Book II

Submitted by Steven. on September 5, 2011

16. The Nation as Community of Morals, Custom and Interest

Submitted by Toms on September 5, 2011

The national concept in the process of time
The nation as community of descent
The nation as community of interest
Division of the nation into castes, ranks and classes
National interest and class interest
The conflict in the Rruhr
Poincare's "national policy." the dealings of German heavy industry with the "hereditary enemy" against German Labor
The "folk community" at work
The pensioners of the German Republic
The nation as community of spiritual interest
Religious and party conflicts
World-philosophical antagonisms
The nation as community of morals and customs
City and country
Rich and poor
The national tradition
Membership in 'the nation as the result of political efforts
North and South America
The nation and society

The concepts of the nation and nationality have in the course of time undergone many changes, and have even today the same double meaning as the concept of race. During the Middle Ages the unions of fellow countrymen who were students in the universities were called nations. The famous University of Prague was divided into "four nations": Bavarians, Bohemians, Poles and Saxons. One also spoke frequently of a nation of physicians, of smiths, of lawyers, and so on. Even Luther makes a decided distinction between folk and nation in his pamphlet, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, designating as the nation the possessors of political power exclusively -- that is, princes, knights and bishops, in contradistinction to the common people. This distinction prevailed for a considerable time, until gradually the demarcation between nation and people began to disappear in language. Frequently an unpleasant flavour was attached to the concept of the nation. Ludwig Jahn argues, thus, in his German Folkways:

That which really is the highest, and was so regarded in Greece and Rome, is with us still a term of revilement: Folk and Nation! "He has gone among the folk," was said of the miserable deserters who for the sake of the money they got from the recruiting officer ran away, and will serve seven potentates in one pair of shoes. "That's the regular nation," was colloquially said of Gypsies, thievish vagabonds, tramps, and Jewish peddlers.

There was a time when one was content to use the term "nation" of a human community whose members were born in the same place and were consequently held together by fundamental social relations. This concept corresponds best to the meaning of the Latin word natio, from which the term "nation" is derived. This is the more understandable since it is based on the more limited idea of home. But this concept does not correspond to the modern idea of the nation, nor is it in harmony with the national endeavours of the time, which seek to give the nations the widest possible boundaries. Were the nation in fact to comprise only the neighbourhood where a man first saw the light, and were national consciousness to be defined only as the natural feeling of attachment between men who have been welded into a community by being born in the one place, then we could not speak of Germans, Frenchmen, Turks and Japanese, but at the most of Hamburgers, Parisians, Amsterdammers, or Venetians-a situation which actually existed in the city republics of ancient Greece and the federated communities of the Middle Ages.

Later, the concept of the nation became much broader, comprising a human grouping which had developed through a community of material and spiritual interests, and of morals, customs and traditions; hence, it represents a sort of "community of destiny," which holds within itself the laws of its particular life. This concept is not nearly as clear as the first; and is, moreover, in conflict with the daily experiences of life. Every nation includes today the most various castes, conditions, classes and parties. These not only pursue their separate interests, but frequently face one another with definite antagonism. The results are countless, never-ending conflicts and inner antagonisms, which are infinitely more difficult to overcome than the temporary wars between the various states and nations.

The same nations which only yesterday faced each other on the "field of honor," armed to the teeth, to settle their real or imaginary difficulties by bloody wars, tomorrow or the day after make alliances of defense and offense with their former enemies against other nations with whom they had been previously allied by trade agreements or treaties of political or military nature. But the fight between the various classes within the same nation can never be eliminated so long as these classes themselves exist and cleave the nation with eternal economic and political antagonisms. Even when by extraordinary circumstances or catastrophic events the class antagonisms are apparently overcome or temporarily allayed, as by the proclamation of the so-called "citizens' peace" during the World War, it is only a passing phenomenon arising from the pressure of circumstances, the real meaning of which is never clear to the great masses of the people. Such alliances have no permanency and they break apart at the first occasion for the lack of a real inner tie of community interests. A tyrannical system of government may under certain circumstances be able to prevent an open outbreak of inner conflicts, as has been done currently in Italy and Germany; but one does not abolish internal conflicts by preventing the people from speaking about them.

The love of his own nation has never yet prevented the entrepreneur from using foreign labor if it was cheaper and made more profit for him. Whether his own people are thereby injured does not concern him in the least; the personal profit is the deciding factor in such a case, and so-called national interests are only considered when they are not in conflict with personal ones. When there is such conflict all patriotic enthusiasm vanishes. Concerning the nature of the so-called "national interests" Germany got a lesson during the frightful years after the war which is not easily misunderstood.

After losing the war Germany found itself in a desperate situation. It had to give up economic spheres of great importance, and its export trade had been almost totally lost. Added to this were the extreme economic mandates of the victors and the breakdown of the old system. If the slogan about national unity had any meaning at all it had to be proved at this stage that the nation was indeed minded to face the newly created conditions unitedly and equitably to spread the load of misfortune over all sections of the population. But this never entered the minds of the owning classes. On the contrary, they tried to make profits from the situation. These patriots were bent solely upon gain, even though wide sections of their own people would be thereby impoverished.

It was the representatives of Prussian junkerdom and German heavy industry who during the frightful years of the war had secretly advocated the most ruthless annexation policy and by their insatiable greed brought on the great catastrophe of the debacle. Not content with the fabulous profits they had made during those years, they pursued the same ends when the war was over, and never for a moment considered sacrificing to the nation even a penny of their gains. The owners of German heavy industry got themselves relieved from the taxes which were deducted from the wages of even the poorest laborer. They raised the price of coal to unheard-of levels while the nation froze in front of cold stoves. They knew how to make enormous profits from the paper credits of the Reichsbank. (It was just this speculation with the monetary distress which it had itself caused that gave heavy industry the power to confirm its rule over the hungry nation.) Its representatives, under the leader-ship of Hugo Stinnes, really brought about the occupation of the Ruhr, causing the German nation to lose fifteen billion gold marks -- to which these industrialists contributed not a single penny.

The Ruhr conflict in its various phases of development is a splendid illustration of the capitalistic "interest" policy as a background for the national ideology. The occupation of the Ruhr was but a continuation of the same criminal power policy which led to the World War and for four years dragged people to the shambles. This conflict concerned exclusively the antagonistic interest of German and French heavy industry. Just as the great German industrialists were during the war the most pronounced advocates of the annexation idea and made the incorporation of Briey-Longuy one of the chief objects of German propaganda, so, later on, Poincare's national policy followed the same line and represented the undisguised desire for annexation of French heavy industry and its powerful organization, the Comité des Forges. The same alms formerly pursued by the great German industrialists were now taken over by the representatives of French heavy industry, namely, the creation of certain monopolies on the continent under the direction of special capitalistic groups for whom the so-called "national interests" have always served as stalking horse for their own ruthless business interests. It was the union of the Lorraine iron mines with the coalfields of the Ruhr basin, in the form of a powerful amalgamation planned by French heavy industry, which was to secure for it an unlimited monopoly on the continent. And since the interests of the great industrialists harmonized with the interests of the gainers by the reparations and were favored by the military caste, so they worked from that side by every means for the occupation of the Ruhr.

But before it went so far there were negotiations between the German and French heavy industries for a peaceful, purely business-like solution of the question whereby both parties were to profit in proportion to their forces. Such an understanding would indeed have been achieved, for the great German industrialists did not give a hang for the national interest of the Reich, so long as their profits were secure. But as the owners of the British coal mines, to whom an amalgamation on the continent would have been a severe blow, doubtless held out to them the prospect of greater advantages, they suddenly rediscovered their patriotic hearts and let tile occupation proceed. Together with the laborers and office employees who, ignorant of the inner connections, again allowed themselves to be used M the interest of their masters, they organized a passive resistance, and the press owned by Stinnes blew mightily into the national trumpet in order to rouse the country's hatred against the hereditary enemy. When the resistance collapsed, Stinnes and the other owners of German industry did not wait on the Stresernann government, but dealt directly with the French. On October 5, 1923, Stinnes, Kliökner, Velsen and Vögler met the French general, Degoutte, and tried to persuade him to enforce the ten-hour day on the German workers who only the day before had been their allies in the passive resistance against the French cabinet. Could there be a better illustration of the nation as community of interest? 1

Poincaté seized on Germany's alleged failure in the coal deliveries as a pretext for letting the French troops march into the Ruhr. This was of course only an excuse to give plain robber raids an appearance of legality, as is plainly proved by the fact that France was at the time richer in coal than any land in Europe with the sole exception of England. The French government even saw itself compelled to impose an extra duty of 10 percent on coal from the Saar in order to protect French coal in the home market. The fact is that 20 percent of this coal was being sent back into Germany and that only 35 percent of it was used in French industry.

On the other hand, the great German industrialists and their allies had by the ruthless defense of their special interests done everything to make the game easier for the French government. It was they who most bitterly opposed all attempts at the stabilization of the mark, since by inflation they could most conveniently sabotage the taxation of their industries and of the great landed estates and shift the load to the shoulders of the workers of their own country. As a result of these dark machinations not only did there arise a whole army of currency speculators and other profiteers who made enormous gains from the monstrous misery of the masses, but France was given the opportunity to gain extra advantage from Germany's monetary distress. Thus, according to the testimony of the former French Minister of Finance, Lasteyrie, Germany had by the end of September, 1921, delivered to France fuel to the value Of 2,571 million francs for which, owing to the devaluation of the mark, it was credited with only 980 million francs. The business agencies of the good German patriots thus procured for the "hereditary enemy" a special source of income at the expense of the enormous exploitation of German workers and the declining middle class.

But when the Ruhr conflict was over and the industrialists of the occupied territory came to conclude the so-called Micum agreements, not one of them thought for a moment of the millions of profit they had made during the inflation period. On the contrary, they demanded of the Reich appropriate compensation for their loss, and the Luther-Stresemann government, without considering the state's right of eminent domain, made haste to hand them the trifle of 706,400,000 gold marks for the "Micum damages," for which the Reich was credited with only 446,400,000 gold marks in the reparation accounts -- a transaction such as has probably not often taken place in a state with a parliamentary government.

In short, the representatives of heavy industry, of the great estate owners and the stock exchange had never bothered their brains concerning the alleged community of national interests. It never occurred to them that in order to rescue the rest of the nation from helpless despair and misery after the war they might be content with smaller profits. They stole what they could lay their hands on, while the nation fed on dry bread and potatoes and thousands of German children died of under-nourishment. None of these parasites ever heeded that their uncontrolled greed delivered the whole nation to destruction. While the workers and the middle class of the great cities perished in misery, Stinnes became the owner of fabulous riches. Thyssen, who before the war had approximately two hundred million gold marks, is today the owner of a fortune of a billion gold marks, and the other representatives of German heavy industry enriched themselves in the same proportion. And how about the so-called "noblest of the nation"? The German people, who for years languished in hopeless misery, pay their former princes fabulous sums for "compensation," and servile law courts see to it that they do not lose a penny thereof. And we are dealing here not only with compensation paid to the "fathers of the country" overthrown by the revolution of November, 1918, but also to those who for years had been reckoned as descendants of little potentates whose lands had actually disappeared from the map for a hundred and thirty years. To the descendants of these former petty despots the Reich paid yearly the trifle of 1,834,139 marks. Among the princes who reigned until the outbreak of the revolution the Hohenzollerns alone collected compensation to the amount of 200,000,000 gold marks. The amounts paid to all the ex-princes exceeded the Dawes loan by fourfold. While the pittances for the poorest of the poor were continually shortened and did not even suffice for the most indispensable needs, it never occurred to any of these "nobles" to contribute a penny towards the lessening of this misery. Like Shylock they demanded their pound of flesh and gave the world a classic example of the nature of the "community of interest of the nation."

This does not hold for Germany alone. The alleged community of national interests does not exst in any country; it is nothing more than a representation of false facts in the interest of small minorities. Thus, during the Ruhr conflict the French press never tired of assuring the people that Germany must be forced to pay if France was not to be ruined and, just as everywhere else, this assertion was accepted as truth. But this does not alter the fact that of the immense sums which Germany was forced to pay to France after the war only a minimal portion ever profited the French nation as a whole or was used for the restoration of the destroyed territory. Here as everywhere else, the lion's share flowed into the bottomless pockets of privileged minorities. Of the 11-4 billion marks which Germany had paid as reparation to France up to December 31, 1921, only 2.8 billion were used for restoration; 4.3 billion were used for the payment of the occupation troops and the inter-allied commissions in Germany.

In France, just as in Germany, it is the suffering part of the working population from whose hides the owning classes cut their belts. While the representatives of giant capitalism made enormous profits in the countries participating in the war and almost smothered in their own fat, millions of luckless humans had to dung the battlefields of the world with their dead bodies. And still today, when only the forms of the war have changed, the working classes of society are the real sufferers, while landowners, industrialists and gentlemen of the stock exchange grind money from their misery.

When one takes a look at the modern arms industries of the various countries, employing millions of men and enormous capital, one gets a curious view of the "community of national interests." In these industries patriotism and the "protection of national interests" are quite openly a part of business. The sums spent by these industries for the stimulation of national enthusiasm are booked in the accounts like all other expenses for the guarding of business interests. But the national idea has up to now prevented no member of the arms industry from- selling its instruments of murder and destruction to any state which has paid them the demanded price when it does not happen that important business interests are at stake. Just as little is the high finance of any country dissuaded by patriotic motives from loaning foreign states the necessary moneys for armament, even though the safety of their own country is endangered thereby. Business is business.2

It is a quite normal phenomenon that the great enterprises of the international arms industry should unite in business to eliminate competition and increase profits. Of the numerous corporations of this kind we will here mention only the "Nobel Dynamite Trust," founded in 1886, which has English, French and Italian branches; and ­ especially -- the "Harvey Continental Steel Company," which came into being in 1894. After the Harvey steel works in New Jersey had invented a new process of manufacturing thinner and stronger armor-plates which were immediately adopted by the various governments for their navies. The first directors of this international armor trust were Charles Campbell, Charles E. Ellis (of the firm of John Brown and Company, England), Edward M. Fox (Harvey Steel Company, New Jersey), Maurice Gény (Schneider and Company, France), Joseph de Montgolfier (Shipping and Railroad Company, France), Léon Lévy (president of Chatillon-Commentry Company, France), Josef Ott (Dillinger Iron Works, Germany), Ludwig Klüpfel (A. G. Friedrich Krupp Company, Germany), Albert Vickers.

These men, whose paid press year after year was required to carry on the most shameful propaganda against other countries and nations in order to keep the "national spirit" alive among the people, had not the slightest compunction about allying themselves with the armament industries of other countries, if only for the purpose of more successfully exploiting their own. The notorious Putiloff case of January, 1914, clearly proves that not only did French and German capital work together in charming unity at the Putiloff works in St. Petersburg, but also that first class experts of the armament industry of both countries assisted the Russians in the manufacture of heavy artillery. With grim irony the well-informed author of a book in which the monstrous venality of the national press was ruthlessly exposed wrote the following concerning these events:

The Putiloff works, incapable of filling the orders of the Russian government, had since 1910 had a community of interest with the Banque de l'Union Parisienne, which lent them 24 millions, likewise with Schneider of the Creusot works, who furnished them the plans for the 75 millimeter guns and the necessary engineers and technicians, and also with Krupp in Essen, who put the experience of the German heavy artillery manufacture and its experts and foremen at their disposal. Here we see how French and German engineers and artisans, united under the direction of officials and financiers of whom some belonged to a group from the Union Parisienne and others were related with the Deutsche Bank, were working on guns with which later on they were to shoot each other dead. It is a most marvelous thing, this rule of international capitalism. 3

In 1906 a company was formed in England with the object of acquiring the Flume branch of the firm of Whitehead and Company and taking over its management. Other English armament firms participated in the enterprise, whose board of directors in Hungary in 1914 consisted of the following persons: Count Edgar Hoyos (general director), Albert Edward Jones, Henry Whitehead (firm of Armstrong-Whitworth), Saxton William Armstrong Noble (manager for Europe of the Vickers firm), Arthur Trevors Dawson (managing Director of Vickers), and Professor Sigmund Dankli as we see, nearly all English names, and representatives of the best-known and most powerful firms in the English armament industry.

