Today in West Germany, when political tendencies, groups, or particular people are qualified as “National Bolshevik” (with polemical intention and a pejorative implication, like “Trotskyite” or “Titoist”), one means that these tendencies, groups, or people are oriented towards the East and Pro-Russian, or at least sympathizers. But this definition doesn’t suffice to characterize the movement, which, between the end of the First World War and Hitler’s seizure of power, attracted the attention of theoretical – political spheres, on the “extreme right” as on the “extreme left,” in many styles, and under the same name.
On both sides, the movement was, essentially, based on motifs of domestic politics: the revolutionary socialists rallied to the idea of the nation, because they saw it as the only means of putting socialism into practice. The convinced nationalists tended towards the “left,” because in their opinion, the destiny of the nation could not be entrusted to a new ruling class. Left and right came together in common hate of all that they called Western imperialism, whose principal symbol was the Treaty of Versailles and its guarantor, “the Weimar system.” Also it was nearly inevitable that they would turn, in foreign policy, towards Russia, which had not taken part in the Treaty of Versailles. The “nationalist” milieus did so with the intention of pursuing the policy of Baron vom Stein, of the Convention of Tauroggen, and finally the “reassurance” policy of Bismarck; the dissident left, despite the often violent criticisms it formulated against the policies of the Soviet Union’s Communist Internationale, remained convinced of the socialist character of the USSR, they were thus related to it, and it expected the formation of a common front against the bourgeois and capitalist West.
So National Bolshevism counted German nationalists and socialists in its ranks, who introduced a growing social-revolutionary intransigence into German politics, counting on the aid of Russia to achieve their ends.
Hamburg “National Communism”
German National Bolshevism appeared for the first time in a discussion between certain factions of the revolutionary worker’s movement. It got its chance for the first time on November 6th 1918 and June 28th 1919. On November 6th 1918 in the “Field of the Holy Spirit,” near Hamburg, Fritz Wolffheim called the people to “German revolution” which, under the aegis of the red flag, would continue the struggle against “Western imperialism.” On June 28th the Treaty of Versailles was signed, Scheidemann and Brockdorff-Rantzau refused to endorse it.
Fritz Wolffheim and Heinrich Laufenberg, president of the council of workers and soldiers of Hamburg, lead the struggle against the defeatist slogans of the Spartacus Group and preached a “Jacobin” war of socialist Germany against the Peace Diktat. In his position as leader of the peace delegation, the German minister of foreign affairs, Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, had intended to make a speech of warning before the National Assembly, underlining that an “unjust peace” would reinforce the revolutionary opposition to capitalism and imperialism, and would thus prepare a social revolutionary explosion. The speech was never made, and its content was only published much later.
When the Freikorps of General von Lettow-Vorbeck entered into Hamburg, they addressed the leader of the Freikorps with an appeal asking him to join the revolutionary workers in order to participate in this struggle against an “unjust peace.” A Free Association for the Study of German Communism, founded by communists and young patriots – the Günther brothers took an active role there – tried to demonstrate to the socialists and nationalists the necessity of this common struggle, lead in the interest of the nation and socialism. Although local contacts took place in a few cities, the movement never had a real influence on the masses.
During the “Party Days” in Heidelberg in 1919, the recently founded Communist Party pronounced the expulsion of the Hamburg “left communists,” grouped around Wolffheim and Laufenberg, and the leftists in the Spartacus Group and a few others (the two movements had joined the Communist Party). This measure was due to the anti-parliamentary and “syndicalist” (on the question of unions) deviations of the aforementioned. Wolffheim and Laufenberg then rallied the Communist Worker’s Party of Germany, which was then forming. But the total lack of cohesion and its absence of ideological unity soon lead to the disintegration of the party. The supporters of Wolffheim regrouped into the Communist League, which would bear the officious subtitle, National-Communist League. Lenin and Radek threw all their prestige against “radicalism”, aimed especially at the Hamburg Communists, in order to support Paul Levi, the adversary of Wolffheim within the German Communist Party. The Hamburg Communists were isolated and their range of action reduced to a faction of the left.
It was also impossible to rally a sufficient number of activists from the right. Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, left for Moscow in 1922, in the role of German ambassador. He had the intention of “redressing the misfortune of Versailles from there.” To his efforts we owe the Treaty of Rapallo of April 16th 1922 (planned by his friend Maltzan) and the Treaty of Berlin of April 1926.
