Nazi Nature

How Green were the Nazis cover How Green Were the Nazis?
Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich
Ed. Bruggemeier, Cioc, and Zeller

So, the Nazis got something right. Who knew?

This is probably an ok book for a university library. It sort of feels like grasping at straws to prove the Nazis weren’t the root of all evil (jury’s still out on that one), but apparently they created nature preserves and did their part for the environment.




back cover


  1. I can’t decide if this is a truly serious consideration of political policy, a desperate case of publish or perish, or the authors just wanted to use the phrase “between brown ideologies and green practices.” I am sure the title is far more provocative than the content.

  2. Well, I can’t speak to this particular book, but in general you study the accomplishments of highly centralized autocratic societies because they tend to quickly implement changes that would be slow or impossible in a liberal democracy. For example, you can learn a lot about population growth and control by studying post-revolution Iran or communist China. It doesn’t mean that you support either a one-child policy or a military-driven baby boom, but these scenarios provide data that can help us predict possible consequences if our population rises or declines for non-tyrannical reasons.

    Environmental policy tends to be slow, marginally popular, and the effects can be subtle over the short term. It can be useful to have an example of a rapidly-implemented and strongly-enforced environmental policy to study when you’re trying to drum up support for new ideas. You just probably wouldn’t have a tree-swastika on the cover of your proposal.

    Plus, Nazi scientists got us to the moon, and everyone seemed pretty cool with that. Just think of the environmental data we got from Nazi policies as the spoils of war.

  3. First of all, I love the cover. I didn’t see it at first – am I totally clueless? Second, this sounds absolutely fascinating, if it’s legitimate information. I can think of a couple patrons who’d be interested, plus me. Also, nobody else would have it, so we’d totally get ILL requests.

  4. This seems pretty normal for an academic library, and actually a really interesting topic. Studying how fascist ideology influenced and intersected with ecological practice seems perfectly legitimate, and hardly an attempt to “prove that the Nazis weren’t the root of all evil.”

  5. This was in fact a standard text on fascism when I studied history at the graduate level (2003-2008). It might be a bit dated today, but not to the point where it should be weeded from a University library. There are also studies from the period demonstrating the links between Nazis and Homeopathy, Nazis and health food, and (my personal favorite) Nazis and nudism.

  6. There’s also the “Mussolini got the trains to run on time” gem… It’s not the whole truth either – and probably this one relies a lot on what preceding generations did to help the environment as much as what the Nazis did.

  7. Judging the book by its cover, it seems to be one of a series about ecological activities through history. If the Nazis did have an environmental programme, or any kind of environmental impact good or bad, it’s a reasonable topic of study in the field of “ecological history”.

  8. We got very little information from the Nazis because they weren’t doing science, they were torturing people. There’s a difference.

  9. I saw in the Shoah documentary that many jews who tried to survive in camps were forced to put dead human bodies out of the grown before the nazis decided to burn them in ovens. Lanzman said that it was for erasing them from our memories. Apparently, it was in fact for “green” reasons.

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