it is my conviction that in general, aside from cases of unusual
talent, a man should not engage in public political activity
before his thirtieth year. He should not do so, because up to
this time, as a rule, he is engaged in molding a general platform,
on the basis of which he proceeds to examine the various political
problems and finally establishes his own position on them. Only
after he has acquired such a basic philosophy, and the resultant
firmness of outlook on the special problems of the day, is he,
inwardly at least, mature enough to be justified in partaking
in the political leadership of the general public.
BASED ON MY VIENNA PERIOD
he runs the risk of either having to change his former position
on essential questions, or, contrary to his better knowledge
and understanding, of clinging to a view which reason and conviction
have long since discarded. In the former case this is most embarrassing
to him personally, since, what with his own vacillations, he
cannot justifiably expect the faith of his adherents to follow
him with the same unswerving firmness as before; for those led
by him, on the other hand, such a reversal on the part of the
leader means perplexity and not rarely a certain feeling of
shame toward those whom they hitherto opposed. In the second
case, there occurs a thing which, particularly today, often
confronts us: in the same measure as the leader ceases to believe
in what he says, his arguments become shallow and flat, but
he tries to make up for it by vileness in his choice of means.
While he himself has given up all idea of fighting seriously
for his political revelations (a man does not die for something
which he himself does not believe in), his demands on his supporters
become correspondingly greater and more shameless until he ends
up by sacrificing the last shred of leadership and turning into
a 'politician; in other words, the kind of man whose only real
conviction is lack of conviction, combined with offensive impertinence
and an art of lying, often developed to the point of complete
to the misfortune of decent people such a character gets into
a parliament, we may as well realize at once that the essence
of his politics will from now on consist in nothing but an heroic
struggle for the permanent possession of his feeding-bottle
for himself and his family. The more his wife and children depend
on it, the more tenaciously he will fight for his mandate. This
alone will make every other man with political instincts his
personal enemy; in every new movement he will scent the possible
beginning of his end, and in every man of any greatness the
danger which menaces him through that man.
shall have more to say about this type of parliamentary bedbug.
a man of thirty will have much to learn in the course of his
life, but this will only be to supplement and fill in the
framework provided him by the philosophy he has basically
adopted When he learns, his learning will not have to be a
revision of principle, but a supplementary study, and his
supporters will not have to choke down the oppressive feeling
that they have hitherto been falsely instructed by him. On
the contrary: the visible organic growth of the leader will
give them satisfaction, for when he learns, he will only be
deepening their own philosophy. And this in their eyes will
be a proof for the correctness of the views they have hitherto
leader who must depart from the platform of his general philosophy
as such, because he recognizes it to be false, behaves with
decency only if, in recognizing the error of his previous
insight, he is prepared to draw the ultimate consequence.
In such a case he must, at the very least, renounce the public
exercise of any further political activity. For since in matters
of basic knowledge he has once succumbed to an error, there
is a possibility that this will happen a second time. And
in no event does he retain the right to continue claiming,
not to mention demanding, the confidence of his fellow citizens.
little regard is taken of such decency today is attested by
the general degeneracy of the rabble which contemporaneously
feel justified in 'going into' politics.
a one of them is fit for it.
had carefully avoided any public appearance, though I think
that I studied politics more closely than many other men. Only
in the smallest groups did I speak of the things which inwardly
moved or attracted me. This speaking in the narrowest circles
had many good points: I learned to orate less, but to know people
with their opinions and objections that were often so boundlessly
primitive. And I trained myself, without losing the time and
occasion for the continuance of my own education. It is certain
that nowhere else in Germany was the opportunity for this so
favorable as in Vienna.
political thinking in the old Danubian monarchy was just then
broader and more comprehensive in scope than in old Germany,
excluding parts of Prussia, Hamburg, and the North Sea coast,
at the same period. In this case, to be sure, I understand,
under the designation of 'Austria,' that section of the great
Habsburg Empire which, in consequence of its German settlement,
not only was the historic cause of the very formation of this
state, but whose population, moreover, exclusively demonstrated
that power which for so many centuries was able to give this
structure, so artificial in the political sense, its inner cultural
life. As time progressed, the existence and future of this state
came to depend more and more on the preservation of this nuclear
cell of the Empire.
the old hereditary territories were the heart of the Empire
continually driving fresh blood into the circulatory stream
of political and cultural life, Vienna was the brain and will
mere outward appearance justified one in attributing to this
city the power to reign as a unifying queen amid such a conglomeration
of peoples, thus by the radiance of her own beauty causing
us to forget the ugly symptoms of old age in the structure
as a whole.
Empire might quiver and quake beneath the bloody battles of
the different nationalities, yet foreigners, and especially
Germans, saw only the charming countenance of this city. What
made the deception all the greater was that Vienna at that time
seemed engaged in what was perhaps its last and greatest visible
revival. Under the rule of a truly gifted mayor, the venerable
residence of the Emperors of the old régime awoke once more
to a miraculous youth. The last great German to be born in the
ranks of the people who had colonized the Ostmark was not officially
numbered among so-called Statesmen'; but as mayor of Vienna,
this capital and imperial residence,' Dr. Lueger conjured up
one amazing achievement after another in, we may say, every
field of economic and cultural municipal politics, thereby strengthening
the heart of the whole Empire, and indirectly becoming a statesman
greater than all the so-called 'diplomats' of the time
the conglomeration of nations called 'Austria' nevertheless
perished in the end, this does not detract in the least from
the political ability of the Germans in the old Ostmark, but
was the necessary result of the impossibility of permanently
maintaining a state of fifty million people of different nationalities
by means of ten million people, unless certain definite prerequisites
were established in time.
ideas of the German-Austrian were more than grandiose.
had always been accustomed to living in a great empire and had
never lost his feeling for the tasks bound up with it. He was
the only one in this state who, beyond the narrow boundaries
of the crown lands, still saw the boundaries of the Reich; indeed,
when Fate finally parted him from the common fatherland, he
kept on striving to master the gigantic task and preserve for
the German people what his fathers had once wrested from the
East in endless struggles. In this connection it should be borne
in mind that this had to be done with divided energy; for the
heart and memory of the best never ceased to feel for the common
mother country, and only a remnant was left for the homeland.
general horizon of the German-Austrian was in itself comparatively
broad. His economic connections frequently embraced almost the
entire multiform Empire. Nearly all the big business enterprises
were in his hands; the directing personnel, both technicians
and officials, were in large part provided by him. He was also
in charge of foreign trade in so far as the Jews had not laid
their hands on this domain, which they have always seized for
their own. Politically, he alone held the state together. Military
service alone cast him far beyond the narrow boundaries of his
homeland. The German-Austrian recruit might join a German regiment,
but the regiment itself might equally well be in Herzegovina,
Vienna, or Galicia. The officers' corps was still German, the
higher officials predominantly so. Finally, art and science
were German. Aside from the trash of the more modern artistic
development, which a nation of Negroes might just as well have
produced, the German alone possessed and disseminated a truly
artistic attitude. In music, architecture, sculpture, and painting,
Vienna was the source supplying the entire dual monarchy in
inexhaustible abundance, without ever seeming to go dry itself.
the Germans directed the entire foreign policy if we disregard
a small number of Hungarians.
yet any attempt to preserve this Empire was in vain, for the
most essential premise was lacking.
the Austrian state of nationalities there was only one possibility
of overcoming the centrifugal forces of the individual nations.
Either the state was centrally governed, hence internally organized
along the same lines, or it was altogether inconceivable.
various lucid moments this insight dawned on the ' supreme '
authority. But as a rule it was soon forgotten or shelved as
difficult of execution. Any thought of a more federative organization
of the Empire was doomed to failure owing to the lack of a strong
political germ-cell of outstanding power. Added to this were
the internal conditions of the Austrian state which differed
essentially from the German Empire of Bismarck. In Germany it
was only a question of overcoming political conditions, since
there was always a common cultural foundation. Above all, the
Reich, aside from little foreign splinters, embraced members
of only one people.
Austria the opposite was the case.
the individual provinces, aside from Hungary, lacked any political
memory of their own greatness, or it had been erased by the
sponge of time, or at least blurred and obscured. In the period
when the principle of nationalities was developing, however,
national forces rose up in the various provinces, and to counteract
them was all the more difficult as on the rim of the monarchy
national states began to form whose populations, racially equivalent
or related to the Austrian national splinters, were now able
to exert a greater power of attraction than, conversely, remained
possible for the German-Austrian
Vienna could not forever endure this struggle.
the development of Budapest into a big city, she had for the
first time a rival whose task was no longer to hold the entire
monarchy together, but rather to strengthen a part of it. In
a short time Prague was to follow her example, then Lemberg,
Laibach, etc. With the rise of these former provincial cities
to national capitals of individual provinces, centers formed
for more or less independent cultural life in these provinces.
And only then did the politico-national instincts obtain their
spiritual foundation and depth. The time inevitably approached
when these dynamic forces of the individual peoples would grow
sponger than the force of common interests, and that would be
the end of Austria.
the death of Joseph II the course of this development was
clearly discernible. Its rapidity depended on a series of
factors which in part lay in the monarchy itself and in part
were the result of the Empire's momentary position on foreign
the fight for the preservation of this state was to be taken
up and carried on in earnest, only a ruthless and persistent
policy of centralization could lead to the goal. First of
all, the purely formal cohesion had to be emphasized by the
establishment in principle of a uniform official language,
and the administration had to be given the technical implement
without which a unified state simply cannot exist. Likewise
a unified state-consciousness could only be bred for any length
of time by schools and education. This was not feasible in
ten or twenty years; it was inevitably a matter of centuries;
for in all questions of colonization, persistence assumes
greater importance than the energy of the moment.
goes without saying that the administration as well as the political
direction must be conducted with strict uniformity. To me it
was infinitely instructive to ascertain why this did not occur,.
or rather, why it was not done. He who was guilty of this omission
was alone to blame for the collapse of the Empire.
Austria more than any other state depended on the greatness
of her leaders. The foundation was lacking for a national state,
which in its national basis always possesses the power of survival,
regardless how deficient the leadership as such may be. A homogeneous
national state can, by virtue of the natural inertia of its
inhabitants, and the resulting power of resistance, sometimes
withstand astonishingly long periods of the worst administration
or leadership without inwardly disintegrating. At such times
it often seems as though there were no more life in such a body,
as though it were dead and done for, but one fine day the supposed
corpse suddenly rises and gives the rest of humanity astonishing
indications of its unquenchable vital force.
is different, however, with an empire not consisting of similar
peoples, which is held together not by common blood but by a
common fist. In this case the weakness of leadership will not
cause a hibernation of the state, but an awakening of all the
individual instincts which are present in the blood, but cannot
develop in times when there is a dominant will. Only by a common
education extending over centuries, by common tradition, common
interests, etc., can this danger be attenuated. Hence the younger
such state formations are, the more they depend on the greatness
of leadership, and if they are the work of outstanding soldiers
and spiritual heroes, they often crumble immediately after the
death of the great solitary founder. But even after centuries
these dangers cannot be regarded as overcome; they only lie
dormant, often suddenly to awaken as soon as the weakness of
the common leadership and the force of education and all the
sublime traditions can no longer overcome the impetus of the
vital urge of the individual tribes.
to have understood this is perhaps the tragic guilt of the House
only a single one of them did Fate once again raise high the
torch over the future of his country, then it was extinguished
II, Roman Emperor of the German nation, saw with fear and trepidation
how his House, forced to the outermost corner of the Empire,
would one day inevitably vanish in the maelstrom of a Babylon
of nations unless at the eleventh hour the omissions of his
forefathers were made good. With super-human power this 'friend
of man' braced himself against the negligence of his ancestors
and endeavored to retrieve in one decade what centuries had
failed to do. If he had been granted only forty years for his
work, and if after him even two generations had continued his
work as he began it, the miracle would probably have been achieved.
