This article describes how a lengthy letter from German Pacifist Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster sent to an English politician likely inspired the formation of “Friends of Europe” (FOE). FOE, managed by British pacifist and politician Rennie Smith, tried to alert English speakers on the emerging threat posed by National Socialist Germany. FOE disseminated pamphlets and limited circulation reports based on press translations, Foerster’s information, and on other sources. FOE also republished commentaries by leading figures opposed to Hitler and translated German articles for English readers. While it is difficult to assess the FOE’s success in altering public perception, their work received a wide and influential audience.
“There is a pacifism which leads straight to war because it encourages war-makers — they see it as their chance. To be peace-loving without accurate knowledge of human factors is simply disastrous and fosters all kinds of crime.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster
Pacifism often sounds to modern ears like an unrealistic ideology calling for unilateral disarmament while ignoring international horrors. Yet before World War II it was often pacifists who best understood the threat emerging in Europe and who called the world to gird for the forthcoming contest.
This article describes how Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, one of Europe’s premier pacifist voices, joined with leading pacifist and political figures to warn the England and America to the battle ahead. A lengthy letter from Foerster sent to an English politician likely inspired the formation of “Friends of Europe” (FOE). FOE, managed by British pacifist and politician Rennie Smith, sought to influence English speakers on the emerging threat posed by National Socialist Germany. FOE disseminated pamphlets and limited circulation reports based on translations of German press articles, books and official paper, Foerster’s information, and on other sources. FOE also republished commentaries by leading figures opposed to Hitler and translated German articles for English readers. While it is difficult to assess the FOE’s success in influencing public perception, their work received a wide and often important audience.
THE GERMAN PACIFIST
Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster (1869-1966), a German pacifist who opposed his nation’s militarism before World War I, was in the inter-war years prophetic about the Reich’s future course. Although a pacifist, Foerster understood German culture and its myriad flaws, and knew war would be inevitable if the former allies conceded to Berlin’s demands. Rather than permit Europe to again experience German militarism, Foerster worked with network of pacifists, politicians, and religious figures to awaken leaders and the public to the dawning threat.
Foerster was a realist when it came to human behavior and international policies. Pacifism to Foerster did not mean weakness, but instead meant, “A careful study of all the causes of war and all the conditions of reconciliation–but above all it is a realistic science of human nature and of the concrete conditions of its control.” Rather than disarm, he believed that democratic nations needed to retain sufficient military might to deter and defeat nations bent on conquest. “Witless and overhasty disarmament” was an irresistible temptation for countries bent on conquest. After Hitler’s defeat, Foerster wrote, “Whoever desires to prevent war in the iron-shod world must have more iron than the attacker . . ..1“
Friedrich Wilhelm Forester was the son of astronomer Wilhelm Julius Foerster, a remarkable German liberal Humanist, director of the Berlin Observatory and widely known for his ability to work with individuals of various faiths and nationalities. His mother, the artist Ina Paschen, was possibly the niece of General Helmuth Karl Bernhard Gar von Moltke, one of Germany’s greatest military strategists.2 The elder Foerster sought to instill progressive ideas into German culture and in 1892 founded the German Society for Ethical Culture (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ethische Kultur, or DGEK).3 The DGEK was an international offshoot of the Ethical Culture Movement started by German-American philosopher Felix Adler. Adler’s vision was to create a moral religion founded upon ethical principles he believed were universal and independent of any myths, doctrines, or sacred text. While not specifically pacifistic, Ethical Culture opposed militarism, imperialism, and chauvinism — aspects that attracted pacifists to its societies. Alder’s “community of humanity” vision inspired the formation of Ethical Societies across the United States and overseas, including ones in Europe, where Einstein and others became familiar with their efforts to build peace, alleviate suffering, and to bridge differences between humanity’s races and nations. During a talk at the opening meeting of the DGEK the senior Foerster stated that war was quite simply “mankind’s most serious infantile disorder.”4 Under his leadership, the DGEK grew quickly to more than 1,600 members spread across eight cities.5
Friedrich Wilhelm Forester followed his father into the DGEK and became a leading voice in opposition to German militarism. He denounced “Prussianism” in the DGEK’s magazine, “Ethical Culture.” and was arrested for “Lèse-majesté” in 1895.6 Prussianism was shorthand at that time for political and philosophical concepts associated with Prussia: militarism, nationalism, antidemocratic authoritarianism, and racial elitism–all concepts contrary to Ethical Culture and adopted by Germany’s extreme Right, including the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis) after the nation’s defeat in the First World War.
The younger Foerster was among the most significant figures in the Ethical Culture movement by the end of the nineteenth century, even becoming leader if the International Ethical Culture Society (now the International Humanist and Ethical Union, IHEU).7 However, through his personal studies of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Saint Ignatius, and other Catholic philosophers Foerster concluded by the age of 30 that humanism alone was insufficient to defeat evil and embraced Christianity, reportedly to his father’s disappointment.8 Foerster resigned from the DGEK in 1904.9
Nevertheless, his retained anti-nationalist and antimilitarist views inherited from the Society and his father. During World War I he lectured crowded halls at the University of Munich, condemning aggression and imploring the students to “abandon national egotism and join the a new European cultural order.” Despite censorship, vilification and even death threats, Foerster persisted in his efforts to divert Germany from its militaristic path. Well before Hitler came to power, he warned against Germany’s secret rearmament and predicted Germany would take advantage of its neighbor’s weakness when the time was right. He was a global figure in the twentieth century: Foerster was a special correspondent for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, active international circles, and was published in an array of journals, from the leftist Nation to Catholic publications.
Foerster left Germany in 1922 when he learned he was on a right-wing hit-list, but remained educated on events in his fatherland.
THE LETTER TO CHAMBERLAIN
On August 12, 1933, several months after Hitler gained power, Foerster wrote a lengthy letter to British political leader Sir Austin Chamberlain (1863-1937) providing his estimate of German plans for conquest, along with information on German military capabilities and mobilization potential he acquired from sources inside the military.
