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Part I: The Collapse of German Liberalism - Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War 
Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, edited with a Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Indiana, 2011).
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The Collapse of German Liberalism
The Ancien Régime and Liberalism
It is a fundamental mistake to believe that Nazism is a revival or a continuation of the policies and mentalities of the ancien régime or a display of the “Prussian spirit.” Nothing in Nazism takes up the thread of the ideas and institutions of older German history. Neither Nazism nor Pan-Germanism, from which Nazism stems and whose consequent evolution it represents, is derived from the Prussianism of Frederick William I or Frederick II, called the Great. Pan-Germanism and Nazism never intended to restore the policy of the electors of Brandenburg and of the first four kings of Prussia. They have sometimes depicted as the goal of their endeavors the return of the lost paradise of old Prussia; but this was mere propaganda talk for the consumption of a public which worshiped the heroes of days gone by. Nazism’s program does not aim at the restoration of something past but at the establishment of something new and unheard of.
The old Prussian state of the house of Hohenzollern was completely destroyed by the French on the battlefields of Jena and Auerstädt (1806). The Prussian Army surrendered at Prenzlau and Ratkau, the garrisons of the more important fortresses and citadels capitulated without firing a shot. The King took refuge with the Czar, whose mediation alone brought about the preservation of his realm. But the old Prussian state was internally broken down long before this military defeat; it had long been decomposed and rotten, when Napoleon gave it the finishing stroke. For the ideology on which it was based had lost all its power; it had been disintegrated by the assault of the new ideas of liberalism.
Like all the other princes and dukes who have established their sovereign rule on the debris of the Holy Roman Empire of the Teutonic Nation, the Hohenzollerns too regarded their territory as a family estate, whose boundaries they tried to expand through violence, ruse, and family compacts. The people living within their possessions were subjects who had to obey orders. They were appurtenances of the soil, the property of the ruler who had the right to deal with them ad libitum. Their happiness and welfare were of no concern.
Of course, the king took an interest in the material well-being of his subjects. But this interest was not founded on the belief that it is the purpose of civil government to make the people prosperous. Such ideas were deemed absurd in eighteenth-century Germany. The king was eager to increase the wealth of the peasantry and the townsfolk because their income was the source from which his revenue was derived. He was not interested in the subject but in the taxpayer. He wanted to derive from his administration of the country the means to increase his power and splendor. The German princes envied the riches of Western Europe, which provided the kings of France and of Great Britain with funds for the maintenance of mighty armies and navies. They encouraged commerce, trade, mining, and agriculture in order to raise the public revenue. The subjects, however, were simply pawns in the game of the rulers.
But the attitude of these subjects changed considerably at the end of the eighteenth century. From Western Europe new ideas began to penetrate into Germany. The people, accustomed to obey blindly the God-given authority of the princes, heard for the first time the words liberty, self-determination, rights of man, parliament, constitution. The Germans learned to grasp the meaning of dangerous watchwords.
No German has contributed anything to the elaboration of the great system of liberal thought, which has transformed the structure of society and replaced the rule of kings and royal mistresses by the government of the people. The philosophers, economists, and sociologists who developed it thought and wrote English or French. In the eighteenth century the Germans did not even succeed in achieving readable translations of these English, Scotch, and French authors. What German idealistic philosophy produced in this field is poor indeed when compared with contemporary English and French thought. But German intellectuals welcomed Western ideas of freedom and the rights of man with enthusiasm. German classical literature is imbued with them, and the great German composers set to music verses singing the praises of liberty. The poems, plays, and other writings of Frederick Schiller are from beginning to end a hymn to liberty. Every word written by Schiller was a blow to the old political system of Germany; his works were fervently greeted by nearly all Germans who read books or frequented the theater. These intellectuals, of course, were a minority only. To the masses books and theaters were unknown. They were the poor serfs in the eastern provinces, they were the inhabitants of the Catholic countries, who only slowly succeeded in freeing themselves from the tight grasp of the Counter-Reformation. Even in the more advanced western parts and in the cities there were still many illiterates and semiliterates. These masses were not concerned with any political issue; they obeyed blindly, because they lived in fear of punishment in hell, with which the church threatened them, and in a still greater fear of the police. They were outside the pale of German civilization and German cultural life; they knew only their regional dialects, and could hardly converse with a man who spoke only the German literary language or another dialect. But the number of these backward people was steadily decreasing. Economic prosperity and education spread from year to year. More and more people reached a standard of living which allowed them to care for other things besides food and shelter, and to employ their leisure in something more than drinking. Whoever rose from misery and joined the community of civilized men became a liberal. Except for the small group of princes and their aristocratic retainers practically everyone interested in political issues was liberal. There were in Germany in those days only liberal men and indifferent men; but the ranks of the indifferent continually shrank, while the ranks of the liberals swelled.
All intellectuals sympathized with the French Revolution. They scorned the terrorism of the Jacobins but unswervingly approved the great reform. They saw in Napoleon the man who would safeguard and complete these reforms and—like Beethoven—took a dislike to him as soon as he betrayed freedom and made himself emperor.
Never before had any spiritual movement taken hold of the whole German people, and never before had they been united in their feelings and ideas. In fact the people, who spoke German and were the subjects of the Empire’s princes, prelates, counts, and urban patricians, became a nation, the German nation, by their reception of the new ideas coming from the West. Only then there came into being what had never existed before: a German public opinion, a German public, a German literature, a German Fatherland. The Germans now began to understand the meaning of the ancient authors which they had read in school. They now conceived the history of their nation as something more than the struggle of princes for land and revenues. The subjects of many hundreds of petty lords became Germans through the acceptance of Western ideas.
This new spirit shook the foundations on which the princes had built their thrones—the traditional loyalty and subservience of the subjects who were prepared to acquiesce in the despotic rule of a group of privileged families. The Germans dreamed now of a German state with parliamentary government and the rights of man. They did not care for the existing German states. Those Germans who styled themselves “patriots,” the new-fangled term imported from France, despised these seats of despotic misrule and abuse. They hated the tyrants. And they hated Prussia most because it appeared to be the most powerful and therefore most dangerous menace to German freedom.
