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.

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.

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]

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.



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.

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.



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.

Crown Prince Frederick, 1875

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.

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.



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."



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

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.



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

Postby admin » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:22 am

Part 1 of 2

9: Karl Marx: The Cinder Klaus of Political Economy

"He who is not a socialist at 19 has no heart. He who is still a socialist at 30 has no brain."

-- Otto von Bismarck

It is not religion but revolution that is the opiate of the people.

-- Simone Weil

Dietrich Eckart constantly railed against "Jewish Communism" in Auf Gut Deutsch. Ironically, his nemesis Karl Marx -- whom he nicknamed "Mordechai" -- resembled him in many respects. Both men were hard-drinking sons of lawyers who ultimately became radical polemicists noted for acerbic writing.

Although Adolf Hitler always fought against Communists, he co-opted their socialist rhetoric to attract working class support. Nevertheless, he repudiated "Mordechai's" Jewish intellectualism on the grounds that it spawned "world historical mistakes" such as helot revolts, women's rights, Negro emancipation, birth control, and German emigration to America. Hitler rejected Karl Marx's naive view that religious, national, and racial differences would disappear when social classes were abolished. He opposed Marxism's leveling cosmopolitanism, which held that Germans, French, and Russian workers could overlook ethnic dissimilarities and unite to make common cause against the bourgeoisie. Nazis believed that collectivism only worked within particular racial groups. Germans might support a welfare state for fellow Germans, but not Jews, Gypsies, Russian immigrants, or guest workers from Turkey. "Internationalism" went against human nature. Social relationships needed to be bonded by "Folk Spirit."

However, the two men concurred on a surprising range of other issues. Neither was capable of self-criticism. Both thought in black-and-white terms, and blamed external forces for their problems -- and the world's ills. They disparaged religion as an "opiate of the masses," and repeatedly used the word "parasite" in their writings. Even though he was ethnically Jewish, Marx had no love of Jews. According to Isaiah Berlin:

"His references to individual Jews, particularly in his letters to Engels, are virulent ... His origin was evidently a personal stigma which he was unable to avoid pointing out in others ... " [1]

Hitler and Marx both deemed themselves practitioners of Realpolitik. Each regarded France and Russia as Germany's traditional enemies. Hollow pronouncements about "individualism" and "the rights of man" struck Marx as bourgeois decadence. Hitler dismissed liberty, equality, and fraternity as maudlin rubbish. Communists and Nazis alike scorned the angst-ridden spiritual crises of artists and intellectuals. Such "morbid attention to private emotional states ... (smacked of) ... bourgeois degeneracy." [2]

According to both Nazism and Communism, meaningful change could only come through violence. Marx preached Revolution, Hitler wars of conquest. Neither man had any use for parliaments. Hitler ridiculed them as debating societies which took forever to pass watered-down measures. Time and again Marx railed against "parliamentary cretinism," and blasted Prussian assemblymen as corrupt windbags who obstructed progress.

Marx and Hitler agreed that working men ought to receive a greater share of national wealth through higher wages, government-subsidized medical insurance, and retirement pensions. In 1933 anti-democratic Communists and Nazis colluded with each other to wreck Germany's Weimar Republic. Many leading National Socialists -- including Josef Goebbels and Robert Ley -- were fervent communists before converting to Nazism. Hans Mend claimed that Hitler tried to join the Communist Party while on leave from the army in 1917.

Karl Marx descended from the Jewish priestly caste. His grandfather (Meier Halevi Marx,) a great-grandfather, and an uncle all served as rabbis. Karl's father Herschel married Dutch Jewess Henrietta Philips. When Prussia reinstated its proscription against Jewish lawyers in the wake of Napoleon's 1812 defeat by Russia, law student Herschel Marx promptly changed his name to Heinrich and converted to Lutheranism. His son Karl renounced all religions by age eighteen.

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 at 664 Bruckergasse in Trier, a quaint medieval city on the Rhine. His sister Sophie described him as a domineering boy with a mop of thick black hair who forced her to eat mud and pull his toy cart like a horse. Karl grew into an energetic young man, with voracious appetite for learning, along with a penchant for drinking and bar fights. Heinrich Marx marveled at the way his son combined "senseless and inexpedient erudition" with rowdiness. Never before had he encountered such a learned ruffian. Well before his twenty-first birthday Marx joined the Trier Tavern Club, an organization devoted to pub-crawling and revelry. Bonn University suspended him for disorderly conduct in 1835. He narrowly escaped debtors' prison while attending the University of Berlin in 1841. Police in Cologne arrested him for carrying a concealed weapon. Because of his unruly coal-black hair, swarthy complexion and ungovernable nature Marx's companions dubbed him "the Moor," a nickname that stuck. In Francis Wheen's words,

"he was, like Esau, (a) hairy man (with) lion-like head (and) ... jet-black mane ... a bristling boar. .. " [4]

Two philosophers captivated Marx during his college days: Georg Friedrich Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach. Hegel posited a theory of dialectical evolution toward Spirit, which operated by a process of thesis-anti-thesis-synthesis. For example, hedonism (thesis) versus asceticism (antithesis) might yield the hybrid concept Epicureanism, or rational pleasure-seeking. Epicureanism then would become a new thesis, opposed by stoicism (rational self-denial,) which would lead to a more sophisticated formulation, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, an abstract (or "ideal") solution to ethics' pleasure-pain issue. Being an utter materialist, Ludwig Feuerbach denied the existence of Spirit, asserting that thought arose from being, rather than being from thought. Human ideas were simply gases emanating from the biological swamp, not revelations vouchsafed by an invisible, "noumenal" world superintended by God. Marx adopted Feuerbach's naturalistic view of existence.

"Man is an object in nature ... swayed by no supernatural influences .... (possessing) no occult properties; (his) entire behavior can be adequately accounted for by means of ordinary verifiable physical hypotheses." [5]

Physical factors such as economic conditions, heredity, education, culture -- even diet -- combined to determine the nature of an individual man. Spirit did not exist.

Marx would eventually take secular humanism to its ultimate conclusion, fusing the ideas of Hegel and Feuerbach into a clumsy synthesis he called Dialectical Materialism. This paradigm held that the proletariat, antithesis of our bourgeois ruling class, would create a communist state through revolution. Marx, though cynical by temperament, believed in the perfectibility of man. With some qualifications, he accepted the romantic optimism of Jean Jacques Rousseau, who imagined that free public education and re-distribution of wealth would eliminate crime, reduce disease, and lift mankind into a better world.

The baptized Marxes enjoyed good social relations with Trier's preeminent citizen, Baron Ludwig von Westphalen. The Baron engaged clever Heinrich Marx as his attorney. Sophie Marx, Heinrich's daughter, became the best friend of the Baron's little girl, Jenny. Karl befriended his schoolmate Edgar von Westphalen, Jenny's younger brother.

At the age of sixteen Karl feel deeply in love with beautiful twenty year old Jenny von Westphalen. To his amazement, she reciprocated, and accepted his proposal of marriage in 1836, though they did not marry until seven years later. During this long period of betrothal Marx studied and caroused at the universities of Bonn, Berlin, and Jena, finally receiving his Doctor of Laws degree from Jena on April 15, 1841.

Karl had vague intentions of teaching at the university, but soon torpedoed any chances of attaining a professorship by writing an anti-clerical broadside, The Last Trump of Judgment Against Hegel. That setback did not daunt him. In the coming years his controversial writings repeatedly got him into trouble.

Radical Journalist

Marx moved on to Cologne, where Moses Hess, a wealthy Jewish liberal hired him as associate editor of Die Rhenische Zeitung (The Rhineland Times,) which was subsidized by a group of anti-monarchist businessmen. Marx vigorously attacked Prussia's repressive government. Under pressure from miserly landowners the Prussian Landtag passed a law rescinding the centuries-old right of peasants to gather fallen tree limbs from private forests for firewood. A mean-spirited Junker deputy defended this stingy measure by insisting that "pilfering ... wood occurs so often because it's not regarded as ... theft." [6] Marx retorted:

"By analogy ... the legislator would have to draw the conclusion "a box on the ear has become so frequent because it is not regarded as murder." [7]

Insolence toward noble officials did not go over well in Prussia. In December, 1842 Oberpresident von Schaeper recommended that Die Rheinische Zeitung be prosecuted for "impudent and disrespectful criticism of ... existing government institutions." [8] Marx's extremism made his bourgeois sponsors uncomfortable. They wanted a well-trained Doberman, not an ungovernable pit bull. No less a personage than Tsar Nicholas I of Russia had complained about the Zeitung's advocacy of anarchism. Intractable Marx then bit the hand that fed him, howling that Hess and his patrons really didn't care about freedom of the press. They fired him in January, 1843.

On November 16, 1842, while passing through Cologne, a well-dressed young man named Friedrich Engels ambled into the Rheinische Zeitung's office and introduced himself to Marx. Though captivated by his writings, Engels first impressions of Marx were unfavorable. He found him personally obnoxious -- a rampant egotist who brooked no dissent. The pair would not become friends for another two years.

Karl Marx married Baroness Johanna Bertha Julia Jenny von Westphalen on June 19, 1843. The couple remained on her mother's estate in Kreuznach for an extended honeymoon. Through marriage Karl acquired a mother-in-law justifiably skeptical of his bread-winning abilities, plus two widely disparate brothers-in-law: Jenny's elder half-brother Ferdinand von Westphalen, a stern reactionary who served as Prussia's Minister of the Interior, and her younger brother Edgar, an amiable buffoon who cleaned out the Marxes' liquor cabinet on every visit.

While in Kreuznach Marx wrote "A World without Jews" In response to his friend Bruno Bauer's article "The Jewish Question," which had argued against granting civil rights to Jews. Marx identified "Jews" with "entrepreneurs," an assumption easy to make in Germany since the word "Judentum" meant "business." According to him, after the Protestant Reformation, "Christians have become Jews." [9] Now all of mankind needed to be emancipated from "Judentum" (capitalism.) Marx felt that the issue could be resolved by establishing an anti-clerical socialist state.

"How is religious opposition made impossible?

By abolishing religion. As soon as Jew and Christian recognize that their respective religions are no more than different stages in the development of the human mind, different snake skins cast off by history, ... the relation of Jew and Christian is no longer religious, but. .. only a critical, scientific, and human relation." [10]

The not-quite-assimilated Jew refused to believe In the hide-bound notion of blood ties.

Twenty-five year old Karl Marx largely based this essay upon a play on the words "Jude" (Jew) and "Judentum" (commerce.) He presumptuously assumed that modern Reason had already judged theology false, thus rendering religious differences meaningless. These suppositions plagued Marxist ideology to the end. Communist states failed everywhere because they underestimated men's pecuniary, spiritual, and national aspirations.

In October, 1843 journalist Arnold Ruge offered Marx a job in Paris as editor for The Franco-German Annals. Jenny declined Ruge's offer to live in a commune with his wife and children. Michael Bakunin, Heinrich Heine, and the poet Georg Herwegh all contributed articles to the paper. Marx and Ruge soon quarreled about politics, domestic matters, and Herwegh's extramarital affair with a French noblewoman. Their potshots at the Prussian government did not go unnoticed. Ruge's series about the wretched working conditions of Silesian weavers sparked a furor. In April, 1844 Marx could not resist publishing a ponderous jest at the expense of Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm. No one remembered much about this leaden joke -- other than that it provoked groans rather than laughter, and had something to do with the queen's breasts. At any rate, gendarmes closed down Franco-German Annals in August for his lame witticism, and expelled him from France. The incident illustrated Marx's dual nature as an intellectual giant and clutz. He mixed trenchant criticisms of existing institutions with silly attacks on individuals. Trashing real and imagined villains in print generally had the effect of damaging his own self-interest, without ameliorating social conditions one iota.

Marx and Friedrich Engels met again on August 28, 1844 at the Cafe DeRegence Place du Palais in Paris, one of Voltaire's favorite hangouts. This time they hit it off. Jenny had taken baby Jennychen for an extended visit to her mother's estate in Germany. This freed up "Moor" and "The General" for ten straight days of tippling and political discussion. From that date on, Engels became an indispensable friend and benefactor.

Now a persona non grata in both Germany and France, Marx moved to Belgium. In Brussels he collaborated with new friend Engels on A Critique of Economics and Politics and The German Ideology. They took a trip to England to meet Chartist radicals George Julian Harney and Ernest Jones, who favored such reforms as higher wages, universal male suffrage, paid M.P.'s, and the abolition of "rotten boroughs." With funds from Wilhelm "Lupus" Wolff and other members of The Communist League, Marx founded The New Rhineland Times just as France's Revolution of 1848 heated up. A succession of incendiary articles got him into trouble. On March 19, 1849 Belgian authorities issued an order banishing him from their soil. Marx appealed this action, but received a formal denial five months later. On August 27, 1849 he sailed for London.

