Chapter IV: Munich
IN THE SPRING of 1912 I came at last to Munich.
The city itself was as familiar to me as if I had lived for years within its walls. This is accounted
for by my study which at every step had led me to this metropolis of German art. Not only has one not seen Germany if one
does not know Munich-no, above all, one does not know German art if one has not seen Munich.
In any case, this period before the War was the happiest and by far the most contented of my life.
Even if my earnings were still extremely meager, I did not live to be able to paint, but painted only to be able to secure
my livelihood or rather to enable myself to go on studying. I possessed the conviction that I should some day, in spite of
all obstacles, achieve the goal I had set myself. And this alone enabled me to bear all other petty cares of daily existence
lightly and without anxiety.
In addition to this, there was the heartfelt love which seized me for this city more than for any
other place that I knew, almost from the first hour of my sojourn there. A German city! What a difference from Vienna! I grew
sick to my stomach when I even thought back on this Babylon of races. In addition, the dialect, much closer to me, which particularly
in my contacts with Lower Bavarians, reminded me of my former childhood. There were a thousand and more things which were
or became inwardly dear and precious to me. But most of all I was attracted by this wonderful marriage of primordial power
and fine artistic mood, this single line from the Hofbrauhaus to the Odeon, from the October Festival to the Pinakothek, etc.
If today I am more attached to this city than to any other spot of earth in this world, it is partly due to the fact that
it is and remains inseparably bound up with the development of my own life; if even then I achieved the happiness of a truly
inward contentment, it can be attributed only to the magic which the miraculous residence of the Wittelsbachs exerts on every
man who is blessed, not only with a calculating mind but with a feeling soul.
What attracted me most aside from my professional work was, here again, the study of the political
events of the day, among them particularly the occurrences in the field of foreign affairs. I came to these latter indirectly
through the German alliance policy which from my Austrian days I considered absolutely mistaken. However, the full extent
of this self-deception on the part of the Reich had not been clear to me in Vienna. In those days I was inclined to assume-or
perhaps I merely talked myself into it as an excuse-that Berlin perhaps knew how weak and unreliable the ally would be in
reality, yet, for more or less mysterious reasons, held back this knowledge in order to bolster up an alliance policy which
after all Bismarck himself had founded and the sudden cessation of which could not be desirable, if for no other reason lest
the lurking foreigner be alarmed in any way, or the shopkeeper at home be worried.
To be sure, my associations, particularly among the people itself, soon made me see to my horror that
this belief was false. To my amazement I could not help seeing everywhere that even in otherwise well-informed circles there
was not the slightest glimmer of knowledge concerning the nature of the Habsburg monarchy. Particularly the common people
were caught in the mad idea that the ally could be regarded as a serious power which in the hour of need would surely rise
to the situation. Among the masses the monarchy was still regarded as a ' German' state on which we could count. They were
of the opinion that there, too, the power could be measured by the millions as in Germany itself, and completely forgot that,
in the first place: Austria had long ceased to be a German state; and in the second place: the internal conditions of this
Empire were from hour to hour moving closer to disintegration.
I had come to know this state formation better than the so-called official 'diplomats,' who blindly,
as almost always, rushed headlong toward catastrophe; for the mood of the people was always a mere discharge of what was funneled
into public opinion from above. But the people on top made a cult of the 'ally,' as if it were the Golden Calf. They hoped
to replace by cordiality what was lacking in honesty. And words were always taken for coin of the realm.
Even in Vienna I had been seized with anger when I reflected on the disparity appearing from time
to time between the speeches of the official statesmen and the content of the Viennese press. And yet Vienna, in appearance
at least, was still a German city. How different it was if you left Vienna, or rather German-Austria, and went to the Slavic
provinces of the Empire ! You had only to take up the Prague newspapers to find out what they thought of the whole exalted
hocus-pocus of the Triple Alliance. There there was nothing but bitter scorn and mockery for this 'masterpiece of statecraft.'
In the midst of peace, with both emperors pressing kisses of friendship on each other's foreheads, the Czechs made no secret
of the fact that this alliance would be done for on the day when an attempt should be made to translate it from the moonbeams
of the Nibelungen ideal into practical reality.
What excitement seized these same people several years later when the time finally came for the alliances
to show their worth and Italy leapt out of the triple pact, leaving her two comrades in the lurch, and in the end even becoming
their enemy ! That anyone even for a moment should have dared to believe in the possibility of such a miracle-to wit, the
mirade that Italy would fight side by side with Austria-could be nothing but incomprehensible to anyone who was not stricken
with diplomatic blindness. But in Austria things were not a hair's-breadth different.
In Austria the only exponents of the alliance idea were the Habsburgs and the Germans. The Habsburgs,
out of calculation and compulsion; the Germans, from good faith and political-stupidity. From good faith, for they thought
that by the Triple Alliance they were performing a great service for the German Reich itself, helping to strengthen and secure
it; from political stupidity, because neither did the first-mentioned occur, but on the contrary, they thereby helped to chain
the Reich to the corpse of a state which would inevitably drag them both into the abyss, and above all because they themselves,
solely by virtue of this alliance, fell more and more a prey to de-Germanization. For by the alliance with the Reich, the
Habsburgs thought they could be secure against any interference from this side, which unfortunately was the case, and thus
they were able far more easily and safely to carry through their internal policy of slowly eliminating Germanism. Not only
that in view of our well-known ' objectivity' they had no need to fear any intervention on the part of the Reich government,
but, by pointing to the alliance, they could also silence any embarrassing voice among the Austrian-Germans which might rise
in German quarters against Slavization of an excessively disgraceful character.
For what was the German in Austria to do if the Germans of the Reich recognized and expressed confidence
in the Habsburg government? Should he offer resistance and be branded by the entire German public as a traitor to his own
nationality? When for decades he had been making the most enormous sacrifices precisely for his nationality!
But what value did this alliance have, once Germanism had been exterminated in the Habsburg monarchy?
Wasn't the value of the Triple Alliance for Germany positively dependent on the preservation of German predominance in Austria?
Or did they really believe that they could live in an alliance with a SlavicHabsburg Empire?
