Regarding “Entscheidung” – Response to Wilhelm Stapel – 1931

In the June issue of Deutsches Volkstum, Wilhelm Stapel made a critique of Entscheidung. The book was “profoundly” deranged; consequently and after the formula of Goethe, he “could not support it.” Crudely, he signaled the danger that he felt coming: “the way of National-Bolshevism.” Certainly, it is nevertheless full of good intentions and amicable sentiments. But he supports all the same that each brave German bien-pensant knows immediately as how he must take this affair. We feel that the cause Stapel defends – without a doubt because he believes that it is good – is in agony and will soon lose. Necessarily, we then fire the arrow, which, in today’s conditions, is the most venomous. The National-Socialist journals and the other bourgeois papers have already reacted. The Deutsches Volkstum has taken a tone that suits them very well. By applauding, they reprise that which they have already published. They rejoiced and accept with joy Stapel, who had the chance – contrary to us – of not having to fight, counting only on him and his own force, adding fuel to the fire where they burn with joy that which isn’t in line with them, right, wise, and loyal. Finally, Stapel is punished where he sinned.

Stapel thought that Entscheidung was part of these books that propose an alternative, as for example the “Pan-Europe” of Coudenhove-Kalergi. It requires that we take our decisions by function of the others. If Germany was so strong to exert an influence on the East, it would become capable of creating its own empire. It is then an evasion of Germans before a very concrete task that waits for them. The book, said Stapel, borrows the way of hypostasis: the general ideas of certain spiritual beliefs become moral substance. We leave the sphere of real, historical powers and the dynamism inherent in them. “The dichotomy of phantoms” seems suspect: it is always with a pair of ideas that one is good and the other evil. As if the ideas, expressed in Entscheidung, taking importance, would not represent “the mission of the German people, but their end.”

After Bismarck had founded the Reich, the German bourgeois felt secure: thank God, it’s done. Only Bismarck was haunted by the “nightmare of coalitions.” In general, Germany did not have the political sense to permit them to seize, with an infallible instinct, the real weight and the intrinsic dynamism of its political position on the interior of a given global conjuncture. Naturally, it did not think in terms of the state. For this reason, we have always guarded a reserved and distant attitude regarding the Reich founded by Bismarck, being incapable of considering the necessary conditions of its maintenance. For this same reason, the misery of an existence without the state has never profoundly touched it. It supported it as easily after 1648 as it did at the present. For it, political weakness is not a misfortune. On the contrary, not having the responsibility of self-determination is considered rather like a kind of “German liberty.” And it has a charming fashion to practice the politics of an ostrich, with its head in the sand. By intoxicating itself with such sublime ideas it rosily colors this imperfect, material, coarse product that is the state, it does not feel its impotence in the matters of politics and the state. It even finishes by considering it as the first step that it must cross before attaining these heights that only give them satisfaction. By climbing toward these heights, it fulfills the contempt for the idea of the all powerful state. Once cosmopolitanism was one of the stars that shone for Germans. The French rejoiced in the pride of the Germans to be the people of poets and thinkers. Today, the idea of the “Reich” took a form permitting it to serve against the idea of the state. At the end of the day, the imperium teutonicum of Stapel is equally part of this illustrious society.

The imperium teutonicum of Stapel is a symptom: we believe that Germany already had plenty of chances to leave it. Certainly Stapel tried to see the dangers that menace his country. But instinctively he opposed a living resistance to believe that they are as terrible as they seem to a clairvoyant spirit. Although he did not have the casual optimism of Erzberger or Stresemann, he persisted in believing that all is not so serious and all will not be so serious. His imperium teutonicum reveals that he still hopes to obtain that which he desires – and that he does not have the extreme courage to only hope for that which we are capable of. In this sense, his imperium teutonicum is equally a measure of security: the politico-psychological resort functioned and, by this exploit, wants to get rid off all other requirements. The effort that he makes to attain this ideal must show that he is ready to toil for Germany. Because he thinks he has done all that is possible, all supplementary requirements would be unjust and may be dismissed. The imperium teutonicum is the last limit; it stops there, if not that would be folly, and no one is bound to the impossible. To obtain the liberty of Germany by creating an imperium teutonicum, that is a such a noble task as to obligate all the Germans. But we are going too far if we dreamed to reconquer it by “setting the world on fire.” It is inadmissible to think that only at this price can we arrive there – that would exceed all that the loyalty and the probity, the sense of conservation and the organic need of the Germans could support. That is not permitted – and for this reason we refuse to engage there.

