Food Ethics

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 235–245 | Cite as

Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare Discourses in the Third Reich

Research Article


After the National Socialists assumed power in 1933, their ideas on animal welfare gained a foothold in veterinary organizations. Moreover, veterinary authorities as well as practitioners themselves influenced and shaped this particular form of animal welfare, which departed from frameworks such as those offered by the animal protection movement. Not only did leading figures of the profession commit themselves to work in animal welfare organizations, they were also complicit in helping with the ideological purges that followed the “Gleichschaltung,” which forced the more radical elements of the animal protection movement into line with Nazi ideology. Drawing on a discourse analysis of the leading weeklies of the veterinary profession and the major animal welfare journals of the time, this paper analyses overlapping discourses on the meaning of animal welfare and how these discourses were integrated in the National Socialist leitmotivs of national wealth and the nationalist concept of a folk community. It also considers how the veterinary profession’s to be the sole “advocate and helper of animals” affected the relationship between the animal protection movement and veterinary institutions.


National Socialism Animal protection movement Veterinary institutions Animal welfare legislation Volksgemeinschaft 


National Socialist readings of animal welfare have left their mark on specific concepts of the animal. Furthermore, the application of these readings determined who had a say in the matter of animal well-being and who counted as an expert on animal suffering. The aim of this paper is to show how the veterinary profession and its leading institutions helped to create this particular form of animal welfare by supporting the establishment of a certain legal regime governing animals and animal-related practices. Through close readings of the main weeklies of the veterinary profession1 and those of animal protection organizations,2 it becomes evident how a common ground was forged; this ground was based on the idea of a “Germanic disposition” to animal welfare as well as on an economic attitude that stressed the importance of animals as part of the war effort and that regarded any misdemeanors against animals as an attack on the national economy.

The first part of this paper will introduce a genealogical approach to introduce the role veterinary institutions came to play in defining animal welfare. It will focus on the time between 1933 and 1938, the formative years of National Socialism, as well as on the time of its consolidation.3 How the collaborations between the veterinary profession and the animal protection movement materialized and how the veterinary institutions reacted to the latter’s ideological cleansing by the regime are questions that are central to this analysis. Additionally, how the veterinary institutions influenced the ideological realignment of the movement after the “Gleichschaltung” (the enforced political adaptation and coordination) in Nazi Germany will be investigated, as well as how this helped to actively shape the National Socialist view of the proper relationship between human and animal. This part also highlights the legal and administrative decisions that contributed to some animal-related practices being privileged before others.

The second part of this paper will focus on how the radicalization of the regime from 1938 onwards resonated in specific discourses on animal welfare and well-being, as well as ideas on the animal more generally. Discourses here are to be understood as effects created by language and power. These animal-related discourses remained effective throughout the Third Reich, but were particularly pervasive in the war years. With Reisigl and Wodak it will be argued that “linguistic and other semiotic practices mediate and reproduce ideology” (Reisigl and Wodak 2009, 88) and that ideology in turn impacts social practices. These practices became visible in leitmotifs like the “Volksgemeinschaft” (folk community),4 “Volksgesundheit” (public health), and “Volksvermögen” (national economy). The way in which professional veterinary bodies take up these leitmotifs will be examined here, as well as the important role these leitmotifs played in constructing specific societal frameworks that would later make up the National Socialist public. As Martin Brumme has argued, the veterinary profession, represented by their leadership, was more than willing to accept the paradigms of racial hygiene and folk anthropology (Brumme 1997, 30) that were communicated through animal welfare propaganda. As such, I will argue here the power to determine the discourses surrounding human-animal relations is itself deeply ingrained into National Socialist ideology (Roscher 2012; Möhring 2011).

This paper takes a cultural historical approach in so far as it focuses on practices, mentalities, and discourses more than it singles out political events and actors.5 By taking a two-step genealogical approach to uncover a plural and sometimes contradictory past and a concept of historical development defined by the intertwining of power relations and formations of knowledge, I hope to highlight how the institutionalized networks, interconnections, demarcation lines, and adaption strategies between the animal protection movement and the veterinary profession from 1933 to 1938 played an important part in the discursive formation of animals in the Third Reich.

