Since the German people made their entrance into history, they have had the world against them. In the past centuries, they clashed with the Roman world. Because the heirs of that world have never pardoned them for having put an end to the victorious course of the Roman legions. The part of Europe that succumbed to the influences of the Roman heritage continually feels bothered by the sole existence of the German people. They do not cease to forge plans of annihilation. Without stopping they hatch plots against Germany. The “Romantic” world is the dangerous terrain where we continually face pitfalls for the German people. Since Germanicism awoke, it must, by reason of its nature, fight desperately for life. When Germanicism idles, falling into insouciance, we are treacherously attacked, we are struck without pity. That has been the destiny of Germany over the course of the centuries. The hate that the German people encounter today, is not an isolated phenomenon, fortuitous, caused uniquely by a moment in history. That hate is the avowal, mad with joy and drunk with glory, of a sentiment that has always existed, but that, at present, after the German debacle, no longer has any need to hide.
Once this sentiment acted as the motive force in the disastrous struggle between the Emperors and the Popes. It is true that the habitual rivalry played a role there. Its rivalry was inflamed everywhere where they opposed themselves and disputed their influences. But the struggle received its cold, fractious, and vindictive character for the “anti-German disposition.” The Pope felt a hidden Protestantism in the Emperor and among the German Christians in general, long before Protestantism was actually born.
In a certain manner, even before the Reformation, German Christianity permanently protested against Rome. The Popes made common cause with all the adversaries of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. Since the 14th century, they defended the French interests against Germany. The claims, once formulated by the French jurist, Pierre Dubois – to know: French domination from the coasts of the Mediterranean to the left bank of the Rhine – were reprised by the Curia with a direct point against Germany. With the aid of money, intrigue, imprecations, and excommunications, the Popes undermined the courts of Imperial power. In a gesture of benediction and protection, they raised their hands over the elements that had provoked the dissolution of the Empire.
At the start of the 16th century, the German people seized their particularity with a obstinate resolution. Openly, they valued the difference and singularity of their being. They no longer bowed their head with veneration when seeing the head of the Church who, by reason of his Latin instincts and the general conditions of his position, was permanently ensnared against the vital needs of the German people.
The fact that the Emperor was a foreigner, was then fatal for the future evolution of Germany. Even if he had conflicts with the Curia, he did not have in himself the feelings that inspired the German protest. On the contrary, he was repelled by them. He was also a Latin man who shared in the irritable Latin contempt regarding the existential claim of Germany. He should necessarily feel the German protest as something hostile that was turning against him. No emotional impulse would allow him to profit from the protest as a spirit pressing him to enhance the Imperial grandeur and dignity. A fate weighs on the German people; it often wants, in these historically decisive moments, that the German people are governed by an evil man.
Charles V failed in his task. He allied with the Curia against the Germans that raised themselves up to save their identity and their proper place. Thus the movements of the Reformation were pressed into the arms of principalities who, to affirm themselves politically, opposed the Emperor. In this fashion, the Reformation escaped annihilation, but the course that things took was harmful all the same. The principalities were separate powers. When they took on too much importance, the community suffered. Their forces exhausted themselves in petty jealousies and frictions. The supreme authority could no longer impose on its conscious subjects their proper place. While the Emperor took the part of universalist tendencies, much more perfectly embodied by the Pope, the particular powers were incited, in the conflict they announced, to develop in the corresponding sense. Knowing that they have behind them the conscience and need for the conservation of the people, they became arrogant and sure in themselves. They lacked that authority which, understanding the message of the movement of the Reformation and serving it, was knowingly renounced by the universalist claim. At the same time – limited to the German sphere – it had instated a severe regime dominated by the principalities, a regime that could have given a solid, national state to the German people. In this epoch, the Emperor came to the aid of the Pope, who dismissed the reign of the German sun. The absence of a living imperial reign announced the decline of the old Empire. The Reformation movement, in which the German recognized with pride his particular essence, promoted, ultimately, the breakup and the failure of the Empire, because it did not succeed in taking the Imperial reign by the hand. The decision of the German conscience, the German development, more grandiose as such a religious phenomenon, remained ineffective in the plans of politics.