Foerster’s outreach to Chamberlain in his efforts to block Germany’s aggression was appropriate. Foerster and Chamberlain had previous discussions in London, according to the letter. In April 1933, Chamberlain condemned Hitler’s attacks on Jews and declared concessions to Germany out of the question as long as the Reich threatened other nations. Chamberlain had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for authoring the 1925 Locarno Pact, which attempted to assure Germany, France and Belgium that their borders would remain secure. He was well known for advocating peaceful solutions to international disputes, had good relations with the French, and was among the first Britons to voice distrust of Hitler.10 He was also a member of the most influential political family of the day. His father was Joseph Chamberlain, the populist Lord Mayor of Birmingham and his half brother was Neville Chamberlain, damned by history for appeasing rather than confronting Germany.11
The letter was an example of forecasting at its finest:
- Foerster saw the threat of Germany not arising from the ascension of Hitler to power but from something more basic to Germany’s cultural fabric. He believed a warlike Germany was the outgrowth of Prussian militarism and poisonous propaganda that Germany was a victim World War I’s peace treaty. Indeed, Foerster’ analysis suggested that Germany would have savagely marched against Europe even if Hitler had not come to power. Foerster might have agreed there was some truth when Hitler’s press secretary said, “He was the conscience of the nation . . .. Adolf Hitler never said anything but what the people itself felt in the depths of its soul. He never did anything but what the entirety of the people wanted to do . . . This man for the first time in history has allowed them to fully express themselves.”12
- Foerster reminded Chamberlain of Germany’s secret rearmament that started during the Weimar period. Foerster was aware many foreign leaders knew of Berlin’s efforts, but believed public opinion remained woefully uninformed.13 Germans popularly supported evasions of Versailles Treaty arms limitations.14
- Foerster foresaw an upcoming World War started by Germany and accurately specified Germany’s military goals: Anschluss of Austria, destruction of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and expansion into Russia. Foerster even predicted a German-Russian alliance. His predictions were eerily accurate. His estimate of the war’s start — 1936-1937 — was premature.
- Germany would be crushed and eliminated as an independent European nation, Foerster predicted, and various regions would be put under European tutorship. This was essentially accurate. After World War II, the Northwest was placed under UK administration. France occupied the Southwest and the US the West. Foerster did not predict Soviet occupation but was accurate in predicting that, “Eastern Prussia and Upper Silesia will come under Poland.” A smaller united Germany finally returned to the world scene in 1990.
- A German-precipitated war could be averted if the European nations stood firm against Hitler’s threats and demands. Germany, according to Foerster, must accept the results of World War I and believe any military adventurism would face a United Europe. Instead, Austen’s half-brother Neville championed Great Britain’s policy of appeasement in hopes of satisfying Germany’s territorial demands without resort to war. Neville failed to understand Germany’s greater goals and believed Germany wanted to avoid war. Foerster knew Germany could only achieve its expansionist vision by ruthlessly destroying several European countries and nationalities.
- Foerster accurately predicted another European war would lead to the expansion of Bolshevism — Communism — in Europe.
Included with the letter were memoranda providing broad descriptions of Germany’s war preparations and Germany’s industrial mobilization program. Foerster indicates that the intelligence came from high-ranking officers sympathetic to his cause. It would appear that an individual with access to military programming documents provided data to Foerster since the memoranda include force numbers and industrial mobilization timetables. Germany’s industrial might could, according to the document, be mobilized within six days.
Foerster apologized for the length of the letter, saying it is “become almost a pamphlet.” And indeed it was.
“FRIENDS OF EUROPE” FOUNDED
The letter’s contents formed the basis of a pamphlet widely distributed by a group called “Friends of Europe.” The publicized goals of the group were to prevent another World War, provide accurate information on Nazi Germany to English readers, and to ensure the UK was prepared to resist aggression. FOE essentially acted as an Open Source and Grey Literature intelligence unit through its pamphlets and “Monthly Survey of German Publications,” providing a vast English speaking audience accurate information on Nazi publications and documents.
The group’s Secretary–and apparently entire staff–was former Labour MP and pacifist Rennie Smith (1888-1962), who knew Chamberlain well.15 The thirty-five identified FOE vice-presidents were likely his most generous and respected UK donors: leading figures such as Vernon Bartlett, Leo Amery and the Duchess of Atholl who rejected appeasement. Authors associated with the pamphlets’ introduction or contents, including Chamberlain and FOE VPs, were prestigious religious, professional or political figures opposed to totalitarianism and anti-Semitism.
Smith claimed it was on the day Hitler became Chancellor that he determined to expose Germany militarism. He started “Friends of Europe” with the help of British diplomat William Tyrrell and newspaper editor James Louis Garvin, along with the encouragement of journalist Wickham Steed (who was also corresponding with Foerster) and Winston Churchill.16 However, it would appear that Foerster’s letter to Chamberlain may have been the impetus behind the effort. It seems clear Chamberlain provided the letter and memoranda to Smith.
Another undated Foerster document may explain where the idea for “Friends of Europe” started. Labeled “copy,” it has a cover sheet directed by Foerster to “clear and far sighted Jews,” apparently in America. The short attached paper proposed a counter-propaganda campaign against Germany. He offered to provide a staff of collaborators to organize propaganda in the form of leaflets, pamphlets, articles, memoranda, letters, and other material to create “the necessary unity among all those who are threatened.” Foerster stated that one million dollars could do much to awaken “the leading circles” to the threat, and stated war was inevitable once Austria had fallen. This proposal, likely known to Chamberlain and Smith, seems to prophesy Smith’s efforts. Foerster was never openly linked to FOE.
Whether Foerster inspired Smith, it cannot be denied that Smith was relentless in his FOE activity: he was “entirely responsible for the work that has been done,” lectured in both the UK and US church and civic groups and worked to ensure influential individuals received FOE material. FOE was financed by donations and subscriptions, but almost 85 percent of the publications were provided without charge. Smith never received his full annual compensation for his effort and used his own funds to continue the work.17
FOE published the first seven pamphlets by the end of 1933. Einstein’s speech in defense of individual freedom, given at Royal Albert Hall was reprinted as “Europe’s Danger; Europe’s Hope.” Chamberlain had been in wildly cheering the audience. Foerster’s letter was the basis for the pamphlet “Hitler – Germany and Europe” by “A German Diplomat” (Foerster had been ambassador of the short-lived leftist Bavarian Republic). The unnamed author was described as a Conservative from an old military family. His “Memorandum of the German War Preparations” was the basis of the pamphlet, “Germany Rearming” by a “high German authority.” Another anonymous FOE pamphlet entitled, “The Military Preparedness of German industry” was likely based on the second memorandum Foerster mentions in his letter. Other pamphlets were reprints of Austen Chamberlain’s speeches, a paper by Wickham Steed and an article by Garvin.
At the time of their publication, The Spectator commented, “‘Germany Rearming’ shows that the only armaments now needed by Germany for immediate war are big cannon. To supply herself with these will take her 14 days.” Foerster’s intelligence on industrial mobilization “is an alarming commentary on the mechanized convertibility of modern Germany. ‘War-potential’ has become much more valuable than actual war-armament, for a nation can develop the most modern material and yet profess pacifism up to The Day.”18
The FOE published some 75 pamphlets between 1933 and mid-1940, providing commentary and accurate translations of Nazi articles. FOE’s efforts included ”a private translation service, based on day-to-day readings of the German press and publications, as well as documents which reach us from various sources, concerning Nazi-Germany.” In 1939, for instance, Franklin Roosevelt’s staff received a “private circulation” FOE-provided report by an anonymous source titled, “Aims and Methods of German Policy.”19 Such material gave the White House staff and other influential readers an informal intelligence source with unique reporting on the nation’s future foe.