Born to Evangelical Christian parents in Wuppertal, Germany on November 28, 1820, young Friedrich Engels worked two years as a bank clerk in Bremen. While there, he studied the works of Hegel, Lessing, Fourier, St. Simon, and others. In 1841 Engels served as an enlisted artilleryman in the Prussian Army. Wanting to make the best of it, he perused several books on military science and became something of an armchair expert on that subject. Because of his extensive knowledge about weaponry, battlefield tactics, and supply, Marx nicknamed former Private First Class Engels "The General." The duo co-wrote several works, including The Holy Family, German Ideology, and The Communist Manifesto. On his own Engels published The Condition of the Working Class in England and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and State (1884). The two men had different strengths, which complemented one another. Engels wrote rapidly and clearly about actual economic conditions in Europe. Though lacking his colleague's fluency, Marx had a firm grasp of abstract concepts, and managed to weld communist theory into an internally logical system. Engels was an unmarried playboy with good income and cheerful disposition, Marx a scholarly and cantankerous family man.

Friedrich Engels Sr. owned the textile company Engels & Ermen. Engels Jr. supervised this firm's Manchester, England plant from 1844 to 1870, and became a managing partner in 1864. He greatly enjoyed the un-communistic sport of foxhunting, smoked Cuban cigars, and collected expensive wines. Through Marx's recurrent monetary crises, Engels could be relied upon not only for funds, but cases of hock, claret, sherry, and port to fortify his comrade's vitality. After Paris's disastrous Revolution of February, 1848 -- led by poet Georg Herwegh -- Engels treated himself to a vacation in Provence.

"At every step I found the gayest company, the sweetest grapes and prettiest girls .... " [11]

He preferred "the cleanly-washed, smoothly combed, slimly built women of Burgundy" [12] to their hard-working sisters in Loire.

Engels' conviction that marriage oppressed women afforded him an excuse to remain a lifelong bachelor. Between visits to bordellos he carried on affairs with two attractive Irish sisters, Mary and Lydia Burns. Mary, his favorite, worked for awhile in Ermen & Engels' cotton spinning mill. She introduced him not only to downtrodden workers, but Chartist political activists such as George Julian Harney, Feargus O'Connor, and Ernest Jones. Her sudden death in January, 1863 plunged him into all five stages of grief for months.

Chronic Penury

"The bourgeoisie will pay dearly for every one of my carbuncles."

-- Karl Marx

Marx once described himself as "tormented as Job, though not as God-fearing." [13] He and Jenny truly loved one another, but their lives were anything but blissful. The couple endured dire poverty and the deaths of three children: Edgar ("Musch"), Guido ("Fawksey"), and Franziska.

Karl suffered from boils, carbuncles, piles, eye-inflammations, rheumatism, and liver disease. The foul-smelling stogies he chain-smoked gave him bronchitis. Jenny contracted a severe case of smallpox in 1861 which disfigured her beautiful face. A variety of female maladies plagued her -- aggravated, no doubt, by bill collectors who hounded her almost daily from 1849 to 1864. Five year old Edgar "Musch" Marx learned to spot detectives, and yell: "Mr. Marx ain't upstairs." [14]

Karl Marx was a world class economist incapable of balancing his own household budget. It does not require a certified public accountant to see why. He rarely held a steady job, and always lived beyond his means. During their first fifteen years in London creditors banged constantly on his door for past due payments. Bailiffs arrived regularly to repossess the family's household contents. Marx pawned and redeemed Jenny's wedding silverware on several occasions. Because of his scruffy appearance the police once arrested him at a pawnshop on suspicion of fencing stolen goods. In 1851 a compassionate neighbor gave him money to bury infant daughter Franziska. Marx could not afford proper medical care for his dying son Edgar in 1855.

In the early 1850's a German spy described his mode of life in Dean St.

"He lives in one of the worst and cheapest neighborhoods in London. He occupies two rooms. There is not one clean or decent piece of furniture ... Everything is broken, tattered, and torn, with thick dust over (it.) Manuscripts, books and newspapers lie beside the children's toys, ... pieces from his wife's sewing basket, cups with broken rims, dirty spoons, knives, forks, lamps, an inkpot, tumblers, pipes, tobacco ash -- all piled up on the same table. On entering .... Smoke and tobacco fumes make your eyes water to such an extent that ... you seem to be groping about in a cavern ... " [15]

Karl's brainstorm of marketing a "magical varnish" came to nothing in 1854, as did a scheme with son-in-law Paul LaFargue to sell photo-engraving equipment. The railroad turned him down for a clerk's position because of his rumpled appearance, indecipherable handwriting, and notoriety as "The Red Terrorist Doctor." Although conventional employment eluded Marx, he churned out a vast corpus of literature in the British Museum's reading room. But after Das Kapital's publication, he complained that the book's meager royalties did not reimburse him for cigar expenses.

Marx leeched shamelessly off Friedrich Engels -- despite receiving substantial inheritances from his mother, eccentric bachelor Wilhelm Wolff, and Jenny's mother. Shortly after selling his Ermen & Engels shares back to the company in 1870, munificent Engels solved the Marxes' incessant financial problems by granting them an annual pension of 350 pounds.

Karl Marx, 1875

The Bourgeois Bohemian

For all his communist rhetoric, Marx had decidedly bourgeois tastes. He took great satisfaction in Jenny's noble pedigree. At his request, she often enclosed a card bearing her title, "Mrs. Jenny Marx nee Baronesse de Westphalen," along with letters to editors. Marx had no qualms about associating with bigwigs. For instance, he relished having lunch in posh clubs with newspaper magnate Leonard Montefiore and cabinet minister Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff. Although Marx considered Scottish member of Parliament David Urquhart "an utter maniac," [16] he carried on a long friendship with him. An advocate of Islam, Turkish baths, protective tariffs, and Calvinism, Uruquart loathed the Anglican Church, Whig party, and Russia. He and Marx shared Russophobic prejudices and the crackpot theory that British Prime Minister Henry John Temple Palmerston -- who waged the Crimean War against Russia -- was a paid agent of the Tsar.

The spies who tailed Marx in London all described him as an affectionate husband and father -- albeit one with "disorderly habits." He took his daughters on frequent excursions to the park, rode donkeys for their amusement, told bedtime stories, and entertained them with dramatic readings from the works of Aeschylus, Shakespeare, and Cervantes.

His friend and fellow socialist Wilhelm Liebknecht commented:

"Although in political and economic discussion he was not wont to mince ... words, often making use of quite coarse phrases, his language was so gentle and refined in the presence of children and women that even an English governess could have no cause for complaint." [17]

Though Marx cursed like jack tar himself, obscenities muttered by rogues in polite company made him "fidget and blush like a sixteen year old maiden." [18]

Conservatives who associated socialism with sexual promiscuity exasperated Marx. In The Communist Manifesto he asserted:

"(We) have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial... Our bourgeoisie, not content with having the wives and daughters of ... proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of ... prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each others' wives." [19]

Marx assumed the tone of a Presbyterian church elder when reproving his daughter Laura's boyfriend Paul LaFargue:

"If you wish to continue your relations with my daughter you will have to give up your present manner of "courting" ... You know full well that no engagement has been entered into ... The practice of excessive intimacy is especially inappropriate ... To my mind, true love expresses itself in reticence, modesty, and even the shyness of the lover toward his object of veneration, and certainly not in giving free rein to one's passion and in premature demonstrations of familiarity. If you should urge your Creole temperament in your defense it is my duty to interpose my sound reason between your temperament and my daughter. If in her presence you are incapable of loving her in keeping with (propriety), you will have to resign yourself to loving her from a distance." [20]

American communist Victoria Woodhull's endorsement of free love made him as uncomfortable as the American clergymen who pilloried her. Associating communism with licentiousness damaged the movement.

Marx consistently resisted anarchists like Bakunin. The indiscriminate violence they championed would only lead to chaos and barbarism. He scoffed at Wilhelm Weitling's daft idea of raising a 40,000 army of criminals to revolt against the capitalist state.

Even during hard times Marx tried to preserve a middle class lifestyle for himself and his family. He could not live without wine, choice viands, cigars, books, or decent health care. Being an aristocrat, Jenny absolutely required the assistance of servants. She always wore fashionable clothes. Though their living quarters may sometimes have been untidy, Jenny furnished them tastefully. Daughters Jennychen, Laura, and Eleanor received private school educations. The family owned a series of lap dogs and went on vacation almost every summer. When temporarily flush after receiving legacies, Marx liked to play the stock market.

After the manner of Heinrich Heine, Marx advocated the proletarian cause without feeling particularly fond of proles. The capitalistic system subjected factory workers to toxic chemicals, bad food, cheap booze, poor dental care, and illiteracy. Thus, not all of them were attractive. One day Wilhelm Liebknecht accompanied Marx on an omnibus ride through London. When a cockney woman in distress shrieked "murder!" outside a bar, Marx chivalrously rushed to her aid, only to find himself in the middle of a domestic argument between an inebriated fishwife and her equally intoxicated hubby. The bedraggled pair immediately turned upon her would-be rescuer. Liebknecht, who reluctantly followed his quixotic friend into this fracas, described the outcome.

"The crowd closed more and more around us and assumed a threatening attitude against the 'damned foreigners' ... Had not two strong constables made their appearance in time we should have had to pay dearly for our philanthropic attempt at intervention." [21]

For the most part Marx chose to help the working class cause by conferring with educated peers such as Engels, Lassalle, and Liebknecht. After moving to London, he deputized "men of the people" like George Julian Harney, Johann Georg Eccarius, and Wilhelm Weitling to deliver speeches before workers.

Marx condemned bohemianism as "inverted philistinism," [22] yet spent most of his life as a bohemian. The Prussian Secret Service recorded his irregular habits while keeping him under surveillance in London.

"Washing, grooming and changing his linen are things he does rarely ... He likes to get drunk. Though he's often idle for days on end, he'll work ... with endurance when he has a great deal of work to do. He has no fixed times for going to sleep and waking up. He often stays up all night ... then lies down fully clothed on the sofa at midday and sleeps till evening, untroubled by the comings and goings of the world." [23]

Marx flouted respectability by inventing exotic nicknames for his children: "Fly," "Kiki," "Koko," "Tussy," and "Fawksey," and encouraging them to address him as "Moor" or "Old Nick." Observers noticed his striking resemblance to Cinder Klaus, the dirty and drunken anti-Santa Claus who beat naughty children with a switch. Marx solemnly instructed his daughters to disregard the Bible and all forms of religion. His mother and sisters meant nothing to him. When Engels' girlfriend Mary Burns died in 1863, he wrote:

"Instead of Mary it should have been my mother, who's ... prey to physical ailments and has had her fair share of life." [24]

By all accounts his marriage to Jenny was a happy one, yet he copulated off and on with servant Helene Demuth, getting her pregnant in 1850. On June 23, 1851 she gave birth to Henry Frederick Demuth (1851-1929) and put him up for adoption. "Freddy" spent most of his adult life working as a lathe-operator in London's East End.

Doctor of Laws Marx had little compunction about breaking the law. He kept eight rifles and two hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition at The New Rhineland Times' office in Brussels. While on a bender one evening in London with cronies Wilhelm Liebknecht and Edgar Bauer, Marx threw stones at street lights.

"Clash! Clatter! A gas lantern went flying into splinters ... We broke four or five street lamps. It was, perhaps, two o'clock in the morning and the streets were deserted ... but the noise nevertheless attracted the attention of a policeman ... Happily ... we knew the locality (and) raced ahead, three or four policemen some distance behind us. Marx showed ... surprising agility that I should not have attributed to him ... " [25]

For years penniless Marx cheerfully accepted petty cash that Engels purloined from his employer's till. After Ferdinand Freiligrath helped him get a job as correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune, Marx induced Engels to write dozens of articles under his by-line. Of course, all of the Tribune's paychecks went into Marx's account, without a farthing paid to Engels. Marx's columns, with Engels' secret participation, made a hit with Tribune readers, who appreciated their detailed grasp of politics, economics, history, philosophy, and military science.

"The Tribune's London correspondent soon acquired ... considerable popularity ... as an exceptionally versatile and well-informed journalist." [26]

General Orneriness

Karl Marx loved his wife, children, and "heart brothers" Friedrich Engels, Wilhelm "Lupus" Wolff, and Wilhelm Liebknecht. Outside that narrow circle, there was a long trail of broken relationships. He turned on Moses Hess and Arnold Ruge, individuals who gave him his first breaks in journalism. Fellow socialist theoretician Ludwig Borne suffered the same fate. Young Hegelian Bruno Bauer had been his favorite drinking buddy in 1841. Four years later Marx skewered him in a vituperative pamphlet entitled The Holy Family. Poet Ferdinand Freiligrath and Marx were fast friends for over twenty-five years. Freiligrath raised money for him, contributed socialistic poetry to The New Rhineland Times, and introduced him and Engels to New York Daily Tribune editor Charles A. Dana. A rupture occurred in 1870. Marx exploded because Freiligrath wrote a collection of patriotic German poems. They never spoke again.