Under the board of directors of this company the German U-boat, "Number 5," was built, which in the year 1914 sank the French armored cruiser, "Leon Gambetta," in the strait of Otranto with six hundred Frenchmen on board. One could cite a number of similar examples, but this would only mean a constant repetition of the same bloody tale. That in this respect there was no change even after the World War, the widely known Lord Robert Cecil proved emphatically at the gigantic demonstration of the Women's Peace Crusaders in London, in June, 1932, where Cecil launched a very sharp attack against the international armament industry arid especially emphasized the sinister influence of the Parisian press. According to his statement, some of the greatest French newspapers had been bought by the interests of the steel and iron industry and were working day and night against the international disarmament conference. That the contemptible attitude of the so-called "League of Nations" in the Japanese-Chinese question can for the largest part be traced to the wretched machinations of the international armament industry is an open secret that sparrows now chirp from the housetops. Naturally international high finance pursued the same course. 4

It is, therefore, quite meaningless to speak of a community of national interests; for that which the ruling class of every country has up to now defended as national interest has never been anything but the special interest of privileged minorities in society secured by the exploitation and political suppression of the great masses. Likewise, the soil of the so-called "fatherland" and its natural riches have always been in the possession of these classes, so that one can with full right speak of a "fatherland of the rich." If the nation were in fact the community of interests which it has been called, then there would not be in modern history revolutions and civil wars, because the people do not resort to the arms of revolt purely from pleasure -- just as little do the endless wage fights occur because the working sections of the population are too well off!

But if we cannot speak of a community of purely economic and material interests within the nation, even less can we do so when so-called spiritual interests are in question. Not seldom have religious and philosophical problems profoundly stirred the nations and split them into hostile camps. It must be understood, however, that in such conflicts economic and political motives were also active, and frequently played important parts. We need but think of the bloody struggle in France, England, Germany and other countries between the adherents of the old church and the various factions of Protestantism which shook profoundly the inner balance of the nations, or of the sharp and frequently violent conflicts between democratic citizenry and representatives of absolute monarchy; we need but remember the murderous war between the Northern and Southern states of America for the maintenance or abolition of negro slavery -- and thousands of other events in history -- and we shall easily be able to estimate the worth of the assertion that the nation is the guardian of spiritual interests.

Every nation is today split by varying trends of thought into dozens of parties whose activity destroys the feeling of national unity and brands as a lie the fable of the community of intellectual interests of the nation. Each of these parties has its own party program, in pursuit of which it attacks everything which threatens it and uncritically adores whatever furthers its special purpose. And as any movement can only represent the views of a certain part of the nation, never the nation in its entirety, it follows that the so-called "Intellectual interest of the nation" or the alleged "national thought" displays as many shades and colors as there are parties and movements in the country. Hence, every party asserts that in it the intellectual interests of the nation are best guarded, and in critical times each vilifies all other concepts and tendencies as antagonistic and even traitorous to the fatherland-a method which surely does not take very much intellect, but it has never failed so far. Germany and Italy are the classic witnesses to this.

Moreover, one finds this conflict of ideas and tendencies not only between parties which oppose one another as exponents of definite economic principles and political aims, one finds it also between movements which philosophically stand on the same ground and oppose one another solely for reasons of a subordinate nature. It is just in such cases that the battle between the various factions becomes ever more irreconcilable till it reaches a degree of fanaticism quite incomprehensible to the impartial spectator. A glance at the present party fights in the camp of socialism is proof of this. The further one pursues the matter the more clearly it appears that the unity of intellectual interests of the nation is in a very bad way. In reality, the belief in this unity is a delusion which will have permanence as long as the ruling classes of the national states succeed by external glamour in fooling the great masses of the population as to the real causes of social disintegration.

Moreover, the differences of economic interest and intellectual effort within the nation have naturally developed special habits and modes of living among the members of the various social classes. It is, therefore, very venturesome to speak of a community of national customs and morals. But the concept has only a very qualified value. Indeed, what community can there be in this respect between one of the members of the Berlin "millionaire quarter" and a Ruhr miner? Between a Bavarian lumberjack and an East Elbian junker? Between a modern industrial magnate and a common laborer? Between a Prussian general and a Holstein fisherman? Between a society lady surrounded by every luxury and a cottage housewife in the Silesian mountains? Every larger country contains many distinctions of a climatic, cultural, economic and general social nature. It has its great cities, its highly developed industrial regions, its out-of-the-world villages and mountain valleys to which hardly a glimmer of modern life has penetrated. This endless variety of intellectual and material conditions of life precludes beforehand any close community of morals and customs.

Every rank, every class, every stratum of society develops its special habits of life into which a stranger penetrates with difficulty. It is by no means an exaggeration to maintain that between the working populations of different nations there is a greater community of general habits and customs than between the possessing and the non-possessing sections of the same nation. A worker who finds himself in a foreign country will soon find his sphere among the members o his trade or class), while the doors of another social class are hermetically closed against him in his own country. This applies, of course, to all other classes and sections of the population.

The sharp antagonism between town and country observable today in almost every land forms one of the greatest social problems of our time. To what degree these antagonisms can develop Germany learned during the hard times of the inflation, and the lesson will not quickly be forgotten. It was during the planned and organized starvation of the cities that the trenchant phrase was coined, "a people starving amid full granaries." Every appeal to the national spirit and alleged community of interest of the nation died out at that time like a cry in the wilderness, showing full clearly that the fairy tale of community of national interest bursts like a soap-bubble as soon as the special interests of a definite group make their appearance. But between town and country there exist not only antagonisms of a purely economic nature; there exists also between them a strong emotional aversion which has gradually arisen from differences in the conditions of social life and which today is very deep seated. There are very few townsmen who can completely penetrate into the mental processes and views of life of the peasant. It is probably still more difficult for the peasant to penetrate into the intellectual and moral life of the townsman, against whom he has for centuries nursed a mute hatred to be explained by the social relations which have up to now existed between town and country.

The same chasm exists between the intellectual leaders of the nation and the great masses of the working people. Even among those intellectuals who have for years been active in the socialist labor movement there are very few who are really able to understand the sentiments and thoughts of the workers. Some intellectuals even find the effort very painful, a situation which often gives occasion to tragic inner conflicts. Obviously we are dealing, in such a case, not with inborn differences of thinking and feeling, but with the result of a special mode of life arising from a different kind of education within a different social environment. The older a man grows, the harder he finds it to withdraw from those influences whose results have become second nature to him. This invisible wall which today exists between the intellectuals and the working masses of every nation is one of the main reasons for the secret mistrust with which wide sections of the laboring population quite unconsciously confront the intellectual and which has gradually condensed into the well-known theory of "the calloused fist."

It is vastly more difficult to provide a point of intellectual contact between representatives of capitalism and of the working population of a nation. For millions of workers the capitalist is only a sort of octopus who feeds on their flesh and blood. Many of them cannot understand that behind the capitalist's purely economic actions there may exist a purely human quality. The capitalist, on the other hand, usually observes the endeavors of the laborer as a total stranger; yes, often with openly displayed contempt, often felt by the workers as more oppressive and more humiliating than even their economic exploitation. While towards the workers of his own country the capitalist is always filled with a certain mistrust, often mixed with open antagonism, he shows to the possessing classes of other nations a continued attachment, even where he is not dealing with purely economic or political questions. This relationship may be impaired temporarily when the opposing interests are too strong; but the inner conflict between the possessing and the propertyless classes in the same nation never vanishes.

"Community of national tradition," likewise, amounts to little. Historical tradition is, after all, something quite different from that which is presented to us in the educational institutions of the state. In any event, the tradition is not the essentially far more important is the way in which the tradition is received, explained and felt by the various social castes within the nation. The concept of the nation as a "community of destiny," therefore, is as misleading as it is ambiguous. There are events in every nation's history which are felt by all its members as fateful, but the nature of the feeling is very different among different groups, and is often determined by the part which one or the other of the parties or classes has played in those events. When at the time of the Paris Commune thirty five thousand men, women and children of the working class were put to death, the gruesome slaughter was doubtless felt by both parties as fateful; but while one class with pierced breasts and torn limbs covered the streets of the capital, their death gave the others the possibility of re-establishing their rule, which had been very badly shaken by the lost war. In this sense the Paris Commune lives in the traditions of the nation. For the propertied class the revolt of March 18, 1871, is an "outrageous rebellion of the canaille against law and order"; for the working class it is "a glorious episode in the proletarian fight for freedom."

Volumes might be filled with similar examples from the history of all nations. Furthermore, the recent historical events in Hungary, Italy, Germany, Austria, and so on, give the best of instruction concerning the character of the "community of destiny of the nations." Brutal force can impose a common fate on a nation, just as it can arbitrarily create or destroy a nation; for the nation is not an organically evolved entity, but something artificially created by the state, with which it is most intimately intergrown, as every page of history shows. The state itself, however, is not an organic structure, and sociological research has demonstrated that everywhere and at all times it has appeared as a result of forceful intervention of warlike elements in the life of peaceful human groups. The nation is, therefore, a purely political concept arising solely from the adherence of men to a definite state. Also, in the so-called "law of nations," the word has exclusively this meaning, as is apparent from the fact that any man can become a member of any nation by naturalization.

How arbitrarily the adherence of whole groups of people to a nation is determined by the brutal compulsion of the stronger, the history of every country shows by numerous examples. Thus, the inhabitants of the present French Riviera went to sleep one evening as Italians and awoke next morning as Frenchmen because a handful of diplomats had so decided. The Heligolander was a member of the British nation and a faithful subject of the British government until Britain got the idea of selling the island to Germany; then the national membership of the inhabitants underwent a fundamental change. If on the day before this decision it was their greatest merit to be good English patriots, then after the transfer of the island to Germany this highest virtue became the greatest sin against the "spirit of the nation." There are many such examples, and they are characteristic of the whole formative history of the modern state. One need but glance at the stupid and stumbling provisions of the Versailles treaty to get a classic example of how nations are artificially manufactured.

And just as the stronger can today and at all times decide upon the national membership of the weaker according to his pleasure, so it was and is also empowered to end the nation's existence arbitrarily if for reasons of state this appears to him desirable. Read the reasons on which Prussia, Austria and Russia based their intervention in Poland and prepared the partition of that land. They are stated in the famous pact' of August 5, 1772, and are truly a shining example of conscious mendacity, nauseating hypocrisy, and brute force. It is merely because these phenomena have heretofore been given so little consideration that we have such curious illusions concerning the real nature of the nation. It is not "national differences" which lead to the formation of the various states; it is the states which artificially create national differences and further them on principle, for these have to serve the states as moral justification for their own existence. Tagore has stated this inherent antagonism between the nation and society in these splendid words:

A nation, in the sense of the political and economic union of a people, is that aspect which a whole population assumes when organized for a mechanical purpose. Society as such has no ulterior purpose. It is an end in itself. It is a spontaneous self-expression of man as a social being. It is a natural regulation of human relationships so that men can develop ideals of life in cooperation with one another. 5

The contrast between the political organization of North and South America serves as an excellent example of the fact that a nation does not organically evolve itself, create itself, as is often asserted, but is rather the artificial creation of the state mechanically imposed on various human groups. In North America the Union succeeded in combining all the land between the Canadian and Mexican borders, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, into a powerful federated state, a process greatly furthered by favourable circumstances of various kinds. And this happened in spite of the fact that the United States contained the most motley mixture of people assembled from all the nations and races of Europe and of other continents; so that it has been rightly called the melting-pot of the nations.

South and Central America, however, are separated into sixteen different states with sixteen different nations, although the racial relation between these peoples is incomparably closer than it is in North America, and the same language-with the exception of Portuguese in Brazil and various Indian tongues-prevails in all. But the political evolution qf Latin America was of a different order. Although Simon Bolivar, the "liberator" of South America from the Spanish yoke, sought to create a federated state for all South American countries, his plan did not succeed; for ambitious dictators and generals, like Prieto in Chile, Gamarra in Peru, Flores in Ecuador, Rosas in Argentina, opposed this project by all possible means. Bolivar was so disappointed by the machinations of his rivals that shortly before his death he wrote: "In South America there is neither trust nor faith; neither among men nor among the various states. Every treaty is here but a scrap of paper and what are here called constitutions are but a collection of such scraps."

The result of the power lust of small minorities and dictatorially inclined individuals was the creation of quite a number of national states, which in the name of national interest and national honor waged war against one another quite as we do. If political events in North America had developed as they did in the lands of the southern continent, then there would be today Californians, Michiganders, Kentuckians and Pennsylvanians, just as in South America there are Argentinians, Chileans, Peruvians and Brazilians. Here is the best proof that the nation's existence is founded purely on political endeavor.

Whoever yields to the illusion that community of material and intellectual interest and identity of morals, customs and traditions constitutes the real nature of the nation, and from this arbitrary assumption tries to deduce the necessity of national endeavors, deceives himself and others. Of this kind of unity nothing is discernible in any of the existing nations. The force of social circumstances is always stronger than the abstract assumptions of all nationalistic ideology.

  • 1When the news of this conference sifted through to the public and it became known that General Degoutte had made it clear to the gentlemen that he was not minded to interfere in matters of internal German politics, the German workers' press accused Stinnes and company of treason to the country. Driven into a corner, the promoters at first flatly denied everything. But at the sitting of the Reichstag on November 20, 1923, the Socialist member, Wels, read the protocol of the conference prepared by the industrialists themselves, and ally doubt concerning the occurrence of the meeting was finally removed.
  • 2Deals of this sort are often used by these men to persuade their own states to give them new orders. Thus, Walton Newbold reports in his valuable book upon concrete cases from the business practices of the well-known arms firm, Mitehel and Company in England, which are very significant for the methods of the armament giants.

    "Armstrong was a genius. His firm built for Chile the powerful cruiser, ŒEsmeralda.¹ When the ship was completed he addressed himself to the British public and declared with every appearance of moral indignation that our [that is, the English] navy possessed no ship which could catch the ŒEsmerala,¹ escape it, or fight it successfully. He pointed out the danger such a ship might be to our commerce. The admiralty took this gentle hint and bought from Sir William Armstrong's firm most of the guns and armament for a new and improved 'Esmeralda.' Later on the same firm built for Italy a still better cruiser, the Tierrionte,' and again Armstrong was able to enlist the world for his firm, and the South American states competed with one another and with Japan to obtain the first improved 'Piemonte' from the Elswick works. England likewise constructed a few Piemontes, which, while they were built in other places, were equipped with Armstrong cannons of the newest pattern!"

    In another place Newbold reports:

    "For nearly thirty years the firms of Sir William Armstrong and Sir Joseph Whitworth, who both manufactured guns, fought like cats and dogs to depreciate each other's products. Only on one point were they unanimous; both emphasized the opinion that all expenditure for the manufacture of armour-plate was to be regarded as uselessly wasted money, which had better be spent for guns. For both firms made only guns, no armour-plate. Ten years after this valiant fight against armour-plate, when the two firms had united, the first step of their successors was the erection of a marvellous plant for the manufacture of armour-plate." -- (J. T. Walton Newbold, How Europe Armed for the War. London, 1916.)

    These cases are by no means the worst and occur not only in "perfidious Albion." Every armament firm, without distinction of nation, pursues the same dirty methods and is very able to "correct" all given possibilities for good business so as to promote its profits. Here is only one example:

    "On April 19, 1913, the delegate, Karl Liebknecht, supported by the Centrum's delegate, Pfeifer, made a statement in the Reichstag that stirred all Germany. Backed by indisputable documents he proved that Krupp, using a certain Brandt as intermediary, had bribed a number of subordinate officials of the general staff and the war office to obtain possession of important documents concerning pending arms orders. Furthermore, Krupp had officers of all ranks up to general and admiral in his service at the highest salaries, whose duty it was to procure arms orders for him. When this did not suffice, then, in company with other armament manufacturers like Mauser, Thyssen, Düren, Löwe, he bought a part of the press to whip up jingo patriotism and war sentiment. By an official search a part of these secret documents was found in the home of Herr von Dewitz, the assistant superintendent of the Krupp works. By this press propaganda a feeling of continuous danger from other nations was to be aroused and the German people made favorable to further expenditures for war purposes. According to seasonal necessity the names of the threatening enemies were changed: When Krupp or Thyssen needed orders for machine guns, then it was the French or the Russians; if the dock yards of Stettin needed orders for battleships, then Germany was threatened by the English. Liebknecht had among his proofs a letter from the director of the Löwe arms factory to his Paris agent in the Rue de Chateaudun:

    "If possible procure the publication in one of the French papers having the largest circulation, preferably Figaro, an article running something like this: "The French war ministry has resolved to speed up the manufacture of machine guns for the army and to increase the original orders by too percent. Please do your utmost to procure the spread of similar news. (Signed) von Gontard, Director."

