Martin Bormann Memorandum: Securing Germany’s Future

Securing the future of the German people

Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s secretary, speculated in his Jan. 29, 1944 memorandum on Securing Germany’s Future, “How many children would have been born in this war if it had been possible to give our front-line soldiers any leaves at all or more frequently?”  He did not go into very much detail on the extent of the demographic calamity that World War II had imposed on Germany, but he most certainly did not underestimate the problem of the lack of births.

Bormann had it right: Demographics of death of the German people, death by war

Not so much a “population pyramid” but a snapshot of a population ravaged by wars

It is not possible today to determine which of the concerns in his memorandum are truly those expressed by Adolf Hitler and which are Martin Bormann’s own.  It is nevertheless fascinating to see how many of the details Martin Bormann perceived for solving Germany’s looming demographic calamity became standard fare for fiscal and family legislation in many nations throughout the world.  That is not so to solve demographic crises in any nation but simply for governments to partake of what seem to be the main ingredients of the pro-women provisions as well as the means for having men pay more taxes, by which the governments increase their revenues, exactly as envisioned by Bormann.

(On the situation of Germany in January 1944:
– It had been a year since the strategic defeat of the Hitler armies in Stalingrad. The Soviet armies had liberated almost the entire former Soviet Union territory.
– It had been half a year since the capitulation of the Hitler Army in North Africa.
– It had been half a year since the landing of the US troops in Sicily. Meanwhile, the whole of Italy had been liberated.
In his nightly talks, Hitler sees the “catastrophic situation”. The “secretary of the Führer “, Martin Bormann, formulated on 29th January 1944 as a Führer decree, what Hitler had devised in consequence. WB)
[Found at ]

Führer Headquarters, January 29, 1944

Subject: Securing the future of the German people.

1.) In the night of 27/28. In January, the Führer talked with us about the problem of our national future. From this and previous conversations and deliberations, the following is to be put on record:

Our national situation will be catastrophic after this war, because our people are now experiencing the second major bloodletting in 30 years. We will certainly win the war militarily, but we will lose it through population losses if we do not come to a decisive restructuring in all the previous perceptions and the resulting attitude.

The bloody loss is not something unique, but it will have consequences year after year into the distant future:

A single example:

How many children would have been born in this war if it had been possible to give our front-line soldiers any leaves at all or leaves more frequently?

The terrible political consequences of a war can be seen in the Thirty Years’ War. At the beginning of the war, the German people numbered more than 18 million, and by the end barely [3.5] million.* The consequences of these bloody losses are still not regained and compensated, for we lost the world-domination to which, at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, the German people seemed predestined. The disruption of our states lasted until 1870, that of our populace largely until 1933; the denominational disruption is not alleviated today. [* The German-language original contains a typographical error that indicates “31/2 million”. Correctly, that must be 3.5 million.  Historians revised that estimate somewhat since then.

Encyclopedia Britannica states: “Most historians agree that an overall population decline of 15 to 20 percent (from about 20 million to 16 or 17 million) occurred during the war and the ensuing epidemics.” Source 

A German-language source, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg (The Thirty Years’ War), by Christian Kolb, essentially agrees and states: “The exact losses during the Thirty Years’ War are hard to quantify, so here only estimates can be made.
It is estimated that between 1618 and 1648 population declines from 18,000,000 to 12,000,000, or 33% of the population, overshadowing any other war, including World War II.
However, one must also note in the numbers that most of the dead were not killed by fighting, but lost their lives through resulting famine and epidemics .” Source —WHS]

(2) Earlier already I emphatically pointed to several instances of the situation that results after the end of this war: We must keep in mind the population map of Europe and Asia of 1850, 1870, and 1900 and 1945: The Asian peoples multiply at a much faster pace than the Nordic peoples, which partially do not increase their populations at all anymore. If these circumstances were to remain, it would not benefit our Nordic peoples if we were to win this war, for in a hundred years at the most they would be crushed by the mighty masses of the Asian people. Already the present struggle is becoming infinitely difficult for us through the ever-new masses of fighters that the Russian is capable of bringing to bear.

(3) After this war, as the Führer emphasized, we will have 3 to 4 million women who lost or cannot get husbands. The resulting birth dearth would be unbearable for our people: how many divisions — emphasized the Führer — would we be lacking in 20 to 45 or more years!

4.) The future — the life of a people is the more secure, the more numerous the births of this people.

The consideration by some parents, that they should have to keep their number of children limited, to secure the future of the children born, is therefore fundamentally wrong: the opposite is correct! Given sufficient insight, therefore, all women who have a child should place great value on the fact that not only they themselves, but all other women, will bear as many children as possible, because the future of these children is the more secure the greater their number. That is a very sober calculation.

5.) Now, the women who are or are not or will not be married to a man after this world war cannot get their children from the Holy Spirit, but only from the German men still remaining. Increased reproduction of the individual man is, of course, desirable from the point of view of national well-being only by a portion of these men. The decent, characterful, physically and mentally healthy men are to reproduce themselves more intensively, not the physically and spiritually bent ones.