Like Heinrich Heine and Dietrich Eckart, Marx regularly penned malicious satires against his enemies. The Last Trump of Judgment versus Hegel ruined his prospects of securing a teaching post. While his family nearly starved in 1852, he wasted four months composing The Great Men of Exile, a vitriolic assault on forgotten poet Gottfried Kinkel.

Marx's bigger targets included the Prussian monarchy, Russian autocracy, and bourgeois governments of France and England. His best diatribe, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852) incisively exposed Napoleon III's formation of Europe's first modern police state in reaction against France's 1848 Revolution.

Not long after they overthrew Napoleon III in 1870, French liberals got saddled with President Adolphe Thiers' Third Republic. Marx's "Civil War in France" (1871) exposed the skullduggery of Thiers, his Finance Minister Jules Favre, and Defense Minister Ernest Picard. This trio seized power by collaborating with France's German archenemies. They convinced the Prussians that revolution would break out in Paris, then spread throughout Europe, unless immediate action were taken against radicals.

Misguided members of The Paris Commune executed over a thousand "reactionaries," including the Archbishop of Paris. This rampage seemed to confirm the claims of Thiers and company. With Prussian backing, French soldiers and police commenced a counterrevolutionary purge, killing approximately 19,000 communards and innocent bystanders within a month. France's suppression of the Communards anticipated Germany's own counterinsurgency campaign against Munich's Spartacists in 1919. To make matters worse, a devastating fire destroyed one quarter of Paris. Beleaguered Parisians feared that the end of the world had come.

After Thiers agreed to pay their huge war indemnity, the Prussians installed him as Premier. Germany's "white" overreaction to the Commune's uprising, coupled with its annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, turned English opinion in favor of the French. Prescient Marx immediately divined that England and France would patch up their differences and approach Russia for an alliance, thus guaranteeing a future two-front war for Germany.

Marx assailed Thiers as

"a monstrous gnome ... French Sulla ... , master in small state roguery, ... virtuoso in perjury and treason, ... craftsman in all the petty stratagems, cunning devices, and base perfidies of parliamentary party warfare; never scrupling when out of office to fan a revolution, and to stifle it in blood when at the helm of state; with class prejudices standing him in ... place of ideas, and vanity in the place of a heart; his private life is as infamous as his public life is odious ... " [27]

Thiers' foreign minister Jules Favre lived "in concubinage with the wife of a drunkard resident in Algiers ... " [28] He had made his fortune "by a most daring concoction of forgeries." [29] Political opponent M. Milliere, a National Assembly member, publicized a number of his shady dealings. After Favre came to power he had Milliere shot for treason.

Finance Minister Ernest Picard hung out with sleazy characters, including his brother Arthur,

"an individual expelled from the Paris Bourse as a blackleg ... convicted on his own confession of a theft of 300,000 francs while manager of the Societe General (du Credit Mobilier) branch, Rue Palestro #5 ... The whole financial correspondence of that worthy pair of brothers fell into the hands of the Commune." [30]

Marx did not only excoriate conservatives. Out of peevishness and jealousy, he continually denounced fellow left-wingers. Italian reformer Giuseppe Mazzini was lambasted as a "demagogue," and Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin as "Mahomet without a Koran." [31]

"Bakunin as a theorist, is nothing, Bakunin, the intriguer, has attained to the highest peak of his profession." [32]

He slammed French socialist Pierre Proudhon as a sentimentalist who preached tedious "homilies about home, conjugal love, and suchlike banalities," [33]. .. which mistook "his own petite bourgeois desires ... (for) eternal values." [34] Mocking Proudhon's magnum opus The Philosophy of Poverty as "The Poverty of Philosophy," Marx reviled him for ignorance of history, and a bothersome tendency to moralize.

"Nothing is easier than to invent mystical causes, that is, phrases ... lacking in common sense ... (Man's) material relations form the basis of all his relations... Economic categories are (not) emanations of God's heart ... (Proudhon) thumps his chest and glorifies himself before God and man as being innocent of socialist infamies! ... " [35]

Marx resented Proudhon's disapproval of violent revolution, and his enthusiasm for the "liberty, fraternity, equality balderdash." Pure Communism frowned on individualism as retrograde and fraternity as a utopian illusion. Equality could only be achieved by toppling capitalism and setting up a classless society in its place. Without revolution one had the usual bourgeois double-standard: sanctimonious talk along with de facto segregation.

Marx denigrated American communist Victoria Woodhull as a "whore" who brought discredit upon the International movement. Although Dr. Ludwig Kugelmann functioned as one of his chief German patrons at considerable risk to himself, Marx petulantly broke off all relations with "that hair-splitting philistine" [36] in 1862. Chartist agitator Julian Harney could also have been a valuable ally. However, he and his smitten wife Mary occasionally indulged in public displays of affection which disgusted Marx, who derided Harney as "Our Dear." [37] Mary did not want her husband coming under the spell of unkempt Marx, much preferring French "dandies" such as Louis Blanc and Pierre Francois Landolphe. On February 23, 1851 Marx informed Engels that

"She hates me as a frivolous fellow who might endanger her 'property' ... The extent of Harney's thralldom to this familiar spirit, and of the petty Scottish wiliness with which she conducts her intrigues will be apparent to you ... " [38]

Ferdinand Lassalle incited deep ambivalence in Marx. The son of a wealthy Jewish silk merchant, Lassalle attended the universities of Breslau and Berlin, where he studied philology, law, and philosophy. The theories of Heraclitus and Hegel particularly fascinated him. In 1845 he met Countess Sophie von Hatzenfelt, whose husband had recently abandoned her for Baroness Meyendorff. Lassalle took the countess's case against Count von Hatzenfelt. After thirty-six court hearings over a ten year period Lassalle won a landmark decision, requiring the count to pay alimony and child support.

His litigation on behalf of the countess was interrupted by a year long imprisonment for agitation during the Revolution of 1848. Lassalle took an active interest in Europe's labor movement and criticized German foreign policy. He loathed the Russian autocracy and advocated an alliance of Germany and France against Austria in the Italian campaign of 1859.

A spell-binding orator, Lassalle embarked upon a barnstorming political tour in 1862. Germans had never before seen such American-style political huckstering. He delivered rousing speeches before workers in every major city and industrial town, winning many to the socialist cause. Adolf Hitler's whirlwind political campaigning between 1919 and 1932 followed Lassalle's example.

In 1863 Lassalle founded the General German Workers Association, which later evolved into the Social Democratic Party. Unlike the revolutionary Marx, Ferdinand Lassalle was essentially a reformer who wanted to effect change within the existing system.

Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had no special love for Jews, but he admired their astuteness. He recognized that Ferdinand Lassalle, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, and banker Gerson Blochroeder all possessed superior intelligence. Bismarck conferred with Lassalle on several occasions. Based on his insights, the Iron Chancellor conceived of an alliance among the monarchy, army, and working class against the bourgeoisie. He accepted Lassalle's argument that blue collar laborers could be won over by humanitarian measures such as government health insurance and universal suffrage.

Always a flashy romantic, Lassalle met an untimely end at the age of 39. He fell in love with Helene von Donniges, daughter of a Bavarian diplomat posted in Switzerland. Helene's father detested Lassalle. He refused permission to marry and mewed her up in the family home. In order to escape from virtual imprisonment, Helene eventually agreed to marry Count von Racowitz. Lassalle wrote a letter to his rival which accused him of coercing Helene to marry him. Von Racowitz challenged Lassalle to a duel. He accepted. On August 28, 1864 the two men walked twelve paces and turned. Lassalle held his pistol down without firing. Von Racowitz shot him in the gut, mortally wounding him. Lassalle died three days later.

Ferdinand Lassalle aided Karl Marx in several ways. He acted as his literary agent in Germany, as well as a conduit for funds. Countess von Hatzenfelt and Lassalle entertained Marx graciously during an extended visit in 1861. Later that year Marx put up Lassalle in London for a few weeks, under much less stylish conditions. The profligate guest offended his host by spending money freely on fashionable clothing, restaurant meals, and wine, while not seeming to notice the Marxes' dire plight. At one point Karl borrowed money from him. Never a prompt debt-payer, Marx felt humiliated and incensed when Lassalle needled him for reimbursement. In letters to Engels Marx applied such anti-Semitic epithets to Lassalle as "the Yid, Wily Ephraim, (Baron) Izzy, and ... the Jewish Nigger." [39] Marx softened a bit after hearing of Lassalle's tragic death.

"He was, after all, ... the enemy of our enemies ... It IS difficult to believe that so noisy, stirring, pushing a man is now dead as a mouse and must hold his tongue altogether ... the devil knows, (our) crowd is getting smaller and no new blood is coming forward." [40]

Marx's enemies did not remain mute about his shortcomings. Bakunin retaliated by depicting him as

" . .. immensely malicious, vain, quarrelsome, as intolerant and autocratic as Jehovah, the God of his fathers, and like Him, insanely vindictive." [41]

Proudhon called Marx "the tapeworm of socialism." [42] Mazzini pegged him as

"a man of domineering disposition; jealous of the influence of others. Governed by no earnest philosophical, or religious belief: having ... more elements of anger than of love in his nature." [43]

Marx harbored prejudices against various racial and national groups. He regarded most Frenchmen -- including his sons-in-law -- as vain coxcombs.

"When presented with the opportunity of making themselves important, the French prepare for it as long in advance and treat it with as much solemnity as the ... lying-in of a pregnant woman." [44]

Their superficial emotionalism made them incapable of true revolution. In Das Kapital Marx attempted to demolish the "shallowness" of French socialists like Charles Fourier, Comte St. Simon, and Pierre Proudhon. His communard sons-in-law Charles Longuet and Paul LaFargue infuriated him by still clinging to Proudhon's "half-baked" altruism.

Marx considered Russians "Tartar brutes" who would never comprehend socialist theory. This negative attitude stemmed in part from antipathy for rival Michael Bakunin and his underworld associate Sergei "Boy" Nechayev, a hooligan who died in a St. Petersburg prison ten years after being convicted of murder.

About Englishmen Marx wrote:

"These thick-headed John Bulls' ... brainpans seem to have been specially manufactured for ... constables' bludgeons ... " [45]

He endorsed Friedrich Engels' characterization of Australia as the

" ... united states of deported murderers, burglars, rapists, and pickpockets ... " [46]

Marx even held a grudge against tolerant Belgium for offering asylum in 1845, then kicking him out after the French disorders of 1848. He lashed out at the "imbecility ... of the ... Belgian press," [47] and slavishness of its police officials, who kowtowed to Europe's worst despots.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:23 am

Part 2 of 2

Communist Theoretician

Marx's best writing displays epigrammatic eloquence. The Communist Manifesto (1848) begins ominously:

"A spectre is haunting Europe... the spectre of communism ... " [48]

It refers to the industrial worker as "an appendage of the machine." [49] He disparages Fourier's "phalansteries" and Robert Owen's "home colonies" as "castles in the air." [50] The Manifesto's rousing conclusion rings in one's ears.

"Workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of all countries, unite!" [51]

Many of Marx's aphorisms derive from philosophy. He regarded defiant Prometheus as "the most eminent saint and martyr in the philosophical calendar." [52] A pragmatic Aristotelian, he famously declared that "philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it." [53] Adopting the skepticism of Hume, Voltaire, and Feuerbach Marx described religion as

the sigh of the oppressed ... , the heart of a heartless world, and .... soul of soulless conditions ... the opium of the people." [54]

Clergymen pandered to people's superstitions. Marx quoted Epicurus's maxim that

"impiety does not consist in destroying the mob's gods, but rather in ascribing the ideas of the crowd to God." [55]

He shared Immanuel Kant's mistrust of ordinary common sense -- which naively claimed the earth was flat. One had to dig deeper to arrive at truth.

"It is paradox that the earth moves around the sun, and that water consists of two highly inflammable gases. Scientific truth is always paradox, if judged by everyday experience, which catches only the delusive nature of things." [56]

Even conservatives reluctantly admit that Karl Marx occupies the upper echelon of modern thought along with Luther, Newton, and Darwin. Although a materialist, he realized that money-grubbing capitalists caused alienation which destroyed the quality of life on earth.

"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, .... lawyer, ... priest, ... poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers." [57]

Production should be a cooperative effort for the good of mankind. But sly hustlers had perverted it into a money-making game. Under the capitalist system a small cabal of exploiters dominated multitudes of the exploited.

Capitalism contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Marx admired Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, but disagreed with its argument that an "Invisible Hand's" operations invariably benefited mankind. Marx's insightful critique of the free market economy still holds up. He thoroughly grasped its propensities toward monopoly and panics. According to his analysis, power gradually concentrated into relatively few hands as a result of larger companies adopting improved technology, and underselling smaller ones, thus driving them out of business. Therefore, an unscrupulous oligarchy lorded it over an ever-expanding proletariat.

" ... Small trades people, shopkeepers, ... handicraftsmen, and peasants -- all ... sink ... into the proletariat. .. Their diminutive capital does not suffice ... and is swamped in ... competition with ... large (companies), partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production." [58]

Marx preached that big business, for all its rhetoric about free enterprise, actually devastated laissez-fair economics in the long run. But this very success put plutocrats in jeopardy. Artisans, tradesmen, and white-collar workers "proletarianized" by their machinations soon swelled the ranks of their "paid enemies" in the working class.