Part One: Veterinary Institutions, Animal Protection, and the Politics of “Gleichschaltung”

The history of the organized animal protection movement and the institutions of the veterinary profession is characterized by their ambivalent and often shifting relationship toward one another. At the beginning of the 1930s, this relation was at best tense, if not broken. First and foremost, there was a struggle over who had the power to define animal well-being. But the legal implementation of animal welfare was also at stake. Besides conflicts that centered on antagonisms between town and country, disputes arose over the topics of quackery and incompetency. While animal protection remained a predominantly urban movement, just as it had been during the nineteenth century, the veterinary profession claimed to be the protector of a peasantry that happened to not be educated enough to be able to absorb the message of animal welfare in its entirety.6 Furthermore, the growing professionalization of veterinarians went hand in hand with a sharp differentiation from and renunciation of an animal protection movement perceived as being overtly emotional and hysterical. When the National Socialists claimed sovereignty after the elections of January 1933, these discussions were still in full swing and were to determine the requests addressed to the new administration. Both sides, veterinarians and animal protectionists, hoped that the government would attend to their concerns.

However, this open antagonism was resolved through further consolidation of the regime. When in 1937 the Reichstierschutzbund, the only legal representative of animal protection organizations, praised the professional education of veterinary students, this was in accordance with the new implicit – and deeply ideological – understanding of the veterinarian as the uncontested expert on any kind of animal suffering, with the animal protection movement only playing a supporting role.7 Technically, this understanding was laid out in §12 of the animal welfare law, which had already been passed in 1933 and served as the foundation of a specific model of animal welfare with nationalistic undertones.

From 1935 onwards, therefore, the animal protection movement and the veterinary institutions were were no longer in conflict, at least not on paper. They were unified in adhering to National Socialist propaganda claiming the “racial disposition of the Germanic people to animal welfare,”8 which was also proclaimed as the reasoning behind such laws regulating animal welfare. As National Socialist leaders took pride in presenting themselves as keen animal lovers (Uekötter 2006), there was no room for a different reading. This unanimous orientation was also based on the “Gleichschaltung,” the forced alignment of all civil institutions, associations, clubs, and unions that took place between 1934 and 1937, the years of consolidation, and which was characterized by the systematic elimination of non-Nazi organizations (Koonz 2003). Both animal protection and veterinary profession were subject to this form of alignment, albeit to different degrees.

The “Gleichschaltung” of the animal protection movement was executed in two steps. First, the Reichstierschutzbund was established in 1933. Within the movement, people not in accordance with the ideals proclaimed by the Reichstierschutzbund, such as radical antivivisectionists and vegetarian societies, were systematically purged. All Jewish people had been prevented from entering any society from as far back as 1933, and the animal protection societies were no exception. The second step was taken with the passing of the fifth bylaw of the Reichstierschutzgesetz in August of 1938. It forbade all animal charities not yet belonging to the Reichstierschutzbund on the basis that they did not comply with its statutes. The Reichstierschutzbund was put under direct control of Hermann Göring’s Reichsinnenministerium (office of the interior). The move was intended to concentrate all energy in a single organization and eliminate the disorder and eccentricity that had dominated the field of animal protection before.9 Furthermore, all leaders of local animal protection groups belonging to the Reichstierschutzbund were required to be members of the Nazi-party, the NSDAP.

The veterinary institutions welcomed the eradication of elements within the animal protection movement they perceived as radical, fanatical and ignorant, most of all the antivivisectionists but also the anti-immunization lobby and the life reform movement. Professor Schmaltz, founder of the Berliner Tierärztlichen Wochenschrift and former head of the Berlin veterinary school, proclaimed that, since the animal protection movement had been rid of its “extravenous elements“,” it would now be open to the practical involvement of veterinarians.10 The “eccentric opinions” towards animal welfare, he claimed, were “counterproductive.”11