The Prussian myth, which the Prussian historians of the nineteenth century fashioned with a bold disregard of facts, would have us believe that Frederick II was viewed by his contemporaries as they themselves represent him—as the champion of Germany’s greatness, protagonist in Germany’s rise to unity and power, the nation’s hero. Nothing could be further from the truth. The military campaigns of the warrior king were to his contemporaries struggles to increase the possessions of the house of Brandenburg, which concerned the dynasty only. They admired his strategical talents but they detested the brutalities of the Prussian system. Whoever praised Frederick within the borders of his realm did so from necessity, to evade the indignation of a prince who wreaked stern vengeance upon every foe. When people outside of Prussia praised him, they were disguising criticism of their own rulers. The subjects of petty princes found this irony the least dangerous way to disparage their pocket-size Neros and Borgias. They glorified his military achievements but called themselves happy because they were not at the mercy of his whims and cruelties. They approved of Frederick only in so far as he fought their domestic tyrants.
At the end of the eighteenth century German public opinion was as unanimously opposed to the ancien régime as in France on the eve of the Revolution. The German people witnessed with indifference the French annexation of the left bank of the Rhine, the defeats of Austria and of Prussia, the breaking up of the Holy Empire, and the establishment of the Rhine Confederacy. They hailed the reforms forced upon the governments of all their states by the ascendancy of the French ideas. They admired Napoleon as a great general and ruler just as they had previously admired Frederick of Prussia. The Germans began to hate the French only when—like the French subjects of the Emperor—they finally became tired of the endless burdensome wars. When the Great Army had been wrecked in Russia, the people took an interest in the campaigns which finished Napoleon, but only because they hoped that his downfall would result in the establishment of parliamentary government. Later events dispelled this illusion, and there slowly grew the revolutionary spirit which led to the upheaval of 1848.
It has been asserted that the roots of present-day nationalism and Nazism are to be found in the writings of the Romantics, in the plays of Heinrich von Kleist, and in the political songs which accompanied the final struggle against Napoleon. This, too, is an error. The sophisticated works of the Romantics, the perverted feelings of Kleist’s plays, and the patriotic poetry of the wars of liberation did not appreciably move the public; and the philosophical and sociological essays of those authors who recommended a return to medieval institutions were considered abstruse. People were not interested in the Middle Ages but in the parliamentary activities of the West. They read the books of Goethe and Schiller, not of the Romantics; went to the plays of Schiller, not of Kleist. Schiller became the preferred poet of the nation; in his enthusiastic devotion to liberty the Germans found their political ideal. The celebration of Schiller’s hundredth anniversary (in 1859) was the most impressive political demonstration that ever took place in Germany. The German nation was united in its adherence to the ideas of Schiller, to the liberal ideas.
All endeavors to make the German people desert the cause of freedom failed. The teachings of its adversaries had no effect. In vain Metternich’s police fought the rising tide of liberalism.
Only in the later decades of the nineteenth century was the hold of liberal ideas shaken. This was effected by the doctrines of etatism. Etatism—we will have to deal with it later—is a system of sociopolitical ideas which has no counterpart in older history and is not linked up with older ways of thinking, although—with regard to the technical character of the policies which it recommends—it may with some justification be called neo-Mercantilism.
The Weakness of German Liberalism
At about the middle of the nineteenth century those Germans interested in political issues were united in their adherence to liberalism. Yet the German nation did not succeed in shaking off the yoke of absolutism and in establishing democracy and parliamentary government. What was the reason for this?
Let us first compare German conditions with those of Italy, which was in a similar situation. Italy, too, was liberal minded, but the Italian liberals were impotent. The Austrian Army was strong enough to defeat every revolutionary upheaval. A foreign army kept Italian liberalism in check; other foreign armies freed Italy from this control. At Solferino, at Königgrätz, and at the banks of the Marne the French, the Prussians, and the English fought the battles which rendered Italy independent of the Habsburgs.
Just as Italian liberalism was no match for the Austrian Army, so German liberalism was unable to cope with the armies of Austria and Prussia. The Austrian Army consisted mainly of non-German soldiers. The Prussian Army, of course, had mostly German-speaking men in its ranks; the Poles, the other Slavs, and the Lithuanians were a minority only. But a great number of these men speaking one of the German dialects were recruited from those strata of society which were not yet awakened to political interests. They came from the eastern provinces, from the eastern banks of the Elbe River. They were mostly illiterate, and unfamiliar with the mentality of the intellectuals and of the towns-folk. They had never heard anything about the new ideas; they had grown up in the habit of obeying the Junker, who exercised executive and judicial power in their village, to whom they owed imposts and corvée (unpaid statute labor), and whom the law considered as their legitimate overlord. These virtual serfs were not capable of disobeying an order to fire upon the people. The Supreme War Lord of the Prussian Army could trust them. These men, and the Poles, formed the detachments which defeated the Prussian Revolution in 1848.
Such were the conditions which prevented the German liberals from suiting their actions to their word. They were forced to wait until the progress of prosperity and education could bring these backward people into the ranks of liberalism. Then, they were convinced, the victory of liberalism was bound to come. Time worked for it. But, alas, events belied these expectations. It was the fate of Germany that before this triumph of liberalism could be achieved liberalism and liberal ideas were overthrown—not only in Germany but everywhere—by other ideas, which again penetrated into Germany from the West. German liberalism had not yet fulfilled its task when it was defeated by etatism, nationalism, and socialism.
The Prussian Army
The Prussian Army which fought in the battles of Leipzig and Waterloo was very different from the army which Frederick William I had organized and which Frederick II had commanded in three great wars. That old army of Prussia had been smashed and destroyed in the campaign of 1806 and never revived.
The Prussian Army of the eighteenth century was composed of men pressed into service, brutally drilled by flogging, and held together by a barbaric discipline. They were mainly foreigners. The kings preferred foreigners to their own subjects. They believed that their subjects could be more useful to the country when working and paying taxes than when serving in the armed forces. In 1742 Frederick II set as his goal that the infantry should consist of two thirds foreigners and one third natives. Deserters from foreign armies, prisoners of war, criminals, vagabonds, tramps, and people whom the crimps had entrapped by fraud and violence were the bulk of the regiments. These soldiers were prepared to profit by every opportunity for escape. Prevention of desertion was therefore the main concern of the conduct of military affairs. Frederick II begins his main treatise of strategy, his General Principles of Warfare, with the exposition of fourteen rules on how to hinder desertion. Tactical and even strategical considerations had to be subordinated to the prevention of desertion. The troops could only be employed when tightly assembled together. Patrols could not be sent out. Strategical pursuit of a defeated enemy force was impossible. Marching or attacking at night and camping near forests were strictly avoided. The soldiers were ordered to watch each other constantly, both in war and in peace. Civilians were obliged by the threat of the heaviest penalties to bar the way to deserters, to catch them, and deliver them to the army.