Declasse bourgeois intellectuals -- like Marx himself -- formed the vanguard of all revolutions. Their task was to mobilize the proletarian behemoth created by modern capitalism. Hitler knew this also. When witnessing an organized labor parade in pre-war Vienna, he compared the working class to a huge "dragon." The wizard who could tame that beast would acquire unprecedented political power.

In fact, the capitalist economy's cyclical periodicities made it vulnerable to insurrection. Corporations tended to overproduce goods, which the underpaid masses could not afford. Drops in demand accompanied by oversupply caused recessions, leading to unemployment and reduced wages. Civil unrest among the masses happened with greater frequency in such bad times. Marx expected Communist Revolution to manifest in periods of depression, and high inflation following wars. His Jewish ancestors could have told him that the same trend obtained with regard to anti-Semitic outbreaks, which also occurred during times of economic turmoil.

Marx fit the "urban Jew" stereotype by preferring city living. The conservatism of country peasants rankled him. Workers in every European metropolis gravitated toward socialism, but no headway could be made with hicks from outlying areas. In The Communist Manifesto, he credited bourgeois capitalists with eradicating feudalism and thus saving "a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life." [59]

Marx's penetrating insights on the current events of his time impressed Charles Dana, Grant Duff, and other moderates. Right after the Franco- Prussian War he foresaw the inevitability of war between Germany and Russia. Referring to India's Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 against the British, he commented:

"The first blow dealt to the French monarchy proceeded from the nobility, not from the peasants. The Indian revolt does not commence with the Ryots, tortured dishonored and stripped by the British, but with the Sepoys, clad, fed, petted, fatted, and pampered by them." [60]

This tracked with his theory that "the bourgeoisie produces ... its own gravediggers." [61]

"Every class, as soon as it takes up the struggle against the class above it, is involved in a struggle with the class beneath it." [62]

Thus, privileged and educated people were more likely to rebel against despotism than those on the ladder's lowest rung.

Though Marx himself was a "Wandering Jew," he failed to take into account that more of Germany's disgruntled lower middle class emigrated than revolted. He would not admit that the charity of evangelical churches undermined communism. Nor did he sufficiently appreciate the extent to which England's Reform Bill diminished revolutionary ardor.

Capitalist economies needed ever-expanding markets in order to grow. Marx identified the "global economy" as early as 1848.

"The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country ... We find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes." [63]

Marx viewed labor as a commodity which workers sold to capitalists. When wages fell, workers had less money to spend. Therefore, the revenue of big corporations plummeted. Anticipating Keynesian economics, Marx realized that an indigent laboring class increased the likelihood of financial downturns. He illustrated this point by demonstrating how even criminals stimulated the economy.

"Would locks ever had reached their present degree of excellence had there been no thieves? Would the making of banknotes have reached its present perfection had there been no forgers? .. The criminal moreover produces ... the police, ... constables, judges, hangmen, etc." [64]

The Marx Legacy and Family Curse

Marx's money woes subsided after Wilhelm "Lupus" Wolff's legacy in 1864, followed by Engel's 350 pound annual pension in 1870. That year Engels retired to a fashionable address in London's St. John's Wood section. The two friends continued to meet almost daily.

During the last ten years of his life Marx settled into a routine: rising at 7 A.M., drinking five cups of black coffee with breakfast, then walking to the British Museum. There he wrote, and read The London Times, Economist, and government Blue Books until 2 PM, when he returned home for dinner with his family. Following a stroll on Hampstead Heath, he worked at the desk in his study until after midnight. Due to low-level depression, Marx increasingly withdrew into the world of books, learning Turkish and Russian in his sixties. Avid reading curtailed his literary output.

"As his bibliomania grew, Engels' worst fears became confirmed; (Marx) wrote less and less, and more crabbedly and obscurely ... The second and third volumes of Das Kapital (were) greatly inferior in mental power and lucidity to the first volume ... " [65]

After a painful and protracted bout with cancer, Jenny Marx died on December 2, 1881. Seriously ill with bronchitis and pleurisy, the bedridden Marx could not attend her funeral. In January he traveled to the Isle of Wight for a rest cure, but gale-force winds and sleet worsened his condition. In mid-February, on doctor's orders, he embarked on a voyage to Algiers. For three months the Father of Communism limped through the Casbah with tears in his eyes. He then drifted aimlessly to Monte Carlo, Argenteuil, and Vevey, Switzerland, before returning to London in October, 1882. After much suffering, his thirty-eight year old daughter Jennychen died of bladder cancer on January 11, 1883. Marx, who still resided with Helene Demuth, stopped going to the British Museum. He sat around their flat sipping a concoction of milk, rum, and brandy to calm his nerves. In February, 1883 an abscess formed on his lung. Marx's condition deteriorated until his death on March 14, 1883.

The daughters of Karl and Jenny Marx seemed afflicted by a family curse. Jennychen married left-wing professor Charles Longuet, who cruelly abused her. She gave birth to five boys in seven years, one of whom died. An intelligent and highly cultured woman, Jennychen loved theater and good conversation. Unfortunately, household chores, and child care overwhelmed her. Ill-tempered husband Charles provided no emotional support. On April 10, 1882 Jennychen wrote her sister Eleanor: "though I drudge like a (slave) he never does anything but scream at me and grumble every minute he is in the house." [66] Nine months later she died.

Laura Marx married French Creole anarchist, Paul LaFargue on April 2, 1868, and moved to Paris. The couple led a dangerous and romantic existence as leading members of the resistance against Adolphe Thiers' Third Republic between 1871 and 1873. But more benign regimes made them irrelevant. Paul LaFargue had no more aptitude for a nine-to-five job than his father-in-law. Therefore, Laura continued the family tradition of scrounging money from Friedrich Engels. The LaFargues gradually sunk into poverty after Engels' death in 1895. By the early 1900's they were broke political extremists in poor health, with no religious faith to buoy their sagging spirits. Sixty-nine year old Paul and sixty-six year old Laura committed suicide together in November, 1911. Vladimir Lenin preached an atheistic homily at their funeral.

Because of bad impressions created by "Gallic imposters" Longuet and LaFargue, both Karl and Jenny opposed Eleanor's alliance with French political theorist Prosper Olivier Lissagaray, a man of good character. In March, 1874 "Tussy" desperately pleaded her case:

"My dearest Moor,

... I want to know ... when I may see (Prosper) again. It is so very hard never to see him. I have been doing my best to be patient, but it is so difficult and I don't feel as if I (can) much longer. ... Could I not, now and then, go for a little walk with him? ... When I was so very ill at Brighton ... he came to see me, and each time left me stronger and happier; the more able to bear (my) rather heavy load ... It is so long since I saw him and I am beginning to feel so miserable ... If I may not see him now, could you not say when I may. It would be something to look forward to ... Forgive me for being selfish enough to worry you again,

Your Tussy" [67]

Despite tender paternal love for her, Marx would not budge, believing Lissagaray to be cut from the same cloth as Longuet and LaFargue.

Eleanor Marx

In the 1890's beautiful Eleanor, who worked intermittently as an actress, became involved with Dr. Edward Aveling, son of a Congregational minister and leading proponent of Darwin's theory of evolution. Despite an ugly mug and unsavory reputation, Aveling was a ladies' man with seemingly hypnotic powers. While cohabitating with Eleanor Marx in 1898, he secretly married a twenty-two year old actress. When Eleanor tearfully confronted him, he acted contrite and proposed a suicide pact. Emotionally distraught, she consented. After amending Eleanor's will in his favor, and watching her write a suicide note, Aveling furnished a capsule of prussic acid. Eleanor swallowed it, fainted, turned livid, and died. He then pocketed own poison tablet, and strode out the door, "a free man." Due to lack of evidence and witnesses, Scotland Yard never prosecuted Edward Aveling for Eleanor Marx's murder.

We remember Marx as a better critic, than system inventor. Components of his theory, such as fair wages and reasonable welfare benefits, have raised living standards all over the world. However, the cumbersome Marxist "machine" was a shaking, smoking Edsel which lurched forward laboriously, shimmying and sputtering, until finally exploding into a thousand pieces -- an ill-conceived contraption that ultimately caused more injury than benefit to mankind.

The abstractions of Karl Marx fail to take human nature into account. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," sounds good, but does not play out well in the real world. Communism offers few incentives to the "talented 10th" who get things done, while rewarding the "inefficient 8th" for stupidity and laziness.

Marx described the peasantry and proletariat as a random pile, comparing them to potatoes, which needed a sack to give them form. Because most workers could not effectively advocate their interests, they needed representatives -- not deputies in corrupt parliaments, but strong executive leaders -- dictators like Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Pol Pot. Hence, Marx's communist remedy turned out to be worse than the bourgeois disease.

Marx borrowed nostrums from both English Chartism and continental socialism. These measures included general suffrage, secret ballots, salaried parliament deputies, old age pensions, public education, graduated income tax, paper money, and a World Bank. But he did not stop there. Among his dubious ideas were the eradication of private property, state confiscation of inheritances, nationalization of corporations, communal farming, "armies" of industrial workers, and compulsory resettlement of metropolitan residents to outlying areas. Karl Marx's distrust of free enterprise ultimately led to Stalin's purges and gulags.



1 Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment, Time, Inc., New York, 1963, p. 222.

2 Ibid., p. 233.

3 Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2000, p. 28, Heinrich Marx letter to Karl Marx, 3/2/1837.

4 Ibid., pp. 37-38.

5 Berlin, p. 33.

6 Karl Marx, "Debates on the Law on thefts of Wood," Die Rheinische Zeitung, October, 1842, http://www.marxists.org.

7 Ibid.

8 Wheen. p. 45.

9 Karl Marx, "A World Without Jews," 1844, http://www.marxists.org. p. 24.

10 Ibid., p. 3.

11 Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels Collected Works, International Publishers Co., Inc., New York, 1975, Vol. 7, pp. 507-29, passim.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid., p. 245, Karl Marx letter to Friedrich Engels, 1/18/1861.

14 Berlin, p. 159.

15 Ibid.

16 Karl Marx letter to F. Engels, 2/9/1854, http://www.marxists.org.

17 Wilhelm Liebknecht, Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs, trans. E. Untermann, 1901, Greenwood Press, New York, 1968, p.

18 Ibid.

19 Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848, trans. Samuel Moote, London, 1888, http://www.anu.edu.au, 13.

20 Ibid., p. 290-91, Karl Marx letter to Paul LaFargue, 8/13/1866.

21 Liebknecht.

22 Berlin, p. 66.

23 Wheen, p. 170.

24 Ibid., p. 263, op. cit. Karl Marx letter to Friedrich Engels, 1/18?/1863.

25 Liebknecht, p.

26 Berlin, p. 164.

27 Karl Marx, "The Civil War in France, Edward Truelove, London, 1871, http://www.marxists.org.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 Berlin, p. 215.

32 Ibid., p. 216.

33 Karl Marx, Letter to P.V Annenkov, 12/28/1846, http://www.marxists.org.

34 Ibid.

35 Wheen, p. 55.

36 Ibid., p. 259.

37 Ibid., p. 198.

38 Karl Marx, Letter to Friedrich Engels, 2/23/1851, http://www.marxists.org

39 Wheen, p. (J. N.)

40 Berlin, pp. 90-91.

41 Ibid., p. 176.

42 Wheen, p. 109.

43 Giuseppe Mazzini, "The International: Addressed to the Working Class," Contemporary Review, July, 1872, p. 155.

44 Karl Marx, Letter to Friedrich Engels, 2/23/1851, http://www.marxists.org

45 Karl Marx letter to Friedrich Engels, 7/27/1866.

46 Friedrich Engels to Karl Marx, 10/15/1851.

47 Karl Marx, Neue Reinische Zeitung, 10/29/1848.

48 Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto, p. 5.

49 Ibid., p. 1.

59 Ibid., p. 21.

51 Ibid., p. 23.

52 Karl Marx, "The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature," Doctoral Thesis, University of Berlin, March, 1841, Preface, p. 1.

53 Wheen, p. 55, op. cit. Karl Marx letter to Friedrich Engels, 7/30/1862.

54 Karl Marx, "The Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right," Joseph O'Malley, editor, trans. Annette Jolin and Joseph O'Malley, Cambridge University Press, 1970, Introduction, p. 1.

55 Marx, Doctoral Thesis, University of Berlin, Preface, p. I, op. cit. Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus, editor, Diogenes Laertius, X, p. 123.

56 Karl Marx, Economic Manuscripts: Value, Price & Profit, 1865, p. 7, www. marxists.org.

57 Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto, p. 3.

58 Ibid., p. 6.

59 Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto, p. 4.

60 Karl Marx, "The Indian Revolt," New York Tribune, 9/16/1857.

61 Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto, p. 8.

62 Ibid.

63 Ibid., p. 3.

64 Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 1867 (Vol. I) and 1885 (Vol. II), "Digression on Productive Labor," editor, E. Unterman, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1960, http://www.marxists.org.