The attitude of official German diplomacy and of all public opinion toward the internal Austrian problem
of nationalities was beyond stupidity, it was positively insane ! They banked on an alliance, made the future and security
of a people of seventy millions dependent on it-and looked on while the sole basis for this alliance was from year to year,
inexorably and by plan, being destroyed in the partner-nation. The day was bound to come when a ' treaty ' with Viennese diplomacy
would remain, but the aid of an allied empire would be lost.
With Italy this was the case from the very beginning.
If people in Germany had only studied history a little more clearly, and gone into the psycholog of
nations, they would not have been able to suppose even for an hour that the Quirinal and the Vienna Hofburg would ever stand
together n a common fighting front. Sooner would Italy have turned into a volcano than a government have dared to send even
a single Italian to the battlefield for the fanatically hated Habsburg state, except as an enemy. More than once in Vienna
I saw outbursts of the passionate contempt and bottomless hatred with which the Italian was ' devoted ' to the Austrian state.
The sins of the House of Habsburg against Italian freedom and independence in the course of the centuries was too great to
be forgotten, even if the will to forget them had been present. And it was not present; neither in the people nor in the Italian
government. For Italy there were therefore two possibilities for relations with Austna: either alliance or war.
By choosing the first, the Italians were able to prepare, undisturbed, for the second.
Especially since the relation of Austria to Russia had begun to drive closer and closer to a military
clash, the German alliance policy was as senseless as it was dangerous.
This was a classic case, bearing witness to the absence of any broad and correct line of thinking.
Why, then, was an alliance concluded? Only in order better to guard the future of the Reich than,
reduced to her own resources, she would have been in a position to do. And this future of the Reich was nothing other than
the question of preserving the German people's possibility of existence.
Therefore the question could be formulated only as follows:
What form must the life of the German nation assume in the tangible future, and how can this development
be provided with the necessary foundations and the required security within the framework of general European relation of
A clear examination of the premises for foreign activity on the part of German statecraft inevitably
led to the following conviction:
Germany has an annual increase in population of nearly nine hundred thousand souls. The difficulty
of feeding this army of new citizens must grow greater from year to year and ultimately end in catastrophe, unless ways and
means are found to forestall the danger of starvation and misery in time.
There were four ways of avoiding so terrible a development for the future:
1. Following the French example, the increase of births could be artificially restricted, thus meeting
the problem of overpopulation
Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climactic conditions, as well as poor harvest, intervenes
to restrict the increase of population of certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise as it is ruthless.
She diminishes, not the power of procreation as such, but the conservation of the procreated, by exposing them to hard trials
and deprivations with the result that all those who are less strong and less healthy are forced back into the womb of the
eternal unknown. Those whom she permits to survive the inclemency of existence are a thousandfold tested hardened, and well
adapted to procreate-in turn, in order that the process of thoroughgoing selection may begin again from the beginning. By
thus brutally proceeding against the individual and immediately calling him back to herself as soon as he shows himself unequal
to the storm of life, she keeps the race and species strong, in fact, raises them to the highest accomplishments.
At the same time the diminution of number strengthens the individual and thus in the last analysis
fortifies the species.
It is different, however, when man undertakes the limitation of his number. He is not carved of the
same wood, he is ' humane.' He knows better than the cruel queen of wisdom. He limits not the conservation of the individual,
but procreation itself. This seems to him, who always sees himself and never the race, more human and more justified than
the opposite way. Unfortunately, however, the consequences are the reverse:
While Nature, by making procreation free, yet submitting survival to a hard trial, chooses from an
excess number of individuals the best as worthy of living, thus preserving them alone and in them conserving their species,
man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that once a being is born it should be preserved at any price. This
correction of the divine will seems to him as wise as it is humane, and he takes delight in having once again gotten the best
of Nature and even having proved her inadequacy. The number, to be sure, has really been limited, but at the same time the
value of the individual has dirninished; this, however, is something the dear little ape of the Almighty does not want to
see or hear about.
For as soon as procreation as such is limited and the number of births diminished, the natural struggle
for existence which leaves only the strongest and healthiest alive is obviously replaced by the obvious desire to ' save '
even the weakest and most sickly at any price, and this plants the seed of a future generation which must inevitably grow
more and more deplorable the longer this mockery of Nature and her will continues.
And the end will be that such a people will some day be deprived of its existence on this earth; for
man can defy the eternal laws of the will to conservation for a certain time, but sooner or later vengeance comes. A stronger
race will drive out the weak, for the vital urge in its ultimate form will, time and again, burst all the absurd fetters of
the so-called humanity of individuals, in order to replace it by the humanity of Nature which destroys the weak to give his
place to the strong.
Therefore, anyone who wants to secure the existence of the German people by a self-limitation of its
reproduction is robbing it of its future.
2. A second way would be one which today we, time and time again, see proposed and recommended: internal
colonization. This is a proposal which is well meant by just as many as by most people it is misunderstood, thus doing the
greatest conceivable damage that anyone can imagined
Without doubt the productivity of the soil can be increased up to a certain limit. But only up to
a certain limit, and not continuously without end. For a certain time it will be possible to compensate for the increase of
the German people without having to think of hunger, by increasing the productivity of our soil. But beside this, we must
face the fact that our demands on life ordinarily nse even more rapidly than the number of the population Man's requirements
with regard to food and clothing increase from year to year, and even now, for example, stand in no relation to the requirements
of our ancestors, say a hundred years ago. It IS, therefore, insane to believe that every rise in production provides the
basis for an increase in population: no; this is true only up to a certain degree, since at least a part of the increased
production of the soil is spent in satisfying the increased needs of men. But even with the greatest limitation on the one
hand and the utmost industry on the other, here again a limit will one day be reached, created by the soil itself. With the
utmost toil it will not be possible to obtain any more from its and then, though postponed for a certain time, catastrophe
again manifests itself. First, there will be hunger from time to time, when there is famine, etc. As the population increases,
this will happen more and more often, so that finally it will only be absent when rare years of great abundance fill the granaries.
But at length the time approaches when even then it will not be possible to satisfy men's needs, and hunger has become the
eternal companion of such a people. Then Nature must help again and make a choice among those whom she has chosen for life;
but again man helps himself; that is, he turns to artificial restriction of his increase with all the above-indicated dire
consequences for race and species.
