The New Europe/Volume 1/The Literature of Pangermanism (III)

2620830The New Europe, volume I, number 4 — The Literature of Pangermanism (III)Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

The Literature of Pangermanism (III)

M. André Chéradame's "Le Plan Pangermaniste Démasqué" has already been mentioned as a companion volume to Professor Andler‘s collection of Pangerman authorities.

Another Frenchman, Professor Blondel, whose books on modern Germany are well known, has also made a competent contribution to the study of Pangermanism in his volume, "La Doctrine Pangermaniste" (1915). That doctrine is represented as the extension, or rather the culmination of German philosophy, which betrays, even in its most mystic utterances, a yearning for worldly power and leadership. It is shown how both Eckhardt and Jacob Böhme, no less than Kant himself, prepared the way for Hegel and his deification of the State, and how Bismarck, by uniting modern Germany, revealed a truly Pangerman trend, which found fuller scope when he pursued his successful policy of drawing the Germans and Magyars of Austria-Hungary into the Pangerman net It is also quite rightly insisted that even the famous clerical Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Lueger, in spite of his Catholicism, followed in the track of the Pangermans, and, finally, that the German Centrum is not in any way an obstacle to the doctrine of Pangermanism.

Andler's list of Pangerman authorities needs, as it stands, to be supplemented by the addition of several other modern Pangermans whose work has left its mark upon German thought. H. van Winterstetten, for instance, in his book, "Berlin-Bagdad; Neue Ziele Mitteleuropaeischer Politik" ("New Aims of Middle-European Policy"), written shortly before the war, analyses the plans for a "Central Europe" in their relation to Turkey and Asia, and his book has already gone through fourteen editions.

During the war the same author has written two books under his real name, Dr. Albrecht Ritter: "Nordkap-Bagdad. Das Polititische Program des Krieges, 1816," and "Der organische Aufbau Europas, 1916."

In these books he expresses approval of Bismarck's attitude towards Austria-Hungary, and insists on the importance of the Dual Monarchy as a necessary factor in the realisation of "Central Europe." He does not conceal his personal dislike of Austria-Hungary—he is outspoken enough, for instance, to condemn Aehrenthal's Balkan policy as charlatanism—but that does not blind him to the necessity of gaining control of Prague and Trieste as stepping-stones to the East. Bohemia, too, is shown to be of vital importance, both politically and strategically, for the German scheme, and Herr v. Winterstetten quotes Bismarck's saying that the possession of Bohemia is the only guarantee for the control of Europe.

In the pamphlets which he has written during the war, Herr v. Winterstetten has been exercised to imagine the political consequences of Germany's defeat or victory. In case of defeat, Austria-Hungary, he says, will disappear, and in her place will be found the new states of Bohemia and Serbia. Germany may possibly get the German Alpine countries, but the loss of her Slav territory in the East and North will deprive that gain of all its value. On the other hand, if Germany wins, she will consolidate her position against Russia. She will not, he says, annex Russian territory, for the very good reason, as he naively explains, that Russia would very soon take it back again; she will content herself with the preservation of Austria and of Turkey, and the establishment of an economic and strategic barrier against Russia; Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Roumania, in addition to Austria-Hungary and Turkey, will provide her with 167 million inhabitants as against Russia's 170 millions. Add to this Asia, which will be Germany's just reward for the preservation of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and the Nordkap-Bagdad dream will be an accomplished fact.

In his latest pamphlet, however, H. v. Winterstetten repents him of his leniency towards Russia, and expresses his readiness to accept the annexation of a certain amount of Russian territory, taking care to explain that the sole object is to secure better frontiers! He is against the proposal for the establishment of an independent Ukraine, because the Little Russians, he says, do not constitute a separate nation at all. Poland may possibly be restored, with the exception, of course, of the Prussian parts of it; a portion of French territory (Belfort) must be annexed as a safeguard against France and England; Austria must be given northern Venetia ; and so the author's imagination runs its course.

Of the pre-war Pangerman literature only one or two more books need be mentioned. In "Deutscher Imperialismus" (2nd edition, 1914) Herr Arthur Dix gives a short and able exposition of the imperialist tendency of Pangermanism. The author had led up to this work by a series of careful and detailed studies of social and economic questions.[1] In his book he first of all examines the imperial record of England, Japan, U.S.A., Russia and France, and then goes on to state the case for Germany's imperial expansion. Germany must become a world power. "We have but one choice: to grow or to be stunted." Herr Dix is not satisfied with an imperial programme which embraces nothing more than "Central Europe." He holds that Germany must challenge England’s position both in Asia and in Africa, although he is in doubt as to her chances of success.

Daniel Frymann's book, "Wenn ich der Kaiser wär'—Politische Wahrheiten und Notwendigkeiten" (1912; 5th ed., 1914) ("If I were Kaiser: Political Truths and Necessities"), has exerted a wide influence in Germany. It is based upon the main principles laid down by Lagarde, and it gives a detailed analysis of German domestic and foreign policy. Austria-Hungary, he contends, must inevitably form the pivot of the latter. He does not deny that Turkey is also a factor of great importance, but he makes no attempt to conceal his dislike of the young Turks, whose movement, he says, is inspired by the Jews. He is actually ashamed to contemplate a closer alliance with "such a state," and expresses the hope that it may not be more than temporary. It is interesting to note that Frymann was farsighted enough to realize that Italy could not in the long run remain an ally of Germany. On the whole the author gives a clever exposition of Bismarckian Realpolitik, and his advocacy of an energetic imperialist policy is obviously designed to influence the Wilhelmstrasse, and, indeed, the Kaiser himself. On that score he has every reason to feel satisfied.

