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Richard Walther Darré

In office
1933 – 1942
Chancellor Adolf Hitler
Preceded by Alfred Hugenberg
Succeeded by Herbert Backe

Born 14 July 1895(1895-07-14)
Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died 5 September 1953 (aged 58)
West Germany Munich, West Germany
Birth name Ricardo Walther Oscar Darré
Nationality German
Political party Nazi
Spouse(s) Alma Staadt (div.)
Charlotte Freiin von Vittinghoff-Schell
Alma mater University of Halle
Cabinet Hitler
Religion Paganist

Richard Walther Darré (born Ricardo Walther Oscar Darré, 14 July 1895 - 5 September 1953) was an SS-Obergruppenführer and one of the leading Naziblood and soil’ (German Blut und Boden) ideologists. He served as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture from 1933 to 1942.


Early life

Darré was born in Belgrano[1] a Buenos Aires neighbourhood, in Argentina to Richard Oscar Darré (born 10 March 1854, Berlin; died 20 February 1929, Wiesbaden)[2][3] and the half-Swedish/half-German Emilia Berta Eleonore, née Lagergren (born 23 July 1872, Buenos Aires; died 20 July 1936, Bad Pyrmont). His father moved to Argentina in 1888 as a partner of the German international import/export wholesaler Engelbert Hardt & Co.[2]. Although his parents' marriage was not a happy one (according to Richard Walther, his father was a hard drinker and womanizer[4]), they lived prosperously, and educated their children privately until they were forced to return to Germany as a result of worsening international relations in the years preceding the Great War. Darré's personal upbringing was broad enough to allow him to gain fluency in four languages: Spanish, German, English, and French.

Darré's parents sent him to Germany at age nine to attend school in Heidelberg; in 1911 he was sent as an exchange pupil to King's College School in Wimbledon. The rest of the family returned to Germany in 1912. Richard (as he was known in the family) then spent two years at the Oberrealschule in Gummersbach, followed in early 1914 by the German Colonial School at Witzenhausen, south of Göttingen, where his interest in farming was awakened.

After a single term at Witzenhausen, he volunteered for army service. He was lightly wounded a number of times while serving during World War I, but fared better than most of his contemporaries.

When the war ended he contemplated returning to Argentina for a life of farming, but the family's weakening financial position during the years of inflation made this impossible. Instead he returned to Witzenhausen to continue his studies. He then obtained unpaid work as a farm assistant in Pomerania: his observation of the treatment of returning German soldiers there influenced his later writings.

In 1922 he moved to the University of Halle to continue his studies: here he took an agricultural degree, specialising in animal breeding. He did not complete his PhD studies until 1929, at the comparatively mature age of 34. During these years he spent some time working in East Prussia and Finland.

He was married twice. In 1922 he married Alma Staadt[5], a schoolfriend of his sister Ilse. He divorced Alma in 1927, and subsequently married Charlotte Freiin von Vittinghoff-Schell, who survived him. The first marriage produced two daughters.

Political awakening

As a young man in Germany, Darré initially joined the Artamans, a Volkish youth group who were committed to returning to the land. It was against this backdrop that Darré began to develop the idea that the future of the "Nordic race" was linked to the soil in what came to be known as "Blut und Boden". Here "Blut" (blood) represents race or ancestry, while "Boden" can be translated as soil, territory, or land. The essence of the theory was the mutual and long-term relationship between a people and the land that it occupies and cultivates.

His first political article in 1926 was on the subject of Internal Colonisation, which argued against Germany attempting to regain lost colonies. Most of his writing at this time, however, was on technical aspects of animal breeding.

His first book, Das Bauerntum als Lebensquell der nordischen Rasse ('Peasantry as the life-source of the Nordic Race'), was written in 1928. He advocated more natural methods of land management, placing great emphasis on the conservation of forests, and demanded more open space and air in the raising of farm animals. Amongst those who heard and were impressed by these arguments was Heinrich Himmler, himself one of the Artamans.