The commissioned officers of this army were as a rule noblemen. Among them, too, were many foreigners; but the greater number belonged to the Prussian Junker class.1 Frederick II repeats again and again in his writings that commoners are not fit for commissions because their minds are directed toward profit, not honor. Although a military career was very profitable, as the commander of a company drew a comparatively high income, a great part of the landed aristocracy objected to the military profession for their sons. The kings used to send out policemen to kidnap the sons of noble landowners and put them into their military schools. The education provided by these schools was hardly more than that of an elementary school. Men with higher education were very rare in the ranks of Prussian commissioned officers.*
Such an army could fight and—under an able commander—conquer only as long as it encountered armies of a similar structure. It scattered like chaff when it had to fight the forces of Napoleon.
The armies of the French Revolution and of the first Empire were recruited from the people. They were armies of free men, not of crimped scum. Their commanders did not fear desertion. They could therefore abandon the traditional tactics of moving forward in deployed lines and of firing volleys without taking aim. They could adopt a new method of combat, that is, fighting in columns and skirmishing. The new structure of the army brought first a new tactic and then a new strategy. Against these the old Prussian Army proved impotent.
The French pattern served as a model for the organization of the Prussian Army in the years 1808–13. It was built upon the principle of compulsory service of all men physically fit. The new army stood the test in the wars of 1813–15. Consequently its organization was not changed for about half a century. How this army would have fought in another war against a foreign aggressor will never be known; it was spared this trial. But one thing is beyond doubt, and was attested by events in the Revolution of 1848: only a part of it could be relied on in a fight against the people, the “domestic foe” of the government, and an unpopular war of aggression could not be waged with these soldiers.
In suppressing the Revolution of 1848 only the regiments of the Royal Guards, whose men were selected for their allegiance to the King, the cavalry, and the regiments recruited from the eastern provinces could be considered absolutely reliable. The army corps recruited from the west, the militia (Landwehr), and the reservists of many eastern regiments were more or less infected by liberal ideas.
The men of the guards and of the cavalry had to give three years of active service, as against two years for the other parts of the forces. Hence the generals concluded that two years was too short a time to transform a civilian into a soldier unconditionally loyal to the King. What was needed in order to safeguard the political system of Prussia with its royal absolutism exercised by the Junkers was an army of men ready to fight—without asking questions—against everybody whom their commanders ordered them to attack. This army—His Majesty’s army, not an army of the Parliament or of the people—would have the task of defeating any revolutionary movement within Prussia or within the smaller states of the German Confederation, and of repelling possible invasions from the West which could force the German princes to grant constitutions and other concessions to their subjects. In Europe of the 1850’s, where the French Emperor and the British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, openly professed their sympathies with the popular movements menacing the vested interests of kings and aristocrats, the army of the house of Hohenzollern was the rocher de bronze amid the rising tide of liberalism. To make this army reliable and invincible meant not only preserving the Hohenzollerns and their aristocratic retainers; it meant much more: the salvation of civilization from the threat of revolution and anarchy. Such was the philosophy of Frederick Julius Stahl and of the Right-wing Hegelians, such were the ideas of the Prussian historians of the Kleindeutsche school of history, such was the mentality of the military party at the court of King Frederick William IV. This King, of course, was a sickly neurotic, whom every day brought nearer to complete mental disability. But the generals, led by General von Roon and backed by Prince William, the King’s brother and heir apparent to the throne, were clearheaded and steadily pursued their aim.
The partial success of the revolution had resulted in the establishment of a Prussian Parliament. But its prerogatives were so restricted that the Supreme War Lord was not prevented from adopting those measures which he deemed indispensable for rendering the army a more reliable instrument in the hands of its commanders.
The experts were fully convinced that two years of active service was sufficient for the military training of the infantry. Not for reasons of a technical military character but for purely political considerations the King prolonged active service for the infantry regiments of the line from two years to two and a half in 1852 and to three in 1856. Through this measure the chances of success against a repetition of the revolutionary movement were greatly improved. The military party was now confident that for the immediate future they were strong enough, with the Royal Guards and with the men doing active service in the regiments of the line, to conquer poorly armed rebels. Relying on this, they decided to go further and thoroughly reform the organization of the armed forces.
The goal of this reform was to make the army both stronger and more loyal to the King. The number of infantry battalions would be almost doubled, the artillery increased 25 per cent, and many new regiments of cavalry formed. The number of yearly recruits would be raised from under 40,000 to 63,000, and the ranks of commissioned officers increased correspondingly. On the other hand the militia would be transformed into a reserve of the active army. The older men were discharged from service in the militia as not fully reliable. The higher ranks of the militia would be entrusted to commissioned officers of the professional corps.*
Conscious of the strength which the prolongation of active service had already given them, and confident that they would for the time being suppress a revolutionary attempt, the court carried out this reform without consulting Parliament. The King’s lunacy had in the meanwhile become so manifest that Prince William had to be installed as prince regent; the royal power was now in the hands of a tractable adherent of the aristocratic clique and of the military hotspurs. In 1859, during the war between Austria and France, the Prussian Army had been mobilized as a measure of precaution and to safeguard neutrality. The demobilization was effected in such a manner that the main objectives of the reform were attained. In the spring of 1860 all the newly planned regiments had already been established. Only then the cabinet brought the reform bill to Parliament and asked it to vote the expenditure involved.†
The struggle against this army bill was the last political act of German liberalism.
The Constitutional Conflict in Prussia
The Progressives, as the liberals in the Prussian lower chamber (chamber of deputies) called their party, bitterly opposed the reform. The chamber voted repeatedly against the bill and against the budget. The King—Frederick William IV had now died and William I had succeeded him—dissolved Parliament, but the electors returned a majority of Progressives. The King and his ministers could not break the opposition of the legislative body. But they clung to their plan and carried on without constitutional approval and parliamentary assent. They led the new army into two campaigns, and defeated Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866. Only then, after the annexation of the kingdom of Hanover, the possessions of the Elector of Hessen, the duchies of Nassau, Schleswig, and Holstein, and the Free City of Frankfurt, after the establishment of Prussian hegemony over all states of Northern Germany and the conclusion of military conventions with the states of Southern Germany by which these too surrendered to the Hohenzollern, did the Prussian Parliament give in. The Progressive party split, and some of its former members supported the government. Thus the King got a majority. The chamber voted indemnification for the unconstitutional conduct of affairs by the government and belatedly sanctioned all measures and expenditures which they had opposed for six years. The great Constitutional Conflict resulted in full success for the King and in a complete defeat for liberalism.