It is difficult to assess the influence of FOE material on policy at this late date. Officials who received the material are dead, but a search of the world wide web indicates that FOE material remains in libraries, archives and in the personal papers of leading figures of the time. Tyrrell claimed that, “it is not too much to say that no other single agency has helped in anything like the same degree to make known the meaning of the ‘Hitlerism’ against which Great Britain and France now stand in arms.”20 Among those influential political figures who received material from FOE were Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. The pamphlets were cited by major mass-media publications. The politically-connected Canadian journalist Grant Dexter commended FOE translations of Nazi literature in his reporting.21 Czechoslovakia’s foreign minister Jan Masaryk, author of FOE’s “A Free Czechoslovakia and a Free Germany” praised the organization for bringing facts about Nazism to the public.22 Senior American Jewish Committee officials, however, considered the publications as having limited value for their own efforts. While conceding Smith’s sincerity, they were put off by his “singularly inflexible mind.”23
A copy of the letter to Chamberlain, along with the war preparation memorandum, and the propaganda proposal were made available to the author by the American Ethical Union (AEU) in New York. In the letter, Foerster indicates he “allowed copies of the memoranda to be sent to some very important personalities in the United States.” That the AEU received copies of his material suggests that Foerster maintained contact with individuals in Ethical Culture movement and entrusted them with some of his most sensitive correspondence.
Foerster’s contacts with Chamberlain and their actions through Rennie Smith’s “Friends of Europe” provide a unique view into pacifism’s response to the threat of world war. There was a cosmopolitan network of sober-minded pacifists, liberals, leftists and conservatives who remained in contact during the rise of Hitler, and who reached out across borders with warnings and solid intelligence. The information they received from inside the Reich was provided by individuals who understood the dangers of militarism and nationalism and who could influence policies. We have seen newer forms of such collaboration through on-line social networking. The media is new, but the methods are not.
Further study of these informal groups throughout history merit study, not only for history’s sake, but for humanity’s sake. History is filled with people who contributed much to peace but are lost to posterity. Most individuals can recall the name of dictators and killers easily, but have difficulty in naming those brave souls who tried to stop them or warned the world of the threat they posed. Perhaps this should change.
Full transcription of Foerster’s letter to Chamberlain
3, village suisse
August 12, 1933
Dear Sir Austin Chamberlain :
Strongly impressed by the splendid words you have spoken to my countrymen, and in view of the pressure of the disquieting events occurring in Southeastern Europe,24 may I take the liberty of further expounding the subject I have the honer of discussing with you at the time of my visit to London.
When I made a lecture-tour throughout Germany the year Rathenau was murdered,25 I received a letter from a military friend, now dead, the Bavarian Colonel Falkner von Sonnenburg,26 a great admirer of British political institutions and methods as compared with the Prussian colonial methods. In this letter he made the following entreaty: “My dear F . . . Take care, I have just been informed that you are on the Black List.27 They will get you shortly. Take the next train to Switzerland. It is utterly useless to endeavor to fight against the tide. It cannot be stemmed. But you have a great cause to defend. Go abroad, tell the truth to foreign statesmen, enlighten the foreign press, and from abroad, tell the truth to the German people.”
As all the impressions I had gathered during my lecture-tour (the subject of which was Germany’s responsibilities, both past and present) had given weight to his entreaty, I took immediately the train to Basle, and during all these years I have carried out the plan of action suggested by my military friend. I am indebted to him also for the most guarded information about the German plan of complete rearmament and the secret achievements and prospects of that plan. His fears strengthen my conviction that there ought to be some Germans who were keen upon saving the honour of their country by telling the entire truth at a time when the world at large was giving Germany a chance of regaining its confidence. The enclosed memorandum (11) is based upon the disclosures my friend made to me. It was written by another military friend also fully cognizant with what is going on behind the scenes.
I have used this documentation with a view to enlighten French political leaders, and have especially succeeded in convincing Mr. Herriot28 of the seriousness of what is being prepared in Germany. However, I have very often been surprised and discouraged by the smiling sophism and indifference I have encountered when talking with Anglo-Saxon politicians and statesmen. I was, therefore, all the more pleased when you began to utter your warnings, and to set forth some facts to be most earnestly taken into consideration. Your recent statements are just what was needed.29 For a long time I have urged french statesmen to express themselves in a similar manner. Poincaré30 alone yielded to my appeal, and he knew how to “give it to them”. They do not understand unless things are said in the most blunt manner. “At present you are not trustworthy, – you are demanding things which can only be granted you when you will have completely changed your mentality. You demand justice in order to do wrong; you demand equality in order to establish supremacy; you demand liberty in order to install slavery. You won’t deceive us any longer.”
Well, I thank you, but kindly repeat this continually, illustrating your words by current events.
If I said that I left my country in order to tell the truth, it is not solely with regard to some disclosures about Germany’s secret war preparations. These preparations would appear to be more dangerous than they really are, were they not the expression of an essential and inflexible tendency toward the attainment of certain aims which can only be secured by war. And it is in connection with that deep and commanding tendency I want to say something.
While the Germans do not actually want war, they eagerly and brutally want certain things which must unavoidably bring about a new European war – unless they are made to feel in due time they have no chances of success. Therefore, all depends on the following points: Will Europe let them fall into the same error which encouraged them to venture the World War, or will some impressive demonstration cause them to realize in due time that they are faced by a united Europe, firmly resolved to check their venturesome undertakings? (At present they are testing this unity with their provocations and interferences in Southeastern Europe.)
Whoever deals with the German people must first of all have the right idea as to the correct proportions of their different elements. All the errors committed by the Allies since the War, are due to a completely erroneous conception of such proportions. They did not realize that in Germany there was a numeric majority and a dynamic minority, and that it was only with the latter that one should have counted. The so-called “democratic Germany” did not exist at all. It was a mere shadow, an importation having no connection with a view to preparing for their hour and for misusing Locarno in order to pave the way for Potsdam.31
The German has a nebulous character, – it is a mixture of influences from all sides and all races. He has no statesmanship ability, and it is owing to this mentality that he threw himself into the arms of the military Prussian who possessed the secret cement of State Organization. “We are Prussians,” said Goebbels, “and even if we are Bavarians, Prussian is wherever we are.”
Hitlerism is the complete triumph of Prussian ideology over the German soul. This triumph has been insured by an admirably systematic propaganda which has placed the German before a totally inverted picture of all facts and responsibilities. Hugenberg32 injected the poison of lying into German veins. Hitler is the reaction of such veins. If I believe that Poincaré and Iswolski33 caused the War, I, too, would be Hitlerite, and would consider the Treaty of Versailles as the greatest injustice of History.