While in the formative years of the regime, the animal protection movement still tried to claim the moral high ground, this strategy failed at the latest from 1938 onwards. From then on, when leading activists suspected the veterinary authorities were not fully in line with the Reichstierschutzgesetz, they faced the possibility of being excluded from any further discussion.12 Such was the case with fervent Nazi K.F. Finus, editor of the magazine Der Deutsche Tierfreund, who accused the veterinary profession of not acting according to the “Führer’s will.” Indeed, in 1941, the magazine, which was radically anti-Semitic, was discontinued, allegedly due to paper shortage. At this point, the voice of the animal protection movement did not carry the same weight as that of the veterinary bodies. This could also be observed in the subjects brought forward by the movement: the regulation of stables in the countryside, where the animal protection activists longed for a more rigorous clampdown by the authorities. Regulating stables was seen as the right vehicle for attaching greater importance to animal suffering and for going beyond merely providing vague guidance on how to act properly towards animals.13 However, it was the veterinarians’ stance that the farming community ought to be protected from too rigid an application of the law instituted by the authorities. Another example of alleged animal cruelty against which animal welfarists campaigned was the practice of keeping dogs permanently chained. This also led to friction between the groups, as the practice was considered by veterinarians as “unfortunate but indispensable.”14

The veterinary profession itself was much less subject to forceful reorganization in the sense that their professional institutions were purged. The course for adopting National Socialist ideology was set voluntarily as early as the last years of the Weimar Republic (Brumme 1981; Sax 2000). Veterinary institutions were, of course, not alone in this political alignment; most established sciences were ideologically aligned with the regime and exhibited a “high degree of self-mobilization” (Raphael 2014: see also Renneberg and Walker 2003) even before the NSDAP came into power. Within the veterinary sciences, all organizations, universities, etc. had adopted the “Führerprinzip” (leadership principle) in the structure of their associations of their own accord.15 The Reichsbund Deutscher Tierärzte (Association of German Veterinarians) was founded in 1934 and replaced all customary veterinary chambers. All practicing veterinarians were obliged to enter the organization.

However, those in the veterinary profession did not just sanitize their own organizations according to National Socialist principles, but also helped to model the animal protection movement on these principles. This is most obvious in the case of the antivivisectionist cause. Vivisection was banned in Prussia by a decree on August 13, 1933 administered by Hermann Göring, then prime minister of Prussia. The topic of animal experimentation had long been on the agenda of radical animal protection activists well beyond the nationalist spectrum. However, the new law was considered a thorn in the side of veterinarians, especially those at academic institutions, even though they were granted generous exemptions due to their leading role in defining animal well-being. Yet morally they were tainted by the law, as it placed them on the side of the perpetrators. This all changed with the passing of the Reichstierschutzgesetz, which was drafted in conjunction with veterinary professionals. As pointed out in the commentary on §12, the goal of the law was to “protect the animal keeping population from extreme forms of animal welfare.”16 As a result of this intervention, animal experiments for veterinary purposes were hardly restricted (Brumme 1981). It should thus be noted that the influences of the veterinary institutions on animal welfare legislation by far outweighed the influence of the animal protection movement. The veterinary institutions argued that the fight to ban vivisection had exceeded reasonable limits.17 Leading figures in the veterinary profession, such as Walther Mathieu, called for intervention, to “put a stop to the radicalism.”18 From 1934, still within the formative years of the regime, coverage of vivisection was effectively censored, which also led to the discontinuation of all renowned anti-vivisection magazines, such as Tierschutz und Tierrecht (animal protection and animal rights) (Dirscherl 2012). The anti-vivisection legislation only lasted for three weeks because National Socialists saw this research as too vital for their goal of conducting and winning wars (Uekötter 2006). In this way, the veterinary institutions assumed the role of reviser, rectifying past mistakes by the animal protection movement.19 However, it was not only the radicals that veterinary institutions were complaining about. They also aimed to combat animal welfare of the “soft and sentimental” type, which was supposedly the result of an “unnatural” lifestyle, as K. Reichert complained. Clear demarcation lines were thus drawn: From this point on, the veterinary institutions proclaimed themselves the only legitimate representative of animals and their causes, the self-styled “advocate and helper of animals.”20 The animal protection movement, they concluded, had taken animal rights to the extreme. Furthermore, as Dr. Behnke, writing for the Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift criticized, the movement would suffer from it being led by “sentimental womenfolk,” who he claimed were “mostly unmarried and without children” and would thus “attach their love to all sorts of creatures.”21 With this misogyny, the Nazi animal protection movement, which was characterized by its predominantly male leadership (Roscher 2012), and the veterinary profession found a common ground.