But when, after scarcely ten years on the thrones worn in body
and soul, he died, his work sank with him into the grave, to
awaken no more and sleep forever in the Capuchin crypt. His
successors were equal to the task neither in mind nor in will.
the first revolutionary lightnings of a new era flashed through
Europe, Austria, too, slowly began to catch fire, little by
little. But when the fire at length broke out, the flame was
fanned less by social or general political causes than by dynamic
forces of national origin.
revolution of 1848 may have been a class struggle everywhere,
but in Austria it was the beginning of a new racial war. By
forgetting or not recognizing this origin and putting themselves
in the service of the revolutionary uprising, the Germans sealed
their own fate. They helped to arouse the spirit of 'Western
democracy,' which in a short time removed the foundations of
their own existence.
the formation of a parliamentary representative body without
the previous establishment and crystallization of a common state
language, the cornerstone had been laid for the end of German
domination of the monarchy. From this moment on the state itself
was lost. All that followed was merely the historic liquidation
of an empire.
follow this process of dissolution was as heartrending as it
was instructive. This execution of an historical sentence was
carried out in detail in thousands and thousands of forms. The
fact that a large part of the people moved blindly through the
manifestations of decay showed only that the gods had willed
shall not lose myself in details on this point, for that is
not the function of this book. I shall only submit to a more
thoroughgoing observation those events which are the ever-unchanging
causes of the decline of nations and states, thus possessing
significance for our time as well, and which ultimately contributed
to securing the foundations of my own political thinking.
the head of those institutions which could most clearly have
revealed the erosion of the Austrian monarchy, even to a shopkeeper
not otherwise gifted with sharp eyes, was one which ought
to have had the greatest strength parliament, or, as it was
called in Austria, the Reichsrat.
Obviously the example of this body had been taken from England,
the land of classical 'democracy.' From there the whole blissful
institution was taken and transferred as unchanged as possible
English two-chamber system was solemnly resurrected in the Abgeordnetenhaus
and the Herrenhaus. Except that the houses' themselves
were somewhat different. When Barry raised his parliament buildings
from the waters of the Thames, he thrust into the history of
the British Empire and from it took the decorations for the
twelve hundred niches, consoles, and pillars of his magnificent
edifice. Thus, in their sculpture and painting, the House of
Lords and the House of Commons became the nation's Hall of Fame.
was where the first difficulty came in for Vienna. For when
Hansen, the Danish builder, had completed the last pinnacle
on the marble building of the new parliament, there was nothing
he could use as decoration except borrowings from antiquity.
Roman and Greek statesmen and philosophers now embellish this
opera house of Western democracy, and in symbolic irony the
quadrigae fly from one another in all four directions
above the two houses, in this way giving the best external expression
of the activities that went on inside the building.
'nationalities' had vetoed the glorification of Austrian
history in this work as an insult and provocation, just as in
the Reich itself it was only beneath the thunder of World War
battles that they dared to dedicate Wallot's Reichstag Building
to the German people by an inscription.
not yet twenty years old, I set foot for the first time in the
magnificent building on the Franzensring to attend a session
of the House of Deputies as a spectator and listener, I was
seized with the most conflicting sentiments.
had always hated parliament, but not as an institution in itself.
On the contrary, as a freedom-loving man I could not even conceive
of any other possibility of government, for the idea of any
sort of dictatorship would, in view of my attitude toward the
House of Habsburg, have seemed to me a crime against freedom
and all reason.
contributed no little to this was that as a young man, in consequence
of my extensive newspaper reading, I had, without myself realizing
it, been inoculated with a certain admiration for the British
Parliament, of which I was not easily able to rid myself. The
dignity with which the Lower House there fulfilled its tasks
(as was so touchingly described in our press) impressed me immensely.
Could a people have any more exalted form of self-government?
for this very reason I was an enemy of the Austrian parliament.
I considered its whole mode of conduct unworthy of the great
example. To this the following was now added:
fate of the Germans in the Austrian state was dependent on their
position in the Reichsrat. Up to the introduction of universal
and secret suffrage, the Germans had had a majority, though
an insignificant one, in parliament. Even this condition was
precarious, for the Social Democrats, with their unreliable
attitude in national questions, always turned against German
interests in critical matters affecting the Germans - in order
not to alienate the members of the various foreign nationalities.
Even in those days the Social Democracy could not be regarded
as a German party. And with the introduction of universal suffrage
the German superiority ceased even in a purely numerical sense.
There was no longer any obstacle in the path of the further
de-Germanization of the state.
this reason my instinct of national self-preservation caused
me even in those days to have little love for a representative
body in which the Germans were always misrepresented rather
than represented. Yet these were deficiencies which, like so
many others, were attributable, not to the thing in itself,
but to the Austrian state. I still believed that if a German
majority were restored in the representative bodies, there would
no longer be any reason for a principled opposition to them,
that is, as long as the old state continued to exist at all.
were my inner sentiments when for the first time I set foot
in these halls as hallowed as they were disputed. For me, to
be sure, they were hallowed only by the lofty beauty of the
magnificent building. A Hellenic miracle on German soil!
soon was I to grow indignant when I saw the lamentable comedy
that unfolded beneath my eyes!
were a few hundred of these popular representatives who had
to take a position on a question of most vital economic importance.
very first day was enough to stimulate me to thought for weeks
intellectual content of what these men said was on a really
depressing level, in so far as you could understand their babbling
at all; for several of the gentlemen did not speak German, but
their native Slavic languages or rather dialects. I now had
occasion to hear with my own ears what previously I had known
only from reading the newspapers. A wild gesticulating mass
screaming all at once in every different key, presided over
by a good-natured old uncle who was striving in the sweat of
his brow to revive the dignity of the House by violently ringing
his bell and alternating gentle reproofs with grave admonitions.
couldn't help laughing.
few weeks later I was in the House again. The picture was changed
beyond recognition. The hall was absolutely empty. Down below
everybody was asleep. A few deputies were in their places, yawning
at one another; one was 'speaking.' A vice-president of the
House was present, looking into the hall with obvious boredom.
first misgivings arose in me. From now on, whenever time offered
me the slightest opportunity, I went back and, with silence
and attention, viewed whatever picture presented itself, listened
to the speeches in so far as they were intelligible, studied
the more or less intelligent faces of the elect of the peoples
of this woe-begone state-and little by little formed my own
year of this tranquil observation sufficed totally to change
or eliminate my former view of the nature of this institution.
My innermost position was no longer against the misshapen form
which this idea assumed in Austria; no, by now I could no longer
accept the parliament as such. Up till then I had seen the misfortune
of the Austrian parliament in the absence of a German majority;
now I saw that its ruination lay in the whole nature and essence
of the institution as such.
whole series of questions rose up in me.
began to make myself familiar with the democratic principle
of majority rule as the foundation of this whole institution,
but devoted no less attention to the intellectual and moral
values of these gentlemen, supposedly the elect of the nations,
who were expected to serve this purpose.
I came to know the institution and its representatives at once.
the course of a few years, my knowledge and insight shaped a
plastic model of that most dignified phenomenon of modern times:
the parliamentarian. He began to impress himself upon me in
a form which has never since been subjected to any essential
again the visual instruction of practical reality had prevented
me from being stifled by a theory which at first sight seemed
seductive to so many, but which none the less must be counted
among the symptoms of human degeneration.
Western democracy of today is the forerunner of Marxism which
without it would not be thinkable. It provides this world plague
with the culture in which its germs can spread. In its most
extreme form, parliamentarianism created a 'monstrosity of excrement
and fire,' in which, however, sad to say, the 'fire' seems to
me at the moment to be burned out.
must be more than thankful to Fate for laying this question
before me while I was in Vienna, for I fear that in Germany
at that time I would have found the answer too easily. For if
I had first encountered this absurd institution known as 'parliament'
in Berlin, I might have fallen into the opposite fallacy, and
not without seemingly good cause have sided with those who saw
the salvation of the people and the Reich exclusively in furthering
the power of the imperial idea, and who nevertheless were alien
and blind at once to the times and the people involved.
Austria this was impossible.
it was not so easy to go from one mistake to the other. If parliament
was worthless, the Habsburgs were even more worthless - in no
event, less so. To reject 'parliamentarianism' was not enough,
for the question still remained open: what then? The rejection
and abolition of the Reichsrat would have left the House of
Habsburg the sole governing force, a thought which, especially
for me, was utterly intolerable.
difficulty of this special case led me to a more thorough contemplation
of the problem as such than would otherwise have been likely
at such tender years.
gave me most food for thought was the obvious absence of any
responsibility in a single person.
parliament arrives at some decision whose consequences may be
ever so ruinous - nobody bears any responsibility for this, no
one can be taken to account. For can it be called an acceptance
of responsibility if, after an unparalleled catastrophe, the
guilty government resigns? Or if the coalition changes, or even
if parliament is itself dissolved?
a fluctuating majority of people ever be made responsible in
the very idea of responsibility bound up with the individual?
can an individual directing a government be made practically
responsible for actions whose preparation and execution must
be set exclusively to the account of the will and inclination
of a multitude of men?
will not the task of a leading statesman be seen, not in the
birth of a creative idea or plan as such, but rather in the
art of making the brilliance of his projects intelligible to
a herd of sheep and blockheads, and subsequently begging for
their kind approval?
it the criterion of the statesman that he should possess the
art of persuasion in as high degree as that of political intelligence
in formulating great policies or decisions? Is the incapacity
of a leader shown by the fact that he does not succeed in winning
for a certain idea the majority of a mob thrown together by
more or less savory accidents?
has this mob ever understood an idea before success proclaimed
every deed of genius in this world a visible protest of genius
against the inertia of the mass?
what should the statesman do, who does not succeed in gaining
the favor of this mob for his plans by flattery?
he buy it?
in view of the stupidity of his fellow citizens, should he
renounce the execution of the tasks which he has recognized
to be vital necessities? Should he resign or should he remain
at his post?
such a case, doesn't a man of true character find himself
in a hopeless conflict between knowledge and decency, or rather
is the dividing line between his duty toward the general public
and his duty toward his personal honor?
every true leader refuse to be thus degraded to the level of
a political gangster?
conversely, mustn't every gangster feel that he is cut out for
politics, since it is never he, but some intangible mob, which
has to bear the ultimate responsibility?
our principle of parliamentary majorities lead to the demolition
of any idea of leadership?
anyone believe that the progress of this world springs from
the mind of majorities and not from the brains of individuals?
does anyone expect that the future will be able to dispense
with this premise of human culture?
