One: A Reckoning
THE WORLD WAR
A YOUNG SCAMP in my wild years, nothing had so grieved me as
having been born at a time which obviously erected its Halls
of Fame only to shopkeepers and government officials. The waves
of historic events seemed to have grown so smooth that the future
really seemed to belong only to the 'peaceful contest of nations';
in other words, a cozy mutual swindling match with the exclusion
of violent methods of defense. The various nations began to
be more and more like private citizens who cut the ground from
under one another's feet, stealing each other's customers and
orders, trying in every way to get ahead of one another, and
staging this whole act amid a hue and cry as loud as it is harmless.
This development seemed not only to endure but was expected
in time (as was universally recommended) to remodel the whole
world into one big department store in whose vestibules the
busts of the shrewdest profiteers and the most lamblike administrative
officials would be garnered for all eternity. The English could
supply the merchants, the Germans the administrative officials,
and the Jews no doubt would have to sacrifice themselves to
being the owners, since by their own admission they never make
any money, but always 'pay,' and, besides, speak the most languages.
couldn't I have been born a hundred years earlier? Say at the
time of the Wars of Liberation when a man, even without a 'business,'
was really worth something?!
I had often indulged in angry thoughts concerning my earthly
pilgrimage, which, as it seemed to me, had begun too late, and
regarded the period 'of law and order' ahead of me as a mean
and undeserved trick of Fate. Even as a boy I was no 'pacifist,'
and all attempts to educate me in this direction came to nothing.
Boer War was like summer lightning to me.
day I waited impatiently for the newspapers and devoured dispatches
and news reports, happy at the privilege of witnessing this
heroic struggle even at a distance.
Russo-Japanese War found me considerably more mature, but also
more attentive. More for national reasons I had already taken
sides, and in our little discussions at once sided with the
Japanese. In a defeat of the Russians I saw the defeat of Austrian
then many years have passed, and what as a boy had seemed to
me a lingering disease, I now felt to be the quiet before the
storm. As early as my Vienna period, the Balkans were immersed
in that livid sultriness which customarily announces the hurricane,
and from time to time a beam of brighter light flared up, only
to vanish again in the spectral darkness. But then came the
Balkan War and with it the first gust of wind swept across a
Europe grown nervous. The time which now followed lay on the
chests of men like a heavy nightmare, sultry as feverish tropic
heat, so that due to constant anxiety the sense of approaching
catastrophe turned at last to longing: let Heaven at last give
free rein to the fate which could no longer be thwarted. And
then the first mighty lightning flash struck the earth; the
storm was unleashed and with the thunder of Heaven there mingled
the roar of the World War batteries.
the news of the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand arrived
in Munich (I happened to be sitting at home and heard of it
only vaguely), I was at first seized with worry that the bullets
may have been shot from the pistols of German students, who,
out of indignation at the heir apparent's continuous work of
Slavization, wanted to free the German people from this internal
enemy. What the consequence of this would have been was easy
to imagine: a new wave of persecutions which would now have
been 'justified' and 'explained' in the eyes of the whole world.
But when, soon afterward, I heard the names of the supposed
assassins, and moreover read that they had been identified as
Serbs, a light shudder began to run through me at this vengeance
of inscrutable Destiny.
greatest friend of the Slavs had fallen beneath the bullets
of Slavic fanatics.
with constant occasion in the last years to observe the relation
of Austria to Serbia could not for a moment be in doubt that
a stone had been set rolling whose course could no longer be
who today shower the Viennese government with reproaches on
the form and content of the ultimatum it issued, do it an injustice.
No other power in the world could have acted differently in
the same situation and the same position. At her southeastern
border Austria possessed an inexorable and mortal enemy who
at shorter and shorter intervals kept challenging the monarchy
and would never have left off until the moment favorable for
the shattering of the Empire had arrived. There was reason to
fear that this would occur at the latest with the death of the
old Emperor; by then perhaps the old monarchy would no longer
be in a position to offer any serious resistance. In the last
few years the state had been so bound up with the person of
Francis Joseph that the death of this old embodiment of the
Empire was felt by the broad masses to be tantamount to the
death of the Empire itself. Indeed, it was one of the craftiest
artifices, particularly of the Slavic policy, to create the
appearance that the Austrian state no longer owed its existence
to anything but the miraculous and unique skill of this monarch;
this flattery was all the more welcome in the Hofburg, since
it corresponded not at all to the real merits of the Emperor.