"In his two major works, he defined the German peasantry as a homogeneous racial group of Nordic antecedents, who formed the cultural and racial core of the German nation. [..] Since the Nordic birth-rate was lower than that of other races, the Nordic race was under a long-term threat of extinction."[6]

As a Nazi Party member

Darré went on to become an active Nazi and in the summer of 1930 he set up an agrarian political apparatus to recruit farmers into the NSDAP. Darré saw three main roles for this apparatus: to exploit unrest in the countryside as a weapon against the urban government; to win over the peasants as staunch Nazi supporters; to gain a constituency of people who could be used as settlers to displace the Slavs in future conquests in the East. In all he was fairly successful in turning the countryside to National Socialism.

In his religious views, Dárre would belong to the paganist fraction within the Nazi movement (see: Religious aspects of Nazism); however, unlike Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg, he has not become a figure of interest in the speculation about Nazi occultism. [7] In her biography of him, Anna Bramwell also looks at Darre's involvement in certain Nordic circles.

Darré's works were primarily concerned with the ancient and present Nordic peasantry (the ideology of Blood and soil), however, within this context, he made an explicit attack against Christianity. In his two main works (Das Bauerntum als Lebensquell der Nordischen Rasse, Munich, 1927 and Neuadel aus Blut und Boden, Munich, 1930), Darré accused Christianity, with its "teaching of the equality of men before God," to have "deprived the Teutonic nobility of its moral foundations", the "innate sense of superiority over the nomadic tribes".[8]

Soon after the Nazis had come to power, Darré became the Reichsminister of Food and Agriculture, Director of the Race and Settlement Office ('Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt' or RuSHA), and Reichsbauernführer (usually translated as Reich Peasant Leader, though the word Bauer also denotes Farmer), serving from June 1933 to May 1942. He campaigned for big landowners to part with some of their land to create new farms, and promoted the controversial Erbhofgesetz, which reformed the inheritance laws to prevent splitting up of farms into smaller units. He was also instrumental in reclaiming land from the North Sea.

He played a leading part in setting up the SS Race and Resettlement Office (where he later received the nickname Crazyknight), a fiercely racist, anti-Semitic organization. He developed a plan for "Rasse und Raum" ("race and space", or territory) which provided the ideological background for the Nazi expansive policy on behalf of the "Drang nach Osten" ("Drive to the east") and of the "Lebensraum" ("Living space") theory expounded in Mein Kampf. Darré strongly influenced SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler in his goal to create a German racial aristocracy based on selective breeding. The Nazi policies of eugenics would lead to the annihilation of millions of non-Germans. Himmler would later break with Darré, whom he saw as too theoretical. Darré was generally on bad terms with Hjalmar Schacht, particularly as Germany suffered poor harvests in the mid 1930s.

Darré resigned in 1942, ostensibly on health grounds, but in reality because he disputed an order from Hitler to reduce rations in the labour camps.

After the War

Darré was arrested in 1945 and tried at the subsequent Nuremberg Trials (specifically, the Ministries Trial, 1947-49). He was acquitted on many of the more serious charges against him, specifically those relating to genocide; but was nevertheless sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 1950 and died in Munich on 5 September 1953 of cancer of the liver, induced by alcoholism.

Darré's writings have proven fairly influential on those modern-day extremists who also believe in the decadence of urban life and the nobility of self-sufficiency. His two main writings were Das Bauerntum als Lebensquell der nordischen Rasse (1928) and Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (1934), translated into English as "The Peasantry as Life Source of the Nordic Race" and "A New Nobility of Blood and Soil" respectively.


  • Peasantry as Life-Source of the German Race (1928)
  • New Nobility from Blood and Soil (1929)
  • Pig as Criterion for Nordic Peoples and Semites (1933)


  • Blood and Soil: Richard Walther Darré and Hitler's "Green Party" by Anna Bramwell (Kensal Press, 1985, ISBN 0946041334)
  • Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890 edited by Philip Rees, (1991, ISBN 0130893013)
  • The Plough and the Swastika: The NSDAP and Agriculture in Germany, 1928-45 by J.E. Farquharson (London, 1976, reprinted by Landpost Pr, 1992, ISBN 1880881039)
  1. ^ Blood and Soil: Walther Darré and Hitler's Green Party, Anna Bramwell (Kensal Press, 1985, ISBN 0-946041-33-4)
  2. ^ a b Richard [Oscar] Darré, Meine Erziehung im Elternhause und durch das Leben, Wiesbaden, 1925
  3. ^ Bramwell gives the middle name as "Oskar"
  4. ^ Letter to his wife Alma quoted by Bramwell
  5. ^ One contributor gives her first name as Albertine. Bramwell spells the surname Stadt
  6. ^ Bramwell 1985: 55
  7. ^ H. T. Hakl. 1997: Nationalsozialismus und Okkultismus. (German) In: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: Die okkulten Wurzeln des Nationalsozialismus. Graz, Austria: Stocker (German edition of The Occult Roots of Nazism, p. 197. An English translation of this essay is available.
  8. ^ Richard Steigmann-Gall. 2003: The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, p.103

