Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Milieu

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Milieu

Postby admin » Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:31 am

Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Milieu
by Joseph Howard Tyson
© 2008 by Joseph Howard Tyson

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To my German grandsons, Jannis and Franz

Other books by J. H. Tyson:
Penn's Luminous City (2005)
Madame Blavatsky Revisited (2006)
The Surreal Reich (Forthcoming, 2009)

Table of Contents:

• Introduction
• Chapter 1: Man of Letters
• Chapter 2: Heinrich Heine: Dietrich Eckart's Youthful Idol
• Chapter 3: Back Into the Limelight
• Chapter 4: Flashback: A Short History
• Chapter 5: The Loose Cannon: Kaiser Wilhelm II
• Chapter 6: The War to End All Wars
• Chapter 7: The Thule Society: Precursor of Nazism
• Chapter 8: Crusading Muckraker
• Chapter 9: Karl Marx: The Cinder Klaus of Political Economy
• Chapter 10: The Fate of Tsar Nicholas II
• Chapter 11: The Russian Connection
• Chapter 12: The Anthroposophic Heresy
• Chapter 13: Hitler's Origins and Early Life
• Chapter 14: From The Waldviertel to Vienna
• Chapter 15: Political Awakening
• Chapter 16: Ariosophy
• Chapter 17: Soldier for the Reich
• Chapter 18: Personal Chemistry
• Chapter 19: Historic Collaboration
• Chapter 20: Dietrich Eckart's "Spiritual" Anti-Semitism
• Chapter 21: German Anti-Semitism
• Chapter 22: The Last Act
• Epilogue: Franz Kafka: Prophet of Doom
• Index
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:32 am

Introduction

"Eckart was the man who according to Hitler's own statement had the greatest influence upon his career."

-- Otto Dietrich, Hitler's Press Secretary


"Hitler is inconceivable without ... "midwives" Rohm and Eckart."

-- Karl Dietrich Bracher


Medieval philosophers declared human reason ingenious, but insufficient to save one from damnation. Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers liberated humanity by abandoning obscurantism and exalting Reason. For rationality's sake, the cream of late 19th Century German intellectuals went too far by replacing Judeo-Christian ethics with science and secular humanism. National Socialism arose out of the breakdown of traditional values following World War 1. Hitler adopted underground notions in place of civilized norms. His racist ideology consisted of anti-clericalism, pseudoscience, Social Darwinism, and anti-Semitism, along with "Ariosophy" as a substitute for religion.

Inquiring into Nazi ideology inevitably draws historians into Hitler's mind. Unlike 1789 French republicanism or the Communism of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky, National Socialism bears the stamp of one man. Nazism and Hitlerism are synonymous. Hence, this work accepts the Intentionalist interpretation that Nazi genocide stemmed directly from Hitler's personal anti-Semitic prejudices , rather than the Functionalist position (held by Hans Mommsen and others,) which contends that historic, economic, and "bureaucratic" forces determine events to a greater extent than Hitler's will. I agree with John Lukacs' judgment. Germany would have eventually gone to war to redress the injustices of Versailles even if Hitler never existed, but millions of Jews would not have perished in the process. The "Final Solution" was Hitler's brainchild, not the wish of Germany's people. Even Nazi leaders such as Goering, Schirach, Rosenberg, and Speer considered the Holocaust sheer madness.

Adolf Hitler, the embodiment of evil who killed millions-- yet loved dogs and children-- remains an enigma. An inveterate theorizer, he wove his crazy-quilt worldview out of scraps from unacknowledged sources. His brand of "Ariosophy" spurned conventional morality, while embracing a queer combination of Teutonic romanticism, the occult, and scientism. According to Konrad Heiden he was "the apostle of the apostles of Lagarde, Langbehn, and Wagner." To understand Hitler we must examine Hans Horbiger's Cosmic Ice Theory, Ernst Haeckl's Biogenetic Law, Adolf Josef Lam von Liebenfals' TheoZoology, and Dietrich Eckart's Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin. Forgotten mountebanks such as these strongly influenced him. Thus, the study of quackery constitutes a principal theme of this book. Hitler was the culmination of a long line of fringe pontificators.

In the early 1920's playwright Dietrich Eckart mentored Adolf Hitler. Before meeting this "fatherly friend" in 1919 the future dictator's life lacked focus. After Eckart's death in December, 1923, Hitler underwent almost no further intellectual development. Both men were self-educated Bohemians who grew up in rural towns, then moved to big cities as young adults in attempts to fulfill artistic ambitions. They experienced setbacks which scarred them for life. Each man attributed his personal failures to the expanding power of Jews. World War I and its harrowing aftermath further exacerbated their anti-Semitism.

Hitler believed himself a divinely appointed reformer. As a budding megalomaniac in 1906 he dreamed of demolishing Linz, then reconstructing the city on a massive, unrecognizable scale. His friend August Kubizek described how he spent hours drawing plans and poring over them. This compulsion for destruction and rebuilding stayed with him for life. Armed with secret knowledge and what he called "unique qualifications," Hitler aimed to junk Christian values and usher in the next millennium, his own Thousand Year Reich. He wished to create a more evolved human being, "the Atlantean-Aryan-Nordic type." Outworn, bourgeois values had to be swept away before this new order could become reality.

Nazism has been called the revenge of the nobodies, and socialism of fools. After World War I defeat, demoralized Germans turned to false prophets such as Dietrich Eckart and Adolf Hitler for guidance. These scapegoat-creators -- no strangers to alienation themselves -- derived grim solace from the fact that the German Volk now shared their sense of anomie. In his scandalous tabloid Auf Gut Deutsch Eckart put a face on modern day angst by making the enemy palpable. In his mind "the Jew" had mobilized the disintegrating forces of finance capitalism, Bolshevism, democracy, and mass culture to destroy "the good old days." He believed that removing the Jewish spirit from Europe would solve this crisis, and thereby transfigure Germany into an Aryan utopia.

The Diaspora proved to be another mixed blessing for Jews. Unjust laws and periodic outbreaks of violence marred economic and cultural successes. Jews contributed significantly to Germany's extraordinary economic growth between 1866 and 1914. After the First World War 16% of Germany's lawyers and 11% of its doctors were Jewish. Though less than 1% of the population, Jews owned 50% of Germany's private banks, 60% of its retail clothing trade, and 80% of the department stores. The vast majority of them staunchly supported the German Reich, nevertheless their prosperity engendered more resentment than admiration.

To gain perspective on German Jewry, this study delves into the personal histories of Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Walter Rathenau, and Franz Kafka. Their lives refute the cheap anti-Semitic generalizations of Eckart and Hitler. Despite weaknesses, all of them were "lights unto the gentiles." These idealistic men bore no resemblance to the hateful stereotypes promulgated by Eckart and Hitler. Because of intolerance all of them experienced profound feelings of ambivalence and estrangement. Jews reacted to their situation in different ways. Heine declared Judaism "not a religion, but a misfortune." [1] As a young man he yearned to transform himself from a depressed Jew into "a joyous Hellene." Unable to assimilate, he and his friend Karl Marx ended up as exiles. Zion ist Theodore Herzl gave up on Europe, and directed his energy toward building a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Walter Rathenau realized that he could never be a "Teutonic Knight," and must settle for the role of "Court Jew." Franz Kafka masochistically read anti-Semitic literature in an effort to understand and control his "Shylock within." He remained a stranger in a strange land his whole life, even though his ancestors had lived in Europe for hundreds of years. Jewish authors Otto Weininger and Arthur Trebitsch became rabid anti-Semites after converting to Christianity.

This book aims to provide a vivid account of Dietrich Eckart's world, as well as a snapshot of modern German history from Heinrich Heine's exile in 1831 to Hitler's 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Like other disciplines, history exists on a continuum between microcosms (individual persons) at one extreme and the Macrocosm (or "big picture") at the other. By means of induction historians bundle together large samples of concrete details from people's lives in order to arrive at generalizations about the timing and nature of broad epochal trends. The approach taken here will be microcosmic, through the medium of biography. Interlocking biographical sketches chronicle not only the experiences of Eckart and Hitler, but those of Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Tsar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhlem, Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Fanni zu Reventlow, and other representative figures whose lives illuminate Germany's surreal political landscape. The sections on Bismarck, World War I, and German anti-Semitism furnish a "portrait" of the Wilhelmine era. Discerning readers should find the juxtaposition of Eckart's story with Hitler's particularly revealing.

An author should let his work speak for itself, hoping to "make better than he knows" without over-explaining. In response to questions, however, I feel the need to justifY certain segments as being integral rather than extraneous. German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine strongly influenced Eckart's irreverent style. Misguided idealist Karl Marx polarized three generations of European nationalists. Eckart and Hitler combated Marxism during their entire political careers. The two chapters on Wilhelmine Germany (4 and 5) provide indispensable background information. Neither Hitler nor Eckart can be properly understood without reference to this "backdrop." World War I (Chapter 6) and the Russian Imperial family's slaughter (Chapter 10) traumatized European society. These horrors remained in the forefront of Eckart's consciousness between 1918 and 1923, and cannot be glossed over in a few paragraphs. The Thule Society section explores Nazism's quasi-mystical origins, and resonates with Chapter 16 ("Ariosophy"), an exposition of Hitler's "granite" intellectual foundation, and # 12, which treats Dietrich Eckart's dispute with spiritualist Rudolf Steiner. Lastly, I argue for the inclusion of Franz Kafka, the gifted writer and Jewish prophet whose forebodings of impending disaster came to pass. In Kafkaesque fashion a malevolent imposter gained absolute power and annihilated his entire family for no reason. This epilogue ties up the literary leitmotif first stated in Chapter 1 (Man of Letters), and continued through #2 (Heinrich Heine,) then #3, which discusses Eckart's translation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.

I wish to thank James Tyson for translating several German articles into English, Professor Daniel J. Gillis for insights into German psychology and politics, Professor Ralph M. Engelman for permission to quote from Dietrich Eckart & the Genesis of Nazism, Adam Tyson, John Suiter, Susan Evans, and Barbara Celia for their help. Any errors or omissions are solely my own responsibility.

Joseph Howard Tyson
March 23, 2008

_______________

Endnote

1 Lewis Browne & Elsa Weihl, That Man Heine, MacMillan, New York, 1927, p.186.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:34 am

1: Man of Letters

" ... To understand Nazism ... we must limit ourselves strictly to the more prominent racist writers ... the central figure of which, among those surrounding Hitler, was Dietrich Eckart."

-- Ernst Nolte


Johann Dietrich Eckart was born on March 23, 1868 in Neumarkt, an Upper Palatinate town of 4,500 souls near Nuremberg. His mother, Anna Bosner Eckart, was the daughter of a Bavarian Army 'quartermaster. She tried to raise Dietrich and his three siblings as Catholics, though her husband was Evangelical Lutheran. Her youngest daughter died as a young child. Dietrich suffered from a variety of illnesses. Family members recollected that his mother always seemed to be nursing him back to health. Anna has been described as a dreamy and sensitive soul. Unfortunately, this delicate hausfrau died of influenza in her thirties during the winter of 1878. Ten year old Dietrich never recovered psychologically from that blow. Episodes of depression plagued him for the rest of his life.

Dietrich's father, Georg Christian Eckart, practiced law and served as Neumarkt's royal notary. In 1888 Prince Regent Luitpold appointed him a district justice. Christian Eckart had a reputation for being rough, but fair. Albert Reich asserted that "his word was rarely contradicted in Neumarkt." [1] Judge Eckart assumed a dictatorial mien, and treated local farmers as country bumpkins. Dietrich later emulated his father's decisiveness, air of authority, and readiness to pass judgment on others.

Eckart senior's professional duties completely preoccupied him. In 1879, one year after his wife's death, he accepted a civil service post in Nuremburg, twenty miles from Neumarkt. Like most workaholics Georg Christian left something to be desired as a father, alternately ignoring and browbeating Dietrich and Wilhelm. A Franconian Lutheran himself, the brusque official neglected his sons' Catholic education when his wife died. They could empathize with criminals brought before their father, who viewed him as arbitrary and reluctant to temper justice with mercy.

Possibly due to his mother's coddling, restraints of any kind were always onerous to Dietrich Eckart. Despite his intelligence, he became a disciplinary problem at several different schools. Though kindly toward friends, adversaries could quickly provoke his volatile temper and sharp tongue. He found it difficult to follow rules. Members of a rival political party later dubbed this tough guy as "the man with elephant skin," [2] but his rough exterior concealed a hypersensitive psyche. Young Eckart's chronic misbehavior resulted in expulsion from a school in Nuremberg circa 1884. Georg Christian then sent him to Schwabach's Lateinschule. When he got into trouble there, Judge Eckart enrolled his obstreperous son at Regensburg Realsgymnasium, where he finally graduated. At Regensburg Dietrich met lifelong friend Karl Guido von Bomhard, the headmaster's son.

Twenty year old Dietrich Eckart went off to the University of Erlangen in 1888. At his father's insistence, he studied law, but hated the subject and changed his major to medicine. Hitler claimed that Eckart told him that he terminated his legal training "so as not to become a perfect imbecile," [3] adding that "the mere fact of wanting to be a lawyer came from a mental deficiency." [4] The law school drop-out once suggested "nailing the present juridical doctrines to the pillory and publishing (them) in a form easily accessible to the German people." [5] Eckart's lifelong abhorrence of lawyers stemmed in part from resentment toward his father.

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The emblem of Onofdia Corps Erlangen, Dietrich Eckart's college fraternity

As a college student Dietrich willfully eschewed practical pursuits, devoting his efforts to poetry, drama, philosophy, fencing, and revelry. He joined his father's old dueling fraternity, The Onoldia Corps Erlangen (originally founded by Carl Freiherr von Pollnitz in 1798.) As a frat brother Eckart dueled, caroused, and fully indulged his appetite for mischief Though once suspended for misbehavior, he eventually became Onoldia's Master of Ceremonies. That office required him to write ditties which celebrated beer-drinking, comradeship, and German patriotism. Later in life he utilized this ability to write advertising slogans and song lyrics. The University recognized his literary talent by accepting a prologue he wrote for graduation ceremonies. In 1888 Eckart also received payment from Regensburg's leading newspaper for his eulogy commemorating the death of Emperor Wilhelm I.

Onoldia Corps fostered Eckart's life-long penchants for drinking, male camaraderie, song, and factionalism. German dueling fraternities served as hothouses for German nationalism and anti-Semitism. Although it had more of a reputation for partying than political activism, Onoldia Corps adopted the Teutonia Fraternity's "Aryan Clause" of 1877 which barred Jews and foreigners from membership.

While at Erlangen Eckart proposed to the daughter of a local school teacher. When the girl's father learned of the engagement, he broke it off immediately. This involuntary separation from a beloved female rekindled the trauma of his mother's untimely death, triggering a nervous breakdown that required hospitalization in a private sanitarium.

During his confinement Eckart wrote an article entitled "Hypnosis and the Novel" for Rudolf Heinrich Greinz's Cultural & Literary Illustrated. He theorized that the fictional characters dreamed up in creative "trance states" often represented authors' own alter egos. This topic suggests that Eckart underwent hypnosis therapy in the course of his treatment.

Dietrich Eckart became addicted to morphine in his early 20's. His friend Albert Reich claimed that a doctor administered the drug to treat a serious illness. Another story alleged that Eckart had access to morphine as a medical student. To deaden the pain of depression he sampled the drug and soon became hooked. Whatever the circumstances, his father had to send him back to the sanitarium for nearly two years. Eckart battled morphine dependency for the rest of his life. He would kick the habit a while, then go back to it. About his narcotic use Alfred Rosenberg wrote:

"without his sweet poison he could not live, and applied the whole cunning of a possessor of this craving to get himself dose after dose. Eventually he was taking measures from which a normal man, not (endowed with) such bear-like strength, would have died." [6]


His German biographer Margarete Plewnia has affirmed that Eckart was a cultured man, well-versed in works by Plutarch, Plato, Luther, Angelus Silesius, Pascal, Spinoza, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Goethe, Kant, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Heine, Nietzsche, and Bismarck. However, he could not resist the temptation to dip into sub-literature such as the anti-Semitic writings of Paul Lagarde, bogus psychology of Otto Weininger, pseudo-scientific theories of Ernst Haeckl, and Ariosophic fantasies of Guido von List. Of the mainstream thinkers, Heinrich Heine, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Angelus Silesius exerted the most influence on him as a young man.

In the course of his unsystematic reading at the University of Erlangen Eckart discovered Heinrich Heine and Arthur Schopenhauer, two authors of opposite temperament. The German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine was his first literary model. He admired the "realistic romanticism" espoused by Heine's Young Germany movement, and his original style, which creatively utilized irony, slang, and poetic license. Eckart identified with the alienation his idol experienced as an expatriate artist victimized by philistines. Like Heine, he was attracted to poetry, theater, journalism, and philosophy. While convalescing at the Nerve Clinic, Eckart wrote "Heinrich Heine: A Selection of his Poetry for Women and Youths, with Foreword and Biography" (Leipzig, 1893.) In his adulatory preface he attacked the poet's critics as "bigots and reactionaries," [7] declaring that racial hatred was foreign to the noble German Spirit. Eckart strongly identified with Heine's

" ... lack of interest in formal studies, ... agony in setting out on a career, and ... difficulty in finding a place where he felt rooted." [8]


In later years Eckart would repudiate this hero of his youth, as well as his own juvenile liberalism.

Though he outgrew his enthusiasm for Heine, the pessimism of Arthur Schopenhauer's philosophy stayed with Eckart for life. In an epigrammatic style Schopenhauer's The World As Will and Idea argued that the human will strove toward no rational end. Men rarely got what they wanted and couldn't be satisfied with what they had. Schopenhauer's extensive reading of Buddhist scriptures strongly affected his philosophy. He accepted Buddha's view that most men were dazzled by Maya's illusory dance, and the Buddhist tenet that life consisted mainly of pain and ennui. Young Epicureans like Eckart might derive transient comfort from food, drink, sports, sexual love, art, the humanities, or a detached philosophical attitude, but they still had a spiritual duty to penetrate "Maya's Veil" (the world of appearances) and arrive at Truth.

Schopenhauer viewed "Romantic folly" as misleading and unphilosophical. Thus, he advocated literary realism with its anti-heroes and naturalistic depiction of life's seamier side ... Eckart's plain speaking and cynicism both derive from Schopenhauer's gloomy outlook. He shared Thomas Hobbes' view that life was "nasty, brutish, and short." Being upbeat indicated superficiality.

As a young man Dietrich Eckart also developed an appreciation for the poetry of Angelus Silesius, nom de plume of Johannes Scheffer (1624-1677), a German-Polish physician and priest educated at the University of Padua. Silesius wrote The Soul's Spiritual Delight, a hymn book, The Cherubic Pilgrim, a collection of poetry, and scores of theological treatises. Eckart especially liked Cherubic Pilgrim, which consisted of 1,600 rhymed couplets on religious themes. Although a convert from Lutheranism to Catholicism, Silesius admired the pantheism of occultist Jakob Boehme. A worn copy of Der Cherubinische Wandersmann always stood on Eckart's night stand. Its mystical verse reinforced his opposition to crass materialism.

Eckart returned from the hospital to Neumarkt in 1893 to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. Friends recalled him writing at a bar table, while others drank and played cards nearby. He published two books at his own expense: the appreciation of Heine, and "In the Foreign Land," a small volume of his own poetry. Eckart borrowed his title "In Der Fremde" from Heine's famous poem about alienation.

"In the Foreign Land" contains poems about fleeting youth, a prodigal son, and the anxieties of modern times. The longest poem, "Jordansblume" deals with Judaism. Ralph Engelman points out that "the length and subject of 'Jordansblue' suggest a preoccupation and element of identification with Jewry." [9] This work mentions the Jews' stateless plight and longing for a homeland. The writer speaks of his love for a pretty Jewish girl. "Because he enters the synagogue to observe her, she mistakes him for a pious Jew and smiles at him." [10] In adolescence Eckard found Jews exotic and intriguing. As the years went on, their image morphed into his nemesis, an alien "alter ego" which he reviled.

Eckard became an avid admirer of Wagner's operas as a young man. The ambience of Bayreuth during the festival thoroughly entranced him. Hitler, who accompanied him there in 1923, confirmed that "Eckart ... had always tole me of the extraordinary atmosphere prevailing there." [11]

The Augsburg Evening Times Literary supplement accepted a few articles and poems from Eckart in 1893, including an essay about Germany's long term prospects entitled "A Question on our Future." Sammler Magazine published two short stories. He convinced the Evening Times to let him cover the Wagnerfest in June, 1894. His "Letters from Bayreuth" praised Wagner, while deriding ticket-scalpers, ostentatious foreigners, and the inferior quality of some performances. This popular series was picked up by several newspapers, including Bayreuther Briefe and Munchener Abendzeitung. Eckart's reputation as a witty critic helped him sell articles on art, culture, and politics to the same papers. Cosima Wagner, the composer's widow, invited him to one of her parties. Shortly after that soiree the Bayreuth Festival commissioned him to write program notes for Parsifal.

Eckart published a fictional travelogue entitled Tannhauser auf Urlaub in 1895 which evaluated the condition of various German cities through the eyes of reincarnated 13th Century poet, Heinrich Tannhauser. This oracle favored liberty, equality, fraternity, and German idealism, but abhorred the leveling effect of democracy and socialism. He excoriated Reichstag deputies as garrulous egotists who didn't really care about their constituents. Tannhauser auf Urlaub contained Eckart's first anti-Semitic comments, which he expressed "with sorrow, noting his love for Jewry." [12]

"Their rigid letter-of-the-law religion instills clandestine hatred for the descendants of their ancient enemies and oppressors. They stand apart with their superior cleverness and ambition ... It's the duty of every thoughtful Jew to work energetically toward the reorganization of his people. Therefore no accommodation is possible ... We must always brandish the hammer if we don't want to become the anvil." [13]


In his preface Eckart claimed to love Jews' "excellent spirit," though he had reservations about their "egomania." He naively asserted that emancipated Jews had the duty to control wayward brethren -- as if individual Germans could reform their own scoundrels.

After a token nod to Jewish intelligence, Tannhauser pompously asserted that Jews must be denied a role in the coming Pan-German super-state because of their obsessions with "sensuality, materialism, and the present." [14] Like Wagner's Minnesingers young Germans must fight "the common vermin that crawl out of those big sacks of money and pollute the whole atmosphere." [15] Tannhauser auf Urlaub attacked parvenu mores and proclaimed that the New Germany demanded values based on high ideals, not man's lower nature.

Following his father's death in 1895, Eckart inherited a substantial amount of money. In early 1896 he made his first trip to Berlin to see the opening of Hauptmann's play Die Versunkene Glocke. The capital's bustling dynamism impressed him, but he decided to rent quarters in Regensburg, where he had previously attended boarding school with his friend Karl Guido Bomhard. After a year, Eckart decided to move on to Leipzig, the center of German publishing, with the intention of setting up a salon there.

Konrad Heiden described Eckart as "a Swabian who appreciated good living." [16] He was a trencherman who could easily consume twenty sausages along with tureen of sauerkraut, while washing all down with six pints of beer. A connoisseur of coffee, Eckart bought gourmet roasted beans from South America and Africa, then ground them with his hand-crank coffee mill every morning. When flush with money, he smoked fifteen or more cigars per day. All forms of alcohol appealed to him: beer, wine, schnapps, whiskey, absinthe. In the course of his life, he carried on several love affairs. Rumor had it that he engaged in homosexuality in his youth, and again while broke in Berlin between 1906 and 1911. Besides those indulgences, he took morphine almost continuously. His restless wanderings from Neumarkt to Regensburg, Leipzig, Berlin, Bad Blankenburg, Munich, and Berchtesgaden might have been "geographic solutions" -- futile attempts to escape the consequences of substance abuse by moving to new places.

Always a big spender, and generous with friends, Eckart squandered his patrimony on high living in Leipzig. According to Alfred Rosenberg he simply "could not say no to a friend and would give up his last cent even if it meant (going) without." [17] Wanting to recreate the festivity of Onoldia Corps, Eckart fully indulged his tastes for alcohol and humorous repartee as a habitue of Leipzig's bar scene.

By 1897 his funds ran low. Morphine use took a monetary and physical toll. He left Leipzig and went back to Regensburg to nurse himself back to health. While there he wrote a four page article that would later appear in Sammler Magazine's September 16, 1899 edition, "The Culture of the 19th Century," which extolled the realism of Heine, Balzac, Schopenhauer, and Ibsen, while scoffing at hazy symbolic works written by "nervous weaklings." However, he warned that lurid naturalism could never create an inspiring vision for New Germany.

Migration to Berlin

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Dietrich Eckart, c. 1900

After more than a year of convalescence, Eckart moved to Berlin in the autumn of 1899. Germany's new capital, with its forty theaters, plethora of newspapers, and world-class orchestra, had become the Empire's cultural center. Theater critic Willy Haas described the city's vitality in Die Literarische Welt:

"'I loved the rapid, quick-witted reply of the Berlin woman above everything, the keen, clear reaction of the Berlin audience in the theater, in the cabaret, on the street, and in the cafe, that taking-nothing-solemnly yet taking seriously of things, that lovely, dry, cool and yet not cold atmosphere, the indescribable dynamic, the love for work, the readiness to take hard blows--- and go on living." [18]


Eckart joined thousands of immigrants to Berlin. The city had grown from a town to major metropolis since Napoleon's defeat in 1812. Its Jewish population increased thirty-fold during that same period. However, very few were of the Ostjuden variety. Berlin's Jews had a reputation for being intelligent, secular, and well-assimilated.

The publication of three articles in Sammler magazine kept Eckart solvent for the remainder of 1899. In early 1900 he worked briefly for August Scherl's tabloid Lokalanzeiger, but intensely disliked its shallowness and lack of German values. He came to see himself as a Teutonic sage in the modern world. The Morning hired him in 1901. For that paper he wrote not only news reports and opinion columns, but play reviews, poems, short stories, and a serialized novella which satirized the German press. Unfortunately, this dream job ended when The Morning went bankrupt four months later. Eckart recycled his criticisms of nihilistic modern journalism into a tragicomedy entitled Familienvater.

In 1901 Germany's premiere humor magazine, Simplicissmus, devoted an entire issue to his short story "Der Kleine Martin Bauz," which poked fun at the abysmal "guidance" given an eight year old boy by his teacher, doctor, pastor, and drunken parents. "Martin Bauz" highlighted the breakdown of values besetting turn-of-the century Germany.

With encouragement from friends Eckart published four articles and several poems in Buhne und Brettle Magazine between March and May, 1902. This periodical had changed from a theatrical review to a journal of political commentary. One issue, illustrated with caricatures and accompanied by unsigned "Eckartian" verse, lampooned the "monolithic Jewish clique" which allegedly controlled Berlin theater. Those satirized included Siegfried Jacobsohn, Fritz Engel, Georg Hirschfeld, Oscar Bies, Maximilien Harden, Hermann Sudermann, Max Osborn, Alfred Klaar, and Max Reinhardt. In one article Eckart referred to Jewish playwrights George Hirschfeld and Hermann Suderman as "ghetto writers" [19] who treated drama as "just another commodity." [20]

In the early 1900's Eckart reinforced his Judeophobic bigotry by reading excerpts from Henri-Roger Gougenot des Mousseaux's The Jew, Judaism, and the Judaization of Christian Peoples (1869), originally published in France. Gougenot des Mousseaux (1805-1876), a minor French nobleman of bookish disposition, acquired the reputation of an authority on magic, Celtic folklore, ultramontane Catholicism, and demonology -- the field of study which guided his efforts to demonize Jews. His anti-Jewish invective bridged the gap between theological and modern anti-Semitism. He held that Christianity had rendered Judaism obsolete over 1,800 years ago. Thus, contemporary Jews, like the devil, were incorrigible deniers of revealed truth.

St. Paul declared Satan "Prince of the Air" (or Physical World.) Because they combined alleged prurience with phenomenal acumen for commerce and dialectical reasoning, Gougenot surmised that Jews might be the products of interbreeding between demons and humans. Jewish influence had burgeoned since the emergence of France's middle class after the 1789 Revolution in almost direct proportion to the debilitation of Church and aristocracy. In alliance with Freemasons Jews now threatened to take over Europe. Gougenot blamed them for every crisis, including gentile bank failures, the Franco-Prussian War, and deterioration of established moral standards.

In his capacity as President of Coulommiers' St. Vincent DePaul Society chapter, Gougenot met Vatican librarian David Paul Drach (1791-1868), a former rabbi who converted to Catholicism. Archbishop Quelen of Paris baptized Drach, his two daughters, and son on Holy Saturday, 1823. Shortly after his conversation, Drach's Jewish wife disappeared with their three children. Two years later, following a widely publicized police investigation and lawsuit, he divorced his wife, obtained custody of the children, and embarked on the career of a Catholic scholar. With the Holy See's imprimatur Drach published several books, including a new French Bible translation, Hebrew-Latin dictionary, learned treatise on the Jewish Kaballah, and his most popular work, Letters of a Converted Rabbi to his Brethren. Gougenot des Mousseaux used information about the Talmud supplied by Drach, as well as his own encyclopedic knowledge of devil-lore to weave a tale of organized Jewish treachery. He attributed such diabolical traits as deceit, pride, cunning, and wickedness to Jews, noting that they also shared Satan's propensity to roam earth's ends for the purpose of sowing discord. Just as Beelzebub, Baphomet, and Belial instructed their agents to circulate the untruth that devils did not exist, Jews contradicted all rumors that they were involved in a conspiracy for world domination. Gougenot, who wrote at the time of Pasteur's discoveries, might have been the first pundit to compare Jews to invisible microbes that subtly "infected" western civilization with the diseases of secularization and socialism. His writings strongly influenced the next generation of French anti-Semites, including Edouard Drumont, a leading anti-Dreyfusard, and Fascist ideologist Charles Maurras.

Eckart lapped up the scathing misrepresentations of Gougenot des Mousseaux, paying special heed to his prophecy that Jews would create much mischief in Germany, then suffer a devastating payback in return. During the early 1920's Eckart persuaded Alfred Rosenberg to translate Gougenot's book into German under the tide, The Eternal Jew.

Thirty-four year old Eckart turned into an intellectual thug by 1902. His excessive drinking produced characteristic behavioral changes: egocentricity, mood swings, excitability, strong biases, and a propensity to turn against former friends. He had the alcoholic's tender and swollen ego, which made him unable to accept criticism, and quick to blame others for his problems. Fault-finding became his modus operandi. To preserve his own unassailable dignity he tore down others, including close associates. During his Berlin period Eckart decided that his career setbacks were not due to personal shortcomings, but the pernicious influence of Jewish-controlled media. Ugly words such as "stooges," and "Judenkitsch" crept into his vocabulary. Though he did not yet have the temerity to attack individual Jews by name in signed articles, Eckart employed such derogatory terms as "yids" and "slick Cohns." [21]

According to him Jews had cornered the German literature market. They owned thirteen of Berlin's twenty-one daily newspapers, and several book publishing companies. The publishing houses of Rudolf Mosse and Leopold Ullstein determined who would succeed and who wouldn't. They had what poet Gottfried Benn called the Jewish merchant's "absolute .. , instinct for quality." [22] Mosse had acquired four papers in Berlin alone: The Berlin Daily News, The Morning Times, The People's Times, and Business Daily News. Ullstein presided over the Evening Post, Illustrated Times, New Berlin Daily News, and Berlin Midday Times. According to Eckart, Mosse and Ullstein promoted scribblers churning out drivel, while snubbing genuine German artists like himself He asserted that over half of Berlin's twenty-one newspapers were Jewish-owned, as well as all three of the city's satire magazines. He deeply resented Jewish editors such as Theodor Wolff of the Berliner Tageblatt, Georg Bernhard of the Vossiche Zeitung, and Bernhard Guttmann of the Frankfurter Zeitung, who exerted real power, while he couldn't even hang onto a steady job. To him these men represented "the antithesis of authentic German life." [23]

"The press and theater in Berlin became the model for (his) understanding of the illegitimate powers which were usurping authority in the twentieth century." [24]


Ullstein Verlag did wield enormous influence, which could make or break authors.

"Ullstein's monopolizing of outlets ... made many writers profoundly uneasy, (and) produced ... an unhealthy, eventually lethal, division between those who belonged and those who did not. For a writer without private income, the favor of Ullstein meant luxury, its indifference or disfavor, near-starvation." [25]


Under this system nationalistic writers faced obscurity and failure. Dietrich Eckart's volkisch pieces struck big city editors as provincial and reactionary. Modern readers wanted fresh, cosmopolitan material. They were neither interested in Teutonic chauvinism, nor romantic treatments of German history. Thus, Eckart felt the necessity for "a counter-press and counter-culture" to present his views. In coming years he would bypass Germany's publishing establishment with vanity press ventures such as Herold Verlag and Hoheneichen Verlag.