The objection may still be raised that this future will face the whole of humanity in any case and
that consequently the individual nation can naturally not avoid this fate.
At first glance this seems perfectly correct. Yet here the following must be borne in mind:
Assuredly at a certain time the whole of humanity will be compelled, in consequence of the impossibility
of making the fertility of the soil keep pace with the continuous increase in population, to halt the increase of the human
race and either let Nature again decide or, by self-help if possible, create the necessary balance, though, to be sure, in
a more correct way than is done today. But then this will strike all peoples, while today only those races are stricken with
such suffering which no longer possess the force and strength to secure for themselves the necessary territories in this world.
For as matters stand there are at the present time on this earth immense areas of unusued soil, only waiting for the men to
till them. But it is equally true that Nature as such has not reserved this soil for the future possession of any particular
nation or race; on the contrary, this soil exists for the people which possesses the force to take it and the industry to
Nature knows no political boundaries. First, she puts living creatures on this globe and watches the
free play of forces. She then confers the master's right on her favorite child, the strongest in courage and industry.
When a people limits itself to internal colonization because other races are clinging fast to greater
and greater surfaces of this earth, it will be forced to have recourse to self-limitation at a time when the other peoples
are still continuing to increase. Some day this situation will arise, and the smaller the living space at the disposal of
the people, the sooner it will happen. Since in general, unfortunately, the best nations, or, even more correctly, the only
truly cultured races, the standard-bearers of all human progress, all too frequently resolve in their pacifistic blindness
to renounce new acquisitions of soil and content themselves with 'internal' colonization, while the inferior races know how
to secure immense living areas in this world for themselves-this would lead to the following final result:
The culturally superior, but less ruthless races, would in consequence of their limited soil, have
to limit their increase at a time when the culturally inferior but more brutal and more natural t peoples, in consequence
of their greater living areas, would still be in a position to increase without limit. In other words: some day the world
will thus come into possession of the culturally inferior but more active men.
Then, though in a perhaps very distant future, there will be but two possibilities either the world
will be governed according to the ideas of our modern democracy, and then the weight of any decision will result in favor
of the numerically stronger races, or the world will be dominated in accordance with the laws of the natural order of force,
and then it is the peoples of brutal will who will conquer, and consequently once again not the nation of selfrestriction.
No one can doubt that this world will some day be exposed to the severest struggles for the existence
of mankind. In the end, only the urge for self-preservation can conquer. Beneath it socalled humanity, the expression of a
mixture of stupidity, cowardice, and know-it-all conceit, will melt like snow in the March sun. Mankind has grown great in
eternal struggle, and only in eternal peace does it perish.
For us Germans the slogan of 'inner colonization' is catastrophic, if for no other reason because
it automatically reinforces us in the opinion that we have found a means which, in accordance with the pacifistic tendency,
allows us ' to earn ' our right to exist by labor in a life of sweet slumbers. Once this doctrine were taken seriously in
our country, it would mean the end of every exertion to preserve for ourselves the place which is our due. Once the average
German became convinced that he could secure his life and future in this way, all attempts at an active, and hence alone fertile,
defense of German vital necessities would be doomed to failure. In the face of such an attitude on the part of the nation
any really beneficial foreign policy could be regarded as buried, and with it the future of the German people as a whole.
Taking these consequences into account, it is no accident that it is always primarily the Jew who
tries and succeeds in planting such mortally dangerous modes of thought in our people. He knows his customers too well not
to realize that they gratefully let themselves be swindled by any gold-brick salesman who can make them think he has found
a way to play a little trick on Nature, to make the hard, inexorable struggle for existence superfluous, and instead, sometimes
by work, but sometimes by plain doing nothing, depending on how things 'come out,' to become the lord of the planet.
It cannot be emphasized sharply enough that any German internal colonization must serve to eliminate
social abuses particularly to withdraw the soil from widespread speculation, best can never suffice to secure the future of
the nation without the acquisition of new soil.
If we do not do this, we shall in a short time have arrived, not only at the end of our soil, but
also at the end of our strength.
Finally, the following must be stated:
The limitation to a definite small area of soil, inherent in internal colonization, like the same
final effect obtained by restriction of procreation, leads to an exceedingly unfavorable politicomilitary situation in the
nation in question.
The size of the area inhabited by a people constitutes in itself an essential factor for determining
its outward security. The greater the quantity of space at the disposal of a people, the greater its natural protection; for
military decisions against peoples living in a small restricted area have always been obtained more quickly and hence more
easily, and in particular more effectively and completely than can, conversely, be possible against territorially extensive
states. In the size of a state's territory there always lies a certain protection against frivolous attacks, since success
can be achieved only after hard struggles, and therefore the risk of a rash assault will seem too great unless there are quite
exceptional grounds for it. Hence the very size of a state offers in itself a basis for more easily preserving the freedom
and independence of a people, while, conversely, the smallness of such a formation is a positive invitation to seizure.
Actually the two first possibilities for creating a balance between the rising population and the
stationary amount of soil were rejected in the so-called national circles of the Reich. The reasons for this position were,
to be sure, different from those above mentioned: government circles adopted a negative attitude toward the limitation of
births out of a certain moral feeling; they indignantly rejected internal colonization because in it they scented an attack
against large landholdings and therein the beginning of a wider struggle against private property in general. In view of the
form in which particularly the latter panacea was put forward, they may very well have been right in this assumption.
On the whole, the defense against the broad masses was not very skillful and by no means struck at
the heart of the problem.
Thus there remained but two ways of securing work and bread for the rising population.
3. Either new soil could be acquired and the superfluous millions sent off each year, thus keeping
the nation on a selfsustaining basis; or we could
4. Produce for foreign needs through industry and commerce, and defray the cost of living from the
In other words: either a territorial policy, or a colonial and commercial policy.
Both ways were contemplated, examined, recommended, and combated by different political tendencies,
and the last was finally taken.
The healthier way of the two would, to be sure, have been the first.
The acquisition of new soil for the settlement of the excess population possesses an infinite number
of advantages, particularly if wee turn from the present to the future.
