Background: This is a chapter from a 5th grade biology textbook
for girls, published in the midst of the war. The first part of the book
discusses genetics, spring, summer, fall, and winter in the forest, and
the human body. The book then goes on to apply these principles to human
beings. Given what we know was going on in 1942, when this book was printed,
it is clear that textbooks, too, were a part of propaganda.
The source: Marie Harm and Hermann Wiehle, Lebenskunde für
Mittelschulen. Fünfter Teil. Klasse 5 für Mädchen (Halle:
Hermann Schroedel Verlag, 1942), pp. 168-173.
Biology for the Middle
For 5th Grade Girls
The Laws of Nature and Humanity
We have established that all creatures, plants as well as
animals, are in a constant battle for survival. Plants crowd
into the area they need to grow. Every plant that fails to secure
enough room and light must necessarily die. Every animal that
does not secure sufficient territory and guard it against other
predators, or lacks the necessary strength and speed or caution
and cleverness will fall prey to its enemies. The army of plant
eaters threatens the plant kingdom. Plant eaters are prey for
carnivores. The battle for existence is hard and unforgiving,
but is the only way to maintain life. This struggle eliminates
everything that is unfit for life, and selects everything that
is able to survive.
We have seen that the laws of nature are built on a
struggle for survival. The slow-moving herbivores (e.g., cows) have weapons,
the speedier ones (e.g., horses or rabbits) use that speed to escape predators.
The rabbit instinctively conceals the traces that lead to his den. As
a prey, his eyes are to the sides of his head, while a carnivore’s are
to the front. The hedgehog has his needles, toads and salamanders have
poisonous skins. Predators have keen senses, a powerful spring, sharp
teeth, and claws. If we further consider protective coloring, camouflage,
and other coloring (above all with young animals), and that each animal
has different gifts in seeing and smelling that are appropriate for its
needs, we can see everywhere that living creatures are well prepared for
the battle for survival. (Compare offensive and defensive characteristics
of the various animals!) Animals at our latitude have many characteristics
that enable them to survive winter: storing food, hibernation, migration,
winter pelts... The same is true for plants. Poisons of various types,
irritants, thorns, and needles protect them from herbivores. (Remember
the earlier examples!) Seeds that can survive the winter, roots, storage
ability (Examples!), enable plants to survive the cold months. By ground
leaves, growing high, pyramidal structure, leaf mosaics, climbing, winding,
spreading (the dog rose), plants seek the necessary light for their leaves.
All the various habitats are heavily populated; every creature
has to fight for its survival and wants to be a winner in this
battle. This is summarized in the principle: Each individual
wants to maintain its existence in the struggle for survival
(self preservation instinct, fighting will, individuality).
Mankind, too, is subject to these natural laws, and has won its dominant
position through struggle. This is obvious when we consider the prehistoric
hunting age. People then had both to secure their own prey, and protect
themselves against the larger carnivores. This old form of the struggle
for existence does not, of course, exist in civilized nations any longer.
Early man lived in hordes, we live in an ethnic state. The state takes
responsibility for territory and much, much more. Nonetheless, each must
win his place in his community. As Moltke said, “In the long run,
only the hardworking are lucky.” True, the larger carnivores are
lacking, but bacteria and other tiny carriers of disease are no small
danger. Consider the enormous scientific efforts (the struggle for survival!) men have made, and continue to make, to master these enemies, to defeat diseases! Each of us must keep his body strong through exercise and healthy living habits in order to develop his capacities and use them to serve his people. Those who do not do so are unsuitable for the more refined, yet just as relentless, nature of our struggle for life and will perish. Our Führer tells
He who wants to live must fight, and he who does not want
to fight in this world of perpetual struggle does not deserve
to live!” (Mein Kampf, p. 317)
All living creatures that succeed in the struggle for survival
are not satisfied merely with existence, but seek to preserve
their species as well. Here, too, is a drive that corresponds to
natural law. Without this drive, species would long since have
The fox builds a den for its helpless young and cares for them. The deer
cares for its fawns, and the bat even carries its young with it through
the air. Each spring we watch with fascination as the birds cleverly build
their nests, hatch their eggs, and untiringly feed their young. Insects
place their larvae in certain areas where food is available. Mosquitoes
and dragon flies, for example, put them in water, the cabbage moth in
cabbages, stag beetles at the base of old oaks. We find the care of the
young characteristic of all branches of the animal kingdom (Name all forms
of care for offspring with which you are familiar!)
[Here follows a paragraph on insect
Maintaining the species also is a struggle. The deer ruts
in the fall and offers battle to other deer in competition for
females. The stronger and cleverer deer passes on his inheritance.
The rooster defends his status and his hens courageously. The
battle for females selects the fittest. Later, we will discuss
the laws of inheritance.
[There follows two paragraphs on
methods of plant reproduction.]
The drive for maintaining the species is stronger than the
instinct for self preservation. Plants sacrifice themselves for
their seeds. Most insects die when they have reproduced. The
female rabbit defends her young against hawks, often at the cost
of her own life. A fox risks its life to secure food for its
young. The life of the individual can be sacrificed to assure
the continuation of the species. (The law of the species is stronger
than that of the individual!)