Because of his festering Judeophobia Eckart's reverent attitude toward Heinrich Heine altered. In an entire 1919 issue of Auf Gut Deutsch magazine he denounced his former idol, "Chaim Heine," for "cunning deceit and lack of Germanic purity." [26] The poet's emigration to Paris in 1831 unmasked him as a rootless "International Jew."

"How many Galician Jews have first become Germans, then Englishmen, and finally Americans. And each time in the twinkling of an eye. With startling rapidity they change their nationality back and forth." [27]


Eckart also frowned on Jews who changed their surnames -- though future protege Adolf Hitler's father had done the same thing, amending his last name from Schicklgruber to Hitler.

Dietrich Eckart's German patriotism approached the blind loyalty of family love. Hence, he took exception to Heine's ambivalence about Germany.

"Heine ... writes an utterly vulgar poem about Germany; five minutes later he is praising '(our) dear homeland' to the skies. A matter of changing mood? Oh, dear God, I suppose we are to believe an old street whore often finds herself in the mood to sing 'Ave Maria,' or that a basically honest fellow is often in the mood to steal. What nonsense!" [28]


Eckart hailed literary critic Wolfgang Menzel's suggestion that Heine's "Young Germany" group should be renamed the "Young Palestine Movement." He viewed himself as a wronged idealist, and accused Jews of ruining Germany. In his view they were responsible for shady business practices which lowered the quality of life on earth. Germany's "economic miracle" (c. 1866-1914) occurred during his lifetime. Utilizing loan capital from banks and the stock exchange, corporations built steel works, machine tool factories, warships, railroads, automobile assembly lines, and chemical plants. This rapid technological progress caused unprecedented social upheaval. Like other left-behind Germans, Eckart held the less-than-l % Jewish minority culpable for the dislocating consequences of industrialization, urbanization, political unrest, modernity, and erosion of old-fashioned values.

Eckart settled in Berlin because he perceived it as the center of German civilization. However, by 1905 the impersonal capital had dashed his hopes.

" ...The city contained the most advanced form of what Eckart viewed as ... disruptive forces of chaos: finance capitalism and socialism, the anonymity and lack of community of the big city, mass communication and cultural pluralism. It was a magnet for German Jewry, which he considered the embodiment of these phenomena." [29]


Dietrich Eckart had strong likes and dislikes. He loved Wagnerian opera, volkisch drama, comrades-in-arms, morphine, coffee, tobacco, Bavarian beers, and Rhenish wines, but hated lawyers, Jews, pacifists, and unsympathetic literary critics. His inability to obtain employment commensurate with ambitions engendered what Margarete Plewnia termed "his monomaniacal obsession ... with Jews." [30] In Eckart's mind their chicanery spawned the painful anxiety he felt every day of his adult life.

As a Bohemian in Berlin, Eckart built up the reputation as a "metaphysical poet," concerned with "soul's involvement and detachment from the world." [31] In an effort to understand "that Genius higher than human," he perused Theosophical works. His interest in occultism brought him into casual contact with Franz Hartmann, Hugo Vollrath, and Rudolf Steiner. Eckart attended lectures at the Theosophical Society, and probably read the 1903 German translation of Madame Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. Adolf Josef Lanz von Liebenfals, Viennese author of the racist TheoZoology (1904), claimed that Eckart exchanged letters with him circa 1905, and esteemed his work so much that he "plagiarized" it.

When Ralph Engelman went through Eckart's papers in 1969 he found a dog-eared address book containing "the names and calling-cards of an occasional nobleman, diplomat, professor and officer," as well as scores of "unknown painters, sculptors, architects, actors, ... singers ... " [32] Bohemian poet Eckart socialized with people of all classes, from laborers to aristocrats. Solitude got him down at times. Therefore, except for those occasions when he suffered from clinical depression, he sought the company of others. As an alternately convivial and morose man-about-town, he hung out in bars and regularly went to plays and operas. Over the years his gregariousness led him to join several organizations: the Onoldia Corps Erlangen Fraternity, Fichte-Bund, Berlin Press Club, List Society, Hammer Union, Theosophical Society, Theater Guild, The Wagner Society, Nazi Party, and so on.

In Berlin Eckart experienced both triumphs and humiliations. Spurned by editors with trendy tastes, he submitted his manuscripts to the conservative market. Ultimately, his

"career as a dramatist seemed to confirm his worst suspicions about the press and theater, and provided the springboard for ... political involvement." [33]


Eckart's first published play Der Kleine Zacharias (1903) juxtaposed a genuine artist with a prosperous sell-out who pandered to the public's vulgarity. Most of Eckart's dramas were based on the premise of idealists being victimized by connivers. Though only performed briefly in Luneburg, Der Kleine Zacharias attracted a small cult following.

In 1904 Eckart met Georg Graf von Huelsen-Haeseler, superintendent of the The Royal State Theater, and nephew of military chief of staff, General Dietrich von Huelsen-Haesler. Between 1905 and 1918 he sent over a hundred letters to this patron. Huelsen-Haeseler agreed to produce Familienvater, a melodrama about idealistic reporter Heiderich, who works for a metropolitan daily owned by a villainous converted Jew named Heinze. When Heinze fires Timroth, a paterfamilias with eight children, Heiderich promises to support his brood by producing a play exposing the evils of modern journalism. Alarmed when audiences cheered themselves hoarse at sold-out performances, Heinze utilized his clout with corrupt politicians to close down the production for hyping anarchy. In despair, Heiderich commits suicide. Familienvater had runs in Regensburg, Hanover, Munich, Neumarkt, Graz, Vienna, and other cities, but barely broke even. Eckart suspected that Berlin's "Jewish cabal" scotched it because of his Pan- German and pro-Wagner sympathies. Frau Nahilde Ruth Lazarus, a gentile literary critic married to a Jewish professor, had faulted the play for its onedimensional Jewish stereotypes.

Through most of 1905 Eckart worked as an editor for the Deutscher Blatt newspaper. He exulted when Huelsen-Haeseler agreed to stage The Frog King (written in 1898.) Albert Reich remembered his friend triumphantly passing around the telegram of acceptance in a bar. Since the Royal Theater almost never produced new works, Eckart had scored a coup. Based loosely on the Grimm fairy tale, Der Froschkoenig portrayed the life of a swindler who preyed upon upper middle-class Germans. When Gerda, the pretty daughter of a wealthy businessman attempted to convert him from his life of crime, he refused. In such a fallen world one must be a blackguard to succeed. Much of the dialogue reflected Schopenhauer's fatalism. The Frog Prince informed Gerda that

"man is his own maker, his own creation. However a man is, so he himself willed, even before he was. ... How can we feel guilty about the 'bad' in us? Nothing we do produces any repentance, so therefore we have none. As we are, so we must act, according to our inborn unalterable character ... but because we are this way and have no 'better' character-- ... for that we are responsible, and ... must someday pay!" [34]


Unfortunately, this existential amphibian from fairyland failed to enchant theatergoers. Euphoric during November rehearsals with director Max Staegemans, Eckart was crushed when the audience booed and hissed the play on opening night. One dissatisfied customer in the balcony whistled through a house key during the entire last act. Der Frosch Koenig bombed spectacularly, closing after four performances. In a letter to his teenaged friend Xaver Steinbach, Eckart wrote that Huelsen-Haeseler told him "the public and the press," [35] were responsible for the Frog King debacle. Meanwhile, he lashed our at Berlin's philistine public, the "Jewish conspiracy" against him, and lead actor Adalbert Mattkowsky's lackluster performance. According to the disgruntled playwright, all critics who panned his masterpiece were lackeys of Berlin's "Jewish theater monopoly." He went into a depression, got physically ill, quit his job at the Deutscher Blatt, and returned to Neumarkt, where weary relatives put him up for months. Dr. Paul Hermann Wiedeburg later confirmed that Eckart suffered a nervous breakdown-"a heavy, painful ... two year illness surrounded by darkness ... for which he took morphine." [36] On July 17, 1907, while still convalescing from the Frog King trauma, Eckart gave a copy of the play to his niece Mitzi with a melancholy dedication written in verse.

"You seek happiness and wander about, as the waves meander across the sea, until they're broken on a rock; a short flicker, a swishing flutter, and above you and your dream, oblivion dashes over."


The Hunger Years

Still smarting from the Frog King disaster, Eckart wrote very little in 1906. His debts mounted because he accepted conditional advances on plays that earned nothing. Nevertheless, Huelsen-Haeseler treated him kindly, sending hundreds of marks over the next few years, and forgiving advance-refunds owed back to The Royal Theater.

Between 1906 and 1910 Eckart led a threadbare existence, surviving by freelance writing, pawnshop barter, hand-outs from friends, and credit extended by the owner of the Alt Bayern pub on Potsdammerstrasse, where he was a regular. Artist Albert Reich grew up with Eckart in Neumarkt and reconnected with him in the Steglitz section of southwestern Berlin. According to him, he occupied various tenements during his "Hunger Years." The many different return addresses on Eckart's correspondence with Geog Graf von Huelsen-Haeseler indicated frequent changes of residence between 1905 and 1910. For a while he shared a "rear bachelor flat" in The Black Piglet Rooming House at 11 Felderstrasse with an impecunious actor named Otto Fitzsche, and Paul Haase, an underemployed painter. Eckart's niece, Frau Claire Lormer-Schneider, heatedly denied rumors that her uncle had lived like a bum in Berlin. On January 31, 1936 she fired off a letter to the National Socialist Archive insisting that Eckart never had to rack out on park benches, since loving family members resided in a comfortable suburb of Berlin. However, his friend Albert Reich claimed that during the lowest period, circa 1908, Eckart occasionally slept on a "favorite park bench" [37] in Berlin's Tiergarten (zoological gardens.)

In the course of his 1906-to-1910 downward spiral friends mailed Eckart "care packages" containing toiletries, food, and schnapps. He freeloaded on his brother Wilhelm and family in Doeberlitz for weeks at a time. While there he developed closer relationships with nephew Hans and nieces Claire and Mitzi. Though Eckart never suffered from physical starvation during the "Hunger Years," his longing for professional fulfillment went unsatisfied. These failure pangs, combined with feelings of being wronged, scarred him for life, and intensified his revulsion toward Jews.

Being a sponger deeply wounded Eckart's vanity. But he had no choice. Many of his letters from this time rationalized his loss of status, then entreated friends for money. He even shook down adolescent friend Xaver Steinbach for cash. Eckart's letters to Royal Theater Superintendent Georg von Huelsen-Haeseler reveal his plight. In November, 1905 he asked if this patron could get him a job with the Theater. A March, 1906 letter confirmed: "all my attempts to find employment have failed." [38] He played the martyred great master in his epistle of December, 1908:

"Even if I cut my bread money in half and write articles for the daily press, I can expect ninety rejections from one hundred inquiries. Almost all respond in a like manner: my work is, indeed, out of the ordinary, penetrating and interesting, but not for the public at large ... It cannot therefore, be my lack of talent that brings me ever nearer to the brink of ruin ... or my diligence ... It must be due to my Weltanschaung -- to my animosity to every dull, hackneyed thing of our time ... " [39]


Eckart then asked Huelsen-Haeseler for money and added:

"if I did not firmly believe in my ability for dramatic representation or the possibility to redeem my indebtedness to Your Excellency, then I would creep into the 'most miserable hole of this hard city rather than become a burden to Your Excellency's generosity." [40]


Huelsen-Haeseler showed this letter to Kaiser Wilhelm, who pronounced it "a masterpiece of the 'pump art.'" [41]

In a December, 1907 note to Hueslsen-Haeseler Eckart described his ordeal as "a moral trial." [42] His plaintive letters echoed Schopenhauer's essays on literature. The philosopher damned the public for mistaking newest for best, and authors because they "lived on literature, rather than for it." [43] He declared that the "new is seldom good (and)... a good thing is only new for a short time." [44] Schopenhauer condemned commercial publishing for perpetually inventing new fallacies to stimulate sales. The superficial epicycles of fashion contradicted each other. Yet, the public acclaimed frauds who traded in this transitory world of illusion, and boycotted artists who "were tormented without recognition (in their lifetimes) ... whilst fame, honor, and riches fell to the lot of ... worthless hacks." [45]

In 1907 Eckart wrote Der Erbgraf, a drama he couldn't sell , which related the plight of a young nobleman driven to suicide by the tawdriness of modern society. In 1910 he finished Ein X-Belieber Mensch, an adaption of Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, which never saw the light of day. Like the Frog King, X-Belieber Man revived and embellished an existing work. This set the pattern for his final period as a dramatist. Instead of confecting new plays from scratch Eckart injected Peer Gynt, Henry Hohenstaufen, and Lorenzaccio with volkisch notions, then livened them up with his aphoristic style. Two years later he finished Ein Ked, Der Spekuliert about Jewish water heater and chemical manufacturer Moritz Silberstahl ("silver stealer") who also sold quack nostrums. Eckart later claimed that the play was never performed because he refused to comply with Jewish impresario Alfred Halm's demand that Silberstahl be deleted, or transformed into a gentile. As Eckart recounted in Auf Gut Deutsch.

" ... I found a publisher. .. , a wealthy one at that. He was enthusiastic about the piece, and gave me a hundred mark advance ... without even a whimper. Before long he directed me to go see Alfred Halm, then head of Berliner Theater. He, too, was enthusiastic as hell about it. I went and was received by Halm with the words: 'finally someone who can write a German drama!' ... 'The whole thing is great, excepting the figure Moritz Silberstahl. .. Do you feel him very important?' (Eckart replied:) 'My Mortiz! He must not be cut out!' ... (Halm responded:) 'I'd be sorry if he doesn't get written out because then I couldn't produce the play ... He'd make the audience restless ... You seem to forget. .. we have a large number of Jews in the crowd, our very best customers. A chatterbox like your Silberstahl -- out of the question -- he'd never be tolerated ... " [46]


Eckart's unwillingness to compromise killed the deal. To his young friend Xaver Steinbach in Neumarkt he wrote that he might adopt a "Jewish pseudonym" [47] in order to win over the critics.

Believing himself to be an unappreciated genius, Eckart let his anti-Semitic prejudices burgeon between 1902 and 1918. He joined the nationalistic Fichte-Bund, Theodor Fritsch's anti-Semitic Hammer Union, and studied the racial theories of Guido von List and Adolf Josef Lam von Liebenfals. His paranoia about Jews repeatedly surfaced in letters to Huelsen-Haeseler: "the enemies of my convictions, that is, the Jews, are everywhere I go -- busy with their crafty work." [48] He thought they would cause him to have another nervous collapse. In an apparent cry from the heart Eckart subsequently wrote that Jews drove "men to despair, to madness, to ruin." [49] Traumatized by early 20th Century Germany's accelerating pace of change, he blamed the disconnectedness of contemporary life on Jewish influence.

Albert Reich remembered an afternoon circa 1909 in the Old Bavarian Pub, when Eckart had just spent his last pfennig on drink. A pharmaceutical salesman sauntered in and mentioned that his firm was looking for a catchy jingle to promote "gout water." Eckart disappeared into the bathroom for a few moments, then reappeared at a corner table where he dashed off four rhymed lines, which the company bought for 1,000 marks. Although an excellent "Reklamedichter" (ad copywriter), he did not often capitalize on this knack, feeling that such work was beneath his dignity as a poet.

At this same time forty year old Eckart acquired a seventeen year old girlfriend named Eleonore. Topping that, he somehow managed to extract an 1,800 mark "loan" from her father, which he never repaid. In 1924 Eleonore Holthausen, then a married woman with children, tried unsuccessfully to recover this money from Eckart's estate. Despite his "unfaithfulness" [50] and failure to reimburse her father, she did not harbor bitter feelings toward him, realizing that "artists, after all, must have freedom to create great works of art." [51]

Roommate Otto Fritzsche noticed Eckart's extreme moodiness. He would be affable one day, and anti-social the next. By 1909

"his sense of shame and rage led him to withdraw progressively into a small group of intimates ... He developed a habit of locking himself in his room and refusing to see anyone in order to avoid creditors, publishers, agents, and all others to whom he had obligations." [52]


Eckart's manic-depression produced mood swings that made him a truculent blowhard one day and shrinking violet the next. After his relationship with Eleonore unraveled, he again slid into the Slough of Despond, moping in his room for days. One of his neighbors, architect Ernst Rossius-Rhyn, observed that he seemed "a most lonely man ... always sunk in his thoughts ... " [53] Physically ravaged by substance abuse, dejected about his stalled career and failed romance, Eckart again checked into an asylum.

The downtrodden author kept himself afloat by writing popular magazine articles, humorous verse, and advertising copy for manufacturers of perfume, shampoo, and hair pomade. Some friends in Neumarkt started a spring water bottling company, Neumarkter Natur-Brunnen. Eckart received shares for putting together an advertising campaign, but this venture went nowhere. Though still destitute in 1910, Eckart somehow raised 5,000 marks to invest in Die Neu Aeroplan-Baugesellschaft, an airplane factory set up by Karl Guido Bomhard and his partner Josef Sablatnig, who later established the Fokker Aircraft Co. Despite his dire straits, Eckart still "spent a small fortune on beer, ... wine, and entertaining drinking chums." [54]

_______________

Endnotes

1 Ralph Max Engelman, Dietrich Eckart and the Genesis of Nazism, UMI, Ann Arbor, MI, 1971, p. 3, op. cit. Albert Reich, Dietrich Eckart, Munich, 1933, p. 7.

2 Ibid., p. 192, op. cit Volkisher Beobachter, 3/15/1921.

3 Hugh Trevor-Roper, editor, Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944, trans. Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens, Farrar, Straus and Young, New York, 1953, p. 306, Hitler's conversation of 3/29/1942.

4 Ibid., p. 215, Hitler's conversation of 1/30/1942.

5 Ibid., p. 306, Hitler's conversation of 3/29/1942.

6. James Webb, The Occult Establishment, Open Court Publishing Co., LaSalle, IL, 1976, p. 283, op. dt. Alfred Rosenberg, Dietrich Eckart: Ein Vermachtis (A Legacy), Franz Eher Verlag, Munich, 1928.

7 Engelman, p. 8.

8 Ibid., p. 11.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid., p. 10, op. cit. Dietrich Eckart In der Fremde, Leipzig, 1893.

11 Hugh Trevor-Roper, editor, Hitler's Secret Conversations, trans. Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens, Farrar, Strauss & Young, New York, 1953, p. 283, Hitler's conversation of 2/28/1942.

12 Engelman, p. 19.

13 Ibid., p.20, op. cit. D. Eckart Tannhauser auf Urlaub.

14 Margarete Plewnia, Auf Dem Weg Zu Hitler: Der Volkische Publizist Dietrich Eckart, Schunemann Universitatasverlag, Bremen, 1971, p. 14.

15 Ibid., op. cit. Eckart, Tannhauser auf Urlaub.

16 William Gillespie, "Dietrich Eckart: An Introduction for the English-Speaking Student," vnnforum.com, 1975, op. cit. Alfred Rosenberg, Ein Vermachtis (A Legacy), p. 25.

37 Gillespie, op. cit. Albert Reich, Dietrich Eckart-Vorkampfer der NS-Bewegung, Munich, 1933, p. 60.

38 Plewnia, p. 20.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 Engelman, p. 55, op. cit. D.E. December, 1907 letter to Georg Graf von Huelsen- Haeseler.

43 Arthur Schopenhauer, "On Authorship and Style," etext.library.Adelaide.edu.au, p. 4.

44 Ibid.

45 Arthur Schopenhauer, "On Reading and Books," extext.library.Adeiaide.edu.au, p. 9, op. cit. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Collected Works, Vol. II, p. 302.

46 Gillespie, pp. 5-6, op. cit. Dietrich Eckart, Auf Gut Deutsch, January 31, 1919.

47 Plewnia, p. 20, op. cit. D.E. 3/14/1906 letter to Xaver Steinbach.

48 Ibid., p. 57 D.E. letter to Georg Graf Huelsen-Haeseler, 4/17/1917.

49 Eckart, Chapter VIII, p. 1.

50 Engelman, p. 59.

51 Ibid., p. 60, op. cit. January, 1924 letter of Frau Eleonore Holthausen, Eckart Estate Papers, Anna Obster Rosner, custodian.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid., p. 15, op. cit. Ernst Rossius-Rhyn, article in Illustrierte Zeitschrift fur Volk, Arbeit und Aufbau, 1934.

54 Gillespie, op. cit. Alfred Rosenberg, Dietrich Eckart, Ein Vermachtis, p. 25.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:18 am

2: Heinrich Heine: Dietrich Eckart's Youthful Idol

"Heine is a thistle in the garden of literature."

-- Georg Brandes


"Although I don't agree with Heine's opinions, his poetry demands respect .... He should be honored with a monument."

-- Adolf Hitler, c. 1910 in Vienna, according to account of Reinhold Hanisch


Nazism's two literateurs, Dietrich Eckart and Dr. Josef Goebbels, both esteemed Heinrich Heine's writings as young men. Eckart admired the poet's comedic gifts, but eventually denounced him as an "International Jew." In a horrible irony, Doctor of Philology Goebbels consigned Heine's books to the flames in 1936 -- destroying works of the man who wrote: "where books are burned, they end up burning people." [1]

Heinrich Heine was born in Dusseldorf's Jewish ghetto on December 13, 1797 to Peira Van Geldern Heine, the orphan of a physician, and small tradesman Samson Heine.

Little Harry's parents sent him to Jewish and Christian schools. His ambivalence toward both cultures made him feel like a foreigner in his own land. Local Christian bullies taunted him. It didn't help that the local junkman constantly shouted at his donkey, named "Harry."

Heine received good first impressions of the French. While Napoleon's soldiers were quartered in Dusseldorf, his father's store prospered. The Emperor's philo-Semitic policies encouraged optimism among Jews desiring to assimilate into German society. These hopes were dashed by the reaction following the Congress of Vienna. In his student years Heine cherished the notion of a joint German-Jewish venture to unite Germany's far-flung duchies by peaceful negotiation, and liberalize Europe along French lines. Bitter experience caused him to abandon this pipe dream, though he continued to regard France as a source of progressive ideals.

As an adolescent Heinrich demonstrated facility with language and scathing wit. However, his literary gifts were accompanied by impracticality. Although he detested business, Samson Heine arranged for him to work as a bank clerk trainee in Frankfurt. Seventeen year old Harry's duties as a scrivener were merely tiresome. What happened on Sundays traumatized him. Dusseldorf did not overtly persecute Jews. However, Frankfurt police still observed the medieval custom of locking all Jews inside the overcrowded Jewish quarter from dawn to dusk on Sundays. Young Heine felt unwanted, alienated, lost. About Judaism he would later write: "it isn't a religion but a misfortune!" [2]

By dint of hard work and extraordinary business acumen Heinrich's paternal Uncle Salomon had become one of Hamburg's wealthiest bankers. Relations between uncle and nephew were often strained. A hard-headed entrepreneur, Salomon never appreciated belles-lettres. For his part, Heinrich usually showed more insolence than gratitude. Heine's partisans have exaggerated Uncle Salomon's "stinginess." He not only set up his ungrateful nephew in business, but paid for his college education, law school tuition, and most living expenses until age thirty. After "Luftmensch" Heinrich moved to Paris he frequently sent importuning letters to his rich uncle and received substantial donations by return post. Following Salomon's death, his son Karl paid Heinrich an annual pension of 4,800 francs, which he later increased to 8,000. Nevertheless, Heine's disciples fault his affluent Hamburg relations for being "philistines," declining to send money in certain emergencies, and for burning those passages from the poet's unpublished memoirs which libeled them.

In 1818 Uncle Salomon purchased a retail clothing store in Hamburg for Heinrich. Due his nephew's lassitude it folded within a year, prompting Salomon to write him off as "an empty-headed idler." [3] To escape from the grind of retail trade, Harry sought solace in the arms of prostitutes, and soon contracted venereal disease.

Heinrich Heine aspired to be a poet, even though he realized that an inordinately high number of bards died in almshouses of consumption. Literary magazines had already printed many of his poems. In 1821 he published a collection of romantic poetry entitled Gedichte. His Book of Songs followed in 1827.

In 1819 Heine prevailed upon Uncle Salomon to subsidize legal studies. That year he attended Bonn University, where he met philosophers Hegel and Schlegel, then subsequently transferred to the universities of Gottingen and Berlin. Though ostensibly pursuing a law degree, Harry mainly elected courses in the humanities. He enjoyed college life, while disapproving of nationalistic fraternities at Gottingen. In Heine's mind these militant secret societies were breeding grounds for intolerant chauvinism, a mindset incompatible with Gottingen's liberal arts tradition. Fraternity brothers wrongly imagined that they glorified the Vaterland by despising Jews.

University friends appreciated his lively sense of humor. Harry joked that his closet-sized apartment was so small that he had to leave before his roommate could enter. According to legend a ghost walked through Gottingen's campus at night along Pandect Lane. Heine quipped that this spirit must have been a student who had died from boredom. His readings of Voltaire and the French encyclopedists turned him into an agnostic. Jesus said: "if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out;" [4] Sardonic Harry added: "if thy brain offend thee, turn Catholic." [5]

Because Jews could not practice law in Germany, Heine converted to Protestantism in 1825. This move did not make him socially acceptable. The King of Bavaria rejected his application for a professorship at Munich University. No law firm hired him. Heine's ambiguous status as a baptized Jew intensified his angst. The conversion caused Jews to reject him, but didn't win approval from gentiles. In December, 1825 he advised Jewish friend Moses Moser not to convert.

"Isn't it crazy? The moment I am baptized they attack me as a Jew. Altogether I have had nothing but trouble ever since." [6]


He claimed to prefer Greek gods to wrathful Jehovah, deity of his own "morbid little sect." [7] Nonetheless, he found it impossible to escape his "inner Jewishness."

In 1828 Baron Cotta, publisher of Munich's Political Annals Magazine, offered Heine a position as editor. He accepted, but threw this sinecure away within a year because political journalism cramped his imagination. Heine returned to his parents' new residence in Luneburg, which he dubbed "the capital of tedium." It was a cold and unfriendly place where he "made the acquaintance only of trees." [8]

Meanwhile Heine signed up with literary agent and publisher Julius Campe. Lewis Browne observed that this association refuted the age-old Jewish stereotype, since shrewd German gentile Campe outsmarted innocent Jewish Heine at every turn. Heine published Travel Pictures, a popular book of essays which disseminated liberal views with cynical humor, but earned little due to a hard bargain driven by Campe. His satirical jibes did not go unnoticed by the Prussian Bureau of Censorship, which promptly banned it. Heine's 12th chapter particularly rankled them.

"The German censors of the press ... blockheads! ..." [9]


As a leading member of The Young German Movement Heine naively believed that Germany could lead the way toward European emancipation of workingmen, Jews, rural peasants, and the press. Young Germans rallied behind such liberal causes as free speech, separation of church and state, equal rights for women, and the overthrow of hereditary noblemen.

Heine befriended other radicals such as Ludwig Borne, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Ferdinand Lassalle. His writings reflected a cosmopolitan and anti-aristocratic bent. He railed against

"nobles who have learned nothing beyond horse-trading, card-sharping, drinking feats, and similar stupid rascally accomplishments." [10]


He referred to castles as "lodging houses for blackguards," knights as "ass-drivers," ladies in waiting as "common wenches," and monarchical governments as "puppet comedies." [11] He despised nationalists, whom he described as "false patriots whose love of the Fatherland consists of nothing but an insane hatred of foreigners and neighbors, notably France." [12] He worried about the underlying barbarism of German racists. They wanted

"the old stone gods (to) rise from their long-forgotten ruins ... (so that) Thor, leaping to life with his giant hammer (could) crush the Gothic cathedrals!" [13]


Heine predicted that socialism would eventually defeat these "Teutomaniacs," in a deadly struggle. His words prophesy the National Socialist movement.

"A drama will be enacted in Germany by the side of which the French Revolution will seem like an innocent idyll." [14]


In 1829 the restless Heine moved to Potsdam and supported himself by writing articles. He withdrew from such friends as Christian Sethe, Ludwig Borne, and Rahel von Varnhagen in order to concentrate on writing. The solitary poet compared himself to

"Robinson Crusoe on (an) island... For company I had only the statues in the Gardens of Sancouci. I kept from all contact with the outer world, and if anyone so much as brushed against me in the street I felt an uneasy sensation. I had a profound horror of such encounters ... like that which ... wandering spirits of the dead feel when ... they meet a living man ..." [15]


Heine's periodic bouts of introversion stemmed from a combination of shyness, ambivalence about his Jewishness, and an obsessive desire to write without interruption.

The poet suffered from a variety of neuroses, including anxiety, melancholia, hypochondria, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and oversensitivity to noise. Harsh criticisms could reduce him to tears. The ticking of clocks bothered him abnormally. He could not have one in his study or bedroom, and would often ask guests to put their watches in a drawer. In Paris the piano practicing of girls in a nearby apartment drove him to distraction.

A trip to England in September, 1827 triggered a phobic response. The poet saw one huge bedlam, a horrifying phantasmagoria, marked by

"colossal uniformity, machine-like movement ... shrillness ... a stone forest of houses... between ... surging stream(s) of living human faces ... " [16]


Florid John Bulls and their cocksure female counterparts frightened him. "Send a philosopher to London, but. .. not a poet!" [17] he exclaimed.

Heine's newspaper and magazine articles consisted mainly of social criticism. Like Dietrich Eckart, he was more of a pundit than journalist. As Ernst Pawel observed Heine always knew what he opposed, "but seldom what he (was) for." [18] Nietszche praised Heine for "divine malice," bur others have accused him of being "negative" -- a cynical pessimist rather than architect of social amelioration. No political system ever satisfied him.

In Letters from Berlin (1822) and Travel Pictures (1827) Heine dealt more with sharply expressed opinions than facts. His poison pen soon stirred up controversy. The poet and playwright Count von Platen lampooned him as "the Pindar of Benjamin's tribe ... Petrarch of the Feast of Booths ... baptized Heine ... pride of the synagogue ... whose kisses smell of garlic." [19] These spiteful taunts struck a nerve. Admitting that he was "bur a novice in Christian love," [20] Heine lashed back at "poetaster" Platen by outing him as a homosexual. An attack on ex-friend Ludwig Borne displeased many left-leaning readers.

Heine's celebrations of French Revolution ideals put him in bad odor with Prussian authorities since the publication of Letters from Berlin in 1822. His unrestrained diatribe against Count von Platen attracted more unwanted attention from them. Heine complained: "now I've been forbidden to write!" [21]

Unable to bear Germany's oppressive atmosphere any longer, thirty-three year old Heine emigrated to Paris in April, 1831. He became a boulevardier at once, making friends with Balzac, Beranger, George Sand, Gerard de Nerval, Hippolyte Taine, Theophile Gautier, Alexander Dumas, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Hector Berlioz, and Franz Liszt. French writer Philibert Audebrand remembered walking past Frascatti's Restaurant with Dr. Heller of the French Academy when the latter halted in his tracks, gestured toward Heine seated at a table, and excitedly whispered: "there is the wittiest man in Europe!" [22]

At the urging of irrepressible utopian Prosper Enfantin, Heine joined the St. Simonists. This politico-philosophical society advocated radical secular humanism. Count St. Simon (Claude Henri De Rouvroy) not only touted equality, fraternity, and liberty, but communal sharing of goods, universal suffrage, public education, meritocracy, women's liberation, and rule by councils of artists, poets, and scientists. St. Simon's unbounded optimism led him to believe that modern technology would redistribute wealth, raising everyone's standard of living. Though Heine did not swallow St. Simonism whole, he began to view himself as an internationalist. In a letter to his friend Alfred Meissner he wrote:

"I have this in common with all other artists; I do not write for the moment but for centuries, not for a country but for the world, not for a party, but for humanity." [23]


Heine agreed with St. Simonist visionaries that poetic intuition should not be lightly dismissed, asserting: "the poet's heart is the center of the world." [24] Being a German Jew living in France he fancied himself as a conciliator between the two nations: "the one writer sufficiently conversant with both cultures to interpret one to the other," [25] and defuse mutual distrust. Unfortunately, neither country ever recognized him as the "Jewish middleman" to broker peace through meaningful compromise -- even though such a consultation might have prevented the Franco Prussian War. He had to satisfy his longing for rapprochement on a small scale by elucidating German culture to the French in works such as The Romantic School (1833) and History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany (1835.)

Heine's poem "This and That Side of the Rhine" summarized his views.

"Wild caresses, tender throes, Toying with a burning rose, Fragrant fetor, pretty lies, Raw lust in a noble guise, Love's glad arts in any wise -- Ah, you French have mastered those!

But we Germans bow to none When there's hating to be done. German hate! It swells and spills From the soul in giant rills, And its poison overfills Even Heidelberg's great tun." [26]


Despite Heine's love for France, his devotion to Germany would not permit him to become a French citizen.