That facilitated the counter-offensive of the Latin world. In the Counter-Reformation, it was deployed with much success. The Counter-Reformation was a methodical concentration of the enemies of the German spirit. Its leitmotiv was: to be German means to abandon the faith and renounce God. This accusation against the essence of Germany was maintained throughout the centuries. The terms were modified. The contents adapted to the changes of mentality and opinion of the times but the roots and the direction of the attack remained the same. Later, it served the pretext that Germany prevented the progress of civilization and hindered the perfection of humanity. The Pope of this “clear epoch,” who pronounced the anathema of the “infamy of the German people,” was called Wilson.
Western civilization is the transposition of the Latin elements and spirit into the sphere of modern politics. These elements and this spirit would like to impose themselves as “ethical norms and principles directing the lives of the peoples.” The German deviations are not recognized as equal in right. They consider them as a debasement and as an under-development. Bringing back Germany to civilization or elevating their rank, by the force of arms, doing it by fire and blood, appears to be their sacred mission.
Wanting to give reason to the other, to their contraries, to the enemy mortal is a trait of the German character. “To be German means to de-Germanize oneself.” as Nietzsche formulated it. Entire regions opened themselves to the Counter-Reformation, as today where entire parties rally to Western civilization.
The attack of the Counter-Reformation lasted under 1618. The antagonisms had reached an extreme point. They burst into a terrible war that would last thirty years. The form of German life and even the German essence was put into question and had to undergo a superhuman proving. The German sun was on the field of battle, warriors came from all corners of the world. Certainly, the fronts were sometimes blurred. For particular reasons of its national politics, France supported the Protestant princes in Germany. But, on the whole, the support of France worked against the birth of a strong empire, corresponding to the German feeling of life. France, by guaranteeing the freedom of German principalities, took prophylactic measures against the free development, on a grand scale, of the political force of the German people.
In Prussia, the German will to life succeeded all the same in creating a true state. But the world immediately reunited against it. A powerful coalition tried to strangle this purely German state that took up forces. However, it came through to affirm itself. Its actions are without parallel. It must be allowed to live. All by nourishing the grudge against it, by drawing on its reserves, it was accepted.
With Napoleon, the universalist current claimed anew the domination of Europe. It was Germany that had to defend itself against him especially. Certainly, in the mean time, this current had removed its religious habits. Then, it searches to seduce in a layman’s garb. Henceforth, its trinity called itself liberty, equality, fraternity. It is strange that exactly the countries, once adepts of the Counter-Reformation, expired, by the tacit consent of Napoleon. In the Confederation of the Rhine, they reunited around him. “I am proud to be French” declared Maximilian of Bavaria. Their sovereigns were compensated with royal crowns. Austria sent a daughter of the Emperor to Paris. But after that universalist current was nearly entirely submitted to the reasons of the French state, thus injuring the vital needs of Austria, the latter taking up arms. It did it with many reservations. Under the form and in the disposition of “war cabinet,” it entered into the campaign against Napoleon.
It was only in Prussia that the people were profoundly upset. Only there did a tempest arise. It was only Prussia that knew to defend that which was proper and sacred to their country.
The Hapsburgs were suspicious of what was happening. Napoleon barely hunted, they hatched intrigues against Prussia. The Hapsburgs had more affinities with Latin France than German Prussia.
The rise of Prussia inflamed all the hearts in which there lived Germanicism. Their view turned, filled with hope and impatience, towards the Prussia that created a German Reich. The man whose epoch of need arrived. What the century of the Reformation did not succeed in, Bismarck did. He did not act to reconstruct the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. Knowingly, he discarded the Roman and Imperial element. In 1866, he separated it by force from his work. His Reich was a state entirely German, a “more extended Prussia.” To give this Reich the central power in Europe, he needed the German Rhineland, the frontier of the Vosges. And, in effect, the Reich would extend to the summit of the Vosges.
Thus the new Reich appeared powerful, glorious, and victorious to the milieu of the people. The powers of the Counter-Reformation, the Latin hate for Germany, were repressed and mastered. They were not near to accepting it. “Avenge Sadowa, avenge Sedan!” that was their objective. Immediately, they began to gnaw at the foundations of the Reich. In the Eastern March, but in Alsace as well, they heated religious sentiments and they turned, without shame, against the existence of the Reich. Public opinion was excited to revolt against everything that was German. Germany was decried as perturbing the peace, bellicose, and barbaric.
