Is the green agenda a Nazi movement?
"We recognise 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 . .
"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."
The Nazis drew heavily on a romantic, anti-science, nature worshipping, communal and anti-capitalist movement that tied German identity to German forests. In fact, Professor Raymond Dominick notes in his book, The Environmental Movement in Germany, two-thirds of the members of Germany's main nature clubs had joined the Nazi Party by 1939, compared with just 10 per cent of all men.
"When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall." Ludwig Klages Man and Earth in 1913.
Reading Mein Kampf can be a perverse sort of fun. You can open almost any page of it at random and hear echoes of the modern-day Left and Greens.
But WHY did Hitler want Lebensraum (literally, "life-space") for Germans? It was because, like the Greenies of today, he was concerned about overpopulation and scarcity of natural resources.
Greenie Paul Ehrlich wrote in his 1968 book The population bomb:
"The battle to feed all of humanity is over.
"Germany has an annual increase in population of nearly nine hundred thousand souls. The difficulty of feeding this army of new citizens must grow greater from year to year and ultimately end in catastrophe, unless ways and means are found to forestall the danger of starvation and misery in time... (Mein Kampf pp. 121 & 122).
Both Prof. Ehrlich and Hitler were intelligent but overconfident Green/Left ignoramuses who knew nothing of the economics concerned -- as is shown by the almost hilarious wrongness of Ehrlich's predictions -- but Hitler unfortunately had the means to do something about his ill-informed theories. He concluded that rather than let Germans starve, he would grab more land off other people to feed them
Germany is not only the birthplace of the science of ecology and the site of Green politics' rise to prominence; it has also been home to a peculiar synthesis of naturalism and nationalism.. "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."
the völkisch movement, a powerful cultural disposition and social tendency which united ethnocentric populism with nature mysticism. At the heart of the völkisch temptation was a pathological 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.
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.Haeckel was also the chief popularizer of Darwin and evolutionary theory for the German-speaking world, and developed a peculiar sort of social darwinist philosophy he called 'monism.' The German Monist League he founded combined scientifically based ecological holism with völkisch social views.
Haeckel held that "civilization and the life of nations are governed by the same laws as prevail throughout nature and organic life." This notion of 'natural laws' or 'natural order' has long been a mainstay of reactionary environmental thought
Ludwig Woltmann, another student of Haeckel, insisted on a biological interpretation for all societal phenomena, from cultural attitudes to economic arrangements. He stressed the supposed connection between environmental purity and 'racial' purity: "Woltmann took a negative attitude toward modern industrialism. He claimed that the change from an agrarian to an industrial society had hastened the decline of the race. In contrast to nature, which engendered the harmonic forms of Germanism, there were the big cities, diabolical and inorganic, destroying the virtues of the race."
During the turbulent period surrounding World War I, the mixture of ethnocentric fanaticism, regressive rejection of modernity and genuine environmental concern proved to be a very potent potion indeed.
This shift from nature worship to Führer worship is worth examining.
The mantra-like repetition of the word "German" and the mystical depiction of the sacred forest fuse together, once again, nationalism and naturalism. This intertwinement took on a grisly significance with the collapse of the Weimar republic. the Nazi movement's incorporation of environmentalist themes was a crucial factor in its rise to popularity and state power.
The National Socialist "religion of nature," as one historian has described it, was a volatile admixture of primeval teutonic nature mysticism, pseudo-scientific ecology, irrationalist anti-humanism, and a mythology of racial salvation through a return to the land.
Throughout the writings, not only of Hitler, but of most Nazi 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 master nature."
The Führer was particularly fond of stressing the "helplessness of humankind in the face of nature's everlasting law." Echoing Haeckel and the Monists, Mein Kampf announces: "When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall."
The authoritarian implications of this view of humanity and nature become even clearer in the context of the Nazis' emphasis on holism and organicism. In 1934 the director of the Reich Agency for Nature Protection,Walter Schoenichen, established the following objectives for biology curricula: "Very early, the youth must develop an understanding of the civic importance of the 'organism', i.e. the co-ordination of all parts and organs for the benefit of the one and superior task of life."
This (by now familiar) unmediated adaptation of biological concepts to social phenomena served to justify not only the totalitarian social order of the Third Reich but also the expansionist politics of Lebensraum (the plan of conquering 'living space' in Eastern Europe for the German people). It also provided the link between environmental purity and racial purity:
In many varieties of 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. This conceptual constellation, especially the search for a lost connection to nature, was most pronounced among the neo-pagan elements in the Nazi leadership,
Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, and Walther Darré. Rosenberg wrote in his colossal The Myth of the 20th Century: "Today we see the steady stream from the countryside to the city, deadly for the Volk. The cities swell ever larger, unnerving the Volk and destroying the threads which bind humanity to nature; they attract adventurers and profiteers of all colors, thereby fostering racial chaos."