    "However, the report was not accepted in this form. The lie was too obvious, and the war ministry would at once have denied it. But a few days later there appeared, of course quite accidentally, in Figaro, Matin, and Echo de Paris a number of articles concerning the advantages of the new French machine guns and the predominance they gave to French armament.

    "With these newspapers in his hand the Prussian delegate, Schmidt, an ally of German heavy industry, questioned the Reich's chancellor as to what the government intended to do to meet these French threats and restore the balance of armament. Bluffed and frightened, the Reichstag then by a great majority and without discussion voted the sums for the increase of the stock of machine guns. France quite naturally answered with a further strengthening of this type of arm. So, while Figaro and Echo de Paris kept the French people agitated by excerpts from the German papers, especially the Post, which Gontard owned, German public opinion was by similar means prepared for still further armament. The dividends of the Creusots, the Mausers, and the Krupps rose, the directors got larger salaries, and Figaro and Echo de Paris cashed a number of checks -- and, as usual, the people paid." (Hinter elen Kulissen des Französchen Journalismuis von einem Pariser Chefredacteur. Berlin, 1925, p. 129.)

  • 3 Hinter den Kulisren des Franzdsijchen Journalismus, etc., P. 252.
  • 4There exists today a whole literature concerning this darkest chapter of the capitalistic social order. Besides the writings already referred to we may mention the following: Generäle, Hänller, und Soldaten, by Maxim Ziesc and Flerniann Ziese-Beringer; The Devil's Business, by N Fenner Brockway; Dollar Diplomacy by Scott Nearing and J. Freeman; Oil and the Germs of War, by Scott Nearing; and above all, the excellent essay by Otto Lehmann-Russbüldt, Die blutige Internationale der Rastungsindustrie. It is significant that although up to now no attempt even has been made to question the frightful facts given by Lehmann-Russbiildt, the former German government denied this upright man a passport to prevent him from travelling Abroad-because thereby the interests of the Reich would allegedly be endangered.

    One finds it quite in order that civilized cannibals should make a business of organized mass murder and invest their capital in enterprises which have as a presupposition the wholesale killing of men while at the same time a man is socially ostracized who has the courage to brand publicly the shameless and criminal machinations of the dishonourable rascals who coin money from the blood and misery of the masses.

  • 5Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism, New York, 1917, p. 19.


17. The Nation as Community of Language

The nation as community of language
Language and culture
Foreign constituents in language
Purism and the development of language
Literary language and popular speech
Religion, science, art, profession, etc., as mediators of new language values
Language and imagery
The significance of loanwords in language development
Oriental symbolism in language
Foreign material in native guise
Speech and thought
Nature and language
Work and language
The symbolism of language
Linguistic atavisms
The illogical in language formation
Constant change in linguistic expression
The inadequacy of psychological language theories

Submitted by Toms on September 5, 2011

The influence of the cultural circle versus the tie of communal speech
The development of the English language
Idiom and language
The belief in the Ursprache
Concerning the common genealogy of the Aryan languages
Peoples that change their language
Nations with different language districts

Of all the evidences which have been cited for the existence of a national ideology, community of language is by far the most important. Many see in community of language the essential characteristic of the nation. A common language is, in fact, a strong tie for any human grouping; and Wilhelm von Humboldt says with some reason: "The true homeland is really the language." Karl Julius Weber saw in language the real characteristic of nationality: "In nothing does the national character, the imprint of the mental and spiritual power of a people, express itself so clearly as in its language."

Likewise, the best-known representatives of nationalistic ideas in the last century, like Schleiermacher, Fichte, Jahn and the men of the German League of Virtue; Mazzini, Pisacane, Niemojowsky, Lelewel, the "Young Europe," and the German democrats of 1848, confined their concept of the nation to the realm of a common language. Arndt's song, "What is the German's Fatherland?" shows this. It is significant that Arndt as well as Mazzini based their efforts at national unification not on popular speech, but on the written language, so as to include the largest possible fatherland.

A common language naturally appears highly important to the advocates of the national idea because it is a people's highest means of expression and must, in a certain sense, be regarded as a sample of its intellectual life. Language is not the invention of individual men. In its creation and development the community has worked and continues to work as long as the language has life in it. Hence, language appeared to the advocates of the national idea as the purest product of national creativeness and became for them the clearest symbol of national unity. Yet this concept, no matter how fascinating and irrefutable it may appear to most, rests on a totally arbitrary assumption. Among the present existing languages there is not one which has developed from a definite people. It is very probable that there were once homogeneous languages, but that time is long past, lost in the greyest antiquity of history. The individuality of language disappears the moment reciprocal relations arise between different hordes, tribes and peoples. The more numerous and various these relations become in the course of the millenniums, the larger borrowings does every language make from other languages, every culture from other cultures.

Consequently, no language is the purely national product of a particular people, nor even of a particular nation. Towards the development of every one of our cultural languages peoples of the most various origins have contributed. This was inevitable, because a language as long as it is spoken at all continually absorbs foreign elements in spite of all the noise of the purification fanatics. For every language is an organism in constant flux; it obeys no fixed rules, and flies in the face of all the dictates of logic. Not only does it make the most diversified borrowings from other languages, a phenomenon due to the countless influences and points of contact in cultural life, but it also possesses a stock of words that is continually changing. Quite gradually and unnoticeably the shadings and gradations of the concepts which find their expression in words alter, so that it often happens that a word means today exactly the opposite of what men originally expressed by it.

In reality, there exists no cultural language which does not contain great mass of foreign material, and the attempt to free it from these reign intruders would lead to a complete dissolution of the language -- that is, if such a purification could be achieved at all. Every European language contains a mass of foreign elements with which, often, whole dictionaries could be filled. How, for instance, would the German or the Dutch language look if all the words borrowed from French or Latin were removed from it, not to speak of words of other origin? How, the Spanish language, without its countless elements borrowed from the Germans and the Arabs? And what a mass of German, English, and even Turkish words has penetrated into the Russian and Polish tongues! Similarly, the Hungarian language contains a great number of words of Italian and Turkish origin. Rumanian consists only one-half of words of Latin descent; three-eighths of its stock of words are from the Slavic, one-eighth from the Turkish, Magyar and Greek. In the Albanian, until now, only five or six hundred original words have been distinguished; all the rest is a mixture of the most varied elements. Fritz Mauthner remarks very correctly in his great work, Contributions to a Critique of Language, that it is owing simply to "the accident of point of view that, for example, we speak of the French language as Romance and of the English as Germanic." And it is well known that the Latin language itself, from which all the Romance languages trace their descent, contained a body of words of Greek origin, to the number of several thousand.

For the development of every language the acceptance of foreign elements is essential. No people lives for itself. Every enduring intercourse with other peoples results in the borrowing of words from their language; this is quite indispensable to reciprocal cultural fecundation. The countless points of contact which culture daily creates between people leave their traces in language. New objects, ideas, concepts -- religious, political, and generally social -- lead to new expressions and word formations. In this, the older and more highly developed cultures naturally have a strong influence on less developed folk-groups and furnish these with new ideas which find their expression in language.

Many of the newly acquired elements of speech gradually adapt themselves so completely to the phonetic laws of the adopting language that eventually their origin can no longer be recognized. We quite involuntarily feel that words like Existenz, Idee, Melodie, Musik, Muse, Natur, Religion, and a hundred others are foreign words in the German language. And the speech of political life is completely permeated with foreign words. That Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Sozialismus, Bolschevismus, Anarchismus, Kommunismus, Liberalismus, Konservatismus, Fascismus, Terrorismus, Diklatur, Revolution, Reaktion, Partei, Parliament, Demokratie, Monarchie, Republik, and so on, are not German speech elements, we recognize at the first glance.

But there is also a great mass of words of foreign descent in the German language which have in the course of time become so colloquial that their foreign origin has been completely forgotten. Who would, for example, regard as strangers such words as Abenteuer, Anker, Artzt, Bezirk, Bluse, Bresche, Brief, Essig, Fenster, Frack, Gruppe, Kaiser, Kantor, Kasse, Keller, Keltrr, Kerker, Kette, Kirsche, Koch, Koffer, Kohl, Kreuz, Küche, Lampe, Laune, Markt, Mauer, Mede, Meister, Mühle, Müller, Münze, Oel, Orgel, Park, Pfahl, Pfau, Pfeffer, Pfeiler, Pfirsich, Pflanze, Pforte, Pfosten, Pfühl, Pfütze, Pfund, Pöbel, Prinz, Pulver, Radieschen, Rest, Schiissel, Schule, Schwindler, Schreiber, Siegel, Speicher, Speise, Strasse, Teller, Tisch, Trichier, Vogt, Ziegel, Zirkel, Zoll, Zwiebel, and countless others? [1]

Very frequently the foreign word changes in the course of time so completely that its mutilated form sounds like other words and we involuntarily give it a quite different meaning. Thus Armbrust (crossbow) has nothing in common with either Arm (arm) nor Brust (breast), but instead goes back to the Latin word arcubalista, meaning arc-thrower, or catapult. Likewise Ebenholz (ebony) has no relation to eben (smooth), but again goes back to the Hebrew word, hobnin, from obni, meaning stony. The German Vielfrass (wolverine), which, construed as a Germanic word, equals "much-eater," ³glutton² -- originates from the Norwegian fjeldfross (mountain-cat). Murmeltier (marmot) does not come from murmeln (to murmur), but was formed during the Middle Ages from the Latin murem, accusative of mus (mouse), and montis or montanum -- that is, "mountain mouse." The word Tolpatsch first appeared in the seventeenth century in southern Germany. It was a popular designation for Hungarian soldiers. The word owes its origin to the Hungarian talpas, meaning flat-foot. (In modern German, Tolpatsch means blockhead, booby -- also the dodo.) Ohrfeige (box on the ear) comes from the Dutch word veeg (blow). Trampeltier goes back to the Latin dromedarius. Hängematte (as if from German roots meaning hanging mat) comes from the South American word hamaca. From the thieves' jargon comes Kümmelblättchen (three-card monte), which has nothing in common with Kümmel (caraway seed), but with the Hebrew word gimel (three). Likewise, the word Pleite, so much used today, is of Hebrew origin and comes from pletah (flight). French has left many traces in our language. Thus the quite senselessly conjoined mutterseelenallein, about which there plays for us today all the sickly sentimentality of deutsches Gemüt, comes from moi tout seul 1 . Fisimatenten comes from fils de ma tante (son of my aunt). The German words forsch and Forsche have the French base, force. When we say that we throw our lives into the Schanze (in die Schanze schlagen) this has nothing to do with Schanze (bulwark); the expression comes instead from the French chance -- equaling the English chance. Hence also, the expression ³zuschanzen² (Jemanden etwas zuschanzen -- give someone an opportunity). The formerly much used word, Schwager, for coachman, we doubtless owe to the French chevalier.

Such examples can be given for every language by the thousands. They are characteristic of the spirit of language and of the development of human thought in general. It would be quite erroneous to credit this intrusion of foreign speech elements simply to the written language. Because through this the ideas of the educated classes find expression it is often quite unreasonably assumed that the popular speech is better guarded against the intrusion of foreign elements and that it quite instinctively repels them. It is admitted that in the language of the educated, and especially in that of scholars, we have gone too far in the use of quite arbitrarily selected foreign words, so that we can with reason speak of a ³caste language.² When we consider that in the well-known Heyse Dictionary of Foreign Words there are no less than a hundred thousand expressions derived from a dozen different languages which are all supposed to be used in German, we may indeed regard this abundance with a secret dread. Nevertheless, it is quite mistaken to assume that popular speech offers any great resistance to the intrusion of foreign words. The fact is that also in those dialects of all European cultural languages in which the speech of the people finds purest expression we find a body of foreign words. There are quite a number of South German dialects in which, without much difficulty, plenty of Slavic, Romance, and even Hebrew, elements can be observed. Likewise, the Berliners regularly use such Hebrew words as Ganef, Rebach, Gallach, Mischpoche, Tinef, meschugge, and so on. We also remember the well-known words of William II, ³Ich dulde keine mIESmacher!" The word Kaffer, which is used everywhere in Germany to describe a foolish or stupid man, has no relation to the South African tribe of Kafirs, but has its root in the Hebrew kafar, meaning village.

It frequently happens that the original meaning of borrowed words is completely lost and is replaced by other ideas which have hardly any resemblance to the fundamental meaning of the word. One can make very interesting discoveries in this field, open surprising vistas into the inner connections of things. Thus, in my Rhenish-Hessian home, a cross-eyed man is in the popular tongue called a Masik. The word comes from the Hebrew and means demon or goblin. In this case the word's original meaning was changed considerably, but we recognize quite clearly the associations involved; for a cross-eyed person was formerly regarded as being "possessed by demons" or as having an "evil eye."

In southwestern Germany one hails a drunken man with a friendly, "Schesswai," from the French je suis, I am. One discharged from employment explains that he has been "geschassi" from the French chasser, to chase. Mumm comes from the Latin animus (animum in the accusative); Kujohn, from the French coion (rogue); Sclimanfut is from je m¹en fus (I don't give a damn!). Quite a number of blunt foreign expressions found in the writings of that talented maker of language, Johann Fischart, who borrowed from Rabelais, survive even today in popular speech. Furthermore, there are quite a number of foreign words out of that region which have penetrated into the written language and have common currency in southern and southwestern Germany. We need but think of schikanieren, malträtieren, alterieren, kujonieren, genieren, pussieren, and a hundred other expressions. The man of the people uses these words freely and their German rendering would sound strange to him. It is, therefore, completely wrong to prate about the natural purity of the popular tongue, which nowhere exists.

In expressing our thoughts we ought, of course, to use German terms so far as these are at our disposal. The very feeling of language demands this. But we also know that in our best speech there is today a mass of foreign elements of whose origin we are no longer conscious. We know, furthermore, that in spite of all endeavours of so-called "speech purifiers" it is unavoidable that these should continually find admittance into the various languages. Every new intellectual development, every social movement which transcends the narrow frontiers of a country, every new device borrowed from other people, every advance in science with its immediate effects in the field of technology, every change in the general means of intercourse, every change in world economics with its political consequences, every development in art, causes the intrusion of newly borrowed words into the language.

Christianity and the church caused a regular invasion of Greek and Latin word-structures which were unknown before. Many of these expressions have so thoroughly changed in the course of time that the stranger is no longer recognized. We need but think of such words as Abt, Altar, Bibel, Bischof, Dom (cathedral), Kantor, Kaplan, Kapelle, Kreuz, Messe, Mönch, Münster, Nonne, Papst, Priester, Probst (provost), Teufel, and a long list of others used by the Catholic church. The same phenomenon was repeated with the spread of -Roman law in German Jands. The change of legal systems to conform to the Roman pattern brought us a whole body of new ideas which necessarily found admission into the language. In general, by contact with the Roman world, the language of the German people became permeated with new expressions and word-forms, which the Germans, in their turn, conveyed-to their Slavic and Finnish neighbours.

The development of militarism and army organization brought a whole flood of new words from France, which the French in their turn had borrowed from the Italians. Most of these words have retained their foreign imprint completely. Think of Armee, Marine, Artillerie, Infanterie, Kavallerie, Regiment, Kompanie, Schwadron, Bataillon, Major, General, Leutenant, Sergeant, Munition, Patrone, Bajonett, Bombe, Granate, Schrapnell, Kaserne, Baracke, equipieren, exerzieren, fiisilieren, chargieren, rekrutieren, kommandieren, and countless other words from military life.

