At last I came to Munich, in the spring of 1912.
The city itself was as familiar to me as if I had lived for years within its walls.
This was because my studies in architecture had been constantly turning my attention to the metropolis of German art. One must know Munich if one would know Germany, and it is impossible to acquire a knowledge of German art without seeing Munich.
All things considered, this pre-war sojourn was by far the happiest and most contented time of my life. My earnings were very slender; but after all I did not live for the sake of painting. I painted in order to get the bare necessities of existence while I continued my studies. I was firmly convinced that I should finally succeed in reaching the goal I had marked out for myself. And this conviction alone was strong enough to enable me to bear the petty hardships of everyday life without worrying very much about them.
Moreover, almost from the very first moment of my sojourn there I came to love that city more than any other place known to me. A German city! I said to myself. How different to Vienna. It was with a feeling of disgust that my imagination reverted to that Babylon of races. Another pleasant feature here was the way the people spoke German, which was much nearer my own way of speaking than the Viennese idiom. The Munich idiom recalled the days of my youth, especially when I spoke with those who had come to Munich from Lower Bavaria. There were a thousand or more things which I inwardly loved or which I came to love during the course of my stay. But what attracted me most was the marvellous wedlock of native folk-energy with the fine artistic spirit of the city, that unique harmony from the Hofbräuhaus to the Odeon, from the October Festival to the Pinakothek, etc. The reason why my heart’s strings are entwined around this city as around no other spot in this world is probably because Munich is and will remain inseparably connected with the development of my own career; and the fact that from the beginning of my visit I felt inwardly happy and contented is to be attributed to the charm of the marvellous Wittelsbach Capital, which has attracted probably everybody who is blessed with a feeling for beauty instead of commercial instincts.
Apart from my professional work, I was most interested in the study of current political events, particularly those which were connected with foreign relations. I approached these by way of the German policy of alliances which, ever since my Austrian days, I had considered to be an utterly mistaken one. But in Vienna I had not yet seen quite clearly how far the German Empire had gone in the process of’ self-delusion. In Vienna I was inclined to assume, or probably I persuaded myself to do so in order to excuse the German mistake, that possibly the authorities in Berlin knew how weak and unreliable their ally would prove to be when brought face to face with realities, but that, for more or less mysterious reasons, they refrained from allowing their opinions on this point to be known in public. Their idea was that they should support the policy of alliances which Bismarck had initiated and the sudden discontinuance of which might be undesirable, if for no other reason than that it might arouse those foreign countries which were lying in wait for their chance or might alarm the Philistines at home.
But my contact with the people soon taught me, to my horror, that my assumptions were wrong. I was amazed to find everywhere, even in circles otherwise well informed, that nobody had the slightest intimation of the real character of the Habsburg Monarchy. Among the common people in particular there was a prevalent illusion that the Austrian ally was a Power which would have to be seriously reckoned with and would rally its man-power in the hour of need. The mass of the people continued to look upon the Dual Monarchy as a ‘German State’ and believed that it could be relied upon. They assumed that its strength could be measured by the millions of its subjects, as was the case in Germany. First of all, they did not realize that Austria had ceased to be a German State and, secondly, that the conditions prevailing within the Austrian Empire were steadily pushing it headlong to the brink of disaster.
At that time I knew the condition of affairs in the Austrian State better than the professional diplomats. Blindfolded, as nearly always, these diplomats stumbled along on their way to disaster. The opinions prevailing among the bulk of the people reflected only what had been drummed into them from official quarters above. And these higher authorities grovelled before the ‘Ally’, as the people of old bowed down before the Golden Calf. They probably thought that by being polite and amiable they might balance the lack of honesty on the other side. Thus they took every declaration at its full face value.
Even while in Vienna I used to be annoyed again and again by the discrepancy between the speeches of the official statesmen and the contents of the Viennese Press. And yet Vienna was still a German city, at least as far as appearances went. But one encountered an utterly different state of things on leaving Vienna, or rather German-Austria, and coming into the Slav provinces. It needed only a glance at the Prague newspapers in order to see how the whole exalted hocus-pocus of the Triple Alliance was judged from there. In Prague there was nothing but gibes and sneers for that masterpiece of statesmanship. Even in the piping times of peace, when the two emperors kissed each other on the brow in token of friendship, those papers did not cloak their belief that the alliance would be liquidated the moment a first attempt was made to bring it down from the shimmering glory of a Nibelungen ideal to the plane of practical affairs.
Great indignation was aroused a few years later, when the alliances were put to the first practical test. Italy not only withdrew from the Triple Alliance, leaving the other two members to march by themselves. but she even joined their enemies. That anybody should believe even for a moment in the possibility of such a miracle as that of Italy fighting on the same side as Austria would be simply incredible to anyone who did not suffer from the blindness of official diplomacy. And that was just how people felt in Austria also.
In Austria only the Habsburgs and the German-Austrians supported the alliance. The Habsburgs did so from shrewd calculation of their own interests and from necessity. The Germans did it out of good faith and political ignorance. They acted in good faith inasmuch as they believed that by establishing the Triple Alliance they were doing a great service to the German Empire and were thus helping to strengthen it and consolidate its defence. They showed their political ignorance, however, in holding such ideas, because, instead of helping the German Empire they really chained it to a moribund State which might bring its associate into the grave with itself; and, above all, by championing this alliance they fell more and more a prey to the Habsburg policy of de-Germanization. For the alliance gave the Habsburgs good grounds for believing that the German Empire would not interfere in their domestic affairs and thus they were in a position to carry into effect, with more ease and less risk, their domestic policy of gradually eliminating the German element. Not only could the ‘objectiveness’ of the German Government be counted upon, and thus there need be no fear of protest from that quarter, but one could always remind the German-Austrians of the alliance and thus silence them in case they should ever object to the reprehensible means that were being employed to establish a Slav hegemony in the Dual Monarchy.
What could the German-Austrians do, when the people of the German Empire itself had openly proclaimed their trust and confidence in the Habsburg régime?
Should they resist, and thus be branded openly before their kinsfolk in the Reich as traitors to their own national interests? They, who for so many decades had sacrificed so much for the sake of their German tradition!
Once the influence of the Germans in Austria had been wiped out, what then would be the value of the alliance? If the Triple Alliance were to be advantageous to Germany, was it not a necessary condition that the predominance of the German element in Austria should be maintained? Or did anyone really believe that Germany could continue to be the ally of a Habsburg Empire under the hegemony of the Slavs?
