NSDAP Plan For Agricultural Self Sufficiency


From the Handbook for Schooling the Hitler Youth

Chapter Twelve: The Soil as a Source of Food Supply

The first necessity of all living things is food. From man’s first day he must be fed by the gifts of earth, fruits of the field, and the flesh of animals. Vegetation and animal life are in turn dependent upon the nature of the soil and climate. The soil, which supplies food for a people, has therefore the greatest economic significance for men.

The quality of the soil in the German Reich is not equally good everywhere. A large part of the German Reich is covered with sandy, marshy and rocky soil. The main part of this rather unfruitful soil comprises the non-arable mountain ranges and the north German plains once covered with ice. Only a proportionately small region has very good soil. It is distributed in the main along the lower courses of the German rivers (Rhine, Oder, Vistula), in south Westphalia, along the borders of Hanover, around the bays and inlets of Saxony, the Rhine basin, in Württemberg, lower Bavaria, and the Rhine-Main region, as well as the southern parts of Thüringia and middle Silesia.

Nor is the climate equally good everywhere in the German Reich. The mildest weather prevails along the Rhine, since warm air currents from the Mediterranean penetrate Germany through the doorway between the Alps and the Vosges Mountains. Along the coast a moderate, seasonable climate prevails because the sea brings about a balance of temperature and humidity. The farther the land is from the coast, the more extreme the climate. Hot summers and cold winters in the eastern sections allow only a comparatively short growing period. By reason of these influences of soil and climate the productiveness of the different farming areas in Germany varies greatly.

The German territory belongs within the great forest zone which stretches over the north of Europe, Asia and North America. Originally Germany was covered by a more or less dense forest. But now the encroachment of man has pressed the woodlands back to their present confines and opened up soil for cultivation.


From time immemorial men have not only gathered the products of the German soil but have regularly farmed it. The Norsemen of the early stone age cultivated twelve different kinds of grain. They raised fruit, flax, and many kinds of vegetables. With the exception of poultry they had all our domestic animals. The Germans went on to develop husbandry and cattle raising. They were a settled peasant folk who worked the soil without stint. When they came into contact with the Romans, their agrarian culture was already so high that the southern people took over from them, among other things, the wheel plough and the cultivation of rye. It was not the Romans nor even the monks who introduced farming into Germany. During the middle ages in Germany the transformation of the original soil into land for agricultural purposes began on an even larger scale. Forests were cleared, moors and marshes drained, and dams built to prevent the overflow of sea and river. This work has been continued down through the centuries. It is only necessary to recall the work of cultivation of Frederick the Great in Orderbruch and his homesteading activities in the rest of the German east. This work, even today, has not yet come to a halt. The Labour Service continues to win and make land for the German farmers. By persistent work the original land of nature became that kind of cultivated farm land which gives the central European space its marked German imprint.


The quality and limitations of the German land

Since 1919 the political territory of the German Reich has extended over an area of 472,000 square kilometers. More than a fourth is covered with forests; about 5 per cent is taken for dwelling purposes, streets, railroads and parks; 2 per cent is covered with water. Four per cent is wilderness. The remaining two-thirds (around 312,000 sq kilometers) is left for agriculture. The soil is used in the following ways:

-Farming includes an area as large as the provinces of Rhineland, Hesse-Nassau, Saxony, Brandenburg together with Grensmark, Silesia, East Prussia and Mecklenburg.

-Meadows and pasture lands are as great as the area of Hanover, Schleswig-Holdtein and Pomerania.

-German forests extend over an area as large as all of Wüttemberg, Baden and Bavaria

-The amount of wasteland is as large as a whole province the size of Westphalia.

In farming a variety of plants are cultivated, each according to the climatic conditions and the productiveness of the soil in the individual districts.

-Rye thrives best on the barren, sandy soil of North Germany and in the cool, mountain regions. -Wheat prefers the better soil of the hilly slopes in central Germany, the heavy, marshy soil along the Elbe and Vistula, and the loose soil of Silesia.

-Oats are better adapted to the niggardly soil of north-western Germany.

-Sugar beets are raised principally on the nutritive soil in Silesia and in the foothills of the mountains in central Germany.

-The potato has spread out over all Germany, but is raised especially in the central and eastern parts of the north German lowlands and on the mountains along the Rhine.

-Fodder in large amounts exists only in East Prussia, Saxony, Thüringia, Holstein and the Rhine valley.

-Truck farming is carried on principally in the vicinity of large cities. In addition there are rather large areas devoted to truck farming in Saxony, Thüringia, Holstein and the Rhine valley.

-The only vineyards today are along the Rhine and its tributaries (Mosel, Saar, Nahe, Neckar and Main), comprising nearly 10 per cent of the agricultural area. In this region a great deal of fine fruit is also cultivated.

Animal husbandry provides the German people with meat, fats, dairy products and eggs. Cattle raising is carried on primarily in regions along the northern coast of Germany, in the Alps and its foothills, while horse breeding takes place in East Prussia, Hanover, Bavaria and Brandenburg. Hog and sheep raising go on mainly in northern and central Germany. The principal regions of poultry farming are Pomerania and central Germany. [See map in online book here]

The German Reich is the most important producer of oats in Europe. It also produces a fourth of the world’s rye. In spite of the increased consumption of sugar since the War, German sugar production is still greater than the domestic needs. Rye, oats, and sugar beets were formerly exported therefore. All remaining agricultural products cover, however, only a part of Germany’s requirements. The German Reich could assure the feeding of its population only by means of imports.