In his sociology, Herbert Spencer34 outlined the two different types of human society – the industrial and the military type. In Germany these two types existed side by side. And it was the fundamental mistake of the Anglo-Saxons to assume that the modern industrial type of German society, with all its democratic and pacifist implications and consequences would finally and inevitably triumph over the old-fashioned military type of the “militärstaat”35 of Potsdam. Just the contrary has happened. The old Prussian ideology got the upperhand over the modern type and subjected it entirely to the ideals, manners and aspirations of the old military caste. In so far as State matters and foreign policy are concerned, the most modern and intelligent type of german industrialist or financier is absolutely blind to the true political interests and conditions of his own enterprise and of the entire exporting trade of Germany. He does not consider political questions from the true industrial and economic standpoint. No, as soon as these questions are discussed the clever business man is quickly transformed into a passionate upholder of military Prussianism and repeats with almost childish credulity the slogans of the Prussian mendacious propaganda. In that respect the whole history of the Bismarckian36 and subsequent epoch may be entitled “Politics against Economy”. Germany’s politics were in striking contradiction to all the vital requirements of her world-wide trade and to her dependence upon the world’s sympathy and competence. It was for this reason our philosopher Lagarde37 called Bismarckism “the mortal sickness of the german people”.
Yes, indeed, such sickness is mortal, and you will see its inevitable development in that direction.
Hitlerism is only a logical outcome of that fundamentally false orientation and of that completely erroneous interpretation of the causes of the World War and of all the misery and confusion resulting therefrom.
To be sure, Hitler will not disclose too early in the game his true aspirations. It may even be that he is slowly becoming aware of the mortal danger into which his policy is leading his people. But I repeat the Chinese proverb I quoted to you while in London: “He who rides a tiger can not get off on the way.”
The whole nation is replete with ideas, interpretations, aspirations and hatreds which can not fail to drive it fatally – as a most united whole – towards certain aims which have been systematically implanted by the lies of one and a half centuries and by the whole interpretations most skillfully instilled into it with regard to the four causes of the present situation of the country, as well as a the amputations required by the treaty of peace and carried out by the upholders of its “shameful injustices “. “Towards certain aims”. What aims?
They are obvious, – viz:
1 – The restoring to Germany of all territory turned over to Poland.
2 – The “Anschluss” of Austria.
3 – The dismembering of Czechoslovakia and of Poland.
4 – The Colonization and penetration of Russia; and finally the welding of a great Eastern Block against Western Civilization.
(The present strained relations between Germany and Russia are only temporary.)
I do not say that these aims will be attained. I merely invite attention to their absolute and fatal preponderance in the mind of the Prussianized German. And this state of mind, developed by the philosophy of a century and the political madness of more than sixty years, must some day explode, as it already exploded in 1914. Nationalist propaganda had prevented any lessons being learned from the terrible experience of the War. On the contrary, such propaganda has used the defeat and its consequences as a means to work the people into a state of frenzy.
To conclude, you must be prepared for a second and far more violent outbreak of a completely Prussianized Teutonism and of a Teutonized Prussianism. Further more, you must prepare yourself for the dreary task of finally putting Germany under European tutorship and installing a British Governor in Berlin.
(Three years hence you will remember my words, which may make you smile a little today.)
There are three nations which are incapable of forming a State and living in harmony with other nations: The Jews (the Maccabees who caused the destruction of Jerusalem), the Hindus and the Germans.38 Their special intellectual gifts deprive them off any sense of moderation, of any appreciation of realities, of any sense of values.
Consequently, future tasks with far-reaching consequences are ahead of the British nation.
The danger is not eminent because of the extraordinary economic crisis developing in Germany as a result of her false polity. However, such danger can only be averted while it is not yet imminent.
The above statements lead us to grave practical question:
How can a new European war be prevented, or at least how can it be delayed until the rest of the world is fully prepared to stop the conflagration in its early phase?
May I say : You will deal with an almost mad nation, whose leaders only understand the language of force and authority. If all of you who are threatened now show signs of weakness, of intimidation, and lack of unity, Germany will someday venture everything, as she did in 1914. But if you hold your ground, maybe she will finally see things as they really are and adapt herself to the existing order.
In the “Militärwochenblatt”39 of September 1932, the following statement is found :
“He who feels that that he possesses military superiority is no longer accessible for pacifist phrases. There is only one thing that may be able to stop him, namely, the risk, the fear of defeat.”
Now, if the ex-Allies succeed in instilling into Germany the fear of a defeat and the feeling that she has no further chance to dictate her will to Europe, the worst may still be averted. But if their statesmen, some of whom are discussing confusingly and without accurate knowledge of the real situation in the east the question of revision and of a general disarmament of the neighbors of a nation having lost the sense of reality and having become the prey of the darkest instincts of its sanguinary past, and do not wish to see the full extent of the danger and the means of averting it, then the war which you all want to avoid will come upon you as a thief in the night, and will prepare Europe for Bolshevism.
If Germany were composed of Bavarians, Swabes and Rhinelanders only, an arrangement with Europe would encounter no difficulty, and generosity could produce all it beneficial effects. But unfortunately, the last truly German element, that is, the anti-European, anti-Christian, anti-Polish, anti-French element of Prussia had definitely taken the lead after having subdued an extremely gentle and yielding population and won it over to its own objectives and ideology by an extraordinarily well conducted propaganda.
That dominating Prussian caste whose mind has been molded by centuries of warfare, conquest, rape and domination, have slowly developed in its most typical manifestations a direct diabolic spirit, a contempt for every human and divine law which may oppose the interest of the “Machstaat”.40 And it is with this diabolic spirit, which is also infected many true Germans – for instance, the Bavarian Georing41– that you have to deal, that is, with a spirit which will interpret every act of generosity and concession as a sign of weakness and fear, and which will pursue its traditional aims, deeply rooted in the character of the race and its history (conquests in the East, and primarily re-establishment of the Germany of 1914) with indomitable energy, unhampered by any moral consideration or any spiritual community with the ideals and traditions of the Western world.
It is therefore of the highest importance that the European statesmen representing Western civilization should not allow themselves to be deceived by a certain apparent moderation, or even by a sincere adaptation on the part of the present leaders in Germany. Such leaders will be brushed aside some day or other, or they will have to re-adapt themselves to the strongest tendency of their people. This strong, passionate and logical people will inevitably carry out what has been implanted in their heart and their reason for the past thirty years, especially by all the post-war propaganda.