The introduction of new foods and drinks has enriched our language with a long line of totally foreign expressions. There are Kaffee and Zucker from the Arabic, Tee from the Chinese, Tabak from the Indian, Sago from the Malayan, Reis from the Latin-Greek, Kakao from the Mexican. We will not speak of the new words with which science daily endows the language, nor of the countless coined words which the language of art contains. Their number is quite beyond reckoning. Today sport, which is spreading in Germany quite uncannily, has adorned the language with many English and American technical expressions that hardly enhance its beauty. Even when one tries hard to eliminate these foreign words and replace them by German expressions quite monstrous results sometimes follow.

But we are dealing not alone with so-called loan-words taken from a foreign language and in some form transferred to our own. There is another phenomenon in the development of every language for which the term loan-translation has been coined. When a hitherto unknown idea from another cultural circle penetrates into our mental or social life it does not always happen that, together with the new idea, we accept a foreign expression into our language. It frequently occurs that we translate the newly acquired concept into our own language by creating from the material at hand a word structure not previously used. Here the stranger confronts us, so to speak, in the mask of our own language. In this manner came words like Halbwelt, from demi-monde; Aussperrung, from lockout; Halbinsel, from peninsula; Zwieback, from biscuit; Wolkenkratzer, from skyscraper, and a hundred similar creations. In his Critique of Language, Mauthner mentions a number of these "bastard translations," as he calls them; words like Ausdruck (expression), Bischen (particle), Rücksicht (regard), and Wohliat (beneficence). Of such loan translations there are a great number in every language. These have an actually revolutionary effect on the course of development of the language, and show us most of all the unreality of the view which maintains that in every language the spirit of a particular people lives and works. In reality every loan-translation is but a proof of the continuous penetration of foreign cultural elements within our own cultural circle -- in so far as a people can speak of "its own culture."

Let us take into account how strongly the oriental imagery of the Old and New Testament has affected the heritage of all European languages. We are thinking not only of short phrases like "mark of Cain," "judgment of Solomon," "Job's comforter," "to bear one's cross," and so on, which are quite colloquial; more involved figures from the Bible have penetrated into all languages so deeply that they have become fully naturalized in everyday speech. Here are some examples which could easily be multiplied many times: to sell one's birthright for a mess of pottage; for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle; to gird up one's loins; a wolf in sheep's clothing; heaping coals of fire on one's head; to drive out the Devil with Beelzebub; to put new wine into old bottles; to hide one's light under a bushel; not worthy to tie the shoe-laces of another; being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove; straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel; a voice crying in the wilderness; poor as job; a light dawning on us; to speak with fiery tongues; to be like unto whited sepulchres; to wash one's hands of guilt; and a whole line of others of the kind.

In fact, loan-translation is one of the most curious things in language. Who thinks deeper here will reach conclusions which completely dispel the fairy tale of the immaculate conception of national speech. Loan-translations testify eloquently how strongly culture unites mankind. This bond is so enduring because it has, so to speak, tied itself and has not been imposed on man by external pressure. Compared with culture, so-called "national consciousness" is but an artificial creation serving to justify the political ambitions of small minorities in society.

Culture knows no such subterfuge, if only for the reason that it was not mechanically made, but has grown organically. It is the sum total of all human activity and motivates our lives unconditionally and without pretence. Loan-translations are nothing but intellectual borrowings by various groups of people within a certain cultural circle-and even beyond it. This influence, the so-called "national consciousness" opposes vainly, and Fritz Mauthrier remarks with good reason:

Before the intrusion of national consciousness, before the beginning of purist movements, the mass of the people borrowed from the treasury of foreign speech. Afterwards, such loans were avoided, but all the more numerously foreign concepts were brought into the language by translation. There are modern people of such touchy national feeling that they have driven purism to the utmost extreme (Neo-Greeks and Czechs). But they can isolate only their language, not their world concepts, their whole intellectual situation. 2

For speech is not a special organism obeying its own laws, as was formerly believed; it is the form of expression of human individuals socially united. It changes with the spiritual and social conditions of life and is in the highest degree dependent on them. In speech, human thought expresses itself, but this is no purely personal affair, as is often assumed, but an inner process continually animated and influenced by the social environment. In man's thoughts are mirrored not only his natural environment, but all relations which he has with his fellows. The closer the union to which we belong, the richer and more varied the cultural relations we maintain with our fellow men, the stronger are the reciprocal effects which unite us with our social environment and continually influence our thought.

Thinking is, therefore, by no means a process which finds its explanation solely in the mental life of the individual; it is likewise a reflection of the natural and social environment which crystallizes in man's brain into definite concepts. From this point of view the social character of human thought is undeniable; and as speech is but the living expression of our thought, its existence is rooted in the life of society and conditioned by it.

This is, indeed, apparent from the fact that human speech is not inborn, but only acquired by man through his social relations. It is not maintained that by this concept all the riddles of thought and speech have been solved. In this field there is very much for which we have no sufficient explanation; and the well-known opinion of Goethe, that really "no one understands another, and no one on hearing the same words thinks what another thinks," has certainly profound meaning. There are still many unknown and mysterious things in us and around us concerning which the last word has not yet been spoken. However, we are not dealing here with such problems, but solely with the social character of thought and speech, which in our opinion is undeniable.

Concerning the origin of language, likewise, we have until now only been able to surmise, but Haeckel's assumption that man commenced his evolutionary course as a mute being appears to us to have little probability. It is reasonable to - assume that man, who had inherited the social instincts of his predecessors in the animal kingdom, was already, upon his appearance on the human plane of life, endowed with certain expressions of speech-however crude and undeveloped these might have been. For language in its widest sense is not the exclusive property of man, but can be clearly recognized in all social species. That within these species a certain mutual understanding takes place is undeniable according to all observations. It is not language as such, but the special forms of human speech, the articulate language which permits of concepts and so enables man's thoughts to achieve higher results, which distinguish man in this respect from other species.

It is probable that human speech was at its beginning limited to certain sounds derived from nature, to which were probably added expressions denoting pain, pleasure or surprise. These sounds became habitual within the horde for the designation of certain things and were inherited by the progeny. With these first paltry beginnings the necessary preconditions for the further development of speech were given. But speech itself became for man a valuable instrument in the struggle for existence and has doubtless contributed most to his fabulous rise.

By communal work, obligatory for the whole horde, there gradually arose also a series of special designations for the tools and objects of daily use. Every new invention, every discovery, contributed to the enrichment of the previously acquired store of language, and this evolution in time led to the formation of definite word pictures or symbols from which a new mode of thinking had to result. Although language was primarily only an expression of thought, it now reacted on thought and influenced its course. The image import of words, which originally sprang from purely sensual impressions, gradually progressed to the mental and created thereby the first precondition for abstract thinking. From this arose that curious reciprocal action between speech and human thought, which during cultural development has become ever more varied and complicated, so that we can with some reason maintain that "language thinks for us."

But it is these very image-expressions, the so-called "word symbols," that have most influenced the course of events and changed their original meanings so thoroughly that they frequently turn into their opposites. This happens, as a rule, against all logic; but then language is not amenable to logic, a fact which seldom occurs to most of the language purifiers. Many words gradually disappear from a language without any clear reason-a process which we can very well observe at the present time. Thus, the old Gasse had to yield precedence to Strasse; Stube is being crowded out by Zimmer; Knabe had to yield to Junge; Haupt, to Kopf; Antlitz, to Gesicht. On the other hand, some words whose original meaning has been lost nevertheless maintain themselves in the language. Thus we still speak of a Flinte, a Feder, a Silbergulden, although the flintlock long ago passed into history, and we have almost forgotten that our fathers and grandfathers made their writing implements from the plumage of a goose, and although gulden really means golden and can consequently have nothing in common with silver. We enjoy a man's "dry humour," and never suspect that the latter word, derived from the Latin, originally meant wetness, juice or moisture. But language accomplishes still stranger things. Thus, a knight returning to his castle from a fight was entrüstet, meaning that he took off his armour, but we now put on our armour when we become entrüstet (indignant). Every language contains a number of such contradictions, the only explanation being that men gradually give to certain things and events new meanings without being conscious of it.

The German philologist, Ernst Wasserzicher, in some excellent studies from which the above examples were taken, has described impressively the symbolism of language and has shown that we speak almost exclusively in images without noticing it. 3 When peasant women lesen (glean) ears of grain in a field, when we übertreten (overstep) a puddle, when our image mirrors in a brook, these are real processes which need no further explanation. But when we lesen from a newspaper, übertreten the law, or a man¹s soul is mirrored in his eyes, then the symbolism of language is at work, visualizing for us certain processes for which sensual -perception can only serve as godfather.

These conceptual images are not only subject to constant change, but every new phenomenon of social life creates new word-forms which were quite incomprehensible to former generations because they lacked the social and mental bases for these new structures in language. The World War, with its immediate accompanying effects in all fields of economic, political and social life, gives an excellent example of this. During it a number of new words were introduced into the language which no one would have understood before the War, for example: drumfire, gas attack, flamethrower, fieldwalker, shock troop, smoke screen, barrage fire, camouflage. Such new formations appear in the course of time in all fields of human activity, and owe their creation to the constant change in the conditions of life. In this manner language changes within certain periods so completely that later generations, looking backward and viewing its creation, find it stranger and stranger, until finally a point is reached where it is no longer understood and has meaning only for the scholar engaged in research.

Already the language of Schiller and Goethe has disappeared. The speech of Fischart, Hans Sachs and Luther presents many problems to us, and frequently requires an explanation to bring the men of that time and their concept of life within our comprehension. The further we hark back-say to the time of Walter von der Vogelwelde and Gottfried von Strassburg-the darker and less understandable becomes the meaning of the language, until we finally reach a point where "our own language" appears to us like a foreign tongue whose puzzles we can only solve by the aid of translations. Let one read a few stanzas from the famous Heilandhandschrift, allegedly composed by an unknown Saxon poet at the instigation of Louis the Pious not long after the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity. This German from the first half of the ninth century sounds to us today like a foreign language; and just as strange to us are the men who spoke it.

The language of Rabelais was hardly understood in France a hundred years after his death. The modern Frenchman can understand the original text of the great humanist only with the aid of a special dictionary. By the establishment of the French Academy in 1629 the French language was given a strict guardian that endeavoured with all its power to eliminate from it popular expressions and figures of speech. This was called "refining the language." In reality it deprived it of originality and bent it under the yoke of an unnatural despotism from which it was later obliged forcibly to free itself. Fénélon, and also Racine, gave this sentiment various expression; Diderot wrote quite plainly.

We have impoverished our language by all too much refinement. Frequently we have only a particular word at our disposal for the expression of a thought, so we prefer to let the thought's force fade because we are afraid to use a new and allegedly ungenteel expression. In this way a number of words have been lost to us which we gladly admire in Amyot and Montaigne. The so-called "good style" has banished them from the language only for the reason that they were used by the people. The people, however, who always strive to imitate the great, after a while refused also to use these words, so that in the course of time they were forgotten.

The language of Shakespeare presents many puzzles even to the educated Englishman, not only because much ancient speech-stuff survives in it which is no longer used in modern English, but principally because the poet uses many words in a sense which does not correspond to their modern meaning. Back to the Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer is a very difficult journey, while the original text of the songs of Beowulf is unknown territory to the modern Englishman.

To the Spaniard of today the original of Don Quixote presents many difficulties; and these become increasingly insurmountable as he approaches the old text of El Cid. The deeper we penetrate into the past of a language, the stranger it appears to us; to attempt to discover its beginning would be a vain undertaking. Who could, for example, definitely state when in Italy and France men quit speaking Latin and began to speak Italian and French? Who could say when the corrupted lingua Romana rustica changed into Spanish, or better still, Catalonian? Language alters so gradually that succeeding generations are hardly conscious of the change. With this we reach a point of great significance for our investigation.

The defenders of national ideology maintain that nationality represents a natural inner unity and is in its deepest being something permanent, something unchangeable. Although they cannot deny that the conditions of mental and social life of every nationality are subject to change, they try to save themselves with the assertion that these changes affect only the outer conditions and not the real nature of the nationality. Now if language were in fact the special token of the national spirit, then it would have to represent a special unity which is defined by the nature of a nation and reveals the special character of every people. In fact, such assertions have not been wanting.

Fichte, even, attempted to derive a nation's character from its language. With the full arrogance of his extreme patriotic enthusiasm he asserts of the German language that it reveals the vigour of a natural force which gives it life, power, and expressiveness, while the people of the Latin tongues, more especially the French, have at their disposal only an artificial, purely conventional language which does violence to their nature (and in which the real character of those people is revealed). Later, Wilhelm von Humboldt also developed a complete theory which was to prove that in the structure and expressiveness of a language the special nature of a people reveals itself. "Language is, so to speak, the external expression of the spirit of a people. Their speech is their spirit, and their spirit is their speech. One cannot express too strongly the identity of the two." 4

Since then, similar theories have appeared frequently The attempts of Vierkandt, Hüsing, Finck and others illustrate this. In all these attempts, some of them presented very brilliantly, the wish was father to the thought. They all bear on their face the mark of the manufactured. One feels that they are artificially wound up. Real and indisputable proofs for the correctness of these theories have nowhere been given. Hence, the well-known philologist, Sandfeld-Jensen, is quite right when he disputes Finck's statement that "the structure of the German language should be regarded as the expression of the German world concept," and declares that Finck never gave proof for his assertion and that other researchers could with just as good grounds have reached quite a different conclusion. Says Sandfeld-Jensen, "In this difficult field, usually called folk-psychology, one constantly runs danger of being pushed off the firm ground and losing oneself in empty philosophising." 5

No, language is not the result of a special folk-unity. It is a structure in constant change in which the intellectual and social culture of the various phases of our evolution is reflected. It is always in flux, protean in its inexhaustible power to assume new forms. This eternal change in language accounts for the existence of old and new, living and dead, languages.

But if language constantly changes, if it readily yields to foreign influences and always has an open door for the progeny of another species, then it is a faithful reflection of culture in general. This fact also gives proof that by the aid of language we can never penetrate into the mysterious "nature of the nation" which allegedly is always the same at bottom.

As we conscientiously pursue the origins of a language, we find that it has fewer and fewer relations with the cultural circle to which we belong, the chasm which separates us from the men of past ages becomes ever wider, until at last all is lost in an impenetrable mist. When a Frenchman or an Englishman, be he thinker, statesman or artist, today presents certain thoughts to us, we readily understand him, although we do not belong to the same nation; we do belong to the same cultural circle and are united by invisible ties, the spiritual currents of our time. But the feeling and thinking of men of past centuries remains for us largely strange or impenetrable even when they belong to the same nation; for they were subject to other cultural influences. To bring those ages closer to us we need a substitute which replaces reality-tradition. But where tradition sets in, there begins the realm of fiction. Just as the first history of every people is lost in mythology, so also in tradition the mythical plays the most important part.

It is not alone the so-called "historical conception" which makes events of past ages appear to us in a "special light"; allegedly "objective" history, too, is never free from mythological haziness and historical mistakes. Usually these occur quite unconsciously; everything depends on how strongly the personal attitude of the historian has influenced his interpretation of the received tradition and, consequently, the picture he has made. In this personal attitude of the historian, the social environment in which he lives, the class he belongs to, the political or religious opinions he holds, all play an important part. The so-called "national history" of every country is a great fable having hardly any relationship to actual events. Of the "history" taught in the school books of the various nations we will not even speak. There, history is perverted on principle. Human predisposition, inherited prejudices and traditional concepts, to touch which we are either too cowardly or too lazy, very frequently influence the judgment of even earnest researchers and tempt them to arbitrary judgments having little in common with historical reality. No one is more subject to such influences than the protagonists of nationalistic ideas; for them all too frequently a wish-concept must serve as a substitute for sober facts.