It goes almost without saying that because of the influence of the veterinary institutions on National Socialist animal welfare, there was mixing and overlapping of personnel between the two camps. Historically, this was not a new phenomenon. Already during the German Empire, the moderate animal protection societies prided themselves on having veterinarians in their ranks (Brumme 1991). The number of veterinarians in these societies, however, grew significantly during the Third Reich: In 1940, 22.6% of all animal protection societies associated with the Reichstierschutzbund were under the direction of veterinarians. They were thus the largest occupational group identifiable in the fairly detailed breakdown provided by the Reichstierschutzbund. The next largest group was teachers at 16%, followed by civil servants at 10%.22 This participation of veterinarians had not been the case at the beginning of the 1930s, explaining the desire for more sincere commitment to organized animal welfare articulated in the professional circulars. With regard to the distribution of occupational groups periodically published in the Reichstierschutzblatt, Reinhold Schmaltz remarked that a growing interest on behalf of the veterinarians would be appreciated.23 Within German veterinary circles and especially in its circulars it was clearly articulated that one felt called not only to represent the practical but also the ethical dimension of animal welfare. Dr. Friedrich Weber, Reichsführer of the German veterinarians from 1934 to 1945 and leader of the Reichstierärztekammer (veterinary chamber) from 1936, was of the same opinion. Reinhold Schmaltz was quick to add that “No profession as such is more destined to advance this movement than that of the veterinarians.”24 With more participation from veterinarians, he hoped, animal welfare could be guided in the “right direction.”25 This direction consisted of a strictly “rational,” not overly sentimental approach to animal welfare. Hence, in April 1933, the Berliner Tierärztliche Wochenschrift published an appeal signed by numerous veterinarians, some of them well-known, to become involved in animal protection and to ensure that it did not fall prey to those with exaggerated ideas of animal welfare.

National Socialist ideology and practice thus introduced clear hierarchies to the way animal welfare was defined and enforced. Arguments brought forward by the animal protection movement were seen as “well-intended” but “extreme and disproportionate.”26 Here again, the discrepancies between urban romanticism and rural reality became visible, a discrepancy that also materialized in the debates between the two interest groups. This discrepancy erupted in conflict when veterinarians felt that animal protection activists were overstepping the boundaries of their competence. They were quick to accuse activists of “unlawful assumption of public authority.”27 Veterinarians took up the role of defending animal owners from what they saw as hostilities, born not from “real love for animals” but from the “ignorance of the urban population and its animal friendly attitude.”28 This open conflict between animal protection and veterinary institutions, however, became increasingly muted and finally stopped after the “Gleichschaltung.”

Part Two: National Socialist Leitmotifs and the Discursive Production of the Animal

Animal welfare as propagated by the animal protection movement and the veterinary officials and authorities followed distinctive discursive patterns that ideally fitted the nomenclature of the Third Reich and accompanied the processes of the “Gleichschaltung.” However, these discourses only fully materialized in the years of radicalization. One of the most persuasive discourses exalted animals as being part of the “Volksvermögen” (national economy). In this regard, it was understood that the main duty of the veterinary profession was to keep the animals healthy. The role of the Reichstierschutzbund was then to check on any violations and offenses – strictly excluding those perpetrated by veterinarians who were, if only discursively, presumed not to engage in animal welfare violations. As such, veterinarians stood virtually above the law. Friedrich Weber concluded in his remarks on the Reichstierärzteordnung (statutes of the veterinary profession) from 1936 that the veterinarian was called to “ensure the maintenance of health of the German animal stock, to enlarge its fitness and breeding capabilities, and to protect the German people from dangerous animal diseases or those transmitted by the consumption of animal products.”29 The veterinarian had to solve problems relating both to national economy and public health: Nothing less than the maintenance of the vigour of “precious animal material”30 was at stake. The veterinary journals were quick to conclude that the Reichstierschutzgesetz did not stand in the way of utilizing animals. On the contrary, they found that it was particularly suitable for guiding “animal economy in such a way as to ensure that by utilizing animals in the right way, their economic value will serve national economy on a long-term basis.”31 During the war, animal welfare served primarily to support the economy. From 1939 onwards, animal abusers were mainly accused of being “Volksschädlinge” (enemies of the people) and “saboteurs” of the “Erzeugungsschlacht” (struggle for production), a list of measures to be taken to guarantee German autarchy, and punished accordingly.32 Regarding this, the animal protection movement was aligned with veterinarians, at least in official statements. This meant, however, that economic thinking was always to prevail over the well-being of the individual animal. Animals that did not provide any economic benefits could not hope for any sort of protection. Also, it was declared to be strictly in line with the Reichstierschutzgesetz to use even “lame horses” for hard labor.33 It was up to the veterinary expert to say which sort of animal suffering was still acceptable, keeping in mind the national effort.34