The official attitude of German diplomacy, as well as that of the general public towards internal problems affecting the Austrian nationalities was not merely stupid, it was insane. On the alliance, as on a solid foundation, they grounded the security and future existence of a nation of seventy millions, while at the same time they allowed their partner to continue his policy of undermining the sole foundation of that alliance methodically and resolutely, from year to year. A day must come when nothing but a formal contract with Viennese diplomats would be left. The alliance itself, as an effective support, would be lost to Germany.
As far as concerned Italy, such had been the case from the outset.
If people in Germany had studied history and the psychology of nations a little more carefully not one of them could have believed for a single hour that the Quirinal and the Viennese Hofburg could ever stand shoulder to shoulder on a common battle front. Italy would have exploded like a volcano if any Italian government had dared to send a single Italian soldier to fight for the Habsburg State. So fanatically hated was this State that the Italians could stand in no other relation to it on a battle front except as enemies. More than once in Vienna I have witnessed explosions of the contempt and profound hatred which ‘allied’ the Italian to the Austrian State. The crimes which the House of Habsburg committed against Italian freedom and independence during several centuries were too grave to be forgiven, even with the best of goodwill. But this goodwill did not exist, either among the rank and file of the population or in the government. Therefore for Italy there were only two ways of co-existing with Austria – alliance or war. By choosing the first it was possible to prepare leisurely for the second.
Especially since relations between Russia and Austria tended more and more towards the arbitrament of war, the German policy of alliances was as senseless as it was dangerous. Here was a classical instance which demonstrated the lack of any broad or logical lines of thought.
But what was the reason for forming the alliance at all? It could not have been other than the wish to secure the future of the Reich better than if it were to depend exclusively on its own resources. But the future of the Reich could not have meant anything else than the problem of securing the means of existence for the German people.
The only questions therefore were the following: What form shall the life of the nation assume in the near future – that is to say within such a period as we can forecast? And by what means can the necessary foundation and security be guaranteed for this development within the framework of the general distribution of power among the European nations? A clear analysis of the principles on which the foreign policy of German statecraft were to be based should have led to the following conclusions:
The annual increase of population in Germany amounts to almost 900,000 souls. The difficulties of providing for this army of new citizens must grow from year to year and must finally lead to a catastrophe, unless ways and means are found which will forestall the danger of misery and hunger. There were four ways of providing against this terrible calamity:
(1) It was possible to adopt the French example and artificially restrict the number of births, thus avoiding an excess of population.
Under certain circumstances, in periods of distress or under bad climatic condition, or if the soil yields too poor a return, Nature herself tends to check the increase of population in some countries and among some races, but by a method which is quite as ruthless as it is wise. It does not impede the procreative faculty as such; but it does impede the further existence of the offspring by submitting it to such tests and privations that everything which is less strong or less healthy is forced to retreat into the bosom of tile unknown. Whatever survives these hardships of existence has been tested and tried a thousandfold, hardened and renders fit to continue the process of procreation; so that the same thorough selection will begin all over again. By thus dealing brutally with the individual and recalling him the very moment he shows that he is not fitted for the trials of life, Nature preserves the strength of the race and the species and raises it to the highest degree of efficiency.
The decrease in numbers therefore implies an increase of strength, as far as the individual is concerned, and this finally means the invigoration of the species.
But the case is different when man himself starts the process of numerical restriction. Man is not carved from Nature’s wood. He is made of ‘human’ material. He knows more than the ruthless Queen of Wisdom. He does not impede the preservation of the individual but prevents procreation itself. To the individual, who always sees only himself and not the race, this line of action seems more humane and just than the opposite way. But, unfortunately, the consequences are also the opposite.
By leaving the process of procreation unchecked and by submitting the individual to the hardest preparatory tests in life, Nature selects the best from an abundance of single elements and stamps them as fit to live and carry on the conservation of the species. But man restricts the procreative faculty and strives obstinately to keep alive at any cost whatever has once been born. This correction of the Divine Will seems to him to be wise and humane, and he rejoices at having trumped Nature’s card in one game at least and thus proved that she is not entirely reliable. The dear little ape of an all-mighty father is delighted to see and hear that he has succeeded in effecting a numerical restriction; but he would be very displeased if told that this, his system, brings about a degeneration in personal quality.
For as soon as the procreative faculty is thwarted and the number of births diminished, the natural struggle for existence which allows only healthy and strong individuals to survive is replaced by a sheer craze to ‘save’ feeble and even diseased creatures at any cost. And thus the seeds are sown for a human progeny which will become more and more miserable from one generation to another, as long as Nature’s will is scorned.
But if that policy be carried out the final results must be that such a nation will eventually terminate its own existence on this earth; for though man may defy the eternal laws of procreation during a certain period, vengeance will follow sooner or later. A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.
Any policy which aims at securing the existence of a nation by restricting the birth-rate robs that nation of its future.
(2) A second solution is that of internal colonization. This is a proposal which is frequently made in our own time and one hears it lauded a good deal. It is a suggestion that is well-meant but it is misunderstood by most people, so that it is the source of more mischief than can be imagined.
It is certainly true that the productivity of the soil can be increased within certain limits; but only within defined limits and not indefinitely. By increasing the productive powers of the soil it will be possible to balance the effect of a surplus birth-rate in Germany for a certain period of time, without running any danger of hunger. But we have to face the fact that the general standard of living is rising more quickly than even the birth rate. The requirements of food and clothing are becoming greater from year to year and are out of proportion to those of our ancestors of, let us say, a hundred years ago. It would, therefore, be a mistaken view that every increase in the productive powers of the soil will supply the requisite conditions for an increase in the population. No. That is true up to a certain point only, for at least a portion of the increased produce of the soil will be consumed by the margin of increased demands caused by the steady rise in the standard of living. But even if these demands were to be curtailed to the narrowest limits possible and if at the same time we were to use all our available energies in the intenser cultivation, we should here reach a definite limit which is conditioned by the inherent nature of the soil itself. No matter how industriously we may labour we cannot increase agricultural production beyond this limit. Therefore, though we may postpone the evil hour of distress for a certain time, it will arrive at last. The first phenomenon will be the recurrence of famine periods from time to time, after bad harvests, etc. The intervals between these famines will become shorter and shorter the more the population increases; and, finally, the famine times will disappear only in those rare years of plenty when the granaries are full. And a time will ultimately come when even in those years of plenty there will not be enough to go round; so that hunger will dog the footsteps of the nation. Nature must now step in once more and select those who are to survive, or else man will help himself by artificially preventing his own increase, with all the fatal consequences for the race and the species which have been already mentioned.