We have a very strong position in relation to those who could doubt the cause. The expression imperium teutonicum sounds so good that those who hear it and not immediately applauding should be shameful. Those who do not succumb to the charm of this word and do not show enthusiasm, by marching with the others, but attempting to remain lucid, that is a suspect German.

When we are conscious of the political impotence of Germany, we know that it must make a superhuman or inhuman effort to surmount it. It is much easier to be the worthy prophet of a grand idea that we can speak of in dithyrambic terms, of an idea that is so courtly as to not ask us to put in play our life with all that makes it agreeable.

At the origin of Entscheidung, there is in fact a terrible experience of German impotence under the plan of politics and the state. The most “high” idea of empire, that fascinates Stapel, covers – we could envy it -the care for political power, this “corrupted” institution, of care that we have so profoundly marked. It does not understand the intrinsic necessity of the links of causality that were expressed in Entscheidung, thus, its position is forcibly distorted.

Inevitably, Stapel fell into error of the grotesque reversal of points of view: he considers himself as a “realist” in political matters, anchored in “veritable historical forces,” only thinking “in terms of history and not lacking the biological sensibility and the political tact that concerns imponderables.” His beliefs always remain in “reality.” In contrast, in Entscheidung, he perceives phantoms everywhere. He admits neither the ascertainment of total loss of our autonomous political character, nor the rapid propagation of political Catholicism. He affirms that we only see “phantoms” there.

In the same manner, once, the dangerous illusionist Stresemann was considered as a “realist politician” and it was interpreted as “utopian” the disquieting perception of reality that the sober pessimists guarded in their cold minds. It is not by chance that Stapel follows the political line of Hindenburg, which terminates in the bankruptcy of the state, the total misery of five million unemployed, and the forced sale of the German existence to France and America – this line where we consider as “political realism” the will to reconquer the liberty of Germany by reinforcing and legalizing the position of Weimar – and that of Versailles – by a collaboration placed under the sign of “responsibility.”

It is equally a deformation when we accuse Entscheidung of German capitulation. In reality, Germany has already capitulated before the West, and since the presidency of Hindenburg, the right has equally done it. The task consists of coming back from this capitulation. Seeing the numerous beneficiaries of the German capitulation, that only seems possible if Germany integrates into the front of all the anti-Versailles forces and tendencies that there are in the world. This “incorporation” is not an “evasion before a concrete task” – but the acceptance of this task. Avoiding incorporation into this front from fear of consequences, that is what would be a true evasion.

Fear of what consequences? When we are at war against the West, we are trained right away in the fight against its essence and its ways of life. They have alienated us, but many people hold there. To get rid of it does not signify that we have passed to “Bolshevism” and alienation by Russia. It is only in getting rid of it that the possibility of an autonomous development of Germany takes place.

Yet, there are typical forms that develop everywhere where the war against Versailles is lead with the ardor of despair. A people that fights for its liberty needs an instrument of war, a solidly forged arm. It is exactly the supremacy of the enemy that forces the people, thirsting for liberty, to adopt the institution of the total state, of the state that submits life – social, cultural, and religious – to the requirements and the commandment of the bellicose, combative spirit and for whom the non-convertibility of money, the monopoly of foreign and total commerce, against the “enemy” are natural. Entscheidung aims for an anti-Versailles front and not Russia. It is a chance to meet in this front an element so powerful as Russia. If, by that which concerns the type of existence, there is a resemblance between the Russian and German way of life, it is not an “imitation”; a situation that would have created organisms that resemble each other from the sociological point of view. With Entscheidung we have not decided for “the others,” but for liberty. Stapel is blind. He does not see in what terrible fashion we have already lost our liberty to the West.

To remain under the regime of Versailles means: to continue the impotence of Germany. Every step that that approaches the anti-Versailles front advances the development of a new power. In the West, in the combination of tributes, no task waits for us; there we are at the mercy of the others. In the East, beside a community of combat, we have a mission. Because there will be “combative force, action, dynamic elements,” we will not become “a collective passing into the mill of the East” (Stapel is capable of writing such banalities). The imperium of Stapel could, in a few months, be reduced by famine. The German “total state” which, as that partisan of the “universal revolution,” occupies a position in the anti-Versailles front, is our only chance of recovering self-determination. This front will not be dangerous for our particular essence, because the state of war would arouse forces in us, giving us a new pride in having a mission for Germany, thus the politics of the execution of treaties, on the interior of the system of Versailles, breaks us and destroys all that remains of our spiritual, psychic, and political resistance.

