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Journal of Social and Ecological Boundaries Spring 2005 1 1 21 46 Copyright 2005 by Author s ISSN 151 9880 Forest as Volk Ewiger Wald and the Religion of Nature in the Third Reich Robert G Lee College of Forest Resources University of Washington R Sabine Wilke Germanics Department University of Washington obert A Pois has argued that a prominent feature of Nazi ideology was a religion of nature 1 In fact Adolf Hitler Martin Bormann Paul Goebbels Hermann G ring Heinrich Himmler R Walther Darr and other Nazi leaders all wrote and spoke about the need for seeing humankind as part of nature subject to the rigors of natural law They shared a vision of timeless reality immune from the traumas of history i e a non transcendent Providence acting through nature By conforming to the laws of nature so the premise went the German people would attain a strength and greatness enabling them to rise above their troubled history and dreary existence This act of collective regeneration to use Mircea Eliade s term would recover the Volksgemeinschaft that was felt to be the true spiritual home of the German people 2 While some have interpreted Nazi millenarianism as a heretical offshoot of Christianity 3 Pois demonstrates how the National Socialist leaders explicitly sought to supplant the Judeo Christian tradition with a religion of nature a religion rooted in the indigenous spirit of Germanic blood and soil 4 The natural religion of National Socialism achieved practical expression in the sanctification of the nation With the turning of the German nation into a sanctified Volksgemeinschaft knowledge that did not serve the interests of this community was not merely extraneous it was heretical 5 A variety of media were used to advance this new ideology by capturing the hearts and minds of the German people Film was one of the most effective means of communication and German filmmak 22 Journal of Social and Ecological Boundaries ers were technically advanced in their art One film Ewiger



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