65 Yvonne Kapp, Eleanor Marx, Vol. I, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1972, p. 240, Jenny Marx letter to Eleanor Marx, 4/10/1882.

66 Berlin, p. 231.

67 Ibid., p. 153-4, Eleanor Marx letter to Karl Marx, 3/23/1874.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:14 am

Part 1 of 2

10: The Fate of Tsar Nicholas II

"The correspondence of the Russian Revolution to our own leaves nothing to the imagination. It depends only whether or not it will be our end too."

-- Dietrich Eckart

"Historians admit that Nicholas was "a good man" -- the historical evidence of personal charm, gentleness, love of family, deep religious faith and strong Russian patriotism is too overwhelming to be denied -- but they argue that personal factors are irrelevant; what matters is that Nicholas was a bad tsar."

-- Robert K. Massie

Despite Nicholas II's heartfelt desire to help others, his twenty-three year reign was marked by a series of cataclysms, which brought the Russian Empire crashing down. Emperor Alexander III entrusted Crown Prince Nicholas's education to Konstantin Pobedonostsev, a narrow-minded law professor who disdained all liberal measures as works of Satan. Known among intellectuals as "the high priest of social stagnation," he railed against public schools, freedom of the press, women's rights, and all other democratic measures. Like most fundamentalists, he promoted intolerance under the banner of righteousness. As Procurator (chief lay official) of Russian Orthodoxy's Holy Synod, Pobedonostsev excommunicated Leo Tolstoy from the Church for impiety. He taught the Tsarevich that all republican principles were absurd illusions. Under his tutelage Nicholas perpetuated such abuses as press censorship, de facto serfdom, and imprisonment of political dissenters.

Russian Finance Minister Sergei Witte regarded Tsarevich Nicholas as "a kindly and well-bred youth." [1] When he suggested that Alexander III appoint him to a committee studying economic issues, the burly Tsar retorted:

"Have you ever had a ... serious conversation with him? ... Why he is a mere child ... He has only childish notions ..." [2]

Though brutal injustices occurred during his tenure, Tsar Nicholas took his role as Father of the Russian People seriously, holding regular audiences for subjects, and approving all reasonable pleas. Numerous examples of his compassion might be cited, but two will suffice to make the point. Late one evening a weeping girl hurled herself at the feet of St. Petersburg Police Chief Alexander Orlov, begging that her fiance be spared from hanging for political radicalism. Moved by her appeal, Orlov rode to the Imperial Palace and requested permission to see the Tsar, who had retired for the night. Appearing in robe and slippers, Nicholas immediately granted clemency, and thanked Orlov for contacting him expeditiously. "One must never hesitate when one has the chance to save a man's life." [3] In October, 1916 while visiting a military hospital, the Tsar happened upon a wounded soldier about to be shot for cowardice. Nicholas approached, put his hand on the youth's shoulder, and asked why he had fled.

"The young man stammered that, having run out of ammunition, he ... got frightened, turned and ran ... (Tsar Nicholas) told him he was free. The next moment the lad scrambled out of bed, fell on the floor, his arms around (Nicholas's) knees and sobbed like a child." [4]

Though personally kind, Nicholas did not have a decisive temperament. Critics accused him of being an impressionable tabla rasa who typically adopted the views of the last person he consulted. Desiring to please all, he wavered on important issues, often acceding to the wishes of Empress Alexandra, Grigori Rasputin, or inept advisors such as Boris Sturmer. King Edward VII of England, judged him "weak as water." [5] Others described him as "blown by every wind."

The unstable Russian Empire certainly needed a strong ruler between 1894 and 1917. Crown Princess Victoria of Germany, characterized Russia as

"... another world -- there is something so squalid and sad, suggesting poverty and loneliness about the landscape and population, so much in contrast with ... the imperial court's wealth, the money, jewels, and ... almost reckless extravagance with which some things are carried out ... " [6]

Nicholas's twenty-three year reign, though exceedingly troubled, had its positive aspects. Russia made significant economic progress between 1894 and 1914. Railroad lines were built, factories sprung up, wages rose, the ruble's value increased. Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov continued the rich literary tradition of Gogol, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky. Choreographers Serge Diaghelev and Vaslav Nijinsky collaborated with composers Nicholai Rimsky-Korsakov and Igor Stravinsky to produce a renaissance in music and ballet.

Tsar Nicholas started out on a progressive note. With encouragement from Jewish railroad president Ivan Bliokh, he endorsed a peace conference at The Hague in August, 1898. This proposal stunned Britain, Germany, France, and Austria, which had long viewed Russia as a perennial troublemaker. Japan, China, Persia, the United States, and twenty European nations attended this meeting. Nicholas put forward a plan for general disarmament, rules of warfare, and a court to mediate conflicts between nations. Participants agreed to establish The Hague World Court for non-violent resolution of international disputes.

Unfortunately, Nicholas's own diplomatic corps did not share his pacific aims. Between 1894 and 1914 the Russian foreign office managed to subvert world order from Vienna to Tokyo. It aggravated Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey by supporting Pan-Slavism in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia -- with the ulterior motive of acquiring a Mediterranean or Aegean port. Russia also competed with Japan for sections of Manchuria, Mongolia, China, and Korea. Those machinations led to the disastrous Russo-Japanese War in 1904.

Storybook Romance

"I must say I never saw two people more in love with each other or happier than they are."

-- George, Duke of York

Nicholas first met Princess Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1884 at the wedding of her older sister Elizabeth ("Ella") to his uncle, Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich Romanov. Ella and twelve year old Alexandra were daughters of Prince Louis of Hesse and Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's second daughter. Alice died of diphtheria on December 14, 1878. Surviving photographs of young Alexandra show her to be a pretty, but pensive girl. The deaths of her mother, sister May, and brother Frederick cast a pall over her childhood.

Nicholas fell in love with his cousin Alexandra in 1889 when she came to visit Ella on an extended vacation. Although bashful and serious, Alexandra developed into a beautiful young woman, with shining blue-grey eyes, rosy complexion, coppery blonde hair, chiseled features, and a slender but shapely figure. Moreover, there was an ethereal quality about her. Lovesmitten Crown Prince Nicholas requested his father's permission to marry her, but Tsar Alexander refused. After attending the April, 1894 marriage of Alexandra's brother Ernst to the Duke of Edinburgh's daughter Melita in Germany, Nicholas again petitioned the Tsar, who finally relented. With encouragement from Emperor Wilhelm II -- a cousin to both parties -- Nicholas proposed to Alix, and she accepted.

Nicholas and Alexandra loved each other deeply. On their wedding night she wrote these lines in his diary.

"At last united, bound for life, and when this life is ended, we meet again in the other world and remain together for eternity .... Never did I believe there could be such utter happiness in this world, such a feeling of unity between two mortal beings. I love you. Those three words have my life in them." [7]

Nicholas fully reciprocated these feelings. Their mutual devotion grew over the years.

Empress Alexandra in court dress, c. 1906

Broad-shouldered Tsar Alexander III could have been a circus strong man. He bent silver rubles with his bare hands, effortlessly lifted all kinds of heavy objects, and beat all comers in arm-wrestling matches. Shortly before Nicholas and Alexandra's betrothal, his robust health suddenly deteriorated due to a kidney disorder. He died on November 1st, 1894 at age 49. Young, inexperienced, 5 foot 6 inch Nicky now stepped out of his bear-like father's shadow to become Autocrat of All the Russias.

Tsar Alexander III's untimely death proved to be just one of several bad omens. Nicholas was born on May 6, 1868 (Julian Calendar), feast day of Job the Sufferer. A solar eclipse occurred on June 6, 1872, Alexandra's date of birth. Old Russian women beheld her classic profile riding past in the royal carriage, and called her a "bird of ill omen" who arrived behind a coffin. Nicholas and Alexandra married on November 26, 1894, while still in mourning for Tsar Alexander. All guests wore black at their gloomy wedding. During Nicholas's coronation ceremony, the thick chain of St. Andrew's necklace, symbol of Imperial authority, broke, causing it to fall from his neck and clatter down the cathedral steps. That same day Grand Duke Serge's outdoor celebration at Khodynka Park in Moscow degenerated into a melee in which hundreds of people were trampled to death, and thousands injured. While on their honeymoon tour of France Nicholas and Alexandra were assigned to Marie Antoinette's suite at Versailles Palace. Thereafter, Alix always hung a portrait of the unfortunate French queen in her bedroom to commemorate this happy time, unaware that she would suffer a similar fate. Crown Prince Alexis, their only son and heir to the throne, was afflicted with hemophilia, a hereditary blood disease which made him a virtual invalid.

A quiet and self-conscious young woman, Alexandra experienced great difficulty adapting to Russian court life. Profligate Russian aristocrats labeled her a "pill." Alexandra once incurred ridicule for scolding an attractive young countess who wore a low-cut gown to a reception. The Empress's hobbies included collecting religious icons and sewing tapestries. Sophisticated court ladies derided her as "a bourgeois school mistress," who belonged in a nunnery rather than the Imperial Palace.

"Badly dressed, clumsy, an awkward dancer, atrocious French accent, a schoolgirl blush, too shy, too nervous, too arrogant -- these were some of the unkind things said about Alix of Hesse." [8]

Alexandra suffered from sciatica (inflammation of the sciatic nerve, causing hip, lower back, and leg pain) and neurasthenia (psychosomatic hysteria resulting from anxiety.) She attributed her heart palpitations and panic attacks to an "enlarged heart."

Nervous Alexandra used these real and imagined ailments as an excuse to avoid social functions. During her childbearing years (1895 to 1904) she sent regrets across the board, pleading difficult pregnancies, post-partum complications, sick babies, etc. After 1905 she used her "heart condition" as a pretext to duck parties. Such mousy behavior was unheard of for a Russian Tsaritsa. Nicholas's mother, Dowager Empress Marie, berated Alix as a "spoiled and selfish girl" who willfully shirked her royal duties.

Things might have been different if Alexandra's older sister Elizabeth lived nearby. Kindhearted and beautiful Grand Duchess "Ella" had charmed society in Moscow, where her husband ruled as Governor General. But she had to run a large household, entertain often, and raise two adopted children. Therefore, Ella could only help struggling Alix during brief visits to St. Petersburg.

Alexandra's mother, Princess Alice, daughter of Queen Victoria, had thoroughly indoctrinated her children in British culture. Alexandra's governess, Mrs. Orchard, and nanny, Madgie Jackson, were both Englishwomen. They raised her on a strict regimen of morning lessons, afternoon teas, Protestant church services every Sunday, and summer vacations at Balmoral castles with Queen Victoria. Her middle class code of morality contrasted sharply with the devil-may-care attitude of decadent Russian nobles.

Alexandra's mother-in-law, Dowager Empress Marie, was a charming social butterfly who entertained lavishly and often. Her fetes overflowed with champagne, caviar, good cheer, and witty repartee. In the winter, this former Danish princess liked to cap off a night of dancing with a fast sleigh ride through the palace's deer park. Alexandra suffered through balls. She woodenly greeted guests in a receiving line, then bolted back to her mauve boudoir at the first opportunity -- chiding Nicholas if he did not join her promptly. Maturity never eased her loathing of soirees.

Not surprisingly, relations between Marie and Alexandra became strained. The young Empress did not take her mother-in-law's criticisms gracefully. Marie resented being displaced by her gauche daughter-in-law and blamed her for most of Nicholas's problems.

Although the Empress may have been considered maladroit by St. Petersburg's jet set, she was a loving mother, totally devoted to the care of her five children. Empress Alexandra nursed, bathed, dressed, and played with her babies every day. As they grew older she closely supervised their health care, education, and recreation. There were no boarding schools. The children always came along on vacations. Alix was happiest at activities such as summer cruises, family gatherings, and amateur theatrical performances staged by her pretty daughters.

Empress Alexandra dedicated herself to a small circle of friends, which included Lady Anna Vyrubovna and Princess Sonia Orbeliani, who shared her devout religious faith. The haughty set at court disdained Alexandra's confidantes as unfashionable prudes. When Princess Orbeliani, fell ill due to a crippling spinal disease, Alix brought her into the Imperial household, underwrote most of her expenses, and personally attended her until she died in 1915.

Alexandra's mother, Princess Alice, had engaged in many charitable activities, including care of soldiers wounded in the German wars of 1866 and 1870. Following her example, Alexandra worked tirelessly as a nurse in Petrograd Army Hospital during World War I. Her friend Anna Vyrubova wrote:

"I have seen the Empress ... in the operating room holding ether cones, handling sterilized instruments, assisting in the most difficult operations, taking from the hands of busy surgeons, amputated legs and arms ... enduring all the sights and smells and agonies of that most dreadful of all places, a military hospital in the midst of war." [9]

Alexandra and two of her daughters, Olga and Tatiana, earned certificates as war nurses. Excerpts from Alix's letter to Nicholas tell the story of her service.

"November 19, 1914: An officer of the 2nd Rifles, poor boy, whose legs are getting quite dark and one fears, amputation may be necessary. I was with the boy yesterday during his dressing, awful to see, and he clung to me and kept quiet, poor child."