The revolutionary variant of German National Bolshevism had failed. After Rapallo, the evolutionary form of National Bolshevism would be pursued in the form of multiple contacts between the leaders of the Reichswehr (Seeckt and his successors) and the USSR. We cannot enter into the details of this collaboration here.
The “Populist – Communist Union”
The communists took the second step on the way to a common front, patriotic and socialist, against the West. On June 20th 1923, during the session of the Executive Committee of the Communist Internationale, Karl Radek made his famous speech on “Leo Schlageter, Wanderer into the Void,” where he bowed before the sacrifice of the nationalist saboteur and encouraged his comrades to pursue, on the side of the revolutionary working class, the common struggle for the national liberation of Germany.
Discussions followed in Die Rote Fahne and the German populist magazine Der Reichswart: Moeller van den Bruck, Count Reventlow, Karl Radek and many others spoke on the theme: “a common way to go?” Meetings took place on occasion. “The National Movement”, where Adolf Hitler, Captain Ehrhardt, and the populists of the Wulle-Gräfe Group increasingly spoke about them, remained distant.
The “national” watchword of the Communist Party rung hollow. Essentially, it has always rung hollow for the majority of nationalist activists. In August – September 1930, the German Communist Party announced a program for “the national and social liberation of the German people”. Moreover, it had, under the name of the ex-Nazi and Reichswehr lieutenant Richard Scheringer, rallied a few hundred ex-Nazis, officers and Freikorps men, in the ranks of the “Aufbruch”, around the magazine of the same name. Yet, the National Bolshevism controlled by the Communist Party, that is to say “derivative”, never became, neither within the Communist movement or outside it, a factor capable of determining the strategy and tactics of a mass movement. It was never anything but an instrument on the margins of the NSDAP, charged with the tasks of disintegration. The authentic National Bolshevik tendencies reappeared in a very different direction.
“The Third Party”
Under the Weimar Republic, there existed a “young nationalist” movement of rebellion in Germany. This movement situated itself on the “extreme right,” on the side of the national-conservative parties, National Socialism, different “populist” groups occasionally in competition with it, and national defense associations. From 1929 to 1932, it took concrete forms, and its “right wing” label no longer had anything in common with the label used in the parliamentary geography. They called themselves “national revolutionary,” they formed their own groups, they edited their own papers or magazines, and tried to exercise a moral influence on the defense associations, political groups, youth movements, and lead them to a complete revolution of the state, economy, and society.
They remained nationalist like before, but they increasingly tended towards anti-capitalist and socialist, even partially Marxist, claims.
These “left wingers of the right,” as Kurt Hiller called them, firstly tried to establish, “above the associations,” relations between the radicals of the left and right, by taking their “common anti-bourgeois and social revolutionary attitude” as the basis. When the weight of the party apparatus, on both sides, caused the failure of these efforts, they decided to create their own revolutionary platform in the national revolutionary groups and papers. The rallying of the Wolffheim Group to the Social Revolutionary Nationalist Group in 1930, which had begun to construct a platform of this type, of fusion, in the “resistance” of the young socialists of Hofgeismar with the Oberland Group, gave a new vigor, on a superior level, to the theses of the Hamburg national communists. That was also the case for certain pro-socialist tendencies which manifested themselves in a few radical right groups that had played an active role in High Silesia or in the resistance in the Ruhr.
The national revolutionary groups always remained numerically insignificant (for a long time, public opinion didn’t have a term clearer than “national bolsheviks” to refer to them!); but in the ideological scheme, there was a sort of authentic amalgamation between the concepts of the “right” and the concepts of the “left.” National Bolshevism didn’t want to be on the left or the right. On one hand, it proclaimed the nation as “an absolute value,” and on the other, it saw in socialism the means to realize this notion in the life of the people.
Moeller van den Bruck was the first young conservative theorist to profess similar ideas. It was solely for publicity purposes that he entitled his principal work The Third Reich, a phrase that would be usurped by the Hitlerian movement afterwards. Moeller himself wanted to call his book The Third Party. His guiding idea was the opposite of Hitlerian theories. Moeller van den Bruck gave an ideological foundation to the political theories of National Bolshevism. Starting from the principle that “each people has its own socialism,” he tried to develop the principal lines of a “German socialism” exempt from all internationalist schematism. The “Prussian Style” seemed to be the best attitude to him; also Moeller’s position turned towards the East, even in the political scheme, it was only the logical consequence of this spiritual heritage. He wanted to be “conservative” in contrast to “reactionary,” “socialist” in contrast to “Marxist,” “democratic” in contrast to “liberal.” The formulas that would form a sort of common basis for all the National Bolshevik groups appeared here for the first time, radicalized, simplified, and used in a summary way.