For once thing, the possibility of preserving a healthy peasant class as a foundation for a whole
nation can never be valued highly enough. Many of our present-day sufferings are only the consequence of the unhealthy relationship
between rural and city population A solid stock of small and middle peasants has at all times been the best defense against
social ills such as we possess today. And, moreover this is the only solution which enables a nation to earn its daily bread
within the inner circuit of its economy. Industry and commerce recede from their unhealthy leading position and adjust themselves
to the general framework of a national economy of balanced supply and demand. Both thus cease to be the basis of the nation's
sustenance and become a mere instrument to that end. Since they now have only a balance ' Aberdeen domestic production and
demand in all fields, they make the Subsistence of the people as a whole more or less independent foreign countries, and thus
help to secure the freedom of the stite and the independence of the nation, particularly in difficult Periods.
It must be said that such a territorial policy cannot be fulfilled in the Cameroons, but today almost
exclusively in Europe. We must, therefore, coolly and objectively adopt the standpoint that it can certainly not be the intention
of Heaven to give one people fifty times as much land and soil in this world as another. In this case we must not let political
boundaries obscure for us the boundaries of eternal justice. If this earth really has room for all to live in, let us be given
the soil we need for our livelihood.
True, they will no t willingly do this. But then the law of selfpreservaion goes into effect; and
what is refused to amicable methods, it is up to the fist to take. If our forefathers had let their decisions depend on the
same pacifistic nonsense as our contemporaries, we should possess only a third of our present territory; but in that case
there would scarcely be any German people for us to worry about in Europe today. No-it is to our natural determination to
fight for our own existence that we owe the two Ostmarks of the Reich and hence that inner strength arising from the greatness
of our state and national territory which alone has enabled us to exist up to the present.
And for another reason this would have been the correct solution
Today many European states are like pyramids stood on their heads. Their European area is absurdly
small in comparison to their weight of colonies, foreign trade, etc. We may say: summit in Europe, base in the whole world;
contrasting with the American Union which possesses its base in its own continent and touches the rest of the earth only with
its summit. And from this comes the immense inner strength of this state and the weakness of most European colonial powers.
Nor is England any proof to the contrary, since in consideration of the British Empire we too easily
forget the Anglo-Saxon world as such. The position of England, if only because of her linguistic and cultural bond with the
American Union, can be compared to no other state in Europe.
For Germany, consequently, the only possibility for carrying out a healthy territorial policy lay
in the acquisition of new land in Europe itself. Colonies cannot serve this purpose unless they seem in large part suited
for settlement by Europeans. But in the nineteenth century such colonial territories were no longer obtainable by peaceful
means. Consequently, such a colonial policy could only have been carried out by means of a hard struggle which, however, would
have been carried on to much better purpose, not for territories outside of Europe, but for land on the home continent itself.
Such a decision, it is true, demands undivided devotion. It is not permissible to approach with half
measures or even with hesitation a task whose execution seems possible only by the harnessing of the very last possible ounce
of energy. This means that the entire political leadership of the Reich should have devoted itself to this exclusive aim;
never should any step have been taken, guided by other considerations than the recognition of this task and its requirements.
It was indispensable to see dearly that this aim could be achieved only by struggle, and consequently to face the contest
of arms with calm and composure.
All alliances, therefore, should have been viewed exclusively from this standpoint and judged according
to their possible utilization. If land was desired in Europe, it could be obtained by and large only at the expense of Russia,
and this meant that the new Reich must again set itself on the march along the road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to obtain
by the German sword sod for the German plow and daily bread for the nation.
For such a policy there was but one ally in Europe: England.
With England alone was it possible, our rear protected, to begin the new Germanic march. Our right
to do this would have been no less than the right of our forefathers. None of our pacifists refuses to eat the bread of the
East, although the first plowshare in its day bore the name of 'sword' !
Consequently, no sacrifice should have been too great for winning England's willingness. We should
have renounced colonies and sea power, and spared English industry our competition.
Only an absolutely clear orientation could lead to such a goal: renunciation of world trade and colonies;
renunciation of a German war fleet; concentration of all the state's instruments of power on the land army.
The result, to be sure, would have been a momentary limitation but a great and mighty future.
There was a time when England would have listened to reason on this point, since she was well aware
that Germany as a result of her increased population had to seek some way out and either find it with England in Europe or
without England in the world.
And it can primarily be attributed to this realization if at the turn of the century London itself
attempted to approach Germany. For the first time a thing became evident which in the last years we have had occasion to observe
in a truly terrifying fashion. People were unpleasantly affected by the thought of having to pull Fngland's chestnuts out
of the fire; as though there ever could be an alliance on any other basis than a mutual business deal. And with England such
a deal could very well have been made. British diplomacy was still clever enough to realize that no service can be expected
without a return.
Just suppose that an astute German foreign policy had taken over the role of Japan in 1904, and we
can scarcely measure the consequences this would have had for Germany.
There would never have been any 'World War.'
The bloodshed in the year 1904 would have saved ten times as much in the years 1914 to 1918.
And what a position Germany would occupy in the world today!
In that light, to be sure, the alliance with Austria was an absurdity.
For this mummy of a state allied itself with Germany, not in order to fight a war to its end, but
for the preservation of an eternal peace which could astutely be used for the slow but certain extermination of Germanism
in the monarchy.
This alliance was an impossibility for another reason: because we could not expect a state to take
the offensive in championing national German interests as long as this state did not possess the power and determination to
put an end to the process of de-Germanization on its own immediate borders. If Germany did not possess enough national awareness
and ruthless determination to snatch power over the destinies of ten million national comrades from the hands of the impossible
Habsburg state, then truly we had no right to expect that she would ever lend her hand to such farseeing and bold plans. The
attitude of the old Reich on the Austrian question was the touchstone of its conduct in the struggle for the destiny of the
In any case we were not justified in looking on, as year after year Germanism was increasingly repressed,
since the value of Aushia's fitness for alliance was determined exclusively by the preservation of the German element.
This road, however, was not taken at all.
These people feared nothing so much as struggle, yet they were finally forced into it at the most
They wanted to run away from destiny, and it caught up with them. They dreamed of preserving world
peace, and landed in the World War.
