Front Page Titles (by Subject) 4.: The Alternative - Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War
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4.: The Alternative - 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 reality of Nazism faces everybody else with an alternative: They must smash Nazism or renounce their self-determination, i.e., their freedom and their very existence as human beings. If they yield, they will be slaves in a Nazi-dominated world. Their civilizations will perish; they will no longer have the freedom to choose, to act, and to live as they wish; they will simply have to obey. The Führer, the vicar of the “German God,” will become their Supreme Lord. If they do not acquiesce in such a state of affairs, they must fight desperately until the Nazi power is completely broken. There is no escape from this alternative; no third solution is available. A negotiated peace, the outcome of a stalemate, would not mean more than a temporary armistice. The Nazis will not abandon their plans for world hegemony. They will renew their assault. Nothing can stop these wars but the decisive victory or the final defeat of Nazism.
It is a fatal mistake to look at this war as if it were one of the many wars fought in the last centuries between the countries of Western civilization. This is total war. It is not merely the destiny of a dynasty or a province or a country that is at stake, but the destiny of all nations and civilizations. Europe has not had to encounter a similar danger since the Tartar invasions in the thirteenth century. The lot of the defeated would be worse than that of the Greeks and the Serbs under the Turkish yoke. The Turks did not attempt to wipe out the vanquished Greeks and Serbs, or to eradicate their language and their Christian creed. But the Nazis have other things in store for the conquered: extermination of those stubbornly resisting the master race, enslavement for those spontaneously yielding.
In such a war there cannot be any question of neutrality. The neutrals know very well what their fate will be if the Nazis conquer the United Nations. Their boasts that they are ready to fight for their independence if the Nazis attack them are vain. In the event of a defeat of the United Nations, military action on the part of Switzerland or Sweden would not be more than a symbolic gesture. Under present conditions neutrality is equal to a virtual support of Nazism.
The same holds true for German-speaking men and women whether they are citizens of the Reich or not. There are citizens of the Reich who want to save face by asserting that they are not Nazis but that they cannot help fighting in the ranks of their fellow citizens. It is a man’s duty, they say, to be unconditionally loyal to his own linguistic group whether its cause is right or wrong. It was this idea that turned some citizens of Austria, Switzerland, and various American countries either toward Nazism or toward what they believed to be an attitude of neutrality.
But this doctrine of the unlimited solidarity of all members of a linguistic group is one of the main vices of nationalism. Nobody would be prepared to maintain such a principle of solidarity with regard to other groups. If the majority of the inhabitants of a town or a province decided to fight against the rest of the country, few would admit that the minority had a moral obligation to stand with the majority and to support its action. The issue in the struggle between Nazism and the rest of mankind is whether the community of people speaking the same language is the only legitimate social collectivity, or whether the supremacy must be assigned to the great society embracing all human beings. It is the fight of humanity against the claims of the intransigent particularism of a group. On better grounds than those on which the Nazis deny to the Austrians and the Swiss the rights of moral and political autonomy and of unrestricted sovereignty, the members of the human society must deny these rights to the various linguistic groups. No human coöperation and no lasting peace are conceivable if men put loyalty to any particular group above loyalty to humanity, moral law, and the principle of every individual’s moral responsibility and autonomy. Renan was right in asserting that the problem is whether a man belongs to any particular group or to himself.*
The Nazis themselves realize clearly that under the conditions brought about by the international division of labor and the present state of industrialism, the isolation of nations or countries has become impossible. They do not want to withdraw from the world and to live on their own soil in splendid isolation. They do not want to destroy the great world-embracing society. They intend to organize it as an oligarchy. They alone are to rule in this oligarchy; the others are to obey and be their slaves. In such a struggle whoever does not take the part of those fighting against the Nazis furthers the cause of Nazism.
This is true today of many pacifists and conscientious objectors. We may admire their noble motives and their candid intentions. But there is no doubt that their attitudes result in complicity with Nazism. Non-resistance and passive obedience are precisely what the Nazis need for the realization of their plans. Kant was right in asserting that the proof of a principle’s moral value is whether or not it could be accepted (the pragmatists would say, whether or not it would “work”) as a universal rule of conduct. The general acceptance of the principle of nonresistance and of passive obedience by the non-Nazis would destroy our civilization and reduce all non-Germans to slavery.
There is but one means to save our civilization and to preserve the human dignity of man. It is to wipe out Nazism radically and pitilessly. Only after the total destruction of Nazism will the world be able to resume its endeavors to improve social organization and to build up the good society.
The alternatives are humanity or bestiality, peaceful human coöperation or totalitarian despotism. All plans for a third solution are illusory.
The Future of Western Civilization
The Delusions of World Planning
[* ]See above, p. 103.