.
In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the protection of 'die Erde' “in order to stem the steady loss of this irreplaceable basis of all life.” Seifert reports that all of the ministries were prepared to co-operate save one; only the minister of the economy opposed the bill because of its impact on mining.

Rudolf Heß
It was, however, Rudolf Heß provided the ecologists of the NSDAP with support from the very top of the party hierarchy.
Heß was not only the highest party leader and second in line (after Göring) to succeed Hitler; in addition, all legislation and every decree had to pass through his office before becoming law.
An inveterate nature lover as well as a devout Steinerite, Heß insisted on a strictly bio-dynamic diet - not even Hitler’s rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him - and accepted only homeopathic medicines.

Walter Darré
It was Heß who introduced Darré to Hitler, thus securing the ecologists its first power base, and he was an even more tenacious proponent of organic farming than Darré.
With Heß’s enthusiastic backing, the “green wing” was able to achieve its most notable successes.
As early as March 1933, a wide array of environmentalist legislation was approved and implemented at national, regional and local levels.
These measures included the creation of nature preserves, and championed sustainable forestry, ordered the protection of hedgerows and other wildlife habitats, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature.
Also in 1933, the concerns of the NSDAP were not only laid with the people, but with the animals native to Germany.
In 1934, a national hunting law was passed to regulate how many animals could be killed per year, and to establish proper ‘hunting seasons’.
These hunting laws have now been applied in most western countries
This law was known as 'Das Reichsjagdgesetz', (Reich Hunting Law).
The Reichstag also footed the bill for education on animal conservation at Primary, Secondary and College levels.
Additionally, in 1935, another law was passed, the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Protection Act).
This law placed several native species on a protection list including the wolf, and Eurasian lynx. Additions were added later as to afforestation and the humane slaughter of living fish
Without this law it is likely some species would have completely disappeared from Germany’s forests.
Beauty of Labour’
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Several nationwide programs were initiated to benefit the ordinary German worker.
The first, ‘Beauty of Labour’, was created in 1934 to enhance the concept of a comfortable and pleasant workspace for the German worker.
In the following year this ordinance was followed up by a ‘Reich Nature Protection Law’ to ensure the worker could walk through parks in complete safety.
Also, laws were enacted to control air pollution.
Nothing could be more wrong than to suppose that most of the leading National Socialist ideologues had cynically feigned an agrarian romanticism and hostility to urban culture, without any inner conviction, and for merely electoral and propaganda purposes, in order to hoodwink the public.
In reality, the majority of the leading National Socialist ideologists were without any doubt more or less inclined to agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism, and convinced of the need for a relative re-agrarianization.
The ecologists of the NSDAP was not a group of innocents, confused and manipulated idealists, or reformers from within; they were conscious promoters and executors of a program dedicated to the conservation of nature in accordance with the eternal laws of nature’s processes.
It is frequently pointed out, however, that the agrarian and romantic currents in National Socialist ideology and policy were in supposed constant tension with, if not in flat contradiction to, the technocratic-industrialist thrust of the Third Reich’s rapid modernization.
What is not often remarked (what is, again intentionally suppressed) is that even these modernizing tendencies had a significant ecological component.
Industry was brought into balance with 'natural law'.

click below for a full discussion and more images
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler and Green Politics