And this was the most significant reason why this third way of molding the German future was not even
considered. They knew that the acquisition of new soil was possible only in the East, they saw the struggle that would be
necessary and yet wanted peace at any price; for the watchword of German foreign policy had long ceased to be: preservation
of the German nation by all methods; but rather: preservation of world peace by all means. With what success, everyone knows.
I shall return to this point in particular.
Thus there remained the fourth possibility
Industry and world trade, sea power and colonies.
Such a development, to be sure, was at first easier and also more quickly attainable. The settlement
of land is a slow process, often lasting centuries; in fact, its inner strength is to be sought precisely in the fact that
it is not a sudden blaze, but a gradual yet solid and continuous growth, contrasting with an industrial development which
can be blown up in the course of a few years, but in that case is more like a soapbubble than solid strength. A fieet, to
be sure, can be built more quickly than farms can be established in stubborn struggle and settled with peasants, but it is
also more rapidly destroyed than the latter.
If, nevertheless, Germany took this road, she should at least have clearly recognized that this development
would some day likewise end in struggle. Only children could have thought that they could get their bananas in the 'peaceful
contest of nations,' by friendly and moral conduct and constant emphasis on their peaceful intentions, as they so high-soundingly
and unctuously babbled; in other words, without ever having to take up arms. No: if we chose this road, England would some
day inevitably become our enemy. It was more than senseless-but quite in keeping with our own innocence-to wax indignant over
the fact that England should one day take the liberty to oppose our peaceful activity with the brutality of a violent egoist.
It is true that we, I am sorry to say, would never have done such a thing.
If a European territorial policy was only possible against Russia in alliance with England, conversely,
a policy of colonies and world trade was conceivable only against England and with Russia. But then we had dauntlessly to
draw the consequences- and, above all, abandon Austria in all haste.
Viewed from all angles, this alliance with Austria was real madness by the turn of the century.
But we did not think of concluding an alliance with Russia against England, any more than with England
against Russia, for in both cases the end would have been war, and to prevent this we decided in favor of a policy of commerce
and industry. In the 'peaceful economic ' conquest of the world we possessed a recipe which was expected to break the neck
of the former policy of violence once and for all.l Occasionally, perhaps, we were not quite sure of ourselves, particularly
when from time to time incomprehensible threats came over from England; therefore, we decided to build a fleet, though not
to attack and destroy England, but for the 'defense' of our old friend 'world peace' and 'peaceful ' conquest of the world.
Consequently, it was kept on a somewhat more modest scale in all respects, not only in number but also in the tonnage of the
individual ships as well as in armament, so as in the final analysis to let our 'peaceful' intentions shine through after
The talk about the 'peaceful economic' conquest of the world was possibly the greatest nonsense which
has ever been exalted to be a guiding principle of state policy. What made this nonsense even worse was that its proponents
did not hesitate to call upon England as a crown witness for the possibility of such an achievement. The crimes of our academic
doctrine and conception of history in this connection can scarcely be made good and are only a striking proof of how many
people there are who 'learn' history without understanding or even comprehending it. England, in particular, should have been
recognized as the striking refutation of this theory; for no people has ever with greater brutality better prepared its economic
conquests with the sword, and later ruthlessly defended theme than the English nation. Is it not positively the distinguishing
feature of British statesmanship to draw economic acquisitions from political strength, and at once to recast every gain in
economic strength into political power? And what an error to believe that England is personally too much of a coward to stake
her own blood for her economic policy! The fact that the English people possessed no 'people's army' in no way proved the
contrary; for what matters is not the momentary military form of the fighting forces, but rather the will and determination
to risk those which do exist. England has always possessed whatever armament she happened to need. She always fought with
the weapons which success demanded. She fought with mercenaries as long as mercenaries sufficed; but she reached down into
the precious blood of the whole nation when only such a sacrifice could bring victory; but the determination for victory,
the tenacity and ruthless pursuit of this struggle, remained unchanged.
In Germany, however, the school, the press, and comic magazines cultivated a conception of the Englishman's
character, and almost more so of his empire, which inevitably led to one of the most insidious delusions; for gradually everyone
was infected by this nonsense, and the consequence was an underestimation for which we would have to pay most bitterly. This
falsification went so deep that people became convinced that in the Englishman they faced a business man as shrewd as personally
he was unbelievably cowardly. The fact that a world empire the size of the British could not be put together by mere subterfuge
and swindling was unfortunately something that never even occurred to our exalted professors of academic science. The few
who raised a voice of warning were ignored or killed by silence. I remember well my comrades' looks of astonishment when we
faced the Tommies in person in Flanders. After the very first days of battle the conviction dawned on each and every one of
them that these Scotsmen did not exactly jibe with the pictures they had seen fit to give us in the comic magazines and press
It was then that I began my first reflections about the importance of the form of propaganda.
This falsification, however, did have one good side for those who spread it: by this example, even
though it was incorrect, they were able to demonstrate the correctness of the economic conquest of the world. If the Englishman
had succeeded, we too were bound to succeed, and our definitely greater honesty, the absence in us of that specifically English
'perfidy,' was regarded as a very special plus. For it was hoped that this would enable us to win the affection, particularly
of the smaller nations, and the confidence of the large ones the more easily.
It did not occur to us that our honesty was a profound horror to the others, if for no other reason
because we ourselves believed all these things seriously while the rest of the world regarded such behavior as the expression
of a special slyness and disingenuousness, until, to their great, infinite amazement, the revolution gave them a deeper insight
into the boundless stupidity of our honest convictions.
However, the absurdity of this 'economic conquest' at once made the absurdity of the Triple Alliance
clear and comprehensible. For with what other state could we ally ourselves? In alliance with Austria, to be sure, we could
not undertake any military conquest, even in Europe alone. Precisely therein consisted the inner weakness of the alliance
from the very first day. A Bismarck could permit himself this makeshift, but not by a long shot every bungling successor,
least of all at a time when certain essential premises of Bismarck's alliance had long ceased to exist; for Bismarck still
believed that in Austria he had to do with a German state. But with the gradual introduction of universal suffrage, this country
had sunk to the status of an unGerman hodgepodge with a parliamentary government.