Besides gallivanting through salons with Gautier, Liszt, and Taine, Heine toured Paris's demimonde. In his travels among prostitutes and serving maids of easy virtue, he met shop girl Mathilde Cresentia Eugenie Mirat, a gay little Parisienne who laughed often and loved to sing, but never attended school. Heine could not get this air-headed grisette out of his mind. They broke up numerous times, only to reconcile. One day, when some students in a cafe flirted with her, the enraged poet slapped their ringleader's face and challenged him to a duel (which never occurred.) In September, 1841 Heine announced his recent marriage by writing to his sister Charlotte:

"on the 31st of August I married Mathilde ... with whom I have previously quarreled daily for more than six years." [27]


He told friend Caroline Jaubert that she aimed a pistol at him during the wedding ceremony. Heine informed Alexander Weill that he had to buy Mathilde from an aunt for 3,000 francs. He claimed to have spent another 10,000 on tutors in an effort to teach her to read, write, and reckon. Even after these expenditures she did not realize her husband was a Jew, and could not read his literary works. Heine asserted that Mathilde believed him when he told her that Jesus Christ was Archbishop of Paris. Ernst Pawel described Mathilde as

"a tough, cantankerous and shamelessly egotistical woman .... Quite possibly she saw in him little more than a meal ticket. .. She may have been genuinely fond of him in her own way, though she definitely fussed a great deal more about a sick parrot than ... sick husband." [28]


In spite of her painfully obvious faults, Heine sincerely loved Mathilde -- although that did not prevent him from engaging in some infidelities between 1842 and 1844. He diligently provided for her material needs, and put up with a great deal of nonsense. Letters to his mother and sister usually showed Mathilde in a favorable light. However, Heine wrote a short dialogue in verse between mother and son having dinner which illustrated his own inclination to change the subject when pressed for information about Mathilde. The mother asked:

"My darling child, in your foreign home Are you carefully served and tended? Does your wife understand how to keep house? Are your shirts and stockings mended?"


The son evades these questions by replying:

"Dear little mother, this fish is good, But fish is a risky diet; You so easily choke on a bone if you speak; Just leave me a moment in quiet." [29]


During long absences -- such as his 1843 trip to Germany -- Heine missed Mathilde desperately. He recalled that it had not been very difficult, as a total stranger, to seduce her after their first meeting in 1834. Thus, Heine worried that she would cheat on him. From Hamburg the possessive husband wrote:

"I am thinking only of you, my dear Nonotte .... do not forget that my eyes are always upon you. I know everything you do, and what I don't know I shall learn later." [30]


In spite of his entreaties for letters, she only dashed off a few short notes in six weeks. He scolded her for neglecting him.

"I am exceedingly angry with you, and when I arrive I shall give you only five hundred kisses, instead of a thousand!" [31]


Heinrich knew Karl and Jenny Marx personally and seems to have first coined the expression "Marxist platitude." Marx dismissed him as "one of those queer fowl called poets." Between 1844 and 1845 Heine visited the Marxes often at their apartment in Rue Vanneau. On one occasion their baby daughter Jennychen suffered from such severe cramps that they feared for her life. Heine coolly took charge, instructing Mrs. Marx to give the infant a warm bath, which immediately stabilized her condition. The thankful couple credited him with saving Jennychen's life.

Heine favored freedom of the press and liberal measures toward the downtrodden, however his enthusiasm for the masses waned after 1840. The mobs of Paris cheered mass executions in 1789. While he loathed aristocratic cads, Heine also "closed his ears to the shouting of the Marseillaise." [32] The canaille were brutal illiterates, who let unscrupulous demagogues entice them with bread, circuses, and conspiracy theories. In "Lamentations" he slammed the United States, world capital of slavery, as " America the Free, ... that Freedom stable where all the boors live equally" [33] In contrast to Friedrich Engels, Ludwig Borne, and Ferdinand Lassalle, Heine "did not like to fraternize with sweaty workers and refused to address them as comrades." [34] Communist agitator and tailor Wilhelm Weitling offended the poet by not removing his hat when addressing him. Anticipating Orwell and Huxley, Heine envisioned a "proletarian paradise" with abominable popular culture.

"With their horny hands they will heartlessly smash the marble statues of beauty so dear to my heart ... They will cut down my grove of laurels and plant potatoes in their stead. They will tear from ... the social order ... lilies that toil not or spin ... My Book of Songs will be used to ... wrap coffee or snuff for ... old women of the future." [35]


These snobbish premonitions struck a resonant chord with King Louis- Phillipe, who awarded the erstwhile revolutionary a pension. German newspapers that employed Heine as a columnist did not find out about this French subsidy until the collapse of Louis's regime during the Revolution of 1848. The Allgemeine Zeitung and other papers indignantly dropped him for being a propagandist on France's payroll. Heine pleaded that Louis-Phillipe and his minister Francois Guizat had simply given him "alms." He applied for this hand-out "after the Bundestag's ... deplorable decrees ... which tried to ruin me financially because I was ... choir leader of Young Germany." [36]

"He had received his subvention as an artist not a newspaper correspondent. It had been given him ... to keep a poet alive, not ... keep a radical silent." [37]


His fellow pensioners included

"exiles from every quarter of the globe, refugees from Greece, Santo Domingo, Armenia, Poland ... Barons and princes ... are among them, generals, ex-ministers, even priests, forming as it were, an aristocracy of poverty." [38]


But his credibility in Germany evaporated over night. None of these arguments swayed editors, who withdrew all assignments and crossed his name forever from their list of contributors.

In 1842 Heine experienced intermittent numbness in the fingers of his left hand. Five years later the thirty-nine year old poet wrote his friend J. H. Detmold:

"My left hand is getting thinner and thinner and is withering away perceptibly." [39]


He soon lost control of his left eyelid and began to hobble around on crutches. By 1848 Heine's vision deteriorated and he could not walk. The bedridden poet spoke of being confined to a

"mattress ... tomb without repose, death without the privileges of the dead, who are not required to spend money or write letters." [40]


His last excursion under his own power took place in May, 1848. With superhuman effort he dragged himself to The Louvre, but collapsed beneath the statue of Venus de Milo.

"At her feet I lay for a long time and wept. .. the blessed goddess of beauty ... looked down on me with mingled compassion and desolation, seeming to say: 'dost thou not see I have no arms, and therefore cannot help thee?' ... " [41]


Shortly thereafter his friend Alfred Meissner asked if he'd like to go anywhere. Heine answered "to St. Sulpice." Meissner expressed surprise that an agnostic would want to go to church. The poet retorted: "where else should one go with crutches?" [42]

Due to dissipations in Hamburg thirty years earlier, Heine now suffered the ravages of tertiary syphilis. He called his condition "spine rot," declaring "I have suffered more tortures than the Spanish Inquisition could invent." [43] In a letter to Ferdinand Lasalle he wrote:

"I kiss, but feel nothing. My palate and ... part of my tongue are also touched and everything I eat tastes like earth." [44]


To his brother Max he announced: "the advance guard of decrepitude has taken up its stand. My youth is gone ... " [45]

During the final six years of his life Heine required custodial nursing care. His sister Charlotte referred in a letter to her brother's "shriveled body with ... lifeless legs," [46] and how his nurse would carry him like a grotesque baby from couch to bed. She had to rub his open bed sores with paregoric salve daily. Heine jested that opium was the only "religion" that consoled him. He preferred opium-soaked poultices to Christian preaching, since "the relief is prompter." [47] Sneezes, coughs, and yawns brought excruciating torment.

"These yawns are unbearable. I wish I were dead, or else a healthy fellow who no longer needs enemas." [48]


For amusement the house-bound Heine sometimes borrowed his wife's binoculars to view Parisian street scenes. In 1854 he wrote:

"with incredible pleasure (I) watched a pastry baker offer his wares to two ladies in crinolines and a little dog standing on three legs by a tree next to them, relieving himself. At that point I put away the binoculars. I didn't want to see any more because I envied the dog." [49]


Many recognize Heine as the father of black humor. During his protracted terminal illness he spoke himself as "a decomposing corpse," ruefully adding that

"they took my measurements long ago for the coffin and ... obituary." [50]


He now realized that there was an afterlife, since "I have survived my own death." [51]

Heine told visitors: "my constitution is worse than Prussia's." [52]

Many German callers visited his apartment during The Paris World's Fair of 1855, prompting him to comment that he should be paid as one of the exposition's "sideshow exhibits." When his nurse lugged him into the living room on one occasion, he quipped: "do you see how they carry me about on their hands in Paris?" [53] Guests politely inquired about his prospects. When one asked if his condition were curable, he replied: "yes, I shall die someday." [54] Since he had wasted away to such an extent, Heine remarked that he would "have to apologize to the worms for offering them nothing but bones." [55] Heine told friends who knew of his repugnance for noise that it distressed him "to hear death (constantly) sharpening his scythe." [56] He sadly informed them: "one day you'll find the booth closed where the puppet show of my humor. .. entertained you." [57]

Heine clung to a "worthless existence," noting that "the horrible thing is dying, not death." [58] He compared himself to a bag of bones lying on a dock waiting through endless delays for his "voyage to eternity." To him time seemed like "a dreadful snail crawling at ... sluggish pace." [59]

In November, 1849 he grumbled about France's high cost of living to Julius Campe.

"It's already expensive to live in Paris. But dying in Paris is infinitely more expensive. And to think that I could be hung for free in Germany ... " [60]


Time and again Heine's humor rose to cosmic levels. In his poem "Lazarus" he wondered:

"Why does the Almighty permit evil to prevail. .. and why does he pick on me?" [61]


Heine groused about being unable to shed his Jewishness and become a "joyful Hellene." He cried that "no pagan gods would have done to a poet what ... Jehovah did to me!" [62] He portrayed himself as "a poor sick Jew," [63] and God as

"The Aristophanes of heaven (who) shows me, the little German so-called Aristophanes of earth, ... how pitifully I lag behind him in humor and the making of colossal jokes." [64]


Nevertheless, like his admirer Kierkegaard, Heine now handed his affairs over to God, and felt thankful that someone "upstairs" heard his "whimpering ... , especially after midnight." [65] He depicted his sudden piety as "surprising to God," [66] but insisted that he was still not a "pious lambkin." [67] In fact, his new-found faith increased the pleasure of blasphemy.

"Thank God I have a God again so that when the agony gets too bad I can let go of a few blasphemous curses. Atheists don't have that satisfaction." [68]


Of course, he realized that his return to the fold had no effect on God.

"The great white elephant of the King of Siam could not care less whether or not a little mouse in Rue d'Amsterdam believes in his grandeur and wisdom " [69]


At his wit's end on the eve of death in January, 1856, he wrote:

"I am almost going out of my mind with rage, anguish, and impatience. I am going to complain to The Animal Protection League about a God who tortures me so cruelly." [70]


Image
Heinrich Heine by Marcellin-Giblert Desboutin

When friends professed shock at his irreverence, he shot back: "God will forgive me -- that's His trade." [71]

Anxious about Mathilde's welfare, the shut-in poet continued to write. He published Romanzero, a volume of poetry in 1851, Confessions in 1853, and collections of poems in 1853 and 1854. Heine also arranged for a 4,800 franc annual stipend from his cousin Karl.

Mathilde did not reciprocate. Protesting that the smell of her husband's sickroom made her ill, she generally avoided it. Her laziness forced disabled Heinrich to pay for a nurse and cleaning lady, as well as a secretary for himself. Though she claimed to lack nursing skills, Heine noticed that Mathilde treated their pet cat with tender solicitude when he injured his paw after a fall. A compulsive shopper, she constantly bought clothing, knick-knacks, gew-gaws, and anything made of linen, including curtains, tablecloths, bedding, etc. Her spending sprees continued even when funds and apartment space ran out. Because of substantial weight gain due to gluttony, Mathilde continually required new finery, reasoning that she needed more elegant clothes to compensate for her fading looks.

Despite Heinrich's morbid aversion to noise, Mathilde purchased a parrot named "Cocotte," who squawked loudly at unpredictable intervals. When Mathilde's neurotic and slothful friend Pauline Rogue fell on hard times, she took her into the household. To Heine's chagrin Elise Arnault, the boisterous wife of a circus impresario, barged in almost daily. The dying poet wished Mathilde to remarry after his demise. Then "at least one man on earth ... will regret my passing!" [72]

Although Heine tried his best to put up with Mathilde's insufferable minions, she mistreated his own friends. When Alexander Weill commented that the fish had an odor one evening, Mathilde threw a serving plate of it into his face. One day, after Dr. Wertheimer questioned the quality of care Heinrich received from Mathilde, she punched him in the eye. The doctor left in a huff, abandoning Heine to the whims of Dr. Gruby, a proponent of strychnine, leeches, neck drilling, hot irons, and bloodletting. Though he preferred Wertheimer, Heine admitted that neither "quack" did him much good, noting that "all the people who died here this winter had medical attendance." [73]

Heine had a rope loop above his bed to help him change positions. When Caroline Jaubert asked him the purpose of this device, he said:

"a gymnastic invention, supposedly to help me exercise my right arm. But frankly, between you and me, I rather suspect it to be an invitation ... to hang myself, a delicate hint from my doctor ... " [74]


For awhile the Heines employed a comely and pleasant young nurse named Marietta, who delighted Heinrich. Jealous Mathilde quickly fired her and hired a churlish old crone as replacement.

On June 19, 1855 an attractive young fan of Heine named Camille Selden called on him. Enchanted by the girl, "last flower of my mournful autumn," [75] the poet begged her to visit again. Summoning all his strength he wrote this letter.

"My dear amiable and charming person, 1 greatly regret having been able to see you but for a few moments. You made an extremely favorable impression, and I am longing for the pleasure of seeing you again. If possible, come tomorrow, or in any case, whenever time permits. Announce yourself as last time. I am ready to receive you at any hour. The best time for me would be from 4 P.M. until as late as you want. Despite my eye trouble I am writing you with my own hand, because at the moment I don't have a confidential secretary. I have lots of trouble on my plate and am suffering a great deal. I don't know why your kind sympathy seems to do me so much good and why I want to imagine, superstitious as I am, that a good fairy is visiting me in a sad hour. It was the right hour. Or are you a bad fairy? I must find out soon." [76]


Mathilde detested Miss Selden and would not speak to her. Nevertheless, Camille came regularly to cheer up the despairing Heine. To her he wrote:

"I am now merely a ghost .... I look forward to seeing you again, fine Mouche de mon ame ... loveliest of muskrats ... soft like an angora cat. I am still in a bad state, constant cramps and anger. .. A dead man thirsting for the greatest of life's pleasures ... " [77]


Camille last visited him on Valentine's Day, 1856, three days before his death. "At last you have come!" [78] he exclaimed, and wept at the thought of being "a cadaver in love." He wrote one of his last poems to her.

"Let pincers nip my flesh red-hot,
Let me be flayed from sole to pate,
Or whipped with scourges -- but do not
Make me just wait and wait and wait!

Let tortures mangle me anew
With broken bones and twists and sprains,
But don't make me vainly wait for you,
For waiting is the worst of pains.

I looked for you all yesterday
In vain, till six was left behind:
You little witch, you came not -- nay,
I almost went out of my mind.

Impatience held me tightly bound
Like coiling serpents -- I would start
Each time I heard the doorbell's sound,
But you came not -- down sank my heart!

You did not come -- I rage and fume,
And Satan whispers in ridicule:
'The lotus flower, we can presume,
Is laughing at you, you old fool!'" [79]


Heine once said "poetry is my best friend." [80] The writing obsession stayed with him to the very end. Despite acute suffering he habitually scribbled sentences and phrases. When nurse Catherine Bourlois chided him for writing six hours straight in February, 1856, he cried: "I only have four more days to work!" [81] On his deathbed four days later he wanted to write, but was too sick. Catherine tried to comfort him, saying: "when you stop throwing up, you'll write." [82] Faintly but distinctly he sighed: "I'm dying." [83] He then kept repeating "I'm lost." Suddenly, at 4 A.M. he seemed to rally. In a hoarse voice he panted: "write-write! Paper ... pencil," [84] then became delirious. Heinrich Heine died at 5 A.M. on 2/17/1856.

One of Heine's poems related the tale of a crusader for freedom married to a slattern.

"At six in the morning he was hanged
At seven lowered into the grave;
She, however, by eight o'clock
Already drank red wine and laughed." [85]


Mathilde did not attend Heinrich's funeral at Montmartre Cemetery. No less an authority than Karl Marx declared her guilty of having an adulterous affair during Heine's final years. With the assistance of Henri Julia and an unscrupulous lawyer, Mathilde managed to support herself until 1883 by selling her late husband's manuscripts to the highest bidders. Their mercenary conduct disgusted Ernst Pawel.

"Driven exclusively by greed, Mathilde and Julia sold off odds and ends and even tried to interest both the Prussian and Austrian governments in preemptively acquiring the Heine papers, so as to prevent their ... publication." [86]


Mathilde also allegedly sold some of her husband's memoirs to his relatives with the express understanding that they would be torched.

Heinrich Heine had been a most impractical Jew -- unsuccessful In business, cozened by a French shiksa, exploited by gentile publisher Julius Campe -- yet revered as Europe's first modern intellectual.

_______________

Endnotes:

1 Lewis Browne (in collaboration with Elsa Weihl,) That Man Heine, The McMillan Co., New York, 1927, p. 192, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "Alamansor."

2 Ibid., p. 186.

3 Ibid., p. 155.

4 King James Bible, Mark 9:47.

5 Browne, p. 247.

6 Pawel, p. 88.

7 Ibid., p. 85.

8 Browne, p. 104.

9 Ibid., p. 150, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, Travel Pictures, Hoffman & Campe, 1827.

10 Ibid., p. 239.

11 Ibid., p. 200.

12 Ernst Pawel, The Poet Dying: Heinrich Heine's Last Years in Paris, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 1995, p. 126.

13 Browne, p. 258.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid., pp. 181-182.

16 Ibid., p. 151.

17 Ibid., p. 152.

18 Ibid., p. 162.

19 Browne, p. 187.

20 Ibid.  

21 Ibid., p. 289.

22 Ibid., p. 218.

23 Ibid., p. 357.

24 Ibid., p. 254.

25 Pawel, p. 15.

26 Ibid., p. 26I, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "This and That Side of the Rhine," Unpublished Poems, Hoffman & Campe, 1883.

27 Browne, p. 315.

28 Pawel, p. 68.

29 Browne, p. 327, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "A Winter's Tale," Hoffman & Campe, 1844.

30 Ibid., p. 331.

31 Ibid., p. 333.

32 Ibid., p. 357.

33 Pawel, p. 199, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "Lamentations," Romanzero, Hoffman & Campe, 1851.

34 Brown, p. 217.

35 Ibid., p. 356.

36 Ibid., p. 359.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid., p. 296.

40 Pawel, p. 100, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "Epilogue," Romanzero, Hoffman & Campe, 1851.

41 Brown, p. 362.

42 Ibid., p. 367.

43 Ibid., p. 377.

44 Ibid., p. 345.

45 Ibid., p. 297.

46 Pawel, p. 182.

47 Browne, p. 367.

48 Pawel, p. 185.

49 Ibid., p. 164.

50 Ibid., p. 100.

51 Browne, p. 396.

52 Ibid., p. 352.

53 Ibid., p. 396.

54 Ibid., p. 395.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid., p. 230.

57 Pawel, p. 100.

58 Browne, 346.

59 Pawel, p. 237.

60 Ibid., p. 27.

61 Ibid., p. 101, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "Lazarus."

62 Ibid., p. 45.

63 Browne, p. 363.

64 Ibid., p. 386.

65 Pawel, p. 151.

66 Browne, p. 365.

67 Ibid., p. 366, op. cit. Heine correspondence, mid-1848.

68 Pawel, p. 151.

69 Ibid., p. 110.

70 Ibid., p. 184.

71 Browne, p. 369.

72 Ibid., p. 319.

73 Ibid., p. 379.

74 Pawel, p. 83.

75 Browne, p. 398.

76 Pawel, p. 174, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, Letter to Camille Selden, June 19, 1855.

77 Ibid., p. 177.

78 Browne, p. 402.

79 Pawel, p. 275, op. cit. Heinrich Heine, "The Mouche," Unpublished Poems.

80 Browne, p. 384.

81 Ibid., p. 402.

82 Pawel, p. 189.

83 Ibid.

84 Browne, p. 404.

85 Pawel, p. 190.

86 Ibid., p. 191.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:48 pm

3: Back Into the Limelight

"Eckart meant his adaption of Peer Gynt to serve as a racial allegory in which the trolls and Great Boyg represented what (Otto) Weininger conceived to be the Jewish spirit."

-- Ralph M. Engelman


In the fall of 1911 Dietrich Eckart finished his "translation" of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Since he knew only a smattering of Norwegian, Eckart did not translate the play, but transliterated the earlier German versions of Louis Lassarge and Christian Morgenstern. He rendered the dialogue into rhymed couplets and transformed the work from an adult fairy tale to a racist allegory. He truly loved Ibsen's play and strongly identified with it's protagonist. Alfred Rosenberg attested that "he saw in Peer Gynt a mirror of his own form." Eckart thought it significant that Ibsen worked on Peer Gynt in 1867 -- while he germinated in his mother's womb. It would take him another three years to market this work. Based on a Scandanavian folk tale, Peer Gynt presented a humorous but pessimistic view of the human condition. On his sojourn through our mad world protagonist Peer, a compound of animal and angel himself, veered between criminal and virtuous behavior. The work appealed to Eckart on multiple levels. He loved its fantastic world of goblins, trolls, and elves, as well as Ibsen's irreverence. Moreover, Otto Weininger, his favorite thinker, had praised it as Ibsen's greatest work.

With reckless candor Peer Gynt called aristocrats "degenerate idiots." His mother Aase referred to Norwegian villagers as "loafing sots, swaggerers, and booze sponges." When Aase dies, Peer bluntly ordered St. Peter to drop his "butler's airs" and let her into heaven. Eckart, who fancied himself a "country lad" from Neumarkt, strongly identified with Peer, another "strapping yokel" who spoke plainly, drank, brawled, and sported with wenches.

The plot of Peer Gynt resembles a botched Odyssey with an anti-hero in Ulysses' role, who tries to coordinate with "the soul's journey (toward) the unattainable." [1] After getting into trouble for seducing the bride at a wedding, Peer escapes into deep woods. There he encounters a flirtatious green-clad girl and has sex with her. She turns out to be a troll king's daughter. Soon a mob of trolls attacks Peer. They wonder: "should we roast him on a spit, or brown him in a pot?" [2] Considering men not markedly different from trolls, their king doesn't mind having a human son-in-law under certain conditions. He orders his subjects to cease their assault and advises Peer about the nature of trolls. They never think about what lies beyond the present time and place. Besides their provinciality, trolls are unrepentantly individualistic and self-sufficient. "Here among the trolls we say: 'troll, be thyself -- and thyself alone!" [3] The king then asks Peer Gynt: "what is the difference between troll and man?" Fully cognizant of mankind's brutishness Peer frankly replies: "none that I can see." [4] The king then explains the conditions under which Peer may become a troll. He must discard "Christian clothes," drink mead, and pin a tail onto his buttocks. Not relishing the idea of a tail, Peer decides to escape that night. While running down toward town he becomes entangled in The Great Boyg, a clammy blob described as "not dead, not alive, ... slimy, misty, shapeless ... (which) wins without fighting." [5] To some the Boyg represents society's resistance to excellence. In subsequent polemical writings Eckart compared the Boyg to materialistic culture, which slowly suffocates individual creativity by its sheer bulk, thus preventing earth's "valley dwellers" from reaching the peaks of idealism.

Image  
Peer Gynt before the Troll King and his subjects
(Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939)


Somehow Peer extricates himself from the Boyg and builds a cabin, where he hopes to bring his sweetheart Solveig. But the troll princess, who now looks like an old crone, finds him there. One day she accosts Peer with their "son"-- an ugly, crippled little ogre who holds an empty ale mug. Peer flees at the sight of him.

In the next scene Ibsen shows middle-aged Peer in Morocco regaling German, English, and French drinking companions with his exploits in America and China.

"Peer: (Lights a cigar) My dear friends, consider my own career. .. The Charleston ship owners called me Croesus ... My cargoes consisted of Negro slaves to Carolina and heathen images to China ... But never mind, each ... Autumn I exported missionaries. For every (idol) sold they got a coolie honestly baptized. Thus, the effect was neutralized." [6]


Peer then journeys to Egypt with the idea of becoming Emperor of the World. Things go awry. He bumps into a gold-digging dancer named Anitra, who makes off with most of his money. Peer eventually winds up in a Cairo madhouse talking to a Sphinx. He prays to God, "Guardian of all madmen," but sinks into despair because

"He's not listening. He's deaf as usual. That's charming! A God who won't help when you need Him." [7]


Peer ends up with "a crown of the finest straw." He sails back to Norway with a chest of gold, gleaned from "the garbage cans of commerce." Though he earlier bragged that a man should be himself, not a "pack camel to a wife and children," Peer now ruefully admits nobody's "awaiting this rich old bastard ... " [8] His thoughts turn to death on the voyage home. Men are just meat for the cosmic "bratwurst machine." "Every story has the same ending ... (We're) shooting stars that flash for a moment, then ... disappear into the void forever." [9] The gravedigger makes our lodging; the soul drifts into extinction. One's epitaph should read: "Here lies no one." [10] After "life's long pilgrimage of fear," Peer must surrender to the Button Molder, who will melt him down.

Eckart took liberties with the play. He consciously transformed the trolls into Jewish caricatures, and insisted that Yiddish actor Max Pohl be cast as the troll king. Ibsen characterized Peer as a Norwegian peasant engaged in picaresque misadventures while vainly striving to become "World Emperor." Eckart changed him into a rustic sage -- the antithesis of modern phonies. This re-invented Peer came across as a humorously unpretentious Nordic -- always in touch with his "volkisch" roots. In one passage Ibsen's Peer stated that he learned "patience" from the Jews. Eckart's version substituted the word "cunning." Ibsen treated Peer's sexual encounter with the troll princess as youthful folly. Eckart added race-mixing overtones.

The Jewish firm of S. Fischer Verlag owned rights to Christian Morgenstern's 1880 German translation of Peer Gynt. Besides Ibsen, Fischer represented George Bernard Shaw, Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, and Gerhard Hauptmann. Eckart wrote to Ibsen's son Sigurd requesting permission to stage his translation. Dr. Ibsen politely refused, citing his long-term relationship with Fischer. According to Albert Reich Kaiser Wilhelm personally intervened to permit a stage performance of Eckart's version.

Eckart raised money to incorporate Herold Verlag and published the play at his own expense. His friend Georg von Huelsen-Haeseler staged the first production in February, 1914. Peer Gynt turned out to be a big hit. However, many critics, including Jewish editors Julius Bab and Fritz Engel condemned Eckart's translation as a bungled job, untrue to the original. They realized that he had smuggled in Pan-German sentiments, and transformed Peer from Ibsen's impish peasant into a Faustian figure. Jewish reviewer Siegfried Jacobsohn "ridiculed The Royal Theater's pretense of modernity by presenting Eckart's adulterated rendition of Peer Gynt." [11]

Image
Dietrich Eckart, c. 1912

Former Onoldia Corps swordsman Eckart could not allow such insults to go unanswered. Baron Wolfgang Graf von Gersdorff, a Royal Theater official, counseled him to remain above the fray. "Let these Jewish dogs howl," [12] he wrote. Incapable of restraint, Eckart furiously scribbled a 104 page pamphlet, "Ibsen, Peer Gynt, the Boyg, & I," which maligned his Hebrew detractors. Eckart's vanity press, Herold Verlag, published this diatribe. Because the "Jewish literary Mafia" denied him a voice, he once again had to resort to a "tribune outside existing institutions." [13] His subsidy publishing followed a pattern of increasing virulence, beginning with Eckart's innocuous book on Heine in 1893, continuing through his drama career, Auf Gut Deutsch period, and ending with final testament, "Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin."

Despite the carping of critics Eckart's version of Peer Gynt delighted audiences, and lifted him from rags to riches. Kaiser Wilhelm saw it twice. Between 1914 and 1918 Berlin's Koniglichten Schauspielen Theater put on 183 performances to packed houses. The play toured all over Germany and was translated into Czech, Hungarian, and Dutch. In 1919 Peer Gynt ran continuously in twelve cities. Ten of those theaters utilized Eckart's version, two used Morgenstern's translation. Nationalist critic Paul Schulze-Berghof weighed in with qualified praise, but cautioned that Eckart and Ibsen were Jeremiahs (prophets of doom), not messiahs who could show a better way. Hitler's personal library contained a leather-bound edition of Peer Gynt illustrated by Otto Sager and signed by Eckart who wrote: "intended for his dear friend Adolf Hitler, Dietrich Eckart, Munich, October 22, 1921."

The resounding commercial success of Peer Gynt bailed Eckart out. He paid off an estimated 11,000 marks in debts, and received a steady income from royalties for the rest of his life.

In the fall of 1913 Huelsen-Haeseler commissioned Eckart to write a historical drama about Henry Hohenstaufen to celebrate Emperor Wilhelm II's daughter Viktoria Luise's marriage to the Duke of Braunschweig. In the Kaiser's view art's chief function was to instill patriotism. Therefore, Henry would make a fit subject for dramatic interpretation since he had briefly unified Germany in the 12th Century.

Huelsen-Haeseler went along with Eckart's unorthodox request for a six month stay at Dr. Paul Hermann Wiedeburg's Schwarzeck (Black Corner) Sanatarium in Bad Blankenburg, Thuringia. (Wiedeburg later published a laudatory biography, Dietrich Eckart, A Life and Spiritual History, Druck Verlag, Hamburg, 1939.) Shortly after finishing the script, Eckart directed a performance, using inmates as actors.

The Royal Theater Society performed Henry Hohenstaufen in January, 1915. Middle class German audiences liked the play, but Berlin critics panned it as "heavy-handed propaganda." [14] Because of hostilities with Britain Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg objected to a scene in which England's king swore an oath of fealty to King Henry. Instead of simply deleting a few offensive lines, he halted the entire production after only six performances. Eckart fired off another pamphlet -- "The Boyg Engulfs Theater Once Again" -- bashing his critics, and reproaching Bethmann- Hollweg for unjustifiable censorship.

Literary Lion in Schwabing

While at Schwarzeck Sanatarium Eckart met superintendent Paul Hermann Wiedeburg's sister, Rose Wiedeburg Marx, a widow with three daughters, whose late husband was apparently of Jewish extraction. The dried-out poet turned on his charm and won her over. The couple married on September 15, 1913 and traveled to Munich on their honeymoon, where they visited Dietrich's affluent cousin Simon Eckart who lived in Giesing. Expatriate playwright Henrik Ibsen had resided in Munich for twenty-three years. Eckart found the city's atmosphere congenial. Although the newlyweds returned to the Harz Mountain village of Bad Blankenburg, Eckart grew restive in this pastoral backwater. Enthusiastic about World War I and craving the stimulation of urban life, he persuaded Rose to move to Munich, adopted city of his idol, Henrik Ibsen. Soon Eckart would take her to Ibsen's favorite vacation resort: the alpine village of Berchtesgaden.

Generally regarded as a likeable rogue, Eckart had no trouble making friends in the Bavarian capital. He fit right in at the famous Schwabing Quarter -- a "Greenwich Village" where artists, writers, philosophers, and political radicals gathered every night to drink and talk into the early hours. Companions observed that the patriotic bard constantly smoked cigars and sipped beverages. While examining Eckart's papers in 1969 Ralph Engelman noticed that most of them were "pocked with wine or coffee stains," [15] because he usually wrote at tavern tables. Rumor had it that he had dashed off the Nazi anthem ("Feuerjo!") in one sitting at the Bratwurstglockl Cafe.

Between 1892 and 1904 poet Stefan George and his "Cosmics" -- Alfred Schuler, Ludwig Klages, Frank Wedekind, Karl Wolfskehl, Ludwig Delreth, and Fanni zu Reventlow -- set the tone in Schwabing. In retrospect Stefan George himself seemed a temperamental bore. Pale as a corpse, and always fastidiously dressed in black velvet suits, he held nightly get-togethers. Guests were expected to arrive with gifts. George required devotees to memorize his opaque poems and recite them aloud. He forbade disciples to capitalize nouns and decreed that they could not own more than fifty books.

Most of the Cosmics were decadent romantics who contrasted bourgeois society to vibrant primitive cultures. From his Berlin days Eckart knew playwright Frank Wedekind, a regular contributor to Simplicissmus Magazine. Many of the group had stopped speaking to one another by 1908. Nonetheless, Eckart met Ludwig Klages, the University of Munich philosophy professor who invented hand-writing analysis, and "Biocentric Theory." Biocentrism regarded Spirit, the source of reason, as a baneful force because it imposed an alien logical order on man, thus separating him from his animal nature. In 1938 Nazi Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg banned Klages' "hedonistic" writings.

