Gottfried Feder (1883-1941) was a German construction engineer and amateur economist, who was among the founders of the German Workers' Party, which became the Nazi Party. His lecture on economics, in 1919, first attracted Adolf Hitler.
Intensely opposed to banks, interest, and most capitalism, he had, in 1917, formed the German Fighting League for the Breaking of Interest Slavery. His greatest opposition was to what he called "speculative", as opposed to "creative" or "productive capital".
Feder was decidedly of the left-wing faction that emphasized the socialism in National Socialism. While he had a prominent role in Party economics into the early 1930s, he became an increasing liability for Hitler in forming alliances with the German right.
He was active in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, but was not arrested, and was elected to the Reichstag in 1924. He became chair of the party Economic Council in 1931. He stayed in the Reichstag until 1936, demanding freezing of interest rates and dispossession of Jewish citizens. These anti-capitalist views, however, interfered with Hitler's planned alliances with the Right, and, when the Nazis came to power in 1933, Hitler appointed Feder as under-secretary at the ministry of economics in July, disappointing Feder who had hoped for a much higher position. Hitler had been pressured by Walther Funk, Albert Voegler, Gustav Krupp, Friedrich Flick, Fritz Thyssen, Hjalmar Schacht and Emile Kirdorf to move away from Feder's views.
In 1933, Hitler forced him to recant his theory of the "breaking of the bondage of interest".
After the Night of the Long Knives, in which other left-wing Nazis such as Gregor Strasser and Ernst Roehm were murdered, he gradually withdrew from government and became an academic, dying in 1941.
- William Shirer (1960), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster, p. 35
- Joachim C. Fest (1973), Hitler, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, p. 447}}
- Gottfried Feder, Jewish Virtual Library