Also from the standpoint of racial policy, the alliance with Austria was simply ruinous. It meant
tolerating the growth of a new Slavic power on the borders of the Reich, a power which sooner or later would have to take
an entirely different attitude toward Germany than, for example, Russia. And from year to year the alliance itself was bound
to grow inwardly hollower and weaker in proportion as the sole supporters of this idea in the monarchy lost influence and
were shoved out of the most decisive positions.
By the turn of the century the alliance with Austria had entered the very same stage as Austria's
pact with Italy.
Here again there were only two possibilities: either we were in a pact with the Habsburg monarchy
or we had to lodge protest against the repression of Germanism. But once a power embarks on this kind of undertaking, it usually
ends in open struggle.
Even psychologically the value of the Triple Alliance was small, since the stability of an alliance
increases in proportion as the individual contracting parties can hope to achieve definite and tangible expansive aims. And,
conversely, it will be the weaker the more it limits itself to the preservation of an existing condition. Here, as everywhere
else, strength lies not in defense but in attack.
Even then this was recognized in various quarters, unfortunately not by the so-called 'authorities.'
Particularly Ludendorff, then a colonel and officer in the great general staff, pointed to these weaknesses in a memorial
written in 1912. Of course, none of the 'statesmen' attached any value or significance to the matter; for clear common sense
is expected to manifest itself expediently only in common mortals, but may on principle remain absent where 'diplomats' are
For Germany it was sheer good fortune that in 1914 the war broke out indirectly through Austria, so
that the Habsburgs were forced to take part; for if it had happened the other way around Germany would have been alone. Never
would the Habsburg state have been able, let alone willing, to take part in a confiict which would have arisen through Germany.
What we later so condemned in Italy would then have happened even earlier with Austria: they would have remained 'neutral'
in order at least to save the state from a revolution at the very start. Austrian Slavdom would rather have shattered the
monarchy even in 1914 than permit aid to Germany.
How great were the dangers and difficulties entailed by the alliance with the Danubian monarchy, only
very few realized a' that time.
In the first place, Austria possessed too many enemies who were planning to grab what they could from
the rotten state to prevent a certain hatred from arising in the course of time against Germany, in whom they saw the cause
of preventing the generally hoped and longed-for collapse of the monarchy. They came to the conviction that Vienna could finally
be reached only by a detour through Berlin.
In the second place, Germany thus lost her best and most hopeful possibilities of alliance. They were
replaced by an evermounting tension with Russia and even Italy. For in Rome the general mood was just as pro-German as it
was antiAustrian, slumbering in the heart of the very last Italian and often brightly flanng up.
Now, since we had thrown ourselves into a policy of commerce and industry, there was no longer the
slightest ground for war against Russia either. Only the enemies of both nations could still have an active interest in it.
And actually these were primarily the Jews and the Marxists, who, with every means, incited and agitated for war between the
Thirdly and lastly, this alliance inevitably involved an infinite peril for Germany, because a great
power actually hostile to Bismarck's Reich could at any time easily succeed in mobilizing a whole series of states against
Germany, since it was in a position to promise each of them enrichment at the expense of our Austrian ally.
The whole East of Europe could be stirred up against the Danubian monarchy-particularly Russia and
Italy. Never would the world coalition which had been forming since the initiating efforts of King Edward have come into existence
if Austria as Germany's ally had not represented too tempting a legacy. This alone made it possible to bring states with otherwise
so heterogeneous desires and aims into a single offensive front. Each one could hope that in case of a general action against
Germany it, too, would achieve enrichment at Austria's expense. The danger was enormously increased by the fact that Turkey
seemed to be a silent partner in this unfortunate alliance.
International Jewish world finance needed these lures to enable it to carry out its long-desired plan
for destroying the Germany which thus far did not submit to its widespread superst3te control of finance and economics. Only
in this way could they forge a coalition made strong and courageous by the sheer numbers of the gigantic armies now on the
march and prepared to attack the horny Siegfried at last.
The alliance with the Habsburg monarchy, which even in Austria had filled me with dissatisfaction,
now became the source of long inner trials which in the time to come reinforced me even more in the opinion I had already
Even then, among those few people whom I frequented I made no secret of my conviction that our catastrophic
alliance with a state on the brink of ruin would also lead to a fatal collapse of Germany unless we knew enough to release
ourselves from it on time. This conviction of mine was firm as a rock, and I did not falter ill it for one moment when at
last the storm of the World War seemed to have excluded all reasonable thought and a frenzy of enthusiasm had seized even
those quarters for which there should have been only the coldest consideration of reality. And while I myself was at the front,
I put forwards whenever these problems were discussed, my opinion that the alliance had to be broken off, the quicker the
better for the German nation, and that the sacrifice of the Habsburg monarchy would be no sacrifice at all to make if Germany
thereby could achieve a restriction of her adversaries; for it was not for the preservation of a debauched dynasty that the
millions had donned the steel helmet, but for the salvation of the German nation.
On a few occasions before the War it seemed as though, in one camp at least, a gentle doubt was arising
as to the correctness of the alliance policy that had been chosen. German conservative circles began from time to time to
warn against excessive confidence, but, like everything else that was sensible, this was thrown to the winds. They were convinced
that they were on the path to a world ' conquest,' whose success would be tremendous and which would entail practically no
There was nothing for those not in authority to do but to watch in silence why and how the ' authorities'
marched straight to destruction, drawing the dear people behind them like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
The deeper cause that made it possible to represent the absurdity of an ' economic conquest ' as a
practical political method, and the preservation of 'world peace' as a political goal for a whole people, and even to make
these things intelligible, lay in the general sickening of our whole political thinking.
With the victorious march of German technology and industry, the rising successes of German commerce,
the realization was increasingly lost that all this was only possible on the basis of a strong state. On the contrary, many
circles went so far as to put forward the conviction that the state owed its very existence to these phenomena, that the state
itself Drimarilv represented an economic institution, that it could be governed according to economic requirements, and that
its very existence depended on economics, a state of affairs which was regarded and glorified as by far the healthiest and
But the state has nothing at all to do with any definite economic conception or development.
