Volk ohne Raum

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"Volk ohne Raum" (English: People without Space) was a political slogan used in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. The term was coined by the nationalist writer Hans Grimm with his novel Volk ohne Raum (1926). The novel immediately attracted much attention and sold nearly 700,000 copies.[1]

The slogan was used in a political context to suggested that due to the Treaty of Versailles depriving Germany of her colonial empire, the Germans had become a people without living space (Lebensraum), struggling with poverty, misery, hunger and overpopulation.[2] Closely linked to this idea was the claim that the earth was divided unfairly among the Great Powers, leaving the Germans possessing little land compared to the less populous European nations.[2]

The usage of the slogan is most known for its usage by the Nazis. In Nazi propaganda the slogan was repeatedly used to at least justify or legitimize the German conquest of Poland and the Soviet Union and for the massive territorial expansion into Eastern Europe to ensure the supremacy of the 'Aryan' German master race. Nazi ideology viewed the Slavs as sub-humans who according to the Nazi secret plan Generalplan Ost were designed to be enslaved, expelled and exterminated. From the very early days of the Nazi party, the notion that the Germans were people without living space and had a right to expand was widespread among German nationalists and right-wing organisations. On February 24, 1920, Hitler proclaimed the party program and one of the 25 points of the National Socialist Program stated: "We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population."[3] In order to justify their Drang nach Osten ("desire to push East"), the Nazis amended the slogan of Volk ohne Raum by declaring the vast, sparsely populated lands of Russia a Raum ohne Volk (a "space without people") which had to be conquered by Germany, the "nation without space".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wistrich, Robert Solomon (2002). Who's who in Nazi Germany. Routledge. p. 85. ISBN 0-415-26038-8. 
  2. ^ a b Carsten, Francis Ludwig (1985). Essays in German history. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 309. ISBN 0-907628-67-2. 
  3. ^ "25-Punkte-Programm der NSDAP" (in German). DHM. Retrieved 9 April 2009.