Eckart also became friendly with Alfred Schuler, magus of The Great Mother Cult. Hitler and Eckart later encountered him -- and Klages -- at the salon of Frau Elsa Bruckmann in 1922. Alfred Schuler has been called an "air man" (Luft-mensch) because he refused to work for money and never published any of his voluminous notes. After exhausting a small inheritance following the death of his mother in 1912, he subsisted on lecture fees and contributions from patrons. Karl Wolfskehl claimed that Schuler, a homosexual, first met Hitler while trawling for a casual sex partner one night in 1913. However, this story has no factual basis. Schuler did not remember any prior encounter with Hitler when they met in 1922. He certainly had no love for the German Workers Party, and strenuously objected to their desecration of his beloved swastika symbol.

Schuler's principal objective in life was to revolt against "the tyranny of reason." An admirer of Swiss anthropologist J.J. Bachofen, he glorified "animal energy" and espoused a return to ancient Roman goddess cults. Primitive tribal peoples enjoyed greater health and "spirituality" than citified Europeans because of their closeness to nature. Schuler once offered to perform ancient Greek healing rites over the insane Friedrich Nietszche. Like Guido von List, he claimed that pure German blood enabled one to access the Teutonic racial memory. Eckart agreed with Schuler's view that Germany should abandon "oriental" Christianity and establish a new earth religion based on Wagnerian opera.

Srefan George's Cosmics were all oddballs, as well as top flight intellectuals. Though acquainted with Klages and Schuler, Eckart gravitated mainly toward lesser lights, such as painters Edmund Steppes, Max Zaeper, Otto von Kursell, and music teacher Adolf Vogl.

Countess Franziska Grahn zu Reventlow (1871-1918) grew up on her father's estate in Schlesweig-Holstein. Eckart knew her brother Ernst, a right-wing journalist and Reichstag deputy who joined the National Socialist Party in May, 1922, but fell from grace by 1937 due to his advocacy of an "inter-confessional" Nazi religion.

Due to Fanni's chronic misbehavior her father sent her to a Lutheran convent school in 1886. This institution expelled her for disobedience within six months. She joined The Ibsen Club in Lubeck and soon became involved in a relationship with an older man. Fanni's parents confined her at home for weeks, until she escaped to Hamburg and got married. Finding marriage unpalatable, she ran away to Munich. Since the Reventlows disinherited her, Fanni had to earn a living. In Munich, she painted images on beer steins, sold humorous short pieces to Simplicissimus magazine, translated French novels, and even tried to open a milk shop. Finding that these enterprises did not pay enough, the countess turned to prostitution. Ludwig Klages was one of her customers. He introduced Fanni to the other Cosmics in 1894. She joined Michael Georg Conrad's Society for Modern Life, and obtained a job as co-editor of the Schwabing Beobachter, along with Oskar Schmitz. She soon became known as "The Queen of Schwabing." Fanni described her Bohemian village as "not merely a place, but a state of mind."

Fanni's tell-all journal presents a confusing picture. Although an independent woman, she didn't care about female suffrage, or economic equality with men. Why would any sane woman want an aggravating career in business or law? "Women were not created for drudgery, but lightness, joy, and beauty." On the other hand she was sexually liberated and found it easy to chuck out "cold Nordic dutifulness and guilt complexes." Fanni enjoyed free love and expressed a preference for "sensuality (not) constancy." "To be desired by a man is never an insult, even when the desire is fleeting and without deeper feeling." [16]

In 1897 Fanni gave birth to a son she named Rolf, but never determined which paramour was his father. Several men offered to support her as a mistress, but she did not want to be a "kept woman." Fanni preferred having multiple sex partners. "I love one man, but desire six more, one after another. It's precisely the variety that excites me, the new 'strange man.'" [17] She wrote affectionately of three college boy clients -- "(such) dears, so energetic!" [18] Her diary often referred to "Paul," a cocky know-it-all who functions as a stereotype for the entire male gender.

"Paul is always an amusing thing, basically trivial and without consequence. Fortunately he shows up again and again, in varying shapes and sizes." [19]


At other times she described individual men by their sex organs -- "cudgel," "pencil," "bratwurst," etc.

Ludwig Klages proposed marriage to blonde, blue-eyed Fanni, so they could pro-create good-looking Aryan children. This proposition didn't interest her.

"Klages wants to overpower me intellectually, because he can't do it as a man. (He's) just another guy with illusions of grandeur." [20]


Her favorite among the Cosmics was Karl Wolfskehl, the Jewish poet and literature professor. She called him her "manly, beautiful Assyrian prince." [21] For years they exchanged love letters, sometimes as many as three per day.

Fanni ultimately became lonely and despondent. In 1908 she felt dirty while working in a dive called the Tip Top Bar in Schwabing. After several bad experiences with lowlifes there Fanni decided to retreat to the Monte Verita spa in Ascona, Switzerland, which Henri Oedenkoven and Ida Hoffman had transformed into an artists' colony. In this setting Fanni not only renewed her friendships with Stefan Georg and Karl Wolfskehl, but also encountered Martin Buber, Paul Klee, Isadora Duncan, Prince Kropotkin, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and others. Theosophists such as Franz Hartmann, Joshua Klein, and Theodor Reuss regularly passed through Monte Veritas. Rumors abounded that Reuss practiced tantric sex magic. Fanni may have also visited Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophical compound in the neighboring town of Dornach. She died in Ascona on July 26, 1918 at the age of 47.

The Shift from Drama to Politics

In 1916 Eckart met Fanni Reventlow's friend Michael George Conrad, "the Zola of Munich," who shared his low opinion of Berlin's press. Conrad wrote naturalistic novels and short stories which graphically depicted the sleaziness of modern times. For years he edited Die Gesellschaft magazine. His articles repeatedly harped on Berlin's detrimental influence on Bavaria.

Between 1916 and 1917 Eckart and his wife Rose visited Conrad's home in Bad Toeltz on numerous occasions. At his request Eckart sent him copies of his pamphlets against critics, and promised to direct Munich's next run of Peer Gynt. Conrad admired the courage Eckart displayed in his fight against the "Jewish theater monopoly." He introduced his new friend to nationalist historian Alfred Bartels and editor Karl von Bothmer, who soon solicited articles from him. In January, 1917 Conrad wrote a glowing article about Eckart in Deutsche Volkstum magazine, which extolled him as one of Germany's leading volkisch writers. In his opinion recognition had eluded this Teutonic giant only because of their epoch's "degeneracy, the evils of Berlin, and above all, (his) ubiquitous foe." [22]

Eckart later admitted that his self-image changed after Conrad's tribute. He felt obliged to live up to his newly-acquired reputation as a defender of German culture. Heretofore, his social criticism had focused on the shallowness of contemporary mass culture. In this time of emergency, he must be more specific about the culprits dragging Germany to perdition.

Karl von Bothmer, a leading proponent of German patriotism during World War I, published several of Eckart's articles in Unser Vaterland and Die Wirklichkeit magazines. At this time Eckart also submitted pieces to the Deutsches Volkstum and Munich Times newspaper. The Times printed his patriotic poems "Bismarck" and" 1918," as well as a February, 1917 essay criticizing Nietszche as an agnostic and naysayer, who lacked the ability to express himself clearly. Eckart's four-part series for Die Wirklichkeit entitled "Merkmale Der Zeit" ("Signs of the Time") attacked Jews, pacifist intellectuals, and expressionist artists who "portrayed Germany as an insane asylum." [23] For the first time he denounced individual Jews such as Trotsky, Eisner, and Rathenau.

Some of Eckart's cronies were unabashed "Teutomaniacs." These included Ernst Wachler, a promoter of folk dramas and pre-Christian ceremonies performed in outdoor amphitheaters; a theosophically-oriented schoolteacher named Gustav Leisner, who used the stage-name Ellegaard Ellerbeck; Rudolf Gorsleben, a student of runology and the Norse Eddas; and Friedrich Krohn, a dentist fascinated by the occult. ElIegaard Ellerbeck wrote a book entitled The Sons of the Sunman in Sun-Land, which celebrated Aryan supremacy, and preached that all enemies of volkisch Teutons must be eliminated. In a tabloid article he wrote that "Jewish poison transforms the creatures of the sun into urbanites." [24] After the publication of The Sons of Sunman in Sun- Land many schools invited Ellerbeck to address children on the subjects of Theosophy and patriotism. At every speech he posed -leading questions to his youthful audience: "Is there a world of spirits?" In unison the children would yell: "yes!" Then he would ask: "can you transform yourselves into gods?" to which the students again cried out: "yes!"

In October, 1918 Eckart finally finished his tragedy Lorenzaccio, which he had been working on for two and a half years. His Lorenzaccio was a remake of French dramatist Alfred DeMusset's 1834 play. Eckart appropriated DeMussett's plot and characters, but rewrote the dialogue with a racist theme. Set in 1537 Florence, this drama pitted high-minded literary genius Lorenzaccio against a crooked, half-caste ruler named Alessandro, who had allied himself with the Medicis. Eckart intended the play as a cautionary tale with "world-denying" heroes such as Lorenzaccio and Savanrola standing for noble Germans, and the Medici cabal representing racially inferior parvenus. Lorenzaccio had assassinated evil Allesandro. However the latter's Jewish confederates Ahasver and Maurizio soon murder him. During his brief moment of glory in Act I, Lorenzaccio's ecstatic supporters chant: "our redeemer, our Fuhrer, no one, no one, no one purer!" In March, 1919 Eckart informed his brother Wilhelm that Lorenzaccio was "a great work, comparable to Faust." [25] Although he considered this play his masterpiece, it would not be performed until 1933, ten years after his death. He didn't much care. Germany's mounting political crisis now pulled him in a new direction.

______________

Endnotes

1 Ralph M. Engelman, Dietrich Eckart and the Genesis of Nazism, Washington University, 1971, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI, 1971, p. 70.

2 Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gym, trans. Michael Meyer, Anchor Books, Garden City, New York, 1963, p. 39.

3 Ibid., p. 41.

4 Ibid., p. 40.

5 Ibid., p. 48.

6 Ibid., p. 70.

7 Ibid., p. 79.

8 Ibid., pp. 114-116, passim.

9 Ibid., p. 154.

10 Ibid., p. 155.

11 Engelman, p. 75.

12 Ibid., p. 77, op. cit. Wolfgang Graf von Gersdorff letter to Dietrich Eckart, 2/20/1914, Dietrich Eckart Literary Estate, curator Anna Obster Rosner.

13 Ibid., p. 72.

14 Ibid. p.80, op. cit. Berliner Tageblatt 1/31/1915.

15 Ibid., p. 204.

16 David Clay Large, Where Ghosts Walked: Munich's Road to the Third Reich, W. W Norton & Co., New York, 1997, p. 23.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid., Franziska zu Reventlow Diary 7/15/1898.

19 Ibid. op cit, Franziska zu Reventlow, "Amouresken"

20 Ibid., p. 27.

21 Ibid., p. 29.

22 Engelman, p. 92.

23 Ibid., p. 100.

24 George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology, Schocken Books, New York, 1981, p. 82.

25 Engelman, p. 126, D. Eckart letter to Wilhelm Eckart, 3/30/1919.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:53 pm

4: Flashback: A Short History

"What we learn from history is that no one learns from history."

-- Otto von Bismarck


The Bloody Road to Unification

Following Napoleon's defeat in 1814 Germany consisted of 314 independent states and 1,475 noble estates. During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), France, England, Sweden, Austria, Poland, and Russia overran small German duchies and laid them waste. In response to the brigandage of these nations, Prince Freidrich Wilhelm of Prussia raised an army of 30,000 to defend his province. Under Frederick the Great, who ruled from 1740 to 1786, Prussia extended its domain by defeating the Austrians, Poles, and Russians in key battles.

Germany remained divided into a multitude of small principalities. With the exception of Prussia, all were relatively weak. Therefore, France continued to reign as the preeminent continental power. Russia's internal problems and squabbles with the Ottoman Empire prevented her from challenging French dominance.

One man changed all that. In 1861 General Albrecht von Roon persuaded King Wilhelm I of Prussia to appoint diplomat Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) as Minister-President. From the outset Bismarck resolved to divide Germany's predatory neighbors and unify all German states into one nation. In his maiden speech before the Prussia Landtag he asserted:

"The great questions of our day cannot be solved by speeches and majority votes ... but by iron and blood." [1]


With Austria's permission he dispatched troops to seize Schleswig- Holstein from Denmark in 1864. Austrian Emperor Franz Josef soon regretted colluding with him. Bismarck induced King Wilhelm to boycott Franz Josef's Conference of German States and began intriguing to undermine Austria's confederation with Bavaria, Wurttemburg, Saxony, and other south German regions. The situation became so intolerable that Austria declared war on Prussia in 1866. On July 3rd the Prussians decisively defeated the Habsburg monarchy and its allies in the bloody Battle of Sad ow a (or Koniggratz), which involved over 500,000 combatants. The Prussian general staff led by Field Marshal Helmut von Moltke, outsmarted Austria's high command at every turn. Breech-loading Dreyse rifles enabled Prussian infantrymen to fire and reload in prone position more rapidly than the Austrian muzzle-loaders.

Bismarck visited the battle scene near Koniggratz. The sight of dead and wounded soldiers affected him deeply. To Count Eduard von Bethusy-Huc, he declared:

"If foreign ministers ... always followed their sovereigns to the front history would have fewer wars to tell of. I have seen on a battlefield -- and what is worse, in the hospitals -- the flower of our youth carried off by wounds and disease ... With such memories and ... sights I should not have a moment's peace if I had to reproach myself for making war irresponsibly, ... out of ambition or the vain seeking of fame." [2]


In the wake of Koniggratz, Prussia absorbed Hanover, Nassau, and Hesse- Kassel into its Northern Federation, as well as the free city of Frankfurt-am- Main. Bavaria, Wurttemburg, Baden, Saxony, and Hesse-Darmstadt remained loosely aligned with Austria's Southern Confederation. However, within the next four years, Bismarck undermined Austria by concluding secret alliances with all its satellite provinces. Despite war's horror, he realized that it would take hostilities with an external enemy to effect a true consolidation of Germany.

Bringing the Hereditary Enemy to Heel

Since the late Middle Ages France had benefited from German disunity. The French ravaged Germany during the Thirty Years War, War of Spanish Succession, Napoleonic wars, and other conflicts Now Bismarck plotted to draw Emperor Louis Napoleon into The Franco-Prussian War. In September, 1869 a Spanish succession crisis provided him with the necessary pretext.

In 1846 Castilian conservatives forced sixteen year old Queen Isabella II to marry her homosexual cousin Prince Fernando I. Critics alleged that the royal consort had sired none of the queen's twelve children. This would have been tolerated if she did not surround herself with corrupt reactionaries who opposed all reasonable reforms. Incensed by her capricious meddling in politics, Moderados and Union Liberals engineered Isabella's ouster in September, 1868. Because Prince Leopold Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was Catholic, as well as a blood relation of Spain's royal house, Prussian King Wilhelm I, and French Emperor Louis Napoleon, Regent Juan Prim proffered him the Spanish crown in September, 1869. Leopold initially demurred because of Spain's political instability, and the likelihood that King Wilhelm, in deference to France, would refuse him permission to accept. The Spaniards renewed their offer in February, 1870. In the mean-time, Bismarck goaded foot-dragging Wilhelm into authorizing this arrangement. On May 28, 1870 Prince Leopold agreed to become King of Spain.

Word of this secret plot to place a Hohenzollern on the Spanish throne leaked out on July 3rd, creating a furor in France. Emperor Napoleon and his cabinet worried that a German King of Spain would eventually translate into a two-front war for them. Instead of approaching the Prussians through proper diplomatic channels, French Foreign Minister Antoine de Gramont issued a series of vituperative public statements which denounced Prussia for violating the honor and interests of France. Mobs soon gathered on Champs d'Elysees chanting: "on to Berlin!"

Meanwhile, both Bismarck and the king went on vacation. On his way to Carlsbad Bismarck buttonholed Prince Alexander Gorchakov who assured him that Russia would remain neutral in a war between Prussia and France. Lord Odo Russell had previously indicated that England would also stand aside.

On July 12th everything seemed to fall apart. Prince Leopold suddenly withdrew his candidacy, dashing Bismarck's hopes of war. But the impulsive Gramont saved the day for Prussia's war faction by continuing to rant about Germany's grievous insult to France. He demanded that King Wilhelm formally renounce Leopold's candidature, and pledge in writing that no German prince would ever seek Spain's throne. Ambassador Vincent Benedetti received an urgent order from Gramont to communicate directly with Wilhelm I at Bad Ems. On July 14th, while the king strolled with his entourage along the Lahn River, Benedetti ran up, bowed, and earnestly requested his majesty to renounce Leopold's candidacy and sign an agreement swearing never to propose another candidate for any European throne without prior approval from France. Wilhelm doffed his hat and stated that he had no comment. Bismarck immediately released this story to the press. Prussians were outraged by Benedetti's act of lese majeste toward their monarch. France seethed at Prussia's interference in Spanish affairs. Within days General von Moltke mobilized, and the French called up their reserves.

On July 28th, France impulsively declared war on Prussia. Due to conscription, Prussia's Landwehr and its allies had 1,200,000 troops, compared France's army of 662,000. Because of a series of high-handed foreign policy moves dating back to the 1850's France now found itself isolated. The United States resented Napoleon Ill's disastrous attempt to install Austrian Prince Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico. The French had fought against Russia in the Crimean War (1854 -1856), and incessantly competed with her interests in the Ottoman Empire. England did not like Emperor Napoleon III's adventurism in China, nor his attempts to annex Belgium and buy Luxemburg. Italy objected to France's unwillingness to withdraw troops from Rome. Austrians bitterly recalled that Louis Napoleon not only refused to ally himself with Austria against Prussia in 1866, but extorted Venetia from them as payment for French neutrality. In 1870 he could not woo any southern German states away from Bismarck. In spite of Bavaria and Wurttemberg's reservations about Prussia, neither of them wanted another Bonaparte marching through their territories.

The two armies began moving toward each other on July 28th. Prussians used strategic rail lines to transport soldiers and materiel to the front quickly, and utilized telegraph to communicate among units. 320,000 German troops were massed on France's doorstep by August 1st. The French marched or rode horses, and used couriers to send messages Although Marshal Edmond Leboeuf assured Napoleon that his army was prepared "down to the last gaiter button," [3] troop movements and logistics were actually chaotic. Due to inadequate provisioning several French regiments resorted to looting in the coming weeks.

Nevertheless, France had well-designed forts at Metz, Verdun, and Toul. Their bolt-action Chassepot rifles, which had an effective range of 750 meters, were superior to the Prussians' Dreyse needle-guns. They also employed Mitraleusses, an early crank-operated machine gun with revolving barrels. On the other hand, German artillery guns manufactured by Krupp accurately fired contact-detonated shells containing zinc ball shrapnel up to 4,500 meters, while the French still relied on muzzle-loaded cannon which propelled shot no more than 2,800 meters.

German high command preferred offensive maneuvers and encirclements, whereas the French favored engineered defenses balanced by "elan." The Prussians fired artillery to soften up enemy positions prior to infantry attacks, and utilized Hussar and Uhlan cavalry squadrons for reconnaissance. Prussia had recently perfected the general staff concept. Field Marshal von Moltke exercised absolute control over military operations. His adjutants accompanied titled commanders such as Prince Frederick Charles and could countermand their orders. Moreover, Moltke deputized mobile staff officers like Colonel Paul Bronsart von Schellendorf and Colonel Karl von Brandenstein to visit frontline outfits and ensure that plans were being properly executed. They were empowered to improvise creatively as circumstances changed. Moltke understood that field commanders often failed to seize 'opportunities during the heat of battle because they got bogged down with tunnel vision. His roving staff officers guaranteed that Prussian forces would adapt to real conditions and quickly capitalize on enemy blunders. The French chain of command lacked this oversight, flexibility, and fast response time.

The war's first skirmish took place on August 2nd. Napoleon III ordered his Third Corps, commanded by General Francois Achille Bazaine, to take the dead-end river town of Saarbrucken. Prussia's 40th Regiment repelled this ill-conceived attack on a remote outpost. The French withdrew after losing 86 killed and wounded, giving away their main force's location, and wasting valuable time on a worthless objective.

On August 4th, the German 3rd Army, commanded by Crown Prince Frederick shelled the French garrison town of Wissembourg, then followed up with an infantry assault. General Abel Douay's 2nd Division repelled this onslaught. German forces withdrew, reformed in defensive posture, repulsed a charge made by France's Fifth Corps, then drove them out of town. The Germans sustained 1,551 casualties (killed and wounded). The French lost 1,300 men, including General Douay, who died of wounds caused by an artillery explosion.

At Woerth on August 5th', the adversaries clashed in bad weather. This battle went back and forth. 36,000 men from France's 5th Corps acquitted themselves gallantly against 81,000 German troops, but Prussian artillery ultimately turned the tide, compelling the French to fall back toward Spicheren. On August 6th at Spicheren the French army used automatic weapon fire from Gatling guns (Mitrailleuses) to devastating effect. Nonetheless, German artillery gunners once again shot exploding shells with more accuracy than the French, forcing General Bazaine to withdraw into the fortified city of Metz. Both sides recorded total casualties of approximately 15,000 in these two actions.

On August 13th 130,000 French soldiers commanded by General Bazaine attempted a break-out from Metz, with the objective of reaching Verdun. Prussian General Konstantin von Alvensleben's cavalry detected them near Vionville. His much smaller force prevented their escape. At nearby Mars La Tour General Wilhelm Adalbert von Bredow ordered a cavalry charge which overran the French, who were forced to regroup and head back to Metz. France suffered 14,000 casualties at Vionville/Mars La Tour, Germany 16,000. Bismarck's sons Herbert and Wilhelm, who served as cavalry officers, were both wounded in this battle.

While German divisions moved up to support Alvensleben, French soldiers dug trenches and sniper pits near Gravelotte on the Mance River. At 8 A.M. on August 18th General von Steinmetz ordered an attack into Mance Ravine. The French opened up with rifle, artillery, and Mitralleuse fire, mowing down the first waves of Prussian troops. Prince Frederick Charles, an ill-humored alcoholic, ordered a second fruitless charge into this fusillade, which resulted in 8,000 more casualties within 20 minutes. After the remnants of his cousin's IX Corps retreated, Crown Prince Frederick, with an eye toward minimizing harm to his men, utilized creeping artillery fire and staggered formations to dislodge the French from their defensive positions and capture St. Privat. Germany lost 20,163 dead, wounded, and missing in this bloody battle, while inflicting 12,275 casualties on the French.

Despite fearful losses at Gravelotte, the Germans continued to close in toward Metz. At this point Empress Eugenie, safely ensconced in England, demanded that her husband personally command the Army of Chalons, then march it from Paris to Metz in order to relieve General Bazaine's bottled-up Third Corps. Though so afflicted with urinary tract stones that he could hardly mount his horse, Emperor Louis Napoleon traveled with the troops, who were commanded by General Patrice McMahon, hero of The Crimean War. McMahon realized that an eastward deployment toward German lines would expose his army to enemy flanking movements. So did General von Moltke, who force-marched troops fifty miles north to make contact with McMahon. Crown Prince Frederick's 3rd Army attacked the French at Beaumont on August 30th, killing and wounding 5,000, and capturing 40 artillery pieces.

Moltke brought up Prussia's IX Corps and caught the reeling Army of Chalons in a pincer movement at Sedan two days later. For the last time in history a European king and his retainers viewed an unfolding battle.

"King Wilhelm rode up ... with his immense entourage and half the princes of Germany, together with war correspondents and attaches from America, Russia, (and) Britain... A little apart... there clustered the effective government of Prussia, ... a group of soberly clad civilian officials standing respectfully by Bismarck ... " [4]


On September 1, 1870 these spectators watched from a hilltop as German units poured artillery and rifle fire onto the enveloped French. This enfilade foiled attempts by General De Wimppen to break out of the encirclement. French cavalry commander General Marguerite died in. action leading a charge. After a few more sallies into withering German fire collapsed, Emperor Napoleon stopped the carnage and agreed to surrender. France lost 17,000 dead and wounded, plus 21,000 taken prisoner at Sedan, as compared to 8,366 German casualties. The Germans brought Napoleon III into custody, along with 104,000 prisoners of war.

German forces achieved military victory over the French Army at Sedan, yet France itself did not capitulate. Louis Trochu, Jules Favre, and Leon Gambetta deposed Emperor Napoleon III on September 4th and assumed control of France's government. Bismarck met with Favre on September 18th and offered him peace in exchange for Metz, Stausbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, and 5 billion francs in war reparations. Favre refused to agree to those terms, not wanting to give up an "inch of our territory, (nor) a single stone of our fortresses." [5] The German army then surrounded Paris and imposed a blockade. King Wilhelm, Bismarck, and several generals wanted to bombard the city. Crown Prince Frederick and General Leonhard von Blumentthal opposed shelling civilians on humanitarian and operational grounds. The Crown Prince held that atrocities against non-combatants were always counter-productive in the long run.

From October to January French melodrama took over. On October 7th Interior Minister Leon Gambetta escaped Paris in a hot air balloon and landed in the walled city of Tours, where he began recruiting a citizens' army. Within thirty days Gambetta signed up more than 500,000 men and combined this rag-tag mob with regular army units.

The war turned uglier at this point. A French resistance movement sprang up, and started committing acts of sabotage against the foreign invaders. The Germans responded by shooting terrorists and suspected sympathizers on sight, and burning down their neighborhoods. Enraged by French resistance Bismarck ominously suggested that populations "in particularly defiant areas should be carted off en mass to prison camps in Germany." [6] That never occurred, but sentiment in Britain, Italy, and elsewhere turned against the Germans at that point.

On October 10th the French Republican Army harassed German troops occupying Orleans, and continued to carry out hit-and-run actions in that vicinity until early December. They overwhelmed one small German contingent at Coulmiers on November 9th with a surprise attack. To combat this menace General von Moltke pulled battle-hardened troops from Metz and scored successive victories against Gambetta's forces at Amiens (November 27), LeMans (December 4), Bapaume (January 3, 1871), St. Quentin (January 19), and Lisaine (January 26). After his defeat at Lisaine General Charles Bourbaki's 80,000 men fled over the Swiss border at Les Verrieres and laid down their arms.

The Germans signed an armistice with French Foreign Minister Jules Favre on November 28, 1871. The Franco-Prussian War's casualty toll amounted to 60,000 French killed, 80,000 dead due to disease, and 143,000 wounded. 32,625 Germans were killed (including 29 from suicide), 12,147 expired from disease, 60,000 received serious wounds. Estimates placed French civilian deaths around 300,000 -- from injury, privation, sickness. Many lost their lives from German reprisals, however the majority of French civilians died because of civil war in Paris and martial law "justice" meted out by Premier Adolphe Thiers' regime.

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Chancellor Otto von Bismarck

On January 18, 1871 the Germans crowned King Wilhelm German Emperor in Versailles Hall of Mirrors. They further humiliated the French on February 17, 1871 by parading victorious troops through the Arc d'Triumphe. Three months later, on May 10, 1871, both parties signed the Treaty of Frankfurt which ceded Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and imposed a 5 billion franc war indemnity on France, payable over five years. Bismarck personally did not want to aggravate France by taking Alsace, but Moltke and his staff prevailed.

Since 1866 Bismarck used both carrot and stick in his dealings with other German states. He promised military protection and economic aid to cooperative neighbors, while threatening recalcitrant provinces with tariffs, Pan-German upheavals, and withdrawal of military aid. He formally established The Federation of Deutschland on November 24, 1870, which united all German-speaking territories except Austria. In the course of annexing Hanover, Bismarck struck a deal with deposed King George V, enabling him to retain 50% or royal assets, with the other half going into a "Reptile Fund" controlled by himself. The chancellor used this private account to pay bribes, employ a corps of private investigators, and subsidize his own yellow press to blacken the reputations of Social Democrats, Catholic leaders, Crown Prince Frederick, his English wife Victoria, and other liberals. When debt-ridden King Ludwig II of Bavaria refused to join the Deutschland Federation, Bismarck brought him around by empowering his banker, Gerson Bleichroeder, to arrange a 1,000,000 mark "stipend" and 100,000 annual pension from the "Reptile Fund."

Wilhelm I reluctantly assumed the title of Emperor. To him "Deutschland" was a theoretical construct -- an artificially consolidated mishmash like the United States. Crown Prince Frederick regretted that Germany only symbolized military might to other countries. In his journal he wrote:

"We are no longer looked upon as the innocent victims of wrong, but rather as arrogant victors, no longer content with the conquest of the foe, but determined to bring about his utter ruin ... At the moment. .. we are neither loved nor respected, but only feared." [7]


German unity came at a price.

________________

Endnotes:

1 Stefan Lorant, Sieg Heil, Bonanza Books, New York, 1974, p. 8.

2 Edward Crankshaw, Bismarck, Viking Press, New York, 1981, p. 215.

3 Wikipedia.org, The Franco-Prussian War, p. 7.

4 Crankshaw, p. 278.

5 Wikipedia.org., The Franco-Prussian War, p. 15.

6 Crankshaw, p. 285.

7 Ibid., p. 299, op. cit. Diary of Crown Prince Frederick (later Emperor Frederick III), 12/31/1870.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:18 am

5: The Loose Cannon: Kaiser Wilhelm II

"I have seen three emperors naked and the sight was not inspiring."

-- Otto von Bismarck


Nineteen year old Prince Frederick of Prussia visited London in May, 1851 to see the Crystal Palace Exposition arranged by Queen Victoria's Consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Frederick's ten year old cousin Vicky, daughter of Albert and Victoria, conducted him on a private tour of the exhibits. She impressed him with her verve, cleverness, and perfect German. Four years later Queen Victoria invited Frederick to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. As in fairy tales, the handsome prince fell in love with the beautiful young princess and proposed marriage. Queen Victoria agreed to this union, but deferred the wedding date to January, 1858 because of her daughter's tender years.

Fritz and Vicky enjoyed a true love match, which produced eight children: Wilhelm, Charlotte, Henry, Sigismund, Victoria, Waldemar, Sophie, and Margaret. Nevertheless, Princess Victoria's life would be full of trials. After her honeymoon in England, she had to supervise a cold, filthy castle in Bornstedt with bad plumbing, ugly black furniture, and insubordinate servants. Her sons Sigsmund and Waldemar died in childhood. Although commoners loved Vicky for her charitable activities, most aristocrats despised "the Englishwoman" for radical views about women's rights, universal education, and representative government. Princess Victoria's detractors included her uncle, Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg, and Anglophobic mother-in- law, Empress Augusta, who untruthfully told Crown Prince Wilhelm that Vicky had refused to breast-feed him because of his crippled arm.

Although subjects hailed Fritz as second only to Field Marshal Helmut von Moltke the Elder as a hero of the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck's tabloid falsely implied that Victoria was a British spy. He referred to Fritz, Victoria, and their broad-minded friends as "the Anglo-Coburg faction." [1] He did everything in his power to render them impotent. To this end he took adolescent Prince Wilhelm under his wing in the late 1870's and persuaded him that his parents' democratic notions endangered the monarchy. The newspapers Bismarck controlled regularly printed uncomplimentary stories about Victoria. One criticized her patronage of a Jewish orphanage. Another falsely alleged that she provided military secrets to Sir Robert Morier during the Franco-Prussian War (in which her husband fought bravely.) Actually, Victoria nursed wounded soldiers, and spent money from her own purse to improve the sanitary conditions of military hospitals. A servant disclosed to Bismarck's detectives that the Crown Princess wept upon hearing of Emperor Napoleon III's death. This story was probably true since Queen Victoria enjoyed a long and cordial friendship with Louis Napoleon and Empress Eugenie, who had often entertained Vicky and her siblings at Versailles.

Crown Prince Frederick served heroically in Germany's wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, however Chancellor Otto von Bismarck denied him any political role because of his liberalism. Frederick received a severe reprimand from his father for a May, 1863 speech at Danzig in which he disagreed with Prussia's measures against freedom of speech and the press. Although he acted as regent for a few months in 1878 after a madman shot his father, curmudgeonly Emperor Wilhelm I pulled through, and Bismarck saw to it that the Crown Prince handled nothing but ceremonial functions for the next ten years. Tragically, 56 year old Frederick died of throat cancer on June 15, 1888, three months after his coronation. In April, 1888 Queen Victoria made an unprecedented trip to Germany in order to bid him farewell. Had Fritz lived, an alliance treaty with England would certainly have been concluded. Instead, crown and scepter passed to his unstable 29 year old son Wilhelm.

