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This study provides the first comprehensive discussion of conservation in Nazi Germany. Looking at Germany in an international context, it analyses the roots of conservation in the late nineteenth century, the gradual adaptation of racist and nationalist thinking among conservationists in the 1920s and their indifference to the Weimar Republic. It describes how the German conservation movement came to cooperate with the Nazi regime and discusses the ideological and institutional lines between the conservation movement and the Nazis. Uekoetter further examines how the conservation movement struggled to do away with a troublesome past after World War II, making the environmentalists one of the last groups in German society to face up to its Nazi burden. It is a story of ideological convergence, of tactical alliances, of careerism, of implication in crimes against humanity, and of deceit and denial after 1945. It is also a story that offers valuable lessons for today's environmental movement.
1. The Nazis and the environment: a relevant topic?
2. Ideas: diverse roots and a common cause
3. Institutions: working towards the Fuhrer
4. Conservation at work: four case studies
5. On the paper trail: the everyday business of conservation
6. Changes in the land
7. Continuity and silence: conservation after 1945
Frank Uekoetter is a researcher in the History Department at Bielefeld University. He is the author of two monographs and editor, alone or in part, of four other collections. He is also author of articles published in Business History Review, Environment and History, and Historical Social Research.
"This is a book we very much need. Frank Uekoetter brings together a wealth of material and original argument in accessible form. His examples are vivid, and he effectively challenges many misconceptions about nature conservation in the Third Reich. Wide-ranging in scope and clear-eyed in its judgments, this thoughtful and elegantly constructed book deserves a wide readership."
- David Blackbourn, Harvard University
"Frank Uekotter's engaging and nuanced study of conservation under the Nazi regime demolishes recent claims that contemporary environmentalism in Germany can be traced back to the Third Reich. Although conservationists willingly cooperated with the Nazi state and appealed to leading Nazis, such as Hermann Goring and Heinrich Himmler, to pursue their goals, neither conservationist ideology nor environmental legislation held much influence in a regime hell-bent on rearmament and Lebensraum. By highlighting conservationists' tactical accommodations to Nazism and their unwillingness to confront the enormity of Nazi racism and imperialism, however, Uekotter underscores the real lesson for contemporary environmentalists: the moral and political success of their goals depends on the care and clear-sightedness with which they build political alliances."
- Shelley Baranowski, University of Akron
"[...] the total picture Uekotter presents is quite damning to anyone who gives a little thought to the roots of the environmentalist movement. Uekotter's book is the product of a lengthy investigation, which led him to discover that the major activists of the Green/Environmentalist movement of post-World War II were also active, conscious, and in some cases, high-ranking members of the Nazi Party."
- Executive Intelligence Review
"The Green and the Brown is a compelling overview of the complex and contradictory history of German conservationist movements under the Nazi regime [...] an important and accessible contribution to scholarship on Nazi Germany and warrants a wide readership."
– Environment & History
"Frank Uekoetter demonstrates [...] why a study of nature protection in the Third Reich remains vital. Drawing upon a variety of national, provincial, and city archives, he shows that nature protectionists were opportunists, attracted mainly to the Nazi regime because it seemed to offer more systematic preservation of natural areas [...] Dr. Uekoetter must be given credit for writing an accessible and revealing work on a provocative topic."
– H-Environment, Charles Closmann, Department of History, University of North Florida