When a delegation of the chamber of deputies brought the King the Parliament’s accommodating answer to his royal speech at the opening of the new session, he haughtily declared that it was his duty to act as he had in the last years and that he would act the same way in the future too should similar conditions occur again. But in the course of the conflict he had more than once despaired. In 1862 he had lost all hope of defeating the resistance of the people and was ready to abdicate. General von Roon urged him to make a last attempt by appointing Bismarck prime minister. Bismarck rushed from Paris, where he represented Prussia at the court of Napoleon III. He found the King “worn out, depressed, and discouraged.” When Bismarck tried to explain his own view of the political situation, William interrupted him, saying: “I see exactly how all this will turn out. Right here, in this Opera square on which these windows look, they will behead first you and a little later me too.” It was hard work for Bismarck to infuse courage into the trembling Hohenzollern. But finally, Bismarck reports, “My words appealed to his military honor and he saw himself in the position of an officer who has the duty of defending his post unto death.”*
Still more frightened than the King were the Queen, the royal princes, and many generals. In England Queen Victoria spent sleepless nights thinking of the position of her eldest daughter married to the Prussian Crown Prince. The royal palace of Berlin was haunted by the ghosts of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
All these fears, however, were unfounded. The Progressives did not venture a new revolution, and they would have been defeated if they had.
These much-abused German liberals of the 1860’s, these men of studious habits, these readers of philosophical treatises, these lovers of music and poetry, understood very well why the upheaval of 1848 had failed. They knew that they could not establish popular government within a nation where many millions were still caught in the bonds of superstition, boorishness, and illiteracy. The political problem was essentially a problem of education. The final success of liberalism and democracy was beyond doubt. The trend toward parliamentary rule was irresistible. But the victory of liberalism could be achieved only when those strata of the population from which the King drew his reliable soldiers should have become enlightened and thereby transformed into supporters of liberal ideas. Then the King would be forced to surrender, and the Parliament would obtain supremacy without bloodshed.
The liberals were resolved to spare the German people, whenever possible, the horrors of revolution and civil war. They were confident that in a not-too-distant future they themselves would get full control of Prussia. They had only to wait.
The “Little German” Program
The Prussian Progressives did not fight in the Constitutional Conflict for the destruction or weakening of the Prussian Army. They realized that under the circumstances Germany was in need of a strong army for the defense of its independence. They wanted to wrest the army from the King and to transform it into an instrument for the protection of German liberty. The issue of the conflict was whether the King or Parliament should control the army.
The aim of German liberalism was the replacement of the scandalous administration of the thirty-odd German states by a unitary liberal government. Most of the liberals believed that this future German state must not include Austria. Austria was very different from the other German-speaking countries; it had problems of its own which were foreign to the rest of the nation. The liberals could not help seeing Austria as the most dangerous obstacle to German freedom. The Austrian court was dominated by the Jesuits, its government had concluded a concordat with Pius IX, the pope who ardently combated all modern ideas. But the Austrian Emperor was not prepared to renounce voluntarily the position which his house had occupied for more than four hundred years in Germany. The liberals wanted the Prussian Army strong because they were afraid of Austrian hegemony, a new Counter-Reformation, and the reëstablishment of the reactionary system of the late Prince Metternich. They aimed at a unitary government for all Germans outside of Austria (and Switzerland). They therefore called themselves Little Germans (Kleindeutsche) as contrasted to the Great Germans (Grossdeutsche) who wanted to include those parts of Austria which had previously belonged to the Holy Empire.
But there were, besides, other considerations of foreign policy to recommend an increase in the Prussian Army. France was in those years ruled by an adventurer who was convinced that he could preserve his emperorship only by fresh military victories. In the first decade of his reign he had already waged two bloody wars. Now it seemed to be Germany’s turn. There was little doubt that Napoleon III toyed with the idea of annexing the left bank of the Rhine. Who else could protect Germany but the Prussian Army?
Then there was one problem more, Schleswig-Holstein. The citizens of Holstein, of Lauenburg, and of southern Schleswig bitterly opposed the rule of Denmark. The German liberals cared little for the sophisticated arguments of lawyers and diplomats concerning the claims of various pretenders to the succession in the Elbe duchies. They did not believe in the doctrine that the question of who should rule a country must be decided according to the provisions of feudal law and of century-old family compacts. They supported the Western principle of self-determination. The people of these duchies were reluctant to acquiesce in the sovereignty of a man whose only title was that he had married a princess with a disputed claim to the succession in Schleswig and no right at all to the succession in Holstein; they aimed at autonomy within the German Confederation. This fact alone seemed important in the eyes of the liberals. Why should these Germans be denied what the British, the French, the Belgians, and the Italians had got? But as the King of Denmark was not ready to renounce his claims, this question could not be solved without a recourse to arms.
It would be a mistake to judge all these problems from the point of view of later events. Bismarck freed Schleswig-Holstein from the yoke of its Danish oppressors only in order to annex it to Prussia; and he annexed not only southern Schleswig but northern Schleswig as well, whose population desired to remain in the Danish kingdom. Napoleon III did not attack Germany; it was Bismarck who kindled the war against France. Nobody foresaw this outcome in the early ’sixties. At that time everybody in Europe, and in America too, deemed the Emperor of France the foremost peacebreaker and aggressor. The sympathies which the German longing for unity encountered abroad were to a great extent due to the conviction that a united Germany would counterbalance France and thus make Europe safe for peace.
The Little Germans were also misled by their religious prejudices. Like most of the liberals they thought of Protestantism as the first step on the way from medieval darkness to enlightenment. They feared Austria because it was Catholic; they preferred Prussia because the majority of its population was Protestant. In spite of all experience they hoped that Prussia was more open to liberal ideas than Austria. Political conditions in Austria, to be sure, were in those critical years unsatisfactory. But later events have proved that Protestantism is no more a safeguard of freedom than Catholicism. The ideal of liberalism is the complete separation of church and state, and tolerance—without any regard to differences among the churches.
But this error also was not limited to Germany. The French liberals were so deluded that they at first hailed the Prussian victory at Königgrätz (Sadova). Only on second thought did they realize that Austria’s defeat spelled the doom of France too, and they raised—too late—the battle cry Revanche pour Sadova.