That the origin and evolution of a language does not proceed according to national principles nor spring from the special conception of a particular people is clear for everyone who is willing to see it. Let us glance at the evolution of English, today the most widely spread of all European tongues. Of the speech of the Celtic tribes who inhabited the British Isles before the Roman invasion certain dialects have to this day survived in Wales, the Isle of Man, Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and French Brittany. But ³British² in this sense has no relation whatsoever with modern English either in sentence structure or vocabulary. When during the first century the l6inans subjected the land to their rule, they naturally tried to introduce their language among the people. Presumably the spread of the Latin tongue was confined primarily to the towns and the larger settlements in the southern part of the country where Roman rule had taken strongest root. At any rate, it was inevitable that during almost four centuries of Roman occupation many words were adopted from that language. It is even very probable that in this manner, in the course of time, a special local Latin would have evolved, from which, just as in Italy, France and Spain, a language would have developed.

This development was completely destroyed when in the sixth century the Low German tribes, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, invaded Britain and conquered the land after protracted struggles with warlike tribes of the north. Then the speech of the conquerors gradually became the language of the land, although many words from the local dialects were adopted. With the Danish invasions of the eighth and tenth centuries new Germanic idioms entered the language of the country -- an influence which even today can be clearly recognized. Finally, after the invasion of the Normans under William the Conqueror, the language was thoroughly permeated with Norman French, so that there occurred not only a decided increase of the old speech heritage by so-called loan-words, but also a profound change in the spirit and structure of the language. From these manifold transitions and mixtures of tongues there evolved gradually the modern English speech.

Every language has had a similar evolution, even though the separate phases of the process cannot always be so clearly followed. Not only has every language in the course of its development received many foreign language elements into its stock of words, but very frequently even the grammatical structure of the language has been profoundly changed by close touch with other people. A classic example is the modern speech of the various Balkan states. The various languages can be traced to quite different language roots; nevertheless, these languages have, according to the enlightened testimony of eminent philologists, a remarkably unified imprint, not only in respect to their phraseology, but also in the evolution of their syntax. Thus, for example, in all of them, the infinitive has been more or less lost. One of the most curious phenomena in the evolution of languages is the Bulgarian. According to the united opinion of well-known philologists like Schleicher, Leskien, Brugman, Kopitar and others, the Bulgarian is much closer to the old Slavic church language than any other modern Slavic tongue; yet, besides two thousand Turkish and about one thousand Greek words, it has absorbed numerous expressions from the Persian, Arabic, Albanian and Rumanian. The grammar of the Bulgarian language has assumed quite new forms. Thus the definite article is attached to the noun, as in Albanian and Rumanian. Furthermore, Bulgarian is the only one among the Slavic tongues which has completely lost its seven cases and has replaced them by prepositions, as in Italian and French.

Of such examples comparative philology knows a great number. This is one reason why modern philology comes more and more clearly to recognize that all former classifications of languages according to various original groups can at best be regarded only as a technical device corresponding but little to reality. We know today that even the Tibetan-Chinese and the Ural-Altai and Semitic languages are interspersed with a mass of Indo-Germanic speech elements, as was also the Old Egyptian. Of the Hebrew language it is maintained that while it is Semitic in its structure, in its vocabulary it is Indo-Germanic. G. Meinhof, one of the best experts on African languages, even maintains that Semitic, Hamitic, and Indo-Germanic languages belong to the same speech circle.

But it is not alone foreign influences which affect the evolution of a language. Every great event in the life of a people or a nation which steers its history into new courses leaves deep marks on its language. Thus, the great French Revolution resulted not only in profound changes in the economic, political and social life of France; it also caused a complete about-face in language and burst the fetters which the vanity of the aristocracy and the literary men under aristocratic influence had imposed on it. Especially in France the language of the court and of the salon and of literature had been so immensely "refined" that it seemed to have lost all vigour of expression and spent itself only in sophistications. Between the language of the educated and of the great masses of the people there yawned an abyss just as unbridgeable as the chasm between the privileged classes and the proletariat. Only the revolution stayed the decline of the language. It endowed the newly awakened political and social life with a great number of forceful and popular expressions, most of which maintained themselves, although during the years of the reaction every effort was made to eliminate from the language all expressions reminiscent of the revolution. In his "Neology," published in 1801, Mercier mentions over two thousand words unknown in the age of Louis XIV; yet the number of new creations emanating from the revolution was by no means exhausted. Paul Lafargue says, in a very remarkable essay: "New words and expressions assailed the language in such number that newspapers and periodicals of that time could have been understood by the courtiers of Louis XIV only by means of a translation." 6

Popular speech is, in fact, a chapter in itself. If we choose to regard language as the essential characteristic of a nation we are likely to overlook the fact that mutual understanding between the various members of the same nation is often possible only by the common written language. This language, however, which every nation only gradually evolves, is, compared, with popular speech, an artificial creation. Hence, written language and popular speech are always antagonistic, the latter only unwillingly submitting to external compulsion. It is certain that all written language developed first from a particular dialect. Usually this dialect belongs to a region more advanced economically and culturally, whose inhabitants on account of their higher mental development have also a larger vocabulary which gradually gives them a certain predominance over the dialects of others. This development is clearly observable in every country. Gradually the written language absorbs words of other dialects, and so the possibility of linguistic understanding within a larger territory is furthered. Thus we find in Luther's translation of the Bible, which is based on the High Saxon dialect, quite a number of expressions borrowed from other German dialects. Many words which Luther uses in his translation were totally unknown in Southern Germany, so that they could not be understood without a special explanation: for instance, fühlen, gehorchen, täuschen, Lippe, Träne, Kahn, Ufer, Hügel, and so on. Taken from High German dialects are staunen, entsprechen, tagen, Unbill, Ahne, dumpf; while Damm, Beute, beschuichtigen, flott, düster, sacht, are of Low German origin .7

It is, therefore, the written language, not the popular speech, that serves as a means of understanding in a wider circle. The man from Ditmar or East Prussia is practically in a foreign country when he comes to Bavaria or Swabia. To the Frieslander the so-called "Schwizerdeutsch" sounds as foreign as French, although he has the same written language. That a South German is quite helpless among the various dialects of the Low Germans everyone knows who has had even the least experience. We meet the same phenomenon in the speech of every nation. The Londoner can hardly understand the Scotch dialect; the Parisian is entirely a stranger to the French of the Gascon or the Walloon; while to the Provençal the secrets of the Parisian argot are forever closed, without a special study. The Italian of the Neapolitan is less difficult to the Spaniard than to the Venetian or the Genoese. The speech of the Andalusians is very distinct from that of the Castilians -- not to speak of the Catalonians, who have their own language.

The philologist who could draw a definite line between dialect and language is yet to be born. In most cases it is quite impossible to determine where a dialect ceases and a separate language begins. Hence the uncertainty about the number of the languages on earth, put by some philologists at about eight hundred and by others at fifteen hundred to two thousand.

The speech free from dialects, however, which is created from the written language, is never able to convey to us properly the spirit and the special character of the idiom. Every translation from a foreign language has its deficiencies which can never be quite surmounted. Yet it is easier to translate from one language into another than to translate a dialect of one's own language into the common written language. The bare occurrence of things can be conveyed, but never the living spirit, which stands and falls with the idiom. All attempts to translate Fritz Reuter into High German have so far failed and must always fail, just as it would be love's labour lost to try to translate into the written German the Alemannische Gedichte of Hebel, or the dialect poets like Friedrich Stoltze, Franz von Kobell, or Daniel Hirtz.

Frequently, the question whether a speech is to be regarded as a dialect or as a distinct language is purely a political affair. Thus, Dutch is today a separate language because the Hollanders have their own state organization. If this were not so, Dutch would probably be regarded as a Low German dialect. The same relationship exists between Danish and Swedish. In Germany as well as in Sweden there seem to exist greater differences between various dialects of the country than between German and Dutch or between Swedish and Danish. On the other hand, we see how under the influence of an especially intense nationalism a dead language can be awakened to new life, as the Celtic in Ireland, and Hebrew in the Jewish colonies in Palestine.

But speech everywhere takes quite curious courses and constantly presents new puzzles which no philologist has up to now been able to solve. It is not so very long since we believed that all existing and all vanished languages could be traced to a common original language. Doubtless the myth of the lost paradise played a part in this. The belief in a first pair of mankind logically leads to the concept of a common original language (Hebrew was naturally accepted) -- the "sacred language." Advancing knowledge concerning man's origin put an end to this belief also. This definite break with the old conception first cleared the way for an evolutionary-historical examination of language. The consequence was that the whole mass of arbitrary preconceptions had to be abandoned as being in hopeless disagreement with the results of modern philological research. Thus, among others, fell the hypothesis of a regular evolution of language according to definite phonetic laws, which had been maintained by Schleicher and his successors. Gradually the conclusion was reached that the slow formation of a language is no law-determined process at all, but happens quite without rule or order. When later the theory of the legendary "Aryan race" also gently dissolved, together with the fanciful speculations which had attached themselves to the alleged existence of such a race, the hypothesis of a common origin for the so-called Indo-Germanic languages, frequently called "Aryan," was badly shaken and can hardly be maintained today.

The fable of a common genealogical tree of the so-called Aryan languages can, after the skeptical labours of Johannes Schmidt, be no longer maintained, and is carefully avoided by leading philologists. I see the time as not far distant when the concept of language kinships will no longer be used at all, when the similarity of speech elements can for the larger part be traced to adoptions and the lesser part left unexplained, when we finally quit trying to apply the methods of history when dealing with prehistoric times and the science of tradition to the time without traditions. The genealogical tree-building of comparative philology achieved its triumphs for a time out of which literary sources may have come down to us, but not historical connections. When we recognize these connections in the light of historical time there exist no longer any daughter languages, there are only adoptions by the weaker culture from the stronger (wherein often enough fashion, religion, or war-glory decided what is weaker and what is stronger). There are individual adoptions and mass adoptions, adoptions from a special culture branch and adoptions from a whole culture. 8

The origin and formation of the different languages is wrapped in such impenetrable darkness that we can only feel our way forward with the help of uncertain hypotheses. All the more is caution commanded in a field where we can so easily go hopelessly astray. But one thing is sure; the idea that every language is the original creation of a particular people or a particular nation and has consequently a purely national character lacks any foundation and is only one of those countless illusions which in the age of race theories and nationalism have become so unpleasantly conspicuous.

If one maintains, however, that speech is the characteristic expression of nationality, then one must naturally prove therefrom that a people or a nation ceases to exist when, for one reason or another, it has abandoned its speech, a phenomenon by no means rare in history. Or do we believe that with a change in speech there also occurs a change in the ³national spirit² or the "soul of the nation"? If this were true, it would prove that nationality is a very uncertain concept, lacking any substantial basis.

Peoples have in the course of history frequently changed their language, and it is for the most part only a question of accident what language a people uses today. The people of Germany present no exception in this respect; they have with relative ease accepted not only the morals and customs of foreign peoples, but also their languages, and have forgotten their own. When the Normans in the ninth and tenth centuries settled in Northern France it was hardly a hundred years before they had completely forgotten their own language and spoke only French. At the conquest of England and Sicily in the eleventh century the same phenomenon was repeated. The Norman conquerors in England forgot their acquired French and took over the language of the acquired land, whose development, however, they strongly influenced. In Sicily and Southern Italy, however, the Norman influence vanished entirely or left scarcely a trace. The conquerors were lost entirely in the native population, whose language (and, frequently, oriental customs) they had accepted. And not the Normans alone. A whole line of Germanic peoples have in their wanderings and conquests surrendered their own language and accepted another. We may mention the Lombards in Italy, the Franks in Gaul, the Goths in Spain, not to mention the Vandals, Suevians, Alani, and many others. Peoples and tribes of the most varied stems have had to accept the same fate.

When Ludwig Jahn, the great German patriot, who on principle could not endure a Frenchman, uttered the words: "In its mother tongue every people honours itself, in the treasury of its speech is contained the charter of its cultural history. A people which forgets its own language abandons its franchise in humanity and is only playing a super's part on the world stage," he unfortunately forgot that the people to which he belonged, the Prussians, were also one of the peoples who had forgotten their language and had abandoned their franchise in humanity. The Old Prussians were a mixed people in which the Slavic element was by far predominant, and they spoke a language related to the Lettish and Lithuanian, which maintained itself until the sixteenth century. The philologist, Dürr, therefore, rightly maintains: "There are few, perhaps no, peoples who in the course of history have not changed their language; some of them several times."

In this respect the Jews are remarkable. Their original history, like that of most peoples, is totally unknown; but we may assume that they entered history as a mixed people. During the Jewish rule in Palestine two languages were in use there, Hebrew and Aramaic, and in religious services both languages were used. A considerable time before the destruction of Jerusalem there was in Rome a large Jewish congregation with considerable influence which had adopted the Latin language. In Alexandria also there lived numerous Jews, whose number was increased by countless fugitives after the failure of the rebellion of the Maccabees. In Egypt, Jews adopted the Greek language and translated their sacred writings into Greek, and at the last the text was studied only in these translations. Their best minds participated in the rich intellectual life of the Greeks and wrote almost entirely in their language.

When at the beginning of the eighth century the Arabs invaded Spain, many Jews streamed into the land, where, just as in the north of Africa, a considerable number of Jewish settlements already existed. Under the Moorish rule the Jews enjoyed very great liberties, which permitted them to take prominent part in the cultural upbuilding of the land -- at that time an oasis in the midst of the spiritual darkness wherein Europe was sunk. And Arabic became the speech of the Jewish people. Even religio-philosophical works like the Moreh Nebuchim ("Guide of the Erring") by Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides) and the Cosari of the celebrated poet, Jehuda Helevi, were written in Arabic and only later translated into Hebrew. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain many families went to France, Germany, Holland and England, where already existed Jewish communities which had adopted the speech of their hosts. Later, when cruel persecution of the Jews occurred in France and Germany, streams of Jewish refugees went to Poland and Russia. They took their old Ghetto German, largely interpenetrated with Hebrew expressions, into the new home, where in the course of time many Slavic words drifted into their speech. Thus developed the so-called Yiddish, the present speech of the Eastern Jews, which during the last forty years has created a fairly voluminous literature that can very well endure comparison with the literature of the other small peoples of Europe. We are here dealing with a people which in the course of a long and painful history has frequently changed its language without thereby losing its inner unity.

On the other hand, there are a number of instances where community of language does not coincide with the frontiers of the nation at all, and again others where in the same state various languages are used. Thus, by language, the native of Rousillon is much more closely related to the Catalonians, the Corsican to the Italians, the Alsatian to the Germans, although for all that they all belong to the French nation. The Brazilian speaks the same language as the Portuguese; in the other South American states Spanish is the language. The Negroes of Haiti speak French, a very corrupt French, which is, nevertheless, their mother tongue-for they have no other. The United States has the same speech as England. In the lands of North Africa and Asia Minor, Arabic is the common language. Of similar examples there are a great number.

On the other hand, in even so small a country as Switzerland, four different languages are used: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Belgium has two languages, Flemish and French. In Spain, besides the official Castilian, there are Basque, Catalonian and Portuguese. There is scarcely a state in Europe that does not harbour foreign language groups to a greater or less extent.

Language is, therefore, no characteristic of a nation; it is even not always decisive of membership in a particular nation. Every language is permeated with a mass of foreign speech elements in which the mode of thought and the intellectual culture of other peoples lives. For this reason, all attempts to trace the so-called "essence of the nation" to its language fall utterly to carry conviction.

  • 1A similar list of usually unsuspected foreign words in English follows: alms, bond, bomb, boom, boon, brief, calm, camp, cane, cape, card, case, cash, catch, cave, cell, cellar, cent, centre, chafe, chain, chair, chalk, chance, change, chant, charge, chart, chase, chief, church, circle, city, claim, clerk, cloak, clock, cook, cross, dean, doll, dour, doubt, due, duke, dupe, duty, case, fail, farm, fate, feast, fig, grand, habit, haste, ink, just, lamp, luck, male, master, mile, oil, park, pest, place, plain, plant, part, port, post, pound, prince, school, seal, street, toil -- and so on indefinitely. Translator
  • 2Fritz Mauthner, Die Sprache, Frankfurt a/M 1906, p. 55.
  • 3Bilderbuch der deutschen Sprache; Lebenund Weben der Sprache.
  • 4 Einleitung über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichten Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluss auf die geistige Entwicklung der Menschheit.
  • 5Die Sprachwissenwhaft. Leipzig-Berlin, 1923.
  • 6This essay, from which we have borrowed some passages concerning the development of the French language, first appeared in a Parisian periodical, Era Nouvelle. A German translation appeared in a supplementary number of Die Neue Zeit, No. 15, under the title, "Die französischle Sprache vor und nach der Revolution."
  • 7See W. Fischer, Die deutsche Sprache von heute. Berlin-Leipig, 1918.
  • 8Fritz Mauthner, Die Sprache, p. 49.