The thorn hidden in these paeans of praise remained undiscovered
The rulers did not see, or perhaps no longer wanted to see,
that the more the monarchy depended on the outstanding statecraft,
as they put it, of this 'wisest monarch' of all times, the more
catastrophic the situation was bound to become if one day Fate
were to knock at his door, too, demanding its tribute.
old Austria even conceivable without the Emperor?!
the tragedy which had once stricken Maria Theresa have been
it is really doing the Vienna circles an injustice to reproach
them with rushing into a war which might otherwise have been
avoided. It no longer could be avoided, but at most could have
been postponed for one or two years. But this was the curse
of German as well as Austrian diplomacy, that it had always
striven to postpone the inevitable reckoning, until at length
it was forced to strike at the most unfavorable hour. We can
be convinced that a further attempt to save peace would have
brought war at an even more unfavorable time.
those who did not want this war had to have the courage to face
the consequences, which could have consisted only in the sacrifice
of Austria. Even then the war would have come, but no longer
as a struggle of all against ourselves, but in the form of a
partition of the Habsburg monarchy. And then they had to make
up their minds to join in, or to look on with empty hands and
let Fate run its course.
very people, however, who today are loudest in cursing the beginning
of the war and offer the sagest opinions were those who contributed
most fatally to steering us into it.
decades the Social Democrats had carried on the most scoundrelly
war agitation against Russia, and the Center for religious reasons
had been most active in making the Austrian state the hinge
and pivot of Germany policy. Now we had to suffer the consequences
of this lunacy. What came had to come, and could no longer under
any circumstances be avoided. The guilt of the German government
was that in order to preserve peace it always missed the favorable
hours for striking, became entangled in the alliance for the
preservation of world peace, and thus finally became the victim
of a world coalition which countered the idea of preserving
world peace with nothing less than determination for world war.
the Vienna government had given the ultimatum another milder
form, this would have changed nothing in the situation except
at most one thing, that this government would itself have been
swept away by the indignation of the people. For in the eyes
of the broad masses the tone of the ultimatum was far too gentle
and by no means too brutal, let alone too far-reaching. Anyone
who today attempts to argue this away is either a forgetful
blockhead or a perfectly conscious swindler and liar.
struggle of the year 1914 was not forced on the masses - no,
by the living God - it was desired by the whole people.
wanted at length to put an end to the general uncertainty. Only
thus can it be understood that more than two million German
men and boys thronged to the colors for this hardest of all
struggles, prepared to defend the flag with the last drop of
me those hours seemed like a release from the painful feelings
of my youth. Even today I am not ashamed to say that, overpowered
by stormy enthusiasm, I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven
from an overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune of
being permitted to live at this time.
fight for freedom had begun, mightier than the earth had ever
seen; for once Destiny had begun its course, the conviction
dawned on even the broad masses that this time not the fate
of Serbia or Austria was involved, but whether the German nation
was to be or not to be.
the last time in many years the people had a prophetic vision
of its own future. Thus, right at the beginning of the gigantic
struggle the necessary grave undertone entered into the ecstasy
of an overflowing enthusiasm; for this knowledge alone made
the national uprising more than a mere blaze of straw The earnestness
was only too necessary; for in those days people in general
had not the faintest conception of the possible length and duration
of the struggle that was now beginning. They dreamed of being
home again that winter to continue and renew their peaceful
a man wants is what he hopes and believes. The overwhelming
majority of the nation had long been weary of the eternally
uncertain state of affairs; thus it was only too understandable
that they no longer believed in a peaceful conclusion of the
Austro-Serbian convict, but hoped for the final settlement.
too, was one of these millions.