The brother of the murdered Karl Liebknecht,42 a moderate democratic jurist and very keen observer, said to me the other day : “it is absolutely impossible, unless a miracle happens, that this people, who by a wonderfully consistent system has been imbued with the most rousing and poisonous ideas about the infinite wrong they have suffered, and the reparation and liberation due to them by the peoples who made the Treaty of Versailles, should not finally give vent to their feelings and thoughts in a wild uprising against the present state of things which they hold responsible for all their misery. ”
Already Gneisenau said: “what Prussia is for Germany, Germany must become form the whole of Europe.”43
And Maria Theresa said: “we shall all be crushed, one after the other, by this terrible system, if we do not offer a strong resistance.”.44
Stresemann45 thought he could make peace between Germany and Europe by relying on the numeric majority of the German people, that is to say, on those elements which are to reveal their infinite weakness and lack of character when the hour of measuring the real forces comes. The experiment of such a reconciliation had to be made, but it is demonstrated that the attempt was based on an erroneous conception of the proportions of the different elements of the German nation, and that the dynamic minority, which was slowly going to master the entire nation, could never be reconciled with the solutions and amputations imposed by the Treaties of Versailles and Trianon.46 This minority, which remained in the background awaiting its hour, misused all liberal and universal ideas of the modern world with the sole object of regaining is former position, in the sense of that speaker who declared at a Congress of German high school professors:
“In my inmost heart I am hostile to pacifism, because the manly and warlike spirit must be preserved to our youth. However, foreign pacifists are our best allies.”
Therefore, only he who sees clearly that he is not dealing with Siegfried but with Hagen (Siegfried is absolutely in the hands of Hagen),47 he alone who realizes that he has before him an absolutely unconvertible, blind set of men, resolved to disrupt at the first favorable opportunity the given order of Europe, which is in irreconcilable opposition to all their traditions, all their interpretations of history (and especially of the World War, its responsibilities and lessons), with all their ideas about right and Might, and with all their notions about Germany’s mission in the East of Europe, – will be able to handle properly the present rulers of Germany. They are unable to grasp and yield to the changed conditions in Europe: they have no eyes in their heads with which to see and appraise the infinite new possibilities of a loyal conversion on their part to European cooperation. No, they are the rabid and blind executors of morbid reactions and of fundamentally false conceptions. And, what is still more dangerous, they know how to model like wax the masses of the German people, people with no political ability, sentimental, musical, lyric, enthusiastic, who in the Middle Ages were formed and led by Rome and by the inheritance of the Roman Empire, but who, after the fall of that empire and its traditions, became the easy prey of that ruthless, energetic, militant type which Lamprecht called the “Colonial Deutschtum” and of which Treitschke said that it lacked the essential trait of a German character, namely, a kind heart.48
Europe has to have a radical explanation with that type of German -such is the meaning of the present hour – and at this decisive moment it is not in vain that I present myself as a Prussian, member of a large military family, man of Eastern Germany, who is thoroughly familiar with the danger which is threatening Europe and his own Fatherland, which is turning into a malediction all its wonderful qualities, and who, since his first conscious reaction against his political environment, has been won over to Western ideas and is eager to re-establish the community of his people with these ideas.
Now, I want to say the following as a statement and an appeal : – there are two alternatives for Europe in her dealings with that real and present Germany which I have set forth above in a full and cruel light, and which is quite different from that Germany which still entertains the ideas of Mr MacDonald and other statesmen, politicians and authors of the Western world (most dangerous illusions which may one day become responsible for a new European deluge).
(1) Germany will provoke, say within two or three years, the rest of the world by a well-prepared attack on Poland – or even earlier on Austria – or she will venture, say with in three years, a great continental war in order to regain her former position, to dismember Belgium (I have sent mister Steed a startling report in German on this program, suggesting it be published in the “Sunday Times”)49 and to establish her hegemony in Europe according to Gneisenau’s program deeply rooted in the very nature of the Prussian “colonial” mentality. The consequence will finally be that after untold bloodshed and devastation, Germany will be crushed and eliminated as an independent European nation, the different parts of Germany being put under European tutorship. As to the North, England will furnish a governor in Berlin. As ato the West, France will appoint a governor in Mainz, and as to the south and Silesia, Italy will furnish as governor in Munich. Eastern Prussia and Upper Silesia will come under Poland. It does not seem impossible that Austria and Bavaria – except for the Protestant Franconia – will be merged.
You surely will admit that this is not a mere fancy, and that it is useful at the present moment to think a little about the future, and about some of the inevitable consequences of the violent upheavals to be expected as a result of the German chaos. . . .
(2) However, there is a second possibility: Europe becomes aware in due time of what is brewing in Germany, and she reacts so unanimously and so vigorously that those in power in Berlin begin to feel that they have no further chance to rush upon Europe and annihilate the essential elements of the post-war order therein. Remember my quotation from the Militarwochenblatt: “there is only one thing which could stop. . .”
In view of the state of mind and of the illusions entertained in the leading circles of Western Europe, I have not much hope in this second possibility of avoiding a catastrophe will be realized.
But it may be that the madness of the Nationalist leaders in Germany will hasten and reinforce the necessary awakening of Europe. Then such awakening ought to lead to a very definite, well interpreted, well concerted action in the following direction and concerning the following burning questions :
First, an action against the befogged and most dangerous talk of revision which is dilly-dallying with all the principles established after 4 years of slaughter and at the cost of 14 million human lives. It is exceedingly important to counteract definitively the German and Hungarian propaganda, which is inundating the world with its attacks on the Treaty of Versailles, discrediting all the foundations of the new European order, by a clear and vigorous defense of the essential lines of this treaty . Today all these attacks are being accepted and tolerated in a most dangerous and passive manner, or else a mere cold refusal of the reiterated demands is opposed, but an eloquent defense explaining to the world why, for the sake of peace and order, the essential prescriptions of the Treaty must be maintained, is lacking.
It must be shown that the Polish corridor and other limitations of the Eastern Frontiers are the reparation for the dismembering of Poland, and that such reparation of a great historical wrong makes more for the consolidation of Right than hundreds of speeches of the Rights of Peoples. If in truth the World War had to be atoned for by a new Code of Nations, the restitution of Poland was inevitable. Unfortunately, Prussia was built up within the Polish flesh. Accordingly, the Polish State came to life again within Prussian flesh , and this was certainly a very painful operation. But the Treaty of Versailles, which caused this operation, was not a “diktat” which artificially imposed a solution foreign to every reality at stake, but rather the logical expression of the principle of nationalities in its irresistible March from West to East. And the World War was merely an attempt on a part of Germany to arrest eastward the logical realization of a principal on which the Empire itself had originally been founded.
The solution imposed by the Treaty of Versailles was unilateral because it was purely individualistic. This solution split up the east of Europe. It erected walls within regions which depended on one another. Certainly, we must complete the inevitable emancipation by a new bond which will make the frontiers invisible. That is to say, we must bridge the frontiers rather than mine them. Revision towards the future and not towards the past! The march of history, as Arnold Toynbee expressed it, is from slavery to free association through liberty.50
Versailles was unable to impose this new Commonwealth. It can only be brought about through mutual confidence. Germany, instead of launching a destructive campaign against indestructible delimitations, should have endeavored to complete the Treaty by organizing a close German-Polish collaboration. And yet, the German Nationalists do not see – though they will see it someday – what extensive prospects are open to them through the admirable and unforeseen expansion of the Slav nations. Has not the Treaty of Versailles restored to a certain degree the state of things existing in the Middle Ages when Danzig was the great market for the Slavs? To return the corridor – which at all events is is almost entirely Polish population – would be equivalent to separating it again from its hinterland and reducing it to economic ruin. The German Nationalists are fully aware of this. Therefore, they want the return to Germany of all the territory which had been turned over to Poland. They do not readily concede that a moral principle is involved in the settlement of these questions for they speak of morality only when their own interests are concerned.