Dowager Empress Victoria survived another thirteen years before dying an agonizing death from breast and spinal cancer in August, 1901. On her deathbed she instructed the Prince of Wales' secretary, Sir Frederick Ponsonby, to ship a trunk full of private papers to London, knowing that Wilhelm intended to destroy all her correspondence.

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Crown Prince Frederick, 1875

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Crown Princess Victoria

Volatile Prince

Infant Prince Wilhelm's left arm had been dislocated during a forceps delivery on January 27, 1859. All his life he endured the handicap of a withered arm. The prince made up for this affliction with a cocky temperament. Though young Willy's mischievous behavior amused his grandmother, Queen Victoria, uncles "Bertie" (King Edward VII) and "Affie" (Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh) considered him a cheeky little monster. At the Prince of Wales' wedding to Princess Alexandra of Denmark in March, 1863 their four year old nephew threw his Aunt Beatrice's muff out a carriage window, tossed the cairngorm (leather purse) of his kilt on the cathedral floor, addressed Queen Victoria as "Duck," and remarked that his English relations had pug noses.

As an adult Wilhelm overcompensated for feelings of inferiority by warlike posturing. His Favorite leisure time activities were riding, shooting, and army maneuvers. Queen Victoria had warned her daughter not to allow eldest grandson Willy to associate exclusively with military officers.

"Princes ... should be thoroughly kind, menschlich, and should not feel that they (are) of different Aesh and blood (than) the poor, peasants, working classes, and servants, and that going amongst them, (is) of immense benefit to the character of those who have to reign ... The mere contact with soldiers never can do that, ... for they are bound to obey and no independence of character can be expected in the ranks." [2]


Emperor Wilhelm II's vanity demanded slavish devotion. He decreed that subjects must address him as "Most High," or "All Highest," though personal friends might shorten this to "Highest." Ministers and generals were never to questions his ukases, but simply bow and murmur: "as Your Majesty commands." [3] When English diplomat Sir Charles Harding declared that the Kaiser must build his navy slower if he wanted improved relations with Britain, Wilhelm snarled: "no one uses the word 'must' to a German emperor!" [4] His self-importance required a glittering uniform for every occasion.

"Berliners said he would not visit an aquarium without putting on admiral's attire, and had been known to climb into the uniform of a British field marshal to eat plum pudding." [5]


Wilhelm's megalomaniacal conduct distressed his mother, Dowager Empress Victoria, who prophesied in 1892 that his absolutism would take Germany

" ... down the steep path which leads to Republic or even a Socialist state. The latter could never last, there would be chaos, then reaction, dictatorship, and God knows what further damage." [6]


Wilhelm had a mercurial nature, marked by sudden mood swings. His high-strung personality constantly overreacted.

"He exaggerated good news out of all proportion, and allowed bad news to unnerve him for days." [7]


Due to what we would now call bipolar disorder, bouts of black depression often followed his temper tantrums. He combined occasional brilliance with impetuosity, arrogance, and superficiality. Noting his chronic impatience, Virginia Cowles commented that he "ruled by impulse and interference," [8] without methodical follow-up. His hyperactivity and craving for change impelled him to travel compulsively. After being crowned Emperor in 1888 he fled Berlin for fourteen out of the next eighteen months. Unlike his staid predecessors Wilhelm gadded about from Britain to Russia, Austria, Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey -- even Morocco. He seized on any pretext to sail around the North Sea on his yacht or ride his private train to the royal hunting lodge at Rominten.

In 1879 Prince Wilhelm took courses at Bonn University. During this period he visited his cousins, the daughters of his mother's late sister Alice, and Prince Louis of Hesse. Wilhelm soon fell in love with Princess Elizabeth. He wrote love poems to her, and may have proposed marriage. She refused his advances and later married Grand Duke Serge of Russia. Elizabeth's rejection of Wilhelm disappointed their grandmother, Queen Victoria. "Ella, a girl of character, would have been a restraining influence on her cousin." [9]

On February 27, 1881 21 year old Wilhelm married Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, nicknamed "Dona," who shared the Prussian nobility's Anglophobic prejudices. Unfortunately, this wholesome and docile hausfrau enabled Wilhelm's supercilious nature. She waited on His Majesty hand-and-foot and dutifully complied with his expectation of sex-on-demand. The royal couple produced six sons and one daughter: Crown Prince Wilhelm, Prince Eitel Friedrich, Prince Adalbert, Prince August Wilhelm, Prince Oskar, Prince Joachim, and Princess Viktoria Luise. The Emperor seems to have been faithful to Dona during their forty year marriage. The Empress founded dozens of churches during her reign and tried to set a high moral tone. Although Dona urged her husband to show more respect toward his mother, she exercised little stabilizing influence over Wilhelm's erratic conduct. Virginia Cowles described her as

"dull, pious, servile ... the embodiment of devoted obedience. She fulfilled the Prussian ideal of womanhood by concerning herself mainly with ... kitchens and nurseries. Her spare time was dedicated to stamping out vice and raising money for ecclesiastical purposes ... She liked to hover over her husband (at breakfast) buttering his toast and removing his plates. As a result she frequently got no (food) herself, for as soon as (Wilhelm) ... finished he would jump up and announce that it was time for a walk. 'Come along! No dawdling!' And Dona would hurry after him." [10]


Cousin Elizabeth of Hesse would have controlled Wilhelm and guided him in a more positive direction, something never done by "gentle ... amiable, sweet Dona." [11]

Emperor Wilhelm II surrounded himself with sycophants who flattered him. Sir Fairfax Cartwright of Munich's British legation noticed this, and wrote:

"By his habit of selecting for his entourage men of colourless opinions, he has put himself into the unfortunate position of being unable to probe seriously below the surface of questions and ... learn the reality of things by encouraging contradiction." [12]


With the exception of Prince Philip Eulenburg, most members of his court were mediocrities who spouted militaristic cliches and reveled in horseplay. To escape from his domestic routine Wilhelm frequently repaired to his Rominten chalet with a group of cronies. After shooting as many as 65 stags in one afternoon, the Emperor would host bachelor parties. On these occasions Wilhelm often pinched, tickled, and slapped senior officers, calling them "muttonheads," "noodles", "donkeys", or worse. In the evening, while wine flowed, the Kaiser's hangers-on entertained him. Ministers and generals dressed up as giant sausages and Siamese twins to amuse their sovereign. General Dietrich von Huelsen-Haesler, uncle of Dietrich Eckart's patron Georg von Huelsen-Haesler, took a leading role in these skits. He not only performed magic tricks, but danced in drag. On the evening of November 14, 1908, the 56 year old chief of staff donned a ballerina's tutu. To the strains of Swan Lake he delighted his sophomoric audience with a series of leaps, pirouettes, and glissades. After this strenuous performance, he unfortunately collapsed and died of a heart attack. The Kaiser's physician could not revive him. After a local doctor pronounced the general dead, junior officers carried his corpse to an upper banquet room. Rigor mortis stiffened the body to such an extent that they had to cut off Huelsen-Haeseler's ballet costume with knives before dressing him in his army uniform.

Wilhelm inherited Chancellor Otto von Bismarck from his grandfather, but had no wish to follow his counsel. He annoyed The Iron Chancellor by interrupting cabinet meetings with impertinent remarks. Bismarck resisted the immature Kaiser's attempts to boss him around. On one occasion Wilhelm ordered him to stop parleying with a liberal Reichstag deputy.

"Bismarck threw his dispatch case on the floor, and said that if William wanted his resignation he could have it; he could not do his duty unless he saw whom he liked. 'Even if your Sovereign forbids it?' asked the Kaiser. 'The power of my Sovereign ceases at my wife's drawing room: snapped the Chancellor." [13]


The end came because of a dispute over benefits for workers. Wilhelm wanted to toss another sop to the masses. Bismarck had already stolen socialist thunder by passing his "Applied Christianity" program, which included the Health Insurance Bill of 1883, Accident Insurance Bill of 1884, and Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889. That was quite enough. He argued that union laborers should be regarded as whining children, who wished to be rewarded for low school grades. It was a mistake to give in to their endless and insatiable demands. Germany's products would become overpriced and uncompetitive on the world market if spoiled workers grabbed any more pay or benefit increases. He incurred the Emperor's wrath by vetoing his social welfare package.

Wilhelm privately referred to Bismarck as "a boorish old killjoy." [14] In his opinion he had been a liability for years. Prussian Landtag members annually petitioned his grandfather to sack him. He had incensed Catholics by ridiculing their doctrine of papal infallibility, requiring civil marriage ceremonies, and expelling all Jesuits from Germany in 1872. His unrelenting dirty tricks operations against Social Democrats provoked opposition to the crown.

Realizing that he could not work with an inexperienced 31 year old know-it-all, Bismarck resigned in March, 1890. The young Emperor offered a generous retirement bonus, which he declined, and a new title, Duke of Lauenberg. Bismarck sardonically replied that he might be able to use that name as an alias when traveling. The Chancellor alluded to the elaborate farewell ceremony held in his honor as "a state funeral." [15] From his East Prussian estate in Varzin he wrote articles criticizing the Kaiser's policies. After his wife's death in 1894, he moved to Friedrichsruh, a suburb of Hamburg, hoping to be consulted on matters of state, but Wilhelm never summoned him for advice.

Bismarck's departure in March, 1890 left a huge vacuum in Germany's foreign office. Baron Friedrich von Holstein, a misanthrope who trusted no one, assumed control from behind the scenes. He created a culture of paranoia at Wilhemstrasse. His favorite methods of diplomacy were intimidation and blackmail. He kept dossiers on all leading political figures in Germany. Even Bismarck, who occasionally indulged in extramarital affairs, treated him with deference. Although Holstein hated Britain, France, and Russia, he didn't want to fight all three at the same time. Therefore, his policy consisted of hatching schemes to divide these enemies, while flexing Germany's muscles to frighten them. He lacked the humanity, wisdom, and imaginative vision to forge an alliance with any of these parties. During this bungler's watch Bismarck's secret 1887 treaty with Russia lapsed. By 1906, thanks to Holstein's ill will toward every nation but Austria, Germany became isolated.

Bismarck famously described politics as "the art of the possible." His Realpolitik aimed at German hegemony in Europe. He wrote off the Balkans, Africa, and Far East as being outside the Reich's sphere of influence. Colonies always brought "a million savages to supervise," but rarely a good economic return. Wanting Germany to play a leading role on the world stage, Kaiser Wilhelm pursued the impossible dream of Weltpolitik.

Since the chief qualification for any ministerial candidate had to be slavish obedience to his every whim, Wilhelm's appointments were uninspired. He replaced Bismarck with a nonentity named Leo von Caprivi, who proved incapable of handling the post. Wilhelm appreciated General Helmuth von Moltke the Younger's manners and administrative abilities, in spite of his reputation for melancholia and indecision. The Kaiser chose Bernhard von Bulow -- dubbed ''The Eel" by colleagues for his slipperiness-as Chancellor in 1900. The unassertive Theobald Bethmann-Holweg succeeded von Bulow in 1909. On the eve of war Wilhelm sat back and permitted Alfred von Kiderlen-Wachter, Bethmann-Holweg's incompetent foreign minister, to provoke England, France, and Russia over trivial issues.

Prince Philip of Eulenburg und Hertefeld (1847-1921) was the Emperor's best friend between 1887 and 1907. This highly cultured man, twelve years older than Wilhelm, received decorations for valor in the Franco- Prussian war. He married Princess Augusta Sandels on November 20, 1875, by whom he had eight children. In 1877 he joined the German foreign service, eventually becoming ambassador to Austria. On his recommendation the Kaiser appointed Bernhard von Bulow chancellor in 1900. An accomplished musician and poet, Eulenburg not only diverted Wilhelm with humorous songs, but exerted a soothing effect on him.

"He chose to work in a feminine way, delighting the Kaiser with his witty talk, wrapping his criticisms in silky words and always waiting for the right moment to cajole and persuade." [16]


The unctuous prince -- whom Bismarck dubbed "Cagliostro" -- used the utmost discretion with the Kaiser. Rather than telling him to shut up whenever newspaper reporters approached, Eulenburg counseled him not to waste his "gift of eloquence" on "the hoi polloi." To Baron von Holstein's vexation, "Phili," nudged temperamental Wilhelm in a rational-direction -- away from imperialism, and toward rapprochement with Russia and England.

Baron von Holstein's diplomatic career ended in 1906 after the Moroccan Crisis. He offered to step down following the unsatisfactory Algeciras Conference, but did not expect his resignation to be accepted by Chancellor von Bulow. When it was, the Baron suspected foul play on the part of Eulenburg and wrote him a threatening letter in April, 1906. "You have now attained the object for which you have been intriguing for years -- my retirement." [17] Holstein then went on to accuse him of being "a despicable person" and sex pervert. When Prince Eulenburg challenged him to a duel, Holstein wrote a bland letter of apology, then enlisted Jewish journalist Maximilian Harden (real name Felix Ernst Witkowski) to defame him. On October 17, 1907 Harden wrote an expose in the disreputable tabloid paper Die Zukunft which vilified Prince Philip as a homosexual, and alleged that he had carried on an affair with Count Kuno Graf von Moltke, commander of Berlin's army garrison. Moltke immediately sued Harden for libel. At court hearings held between October 23rd and 29th, Moltke's ex-wife, Lili von Elbe, trashed him, swearing that they only had conjugal relations twice -- while on their honeymoon. Sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld ascended the stand as an expert witness and confirmed that "Moltke most certainly had a feminine side and was homosexual even if he never committed sodomy." [18] Incredibly, the court accepted such drivel as evidence of Moltke's guilt and Harden's innocence.

Eulenburg also sued Harden for libel, but the court returned a verdict of "not proven," then prosecuted him for perjury. In June, 1908 Munich Crown Solicitor Edouard Bernstein lined up 145 witnesses, most of them criminals. The court disqualified all but two -- Jakob Ernst, a drunken servant on Eulenburg's estate, and a petty crook named Georg Reidl, both of whom testified that Prince Eulenburg engaged in homosexuality. His reputation now ruined, Eulenburg wondered: "what can be God's purpose in this?" [19] Princess Augusta Eulenburg stood by her man, testifying:

"I declare on my honor as a wife and mother that the accusations put forward are from A to Z lies invented by envious enemies and false friends; and that in the long period of the thirty-four years comprising our married life I have never perceived the smallest sign of anything but perfectly normal emotional life ... Nor can I understand how any reasonable person can venture to speak of abnormality in face of the fact that in the first ten years of our marriage eight healthy children were born to us. But in Germany ... the happiest of marriages are not safe from such 'modern' suspicions ... " [20]


Although Kaiser Wilhelm allowed homosexuals into his court, he was indisputably heterosexual himself. Because of the scandal he sadly dropped Philip Eulenburg as a friend, and ordered Moltke and fourteen other members of the "Liebenburg Round Table" to give up their commissions. Six other officers, fearing exposure, committed suicide. Circumstantial evidence indicated that Prince Eulenburg might have indulged in homosexual liaisons. The Berlin Police Department's vice squad had files on several of his friends, including Georg von Huelsen-Haeseler, Kuno von Moltke, Wilhelm von Hohenau, Count Johannes von Lynar and Anton Stadele. However, Eulenburg's enemies never succeeded in convicting him. The perjury case dragged on for years, finally petering out due to his ill health.

Two facts were beyond doubt. Eulenburg exerted a moderating influence on Kaiser Wilhelm, and he disappeared from the imperial court forever in 1907. Max Harden, who considered himself a German patriot, later admitted to Magnus Hirschfeld that breaking the Eulenburg story had been the biggest mistake of his life.

Amateur at the Helm

"I am steady as the North Star."

-- Emperor Wilhelm II to Prince Philip Eulenburg


Kaiser Wilhelm adhered to a dilettantish belief that kings could circumvent their diplomatic corps and forge lasting treaties with a handshake. He naively thought that his affectionate relationship with "Cousin Nicky," Tsar of Russia, translated into amicable relations with the Russian Empire. On the other hand, testy encounters with "Uncle Bertie," King Edward VII of England, might lead to war. The Kaiser expressed alarm in June, 1908 when Bertie rendezvoused with Tsar Nicholas's yacht off the coast of Reval. Wilhelm worried about a plot against him because "Nicky" and "Georgie" (George V of Britain) suddenly stopped conversing when he entered a room during a party.

With the best of intentions "Willy" boarded his yacht, The Hohenzollern, in June, 1905 and cruised to an off-shore meeting with "Nicky's" "Polar Star," near Bjorko in the Baltic Sea. Amid champagne toasts and embraces the two emperors drew up an alliance and signed it then and there. Because of this impromptu agreement von Bulow threatened to resign. Nicholas's Foreign Minister, Count Vladimir von Lamsdorff, behaved more tactfully, commenting: "has his majesty forgotten ... (our) treaty with France?" [21]

The Kaiser's naval policy and his intransigent foreign office on Berlin's Wilhelmstrasse frustrated all attempts to reach an understanding with England. Most people hailed King Edward VII as an amiable bon vivant, yet Wilhelm called him "Uncle Satan" -- for cultivating France and Russia as allies, rather than his Anglo-Saxon cousins in Germany. When Wilhelm received an invitation for a state visit from Emperor Franz Josef in 1888, and learned that Uncle Bertie would also be there, he insisted that no other visiting royal be present at the Habsburg Court. This forced the embarrassed Prince of Wales to abscond from Vienna ahead of schedule, and patch together an improvised visit with King Carol of Romania. Edward had always regarded his nephew as a spoiled brat. He now prophesied that "Wilhelm the Great" would become "the most brilliant failure in history." [22]

An enthusiastic sailor, Kaiser Wilhelm competed in Britain's Cowes Regatta off the Isle of Wight many summers between 1889 and the early 1900's. At immense cost he had his "Meteor" tricked out as one of the world's swiftest racing vessels, and won the Queen's Cup several times. Uncle Bertie, mortified that the Meteor had beaten his own Britannia, began referring to Wilhelm as "the Boss of Cowes." [23] To humor her German grandson Queen Victoria made him an honorary Admiral of the English Fleet, a title he abused by inviting himself aboard British warships to inspect the latest additions to their naval equipment.

Wilhelm's love of sailing kindled a desire for an impressive navy. Regrettably, his nautical bent created a major bone of contention with England. Though far from stupid, the Kaiser never fully grasped the extent to which his naval building agenda jeopardized Anglo-German relations. Under Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz's tutelage, Wilhelm more than doubled the German navy's size and acquired an impressive fleet of dreadnoughts, cruisers, and submarines. He thought that this build-up would earn him respect and prod Britain into making concessions. In fact, it alienated the English and spurred them into an unprecedented naval construction program. As Germany's Social Democrat politicians pointed out, a land-locked continental power without serious colonial ambitions did not need a huge navy. The Kaiser remained undeterred. When war broke out in 1914, he did not even want to deploy his precious ships. Wilhelm actually reprimanded Admiral von Tirpitz for repulsing a British invasion of Germany's base at Heligoland. England never comprehended that childish Wilhelm treasured his fleet as a collection of valuable possessions, the way an auto buff prizes his sports cars and antique vehicles.

Germany prospered during the Wilhelmine Era. Per capita income doubled between 1888 and 1914. Population increased from 41 to 66 million. Germany led Europe in pig iron production, chemical manufacture, scientific research, and railroad technology. Business was so brisk during most of the Kaiser's reign that Germans experienced not merely full employment, but labor shortages which required the importation of foreign "guest workers."

In 1877, as an experiment in egalitarianism, Wilhelm's tutor George Hintzpeter convinced Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Victoria to enroll their 17 year old son in a boys' school at Kassel for one semester. To Hintzpeter's chagrin, his pupil ranked tenth in a class of sixteen. He explained that lack of application, not dullness, accounted for this dismal result. Kaiser Wilhelm certainly had above-average intelligence. He was a perceptive traveler, quick learner, excellent conversationalist, and had acquired profound knowledge of archeology. His flashes of insight far outnumbered his blunders. He unequivocally admonished Tsar Nicholas on several occasions to stay out of Austrian-Serb conflicts. During the 1913 crisis he notified Austria: "I shall not march against Paris and Moscow for the sake of Albania!" [24] In August, 1914 when Chancellor Bethmann-Holweg and the general staff insisted that Wilhelm sign a mobilization order in his capacity as constitutional monarch, he reluctantly acceded, with the prophetic words: "you will regret this, gentlemen!" [25] Many of Wilhelm's off-the-cuff judgments were clear-sighted, however his distaste for plodding work and want of staying power created a recipe for disaster. As an absolute monarch he wished to control policy, rather than delegate. But Wilhelm's short attention span, impulsiveness, vacillations, and neglect of state business helped create the diplomatic train wreck of 1914.

Most of Kaiser Wilhelm's gaffes resulted from intemperate speech. He liked to refer to Germany's Reichstag as "that monkey house," even when important appropriation bills were pending. His widely publicized telegram to Boer leader Paul Kruger on January 3, 1896 deeply offended Britain.

"I express my sincere congratulations that, supported by your people, without appealing for help of friendly powers, you have succeeded by your energetic action against armed bands which invaded your country as disturbers of the peace, and have thus been enabled to restore peace and safeguard the independence of the country against attacks from the outside." [26]


A firm believer in the Yellow Peril, Wilhelm exhorted German troops bound for China during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion to

"give no quarter! Take no prisoners! Kill (them) when they fall into your hands! The Huns under King Atilla made such a name for themselves as still resounds in terror through legend and fable. So may the name of Germans resound through Chinese history a thousands years from now ... " [27]


English journalists did not forget his choice of words. During World War I Britain's press contemptuously referred to Germans as "Huns."

Although his ministers liked to hinder British and French colonial ventures in Africa, Wilhelm blabbed that he considered Germany's colonies in Togoland (Ghana), Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Nambia a Financial burden. During the Boer War he complained to British ambassador Edward Malet that

"For a few square miles full of niggers and palm trees England ... threatened her one true friend, the German Emperor." [28]


With British support France took over Morocco in 1904. Irritated about not receiving advance notice of this move, Baron von Holstein decided to stir up trouble. At his suggestion Chancellor von Bulow urged Kaiser Wilhelm to visit Morocco and offer the local sultan military assistance against France. On March 31, 1905 Wilhelm's gleaming white yacht slid into Tangiers harbor. The sultan's uncle met him at the dock with a spirited Arabian horse and brass band. On this nimble mount the Emperor cantered through

"mobs of anarchists, swindlers, and adventurers... who displayed their enthusiasm by rending the air with deafening shouts, and shooting wildly in every direction ... " [29]


Wilhelm's fatuous social call on a Muslim chieftain almost triggered a war. The French cancelled all military leaves and Germany called up its reserves. The Algeciras Conference Finally settled the matter in France's favor, with token concessions to Germany. Did the Kaiser learn from these incidents? No, he lacked impulse control to the end.

Image
Emperor Wilhelm II

In October, 1908, without benefit of Prince Eulenburg's guidance, Wilhelm uttered a series of injudicious remarks while being interviewed by London's Daily Telegraph.

"You English are mad, mad as March Hares... What on earth has come over you that you should harbor such suspicions against us?" [30]


He went on to state that, because of Japan's meteoric rise, Britain should be pleased with Germany's growing fleet. Then Wilhelm revealed that Russia and France had secretly prodded him to join the Boers and teach those stuck-up Englishmen a lesson. He not only declined to do so, but sent Queen Victoria his general staff's review of British army tactics in South Africa. In one short newspaper article the Kaiser managed to embarrass Germany, England, Japan, France, and Russia. When a series of critical articles made it plain that Wilhelm had behaved like a jackass, he suffered a near nervous breakdown, spending days in bed with the shakes.

Missed Opportunities and a Fatal Alliance

Bismarck always regarded Germany's Austro-Hungarian "vassal state" as a "bottom-feeder," and emphasized that her ludicrous designs in the Balkans must never be allowed to drive German policy. He held that their alliance with the Dual Monarchy was purely defensive. Germany would come to Austria's aid only if another power attacked her. He knew that the Austrian hound liked to pick through garbage for a trophy, and wanted no part of her scavenging expeditions. Bismarck had famously asserted:

"The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier." [31]


During the Bulgarian Crisis of February, 1888 he reiterated his thesis that irresponsible Balkan backwaters must never be allowed to spark a general European conflagration.

"Bulgaria, that little country (below) the Danube ... is far from being an object of adequate importance ... for which to plunge Europe from Moscow to the Pyrenees, ... from the North Sea to Palermo, into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At (such a) conflict's end we should scarcely know why we had fought." [32]


In 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm and Theobald Bethmann-Holweg both forgot the Iron Chancellor's axiom that Austria would automatically void the terms of her alliance with Germany if she acted as an aggressor.

Bismarck realized that Germany, with only Austria as an ally, would be hard-pressed to win a two front war against Russia and the combined forces of Britain and France. Therefore, the Reich had to make friends with either Britain or Russia. The Iron Chancellor felt more comfortable with autocratic Russia, but did not bend over backwards to entice her. He refused to lower Germany's tariffs on Russian goods. While negotiating a peace settlement at the Congress of Berlin after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, he favored the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, Bismarck did not want war with Russia. Thus, in 1887 he established the League of Three Emperors and signed a Reinsurance Treaty with the Russian Empire (which Holstein and company allowed to expire.)

Queen Victoria had always been a Germanophile. A Hanoverian princess herself, she took Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as her spouse, and required all of her children to take German lessons. Four of them married Germans. Princess Victoria wed Crown Prince Frederick, whom the Queen especially esteemed. Princess Alice married Prince Louis of Hesse, Prince Arthur enjoyed a long and happy marriage to Princess Louise of Prussia, and Princess Beatrice got married to Prince Henry of Battenberg. Queen Victoria's son Alfred became Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha after his Uncle Ernst died in 1893. She went to her grave in January, 1901, confident that her grandson Wilhelm would never dream of waging war against his British cousins.

German surliness ultimately forced England to sign the Triple Entente with France and Russia in 1907, even though there had been several windows of opportunity for an Anglo-German Pact at the turn of the century. Britain solicited Germany for an alliance three times between 1898 and 1902. The Russian Autocracy repelled English moderates. Tsarist Russia had long been a menace in the Balkans and Middle-East. Her modus operandi had not changed since the 18th Century: send secret agents into Crimea, Turkey, or Montenegro to provoke an incident, then intervene for "idealistic" reasons. Posing as "protectress of all Slav states, no matter what their conduct," [33] Russia routinely permitted Serbia and Albania to threaten Austria-Hungary's interests.

Joseph Chamberlain, Viscount Richard Haldane, and other British statesmen advocated an accord with Germany rather than Russia. They did not oppose "legitimate" German colonial expansion into Africa or the Middle-East. The Reich's strength and competence would make it a much more reliable ally than backward Russia. In 1898 Colonial Secretary Chamberlain told German ambassador Paul Hatzfeldt that

"Britain's natural alliance was with Germany, as both countries had reason to fear French and Russian aggression." [34]


Paranoid Baron von Holstein suspected "English devilry" [35] -- a bid to obtain German protection for their far-flung empire.

" ... Holstein's twisted mind threw every picture out of focus; ... he seemed incapable of grasping the fact that Germany ... would have to give a quid pro quo ... " [36]


To the concerns of Hatzenfeldt and von Bulow that a rejection of this invitation might throw Britain into the arms of Russia, Holstein exclaimed: "Humbug!" [37] Based on his counsel Chancellor von Bulow rebuffed Britain's overtures, muttering that their navy would not be of much value in a land war anyway. Bismarck facetiously remarked that: "if the British Army landed in Europe, I'd have the Belgian police arrest them." [38] Bulow and Holstein shared this foolish underestimation.

To sabotage England's final offer, Holstein dredged up an old newspaper quotation in which Joseph Chamberlain had stated that British operations during the Boer war did not approach atrocities committed in "Caucasus, Algeria, Tong King, and ... the Franco-Prussian War." [39] The German press lambasted one of Germany few friends for daring to suggest that violence against civilians had occurred during the Franco-Prussian War. Chamberlain gave up his thankless campaign to form an alliance Germany. In a speech he admitted:

"Now I have had enough of such treatment ... There can be no question of an association between Great Britain and Germany." [40]


Gratuitous insults continued. In 1901 when Bertie came to see his dying sister for the last time, crowds of Germans gathered on railroad station platforms to boo him and play the Boer national anthem.

Due to the inanity of Holstein and Bulow Germany spurned English advances and set the stage for World War I. Emperor Wilhelm let this happen by failing to heed certain voices crying out in Wilhelmstrasse's wilderness. Count Paul von Metternich repeatedly warned that Germany's wasteful naval spending program would poison the Reich's relationship with England. Prince Karl Lichnowsky prophesied that the Russian Bear would draw France and Britain into war with Austria and Germany over the next Balkan crisis. Kaiser Wilhelm's favorite courtier, Prince Philip Eulenberg, often alerted him to Baron Holstein's baleful effect on German foreign policy.

Shortly before his death in July, 1898 Bismarck told Jewish shipping magnate Albert Ballin: "if there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans." [41] By August 3, 1914 the weaker treaty partners, Austria and Russia, had dragged stronger powers into World War I. The fault lay mainly with Austria, specifically her rash Foreign Minister, Count Leopold von Berchtold. A Serbian terrorist named Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz-Ferdinand and his wife Archduchess Sophia at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Wanting to pulverize Serbia and absorb it into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Berchtold issued an ultimatum on July 23, 1914 which effectively demanded the establishment of an Austrian police state in Belgrade to crush Pan-Slavism. Serbia sent an accommodating response agreeing to outlaw Narodna Odbrna, a militant Slav organization, arrest anti-Austrian provocateurs, and censor all propaganda uncomplimentary to Austria-Hungary. Berchtold summarily rejected their reply and threatened to declare war. Bismarck once said: "anyone who has looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war." [42] Oblivious to the imminent risk of war, Berchtold clung to the illusion that a conflict with Serbia could be localized. Eight million young men would die in vain because of his bad judgment.

France and Britain initially sympathized with Austria, agreeing that Serbia should be penalized for the Archduke's assassination. But public opinion in both nations altered after Austria promulgated her punitive ultimatum. Unhappily, Austrian enmity toward Serbia set a fatal chain reaction in motion. Serbia mobilized, causing Austria to declare war on July 28th. The Tsar and his general staff ordered a partial mobilization on July 31st to reassure Serbia and sober-up Austria. This action spooked Germany, which mobilized August 1st and declared war on Russia, thus bringing France into the conflagration. In hindsight Britain and France should have urged Russia not to mobilize until Austria actually marched toward Serbia. Due to Austrian ineptitude, that took two weeks. Catastrophe might have been averted within that period.

Germany's abysmal diplomacy since Bismarck's resignation now stood out in bold relief. Worthless allies such as Italy and Rumania instantly declared neutrality, leaving her with three second-rate powers -- Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey -- to fight France, Russia, Britain, and eventually the United States.

During the Austro-Serbian Crisis of July, 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm was all over the place -- sometimes right, usually confused, always frantic, never operating as a steadying influence. He thought the Serbs should be punished for Franz-Ferdinand's death, but considered Austria's ultimatum too severe. Serbia's agreeable reaction afforded him hope of a peaceful resolution. Yet he could not resist fanning the flames by vilifying the Serbs as

"orientals, therefore liars, tricksters, and masters of evasion... Serbia is not a nation in the true sense, but a band of robbers... We can't act like gentlemen toward murderers ... " [43]


Russia's intrusion exasperated him. She had "stepped into a quarrel which did not concern her in order to advance her interests in the Balkans and Turkey." [44]

Wilhelm incorrectly presumed that Tsar Nicholas would let the monarchical principle take precedence over Balkan strategems. How could "Nicky" compromise his own self-interest -- and betray European royalty -- by championing the cause of Serbian regicides? By letter of July 29 Cousin Nicky exhorted "Willy" to "do what you can to stop your allies from going too far," [45] a sentiment echoed by British Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey who advised Germany to hold back Austria in order to preserve peace. Beside himself, Wilhelm and his brother Prince Henry contacted Cousin Georgie in England. They framed the question: if France and Russia declared war on Austria, and Germany entered the fray due to treaty obligations, would England join her allies against Germany? To their horror King George V answered: "yes!. .. under certain circumstances." [46] This came as a rude shock to Wilhelm, who considered war with England as "a most unimaginable thing." [47] It seemed incredible to him that

"The final struggle between ... Slavs and Germanic races finds ... Anglo-Saxons on the side of Slavs!" [48]


Of course, King George's analysis should have come as no surprise. Germany's defective foreign policy had compelled Britain to join the Triple Entente seven years earlier. Now Austria, Serbia, and "forces of blind causation" were dragging all major European powers into a horrendous bloodbath that would benefit no one. Wilhelm immediately suspected a grand conspiracy against him on the part of Nicky, Georgie, and those devilish lechers in France.