6.) If the dead of the past world war and this new war were not to have been lost in vain, we must secure victory by all means. Any woman whose husband or brother or father or other relative fell in one of these struggles must wish that! That is, every woman must wish that as much as possible every healthy woman who is able to do so secures the future of our people and thus of all its grandchildren to have as many children as possible after the end of the war.

(7) In this manifold delicate area, state orders alone are of no avail. Here only a very serious conviction borne by the movement can lead to the necessary insight. The concern is too grave for corny jokes and bad jests; this is really about securing the future of our people.

8.) Then, too, after this war we can not command that women and girls shall have children. The utmost sensitive — here the much too often-related superlative is appropriate — elucidation is necessary.

9.) It can i. e, not be carried out by men, who are all too easily seen as being personally interested, as beneficiaries. Only older men may talk about the theme, and above all, our women’s organizations must provide the necessary education.

10.) It is necessary to convince not only the women who no longer have or are unable to obtain husbands of these necessities, but before all other things, it is necessary to educate the elders, the mothers and fathers, who grew up in quite different perspectives of the past.

11.) Even more necessary is the enlightenment of the married women, who often became respectability-fanatics only after their weddings.

12.) If we consider what is necessary to bring this question, so vital to our people, to a successful solution, we must clarify the situation in a particular case. Firstly, many women will — lack of logic is simply congenial to women — affirm the correctness in general, in a particular case relating to personal circumstances fanatically reject it.

13.) The public, i.e. general enlightenment can for obvious reasons only begin after the war. One reason for this is that we can not today appeal to the women whose men are likely to fall, and we can not begin our education, too, with regard to our soldiers; This would require us to familiarize our men, who are now soldiers, with these thoughts, for it will not be desirable for every soldier to have his wife or bride conceive children by another man after his death.

14.) Instead, we must now be clear about the steps that can be taken during the war, and about the others to be initiated immediately after the war.

15.) Already now we must abrogate all the undesired impediments to our goal: in particular, it is especially important to direct poets and writers of our time. New novels, novellas, and plays that describe dramatics of matrimony — adultery, are no longer to be allowed, no more than are any poetry, writings, or movie scripts that treat the extramarital child as inferior, illegitimate.
(The word “illegitimate”, as I have emphasized a long time ago, must be completely eradicated. The prefix “un” generally means something to be rejected.

Examples: [The following list contains literal, rather than linguistically correct translations. —WHS]

marital : unmarital [illegitimate]
peace : unpeace [discord]
honor : unhonor [dishonor]
free : unfree
sympathetic : unsympathetic
appetizing : unappetizing
comely : uncomely [grisly]
benefit : unbenefit [calamity]
fortune : unfortune [misfortune]
belief : unbelief)

In other words, we must already now reject everything that presents this problem wholly or in part in a manner harmful to the future of our people. Neither on the stage nor in the whole literature can we any longer present conflicts between “legitimate wife” and “illegitimate rival”.

On the contrary, we must skillfully and unobtrusively point out, that for example — as the genealogical research showed — many of the family tree of famous scholars, artists, statesmen, businessmen, and soldiers show the birth of foreign children. In other words, how many famous men who were the greatest servants of our people would not have been born if their mother or ancestor had not given birth to their child.

16.) Now, the aversion to extramarital children undoubtedly has a reason, which we also — more correctly, especially we, must acknowledge.

We also do not wish our sister or daughters to carelessly get children from anyone man, that is, even to have them now from one and then from another. We must therefore wish that the women of our people, who can not marry after the war in the accustomed manner, join a man who truly suits them and to conceive children with him.

If I am careful in the breeding of animals, that only compatible animals are coupled, then I have to respect the rules applicable to all mammals in humans too: if I want children who have a balanced character and not a conflicted one, then I must put forth that only people who really fit together conceive children with each other.

In other words, we can not wish for a woman — and be it by way of so-called parthenogenesis — to get children from anyone man; on the contrary, only those who are really fond of heart to one another, because they fit together, should beget children.

17. Conclusion: We must wish that the women who no longer have or find a husband after this war should enter into a marriage-like relationship with one man, out of which spring as many children as possible.

The fact that not all such circumstances will last a lifetime does not speak against it, but is natural; many marriages are also divorced after a longer or shorter period. For the rest. Moreover, I am even convinced that two people who are connected in friendship, but who do not see each other very often, are more likely to stay connected more easily for life than others; especially when children of love and friendship reinforce this bond.

18.) I had already pointed out above that every defamation of [volklich – demographically ? no definition could be found —WHS] desired conditions must be prohibited. Whoever insults a woman who has children without a husband (in the present sense) must be severely punished. Anyone — that will concern many a clergyman — who speaks against the propagation of [demographic] necessities, is also to be severely punished.