it not, on the contrary, today seem more indispensable than
rejecting the authority of the individual and replacing it by
the numbers of some momentary mob, the parliamentary principle
of majority rule sins against the basic aristocratic principle
of Nature, though it must be said that this view is not necessarily
embodied in the present-day decadence of our upper ten thousand.
devastation caused by this institution of modern parliamentary
rule is hard for the reader of Jewish newspapers to imagine,
unless he has learned to think and examine independently. It
is, first and foremost, the cause of the incredible inundation
of all political life with the most inferior, and I mean the
most inferior, characters of our time. Just as the true leader
will withdraw from all political activity which does not consist
primarily in creative achievement and work, but in bargaining
and haggling for the favor of the majority, in the same measure
this activity will suit the small mind and consequently attract
more dwarfish one of these present-day leather-merchants is
in spirit and ability, the more clearly his own insight makes
him aware of the lamentable figure he actually cuts - that much
more will he sing the praises of a system which does not demand
of him the power and genius of a giant, but is satisfied with
the craftiness of a village mayor, preferring in fact this kind
of wisdom to that of a Pericles. And this kind doesn't have
to torment himself with responsibility for his actions. He is
entirely removed from such worry, for he well knows that, regardless
what the result of his 'statesmanlike' bungling may be, his
end has long been written in the stars: one day he will have
to cede his place to another equally great mind, for it is one
of the characteristics of this decadent system that the number
of great statesmen increases in proportion as the stature of
the individual decreases With increasing dependence on parliamentary
majorities it will inevitably continue to shrink, since on the
one hand great minds will refuse to be the stooges of idiotic
incompetents and big-mouths, and on the other, conversely, the
representatives of the majority, hence of stupidity, hate nothing
more passionately than a superior mind.
such an assembly of wise men of Gotham, it is always a consolation
to know that they are headed by a leader whose intelligence
is at the level of those present: this will give each one the
pleasure of shining from time to time - and, above all, if Tom
can be master, what is to prevent Dick and Harry from having
their turn too?
invention of democracy is most intimately related to a quality
which in recent times has grown to be a real disgrace, to wit,
the cowardice of a great part of our so-called 'leadership.
What luck to be able to hide behind the skirts of a so-called
majority in all decisions of any real importance!
a look at one of these political bandits. How anxiously he begs
the approval of the majority for every measure, to assure himself
of the necessary accomplices, so he can unload the responsibility
at any time. And this is one of the main reasons why this type
of political activity is always repulsive and hateful to any
man who is decent at heart and hence courageous, while it attracts
all low characters - and anyone who is unwilling to take personal
responsibility for his acts, but seeks a shield, is a cowardly
scoundrel. When the leaders of a nation consist of such vile
creatures, the results will soon be deplorable. Such a nation
will be unable to muster the courage for any determined act;
it will prefer to accept any dishonor, even the most shameful,
rather than rise to a decision; for there is no one who is prepared
of his own accord to pledge his person and his head for the
execution of a dauntless resolve.
there is one thing which we must never forget: in this, too,
the majority can never replace the man. It is not only a representative
of stupidity, but of cowardice as well. And no more than a hundred
empty heads make one wise man will an heroic decision arise
from a hundred cowards.
less the responsibility of the individual leader, the more numerous
will be those who, despite their most insignificant stature,
feel called upon to put their immortal forces in the service
of the nation. Indeed, they will be unable to await their turn;
they stand in a long line, and with pain and regret count the
number of those waiting ahead of them, calculating almost the
precise hour at which, in all probability, their turn will come.
Consequently, they long for any change in the office hovering
before their eyes, and are thankful for any scandal which thins
out the ranks ahead of them. And if some man is unwilling to
move from the post he holds, this in their eyes is practically
a breach of a holy pact of solidarity. They grow vindictive,
and they do not rest until the impudent fellow is at last overthrown,
thus turning his warm place back to the public. And, rest assured,
he won't recover the position so easily. For as soon as one
of these creatures is forced to give up a position, he will
try at once to wedge his way into the 'waiting-line' unless
the hue and cry raised by the others prevents him.
consequence of all this is a terrifying turn-over in the most
important offices and positions of such a state, a result which
is always harmful, but sometimes positively catastrophic. For
it is not only the simpleton and incompetent who will fall victim
to thus custom, but to an even greater extent the real leader,
if Fate somehow manages to put one in this place. As soon as
this fact has been recognized, a solid front will form against
him, especially if such a mind has not arisen from their own
ranks, but none the less dares to enter into this exalted society.
For on principle these gentry like to be among themselves and
they hate as a common enemy any brain which stands even slightly
above the zeros. And in this respect their instinct is as much
sharper as it is deficient in everything else.
result will be a steadily expanding intellectual impoverishment
of the leading circles. The result for the nation and the state,
everyone can judge for himself, excepting in so far as he himself
is one of these kind of 'leaders.'
Austria possessed the parliamentary régime in its purest form.
be sure, the prime ministers were always appointed by the
Emperor and King, but this very appointment was nothing halt
the execution of the parliamentary will. The haggling and
bargaining for the individual portfolios represented Western
democracy of the first water. And the results corresponded
to the principles applied. Particularly the change of individual
personalities occurred in shorter and shorter terms, ultimately
becoming a veritable chase. In the same measure, the stature
of the ' statesmen ' steadily diminished until finally no
one remained but that type of parliamentary gangster whose
statesmanship could only be measured and recognized by their
ability in pasting together the coalitions of the moment;
in other words, concluding those pettiest of political bargains
which alone demonstrate the fitness of these representatives
of the people for practical work.
the Viennese school transmitted the best impressions in this
what attracted me no less was to compare the ability and knowledge
of these representatives of the people and the tasks which awaited
them. In this case, whether I liked it or not, I was impelled
to examine more closely the intellectual horizon of these elect
of the nations themselves, and in so doing, I could not avoid
giving the necessary attention to the processes which lead to
the discovery of these ornaments of our public life.
way in which the real ability of these gentlemen was applied
and placed in the service of the fatherland - in other words,
the technical process of their activity - was also worthy of thorough
study and investigation.
more determined I was to penetrate these inner conditions, to
study the personalities and material foundations with dauntless
and penetrating objectivity, the more deplorable became my total
picture of parliamentary life. Indeed, this is an advisable
procedure in dealing with an institution which, in the person
of its representatives, feels obliged to bring up ' objectivity
' in every second sentence as the only proper basis for every
investigation and opinion. Investigate these gentlemen themselves
and the laws of their sordid existence, and you will be amazed
at the result.
is no principle which, objectively considered, is as false a,s
that of parliamentarianism.
we may totally disregard the manner in which our fine representatives
of the people are chosen, how they arrive at their office and
their new dignity. That only the tiniest fraction of them rise
in fulfillment of a general desire, let alone a need, will at
once be apparent to anyone who realizes that the political understanding
of the broad masses is far from being highly enough developed
to arrive at definite general political views of their own accord
and seek out the suitable personalities.
thing we designate by the word 'public opinion' rests only in
the smallest part on experience or knowledge which the individual
has acquired by hirnself, but rather on an idea which is inspired
by so-called 'enlightenment,' often of a highly persistent and
as a man's denominational orientation is the result of upbringing,
and only the religious need as such slumbers in his soul,
the political opinion of the masses represents nothing but
the final result of an incredibly tenacious and thorough manipulation
of their mind and soul.
By far the greatest share in their political 'education,'
which in this case is most aptly designated by the word 'propaganda,'
falls to the account of the press. It is foremost in performing
this 'work of enlightenment' and thus represents a sort of
school for grown-ups. This instruction, however, is not in
the hands of the state, but in the claws of forces which are
in part very inferior. In Vienna as a very young man I had
the best opportunity to become acquainted with the owners
and spiritual manufacturers of this machine for educating
the masses. At first I could not help but be amazed at how
short a time it took this great evil power within the state
to create a certain opinion even where it meant totally falsifying
profound desires and views which surely existed among the
public. In a few days a ridiculous episode had become a significant
state action, while, conversely, at the same time, vital problems
fell a prey to public oblivion, or rather were simply filched
from the memory and consciousness of the masses.
in the course of a few weeks it was possible to conjure up names
out of the void, to associate them with incredible hopes on
the part of the broad public, even to give them a popularity
which the really great man often does not obtain his whole life
long; names which a month before no one had even seen or heard
of, while at the same time old and proved figures of political
or other public life, though in the best of health, simply died
as far as their fellow men were concerned, or were heaped with
such vile insults that their names soon threatened to become
the symbol of some definite act of infamy or villainy. We must
study this vile Jewish technique of emptying garbage pails full
of the vilest slanders and defamations from hundreds and hundreds
of sources at once, suddenly and as if by magic, on the clean
garments of honorable men, if we are fully to appreciate the
entire menace represented by these scoundrels of the press.
is absolutely nothing one of these spiritual robber-barons will
not do to achieve his savory aims.
will poke into the most secret family affairs and not rest until
his truffle-searching instinct digs up some miserable incident
which is calculated to finish off the unfortunate victim. But
if, after the most careful sniffing, absolutely nothing is found,
either in the man's public or private life, one of these scoundrels
simply seizes on slander, in the firm conviction that despite
a thousand refutations something always sticks and, moreover,
through the immediate and hundredfold repetition of his defamations
by all his accomplices, any resistance on the part of the victim
is in most cases utterly impossible; and it must be borne in
mind that this rabble never acts out of motives which might
seem credible or even understandable to the rest of humanity.
God forbid! While one of these scum is attacking his beloved
fellow men in the most contemptible fashion, the octopus covers
himself with a veritable cloud of respectability and unctuous
phrases, prates about ' journalistic duty ' and suchlike lies,
and even goes so far as to shoot off his mouth at committee
meetings and congresses - that is, occasions where these pests
are present in large numbers - about a very special variety of
'honor,' to wit, the journalistic variety, which the assembled
rabble gravely and mutually confirm.
scum manufacture more than three quarters of the so-called 'public
opinion,' from whose foam the parliamentarian Aphrodite arises.
To give an accurate description of this process and depict it
in all its falsehood and improbability, one would have to write
volumes. But even if we disregard all this and examine only
the given product along with its activity, this seems to me
enough to make the objective lunacy of this institution dawn
on even the naïvest mind.
human error, as senseless as it is dangerous, will most readily
be understood as soon as we compare democratic parliamentarianism
with a truly Germanic democracy.
distinguishing feature of the former is that a body of, let
us say five hundred men, or in recent times even women, is chosen
and entrusted with making the ultimate decision in any and all
matters. And so for practical purposes they alone are the government;
for even if they do choose a cabinet which undertakes the external
direction of the affairs of state, this is a mere sham. In reality
this so-called government cannot take a step without first obtaining
the approval of the general assembly. Consequently, it cannot
be made responsible for anything, since the ultimate decision
never lies with it, but with the majority of parliament. In
every case it does nothing but carry out the momentary will
of the majority. Its political ability can only be judged according
to the skill with which it understands how either to adapt itself
to the will of the majority or to pull the majority over to
its side. Thereby it sinks from the heights of real government
to the level of a beggar confronting the momentary majority.