"I no longer have any doubt that England, Russia, and France have agreed among themselves ... to use the Austro-Serb conflict as a pretext for waging a war of annihilation against us ... " [49]


At that point he abandoned all hope of a localized conflict, and tried to banish anxiety by assuming a macho attitude: "Bring it on!" [50] he cried.

______________

Endnotes

1 John Van der Kiste, Queen Victoria's Children, Alan Sutton, Gloucester, U.K., 1986, p. 58.

2 Virginia Cowles, The Kaiser, Harper & Row, New York, 1963, pp. 42-43, op. cit. Letters of Empress Frederick to Queen Victoria.

3 Ibid., p. 77.

4 Ibid., p. 252.

5 Ibid., p. 281.

6 Van der Kiste, p. 142, op. cit. Egon C. C. Corti, The English Empress, Cassell, 1957.

7 Cowles, p. 361.

8 Ibid., p. 106.

9 Van der Kiste, p. 99.

10 Ibid., pp. 77-78.

11 Van der Kiste, p. 99.

12 Cowles, p. 245.

13 Ibid., p. 94.

14 http://www.wikipedia.org, William II, German Emperor, p. 5.

15 Cowles, p. 97.

16 Ibid., p. 108.

17 Ibid., p. 226.

18 http://www.wikipedia.org, Eulenburg-Harden Affair, p. 3.

19 Cowles, p. 235. op. cit. Johannes Haller, Philip Eulenburg,: The Kaiser's Friend.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid., p. 220.

22 Van der Kiste, p. 126.

23 Cowles, p. 240.

24 Ibid., p. 301.

25 http://www.wikipedia.org. William II, p. 11.

26 Cowles, p. 46.

27 Ibid., p. 177.

28 Ibid., p. 146.

29 Ibid., p. 210.

30 Ibid., p. 258.

31 http://www.wikiquote, Otto von Bismarck, p. 5.

32 Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, Otto von Bismarck, p.9, op. cit Otto von Bismarck's Reichstag Speech, February, 1888.

33 Cowles, p. 327.

34 Ibid., p. 162.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid., p. 188.

37 Ibid., p. 189.

38 http://www.wikiquote.org. Bismarck quotations, p. 4.

39 Cowles, p. 197.

40 Ibid.

41 http://www.wikiquote.org, Bismarck quotations, p. 4.

42 Ibid., p. 2, August 11, 1867 speech in Berlin.

43 Cowles, pp. 316, 319, 330 passim.

44 Ibid., p. 353.

45 Ibid., p. 333.

46 Ibid., p. 303.

47 http://www.wikipedia.org, William II, p. 7.

48 Cowles, p. 303.

49 http://www.wikipedia.org, William II, p. 10.

50 Cowles, p. 321.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:28 pm

6: The war to End All wars

"The Balkans (are) far from being an object of adequate importance for which to plunge Europe into a war whose issue no man can foresee."

-- Otto von Bismarck


On August 1, 1914 General Helmuth von Moltke the Younger began executing the Schlieffen Plan, which had been devised by General Alfred Graf von Schlieffen in 1905. This strategy sought to administer a fatal blow to France in the west before Russia could fully mobilize in the east. It called for the German army's right wing to advance westward through Belgium, turn south along the Channel coast, then head southeast below Paris in pursuit of the French army. Germany offered Belgium indemnities and a guarantee of independence in exchange for free passage through her territory. She refused and appealed to France and England for military aid. The German army marched through anyway, in violation of Belgian neutrality. This drew Britain into the conflict. On August 5th British ships cut Germany's trans-Atlantic cables to prevent pro-German news releases from reaching America.

As events unfolded the Tsar's inadequately provisioned "mob of serfs" foundered, whereas the combined armies of France and Britain acquitted themselves very capably. Entente forces on the Western Front proved to be a much more formidable adversary than Napoleon III's army in 1870.

320,000 German troops under generals Karl von Bulow and Erich Ludendorff attacked the 12-ringed fortress of Liege on August 5th, defended by 70,000 Belgian soldiers. After an eleven day siege in which they utilized bombing Zeppelins, Big Bertha howitzers, and successive infantry charges, the Germans captured Liege. They went on to score a string of victories at Metz on August 20th, Namur (August 23rd), Mons (August 23rd), and Antwerp (September 10th.) Advance guard units of Germany's cavalry saw the Eiffel Tower in mid-September, but Moltke chose to bypass Paris and attack French forces in the field, as his uncle had done during the Franco-Prussian War.

Because Russia mobilized faster than expected, General Max von Prittwitz on the Eastern Front urgently requested reinforcements from Moltke, who dispatched two army corps (180,000 men) by train. However, generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich von Ludendorff effectively dealt with the "Tartar invaders" before these additional troops disembarked. Due to a spat going back to 1904, Russian generals Alexander Samsonov and Pavel Rennenkampf were not on speaking terms. By intercepting unencrypted radio transmissions German intelligence closely monitored their positions and movements. By September 2, after two weeks of fighting, the Germans trounced a numerically superior Russian force by rapidly transporting soldiers by rail from one front to another. Artillery barrages and flank attacks had the Tsar's army reeling by September 2nd. Germany incurred 12,500 casualties, while killing or wounding 30,000 Russians, and taking 95,000 prisoners. General Paul von Hindenburg followed up by defeating the remainder of Rennenkampf's 1st Army at Masurian Lakes on August 30th, and driving them out of East Prussia. That action resulted in another 60,000 Russian casualties.

Moltke's detachment of two army corps from the Western Front soon brought adverse consequences. On September 10th the 120,000-man strong British Expeditionary Force blindly marched south from Paris, directly into a gap near the German army's rear. To avoid a calamity generals Alexandre von Kluck and Karl von Bulow fell back and regrouped. Meanwhile, General Franchot d'Esperey launched a night invasion at Marchais-en-Brie which forced the Germans to withdraw. General Joseph Joffre of France used this time to array his army in defensive positions along the Marne River. The French 10th Army attacked the Germans at Arras on October 1st, forcing them to retreat. Three days later Reichswehr units counterattacked and drove the French back to Lens. The battles of September, 1914 caused 250,000 Allied, and 300,000 German casualties.

A massive invasion by the Germans at Ypres in November failed to break through Joffre's defenses along the Marne. Military historians generally agree that if Germany could have utilized the two reserve corps Moltke sent to Prussia, they would have breached French and British lines. After Ypres the opposing sides became deadlocked in four years of grisly trench warfare. By December 1914, with no victory in sight, Germany lost 650,000 dead, wounded, or captured, France 850,000 men, England 85,000. The British Army, so scornfully dismissed by Prussian generals, simply would not yield, despite appalling miscues committed by its high command. German officers described English Tommies as "lions led by donkeys." [1]

After The First Battle of Ypres General von Moltke realized that the war could not be won. Kaiser Wilhelm and Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg appointed Field Marshal Erich von Falkenhayn in his place. At first von Falkenhayn shrewdly remained on the defensive, allowing French and British regiments to spend thousands of troops in futile attempts to capture scorched stretches of wasteland at Champagne, Artois, 2nd Ypres, and Loos. At 2nd Ypres on April 22, 1915 German artillery fired 5,000 chlorine gas canisters at British and French troops for the first time. The furious fighting in the spring of 1915 necessitated a "time out" during June and July because both sides had used up most of their ammunition.

By October, 1915 a large "draftee army" replaced General John French's decimated British Expeditionary Force. Combatants invented different slang terms for the battle zone. To Germans it was "the sausage machine." French poilus named it "the meat grinder," British soldiers "no man's land." Machine gunners likened enemy charges to "turkey shoots," except that the targets they mowed down were waves of 17-to-22 year old boys.

Civilians did not escape the mayhem. Using the "collective guilt" doctrine, Germans shot thousands of Belgians without trial for acts of sabotage. They conducted several Zeppelin bombing raids against London. Fifty-nine people were killed during the air attack of October 12, 1915.

Falkenhayn's defensive strategy displeased fire-eaters on the German general staff such as Ludendorff who longed to deliver a knock-out punch to their Entente adversaries. On February 21, 1916 von Falkenhayn mounted an invasion against the fortress of Verdun, but French units commanded by General Phillipe Petain would not capitulate. 250,000 men were killed and 500,000 wounded in this lengthy siege by rifle and machine gun fire, heavy artillery, flamethrowers, and aerial bombardment. This battle did not wind down until July 1st when the British and French launched a diversionary assault against German positions along the Somme River. Even Adolf Hitler considered the Verdun offensive "lunacy." (Cf. Hitler's Secret Conversations, October 13, 1941, p. 80.)

The bloody Battle of the Somme commenced at 7:30 A.M. on July 1, 1916. British artillery batteries opened up with a preparatory bombardment near La Boisselle. Then battalion leaders blew their whistles signaling troops to go "over the top" and run toward enemy lines. Entrenched Germans, supported by artillery, inflicted 57,470 casualties on the attackers, including 19,240 dead. At Beaumont-Hamel Canada's 1st Newfoundland Regiment lost 733 of the 801 men sent into action.

Between July 3 and July 13 forty-six skirmishes were fought, costing another 25,000 men on each side. British and Commonwealth soldiers sustained 23,000 casualties while capturing Bazentine Ridge on July 14.

The Germans set up pillboxes and dugouts at Poziers and Fromelles which were designed to catch approaching infantry in cross-fires. Nevertheless, British High Command once again threw troops into German enfilades, which resulted in 23,000 casualties between July 19 and July 22. The Germans withdrew to Ginchy on July 23 and formed a defensive line there. In a bid for decisive victory, British General Douglas Haig ordered continual assaults against this heavily fortified position. In August the British sacrificed another 82,000 men to capture 1,000 yards of ground.

Haig achieved greater success at Flers-Courcelette on September 15th by deploying tanks for the first time. Although slow, mechanically unreliable, and vulnerable to artillery, early Mark IV tanks could withstand small arms fire, roll over barbed wire, and traverse trenches when equipped with small "folding metal bridges." The tanks knocked out several German machine gun nests. Following a 4,500 yard advance at Flers-Courcelotte, the British bogged down at Le Transloy until November. Their last gasp occurred along the Acre River between November 13th and 18th when they finally took Beaumont-Hamel. In the inconclusive Battle of the Somme English and Commonwealth soldiers gained five miles of territory in four months, while sustaining 623,000 casualties. One historian calculated the loss rate as "two men per centimeter." Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, an able military commander, urged the Kaiser to sue for peace after this battle, which cost the Reichswehr 465,000 troops. Rupprecht pointed out the Entente powers industrial might and low quality of raw draftees in comparison to the well-trained soldiers of Germany's 1914 army. The prince opposed Germany's "scorched earth" policy and proposed a strategic withdrawal to fortified positions across the Rhine. If his advice had been taken there would have been no abdication, Versailles Treaty, Third Reich, or World War II.

By December, 1916 Germany losses tallied up to 964,000 dead, wounded, and missing, France 876,000, and Britain 621,000. In most German towns there were food and fuel shortages. Every day newspapers published long lists of war dead. Morale on the home front plummeted. People grumbled that this idiotic war, brought on by the Kaiser's irresponsibility, was not only destroying their lives, but the heart of Europe. Food riots erupted in February and March, 1917. In April an estimated 500,000 workers went on strike and marched through Berlin's streets. On July 19th a peace resolution submitted by Reichstag deputy Matthias Erzberger passed by a margin of 212 to 126. Emperor Karl of Austria, who succeeded Franz Josef, confessed to Kaiser Wilhelm that his country had been beaten. Peace negotiations must commence forthwith, or the civilized world would perish. He promised to cede Galicia to Germany if she lost Alsace-Lorraine to France. Although willing to continue the struggle against Russia, Karl sent his March 24, 1917 "Sixtus Letter" to England and France, requesting a separate peace with them.

Kaiser Wilhelm authorized Chancellor Bethmann-Holweg to request a negotiated peace in November, 1916. France and Britain rejected this offer on December 30th. Prime Minister Lloyd George explained:

"to enter into a conference on the invitation of Germany, proclaiming herself victorious, without any knowledge of the proposals she has to make, is to put our heads in a noose ... The arrogant spirit of the Prussian military caste ... will .. be as dominant as ever if we patch up peace now " [2]


On January 6, 1917 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson offered to hold a peace conference. However, he bowed out when Germany refused to cease submarine warfare as a pre-condition for his mediation. The American President could live with the capture of ships on the high seas, but sinking them with loss of lives and goods was quite another matter. The Germans claimed that they had to deploy subs to counter Britain's blockade of their ports. America almost entered the fray against Germany after a German U-boat sunk the Lusitania off Ireland's coast on May 7, 1915 with the loss of 1,198 lives.

Sir Edward Grey wrote that the dependency of Britain and France on American supplies would have forced them to be parties to President Wilson's peace talks, whether they liked it or not.

"If Germany had accepted the Wilson (proposal) ... The Allies could not have refused ... They could not have risked the ill will of the United States." [3]


With respect to this missed opportunity Virginia Cowles commented:

"It was Germany's tragedy that she never knew when to strike a bargain." [4]


Kaiser Wilhelm and his coterie deemed the give-and-take of compromise beneath their dignity.

The Emperor occasionally performed his duty by visiting front line troops and the wounded. To repair his tattered nerves he also spent long periods at Spa and his Rominten hunting lodge. Subjects complained that he remained in Cloud Cuckoo Land, while the war paralyzed trade and reduced huge tracts of productive land to rubble. While fighting on the Western Front heated up between June and August, 1917, "Warlord" Wilhelm toured Rumania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. In 1916, through Queen Charlotte of Sweden, he sent happy anniversary wishes to his cousin, Princess Helena of Britain, who had lost her son in the war. By that time English noble families had dropped all their German titles. The Battenberg clan anglicized their surname to Mountbatten.

German officers had always been in a breed apart, who didn't feel accountable to civilian society. Regular tribunals still could not try them for crimes. All legal proceedings had to go through a military "Court of Honor." In 1917 Germany's officer corps still wanted victory, not peace. Moreover, they consistently refused to cooperate with Bethmann-Holweg's government, and never coordinated effectively with industry, finance, or the media.

By 1917 Germany had defeated Russia, enabling her to transfer more than 500,000 men to Belgium and France. Fortified by this infusion of troop strength Hindenburg and Ludendorff unleashed the Rheims Offensive on March 21st with the objective of capturing the channel ports of Calais, Boulogne, and Dunkirk, which supplied British and Commonwealth troops. After a "creeping" artillery bombardment short enough to preserve the element of surprise, elite German commandos attacked and broke through at several places near Amiens. The German infantry employed "storm trooper" tactics developed by Brigadier General Oskar von Hutier. Their mission was to "chop a hole" so the rest could follow. They penetrated quickly and deeply into enemy territory, passing by heavily defended positions, but flanking or encircling them so that reserve units could later "mop them up." After initial success, this victory fizzled because German reserves could not consolidate gains by bringing up additional men and materiel. Germany sustained 239,000 casualties in this operation -- most of them irreplaceable crack troops. Allied forces lost 255,000 killed, wounded, missing, and taken prisoner.

During the Rheims Offensive French morale completely deteriorated. On April 29, 1917 troops refused to move out when General Robert Georges Nivelle ordered an attack near Aisne. General Philippe Petain quietly put down this mutiny during the next few weeks. The government used press censorship to keep this crisis out of the newspapers.

General Douglas Haig wished to cut German supply lines in Belgium. The gory Battle of Passchendaele was fought in West Flanders' marshlands between July 31 and November 6, 1917. To protect this vital area the Germans had constructed a network of emplacements on the Lys River's Messines Ridge overlooking Passchendaele. The clay and sandy loam soil of this region rendered it unsuitable for tank deployment. Prior to attack, British sappers dug tunnels right up to German defenses and planted underground mines. At zero hour on the morning of July 31, 1917 they detonated these explosives, instantly killing 10,000 German soldiers. However, an English delay enabled German units held in reserve to close ranks in time to mete out 32,000 casualties on British and Commonwealth troops who belatedly assaulted the heights. Germany used mustard gas against Allied troops, which caused burns, severe lung damage, as well as partial or total blindness. Torrential rains from mid-August to September turned Passchendaele's poorly drained terrain into a quagmire. German shelling of canals resulted in additional flooding, which transformed the battlefield into a "sea of mud" pocked with water-filled shell craters. Scores of advancing British soldiers drowned in liquid mud. High command continued to forfeit thousands of men for valueless objectives. Between September 20th and 25th English and Commonwealth forces advanced 1,500 yards at Menin Road and lost 21,000 men. At Polygon Wood from September 26th to October 3rd they suffered 30,000 casualties while acquiring 2,000 yards of blasted moonscape. Two Canadian divisions charged uphill to take Vimy Ridge on October 26th. For the next six days they repelled German counterattacks, losing 12,000 men to seize 400 yards. Believing that the British Army had used his troops as "cannon fodder" at Somme and Passchendaele, Canadian General Arthur Currie insisted upon retaining his own autonomy of command for the war's duration. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand subsequently passed laws specifying that their own general staffs would function independently of Britain's High Command. The British Commonwealth lost 448,000 men at Passchendaele. Medical and mortuary personnel could not identify more than 90,000 bodies. Another 42,000 young men were literally blown to bits, and not recovered at all. The German army lost 260,000 troops in this inconclusive battle.

In October, 1917 General Douglas Haig approved Colonel J.F.C. Fuller's innovative plan to use tanks and infantry to attack the German supply depot at Cambrai. At 6 A.M. on November 20, 1917 the British 3rd and 4th corps, supported by 350 tanks, moved out toward enemy lines. They succeeded in dislodging German defenders at Flesquires and Havincourt before pausing to dig in and lay barbed wire. On November 28, German units counterattacked and drove the English back to Le Quentin. In this battle both sides lost 45,000 men.

On April 9, 1918 the Germans rushed toward Armentieres, overwhelmed a Portuguese army regiment defending Messines Ridge, and advanced far into Allied territory. However, they ran short of ammunition, food, and medical supplies, and had to withdraw when British reserves counterattacked. Each side lost another 110,000 men.

Determined to achieve victory, the Reichswehr launched an offensive between Soisson and Rheims on May 27th, which routed the French 6th Army. German forces pushed forward to Paris along the Marne River before being halted by U.S. and Senegalese units at Cantigny and Chateau-Thierry. By the time this operation wound down on June 6th, Germany had sacrificed another 130,000 men for negligible gains.

The French stopped a German movement toward Compiegne on June 9th, then caught them off guard with a surprise attack two days later. U.S. Marine Corps shock troops pounded the Germans at Belleau Wood (June 1st through 26th), and Chateau Thierry (July 18th), incurring a 55% casualty rate (9,500 killed or wounded.) The Marines earned the sobriquet "Teufelhunden," or "Devil Dogs" because they braved it through huge expanses of no man's land amid withering artillery and machine gun fire to swamp German infantry.

Reichswehr officers had long chuckled at Bismarck's apothegm: "God has special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States." [5] Most viewed America as a racial hodge-podge consisting of hillbillies, Negroes, and the dregs of Europe. How could such a ragtag herd now beat them in the field? Certainly attrition played a role. 50% of the motivated German soldiers who took Liege, Metz, Namur, and Mons in 1914 were now dead, wounded, shell-shocked, or mustered out. Troop strength decreased from 5.1 to 4.2 million. That year's crop of 18 year olds only produced another 300,000. America had shipped 313,000 troops to France in one month, July, 1918. A prolonged fight against the combined might of France, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Africa, and America would not be sustainable.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch now initiated his One Hundred Day Offensive. On August 8, 1918 the Australians and Canadians defeated German troops at Amiens, and took 100,000 prisoners. The U.S. Army rolled over German defenders at St. Mihiel (September 12th), and Meuse-Argonne (September 26th-30th.) This final onslaught, which included bomber aircraft, tanks, artillery, and the 896,000 man U. S. Rainbow Division, plunged Hindenburg into despair. On September 29th he regretfully informed the Kaiser of the German army's defeat and advised him to request an armistice immediately. Wilhelm ordered his cousin, Prince Max von Baden, to form a new government. Baden contacted President Woodrow Wilson and requested an armistice based on his Fourteen Points. Prince Max soon discovered that his fellow German noblemen had no desire to participate in the surrender process. Therefore, he turned to centrist and leftist politicians for assistance. On November 6, 1918 Reichstag member Matthias Erzberger and his delegation walked through enemy lines under a white flag to open up peace discussions with Marshal Foch. All parties agreed to an armistice on November 11th.

Approximately 8,281,000 servicemen were killed in World War I, another 21,241,000 wounded. 1,718,000 German soldiers lost their lives, along with 1,700,000 Russians, 1,385,000 Frenchmen, 1,200,000 Austrians, 703,000 Englishmen, 460,000 Italians, 336,000 Turks, 200,000 Romanians, 128,000 Serbians, 117,000 Americans, 67,000 Canadians, 59,000 Australians, 18,000 New Zealanders, 13,000 Belgians, and thousands more from Africa, Portugal, the Caribbean, and Japan. Shocked Europeans felt there must be a day of reckoning for those behind this catastrophe.

Exile in the Netherlands

On November 8, 1918 a huge mob stormed the Ministry of War in Berlin. Rioters killed dozens of military officers and policemen. Communist leader Wilhelm Liebknecht leapt onto the Berlin Palace's balcony and declared a new Soviet Republic.

The Entente powers and German public both perceived the Kaiser as an impediment to peace discussions. Even dyed-in-the-wool monarchists like General Paul von Hindenburg realized that he had to go. On November 9th he ruefully told Wilhelm:

"I cannot accept responsibility of seeing the Emperor haled to Berlin by insurgent troops and delivered over as a prisoner to the revolutionary government. I must advise Your Majesty to abdicate and proceed to Holland ... the army ... (is) no longer behind (you.) There are no loyal troops left. Would to God, Your Majesty, that it were otherwise." [6]


Segments of the Kaiser's naval flotilla had already mutinied. Hindenburg warned that groups of demobilized German soldiers would soon "stream back home like a horde of marauding bandits." [7] Communists among them wanted to drag him to the nearest scaffold.

The Kaiser fretted and raged, then calmed down and ordered his equerry to pack. He and the Empress boarded their private train to the Netherlands. After a series of communications with his cousin, Queen Wilhelmina, the Kaiser and his party were admitted to Holland as refugees on condition that he refrain from political activity. Wilhelm handed his sword to a baffled border guard, then rode into Holland.

At the request of Queen Wilhelmina, Count Godard Bentinck put up the Kaiser, Kaiserin, and their retinue at his 17th Century country estate in Doorn. A few months later fifty freight cars full of household contents arrived, along with a car and boat. From his safe haven Wilhelm watched the Versailles peace negotiations with dismay. He expected his beloved naval fleet to be scuttled, and Alsace-Lorraine ceded back to France. Premier Georges Clemenceau and his ministers now elevated vengeance to a policy, popularly known as Revanchism. The huge war indemnity foisted on Germany by France and Germany elicited a grim witticism from Wilhelm.

"The war to end all wars has resulted in a peace to end all peace." [8]


The Versailles Treaty's criminal clause alarmed the ex-Emperor. Clemenceau and Lloyd George, over Woodrow Wilson's objections, insisted on prosecuting "Hun warmongers," including "Kaiser Bill." Hindenburg and Bethmann-Holweg gallantly offered themselves in his place. In the end, a show trial never occurred because Queen Wilhelmina stubbornly defied Allied demands for her guest's extradition.

Wilhelm moved out of Count Bentinck's chateau in 1919 and into capacious Huis Doorn, where he lived the life of a country gentleman -- shooting, riding, frolicking with his dachshunds, gardening, chopping wood, tending his collection of watches and snuffboxes, writing memoirs. He grew a beard and became something of an Anglophile. Count Bentinck reported that his first request upon reaching Doorn was for "a cup of real good English tea." [9] The former Emperor read P.G. Wodehouse stories and stocked his cupboard with scones, lemon curd, toffee, chutney, Yorkshire pudding, curry, and other British specialties. The English actually warmed up to him by 1933. He was Queen Victoria's grandson after all, and certainly looked good compared to Hitler. In 1940, when the Nazis invaded Holland, Winston Churchill offered Wilhelm asylum in Britain.

Depressed by Germany's defeat, his failed marriage, and gambling debts, the Kaiser's youngest son, Prince Joachim, committed suicide at age 30 in June, 1920. Empress Augusta, who suffered from a heart condition, took a turn for the worse after his death, and died in April, 1921. Disconsolate Wilhelm converted her bedroom into a shrine and visited it daily for silent prayer. In May, 1922 he received a moving letter of support from young Prince Schoenaich-Carolath, whose father had been killed in the war. Wilhelm invited the boy and his mother to Doorn for a visit. He fell in love with 34 year old Princess Hermine Reuss-Schoenaich-Carolath, and married her on November 9, 1922. She and her five children immediately moved into Huis Doorn. Although Wilhelm viewed his new bride through rose-tinted goggles, most of his friends and servants could not stand her.

"She was argumentative, lively, tactless, and aggressive. No one in the Kaiser's household liked her; they said she was ambitious and troublemaking; that she had prompted her child to write the Kaiser in order to trap him; that she had proposed to the Emperor." [10]


In 1928 Sir Frederick Ponsonby published Dowager Empress Victoria's correspondence under the title, Letters of the Empress Frederick, which rarely showed her son Wilhelm in a good light. He attempted to sue the publisher. Meanwhile, his sisters Sophie and Margaret wrote glowing letters of appreciation to Ponsonby for preserving their mother's legacy, and letting the truth come out.

Wilhelm's views about Nazism shifted over the years. He lauded Hitler's condemnation of the Versailles Diktat and admired his gumption during the November, 1923 Putsch and resultant trial. On his son August Wilhelm's recommendation ex-Kaiser Wilhelm read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In a letter to General August von Mackensen dated December 2, 1919 he condemned his involuntary abdication as an abomination committed by dumb Germans, "egged on and misled by the tribe of Juda." [11] He went on to write that Jews were a "nuisance to humanity," (deserving of) "pogroms ... or gas." [12]

True to form, Wilhelm reversed himself after this outburst. He became disillusioned with Hitler in the late '20's, and considered his measures to exclude Jews from Germany's economic life "downright childish." [13]

The assassination of General Kurt von Schleicher and his wife on June 30, 1934 disgusted him. He declared that German citizens had

" ... ceased to live under ... rule of law ... Everyone must be prepared for. .. the Nazis pushing their way in and putting them up against the wall." [14]


Wilhelm deplored Kristallnacht (November 10 and 11, 1938) as a national disgrace, and reproved his sons Oskar and August Wilhelm for joining the Nazi Party.

"I have just made my views clear to Auwi (August Wilhelm) in the presence of his brothers. He had the nerve to say he agreed with the Jewish pogrom ... When I told him that any decent man would describe these actions as gangsterisms he appeared totally indifferent. He is completely lost to our family." [15]


The former Emperor stipulated in his will that he did not want any Nazi ceremony to take place at his funeral, nor was the swastika symbol to be exhibited. Hitler disregarded these instructions, sending an honor guard with swastika armbands to his burial service in early June, 1941.

After World War II Chancellor Heinrich Bruning accused the Kaiser and President Paul von Hindenburg of torpedoing his attempt to effect a restoration in 1930 under Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria's Wittelsbach Dynasty.

"A reintroduction of the monarchy in the struggle against the Nazis might well have been possible, but it broke up when Hindenburg declared ... he would champion a restoration .. only if Wilhelm II were to become Kaiser (again)." [16]


If Wilhelm had relinquished the throne and directed President von Hindenburg to accept another royal as a substitute, he would have complied. Unwilling to accept the fact that he was politically radioactive, the ex-Kaiser still clung to vain hopes of being restored as Germany's emperor. These fantasies denied his sons and cousin Rupprecht a chance to slow down the Nazi juggernaut.

Kaiser Wilhelm cannot be blamed for starting World War I. Due to negligence, however, he failed to prevent it. Wilhlem was not mad, evil, or mentally dense, but he had the vices of an aristocrat: shallowness, narcissism, recklessness, and indolence. Winston Churchill summed him up as:

"A careless tourist, who flung down his cigarette in the anteroom of the magazine which Europe had become, then went yachting and returned to find the building impenetrable with smoke .... His undeniable cleverness and versatility, his personal grace and vivacity, only aggravated the danger by concealing his inadequacy ... Underneath all this posing and its trappings was a very ordinary, ... vain, ... but well-meaning man, hoping to pass himself off as Frederick the Great." [17]


Regal insouciance no longer played well in the wake of World War I. Dozens of European nations abandoned monarchy as "rule by strutting peacocks."

______________

Endnotes:

1 Virginia Cowles, The Kaiser, Harper & Row, New York, 1963. p. 390.

2 Ibid., p. 375.

3 Ibid., p. 376.

4 Ibid., p. 380.

5 http://www.wikiquote, Bismarck quotations, p. 3.

6 Cowles, p. 404.

7 Ibid., p. 398.

8 Ibid., p. 414.

9 Ibid., p. 406.

10 Ibid., p. 417.

11 http://www.wikipedia.org., Emperor Wilhelm II. p. 13.

12 Ibid.

13 Saul Friedlaender, Nazi Germany and the Jews. Harper Collins, New York, 1997, p. 77.

14 http://www.wikipedia.org. p. 14.

15 Ibid.

16 Cowles, p. 423.

17 Ibid., pp. 419-420. op. cit. Winston S. Churchill, Contemporary Portraits. New York, 1920.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:00 pm

7: The Thule Society: Precursor of Nazism

Image
The Thule Society's Insignia

"Must Germans give the world a new species? It ... seems like it!"

-- Rudolf von Sebottendorf


Germany's Secret Orders

A case can be made that Nazism lasted from Walpurgis Night (April 30th,) 1919 when communists shot Thule Society hostages, to Walpurgis Night, 1945, the date of Hitler's suicide. The Nazi Party grew out of Rudolf von Sebottendorf's Die Thule Gesellschaft, which combined Pan-German racism, the occult, and a working class political movement. This organization was a secret lodge that pretended to trace its roots from the mystery cults of Atlantis.

According to popular tradition the Knights Templar and Hospitallers rediscovered "Atlantean" rites through Moslem sources during the Crusades. After Philip the Fair of France colluded with Pope Clement V to massacre the Knights Templar in 1313, some of its survivors went underground. They passed on esoteric lore that eventually resurfaced in Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Ariosophy.

The first German secret society to adopt a code of conduct similar to the Knights Templar was The Holy Vehm, whose name derived from the Arab word Fehm (Divine Wisdom). The Vehm began operating in Westphalia during the late Middle Ages. Principally a guerilla organization, it meted out swift, draconian justice in war-torn 16th Century Germany. Members held tribunals in the woods. They punished "outlawry" with summary execution. Crimes meriting death included murder, rape, sacrilege, robbery, treason, vagrancy, and "arbitrary eccentricity," a catch-all category which enabled vigilantes to "whack" any non-conformists who rubbed them the wrong way. Vehm "law" condemned fleeing offenders in absentia as follows:

"The neck of the convict is consigned to the halter... his body to the birds and wild beasts. His estates are declared forfeit, his wife a widow, his children orphans ... Any three initiated that meet him are ... enjoined to hang him on the nearest tree." [1]


The Vehm's gang culture resembled such organizations as the Indian Thugs, Chinese Tongs, and Sicilian Mafia. Men with family or tribal ties formed a shadow government which opposed a state run by foreigners. Sicily's conquest by Greeks, Romans, and the French spurred natives to develop their own secret order bound by an internal hierarchy, blood ties, rituals, custom, and "Omerta," the code of silence. Most oppressed countries spawn similar orders. Both the Thule Society and Dietrich Eckart's Onoldia dueling fraternity were vestiges of the old German Vehm. Hitler would later characterize Judaism as a worldwide "Vehm."

Because of their "Ku Klux Klan" character, German lodges were more militant than English and French counterparts. Prussian officers swelled the ranks of northern chapters. In the 19th Century these patriots worked first for the unity of the Reich and then for Pan-German domination of Middle Europe. With defeat in the air toward the end of 1917 German Order grandmasters bolstered German patriotism and punished defeatists.

In his book Before Hitler Came, Rudolf von Sebottendorf contended that modern Freemasonry had abandoned its mystical values by adopting the Scottish Rite's humanistic reforms in 1717. He argued for a return to the powerful "alchemical magic" of Muslim secret societies.