Besides Oswald Spengler and his book Prussianism and Socialism, which would quickly cease to fascinate when one recognizes its purely tactical character, two intellectuals coming from the social democrats contributed to the penetration of socialist ideas into the ranks of the young nationalist bourgeoisie: August Winnig and Hermann Heller. As the worker-poet Karl Broeger did until a certain point, Winnig and Heller established relations with the so-called Hofgeismar national movement at the time of the resistance in the Ruhr, coming from the young socialist movement of the SPD. Winnig’s “Faith in the Proletariat” and Heller’s “Nation and Socialism” were the point of departure for fruitful meetings between socialists (who had recognized the value of nationalism) and nationalists (who had recognized the necessity of socialism).
The “New Nationalism”
Moreover, even in the nationalist camp of the “front generation” rebel voices would rise. Firstly in the context of the Stahlhelm, then marginal, then ultimately cursed by this movement, they would express themselves in magazines like Standarte, Arminius, Vormarsch, Das Reich, contrasting a “new nationalism” to the national bourgeois patriot movement, and especially the NSDAP. When any hope of exercising an influence withing the large associations, groups, and parties was lost, they would resolutely oppose all slogans of “popular community.” “We are tired of hearing about the nation and only seeing regular profits for the bourgeois. We do not fight a second time so that the big banks and trusts will orderly and calmly administer the German state. Us other nationalists do not want, again, to make a common front with capital. The fronts are beginning to separate!” For the second time in the social-revolutionary movement, the border between the purely soldierly “new nationalism” and true National-Bolshevism was crossed. Anti-imperialists watchwords in foreign policy were its logical conclusion.
The spiritual leader of “new nationalism” was Ernst Jünger. Firstly known for this realist war novels, he then drew conclusions from the First World War, his philosophy of “heroic realism”, which would suppress the old antagonism between idealism and materialism. Through his vision of the Worker, was the first to encourage the young rebels who turned towards a world in which the “domination and form” of the proletariat operated – although he expressly elaborated the figure of the Worker beyond sociological facts – and after having analyzed and declared the coming a new collectivist social order inevitable in Total Mobilization. Jünger never joined any group, and published articles in many magazines representing these currents until 1932.
The Social-Revolutionary Platform
The theories professed in these milieus were far from always being rational. Franz Schauwecker declared: “It was necessary to lose the war, in order to win the nation.” They evoked so-called “the Reich” characterized by “power and inwardness.” But the program included, on the metaphysical side, strongly realistic points. They approved the class struggle- some, inspired as much by models of self-administration offered by German history as the Russian example – advocated the system of “councils.” They tried to make contact with extra-German anti-Western movements: the Irish independence movement, Arab milieus, Indians, Chinese (a League of Oppressed Peoples was contrasted to the League of Nations!). They energetically defended the idea of a Germano-Russian alliance, they proclaimed the necessity of a German revolution, of a common front with the revolutionary proletariat. All radical social-revolutionary claims had the same point of departure: the opposition to the Treaty of Versailles. One day Ernst Niekisch declared: “The minority has decided to renounce everything in favor of national independence, and even to sacrifice today’s social, economic, and political order, if it is otherwise impossible to obtain it.”
These milieus considered National Socialism as “belonging to the West.” Prussianism, socialism, Protestantism and even – until a certain point- neo-paganism – were used against National Socialism and its “Catholic and Counter-Reformation tendencies,” which falsified the national as well as social slogans and tended towards Fascism. Although in the last years before 1933, the struggle against the Hitlerist movement increasingly became the principal objective for the national revolutionaries, at this time public opinion considered National-Bolshevik tendencies as a real danger to the Republic, precisely for the reasons we just said.
The movement was never centralized. The different groups and papers never succeeded in acquiring a real cohesion; they were confined in a fierce individualism, until the moment Hitler eliminated them all by banning them, and arresting, exiling, or killing their leaders. If the “Youth Action” against the Young Plan had at least a certain media success, the groups failed to agree on the choice of Claus Heim as their common candidate for the Reich’s presidential election. Likewise for the efforts designed to create a single national communist party at the end of 1932.