When in 1940 the wartime struggle for production was declared and with this an increase in output from all agricultural business was called for, production times were sped up. The Reichsnährstand (Reich Food Department), the authority responsible for the agricultural sector, remarked on the keeping of pigs, for example, that their overall number should be reduced by one third. Since not enough fodder could be provided to bring all of them to a decent weight, it would make no sense to try to keep them alive. The fodder “invested in these animals is more or less wasted,” the Reichsnährstand proclaimed.35 It was the job of veterinarians to support the measures taken to reduce the pig population.

Indeed, the goal of the steps taken to adhere to the animal welfare law was not to better the situation of animals, but to “improve” animals by selective breeding so that they would adapt to the new standards. Dr. Koch, writing in the Deutsches Tierärzteblatt, called for applying methods of racial hygiene to animals in order to adapt them to the requirements of environmental conditions on German farms. The goal would be to strive for “robust animals able to survive all hygienic conditions.”36 Those conditions were not nearly as pleasant as the National Socialist leadership made believe (Oberkrome 2014), neither for human laborers nor the animals .

Inserted into this economic discourse of utilization was the notion of the Volksgemeinschaft, which was extended to include at least some animals. This notion built on the trope of “performance” for the benefit o the national economy and for the well-being of the nation. The Volksgemeinschaft served as an ideological leitmotif of the Third Reich that did not necessarily fully mirror the material realities of National Socialism but provided a “communicative figuration” (Marszolek 2013) that discursively supported the myths of common descent and the phantasms of blood and soil (Wildt 2014).37 In my analysis, it serves as the dispositive by which the discursive strategies materialized into social realities, as it was the Nazis’ central “social concept” (Steber and Gotto 2014). Animal-related practices were deeply influenced by these social categories, specifically when it came to the tending of livestock. On the one hand, both veterinary institutions and animal protection activists argued vehemently against a solely utilitarian discourse when it came to animals and thereby refused to declare animals as only valuable because they could be exploited. On the other hand, however, by including animals in the Volksgemeinschaft and the “collective subject” (Wildt 2014), who also had to join the war effort and take their part, their exploitation was legitimized. As an indispensable, “lifesaving element” in the hand of the Volksgemeinschaft,38 animals essentially became part of the “Volkskörper” (body of the German people) that was not to be harmed for the people’s sake. However, by placing the “common good” before “the welfare of the individual,”39 a discursive element inherent to Nazi propaganda, the use and misuse of all animals could once again be justified. Moreover, it must also be regarded as highly significant that the inclusion of animals within the Volksgemeinschaft was only ever open to Germanic or Germanized animals. The veterinarian’s attention was only to be directed to “German animal stock.”40 This alleged communalization of the animals did not lead to the accommodation of their interests, nor did it provide protection for “their own sake”, as the Reichstierschutzgesetz rather high-handedly proclaimed. On the contrary, it was declared that at least all livestock “belonged solely to the Reichsnährstand” and as such was to be “attended” by the German veterinary profession.41 Furthermore, a whole range of species were declared vermin and actively excluded from the Volksgemeinschaft. In this way, they were certified as killable. Just what the Volksgemeinschaft entailed was left relatively open, and that is precisely why it was so diversely used and omnipresent in National Socialist vocabulary, including animal-related vocabulary; it served as an “ideal bargaining point in strategy and communication” (Steber and Gotto 2014). Whether animals were include or excluded in the Volksgemeinschaft was largely contextual and depended entirely on how the actors chose to interpret the term. Both the animal protection movement and the veterinary profession relied on the term Volksgemeinschaft excessively, with only slight discursive variance when it came to certain groups of animals, such as pets as opposed to livestock. Neither group, or at least not their representative bodies, questioned the taking of animal life for the good of the German people and thus not acting in accordance with the “Führer’s will.”