Königgrätz was at any rate a crushing defeat for German liberalism. The liberals were aware of the fact that they had lost a campaign. They were nevertheless full of hope. They were firmly resolved to proceed with their fight in the new Parliament of Northern Germany. This fight, they felt, must end with the victory of liberalism and the defeat of absolutism. The moment when the King would no longer be able to use “his” army against the people seemed to come closer every day.
The Lassalle Episode
It would be possible to deal with the Prussian Constitutional Conflict without even mentioning the name of Ferdinand Lassalle.2 Lassalle’s intervention did not influence the course of events. But it foreboded something new; it was the dawn of the forces which were destined to mold the fate of Germany and of Western civilization.
While the Prussian Progressives were involved in their struggle for freedom, Lassalle attacked them bitterly and passionately. He tried to incite the workers to withdraw their sympathies from the Progressives. He proclaimed the gospel of class war. The Progressives, as representatives of the bourgeoisie, he held, were the mortal foes of labor. You should not fight the state but the exploiting classes. The state is your friend; of course, not the state governed by Herr von Bismarck but the state controlled by me, Lassalle.
Lassalle was not on the pay roll of Bismarck, as some people suspected. Nobody could bribe Lassalle. Only after his death did some of his former friends take government money. But as both Bismarck and Lassalle assailed the Progressives, they became virtual allies. Lassalle very soon approached Bismarck. The two used to meet clandestinely. Only many years later was the secret of these relations revealed. It is vain to discuss whether an open and lasting coöperation between these two ambitious men would have resulted if Lassalle had not died very shortly after these meetings from a wound received in a duel (August 31, 1864). They both aimed at supreme power in Germany. Neither Bismarck nor Lassalle was ready to renounce his claim to the first place.
Bismarck and his military and aristocratic friends hated the liberals so thoroughly that they would have been ready to help the socialists get control of the country if they themselves had proved too weak to preserve their own rule. But they were—for the time being—strong enough to keep a tight rein on the Progressives. They did not need Las-salle’s support.
It is not true that Lassalle gave Bismarck the idea that revolutionary socialism was a powerful ally in the fight against liberalism. Bismarck had long believed that the lower classes were better royalists than the middle classes.* Besides, as Prussian minister in Paris he had had opportunity to observe the working of Caesarism. Perhaps his predilection toward universal and equal suffrage was strengthened by his conversations with Lassalle. But for the moment he had no use for Lassalle’s coöperation. The latter’s party was still too small to be considered important. At the death of Lassalle the Allgemeine Deutsche Arbeiterverein had not much more than 4,000 members.†
Lassalle’s agitation did not hinder the activities of the Progressives. It was a nuisance to them, not an obstacle. Neither had they anything to learn from his doctrines. That Prussia’s Parliament was only a sham and that the army was the main stronghold of Prussia’s absolutism was not new to them. It was exactly because they knew it that they fought in the great conflict.
Lassalle’s brief demagogical career is noteworthy because for the first time in Germany the ideas of socialism and etatism appeared on the political scene as opposed to liberalism and freedom. Lassalle was not himself a Nazi; but he was the most eminent forerunner of Nazism, and the first German who aimed at the Führer position. He rejected all the values of the Enlightenment and of liberal philosophy, but not as the romantic eulogists of the Middle Ages and of royal legitimism did. He negated them; but he promised at the same time to realize them in a fuller and broader sense. Liberalism, he asserted, aims at spurious freedom, but I will bring you true freedom. And true freedom means the omnipotence of government. It is not the police who are the foes of liberty but the bourgeoisie.
And it was Lassalle who spoke the words which characterize best the spirit of the age to come: “The state is God.”‡
The Triumph of Militarism
The Prussian Army in the New German Empire
In the late afternoon of September 1, 1870, King William I, surrounded by a pompous staff of princes and generals, was looking down from a hill south of the Meuse at the battle in progress, when an officer brought the news that the capitulation of Napoleon III and his whole army was imminent. Then Moltke turned to Count Falkenberg, who like himself was a member of the Parliament of Northern Germany, and remarked: “Well, dear colleague, what happened today settles our military problem for a long time.” And Bismarck shook hands with the highest of the German princes, the heir to the throne of Württemberg, and said: “This day safeguards and strengthens the German princes and the principles of conservatism.”* In the hour of overwhelming victory these were the first reactions of Prussia’s two foremost statesmen. They triumphed because they had defeated liberalism. They did not care a whit for the catchwords of the official propaganda: conquest of the hereditary foe, safeguarding the nation’s frontiers, historical mission of the house of Hohenzollern and of Prussia, unification of Germany, Germany foremost in the world. The princes had overthrown their own people; this alone seemed important to them.
In the new German Reich the Emperor—not in his position as Emperor but in his position as King of Prussia—had full control of the Prussian Army. Special agreements which Prussia—not the Reich—had concluded with 23 of the other 24 member states of the Reich incorporated the armed forces of these states into the Prussian Army. Only the royal Bavarian Army retained some limited peacetime independence, but in the event of war it too was subject to full control by the Emperor. The provisions concerning recruiting and the length of active military service had to be fixed by the Reichstag; parliamentary consent was required, moreover, for the budgetary allowance for the army. But the Parliament had no influence over the management of military affairs. The army was the army of the King of Prussia, not of the people or the Parliament. The Emperor and King was Supreme War Lord and commander in chief. The chief of the Great General Staff was the Kaiser’s first assistant in the conduct of operations. The army was an institution not within but above the apparatus of civil administration. Every military commander had the right and the duty to interfere whenever he felt that the working of the nonmilitary administration was unsatisfactory. He had to account for his interference to the Emperor only. Once, in 1913, a case of such military interference, which had occurred in Zabern, led to a violent debate in Parliament; but Parliament had no jurisdiction over the matter, and the army triumphed.
The reliability of this army was unquestionable. No one could doubt that all parts of the forces could be used to quell rebellions and revolutions. The mere suggestion that a detachment could refuse to obey an order, or that men of the reserve when called to active duty might stay out, would have been considered an absurdity. The German nation had changed in a very remarkable way. We shall consider later the essence and cause of this great transformation. The main political problem of the ’fifties and early ’sixties, the problem of the reliability of the soldiers, had vanished. All German soldiers were now unconditionally loyal to the Supreme War Lord. The army was an instrument which the Kaiser could trust. Tactful persons were judicious enough not to point out explicitly that this army was ready to be used against a potential domestic foe. But to William II such inhibitions were strange. He openly told his recruits that it was their duty to fire upon their fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters if he ordered them to do so. Such speeches were criticized in the liberal press; but the liberals were powerless. The allegiance of the soldiers was absolute; it no longer depended on the length of active service. The army itself proposed in 1892 that the infantry return to two years of active duty only. In the discussion of this bill in Parliament and in the press there was no longer any question of the political reliability of the soldiers. Everybody knew that the army was now, without any regard to the length of active service, “nonpolitical and nonpartisan,” i.e., a docile and manageable tool in the hands of the Emperor.