had the news of the assassination become known in Munich than
at once two thoughts quivered through my brain: first, that
at last war would be inevitable; and, furthermore, that now
the Habsburg state would be compelled to keep its pact; for
what I had always most feared was the possibility that Germany
herself would some day, perhaps in consequence of this very
alliance, find herself in a conflict not directly caused by
Austria, so that the Austrian state for reasons of domestic
policy would not muster the force of decision to stand behind
her ally. The Slavic majority of the Empire would at once have
begun to sabotage any such intention on the part of the state,
and would always have preferred to smash the entire state to
smithereens than grant its ally the help it demanded. This danger
was now eliminated. The old state had to fight whether it wanted
to or not.
own position on the conflict was likewise very simple and clear;
for me it was not that Austria was fighting for some Serbian
satisfaction, but that Germany was fighting for her existence,
the German nation for life or death, freedom and future. The
time had come for Bismarck's work to fight; what the fathers
had once won in the battles from Weissenburg to Sedan and Paris,
young Germany now had to earn once more. If the struggle were
carried through to victory, our nation would enter the circle
of great nations from the standpoint of external power, and
only then could the German Reich maintain itself as a mighty
haven of peace without having, for the sake of peace, to cut
down on the daily bread of her children.
a boy and young man I had so often felt the desire to prove
at least once by deeds that for me national enthusiasm was no
empty whim. It often seemed to me almost a sin to shout hurrah
perhaps without having the inner right to do so; for who had
the right to use this word without having proved it in the place
where all playing is at an end and the inexorable hand of the
Goddess of Destiny begins to weigh peoples and men according
to the truth and steadfastness of their convictions? Thus my
heart, like that of a million others, overflowed with proud
joy that at last I would be able to redeem myself from this
paralyzing feeling. I had so often sung 'Deutschland über
Alles' and shouted 'Heil' at the top of my lungs,
that it seemed to me almost a belated act of grace to be allowed
to stand as a witness in the divine court of the eternal judge
and proclaim the sincerity of this conviction. For from the
first hour r was convinced that in case of a war - which seemed
to me inevitable - in one way or another I would at once leave
my books. Likewise I knew that my place would then be where
my inner voice directed me.
had left Austria primarily for political reasons; what was more
natural than that, now the struggle had begun, I should really
begin to take account of this conviction. I did not want to
fight for the Habsburg state, but was ready at any time to die
for my people and for the Reich which embodied it
the third of August, I submitted a personal petition to His
Majesty, lying Ludwig III, with a request for permission to
enter a Bavarian regiment. The cabinet office certainly had
plenty to do in those days; so much the greater was my joy to
receive an answer to my request the very next day. With trembling
hands I opened the document; my request had been approved and
I was summoned to report to a Bavarian regiment . My joy and
gratitude knew no bounds. A few days later I was wearing the
tunic which I was not to doff until nearly six years later.
me, as for every German, there now began the greatest and most
unforgettable time of my earthly existence. Compared to the
events of this gigantic struggle, everything past receded to
shallow nothingness. Precisely in these days, with the tenth
anniversary of the mighty event approaching, I think back with
proud sadness on those first weeks of our people's heroic struggle,
in which Fate graciously allowed me to take part.
though it were yesterday, image after image passes before my
eyes. I see myself donning the uniform in the circle of my dear
comrades, turning out for the first time, drilling, etc., until
the day came for us to march off.
single worry tormented me at that time, me, as so many others:
would we not reach the front too late? Time and time again this
alone banished all my calm. Thus, in every cause for rejoicing
at a new, heroic victory, a slight drop of bitterness was hidden,
for every new victory seemed to increase the danger of our coming
last the day came when we left Munich to begin the fulfillment
of our duty. For the first time I saw the Rhine as we rode westward
along its quiet waters to defend it, the German stream of streams,
from the greed of the old enemy. When through the tender veil
of the early morning mist the Niederwald Monument gleamed down
upon us in the gentle first rays of the sun, the old Watch on
the Rhine roared out of the endless transport train into the
morning sky, and I felt as though my heart would burst.