It is not a collection of economic contracting parties in a definite delimited living space for the
fulfillment of economic tasks, but the organization of a community of physically and psychologically similar living beings
for the better facilitation of the maintenance of their species and the achievement of the aim which has been allotted to
this species by Providence. This and nothing else is the aim and meaning of a state. Economics is only one of the many instruments
required for the achievement of this aim. It is never the cause or the aim of a state unless this state is based on a false,
because unnatural, foundation to begin with. Only in this way can it be explained that the state as such does not necessarily
presuppose territorial limitation. This will be necessary only among the peoples who want to secure the maintenance of their
national comrades by their own resources; in other words, are prepared to fight the struggle for existence by their own labor.
Peoples who can sneak their way into the rest of mankind like drones, to make other men work for them under all sorts of pretexts,
can form states even without any definitely delimited living space of their own. This applies first and foremost to a people
under whose parasitism the whole of honest humanity is suffering, today more than ever: the Jews.
The Jewish state was never spatially limited in itself, but universally unlimited as to space, though
restricted in the sense of embracing but one race. Consequently, this people has always formed a state within states. It is
one of the most ingenious tricks that was ever devised, to make this state sail under the fiag of 'religion,' thus assuring
it of the tolerance which the Aryan is always ready to accord a religious creed. For actually the Mosaic religion is nothing
other than a doctrine for the preservation of the Jewish race. It therefore embraces almost all sociological, political, and
economic fields of knowledge which can have any bearing on this function.
The urge to preserve the species is the first cause for the formation of human communities; thus the
state is a national organism and not an economic organization. A difference which is just as large as it is incomprehensible,
particularly to our so-called ' statesmen ' of today. That is why they think they can build up the state through economics
while in reality it results and always will result solely from the action of those qualities which lie in line with the will
to preserve the species and race. And these are always heroic virtues and never the egoism of shopkeepers, since the preservation
of the existence of a species presupposes a spirit of sacrifice in the individual. The sense of the poet's words, 'If you
will not stake your life, you will win no life,' is that the sacrifice of personal existence is necessary to secure the preservation
of the species. Thus, the most sensible prerequisite for the formation and preservation of a state is the presence of a certain
feeling of cohesion based on similarity of nature and species, and a willingness to stake everything on it with all possible
means, something which in peoples with soil of their own will create heroic virtues, but in parasites will create lying hypocrisy
and malignant cruelty, or else these qualities must already be present as the necessary and demonstrable basis for their existence
as a state so different in form. The formation of a state, originally at least, will occur through the exercise of these qualities,
and in the subsequent struggle for self-preservation those nations will be defeated- that is, will fall a prey to subjugation
and thus sooner or later die out which in the mutual struggle possess the smallest share of heroic virtues, or are not equal
to the lies and trickery of the hostile parasite. But in this case, too, this must almost always be attributed less to a lack
of astuteness than to a lack of determination and courage, which only tries to conceal itself beneath a cloak of humane convictions.
How little the state-forming and state-preserving qualities are connected with economics is most clearly
shown by the fact that the inner strength of a state only in the rarest cases coincides with so-called economic prosperity,
but that the latter, in innumerable cases, seems to indicate the state's approaching decline. If the formation of human societies
were primarily attributable to economic forces or even impulses, the highest economic development would have to mean the greatest
strength of the state and not the opposite.
Belief in the state-forming and state-preserving power of economics seems especially incomprehensible
when it obtains in a country which in all things clearly and penetratingly shows the historic reverse. Prussia, in particular,
demonstrates with marvelous sharpness that not material qualities but ideal virtues alone make possible the formation of a
state. Only under their protection can economic life flourish, until with the collapse of the pure state-forming faculties
the economy collapses too; a process which we can observe in so terrible and tragic a form right now. The material interests
of man can always thrive best as long as they remain in the shadow of heroic virtues; but as soon as they attempt to enter
the primary sphere of existence, they destroy the basis for their own existence.
Always when in Germany there was an upsurge of political power, the economic conditions began to improve;
but always when economics became the sole content of our people's life, stifling the ideal virtues, the state collapsed and
in a short time drew economic life along with it.
If, however, we consider the question, what, in reality, are the state-forming or even state-preserving
forces, we can sum them up under one single head: the ability and will of the individual to sacrifice himself for the totality.
That these virtues have nothing at all to do with economics can be seen from the simple realization that man never sacrifices
himself for the latter, or, in other words: a man does not die for business, but only for ideals. Nothing proved the Englishman's
superior psychological knowledge of the popular soul better than the motivation which he gave to his struggle. While we fought
for bread, England fought for 'freedom'; and not even for her own, no, for that of the small nations. In our country we laughed
at this effrontery, or were enraged at it, and thus only demonstrated how emptyheaded and stupid the so-called statesmen of
Germany had becorne even before the War. We no longer had the slightest idea concerning the essence of the force which can
lead men to their death of their own free will and decision.
In 1914 as long as the German people thought they were fighting for ideals, they stood firm; but as
soon as they were told to fight for their daily bread, they preferred to give up the game.
And our brilliant 'statesmen' were astonished at this change in attitude. It never became clear to
them that from the moment when a man begins to fight for an economic interest, he avoids death as much as possible, since
death wo lid forever deprive him of his reward for fighting. Anxiety for the rescue of her own child makes a heroine of even
the feeblest mother, and only the struggle for the preservation of the species and the hearth, or the state that protects
it, has at all times driven men against the spears of their enemies.
The following theorem may be established as an eternally valid truth:
Never yet has a state been founded by peaceful economic means, but always and exclusively by the instincts
of preservation of the species regardless whether these are found in the province of heroic virtue or of cunning craftiness;
the one results in Aryan states based on work and culture, the other in Jewish colonies of parasites. As soon as economics
as such begins to choke out these Instincts in a people or in a state, it becomes the seductive cause of subjugation and oppression.
The belief of pre-war days that the world could be peacefully opened up to, let alone conquered for,
the German people by a commercial and colonial policy was a classic sign of the loss of real state-forming and state-preserving
virtues and of all the insight, will power, and active determination which follow from them; the penalty for this, inevitable
as the law of nature, was the World War with its consequences.