The government and the Reichstag quarreled continuously about military affairs. But considerations of the usefulness of the forces for the preservation of the hardly disguised imperial despotism did not play any role at all. The army was so strong and reliable that a revolutionary attempt could be crushed within a few hours. Nobody in the Reich wanted to start a revolution; the spirit of resistance and rebellion had faded. The Reichstag would have been prepared to consent to any expenditure for the army proposed by the government if the problem of raising the necessary funds had not been difficult to solve. In the end the army and navy always got the money that the General Staff asked for. To the increase of the armed forces financial considerations were a smaller obstacle than the shortage of the supply of men whom the generals considered eligible for commissions on active duty. With the expansion of the armed forces it had long become impossible to give commissions to noblemen only. The number of nonaristocratic officers steadily grew. But the generals were not ready to admit into the ranks of commissioned officers on active duty any but those commoners of “good and wealthy families.” Applicants of this type were available only in limited numbers. Most of the sons of the upper middle class preferred other careers. They were not eager to become professional officers and to be treated with disdain by their aristocratic colleagues.
Both the Reichstag and the liberal press time and again criticized the government’s military policy also from the technical point of view. The General Staff were strongly opposed to such civilian interference. They denied to everybody but the army any comprehension of military problems. Even Hans Delbrück, the eminent historian of warfare and author of excellent strategical dissertations, was for them only a layman. Officers in retirement, who contributed to the opposition press, were called biased partisans. Public opinion at last acknowledged the General Staff’s claim to infallibility, and all critics were silenced. Events of World War I proved, of course, that these critics had a better grasp of military methods than the specialists of the General Staff.
The political system of the new German Empire has been called militarism. The characteristic feature of militarism is not the fact that a nation has a powerful army or navy. It is the paramount role assigned to the army within the political structure. Even in peacetime the army is supreme; it is the predominant factor in political life. The subjects must obey the government as soldiers must obey their superiors. Within a militarist community there is no freedom; there are only obedience and discipline.*
The size of the armed forces is not in itself the determining factor. Some Latin-American countries are militarist although their armies are small, poorly equipped, and unable to defend the country against a foreign invasion. On the other hand, France and Great Britain were at the end of the nineteenth century non-militarist, although their military and naval armaments were very strong.
Militarism should not be confused with despotism enforced by a foreign army. Austria’s rule in Italy, backed by Austrian regiments composed of non-Italians, and the Czar’s rule in Poland, safeguarded by Russian soldiers, were such systems of despotism. It has already been mentioned that in the ’fifties and early ’sixties of the past century conditions in Prussia were analogous. But it was different with the German Empire founded on the battlefields of Königgrätz and of Sedan. This Empire did not employ foreign soldiers. It was not preserved by bayonets but by the almost unanimous consent of its subjects. The nation approved of the system, and therefore the soldiers were loyal too. The people acquiesced in the leadership of the “state” because they deemed such a system fair, expedient, and useful for them. There were, of course, some objectors, but they were few and powerless.†
The deficiency in this system was its monarchical leadership. The successors of Frederick II were not fit for the task assigned to them. William I had found in Bismarck an ingenious chancellor. Bismarck was a high-spirited and well-educated man, a brilliant speaker, and an excellent stylist. He was a skillful diplomat and in every respect surpassed most of the German nobility. But his vision was limited. He was familiar with country life, with the primitive agricultural methods of Prussian Junkers, with the patriarchal conditions of the eastern provinces of Prussia, and the life at the courts of Berlin and St. Petersburg. In Paris he met the society of Napoleon’s court; he had no idea of French intellectual trends. He knew little about German trade and industry and the mentality of businessmen and professional people. He kept out of the way of scientists, scholars, and artists. His political credo was the old-fashioned loyalty of a king’s vassal. In September, 1849, he told his wife: “Don’t disparage the King; we are both guilty of this fault. Even if he errs and blunders, we should not speak of him otherwise than as of our parents, since we have sworn fidelity and allegiance to him and his house.” Such an opinion is appropriate for a royal chamberlain but it does not suit the omnipotent Prime Minister of a great empire. Bismarck foresaw the evils with which the personality of William II threatened the nation; he was in a good position to become acquainted with the character of the young prince. But, entangled in his notions of loyalty and allegiance, he was unable to do anything to prevent disaster.
People are now unfair to William II. He was not equal to his task. But he was not worse than the average of his contemporaries. It was not his fault that the monarchical principle of succession made him Emperor and King and that as German Emperor and King of Prussia he had to be an autocrat. It was not the man that failed but the system. If William II had been King of Great Britain, it would not have been possible for him to commit the serious blunders that he could not avoid as King of Prussia. It was due to the frailty of the system that the toadies whom he appointed generals and ministers were incompetent. You may say it was bad luck. For Bismarck and the elder Moltke too were courtiers. Though the victorious field marshal had served with the army as a young officer, a good deal of his career was spent in attendance at court; he was among other things for many years the attendant of a royal prince who lived in sickness and seclusion in Rome and died there. William II had many human weaknesses; but it was precisely the qualities that discredited him with prudent people which rendered him popular with the majority of his nation. His crude ignorance of political issues made him congenial to his subjects, who were as ignorant as he was, and shared his prejudices and illusions.
Within a modern state hereditary monarchy can work satisfactorily only where there is parliamentary democracy. Absolutism—and, still more, disguised absolutism with a phantom constitution and a powerless parliament—requires qualities in the ruler that no mortal man can ever meet. William II failed like Nicholas II and, even earlier, the Bourbons. Absolutism was not abolished; it simply collapsed.
The breakdown of autocracy was due not only to the fact that the monarchs lacked intellectual ability. Autocratic government of a modern great nation burdens the ruler with a quantity of work beyond the capacity of any man. In the eighteenth century Frederick William I and Frederick II could still perform all the administrative business with a few hours of daily work. They had enough leisure left for their hobbies and for pleasure. Their successors were not only less gifted, they were less diligent too. From the days of Frederick William II it was no longer the king who ruled but his favorites. The king was surrounded by a host of intriguing gentlemen and ladies. Whoever succeeded best in these rivalries and plots got control of the government until another sycophant supplanted him.