The hostility in regard to the German “devices of the power” manifested with a growing insolence. Politically and morally it encircled the Reich. England and America, appearing rather Germanic, were under the influence of the Western and Latin spirit. As with the Counter-Reformation, that once prepared the Thirty Years War, Western civilization organized a campaign of annihilation against the German state. In 1914, the armies were on the march. The rebel Germany, it must be made to bow! It must break the conscience of its opposition! The new crusaders went to war against the “scum of humanity” but this time it was not under the sign of the cross but the flag of “liberty.” For four and half years we resisted the overwhelming numerical superiority of enemies foaming with rage. No one ever struggled as we struggled against the world. Then abruptly, it stopped without precipitation. The restive German, that once neither the Hapsburg nor the Curia could master, rolled on the ground, defenseless, imploring grace and promising repentance. The peace that they accorded was a sentence. The German was declared culpable, not of a particular crime, but culpable for having been German. The trial against Germany dragged on for centuries. The atrocious crime that it was reproached for was its own existence. At present, it lost the trial. It has been forbidden to continue to live according to its nature. Germanicism must disappear from the world. It must be confounded with the European form of life.
That is the deep sense of the article on the responsibility for the war of the Diktat of Versailles: this article is a sentence with condemns all Germanicism. It wants to seal a condemnation in perpetuity. The Latin world will not accept the re-opening of the trial. Only in the measure where the German is no longer German, are we accorded the right to exist.
The article on the responsibility for the war said that we are culpable if we are German. The Diktat of Versailles ordains that we are punished because we are German. The Weimar Republic is the state of those Germans who occupy themselves seriously with the application of “de-Germanization.” Its existence is directly linked to the acceptance of this article on responsibility.
Before the profound significance of the article on the responsibility for the war, a certain propaganda against this lie would seem laughable. It is fixed as its objective to prove that Wihelmine Germany had no bellicose intention. Secretly, this propaganda hopes to be able to clear the way for the Hohenzollern restoration and – in a general manner – the political and social order of Germany before the war, thanks to its attempts at “purification.” Thus it resembles a swimmer in a large river whose current is very strong. With an indefatigable tenacity, this swimmer struggles against the torrents. He ends up believing that he advanced, but in reality he is irresistibly driven and carried by the current. His exploit of which he would be so proud, considering his effort, is hardly more than strenuous and useless agitation.
Germanicism must definitely disappear: that is the will of the Western states. They are so disposed to power, no reason, no scientific demonstration can lead them to abandon their project. There is not a convention with victorious Europe permitting Germany to recover an autonomous existence and liberty. Through the centuries, the destruction of this existence was precisely the goal of great global movements. Accomplishing the collapse of Germany was the veritable reward of the world war. Everyone wants the European to rise as the sole man against the lesser attempts to examine anew the question of Germany destiny. Never will Europe give willingly its agreement to reopen this trial. It is only against its will and by a rebellion that a procedure of revision could be initiated. From the moment where Germany will regain its power, the verdict of culpability, given by Europe, will become obsolete.
In a sense, it even presents a certain danger. By taking certain effective measures, they cradle illusions and want to be taken seriously. We think that the fate is not also frightful, we see the means to get by where it is it not. We do not understand that it is necessary to recommence, to recommence deeply and nothing is guaranteed, even the worse. We act and we believe to have done something, of having advanced, being recovered – and in fact, we find before ourselves a new misfortune. The campaign, that Germany leads against the lie of responsibility for the war, maybe even a means to seize the national consciousness in an awakening, but considered from the point of view of effectiveness in matters of political power, it is only a blunted foil. Those who call for war, and who, at the same times, count in their political calculations on an entente with England or France, do not understand the sense of German destiny. They do not see what is necessary, what must be done.
If German politics does not want to take a false route, at its base it must have experienced that upheaval, that tightens the throat, of all that tragedy and all that curse, nearly without hope, that weighs on the German and his destiny. Easy compromises, conclusions of conciliatory peace are not required for this politics. Day and night it must watch as if “the world was full of Devils” (Luther). It must be conscious of fundamental divergences and of abysses that separate it from the world that surrounds it, to be conscious as if it lived in a strong castle – and great good may it do to him, that “mighty castle.” (Translator’s Note: Alluding to the hymn).