"It must be shown that Eastern Freemasonry still retains faithfully even today the ancient teachings of wisdom forgotten by modern Freemasonry, whose Constitution of 1717 was a departure from the true way ... No one can accuse me of profanation ... in uncovering these mysteries (which) communities of dervishes use in order to acquire special strength by means of unusual techniques... This high rite is the practical basis of Freemasonry .. .It inspired the work of the alchemists and Rosicrucians." [2]


Sebottendorf tried to model the Thule Society on his conception of Eastern Freemasonry. Like Guido von List he believed that the initiated could contact the Aryan race's "Spiritual Masters" by using ceremonial magic rituals. In this respect, Sebottendorf diverged from Theosophy. Helena P. Blavatsky, a self-described Buddhist, ultimately condemned both spiritualism and ceremonial magic as witchcraft, or misuse of occult forces. She denounced such magi as Eliphas Levi, Joseph Peladan, and Gerard Encausse as sorcerers. Her Mahatmas (Spiritual Masters of the White Brotherhood) chose their disciples and mediums from birth, and would not deign to communicate with bounders like Aleister Crowley who burned incense, mumbled incantations, and waved wands while garbed in capes and conical hats.

Although both Hitler and Eckart adopted Ariosophical doctrines into their belief systems, neither of them lent credence to ceremonial magic. Accounts which characterize Eckart as a shaman who ordained Hitler as a black priest may be dismissed as fabrications.

The Thule Society and National Socialist Party both emanated from the Germanen Orden founded by Theodore Fritsch, Philipp Stauff, Hermann Pohl, and others in 1912. The German Order attempted to unite various anti-Semitic splinter groups so that they could more effectively battle "the worldwide Jewish conspiracy." Hitler read Fritsch's Hammer Magazine and Handbook on the Jewish Question during his years as a struggling artist in Vienna, and Philipp Stuaff's racist articles while serving on the Western Front.

Der Hammerbund (Hammer Union), which Fritsch founded in 1905, anticipated Nazi ideology in many respects. Fritsch (1852-1934) was a Leipzig milling engineer who edited The Small Mills Journal in the 1880's. He became absolutely convinced of an international Jewish conspiracy by 1881 when he published Fire Balls, a collection of anti-Semitic articles. After writing The Anti-Semitic Catechism and Handbook on the Jewish Questions, he launched Hammer Magazine in 1902, and established the Hammer Union three years later. Like his disciple Dietrich Eckart, Fritsch claimed to be "above politics." He strove to counteract the "Jewish Plot" to take over Germany's economy by unifying anti-Semites of various regions, political persuasions, and religions into one body. On April 5, 1911 Fritsch and his compatriots founded the Grand German Lodge, a secret society of Pan-German anti-Semites dedicated to fighting "the Jewish Menace." They authorized Hermann Pohl, a sealer of weights and measures from Magdeburg, to rename this organization the German Order of Teutons and Volsungs a year later. The order copied rituals, secret passwords, fraternal handshakes, and regalia from other secret societies. Pohl promoted the Ariosophic theories of Guido von List, an Austrian crank who held that marriages between Germans and Jews cut off Aryans from their racial memory and innate psychic powers. Philipp Stauff published a directory of small anti-Semitic groups earmarked for absorption into the Germanen Orden, as well as a genealogical manual purporting to "expose" German noble families with Jewish blood.

Lawyer Johannes Hering of Munich belonged to Fritsch's Hammer Union, the German Order, and List Society. A Mason since 1894, he complained to his friend Philipp Stauff that Freemasonry had been infiltrated by Jews who introduced such seditious notions such as liberty, equality, and universal brotherhood.

The German Order did not enjoy much success prior to World War I, being dismissed by critics as a middle-aged men's lodge that met monthly to don funny-looking costumes, gab about elves and "the Jewish peril" over beers, then stumble home to bed. German Order chapters were concentrated in the northern cities. Nuremberg, the traditional hub of anti-Jewish sentiment in Bavaria, had less than fifty members.

In 1916 lawyer Georg Gaubatz showed his client Rudolf von Sebottendorf a newspaper ad for the German Order. Sebottendorf immediately contacted Hermann Pohl and soon met with him in Berlin. Pohl took his new acquaintance to a Germanen Orden meeting and initiated him. Sebottendorf obtained Pohl's nationalist mailing list and letter of introduction to Johannes Hering. With the help of wounded war veteran Walter Nauhaus, Sebottendorf began building up membership in Bavaria. He advertised, held meetings, lectured, and wrote articles for Runen Magazine and Alegemein Ordens Nachrichten, a newsletter he subsidized out of his own pocket. As a result of these efforts the Order's numbers in Munich increased to more than two hundred by spring, 1918. In fall of 1919 Sebottendorf's Bavarian province signed up over fifteen hundred "brothers." Bad times heightened receptivity to his message. Germany's 1918 defeat, communist uprisings, and the return of disgruntled veterans all contributed to the Germanen Orden's popularity.

To combat the "Jewish-Bolshevik Terror" Sebottendorf founded the Thule Society in July, 1918, first calling it the Study Group for German Antiquity. This organization promulgated anti-Semitism and an extreme brand of Aryan racism. Die Thule Gesellschaft's members consisted mostly of the same middle class businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and teachers who belonged to the German Order. When the Spartacist Revolt broke out in March 1919, Thulists backed the Friekorps, a counterrevolutionary army of demobilized soldiers. The Thule Society functioned as Germanen Orden's ad hoc committee for opposing socialistic anarchy.

To win over Germany's laboring classes to the volkisch cause, Sebottendorf directed Thulist associate Karl Harrer to start a workmen's discussion group hosted by railroad locksmith Anton Drexler in October, 1918. At the Furstenfelder Hof tavern on January 5, 1919 this "worker's circle" officially became The German Worker's Party, predecessor of the National Socialist Party. The Thule Society's Nuremburg branch simultaneously instituted the German Socialist Party under the leadership of Georg Grassinger and Julius Streicher (which later merged with the Nazis.)

Sebottendorf purchased the Munchener Beobachter (Munich Observer) from Franz Eher's estate in August, 1918. His shareholders sold it to Adolf Hitler and Dietrich Eckart of the German Workers Party in December, 1920. They renamed it the Volkischer Beobachter (People's Observer), chief Nazi tabloid from 1920 until 1945.

The Thule Society strongly influenced National Socialism. Thulists coopted the swastika from the Theosophical Society and used it as their logo. They constantly harped on the Aryan race's superiority and characterized Bolshevism as part of the "International Jewish Conspiracy." Sebottendorf raised money to supply Freikorps paramilitary legions with arms. Hitler used the Freikorps as a paradigm for his storm troopers (Sturmabteiling, or S.A.) Many Freikorps fighters, such as Ernst Rohm, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering, and Julius Streicher, eventually became Nazis.

The Baron's Peregrinations

"Baron" Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorf, the son of a Silesian locomotive engineer, was born Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer in Hoyerswerda on November 9, 1875. Itching to escape from dreary working class surroundings in Dresden, young Glauer ran away at age thirteen to become a sailor, but soon returned home. By his own account, he attended Ilenau Technical School and Berlin-Charlottenburg Polytechnic Institute before being forced to drop out due to his father's death in 1893. He worked as an apprentice railroad mechanic from 1894 to 1896. After being rejected by the Navy because of a hernia, he managed to land a tutoring job with a well-to-do family. According to Sebottendorf's highly embellished memoirs, he took a fancy to his pupil's thirty-something mother, and eloped with her on a romantic holiday to Nice, Monte Carlo, Genoa, and Lucerne in February, 1898. After being fired, and nearly arrested, for this escapade, Glauer moved speedily from deck chair to engine room — signing aboard the H. H. Meier as boiler stoker on April 2, 1898. Thus began his two year stint as a merchant seaman. The Meier sailed from Bremerhaven to New York, and points south. In February, 1900 he joined the crew of S.S. Prinz Luitpold as an electrician. Glauer and another mate jumped ship in Sydney, Australia to prospect for gold. His friend's death in June cut this misadventure short. In July he shipped out on a vessel sailing from Freemande to Egypt.

While in Alexandria in 1900, Glauer secured an introduction to Pasha Hussein. Impressed by the confident young German, who passed himself off as an engineer, the Pasha hired him as manager of his country estate in Turkey. Glauer debarked for Istanbul, then Bursa. Naturally handy, his technical proficiency extended to gun-smithing, automotive mechanics, ship and steam locomotive repair, road surveying, electrical construction, and farming.

Glauer combined the mechanical with the mystical during his stay in Bursa. Like Dietrich Eckart and Adolf Hitler, he was a self-taught seeker with eclectic tastes. In his spare time Glauer studied Sufi lore, Atlantean prehistory, astrology, and Norse mythology. He learned the Turkish language and some Islamic doctrine from the Imam of Beykoz Mosque. He took lessons in the Kabbalah from a Salonikan Jewish banker named Termudi, who was also a leading Freemason. When Termudi died a few years later, he willed his occult library to Glauer. In addition to Islamic and Kabbalistic researches Glauer read Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, H. S. Chamberlain's Foundations of the 19th Century, and Gobineau's Inequality of the Races.

Rudolf Glauer returned to Germany in September, 1902. Though he preached that one should renounce carnal pleasures in order to progress on the spiritual path, "Rudi" still found pretty women impossible to resist. On March 25, 1905 he married Klara Voss, but divorced her two years later when another lady caught his eye.

In 1908 a get-rich-quick scheme landed him in jail on charges of forgery and fraud. After his release from prison he went back to Turkey where he resumed teaching spiritualism. In 1910 Glauer organized a religious studies group and wrote a paper on the dervishes of Baktashi. One of his lodge brothers, an Austrian nobleman named Heinrich von Sebottendorf, "adopted" him in 1911. From this time on he passed himself off as "Baron" Rudolf von Sebottendorf. Although a phony aristocrat himself, associates recalled that Glauer-Sebottendorf indignantly disparaged Jews who "wormed" their way into the nobility.

In 1911 Sebottendorf applied for Turkish citizenship. He was wounded while fighting in the Balkan War of 1912-1913 with Turkey's Red Crescent. His extensive knowledge of firearms enabled him to operate a lucrative gunrunning venture on the side.

The "baron" traveled to Weisbaden to visit "cousins," Siegfried and Maria von Sebottendorf in 1913. He captivated them and gained entree to their circle of aristocratic friends, including writer Gustav Meyrink. Sebottendorf impressed Meyrink at first, but the novelist later complained of suffering bad effects from his "spiritual exercises."

Sebottdendorf's elbow-rubbing with the upper crust paid off by July 15, 1915 when he married rich divorcee Berta-Anna Iffland in Vienna, daughter of Berlin merchant Friedrich Wilhelm Muller. The couple settled near Dresden, but soon encountered trouble. To obtain easier access to Berta's trust fund, Sebottendorf fired her lawyer, Max Alsberg, and hired his friend Georg Gaubatz. Alsberg went down fighting, notifying Dresden police that Glauer-alias- Sebottendorf was a crooked ex-boilermaker impersonating a baron, who had renounced his German citizenship and now sold armaments to Ottoman Turks. Furthermore, his investigation had uncovered this "nobleman's" criminal record, which included a fraud conviction. These revelations set the Dresden gossip mill in motion. Police questioned Sebottendorf, who accused Alsberg of being a transvestite. No charges were filed, but the baron elected to leave town. Within the next two years he and Berta-Anna moved to Frankfurt, Berlin, Bad Aibling, and Munich to shake pursuing detectives.

Sebottendorf had a twofold mission in mind when he entered Munich in 1917. He wanted to interest the German general staff in an armored vehicle invented by his friend Friedrich Gobel, and also revive Theodor Fritsch's flagging German Order. Gobel's "tank car" never panned out, but interest in the German Order flourished. The Russian Revolution erupted that November in Moscow, nullifying Germany's victory over the Tsarist Empire. American, British, and French forces pounded German forces on the Western Front. Liberals urged the Kaiser to surrender. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Sebottendorf became a leading spokesman for the volkisch reaction against "Jewish Bolshevism."

By the summer of 1918 Sebottendorf and army veteran Walter Nauhaus rented a small office on Zweigstrasse for the Thule Society, political branch of The German Order. These Aryan patriots pledged to fight against Marxist aliens. The Thule Society's name reflected its occult orientation. Ultima Thule had been the capital of Hyperborea, ancient polar land of the Nordic gods. Like Guido von List, the father of Ariosophy, Sebottendorf believed that blonde, blue-eyed giants with super powers lived in northern climes long ago. The unfortunate Hyperboreans lost their good looks and psychic abilities because of intermarriage with lower races. Mingling with "sub-men" cost proto-Aryans their "third eye," a spiritual receptor which could perceive the "etheric continuum."

According to The Thule Society's charter, which Sebottendorf wrote, "the fundamental cause of all sickness and misery (is) the mixing of races." In order to weaken Aryandom, half-breed freethinkers promoted the fallacy of egalitarianism.

"With the encouragement of Christianity people had disseminated the doctrine of equality of all men. Gypsies, Hottentots, Botocudos, Teutons are said to be equal. Unfortunately, Nature ... teaches otherwise. To equate Chandalas with Aryans ... is to commit a crime against mankind. For to attain higher development, man needs leaders as well as leading nations. Of all the races on this earth it is the Teutonic race ... which is called upon to play the leading role." [3]


Sebottendorf espoused the leadership principle (Fuhrerprinzip) rather than democracy. Initiates had to obey all commands of their spiritual masters. Novices strove for totally passive obedience, an attainment later prized by the SS. Sebottendorf advised his students to be "like a cadaver in the hands of ... your sheikh ... " [4] Thule Society leaders, like Muslim clerics, must assume full moral responsibility, and absolve underlings for crimes committed while under the spell of "zombie-obedience."

After the destruction of Ultima Thule a few of its refugees withdrew to Asgard -- variously described as a subterranean town in the Himalayas and a celestial city joined to earth by a rainbow. These Hyperborean masters telepathically communicated with Ariosophic prophets such as Guido von List and "Tarnhari" to help them prepare the way for "The Coming Great One," a warrior-priest who would lead Aryandom to victory over the Chandalas ("Untouchables.") Sebottendorf instructed his lodge brothers to break through "the small self," limited by material reality and Judeo-Christian conscience, and "become divine." He recommended that seekers-of-wisdom ("god-men") greet each other with a stiff-armed salute and the words "Sieg, Heil!" ("Glory, Hail!") to honor the divine presence dwelling within them.

Sebottendorf proved to be a gifted huckster. Where Hermann Pohl had fallen short in the prewar years, he succeeded spectacularly. Many army officers, businessmen, and professionals heeded his pleas to close ranks against Bolshevism. By August, 1918 he amassed enough money from the German Order and army to purchase a small local paper from Franz Eher Verlag called the Munchener Beobachter. Along with sportswriter Karl Harrer, Sebottendorf turned the Beobachter into an anti-Semitic scandal sheet with sports section.

On August 17, 1918 Sebottendorf rented five club rooms at Munich's posh Four Seasons Hotel to stage Die Thule Gesellschaft's founding ceremony. In a fervent speech before 300, he proclaimed Germany's mission to upgrade humanity. Sebottendorf promised to fight the forces of International Jewry with his last ounce of strength. Wielding a ceremonial gavel, he shrieked:

"I intend to commit the Thule Society to this combat, as long as I hold the Iron Hammer ... I swear it on this swastika, on this sign which for us is sacred." [5]


He concluded his talk by reciting an Ariosophical poem by Philipp Stauff.

According to Sanskrit folklore the swastika ("forked cross," or "fire whisk") stirred the world into existence eons ago. Since ancient times it symbolized creativity, dynamism, transmutation, destruction of the "unproductive," rebirth, and spiritual force applied to the physical world. For his National Socialist Workers Party Hitler adopted a black swastika symbol in white circle on a red background. He explained its significance as follows:

"In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika (our) mission of Aryan man's struggle for victory." [6]


Interestingly, Hitler reversed the traditional counterclockwise (left-moving) swastika. Occult doctrine held that the Nazis' clockwise-moving fire whisk upset nature's order and allowed chaotic forces to be unleashed.

Sebottendorf emphasized that the present emergency called for united action from all the scattered Pan-German societies. He invited Heinrich Class's Alldeutsche Verband, Josef Rohmeder's Schulverein, Theodore Fritsch's Hammerbund, Hans Dahn's National Liberal Party, The Iron Fist, Old Reich Flag Association, Der Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet Society), and other volkisch groups to make common cause against the forces of darkness now engulfing Germany. Before winding up his speech, he provided tips on how to acquire second sight by using pendulums.

When Jewish pundit Kurt Eisner took over the government in a bloodless coup on November 7, 1918, Sebottendorf's worst fears were confirmed. Two days later he issued a "plangent call to arms against Judah."

"(Recently) we experienced the collapse of everything which was familiar, dear, and valuable to us. In place of our prince of Germanic blood rules our deadly enemy: Judah ... Now we shall declare the Jew to be our mortal enemy ... and from today we will begin to act." [7]


New members continued to flock to the German Order. Included among them were Gottfried Feder, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolf Hess, and Dietrich Eckart, who gave a speech before the group on May 30, 1919. Due to this influx, Sebottendorf relaxed entrance requirements. Candidates no longer had to undergo a year's probation, provide footprints to a committee of elders, or permit inspectors to view the color of their pubic hair.

The baron's missionary zeal paid off by March 19, 1919 when the northern German Order lodges officially formed a Thule Society chapter of their own. Through his efforts the traditionally incompatible Prussian Protestants and Bavarian Catholics agreed to cooperate on the basis of a shared racial heritage and a "common enemy." Sebottendorf succeeded in forging a coalition which cut across party, territorial, and religious lines. Due to a national crisis "blood affinity" won out over class, religious persuasion, and geographical differences. Hitler's National Socialist Party later duplicated Sebottendorf's accomplishment on a larger scale.

Bavaria had its own Communard Revolt between April and May of 1919. The foolish antics of the Spartacists won support for Die Thule Gesellschaft. The Spartacist Revolt actually occurred in two stages:. a harmless "writers' uprising" initiated by intellectuals such as dramatist Ernst Toller, novelist Gustav Landauer, and poet Erich Muesam -- then the Bolshevik follow-through punch orchestrated by Russian agents Eugene Levine, Max Levien, and Tobias Axelrod. With Soviet funds this trio raised a rag-tag army, which preyed on Munich's populace. The worst nightmare of Pan-German nationalists became reality: a "Jewish" revolution in Bavaria. To encourage enlistments and keep morale high the Reds offered free liquor and prostitutes to their troops. The disheveled Levien drank excessively and supposedly earned cash on the side by pimping his wife in bars. Spartacists arrested private citizens without cause, printed counterfeit money, confiscated rents, and limited bank withdrawals. They required all private citizens to turn in firearms under penalty of death. The communists organized looting parties, confiscated fuel (then charged double for it on the black market,) prohibited the baking of cakes, banned newspapers, imposed curfews, and outlawed milk. Their Munich Soviet decreed that students would now run universities. An ordinance was passed requiring living rooms to be built above kitchens. More ominously, the Soviet took fifty hostages and threatened to execute three for every communist killed.

The revolutionaries appointed Dr. Franz Lipp Commissar of Foreign Affairs. He immediately dictated a flood of incoherent letters to Lenin, the Pope, and various heads of state. He complained to Lenin that Johannes Hoffman, the bourgeois politician whose office he now occupied, had taken the men's room key with him. Ernst Toller discovered that Lipp had been a mental patient, and quietly carted him back to the asylum.

Newspapers commandeered by the Spartacists published poems as headlines, as well as celebrations of the Revolution. Levine and company forced The Bavarian Catholic Courier's editor to print atheistic articles. One day the front page of Der Munchener Post declared: "Come Out of the Slums! Flats Available!" Cranks of all stripes contributed newspaper articles advocating offbeat panaceas, including raw food, a universal language, abandonment of the gold standard, and abolition of department stores. To cure all ills a local shoemaker recommended defecating outdoors and substituting natural moss for toilet paper. One Sunday some drunken communists turned the Frauenkirche (Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady) into a "Revolutionary Temple," presided over by a whore dressed-up as "The Goddess of Reason."

These outrages sparked pandemonium. Jewish journalist Sigmund Fraenkl prophetically wrote that "the association of revolution and Jewry in the minds of the German masses ... (will) threaten the very existence of German Jews." [8] As Moscow's chief rabbi recently remarked: "The Trotskys make the revolutions, but the Bronsteins pay the bill." [9]

All this Bolshevik sound and fury disguised the fact that they did not have the numbers. Germany's 1920 general election registered 16,000,000 center and right votes, 11,500,000 for Social Democrats, but only 2,300,000 ballots for communist candidates. Of course, Lenin and Trotsky never had a majority in Russia either. They prevailed at gun point.

Munich's middle-class citizens admired Sebottendorf's fearless defiance of communist misrule. He risked life and limb to print denunciations of the Spartacists. His Thule Society funneled money to the Freikorps, set up arms depots, and went all-out to recruit more paramilitary troops. Sebottendorf sent a letter to police chief Ernst Pohner demanding immunity from arrest for counterrevolutionary fighters. He threatened to mob local Jews.

"My men will pick up the first Jew who comes along, drag him through the streets, and let it be known he has stolen a consecrated wafer. Then, my dear sir, you'll have a pogrom on your hands." [10]


Sebottendorf drew on his Turkish gun-running experience to supply Freikorps units with arms during the Spartacist insurgency. On April 6th he traveled to Bamberg with Dietrich Eckart in an effort to persuade General Haas to restore order in Munich. A week later the Thule Kampfbund attempted an unsuccessful putsch against the communists. In retaliation, armed Spartacists raided Thule Society's office in the Four Seasons Hotel on April 26, 1919 and kidnapped thirteen people, including Walter Nauhaus, Countess Heila von Westarp, Prince Gustav von Thurn und Taxis, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Baron von Tilart, Walter Deicke, Anton Daumelang, and Professor Ernst Berger. Four days later Navy mutineer Rudolf Egelhofer ordered his Red Army soldiers to shoot all hostages in Luitpold Gymnasium's basement. Though Sebottendorf, Eckart, and others nationalists branded this slaughter a "Jewish atrocity," Egelhofer and his accomplices were all gentiles. One victim, Dr. Berger, had been Jewish.

Weimar Republic President Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat, feared that leftist anarchy would erupt after the Armistice of November 11, 1918. General Wilhelm Groner phoned him from the Kaiser's temporary headquarters in Spa, offering to maintain civil order with his 400,000 troops if he would approve police actions against Bolsheviks and promised to provision the army. With sighs of gratitude and relief, Ebert immediately consented to those terms.

In March, 1919 Ebert's Minister of War, fellow Social Democrat Gustav Noske, sent government troops into Bavaria. Those divisions, along with Freikorps units, soon struck back with atrocities against suspected communists. They fought skirmishes with the Spartacist's near Dachau in mid-April, then battled them street-by-street in Munich for the next two weeks. Noske's legions "liberated" the city on May 4, 1919, then went on a rampage. Undisciplined soldiers shot twenty-one members of the Catholic St. Joseph's Association, twelve innocent Social Democrats in Perlach, and a group of medics treating wounded citizens. Not wanting to bother with prisoners, the Freikorps gunned down any insurgents who surrendered.

Noske ordered his men to shoot Reds on sight. Fortified by truckloads of beer, they ran amok -- indiscriminately killing Bolsheviks and innocent bystanders. "With bestial cruelty they clubbed, shot, or stabbed their victims regardless of whether these were communists, Russians, or innocuous citizens." [11] One Freikorps unit herded fifty-three Russian prisoners of war to a quarry and shot them all. A government inquiry reported that counterinsurgency forces had killed 606 people, 335 of them civilians, but subsequent research revealed that more than 2,000 non-combatants had lost their lives.

Sebottendorf's prestige waned by May, 1919. He attended his last Thule Society meeting on June 22, 1919, and left Munich for Bad Sachsa shortly thereafter. Some blamed his provocations and poor security arrangements for the deaths of Thule Society hostages. Fritz von Trutzschler accused him of shedding "crocodile tears" for the thirteen martyrs. Others associated him with the Freikorps' violent reaction against both revolutionaries and citizens. Johannes Hering, who had been disenchanted by Sebottendorf's flamboyance for some time, expressed relief that "this artist rather than pedant, ... sybarite rather than Platonist" — decided to resign. His pomposity, unpunctual ways, and unabashed paganism turned off conservative patrons. The baron outraged Hering and others with an idiotic plot to kidnap Chancellor Kurt Eisner at Bad Aibling, then embarrassed them again on Easter Sunday, 1919 by distributing hand-outs to church-attenders advertising the Thule Society's "mystical politics." As James Webb observed, "even the extreme irrationalists became disillusioned with his overloaded esotericism." [12] The heirs of Sebottendorf's occult legacy within Nazism were few and far between. Only a few functionaries in Heinrich Himmler's Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage Bureau) such as Wolfram von Sievers, Hermann Wirth, and Karl Maria Wiligut perpetuated his tradition. Their shenanigans will be treated in this work's sequel, The Surreal Reich.

Freikorps officers regarded Sebottendorf as a charismatic eccentric who excelled in dreaming up new schemes, but fell short on follow-up. Moreover, his Turkish citizenship made him susceptible to immediate deportation as an undesirable alien. A more reliable person had to be found -- a man who could speak to army veterans and working men in their own language without going off on tangents about Volsungs or Chandalas.

The German Workers Party was conceived by Rudolf von Sebottendorf. He and his aristocratic friends realized that the upper classes could not beat communism without the help of patriotic workers. An army needed enlisted men as well as officers. In October, 1918, Sebottendorf implemented the program which brought National Socialism into being by instructing Karl Harrer and Anton Drexler to start the "Worker's Circle," which shortly evolved into the Nazi Party. Its working class constituents wanted native German rule, not a "Jewish Republic." Thule's program called for a "Socialism of German Blood," which would improve the proletariat's lot, while avoiding class warfare. The party platform advocated a moratorium on immigration, abrogation of Jewish civil rights, seizure of war profits, nationalization of monopolies, a prohibition against real estate speculation, an increase in old age pensions, the dissolution of department stores, renunciation of the Versailles Treaty, censorship of decadent art, and nationalization of Jewish-owned newspapers. Sebottendorf and his affluent cronies closed one eye to the plank recommending the abolition of unearned income. Harrer, Drexler, and their followers met weekly in beer halls to discuss politics. Harrer persuaded Gottfried Feder, Professor Karl Alexander von Muller, and the poet Dietrich Eckart to address the little "Skat Club." On September 12, 1919 young army intelligence instructor Adolf Hitler appeared, and stole the show with an impromptu tirade against Bavarian separatism. Drexler nudged his work buddy Michael Lotter and said: "he's got a big mouth; we can use him."

Hitler never enrolled in the Thule Society and did not meet Sebottendorf, who left Munich in July, 1919. Though the two men had several mutual acquaintances -- including Harrer, Drexler, Feder, and Eckart -- they remained at a distance. Hitler aspired to political activism and regarded "wandering scholars" with contempt.

'The characteristic thing about these people is that they rave about old German history ... dim prehistory, stone axes, spears, and shields, but in reality are the greatest poltroons that can be imagined. For the same people who brandish scholarly imitations of old tin swords, and wear (padded) bearskins with bullhorns over their bearded faces run away as fast as they can from every communist blackjack." [13]


Despite this bluster, Hitler remained an Ariosophist until his dying day. His National Socialist Party never abandoned the Thule Society's swastika symbol, stiff arm salute, or "heil" greeting.

For his part, Sebottendorf berated Hitler as "an Austrian vagabond." This big-mouthed corporal might wow the plebes, but he could never attract upper class support -- despite what that souse Dietrich Eckart might bellow to the contrary from his perch at the Stinging Nettle Wine Cellar.

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Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer alias Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorf

Exeunt from the Stage

The Thule Society disintegrated after Sebottendorf's departure, leaving only the ineffectual German Order in its place. Very few middle class German Order members signed up for the little German Workers Party. Most of them simply abandoned their uncomfortable fling with street revolution and went back to researching Valkyries, Nibelungs, and the Sand Castles of Bad Aibling.

Sebottendorf separated from Berta-Anna Iffling in early 1919, and took the attractive Kathe Bierbaumer as his mistress. Disillusioned by his fall from grace, Sebottendorf and Kathe moved to Bad Sachsa in the Harz Mountains, where the baron became a recluse. He refused social invitations and worked full time as editor of a popular astrology magazine, Die Astrologishche Rundschau. During this time he wrote his novel Erwin Haller (1919), as well as books for Hugo Vollrath's Astrological Library in Leipzig, including Die Hilfhoroskopie (1921), The History of Astrology (1923), and a German translation of Max Heindel's Message of the Stars. After a short stay in Switzerland he returned to Turkey in 1923 and published The Practice of Old Turkish Freemasonry (1923), and The Talisman of the Rosicrucians (1925.)

In 1926 the Turkish government appointed Sebottendorf consul to Mexico. Between 1929 and 1931 he traveled to the United States and Central America as Turkey's official representative. He visited Germany in 1933 and wrote his controversial Before Hitler Came (1933), which the Nazis quickly suppressed. Himmler had Sebottendorf imprisoned for a few days in 1934. While escorting him to the border an SS agent supposedly offered him a position as a spy, which he turned down. Five years later economic necessity impelled him to reconsider, and he ended up as a part-time German Intelligence operative in Istanbul with the code name "Hakawaki" (teller of tales.) Istanbul bureau chief Ritdinger liked the "penurious old gentleman," but thought him ill-suited to espionage because of his brash and open manner.

Depressed over Germany's World War II defeat and his deteriorating financial situation, Sebottendorf committed suicide by jumping into the Bosporus Strait on May 10, 1945, the day of Germany's surrender.

______________

Endnotes

1 Arkon Daraul, A History of Secret Societies, Citadel Press, Secaucus, NJ, 1961, p. 207.

2 Jean-Michel Angebert, The Occult and the Third Reich, trans. Lewis Sumberg, McGraw Hill, New York, 1974, p. 166.

3 Dusty Sklar, Gods & Beasts: The Nazis & the Occult, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1977 p. 34.

4 Werner Maser, Hitler: Legend, Myth, and Reality, trans. Peter & Betty Ross, Harper & Row, New York, p. 111, op. cit. Munchener Beobachter, 8/18/18.

5 Angebert, p. 169.

6 Brigitte Hamann, Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship, trans. Thomas Thornton, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999, p. 210.

7 Maser, p. 1 10, op. cit. Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler Kam, Deufula- Verlag Grassinger & Co., Munich, 1933, p. 60.

8 Engleman, p. 137.

9 Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich, Hill and Wang, New York, 2000, p. 28.

10 Maser, p. 110, op cit. Sebottendorf, p. 92.

11 John Toland, Adolf Hitler, Ballantine Books, New York, 1976, p. 117.

12 Webb, p. 310.

13 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim, Houghton, Mifflin, Boston, 1943, p. 361. (Reprint of 1924 German edition.)
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:19 pm

8: Crusading Muckraker

"The 'Establishment' represented the whole Western commercial system which had reduced the (Germany) to defeat."

-- James Webb


Dietrich Eckart acquired more renown in Munich than Berlin. Because of the war, his specialty shifted from drama to politics. In Berlin he often engaged in social criticism, condemning pop culture and modern materialism, but hardly ever grappled with concrete political issues. As a Munchener, he evolved into a full-blown polemicist. The war forced him "from the quietude of poetry, out into the chaotic public arena." [1]

In 1918 Eckart became associated with Rudolf von Sebottendorf's Thule Society, an outgrowth of Theodore Fritsch's German Order, which soon became known as "the godparent of National Socialism." Sebottendorf published several of his articles in Der Munchener Beobachter. Eckart delivered a talk at one of the Society's meetings in the Four Seasons Hotel. As a "guest member" of this organization he made the acquaintance of Professor Karl Alexander von Mueller, his brother-in-law Gottfried Feder, and wealthy publisher Julius Friedrich Lehmann.

Eckart soon established himself at several pubs, including the Bratwurstglockl Cafe, Osteria Bavaria, Cafe Heck, Die Fledermaus Hohle (The Bat Cave), and Die Brenessel (Stinging Nettle) Wine Cellar on Bayerstrasse. He came into contact with various compatriots in these "Ratkellers." Landscape painters Max Zaeper and Edmund Steppes hung out with him, as did Adolf Vogl, a music teacher who composed an opera score for Lorenzaccio. Alfred Rosenberg introduced him to his fraternity brother Otto von Kursell, a Baltic German portrait painter. Eckart soon recruited Kursell to draw caricatures for Auf Gut Deutsch, earning him the dubious distinction of being a specialist in grotesque "Jewish heads." [2]

To these friends Eckart spun out visions of a new Europe under German rule. The Pan-German ideal would finally be realized by the Kaiser's brave legions. Over beer, wine, and shots they envisaged a Teutonic utopia on the horizon. On one occasion a tipsy Eckart, amid hooting applause from Die Brenessel Weinstubbe regulars, announced his intention to join the army. He rethought this in the cold light of day and petitioned Hans Buchner of The Munich Times to hire him as a war correspondent. Aware of the forty-seven-year old dramatist's physical and psychological debilities, Buchner refused this preposterous request. Royal Theater manager Georg von Huelsen-Haeseler delicately encouraged him to abandon pipe-dreams of military service, and "arouse patriotism in a poetic capacity." [3]

Germany's worsening situation impelled Eckart toward polemics. He viewed World War I as "a religious war ... a struggle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, Christ and Antichrist!" [4] Between 1915 and 1918, he wrote dozens of chauvinistic articles for Karl von Bothmer's Unser Vaterland magazine, and its successor Die Wirklichkeit, which future opponent Fritz Gerlich co-edited. He also published pieces with Deutsches Vo1kstrum, The Munich Times, Theodore Fritsch's Hammer Magazine, Julius Lehmann's Deutschlands Erneuerung (Germany's Renewal,) Rudolf von Sebottendorfs Munchener Beobachter, and his friend Klaus Eck's Miesbacher Anzeiger which anticipated the scurrility of Julius Streicher's Sturmer Magazine.

