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Nazi Environmental Policy in the Third Reich

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by Paige Lancourt on 27 November 2013

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Transcript of Nazi Environmental Policy in the Third Reich

Blood or Soil? Exploring the Motivations behind Environmental Policy in the Nazi Third Reich
The Puzzle
What motivations explain the curious “green tint” of the Nazi Party, and why did one of the most brutally fascist regimes of the 20th century adopt several seemingly environmentally-minded parties? Does the explanation lie in what Darré refers to as the combined concept of “blood and soil”, or does the explanation lie in the separation of the two words? By examining the green policies of the Nazi Party, we can explore the notion that the Third Reich was inherently more obsessed with blood than soil, as well as challenge the perception that noble policy means noble politics.
The Main Motivator: Anti-Semitism- Blood
The Nazi Party used environmental and other forms of policy as justificatory means to reach an end goal
Jewish and non-Germans existed outside the natural order of the Nazi's vision of ideal Germany
Racial anxieties were rooted in anti-Jewish myths rather than eco-logical awareness
Ultimately, the Nazis were more obsessed with blood, than with soil
ECO-FASCISM:
The Dangers Behind a Green Movement
One possible explanation for the adoption of environmental policy in Nazi Germany is that the racial connotations and fascist ideology behind conservation movements, or "eco-fascism" was a primary motivator of the Third Reich, "Blood and Soil"
Background
Environmental movements began springing up in Europe and the U.S. during this time in history
One of the most progressive policy initiatives was championed by the Nazis, the 1935 Reich Nature Protection Law
The conservation movement thrived under Nazi Germany
It's Just Politics
The 1935 Reich Nature Protection Law: Progressive Provisions
Movements that existed within Germany such as the
Heimat
and
Naturschutz
felt a sense of protection under the Third Reich that not present under the Weimar Constitution
This approach divorces racism from environmentalism
Was
Anything
Purely Political for the Nazis?
To say the motivation for the Nazi Party was purely political ignores the Nazi policy response to Jewish actions
Banning individual rights, Hitler's 1939 Speech, 25 Point Plan all aimed at limiting the rights of Jewish people
The Nazi fight against Kosher slaughter, using Blood and Soil to attract peasant voters
When Environmental Movements "Go Bad"
Almost all Democracies today possess a green party
However, modern day radical environmentalism exists within movements such as Earth First!
Translating into Fascism: German Conservation Philosophers Arndt Heidegger, and Darre brought about the relationship between blood and soil alluding to the notion that preserving the land meant preserving the natural German blood as well
The
"Nazi"
Party, not the
"Green"
Party.
Although Goring adopted conservation initiatives into policy, implementation was mediocre
Eco-centrism never became part of the Nazi
Weltenschauung
Primary material such as Hitler's
Mein Kampf
and the Nazi 25 Point Plan do not point to virulent eco-fascism as the primary motivator of the Nazi Third Reich
What does this mean for our perception of good and evil?
Do more pure motivations then, explain the curious "green tint" of the Nazi Party?
While this explanation shows that not all green movements have an underlying evil, and that the Nazi Party was not motivated by eco-fascism, this approach does show that the connections between anti-semitism and Nazi political motivation cannot be ignored. Historically, we can separate Nazism from radical environmentalism, but we cannot forget the political significance. What this does show, is how dangerous the Nazis were when pursuing means to an end goal. When a regime is motivated by racial anxieties, even adopting green parties and public policy supposedly aimed for the good of the country, is tainted by irrational racial prejudices
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