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Demographic and Political Tasks for Germany

I evaluate the success of our work not in the growth in road-building, not in new factories. I don't evaluate it by the new bridges we construct, nor by the military divisions we build. At the center of evaluation of our success is the German child, the German youth. If their number grows, I will know that our people will not be beaten and that our work was not in vain.

Adolf Hitler.

Dr. Walter Gross, head of the Racial Policy Office of the Nazi Party:

Demographic Political Tasks

The Four Year Plan means an incredible concentration of will and all forces of our nation in order to achieve the enormous and urgent tasks dictated by our present political and economic situation and the necessity to secure our freedom in the future. It is the nature of such a concentration of forces that other wishes and tasks have to yield for short or longer periods of time in front of the one important goal. It is this very concentration on one goal that enables the mobilization of the enormous forces necessary to achieve the target.

At the same time, one has to keep in mind that there are other tasks which may seem marginal, but are essential for the accomplishment of the set target. An issue whose relation to the Four Year Plan should be closely examined is the National Socialist population policy – the heart of our entire historic reconstruction work.

The big racial political negative measures of the last four years are well known. They involved the exclusion of the Jewish blood, the prevention of the creation of new Mischlinge, the hindrance of spreading of genetic diseases, the prevention of unwanted marriages by denial of permits. The great positive mission of our racial and demographic policy remains a serious work of securing the human stock essential for maintaining the folkish, political and economic power essential in the coming decades.

I do not mean the health and improvement of the individual in the German people. The question of health deserves another discussion. But Germany, as well as most of the European peoples, has to master a very harsh problem: the decline in the birth rate evident for the last decades, which is now threatening to shrink our human resources…

The folkish and political necessity of maintaining our nation does not need to be explained. However the connection between the decline in births and the economic situation should be discussed once again. After all, the great goals of the Four Year Plan are distinctly influenced by birth rates.

In a normally growing people there is a healthy proportion between the different age groups, represented by the population “pyramid”: the age groups become larger as the age goes down, i.e. a division of the population in which the old and unable to work represent only a part compared to the younger and capable to work. The decline in birth rates in the last decades has brought about a swelling of the older age groups and a decline in the part of the younger age groups in the general population…

Finally, special regard should be given to the question of quality and achievement of the German people. This depends not only on education and environment, but first and foremost on hereditary stock. Therefore in the long run the only way to attain the improvement of the nation is the enhancing of births in families of high achievement. At the contrary end, the terrible decline in the number of children per family among members of higher social classes is one of the big dangers of past development. Another fact, fatal to the race, is a higher marriage age for members of the professions and higher education. The longer education enforces a more elevated marriage age and therefore a smaller number of children for the more qualified families in society, as compared to those less qualified and educated for hereditary reasons. When this is the case, within several generations the society will deprive itself of people for skilled labor and will seriously and permanently impair its achievements.

A final word has to be said regarding the significance of dwelling and settlement for demographic policy. The need to provide every member of the nation with dwellings and a place to settle is only one side of the problem. The dwelling is not merely the home of the individual, but becomes the home where the family will be raised, from which the next generation of our people will come. If we limit the space of the family home, the newly wed couples will have less children and the nation will suffer a setback in demographic terms. Whereas rented apartments are always regarded as temporary dwellings and can be changed a couple of years later for a bigger home, the rural home ,because of its being on the land the family cultivates, is viewed more as a home for the entire lifetime. Therefore the question of quality of space and its effects is much more decisive in rural populations than for those who live in a rented apartment in the city. The houses for farmers have to be planned in such a way that they can be enlarged.

Source: "Der Vierjahresplan," August 1937.

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