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Herbert Backe Edit Profile

public official , Reichsbauernführer

Herbert Backe was a Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture during the last year of the Nazi régime. He died on 6 April 1947, committing suicide by hanging himself at Nuremberg prison.


Herbert Backe was born on 1 May 1896 in Batum, Russia.


He attended a Russian secondary school between 1905 and 1914, and was interned during the period of the war, later resuming his studies at Gottingen University in Germany. Assistant lecturer at Hanover Technical High School (1923-4), Backe then turned to tenant farming. He joined the Nazi Party and became head of the farmers’ political organization in his district in 1931. From October 1933 he was State Secretary in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and a year later he launched the so-called Battle of Production (£>- zeugungsschlacht) aimed at maximizing domestic output and cutting down on food imports. In 1936 he was made Food Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, responsible to Goering for the co-ordination of agrarian and industrial policy. Backe was regarded as an expert not only on agrarian but also on Russian affairs, and from May 1942 he was nominated as Darré's successor, responsible in particular for organizing the foodstuffs sector for the war against Soviet Russia. He was promoted to Reich Minister and Reichsbauernführer (Reich Farmers' Leader) at the end of 1943. On 1 April 1944, Backe, whose hard-headed pragmatism and efficiency was increasingly preferred to Darré's ideological ‘blood and soil' policies, was appointed Reich Food Minister, serving in Hitler's last cabinet.