A final common thread that is easy to detect in the sources is that of public health, where the healthy animal body was read as the prerequisite of the healthy human body. The veterinarian’s position within society was here determined by the so-called “Tiergesundheitsprinzip” (principle of animal health).42 Its agenda included the notion that all beings not conforming to principles of hereditary biology were to be eliminated. The “breeding ability and performance” of the hereby Germanized animals was even given a programmatic emphasis in §1 of the Reichstierärzteordnung, passed in 1936. The veterinarian was touted as both a “hygienist” and “economist,” or so the Deutsche Tierärzteblatt declared.43 It was his duty to “eradicate” the offspring of “genetically contaminated” animals and those prone to congenital abnormalities that might undermine robustness.44 The National Socialist scale of values, which determined which humans deserved to live, served as a blueprint for the animal world and vice versa. The veterinarian here filled the place of a judge, with the animal protection movement serving as a jury.

To sum up, the discourses surrounding animal welfare followed the rhetorical imperatives of the National Socialist agenda and were employed both by the animal protection movement and veterinary institutions. With this discursive framing of the animal, they supported their claims to be not so much protectors of the animals but wilful agents of the regime, particularly in their views of race, breeding, and national economy.


Taking up a cultural history approach combining analysis of practices with discourses, this paper argued that the active involvement of veterinary institutions was essential to the production of a National Socialist-style animal welfare regime between 1933 and 1938. Furthermore, these institutions helped to define the paradigms that were to dictate and inform animal-related practices and discourses. By claiming to be the only authority able to rightly perceive animal suffering, veterinarians not only confirmed their own status as professionals but also actively helped curtail the influence of the animal protection movement. Veterinary bodies took advantage of the Reichstierschutzgesetz, which guaranteed veterinarians normative power over the animal, animal suffering, and public health. That veterinarians gained sovereignty over interpretation of the law by adhering to certain discourses is equally significant. By willingly taking up the role of “advocate and helper of animals,” and thus bolstering the idea of the animal as part of the Volksgemeinschaft and national economy, veterinarians shaped a specific nationalistic dispositive of animal welfare.


  1. 1.

    These include the Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, the Deutsche Tierärzteblatt, the Berliner Tierärztliche Wochenschrift. and Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift.

  2. 2.

    Reichstierschutzblatt, Der Deutsche Tierfreund.

  3. 3.

    Norbert Frei has provided a chronological framework for National Socialism in which he differentiates between the time of formation (1933–1934), consolidation (1935–1928), and radicalization (1939–1945) (Frei 2001).

  4. 4.

    Some words that originated within the so called “Lingua Tertii Impirii” (Victor Klemperer) have no English equivalent. The explanations given in parenthesis should therefore only be regarded as an attempt to interpret them. All translations of the source material in this text are by the author. The word Volk which was used so ubiquitously by the National Socialists stands for an “organic unity of people, bound by blood, soil, history and culture” (Steber and Gotto 2014).

  5. 5.

    This approach is particularly helpful when studying the Third Reich. Without diminishing the responsibility of single perpetrators, it shows how ideology is formed and preserved by “communities of practice.” It was individual as well as collective ‘performances’ that shaped National Socialist identity. See Horan 2013.

  6. 6.

    Der Deutsche Tierfreund, April/May 1939 9/3: 12.

  7. 7.

    Berliner Tierärztliche Wochenschrift (henceforth: BTW), April 1937 16: 251.

  8. 8.

    Senatspräsident Grau, “Die rassische Bedingtheit des deutschen Menschen zum Tierschutz” (“The racial disposition of the German people to animal welfare“). In Reichstierschutzblatt (henceforth: RTB), 1939 1: 2.

  9. 9.

    RTB, 1938 4: 1.

  10. 10.

    RTB, 1941 2: 10.

  11. 11.

    Raschke. “Der Tierschutz und seine Grenzen” (Animal welfare and its limits). In RTB, 1941 3: 1.

  12. 12.

    Der Deutsche Tierfreund, February/March 1939 9/2: 8.