Anti Smoking Poster
Adolf Hitler was so opposed to smoking in his later life that he couldn't stand someone lighting up in the same room, and often felt obligated to object to it as a waste of money.
Thus, he began one of the most expensive and effective tobacco movements in history.
While during the 1930s and 1940s, other anti-tobacco movements failed fantastically in other countries, it was taken seriously in the Third Reich
Smoking was banned in restaurants and public transportation systems, citing public health, and the government severely regulated the advertising of smoking and cigarettes.
There was also a high tobacco tax, and the supplies of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht were rationed.
Several health organizations in Nazi Germany even began claiming that smoking heightened the risks of miscarriages by pregnant women, now a commonly known fact
The statistics of annual cigarette consumption per capita as of 1940 had Germany at only 749, while Americans smoked over 3,000.
In 1939, the Nazi Party outlawed smoking in all of its offices premises, and Heinrich Himmler, the then chief of the Schutzstaffel (SS), restricted police personnel and SS officers from smoking while they were on duty.
Smoking was also outlawed in schools.
Hitler was convinced that Germany itself was overpopulated, over-industrialized, and running out of space and food, all of which was destroying the biological substance of the German people.
It would therefore be essential to push East in order to resolve this existential biological-environmental crisis., and this meant that, since the laws of Nature demanded the survival of the fittest species, there would have to be a massive displacement and de-population program.
Racial species, like the Aryans, must be protected from extinction, just as much as any animal, and a green, vegetarian diet was going to play a future role in this natural process.

Hitler and Blondi
As Hitler himself pointed out:
as regards the animals, the dog, who is carnivorous, cannot compare in performance with the horse, which is vegetarian. In the same way, the lion shows sign of fatigue after covering only two or three kilometers, while the camel marches for six and seven days before his tongue even begins to hang out.” 
.Not surprisingly perhaps, vegetarians and environmentalists have largely downplayed the historical record of the 'green policies' of the Third Reich.
Some have been quick to point out that Hitler supposedly cheated on occasion with ham, sausage, and seafood dishes.
Hitler was also occasionally inconsistent with regard to environmental preservationist values and practices, largely because of the need to place Germany on an all out war footing throughout the 1930’s in a vast arms build-up.
Hitler was also a fond of grand building projects, and was planning on exploiting the natural resources in the East as much as possible to win the war
Hitler, of course, attributed his vegetarianism to the famous German opera composer Richard Wagner, who provided a musical icon for the Third Reich.
Why, one might ask ?
Because Wagner preached a racist socialism (national socialism), based on vegetarianism that would cleanse Germany from the Jews.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas"). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' (The Ring of the Nibelung).

Richard Wagner
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)
Wagner was both a revolutionary, and an anti-Semite, who hated the Jews for commercializing art.
Wagner, like many intellectuals of his time, had been interested in the writings of Charles Darwin, whose books Wagner read during the 1870's.
The underlying ideas of 'Parsifal', Wagner's last opera - and Hitler's favourite opera,  were those of social Darwinism.

'Parsifal'  is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Perceval, the Story of the Grail, by Chrétien de Troyes' (12 с.).
Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was to be Wagner's last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Wagner preferred to describe Parsifal not as an opera, but as "ein Bühnenweihfestspiel" ("A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage").

In Parsifal, the embattled community of the Grail had been alarmed to observe natural selection working against its distinctive Aryanism ... here was the decisive racial crisis that grew into an uncompromising struggle for power.

The distress of Monsalvat that emerges during act one -- and which has deepened by act three -- of Wagner's drama is a racial crisis.
So Hitler saw Parsifal in terms of racial crisis, homoeroticism and vegetarianism. 
Arthur Schopenhauer
More importantly is that Wagner was also an ardent student of the great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, 'Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung' (The World as Will and Representation), in which he stated that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, 'On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason', which examined the four distinct aspects of experience in the phenomenal world; consequently, he has been influential in the history of phenomenology. He has influenced a long list of thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Otto Weininger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, and Thomas Mann.

Schopenhauer blamed the Jews for animal cruelty, since Genesis 1 unabashedly teaches that man was made in God’s image, and hence commissioned to rule over nature,
the fault lies with the Jewish view that regards animals as something manufactured for man’s use.” Schopenhauer, perhaps the original animal rights guru of Europe, was appalled by the fact that John the Baptist wore animal skins.
And Schopenhauer was also Hitler’s favourite philosopher - with Nietzsche coming a close second.