It may be objected here that, in one form or another, this future is in store for all mankind and that the individual nation or race cannot escape the general fate.
At first glance, that objection seems logical enough; but we have to take the following into account:
The day will certainly come when the whole of mankind will be forced to check the augmentation of the human species, because there will be no further possibility of adjusting the productivity of the soil to the perpetual increase in the population. Nature must then be allowed to use her own methods or man may possibly take the task of regulation into his own hands and establish the necessary equilibrium by the application of better means than we have at our disposal to-day. But then it will be a problem for mankind as a whole, whereas now only those races have to suffer from want which no longer have the strength and daring to acquire sufficient soil to fulfil their needs. For, as things stand to-day, vast spaces still lie uncultivated all over the surface of the globe. Those spaces are only waiting for the ploughshare. And it is quite certain that Nature did not set those territories apart as the exclusive pastures of any one nation or race to be held unutilized in reserve for the future. Such land awaits the people who have the strength to acquire it and the diligence to cultivate it.
Nature knows no political frontiers. She begins by establishing life on this globe and then watches the free play of forces. Those who show the greatest courage and industry are the children nearest to her heart and they will be granted the sovereign right of existence.
If a nation confines itself to ‘internal colonization’ while other races are perpetually increasing their territorial annexations all over the globe, that nation will be forced to restrict the numerical growth of its population at a time when the other nations are increasing theirs. This situation must eventually arrive. It will arrive soon if the territory which the nation has at its disposal be small. Now it is unfortunately true that only too often the best nations – or, to speak more exactly, the only really cultured nations, who at the same time are the chief bearers of human progress – have decided, in their blind pacifism, to refrain from the acquisition of new territory and to be content with ‘internal colonization.’ But at the same time nations of inferior quality succeed in getting hold of large spaces for colonization all over the globe. The state of affairs which must result from this contrast is the following:
Races which are culturally superior but less ruthless would be forced to restrict their increase, because of insufficient territory to support the population, while less civilized races could increase indefinitely, owing to the vast territories at their disposal. In other words: should that state of affairs continue, then the world will one day be possessed by that portion of mankind which is culturally inferior but more active and energetic.
A time will come, even though in the distant future, when there can be only two alternatives: Either the world will be ruled according to our modern concept of democracy, and then every decision will be in favour of the numerically stronger races; or the world will be governed by the law of natural distribution of power, and then those nations will be victorious who are of more brutal will and are not the nations who have practised self-denial.
Nobody can doubt that this world will one day be the scene of dreadful struggles for existence on the part of mankind. In the end the instinct of self-preservation alone will triumph. Before its consuming fire this so-called humanitarianism, which connotes only a mixture of fatuous timidity and self-conceit, will melt away as under the March sunshine. Man has become great through perpetual struggle. In perpetual peace his greatness must decline.
For us Germans, the slogan of ‘internal colonization’ is fatal, because it encourages the belief that we have discovered a means which is in accordance with our innate pacifism and which will enable us to work for our livelihood in a half slumbering existence. Such a teaching, once it were taken seriously by our people, would mean the end of all effort to acquire for ourselves that place in the world which we deserve. If. the average German were once convinced that by this measure he has the chance of ensuring his livelihood and guaranteeing his future, any attempt to take an active and profitable part in sustaining the vital demands of his country would be out of the question. Should the nation agree to such an attitude then any really useful foreign policy might be looked upon as dead and buried, together with all hope for the future of the German people.
Once we know what the consequences of this ‘internal colonization’ theory would be we can no longer consider as a mere accident the fact that among those who inculcate this quite pernicious mentality among our people the Jew is always in the first line. He knows his softies only too well not to know that they are ready to be the grateful victims of every swindle which promises them a gold-block in the shape of a discovery that will enable them to outwit Nature and thus render superfluous the hard and inexorable struggle for existence; so that finally they may become lords of the planet partly by sheer dolce far niente and partly by working when a pleasing opportunity arises.
It cannot be too strongly emphasised that any German ‘internal colonization’ must first of all be considered as suited only for the relief of social grievances. To carry out a system of internal colonization, the most important preliminary measure would be to free the soil from the grip of the speculator and assure that freedom. But such a system could never suffice to assure the future of the nation without the acquisition of new territory.
If we adopt a different plan we shall soon reach a point beyond which the resources of our soil can no longer be exploited, and at the same time we shall reach a point beyond which our man-power cannot develop.
In conclusion, the following must be said:
The fact that only up to a limited extent can internal colonization be practised in a national territory which is of definitely small area and the restriction of the procreative faculty which follows as a result of such conditions – these two factors have a very unfavourable effect on the military and political standing of a nation.
The extent of the national territory is a determining factor in the external security of the nation. The larger the territory which a people has at its disposal the stronger are the national defences of that people. Military decisions are more quickly, more easily, more completely and more effectively gained against a people occupying a national territory which is restricted in area, than against States which have extensive territories. Moreover, the magnitude of a national territory is in itself a certain assurance that an outside Power will not hastily risk the adventure of an invasion; for in that case the struggle would have to be long and exhausting before victory could be hoped for. The risk being so great. there would have to be extraordinary reasons for such an aggressive adventure. Hence it is that the territorial magnitude of a State furnishes a basis whereon national liberty and independence can be maintained with relative ease; while, on the contrary, a State whose territory is small offers a natural temptation to the invader.
As a matter of fact, so-called national circles in the German Reich rejected those first two possibilities of establishing a balance between the constant numerical increase in the population and a national territory which could not expand proportionately. But the reasons given for that rejection were different from those which I have just expounded. It was mainly on the basis of certain moral sentiments that restriction of the birth-rate was objected to. Proposals for internal colonization were rejected indignantly because it was suspected that such a policy might mean an attack on the big landowners, and that this attack might be the forerunner of a general assault against the principle of private property as a whole. The form in which the latter solution – internal colonization – was recommended justified the misgivings of the big landowners.