For those who do not look more deeply into the matter, this attitude of the German nation-for it was
really as good as general-could only represent an insoluble riddle: for was not Germany above all other countries a marvelous
example of an empire which had risen from foundations of pure political power? Prussia, the germ-cell of the Empire, came
into being through resplendent heroism and not through financial operations or commercial deals, and the Reich itself in turn
was only the glorious reward of aggressive political leadership and the death defying courage of its soldiers. How could this
very German people have succumbed to such a sickening of its political instinct? For here we face, not an isolated phenomenon,
but forces of decay which in truly terrifying number soon began to flare up like will-o'-the-wisps, brushing up and down the
body politic, or eating like poisonous abscesses into the nation, now here and now there. It seemed as though a continuous
stream of poison was being driven into the outermost blood-vessels of this once heroic body by a mysterious power, and was
inducing progressively greater paralysis of sound reason and the simple instinct of selfpreservation .
As innumerable times I passed in review all these questions, arising through my position on the German
alliance policy and the economic policy of the Reich in the years 1912 to 1914-the only remaining solution to the riddle became
to an ever-increasing degree that power which, from an entirely different viewpoint, I had come to know earlier in Vienna:
the Marxist doctrine and philosophy, and their organizational results.
For the second time I dug into this doctrine of destruction- this time no longer led by the impressions
and effects of my daily associations, but directed by the observation of general processes of political life. I again immersed
myself in the theoretical literature of this new world, attempting to achieve clarity concerning its possible effects, and
then compared it with the actual phenomena and events it brings about in political, cultural, and economic life.
Now for the first time I turned my attention to the attempts to master this world plague.
I studied Bismarck's Socialist legislation 1 in its intention struggle, and success. Gradually I obtained
a positively granite foundation for my own conviction, so that since that time I have never been forced to undertake a shift
in my own inner view on this question. Likewise the relation of Marxism to the Jews was submitted to further thorough examination.
Though previously in Vienna, Germany above all had seemed to me an unshakable colossus, now anxious
misgivings sometimes entered my mind. In silent solitude and in the small circles of my acquaintance, I was filled with wrath
at German foreign policy and likewise with what seemed to me the incredibly frivolous way in which the most important problem
then existing for Germany, Marxism, was treated. It was really beyond me how people could rush so blindly into a danger whose
effects, pursuant to the Marxists' own intention, were bound some day to be monstrous. Even then, among my acquaintance, just
as today on a large scale, I warned against the phrase with which all wretched cowards comfort themselves: 'Nothing can happen
to us!' This pestilential attitude had once been the downfall of a gigantic empire. Could anyone believe that Germany alone
was not subject to exactly the same laws as all other human organisms?
In the years 1913 and 1914, I, for the first time in various circles which today in part faithfully
support the National Socialist movement, expressed the conviction that the question of the future of the German nation was
the question of destroying Marxism.
In the catastrophic German alliance policy I saw only one of the consequences called forth by the
disruptive work of this doctrine; for the terrible part of it was that this poison almost invisibly destroyed all the foundations
of a healthy conception of economy and state, and that often those affected by it did not themselves realize to what an extent
their activities and desires emanated from this philosophy srhich they otherwise sharply ejected.
The internal decline of the German nation had long since begun, yet, as so often in life, people had
not achieved clarity concerning the force that was destroying their existence. Sometimes they tinkered around with the disease,
but confused the forms of the phenomenon with the virus that had caused it. Since they did not know or want to know the cause,
the struggle against Malsisrs was no better than bungling quackery.
Chapter V: The World War
As 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.
Why 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?!
Thus 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.
The Boer War was like summer lightning to me.
Every 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.
The 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 Slavdom.
Since 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.
When 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.
The greatest friend of the Slavs had fallen beneath the bullets of Slavic fanatics.
Anyone 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 arrested.
Those 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.
Was old Austria even conceivable without the Emperor?!
Wouldn't the tragedy which had once stricken Maria Theresa have been repeated?
No, 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.
No, 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.
Those 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.
For 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.
If 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
The struggle of the year 1914 was not forced on the masses- no, by the living God-it was desired by
the whole people. 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 their blood.
To 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.
A 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.
For 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 labors.
What 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.
I, too, was one of these millions.
Hardly 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.
My 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.
As 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 uber Aloes' and shouted Neil ' 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.
I 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
On 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.
For 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.
As 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.
A 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 too late.
At 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.
And 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 uber Alles, uber Alles in der Welt!'
Four days later we came back. Even our step had changed. Seventeen-year-old boys now looked like men.
The volunteers of the List Regiment may not have learned to fight properly, but they knew how to die
like old soldiers
This was the beginning.
Thus 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.
The young volunteer had become an old soldier.
And 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.
Now 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.
Thousands 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
I 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 bigmouths 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 people.
Thus, 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 us soldiers.
There were two things which then profoundly angered me and which I regarded as harmful.
After 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.
Instead 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 victories.
It 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?
I 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.
The 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
They 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.
It 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.
Marxism, 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 awakening.
But 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.
If the best men were dying at the front, the least we could do was to wipe out the vermin.
Instead 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.
So 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,l the perjuring criminals were organizing the revolution.
That 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 so frightful.
What, 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!
One question came to the fore, however: can spiritual ideas be exterminated by the sword? Can 'philosophies'
be combated by the use of brute force?
Even at that time I pondered this question more than once: If we ponder analogous cases, particularly
on a religious basis, which can be found in history, the following fundamental principle emerges:
Conceptions 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.
The 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 some-times 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.
As 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 small circle.
Consequently, 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.
Indeed, 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:
The 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.
Added to this there is something else:
Any 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 doctrine.
Thus, in summing up, we can establish the following:
Any 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.
This remained the reason for the failure of the struggle against Marxism.
This 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.
Since 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.
All this was only the necessary consequence of the absence of a basic new anti-Marxist philosophy
endowed with a stormy will to conquer.
Hence the sole result of Bismarck's struggle was a grave disillusionment.
Were conditions different during the World War or at its beginning? Unfortunately not.
The 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 political disadvantage.
The denial of this fact only proves the effrontery, and also the stupidity, of the liars.
Altogether, 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.
Good 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.
Quite 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.
The '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 1 can only be struggle. The younger will be victorious-and this is Marxism.
Indeed, 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.
Here there was a great gap.
I 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' party.
With my closer comrades I often expressed myself openly on this point.
And now the first ideas came to me of later engaging in political activity.
Precisely 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.
I believe that I was very serious about this.