Indeed, its most urgent task becomes nothing more than either
to secure the favor of the existing majority, as the need arises,
or to form a majority with more friendly inclinations. If this
succeeds, it may 'govern' a little while longer; if it doesn't
succeed, it can resign. The soundness of its purposes as such
is beside the point.
practical purposes, this excludes all responsibility
what consequences this leads can be seen from a few simple considerations:
internal composition of the five hundred chosen representatives
of the people, with regard to profession or even individual
abilities, gives a picture as incoherent as it is usually
deplorable. For no one can believe that these men elected
by the nation are elect of spirit or even of intelligence
! It is to be hoped that no one will suppose that the ballots
of an electorate which is anything else than brilliant will
give rise to statesmen by the hundreds. Altogether we cannot
be too sharp in condemning the absurd notion that geniuses
can be born from general elections. In the first place, a
nation only produces a real statesman once in a blue moon
and not a hundred or more at once; and in the second place,
the revulsion of the masses for every outstanding genius is
positively instinctive. Sooner will a camel pass through a
needle's eye than a great man be ' discovered' by an election.
world history the man who really rises above the norm of the
broad average usually announces himself personally.
it is, however, five hundred men, whose stature is to say the
least modest, vote on the most important affairs of the nation,
appoint governments which in every single case and in every
special question have to get the approval of the exalted assembly,
so that policy is really made by five hundred.
that is just what it usually looks like.
even leaving the genius of these representatives of the people
aside, bear in mind how varied are the problems awaiting attention,
in what widely removed fields solutions and decisions must be
made, and you will realize how inadequate a governing institution
must be which transfers the ultimate right of decision to a
mass assembly of people, only a tiny fraction of which possess
knowledge and experience of the matter to be treated. The most
important economic measures are thus submitted to a forum, only
a tenth of whose members have any economic education to show.
This is nothing more nor less than placing the ultimate decision
in a matter in the hands of men totally lacking in every prerequisite
for the task.
same is true of every other question. The decision is always
made by a majority of ignoramuses and incompetents, since the
composition of this institution remains unchanged while the
problems under treatment extend to nearly every province of
public life and would thereby presuppose a constant turnover
in the deputies who are to judge and decide on them, since it
is impossible to let the same persons decide matters of transportation
as, let us say, a question of high foreign policy. Otherwise
these men would all have to be universal geniuses such as we
actually seldom encounter once in centuries. Unfortunately we
are here confronted, for the most part, not with 'thinkers,'
but with dilettantes as limited as they are conceited and inflated,
intellectual demi-monde of the worst sort. And this is
the source of the often incomprehensible frivolity with which
these gentry speak and decide on things which would require
careful meditation even in the greatest minds. Measures of the
gravest significance for the future of a whole state, yes, of
a nation, are passed as though a game of schafkopf or
tarock, which would certainly be better suited to their
abilities, lay on the table before them and not the fate of
it would surely be unjust to believe that all of the deputies
in such a parliament were personally endowed with so little
sense of responsibility.
by no means.
by forcing the individual to take a position on such questions
completely ill-suited to him, this system gradually ruins his
character. No one will summon up the courage to declare: Gentlemen,
I believe we understand nothing about this matter I personally
certainly do not.' (Besides, this would change matters little,
for surely this kind of honesty would remain totally unappreciated,
and what is more, our friends would scarcely allow one honorable
jackass to spoil their whole game.) Anyone with a knowledge
of people will realize that in such an illustrious company no
one is eager to be the stupidest, and in certain circles honesty
is almost synonymous with stupidity
even the representative who at first was honest is thrown
this track of general falsehood and deceit. The very conviction
that the non-participation of an individual in the business
would in itself change nothing kills every honorable impulse
which may rise up in this or that deputy. And finally, moreover,
he may tell himself that he personally is far from being the
worst among the others, and that the sole effect of his collaboration
is perhaps to prevent worse things from happening.
will be objected, to be sure, that though the individual deputy
possesses no special understanding in this or that matter, his
position has been discussed by the fraction which directs the
policy of the gentleman in question, and that the fraction has
its special committees which are more than adequately enlightened
by experts anyway.
first glance this seems to be true. But then the question arises:
Why are five hundred chosen when only a few possess the necessary
wisdom to take a position in the most important matters?
this is the worm in the apple!
is not the aim of our present-day parliamentarianism to constitute
an assembly of wise men, but rather to compose a band of mentally
dependent nonentities who are the more easily led in certain
directions, the greater is the personal limitation of the individual.
That is the only way of carrying on party politics in the malodorous
present-day sense. And only in this way is it possible for the
real wirepuller to remain carefully in the background and never
personally be called to responsibility. For then every decision,
regardless how harmful to the nation, will not be set to the
account of a scoundrel visible to all, but will be unloaded
on the shoulders of a whole fraction.
thereby every practical responsibility vanishes. For responsibility
can lie only in the obligation of an individual and not in a
parliamentary bull session.
an institution can only please the biggest liars and sneaks
of the sort that shun the light of day, because it is inevitably
hateful to an honorable, straightforward man who welcomes personal
that is why this type of democracy has become the instrument
of that race which in its inner goals must shun the light of
day, now and in all ages of the future. Only the Jew can praise
an institution which is as dirty and false as he himself.
to this is the truly Germanic democracy characterized by the
free election of a leader and his obligation fully to assume
all responsibility for his actions and omissions. In it there
is no majority vote on individual questions, but only the decision
of an individual who must answer with his fortune and his life
for his choice.
it be objected that under such conditions scarcely anyone would
be prepared to dedicate his person to so risky a task, there
is but one possible answer:
the Lord, Germanic democracy means just this: that any old climber
or moral slacker cannot rise by devious paths to govern his
national comrades, but that, by the very greatness of the responsibility
to be assumed, incompetents and weaklings are frightened off.
if, nevertheless, one of these scoundrels should attempt to
sneak in, we can find him more easily, and mercilessly challenge
him: Out, cowardly scoundrel! Remove your foot, you are besmirching
the steps; the front steps of the Pantheon of history are not
for sneak-thieves, but for heroes!
had fought my way to this conclusion after two years attendance
at the Vienna parliament.
that I never went back.
parliamentary régime shared the chief blame for the weakness,
constantly increasing in the past few years, of the Habsburg
state. The more its activities broke the predominance of the
Germans, the more the country succumbed to a system of playing
off the nationalities against one another. In the Reichsrat
itself this was always done at the expense of the Germans and
thereby, in the last analysis, at the expense of the Empire;
for by the turn of the century it must have been apparent even
to the simplest that the monarchy's force of attraction would
no longer be able to withstand the separatist tendencies of
more pathetic became the means which the state had to employ
for its preservation, the more the general contempt for it increased.
Not only in Hungary, but also in the separate Slavic provinces,
people began to identify themselves so little with the common
monarchy that they did not regard its weakness as their own
disgrace. On the contrary, they rejoiced at such symptoms of
old age; for they hoped more for the Empire's death than for
parliament, for the moment, total collapse was averted by undignified
submissiveness and acquiescence at every extortion, for which
the German had to pay in the end; and in the country, by most
skillfully playing off the different peoples against each other.
But the general line of development was nevertheless directed
against the Germans. Especially since Archduke Francis Ferdinand
became heir apparent and began to enjoy a certain influence,
there began to be some plan and order in the policy of Czechization
from above. With all possible means, this future ruler of the
dual monarchy tried to encourage a policy of de-Germanization,
to advance it himself or at least to sanction it. Purely German
towns, indirectly through government officialdom, were slowly
but steadily pushed into the mixed-language danger zones. Even
in Lower Austria this process began to make increasingly rapid
progress, and many Czechs considered Vienna their largest city.
central idea of this new Habsburg, whose family had ceased to
speak anything but Czech (the Archduke's wife, a former Czech
countess, had been morganatically married to the Prince - she
came from circles whose anti-German attitude was traditional),
was gradually to establish a Slavic state in Central Europe
which for defense against Orthodox Russia should be placed on
a strictly Catholic basis. Thus, as the Habsburgs had so often
done before, religion was once again put into the service of
a purely political idea, and what was worse - at least from the
German viewpoint - of a catastrophic idea.
result was more than dismal in many respects.
the House of Habsburg nor the Catholic Church received the
lost the throne, Rome a great state.
by employing religious forces in the service of its political
considerations, the crown aroused a spirit which at the outset
it had not considered possible.
answer to the attempt to exterminate the Germans in the old
monarchy by every possible means, there arose the Pan-German
movement in Austria.
the eighties the basic Jewish tendency of Manchester liberalism
had reached, if not passed, its high point in the monarchy.
The reaction to it, however, as with everything in old Austria,
arose primarily from a social, not from a national standpoint.
The instinct of self-preservation forced the Germans to adopt
the sharpest measures of defense. Only secondarily did economic
considerations begin to assume a decisive influence. And so,
two party formations grew out of the general political confusion,
the one with the more national, the other with the more social,
attitude, but both highly interesting and instructive for the
the depressing end of the War of 1866, the House of Habsburg
harbored the idea of revenge on the battlefield. Only the death
of Emperor Max of Mexico, whose unfortunate expedition was blamed
primarily on Napoleon III and whose abandonment by the French
aroused general indignation, prevented a closer collaboration
with France. Habsburg nevertheless lurked in wait. If the War
of 1870-71 had not been so unique a triumph, the Vienna Court
would probably have risked a bloody venture to avenge Sadowa.
But when the first amazing and scarcely credible, but none the
less true, tales of heroism arrived from the battlefields, the
'wisest' of all monarchs recognized that the hour was not propitious
and put the best possible face on a bad business.
the heroic struggle of these years had accomplished an even
mightier miracle; for with the Habsburgs a change of position
never arose from the urge of the innermost heart, but from the
compulsion of circumstances. However, the German people of the
old Ostmark were swept along by the Reich's frenzy of victory,
and looked on with deep emotion as the dream of their fathers
was resurrected to glorious reality.
make no mistake: the truly German-minded Austrian had, even
at Königgrätz, and from this time on, recognized the tragic
but necessary prerequisite for the resurrection of a Reich which
would no longer be - and actually was not - afflicted with the foul
morass of the old Union. Above all, he had come to understand
thoroughly, by his own suffering, that the House of Habsburg
had at last concluded its historical mission and that the new
Reich could choose as Emperor only him whose heroic convictions
made him worthy to bear the 'Crown of the Rhine.' But how much
more was Fate to be praised for accomplishing this investiture
in the scion of a house which in Frederick the Great had given
the nation a gleaming and eternal symbol of its resurrection.
when after the great war the House of Habsburg began with desperate
determination slowly but inexorably to exterminate the dangerous
German element in the dual monarchy (the inner convictions of
this element could not be held in doubt), for such would be
the inevitable result of the Slavization policy - the doomed
people rose to a resistance such as modern German history had
the first time, men of national and patriotic mind became rebels.
not against the nation and not against the state as such, but
rebels against a kind of government which in their conviction
would inevitably lead to the destruction of their own nationality.
the first time in modern German history, traditional dynastic
patriotism parted ways with the national love of fatherland
Pan-German movement in German-Austria in the nineties is to
be praised for demonstrating in clear, unmistakable terms that
a state authority is entitled to demand respect and protection
only when it meets the interests of a people, or at least does
not harm them.
can be no such thing as state authority as an end in itself,
for, if there were, every tyranny in this world would be unassailable
by the instrument of governmental power, a nationality is led
toward its destruction, then rebellion is not only the right
of every member of such a people - it is his duty.