But the form in which the colonization proposal was rejected was not very clever, as regards the impression which such rejection might be calculated to make on the mass of the people, and anyhow it did not go to the root of the problem at all.
Only two further ways were left open in which work and bread could be secured for the increasing population.
(3) It was possible to think of acquiring new territory on which a certain portion of’ the increasing population could be settled each year; or else
(4) Our industry and commerce had to be organized in such a manner as to secure an increase in the exports and thus be able to support our people by the increased purchasing power accruing from the profits made on foreign markets.
Therefore the problem was: A policy of territorial expansion or a colonial and commercial policy. Both policies were taken into consideration, examined, recommended and rejected, from various standpoints, with the result that the second alternative was finally adopted. The sounder alternative, however, was undoubtedly the first.
The principle of acquiring new territory, on which the surplus population could be settled, has many advantages to recommend it, especially if we take the future as well as the present into account.
In the first place, too much importance cannot be placed on the necessity for adopting a policy which will make it possible to maintain a healthy peasant class as the basis of the national community. Many of our present evils have their origin exclusively in the disproportion between the urban and rural portions of the population. A solid stock of small and medium farmers has at all times been the best protection which a nation could have against the social diseases that are prevalent to-day. Moreover, that is the only solution which guarantees the daily bread of a nation within the framework of its domestic national economy. With this condition once guaranteed, industry and commerce would retire from the unhealthy position of foremost importance which they hold to-day and would take their due place within the general scheme of national economy, adjusting the balance between demand and supply. Thus industry and commerce would no longer constitute the basis of the national subsistence, but would be auxiliary institutions. By fulfilling their proper function, which is to adjust the balance between national production and national consumption, they render the national subsistence more or less independent of foreign countries and thus assure the freedom and independence of the nation, especially at critical junctures in its history.
Such a territorial policy, however, cannot find its fulfilment in the Cameroons but almost exclusively here in Europe. One must calmly and squarely face the truth that it certainly cannot be part of the dispensation of Divine Providence to give a fifty times larger share of the soil of this world to one nation than to another. In considering this state of affairs to-day, one must not allow existing political frontiers to distract attention from what ought to exist on principles of strict justice. If this earth has sufficient room for all, then we ought to have that share of the soil which is absolutely necessary for our existence.
Of course people will not voluntarily make that accommodation. At this point the right of self-preservation comes into effect. And when attempts to settle the difficulty in an amicable way are rejected the clenched hand must take by force that which was refused to the open hand of friendship. If in the past our ancestors had based their political decisions on similar pacifist nonsense as our present generation does, we should not possess more than one-third of the national territory that we possess to-day and probably there would be no German nation to worry about its future in Europe. No. We owe the two Eastern Marks 8) of the Empire to the natural determination of our forefathers in their struggle for existence, and thus it is to the same determined policy that we owe the inner strength which is based on the extent of our political and racial territories and which alone has made it possible for us to exist up to now.
And there is still another reason why that solution would have been the correct one:
Many contemporary European States are like pyramids standing on their apexes. The European territory which these States possess is ridiculously small when compared with the enormous overhead weight of their colonies, foreign trade, etc. It may be said that they have the apex in Europe and the base of the pyramid all over the world; quite different from the United States of America, which has its base on the American Continent and is in contact with the rest of the world only through its apex. Out of that situation arises the incomparable inner strength of the U.S.A. and the contrary situation is responsible for the weakness of most of the colonial European Powers.
England cannot be suggested as an argument against this assertion, though in glancing casually over the map of the British Empire one is inclined easily to overlook the existence of a whole Anglo-Saxon world. England’s position cannot be compared with that of any other State in Europe, since it forms a vast community of language and culture together with the U.S.A.
Therefore the only possibility which Germany had of carrying a sound territorial policy into effect was that of acquiring new territory in Europe itself. Colonies cannot serve this purpose as long as they are not suited for settlement by Europeans on a large scale. In the nineteenth century it was no longer possible to acquire such colonies by peaceful means. Therefore any attempt at such a colonial expansion would have meant an enormous military struggle. Consequently it would have been more practical to undertake that military struggle for new territory in Europe rather than to wage war for the acquisition of possessions abroad.
Such a decision naturally demanded that the nation’s undivided energies should be devoted to it. A policy of that kind which requires for its fulfilment every ounce of available energy on the part of everybody concerned, cannot be carried into effect by half-measures or in a hesitating manner. The political leadership of the German Empire should then have been directed exclusively to this goal. No political step should have been taken in response to other considerations than this task and the means of accomplishing it. Germany should have been alive to the fact that such a goal could have been reached only by war, and the prospect of war should have been faced with calm and collected determination.
The whole system of alliances should have been envisaged and valued from that standpoint. If new territory were to be acquired in Europe it must have been mainly at Russia’s cost, and once again the new German Empire should have set out on its march along the same road as was formerly trodden by the Teutonic Knights, this time to acquire soil for the German plough by means of the German sword and thus provide the nation with its daily bread.
For such a policy, however, there was only one possible ally in Europe. That was England.
Only by alliance with England was it possible to safeguard the rear of the new German crusade. The justification for undertaking such an expedition was stronger than the justification which our forefathers had for setting out on theirs. Not one of our pacifists refuses to eat the bread made from the grain grown in the East; and yet the first plough here was that called the ‘Sword’.
No sacrifice should have been considered too great if it was a necessary means of gaining England’s friendship. Colonial and naval ambitions should have been abandoned and attempts should not have been made to compete against British industries.
Only a clear and definite policy could lead to such an achievement. Such a policy would have demanded a renunciation of the endeavour to conquer the world’s markets, also a renunciation of colonial intentions and naval power. All the means of power at the disposal of the State should have been concentrated in the military forces on land. This policy would have involved a period of temporary self-denial, for the sake of a great and powerful future.
There was a time when England might have entered into negotiations with us, on the grounds of that proposal. For England would have well understood that the problems arising from the steady increase in population were forcing Germany to look for a solution either in Europe with the help of England or, without England, in some other part of the world.
This outlook was probably the chief reason why London tried to draw nearer to Germany about the turn of the century. For the first time in Germany an attitude was then manifested which afterwards displayed itself in a most tragic way. People then gave expression to an unpleasant feeling that we might thus find ourselves obliged to pull England’s chestnuts out of the fire. As if an alliance could be based on anything else than mutual give-and-take! And England would have become a party to such a mutual bargain. British diplomats were still wise enough to know that an equivalent must be forthcoming as a consideration for any services rendered.