19.) In many cases, the resistance of married women will be due to material considerations: for their sake, the wife, in the interest of her own children, does not want to share her husband’s income or estate with another woman and her children.

That is understandable! But because the people and the state want to secure their future, they must secure by all means, therefore by the necessary material means, the best possible increase in the number of births; therefore, the state must accordingly provide adequate funding.

(20) If it were not do that, the most important capital would be irretrievably lost; the fertility of many millions of women.

21.) Very many women and girls would like to have children, many children at that, if they knew exactly that they would be truly provided for their whole life. They do not want to have children, and then, one day, because the father of these children dies, is impoverished or abandons them, become unprovided for with their children and dependent on the mercy and charity of some welfare institutions.

22.) It is clear that women who are employed and who have children must be appropriately higher remunerated, and that these women should also be assigned living accommodations corresponding to the head count of their family.

23.) After the war, I would like to create such housing in the sunny corner for the female employees of the Party Chancellery who have children.

24.) The number of residential schools (grade schools — boarding schools, junior high school boarding schools with pre-school, senior high school boarding schools with pre-school) is to be hugely increased, so that all women who can for any reasons not, either partially or in whole, raise their children, can let them be raised without difficulty at the residential schools. That applies to both boys and girls.

These residential schools are also necessary because the best and most able men are in their youth quite wilds and can hardly be controlled by mothers alone.

25.) However, these women should not be allowed to wait until their children are of school age before they move to residential schools, but according to the Führer’s order, the NSV [National Socialist People’s Welfare], as emphasized previously, shall create the best maternity homes and furthermore the best children’s homes in which children from toddlers to school age will be raised. The education in these nurseries must be far better than it can be in the general care of the family. This is the great future task of the NSV!

26.) For the sake of the future of our people, we must have a mother-cult, and there must be no difference between women who are married in the present manner and women who have children by a man to whom they are connected in friendship! All these mothers are to be honored equally.
(Of course, this does not apply to those antisocial elements who do not even know who the fathers of their children might be.)

27.) When two people go to the civil registry office, to have their intended civil union officially certified and legitimized there, the main reason for that is the following:

(a) the marital community, together with the offspring, shall be placed under the protection of the State and its means of power and its Civil Code and its Criminal Code,

b) The two partners now know that one is committed to the other and that one can not run away from the other without consequences.

c) Ideal security: extramarital sex is frowned upon according to mendacious bourgeois opinions. On the other hand, marital sex is without ado deemed to be honorable!

(d) Material security: A man who is divorced must provide for his wife unless she is guilty.

28). These statements show which inhibitions we must eliminate and which suppositions we must create to achieve the necessary increase in the number of births

(1) We must also create for the mothers who are not married in the old manner by official civil ceremony a very similar comprehensive ideal as well as material security. This includes among other things: in any case, the children have to get the father’s name without difficulty.

(2) Further: Upon special request, men shall be able to enter into a fixed marriage relationship, not only with one woman, but with another, in which the woman would then easily obtain the name, the children the father’s name.

(3.) That a man is sued for the payment of maintenance fees (alimony) must be a rarity; a man who acts without compelling reason must be outright defamed, because his behavior is generally regarded as disgraceful.

Obviously, in such a case, there must be paid, without any difficulty and — as long as this is necessary — adequate government support. It must be completely impossible that a mother with a child is ever in need. Every mother with a child who without fault falls into material or ideal distress must be sure of the special welfare of the community.

(4.) As I mentioned earlier, it is necessary that we abolish and forbid the present relationship terms, which have a more or less disreputable sound. On the contrary, W[e] must find good, friendly names. We must, too, consider how the relationship a woman has with a man with whom she may be married in the accustomed manner will be designated, we have to consider how the children that come out of such friendship-relationships are to be designated, etc.

The more fortuitous we will be in the discovery of names, the more easily we will remove the existing inhibitions.

These inhibitions must, however, be removed, for otherwise all the sacrifices of the preceding world war and of this war were in vain, because our people must fall victim to the next storms. In twenty or thirty or forty or fifty years, we will have the divisions, which we need absolutely, if our people should not perish.

(5.) After this war the childless marriages and the bachelors must be taxed far sharper than before. The hitherto taxation of the bachelors has to be a child’s play against the taxes with which they are to be burdened in the future.

The revenues from these bachelor’s taxes must serve the support of the mothers who have children, that is, to materially support our efforts to promote offspring.

I would ask you to consider the whole problem in depth and afterwards to submit your opinion.

Signed M. Bormann ”


Translated from the German-language text found at  —WHS

[Original source: Memorandum by Martin Bormann, 1944 January 29, Papers of Oron J. Hale, MSS 12800-a, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA;
reprinted in »The Secretary: Martin Bormann, the man who ruled Hitler. Stuttgart«, by Jochen von Lang;1977, pp. 478-82.]

This permits to compare Germany’s total fertility rate to those of other countries in the world.

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