December ?, 1914: A young boy kept begging for me. I find (him) getting worse ... In the evenings he is off his head and so weak."

March ?, 1915: My poor wounded friend Has gone. God has taken him quietly and peacefully to himself. .. Olga and I went to see him. He lay there ... under the flowers I daily brought him." [10]

In spite of her social awkwardness, Empress Alexandra had a compassionate heart.

Crisis Upon Crisis

Tsar Nicholas's defective education from Konstantin Pobedonetsev had ill-prepared him for the Russo-Japanese War and Revolution of 1905, two calamities which foreshadowed the disasters of 1914 and 1917.

When Russia began moving agents and plainclothes military officers into Korea in 1901, Marquis Hirobumi Ito of Japan visited St. Petersburg to negotiate. Russia's foreign office refused to discuss the matter. Ito's requests for an appointment with the Tsar were rebuffed. All during 1903 Japanese ambassador Kurino sent letters protesting Russian incursions into Korea. On February 3, 1904 he officially broke off relations with Russia and left St. Petersburg.

In 1898, to Japan's alarm, Russia obtained a lease from the moribund Qing Dynasty for Port Arthur, a warm water port in Manchuria. The Russians stationed several battleships in its harbor, and constructed a network of forts on high ground overlooking the city. In an action that anticipated their 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan launched a surprise raid against Russian vessels moored in Port Arthur's harbor on February 8, 1904. The Japanese Navy sunk The Pallada, and four smaller ships, in addition to seriously damaging The Rezivan and Tsarevich, until shelling by Russian shore batteries compelled Japan's fleet to withdraw. Naval engagements continued through March, when the Japanese succeeded in blockading Port Arthur.

On August 1, 1904 the Japanese landed ground troops at Port Arthur. In addition to modern amphibious assault tactics, this brutal little war introduced a number of other deadly innovations: barbed wire, Maxim machine guns, hand grenades, portable [11] mortars, bolt action rifles with clips, light howitzers, searchlights, land mines, and telephone communication between separate units.

On August 7th the Japanese Army unleashed a night attack. Russian defenders beat them back with artillery and machine gun fire guided by searchlights. A day later the Japanese captured less than a hundred yards with the loss of I,280 killed, wounded, and missing.

This battle presaged World War I. From August until December, 1904 Japanese soldiers charged Russian fortifications, lost more men than their adversaries, but gained small plots of ground. On August 19th the Japanese took 174 Meter Hill while sustaining 1,800 casualties. They sacrificed 3,734 men in a failed attempt to seize 203 Meter Hill on October 29th. After a nine day battle, costing an estimated 8,000 infantrymen, they secured 203 Meter Hill on December 5th.

Japanese sappers exploded mines under Russia's main redoubt, Fort Shunshu on December 31, and secured Wantai January 1. Major General Anatoly Stoessel surrendered the next day. The Russian Army later court-martialed him, since he had adequate supplies and his men had not yet been defeated by the Japanese. In this five month siege each side sustained more than 30,000 casualties.

Meanwhile, another theater of operations opened up along the railroad line between Liaoyang and Mukden. On August 24, 1904 General Alexei Kuropatkin attacked Japanese troops advancing toward Liaoyang. They repulsed this assault, counterattacked, took Hung-Sha Pass, and forced the Russians to fall back.

After being reinforced with troops transported by the Trans-Siberian Railroad, General Kuropatkin initiated another offensive at Shaho on October 5, which Japanese forces repelled. After failing to take the objective after repeated assaults, Kuropatkin retreated to Mukden on October 17th and ordered his troops to dig trenches.

On January 25, 1905 General Oskar-Ferdinand Kasmirovich Grippenberg launched a surprise attack on the Japanese winter headquarters at Sandepu. He caught them completely off-guard. Instead of bringing up reserves to help Grippenberg rout the Japanese, General Kuropatkin inexplicably ordered him to withdraw.

Field Marshal Oyama Iwao of Japan marched toward Mukden in mid-February, 1905. On February 20th he ordered a three-pronged invasion against the Russians' front line and flanks, while sending his 3rd Army to envelop them from behind. General Kuropatkin's men warded off Japanese charges for eight days. However, on March 1st, when he learned that Japan's yd Army threatened his rear, he pulled men from the front. Field Marshal Iwao took advantage of the Russian Army's slow and disorderly evacuation from its main line of defense, and ordered a full-scale frontal attack on March 7th, which induced Kuropatkin to retreat. In the course of the six month Liaoyang to Mukden campaign Russia incurred approximately 60,000 casualties to Japan's 41,000.

Tsar Nicholas sent eight ships from his Baltic fleet around the world to relieve Port Arthur. Admiral Togo of the Japanese Navy sunk all of them in the Tsushima Straits on May 27, 1905. The Sevastopol, Russia's last remaining battleship, sunk two Japanese destroyers and damaged six cruisers before being scuppered by Captain Nicholai Essen to prevent Japan from salvaging it.

The total casualty toll for this war remains in doubt, with one count estimating 165,000 killed, wounded, and missing for Russia, and 152,000 for Japan.

The Russo-Japanese War and Revolution of 1905 prefigured Tsar Nicholas's downfall in 1917. The casualties, shortages, and inflation arising from this fruitless conflict bred widespread dissatisfaction. Protesters demanded higher wages, civil rights, and representative government. A Russian Orthodox priest named Father George Gapon drafted a petition requesting universal suffrage, parliamentary government, public education, and an eight hour work day. On Sunday, January 22, 1905 Gapon and his supporters marched in a religious procession toward the Winter Palace to present their appeals to Tsar Nicholas. Although Gapon had requested police permission the day before, Nicholas knew nothing of this demonstration, and spent the weekend fifteen miles away in Tsarkoe Selo. At approximately 2 PM soldiers guarding St. Petersburg's Winter Palace ordered Father Gapon's marchers to halt. What happened next remains unclear, except that troops opened fire on unarmed civilians, killing and wounding several hundred people. "Bloody Sunday" precipitated commotions all over Russia for the next ten months. Factory workers went on strike, sailors aboard warships mutinied. Disorders interrupted train schedules, postal service, hospital care, and school classes.

On February 18, 1905 an anarchist named Ivan Kalyayev killed Nicholas's uncle, Grand Duke Serge with a bomb. His wife Ella, sister of Empress Alexandra, heard the explosion, rushed outside, picked up her husband's scattered body parts, and comforted her dying coachman. The grieving widow later visited Kalyayev in prison and urged him to repent, but he refused. Ella nevertheless asked the Tsar to commute his death sentence. Nicholas gently declined, citing the crime's heinous nature. Ella went into a deep depression, and became a vegetarian. In 1909 she gave away her jewelry and sold a substantial amount of property in order to found the Convent of Sts. Martha and Mary, which operated a soup kitchen and infirmary. Her order of nuns dedicated themselves to helping Moscow's poor and sick.

Sporadic violence, including pogroms against Jews in Odessa and Kishenev, persisted throughout 1905. On October 30th, Nicholas reluctantly signed the Imperial Manifesto, a watered-down constitution drawn up by Council Chairman Sergei Witte which accorded basic civil rights to Russian subjects and established the Duma, or legislature, as a "consultative body." Although this quasi-constitution satisfied neither right nor left, rioting finally died down by March, 1906.

The Holy Man

Politics only account for part of the Romanov tragedy. The Imperial family's domestic situation must be examined in order to present a three-dimensional picture.

Alexandra delivered five children: Olga (November, 1895), Tatiana (June, 1897), Marie (May, 1899), Anastasia (June, 1901), and Tsarevich Alexis on August 12, 1904. Due to hemophilia, his blood would not clot after an injury, so even minor cuts and bruises caused life-threatening blood loss. Alexis inherited the hemophilia gene from his maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. Her son Leopold (1853-1884) had his life cut short by the disease -- so had her daughter Alice's son Frederick (Alexandra's brother,) who died as a child in May, 1873.

The Russian Imperial Family, 1911

Since Tsarevich Alexis was an energetic and playful boy, bleeding episodes occurred often. One of his worst crises took place at the Imperial Hunting Lodge in Spala, Eastern Poland. The eight year old heir bumped his knee during a rough carriage ride in October, 1912. Some blood vessels ruptured, causing hematoma (pathological swelling due to internal bleeding.) In terrible pain and running a high fever, he alternated between delirium and unconsciousness for eleven days.

"Alexandra scarcely left her son's side. Hour after hour, she sat by the bed where the groaning child lay huddled on his side ... Alexandra held his hand, (and) smoothed his forehead ... as she prayed mutely to God to deliver her little boy from torture. During these ... days her golden hair became tinged with gray." [11]

Siberian faith healer Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869-1916), the son of a horse trader, effectively treated Tsarevich Alexis's disease on several occasions. Alexandra asked her friend Anna Vyrubova to telegraph him for help in October, 1912. Rasputin wired back:

"God has seen your tears and heard your prayers. Do not grieve. The Little One will not die. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much." [12]

One day later Alexis's condition improved dramatically. The hemorrhaging stopped and his fever broke. Within three weeks he fully recovered.

Grigori Rasputin was a lecherous "holy man" from the village of Pokrovskoe near Tobolsk in Western Siberia. In his youth he acquired the reputation of a hard-drinking brawler who compulsively kissed and fondled women he found attractive. Although often slapped by his victims and threatened by their families, he laughed off all snubs.

Rasputin's sister Maria and older brother Dmitri both drowned in Pokrovskoe's Tura River. Grigori's corpse would be fished out of the Neva River in 1916. Ironically, the name Rasputin means "between two rivers." The tragic deaths of his two siblings might have influenced Rasputin's religious conversion.

While working as a coach driver in 1891 young Grigori stumbled upon the Dionysiac monastery at Verkhouryne where he boarded for three months. Cultists there sought direct communication with the supernatural through prayer, fasting, meditation, flagellation, and more unconventional "spiritual exercises." Unsubstantiated rumors had it that these other measures included group sex and the ingestion of psychedelic potions. Rasputin went back to Pokrovskoe, turned to farming, married Praskovia Fedorovna Dubrovina, fathered three children by her, and one by another woman. While plowing his fields one day he beheld a vision of the Blessed Virgin which convinced him of his true vocation as a "starets," or wandering sage. After briefly apprenticing himself to a local shaman named Makariy, Grigori publicly announced his reformation, and began preaching on street corners, quoting scripture, praying aloud, and blessing the sick.

The young evangelist had occult powers. He mesmerized people with his hypnotic gaze. Newly-acquired psychic ability enabled him to identify horse thieves, find misplaced objects, and tell the future. Rasputin cured several chronically ill people by laying hands on them. Local religious authorities grew suspicious of this self-proclaimed magus, and soon banned him as a heretic. Feeling persecuted in his own land, the prophet embarked on a series of pilgrimages throughout Russia, to Greece, and the Holy Land. In 1903 Rasputin moved to St. Petersburg where he impressed society ladies with both his magical abilities and sexual prowess. Tsar Nicholas's Montenegrin cousins, Princess Militsa and Princess Anastasia, first introduced Rasputin to Nicholas and Alexandra on November 1, 1904. Because of "Father Grigori's" efficacious ministrations to Tsarevich Alexis, he soon overshadowed two French soothsayers -- Phillipe Vachot and Gerard Encausse. Alexandra came to believe that he was a Man of God, whose counsel in all matters must be taken seriously.

Grigori Rasputin was an unlikely court favorite. He wore rumpled clothes, smelled like a goat, and had atrocious manners. His glowing eyes, framed by disheveled hair and beard, shone like those of a raccoon. Rasputin ate with his dirty hands and called dignitaries by nicknames, addressing Nicholas and Alexandra as "Papa" and "Mama."

Despite his repellent appearance and conduct, people of all classes frequented Rasputin's atelier in St. Petersburg. His creed of Salvation through the Flesh enabled him to seduce scores of women with impunity. This brand of sophistry valued contrition above all else. Rasputin maintained that sin served an essential purpose, since it elicited saving repentance. After daylight sessions with women clients, the well-endowed mystic would venture out, get drunk, and visit brothels. Neighbors complained that, when inebriated, he regularly banged on neighbors' doors late at night to scare up female bedmates. Detractors circulated the story that he once raped a nun. Police reports confirmed that several angry husbands packing firearms were intercepted by the Tsar's detectives before they could blow the Holy Man to Kingdom Come.

Few more paradoxical characters than Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin have ever existed. He was a charlatan, madman, satyr, and genuine clairvoyant all rolled-up into one. The French diplomat Maurice Paleologue suspected him of being a German agent since he consorted with pro-German banker Manus. However, Rasputin actually hobnobbed with Manus because of his fabulous parties -- replete with courtesans, music, gourmet food, and fine wines.

"Father Grigori" cared little for money and could not be bought. He doled out cash to friend and stranger alike, and casually gave away expensive gifts which noblewomen bestowed upon him. Rasputin dispensed influence with equal generosity. A scrawled, misspelled note from him to almost any government official would usually achieve results. He did his share of favors in exchange for sex and emoluments, but many others without expectation of earthly reward.