Maybe it was Bismarck himself that put the germ of decadence in his work: his vigilance and his distrust were asleep, his vision of dangers which the Reich had faced, was weakened. He extended a hand to the liberal and bourgeois West and the Latin Hapsburg. To truly say, it was these approaches that threw Russia, supporting Germany against a pitiless, hostile Europe, into the arms of France. By assuring the continuity of the Danube monarchy, torn by conflicts between different peoples, it left the Reich an ally rotten and obsolete, and more, would contribute to prepare the collapse of Germany. By allying with bourgeois liberalism, it lowered, to thus say, the drawbridge, permitting the entrance, unencumbered, of the destructive forces of the West. Finally the Hapsburg betrayed the German cause – and the German liberalism that returned to Locarno, did it not do the same thing?
This was a tactic for Bismarck, a detour (that, some recognized the necessity, it would not have, in principle, failed to try by another means, eventually on the contrary), those who considered themselves as “the heirs of his spirit” affirmed it among themselves and it became an immutable rule. The orientation that Bismarck had chosen towards the end and that corresponded to a particular situation, transformed into a national orientation. Certainly, the object of foreign politics which, according to this doctrine, should align with Vienna, is shown to be lacking today. Given that we have become habituated to fix our view on the Danube, we try to find a new object in a union of successor states, in an ersatz Austria. The option of Bismarck for the Danube monarchy, whose consequence was the rupture with Russia, is, in the eyes of his successors, valuable for all eternity. Their politics is not flexible enough to take account of the disappearance of the Hapsburg monarchy and turn towards this possibility that exists in the East, itself searching for support. They are afraid of missing like Bismarck who, once, took the initiative of separation with Russia.
Having this “national point of view,” we are at least capable of innovating in matters of foreign policy that with the liberal influence, which we received from the heritage of Bismarck, shudders before a true change. The liberal element of national politics pushes it, against its nature, towards its Pharisaical judges who, at Versailles, pronounced the condemnation of Germany. The seats of the nation, which are impregnated by liberalism, do not feel their own incoherence. Blindly, they solicit, by half measures, the friendship and support of those who, for intellectual, historical, and political reasons, have always been the mortal and pitiless enemies of the German way of life and they will never rest. They do not want to see that we can no longer be German and conscious of our nationality when we have in our blood this liberalism fascinated by the West and that wants to submit itself to the West. Inevitably, they arrive at the point where they put their hopes in French tanks to mow down the German workers indignant at the capitalism of the Entente and who, at the same time, have no indulgence for German capitalism.
Compromise with the Latin and Western world is always dangerous for Germany, even if they defend themselves. When they are without defense, this comprise is mortal to them. Under the political plan, it leads to the ruin of the Reich and dependency. Under the economic plan, it compels a levy, under the cultural plan, to the encroachment of foreign influences, under the moral, the dishonorable denial of itself, all together, to treason and defection. By reason of easy access to its territory and its soul, Germany must don a heavy armor, erect ramparts, dig trenches and protect itself behind encircling walls. It is such that Prussia was once isolated. The reserve and the distance that it took between it and the surrounding entourage was the source of its force.
Germany was deprived of all that, until the present, served as its protection. The French have violated its frontiers and defiled its light. Anti-Prussian tendencies invade the Prussian state. They attack its way of life and thus undermine, with a secret tenacity, the citadel of Germanicism, the strongest “German position.”
Everywhere forces are at work to reduce by famine the essence of Germany, to deprive it of air and to deliver it to death by suffocation. In the name of Europe, they believe themselves authorized to put into execution the sentence against the German “species.” There is no recourse to grace – it is a question of life or death. The German no longer has anything to lose. All that was his has been seized. It even declares to be deposed its right to exist “in this fashion.”
What remains, other than the courage of despair? We have only the ultimate means that the struggle for the conservation of ourselves justifies. Our people, attacked in the roots of their existence, brutalized and mortally wounded have the right to use such means. “At the Final Judgment, the reason will not be demanded of you!” The sole fact that we undertake the struggle for existence with the courage of despair makes us strong. But this courage in itself, may not be enough to avoid having the German people really go through the most desperate act.
At present we have arrived at that point:
Europe wants the end of German existence.
For the Weimar Republic, the will of Europe is the word of the Gospel.
For the moment, we only hear the murmurs of resistance.
Is it the German protest dying, preceding eternal sleep.?
Is it the secret agreements between those who prepare the German counter attack, patiently and with conviction, determination and the courage of abnegation?
Will Germany find the way back to itself?
It will find it!
It will find it even in the ruins of Europe.