then came a damp, cold night in Flanders, through which we marched
in silence, and when the day began to emerge from the mists,
suddenly an iron greeting came whizzing at us over our heads,
and with a sharp report sent the little pellets flying between
our ranks, ripping up the wet ground; but even before the little
cloud had passed, from two hundred throats the first hurrah
rose to meet the first messenger of death. Then a crackling
and a roaring, a singing and a howling began, and with feverish
eyes each one of us was drawn forward, faster and faster, until
suddenly past turnip fields and hedges the fight began, the
fight of man against man. And from the distance the strains
of a song reached our ears, coming closer and closer, leaping
from company to company, and just as Death plunged a busy hand
into our ranks, the song reached us too and we passed it along:
'Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles, über Alles in der Welt!'
days later we came back. Even our step had changed. Seventeen-year-old
boys now looked like men.
volunteers of the List regiment may not have learned to fight
properly, but they knew how to die like old soldiers
was the beginning.
it went on year after year; but the romance of battle had been
replaced by horror. The enthusiasm gradually cooled and the
exuberant joy was stifled by mortal fear. The time came when
every man had to struggle between the instinct of self-preservation
and the admonitions of duty. I, too, was not spared by this
struggle. Always when Death was on the hunt, a vague something
tried to revolt, strove to represent itself to the weak body
as reason, yet it was only cowardice, which in such disguises
tried to ensnare the individual. A grave tugging and warning
set in, and often it was only the last remnant of conscience
which decided the issue. Yet the more this voice admonished
one to caution, the louder and more insistent its lures, the
sharper resistance grew until at last, after a long inner struggle,
consciousness of duty emerged victorious. By the winter of 1915-16
this struggle had for me been decided. At last my will was undisputed
master. If in the first days I went over the top with rejoicing
and laughter, I was now calm and determined. And this was enduring.
Now Fate could bring on the ultimate tests without my nerves
shattering or my reason failing.
young volunteer had become an old soldier.
this transformation had occurred in the whole army. It had issued
old and hard from the eternal battles, and as for those who
could not stand up under the storm-well, they were broken.
was the time to judge this army. Now, after two or three years,
during which it was hurled from one battle into another, forever
fighting against superiority in numbers and weapons, suffering
hunger and bearing privations, now was the time to test the
quality of this unique army.
of years may pass, but never will it be possible to speak of
heroism without mentioning the German army and the World War.
Then from the veil of the past the iron front of the gray steel
helmet will emerge, unwavering and unflinching, an immortal
monument. As long as there are Germans alive, they will remember
that these men were sons of their nation.
was a soldier then, and I didn't want to talk about politics.
And really it was not the time for it. Even today I harbor the
conviction that the humblest wagon-driver performed more valuable
services for the fatherland than the foremost among, let us
say, 'parliamentarians.' I had never hated these big-mouths
more than now when every red-blooded man with something to say
yelled it into the enemy's face or appropriately left his tongue
at home and silently did his duty somewhere. Yes, in those days
I hated all those politicians. And if it had been up to me,
a parliamentary pick-and-shovel battalion would have been formed
at once; then they could have chewed the fat to their hearts'
content without annoying, let alone harming, honest, decent
at that time I wanted to hear nothing of politics, but I could
not help taking a position on certain manifestations which after
all did affect the whole nations and particularly concerned
were two things which then profoundly angered me and which I
regarded as harmful.
the very first news of victories, a certain section of the press,
slowly, and in a way which at first was perhaps unrecognizable
to many, began to pour a few drops of wormwood into the general
enthusiasm. This was done beneath the mask of a certain benevolence
and well-meaning, even of a certain solicitude. They had misgivings
about an excess of exuberance in the celebration of the victories.
They feared that in this form it was unworthy of so great a
nation and hence inappropriate. The bravery and heroic courage
of the German soldier were something self-evident, they said,
and people should not be carried away too much by thoughtless
outbursts of joy, if only for the sake of foreign countries
to whom a silent and dignified form of joy appealed more than
unbridled exultation, etc. Finally, we Germans even now should
not forget that the war was none of our intention and therefore
we should not be ashamed to confess in an open and manly fashion
that at any time we would contribute our part to a reconciliation
of mankind. For that reason it would not be prudent to besmirch
the purity of our army's deeds by too much shouting, since the
rest of the world would have little understanding for such behavior.