The camarilla was supreme in the army too. Frederick William I had himself organized the forces. His son had commanded them personally in great campaigns. Herein too their successors proved inadequate. They were poor organizers and incompetent generals. The chief of the Great General Staff, who nominally was merely the King’s assistant, became virtually commander in chief. The change remained for a long time unnoticed. As late as the War of 1866 many high-ranking generals were still not aware of the fact that the orders they had to obey did not emanate from the King but from General von Moltke.
Frederick II owed his military successes to a great extent to the fact that the Austrian, French, and Russian armies that he fought were not commanded by their sovereigns but by generals. Frederick concentrated in his hands the whole military, political, and economic strength of his—of course, comparatively small—realm. He alone gave orders. The commanders of the armies of his adversaries had only limited powers. Their position was rendered difficult by the fact that their duties kept them at a distance from the courts of their sovereigns. While they stayed with their armies in the field their rivals continued to intrigue at the court. Frederick could venture daring operations of which the outcome was uncertain. He did not have to account for his actions to anybody but himself. The enemy generals were always in fear of their monarch’s disfavor. They aimed at sharing the responsibility with others in order to exculpate themselves in case of failure. They would call their subordinate generals for a council of war, and look for justification to its resolutions. When they got definite orders from the sovereign, which were suggested to him either by a council of war deliberating far away from the field of operations, or by one or several of the host of lazy intrigants, they felt comfortable. They executed the order even when they were convinced that it was inexpedient. Frederick was fully aware of the advantage that the concentration of undivided responsibility in one commander offered. He never called a council of war. He again and again forbade his generals—even under penalty of death—to call one. In a council of war, he said, the more timid party always predominates. A council of war is full of anxiety, because it is too matter of fact.* This doctrine became, like all opinions of King Frederick, a dogma for the Prussian Army. It roused the elder Moltke’s anger when somebody said that King William had called a council of war in his campaigns. The King, he declared, would listen to the proposals of his chief of staff and then decide; it had always happened that way.
In practice this principle resulted in the absolute command of the chief of the Great General Staff, whom, of course, the King appointed. Not William I but Helmuth von Moltke led the armies in the campaigns of 1866 and 1870–71. William II used to declare that in case of war he would personally command his armies, and that he needed a chief of staff only in peacetime. But when the first World War broke out this boasting was forgotten. Helmuth von Moltke’s nephew, a courtier without any military knowledge or ability, timid and irresolute, sick and nervous, an adept of the doubtful theosophy of Rudolph Steiner, led the German Army into the debacle at the Marne; then he collapsed. The Minister of War, Erich von Falkenhayn, filled the gap spontaneously; and the Kaiser in apathy gave his consent. Very soon Ludendorff began to plot against Falkenhayn. Cleverly organized machinations forced the Emperor in 1916 to replace Falkenhayn by Hindenburg. But the real commander in chief was now Ludendorff, who nominally was only Hindenburg’s first assistant.
The German nation, biased by the doctrines of militarism, did not realize that it was the system that had failed. They used to say: We lacked “only” the right man. If Schlieffen had not died too soon! A legend was composed about the personality of this late chief of staff. His sound plan had been ineptly put into execution by his incompetent successor. If only the two army corps which Moltke had uselessly dispatched to the Russian border had been available at the Marne! Naturally, the Reichstag too was considered guilty. There was no mention of the fact that the Parliament had never earnestly resisted the government’s proposals concerning allocations for the army. Lieutenant Colonel Hentsch in particular was made the scapegoat. This officer, it was asserted, had transgressed his powers, perhaps he was a traitor. But if Hentsch was really responsible for the order to retreat, then he would have to be deemed the man who saved the German Army from annihilation through encirclement of its right wing. The fable that but for the interference of Hentsch the Germans would have been victorious at the Marne can easily be disposed of.
There is no doubt that the commanders of the German Army and Navy were not equal to their task. But the shortcomings of the generals and admirals—and likewise those of the ministers and diplomats—must be charged to the system. A system that puts incapable men at the top is a bad system. There is no telling whether Schlieffen would have been more successful; he never had the opportunity to command troops in action; he died before the war. But one thing is sure: the “parliamentary armies” of France and Great Britain got at that time commanders who led them to victory. The army of the King of Prussia was not so fortunate.
In accordance with the doctrines of militarism the chief of the Great General Staff considered himself the first servant of the Emperor and King and demanded the chancellor’s subordination. These claims had already led to conflicts between Bismarck and Moltke. Bismarck asked that the supreme commander should adjust his conduct to considerations of foreign policy; Moltke bluntly rejected such pretensions. The conflict remained unresolved. In the first World War the supreme commander became omnipotent. The chancellor was in effect degraded to a lower rank. The Kaiser had retained ceremonial and social functions only; Hindenburg, his chief of staff, was a man of straw. Ludendorff, the first quartermaster general, became virtually omnipotent dictator. He might have remained in this position all his life if Foch had not defeated him.
This evolution demonstrates clearly the impracticability of hereditary absolutism. Monarchical absolutism results in the rule of a major-domo, of a shogun, or of a duce.
The Liberals and Militarism
The lower chamber of the Prussian Parliament, the Abgeordnetenhaus, was based on universal franchise. The citizens of every constituency were divided into three classes, each of which chose the same number of electors for the final poll by which the parliamentary representative of the constituency was elected. The first class was formed of those adult male residents who paid the highest taxes and together contributed one third of the total amount of taxes collected in the district; the second class of those who together contributed the second third, and the third class of those who together contributed the third third. Thus the wealthier citizens had a better franchise than the poorer ones of their constituency. The middle classes predominated in the ballot. For the Reichstag of the North German Federation, and later for that of the Reich, no such discrimination was applied. Every adult male cast his vote directly on the ballot which returned the representative of the constituency; franchise was not only universal but equal and direct. Thus the poorer strata of the nation got more political influence.
It was the aim of both Bismarck and Lassalle to weaken by this electoral system the power of the liberal party. The liberals were fully aware that the new method of voting would for some time sap their parliamentary strength. But they were not concerned about that. They realized that the victory of liberalism could be achieved only by an effort of the whole nation. What was important was not to have a majority of liberals within the chamber but to have a liberal majority among the people and thereby in the army. In the Prussian Abgeordnetenhaus the Progressives outnumbered the friends of the government. Nevertheless liberalism was powerless, since the King could still trust in the allegiance of the greater part of the army. What was needed was to bring into the ranks of liberalism those backward ignorant masses whose political indifference was the safeguard of absolutism. Only then would the day of popular government and democracy dawn.
