In 1918, the German bourgeoisie thought they could pocket the gains that they had wanted to collect since 1848. The military defeat gave birth to the liberal state of Weimar. That resembled a miracle! The reverse of the unhappy coin of Prussia appeared as the blessing of the bourgeoisie. This bourgeoisie believed they heard a voice coming from the tombs of the soldiers, that said to them: “enrich yourselves!” Stinnes considered himself as the true testamentary executor of the dead heroes of the country. Foreign credit was not such a bad compensation for the empty barracks. With alacrity, we sacrificed the spirit of Potsdam to that of Locarno, that shone on the multinational steel trusts and the potash consortia. The sun of Geneva suited marvelously the members of the councils of administration, as once the air of Potsdam had suited the sergeants. The presidents of the administrative councils were, after all, the popes of the liberal, bourgeois economy, while the adjutants were only a bad conscience and its evil demon. Flourishing and bourgeois Germany seemed to be unexpected chance that the defeat had brought. It was no longer necessary to be a soldier if we were entirely in agreement with becoming a bourgeois liberal and content to be so. Bourgeois and liberal Germany believed that a great political mission waited for it in Franco-German rapprochement. This rapprochement would liberate Germany from the pressure that didn’t cease to oblige it to swear to arms.
Yet while the liberal bourgeoisie abandoned itself to hopes of happiness and savored the anticipated delicacy of an eternal peace, the economy crumbled, the ranks of the unemployed swelled, the crisis had opened, and France was laying mines under the foundations of German political power. The fact that the German people did not feel linked by the law of its political existence did not repeal this law. In the measure that it did not want to live according to this law, it favored the intentions of France to kill it according to this law.