Gotfrid Feder

Gotfrid Feder

One of the first ideologists of National Socialism.
Date of Birth: 27.01.1883
Country: Germany

  1. Biography of Gotthard Feder
  2. Contributions to National Socialism
  3. Conflicts with Hitler and Later Life

Biography of Gotthard Feder

Gotthard Feder (1883-1941) was one of the early ideologists of National Socialism. He was born on January 27, 1883, in Wurzburg. After obtaining an engineering degree in 1905, he settled in Munich and worked on constructing aircraft hangars. Later, he turned to political economics. By the end of World War I, Feder came to the conclusion that the country's economic collapse should be attributed to the financial and industrial elites of Germany. Although he advocated for the preservation of the capitalist system, especially its productive sector, such as factories, mines, and engineering firms, he believed that this development path was not absolute as it did not bring overall profit. The idea of "advantage of forced labor" became a key point in his theoretical work. Feder founded an organization called "Deutscher Kampfbund zur Befreiung der Arbeiter" (German Union for the Abolition of Forced Labor). He unsuccessfully tried to interest Kurt Eisner, the communist leader of the Bavarian Revolution in 1918, in his ideas. In early 1919, Feder became a member of the German Workers' Party, created by Anton Drexler. Among its first members were Captain Ernst Röhm, Dietrich Eckart, Franz von Epp, and later, Adolf Hitler. In May 1919, after hearing Feder's speech at a meeting of this tiny party, Hitler found his own aspirations reflected in it. He described the effect of this speech in Mein Kampf: "For the first time in my life, I saw the essence of international capitalism. When I heard Feder's first lecture, the thought flashed through my mind that I had found the necessary prerequisites for creating a new party... The economic development of Germany showed me that the heaviest battles of the future would not be fought with enemy nations, but with international capital. I felt the powerful prophecy of this impending battle in Feder's words." For Hitler, Feder's theories, which defined the boundary between stock exchange capital and the national economy, provided an opportunity to engage in the struggle against the internationalization of the German economy without the risk of losing the independence of the national economy in the fight against capital. The most favorable aspect for Hitler was the fact that it allowed him to characterize international capitalism as entirely under the control of Jews. Soon, Hitler joined the German Workers' Party, and Feder became his friend and teacher. Feder, together with Drexler, Eckart, and Hitler, was the author of the "25 points" of the NSDAP program. He succeeded in including his concept of forced labor in the program. From that moment, Feder dedicated himself to the National Socialist movement, which he regarded as a sharp contrast to modern capitalism and its "Marxist satellites".

Contributions to National Socialism

Feder served as the editor of the National Socialist Library, which gathered works criticizing the Dawes Plan, freemasonry, capitalist department stores, the evil of the Jewish press, and more. He edited the journals "Der Stürmer" ("The Fighter") in Forchheim, "Die Flamme" ("The Flame") in Nuremberg, and "Hessenhammer" ("Hammer of Hesse") in Darmstadt. During this period, Feder was considered the most intellectual ideologist of National Socialism. In 1923, when Hitler was released from Landsberg Prison after the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch, he found a party torn between two ideological factions. One was a populist, racist, anti-industrial faction centered around Feder. The other was an urban socialist, revolutionary faction led by the Strasser brothers, Gregor and Otto. Feder passionately defended his viewpoint in the Reichstag, where he was elected in 1924, and at party meetings. On October 14, 1930, Feder presented a bill in the Reichstag aimed at freezing interest rates at 4% and expropriating the property of the banking and stock exchange leaders who were Jews. For a long time, the Reichstag did not pay serious attention to such ideas, but now the Nazi Party had 107 representatives, or almost one-third of the parliament. Feder stated that the party intended to create a zone of small peasant farms in the east, "farm to farm," and that he planned to eliminate unprofitable large estates.

Conflicts with Hitler and Later Life

By this time, Hitler, who was determined to achieve political power, began to realize that Feder's populist views were not only outdated but also could harm his own reputation on the path to supreme power. Dr. Hjalmar Schacht warned Hitler that Feder's planned economic model could undermine Germany's economy. Hitler had a choice: either stay with Feder's "outdated ideas" or accept the support of Rhineland industrialists like Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and Fritz Thyssen or companies like Siemens. Hitler chose the industrialists. In July 1933, after the Nazis came to power, Feder was "rewarded" with a secondary position as an assistant minister in the Ministry of Economics. In this role, he answered to Dr. Kurt Schmidt, the director of Germany's largest insurance company, on whose behalf he tried to organize "rurban" settlements, uniting farmers around major cities, which sparked protests from the Reichsnährstand, a national farmers' organization. Furthermore, Hitler, who by this time had begun implementing Germany's rearmament program and was in dire need of the support and favor of Rhineland industrialists, became increasingly concerned about Feder's activities. In December 1934, Hitler dismissed him from the Ministry of Economics. Unlike the "old Bolsheviks" that Stalin got rid of, Feder was allowed to pursue his personal life. He attempted to convince Hitler that his ideas and theories had won millions of supporters for the party who would now inevitably disband. Feder viewed the Third Reich as a betrayal of the revolution, but he could no longer do anything about it. Hitler parted ways with his friend. Feder died in Murnau on September 24, 1941.