At the Friday night tiki torch march of the fascists at the University of Virginia, one of the things they were chanting was “blood and soil.” I assumed they were merely making a reference to spilling blood, but turns out this was a common Nazi slogan in the 1920s.
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.
Hitler wanted all Germans to identify themselves with a glorious historic past based on descendants who worked off the land. There was an element of romanticism associated with this belief as it failed to take into account the importance of industry in the rise of Imperial Germany in the late C19th and early C20th. However, Hitler associated industry with socialism, communism and trade unions – even if he was to court the support (and money) of the industrialists in later years…
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.
Interesting. But I wonder why today’s neo-Nazis who marched chose that slogan? I doubt most of them have any interest in becoming farmers. And they looked like mostly a collection of frat boys, not some backwoods rednecks that fit the typical KKK stereotype. Richard Spencer doesn’t seem like a guy who is going to be manning a plow anytime soon. So I wonder what the process was by which they chose that as a slogan to chant. Was it just the connection to Hitler? Or is there some deeper meaning, something indicative of some specific goal or ideological position that they think is relevant today?