Let us suppose that in 1904 our German foreign policy was managed astutely enough to enable us to take the part which Japan played. It is not easy to measure the greatness of the results that might have accrued to Germany from such a policy.
There would have been no world war. The blood which would have been shed in 1904 would not have been a tenth of that shed from 1914 to 1918. And what a position Germany would hold in the world to-day?
In any case the alliance with Austria was then an absurdity.
For this mummy of a State did not attach itself to Germany for the purpose of carrying through a war, but rather to maintain a perpetual state of peace which was meant to be exploited for the purpose of slowly but persistently exterminating the German element in the Dual Monarchy.
Another reason for the impossible character of this alliance was that nobody could expect such a State to take an active part in defending German national interests, seeing that it did not have sufficient strength and determination to put an end to the policy of de-Germanization within its own frontiers. If Germany herself was not moved by a sufficiently powerful national sentiment and was not sufficiently ruthless to take away from that absurd Habsburg State the right to decide the destinies of ten million inhabitants who were of the same nationality as the Germans themselves, surely it was out of the question to expect the Habsburg State to be a collaborating party in any great and courageous German undertaking. The attitude of the old Reich towards the Austrian question might have been taken as a test of its stamina for the struggle where the destinies of the whole nation were at stake.
In any case, the policy of oppression against the German population in Austria should not have been allowed to be carried on and to grow stronger from year to year; for the value of Austria as an ally could be assured only by upholding the German element there. But that course was not followed.
Nothing was dreaded so much as the possibility of an armed conflict; but finally, and at a most unfavourable moment, the conflict had to be faced and accepted. They thought to cut loose from the cords of destiny, but destiny held them fast.
They dreamt of maintaining a world peace and woke up to find themselves in a world war.
And that dream of peace was a most significant reason why the above-mentioned third alternative for the future development of Germany was not even taken into consideration. The fact was recognized that new territory could be gained only in the East; but this meant that there would be fighting ahead, whereas they wanted peace at any cost. The slogan of German foreign policy at one time used to be: The use of all possible means for the maintenance of the German nation. Now it was changed to: Maintenance of world peace by all possible means. We know what the result was. I shall resume the discussion of this point in detail later on.
There remained still another alternative, which we may call the fourth. This was: Industry and world trade, naval power and colonies.
Such a development might certainly have been attained more easily and more rapidly. To colonize a territory is a slow process, often extending over centuries. Yet this fact is the source of its inner strength, for it is not through a sudden burst of enthusiasm that it can be put into effect, but rather through a gradual and enduring process of growth quite different from industrial progress, which can be urged on by advertisement within a few years. The result thus achieved, however, is not of lasting quality but something frail, like a soap-bubble. It is much easier to build quickly than to carry through the tough task of settling a territory with farmers and establishing farmsteads. But the former is more quickly destroyed than the latter.
In adopting such a course Germany must have known that to follow it out would necessarily mean war sooner or later. Only children could believe that sweet and unctuous expressions of goodness and persistent avowals of peaceful intentions could get them their bananas through this ‘friendly competition between the nations’, with the prospect of never having to fight for them.
No. Once we had taken this road, England was bound to be our enemy at some time or other to come. Of course it fitted in nicely with our innocent assumptions, but still it was absurd to grow indignant at the fact that a day came when the English took the liberty of opposing our peaceful penetration with the brutality of violent egoists.
Naturally, we on our side would never have done such a thing.
If a European territorial policy against Russia could have been put into practice only in case we had England as our ally, on the other hand a colonial and world-trade policy could have been carried into effect only against English interests and with the support of Russia. But then this policy should have been adopted in full consciousness of all the consequences it involved and, above all things, Austria should have been discarded as quickly as possible.
At the turn of the century the alliance with Austria had become a veritable absurdity from all points of view.
But nobody thought of forming an alliance with Russia against England, just as nobody thought of making England an ally against Russia; for in either case the final result would inevitably have meant war. And to avoid war was the very reason why a commercial and industrial policy was decided upon. It was believed that the peaceful conquest of the world by commercial means provided a method which would permanently supplant the policy of force. Occasionally, however, there were doubts about the efficiency of this principle, especially when some quite incomprehensible warnings came from England now and again. That was the reason why the fleet was built. It was not for the purpose of attacking or annihilating England but merely to defend the concept of world-peace, mentioned above, and also to protect the principle of conquering the world by ‘peaceful’ means. Therefore this fleet was kept within modest limits, not only as regards the number and tonnage of the vessels but also in regard to their armament, the idea being to furnish new proofs of peaceful intentions.
The chatter about the peaceful conquest of the world by commercial means was probably the most completely nonsensical stuff ever raised to the dignity of a guiding principle in the policy of a State, This nonsense became even more foolish when England was pointed out as a typical example to prove how the thing could be put into practice. Our doctrinal way of regarding history and our professorial ideas in that domain have done irreparable harm and offer a striking ‘proof’ of how people ‘learn’ history without understanding anything of it. As a matter of fact, England ought to have been looked upon as a convincing argument against the theory of the pacific conquest of the world by commercial means. No nation prepared the way for its commercial conquests more brutally than England did by means of the sword, and no other nation has defended such conquests more ruthlessly. Is it not a characteristic quality of British statecraft that it knows how to use political power in order to gain economic advantages and, inversely, to turn economic conquests into political power? What an astounding error it was to believe that England would not have the courage to give its own blood for the purposes of its own economic expansion! The fact that England did not possess a national army proved nothing; for it is not the actual military structure of the moment that matters but rather the will and determination to use whatever military strength is available. England has always had the armament which she needed. She always fought with those weapons which were necessary for success. She sent mercenary troops, to fight as long as mercenaries sufficed; but she never hesitated to draw heavily and deeply from the best blood of the whole nation when victory could be obtained only by such a sacrifice. And in every case the fighting spirit, dogged determination, and use of brutal means in conducting military operations have always remained the same.
