Green Nazi Political Vegetarianism
Kamala Harris recently warned about the great impact meat production has on planetary ecology and that more vegetables in the American diet would lighten such a detrimental environmental impact. Such comments are rooted in the Green New Deal that is rigged to drastically reduce livestock production. Cows in particular are singled out for all of the methane they produce that leads to a significant contribution to greenhouse gases in this country.
In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged kids in a Brooklyn school to save the planet by stop eating meat. Silicon Valley has plans to replace real beef with fake meat through what they call cellular agriculture technology. While no one has demanded incentivizing or requiring a vegetarian diet yet, needless to say, beef and meat prices would skyrocket under such schemes.
Similar discussions actually were bandied around by the Nazis of yesteryear in which vegetarianism was often discussed in light of sustainability concerns. In January of 1942, with the German food supply becoming more and more ersatz thanks to the madness of Nazi agricultural policies based on a local-only self-sufficient green economy of sorts, Hitler complained, “Pasturages cover 37% of the surface of the soil in Germany. So, it’s not the man who eats grass, it’s his cattle.”
Hitler felt that Germany would be far better served with the growing of more vegetable gardens than setting aside so much land to feed stock animals. As such, vegetarianism, if executed properly, could play a role in helping to stem the rising tide of the food crisis.
Indeed, prior to the war, American author, Douglas Chandler, who was condemned for treason in 1947 for fomenting Nazi propaganda during the war, wrote glowingly of Berlin being an incredible green garden city of rivers and trees together with green economic sustainability. In February 1937, Chandler, a National Geographic author at the time, extolled the new progressivist National Socialist Berlin which had managed to harmonize science and technology with nature:
Behold the anomaly of an urban agglomeration with a total population of some 4,222,000, a city which can boast one of the most highly perfected transportation systems in the world, with every convenience contributed by science – and yet which contains within its limits the following: 20,000 cows (providing a third of the milk supply), 30,000 pigs, 10,000 goats, 700,000 chickens, 180,000 rabbits, 5,800 people keeping bees, only 3 or 4 buildings I could find as much as 10 stories high, 12 windmills still functioning, and more than 100,000 little gardens, the harvests of which include such imposing yearly figures as 46,000 tons of potatoes and proportionate quantities of other vegetables and grains. Such items would appear fantastic to the dweller on narrow, rock-ribbed Manhattan. These little “Scherber Gartens” afford city workers easily accessible contact with the land which is so dear to the German heart: they promote bodily fitness through exercise, and minimize food cost.
As the German Wehrmacht was back on the march in April 1942, Hitler even pointed out to Goebbels how animals with vegetarian diets have great endurance, “As regards animals, the dog, which is carnivorous, cannot compare in performance with the horse, which is vegetarian. In the same way, the lion shows signs of fatigue after covering two or three kilometers, while the camel marches for six or seven days before even his tongue begins to hang out.” Hitler had a similar discussion with the Admiral of the Navy who was worried that the Nazi regime would require sailors to become vegetarian. While Hitler assured the admiral he had no such intentions to do so, yet he also countered how strong Japanese wrestlers were because of their vegetarian diets. On another occasion, Hitler, told Goebbels, “Roman soldiers had a horror of meat” and that their daily rations consisted of primarily fruit and cereals that gave them strong teeth.
Hitler even looked forward to the day when his own sheep dog would eventually become completely vegetarian via evolution. The Fuhrer was also a strong advocate of eating raw foods, “Those who adopt a vegetarian diet must remember that it is in their raw state that vegetables have their greatest nutritive value. The fly feeds on fresh leaves, the frog swallows the fly as it is, and the stork eats the living frog. Nature thus teaches us that a rational diet should be based on eating things in their raw state.” Hitler then complained, “Cooking destroys the vitamins, which are the most valuable part of our food.”
While Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was also a vegetarian, Rudolf Hess was a fanatic on the subject. According to green Nazi architect Albert Speer, who spent 20 years with Hess in Spandau Prison following the Nuremberg Trials, Mr. Vegetarian continued to worry about the effects of canned food on human health years after the war.
While there is no small controversy over how vegetarian was the Fuhrer, Nazi press chief Otto Dietrich confirmed in his memoirs that Hitler was “a complete vegetarian; he never ate meat or fish. He lived almost entirely on vegetables and certain cereals.” While there is historical evidence that Hitler did cheat on occasion, which was probably connected to the many state dinners he was invited to, Nazi historian Ralph Waite wrote that Hitler’s vegetarianism was philosophically based on his admiration for his favorite opera writer, Richard Wagner (1813-1883).
According to Dr. Robert Proctor, Wagner even preached a racist socialism based on vegetarianism that would cleanse Germany from the corrupting influence of the Jews. Wagner was extremely anti-Semitic, something that he appropriated from Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who was the Fuhrer’s favorite philosopher. Schopenhauer was one of the first gurus in environmental ethics and animal rights in the modern sense, and vehemently blamed the Jews for a harmful false ecology borrowed from the opening chapters of Genesis.
Dr. Proctor also wrote that on a romantic date in the 1920s, Hitler “scolded his female companion for having ordered Wienerschnitzel.” Taken aback, the woman did not know how to respond, but Hitler did not demand her to change the order, saying: “No, go ahead and have it, but I don’t understand why you want it. I didn’t think you wanted to devour a corpse … the flesh of dead animals. Cadavers!” Hitler went so far to call any kind of meat broth, “corpse tea.” Proctor further wrote that Heinrich Himmler failed to convert the Waffen SS into vegetarian non-smokers. Yet both Himmler and Hitler had plans to require a vegetarian diet to be enforced on the German populace after the war, which included draconian plans for the meat industry. Hitler speculated, “The consumption of meat is reduced the moment the market presents a greater choice of vegetables.”
In his monumental Church Dogmatics, Swiss Theologian Karl Barth, who was kicked out of Bonn University by the Nazis for standing up for religious freedom against the new regime, quipped, “A powerful ascetic can be a vessel of much greater wickedness than even the most indulgent. We cannot forget so easily that one may be a non-smoker, abstainer, and vegetarian, and yet be called Adolf Hitler.”
Mark Musser is a part-time missionary, author, and a farmer, depending on what time of day and year it is. His home is in Olympia, Washington, but he spends most of his time on the mission field in the former Soviet Union. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Corban University in Salem, Oregon, and is a contributing Writer for the Cornwall Alliance. His book Nazi Ecology provides a sobering history lesson on the philosophical foundations of the early German green movement, which was absorbed by National Socialism in the 1930s and proved to be a powerful undercurrent during the Holocaust.