Prominent among the Pangerman publicists of to-day is Professor Ernest Jaeckh, who is chiefly known for his book "Das Grössere Mitteleuropa" (1916), and for some earlier works on Turkey and the Middle East, and who is the most energetic of Rohrbach's collaborators. Shortly before the war, in April 1914, these two writers started a new weekly, entitled "Das Grössere Deutschland; Wochenschrift für Deutsche Welt- und Kolonialpolitik"; and since January 1916, in conjunction with Philipp Stein, they have edited another weekly, "Deutsche Politik," devoted to foreign policy. In these two papers the reader will find a complete review of the contemporary Pangerman movement, both of its theory and of its political application.

Special importance must be attached to the literature which deals with "Central Europe." This watchword is much in vogue in Germany to-day, and sums up the whole object of German policy. The first definite project of a "Central European" state was outlined by Friedrich List, who died as long ago as 1846. List conceived the idea of a close union with Austria, and held that Hungary could be colonised by the Germans, and thus transformed into a German vanguard in the Drang nach Osten.

The establishment of an economic and political union, embracing Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey (the latter being at that time a Balkan as well as an Asiatic Power), would, he argued, be the surest means of striking a blow at Russia and France: meanwhile, Germany should make an alliance with England, her greatest ultimate danger, and concentrate upon the building of a powerful fleet. List's main proposition, the formation of a "United States of Europe" under German control, was a striking anticipation of the modern Pangerman movement. There can be no doubt that Bismarck was very greatly influenced by the ideas of List. He, too, spoke of a "Central Europe," pointing out that the Triple Alliance would re-establish the German Empire of Charles the Great. The Pangermans of to-day have also assimilated List's ideas, and have adapted them to the existing political situation. Winterstetten in particular may be said to have collated the theories of Lagarde, Bismarck, and List.

During the war the "Central Europe" propaganda has developed apace, especially in favour of a Customs Union between Germany and Austria-Hungary. At the very beginning of the war Professor von Liszt in his book "Ein Mitteleuropaeischer Staatenverband" (" A Central European Confederation") (1914), elaborated the idea of Germany and Austria-Hungary as the "compact nucleus" of that union, with Holland, the Scandinavian states, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, the Balkan states and Turkey as their adjuncts. He is even graciously pleased to include France in the scheme, on the ground that after the war that country will have ceased to be a danger to Germany. Spain and Portugal are also at liberty to join. Such a union would be able to hold its own against both Britain and the United States. Liszt only speaks of an economic union, but it must be remembered that the theory of a "compact nucleus," surrounded by subsidiary members of a Customs Union, merely represents the first stage in a process of pénétration pacifique, and complete Germanisation. The scheme, indeed, has found its fuller interpretation in this sense in Naumann's book "Mitteleuropa" (1915). Naumann has been translated into English, and some English critics have praised his quiet style and pacific tendencies. Closer study would have convinced them that his book contains the same elements of crude aggression which underlie all Pangerman writings.

It is true that in his own country he has been criticised for merely advocating a Customs Union, and neglecting the political aspects of the problem (e.g., K. Eichhorn, "Mitteleuropa: A Criticism of Naumann's Book"). These critics have, however. been effectively answered by Kautzky, who points out that Naumann does actually go far beyond a mere Customs Union ("Die Vereinigten Staaten Mitteleuropas," 1916), and that his political ideas are Chauvinist enough. In point of fact, Naumann's ruling idea is that of the Prussian “Oberstaat," as he himself calls it; Austria-Hungary, although closely allied with Germany, is to play second string. Incidentally it may be noticed that by proposing Prague as the capital of the new "Central Europe," Naumann seems to accept Bismarck's estimate of Bohemia's importance for Germany and the Pangerman idea.

The economic relationship of Germany and Austria-Hungary is a common topic of discussion throughout the whole literature of Pangermanism. Dr. K. Landauer, for instance, in his "Literatur zur Frage der deutsch-oesterreichisch-ungarischen Wirtschaftsannäherung" ("Literature on the Economic Rapprochement between Germany and Austria-Hungary") gives a synopsis of no less than 50 separate projects which have been put forward.

Discussion of the "Central European " project tends to become more and more specialised, and the individual countries which will make up the union are being studied in very great detail. A typical example of this kind of propaganda is afforded by a pamphlet by A. Schmid, entitled "München-Bagdad: Eine bayrische Zukunftsfrage" (1916), in which, as the title itself suggests, Bavaria is treated as the natural bridge between Germany and Asia. A new railway is to be constructed from Munich to Constantinople, and plans for Bavarian canals from the Isar to the Euphrates are discussed in all seriousness.

As evidence of the seriousness and sustained interest with which the Germans regard the proposals for an economic policy based upon a Customs Union, it may be worth recording that some new periodicals have been founded in Germany for the express purpose of educating public opinion on this subject. Osteuropaeische Zukunft ("The Future of Eastern Europe"), first appeared in January 1916, and the Wirtschaftszeitung der Zentralmächte ("Economic Journal of the Central Powers") on February 11th. whole press has been full of elaborate discussions of economic problems in their bearing upon the war and future reconstruction.

  1. Die Völkerwanderung von 1900; Beiträge zur deutschen Handerungspolitik, 1898; Deutschland auf den Hochstrassen des Weltwirtschaftsverkehrs, 1901; Afrikanische Verkehrspolitik, 1907; Deutschlands wirtschaftliche Zukunft in Krieg und Frieden, 1910.}} etc.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

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