In December 1942, Himmler released a decree "On the Treatment of the Land in the Eastern Territories," referring to the newly annexed portions of Poland. It read in part:
The peasant of our racial stock has always carefully endeavored to increase the natural powers of the soil, plants, and animals, and to preserve the balance of the whole of nature. For him, respect for divine creation is the measure of all culture. If, therefore, the new Lebensräume (living spaces) are to become a homeland for our settlers, the planned arrangement of the landscape to keep it close to nature is a decisive prerequisite. It is one of the bases for fortifying the German Volk
A study of the membership rolls of several mainstream Weimar era Naturschutz (nature protection) organizations revealed that by 1939, fully 60 percent of these conservationists had joined the NSDAP (compared to about 10 percent of adult men and 25 percent of teachers and lawyers). Clearly the affinities between environmentalism and National Socialism ran deep
Blood and Soil as Official Doctrine
"The unity of blood and soil must be restored," proclaimed Richard Walther Darré in 1930. This infamous phrase denoted a quasi-mystical connection between 'blood' (the race or Volk) and 'soil' (the land and the natural environment) specific to Germanic peoples and absent, for example, among Celts and Slavs. For the enthusiasts of Blut und Boden, the Jews especially were a rootless, wandering people, incapable of any true relationship with the land. German blood, in other words, engendered an exclusive claim to the sacred German soil. While the term "blood and soil" had been circulating in völkisch circles since at least the Wilhelmine era, it was Darré who first popularized it as a slogan and then enshrined it as a guiding principle of Nazi thought. Harking back to Arndt and Riehl, he envisioned a thoroughgoing ruralization of Germany and Europe, predicated on a revitalized yeoman peasantry, in order to ensure racial health andecological sustainability.
This goal was not only quite consonant with imperialist expansion in the name of Lebensraum, it was in fact one of its primary justifications, even motivations. In language replete with the biologistic metaphors of organicism, Darré declared: "The concept of Blood and Soil gives us the moral right to take back as much land in the East as is necessary to establish a harmony between the body of our Volk and the geopolitical space."
Aside from providing green camouflage for the colonization of Eastern Europe, Darré worked to installenvironmentally sensitive principles as the very basis of the Third Reich's agricultural policy.
When the "Battle for Production" was proclaimed at the second Reich Farmers Congress in 1934, the very first point in the program read "Keep the soil healthy !" But 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 term points up yet again the natural order ideology which underlies so much reactionary ecological thought. The impetus for these unprecedented measures came from Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy and its techniques of biodynamic cultivation.
For these reasons Darré has sometimes been regarded as a forerunner of the contemporary Green movement. His biographer, in fact, once referred to him as the "father of the Greens." The ecological aspects of his thought cannot, in sum, be separated from their thoroughly Nazi framework. Far from embodying the 'redeeming' facets of National Socialism, Darré represents the baleful specter of ecofascism in power.
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."Reichsminister Fritz Todt
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 Nazi state. In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the Protection of Mother Earth
Hess insisted on a strictly biodynamic diet -- not even Hitler's rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him -- and accepted only homeopathic medicines
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, which included reforestation programs, bills protecting animal and plant species, and preservationist decrees blocking industrial development, undoubtedly "ranked among the most progressive in the world at that time."60 Planning ordinances were designed for the protection of wildlife habitat and at the same time demanded respect for the sacred German forest. The Nazi state also created the first nature preserves in Europe.
Along with Darré's efforts toward re-agrarianization and support for organic agriculture, as well as Todt and Seifert's attempts to institutionalize an environmentally sensitive land use planning and industrial policy, the major accomplishment of the Nazi ecologists was the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz of 1935.
This completely unprecedented "nature protection law" not only established guidelines for safeguarding flora, fauna, and "natural monuments" across the Reich; it also restricted commercial access to remaining tracts of wilderness. In addition, the comprehensive ordinance "required all national, state and local officials to consult with Naturschutz authorities in a timely manner before undertaking any measures that would produce fundamental alterations in the countryside."
Although the legislation's effectiveness was questionable, traditional German environmentalists were overjoyed at its passage. Walter Schoenichen declared it the "definitive fulfillment of the völkisch-romantic longings,"
The "green wing" 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 vile program explicitly dedicated to inhuman racist violence, massive political repression and worldwide military domination. Their 'ecological' involvements, far from offsetting these fundamental commitments, deepened and radicalized them. In the end, their configuration of environmental politics was directly and substantially responsible for organized mass murder.