the question - when is this the case? - is decided not by theoretical
dissertations, but by force and - results.
as a matter of course, all governmental power claims the duty
of preserving state authority - regardless how vicious it is,
betraying the interests of a people a thousandfold - the national
instinct of self-preservation, in overthrowing such a power
and achieving freedom or independence, will have to employ the
same weapons by means of which the enemy tries to maintain his
power. Consequently, the struggle will be carried on with 'legal'
means as long as the power to be overthrown employs such means;
but it will not shun illegal means if the oppressor uses them.
general it should not be forgotten that the highest aim of human
existence is not the preservation of a state, let alone a government,
but the preservation of the species.
if the species itself is in danger of being oppressed or utterly
eliminated, the question of legality is reduced to a subordinate
role. Then, even if the methods of the ruling power are alleged
to be legal a thousand times over, nonetheless the oppressed
people's instinct of self-preservation remains the loftiest
justification of their struggle with every weapon.
through recognition of this principle have wars of liberation
against internal and external enslavement of nations on this
earth come down to us in such majestic historical examples.
law cancels out state law.
if a people is defeated in its struggle for human rights, this
merely means that it has been found too light in the scale of
destiny for the happiness of survival on this earth. For when
a people is not willing or able to fight for its existence -
Providence in its eternal justice has decreed that people's
world is not for cowardly peoples.
easy it is for a tyranny to cover itself with the cloak of so-called
'legality' is shown most clearly and penetratingly by the example
legal state power in those days was rooted in the anti-German
soil of parliament with its non-German majorities - and in the
equally anti-German ruling house. In these two factors the entire
state authority was embodied. Any attempt to change the destinies
of the German-Austrian people from this position was absurd.
Hence, in the opinions of our friends the worshipers of state
authority as such and of the 'legal' way, all resistance would
have had to be shunned, as incompatible with legal methods.
But this, with compelling necessity, would have meant the end
of the German people in the monarchy - and in a very short time.
And, as a matter of fact, the Germans were saved from this fate
only by the collapse of this state.
bespectacled theoretician, it is true, would still prefer to
die for his doctrine than for his people.
it is men who make the laws, he believes that they live for
the sake of these laws.
Pan-German movement in Austria had the merit of completely doing
away with this nonsense, to the horror of all theoretical pedants
and other fetish-worshiping isolationists in the government.
the Habsburgs attempted to attack Germanism with all possible
means, this party attacked the 'exalted' ruling house itself,
and without mercy. For the first time it probed into this rotten
state and opened the eyes of hundreds of thousands. To its credit
be it said that it released the glorious concept of love of
fatherland from the embrace of this sorry dynasty.
the early days of its appearance, its following was extremely
great, threatening to become a veritable avalanche. But the
success did not last. When I came to Vienna, the movement had
long been overshadowed by the Christian Social Party which had
meanwhile attained power - and had indeed been reduced to almost
whole process of the growth and passing of the Pan-German movement
on the one hand, and the unprecedented rise of the Christian
Social Party on the other, was to assume the deepest significance
for me as a classical object of study.
I came to Vienna, my sympathies were fully and wholly on the
side of the Pan-German tendency.
they mustered the courage to cry 'Hoch Hohenzollern'
impressed me as much as it pleased me; that they still regarded
themselves as an only temporarily severed part of the German
Reich, and never let a moment pass without openly attesting
this fact, inspired me with joyful confidence; that in all questions
regarding Germanism they showed their colors without reserve,
and never descended to compromises, seemed to me the one still
passable road to the salvation of our people; and I could not
understand how after its so magnificent rise the movement should
have taken such a sharp decline. Even less could I understand
how the Christian Social Party at this same period could achieve
such immense power. At that time it had just reached the apogee
of its glory.
I set about comparing these movements, Fate, accelerated by
my otherwise sad situation, gave me the best instruction for
an understanding of the causes of this riddle.
shall begin my comparisons with the two men who may be regarded
as the leaders and founders of the two parties: Georg von Schönerer
and Dr. Karl Lueger.
a purely human standpoint they both tower far above the scope
and stature of so-called parliamentary figures. Amid the morass
of general political corruption their whole life remained pure
and unassailable. Nevertheless my personal sympathy lay at first
on the side of the Pan-German Schönerer, and turned only little
by little toward the Christian Social leader as well.
as to abilities, Schönerer seemed to me even then the better
and more profound thinker in questions of principle. He foresaw
the inevitable end of the Austrian state more clearly and correctly
than anyone else. If, especially in the Reich, people had paid
more attention to his warnings against the Habsburg monarchy,
the calamity of Germany's World War against all Europe would
never have occurred.
if Schönerer recognized the problems in their innermost essence,
he erred when it came to men.
on the other hand, lay Dr. Lueger's strength.
had a rare knowledge of men and in particular took good care
not to consider people better than they are. Consequently, he
reckoned more with the real possibilities of life while Schönerer
had but little understanding for them. Theoretically speaking,
all the Pan-German's thoughts were correct, but since he lacked
the force and astuteness to transmit his theoretical knowledge
to the masses - that is, to put it in a form suited to the receptivity
of the broad masses, which is and remains exceedingly limited - all
his knowledge was visionary wisdom, and could never become practical
this lack of actual knowledge of men led in the course of time
to an error in estimating the strength of whole movements as
well as age-old institutions.
Schönerer realized, to be sure, that questions of basic philosophy
were involved, but he did not understand that only the broad
masses of a people are primarily able to uphold such well-nigh
he saw only to a limited extent the extraordinary limitation
of the will to fight in so-called 'bourgeois' circles, due,
if nothing else, to their economic position which makes the
individual fear to lose too much and thereby holds him in check.
yet, on the whole, a philosophy can hope for victory only if
the broad masses adhere to the new doctrine and declare their
readiness to undertake the necessary struggle.
this deficient understanding of the importance of the lower
strata of the people arose a completely inadequate conception
of the social question.
all this Dr. Lueger was the opposite of Schönerer.
thorough knowledge of men enabled him to judge the possible
forces correctly, at the same time preserving him from underestimating
existing institutions, and perhaps for this very reason taught
him to make use of these institutions as instruments for the
achievement of his purposes.
understood only too well that the political fighting power
of the upper bourgeoisie at the present time was but slight
and inadequate for achieving the victory of a great movement.
He therefore laid the greatest stress in his political activity
on winning over the classes whose existence was threatened
and therefore tended to spur rather than paralyze the will
to fight. Likewise he was inclined to make use of all existing
implements of power, to incline mighty existing institutions
in his favor, drawing from these old sources of power the
greatest possible profit for his own movement.
he adjusted his new party primarily to the middle class menaced
with destruction, and thereby assured himself of a following
that was difficult to shake, whose spirit of sacrifice was as
great as its fighting power. His policy toward the Catholic
Church, fashioned with infinite shrewdness, in a short time
won over the younger clergy to such an extent that the old Clerical
Party was forced either to abandon the field, or, more wisely,
to join the new party, in order slowly to recover position after
take this alone as the characteristic essence of the man would
be to do him a grave injustice. For in addition to being an
astute tactician, he had the qualities of a truly great and
brilliant reformer: though here, too, he observed the limits
set by a precise knowledge of the existing possibilities as
well as his own personal abilities.
was an infinitely practical goal that this truly significant
man had set himself. He wanted to conquer Vienna. Vienna was
the heart of the monarchy; from this city the last flush of
life flowed out into the sickly, old body of the crumbling empire.
The healthier the heart became, the more the rest of the body
was bound to revive: an idea, correct in principle, but which
could be applied only for a certain limited time.
herein lay this man's weakness.
he had done as mayor of Vienna is immortal in the best sense
of the word; but he could no longer save the monarchy, it was
opponent, Schönerer, had seen this more clearly
Dr. Lueger's practical efforts were amazingly successful; the
hopes he based on them were not realized.
efforts were not successful, but his most terrible fears came
neither man realized his ultimate goal. Lueger could no longer
save Austria, and Schönerer could no longer save the German
people from ruin.
is infinitely instructive for our present day to study the causes
for the failure of both parties. This is particularly useful
for my friends, since in many points conditions today are similar
to then and errors can thereby be avoided which at that time
caused the end of the one movement and the sterility of the
my mind, there were three causes for the collapse of the Pan-German
movement in Austria.
the first place, its unclear conception of the significance
of the social problem, especially for a new and essentially
Schönerer and his followers addressed themselves principally
to bourgeois circles, the result was bound to be very feeble
some people fail to suspect it, the German bourgeoisie, especially
in its upper circles, is pacifistic to the point of positive
self-abnegation, where internal affairs of the nation or state
are concerned. In good times that is, in this case, in times
of good government such an attitude makes these classes extremely
valuable to the state; but in times of an inferior régime it
is positively ruinous. To make possible the waging of any really
serious struggle, the Pan-German movement should above all have
dedicated itself to winning the masses. That it failed to do
so deprived it in advance of the elemental impetus which a wave
of its kind simply must have if it is not in a short time to
this principle is borne in mind and carried out from the very
start, the new party loses all possibility of later making up
for what has been lost. For, by the admission of numerous moderate
bourgeois elements, the basic attitude of the movement will
always be governed by them and thus lose any further prospect
of winning appreciable forces from the broad masses. As a result,
such a movement will not rise above mere grumbling and criticizing.
The faith bordering more or less on religion, combined with
a similar spirit of sacrifice, will cease to exist; in its place
will arise an effort gradually to grind off the edges of struggle
by means of 'positive' collaboration; that is, in this case,
by acceptance of the existing order, thus ultimately leading
to a putrid peace.
this is what happened to the Pan-German movement because it
had not from the outset laid its chief stress on winning supporters
from the circles of the great masses. It achieved 'bourgeois
respectability and a muffled radicalism.'
this error arose the second cause of its rapid decline.
the time of the emergence of the Pan-German movement the situation
of the Germans in Austria was already desperate. From year to
year the parliament had increasingly become an institution for
the slow destruction of the German people. Any attempt at salvation
in the eleventh hour could offer even the slightest hope of
success only if this institution were eliminated.
the movement was faced with a question of basic importance:
its members, to destroy parliament, go into parliament, in order,
as people used to say, 'to bore from within,' or should they
carry on the struggle from outside by an attack on this institution
went in and they came out defeated.
be sure, they couldn't help but go in.
carry on the struggle against such a power from outside means
to arm with unflinching courage and to be prepared for endless
sacrifices. You seize the bull by the horns, you suffer many
heavy blows, you are sometimes thrown to the earth, sometimes
you get up with broken limbs, and only after the hardest contest
does victory reward the bold assailant. Only the greatness of
the sacrifices will win new fighters for the cause, until at
last tenacity is rewarded by success.
for this the sons of the broad masses are required.
alone are determined and tough enough to carry through the fight
to its bloody end.
the Pan-German movement did not possess these broad masses;
thus no course remained open but to go into parliament
would be a mistake to believe that this decision was the result
of long soul torments, or even meditations; no, no other idea
entered their heads. Participation in this absurdity was only
sediment resulting from general, unclear conceptions regarding
the significance and effect of such a participation in an institution
which had in principle been recognized as false. In general,
party hoped that this would facilitate the enlightenment of
the broad masses, since it would now have an opportunity to
speak before the 'forum of the whole nation.' Besides, it seemed
plausible that attacking the root of the evil was bound to be
more successful than storming it from outside. They thought
the security of the individual fighter was increased by the
protection of parliamentary immunity, and that this could only
enhance the force of the attack.