But in Germany, through the medium of the schools, the Press and the comic papers, an idea of the Englishman was gradually formed which was bound eventually to lead to the worst kind of self-deception. This absurdity slowly but persistently spread into every quarter of German life. The result was an undervaluation for which we have had to pay a heavy penalty. The delusion was so profound that the Englishman was looked upon as a shrewd business man, but personally a coward even to an incredible degree. Unfortunately our lofty teachers of professorial history did not bring home to the minds of their pupils the truth that it is not possible to build up such a mighty organization as the British Empire by mere swindle and fraud. The few who called attention to that truth were either ignored or silenced. I can vividly recall to mind the astonished looks of my comrades when they found themselves personally face to face for the first time with the Tommies in Flanders. After a few days of fighting the consciousness slowly dawned on our soldiers that those Scotsmen were not like the ones we had seen described and caricatured in the comic papers and mentioned in the communiqués.
It was then that I formed my first ideas of the efficiency of various forms of propaganda.
Such a falsification, however, served the purpose of those who had fabricated it. This caricature of the Englishman, though false, could be used to prove the possibility of conquering the world peacefully by commercial means. Where the Englishman succeeded we should also succeed. Our far greater honesty and our freedom from that specifically English ‘perfidy’ would be assets on our side. Thereby it was hoped that the sympathy of the smaller nations and the confidence of the greater nations could be gained more easily.
We did not realize that our honesty was an object of profound aversion for other people because we ourselves believed in it. The rest of the world looked on our behaviour as the manifestation of a shrewd deceitfulness; but when the revolution came, then they were amazed at the deeper insight it gave them into our mentality, sincere even beyond the limits of stupidity.
Once we understand the part played by that absurd notion of conquering the world by peaceful commercial means we can clearly understand how that other absurdity, the Triple Alliance, came to exist. With what State then could an alliance have been made? In alliance with Austria we could not acquire new territory by military means, even in Europe. And this very fact was the real reason for the inner weakness of the Triple Alliance. A Bismarck could permit himself such a makeshift for the necessities of the moment, but certainly not any of his bungling successors, and least of all when the foundations no longer existed on which Bismarck had formed the Triple Alliance. In Bismarck’s time Austria could still be looked upon as a German State; but the gradual introduction of universal suffrage turned the country into a parliamentary Babel, in which the German voice was scarcely audible.
From the viewpoint of racial policy, this alliance with Austria was simply disastrous. A new Slavic Great Power was allowed to grow up close to the frontiers of the German Empire. Later on this Power was bound to adopt towards Germany an attitude different from that of Russia, for example. The Alliance was thus bound to become more empty and more feeble, because the only supporters of it were losing their influence and were being systematically pushed out of the more important public offices.
About the year 1900 the Alliance with Austria had already entered the same phase as the Alliance between Austria and Italy.
Here also only one alternative was possible: Either to take the side of the Habsburg Monarchy or to raise a protest against the oppression of the German element in Austria. But, generally speaking, when one takes such a course it is bound eventually to lead to open conflict.
From the psychological point of view also, the Triple decreases according as such an alliance limits its object to the defence of the status quo. But, on the other hand, an alliance will increase its cohesive strength the more the parties concerned in it may hope to use it as a means of reaching some practical goal of expansion. Here, as everywhere else, strength does not lie in defence but in attack.
This truth was recognized in various quarters but, unfortunately, not by the so-called elected representatives of the people. As early as 1912 Ludendorff, who was then Colonel and an Officer of the General Staff, pointed out these weak features of the Alliance in a memorandum which he then drew up. But of course the ‘statesmen’ did not attach any importance or value to that document. In general it would seem as if reason were a faculty that is active only in the case of ordinary mortals but that it is entirely absent when we come to deal with that branch of the species known as ‘diplomats’.
It was lucky for Germany that the war of 1914 broke out with Austria as its direct cause, for thus the Habsburgs were compelled to participate. Had the origin of the War been otherwise, Germany would have been left to her own resources. The Habsburg State would never have been ready or willing to take part in a war for the origin of which Germany was responsible. What was the object of so much obloquy later in the case of Italy’s decision would have taken place, only earlier, in the case of Austria. In other words, if Germany had been forced to go to war for some reason of its own, Austria would have remained ‘neutral’ in order to safeguard the State against a revolution which might begin immediately after the war had started. The Slav element would have preferred to smash up the Dual Monarchy in 1914 rather than permit it to come to the assistance of Germany. But at that time there were only a few who understood all the dangers and aggravations which resulted from the alliance with the Danubian Monarchy.
In the first place, Austria had too many enemies who were eagerly looking forward to obtain the heritage of that decrepit State, so that these people gradually developed a certain animosity against Germany, because Germany was an obstacle to their desires inasmuch as it kept the Dual Monarchy from falling to pieces, a consummation that was hoped for and yearned for on all sides. The conviction developed that Vienna could be reached only by passing through Berlin.
In the second place, by adopting this policy Germany lost its best and most promising chances of other alliances. In place of these possibilities one now observed a growing tension in the relations with Russia and even with Italy. And this in spite of the fact that the general attitude in Rome was just as favourable to Germany as it was hostile to Austria, a hostility which lay dormant in the individual Italian and broke out violently on occasion.
Since a commercial and industrial policy had been adopted, no motive was left for waging war against Russia. Only the enemies of the two countries, Germany and Russia, could have an active interest in such a war under these circumstances. As a matter of fact, it was only the Jews and the Marxists who tried to stir up bad blood between the two States.
In the third place, the Alliance constituted a permanent danger to German security; for any great Power that was hostile to Bismarck’s Empire could mobilize a whole lot of other States in a war against Germany by promising them tempting spoils at the expense of the Austrian ally.
It was possible to arouse the whole of Eastern Europe against Austria, especially Russia, and Italy also. The world coalition which had developed under the leadership of King Edward could never have become a reality if Germany’s ally, Austria, had not offered such an alluring prospect of booty. It was this fact alone which made it possible to combine so many heterogeneous States with divergent interests into one common phalanx of attack. Every member could hope to enrich himself at the expense of Austria if he joined in the general attack against Germany. The fact that Turkey was also a tacit party to the unfortunate alliance with Austria augmented Germany’s peril to an extraordinary degree.
Jewish international finance needed this bait of the Austrian heritage in order to carry out its plans of ruining Germany; for Germany had not yet surrendered to the general control which the international captains of finance and trade exercised over the other States. Thus it was possible to consolidate that coalition and make it strong enough and brave enough, through the sheer weight of numbers, to join in bodily conflict with the ‘horned’ Siegfried.9)
The alliance with the Habsburg Monarchy, which I loathed while still in Austria, was the subject of grave concern on my part and caused me to meditate on it so persistently that finally I came to the conclusions which I have mentioned above.