Richard Wagner
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
Ernst Haeckel
Wagner was also an avid reader of Ernst Haeckel’s Social Darwinian ecology that was extremely popular in Germany in the latter half of the 1800’s.

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin's work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny") claiming that an individual organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species' evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

While Hitler eschewed some of Haeckel’s political views, his Germanic Social Darwinism would become the scientific foundation upon which National Socialist racial theory was built.

Dietrich Eckart
Moreover, Schopenhauer and Haeckel were also enthusiastically read by Hitler’s spiritual father, Dietrich Eckart.

Dietrich Eckart was a central figure in the early days of the Nazi Party. Eckart was a wealthy nationalistic poet who was frequently seen at the side of Adolf Hitler before his death in 1923. Hitler referred to Eckart as his “North Star” and that his value to the National Socialist cause was “inestimable”

Thus, Wagner’s strong interest in both of these avant-garde German scholars would all but guarantee that, in spite of Hitler’s occasional inconsistency on green socialist issues, environmental themes would still play an important role in National Socialism.
Hitler himself asserted that:
That the first noteworthy political accomplishment of National Socialism was the 1933 passage of an animal rights law should thus come as no surprise.
As a part of the law, Jewish ritual slaughter related to Passover was henceforth forbidden.
This was certainly the Romantic fruit of Schopenhauer’s prophetic thesis in the 1800’s that Europe owes: 

Shechita - שחיטה
the animals not mercy but justice, and the debt often remains unpaid in Europe, the continent that is permeated with the odor of the Jews … it is obviously high time in Europe that Jewish views on nature were brought to an end … the unconscionable treatment of the animal world must, on account of their immorality, be expelled from Europe !
And it is interesting to note how literally Hitler took this ‘prophecy’ to heart.

The Hebrew term shechita (שחיטה‎), also transliterated shehitah, shechitah, shehita, is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds for food according to Jewish dietary laws (Deut. 12:21, Deut. 14:21, Num. 11:22) The animal must be killed by a shochet (שוחט‎, "ritual slaughterer"), a religious Jew. The act is performed by severing the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and vagus nerve in a swift action using an extremely sharp blade ("chalef"). This results in a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness. According to Jewish religious sources, the animal is now insensible to pain and exsanguinates in a prompt and precise action. The animal can be in a number of positions; when the animal is lying on its back, this is referred to as shechita munachat; in a standing position it is known as shechita me'umedet. Before slaughtering, the animal must be healthy, uninjured, and viable.

'Der ewige Jude' - The Eternal Jew
In fact, in the documentary film “The Eternal Jew”, the Jewish ritual slaughter of cattle and sheep was graphically shown right at the climax of the film to heighten its effect.
Neither does it fail to mention that the Mosaic Law has “no love or respect for animals in the Germanic sense.
The documentary film then finally reveals Hitler for the first time, and lauds his efforts on the passage of Nazi animal rights legislation. 

'Der ewige Jude' The Eternal Jew (1940) is a German documentary film, presented. The film's title is the German term for the character of the "Wandering Jew" in medieval folklore. The film was directed by Fritz Hippler. The screenplay is credited to Eberhard Taubert. The film consists of feature and documentary footage combined with materials filmed shortly after the Nazi occupation of Poland. The film was in production for over a year. Throughout the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940, Goebbels devoted "constant attention" to the film.  The basic tenet of the film is that "the Jew is an oriental barbarian who has insinuated himself cleverly into European society, and now exploits it parasitically."
The public distribution and exhibition of the film is prohibited in Germany; the only exception is for use in college classrooms and other academic purposes; however, exhibitors must have formal education in "media science and the history of the Holocaust." In addition, only a specially annotated version may be screened. Elsewhere, it is generally legal. It is free to view and download, and can be seen on YouTube in both subtitled and dubbed versions.