18. The Nation in the Light of Modern Race Theories

Race research and race theory
Concerning the unity of the genus man
The alleged original races of Europe
Concernlng the concept "race." the discovery of the bloodgroups and the race
Physical characters and mental qualities Gobineau's theory of the inequality of the races of men
The Aryans history as race conflict
Race theory and seignorial right Chamberlain's race theories
Chamberlain and Gobineau the german as the creator of all cultures
Christ as a german protestantism as a race religion. "germandom" and "jewdom" as opposite poles
The political endeavours of Chamberlain
Ludwig Woltmann's theory

Submitted by Toms on September 5, 2011

Race theory and heredity
The influence of the natural environment
Modern race theories
The "race soul." race characteristics of the German bearers of culture
The power of acquired characters
Hunger and love
Race in the world war
The Nordic theory
Denunciation of other races
The consequences of a delusive conception
Contradictions in modern race literature
Men and ideas in the light of race theory
Race and power

Besides the concepts already discussed concerning the character of the nation there is another which today is very clamorous and has gained many adherents, especially in Germany. We are here speaking of ''Community of blood" and of the alleged influence of race on the structure of the nation and on its spiritual and cultural creative endowment. From the very beginning we must make here a clear distinction between purely scientific investigations concerning the origin of races and their special characteristics, and the socalled "race theories" whose advocates have ventured to judge the mental, moral and cultural qualities of particular human groups from the real or imaginary physical characteristics of a race. The latter undertaking is extremely risky, inasmuch as we are quite uncertain not only of the origin of races, but of the origin of men in general, and have to rely solely upon hypotheses, not knowing how far they correspond to reality, or fail to do so.

Scientific authorities are not agreed in their opinions as to the age of the human race. It was some time before they were willing to place the first appearance of man on earth as far back as the Glacial Epoch. However, the opinion is lately gaining ground that man's past can be traced back to the Tertiary Period. We are also completely in the dark concerning man's original home. Decided differences of opinion among the most noted representatives of biological science have again been brought sharply to the front during recent years by the results of the CameronCable expeditions in South Africa and the Roy Chapman Andrews American expedition in Outer Mongolia. The question also remains unanswered whether the appearance of mankind was confined to a definite region or occurred in various parts of the earth approximately at the same time. In other words, whether the genus Man sprang from a single stem and the differences of race were subsequently caused by migrations or changes in the external conditions of life, or whether difference of race was due to descent from different stems from the very beginning. Most researchers today still maintain the standpoint of monogenesis and are of the opinion that mankind goes back to a single original source and that race distinctions appeared only later through change of environment. Darwin maintained this point of view when he said: "All human races are so immensely closer to one another than to any ape that I am inclined to view them as: descending from a single form." What has caused prominent men o f science to adhere to the unity of the human species is principally the structure of the human skeleton, which determines the whole bodily formation, and which among all races shows an astonishing similarity of structure.

To all these difficulties must be added the fact that we are not at all clear about the concept of "race," as is seen from the arbitrary way men have played about with the classification of existing races. For a long time we were content with the four races of Linnaeus; then Blumenbach produced a fifth and Buffon a sixth; Peschel followed at once with a seventh and Agassiz with an eighth. Till at length Haeckel was talking of twelve, Morton of twentytwo, and Crawford of sixty racesa number which was to be doubled a little later. So that as respectable a researcher as Luschan could with justice assert that it is just as impossible to determine the number of the existing races of men as of the existing languages, since one can no more easily distinguish between a race and a variety than between a language and a socalled dialect. If a white North European is set beside a Negro and a typical Mongolian the difference is clear to any layman. But if one examines thoroughly the countless gradations of these three races one reaches a point at last where one cannot say with certainty where one race leaves off and the other begins.

The Gothic word, reszza, really had only the meaning of rift or line. [l] In this sense it found admission into most European languages where it gradually was called upon for the designation of other things and still is. Thus in English we understand by "race" not only a specific animal or human group with definite hereditary physical characteristics, but the word is also used for contests in speed, as for instance, horserace. Also we speak of the race of life, and a millrace. In France, the word acquired, among other meanings, also a political meaning, as applied to the succession of the various dynasties. Thus the Merovingians, the Carolingians and the Capets were spoken of as the first, the second and the third race. In Spanish and Italian also, the word has a similar variety of meanings. Later, it was used mainly by breeders of animalsuntil gradually it became the fashionable slogan for particular political parties. Thus we have become used to connect the word race with a concept which is itself unclear As eminent an anthropologist as F. von Luschan dared to say: ". . . yes the word race itself has more and more lost its meaning and had best be abandoned if it could be replaced by a less ambiguous word."

Since the discovery of the famous human skeletal remains in Neanderthal (1856) scientific research has made about a hundred similar discoveries in various parts of the earth, all of which are traceable to the Glacial Age. We must, however, not overestimate the knowledge gained from them, for nearly all are single specimens with which no certain comparisons can be made. Besides, bone remnants alone give us no idea whatsoever concerning the skin colour, hair and superficial facial structure of these prehistoric men. From the skull structure of these human specimens only one thing can be stated with a certain degree of definiteness, namely, that in these discoveries we are dealing with at least three different varieties which have been named after the places where they were discovered. So we now speak of a Neanderthal race, an Aurignac race and a CroMagnon race. Of these, the Neanderthal man seems to have been the most primitive, whereas the Cro-Magnon man, both from his skull structure and the tools discovered, seems to have been the most developed scion of the European population at that time.

In what relationship these three racesassuming that we are really dealing with racesstood to each other and where they came from, no one knows. Whether the Neanderthalers really originated in Africa and emigrated to Europe, or whether they had inhabited great sections of our continent for thousands of years until about 40,000 years ago they were driven out by the immigrating Aurignac race, as Klaatsch and Heilborn assumed, is of course only hypothesis. It is equally questionable whether the CroMagnon man is in fact the result of a mixture of the Neanderthal and the Aurignac man, as some investigators have assumed. Entirely mistaken is the attempt to derive the present European races from these three "original" races, since we cannot know whether in these varieties we are really dealing with original racial types or not. Most probably not.

Not only in Europe are pure races wanting; we also fail to find them among the socalled savage peoples, even when these have made their homes in the most distant parts of the earth, as, for example, the Eskimos or the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. Whether there were once "original races" can hardly be affirmed today; at least our present state of knowledge does not justify us in making definite assertions which lack all convincing proof. From this it appears that the concept of race does not describe something fixed and unchangeable, but something in a perpetual state of flux, something continually being made over. Most of all we must beware of confusing race with species or genus, as is unfortunately so often done by modern race theorists. Race is only an artificial classification concept of biological science used as a technical device for keeping track of particular observations. Only mankind as a whole constitutes a biological unit, a species. This is proved primarily by the unlimited capacity for crossbreeding within the genus man. Every sexual union between offspring of the most widely different races is fruitful; also unions of its progeny. This phenomenon is one of the strongest arguments for the common origin of human kind.

With the discovery of the socalled blood groups it was at first believed that the problem of race had been solved; but here, too, the disillusionment followed swiftly. When Karl Landsteiner had succeeded in proving that men can be distinguished according to three different blood groups, to which Jansky and Moss added a fourth, it was believed that this difference in the blood, a fact of great importance especially for medical science, would establish the existence of four primary races. But it was soon discovered that these four blood groups can be found among all races, though blood group three is rare among American Indians and Eskimos. Above all, it was shown that a longskulled blond with all the marks of the Nordic race may belong to the same blood group as a darkskinned: Negro or an almondeyed Chinese. Doubtless a very sad fact for those race theorists who have so much to say about the "voice of the blood."

The majority of race theoreticians maintain that socalled "race characteristics" are a heritage created by nature itself unaffected by external life conditions and are transferred unchanged to the progeny, providing that the parents are racially related. Hence, the race destiny is a bloodfate which none can escape. By race characteristics we mean primarily the shape of the skull, the colour of the skin, the special kind and colour of the hair and eyes, the shape of the nose, and the size of the body. Whether these characteristics are indeed so "inalienable" as race theorists maintain, whether they can really be changed only by crossing of races, or whether natural or social environment cannot also effect a change of purely physiological race characteristics, is for science a chapter far from closed.

How the special characteristics of the various races originally appeared we can today only guess, but in all probability they were in one way or another acquired by a change in the natural environmenta view held today by the most prominent anthropologists. There exist already quite a number of established facts from which it appears that physical race characteristics may be changed by external life conditions and the change inherited by the descendants. In his excellent work, Race and Culture, Friedrich Hertz records the experiments with molluscs and insects by the two researchers, Schroder and Pictet, who by changes in environment succeeded in altering the nutritional instincts, mode of ovulation and of pupation, and the procreative instinct so thoroughly that the changes were transmitted by inheritance, even though the modified conditions were later removed. The experiments which the American scholar, Tower, made with the Colorado beetle are well known. Tower exposed the insects to colder temperatures and by these and other influences succeeded in effecting a change in certain characteristics which also were inherited by the progeny.

E. Vatter records the experiences of the Russian anthropologist Ivanowsky during the threeyear famine period in Russia after the war. Ivanowsky had made measurements of 2,114 men and women from the most varied parts of the country at halfyearly intervals, so that every individual was examined six times. Thereby it was discovered that the crosssection of the body was reduced an average of four to five centimetres, and the circumference of the head as well as its length and breadth was reduced and the cephalic index changed. This was true among the Great Russians, as also among the White and Little Russians, Syrians, Bashkirs, Kalmucks, and Kirgizes. (Among the Armenians, Grusians, and Crim-Tartars it was raised.) Likewise, the percentage of shortheads had increased, and the nasal index had become smaller. According to Ivanowsky, "The unchangeableness of anthropological types is a fable." 1

Change of food, of climate, influence of higher temperatures, greater humidity, and so on, unquestionably result in alterations of certain body characteristics. Thus the wellknown American anthropologist, F. Boas, was able to prove that the skull formation of the descendants of immigrants showed a marked change in America, so that, for instance, the descendants of shortheaded Oriental Jews became longerheaded, and the longheaded Sicilians became shorterheaded; the skull, that is, tends to assume a certain form of cross-section. 2 These results are the more remarkable because they deal with a change in bodily characteristics which I can only be explained by the action of external influences on the so-called "hereditary purity of the race." Of quite especial, and in its results as yet quite incalculable, significance are the results achieved in late years by the action of Roentgen and cathode rays. Experiments made at the University of Texas by Professor J. H. Miller yielded results which lead us to anticipate a complete revolution in theories of heredity. They not only prove that artificial interference with the life of the germmass leading to a controlled change in the race characteristics is possible, but also that by such experiments the creation of new races can be effected.

From all this it appears that bodily characteristics are by no means unchangeable and that a change can be effected even without racial cross-breeding. It is even more monstrous to infer mental and spiritual characteristics solely on the basis of bodily ones and deduce from them a judgment about moral worth. It is true that Linnaeus, in his attempts at a racial classification of humanity, took moral factors into consideration when he said:

The American is reddish, choleric, erect; the European, white, sanguine, fleshy; the Asiatic, yellow, melancholy, tough; the African, black, phlegmatic, slack. The American is obstinate, contented, free; the European, mobile, keen, inventive; the Asiatic cruel, splendour-loving, miserly; the African, sly, lazy, indifferent. The American is covered with tattooing, and rules by habit; the European is covered with closefitting garments and rules by law; the Asiatic is enclosed in flowing garments and rules by opinion; the African is anointed with grease and rules by whim.
But Linnaeus was not in his scheme conforming to any political theories. The very naivete of mentioning tattooing, clothing and greasing of the body along with forms of government proves the innocence of his effort. But, however odd the notions of the Swedish naturalist may seem to us today, we still have no right to laugh at them in view of the shameful flood of socalled race literature that has rolled over us during the last two decades, with nothing better to offer than Linnaeus could say two hundred years ago. For when the Swedish scholar brought tattooing, clothes and greasy black bodies into combination with forms of government, he did far less harm than when today men try to deduce the capacity for culture, the character and the moral and spiritual disposition of the separate races from the colour of their skins, the curve of their noses or the shape of their skulls.
The first attempt to explain the rise and fall of peoples in history as a play of race antagonisms was made by the Frenchman, Count Arthur Gobineau, who during his diplomatic career had seen many distant lands. He was a fairly prolific writer, but we are interested here only in his magnum opus, Essai sur l'inegalite des races humaines ("Treatise on the Inequality of the Races of Men"), which first appeared in I855. According to his own statement, the Parisian Revolution of February, I848, gave Gobineau the first impulse toward the formulation of his ideas. He saw in the revolutionary occurrences of that time only the inevitable consequences of the great upheaval of I78994, amid whose violent convulsions the feudal world fell in ruins. Concerning the causes of this collapse he had formed his own judgment. For him the French Revolution was nothing else than the revolt of the Celto-Romanic race mixture that for years and years had lived in intellectual and economic dependence on the Franco-Norman master caste. This caste was made up, according to Gobineau, of the descendants of those Nordic conquerors who had at one time invaded the country and subjected the CeltoRomanic population to their rule. It was this race with its blue eyes, its blond hair and its tall figure that held for Gobineau the sumtotal of all mental and physical perfection, whose superior intelligence and strength of will in themselves guaranteed to it the role which it was, in his opinion, destined to play in history.

This idea was by no means entirely new. Long before the time of the French Revolution it had bobbed up in the minds of the aristocracy. Henri de Boulainvilliers (1658 - I722), author of an historical work which was not published until after his death, maintained that the French nobles of the ruling caste were descended from the Germanic conquerors, while the great mass of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry was to be regarded as the progeny of the conquered Celts and Romans. Boulainvilliers tried on the basis of this thesis to justify all the privileges of the nobles, in opposition to both the people and the king, and demanded for his class the right to keep the government of the country always in their hands. Gobineau adopted this theory, extending it considerably to apply to the whole of human history. But since heas he himself once said"believed only that which seemed to him worth believing," it happened inevitably that he pushed on to the most daring conclusions.

Just as Joseph de Maistre once declared that he had never met a human being, but only Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, and so on, so also Gobineau maintained that the abstract human being existed only in the minds of philosophers. In reality the human being is only the expression of the race to which he belongs; the Voice of Blood is the Voice of Fate, from which no people can escape. Neither the climatic environment nor the social conditions of life have any influence worth mentioning on the constructive power of peoples. The driving force in all culture is race, above all the Aryan race, which even under the most unfavourable conditions is capable of the greatest achievements so long as it avoids mixture with less worthy racial elements. Following the classification of the French naturalist, Cuvier, Gobineau distinguished three great racial groups, the white, the yellow and the black. Each, according to Gobineau, represented a separate experiment of God in the creation of man; God had begun with the Negro, coming round at last to the creation of the White Man in His own image. Among these three great racial groups there existed no inner relationship, since they were descended from different stems. Everything outside of these three basic races was racial mixture -- for Gobineau, mongreldom -- which had come into being by interbreeding of white, yellow and black.

It is clear that in Gobineau's opinion the white race is far superior to the other two. It is in the best sense a "noble race," for besides its physical beauty it possesses also the most distinguished mental and spiritual qualitiesabove all, mental breadth of view, superior capacity for organization, and in particular that inner urge of the conqueror which is entirely lacking in the yellow and black races and which gives to the Aryans alone in history the power to found great states and civilisations.

