Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Green Swastika – Environmentalism in the Third Reich

books eugenics environmentalism ecology gnosticism neopaganism Nazi population control politics fascism aristocracy landowners

Nazi Germany was the greenest regime the world has ever seen. To an unprecedented degree Third Reich officials enthusiastically promoted: organic farming, reforestation, eco-forestry, endangered species preservation, extirpated species re-introduction, invasive species eradication, wilderness conservation, naturalism, neo-paganism, pantheism, sun-worship, Religion of Nature, holistic science and medicine, herbalism, animal rights, bio-centrism, wind power, bio-fuels, hysterical anti-pollutionism, back-to-the-land anti-urbanism, limits-to-growth and overpopulation propaganda, and apocalyptic anti-industrialism.

Such ecological sentiments were not merely the quirks of eccentric Nazis, nor were they held only by a fringe green faction within the Nazi Party, nor were they disposable propaganda motifs. Most Nazis, and most certainly the Party leadership itself, sincerely embraced ecological values. Ecological messaging played a crucial role in the Nazis’ rise to power and in their wielding of power.

Nature-worship was neither a peripheral nor an ephemeral phenomenon in the Third Reich. The Nazi intellectual vanguard disparaged humanity vis-à-vis Nature and mocked human efforts to master Nature. The trope of “Nature’s precarious balance” abounds in Nazi literature. Naturalist metaphors and parallels were standard features of Nazi rhetoric.

The naturalist-ecological mindset manifested in a wide spectrum of Nazi institutions and practices. Nazi forest and wetland conservation policies were extensive and extraordinary. An idolatrous nurturing of soil was basic to Nazism. Ecological ideas played significant roles in Nazi policies in conquered territories. Even the Third Reich’s modernizing tendencies exhibited pronounced ecological components.

Nazi propagandists deployed the overlapping credos of Social Darwinism, Political Biology, and Human Ecology to justify policies of racial supremacy, international war, social hierarchy, authoritarian governance, and corporatist economics. Aristocratic political structures were deemed expressions of Natural Law. Ecological arguments justified the Lebensraum doctrine. Social Darwinist arguments provided a pseudo-scientific rationale for the Holocaust. Nazis murdered in the name of Nature.  (more...)

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