The Doctrine of Blut und Boden
Translated into English, Blut und Boden
means blood and soil, and was a phrase used by Hitler
to mean that people of German descent (blood) have the right
to live on German soil.
Although Hitler used the phrase to establish German
supremacy over the Jews, it was popularized by Walther Darré in 1930
to establish a connection between race and land (Staudenmaie 1). For
the defenders of the doctrine, the Jews were a wandering people without
roots or land, and did not belong on German soil. The term blood
and soil had been circulating for some time before Hitler or
Darré, but it was the Nazis who used the doctrine as a principle of
thought. The phrase in itself is not dangerous, it could simply be
used to motivate German nationalism,
particularly that of farmers; however, Hitler used the infamous words
to give moral justifications for the extermination of the Jews.
Darré was an important figure in the Nazi party;
he was one of the partys chief race theorists and
was influential in gaining peasant support for the Nazis during the
early 1930s (Staudenmaier 1). He also had great influence on the ideology
of National Socialism, and was in favor of the re-agrarianization
of the Nazi party. The Blut und Boden doctrine was against the influence
of modern metropolitan life, and was aimed toward the countryside
of Germany. In support of traditional blood and soil ideas,
schemes for mass rural private-housing
settlements were keenly promoted as antidotes to the evils of the
metropolis (Peukert 184).
However, traditional blood and soil ideas were not the
only ones circulating through Germany, the newer interpretation of
the doctrine used by Hitler and Darré was dangerously popular. Darré
stated: The concept of Blood and Soil gives us the moral right
to take as much land in the East as is necessary to establish a harmony
between the body of our Volk and the geopolitical space (Staudenmaier
2). This moral right also involved starting World War
II and exterminating the Jews, all in support of the superior German
The doctrine of Blut und Boden was used to promote
racist ideas in
Germany and the preaching of Adolf Hitler. In order to understand
the feeling of superiority in Germany as it relates to blood
and soil, the teaching of German students must be considered.
In most other European textbooks, the history of that particular country
begins with the events that took place on that countrys soil.
A German textbook, on the other hand, almost always starts off by
explaining the expansion of the Germanic people throughout Europe.
Germans are taught, from a very early age, to have interest in other
nations and look upon Europe with a possessive glance. This is a special
type of nationalism, which can almost be called internationalism,
and makes the philosophy of Blut und Boden quite dangerous. Instead
of being content with the soil they occupy,
many Germans felt that because of their blood, the rest
of Europe should also be theirs.
The idea of a great race of people is what led
to the planned genocide of the Jewish people, and the regaining of
the soil that is rightfully German. Nietzsche disagreed
with this interpretation, and proclaimed racial cross-breeding
as the origin of the Germans (Poliakov 72).
If this were true, by the logic of Nazi ideology,
the Germans were no better than the millions of people killed in their
concentration camps; by the logic of the rest of the world, of course
they were no better. From the doctrine of Blut und Boden came a heightened
sense of racism in Germany and a willingness to keep the German population
pure. German racism can be split into two categories,
both of which have to do with blood and soil. The first
type is exterior racism, which was thought of as marking off
the territories inhabited by Germans from those inhabited by other
races (Poliakov 74). The second has to do with the
expansion of the pure blood and was thought of as
running through the other European countries, and dividing the Germanic
racial elements from the other, less valuable, elements
(Poliakov 74). This division is because many Germans, or people with
pure blood, lived in other countries in Europe. So, not
only does the German blood belong on German soil, it also belongs
on the soil of the rest of Europe. This is the possessive feeling
that came from the schoolbooks early in every German students
By 1939 Nazi leaders decided that the best way
to solve the Jewish
problem was to force them out of the country (Patterson 76).
There were public beatings of Jews, forced cleanings of streets and
public bathrooms, and the night that every window in a Jewish store
was smashed, or Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass).
Although there were a few critics of these drastic
measures, the majority of the German public seemed to revel in the
fact that the Jews were being treated so harshly. The consensus of
the people of the pure race was that the Jews got what
they deserved and should continue to be treated as such. Adolf Hitler,
at a speech made to the Reichstag on January 30, 1939, said: If
international finance Jewry within Europe and abroad should succeed
once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequence
the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe (Patterson
78-79). Racism was rampant in
Germany, and the doctrine of Blut und Boden was part of the cause.
As Nazi power increased in Germany, and Hitlers
will was unleashed on
the people, ideology like blood and soil surfaced and
escalated the racism. With the concept of a superior race being established,
Jews and other people with impure blood found themselves in the midst
of a war. They did not have a land of their own, a fact that bothered
the Germans, and ultimately caused them to seize the people with such
adulterated blood. The concept of Blut und Boden was important to
Hitler and his German followers, important enough to kill millions
of people in the name of race.
Patterson, Charles. Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and
Beyond. New York: Walker and Co., 1982.
Peukert, Detlev J.K. The Weimar Republic. New York: Hill and
Poliakov, Léon. The Aryan Myth. Trans. Edmund Howard. New York:
Barnes and Noble Inc., 1974.
Staudenmaier, Peter. Fascist Ecology. 12p. Online. http://www.tao.ca/~ise/archive/ise00028.html.
(Not online, May 2001)
Breuer, William B. Death of a Nazi Army. USA: Scarborough House
Mosse, George L. Toward the Final Solution. Madison: U of Wisconsin,