Potsdam, in the powerful outlines, knew how to develop and knew an original thought of the state; in that lies its importance, although now the development of the outlines have not exceeded a certain stage. The Prussian state formed in opposition to the Holy Roman Empire and its Emperor. To have the courage to engage in this way, it must invoke its responsibility towards this idea of which it was the author. It remains faithful to itself and this supports the hardest proofs. Because, without any doubt, this idea was the justification, the corroboration of existential necessity, the image of itself obliging it to realize itself according to that given by its historical existence. Its combat was ennobled by the courage of the protesting conscience. The inflexible will of its “I am this and I cannot be anything else” broke the brutal opposition of a hostile world. The coercive force of this idea of the Prussian state and its power lies in the fact that it is not reside in foreign being – as was the Empire, and later the kingdoms of Southern Germany and the Confederation of the Rhine.
This idea was a beginning. Königsberg played the same role that Aix-la-Chapelle played for the Empire. In bore in itself analogous possibilities to those of Aix-la-Chapelle before. It also concerned itself with the East. Yet, it was an East that did not have the Rhine before it, but behind it. The Rhine was not considered as a link but as a covering from the rear. This East did not begin at the Rhine, but ended there.
The idea of the Prussian state and the rules of organization aim to follow from the space East of the Rhine and its particular population. It acts from a purely political principle, in this sense it is outside the point of view of the state where no other opinion can have a signification in itself. The realization of the idea of Potsdam is, after the nature of things, the absolute state, the economy is on its interior, society and culture take the place that is accorded to them on account of vital needs. Finally, all the domains of existence are organized for the function of war. War permanently menaces this state that imposed limits on the imperialism of Rome.
However, the idea of Potsdam collapsed bit by bit only to become a simple movement of opposition on the interior of the Western system. It submitted to the same fate of the past uprisings that were already known in Germany. The fault was not in the expansion of Prussia beyond the Elbe. But in its orientation towards the West, it forgets its mission towards the East, that which was so serious. So that the center of gravity of the Prussian state did not move towards that west, it would have been necessary to compensate the acquisition of the territories in the West with territories in the East. When its center of gravity slid towards the West, Prussia lost the soil that was necessary for it, and by that, it lost its identity.
In 1916 Germany established Poland. Then it doubted the agonizing idea of Potsdam. The enthusiasm for Poland, traditionally a liberal and urban bourgeois sentiment, had taken the heights and succeeded in its coup.
The air of the West is not appropriate for the spirit of Potsdam. It has the need for a particular atmosphere. Certain elements of this atmosphere find itself in the German idealist philosophy that leaves the Latin spirit perplexed. In Fichte and Hegel, there is a force that could break the subjugation of Boniface. Certainly, all these non-Western elements were not untapped. It remains intimately bound to these thousands of contradictions and it neutralized them. The skepticism of the Fredrick the Great, as Western and rationalist as it could show, was also a promise, that is to say it took a conscience: the traditional conception of the Western world was not appropriate to Prussia and it must not engage it. Potsdam must have its own conception of the world as once Charlemagne had his. And Potsdam must impose it with as much firmness as Charlemagne had done. From all evidence, the currents of moral and religious separation of the present day are not Prussian. But, by making a blank slate free of foreign influences, it could make a place for the development of a true Prussian thought.
Every idea of the state, every culture has to bear a certain type of man. The Germanic Holy Roman Empire called for a Latinized German. The Prussian demands “the Prussian race,” this Germanic population that, in the measure where it has submitted to foreign influences, carried in their blood Slavic elements. German subjectivism was attenuated by Slavic collectivism. The precious result of this mix is the conscience of the Prussian state. The decline of the West understands the decadence of Latinized German population. When the members of the “Prussian race” penetrate the Latinized regions of Germany, as before when the Franks of Charlemagne were mixed with the Saxons, the new world, in the process of birth, received is biological bases. The events and changes, exclusively produced in the spiritual domain, are ephemeral. They can only be rooted in blood and soil.