The world admired nothing more than the modesty with which a
true hero silently and calmly forgets his deeds, for this was
the gist of the whole argument.
of taking one of these creatures by his long ears, tying him
to a long pole and pulling him up on a long cord, thus making
it impossible for the cheering nation to insult the aesthetic
sentiment of this knight of the inkpot, the authorities actually
began to issue remonstrances against 'unseemly' rejoicing over
didn't occur to them in the least that enthusiasm once scotched
cannot be reawakened at need. It is an intoxication and must
be preserved in this state. And how, without this power of enthusiasm,
should a country withstand a struggle which in all likelihood
would make the most enormous demands on the spiritual qualities
of the nation?
knew the psyche of the broad masses too well not to be aware
that a high 'aesthetic' tone would not stir up the fire that
was necessary to keep the iron hot. In my eyes it was madness
on the part of the authorities to be doing nothing to intensify
the glowing heat of passion; and when they curtailed what passion
was fortunately present, that was absolutely beyond me.
second thing that angered me was the attitude which they thought
fit to take toward Marxism. In my eyes, this only proved that
they hadn't so much as the faintest idea concerning this pestilence.
In all seriousness they seemed to believe that, by the assurance
that parties were no longer recognized, they had brought Marxism
to understanding and restraint.
failed to understand that here no party was involved, but a
doctrine that must lead to the destruction of all humanity,
especially since this cannot be learned in the Jewified universities
and, besides, so many, particularly among our higher officials,
due to the idiotic conceit that is cultivated in them, don't
think it worth the trouble to pick up a book and learn something
which was not in their university curriculum. The most gigantic
upheaval passes these 'minds' by without leaving the slightest
trace, which is why state institutions for the most part lag
behind private ones. It is to them, by God, that the popular
proverb best applies: 'What the peasant doesn't know, he won't
eat.' Here, too, a few exceptions only confirm the rule.
was an unequaled absurdity to identify the German worker with
Marxism in the days of August, 1914. In those hours the German
worker had made himself free from the embrace of this venomous
plague, for otherwise he would never have been able to enter
the struggle. The authorities, however, were stupid enough to
believe that Marxism had now become national; a flash of genius
which only shows that in these long years none of these official
guides of the state had even taken the trouble to study the
essence of this doctrine, for if they had, such an absurdity
could scarcely have crept in.
whose goal is and remains the destruction of all non-Jewish
national states, was forced to look on in horror as, in the
July days of 1914, the German working class it had ensnared,
awakened and from hour to hour began to enter the service of
the fatherland with ever-increasing rapidity. In a few days
the whole mist and swindle of this infamous betrayal of the
people had scattered away, and suddenly the gang of Jewish leaders
stood there lonely and forsaken, as though not a trace remained
of the nonsense and madness which for sixty years they had been
funneling into the masses. It was a bad moment for the betrayers
of the German working class, but as soon as the leaders recognized
the danger which menaced them, they rapidly pulled the tarn-cap
of lies over their ears, and insolently mimicked the national
now the time had come to take steps against the whole treacherous
brotherhood of they Jewish poisoners of the people. Now was
the time to deal with them summarily without the slightest consideration
for any screams and complaints that might arise. In August,
1914, the whole Jewish jabber about international solidarity
had vanished at one stroke from the heads of the German working
class, and in its stead, only a few weeks later, American shrapnel
began to pour down the blessings of brotherhood on the helmets
of our march columns. It would have been the duty of a serious
government, now that the German worker had found his way back
to his nation, to exterminate mercilessly the agitators who
were misleading the nation.
the best men were dying at the front, the least we could do
was to wipe out the vermin.
of this, His Majesty the Raiser himself stretched out his hand
to the old criminals, thus sparing the treacherous murderers
of the nation and giving them a chance to retrieve themselves.
nova the viper could continue his work, more cautiously than
before, but all the more dangerously. While the honest ones
were dreaming of peace within their borders, the perjuring criminals
were organizing the revolution.