reality, it must be said, things turned out very differently.
forum before which the Pan-German deputies spoke had not become
greater but smaller; for each man speaks only to the circle
which can hear him, or which obtains an account of his words
in the newspapers.
not the halls of parliament, but the great public meeting, represents
the largest direct forum of listeners.
in the latter, there are thousands of people who have come only
to hear what the speaker has to say to them, while in the halls
of parliament there are only a few hundreds, and most of these
are present only to collect their attendance fees, and certainly
not to be illuminated by the wisdom of this or that fellow 'representative
of the people.'
is always the same public, which will never learn anything new,
since, aside from the intelligence, it is lacking in the very
rudiments of will.
will one of these representatives of the people honor a superior
truth of his own accord, and place himself in its service.
this is something that not a single one of them will do unless
he has reason to hope that by such a shift he may save his mandate
for one more session. Only when it is in the air that the party
in power will come off badly in a coming election, will these
ornaments of virility shift to a party or tendency which they
presume will come out better, though you may be confident that
this change of position usually occurs amidst a cloudburst of
moral justifications. Consequently, when an existing party appears
to be falling beneath the disfavor of the people to such an
extent that the probability of an annihilating defeat threatens,
such a great shift will always begin: then the parliamentary
rats leave the party ship.
this has nothing to do with better knowledge or intentions,
but only with that prophetic gift which warns these parliamentary
bedbugs at the right moment and causes them to drop, again and
again, into another warm party bed.
to speak to such a 'forum' is really to cast pearls before the
well-known domestic beasts. It is truly not worth while. The
result can be nothing but zero.
that is just what it was.
Pan-German deputies could talk their throats hoarse: the effect
was practically nil.
press either killed them with silence or mutilated their speeches
in such a way that any coherence, and often even the sense,
was twisted or entirely lost, and public opinion received a
very poor picture of the aims of the new movement. What the
various gentlemen said was quite unimportant; the important
thing was what people read about them. And this was an extract
from their speeches, so disjointed that it could - as intended -
only seem absurd. The only forum to which they really spoke
consisted of five hundred parliamentarians, and that is enough
the worst was the following:
Pan-German movement could count on success only if it realized
from the very first day that what was required was not a new
party, but a new philosophy. Only the latter could produce the
inward power to fight this gigantic struggle to its end. And
for this, only the very best and courageous minds can serve
the struggle for a philosophy is not lead by heroes prepared
to make sacrifices, there will, in a short time, cease to be
any warriors willing to die. The man who is fighting for his
own existence cannot have much left over for the community.
order to maintain this requirement, every man must know that
the new movement can offer the present nothing but honor and
fame in posterity. The more easily attainable posts and offices
a movement has to hand out, the more inferior stuff it will
attract, and in the end these political hangers-on overwhelm
a successful party in such number that the honest fighter of
former days no longer recognizes the old movement and the new
arrivals definitely reject him as an unwelcome intruder. When
this happens, the 'mission' of such a movement is done for.
soon as the Pan-German movement sold its soul to parliament,
it attracted 'parliamentarians' instead of leaders and fighters.
it sank to the level of the ordinary political parties of the
day and lost the strength to oppose a catastrophic destiny with
the defiance of martyrdom. Instead of fighting, it now learned
make speeches and 'negotiate.' And in a short time the new parliamentarian
found it a more attractive, because less dangerous, duty to
fight for the new philosophy with the 'spiritual' weapons of
parliamentary eloquence, than to risk his own life, if necessary,
by throwing himself into a struggle whose issue was uncertain
and which in any case could bring him no profit.
they had members in parliament, the supporters outside began
to hope and wait for miracles which, of course, did not occur
and could not occur. For this reason they soon became impatient,
for even what they heard from their own deputies was by no means
up to the expectations of the voters. This was perfectly natural,
since the hostile press took good care not to give the people
any faithful picture of the work of the Pan-German deputies.
more the new representatives of the people developed a taste
for the somewhat gentler variety of 'revolutionary' struggle
in parliament and the provincial diets, the less prepared
they were to return to the more dangerous work of enlightening
the broad masses of the people.
mass meeting, the only way to exert a truly effective, because
personal, influence on large sections of the people and thus
possibly to win them, was thrust more and more into the background.
the platform of parliament was definitely substituted for the
beer table of the meeting hall, and from this forum speeches
were poured, not into the people, but on the heads of their
so called 'elect,' the Pan-German movement ceased to be a movement
of the people and in a short time dwindled into an academic
discussion club to be taken more or less seriously.
the bad impression transmitted by the press was in no way corrected
by personal agitation at meetings by the individual gentlemen,
with the result that finally the word 'Pan-German' began to
have a very bad sound in the ears of the broad masses.
let it be said to all our present-day fops and knights of the
pen: the greatest revolutions in this world have never been
directed by a goose-quill!
to the pen it has always been reserved to provide their theoretical
the power which has always started the greatest religious and
political avalanches in history rolling has from time immemorial
been the magic power of the spoken word, and that alone.
the broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power
of speech. And all great movements are popular movements, volcanic
eruptions of human passions and emotional sentiments, stirred
either by the cruel Goddess of Distress or by the firebrand
of the word hurled among the masses; they are not the lemonade-like
outpourings of literary aesthetes and drawing-room heroes.
a storm of hot passion can turn the destinies of peoples, and
he alone can arouse passion who bears it within himself.
alone gives its chosen one the words which like hammer blows
can open the gates to the heart of a people.
the man whom passion fails and whose lips are sealed - he has
not been chosen by Heaven to proclaim its will.
let the writer remain by his ink-well, engaging in 'theoretical'
activity, if his intelligence and ability are equal to it; for
leadership he is neither born nor chosen.
movement with great aims must therefore be anxiously on its
guard not to lose contact with the broad masses.
must examine every question primarily from this standpoint and
make its decisions accordingly.
must, furthermore, avoid everything which might diminish or
even weaken its ability to move the masses, not for 'demagogic'
reasons, but in the simple knowledge that without the mighty
force of the mass of a people, no great idea, however lofty
and noble it may seem, can be realized.
reality alone must determine the road to the goal; unwillingness
to travel unpleasant roads only too often in this world means
to renounce the goal; which may or may not be what you want.
soon as the Pan-German movement by its parliamentary attitude
had shifted the weight of its activity to parliament instead
of the people, it lost the future and instead won cheap successes
of the moment.
chose the easier struggle and thereby became unworthy of ultimate
in Vienna I pondered this very question with the greatest care,
and in the failure to recognize it saw one of the main causes
of the collapse of the movement which in those days, in my opinion,
was predestined to undertake the leadership of the German element.
first two mistakes which caused the Pan-German movement to founder
were related to each other. Insufficient knowledge of the inner
driving forces of great revolutions led to an insufficient estimation
of the importance of the broad masses of the people; from this
resulted its insufficient interest in the social question, its
deficient and inadequate efforts to win the soul of the lower
classes of the nation, as well as its over-favorable attitude
they had recognized the tremendous power which at all times
must be attributed to the masses as the repository of revolutionary
resistance, they would have worked differently in social and
propagandist matters. Then the movement's center of gravity
would not have been shifted to parliament, but to the workshop
and the street.
the third error finds its ultimate germ in failure to recognize
the value of the masses, which, it is true, need superior minds
to set them in motion in a given direction, but which then,
like a flywheel, lend the force of the attack momentum and uniform
hard struggle which the Pan-Germans fought with the Catholic
Church can be accounted for only by their insufficient understanding
of the spiritual nature of the people.
causes for the new party's violent attack on Rome were as follows:
soon as the House of Habsburg had definitely made up its mind
to reshape Austria into a Slavic state, it seized upon every
means which seemed in any way suited to this tendency. Even
religious institutions were, without the
slightest qualms, harnessed to the service of the new ' state
idea ' by this unscrupulous ruling house.
use of Czech pastorates and their spiritual shepherds was but
one of the many means of attaining this goal, a general Slavization
process took approximately the following form:
pastors were appointed to German communities; slowly but surely
they began to set the interests of the Czech people above the
interests of the churches, becoming germ-cells of the de-Germanization
German clergy did practically nothing to counter these methods.
Not only were they completely useless for carrying on this struggle
in a positive German sense; they were even unable to oppose
the necessary resistance to the attacks of the adversary. Indirectly,
by the misuse of religion on the one hand, and owing to insufficient
defense on the other, Germanism was slowly but steadily forced
in small matters the situation was as described, in big things,
unfortunately, it was not far different.
too, the anti-German efforts of the Habsburgs did not encounter
the resistance they should have, especially on the part of the
high clergy, while the defense of German interests sank completely
into the background.
general impression could only be that the Catholic clergy as
such was grossly infringing on German rights.
the Church did not seem to feel with the German people, but
to side unjustly with the enemy. The root of the whole evil
lay, particularly in Schönerer's opinion, in the fact that
the directing body of the Catholic Church was not in Germany,
and that for this very reason alone it was hostile to the interests
of our nationality.
so-called cultural problems, in this as in virtually every other
connection in Austria at that time, were relegated almost entirely
to the background. The attitude of the Pan-German movement toward
the Catholic Church was determined far less by its position
on science, etc., than by its inadequacy in the championing
of German rights and, conversely, its continued aid and comfort
to Slavic arrogance and greed.