See also

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Alfred Hugenberg
Minister of Food
Succeeded by
Herbert Backe


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The United States is at present so demoralized and so corrupted that, like France and England, it need not be taken into consideration as a military adversary.

Richard Walther Darré (July 14, 1895September 5, 1953), born Ricardo Walther Oscar Darré, also known as Richard Walter Darré, SS-Obergruppenführer, was one of the Nazi leading "blood and soil" ideologists. He served as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture from 1933 to 1942. He played a leading part in setting up the SS Race and Resettlement Office (where he later received the nickname "Crazyknight"), a fiercely racist, anti-Semitic organization. Darré was arrested in 1945 and tried at the subsequent Nuremberg Trials. He was acquitted on many of the more serious charges against him, specifically those relating to genocide; but was nevertheless sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 1950 and died in Munich on September 5, 1953 of cancer of the liver, induced by alcoholism.


  • As soon as we beat England we shall make an end of you Englishmen once and for all. Able-bodied men and women between the ages of 16 and 45 will be exported as slaves to the Continent. The old and weak will be exterminated. All men remaining in Britain as slaves will be sterilised; a million or two of the young women of the Nordic type will be segregated in a number of stud farms where, with the assistance of picked German sires, during a period of 10 or 12 years, they will produce annually a series of Nordic infants to be brought up in every way as Germans. These infants will form the future population of Britain. They will be partially educated in Germany and only those who fully satisfy the Nazi's requirements will be allowed to return to Britain and take up permanent residence. The rest will be sterilised and sent to join slave gangs in Germany. Thus, in a generation or two, the British will disappear.
    • Alleged speech (1940), as reported in Life magazine. (No German source known; could be allied propaganda.) Quoted in "Women in Air Force Blue" - Page 213 - by Beryl E. Escott - History - 1989
  • The unity of blood and soil must be restored.
    • 1930. Quoted in "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience" - Page 17 - by Janet Biehl, Peter Staudenmaier - 1995
  • The concept of Blood and Soil gives us the moral right to take back as much land in the East as is necessary to establish a harmony between the body of our Volk and the geopolitical space.
    • Quoted in "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience" - Page 19 - by Janet Biehl, Peter Staudenmaier - 1995
  • The United States is at present so demoralized and so corrupted that, like France and England, it need not be taken into consideration as a military adversary.
    • Speech to Nationalist Socialist Party officials, May 1940. Quoted in "The Experts Speak" - Page 112 - by Christopher Cerf, Victor Navasky - 1984
  • The new aristocracy will arise in this way. We shall gather in the best blood only. Just as we have again produced the old Hanover type of horse from sires and dams who had little of the old purity left, so we shall again, in the course of generations, breed the pure type of the Nordic German by means of recessive crossing. Perhaps we shall not be able to purify the whole of the German nation again. But the new German aristocracy will be a pure breed in the literal sense of the term. I want all my peasant leaders to enter the S.S. We shall breed the new aristocracy from the human reserves of the S.S. We shall do systematically and on the basis of scientific, biological knowledge what the old blood aristocracy of former days did by instinct. In this transitional era we must replace instinct by rational measures. We shall in the first instance make use of the peasantry, insofar as it has the sense to join the movement. We shall also make use of the good heritage of all the old blood aristocracy that has remained pure. I can visualise the formation of ' halls of nobility,' where the new aristocracy, deeply rooted in the soil, will at the same time assume the mission of leadership among alien races. In other words, these halls of nobility will be situated in the foreign-language districts of our future empire.
    • Quoted in "Hitler Speaks" - Page 40 - by Hermann Rauschning - 2006

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