Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1.: The Legend - Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War
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1.: The Legend - 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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Knowledge concerning Germany and the evolution and present-day actions of Nazism is obscured by the legends about the German Social Democrats.
The older legend, developed before 1914, runs like this: The German bourgeoisie have betrayed freedom to German militarism. They have taken refuge with the imperial government in order to preserve, through the protection of the Prussian Army, their position as an exploiting class, which was menaced by the fair claims of labor. But the cause of democracy and freedom, which the bourgeois have deserted, has found new advocates in the proletarians. The Social Democrats are gallantly fighting Prussian militarism. The Emperor and his aristocratic officers are eager to preserve feudalism. The bankers and industrialists, who profit from armaments, have hired corrupt writers in order to spread a nationalist ideology and to make the world believe that Germany is united in nationalism. But the proletarians cannot be deceived by the nationalist hirelings of big business. Thanks to the education that they got from the Social Democrats they see through this fraud. Millions vote the socialist ticket and return to Parliament members fearlessly opposing militarism. The Kaiser and his generals arm for war, but they fail to take account of the people’s strength and resolution. There are the 110 socialist members of Parliament.* Behind them are millions of workers organized in the trade-unions who vote for the Social Democrats, in addition to other voters, who—although not registered members of the party—also vote its ticket. They all combat nationalism. They stand with the (second) International Working Men’s Association, and are firmly resolved to oppose war at all costs. These truly democratic and pacifist men can be relied upon without hesitation. They, the workers, are the deciding factor, not the exploiters and parasites, the industrialists and Junkers.
The personalities of the Social Democratic leaders were well known all over the world. The public listened whenever they addressed the Reichstag or party congresses. Their books were translated into nearly every language and read everywhere. Led by such men, mankind seemed to be marching toward a better future.
Legends die hard. They blind the eyes and close the mind against criticism or experience. It was in vain that Robert Michels* and Charles Andler† tried to give a more realistic picture of the German Social Democrats. Not even the later events of the first World War shattered these illusions. To the old legend, instead, a new one was added.
This new legend goes: Before the outbreak of the first World War the party’s great old men, Bebel and Liebknecht, unfortunately died. Their successors, mainly intellectuals and other professional politicians of nonproletarian background, betrayed the party’s principles. They coöperated with the Kaiser’s policy of aggression. But the workers, who in their capacity as proletarians naturally and necessarily were socialist, democratic, revolutionary, and internationally minded, deserted these traitors and replaced them by new leaders, old Liebknecht’s son Karl and Rosa Luxemburg. The workers, not their old dishonest leaders, made the Revolution of 1918 and dethroned the Kaiser and other German princes. But the capitalists and the Junkers did not give up the game. The treacherous party leaders Noske, Ebert, and Scheidemann aided them. For fourteen long years the workers fought a life-and-death struggle for democracy and freedom. But, again and again betrayed by their own leaders, they were doomed to fail. The capitalists concocted a satanic scheme which finally brought them victory. Their armed gangs seized power, and now Adolf Hitler, the puppet of big business and finance, rules the country. But the masses despise this wretched hireling. They yield unwillingly to the terrorism which has overpowered them, and they gallantly prepare the new decisive rebellion. The day of victory for genuine proletarian communism, the day of liberation, is already dawning.
Every word of these legends distorts the truth.
[* ]Elected in 1912, the last election in the imperial Reich.
[* ]See the bibliography of Michels’s writings in Studi in Memoria di Roberto Michels, “Annali della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza delle R. Università di Perugia” (Padova, 1937), Vol. XLIX.
[† ]Andler, Le Socialisme impérialiste dans l’Allemagne contemporaine, Dossier d’une polémique avec Jean Jaurès (1912–13) (Paris, 1918).