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How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich (Ecology & History) Paperback – December 30, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An invaluable English introduction to the history of conservation in the Third Reich.”

Journal of Contemporary History


“Instead of courting controversy, How Green Were the Nazis? both draws on, and contributes to, recent trends in the historiography of the Third Reich. It treats the regime not as a ‘historical aberration’ but as a barbaric mutation of modernity that displayed ‘a mixture of atavistic and avante-garde ideas’ in environmental as in other policy areas.”

Environment & History


“The environmental ideas, policies, and consequences of the Nazi regime pose controversial questions that have long begged for authoritative answers. At last, a team of highly qualified scholars has tackled these questions, with dispassionate judgment and deep research. Their assessment will stand for years to come as the fundamental work on the subject and provides a new angle of vision on 20th-century Europe’s most disruptive force.”

John McNeill — author of Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World

About the Author

Franz-Josef Brueggemeier is a professor of history at the university of Freiburg, Germany. He has published extensively in the field of environmental history in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe.Mark Cioc is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and editor of the journal Environmental History. He is the author of The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000. Thomas Zeller is an assistant professor in the department of history at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Straße, Bahn, Panorama, translated as Driving Germany.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ecology & History
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press (December 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821416472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821416471
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Edith Swanek on September 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was suprisingly interesting and informative for an academic social history work. The approach is to look at various professions related to environmentalism and examine the extent to which academics in each "tailored" their messages to fit with Nazism, and to take advantage of the authoritarian nature of the regime to see at least some of their long-cherished dreams come to "fruition" (no pun intended!). In each chapter, they also note how much Nazi environmental law was NOT automatically rescinded, but continued in force for, in places, decades!

Chapter 1 covers environmental law.
Chapter 2 is forestry (including the discovery that the Nazis did the world's first traditional environmental impact statement, i.e., a plan distributed widely for agency and public comment, the comments themselves, and the "response to comments"!).
Chapter 3 covers Nazi efforts to have a "total nature protection act", kind of like a clean water act combined with a regional natural monuments act, as a first cut at "comprehensive habitat conservation".
Chapter 4 covers air pollution.
Chapter 5 agriculture.
Chpater 6 landscape architecture.
Chapter 7 Heidegger and environmental philosophizing. Although never actually saying it, the author of that chapter seems to imply Heidegger might have favored the Gaia "living earth" and sociobiology metaphors as the authentic "new gods" needed to transcend the shallow decadence of techno-life. [For myself, I hardly find "techno-life" to be shallow and decadent when it allows me to hear more of Handel's operas than anyone on earth who died more than 15 years ago, for example!]
Chapter 8 Geopolitics and "environmental determinism".
Chapter 9 Regional planning and extermination of "people who cannot plan their own environment properly". Can you imagine that Auschwitz was going to be a "model city" after the war?
A very good companion work to "the Nazi War on Cancer".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Art Shapiro on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It comes as something of a shock to most people to learn that Nazism grew out of the German Romantic Movement and that, at least initially, it embraced a wide variety of positions considered progressive and environmentally-conscious today. Many people know that Hitler was a vegetarian, but how many know that the Nazis mounted the most effective anti-smoking propaganda campaign ever before the 1980s? How many know that the nature protection and conservation laws enacted in the early days of the regime were, from an environmentalist perspective, the best in the world, and that -- stripped of racist and nationalistic language -- they largely remained on the books after World War II until redrawn quite recently? The Nazis effectively outlawed clearcutting and mandated mixed-species, mixed-age forestry to assure "forests forever;" in the name of landscape protection they outlawed roadside billboards and imposed stringent esthetic standards on new construction; exercising their dictatorial powers, they simply rode roughshod over private property rights in the name of "the greater good." For those familiar with this history, there is an inescapable contradiction between what to many of us are these laudable goals and the horrific behavior of the regime in almost every other sphere. How could a regime that perpetrated genocide on an unprecedented industrial scale and waged unlimited and unprovoked wars of aggression and conquest be so concerned with the welfare of animals and plants and the harmony of the landscape? And what, if anything, does this have to tell us about the purity of contemporary environmentalism?
This book is NOT an introduction to its subject and assumes a prior working knowledge of both National Socialism and its ancestor, German Romanticism.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting read about how the nazis set aside forests to never be cut down, cut back exhaust from car engines, kept water sources clean from toxic dumping, and how they kept streets and highways clean from litter.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Becker on December 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
How far have we sunk as a nation when practically any vile behavior, from killing bald eagles to nazism, can be justified as long as its environmentally friendly and appeases the political left? It was an informative book, but I was so disgusted after reading it.
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