Theoretically, Stapel knows this friend-enemy political grouping. In times of crisis, when the moment of decision has come, this friend-enemy point of view dominates all our existence. Opinions are divided. We must choose between two camps. The hour of “not only … then again” has passed. It is the nature of the partisans of “yes – but” to wander between the fronts, blurring the lines, building bridges, and making syntheses. In normal times there is nothing more to say. That is the moment of glory for the “yes- but.” However, we have ceased to live in normal times long ago. Stapel has no acute awareness, always awake. For that reason, the dichotomies of Entscheidung agitate him.

In the moment where this becomes serious, where we no longer have the time to hesitate on syntheses, each knows instinctively where the place that corresponds to his nature is. Some who, by curiosity, dare to advance to the other camp, are all struck by a blow of terror: immediately, they take flight and return to the post which, de facto and de jure, is theirs. Some, adventure joyously into the unknown, suddenly waking to desperately defend home sweet home which, until the present, they mocked, with a good heart or with acrimony.

The question that is posed to us is not one of knowing if we are for or against Russia, but if we are for or against Versailles, the Versailles that signifies national weakness, the exploitation of the poor, the reign of capitalist principles, the western spirit, and political Christianity. The relation of what cause and effect produces, which Brockdorff-Rantzau had already accounted for in 1919, becomes ever the more obvious. According to him, in these conditions, taking distance in regard to the idea of the state, is to be a partisan of the capitalist regime, not wanting to abandon the spirit of the West, remaining faithful to the Catholic Church, that is the support and the guarantee of the domination that the Versailles regime exercises over Germany. Once the Russian bourgeoisie were considered, justly, as an agent and a mercenary on sale to the Western enemy, and that was what made the Soviet revolution so bloody.

Given the links between cause and effect, objectively indissoluble, the groups favorable to the politics of the execution of treaties are the party of Versailles, but equally the group of Hindenburg, who feels obligated to collaboration uniquely for “moral reasons.” Those who have the eyes to see understand that the “end of the German people” approaches, and they equally take into account that the fault does not lie with the “ideas of Niekisch” but with this “faithful service to the people and the state” rendered for years – from Hindenburg to Breitscheid.

One moment, Stapel said that Entscheidung had not enriched our knowledge like my Gedanken über deutsche Politik did. Intellectual enrichment was not the goal of this book. It asks the reader to act accordingly, adopt a pragmatic attitude. Entscheidung constitutes the “moral” that can be drawn from the information found in Gedanken über deutsche Politik. Those who nourish this knowledge, but refuse the moral that it teaches, are part of those Germans that destroy everything in thought, in real life accepting the tyranny of each scourge that “organically development.” Thus the cosmopolitan poets and the thinkers once supported the pitiable particularism of little states, which where “organically developed.” Not them, but there it ended in a foreign despot. Entscheidung made clear that it would be time to act on the knowledge Gedanken had prepared. Before so terrible a prospect, we discover what side we find ourselves on. We continue to admire the understanding of facts and we guard our good conscience by elevating ourselves to judge the critics, in order to be able to see from on high the practical consequences of learning. In this case, criticism is only a defense: defense of that which is established, old, worm-eaten; it maintains the order of Versailles and accelerates “the end of the German people.” In this sense criticism is, in this time, a profession of faith: the faith in this world of agony, this western and capitalist world, that necessarily includes the subjugation of Germany. All true profession of faith is equally the revelation of a particular essence. By making a profession of faith in favor of something, we recognize what we are. We cannot put in question this proper existence; we can only observe and note. The criticism of Stapel shows which side he finds himself on, because it is what he is. He is from the best substance of this old Germany that is in the process of falling. He bears in himself the image of that which was and not that which will be. We have a great sympathy for this type of man; he recalls for us all the grandeur, the bounty, the nobility, profoundness, and beauty. He gives to us a last taste of the happy times where we could accord importance to the culture. But this type of man fights today, in the tragic unfolding of facts, on the front of Versailles – at the present, the old Prussian nobility runs to aid the capitalist system, threatened with death, and joins a suspect solidarity with the captains of high finance and multinational trusts. It is necessary to look things in the face, no longer waiting for someone that cannot give, no longer hoping to find allies where they have already shot at us – secretly or openly.

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