Man and Earth
by Fritz Maes
FROM ALL WE have learned so far we can see that the fate of a people is determined primarily by its manpower. The biological forces are decisive for its maintenance. Many peoples who have done great things in the past have already disappeared from the face of the earth because they die out on account of a decline of births. A growing population alone guarantees the future life of a people and its lasting permanence. The racial structure of peoples, however, determines the form their community life takes. Art and science, economy and culture are developed by peoples according to their racial character. Even the kind of political leadership and the form of the state are conditioned by the character of the race. The historical accomplishments as well as the present life of a people are primarily determined by blood.
On the other hand, territory is not without its influence on the life of a people. Its geographical situation in the world, whether on the ocean or other means of communication, its relation to the territory of neighboring peoples affect deeply the course of political events. Its soil provides nourishment and possibilities for work. Treasures of the soil, raw materials, and climatic conditions influence the cultural and economic life, fostering or hampering it. The life of the state develops out of harmony of man and land. For a state exists only where people and territory are forever bound together. During the course of history the people’s consciousness of homeland arose, and conferred upon territory, in addition to positive material values, spiritual and idealistic ones as well.
Certain ideologies would attribute an excessive and exclusive significance to the influence of territory upon political events. That is just as erroneous, certainly, as it is to leave all territorial suppositions out of consideration. It still remains true that men make history. However, statesmen are comparable to artists. As the artist adapts the form and style of his artistic work to the peculiarities of the material used, so, also, do real statesmen, in the formation of their policies, proceed from things as they are, racially and territorially. Their greatness and their achievements depend upon their ability to recognize these gifts of nature rightly and to use them.
Attachment to the soil is naturally not equally strong and deep in the case of all peoples. The German people have distinguished themselves from earliest times by reason of a special attachment to their territory. Only when racial contamination threatens to suffocate the living and unique forces of the German people, could those powers, which were striving to uproot the German people, gain ground. To this end, the spiritual values of the soil were the first to be disturbed. The love of homeland was destroyed and made ridiculous. A world citizenship with a “supernational” imprint was presented as the goal worthiest to strive for. Then the agricultural basis of our economic life was also attacked. [Ideas] foreign to our people spread among German economic leaders and took away from our productive working forces a consciousness of the national basis of their work. Because of this, the German people became more and more dependent economically upon foreign countries. We experienced the consequence of this in the [First] World War. Because Germany was cut off from its foreign sources of food supplies by the blockade our people, unbeaten from the military point of view, they finally had to stack their weapons, and, in consequence of the lack of economic freedom, undergo the loss of political freedom too. Moreover, by uprooting the German economy, the way was paved for unrestricted financial domination by the international Jews. The once flourishing, firmly established German economy was transformed into a heap of ruins. An enormous army of unemployed was the outward indication of the unceasing decline.
National Socialism has now reestablished the natural order of things in the economic sphere. It has restored the creative forces of our people and made the resources and products of our own territory the basis of the German economy. Even today, after only a few years, the success of this new economic way of thinking is evident. The army of unemployed, numbering millions has disappeared. The German economy has experienced a new upward swing.
The ever-changing relations between man and earth
People and territory are revealed externally in a far-reaching transformation of the original character of the land. In century-long, trying struggles, steppes, forests, swamps and heaths, which at one time covered the whole of Germany, have been remade into the present areas of cultivation. With the development of cultural and economic life there arose successively, the farm, city, and industrial districts. These areas, in layout and partitioning, are closely related to the attitudes of life of our people. The German territory has received, thereby, a typical German imprint, which already distinguishes it from the territories of other peoples.
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Excerpt (slightly edited for correctness and clarity) of the entire sixth chapter of the so-called Nazi Primer (New York, London; Harper & Brothers Publishers; 1938). Translation of Handbuch für die Schulungsarbeit in der Hitlerjugend (Handbook for Scholastic Work in the Hitler Youth) written by Fritz Brennecke and edited by Paul Gierlichs in 1937.
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