Gobineau distinguishes ten great culture periods in history, which include all the significant epochs in human civilisation, and attributes them exclusively to the activity of the Aryan race. The origin, development and decay of these great epochs constitute, according to his understanding, the entire content of human history; for civilisation and degeneration are the two poles about which all events turn. Gobineau, to whom the idea of organic evolution was entirely unknown, tried to explain the rise and decay of the great civilisations by the degeneration of races, or rather, of the ruling race, since for him the mass of less important beings which constitutes the great majority in every state exists only for the purpose of being governed by the racially pure conquerors. Changes in social relationships and institutions are to be attributed solely to changes of race. The decay of a dominion and its culture occurs when a great deal of other blood is mixed with that of the conquerors' caste. From this ensues not only an alteration in external race characteristics, but also a change in the spiritual and mental impulses of the master race which leads to gradual or rapid decay. In this inner decay of the noble race is found the final and authentic explanation of the decline of all great cultures.

The stronger the component from the white race in the blood of a people, the more prominent will be its cultural activity, the greater its power of building a state; while too strong an infusion of Negro or Mongolian blood undermines the creative cultural characteristics of the old race and gradually brings about its inner dissolution. In contrast with Chamberlain and most of the exponents of modern race theories, Gobineau was thoroughly pessimistic about the future. He could not escape the conclusion that the Germanic race, this "last bud upon the Aryan stem," as he called it, was doomed to inevitable destruction. The wide dissemination of republican and democratic ideas seemed to him an unfailing sign of inner decay; they foretold the victory of "mongreldom" over the Aryan Noble Race. According to Gobineau only a monarchy can accomplish anything lasting, since it contains in itself the basic law of its being, while a democracy is always dependent on external powers and so can do nothing important. Only the degenerate blood of the mixed race demands democracy and revolution. On this point Gobineau is close to the views of Joseph de Maistre, the standard-bearer of reaction, with whom he has much else in common, including actually hairraising distortion of historical facts and almost inconceivable naivete of ideal interpretations. Although de Maistre found the root of all evil in Protestantism, it came to the same thing in the end, for democracy was for de Maistre a political variety of Protestantism.

On one point Gobineau is sharply at issue with all later advocates of the race theory: he has no sympathy with nationalistic ambitions and regards the notion of the "fatherland" with outspoken antagonism. Because of his aversion to everything that savoured of democracy no other position was possible. Then, too, it was from the French Revolution that the idea of the fatherland and the nation received the special imprint they bear today. This was enough to make Gobineau despise it as a "Canaanitish abomination" which the Aryan race had, against its will, taken over from the Semitic. As long as Hellenism had remained Aryan, the idea of the fatherland had been entirely alien to the Greeks. But as the intermixture with the Semites progressed farther and farther, monarchy had to give place to the republic. The Semitic element impelled toward absolutism, as Gobineau put it; still the Aryan blood which was still active in the mixed race of the later Greeks was opposed to personal despotism such as was common in Asia and arrived logically at the despotism of an ideathe idea of the fatherland.

On this point Gobineau is thoroughly consistent: his hostility to the idea of the fatherland is the immediate and deliberately derived product of his race theory. If the nation were in fact a community of descent, a raceunity, then the race instinct must be its strongest cementing material. If, however, it is made up of the most varied race constituentsa fact which no race theorist dares to disputethen the notion of race must act on the concept of the nation like dynamite and blow to bits its very foundation. More talented and imaginative than any of his successors, Gobineau recognised clearly the opposition between race and nation; and between the purerace ruling stratum of the nation and the "mongreldom" of the great masses he had drawn a sharp line which our nationalistically inclined race theorists have tried in vain to bridge over. The notion that the great masses of the nation are merely Helots who must without choice submit to the rule of a privileged caste determined by blood is in fact the greatest danger to national cohesion.

The admirers of Gobineau have tried to account for the master's attitude on this point by explaining that he cherished in his mind an ideal fatherland corresponding to his innermost feeling and that he did not fail to take into account that patriotic need which is said to dwell in every man. But such an explanation is without value. If man can arbitrarily set up for himself the fiction of an ideal fatherland, that merely proves that the notions of the fatherland and the nation are fictitious concepts which can be drilled into the individual and can at any time be driven out by other fictions. Gobineau was a fanatical opponent of the equality of human rights; therefore the Revolution appeared to him as a desecration of divinely established order. His whole race ideology was merely the product of a profound wish: to implant in men a belief in the inalterability of social inequality. As Malthus had explained to the "superfluous" that life's table did not have places for all, so Gobineau wished to prove to the world that the enslavement of the masses is ordained by fate and is a law of nature. Only when the instincts of the inferior mixed race begin to work in the blood of the master caste does the belief in the equality of everything in human form arise. For Gobineau this belief was an illusion which must lead irrevocably to the destruction of all social order.

Although little recognition was accorded Gobineau in his native France, even his purely literary work receiving less appreciation than it deserved, he exercised upon the development of race opinions elsewhere, especially in Germany, an influence that is not to be underestimated. Through his acquaintance with Richard Wagner, in whose home he first made the acquaintance of Schemann, the German biographer and translator of Gobineau, there was later formed the so-called "Gobineau Society" which looked after the dissemination of his work on race and further advanced the notions of the imaginative Frenchman to whom, in spite of all his scientific shortcomings, there cannot be denied a certain greatness which is entirely lacking in his later followers.

A much stronger influence on the development of the race doctrine in Germany, and also outside it, was exercised by the Englishman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whose work, Die Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhunderts ("Foundations of the Nineteenth Century") (1899), was rather widely circulated. Chamberlain enjoyed the special favour of William II, whom he knew how to approach from his most vulnerable side. He compared William's reign to a "rising morning" and testified that he was "really the first emperor." For such bald flattery the present Lord of the Castle of Doorn had a very receptive ear, so it could not fail that Chamberlain by high command advanced into the ranks of the great contemporary minds. The Grundlagen found a rapid sale among the members of the ruling caste in Germany. In order to assure for his work the widest possible circulation, a special fund was established; the Kaiser endorsed the work in person and so became benefactor to many a German private or state library and to all the schools of the Reich. According to von Billow's malicious statement, William used to read whole sections of the book to the ladies of his court, until they fell asleep.

As a rule Chamberlain is regarded merely as the perfecter of Gobineau's race theory; emphasis, however, is always laid on his mental superiority. It is impossible to oppose such a view too strongly. Chamberlain was merely the beneficiary of Gobineau, without whom his Grundlagen would be unthinkable. No one who has carefully compared the two works can avoid this conclusion. Chamberlain first became acquainted with Gobineau's racial philosophy of history in the home of his fatherinlaw, Richard Wagner, and appropriated its essential features for his own work.

From Chamberlain, no more than from Gobineau, do we discover what, exactly, "race" is. He is the finished mystic of the race idea, which in him condenses into a devoutly believed race mythology. External characteristics, like the shape of the skull, texture and colour of the hair, the skin, the eyes, have for him only a qualified meaning; even language is not determinative. Only the instinctive feeling of cohesiveness which reveals itself through the "voice of the blood" is determinative. This "feeling of race in one's own bosom," which is subject to no control and cannot be scientifically apprehended, is all that Chamberlain has to tell us about race.

Like Gobineau, Chamberlain sees in every great culture period the undeniable product of the German intellect and with cool assurance appropriates for his Noble Race the cultural wealth of all peoples and of all the great minds that mankind has ever produced. The Germans are the salt of the earth; they have been endowed by Nature herself with all the mental and spiritual qualities which fit them to be "masters of the world." This alleged historical destiny of the Germans follows so clearly for the author of the Grundlagen from all previous history that any doubt about it is stricken dumb. It is Germans who as leading caste have played an important role even among nonGermanic folkgroups, such as the French, the Italians, the Spaniards, the Russians; it is due only to their influence that a culture was able to develop in these lands at all. Even the great cultures of the Orient arose in this way. Under the influence of German blood they rose to undreamed-of greatness, and then went down as mental elasticity relaxed and the will to power was quenched in the deteriorating master caste by blood mixture with inferior races. Even Chamberlain did not deny that racecrossing can be advantageous to cultural development so long as it involves only the mixture of related races; for a noble race builds itself up only gradually by intermixture with other races of more or less the same worth. It is at this point that Chamberlain's concept parts company with Gobineau's. For Gobineau race stands at the beginning of all human history. It has its definite physical and mental characteristics which are transmitted by heredity and can be changed only by crossing with other races. And since he was convinced that in the course of thousands of years the blood of the noble race had been constantly debased and its precious qualities lost by mixture with yellow and black races, he looked toward the future with gloomy eyes. Chamberlain, on whom Darwin's theory had not been quite without effect, saw in race not a starting point, but a product of evolution. According to his view the race arises through natural selection in the struggle for existence, which eliminates the incapable and preserves only the able individual for the propagation of the species. Consequently, the race is the endproduct of a continuous process of splitting off from a related genus.

But if the race is a product of evolution and not its startingpoint, then the production of noble races for the future also is guaranteed, provided that the ruling upper stratum of a nation takes to heart the teaching of history and wards off the threatening "race chaos" by a suitable race hygiene. For the strengthening of his position Chamberlain appeals to the experience of breeders and shows us how a noble race of horses, dogs or swine comes into being. It is true, he forgets the essential point, namely, that the crossings of the human races in the course of millennia have been carried on under very different circumstances from those followed in the socalled "ennobling experiments" in the stables of breeders. For Gobineau we should rightly read: In the beginning was the Race. Therefore the nation meant nothing to him, and the idea of the fatherland was just a cunning invention of the Semitic mind. Chamberlain, however, who believed in the breeding of a noble race, wished to train the nation to racial purity. And since the German nation seemed to him best fitted for this purpose, because in its veins, according to his opinion, Germanic blood flowed purest, he saw the Teuton as the Bearer of the Future.

After Chamberlain had fitted out the noble Germans with every conceivable mental and spiritual trait in a really big way, there remained nothing for the peoples of any other descent except to surrender unconditionally to the proud master race and in the shadow of its overtowering greatness to drag out a humble existence. Since these others are merely the culturedungers of history, it is so much the worse for them if they cannot see it.

According to Chamberlain the opposition between Romanic peoples and Germans constitutes the whole content of modern history. And since the Romanic world, which had risen out of the great "chaos of peoples," had bound itself for good or ill to the "materialistic aims" of the Catholic church; had of necessity so to bind itself, since the voice of the blood left it no other choice; therefore Protestantism became for him the great achievement of Germanic culture. The German is the specially chosen minister of the Protestant mission, through which Christendom is first made aware of its true content. That the Christian had thoughtlessly chosen the Jew, Jesus, for his saviour was surely a bitter pill; it was too late to undo that. But was it not written in the Gospel that Christ first saw the light in Galilee? And immediately the "instinct of the race" came to Chamberlain's aid and informed him that in just this part of Palestine extensive crossing of races had occurred and, above all, that in Galilee Germanic stocks had settled. Must one not, then, admit that Christ had been a German? It was, in fact, unthinkable that out of "materialism-drunken Jewry" a doctrine could come to whose spiritual content the Jewish mind is completely opposed.

Chamberlain revealed an utterly morbid hatred of everything Jewish. He even ventured to assure his credulous readers that a Germanic child, the keenness of whose senses had not yet been ruined or blunted by the prejudices of adults, could tell instinctively when a Jew was near him. Yet he found it possible to speak highly of the Spanish Jews, the socalled "Sephardim," while he could never severely enough disparage the "Ashkenazim," the Jews of the northern countries. To be sure, he based his preference for the Sephardsm on the assumption that they were in reality Goths who had been converted to Judaism in large numbersa recognition which came to the great master of unproved assertion rather tardily, as it first appears in the third edition of his book. How the Goths, those genuine branches of the noble tree of Germandom, in spite of their "mystic inclination" and their inborn sense of "religious profundity," which according to Chamberlain are the heritage of their race, could throw themselves into the arms of "materialistic Judaism" with its "dead ritualism," its "slavish obedience," and its "despotic God" remains an unsolved mystery. In this case the "race in their own bosoms" must have failed outright; otherwise the wonder is not to be explained. Chamberlain's work on race swarms with similar assertions. There is hardly another work which reveals such unexampled unreliability in the material used and such reckless juggling with bare assumptions of the most daring type. As to this, not only the opponents, but also many outspoken believers in the race theory, like Albrecht Wirth, Eugen Kretzer and others, are fully agreed. Even so selfsatisfied an advocate of the race theory as Otto Hauser speaks of Chamberlain's work as "the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century which so frequently lacks factual basis." 3

Like Gobineau, Chamberlain is a fanatical opponent of all liberal and democratic ideas and sees in them a danger to Germanism. For him, freedom and equality are antagonistic concepts; who desires equality must sacrifice to it his personality, which alone can be the basis of freedom. But the freedom of Chamberlain is of a quite peculiar kind. It is the "freedom which the state is able to protect only on the condition that it shall limit it." "Man does not become free by being granted political rights; rather, the state can grant him political rights only when he has attained inner freedom; otherwise these alleged rights are always misused by others." 4

This utterance proves that Chamberlain had never understood the nature of either freedom or the state. But how could he? Fatalism is the exact opposite of the concept of freedom, and no fatalism bears so plainly the Cain's brand of hostility to freedom as the Kismet of race. Chamberlain's concept of freedom is that of the well fed and satisfied, to whom order is the first duty of the citizen, and who accepts such rights as the state hands out to him. Before such freedom no despot has ever trembled; but any trivial right that man wins by struggle against the tyranny of tradition brings the sweat of anxiety to the despot's brow. Chamberlain's "inner freedom" is just an empty word; only where the inner sentiment of freedom is transformed into liberating deed has the spirit of freedom a genuine homestead. "He who is occupied with nature and with 'force and matter' must, if he is honest, let freedom go," opines Chamberlain. We think, however, that he who does not constantly strive to convert freedom into "force and matter" must always remain a slave. An abstract conception of freedom that cannot inspire its possessor to strive to the limit for the attaining of his rights is like a woman to whom nature has denied the gift of fertility. Chamberlain's concept of freedom is the illusion of impotence, a cunning inversion of the inner feeling of serfdom which is incapable of any action. Ibsen had a very different view of freedom when he wrote:

You can never get me to regard freedom as synonymous with political liberty. What you call freedom, I call freedoms; and what I call the struggle for freedom is nothing but the constant, living assimilation of the idea of freedom. Who possesses freedom otherwise than as something to be striven for possesses it only as a thing without life or spirit, for the idea of freedom has always this quality, that it constantly expands as one assimilates it, so that if during the struggle one pauses to say: Now I have it! he merely shows that he has lost it. But to have just this dead kinda certain static view of freedomis characteristic of state organisations; and it is just this that I have called worthless. 5
Chamberlain never stood still on the road to freedom, because he never found himself on that road. His criticism of democracy has its basis in the past; he is the man who looks backward, the man to whom every product of revolution was hateful because it carried on its face the mark of its revolutionary origin. That which is today called democracy can be overcome only by forces which look not to the past, but to the future. The remedy lies not in what has been, but in the continual enlargement of the concept of freedom and its social applications. Even democracy did not overcome the will to power, because it was shackled to the state and dared not shake the privileges of the possessing classes. But Chamberlain did not find his base in the future; his gaze was fixed unchangingly on the past. Therefore he condemned even the constitutional monarchy as essentially alien to the Germanic spirit and advanced the idea of an absolute monarchy over a "free people"whatever he meant by that. He was one of those unswerving ones who opposed to the very last every limitation of the royal power in Prussia and, like all his predecessors and successors in the race theory, stood squarely in the camp of undisguised political and social reaction.
One would think that a work like the Grundlagen, which offers no opening for earnest understanding, which has regard neither for social relationships nor for the slow process of spiritual endeavour, and in which actually only the violent whim of the author is revealed, would be wrecked on its own mad contradictions. But it worked quite otherwise. It became for the ruling castes in Germany a destiny. So profound was the infatuation which this work induced that the former Kaiser could write in his memoirs: "Germanism in all its glory was first revealed and preached to the astounded German people by Chamberlain in his Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhunderts. But, as the collapse of the German people showed, without effect."

That the dethroned champion of divine right even today holds the German people responsible for the collapse is quite as delightful a revelation of the "lordly German spirit" as is the sorry role of those who with slavish exaltation revered the hopeless fool as "German Emperor" only to turn upon him after his downfall and kick him like maddened asses even to brand him as an "offspring of the Jews."

