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Unformatted text preview: T h e Nazis and the Nature Conseruat ion ists BY RAYMOND H. DOMINICK III* IFTY years ago the Nazi regime adopted the most comprehensive and progressive nature conservation legislation then in effect anywhere in the world. The new government thus fulfilled the F hopes of conservationists, many of whom had expected great things from the Third Reich. This study explores the unfolding relationship between Germanys conservationists and her voelkisch political tradition from before World War I through the mid-thirties. By examining the development of environmental protection in Germany, a largely unexplored topic, it contributes to the refinement of our understanding of why various groups and individuals supported the Nazis before and after 1933.2 T h e author is Associate Professor of History at the Mansfield campus of The Ohio Srarr University. He would like to acknowledge the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst for funding his visit to the Federal Republicof Germany in 1983 tocarry out research for this paper. The need for longitudinal studies of early developments in environmental history is stressed in Frederick H. Buttel and Denton E. Morrison. The Environmental Movement: A Research Bibliography with some State-of-the-Art Comments (Monticello, Ill., 1977), 4, and in David Vogel, The comparatiue study of environmental policy: a review of the literature, prepared for the Conference on Cross-National Policy Research (Berlin, 1983), 126. The only book-length history of environmental protection in Germany is Klaus- Georg Wey, limweltpolitik zn Deutschland: Kurze C;eschichte des IJrnweltschutzes in Deutschland sell 1900 (Opladen, 1982), and it treats the interweaving of environmental protection and National Som only briefly. There are numerous excellent studies of the relationship between various elements in German society and the Nazi movement, but most of them treat either pre-1933 or post-1933. not both. Sources which contain subject matter closely related to that of this articlr are: foi pre-1933, Fritz K. Ringer. The Decline of the German Mandarins: The German Academic Community, 1890-193? (Cambridge, Mass., 1969); and for post-1933, Alan D. Beyerchen, Scientists under Mitler: Politics and the Physics Community in the ThzrdReich (New Haven and London, 1977). Geoffrey J. Giles, National Som and the Educational Elite in the Weimar Kcpublic, in The Nazi Machtergrezfung, ed. Peter D. Strdchurd (London, 1983), 57, points out the need for studies that cover both periods. An intriguing comparison between Germanys conservationists and her engineers can be made on the basis of Karl-Heinr Ludwig, Tectinik und lngenieure i n Dritten Retch (Dusseldorl, 1974), 92-123 and his Technik, Zngenieure und Gesellschaft: Gescliirhle des Vereins Deutsclier Ingenzcure 1856-1 981 (Dusseldorf, 1981), 407-15....
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- Spring '08