The Anti-Capitalist Intelligentsia.
In 1932, general unease reigned and one wondered – especially in the bourgeois press – if the words of Albrecht Erich Guenther didn’t contain a little truth: “The force of National-Bolshevism cannot be evaluated in terms of the number of members of a party or group, nor in terms of the readership of its magazines. We must feel how much the radical youth was willing to unreservedly rally to National-Bolshevism, in order to understand that such a movement could suddenly overflow limited circles to expand among the people.” Gregor Strasser’s threatening quote about the “anti-capitalist nostalgia of the German people” continued to ring disagreeably in the ears of some, especially on the right. 1932 became the decisive year. The columns of the NSDAP and the Communist Party marched against the state. Then from the sociological no-man’s land a third movement briefly arose which not only made appeals to national passion, but still brandished the threat of complete social revolution – and all of that with a fanaticism that seemed more serious than the fanaticism of National Socialism, whose slogans seemed identical in the eyes of a superficial observer.
In milieus which had nothing to do with activists from national revolutionary circles, similar theses also briefly appeared, even if the language seemed more measured, more objective, and more realist. The young intelligentsia of both parties, threatened with the disappearance of the profession, increasingly risked being seduced by radicalizing, anti-capitalist, and partly anti-bourgeois slogans. These tendencies manifested themselves through the sudden fame of the group Die Tat, gathered around the monthly magazine of the same name. This magazine, coming from the former free German youth movement, was lead by Hans Zehrer, former foreign policy editor of Vossische Zeitung. It guarded itself against the sterile dogmatism of the radical left and right, and reprised the essential claims of the national revolutionaries. The magazine supported Ferdinand Fried’s attacks against the capitalist order, and advocated, with him, for a planned economic and a guaranteed national sovereignty – autarky – thus appropriating the slogans of the Hitlerian movement.
This “moderate National-Bolshevism,” if one can express it as such, almost became a real factor. The readership of Die Tat reached figures unknown in Germany until then; the influence of its weighty and scientific analyses far surpassed the influence of the traditional National-Bolshevik groups.
At one point, General Schleicher began to seek contact with the unions and Gregor Strasser who, since the disappearance of the “revolutionary national socialists” of his brother Otto, represented the “left wing” tendencies within the NSDAP; among the masses he wanted to establish the “socialism of the general”, which he skillfully propagandized and whose sensational slogan was: “The Reichswehr isn’t here to protect an outmoded property regime.” Die Tat then backed this doctrine. Zehrer took charge of an old Christian-Social daily Tägliche Rundschau and defended a Third Front based around Schleicher. After having, a time beforehand, launched as the slogan regarding the existing parties: “The Youth Front remains outside them!”, this “Third Front” turned out to be a simple “reformist” variant of the Anti-Capitalist Front of Youth from the left to the right, represented by National-Revolutionary milieus. The brutal dismissal of Schleicher ultimately put an end to this campaign.
Under the Aegis of the Black Flag
The national-revolutionaries never achieved mass awareness. A few thousand young idealists gathered around a dozen and a half magazines and leaders of a few small groups. When Otto Strasser founded his own group on 1930, called the Black Front thereafter, the national-revolutionaries tried to make contact with it, but soon renounced it. Like the Scheringer Group, Strasser’s group was never truly national-revolutionary. But the movement that Strasser indirectly unleashed by quitting the NSDAP, would lead many to join the National-Bolsheviks. Since before 1933, SA and young Hitlerian groups had been formed, in a few towns, under the aegis – illegally – of the national-revolutionaries. But these were isolated cases, and not mass work.
One time alone, the symbol of the national-revolutionaries, the black flag (Moeller van den Bruck had proposed it as an emblem and all the National-Bolshevik groups accepted it) played a historic role under the Weimar regime: in the rural movement of Schleswig-Holstein (which had ramifications in Wurtemberg, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, etc). Claus Heim, a prosperous fully experienced farmer, became the center of the peasant’s defense against the Weimar “system.” The national-revolutionary intellectuals had the ideological education of the peasant masses, who were not “National -Bolsheviks” at all, in their grasp. Bruno and Ernst von Salomon, and many others, tried, especially in the organs of the rural moment, to give it a “German-revolutionary” meaning and surpass local concerns, with bombs launched against the Landratsämter, expulsions of tax officials coming to collect levies on farms, forcibly banning auctions.