They make no clear distinction between a well-founded restoration of foreign rights and a series of minor injustices which could scarcely be avoided in the tracing of national frontiers amidst a great confusion of populations of different nationalities. No. They consider their clamoring for revisions as a fully justified right to claim of the return of all that belonged to Germany before the War, their country not being responsible for the War and having therefore been quite unjustly amputated in favor of an inferior race.
It is most urgent that this moral confusion and indifference concerning the bases on which the Eastern settlement was founded, should be dispelled by authoritative declarations. In spite of all minor defects in the tracing of the frontiers in the East, defects which need some day may be remedied by mutual understanding and compensation between the parties concerned, it must be upheld that the treaty of peace has essentially to do with a moral principle and that the Polish Corridor is in that respect a backbone of European peace and not at all and arbitrary and stupid sacrifice of German rights to Polish conditions of life.
The second most advisable action – indispensable in order to demonstrate in an impressive manner to the rulers of Germany and to German opinion in general that the world outside of Germany will not be taken by surprise as in 1914, and that the Ex-allies will anew become allies and resolutely oppose any undeniable attempt on the part of Germany to disrupt the present European order – should be taken with regard to disarmament.
All truly pacifist Germans who consider a loyal and honest execution of the treaties as the first conditions of Europe’s reconciliation with their country, are ashamed of the blunt lie which official Germany ventured to present in Geneva under the formula : “We have disarmed, it is your turn, gentlemen”. We were always hoping that the moment would come when the French government would open their dossier in order to tell the truth to the audience at Geneva as well as to the German people. We waited in vain and were obliged to realize that very short-sighted considerations led them unhappily to postpone this most necessary and salutary scandalous disclosure. Such tolerance and voluntary blindness have enormously encouraged and furthered the German efforts in view of complete rearmament.
And furthermore, such silence on the part of those who were well informed, has allowed German propaganda throughout the world to calumniate France as being the center of militarism and as the main obstacle in the way of general disarmament, while, as a matter of fact, it is the secret rearmaments of Germany which have made it impossible for her threatened neighbors to disarm.
To be sure, France has all appearances against her. For compared with the visible display of German military equipment, France seems too well armed, but the invisible military power of Germany must also be taken into consideration, for it is the essential factor of that power and should naturally be compensated by increased effectives. Under the present circumstances, the proposed equality in armaments could create the greatest inequality in protection. Therefore, nothing is more urgent then to enlighten the world about the real character and state of the present military power of Germany which is potential and invisible. No doubt that other countries also have a war-potential. The German war-potential is not only far greater that that of her neighbors because of the incomparable development of her industry which is the technical basis for destructive warfare, but she is alsoable, owning to her completely perfected military organization of all industries connected with the production of armaments and every kind of means of destruction and poison, to bring her potential almost up to the very limits of production. All she has to do is to press the button and within three months all the equipment required, say for a war against Poland, will be available. The necessary cause of conflict can well be arranged for the moment which may seem the fittest for setting the machinery in motion.
I enclose two memoranda on German rearmament which I have from the most reliable sources – as among the partisans of my ideas there are quite a number of high ranking officers of the old army. The more important of these memoranda is that which describes German industrial mobilization. After reading the memorandum you will certainly admit :
(1) How determined the Hitlerite Germans are to prepare for a new European war.
(2) To what extent the most advanced methods for preparing this enterprise are applied, and how misled the “Times” was when it wrote the other day that in presence of the completely unchanged mentality of the German people, one could be happy that the reduced state of the German measures of warfare would still protect the neighbors so that a surprise similar to that of 1914 was not to be expected. A far more terrible surprise is to be expected if one continued to be blind to cold facts.
But if the ex-Allies open their eyes to the magnitude of the actual dangers, and take in due time the proper steps they neglected to take before the war of 1914, then the danger may still be averted, and the Germans will finally awaken to conditions as they really are and will realize that they have no further chance of disrupting the present European order.
I have also allowed the two memoranda to be sent to some very important personalities in the United States.51 It seems to me extremely important that American propaganda for revision of the treaties together with the disarmament of France should cease. The Americans are surely right in their effort not to separate the economic question from that of preventing war. But the method they are employing is most dangerous. By weakening the defensive power of France they will bring about the very war they want to avoid. In the last days of 1914 Moltke stated: “France is at present in military embarrassment.” Conclusion: there is a pacifism which leads straight to war because it and encourages warmakers – they see their chance. To be peace-loving without accurate knowledge of human factors is simply disastrous and fosters all kinds of crime. Chesterton says that modern evil is not vice but virtue becoming mad. There is also today a pacifist virtue becoming mad…
The third action in order to show in due time to nationalist Germany what would happen if she should venture to disrupt the present European order, is a most vigorous protest against the violation of the treaties by the air attacks against the president Austrian Government. My friends in Austria, foremost of whom the former Minister of Austrian finance, Professor Redlich, unanimously warned me that without an energetic intervention, an impressive symbol of further interventions on the part of the powers guaranteeing the present status of Europe, Mr. Dollfus52 will finally be subdued.
However, we are all convinced that the fall of Austria with mean the creation of an overwhelming German block in Central Europe, a dismembering of the newly created States, and inevitably a new European war.
Kindly excuse me for sending such a long letter, which has become almost a pamphlet. Under ordinary circumstances it would be imposing upon good nature after a kind reception. Today it is almost a duty on the part of a German Patriot, who, as in the case of Professor Masaryk53 during the war, feels it his duty to enlighten – in the true interests of his own misled people – the statesmen of the Western nations as to what is going on in Germany, and how the danger can still be averted and German opinion be brought in contact with the changed conditions of the day.
You may rest assured that every word you said, or will say, or will write to me, will be held as strictly confidential, for I know too well by experience what harm may be done to responsible men if their words, said confidentially, are repeated and disconnected from the conversation in the course of which they were uttered.
I am at your disposal for any further detailed information you may desire. Besides, I can go to London, should you want such information for an urgent occasion or in connection with any special question.
Dear Sir Austin Chamberlain,
Yours most respectfully,
P. S. Enclosed I am forwarding an article from the “Journal des Debats” on a letter published by Lord Parmoor in the “Times” about his impression of Germany. I am sorry to say that I am in complete agreement with the French critic. I know the venerable Lord Parmoor and his most generous intentions. I try to open his eyes as long as eight years ago in Geneva, but he looked upon me as if he had to do with an embittered immigrant who had lost all sense of proportions of good and evil in his country. He believed in Stresemann, and made no effort to ascertain the real forces directing the fate of my people. Unfortunately, this most dangerous and erroneous interpretation of post-war Germany, this blindness as to the actual leading forces in the nation, was likewise prevalent and encouraged abroad by many representatives of the German Left who were not entitled to [word missing; possibly “speak”] for a country dominated and directed behind the scenes by a powerful and absolutely unconverted caste and its blind followers. Alas, this most dangerous interpretation of post-war Germany is still prevalent among many of the best representatives of Western civilization, and prevents them from taking the only matter-of-fact attitude which you have in such masterly manner defined in your last declarations.
