Blood and Soil (‘Blut und Boden’) was a very important philosophy for Nazi Germany. The issue of ‘blood and soil’ nearly split the Nazi Party after 1925 and was only resolved at the Bamberg Conference of 1926. One side of the Nazi Party wanted to emphasise the relationship between true Aryans and a rural life. Hitler believed that true Germans ‘came from the soil’ – that they had a family background based on farming and life in the countryside. However, men like Gregor and Otto Strasser wanted to move the party away from the belief in ‘Blut und Boden’ and move towards a policy of attracting more support in urban areas. The Strasser brothers were defeated on this issue and Hitler rallied his supporters around ‘Blut und Boden’ while Otto Strasser left to form his own party based outside of Germany. Gregor was murdered on the Night of the Long Knives.
Belief in ‘blood and soil’ was not unique to the Nazis. It had been around before World War One and became associated with extreme nationalism and racism. Supporters of ‘blood and soil’ invariably wanted to send their children on holiday to rural areas and this was copied by the Hitler Youth Movement (Hitler Jugen) once Hitler had embedded himself into total power in Nazi Germany. In 1930 Richard Darré wrote ‘A New Nobility Based on Blood and Soil’. This became a popular read among high ranking Nazis as it associated the ‘master race’ belief alongside ‘blood and soil’. Darré argued that a master race created out of a eugenics programme would lead to a race of people who would be free from illness and full of virtue and good thoughts. The blemishes that he believed blighted German society then would be removed forever once a ‘master race’ had replaced German society as it stood in 1930.
The ‘blood and soil’ belief put farmers and other rural workers above those who worked in cities etc. The rugged toughness of peasants from medieval times was celebrated in Nazi beliefs. Numerous German peasant rebellions were portrayed in Nazi folklore as examples of the oppressor being overthrown by the oppressed. The Nazis then linked this to the German people needing to overthrow their oppressors in the C20th – the Jews. The only man who could spearhead this, according to the Nazi ‘philosopher’, Alfred Rosenberg, was Adolf Hitler.