During the course of the “dynamiters trial,” Claus Heim and his closest collaborators were thrown in prison, the movement lost its strength, but the Prussian police were not very far from the truth when at the start of the proceeding, they contemptuously arrested all those who were associated with the very nationalist “Salon Salinger” in Berlin. The men who went there were not privy to the different attacks, but they were the spiritual instigators of the movement.
The National Revolutionary Combat Groups
While the Stahlhelm had not necessarily submitted to the influence of National-Bolshevik slogans, and the Young German Order, focused in principle around a policy of Franco-German alliance, demonstrated unequivocal hostility to these groups, two less important associations of front line soldiers, belonging to the right, rallied quite completely to them: the Oberland League and Werwolf. Initially the Oberland League was part of the German Combat Group which, with Goering’s SA, had been the principal military support of the November 1923 Putsch. But, from the beginning, it didn’t belong there. Ernst Röhm recounted in his memoirs that he intended, during one of the first “German days”, to use the opportunity to propose Prince Rupprecht’s kingship of Bavaria. But the leaders of the Oberland League, to whom he communicated his plans, clearly declared that they would come with machine guns and fire on the “separatists” at the first cry of “long live the king,” upon which the old leader of the Reichskriegsflagge, grinding his teeth, had to renounce his project. Another example drawn from the history of the Freikorps shows that the Oberland was a group apart: after the famous assault on Annaberg in 1921, the Oberland League, on its return journey, passed through Beuthen, where the workers were on strike. As, in general, the Freikorps were always willing to shoot at the workers, the leaders of the Oberland League were asked to break the strike through force of arms. They refused.
The Freikorps were then dissolved and replaced by the Oberland League, which later edited the magazine Das Dritte Reich. Very quickly, the most important members of the group moved closer to the National Bolsheviks in the ideological scheme; Beppo Römer, the true instigator of the assault on Annaberg, even joined joined Scheringer’s communist group. In 1931, the Austrian sections of the group, relatively strong, elected the prince Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, fascist leader of the Heimwehr, as leader of the group: the national-revolutionaries then left the group and, under the name of Oberlandkameradschaft, passed to Ernst Niekisch’s resistance group, soon forming its nucleus.
A second defense group reprised certain theories of the national-revolutionary movement: Werwolf (in the Tannenberg group of Ludendorff, voices of this type were the exception). Werwolf modified its position for two reasons: firstly, this group counted a relatively large number of workers in its ranks, who very strongly exercised pressure in favor of a “non-bourgeois” nationalism; secondly, its leader, Studienrat Kloppe, demonstrated the constant need to differentiate itself from more important groups. As the “new nationalists” fell into disrepute among the Stahlhelm, the NSDAP, and the DNVP, Werwolf moved closer to them [the “new nationalists”] in a spectacular fashion. When Otto Strasser founded the “true national socialist group” in 1930, after having launched his appeal “Socialists leave the Party”, Kloppe, whose ideas perfectly coincided with those of Strasser, did not rally to it: he founded a dissident group, called “ownerism.” The members of the group, more radical as a majority, didn’t take this new doctrine too seriously, but took over control of the group’s bulletin so that it generally represented the point of view that had been adopted by Der junge Kämpfer, Der Umsturz (organ of the “confederates”), Der Vorkämpfer, (organ of the Jungnationaler Bund, Deutsche Jungenschaft), and many others besides the organs already mentioned, on the Russian issue as on the social level. In 1932, Werwolf abruptly decided to present candidates for communal election, thus renouncing its anti-parliamentary principle.
The Typology of National-Bolshevism
The majority of the members of the national-revolutionary groups were youth or mature men. They also counted a relatively high number of former members or militants belonging to the associations of the Jugendbewegung.
No important group of the Youth Association was totally National-Bolshevik. But nearly every group counted sympathizers or adherents in the national-revolutionary movements. The national-revolutionary organs exercised a relatively large indirect influence on the groups, and likewise, the romantic world of the Jugendbewegung influenced the thought and style of the national-revolutionaries.
If we ignore the rural revolutionary movement, the Oberland League, and Werwolf, nearly all of the National-Bolshevik groups incorporated certain elements of the Jugendbewegung in the structure of their groups: elite groups based on the principle of voluntary service. The minority – but very active – were composed of former members of the proletarian youth, former communists, or social democrats, nearly all self-educated; the majority were comprised of members of the Youth Association, former members of the Freikorps and soldiers associations, students, – and disillusioned National-Socialists from the “socialist” tendency. Only the Die Tat group recruited members from the political “center.”