I need not say that I am the last one to deny the most valuable qualities, the constructive tendencies and the very sound reactions which are behind the barbarian surface of the Hitler revival in Germany. But herein lies the very nature of the new German tragedy: Virtue is at the service of Vice – a high morality is enslaved to a cynically proclaimed immorality. Order is used for preparing disorder, organization for preparing disorganization, construction is destined to serve destruction, and this enrolling of the forces for good in the army of the Anti-Christ is much more dangerous than the mere revolt of clearly labeled demons.
To consider the positive and noble forces which always were, and still are, at work today in Germany, without, however, taking into account the terrible service in which they are at present engaged, denotes an abstract form of generosity which under present circumstances is well-nigh short of becoming an accomplice of crime.
The High Honorable
Sir Austen Chamberlain, K.C.M., C.M.P.
1. Wilhelm Foerster, Christ and the Human Life (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), 196-199.↩
2. Gordon Poteat “About Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster” Daytona Beach Morning Journal, May 29, 1971, 8. The name “Von Miltke” is used in the newspaper text. A great grandnephew of the General, Helmuth James, was a committed Christian who was executed by the Third Reich for his opposition to the government.↩
3. “The New International Encyclopedia/Foerster, Wilhelm. 1906. Transcribed. Accessed 15 July, 2015. Wikisource. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_New_International_Encyclop %C3%A6dia/F%C3%B6rster,_Wilhelm. The German Society survived not later than 1936. Many of its members, such as the teacher Dora Lux, were racial Jews according to Nazi doctrine, and its pacifistic, pluralistic, and anti-nationalist positions were antithetical to National Socialist theory. The society’s magazine continued until 1936, probably having avoided regime notice due to its small circulation of less than a 1,000 copies.↩
4. Robert Schulmann, “Tilling the Seedbed of Einstein’s Politics: A Pre-1905 Harbinger?” in Einstein and the Changing Worldviews of Physics. (New York: Springer, 2012), 66.↩
5.Horace L. Friess, Felix Adler and Ethical Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), 116.↩
6. T.H. Tetens, The New Germany and the Old Nazis. (New York: Random House. 1961), p 154. 25.↩
7. Felix Adler and Ethical Culture, 118-119.↩
8. James Poteat. “About Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster” Daytona Beach Morning Journal, May 29, 1971, 8. While Foerster suggested that his father rejected him for his conversion, his father’s writings instead show fatherly understanding and some pride. His father wrote, “[H]e thus attained to an intimate blending of religious enthusiasm and clear ethical thinking in connection with the totality of cultural achievements and with a new form of old and profound truths, which now captivate the souls of so many serious persons” (Quoted in The Educational Philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, 36). Foerster’s complex religious philosophy can be seen in his book, Christ and the Human Life (1953).↩
9. Sister M. Pelagia Hagenhoff. The Educational Philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster. (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1946), 34.↩
10. “Past Foreign Secretaries: Sir Austen Chamberlain.” Website of the Government of the United Kingdom, accessed 15 July 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/history/past-foreign-secretaries/austen-chamberlain↩
11. ”Sir Austen Chamberlain (1863-1937). website of The University of Warwick, accessed 15 July 2015, 2013. http://homepages.warwick.ac.uk/~lysic/1920s/chamberlainausten.htm↩
13. Foerster’s public warnings about Germany’s intent to initiate a Second World War started early. In 1927, while living in Switzerland he wrote this in the periodical Die Menscheit: “The masters of Germany today need peace and want peace, but only in order to prepare for war and to be armed upon a date which will be decided by the weakness of her neighbors. That date will fall anywhere between 1933 and 1938.”↩
14. Raffael Schenk. “Chronology, 1920-1929.” website of Colby College, http://www.colby.edu/personal/r/rmscheck/GermanyD4.html, accessed 27 October 2013. While history pins the Third Reich’s savagery on the Nazi regime, a culture illness certainly permitted it: Previous Germany military actions both during World War I and in their African colonies reveal patterns of civilian massacres, mass executions, scorched earth policies, concentration camps, slave labor, and even genocide. For details on these patterns, see German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial (2001) and Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and Practices of War in Imperial Germany (2005). ↩
15. Peter Barberis, et al, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations (London: Bookcraft Ltd., 2000), 396.↩
16. Martin Ceadel. Semi-Detached Idealists: The British Peace Movement and International Relation. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 298-299.↩
17. Letter from Lettice S. Kuhn to Adolf Meyer, with attachment on “Friends of Europe,” April 9, 1940. The Adolf Meyer Archive, John Hopkins University, I/2205/1.↩
18. “Friend of Europe Publications” The Spectator, January 19, 1934, available on-line: http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/19th-january-1934/32/friends-of-europe-publications ↩
19. “Diplomatic Files – Box 31, Folder Titles List.” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/psf/box31/folo295.html↩
20. Letter from Lettice S. Kuhn to Adolf Meyer.↩
21. Grant Dexter. “Roots of the Nazi Tree; Riddle of German Policy Explained” Vancouver Sun Feb 27, 1939.↩
23. Letter from Morris Waldman to Sidney Wallach, July 29, 1937. Records of the American Jew- ish Committee Executive Offices (EXO-29), Morris Waldman Files; RG 347.1.29; folder 237; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.↩
24. Southeastern Europe was composed of nations previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The empire’s destruction enabled Germany to expand influence in the region. Foerster saw German efforts to build economic relations with Hungary in 1933 as a means of weakening the potential unity of the countries against German incursion.↩
25. Walther Rathenau was the Jewish Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic. He was assassinated in 1922 after signing the Treaty of Rapallo by Germany right-wing mili-tants. The treaty normalized relations between Germany and the Soviet Union.↩
26. Probably a reference to Alfons Falkner von Sonnenburg (1851-1929), head of the Bavarian War Ministry’s press section during World War I. During the war he showed an acute understanding of the War’s economic impact on the German population and forecasted the damage inflation would have on the social fabric. After the war he became a strong critic of German militarism.↩
27. Aside from Rathenau, another 353 political murders by German Rightest forces occurred between 1919 and 1922. Few were prosecuted; the Rightist forces were actually subsidized by the government for a time. For more information, see Howard Stern, “The Organisation Consul” The Journal of Modern History Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar. 1963), 20-32. Available on-line: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1899142↩
28. Edouard Herriot (1872 -1957), a French politician and moderate leftist who served as Prime Minister of France several times between the World Wars. He was an opponent of the Vichy government in World War II and was imprisoned during the conflict.↩