The Holy Man used hypnosis to ease pain and instill a positive attitude in patients. When Tsarevich Alexis fell ill, Rasputin confidently assured him that the spell would pass. He befriended the boy, telling stories and playing games with him. Alexis's condition improved due to these distractions and his faith in "Father Grigori's" curative powers. The Tsarevich might have found relief because Rasputin invariably removed him from standard medical care. To alleviate the boy's distress doctors heavily dosed him with aspirin, an anti-coagulant now known to aggravate hemophiliac symptoms.

On June 19, 1914 prostitute Khionia Guseva, a disgruntled former girlfriend, stabbed Rasputin in the abdomen. He collapsed with part of his entrails protruding. Doctors saved him with emergency surgery. Rasputin never fully recovered from that injury. His abundant strength and energy diminished. He took opium for pain. Because of a hyper-acidic condition in his stomach, he had to forego sweets, roast suckling pig, parfait foie gras, as well as other rich foods.

Rasputin accurately prophesied the horrors of World War I and pleaded with Nicholas not to get involved. In August, 1914 he telegraphed Anna Vyrubova: "Let Papa not plan war, for with the war will come the end of Russia and yourselves ... "

In July, 1914 he wrote:

"Dear friend, I will say again a menacing cloud is over Russia, lots of sorrow and grief ... It is dark and there is no lightening ... A sea of tears immeasurable, and as to blood? What can I say? There are no words; ... it is indescribable. I know they want war from you, evidently not knowing this is destruction. Heavy is God's punishment when he takes away reason; this is the beginning of the end. Thou art ... Tsar Father of the Russian People. Don't allow ... madmen to triumph and destroy themselves and the People ... She is all drowned in blood. Terrible (will be) the destruction and without end the grief. Grigori" [14]

Grigori Rasputin (seated) surrounded by followers, 1916

Rasputin foresaw his own death and made prophetic statements to the Tsar in a December, 1916 letter.

"I write and leave behind me this letter at St. Petersburg. ... I shall leave life before January 1, (and) wish to make known to the Russian people, ... Papa, ... the Russian Mother, ... what they must understand if I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers, the Russian peasants, you Tsar of Russia, have nothing to fear, (and will) remain on your throne and govern, ... But if I am murdered by boyars, nobles, ... for twenty-five years their hands will be soiled with my blood. They will leave Russia. Brothers will kill brothers, ... There will be no nobles in the country. Tsar of Russia, if you hear the bell announcing Grigori's death, you must know this: if it was your relations who have killed me, then no one of your family, that is to say, none of your children or relations, will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people ... I shall be killed. I am no longer among the living. Pray, pray be strong. Think of your blessed family." [15]

Upright and capable ministers such as Stolypin, Polivanov, and Sazonov detested Rasputin and attempted to have him banished from court. Alexandra resented their intrusions and lobbied for the appointment of men friendly toward the Holy Man. As Minister of the Interior, General Polivanov worked hard to keep Russian troops provisioned with food, arms, ammunition, uniforms, and medical supplies. He also efficiently administered the civilian police force. At Rasputin's urging the Tsar fired Polivanov, and appointed Alexander Propopov, a half-mad baronet who spoke to religious icons as if they were real people. Under him the morale of the army and domestic police deteriorated.

Foreign Minister Serge Sazanov maintained good relations with France, England, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Alexandra realized that Sazanov had no use for Rasputin and badgered Nicholas to replace him with Boris Sturmer, a corrupt intriguer who let relations with Russia's allies become strained during the crucial years of 1916 and 1917. French ambassador Paleologue evaluated Sturmer as

" ... worse than a mediocrity -- third rate intellect, mean spirit, low character, doubtful honesty, no experience, and no idea of state business." [16]

Alexandra adored Nicholas and spoke of herself [as] his "guardian angel." In his diary she wrote:

"Your Guardian Angel is keeping watch over you ... God will help me be your Guardian Angel." [17]

She truly wanted to assist him, but flawed political judgment negated her good intentions. When Alix pressed Nicholas to select one of Rasputin's incompetent candidates for high office, she uttered refrains such as: "he likes our Friend," and "our Friend recommends him." Earning the Mad Monk's approval seemed to be her chief criterion for choosing cabinet officials. That system produced nothing but misfits.

Prince Felix Youssovpov, the Tsar's cousin and one of Russia's wealthiest men, conspired to murder Rasputin in the early morning hours of December 29, 1916. He invited "Father Grigori" to a party at his townhouse, offering to play the lute, and introduce him to his beautiful wife Irina. A less-than-perfect host, Prince Felix plied Rasputin with cyanide-laced cakes and poisoned wine. Showing no signs of illness, the guest of honor loudly sang gypsy songs, and yelled for more wine. Pale with fright, Youssopov put down his lute, fetched a loaded pistol, and shot him. Dr. Lazovert rushed in, felt no pulse, and pronounced Rasputin dead. At that instant one of Rasputin's hands shot up and grabbed Prince Felix by the throat. He fled screaming while the growling mystic chased him on all-fours. Out of breath from sprinting up two flights of steps at top speed, Youssopov collected himself, and dashed downstairs again. Joined by co-conspirators, he threw open a basement door and spied Rasputin hobbling toward the street, shouting: "I will tell all to the Empress!" Youssopov, Grand Duke Dmitri Romanov, British Army Lt. Oswald Rayner, and Duma Deputy Vladimir Purishkevich ran after Rasputin and fired four shots. One round struck him in the head and knocked him down. The Man of God snarled and grimaced on the ground while Youssopov's confederates kicked and clubbed his supine body. Believing Rasputin dead, they wrapped him in a curtain and shoved it down a hole in the ice-covered Neva River. His corpse washed up downstream three days later. A subsequent autopsy report indicated that the slug which entered Rasputin's forehead was an unjacketed .455 caliber Webley revolver bullet, leading investigators to conclude that Lt. Rayner probably fired it. The decedent's bloody finger tips indicated that he had desperately tried to dig out of ice. The coroner ruled drowning as cause of death since Rasputin's lungs contained water, a condition which won't occur when a person has died prior to immersion.

Felix Youssovpov sought to save the Autocracy by assassinating Rasputin. The "Mad Monk's" disreputable character reflected unfavorably on the Imperial family. Soldiers and peasants whispered that he had seduced the "Nemka" (German woman, i.e. Tsaritsa Alexandra.) Youssovpov knew that the Empress, under this crazy man's spell, had persuaded Tsar Nicholas to make many unwise decisions. Lt. Oswald Rayner's presence at the murder scene suggests that British Intelligence wanted to eliminate Rasputin's pacifist influence from the Russian Imperial household.
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Re: Hitler's Mentor: Dietrich Eckart, His Life, Times, & Mil

Postby admin » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:14 am

Part 2 of 2


World War I dealt Tsarist Russia its death blow. Tragically, Tsar Nicholas permitted Russia's fatal mobilization against Austria to go forward on August 1, 1914, even though the Russo-Japanese War's aftermath had nearly brought down his regime nine years earlier. After a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Austria began intimidating Russia's Slavic brothers in Serbia. Under pressure from his foreign office and general staff, Nicholas signed a partial mobilization order on July 31, 1914. This alarmed Germany, which declared war on Russia.

When the fighting commenced Russia's army sustained enormous casualties in East Prussia and Galicia. The Eastern Front stretched roughly 1,600 miles from the Baltic to Black Sea. Because of this vast amount of space, commanders had more scope for offensive operations than on the Western Front. After devastating defeats at Tannenburg and Masurian Lakes, Russian units held their ground in central Poland along the Vistula River. In March, 1915 the Tsar's army captured Austria's Premysyl fortress in the Carpathian mountains, only to lose it two months later to the Germans. This pattern repeated itself in 1916. General Brusilov's offensive sent the Austrians into full flight, until a Germany army corps counterattacked and stopped his advance.

Compared to Germany's Reichswehr, the "cudgeled and apathetic Russian peasant army" was badly led and poorly equipped. In the initial East Prussian battles, officers ordered suicidal bayonet charges simply because their men had no ammunition. Soldiers were more plentiful than bullets.

As had happened during the conflict with Japan, Russia's shaky economy caved in under the war effort's weight. Families suffered the losses of sons, brothers, and fathers, and then had to put up with food, fuel, and commodity shortages, as well as inflation, civil unrest, and breakdowns in rail and electrical service. The 15,500,000 man Russian Army had a 51.6% casualty rate in World War I, higher than any other power. By the end of 1917 1,300,000 men were killed, 4,200,000 wounded, and 2,400,000 taken prisoner. In a misguided effort to save Serbia, Russia suffered a holocaust.

Because "Father Grigori" advised him to command the army personally, Tsar Nicholas spent most of his time near the front between August, 1914 and March, 1917. Meanwhile, the Imperial government teetered on a chasm's edge. Signs of insurrection abounded by December, 1916. A Russian Marine regiment mutinied and murdered their commanding officer in October. Uprisings broke out in Petrograd. When Nicholas ordered army troops in to restore order, they joined their brother workers and fired on local police. Those who censored army mail noticed that most enlisted men believed the Empress to be a German agent and mistress of Rasputin. On February 23, 1917 food riots and strikes raged in Petrograd. Two days later the Tsar dispatched a battalion of soldiers to halt looting. British ambassador Buchanan, Duma whip Michael Rodzianko, and Grand Duke Alexander all begged him to remain in the city to deal with this emergency. Rodzianko warned:

"The capital is in chaos... the government ... unable to function ... Fuel and supplies ... completely disorganized ... wild shooting on the streets. It is urgent that a new government be formed. There must be no delay. Hesitation will be fatal." [18]

Nicholas remained detached from reality, writing Alexandra:

"Again, that fat-bellied Rodzianko has written me a load of nonsense, which I won't even bother to answer." [19]

Shortly after Tsar Nicholas set out for Stavka Camp in his private train on March 1, 1917, the Imperial Government fell. Anarchy rocked Petrograd from March 12th to March 15th, when he signed an instrument of abdication under duress from his general staff. Nicholas first appointed Tsarevich Alexis as his successor, then Grand Duke Michael, who reigned for one day. By March 18th the Imperial family became political prisoners.

On April 9, 1917, with the aid of German agents, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (whose real surname was Ulyanov) boarded a locked railroad car in Zurich and headed for Petrograd. In the words of Winston Churchill:

"The German leaders turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia." [20]

Lenin started agitating immediately. Crowds jeered his initial speeches -- which proposed the abolition of police and encouraged army troops to fraternize with their German enemies. Lenin toned down the Marxist rhetoric when it dawned on him that he was addressing crowds of ordinary folk, not fellow cranks in a Zurich coffee house. On Leon Trotsky's advice he downplayed utopianism and began spouting demagogic slogans such as "bread, land, and peace!," "all power to the people!," "down with Tsarist tyranny!," and "end this senseless war!"

Mug shot of Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, alias "Lenin," 1895

On July 16, 1917 Lenin and Trotsky staged a huge peace demonstration in Petrograd. Menshevik leader Alexander Kerensky managed to quell the unrest by persuading loyal army regiments that Lenin and Trotsky were German spies. A company of these troops raided Communist headquarters and arrested Trotsky. Lenin fled the city, hid in a haystack over night, then escaped to Finland disguised as a railroad engineer.

But Kerensky made one major blunder. Under pressure from France and England, he continued the war. After the initially successful "Kerensky Offensive," German forces drove the Russians back, then routed them. By July 16, 1917, same day as Lenin and Trotsky's war protest, the Russian army disintegrated.

Kerensky also gravely erred by requesting Bolshevik aid when General L.G. Kornilov initiated a military coup against his Menshevik government in October, 1917. Kornilov's takeover attempt fizzled when more than half his troops deserted to the Communist side. Then Lenin, a much more formidable enemy, returned to Petrograd on October 27th to engineer Kerensky's ouster. Armed Bolsheviks seized control of the city on November 8th. Lenin and his comrades employed propaganda and violence to consolidate their power. They took over newspapers and shot scores of opponents. Anxious to terminate the Tsarist Empire's ruinous war, Lenin opened up peace negotiations. On March 3, 1918 he signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ceded most of Poland and the Ukraine to Germany.

The Imperial family's plight worsened. They endured one indignity after another from March, 1917 until July, 1918. On March 18, 1917 a delegation of surly Revolutionary Council members showed up at the Tsar's palace to cut his household down to size. Undisciplined rebel guards mocked and assaulted male servants, molested servant girls, helped themselves to the Tsar's cupboard and wine cellar, and shot tame deer in the park. They dragged Rasputin's corpse out of the chapel mausoleum for a round of hideous abuse, then burned it. Hooligans addressed the Tsar as "Nicky," and Tsaritsa as "Nemka." When Nicholas pedaled his bicycle by a group of guards, one stuck his bayonet into a wheel's spokes, causing him to fall amid a chorus of raucous laughter. Appalled by such outrages, Count Alexander von Benckendorff, the Tsar's Privy Counselor, complained to Kerensky, who appointed Colonel Eugen Kobylinsky to handle security for the Romanovs. Under trying conditions, he tried to protect the Imperial family until being dismissed on May 11, 1918.