In this context it should be remembered that 
"To many National Socialists, the great sin of modern international civilization, which was characterized as Jewish Bolshevism in the East and Jewish Capitalism in the West, was its incessant concern in trying to overcome nature according to Judeo-Christian values"
The fact of the matter is that Völkisch ideologues adopted a literal reading of the concept of 'Nature'.
More than a few of these ideologues characterized National Socialism as “politically applied biology.”
Since biology is a part of ecology, what the Völkisch ideologues meant with regard to 'politically applied biology' was that nature was to have primacy over politics and the economy.
Biology and ecology were thus everywhere applied socially and politically.
To many National Socialists, the great sin of modern international civilization, which was characterized as Jewish Bolshevism in the East and Jewish Capitalism in the West, was its incessant concern in trying to overcome nature according to Judeo-Christian values.
Such an endeavour Hitler called “Jewish nonsense.”
In the eyes of the National Socialists, this self defeating effort would finally come to an end through National Socialism.
Indeed, Germany’s eugenic survival depended upon the success of the indigenous Aryan instinct to ‘authentically’ counteract the Judeo-Christian international rebellion against Nature and her Social Darwinian laws.
The National Socialists were thus determined to usher in a new world order based on the literal application of Nature’s Social Darwinian laws to social and political life.

Richard Walther Darré
SS Runes
Hence, in a similar, but significantly more profound manner that the Marxists, who envisaged a secular eschaton of a socialistic utopia at the end of history based on the literal socio-economic conditions on the ground, so the National Socialists countered with the much heralded 1,000 year Reich based on literal biology and ecology, which Himmler’s SS especially took to heart with their doctrine of “Blood and Soil”, derived form Richard Walther Darré.
German blood and German soil were principles that according to Nature’s Social Darwinian laws of life, must be adhered to if the Third Reich was to achieve the eschaton.
While the Marxists, however, viewed the eschaton as more open ended, National Socialists viewed the 1,000 year Reich as the perfect means of denying the idea of the 1,000 year Judeo-Christian Millennium predicted in the book of Revelation.
Both the Marxists and National Socialists thus extracted from the Judeo-Christian world-view its apocalyptic view of history, yet discarded its sacred and supernatural framework for the latest political and social-scientific-evolutionary discoveries of the times.
In short, the Marxists believed that the eschaton would be realized through the socio-economic dialectical conflict between the capitalists and the proletariat. 

The Soviet Eschaton is the 'withering away of the state' - a concept of Marxism, coined by Friedrich Engels, and referring to the idea that the social institution of a state will eventually become obsolete and disappear, as the society will be able to govern itself without the state and its coercive enforcement of the law. Although Engels first introduced the idea of the withering of the state, he attributed the underlying concept to Karl Marx; other Marxist theorists - including Vladimir Lenin - would later expand on it. According to this concept a communist society will eventually require no coercion to force individuals to behave in a way that benefits the society. Such a society would occur after a temporary period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This scenario depended on Marx's view of coercive power as a tool of those who own the means of production, i.e. certain social classes (the bourgeoisie) and the capitalist state. In a communist society the social classes would disappear and the means of production would have no single owner; hence, such a stateless society will no longer require law, and stateless communism, a communist utopia, will develop.

The National Socialists believed that the Aryan Millenium would come about through the application of proper biological eugenics.
The process would take an immense period of time, as the Master Race would slowly be  created as the pinnacle of biological evolution precisely because it was most in tune with the laws of Nature.
But this would not be the final result.
Although Hitler never spoke about the final process in detail, he indicated that the 'herrenvolk' would form the grundlagen for the coming Übermensch.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

'It is my ultimate aim to perform an act of creation, a divine operation,
the goal of a biological mutation which will result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race and the appearance of a new race of heroes, demi-gods and god-men.
My party comrades have no conception of the dreams that haunt my mind, or of the grandiose edifice of which the foundations, (grundlagen) at least, will have been laid before I die. 
The world has reached a turning point, and will undergo an upheaval which the uninitiated cannot understand.'

Adolf Hitler