Essentially, all these youth were more or less in revolt against their class: bourgeois youth desirous to escape the narrowness of the bourgeois and property owning point of view, young workers who decided to pass from the class to the people, young aristocrats who, disgusted with sclerotic and outdated conceptions of their class’ “right to command,” sought to make contacts with the forces of the future. In the form of vanguard communities analogous to religious orders, these unclassifiable outsiders of the “bourgeois order” sought a new basis in the national-revolutionary movement, which, on one hand, would advance certain essential points of their former position (social revolutionary or national revolutionary elements of the “left” or “right”), and, on the other hand, develop certain separatist tendencies of a “new youth” endowed with an often exaggerated consciousness of its mission.
The men who assembled there had a common point: not social origin, but social experience. Here were not solely referring to unemployment, to the proletarianization of the middle classes and intellectuals, with all its consequences. All these facts would have lead to National-Socialism or communism in the course of the general radicalization of the masses. But, apart from this negative experience, there was a positive one: that of another social reality – the experience of community in the select milieu that “associations” of all types represented. More over – for the generations born between 1900 and 1910, with a few exceptions – these groups clashed with the silence of the existing political parties when they posed certain questions.
The national-revolutionary movement was also a sort of rallying place for all those who did not blindly rally to the Hitlerian flag, a forum for the outcast elements of the right and left because of their unbending sense of the absolute: a collector of all the “thinking” activists who tried, often in a confused fashion but at least in complete loyalty, to fill in the abyss between the right and left.
All that sometimes led to excesses of all sorts, to a certain revolutionary romanticism, to a too often exaggerated super-radicalism (especially because it lacked the corrective of a mass democratic movement). Nevertheless, a certain number of the young intellectuals of the “national” bourgeoisie were immunized against the contradictory slogans of the NSDAP thanks to it. Even in the militant organizations of National-Socialism, the national-revolutionary movement called back to objectivity and sowed the seeds of revolt.
This wave of German National-Bolshevism didn’t have political influence. The Nazis’ seizure of power put an end to its illusions – and its chances.
Today National-Bolshevism belongs to history. Even its last adherents, the resistance, so heavy with sacrifices, that lead many of its members against the Hitlerian regime clandestinely, the brief flare of the “National-Bolshevik” tactic inspired by the communists and directed from Moscow, all that is only history. A few of the most well known national-revolutionaries capitulated before National-Socialism. Here we remember the name of Franz Schauwecker, instead of certain others. Execution, confinement, concentration camp, exile, was the lot of the resistants belonging to the national-revolutionary movement – and the lot of all adversaries of Hitler.
As exemplars of the active and secret struggle under the Hitlerian regime, we cite Harro Schulze-Boysen, leader of the Gegner Group, the adversaries (of Hitler), and Ernst Niekisch, one of the few who after 1945, “followed the route to the end”, that is to say rallied to the SED. The majority of those who represented national-revolutionary tendencies in the past adopted new ideas: that was the case of Friedrich Hielscher and Ernst Jünger. They continued to build on the consolidated bases.
When the National Front of East Germany (a pale copy of the “national” line of the German Communist Party represented during the war by Moscow’s National Committee for a Free Germany and General von Seydlitz’s Leagueof German Officers), the Ohne mich-Bewegung [“Without Me” movement- West German peace movement]and the propaganda in favor of “conversations between representatives of all Germany” seek to warn against the National-Bolshevik movement of the past, or, on the other hand, refer themselves to it, they are most totally in error. Other realities in matters of global politics have created new problems – and new goals.
The account – incomplete – that we have tried to make here doesn’t try to defend or demolish certain stances of the past. The facts speak for themselves.
The German National-Bolshevism of 1918 to 1932 was a legitimate attempt to form the political will of the Germans. No one can say with certainty if, at its peak, it would be a positive and happy, or on the contrary, hateful, variant of the imminent revolt of the intermediate generations against the bourgeois state (inspired by the collectivist idea). It was limited to grandiloquent declarations, ultimately pre-political: the chance to prove themselves in daily reality was refused to them.
The majority of its representatives were honest, unselfish, and loyal men, which perhaps aids that task of considering it uniquely as historical phenomenon, even to its former adversaries, in all objectivity and without resentment.
(Aussenpolitik April 1952)