Agrarideologie und Sozialreform im Deutschen Kaiserreich
Heinrich Sohnrey und der Deutsche Verein für ländliche Wohlfahrts- und Heimatpflege 1896–1914
1. Edition 2011
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The German Association for Rural Welfare and Homeland Maintenance was established in the 1890s against the background of rural exodus, East-West migration and the growth of the industrial cities in the German Empire. Heinrich Sohnrey, an author from Lower Saxony, was the driving force of the association. He reacted to the aforesaid phenomena by demanding social reforms in favour of the rural lower class and simultaneously advocating emotional ties to the rural homeland in his writings. Thus, Sohnrey wanted to level the social town-country disparities and to preserve traditional values which he considered to be endangered in the cities. The association focussed mainly on the interior colonisation and the education of the youth.
While funding the association, the Prussian government to some extent exploited it for taking a hand into the internal migration and its associated mechanisms. In doing so, Prussia was aiming at a greater scope of action when confronted with agrarian pressure groups, but also at advancing the empire's inner unification process.