"We recognise 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 . . . "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."
Hitler also banned medical experiments on animals And he created many national parks, particularly for Germany's "sacred" forests. This isn't a coincidence. The Nazis drew heavily on a romantic, anti-science, nature worshipping, communal and anti-capitalist movement that tied German identity to German forests.
Our own Greens partys message is much as Hitler's own in Mein Kampf: "When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall."
Why does this matter now? Because we must learn that people who want animals to be treated like humans really want humans to be treated like animals. We must realise a movement that stresses "natural order" and the low place of man in a fragile world, is more likely to think man is too insignificant to stand in the way of Mother Earth
A Greenpeace co-founder, Paul Watson, called humans the "AIDS of the earth", and one of the three key founders of the German Greens, Herbert Gruhl, said the environmental crisis was so acute the state needed perhaps "dictatorial powers".
In the name of speaking for the trees and other species, we are faced with a movement that would usher in an era of eco-fascism
At the end of the nineteenth century, a cultural revolt against positivism swept much of Europe, as George L. Mosse writes, and in Germany it became infused with both nature-mysticism and racial nationalism.
This revolt became intimately bound up with a belief in nature's cosmic life force, a dark force whose mysteries could be understood, not through science, but through the occult.
"Volk" signified the union of a group of people with a transcendental "essence." This "essence" might be called "nature" or "cosmos" or "mythos," but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature, and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality, and his unity with other members of the Volk.
It invoked a nature-romanticism in which a closeness to the natural landscape was to give people a heightened sense of aliveness and 'authenticity.' It advanced a new cosmic faith, embodied in 'Aryan' blood, that was to be grasped through intuition rather than science in a plethora of occult and esoteric spiritualistic faiths that abounded in Germany in the 1920s.
the Nazis stage-managed indoctrination extravaganzas that promised 'authenticity' in a mystical, romantic nationalism that was 'closer to nature,' even as they engaged in mass murder. Stressing the need to return to simpler, healthier, and more 'natural' lifeways, they advanced the idea and practice of a 'Nordic peasantry' tied organically to the soil
Conceptions of one's region as one's 'homeland,' or Heimat, can be perverted into a nationalistic regionalism when a region's traditions and language are mystically tied to an 'ancestral' landscape
For a people seeking to assert themselves against an outside intruder, an 'ecologized' Heimat in which they are biologically embedded can become a useful tool not only against imperialism but against immigration, foreigners, and 'overpopulation.'
Today it is not only fascists who invoke Heimat; in September 1989, for example, the head of the respectableLeague for the Protection of the Environment and Nature, environmentalist Hubert Weinzierl, remarked that only when humanity's main concern, the diminution of the stream of overpopulation, has been accomplished, will there be any meaning or any prospect of building an environment that is capable of improvement, of configuring the landscape of our civilization in such a way that it remains worthy of being called Heimat.
In 1973, the NPD drew up an "Ecological Manifesto" that invoked "the laws of nature" to justify a hierarchically structured, "organic" order that would govern social relationships.
Only the Germans were different. In pagan times they worshipped groves and trees, and because of their closeness to nature, they had a caring orientation toward nature. Even the love of animals is much more pronounced among the Germanic peoples than it is, for example, among the Romance-language-speaking peoples. It is thus no coincidence that even today the most stalwart environmentalist efforts -- private as well as state -- are those conducted by peoples who have a larger proportion of the Nordic race.
If fascists are using ecological themes to update their racial and nationalist aims, other thinkers are developing an ecological spiritualism along New Age lines that bears no small resemblance to the völkisch Germanic spirituality of the 1920s.
We find neofascist and ultra-right positions not only in the various political and even ecological groups, but also . . . in neopagan, esoteric and occult circles."
Rudolf Bahro:Völkisch Spirituality
If fascists are using ecological themes to update their racial and nationalist aims, other thinkers are developing an ecological spiritualism along New Age lines that bears no small resemblance to the völkisch Germanic spirituality of the 1920s.
since the mid-1980s Bahro has been contributing to the development of a "spiritual fascism" that has the effect of "rehabilitating National Socialism," openly calling for reclaiming the "positive" side of the Nazi movement. Not only does Bahro appeal to a mystical Germanist spirituality like the völkisch ideologues of the 1920s, he even sees the need for a "Green Adolf" who will lead Germans out of their own "folk-depths" and into ecological "salvation.
Today Bahro is one of the leading spokespeople and theorists of New Age ideas in the Federal Republic.
Bahro has been contributing to the development of a "spiritual fascism" that has the effect of "rehabilitating National Socialism," openly calling for reclaiming the "positive" side of the Nazi movement. Not only does Bahro appeal to a mystical Germanist spirituality like the völkisch ideologues of the 1920s, he even sees the need for a"Green Adolf" who will lead Germans out of their own "folk-depths" and into ecological "salvation.