Schönerer was not the man to do things by halves. He
took up the struggle toward the Church in the conviction that
by it alone he could save the German people. The 'Away from
Rome' movement seemed the most powerful, though, to be sure,
the most difficult, mode of attack, which would inevitably
shatter the hostile citadel. If it was successful, the tragic
church schism in Germany would be healed, and it was possible
that the inner strength of the Empire and the German nation
would gain enormously by such a victory.
neither the premise nor the inference of this struggle was
doubt the national force of resistance of the Catholic clergy
of German nationality, in all questions connected with Germanism,
was less than that of their non-German, particularly Czech,
only an ignoramus could fail to see that an offensive in favor
of German interests was something that practically never occurred
to the German clergyman.
anyone who was not blind was forced equally to admit that
this was due primarily to a circumstance under which all of
us Germans have to suffer severely: that is, the objectivity
of our attitude toward our nationality as well as everything
the Czech clergyman was subjective in his attitude toward
his people and objective only toward the Church, the German
pastor was subjectively devoted to the Church and remained
objective toward the nation. A phenomenon which, to our misfortune,
we can observe equally well in thousands of other cases.
is by no means a special legacy of Catholicism, but with us
it quickly corrodes almost every institution, whether it be
governmental or ideal.
compare the position which our civil servants, for example,
take toward the attempts at a national awakening with the position
which in such a case the civil servants of another people would
take. Or does anyone believe that an officers' corps anywhere
else in the world would subordinate the interests of the nation
amid mouthings about 'state authority,' in the way that has
been taken for granted in our country for the last five years,
in fact, has been viewed as especially meritorious? In the Jewish
question, for example, do not both denominations today take
a standpoint which corresponds neither to the requirements of
the nation nor to the real needs of religion? Compare the attitude
of a Jewish rabbi in all questions of even the slightest importance
for the Jews as a race with the attitude of by far the greatest
part of our clergy - of both denominations, if you please!
always find this phenomenon when it is a question of defending
an abstract idea as such.
authority,' 'democracy,' 'pacifism,' 'international solidarity,'
etc., are all concepts which with us nearly always become so
rigid and purely doctrinaire that subsequently all purely national
vital necessities are judged exclusively from their standpoint.
catastrophic way of considering all matters from the angle of
a preconceived opinion kills every possibility of thinking oneself
subjectively into a matter which is objectively opposed to one's
own doctrine, and finally leads to a total reversal of means
and ends. People will reject any attempt at a national uprising
if it can take place only after the elimination of a bad, ruinous
régime, since this would be an offense against 'state authority,'
and ' state authority ' is not a means to an end, but in the
eyes of such a fanatical objectivist rather represents the aim
itself, which is sufficient to fill out his whole lamentable
life. Thus, for example, they would indignantly oppose any attempt
at a dictatorship, even if it was represented by a Frederick
the Great and the momentary political comedians of a parliamentary
majority were incapable dwarfs or really inferior characters,
just because the law
of democracy seems holier to such a principle-monger than the
welfare of a nation. The one will therefore defend the worst
tyranny, a tyranny which is ruining the people, since at the
moment it embodies 'state authority,' while the other rejects
even the most beneficial government as soon as it fails to satisfy
his conception of 'democracy.'
exactly the same way, our German pacifist will accept in silence
the bloodiest rape of our nation at the hands of the most vicious
military powers if a change in this state of affairs can be
achieved only by resistance - that is, force - for this would be
contrary to the spirit of his peace society. Let the international
German Socialist be plundered in solidarity by the rest of the
world, he will accept it with brotherly affection and no thought
of retribution or even defense, just because he is - a German.
may be a sad state of affairs, but to change a thing means to
recognize it first.
same is true of the weak defense of German interests by a part
of the clergy.
is neither malicious ill will in itself, nor is it caused, let
us say, by commands from 'above'; no, in such a lack of national
determination we see merely the result of an inadequate education
in Germanism from childhood up and, on the other hand, an unlimited
submission to an idea which has become an idol.
in democracy, in socialism of the international variety, in
pacifism, etc., is a thing so rigid and exclusive, so purely
subjective from these points of view, that the general picture
of the remaining world is colored by this dogmatic conception,
while the attitude toward Germanism has remained exceedingly
objective from early youth. Thus, the pacifist, by giving himself
subjectively and entirely to his idea, will, in the presence
of any menace to his people, be it ever so grave and unjust,
always (in so far as he is a German) seek after the objective
right and never from pure instinct of self-preservation join
the ranks of his herd and fight with them.
what extent this is also true of the different religions is
shown by the following:
as such is a better defender of the interests of Germanism,
in so far as this is grounded in its genesis and later tradition:
it fails, however, in the moment when this defense of national
interests must take place in a province which is either absent
from the general line of its ideological world and traditional
development, or is for some reason rejected.
Protestantism will always stand up for the advancement of all
Germanism as such, as long as matters of inner purity or national
deepening as well as German freedom are involved since all these
things have a firm foundation in its own being; but it combats
with the greatest hostility any attempt to rescue the nation
from the embrace of its most mortal enemy, since its attitude
toward the Jews just happens to be more or less dogmatically
established. Yet here we are facing the question without whose
solution all other attempts at a German reawakening or resurrection
are and remain absolutely senseless and impossible.
my Vienna period I had leisure and opportunity enough for an
unprejudiced examination of this question too, and in my daily
contacts was able to establish the correctness of this view
a thousand times over.
this focus of the most varied nationalities, it immediately
becomes clearly apparent that the German pacifist is alone in
always attempting to view the interests of his own nation objectively,
but that the Jew will never regard those of the Jewish people
in this way; that only the German Socialist is 'international'
in a sense which forbids him to beg justice for his own people
except by whimpering and whining in the midst of his international
comrades, but never a Czech or a Pole, etc.; in short, I recognized
even then that the misfortune lies only partly in these doctrines,
and partly in our totally inadequate education in national sentiment
and a resultant lack of devotion to our nation.
the first theoretical foundation for a struggle of the Pan-German
movement against Catholicism as such was lacking.
the German people be raised from childhood up with that exclusive
recognition of the rights of their own nationality, and let
not the hearts of children be contaminated with the curse of
our 'objectivity,' even in matters regarding the preservation
of their own ego. Then in a short time it will be seen that
(presupposing, of course, a radically national government) in
Germany, as in Ireland, Poland, or France, the Catholic will
always be a German.
mightiest proof of this was provided by that epoch which for
the last time led our nation into a life-and-death struggle
before the judgment seat of history in defense of its own existence.
long as leadership from above was not lacking, the people fulfilled
their duty and obligation overwhelmingly. Whether Protestant
pastor or Catholic priest, both together contributed infinitely
in maintaining for so long our power to resist, not only at
the front but also at home. In these years and particularly
at the first flare, there really existed in both camps but a
single holy German Reich, for whose existence and future each
man turned to his own heaven.
Pan-German movement in Austria should have asked itself one
question: Is the preservation of German-Austrianism possible
under a Catholic faith, or is it not? If yes, the political
party had no right to concern itself with religious or denominational
matters; if not, then what was needed was a religious reformation
and never a political party.
who thinks he can arrive at a religious reformation by the detour
of a political organization only shows that he has no glimmer
of knowledge of the development of religious ideas or dogmas
and their ecclesiastical consequences.
a man cannot serve two masters. And I consider the foundation
or destruction of a religion far greater than the foundation
or destruction of a state, let alone a party.
let it not be said that this is only a defense against the attacks
from the other side!
is certain that at all times unscrupulous scoundrels have not
shunned to make even religion the instrument of their political
bargains (for that is what such rabble almost always and exclusively
deal in): but just as certainly it is wrong to make a religious
denomination responsible for a
number of tramps who abuse it in exactly the same way as they
would probably make anything else serve their low instincts.
can better suit one of these parliamentarian good-for-nothings
and lounge-lizards than when an opportunity is offered to justify
his political swindling, even after the fact.
as soon as religion or even denomination is made responsible
for his personal vices and attacked on that ground, this shameless
liar sets up a great outcry and calls the whole world to witness
that his behavior has been completely justified and that he
alone and his eloquence are to be thanked for saving religion
of the Church. The public, as stupid as it is forgetful, is,
as a rule, prevented by the very outcry from recognizing the
real instigator of the struggle or else has forgotten him, and
the scoundrel has to all intents and purposes achieved his goal.
sly fox knows perfectly well that this has nothing to do with
religion; and he will silently laugh up his sleeve while his
honest but clumsy opponent loses the game and one day, despairing
of the loyalty and faith of humanity, withdraws from it all.
in another sense it would be unjust to make religion as such
or even the Church responsible for the failings of individuals.
Compare the greatness of the visible organization before our
eyes with the average fallibility of man in general, and you
will have to admit that in it the relation of good and evil
is better than anywhere else. To be sure, even among the priests
themselves there are those to whom their holy office is only
a means of satisfying their political ambition, yes, who in
political struggle forget, in a fashion which is often more
than deplorable that they are supposed to be the guardians of
a higher truth and not the representatives of lies and slander - but
for one such unworthy priest there are a thousand and more honorable
ones, shepherds most loyally devoted to their mission, who,
in our present false and decadent period, stand out of the general
morass like little islands.
more than I condemn, or would be justified in condemning, the
Church as such when a degenerate individual in a cassock obscenely
transgresses against morality, do I condemn it when one of the
many others besmirches and betrays his nationality at a time
when this is a daily occurrence anyway. Particularly today,
we must not forget that for one such Ephialtes there are thousands
who with bleeding heart feel the misfortune of their people
and like the best of our nation long for the hour in which Heaven
will smile on us again.
if anyone replies that here we are not concerned with such everyday
problems, but with questions of principle and truth or dogmatic
content, we can aptly counter with another question:
you believe that you have been chosen by Fate to reveal the
truth in this matter, do so; but then have the courage to do
so, not indirectly through a political party - for this is a swindle;
but for today's evil substitute your future good.
if you lack courage, or if your good is not quite clear even
to yourself, then keep your fingers out of the matter; in any
case, do not attempt by roundabout sneaking through a political
movement to do what you dare not do with an open vizor.
parties have nothing to do with religious problems, as long
as these are not alien to the nation, undermining the morals
and ethics of the race; just as religion cannot be amalgamated
with the scheming of political parties.
Church dignitaries make use of religious institutions or doctrines
to injure their nation, we must never follow them on this path
and fight with the same methods.
the political leader the religious doctrines and institutions
of his people trust always remain inviolable; or else he has
no right to be in politics, but should become a reformer, if
he has what it takes!
in Germany any other attitude would lead to a catastrophe.
my study of the Pan-German movement and its struggle against
Rome, I then, and even more in the years to come, arrived at
the following conviction: This movement's inadequate appreciation
of the importance of the social problem cost it the truly militant
mass of the people; its entry into parliament took away its
mighty impetus and burdened it with all the weaknesses peculiar
to this institution; the struggle against the Catholic Church
made it impossible in numerous small and middle circles, and
thus robbed it of countless of the best elements that the nation
can call its own.
practical result of the Austrian Kulturkampf was next
be sure, it succeeded in tearing some hundred thousand members
away from the Church, yet without causing it any particular
damage. In this case the Church really had no need to shed tears
over the lost 'lambs'; for it lost only those who had long ceased
to belong to it. The difference between the new reformation
and the old one was that in the old days many of the best people
in the Church turned away from it through profound religious
conviction, while now only those who were lukewarm to begin
with departed, and this from 'considerations' of a political
precisely from the political standpoint the result was just
as laughable as it was sad.
again a promising political movement for the salvation of the
German nation had gone to the dogs because it had not been led
with the necessary cold ruthlessness, but had lost itself in
fields which could only lead to disintegration.
one thing is assuredly true:
Pan-German movement would never have made this mistake but for
its insufficient understanding of the psyche of the broad masses.
If its leaders had known that to achieve any success one should,
on purely psychological grounds, never show the masses two or
more opponents, since this leads to a total disintegration of
their fighting power, for this reason alone the thrust of the
Pan-German movement would have been directed at a single adversary.
