6l8 EXPULSION OF ALSATIAN FARMERS try to civilise the Ukrainian women. These girls, bursting with health, would introduce a welcome strain into the race, for many of them are obviously of sound Germanic origin—otherwise, whence the fair, blue-eyed children? The best among them we will gradually assimilate and take into the Reich; the rest can remain here. 282 6th August 1942, evening Income tax and the peasant—Taxation in kind—The. peasant and the beauties of nature. Our peasants always lack ready money because the ground at their disposal is too small for their needs. I have often wondered whether it would not be a good idea to re-introduce some sort of tithe system, under which the peasant could pay his taxes in kind. As things are, the middle-man gets for his potatoes, for instance, three or four times what he pays the peasant for them. It would therefore be to the peasant's advantage to be able to pay his taxes in potatoes rather than in money. The advantages accruing to the State would counteract the loss of revenue from taxation. In most professions income can be judged in terms of money, but this does not hold in the case of the small farmer. German agriculture will benefit greatly if we introduce new regulations to govern farming based on the potential revenue of the property. In Württemberg and Baden the situation is particularly bad. As a result of the never-ending process of division among heirs, the properties are becoming smaller and smaller. I shall not mind at all if I am compelled to eject four or five thousand peasants from Alsace; I can replace them with the greatest ease with men from Baden and Württemberg. In the Middle Ages a hide of land sufficed. But now the introduction of the triplecrop system demands much more space. Our country to-day is over-populated, and the numbers emigrating to America are incredible. How I wish we had the German-Americans with us still! In so far as there are any decent people in America, they are all of German origin. In Britain they have the sound law that only the eldest son
PEASANTRY PRAISED 619 of a peer can inherit the title; in our country we have nobles by the score, who cannot make a living and who will not die. This calls for reform in the future. The whole social structure of the State must be built up on cold, logical lines. Once we are in a position to start colonising in the East, most of our difficulties will disappear. When the first few hundred are comfortably settled, the rest will soon follow. It is the earth that attracts the peasant. Several hundreds of thousands have emigrated from Salzburg and Upper Austria to East Prussia. It is only in the pictures of the Court artists that one sees peasants gazing at the stars in heaven. The real peasant keeps his eye firmly on the land, and he lives by the plough. The beauties of the woods were discovered, not by the peasant, but by the professor. Wherever good-quality land is to be found, there one also finds the best type of peasant. It is not, however, the good earth that has improved the peasant stock, but rather that the best type of peasant always finds and takes possession of the best land. The peasantry therefore is the solid backbone of the nation, for husbandry is the most chancy occupation on earth. What, think you, would happen if the work of a city worker or an official depended on chance? Work on the land is a schooling which teaches energy, self-confidence and a readiness to make swift decisions; the town-dweller, on the contrary, must have everything exactly mapped out for him, and does all he can to eliminate the slightest chance of any risk. As a last resort he takes out an insurance policy—and the insurance company which issues it to him re-insures itself into the bargain! France, which has 59 per cent of its population on the land, is still fundamentally sound. It is a great tragedy when once a nation loses the solid foundation of its peasantry. The great British landowners have not the faintest idea of practical agriculture—quite apart from the time and money they waste on their celebrated lawns ! The Italians have a splendid foundation of peasantry. Once when I was travelling to Florence, I thought, as I passed through it, what a paradise this land of southern France is ! But when I reached Italy—then I realised what a paradise on earth can really be ! Herein lies one of the Duce's main sources of strength.