The liberals therefore did not fear that the new electoral system would postpone or seriously imperil their inexorable final victory. The outlook for the immediate future was not very comforting but the ultimate prospects were excellent. One had only to look at France. In that country too an autocrat had founded his despotism upon the loyalty of the army and upon universal and equal franchise. But now the Caesar was crushed and democracy had triumphed.
The liberals did not greatly fear socialism. The socialists had achieved some success. But it could be expected that reasonable workers would soon discover the impracticability of socialist utopias. Why should the wage earners whose standard of living was daily improving be deluded by demagogues who—as rumors whispered—were on the pay roll of Bismarck?
Only later did the liberals become aware of the change taking place in the nation’s mentality. For many years they believed that it was only a temporary setback, a short reactionary incident which was doomed to disappear very soon. For them every supporter of the new ideologies was either misguided or a renegade. But the numbers of these apostates increased. The youth no longer joined the liberal party. The old fighters for liberalism grew tired. With every new election campaign their ranks became thinner; with every year the reactionary system which they hated became more powerful. Some faithful men still clung to the ideas of liberty and democracy, gallantly fighting against the united assaults on liberalism from the Right and from the Left. But they were a forlorn squad. Among those born after the battle of Königgrätz almost nobody joined the party of liberalism. The liberals died out. The new generation did not even know the meaning of the word.
The Current Explanation of the Success of Militarism
All over the world the overwhelming victory of German militarism is interpreted in accordance with the legends developed by the propaganda of the German Social Democrats. The socialists assert that the German bourgeoisie seceded from the principles of freedom and thus betrayed the “people.” Based on Marxian historical materialism absurd theories concerning the essence and the development of imperialism were invented. Capitalism, they say, must result in militarism, imperialism, bloody wars, Fascism, and Nazism. Finance and big business have brought civilization to the verge of destruction; Marxism has the task of saving humanity.
Such interpretations fail to solve the problem. Indeed, they try purposely to put it out of sight. In the early 1860’s there were in Germany among the politically minded a few supporters of dynastic absolutism, of militarism and of authoritarian government, who strongly opposed the transition to liberalism, democracy, and popular government. This minority consisted mainly of the princes and their courtiers, the nobility, the commissioned officers of higher ranks, and some civil servants. But the great majority of the bourgeoisie, of the intellectuals, and of the politically minded members of the poorer strata of the population were decidedly liberal and aimed at parliamentary government according to the British pattern. The liberals believed that political education would progress quickly; they were convinced that every citizen who gave up political indifference and became familiar with political issues would support their stand on constitutional questions. They were fully aware that some of these newly politicized men would not join their ranks. It was to be expected that Catholics, Poles, Danes, and Alsatians would form their own parties. But these parties would not support the King’s pretensions. Catholics and non-Germans were bound to favor parliamentarism in a pre-dominantly Protestant and German Reich.
The politicization of the whole country went on faster than the liberals had foreseen. At the end of the ’seventies the whole people was inspired by political interests, even passions, and ardently took part in political activities. But the consequences differed radically from those expected by the liberals. The Reichstag did not earnestly challenge the hardly disguised absolutism; it did not raise the constitutional issue; it indulged only in idle talk. And, much more important: the soldiers who now were recruited from a completely politicized nation became so unconditionally reliable that every doubt concerning their readiness to fight for absolutism against a domestic foe was considered an absurdity.
The questions to be answered are not: Why did the bankers and the rich entrepreneurs and capitalists desert liberalism? Why did the professors, the doctors, and the lawyers not erect barricades? We must rather ask: Why did the German nation return to the Reichstag members who did not abolish absolutism? Why was the army, formed for a great part of men who voted the socialist or the Catholic ticket, unconditionally loyal to its commanders? Why could the antiliberal parties, foremost among them the Social Democrats, collect many millions of votes while the groups which remained faithful to the principles of liberalism lost more and more popular support? Why did the millions of socialist voters who indulged in revolutionary babble acquiesce in the rule of princes and courts?
To say that big business had some reasons to support the Hohenzollern absolutism or that the Hanseatic merchants and shipowners sympathized with the increase of the navy is no satisfactory answer to these questions. The great majority of the German nation consisted of wage earners and salaried people, of artisans and shopkeepers, and of small farmers. These men determined the outcome of elections; their representatives sat in Parliament, and they filled the ranks of the army. Attempts to explain the change in the German people’s mentality by demonstrating that the class interests of the wealthy bourgeoisie caused them to become reactionary are nonsensical, whether they are as childish as the “steel plate”* legend or as sophisticated as the Marxian theories concerning imperialism.
[1. ][The Junkers were members of the landed aristocracy of Prussia.—Ed.]
[* ]Delbrück, Geschichte der Kriegskunst (Berlin, 1920), part IV, pp. 273 ff., 348 ff.
[* ]Ziekursch, Politische Geschichte des neuen deutschen Kaiserreichs (Frankfurt, 1925–30), I, pp. 29 ff.
[† ]Sybel, Die Begründung des deutschen Reiches unter Wilhelm I (2d ed. Munich, 1889), II, p. 375; Ziekursch, op. cit., I, p. 42.
[* ]Bismarck, Gedanken und Erinnerungen (new ed. Stuttgart, 1922), I, pp. 325 ff.
[2. ][Ferdinand Lassalle (1825–1864). German socialist.—Ed.]
[* ]Ziekursch, op. cit., I, pp. 107 ff.
[† ]Oncken, Lassalle (Stuttgart, 1904), p. 393.
[‡ ]Gustav Mayer, “Lassalleana,” Archiv für Geschichte des Sozialismus, I, p. 196.
[* ]Ziekursch, Politische Geschichte des neuen deutschen Kaiserreichs, I, p. 298.
[* ]Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology (New York, 1897), III, p. 588.
[† ]Whoever wants to acquaint himself with the political mentality of the subjects of William II may read the novels of Baron Ompteda, Rudolf Herzog, Walter Bloem, and similar authors. These were the stuff the people liked to read. Some of them sold many hundred thousand copies.
[* ]Delbrück, Geschichte der Kriegskunst, part IV, pp. 434 ff.
[* ]The “Panzerplatten doctrine” maintained that German militarism and the trend to increase Germany’s armed forces were due to machinations of the heavy industries eager to enlarge their profits. Cf. pp. 150–151.