Organic Farming in Nazi Germany: The Politics of Biodynamic Agriculture, 1933-1945
Format of Original
Oxford University Press
The controversy over the nature and extent of official support for organic agriculture in Nazi Germany has generally focused on the minister of agriculture, R. W. Darré, and his putative endorsement of biodynamic farming. By shifting focus from the figure of Darré to other sectors of the Nazi hierarchy, this article reexamines a contested chapter in the environmental history of the Third Reich. Using previously neglected sources, I trace several important bases of institutional support for biodynamic agriculture spanning much of the Nazi period. Both the biodynamic movement and the Nazi Party were internally heterogeneous, with different factions pursuing different goals. While some Nazi agencies backed biodynamic methods, others attacked such methods for ideological as well as practical reasons, particularly objecting to their occult origins. The article centers on the political dimension of these disputes, highlighting the relative success of the biodynamic movement in fostering ongoing cooperation with various Nazi organizations. I argue that the entwinement of biodynamic advocates and Nazi institutions was more extensive than scholars have previously acknowledged.