KURT BRUENING AND PLANS FOR ALCOHOL FUEL PRODUCTION IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC (GERMANY)

KENNETH ALFRED LILL, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigates efforts made in the period of the Weimar Republic to explore uses of alcohol as an alternative to petroleum fuels. The main focus is on the work of Kurt Bruening (1897-1962), a prominent geographer and civil servant, who, during the years 1928-1931, prepared a major study which was commissioned by the legislature of the Prussian province of Hannover, the largest entity in the Lower Saxon region.^ This work was a detailed regional planning analysis, investigating in depth and detail the economic, ecological and energy systems of the Lower Saxon region, with an emphasis on assuring the economic viability of the area.^ Bruening's research dealt with questions arising from the national government's study of possible reorganization of state boundaries as specified by the Weimar constitution. This dissertation explores Bruening's work in relation to parallel efforts by other scholars, public groups such as the Landwirtschaftskammern and Arbeitsaemter, and governmental bodies. It focuses particularly on the applicability of Bruening's ideas in the context of the Lower Saxon region.^ Out of these various plans and activities emerged a proposal for alcohol produced from an expanded agricultural program to substitute for petroleum imports, seen as a desirable alternative to a synthetic fuel program based on coal, involving social aspects such as rural depopulation and urban unemployment; and economic aspects, such as the balance of payments, transportation, and related industries such as distillation and potash production. The German National Vegetable Fuel Corporation received a legal basis for the program in the Petroleum Tariff Law of April 15, 1930.^ The research for this dissertation was based on official statistical documents and reports of scholars and study committees of the Weimar period. It also encompassed technical publications, as well as monographs by political, economic and geographical writers.^ The dissertation concludes that the plan was economically viable but was not implemented for political reasons, and was dropped at the outset of the Third Reich. It finds that a reexamination of the data gathered by German geographers of the Weimar period might have applicability to contemporary research seeking to substitute alcohol for petroleum as a major fuel. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.) ^

Subject Area

European history

Recommended Citation

LILL, KENNETH ALFRED, "KURT BRUENING AND PLANS FOR ALCOHOL FUEL PRODUCTION IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC (GERMANY)" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8727850.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8727850

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