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Portrait of Dietrich Eckart by Karl Schulz

As hopes of a German Middle Europe sank in 1917, he became paranoid. Due to "Jewish pressure" America entered the conflict on the Entente side. The Russian Revolution, "instigated by what he termed "a rabble of International Jews," compromised Germany's victory in the East. The "Jewish Press" now condemned Wilhelmine Germany's war of conquest, which had lately deteriorated into a bloody, treasury-draining stalemate on the Western Front. Eckart and his volkisch cohorts unreservedly supported the war. They equated pacifism with treason, and regarded Jewish liberals as foreign traitors.

Hugo Haase, Otto Landauer, and other Jewish Social Democrats did oppose the war, but they were joined by many gentiles such as Friedrich Ebert, Matthias Erzberger, and Wilhelm Liebknecht. Realizing the stupidity of being drawn into a European war because of Austria's quarrel with Serbia, Haase organized peace rallies, and argued against granting war appropriations in the Reichstag. Ironically, he and his colleagues faithfully adhered to Bismarck's dictum of avoiding conflicts caused by Austrian belligerence in the Balkans, while Kaiser Wilhelm, Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, and flag-wavers like Eckart strayed from this hallowed doctrine.

The German defeat of November 11, 1918 radicalized Eckart. After tossing and turning that night he woke up Rose to proclaim the founding of a new tabloid, Auf Gut Deutsch ("In Plain German,") which would elucidate Germany's plight with utter frankness. His title and tone were influenced by Adolf Josef Lanz's Ariosophic book, Unadulterated German Words, and Heinrich Class's blunt potboiler, If I Were Kaiser. Years ago Eckart learned from Schopenhauer's "On Authorship & Style" to aim for hard-hitting brevity and candor. Verbosity obscured ideas and weakened expression. If a writer could not explain concepts clearly and laconically, he didn't understand them. Southern Germans had long distinguished themselves by earthiness and plain speaking. Neumarkt native Eckart preferred concrete to abstract expression. Since slang conveyed authenticity, he spiced up his prose with Bavarian dialect and profanity. When a leftist news report falsely announced that France had fallen to the Communist International, Eckart remarked that "the red flag in (France's) trench ... "was only the handkerchief of a drunken Algerian." [5] Such vulgarity amused the military and working class audiences he targeted.

On November 12, 1918 Eckart begged Rudolf von Sebottendorf to give him financial backing for a political broadsheet that would expose "Zionism," and skewer the "November Criminals" who sold out Germany. Familiar with his irregular work habits, Sebottendorf offered to publish more of his articles in the Munchener Beobachter, but declined to finance a competing magazine. Eckart then put the touch on his old theatrical benefactor Georg von Huelsen-Haeseler -- to no avail. Finally he approached Munchener Zeitung owner Hans Buchner. After listening to his impassioned sales pitch, Buchner agreed to fork out 10,000 marks. With this money Eckart rented a hole-in-the-wall office on Tengstrasse and moved in his desk, bookcase, and file cabinet. Unable to afford printing charges, he made printer Adolf Muller a business partner in both Auf Gut Deutsch and Hoheneichen (High Oak) Verlag, his new vanity publishing company.

Image
Cover of Auf Gut Deutsch featuring a caricature of Hungarian leader Bela Kun by Otto vo Kursell. Eckart considered Kursell's drawings "more revealing than photographs. "

Acting as Auf Gut Deutsch's chief cook and bottle-washer, Eckart wrote most articles, edited the rest, solicited advertisements (including one from brother-in-law Paul Hermann Wiedeburg's insane asylum,) and carried finished copy to the printer. He even worked as a paperboy. Kurt Ludecke remembered seeing Eckart's bobbing bald head among hurrying commuters in a train station as he hawked his scandal sheet during rush hour. Others recalled a boozy "retired wrestler" with round tortoise-shell glasses and half-smoked cigar butt clenched between his teeth, distributing handbills to passersby on street corners.

The Auf Gut Deutsch venture energized Eckart and gave him a new sense of purpose. On March 30, 1919 he wrote his brother Wilhelm:

"Despite all, I view Germany's future with composure ... The Jewish Corps still exacts a toll until they get their just deserts. We Germans have the responsibility for salvaging world freedom. The Third Reich approaches its beginning in the midst of vertigo ... Patience is all. It's worth the effort to endure life's struggle ..." [6]


With a nationalist mailing list in hand, Eckart sent out 25,000 copies of Auf Gut Deutsch on December 7, 1918. Over the next two and a half years, he published 56 issues, totaling 1,500 pages, for 50 pfennigs per single edition. By 1920 Auf Gut Deutsch had a circulation of approximately 30,000.

Eckart despised routine work. His drinking benders, illnesses, drug ingestion, impulse vacations, "artistic temperament," and general disorganization caused him to miss publication dates regularly. Alfred Rosenberg found him "incapable of sustained work." On the verge of deadlines Eckart rattled on about the humorous novel he intended to write, and book on Christianity then forming in his mind. When "divine inspiration" descended upon him, he'd drop everything to deliver newborn verse. Rosenberg remembered him pacing around with scrawled notes in hand dramatically reciting "Ecce Deus," a poem about Matthias Grunewald's famous altar painting, while yet another deadline expired.

Though negligent about timetables, Eckart felt obligated to send customers something every week. When feeling slothful, he'd order Rosenberg to mail out copies of Hammer Magazine and Sturm Magazine in lieu of Auf Gut Deutsch. One week subscribers received paperback editions of Artur Dinter's Sin Against Blood. Issues 15 to 29 of Auf Gut Deutsch simply printed his tragedy Lorenzaccio in fourteen installments.

Rosenberg remembered Eckart as a divided personality. He couldn't say no to friends, and handed money to any stranger with a sob story, yet positively abominated those he perceived as enemies, including complete strangers. Although sometimes magnanimous when soused in the Stinging Nettle Wine Cellar, a cold-sober Eckart could be an uncompromising taskmaster at the office.

"He cut an impressive figure behind his paper-strewn desk. His shining skull and knotted brow, dark horn-rimmed glasses in front of blue eyes; the nose slightly bent, small and fleshy; a full mouth and a wide, brutal-seeming chin." [7]


Eckart probably met engineer-economist Gottfried Feder through Karl von Bothmer in early 1919. Feder was a disciple of left-wing economist Silvio Gesell, who advocated land reform, equitable distribution of wealth, and a free market economy. He argued that abuse of monetary power by oligarchs and nobles generated poverty, trade imbalances, periodic recessions, and a widening disparity between the desperately poor and super-rich. Feder's diary recorded his first impressions of Eckart.

"Fatalistic, well-read, with enormous ... knowledge, sharp historical mind ... diligent ... restless ... "gemutlich" (warm, genial, pleasure-loving) ... His dialectic is studded with antitheses ... In the religious sphere uneasy feelings ... " [8]


Auf Gut Deutsch notified patriotic Germans of an unfolding "Pan-Jewish World Conspiracy." Eckart censured Jews for undermining national morale and accused them of masterminding the Bolshevik Revolution, which now spread like a cancer toward Germany. Karl von Bothmer, Ellegaard Ellerbeck, Rudolf Gorsleben, and Gottfried Feder all contributed articles. Eckart reprinted pieces that had already been published in Bothmer's Die Wirklichkeit and Julius Lehmann's Deutschland Erneuerung (Germany's Renewal.)

Auf Gut Deutsch's lead article "Men!" declared that Germany needed a statesman of Bismarck's caliber to lead it out of perdition. Unlike the current crop of petty politicians, the Iron Chancellor refused to affiliate himself with any one party. Eckart too vowed to remain independent. "Whoever wants to help my effort is welcome. But I cannot bind myself to him: neither to any individual nor ... party." [9] Germany's multitudinous political parties merely "raised weaklings to the heights." [10] Despite Eckart's pledge of impartiality, he soon plugged Anton Drexler's German Workers' Party, which sought "the ennoblement of the German worker, ... profit-sharing, not socialization ... a full pot, prospering children, " [11] while combatting "usury ... inflation, and drones ... who create no value " [12] Eckart promised that Deutsche Arbeiter Partei workers would form a protective rampart against Reds who took orders from Jewish Bolsheviks.

Eckart's desire to unite Germans of all classes resulted in seemingly contradictory operations. From his days as a debt-ridden writer in Berlin he had mastered "the pump art." Eckart started up the German Leading Citizens' Society in May, 1919 with the intention of attracting upper class support and funding. To that end he addressed the Thule Society on May 30, 1919 and published follow-up articles in Rudolf von Sebbotendorf's Munchener Beobachter. Although this organization fizzled by August, a few affluent nationalists flocked to his standard, including "outsiders among the rich" such as Emil Kirdorf, Gottfried Grandel, and his old friend from Berlin, Dr. Emil Gannser.

The "Russian Jewish" Revolution

On January 15, 1919, rightwing vigilantes in Berlin abducted radical Social Democrats Wilhelm Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, dragged them to the Eden Hotel, then tortured and murdered them -- even though both renounced armed revolution. On February 21, 1919, nationalist officer Count Anton Arco-Valley assassinated Prime Minister Kurt Eisner. These outrages precipitated the Spartacist Revolt of April, 1919.

When the shooting started in Munich Eckart decided to leave. On April 6, 1919 he, Rose, and his step-daughters journeyed down the Isar River Valley to Wolfrathausen, where one of his partners in High Oak Publishers put them up for a few days. Eckart saw armed Bolshevik partisans financed by Russia driving past in cars with machine guns, and heard artillery fire exchanged between Freikorps and communist units. He traveled on to Bamberg with Rudolf von Sebottendorf. While on the train he harangued fellow passengers with a fiery anti-communist speech. In Landsberg Eckart lectured soldiers and vainly tried to persuade General Haas to use his 35,000 troops to squash the "Bolshevik Revolution."

After rejoining Rose at Wolfrathausen for a week, Eckart returned to Munich, and engaged in a series of high risk adventures. Possibly as a daring prank, he and Gottfried Feder went to communist headquarters at the Wittelsbach Palace, where he encountered Jewish poet Ernst Toller. The pair requested and received a permit from secretary Ernst Niekisch for their upcoming rally against interest slavery. In an Auf Gut Deutsch article Eckart compared the atmosphere at the communist office to a "Judenschule." He solicited ransom money from rich friends, and bribed a communist prison official to release Thule Society member Julius Knauf (who repaid him June 21st.) On April 16th Eckart and Rudolf Gorsleben had a very close call when a squad of Spartacist rebels arrested them at gunpoint near the Thule Society's office. His light-hearted banter disarmed the motley anarchists. He invited them to his home, offered food and drink, then read selected passages from his "socialistic" pamphlet, "To All the Workers." The maintenance man for Eckart's apartment building happened to know some of the Spartacists. He testified that their prisoner was "a good guy" who tipped on Christmas. The Reds released Eckart and Gorsleben. Four days later Spartacist terrorists executed thirteen hostages at Luitpold Gymnasium.

The Content of Auf Gut Deutsch

According to Hermann Esser, who worked under him at the Volkischer Beobachter, Eckart usually wrote in solitude, whether in hotels, his apartment, or corner bar table. He often revised articles in the evening, with a glass of wine within easy reach. Eckart rarely consulted others about subject matter and would not tolerate editorial corrections. Although historians refer to him as a journalist, melodramatic fiction remained his specialty. He was a propagandist who loved to pontificate. The discipline of journalism, with its painstaking corroboration and double-checking of facts, bored him. He liked to gossip, and pass off droll bar chat as truth. Opponents successfully sued Eckart for libel on several occasions. In his work as a newspaper columnist and book reviewer, he lapsed into the habit of voicing controversial opinions, without bothering to research alternative views. Like Hitler, he was essentially an indolent know-it-all, who wanted a forum for his Judeophobic prejudices.

Certain interrelated themes pervade Auf Gut Deutsch: the "Stab in the Back Theory" which held that Jews undercut Germany's war effort, Russian Bolshevik atrocity stories, calls for patriotic working men to establish an anticommunist party, dire warnings about an International "Jewish Conspiracy," and prophecies that a "God-sent Fuhrer with lion heart" would one day lead Germany out of its current predicament.

Eckart read Houston Stewart Chamberlain's bestselling War Essays in 1915. Another believer in the "Coming Great One," Chamberlain also advanced the "stab in the back" hypothesis, postulating a conspiracy of "International Jews." According to him, Jewish financiers incited the present crisis in order to garner spoils after racially-related English, French, Germans, Austrians, and Russians exhausted themselves in a deadly, internecine conflict. Patriotism means loyalty to one's homeland. Eckart's nationalism exaggerated and perverted that hallowed ideal. Going beyond defense of the fatherland, he preached xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and imperialism. Liberals who disagreed with his jingoism were branded as traitors.

Both Eckart and Gottfried Feder agreed with Chamberlain, claiming that Jews had long planned an unwinnable two front war in order to overthrow the Hohenzollern dynasty and grab power for themselves. Feder wrote: "with the cowardly bravery of assassins (they) felled a swaying giant from behind." [13] Germany's conservatives -- including the nobility, officer corps, and all nationalistically-minded men -- refused to participate in the surrender process, leaving that task to leftist politicians such as Haase, Landauer, and Erzberger. When things turned out badly due to French Revanchism, these agents became scapegoats. In Ernst Nolte's words nationalists blamed "the bankruptcy receivers for the bankruptcy." According to Eckart the same "backstabbing malefactors" who arranged Germany's capitulation then created the Weimar Republic in order to arrogate power to themselves. The November, 1918 disaster enabled "Jewish plutocrats" to install this sham government. Its American-style electioneering process staged media extravaganzas to gull proles. Anyone seeking office had to spend large sums for campaigning. Politics had become a part of show business. "Jewish wire pullers" bought candidates the way studios signed film stars. As a theater veteran, Eckart resolved to beat them at their own game.

Eckart's anti-Semitic prejudices were delusional, but he passionately believed in them. The struggling playwright, who thought Jews had stymied his literary career, was convinced that these wily adversaries now plotted Germany's ruin. The Entente victory deposed Kaiser Wilhelm and launched Jews such as Kurt Eisner and Walter Rathenau into thankless positions of power. Jewish Minister of the Interior Hugo Preuss wrote the Weimar Republic's Constitution, which Eckart viewed as a liberal-sounding hoax whose real intention was to establish Jewish authoritarianism down the road. According to him the Weimar Republic had been foisted upon Germany by "materialists, opportunists, and half-natures ... devoid of Aryan attributes ... " [14]

Alfred Rosenberg and other Russian emigres provided Eckart with sensational stories about "the kosher Christian-butchering dictatorship of the Jewish world savior, Lenin, and his Elijah, Trotsky-Bronstein." [15] When Eckart discovered that Lenin was an atheist of mixed Russian, Calmuck, German, Jewish, and Swedish extraction, he revised his slur to "that Tartar Lenin." Like Karl Marx, many Bolshevik leaders fit into the Jewish Messianic tradition, even though they repudiated Judaism. Auf Gut Deutsch never tired of repeating Rosenberg's charges that Leon Davidovich Bronstein (Trotsky), Lev Kamenev (alias Blumberg,) Grigori Zinoviev (alias Apfelbaum,) Karl Radek (alias Sobelsohn), Jakov Sverdlov (who ordered the Romanov murders), and Alexei Rykov were all ethnic Jews. Former Russian Orthodox seminarian Josef Stalin employed the code term "left oppositionists" for Jews, and persecuted them with gusto. During purges in the 1920's and 1930's he killed most of the above-mentioned men, plus another 500,000 Jews (out of a 10,000,000 Jewish population.)

After World War I Bolsheviks spread terror far and wide. Bela Kun toppled Hungary's rickety government. He and twenty of his twenty-six ministers were Jewish. Rosa Luxembourg agitated during Berlin's ill-fated Communist Revolution of January, 1919. Eugene Levine, Tobias Axelrod, Max Levien, and Ernst Toller fomented Munich's April, 1919 Spartacist Revolt. In the Autumn of 1920 Soviet leader Grigori Zinoviev persuaded Berlin's Independent Socialists to affiliate with Moscow. Eckart recycled the false rumor that British-Jewish financier Samuel Landman conspired with American Jewish stock market wizard Bernard Baruch to bring America into the war. He alleged that their colleagues subsequently took advantage of the unjust Versailles Treaty to buy up grain, steel, coal, and other commodities from Germany at bargain basement prices. Army staff officers hailed Eckart as a seer for unveiling these insidious plots. The battered playwright savored his new-found aura of self-importance.

Eckart's libels against Germany's Jewish population did not go uncontested. On April 10, 1919 The Central Union of German Jews, an organization consisting of over 200,000 members, paid for an advertisement in the Munich Post which took issue with his allegations. The piece concluded that Eckart wrongly scapegoated German Jews for what had happened in Russia. In May, 1919 the Central Union objected to his pamphlet "Buerger!" which proposed a German Leading Citizens' Society to oppose the "Jewish Menace." The Zentralverein complained that Eckart willfully promulgated lies in his campaign to abrogate Jewish civil rights.

Eckart stressed that a Bolshevik Revolution in Germany could only be prevented by a united effort on the part of volkisch workers, tradesmen, army veterans, and landowners. He wanted to take a page out of the Bolshevik playbook. To recruit dissatisfied laborers Eckart proclaimed the radical populist view that "skilled resident workers have the right to be considered members of the middle class." [16] The proletariat must have a voice in the New Germany, whether the aristocracy liked it or not. Intending to lure the masses away from communist agitators Eckart wrote:

"Is the factory hand not a citizen? Is every propertied person a good-for-nothing capitalist? Down with envy! Down with pomp and false appearances! Our aim is to regain simplicity and to be once more German. Our demand is true socialism. Power should only be given to him who has German blood alone in his veins!" [17]


These socio-economic notions reflected Gottfried Feder's influence. He believed that Marxist cliches such as "bourgeoisie" and "proletariat" had no factual basis; they were just Jewish propaganda terms designed to divide and conquer Germany's Volk. Eckart echoed the Pan German sentiments of Georg Ritter von Schoenerer when he wrote: "We have been goaded long enough. Let only those of pure German blood have influence!" [18]

In this age of mob-rule it was imperative to recruit Fritz and Otto from the local beer hall. Thirty years of pub-crawling had given Eckart a sure touch with the common man. Without condescension he could trade jibes and drink rounds with mechanics, bricklayers, and railroad workers. He possessed "extensive knowledge consonant with his prejudices," [19] and passed for a savant among laborers. Over mugs of Pilsner and goblets of Riesling he would regale boon companions of all classes with barstool humor, anecdotes, Jewish jokes, and anti-French epithets. He was a "big bear of a man, a "roughhewn comical figure," [20] who guffawed loudly at his own witticisms. His creative use of obscenities impressed army sergeants. In spite of respectable middle-class origins, Eckart loved ribald stories and prided himself on his mastery of the vernacular.

To woo working men Eckart and Feder founded the German Union for the Abolition of Interest Slavery in September, 1919. According to them, "Mammonism" caused most ills on earth. They defined it as "international money power," combined with

"the insatiable acquisitive urge based on a purely temporal view of life, which has led to an appalling degeneration of all moral standards ... " [21]


Under this system "a minority of drones" collected steadily increasing amounts of interest from working stiffs. Feder, an engineer who specialized in concrete construction, drew a distinction between "rapacious capital" that swindled Germany's masses and "productive capital," which created goods and jobs. He identified the former with Jewish financiers and the latter with native German industrialists. Every year workers slaved to raise 12 million dollars just to pay off interest charged by bankers. As a consequence of compounding the amount multiplied geometrically each year. To end this massive rip-off Feder proposed the abolition of loan capital — even though modern finance had funded Wilhelmine Germany's "economic miracle." Eckart dramatized Feder's economical theories for the readers of Auf Gut Deutsch:

"The greatest curse is omitted from all interpretations of Germany's crisis, namely loan capital, (which) earns money without work, by virtue of interest. I repeat: without budging a finger the capitalist increases his fortune at the expense of society." [22]


Eckart did not really want to outlaw interest. Such imbecility would arrest growth, and benefit France, England, and other competing nations. His compromise solution called for a state-controlled bank. Somehow he thought that government bureaucrats would do a better job than professional bankers, a delusion which betrayed his naivete in business matters.

In Auf Gut Deutsch Eckart repeatedly lashed out against usurers.

"The tormentor of the German people is international finance, a financial militarism. On God's earth there is no more cold-blooded criminality than (that) which hide(s) behind the invisible empire of global economics. With a complete lack of scruples which defies description ... the furtive Princes of Gold mix their pernicious brew, which makes mankind not only serve them, but crazy and blind enough to mistake evil for good and good for evil ... The Great Hunchback, a Hydra sucking up millions of our people's savings through his many banks and fattening himself with ever-increasing influence. Go ahead and put your last dime down, what kind of interest do you get for it? A trifle! The Great Hunchback, however, bears fruit a hundredfold. Shut him out, bring the state to your side, and you will have a double benefit: you'll yield a better interest on your money, and the state, being better served, can therefore pay debts and relieve you of your burdens." [23]


According to Eckart, speculators fomented World War I behind the scenes. Native German manufacturers should not be blamed, only members of the "Gold International."

"They play one people off against another, cheating both. For these drones German ... people are just objects of speculation! Not by the presumption of the military were we betrayed, but above all by usury, again by usury, and a third time through usury did we lose our power ... What? Did we die for the benefit of loan sharks? (The) uncrowned kings of the stock exchange are the international enemies of peace and law ... who sowed a storm to salvage the jetsam beached between corpses." [24]


Eckart's florid rhetoric presented a distorted picture. Nearly five times more gentiles were defense contractors than Jews. Among the principal ones were Krupp, Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, and Thyssen Steel Workers: all gentile firms. Jewish concerns accounted for a relatively small percentage of military supplies -- mostly uniforms and foodstuffs. Few manufactured arms or munitions, though some furnished chemicals or high-tech components to Krupp, Skoda, and Siemens. Many Jewish bankers provided loans to corporations with army contracts, but this was done with the government's blessing.

The war hurt more Jews than it helped. Shipping magnate Albert Ballin's experience was more typical than the nameless "Jewish war profiteers" mentioned by Eckart. Ballin started out as a travel agent. By dint of intelligence and hard work he built Hamburg-America into a major ocean liner company. He pioneered the concept of pleasure cruises to the Mediterranean and Caribbean for wealthy customers. A staunch German patriot, Ballin advised both Kaiser Wilhelm and Admiral Tirpitz on naval matters. However, the foolishness of letting Austria pull the Reich into a pointless war distressed him. His depression deepened when war-time operations ruined his business. On November 9th, 1918, he ended his life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

Eckart failed to grasp the obvious fact that recession and inflation adversely affected Jews. The hyperinflation of 1923 reduced Franz Kafka and many others to destitution. Why "engineer" an economic catastrophe that wiped out the savings of one's own people? But common sense verities did not interest Eckart. He stubbornly insisted that "Jewish bankers" and "armament company directors" were responsible for World War I and its aftermath. Because of them "twenty-two dynasties have fallen or are clinging desperately to crumbling rocks." [25]

In December, 1918 Eckart wrote "The Boyg," an Auf Gut Deutsch article comparing "Jewish" capitalism to the noxious mass of gook which entangled wayfarers in Peer Gynt's Valley of the Trolls. People could not "ascend to the heights" when stifled by materialism. To combat this nuisance he advocated Gottfried Feder's idea of nationalizing credit. Of course, such a "remedy" would have devastated Germany's economy. During the first week of April, 1919 he and Rosenberg and Eckart tossed copies of "To All Workers" out of taxicab windows. This incendiary pamphlet characterized the banking system as "a Hydra" [26] with voracious appetite for money. If working men and women realized this problem's severity, they would "join arms and throttle the monster before tomorrow." [27] According to Eckart the Rothschild family began its banking operations in 1806 with approximately 15,000 marks provided by "the abdicating Elector of Hesse." By 1919 their assets exceeded 40 billion, whereas the worth of Germany's entire industrial capital only amounted to about 12 billion.

"It sounds like the ravings of a madman, but it's true ... Your money (is) drawn into the coffers of these insatiable people ... not only the Rothschilds, but the Mendelssohns, Bleichroders, Friedlanders, and Warburgs -- to name only a few of the most important." [28]


Eckart feared that these foreign oligarchs had enough money to "buy" Germany.

"Interest slavery ... enabled Jewry to capture the entire cultural apparatus: painting, music, poetry, theater, and cinema." [29]


Eckart's mythic analysis of foreign policy displayed an anti-Semitic bias. Giving a new wrinkle to the age old German encirclement phobia, he interpreted current conditions as a conspiracy against the Reich by western Jewish capitalists -- the Gold International, and eastern Jewish Bolsheviks -- the Red International, both of whom allegedly worked in concert. In November, 1917 Russia fell to Bolsheviks of Jewish extraction. According to Alfred Rosenberg 432 of the 537 Soviet commissars were Jewish. Eckart averred in 1922 that "the toll of Russians sacrificed since the beginning of Bolshevik domination is estimated by ... authorities at about 30 million," [30] a phony statistic later quoted by Hitler in Mein Kampf. He never mentioned that approximately 90% of Germany's 400 political murders between 1919 and 1922 were perpetrated by nationalist reactionaries, not leftists.

Eckart's exotic conspiracy theories reveal him more as a liar than "mythmaker." The majority of American Jews were pro-German between 1914 and 1916. They perceived Germany and Austria as relatively liberal toward Jewry, especially when compared to anti-Semitic powers such as Russia and France. In 1914 German intelligence officers on the Eastern Front actually distributed propaganda leaflets in Jewish communities claiming to be their liberators. In postwar plebiscites the majority of Jews living in the Polish Corridor voted for re-unification with Germany.

Poet Laureate of Racism

In addition to churning out newspaper articles and delivering speeches, former Onoldia Corps Master of Ceremonies Eckart composed songs and poems to trumpet the cause of Nazism. In August, 1921 he wrote "Feuerjo!" which later became the storm trooper's fight song "Sturmlied." Hans Gansser, brother of Dr. Emil Gansser, put his lyrics to music in January, 1923. Hitler designated it the Nazi Party's official anthem. When befuddled by booze Eckart would recite poems or belt out songs before tavern crowds. Professor Karl Alexander von Mueller recalled his karaoke performance at the Hofbrauhaus one night.

" ... I still can see the large room before me, and how ... the red, glowing head of ... stocky, short-necked Dietrich Eckart sprang from the podium onto a table; and with gestures of furious violence shouted his song 'Germany Awake!' into the crowd, who upon receiving his words accompanied by a brass band, appeared in a state of paroxysm.'" [31]


Like Wotan the Awakener Eckart sought to rouse the German masses out of their slumber by loudly declaiming apocalyptic doggerel:

"Sound the alarm and let the earth rise up
At the sound of avenging thunder.
Woe to the nation that still slumbers!
Germany, awake!"

"The serpent, the dragon from hell has broken loose! Stupidities and lies have burst his chains asunder. .. Red as with blood are the heavens in flames, The rooftops collapse, a sight to appall. .. Ring out for the assault, now or never.


Shortly thereafter Eckart became an advisor to Julius Streicher's Deutschesvolkisches Shutz and Trutz Bund (German People's Offensive and Defensive Alliance,) comprised mainly of recently discharged soldiers. This paramilitary group helped beleaguered civil authorities put down communist disorders in Bavaria. On August 22, 1919 he addressed a 1,000 man rally, citing allusions to Peer Gynt, and advising all to "thrust through the realm of illusion toward enlightenment." [35]

The militant bard, like his father Georg Christian Eckart, now counseled "Herren" in worldly matters. He ebulliently dispensed ripe wisdom to "political dunderheads" in the officer corps, such as General Franz Ritter von Epp, Captain Karl Mayr, and Captain Ernst Rohm. Eckart persuaded Freikorps General von Epp and Army information officer Mayr to ally their legions with a party representing the laboring classes. The proletariat should be militarized and the military proletarianized. That would steal Communist thunder. A grass roots German type of socialism must prevail over "Jewish Bolshevism."

Dietrich Eckart joined Anton Drexler's German Workers Party in early August, 1919, and urged the army to support this tiny group. On August 14, 1919 he addressed thirty-eight members of the D.A.P. in a beer hall, demanding united action against the "Jewish-Bolshevik Peril."

Anton Drexler, a railroad tool and die maker interested in politics, embodied Eckart's ideal of the workingman. He had written a anti-Semitic pamphlet entitled "My Political Awakening." This booklet -- which inspired Hitler to write Mein Kampf -- recommended the disenfranchisement of Jews, dissolution of department stores, and repudiation of the Versailles Treaty. But the diffident and middle-aged Drexler felt more comfortable preaching to converted co-workers at a tavern table, than clashing with Red gangs in the streets. The German Workers Party needed a tougher leader to get its message out.

_______________

Endnotes:

1 Dietrich Eckart, "Men!" Auf Gut Deutsch, 12/7/1918, from Barbara Lane Miller and Leila J. Rupp, Nazi Ideology Before 1933, University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 1978, p. 3.

2 Ralph M. Engelman, Dietrich Eckart and the Genesis of Nazism, Washington University, 1971, UMI Press, Ann Arbor, MI, 1971, p. 120.

3 Margarete Plewnia, Auf Dem Weg Zu Hitler: Der Volkische Publizist Dietrich Eckart, Schunemann, Universitasverlag, Bremen, 1971, p. 27.

4 Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich, Cambridge University Press, London, 2003, p. 19, op. cit. Auf Gut Deutsch, 1919.

5 Eckart, "The Boyg," Auf Gut Deutsch, 12/7/1918, Miller & Rupp, p. 4.

6 Engelman., p. 126, D. Eckart letter to Wilhelm Eckart, 3/30/1919.

7 Ibid., p. 113, op. cit. Alfred Rosenberg, Ein Vermachtis (A Legacy), Franz Eher Verlag, Munich, 1928.

8 Ibid., p. 117, Gottfried Feder's Diary, VII, 16-17.

9 Eckart, "Men!" Miller & Rupp, p. 4.

10 Ibid., p. 3.

11 Dietrich Eckart, "Guidelines of the German Workers Party, Auf Gut Deutsch, January, 1919, Miller & Upp, pp. 99-10.

12 Ibid.

13 Gottfried Feder, "The Social State," Auf Gut Deutsch 5/24/1919, Miller & Rupp, p. 35.

14 Engelman, p. 219.

15 Eckart, "Men!" Miller & Rupp, p. 7.

16 Dietrich Eckart, "Guidelines of the German Workers Party," Miller & Rupp, p. 9.

17 Konrad Heiden, A History of National Socialism, Octagon, New York, 1971, p. 9. Reprint of 1935 edition.

18 Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism, trans. Leila Venewitz, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1966, p. 328.

19 Joachim C. Fest, Hitler, trans. Richard & Clara Winston, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1974, p. 133.

20 Ibid., p. 132.

21 James Webb, The Occult Establishment, Open Court Publishing Co., LaSalle, IL, 1976, p. 291, op. Cit. Gottfried Feder, "The Struggle Against High Finance," Munchener Beobachter, 8/8/19.

22 Engelman, p. 128, op. cit. Dietrich Eckart, "To All Workers!" Auf Gut Deutsch, 4/5/1919.

23 Dietrich Eckart, "The Boyg," Auf Gut Deutsch, 12/7118, Miller & Rupp, pp. 7- 8.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Eckart, Auf Gut Deutsch, 12/17/1918.

27 Eckart, "To All Workers," Auf Gut Deutsch, 4/511919, Miller & Rupp, pp. 30- 32.

28 Ibid.

29 Engelman, p. 182.

30 Dietrich Eckart, "Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin," trans. William L. Pierce, Hohenreichen Verlag, Munich, 1924, p. 31.

31 Plewnia, p. 88.

32 Joachim Kohler, Wagner's Hider, trans. Ronald Taylor, Polity Press, Cambridge, U.K., 2000, p. 22.

33 Kurt Ludecke, I Knew Hitler, Scribners, New York, 1937, p. 83.

34 Hugh Trevor-Roper, editor, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 1953, p. 156.

35 Engelman, p. 147.
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