Nothing is more dangerous for a political party than to be led
by those jacks-of-all-trades who want everything but can never
really achieve anything.
how much room for criticism there was in any religious denomination
a political party must never for a moment lose sight of the
fact that in all previous historical experience a purely political
party in such situations had never succeeded in producing a
religious reformation. And the aim of studying history is not
to forget its lessons when occasion arises for its practical
application, or to decide that the present situation is different
after all, and that therefore its old eternal truths are no
longer applicable; no, the purpose of studying history is precisely
its lesson for the present. The man who cannot do this must
not conceive of himself as a political leader; in reality he
is a shallow, though usually very conceited, fool, and no amount
of good will can excuse his practical incapacity.
general the art of all truly great national leaders at all times
consists among other things primarily in not dividing the attention
of a people, but in concentrating it upon a single foe. The
more unified the application of a people's will to fight, the
greater will be the magnetic attraction of a movement and the
mightier will be the impetus of the thrust. It belongs to the
genius of a great leader to make even adversaries far removed
from one another seem to belong to a single category, because
in weak and uncertain characters the knowledge of having different
enemies can only too readily lead to the beginning of doubt
in their own right.
the wavering mass sees itself in a struggle against too many
enemies, objectivity will put in an appearance, throwing open
the question whether all others are really wrong and only their
own people or their own movement are in the right.
this brings about the first paralysis of their own power. Hence
a multiplicity of different adversaries must always be
combined so that in the eyes of the masses of one's own supporters
the struggle is directed against only one enemy. This strengthens
their faith in their own right and enhances their bitterness
against those who attack it.
the old Pan-German movement failed to understand this deprived
it of success.
goal had been correct, its will pure, but the road it chose
was wrong. It was like a mountain climber who keeps the peak
to be climbed in view and who sets out with the greatest determination
and energy, but pays no attention to the trail, for his eyes
are always on his goal, so that he neither sees nor feels out
the character of the ascent and thus comes to grief in the end.
opposite state of affairs seemed to prevail with its great competitor,
the Christian Social Party.
road it chose was correct and well-chosen, but it lacked clear
knowledge of its goal.
nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was
wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social Party was correct
possessed the necessary understanding for the importance of
the masses and from the very first day assured itself of at
least a part of them by open emphasis on its social character.
By aiming essentially at winning the small and lower middle
classes and artisans, it obtained a following as enduring as
it was self-sacrificing. It avoided any struggle against a religious
institution and thus secured the support of that mighty organization
which the Church represents. Consequently, it possessed only
a single truly great central opponent. It recognized the value
of large-scale propaganda and was a virtuoso in influencing
the psychological instincts of the broad masses of its adherents.
nevertheless it was unable to achieve its goal and dream of
saving Austria, this was due to two deficiencies in its method
and to its lack of clarity concerning the aim itself.
anti-Semitism of the new movement was based on religious ideas
instead of racial knowledge. The reason for the intrusion of
this mistake was the same which brought about the second fallacy
the Christian Social Party wanted to save Austria, then is;
the opinion of its founders it must not operate from the standpoint
of the racial principle, for if it did a dissolution of the
state would, in a short time, inevitably occur. Particularly
the situation in Vienna itself, in the opinion of the party
leaders, demanded that all points which would divide their following
should be set aside as much as possible, and that all unifying
conceptions be emphasized in their stead.
that time Vienna was so strongly permeated especially with Czech
elements that only the greatest tolerance with regard to all
racial questions could keep them in a party which was not anti-German
to begin with. If Austria were to be saved, this was indispensable.
And so they attempted to win over small Czech artisans who were
especially numerous in Vienna, by a struggle against liberal
Manchesterism, and in the struggle against the Jews on a religious
basis they thought they had discovered a slogan transcending
all of old Austria's national differences.
is obvious that combating Jewry on such a basis could provide
the Jews with small cause for concern. If the worst came to
the worst, a splash of baptismal water could always save the
business and the Jew at the same time. With such a superficial
motivation, a serious scientific treatment of the whole problem
was never achieved, and as a result far too many people, to
whom this type of anti-Semitism was bound to be incomprehensible,
were repelled. The recruiting power of the idea was limited
almost exclusively to intellectually limited circles, unless
true knowledge were substituted for purely emotional feeling.
The intelligentsia remained aloof as a matter of principle.
Thus the whole movement came to look more and more like an attempt
at a new conversion of the Jews, or perhaps even an expression
of a certain competitive envy. And hence the struggle lost the
character of an inner and higher consecration; to many, and
not necessarily the worst people, it came to seem immoral and
reprehensible. Lacking was the conviction that this was a vital
question for all humanity, with the fate of all non-Jewish peoples
depending on its solution.
this halfheartedness the anti-Semitic line of the Christian
Social Party lost its value.
was a sham anti-Semitism which was almost worse than none
at all; for it lulled people into security; they thought they
had the foe by the ears, while in reality they themselves
were being led by the nose.
a short time the Jew had become so accustomed to this type
of anti-Semitism that he would have missed its disappearance
more than its presence inconvenienced him.
in this the Christian Social Party had to make a heavy sacrifice
to the state of nationalities, they had to make an even greater
one when it came to championing Germanism as such.
could not be 'nationalistic' unless they wanted to lose the
ground from beneath their feet in Vienna. They hoped that by
a pussy-footing evasion of this question they could still save
the Habsburg state, and by that very thing they encompassed
its ruin. And the movement lost the mighty source of power which
alone can fill a political party with inner strength for any
length of time.
this alone the Christian Social Party became a party like any
those days I followed both movements most attentively One, by
feeling the beat of its innermost heart, the other, carried
away by admiration for the unusual man who even then seemed
to me a bitter symbol of all Austrian Germanism.
the mighty funeral procession bore the dead mayor from the City
Hall toward the Ring, I was among the many hundred thousands
looking on at the tragic spectacle. I was profoundly moved and
my feelings told me that the work, even of this man, was bound
to be in vain, owing to the fatal destiny which would inevitably
lead this state to destruction. If Dr. Karl Lueger had lived
in Germany, he would have been ranked among the great minds
of our people; that he lived and worked in this impossible state
was the misfortune of his work and of himself.
he died, the little flames in the Balkans were beginning to
leap up more greedily from month to month, and it was a gracious
fate which spared him from witnessing what he still thought
he could prevent.
of the failure of the one movement and the miscarriage of the
other, I for my part sought to find the causes, and came to
the certain conviction that, quite aside from the impossibility
of bolstering up the state in old Austria, the errors of the
two parties were as follows:
Pan-German movement was right in its theoretical view about
the aim of a German renascence, but unfortunate in its choice
of methods. It was nationalistic, but unhappily not socialistic
enough to win the masses. But its anti-Semitism was based on
a correct understanding of the importance of the racial problem,
and not on religious ideas. Its struggle against a definite
denomination, however, was actually and tactically false.
Christian Social movement had an unclear conception of the aim
of a German reawakening, but had intelligence and luck in seeking
its methods as a party. It understood the importance of the
social question, erred in its struggle against the Jews, and
had no notion of the power of the national idea.
in addition to its enlightened knowledge of the broad masses,
the Christian Social Party had had a correct idea of the importance
of the racial question, such as the Pan-German movement had
achieved; and if, finally, it had itself been nationalistic,
or if the Pan-German movement, in addition to its correct knowledge
of the aim of the Jewish question, had adopted the practical
shrewdness of the Christian Social Party, especially in its
attitude toward socialism, there would have resulted a movement
which even then in my opinion might have successfully intervened
in German destiny.
this did not come about, it was overwhelmingly due to the nature
of the Austrian state.
I saw my conviction realized in no other party, I could in the
period that followed not make up my mind to enter, let alone
fight with, any of the existing organizations. Even then I regarded
all political movements as unsuccessful and unable to carry
out a national reawakening of the German people on a larger
and not purely external scale.
in this period my inner revulsion toward the Habsburg state
more particularly I concerned myself with questions of foreign
policy, the more my conviction rose and took root that this
political formation could result in nothing but the misfortune
of Germanism. More and more clearly I saw at last that the fate
of the German nation would no longer be decided here, but in
the Reich itself. This was true, not only of political questions,
but no less for all manifestations of cultural life in general.
in the field of cultural or artistic affairs, the Austrian state
showed all symptoms of degeneration, or at least of unimportance
for the German nation. This was most true in the field of architecture.
The new architecture could achieve no special successes in Austria,
if for no other reason because since the completion of the Ring
its tasks, in Vienna at least, had become insignificant in comparison
with the plans arising in Germany.
more and more I began to lead a double life; reason and reality
told me to complete a school as bitter as it was beneficial
in Austria, but my heart dwelt elsewhere.
oppressive discontent had seized possession of me, the more
I recognized the inner hollowness of this state and the impossibility
of saving it, and felt that in all things it could be nothing
but the misfortune of the German people.
was convinced that this state inevitably oppressed and handicapped
any really great German as, conversely, it would help every
was repelled by the conglomeration of races which the capital
showed me, repelled by this whole mixture of Czechs, Poles,
Hungarians, Ruthenians, Serbs, and Croats, and everywhere, the
eternal mushroom of humanity - Jews and more Jews.
me the giant city seemed the embodiment of racial desecration.
German of my youth was the dialect of Lower Bavaria, I could
neither forget it nor learn the Viennese jargon. The longer
I lived in this city, the more my hatred grew for the foreign
mixture of peoples which had begun to corrode this old site
of German culture.
idea that this state could be maintained much longer seemed
to me positively ridiculous.
was then like an old mosaic; the cement, binding the various
little stones together, had grown old and begun to crumble;
as long as the work of art is not touched, it can continue to
give a show of existence, but as soon as it receives a blow,
it breaks into a thousand fragments. The question was only when
the blow would come.
my heart had never beaten for an Austrian monarchy, but only
for a German Reich, the hour of this state's downfall could
only seem to me the beginning of the redemption of the German
all these reasons a longing rose stronger and stronger in me,
to go at last whither since my childhood secret desires and
secret love had drawn me.
hoped some day to make a name for myself as an architect and
thus, on the large or small scale which Fate would allot me,
to dedicate my sincere services to the nation.
finally I wanted to enjoy the happiness of living and working
in the place which some day would inevitably bring about the
fulfillment of my most ardent and heartfelt wish: the union
of my beloved homeland with the common fatherland, the German
today many would be unable to comprehend the greatness of such
a longing, but I address myself to those to whom Fate has either
hitherto denied this, or from whom in harsh cruelty it has taken
it away; I address myself to all those who, detached from their
mother country, have to fight even for the holy treasure of
their language, who are persecuted and tortured for their loyalty
to the fatherland, and who now, with poignant emotion, long
for the hour which will permit them to return to the heart of
their faithful mother; I address myself to all these, and I
know that they will understand me !
he who has felt in his own skin what it means to be a German,
deprived of the right to belong to his cherished fatherland,
can measure the deep longing which burns at all times in the
hearts of children separated from their mother country. It torments
those whom it fills and denies them contentment and happiness
until the gates of their father's house open, and in the common
Reich, common blood gains peace and tranquillity.
Vienna was and remained for me the hardest, though most thorough,
school of my life. I had set foot in this town while still half
a boy and I left it a man, grown quiet and grave. In it I obtained
the foundations for a philosophy in general and a political
view in particular which later I only needed to supplement in
detail, but which never left me. But not until today have I
been able to estimate at their full value those years of study.
is why I have dealt with this period at some length, because
it gave me my first visual instruction in precisely those questions
which belonged to the foundations of a party which, arising
from smallest beginnings, after scarcely five years is beginning
to develop into a great mass movement. I do not know what my
attitude toward the Jews, Social Democracy, or rather Marxism
as a whole, the social question, etc., would be today if at
such an early time the pressure of destiny - and my own study
- had not built up a basic stock of personal opinions within
if the misery of the fatherland can stimulate thousands and
thousands of men to thought on the inner reasons for this collapse,
this can never lead to that thoroughness and deep insight which
are disclosed to the man who has himself mastered Fate only
after years of struggle.
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