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Population Policy in Germany

Nature volume 140, page 678 (16 October 1937) | Download Citation



WE have received, through the courtesy of Baronesse von der Goltz, two papers, written by members of the "Reichsbund der Kinderreichen" of Berlin, dealing with the present population policy of the German authorities, both Government and municipal. These papers are interesting as showing the reasoned approval of the measures taken in Germany in recent years, on the part of many—perhaps of most—Germans who have studied the legislation in question. The first paper is entitled "Birth Policy and the Problem of Space", and is written by Dr. Danzer. The author stresses the view that national existence is bound up with the question of the birth-rate, and that neglect of the obvious tendency in western Europe must lead to disaster. He thinks that the world at large is too apt to consider that Germany is over-populated and that a large population is only desired for imperialistic purposes. He points out that England and Belgium have double the population density of Germany ; and he remarks that unemployment is not necessarily caused by overcrowding, as is clearly evidenced by the case of the United States. As to space, the resources of Germany are not exhausted, and the more diligent and efficient a people is, the higher the birth-rate can safely be ; and, in any event, it is impossible to lay down a theoretical optimum density, which must vary with varying conditions. He makes the point that there is no instance of the decline of any country being caused by a high birth-rate. In spite of the Great War, it has been found possible to increase agricultural production, so that Germany is now nearly self-sufficient, and only has to import eggs and fats. As to the Colonies, Germany only wants these back as a source of raw materials, and not for population purposes. He ends by saying that the white race is seriously threatened, and that the day will come when every able-bodied white man, German, French, British or Italian, will be asked to save the civilization which they have built up in a millennium.

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