“Perhaps one of the greatest values of this book is to underscore once again the fact that environmentalism as a political belief system has never been value-free and thus has been able to take vastly different political forms.”
Technology and Culture
“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 and 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
“An invaluable English introduction to the history of conservation in the Third Reich.”
Journal of Contemporary History
The Nazis created nature preserves, championed sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature. How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich is the first book to examine the Third Reich’s environmental policies and to offer an in-depth exploration of the intersections between brown ideologies and green practices.
Environmentalists and conservationists in Germany welcomed the rise of the Nazi regime with open arms and hoped that it would bring about legal and institutional changes. However, environmentalists soon realized that the rhetorical attention they received from the regime did not always translate into action. By the late 1930s, nature and the environment had become less pressing concerns as Nazi Germany prepared for and executed a global conflagration.
Based on prodigious archival research, and written by some of the most important scholars in the field of twentieth-century German history, How Green Were the Nazis? examines the overlap between Nazi ideology and conservationist agendas. This landmark book underscores the fact that the “green” policies of the Nazis were more than a mere episode or aberration in environmental history.
Contributors: Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Mark Cioc, Thomas Zeller, Charles Closmann, Michael Imort, Thomas Lekan, Frank Uekötter, Gesine Gerhard, Thomas Rohkrämer, Mark Bassin, and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn.
Franz-Josef Brüggemeier 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. More info →
Mark Cioc is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the author of The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815–2000. He is a coeditor of How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich. More info →
Thomas Zeller is an associate professor at the University of Maryland, where he teaches the history of technology, environmental history, and science and technology studies. He is the author of Driving Germany: The Landscape of the German Autobahn, 1930–1970 and coeditor of How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich and Rivers in History: Designing and Conceiving Waterways in Europe and North America. More info →
“The question ‘How green were the Nazis?’ is likely to evoke a different response from Germans than from non-Germans. In Germany, the question sounds downright provocative. The Green Party stands solidly on the left end of the German political spectrum, and its members are active in the fight against neo-Nazism. The Greens, moreover, view themselves as a new political force—one that emerged out of the student and environmental movements of the 1960s and 1970s—with no roots in the Nazi past. Outside Germany, by contrast, the question probably arouses more puzzlement than passion: the Nazis are associated with nationalism, militarism, and racism, but not with environmentalism. “Eco-fascism,” of course, has become a media buzzword, and occasionally one actually comes across environmentalist factions that espouse an ideology with Nazi undertones.…”
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Is Italy il bel paese—the beautiful country—where tourists spend their vacations looking for art, history, and scenery? Or is it a land whose beauty has been cursed by humanity’s greed and nature’s cruelty? The answer is largely a matter of narrative and the narrator’s vision of Italy.
Highland Sanctuary unravels the complex interactions among agriculture, herding, forestry, the colonial state, and the landscape itself. Conte’s study illuminates the debate over conservation, arguing that contingency and chance, the stuff of human history, have shaped forests in ways that rival the power of nature.
Once the grain basket for South Africa, much of Lesotho has become a scarred and degraded landscape. The nation’s spectacular erosion and gullying have concerned environmentalists and conservationists for more than half a century. In Imperial Gullies: Soil Erosion and Conservation in Lesotho, Kate B. Showers documents the truth behind this devastation.Showers reconstructs the history of the landscape, beginning with a history of the soil.
Inventing Pollution examines new understandings of pollution, centered not on organic decay but on coal combustion, that emerged in the late 19th century in Britain. This change, Thorsheim argues, gave birth to the smoke-abatement movement and to new ways of thinking about the relationships among humanity, technology, and the environment.
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