such terrible half-measures should then be decided upon made
me more and more dissatisfied at heart; but at that time I would
not have thought it possible that the end of it all would be
then, should have been done? The leaders of the whole movement
should at once have been put behind bars, brought to trial,
and thus taken off the nation's neck. All the implements of
military power should have been ruthlessly used for the extermination
of this pestilence. The parties should have been dissolved,
the Reichstag brought to its senses, with bayonets if necessary,
but, best of all, dissolved at once. Just as the Republic today
can dissolve parties, this method should have been used at that
time, with more reason. For the life and death of a whole nation
was at stake!
question came to the fore, however: can spiritual ideas be exterminated
by the sword? Can 'philosophies' be combated by the use of brute
at that time I pondered this question more than once:
we ponder analogous cases, particularly on a religious basis,
which can be found in history, the following fundamental principle
and ideas, as well as movements with a definite spiritual foundation,
regardless whether the latter is false or true, can, after a
certain point in their development, only be broken with technical
instruments of power if these physical weapons are at the same
time the support of a new kindling thought, idea, or philosophy.
application of force alone, without the impetus of a basic spiritual
idea as a starting point, can never lead to the destruction
of an idea and its dissemination, except in the form of a complete
extermination of even the very last exponent of the idea and
the destruction of the last tradition. This, however, usually
means the disappearance of such a state from the sphere of political
importance, often for an indefinite time and sometimes forever;
for experience shows that such a blood sacrifice strikes the
best part of the people, since every persecution which occurs
without a spiritual basis seems morally unjustified and whips
up precisely the more valuable parts of a people in protest,
which results in an adoption of the spiritual content of the
unjustly persecuted movement. In many this occurs simply through
a feeling of opposition against the attempt to bludgeon down
an idea by brute force.
a result, the number of inward supporters grows in proportion
as the persecution increases. Consequently, the complete annihilation
of the new doctrine can be carried out only through a process
of extermination so great and constantly increasing that in
the end all the truly valuable blood is drawn out of the people
or state in question. The consequence is that, though a so-called
'inner' purge can now take place, it will only be at the cost
of total impotence. Such a method will always prove vain in
advance if the doctrine to be combated has overstepped a certain
here, too, as in all growth, the first period of childhood is
most readily susceptible to the possibility of extermination,
while with the mounting years the power of resistance increases
and only with the weakness of approaching old age cedes again
to new youth, though in another form and for different reasons.
nearly all attempts to exterminate a doctrine and its organizational
expression, by force without spiritual foundation, are doomed
to failure, and not seldom end with the exact opposite of the
desired result for the following reason:
very first requirement for a mode of struggle with the weapons
of naked force is and remains persistence. In other words: only
the continuous and steady application of the methods for repressing
a doctrine, etc., makes it possible for a plan to succeed. But
as soon as force wavers and alternates with forbearance, not
only will the doctrine to be repressed recover again and again,
but it will also be in a position to draw new benefit from every
persecution, since, after such a wave of pressure has ebbed
away, indignation over the suffering induced leads new supporters
to the old doctrine, while the old ones will cling to it with
greater defiance and deeper hatred than before, and even schismatic
heretics, once the danger has subsided, will attempt to return
to their old viewpoint. Only in the steady and constant application
of force lies the very first prerequisite for success. This
persistence, however, can always and only arise from a definite
spiritual conviction. Any violence which does not spring from
a firm, spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain. It lacks
the stability which can only rest in a fanatical outlook. It
emanates from the momentary energy and brutal determination
of an individual, and is therefore subject to the change of
personalities and to their nature and strength.
to this there is something else:
philosophy, whether of a religious or political nature - and
sometimes the dividing line is hard to determine - fights less
for the negative destruction of the opposing ideology than for
the positive promotion of its own. Hence its struggle is less
defensive than offensive. It therefore has the advantage even
in determining the goal, since this goal represents the victory
of its own idea, while, conversely, it is hard to determine
when the negative aim of the destruction of a hostile doctrine
may be regarded as achieved and assured. For this reason alone,
the philosophy's offensive will be more systematic and also
more powerful than the defensive against a philosophy, since
here, too, as always, the attack and not the defense makes the
decision. The fight against a spiritual power with methods of
violence remains defensive, however, until the sword becomes
the support, the herald and disseminator, of a new spiritual
in summing up, we can establish the following:
attempt to combat a philosophy with methods of violence will
fail in the end, unless the fight takes the form of attack for
a new spiritual attitude. Only in the struggle between two philosophies
can the weapon of brutal force, persistently and ruthlessly
applied lead to a decision for the side it supports.