Among all living creatures, we can see a further natural law:
the production of numerous offspring. Nowhere on earth do we
find a form of life that produces only one or two offspring (corresponding
to the number of the parents). That would inevitably lead to
extinction. The elephant has the longest period of procreation,
from its 30th to 90th year. It brings about six offspring into
the world. A scientist has calculated that even with this slow
rate of reproduction, in the absence of the struggle for survival
elephants would take over the entire world in a few hundred years.
A single pair would produce 19 million descendants in 750 years.
The struggle for survival leads most to perish. The blue titmouse
has two broods of 10-13 a year, but their number is not increasing.
The more threatened a creature is in the struggle for survival,
the more offspring it must produce. The greater number of offspring
is a necessary means of responding to the hard struggle for survival.
Each habitat can disappear from one day to the next (arrival
of a new predator, disappearance of a food source).
A large number of offspring are an important means in the
struggle for survival of the species. The house mouse can resist
the field mouse simply through its larger number of young. In
such instances, one can speak of a battle of births.
The second law to which all life is subordinate is: “Each
life form strives to ensure the survival of its species. The
number of offspring must be greater than the number of the parents
if the species is to survive (law of the larger number of offspring).
Each species strives to conquer new territory. The species goes
before the individual.
History provides us with enough examples to prove that mankind, too,
is under this law. In the midst of their prosperity, the Romans lost the
desire to have children. They sinned against the law of maintaining the
species. Their state was undermined and overcome by foreign peoples in
a short time. The ethnic traits of the Romans thus vanished. Our nation,
too, once hung in the balance. National Socialism restored to the German
people the will to have children, and preserved our people from certain
decline, which would have been inevitable under the law of species and
the law of the greater number of offspring.
Here, too, we can recall the Führer’s words:
Marriage, too, cannot be an end in itself, but rather it must have
the larger goal of increasing and maintaining the species and the race.
That only is its meaning and its task. (Mein Kampf, p. 275)
The goal of female education must be to prepare them for
motherhood. ( Mein Kampf, p. 460)
As we have already noted, people do not live as individuals like animals
and plants, but as peoples, which largely have come together as ethnic
states. We know something similar only with insects. Bees and ants are
not only the sum of individuals; each individual shares a united drive
in service of the entire group. They do not have an individual will any
longer, but rather their actions have only the goal of serving the welfare
of the whole, the welfare of the community. The state-building drive in
insects has created a higher order from the drives of the individuals.
Their species has become a higher order, one will in many parts. The individual
member of a beehive does a single task: One may be a worker that carries
nectar, another cleans the hive, the third builds on to it, a fourth feeds
the larva, a fifth watches the hive’s entrance. Each individual activity
serves the whole. It is the same with ants. Certain ant species even have
a warrior caste that fights in the front lines for the rest; the battle
against the enemies of the state here, too, involves the whole group.
The instinctual state of the ants corresponds to the leadership
state among mankind; however, the principles of a perfect insect
state give people cause to think. They have preserved bees and
ants in the struggle for survival and thereby proved their validity.
We earlier noted the following truths about ants:
- The work of the individual has only one purpose: to serve
the whole group.
- Major accomplishments are possible only by the division of
- Each bee risks its life without hesitation for the whole.
- Individuals who are not useful or are harmful to the whole
- The species is maintained by producing a large number of
It is not difficult for us to see the application of these principles
to mankind: We also can accomplish great things only by a division of
labor. Our whole economy demonstrates this principle. The ethnic state
must demand of each individual citizen that he does everything for the
good of the whole, each in his place and with his abilities (Principle
He who loves his people proves it only by the sacrifices
he is prepared to make for it. (Mein Kampf, p. 474).
If a person acts against the general interest, he is an enemy
of the people and will be punished by the law (Principle 4).
A look at our history proves that we as a people must defend
our territory to preserve our existence.
The world does not exist for cowardly nations. (Mein
Kampf, p. 105)
Military service is the highest form of education for the
Fatherland (Principle 3).
The task of the army in the ethnic state is not to train
the individual in marching, but to serve as the highest school
for education in service of the Fatherland. (Mein Kampf,
The fifth principle has already been discussed.
Each citizen of the nation must be ready to do all for the good of the
whole, for the will of the Führer, even at the cost sacrificing his
own life (the national law). The good of the nation goes before the good
of the individual.
These natural laws are incontrovertible; living creatures
demonstrate them by their very survival. They are unforgiving.
Those who resist them will be wiped out. Biology not only tells
us about animals and plants, but also shows us the laws we must
follow in our lives, and steels our wills to live and fight according
to these laws. The meaning of all life is struggle. Woe to him
who sins against this law:
The person who attempts to fight the iron logic of nature
thereby fights the principles he must thank for his life as a
human being. To fight against nature is to bring about one’s
own destruction. (Mein Kampf, p. 314).
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