In August, 1917, due to escalating violence in Petrograd, Kerensky moved the Romanovs to Tobolsk, in western Siberia, right next to Rasputin's home village of Pokrovskoe. There they occupied the local governor's mansion. Tsar Nicholas and Colonel Kobylinsky had to contend with maltreatment from local commissar Alexander Nikolsky. Former political prisoner Nikolsky nursed a grudge against the Autocracy, and relished every opportunity to harass Nicholas and Alexandra. He barged in at all hours without notice, made them pose for mug shots, harangued the Tsar with insipid political lectures, denied the royals wine, coffee, sugar, and other small comforts.

Three different regiments guarded the Imperial family. The 1st and 4th regiments brought flowers to the Empress and her daughters, played games with the Tsarevich, and smuggled in delicacies and presents from townsfolk. The 2nd Regiment mistreated the Imperial family, wrote obscenities on walls, told lewd stories within earshot of the girls, confiscated all "contraband" for their own use, and forbade Nicholas and his son to exercise outdoors.

Shocked by Nikolsky's cruelty, Tobolsk's populace remained loyal to Tsar Nicholas. Local people prayed daily for the Imperial family in church. Men removed their hats when they passed the governor's mansion. Women got down on both knees, bowed toward the house, and crossed themselves.

When Lenin's Bolsheviks wrested power from Kerensky's Mensheviks in November, 1917, their Ural Soviet issued an order that put "Nicholas Romanov" on soldiers' rations. The residents of Tobolsk immediately sent butter, eggs, freshly-killed geese, cakes, wine, and tea to the Tsar's residence. To embarrass the Romanovs, Lenin's government refused to pay local grocers more than 20,000 rubles for supplies already delivered to them. Hearing of this, a local merchant promptly reimbursed all creditors out of his own pocket.

One of the worst days in captivity occurred in late November, 1917 when Nicholas learned that Lenin gained control of the government. A felon whose wanted poster recently graced police station bulletin boards now ruled Russia. The Tsar told Alexis's tutor Pierre Gilliard that this criminal's assumption of power made him bitterly regret his decision to abdicate.

Nicholas's misgivings were warranted. Lenin soon abolished democratic "workers councils" in favor of a "dictatorship of the proletariat," with himself as despot. When Social Revolutionaries cried foul over this broken campaign promise, he formed the Cheka (Secret Police) and authorized the first Red Terror, which liquidated thousands of his former supporters. Lenin wholeheartedly continued the Tsar's Siberian labor camp system. By 1922 his gulags incarcerated over 70,000 political prisoners, more than double the number detained under Nicholas II. He also ordered purges against kulaks (independent farmers), aristocrats, Mensheviks, and clergy. Between 1921 and 1922 Lenin's secret police murdered 2,691 priests, 1,962 monks, and 3,447 nuns. Approximately 200,000 political dissidents died during Bolshevism's first five years of rule. Lenin's August 11, 1918 telegram to Penza's commissars epitomized his administrative style.

"Comrades! The revolt by the ... kulak(s) must be repressed without mercy .... You need to hang ... at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers. We need to set an example. Publish their names. Take away all of their grain ... Use your toughest people for this." [21]

The changes of guard at Tolbolsk became more ghastly after Lenin overthrew Kerensky. On April 18, 1918 Nicholas and Alexandra were shipped to Ekaterinburg, four hundred miles to the south. Their children followed on May 25th. Colonel Kobylinski did not accompany them. Communist militiamen evicted a businessman from Ipatiev House, and quartered the Imperial family there. The commissars in charge were Rodionov and Avadeyev. Rodionov bullied the Romanovs and insisted that they get nothing but black bread and cheap tea for breakfast. He ordered the grand duchesses's heads shaved and forbade them to lock their doors. Avadeyev and Ridionov prohibited table cloths, silver flatware, and all other amenities. Soldiers beat townsfolk who tried to bring gifts for the Tsar's family. When Seaman Nagorny, Alexis's faithful navy guardian, tried to prevent soldiers from stealing a pair of the boy's boots, Rodionov had him arrested and shot.

Avadeyev strode around swigging brandy from a flask while he rebuked the Tsar, occasionally pausing to grab food from the family's table with his hands. He allowed his men to steal personal property from the Romanovs. His churlish troops drank while on duty, and leered at the Tsar's daughters.

A servant handed Nicholas a secret message in mid-June, promising an escape attempt on the night of June 27th. Everyone stayed up all night, but no rescuers arrived.

Worried about the approaching White Army, Rodionov and Avadeyev requested permission from party headquarters to kill Tsar Nicholas and his family. Party Secretary Jakov Sverdlov, shared their concern about rescue attempts. On July 4th sinister Jacov Yurovsky arrived with a detachment of "Letts" (foreigners.) On July 13, 1918 the Ural Soviet with official authorization from Sverdlov, ordered him to execute Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children. Around midnight of July 17th "Lett" guards woke up the Romanovs and told them they were being moved to a new location. Yurovsky ordered everyone to wait in the cellar. Outside, trucks ran their engines -- apparently to drown out the noise of gun fire. When all gathered in the basement, Yurovsky announced:

"Your relations have tried to save you. They have failed and we must now shoot you." [22]

Nicholas stepped forward and extended his arm as if to shield his family. Yurovsky shot him in the head. His men then opened fire, murdering everyone else, including Dr. Botkin and the remaining servants. The Tsar's daughters screamed and writhed piteously after the initial burst of fire. They had jewels packed in their corsets, which deflected bullets shot at torso level. Yurovsky's accomplices dispatched them with bayonet thrusts and close-range head shots. They beat the children's spaniel "Jimmy" to death with rifle butts. According to a deposition obtained by White Army investigator Nicholai Sokolov from participant Pavel Medvedev, Tsarevich Alexis still lay moaning on the blood-drenched floor. Yurovsky strode over and pumped three rounds into his head.

Yurovsky's crew drove the corpses to Commissar Voikov at Four Brothers' Mine a few miles outside of town. They stripped the bodies (discovering the jewel-filled corsets), cut them to pieces with saws, and shoveled the gruesome pile of human offal into a bonfire. After pouring sulphuric acid on charred bones, Voikov's men dumped them down a mine shaft along with several grenades.

Although he swore his death squad to secrecy, Yurovsky overheard townsfolk speaking about the murders one day later. He immediately sent a truckload of men to gather up the ashes and bone fragments from Four Brothers' Mine and transport them to a different site. Their vehicle got stuck in mud. With the White Army closing in, they buried all remains in a common grave, covered it with railroad ties, pushed their truck out of the mire, and drove away. Two years later an anonymous Communist bulletin admitted executing the Tsar, but not his wife and children:

"The crowned hangman ... guilty of innumerable bloody crimes has been put to death... The family has been evacuated to a safe place ..." [23]

Jakov Sverdlov (1885-1919), Chairman of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, who ordered the Romanovs' executions in July, 1918.

Leon Trotsky wanted to try Nicholas II for crimes against Russia's proletariat in a public court, and use the Empress and children as bargaining chips in negotiations with Germany. He claimed that Lenin and Executive Committee Chairman Jakov Sverdlov approved the Imperial family's liquidation without consulting him. According to Trotsky, Sverdlov admitted the executions, explaining that

"Illyich (Lenin) believed that we shouldn't leave the Whites a banner to rally around." [24]

Trotsky realized that the underworld-style slayings of Tsar Nicholas and his family created a public relations catastrophe, which seriously discredited Communism's international movement.

Using written information supplied by Yurovsky's son, investigator Gelli Ryabov exhumed nine bodies in 1991. He gathered DNA samples from Romanov relatives -- including Britain's Prince Philip -- so that scientific tests could be performed. The remains of Nicholas, Alexandra, Olga, Maria, and Tatiana were positively identified.

The Bolshevik government killed several more Romanov family members that summer. Cheka agents hauled good-natured Grand Duke Michael, Tsar Nicholas's younger brother, to Perm in May, 1918, and murdered him there around June 12th. Bolsheviks in Moscow arrested Empress Alexandra's sister Elizabeth, Abess of Marfo-Marinskii Convent, and removed her to Napolnaya School near Alapayevsk, along with her assistant, Sister Barbara Yakovleva, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, his secretary Fyodor Remez, Prince Ioann Konstaninovich, Prince Igor Konstaninovich, and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley. Cheka hit men employed a method of operation similar to the one followed at Ekaterinberg. At 2 A.M on July 18, 1918 armed guards woke up all captives and formed them that they were to be taken to a new location. Foreign soldiers (or "Letts") commanded by Pyotr Konstantinov Startsev and Him Andreev Solovyov loaded the prisoners onto trucks and drove them to a desolate mining area approximately fifteen miles outside of town. Soldiers then dragged all victims into a cave, threw them down a mine shaft, and tossed several grenades after them. Though severely injured herself Sister Elizabeth bandaged the head of Prince Ioann before dying of her wounds. In 1992 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized her as a saint.

Since the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Tsar's French and British allies had showed little interest in him. Nicholas's cousin, King George V of England, wanted to authorize a commando mission to save the Romanovs. Lloyd George, a Labor Party politician with no affection for absolute monarchs, talked him out of it. Foreign policy advisor Sir Francis Bertie agreed that hosting an autocrat-in-exile would be politically inexpedient. While ambassador to France, Bertie had heard gossip about Alexandra in Parisian salons.

"The Empress is not only a Boche by birth, but in sentiment. She did all she could to bring about an understanding (with) Germany. She is regarded as ... a criminal lunatic and the Emperor as a (dupe) from his weakness and submission to her promptings." [25]

If the four Germany corps needed to fight the Tsar's army at Tannenburg in August, 1914 had been deployed in France, Paris would have fallen. Nevertheless, the French didn't lift a finger to help Nicholas.

Ironically, the Germans evinced more concern for Tsar Nicholas's welfare than his Entente treaty partners. When Denmark's Foreign Minister informed them of his plight in March, 1917, they immediately agreed not to shell or torpedo any cruiser bearing the Imperial standard. After signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk German diplomat Wilhelm Mirbach repeatedly petitioned Lenin's government to transfer the Romanovs safely from Ekaterinburg to Petrograd. Jacov Sverdlov played a double game with Mirbach, claiming that the Ekaterinburg Soviet -- which was actually under his full control -- would not obey his orders to release the royal prisoners.

The barbaric slaughter of Tsar Nicholas and his family tarnished the Soviet Union. Other European nations viewed it as an outlaw regime until after World War II. To this day pious Russians believe that the massacre cursed Mother Russia, bringing on Lenin's terror, Stalin's purges, Hitler's invasion, the Cold War, Afghanistan disaster, secession of Soviet republics, and other misfortunes.



1 Count Sergius Witte, Memoirs, trans. Abraham Yarmolinsky, Doubleday, New York, 1921, p. 179.

2 Ibid.

3 General Alexandre Spiridovitch, Les Dernieres Annees do la Cour de Tsarkoe-Selo, Payot, Paris, 1928, Vol. I, p. 73.

4 Ian Vorres, Last Grand Duchess: The Memoirs of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, Scribner, New York, 1965, pp. 150-151.

5 John Van der Kiste, Queen Victoria's Children, Alan Sutton, Gloucester, U.K, 1986, p. 131.

6 Ibid.

7 Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, The Life & Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, Longmans, Green, London, 1928, p. 58.

8 Robert K. Massie, Nicholas & Alexandra, Atheneum, New York, 1967, p. 26.

9 Anna Vyrubovna, Memories of the Russian Court, MacMillan, New York, 1923, pp. 108-09.

10 Ibid., pp. 24-33, passim.

11 Massie, p. 173.

12 Vyrubovna, p. 94.

13 Ibid.

14 Bernard Pares, The Fall of the Russian Monarchy, Vintage Books, New York, 1961, p.188.

15 Ibid., p. 399.

16 Maurice Paleologue, An Ambassador's Memoirs, trans. F. A. Holt, Doran, New York, Vol. II, p. 166.

17 W. Bruce Lincoln, Passages Through Armageddon, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1986, p. 28.

18 http://www.wikipedia.org, February Revolution, p. 3.

19. Ibid.

20 Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis, T. Butterworth, London, 1923, p. 73.

21 J. Brooks & G. Gernyavskiy, Lenin and the Making of the Soviet State, Bedford/St. Martins, New York, 2007, op. cit. Nicholai Lenin, Telegram to Penza Gubernia Executive Committee, August 11, 1918.

22 Paul Bulygin & Alexander Kerensky, The Murder of the Romanovs, Hutchinson, London, 1935, p. 237.

23 Fen Montaigne, "The Death of the Last Czar," The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 31, 1994, PP. G-1 & G-4.

24 Marc Ferro, Nicholas II: Last of the Tsars, trans. Brian Pearce, Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K., 1991, p. 255, op. cit. Leon Trotsky.

25 Massie, p. 439.
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