Gottfried Feder
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R16259, Gottfried Feder.jpg
Feder in 1930
Born(1883-01-27)27 January 1883
Died24 September 1941(1941-09-24) (aged 58)
InstitutionBerlin Institute of Technology
School or
Alma materHumboldt University of Berlin
InfluencesLudwig Feuerbach
Wilhelm Marr
Rudolf Jung
Silvio Gesell
Planned community
Deep foundation

Gottfried Feder (27 January 1883 – 24 September 1941) was a German civil engineer, a self-taught economist, and one of the early key members of the Nazi Party and its economic theoretician. It was one of his lectures, delivered in 1919, that drew Adolf Hitler into the party.[1]


Feder was born in Würzburg on 27 January 1883, the son of civil servant Hans Feder and Mathilde Feder (née Luz). After studying in classical Gymnasiums[citation needed] in Ansbach and Munich, he studied engineering in Berlin and Zürich, Switzerland. He then founded a construction company in 1908 that became particularly active in Bulgaria where it built a number of official buildings.

Feder claimed that he studied financial politics and economics on his own from 1917 onward. But there is no evidence to back up this claim. He developed a hostility towards wealthy bankers during World War I and wrote a "manifesto on breaking the shackles of interest" ("Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft") in 1919. This was soon followed by the founding of a "task force" dedicated to those goals that demanded a nationalisation of all banks and an abolition of interest.

That year, Feder, together with Anton Drexler, Dietrich Eckart and Karl Harrer, were involved in the founding of the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party-DAP).[2] Adolf Hitler met him in the summer of 1919 while he was in an anti-Bolshevik training course at Munich university—funded by the army and organized by Major Karl Mayr—and Feder became his mentor in finance and economics. He helped to inspire Hitler's opposition to "Jewish finance capitalism."[3] Delivering political courses alongside Feder was Karl Alexander von Müller (son of Bavaria's Culture Minister) who spotted Hitler's oratorical ability and forwarded his name as a political instructor for the army—an important step in Hitler's career. [4]


In February 1920, together with Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler, Feder drafted the "25 points" which summed up the party's views and introduced his own anti-capitalist views into the program. When the paper was announced on 24 February 1920, more than 2,000 people attended the rally. In an attempt to make the party more broadly appealing to larger segments of the population, the DAP was renamed in February 1920 to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party, NSDAP), more commonly known as the Nazi Party.[5]

Feder took part in the party's Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923. After Hitler's arrest, he remained one of the leaders of the party and was elected to the Reichstag in 1924, where he stayed until 1936 and demanded the freezing of interest rates and dispossession of Jewish citizens. He remained one of the leaders of the anti-capitalistic wing of the NSDAP, and published several papers, including "National and social bases of the German state" (1920), "Das Programm der NSDAP und seine weltanschaulichen Grundlagen" ("The programme of the NSDAP and its ideological foundations" 1927) and "Was will Adolf Hitler?" ("What does Adolf Hitler want?", 1931).

Feder briefly dominated the Nazi Party's official views on financial politics, but after he became chairman of the party's economic council in 1931, his anti-capitalist views led to a great decline in financial support from Germany's major industrialists. Following pressure from Albert Voegler, Gustav Krupp, Friedrich Flick, Fritz Thyssen, Emil Kirdorf and especially Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler decided to move the party away from Feder's economic views. Schacht wrote in the 'Magic of Money' that "National Socialist agitiation under the leadership of Gottfried Feder" aimed to curtail "private banking" and "the entire currency system." He further explained that the goal of Feder and his pupils was to destroy their entire "banking and monetary economy" and concludes that he "had to try to steer Hitler away from these destruction conceptions." (p. 154) When Hitler became Reichskanzler in 1933, he appointed Feder as under-secretary at the ministry of economics in July, which appointment disappointed Feder, who had hoped for a much higher position.[citation needed]

Nazi Germany

Feder continued to write papers, putting out "Kampf gegen die Hochfinanz" ("The Fight against high finance", 1933) and the anti-semitic "Die Juden" ("The Jews," 1933); in 1934, he became Reichskommissar (Reich commissioner).

In 1939 he wrote Die Neue Stadt (the New City). This can be considered an attempt at Garden City building through the use of Nazi architecture. Here he proposed creating agricultural cities of 20,000 people divided into nine autonomous units and surrounded by agricultural areas. Each city was to be fully autonomous and self-sufficient, with detailed plans for daily living and urban amenities provided. Unlike other garden city theorists, he believed that urban areas could be reformed by subdividing the existing built environment into self-sufficient neighborhoods. This idea of creating clusters of self-contained neighbourhoods forming a mid-sized city was popularised by Uzō Nishiyama in Japan. It would later be applied in the era of Japanese New Town construction.[6]

However, despite its consistency with the blood and soil ideology of the Nazis, his concept of decentralized factories was successfully opposed by both generals and Junkers.[7] Generals objected because it interfered with rearmament, and Junkers because it would prevent their exploiting their estates for the international market.[8]

When Hjalmar Schacht took office as head of the Ministry of Economic Affairs on 2 August 1934, one of his first actions was to fire Feder, whom Hitler had appointed Secretary of State in the ministry.[9] Feder ended up becoming Professor for Settlement Policy[10] at the Technische Hochschule Berlin in December 1936, where he stayed until his death in Murnau, Bavaria, on 24 September 1941.


See also


  1. ^ Dornberg, John (1982). Munich 1923. New York: Harper & Row. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-06-038025-0.
  2. ^ Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 82.
  3. ^ Kershaw, Ian (2001) [1991]. Hitler: A Profile in Power, Chapter I, London.
  4. ^ Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 82.
  5. ^ Kershaw (2008). Hitler: A Biography, p. 87.
  6. ^ Hein, Carola, Visionary Plans and Planners. In Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective (Fiévé, Waley eds.) RoutledgeCurzon.
  7. ^ Grunberger, Richard, The 12-Year Reich, pp. 153–4, ISBN 0-03-076435-1.
  8. ^ Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p. 154.
  9. ^ Schacht, Hjalmar (May 2011). Confessions of the Old Wizard. p. 297. ISBN 978-1258016968. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  10. ^ Mühlberger, Detlef (2004). Hitler's Voice. The Völkischer Beobachter, 1920–1933. Vol. I: Organisation & Development of the NSDAP. Bern: Peter Lang AG. p. 28. ISBN 3-906769-72-0. Retrieved 15 January 2017.