During the preceding century as well as during the last decades those in responsible positions have faced this fact without concern. They have neglected German agriculture because of cheaper foreign prices. And so the basis for feeding our thickly populated Reich was destroyed. The experiences of the World War have taught us, in this regard, that the basis for feeding the German people must not be looked for abroad. For as sacrifices to the enemy blockade 88,000 undernourished women, children and old men died in 1915; 122,000 in 1916; 260,000 in 1917; and 294,000 in 1918. We will always experience this fate if we have not assured the feeding of our own people within our own territory.

The dictate of Versailles, by separating and taking away large surplus agricultural regions in West Prussia, Posen, North Schleswig and in Alsace, and by robbing German colonies, made the basis for feeding our people far worse. With the loss of the colonies, the Reich lost every chance for producing colonial products herself, such as cocoa, tea, coffee, bananas and tropical plants (coconuts and citrus fruits) and was made completely dependent upon imports so far as these are concerned.


In the regions taken away along the frontiers, the Reich lost, along with one eighth of its territory, a yearly production of

  • 5,000,000 tons of grain
  • 11,000,000 tons of potatoes
  • 3,200,000 hogs
  • 2,600,000 head of cattle
  • 790,000 horses
  • 535,000 sheep

In 1914, the German colonies had the following areas devoted to plant husbandry:

  • 42,000 hectares of cocoa palms
  • 5000 hectares of oil palms
  • 13,200 hectares of cocoa
  • 4800 hectares of coffee
  • 2200 hectares of bananas

Rescuing German farmers from impending ruin

National Socialism has not remained inactive in the face of the present condition of our food supply. It has learned the lessons taught by the World War, and has done everything to assure the feeding of our people from its own soil. To this end agriculture had to be rescued from impending ruin first of all. Protection against foreclosures, reduction of the debt burden, and lowering of interest rates served this purpose. Then, by the National Inheritance law of September 29, 1933, farmers were relieved of the burdens of the capitalistic land law which treated land as an article of trade. From now on peasant estates are fundamentally non-saleable, non-distrainable, and indivisible. Any further pernicious breaking up of peasant holdings is thereby checked. The Reich Food Estate Law of September 13, 1933, supplied the legal basis for organising the agricultural estate itself. The farming population, broken up into many hundreds of organisations, associations and groups, was brought together into one great front and transformed into a mobilised instrument of National Socialist agrarian policy. By the same law a comprehensive system for regulating markets was also set up which assured the sale of agricultural products and provided an economically just price for them. And so the most important requisites for the work of reconstruction in the sphere of feeding a population were created. The Reich Peasant Leader could now issue the call for the battle of production which he did at the second Reich Peasant Day in Goslar in 1934. This battle should guarantee for us, in addition to the military independence which we have again won, an independence so far as food supplies are concerned, and free us so far as possible from the necessity of importing foodstuffs from abroad. Since it is actually impossible to reduce the consumption of foodstuffs, everything hinges on our ability to increase our domestic production of food supplies to equal the need.

The best methods of doing so are:

  • first, enlarging agriculturally usable areas;
  • second, increasing the productivity of existing farms;
  • third, reducing waste and destruction of agricultural products;
  • and finally, cultivating needed products which have up to this time not been produced at all, or not in sufficient quantities.

The extension of agriculturally usable areas is being realised by cultivation and land reclamation. From 1933 to 1936 the Office of Land Cultivation cultivated an area of 1,500,000,000 hectares with the help of official subventions and credits. One assumes an average increase in yield of 20 per cent, so this signifies a winning of 300,000 hectares of new land, whereas from 1929 to 1932, using the same method of reckoning, only a winning of 85,000 hectares of new land resulted. The accomplishments in the field of land cultivation, however, evidence only a beginning. During succeeding years the work will be continued and should, as the following presentation shows, make possible the recovery of about 6,500,000 hectares. [see chart on page 91 in online book here]

BDM in der Landwirtschaft

Increasing domestic production

The principal agency for carrying out the work of land rehabilitation is the National Labour Service. Besides numerous smaller reclamation undertakings, it is for the time being at work on 30 large projects, which alone comprise an area of 600,000 hectares. [see map at top of page 92 in online book here]

To increase the yield of existing farm lands, it is first of all necessary to strengthen the working forces on the land. On newly reclaimed land, as well as on other land which is not being profitably tilled, homesteaders and farmers are being established for this purpose. And here, too, National Socialism has done far more than the previous system, as we perceive from the following presentation: [see charts on page 92-93 and 94-95 here]

This presentation shows that we are still dependent upon imports for some important foodstuffs. Within the scope of the Four Year Plan efforts to increase still further the domestic production will be extended. The most important measures are:

  1. strengthening of land reclamation within the program of land cultivation,
  2. reduction in the price of fertilizer,
  3. speeding up the unification of diversified land-holdings,
  4. government aid for building manure tanks and sunken pits,
  5. raising the prices for rye and early potatoes,
  6. reducing the prices for seed potatoes through government aid,
  7. government aid for breaking up meadows and fencing in meadows and pastures,
  8. short term credits for construction purposes,
  9. government aid for building dwellings for land workers,
  10. building up of economic advisory services.

These government subventions obligate the German farmers, but not less so the German consumer. For the greatest efforts can only be fruitful naturally if they are supported by German comrades in every possible way. It is the public duty of every German, for the sake of attaining the goal which is being striven for, namely self-sufficiency in food, to cooperate by adapting his needs to those products over which Germany exercises control in fullest measure.

Click book below for full text.


Published in: on November 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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