Feder, Gottfried

(1883-1941)
   politician and publicist; helped create the Nazi Party program. A native of Würzburg, he was scion to a family of respected bureaucrats. After studying engineering, he became co-owner in 1908 of a Munich construction firm. The war, which he avoided with a head injury, brought numerous military contracts, which he financed through overextended credit. His resentment at the power of the banks led him to quit his position upon Germany's defeat in favor of campaigning on behalf of the "breaking of interest slavery." Styling himself an economic theorist, he gave his first lecture in late 1918 before the Thule Society,* whereupon he became acquainted with Dietrich Eckart* and other early members of the German Workers Party. His concept of a monetary system without interest capital was incorporated into the NSDAP program of February 1920. But while he was an important Nazi theorist, his own dry and dogmatic style did little to popularize the ideas. Throughout the 1920s Feder was immersed in publishing and organizational activities. Involved in the 1923 Beerhall Putsch,* he was Finance Minister-designate had the coup succeeded. Elected to the Reichstag* in May 1924 as a member of the German Racial Freedom Party* (DVFP)—the NSDAP having been temporarily banned—he focused on opposing the Dawes Plan.* In 1925, when the NSDAP reappeared, he stood squarely behind Hitler* in the Party s internecine struggle. Hitler commissioned him in 1926 to publish a library, in which the Party s programmatic writings appeared, and appointed him Party Ideologist (Programmatiker). But his 1928 attempt to gain influence by founding the Feder-Presse (it published the Flamme) proved a fiasco and was given up in early 1932. From November 1931 he was chairman of the Party s Economic Council, a body that Hitler characteristically ignored.
   Feder held his Reichstag seat from 1924 until the end of the Republic. From 1930 his ideas roughly paralleled those of Gregor Strasser.* The latter s Emer-gency Economic Program, outlined in the Reichstag in 1932, called for a reori-entation of the economy toward the domestic market and state control of banks. Such views were increasingly anathema to Hitler. In December, stunned by Hitler s dismissal of the Economic Council and Strasser s resignation from his Party offices, Feder reproached Hitler in a letter. Although he quickly recanted his statements, he was relegated to the background of Party affairs. Appointed Secretary in the Economics Ministry in July 1933, he was removed from office by late 1934 and spent the remainder of his life as a professor for urban devel-opment at Berlin's Technische Hochschule.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; NDB, vol. 5; Tyrell, "Gottfried Feder and the NSDAP.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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