29. In April 1933, Chamberlain condemned Hitler’s attacks on Jews and declared concessions to Germany out of the question as long as the nation threatened other nations. “Sir Austen Chamberlain Calls on Hitler to Halt His Private War on Jews.” JTA Archive, http://www.jta.org/1933/04/10/archive/sir-austen-chamberlain-calls-on-hitler-to-halt-his-private-war-on-jews, access 15 July 2015.↩
30. Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) was France’s Prime Minister before World War 1. In the face of increasing threats from Germany, he strengthened France’s military alliances with both Russia and Great Britain. He served as France’s president during the First World War.↩
31. According to the official Potsdam website (accessed 14 July 2015), “In the garrison church ‘Garnisonkirche’, where Prussian kings Friedrich Wilhelm I and Friedrich II were then still buried, Chancellor Adolf Hitler and President Paul von Hindenburg heralded the fatal alliance between German fascism and Prussian military. The ‘Day of Potsdam’ is a symbol for the disastrous relationship between National Socialism and Prussianism and lead to the Enabling Act of 1933, which gave the Nazis full legislative powers, even allowing deviations from the constitution.” http://www.potsdam.de/cms/beitrag/10000945/33981/↩
32. Alfred Hugenberg was a right-wing industrialist, newspaper magnate, and owner of UFA, Germany’s largest film company. He used his substantial wealth to uncompromisingly campaign against Versailles, Locarno, Jews, Communism, democracy, and the Weimar government. In the 1920s, Hugenberg seized control of the German National People’s Party which eventually formed a coalition with the Nazi Party. Despite Hugenberg’s intention to control Hitler, he was eventually reduced to political impotence in the Reichstag.↩
33. Alexander Petrovich Iswolsky was an Imperial Russian diplomat who built that nation’s alliances with France and Great Britain before World War 1.↩
34. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes Spencer (1820-1903) as “one of the principal proponents of evolutionary theory in the mid nineteenth century, and his reputation at the time rivaled that of Charles Darwin. Spencer was initially best known for developing and applying evolutionary theory to philosophy, psychology and the study of society — what he called his ‘synthetic philosophy.’ (http://www.iep.utm.edu/spencer/, accessed 15 July 2015). According to an on-line summary of the book Classical Sociological Theory published by McGraw Hill, Spencer theorized, “Society evolves from the compounding and recompounding of social groups. It also evolves from military societies dominated by conflict and a coercive regulative system to industrial societies characterized by harmony and a sustaining system of decentralized rule. Spencer thought the society that he was living in was a ‘hybrid society,’ exhibiting traits of both military and industrial societies. Although he ultimately hoped society in general would progress towards a state of industry, he recognized that the regression to a militant state was possible.” (http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/0072824301/student_view0/chapter4/chapter_summary.html, accessed 15 July 2015).↩
35. Literally, “Military State.”↩
36. Bismarck unified the German states under Prussian leadership and created a complex set of alliances to preserve peace throughout Europe making it mutually beneficial to all the continent’s great powers. His brilliant foreign policy kept Europe in peace for forty years. The policy had the ulterior motive of protecting a unified Germany and allowing it time to strengthen economically and militarily.↩
37. In contrast to Bismarck, German scholar Paul De Lagarde (1827-1921) rejected the concept of peace and promulgated the goal of a greater Germany and hegemony over Central Europe. Legarde was a ferocious anti-Semite whose writings laid the foundation for Nazi philosophy. For a thorough study on Legarde’s theories and impact, see Fritz Stern, Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974) 3-96.↩
38. Each of these ethnic groups were in states of nationalist fervor at the time of Foerster’s letter.↩
39. A leading German military journal.↩
40. “Power state”; a centralized, authoritarian militarized state.↩
41. Hermann Goering, who was a key figure in the rise and regime of Hitler.↩
42. Theodor Liebknecht (1870-1948) was a moderate German socialist politician. He survived Hitler’s rise by leaving Germany for Switzerland. His radical brother Karl (1871-1919) was murdered by security forces after the defeat of the Spartacist Uprising in Berlin in 1919.↩
43. A 1938 article by Foerster in The National Review (London) uses the same quote but provided more depth to its meaning. In the article’s footnotes, he explained “That pan-Germanism is the main object of Hitler and that all other measures are subordinate to this.” “That this pan-German- ism is not merely a desire to link together all Germans in Europe in one State, but that is has a Prussian soul, is fundamentally warlike, dominating, anarchical and unscrupulous and that to quote Gneisenau . . ..” The complete article is available at http://udspace.udel.edu/bitstream/handle/19716/6911/mss0109_0935-00.pdf. August Wilhelm Antonius Graf Neidhardt von Gneisenau (1760-1831) was a brilliant Prussian field officer during the Napoleonic Wars. ↩
44. Maria Theresa (1717-1780) was empress of the Holy Roman Empire. Upon her succession, Prussia moved to seize the (then) Austrian province of Silesia. Maria Theresa’s advisers recommended that she seek an accommodation with militarily superior Prussia but she rejected the advice and instead fought to preserve her realm, thus beginning the War of the Austrian Succession. She again faced Prussia in the Seven Years’ Year.↩
45. German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann (1870-1929) shared the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize for the Locarno Pact. Stresemann started out as an German imperialist but the World War convinced him that Europe “cannot go on making war upon each other without being involved in common ruin” (“Gustav Stresemann – Biographical”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. Accessed 15 July 2015. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1926/stresemann-bio.html↩
46. The 1920 Treaty of Trianon between the Kingdom of Hungary and the victorious Allies defined the borders of the new independent nation and set restrictions on the country’s military. The treaty removed from Hungary substantial territory which contained Hungarian minorities or were otherwise traditionally under Hungarian authority.↩
47. In the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, Siegfried is Lord of the Netherlands, Norway, and Nibelung Land and is a model of knightly virtues. The manipulative and vengeful Hagen of Tronje learns through subterfuge Siegfried’s vulnerabilities and kills him.↩
48. Karl Gotthard Lamprecht (1856 -1915), and Heinrich von Treitschke (1834-1896) were influential German historians.↩
49. Henry Wickham Steed (1871-1956) who by this time was former editor of The Times. He was author of the Friends of Europe pamphlet, “The Future of Europe” and an FOE vice-president.↩
50. Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) was a philosopher and historian who attempted to understand why cultures and civilizations rose and fell. His works were considered some of the most influential writings of the period.↩
51. A copy of the letter and memoranda were found in the archives for the New York Society for Ethical Culture.↩
52. Englebert Dollfus (1892-1934) was a right-wing Catholic fascist who ruled Austria. He opposed Germany’s efforts to absorb his nation and was assassinated by Austrian Nazis.↩
53. Philosophy professor Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was a Czechoslovak nationalist and the country’s first president. He was also Jan Masaryk’s father. ↩