In the small circles which I frequented at that time I did not conceal my conviction that this sinister agreement with a State doomed to collapse would also bring catastrophe to Germany if she did not free herself from it in time. I never for a moment wavered in that firm conviction, even when the tempest of the World War seemed to have made shipwreck of the reasoning faculty itself and had put blind enthusiasm in its place, even among those circles where the coolest and hardest objective thinking ought to have held sway. In the trenches I voiced and upheld my own opinion whenever these problems came under discussion. I held that to abandon the Habsburg Monarchy would involve no sacrifice if Germany could thereby reduce the number of her own enemies; for the millions of Germans who had donned the steel helmet had done so not to fight for the maintenance of a corrupt dynasty but rather for the salvation of the German people.
Before the War there were occasions on which it seemed that at least one section of the German public had some slight misgivings about the political wisdom of the alliance with Austria. From time to time German conservative circles issued warnings against being over-confident about the worth of that alliance; but, like every other reasonable suggestion made at that time, it was thrown to the winds. The general conviction was that the right measures had been adopted to ‘conquer’ the world, that the success of these measures would be enormous and the sacrifices negligible.
Once again the ‘uninitiated’ layman could do nothing but observe how the ‘elect’ were marching straight ahead towards disaster and enticing their beloved people to follow them, as the rats followed the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
If we would look for the deeper grounds which made it possible to foist on the people this absurd notion of peacefully conquering the world through commercial penetration, and how it was possible to put forward the maintenance of world-peace as a national aim, we shall find that these grounds lay in a general morbid condition that had pervaded the whole body of German political thought.
The triumphant progress of technical science in Germany and the marvellous development of German industries and commerce led us to forget that a powerful State had been the necessary pre-requisite of that success. On the contrary, certain circles went even so far as to give vent to the theory that the State owed its very existence to these phenomena; that it was, above all, an economic institution and should be constituted in accordance with economic interests. Therefore, it was held, the State was dependent on the economic structure. This condition of things was looked upon and glorified as the soundest and most normal arrangement.
Now, the truth is that the State in itself has nothing whatsoever to do with any definite economic concept or a definite economic development. It does not arise from a compact made between contracting parties, within a certain delimited territory, for the purpose of serving economic ends. The State is a community of living beings who have kindred physical and spiritual natures, organized for the purpose of assuring the conservation of their own kind and to help towards fulfilling those ends which Providence has assigned to that particular race or racial branch. Therein, and therein alone, lie the purpose and meaning of a State. Economic activity is one of the many auxiliary means which are necessary for the attainment of those aims. But economic activity is never the origin or purpose of a State, except where a State has been originally founded on a false and unnatural basis. And this alone explains why a State as such does not necessarily need a certain delimited territory as a condition of its establishment. This condition becomes a necessary pre-requisite only among those people who would provide and assure subsistence for their kinsfolk through their own industry, which means that they are ready to carry on the struggle for existence by means of their own work. People who can sneak their way, like parasites, into the human body politic and make others work for them under various pretences can form a State without possessing any definite delimited territory. This is chiefly applicable to that parasitic nation which, particularly at the present time preys upon the honest portion of mankind; I mean the Jews.
The Jewish State has never been delimited in space. It has been spread all over the world, without any frontiers whatsoever, and has always been constituted from the membership of one race exclusively. That is why the Jews have always formed a State within the State. One of the most ingenious tricks ever devised has been that of sailing the Jewish ship-of-state under the flag of Religion and thus securing that tolerance which Aryans are always ready to grant to different religious faiths. But the Mosaic Law is really nothing else than the doctrine of the preservation of the Jewish race. Therefore this Law takes in all spheres of sociological, political and economic science which have a bearing on the main end in view.
The instinct for the preservation of one’s own species is the primary cause that leads to the formation of human communities. Hence the State is a racial organism, and not an economic organization. The difference between the two is so great as to be incomprehensible to our contemporary so-called ‘statesmen’. That is why they like to believe that the State may be constituted as an economic structure, whereas the truth is that it has always resulted from the exercise of those qualities which are part of the will to preserve the species and the race. But these qualities always exist and operate through the heroic virtues and have nothing to do with commercial egoism; for the conservation of the species always presupposes that the individual is ready to sacrifice himself. Such is the meaning of the poet’s lines:
Und setzet ihr nicht das Leben ein,
Nie wird euch das Leben gewonnen sein.
(And if you do not stake your life,
You will never win life for yourself.) 10)
The sacrifice of the individual existence is necessary in order to assure the conservation of the race. Hence it is that the most essential condition for the establishment and maintenance of a State is a certain feeling of solidarity, wounded in an identity of character and race and in a resolute readiness to defend these at all costs. With people who live on their own territory this will result in a development of the heroic virtues; with a parasitic people it will develop the arts of subterfuge and gross perfidy unless we admit that these characteristics are innate and that the varying political forms through which the parasitic race expresses itself are only the outward manifestations of innate characteristics. At least in the beginning, the formation of a State can result only from a manifestation of the heroic qualities I have spoken of. And the people who fail in the struggle for existence, that is to say those, who become vassals and are thereby condemned to disappear entirely sooner or later, are those who do not display the heroic virtues in the struggle, or those who fall victims to the perfidy of the parasites. And even in this latter case the failure is not so much due to lack of intellectual powers, but rather to a lack of courage and determination. An attempt is made to conceal the real nature of this failing by saying that it is the humane feeling.
The qualities which are employed for the foundation and preservation of a State have accordingly little or nothing to do with the economic situation. And this is conspicuously demonstrated by the fact that the inner strength of a State only very rarely coincides with what is called its economic expansion. On the contrary, there are numerous examples to show that a period of economic prosperity indicates the approaching decline of a State. If it were correct to attribute the foundation of human communities to economic forces, then the power of the State as such would be at its highest pitch during periods of economic prosperity, and not vice versa.
It is specially difficult to understand how the belief that the State is brought into being and preserved by economic forces could gain currency in a country which has given proof of the opposite in every phase of its history. The history of Prussia shows in a manner particularly clear and distinct, that it is out of the moral virtues of the people and not from their economic circumstances that a State is formed. It is only under the protection of those virtues that economic activities can be developed and the latter will continue to flourish until a time comes when the creative political capacity declines. Therewith the economic structure will also break down, a phenomenon which is now happening in an alarming manner before our eyes. The material interest of mankind can prosper only in the shade of the heroic virtues. The moment they become the primary considerations of life they wreck the basis of their own existence.