remained the reason for the failure of the struggle against
was why Bismarck's Socialist legislation finally failed and
had to fail, in spite of everything. Lacking was the platform
of a new philosophy for whose rise the fight could have been
waged. For only the proverbial wisdom of high government officials
will succeed in believing that drivel about so-called 'state
authority' or 'law and order' could form a suitable basis for
the spiritual impetus of a life-and-death struggle.
a real spiritual basis for this struggle was lacking, Bismarck
had to entrust the execution of his Socialist legislation to
the judgment and desires of that institution which itself was
a product of Marxist thinking. By entrusting the fate of his
war on the Marxists to the well-wishing of bourgeois democracy,
the Iron Chancellor set the wolf to mind the sheep.
this was only the necessary consequence of the absence of a
basic new anti-Marxist philosophy endowed with a stormy will
the sole result of Bismarck's struggle was a grave disillusionment.
conditions different during the World War or at its beginning?
more I occupied myself with the idea of a necessary change in
the government's attitude toward Social Democracy as the momentary
embodiment of Marxism, the more I recognized the lack of a serviceable
substitute for this doctrine. What would be given the masses
if, just supposing, Social Democracy had been broken? There
was not one movement in existence which could have been expected
to succeed in drawing into its sphere of influence the great
multitudes of workers grown more or less leaderless. It is senseless
and more than stupid to believe that the international fanatic
who had left the class party would now at once join a bourgeois
party, in other words, a new class organization. For, unpleasant
as it may seem to various organizations, it cannot be denied
that bourgeois politicians largely take class division quite
for granted as long as it does not begin to work out to their
denial of this fact only proves the effrontery, and also the
stupidity, of the liars.
care should be taken not to regard the masses as stupider than
they are. In political matters feeling often decides more correctly
than reason. The opinion that the stupid international attitude
of the masses is sufficient proof of the unsoundness of the
masses' sentiments can be thoroughly confuted by the simple
reminder that pacifist democracy is no less insane, and that
its exponents originate almost exclusively in the bourgeois
camp. As long as millions of the bourgeoisie still piously worship
their Jewish democratic press every morning, it very ill becomes
these gentlemen to make jokes about the stupidity of the 'comrade'
who, in the last analysis, only swallows down the same garbage,
though in a different form. In both cases the manufacturer is
one and the same Jew.
care should be taken not to deny things that just happen to
be true. The fact that the class question is by no means exclusively
a matter of ideal problems, as, particularly before the elections,
some people would like to pretend, cannot be denied. The class
arrogance of a large part of our people, and to an even greater
extent, the underestimation of the manual worker, are phenomena
which do not exist only in the imagination of the moonstruck.
aside from this, however, it shows the small capacity for thought
of our so-called 'intelligentsia' when, particularly in these
circles, it is not understood that a state of affairs which
could not prevent the growth of a plague, such as Marxism happens
to be, will certainly not be able to recover what has been lost.
'bourgeois' parties, as they designate themselves, will never
be able to attach the 'proletarian' masses to their camp, for
here two worlds oppose each other, in part naturally and in
part artificially divided, whose mutual relation can only be
struggle. The younger will be victorious - and this is Marxism.
a struggle against Social Democracy in the year 1914 was conceivable,
but how long this condition would be maintained, in view of
the absence of any substitute, remained doubtful.
there was a great gap.
was of this opinion long before the War, and for this reason
could not make up my mind to join one of the existing parties.
In the course of events of the World War, I was reinforced in
this opinion by the obvious impossibility of taking up a ruthless
struggle against Social Democracy, owing to this very lack of
a movement which would have had to be more than a 'parliamentary'
my closer comrades I often expressed myself openly on this point.
now the first ideas came to me of later engaging in political
this was what caused me often to assure the small circle of
my friends that after the War, I meant to be a speaker in addition
to my profession.
believe that I was very serious about this.