  13. 13.

    RTB, 1940 2: 4.

  14. 14.

    Reinhold Schmaltz, “Reichstierschutzgesetz, Preuß. Tier- und Pflanzenschutzordnung” (Animal welfare law and Prussian animal and plant protection directive). In BTW November 1933 44: 705.

  15. 15.

    The ideology of the Führerprinzip sees each organization as a hierarchy of leaders, where every leader has absolute responsibility in his own area, demands absolute obedience from those below him, and answers only to his superior. However, as recent studies have shown, National Socialism as a totalitarian system in the sense of a society hierarchically organized from top to bottom has been questioned because of the high degree of consent that the regime enjoyed (Gross 2007). Thus, to say that the decisions made by the veterinary institutions did not reflect the opinion of the profession as a whole would be highly problematic and is indeed unlikely.

  16. 16.

    BTW, January 1934: 60.

  17. 17.

    Behnke. “Tierschutz und Tierarzt” (Animal Welfare and the Veterinarian). In DTW, March 1936 11: 212.

  18. 18.

    Mathieu, “Walther. Lebensmittelüberwachung und Tierschutz” (Food monitoring and animal welfare). In BTW, June 1935 23: 379.

  19. 19.

    BTW, May 1933 16: 250.

  20. 20.

    Reichert, K. “Die Tierquälerei im Spiegel des Krieges und die Stellung des Tierarztes in diesen Fragen” (Animal abuse in face of the war and the veterinarians role in it). In Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift (henceforth: DTW), 1942 45/46: 470.

  21. 21.

    Behnke, cited above: 212.

  22. 22.

    RTB, 1940 6: 1.

  23. 23.

    Schmaltz, Reinhold. “Tierärztliche Beteiligung an Tierschutzvereinen” (Veterinary involvement in animal welfare societies). In Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift (henceforth: BMTW), 1941 2: 36.

  24. 24.

    Schmaltz, “Reichstierschutzgesetz,” cited above: 703.

  25. 25.

    DTW, April 1933 13: 203.

  26. 26.

    BTW, March 1937 21: 328.

  27. 27.

    Der Deutsche Tierfreund, April/May 1939 9/3: 13.

  28. 28.

    Dr. Behnke, “Tierschutz und Tierarzt” (Animal welfare and the veterinarian). In DTW March 1936 11: 214.

  29. 29.

    Weber, Friedrich. “Der Tierarzt im Großdeutschen Reich” (The veterinarian in the Great German Reich), cf. W. Sondergeld ed. 1991. Handbuch der akademischen Berufsausbildung, Berlin: 3–5.

  30. 30.

    Der Deutsche Tierfreund, February/March 1940 10/2: 7.

  31. 31.

    Scheiber. “Tierarzt und Tierschutz” (Vetenarian and animal welfare). In BTW, 1936 26: 433.

  32. 32.

    Reichert, cited above: 469.

  33. 33.

    BTW, 1938 21: 312.

  34. 34.

    BTW, 1938, 43: 662.

  35. 35.

    “Kriegsernährungsplan des R. E. M. für den 1.4.1938” (War food plan of the ministry for food). German Federal Archive Berlin R 16/1293: 60.

  36. 36.

    Koch, W. “Erbbiologisches Denken des Tierarztes” (Biological thinking of the veterinarian). In Deutsches Tierärzteblatt (henceforth: DTB), July 1936 13: 302.

  37. 37.

    For an overview over the recent discussion of Volksgemeinschaft as a National Socialist leitmotif and its use for historians see Steber/Gotto 2014b.

  38. 38.

    Anon. „Der Tierschutz in der Kriegszeit “(Animal welfare in times of war). In RTB, 1940 1: 1.

  39. 39.

    RTB, 1940, 3: 1.

  40. 40.

    Koch, cited above: 301.

  41. 41.

    DTB, 1934 1: 3.

  42. 42.

    BTW, 1934 11: 172.

  43. 43.

    Dr. Sickmüller, “Gehört der Tierarzt zur Landwirtschaft oder zur Volksgesundheit?” (Does the veterinarian belong to agriculture or public health?). In DTW, July 1933 38: 444.

  44. 44.

    Koch, cited above: 304.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History DepartmentUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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