Whenever the political power of Germany was specially strong the economic situation also improved. But whenever economic interests alone occupied the foremost place in the life of the people, and thrust transcendent ideals into the back.-ground, the State collapsed and economic ruin followed readily.
If we consider the question of what those forces actually are which are necessary to the creation and preservation of a State, we shall find that they are: The capacity and readiness to sacrifice the individual to the common welfare. That these qualities have nothing at all to do with economics can be proved by referring to the simple fact that man does not sacrifice himself for material interests. In other words, he will die for an ideal but not for a business. The marvellous gift for public psychology which the English have was never shown better than the way in which they presented their case in the World War. We were fighting for our bread; but the English declared that they were fighting for ‘freedom’, and not at all for their own freedom. Oh, no, but for the freedom of the small nations. German people laughed at that effrontery and were angered by it; but in doing so they showed how political thought had declined among our so-called diplomats in Germany even before the War. These diplomatists did not have the slightest notion of what that force was which brought men to face death of their own free will and determination.
As long as the German people, in the War of 1914, continued to believe that they were fighting for ideals they stood firm. As soon as they were told that they were fighting only for their daily bread they began to give up the struggle.
Our clever ‘statesmen’ were greatly amazed at this change of feeling. They never understood that as soon as man is called upon to struggle for purely material causes he will avoid death as best he can; for death and the enjoyment of the material fruits of a victory are quite incompatible concepts. The frailest woman will become a heroine when the life of her own child is at stake. And only the will to save the race and native land or the State, which offers protection to the race, has in all ages been the urge which has forced men to face the weapons of their enemies.
The following may be proclaimed as a truth that always holds good:
A State has never arisen from commercial causes for the purpose of peacefully serving commercial ends; but States have always arisen from the instinct to maintain the racial group, whether this instinct manifest itself in the heroic sphere or in the sphere of cunning and chicanery. In the first case we have the Aryan States, based on the principles of work and cultural development. In the second case we have the Jewish parasitic colonies. But as soon as economic interests begin to predominate over the racial and cultural instincts in a people or a State, these economic interests unloose the causes that lead to subjugation and oppression.
The belief, which prevailed in Germany before the War, that the world could be opened up and even conquered for Germany through a system of peaceful commercial penetration and a colonial policy was a typical symptom which indicated the decline of those real qualities whereby States are created and preserved, and indicated also the decline of that insight, will-power and practical determination which belong to those qualities. The World War with its consequences, was the natural liquidation of that decline.
To anyone who had not thought over the matter deeply, this attitude of the German people – which was quite general – must have seemed an insoluble enigma. After all, Germany herself was a magnificent example of an empire that had been built up purely by a policy of power. Prussia, which was the generative cell of the German Empire, had been created by brilliant heroic deeds and not by a financial or commercial compact. And the Empire itself was but the magnificent recompense for a leadership that had been conducted on a policy of power and military valour.
How then did it happen that the political instincts of this very same German people became so degenerate? For it was not merely one isolated phenomenon which pointed to this decadence, but morbid symptoms which appeared in alarming numbers, now all over the body politic, or eating into the body of the nation like a gangrenous ulcer. It seemed as if some all-pervading poisonous fluid had been injected by some mysterious hand into the bloodstream of this once heroic body, bringing about a creeping paralysis that affected the reason and the elementary instinct of self-preservation.
During the years 1912–1914 I used to ponder perpetually on those problems which related to the policy of the Triple Alliance and the economic policy then being pursued by the German Empire. Once again I came to the conclusion that the only explanation of this enigma lay in the operation of that force which I had already become acquainted with in Vienna, though from a different angle of vision. The force to which I refer was the Marxist teaching and Weltanschhauung and its organized action throughout the nation.
For the second time in my life I plunged deep into the study of that destructive teaching. This time, however, I was not urged by the study of the question by the impressions and influences of my daily environment, but directed rather by the observation of general phenomena in the political life of Germany. In delving again into the theoretical literature of this new world and endeavouring to get a clear view of the possible consequences of its teaching, I compared the theoretical principles of Marxism with the phenomena and happenings brought about by its activities in the political, cultural, and economic spheres.
For the first time in my life I now turned my attention to the efforts that were being made to subdue this universal pest.
I studied Bismarck’s exceptional legislation in its original concept, its operation and its results. Gradually I formed a basis for my own opinions, which has proved as solid as a rock, so that never since have I had to change my attitude towards the general problem. I also made a further and more thorough analysis of the relations between Marxism and Jewry.
During my sojourn in Vienna I used to look upon Germany as an imperturbable colossus; but even then serious doubts and misgivings would often disturb me. In my own mind and in my conversation with my small circle of acquaintances I used to criticize Germany’s foreign policy and the incredibly superficial way, according to my thinking, in which Marxism was dealt with, though it was then the most important problem in Germany. I could not understand how they could stumble blindfolded into the midst of this peril, the effects of which would be momentous if the openly declared aims of Marxism could be put into practice. Even as early as that time I warned people around me, just as I am warning a wider audience now, against that soothing slogan of all indolent and feckless nature: Nothing can happen to us. A similar mental contagion had already destroyed a mighty empire. Can Germany escape the operation of those laws to which all other human communities are subject?
In the years 1913 and 1914 I expressed my opinion for the first time in various circles, some of which are now members of the National Socialist Movement, that the problem of how the future of the German nation can be secured is the problem of how Marxism can be exterminated.
I considered the disastrous policy of the Triple Alliance as one of the consequences resulting from the disintegrating effects of the Marxist teaching; for the alarming feature was that this teaching was invisibly corrupting the foundations of a healthy political and economic outlook. Those who had been themselves contaminated frequently did not realise that their aims and actions sprang from this Weltanschhauung, which they otherwise openly repudiated.
Long before then the spiritual and moral decline of
the German people had set in, though those who were affected by the morbid
decadence were frequently unaware – as often happens – of the forces which
were breaking up their very existence. Sometimes they tried to cure the
disease by doctoring the symptoms, which were taken as the cause. But since
nobody recognized, or wanted to recognize, the real cause of the disease
this way of combating Marxism was no more effective than the application
of some quack’s ointment.