'New' Rightists Bahro expressly believes that the ecological crisis is resolvable only through authoritarian means.He calls for a spiritually based and hierarchically elitist "salvation government" (Rettungsregierung) or a "god-state" (Gottesstaat) that will be run by a "new political authority at the highest level": a "prince of the ecological turn." The "prince," which apparently may be a collective entity, will constitute a spiritual elite, an oligarchy responsible only to God. As a "voice of the divine," this guru elite will dictate the law of God and nature, in order to convert the present society to the "order according to nature" that Bahro sees as desirable.People should not "be afraid" of the advent of this "prince," says Bahro, since "a bit of 'ecodictatorship' is needed" to handle our problems today.
In 1989, Bahro cofounded a combination educational center and commune near Trier, the Lernwerkstatt (an "ecological academy for one world"), whose purpose is to synthesize spirituality and politics, "to come to a new personal and social orientation." It presents lectures, cultural events, and weekend workshops on various New Age themes, including deep ecology, ecofeminism, Zen Buddhism, holistic nutrition, Sufism, and the like -- as well as German identity.
His 1987 book Logik der Rettung marked an overt embrace of authoritarian theological concepts that shocked many former admirers.
Besides, "it is a matter of absolute indifference whether [this prince] is a man or a woman," he assures us, "it is a question of structure. That is the German moment in this Green movement." But today it is important to develop a broad spiritual consciousness in the general population, for "without a spiritual determination, there will be no new redemptive institutionalization" -- that is, no "prince." It is presumably cheering that "in spite of all bad experiences . . . the strongest political-psychological dispositions of our people" make "the Germans more responsive than other peoples to charismatic leadership."
Indeed, "the Nazi movement [was] among other things an early reading of the ecology movement."
there is a call in the depths of the Volk for a Green Adolf." a Green Adolf would be an entirely different Adolf from the one we know about."
an 'ecological' dictatorship would not be ecological -- it would finally finish off the planet altogether. It would be the glorification, the hypostasization, of social control, of manipulation, the objectification of human beings, the denial of human freedom and selfconsciousness, in the name of ecological problems
Social Darwinism has deep roots in the German ultra-right.
The form which social Darwinism took in Germany was a pseudo-scientific religion of nature worship and nature-mysticism combined with notions of racism.
It is well known among ecological activists today that Ernst Haeckel coined the term ecology in the 1860s;what is less known is that Haeckel was the primary spokesperson for German social Darwinism in the latter half of the nineteenth century, as Gasman shows. German social Darwinism was thus almost immediately married to the concept of ecology.
Haeckel himself was a proponent of carrying over concepts like 'selective breeding' and 'racial hygiene' from nonhuman nature into human society.
Herbert Gruhl, whose best-selling 1975 book, A Planet Is Plundered: The Balance of Terror of Our Politics, makes an explicit social Darwinist interpretation of ecology. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Gruhl participated in the formation of the German Greens with a new political group he had founded, Green Action Future… Gruhl writes
Germans must not only arm themselves but preserve their environment by keeping the number of people who inhabit it down: "Violations of ecological equilibrium and the destruction of natural living spaces [Lebensäume] are directly related to population density."
The 'laws of nature,' for Gruhl, offer a solution to Third World immigration, especially the 'law' that "the only acceptable currency with which violations of natural law can be paid for is death. Death brings the equalization; it cuts back all life that has overgrown on this planet, so that the planet can once again come into equilibrium."
In the autumn of 1991, the environmental minister of Lower Saxony shocked many observers by awarding Herbert Gruhl a highly prestigious state honor. "With his international best-seller A Planet Is Plundered," minister Monika Greifahn said, Gruhl has "placed ideas of environmental protection and care at the forefront of public political consciousness."
'ecological' fascism is hardly limited to one country. In Britain, a wing of the National Front issues the cry, "Racial preservation is Green!" In the United States, the notorious white supremacist Tom Metzger remarks:
I've noticed that there's an increased number of young people in the white racialist movement who are also quite interested in ecology, protecting the animals from cruelty and things like that, and it seems to me that as we are becoming more aware of our precarious state, the white man, the white woman's, state in the world, being only about 10 percent of the population, we begin to sympathize, empathize more, with the wolves and other animals."
" His colleague Monique Wolfing agrees:
"Well, naturally. They're in the same position we are. Why would we want something created for ourselves and yet watch nature be destroyed? We work hand in hand with nature and we should save nature along with trying to save our race."
See Votes by State
News & Politics