What Chamberlain had begun so gloriously was continued in the same spirit by men like Woltmann, Hauser, Gunther, Clauss, Madison Grant, Rosenberg, and many others. Woltmann, the former Marxist and Social Democrat, who one fine day threw over the class struggle and took up the race struggle instead, tried to supply historical proof for what Gobineau and Chamberlain had asserted about the origin and character of foreign cultures. He assembled an enormous mass of material which supposedly went to prove that all distinguished persons in the cultural history of France and Italy had been of German descent. To reach this conclusion he had examined the portraits of several hundred prominent personalities of the Renaissance period and was in a position to announce to an astonished world that most of them had blond hair and blue eyes. Woltmann was completely obsessed by his blueeyedblond theory and went into raptures every time he thought he had discovered a new blondling. 6

One utterly fails to see what such assertions are meant to prove. That there are Germanic elements in the population of France and Italy, no one has ever questioned. Both peoples are racially just as mixed as are the Germans, as are all the peoples of Europe. France and Italy were repeatedly overrun by Germanic tribes, just as the numerous human floods of Slavic, Celtic and Mongolian tribes poured over Germany. But to what extent the culture of a people is determined by race is a question to which science has as yet found no answer, nor is likely to find one. We are here depending merely on conjectures which can never serve as substitutes for actual facts. We do not yet know one thing definitely about the causes behind even purely external characteristics like colour of hair and eyes.

And so the whole portrait-diagnosis of Woltmann and his successor, Otto Hauser, is utterly worthless. It is the most utterly unreliable means that could be produced for the establishment of definite characters. In the picture books of our race astrologers such "documents" look very fine and serve there their full purpose, but for the earnest student they offer hardly even a point of attack. The work of painters is not photography, which incorruptibly gives back what is before it. It must from the first be valued as the reproduction of what the inner eye of the artist perceives; and this inner picture which hovers before the artist, and without which no work of art can be produced, not seldom misrepresents the original from a factual standpoint. Also, the personal style of the artist and the school to which he belongs play an important part in the work. To what genuine investigator, for example, would it occur to try to establish the characteristics of a race from portraits by our presentday cubists or futurists? Besides which, the very same portraits which serve Woltmann as proofs of the Germanic origin of the French and Italian cultures supply to other advocates of the race theory a basis for quite different views. For example, Albrecht Wirth, who also thinks that he recognises in race the determinative factor in historical development, explains in his Rasse und Volk: "In this view is involved a strange error; that Woltmann and his adherents discovered in so many geniuses and men of talent in France and Italy Germanic features. To unprejudiced eyes the very pictures which Woltmann gives as illustrations show just the opposite: Bashkir, Mediterranean, and Negro types."

In fact, in the whole long portrait gallery which Woltmann displays to the world in support of his thesis, there is hardly a type that could stand as genuinely representative of the Germanic race. In every one of them unmistakable characteristics of the hybrid are more or less clearly shown. If the researches of Woltmann and Hauser were to lead us to any "law of history" at all, it could be only to this: that racial inbreeding gradually undermines spiritual vigour and has as its consequence a slow decline, while racial interbreeding imparts to the capacity for culture ever new vigour and favours the production of personalities of genius. The same holds good also for the German bearers of culture, and Max von Gruber is not wrong when he says:

And when we apply racial standards to the bodily characteristics of our greatest men we find, indeed, in many of them Nordic characters, but in none of them only Nordic characters. The first glance reveals to the expert that neither Frederick the Great, nor Baron von Stein, nor Bismark was pure Nordic; the same is true of Luther, Melanchthon, Leibnitz, Kant, and Schopenhauer, as also of Liebig and Julius Robert Mayer and Helmholtz, of Goethe, Schiller, and Grillparzer, of Durer, Menzel, and Feuerbach, and even of the greatest geniuses of that most German of all the arts, music, from Bach and Gluck and Haydn to Bruckner. They were all hybrids; the same is true of the great Italians. Michelangelo and Galileo were, if Nordic at all, still not pure Nordic. To the characteristics from the North apparently ingredients from other races must be added in order to produce the happiest combination of characters. 7
However much Woltmann may insist that "Dante, Raphael, Luther, and so on, were geniuses not because they were hybrids, but in spite of it," and that "the foundation of their genius is their heritage from the Germanic race," it remains but empty preaching so long as we are not in a position to establish indisputably and to confirm scientifically the influence of race on the intellectual characteristics of mankind. By just the same logic could we affirm that the spark of genius in Luther, Goethe, Kant or Beethoven was to be attributed to the presence of "Alpine" or "Oriental" blood in them. Nothing would be proved by this; the world would merely be richer by one more assertion. In fact, during the War there were found on the other side of the Vosges men like Paul Souday and others who explained that all the great personalities that Germany had produced were of Celtic, and not German, descent. Why not?
The latest advocates of the socalled race doctrine take great pains to give a scientific appearance to their views and appeal especially to the laws of heredity, which play such an important part in modern natural science, and are still the subject of so much controversy. By heredity, biology means chiefly the fact, firmly established by common observation, that plants and animals resemble their parents and that this resemblance is apparently traceable to the fact that the descendants arise from bits of the same protoplasm and so develop from the same or similar hereditary primordia. From this it follows that in protoplasm there reside peculiar forces which by the separation of the tiniest portions can transmit the whole to the descendants. Thus men came to recognise that the real cause of inheritance must be sought in a particular condition of the living cellstuff which we call protoplasm.

However valuable this recognition may be, it has hardly brought us nearer to the real solution of the problem. Instead it has proposed for science a whole set of new problems, whose solution is no less difficult. In the first place, it is necessary to establish the processes in protoplasm which control the development of particular characters, a task attended by almost insurmountable difficulties. And we are just as much in the dark as to the inner processes which precede inheritance. Science has, it is true, succeeded in establishing the existence of socalled chemical molecules and even the existence of certain fairly welldeveloped organs within the cell structure, but the specific arrangement of the molecules and the inner causes of the differences between the protein groups in dead and in living substance are still unknown to us today. One can safely say that in this perplexing realm we rely almost entirely on assumptions, since none of the numerous theories of heredity has been able to lift the veil of the Magi that still hides the actual processes of inheritance. We have profited much by the observations on hybridisation and their interpretation; but of course these deal less with the explanation of causes than with the establishment of facts.

Seventy years ago the Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, busied himself in his quiet cloister garden at Brunn with twentytwo varieties of peaplants and achieved the following results: when he crossed a yellow with a green variety, the descendants bore all yellow seeds and the green appeared to be completely eliminated. But when he dusted the yellow hybrids with their own pollen, the vanished green appeared again in their descendants and in a definite ratio. Of every four seeds in plants of the second generation, three were yellow and one was green. The characteristics of the green variety had, therefore, not disappeared; they were merely hidden by the characteristics of the yellow. Mendel speaks, therefore, of recessive or concealed, and dominant or concealing, characters. The recessive characterin this case greenseedednessin renewed fertilisations showed itself constant in heredity so long as selffertilisation was strictly controlled and no new crossing occurred. The dominants, however, segregated regularly in each new generation. A third of their progeny were pure dominants, which bred true in later generations; the other twothirds "mendeled," that is, they segregated in reproduction again in the same proportion of 3:1. In the same ratio the process continued indefinitely.

Countless experiments by wellknown botanists and zoologists have since then confirmed Mendel's rules in the large. They also agree very well with the results of modern cytology, or celltheory, as far as the growth and division of the cell can be observed. One can, therefore, agree that these rules have validity for all organic beings up to man and that in nature as a whole a unified plan of control of the processes of heredity obtains; but this recognition does not dispose of the countless difficulties which have thus far prevented our deeper insight into this mysterious occurrence. It is clear from the Mendelian laws of heredity that the characters of the parents are transmitted to the offspring in a definite ratio On the other hand, cytological research has shown that the hereditary primordia of a living being are to be sought in those carefully separated nuclear parts in the germ cell which we call chromosomes. And all that science has more or less certainly established seems deducible from this: that the hereditary primordia enter into the germ cell in pairs, and that In each pair one element comes from the sperm cell of the father, the other from the egg cell of the mother.

But since one cannot believe that all the hereditary primordia of both parents are transmitted to each of their offspring, because in that case their number would become greater with each succeeding generation, one comes to the conclusion that only in the nucleus of the soma or bodycells of a living being are all the hereditary primordia present; the germ cell always suppresses finally a part of the nuclear factors so that it receives only onehalf of all the primordia, that is, only one member of each characterpair. One learns that in the general body cell of man there are 48 chromosomes, but the germ cell when ready for fertilisation contains only 24. But this is not to say that man possesses only 24 characterpairs that function as bearers of heredity. In every chromosome several members of different characterpairs may be present, so that in the offspring the most varied combinations may appear. Since, however, every fertilisation is really a crossing, even when it occurs between beings of the same race, because in nature no two individuals are exactly alike, it follows that from every instance of fertilisation the most manifold results may ensue. From only two different hereditary factors there would arise in two generations four varieties; from three pairs, eight varieties; from four, 16; from ten, 1,024; and so on. From these clearly obvious possibilities of combination any comprehensive view of the results of the processes of heredity becomes not merely increasingly difficult, but actually impossible.

And we were still speaking only of purely physical characteristics When we turn to mental or moral characters the processes become much more involved, because here no segregation or fixation of separate qualities is possible. We are, then, not in a position to separate mental characteristics into their components and to differentiate one part from another. Intellectual and moral characters are given us as wholes; even if we agree that the Mendelian laws of heredity apply in this field, we still have no means of subjecting their operation to scientific observation.

And when it becomes clear that pure races are nowhere to be found, in fact, have in all probability never existed; that all European peoples are merely mixtures and present every possible racial makeup, which both without and within each nation are only to be distinguished by the proportion of the separate constituents; then only does one get an idea of the difficulties which beset the earnest student at every step. If, further, one keeps in mind how uncertain the results of anthropologic research in regard to the different races still are today, how defective still is our knowledge of the inner processes of heredity, then one cannot avoid the conclusion that every attempt to erect on such uncertain premises a theory which allegedly reveals to us the deeper meaning of all historical events and enables its exponents infallibly to judge the worth of the moral, mental and cultural qualities of the different human groups must become either senseless playacting or clownish mischief. That such theories could find such wide circulation, especially in Germany, is a serious sign of the mental degradation of a society that has lost all inner moral strength and is therefore concerned to replace outworn ethical values with ethnological concepts.

Of the presentday advocates of the race theory, Dr. Hans Gunther is the best known and the most disputed over. His numerous writings and especially his Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes have had an extraordinary circulation in Germany, and in wide circles have achieved an influence that one dares not underestimate. What distinguishes Gunther from his predecessors is not the content of his doctrine, but the pains he takes to surround it with a scientific mantle, in order to endow it with an outer dignity which does not belong to it. As a basis for his views Gunther has collected a great mass of material, but that is all. When it becomes necessary to establish scientifically conclusions of decisive significance, he fails completely and reverts to the methods of Gobineau and Chamberlain, who relied entirely on a wishconcept. For him the Aryan moves clear into the background; the Germanic man has also played out his part; Gunther's ideal is the "Nordic race," which he endows with precious native qualities as generously as Gobineau does the Aryans and Chamberlain the Germans. In addition he has enriched the classification of European races by one new component, and has equipped the already existing divisions with new names without, by this, adding anything to our knowledge.

The American scholar, Ripley, who first attempted to write an anthropological history of European peoples, contented himself with three principal types, which he designated as the Teutonic, the Celtic-Alpine and the Mediterranean races. Later there was added to these three a fourth, the Dinaric race, and it was thought that in these four fundamental types the chief components of Europe's racial makeup had been recognised. Besides these four principal races there are also in Europe Levantine, Semitic, Mongolian and Negro strains. Of course, one cannot represent these four types as pure races; we are merely concerned here with a working hypothesis for science, to enable it to under take a classification of European peoples on more or less correct lines. The mass of European peoples is the result of crossings among these "races." These themselves, however, are merely the product of certain mixtures which in the course of time have taken on particular forms, as is the case in every instance of race formation. Gunther added, superfluously, a fifth to these four principal races, the socalled "EastBaltic race." Along with this new discovery he effected a rebaptism of the Alpine race which he called the "Eastern" (ostisch). There was no reason at all for this change, and his bitterest opponent in the racial camp, Dr. Merkenschlager, may have been right when he assumed that Gunther, in this renaming of the Alpine race, had the purpose merely of "representing it to the sentiment of his readers as 'contaminated' and to enable the unthinking masses to interpret it as Oriental-Jewish."

Like nearly all of the presentday race theorists Gunther in his discussions starts from the modern theories of heredity. He uses as his foundation especially the hypothetical assumptions of neo-Mendelism. According to these conceptions the hereditary primordia are not subject to any external influence, so that a change in the hereditary factors can occur only through crossing. From this it follows that man and all other living beings are to be regarded merely as the products of particular hereditary primordia which they received before their birth and which can be turned from their predestined course neither by the influence of the natural or social environment, nor by any other forces.

Here lies the essential error of every race theory, the reason for their inevitably false conclusions. Gunther, and with him all the other advocates of race theories, proceed from assumptions which can in no way be proved and whose untenability can always be shown by examples from daily life and from history. One could take these assertions seriously only if their proponents were in a position to adduce conclusive proofs of these three points: first, that hereditary primordia are in fact unchangeable and are not affected by the influences of the environment; second, that physical characters must be taken as unmistakable signs of particular intellectual and moral qualities; third, that the life of man is determined entirely by congenital factors and that acquired or imparted characters have no essential influence on his destiny.

As to the first question, we have already shown that science knows a whole series of firmly established facts which prove irrefutably that action of the environment on the hereditary factors does occur and produce changes in them. The fact that numerous investigators have succeeded in effecting a modification of hereditary factors by radiation, changes of temperature, and so on, testifies to this. Besides, we have the effects of domestication, the importance of which has been brought out with special strength by Eduard Hahn and Eugen Fischer. Indeed, Fischer was led to declare: "Man is a product of domestication, and it is domestication that has caused his great variability, or contributed to it."

Concerning the second point, no sophistry will help. Not a shadow of proof can be adduced to show that external racial characters like the shape of the skull, the colour of the hair, slimmer or sturdier build, have any relation to mental, spiritual or moral factors in mankind; so that, for example, a tall, blond, blueeyed Nordic because of his external physical characters should possess moral and mental qualities which one would not find in descendants of some other race. Our race ideologists claim this, it is true, but their doctrine is completely untenable, and based on assertions for the correctness of which they have not the slightest proof.

We have already emphasised that in the long line of persons of genius who deserve credit for the intellectual culture of Germany there is hardly one whose appearance corresponds even halfway to the ideal concept of the "Nordic man." And it is precisely the greatest of them who are physically farthest from the fanciful picture of the Gunthers, Hausers and Clausses. We need but think of Luther, Goethe, Beethoven, who lacked almost completely the external marks of the "Nordic race," and whom even the most outstanding exponents of the race theory characterise as hybrids with Oriental, Levantine and NegroMalayan strains in them. It would look even worse if one should go so far as to apply the bloodtest to the champions in the arena of the race struggle like Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg, Goebbels, Streicher, for example, and give these worthy representatives of the Nordic race and the national interest the opportunity to confirm their rulership of the Third Reich by virtue of their blood. 8

If it is indisputable that men like Socrates, Horace, Michelangelo Dante, Luther, Galileo, Rembrandt, Goya, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herder, Goethe, Beethoven, Byron, Pushkin, Dostoievsky, Tolstoi, Balzac, Dumas, Poe, Strindberg, Ibsen, Zola, and hundreds of others were of mixed race this is surely a proof that external racemarks have nothing to do with the intellectual and moral qualities in man. It is really amusing to observe with what excuses our modern race fetishists try to overcome these difficulties. Thus, Dr. Clauss accounted for Beethoven's inconvenient race aflinities quite simply by declaring: "Beethoven was, so far as his musical ability is concerned, a Nordic man. The style of his work proves this clearly enough; and this is not altered at all by the fact that his bodyanthropologically considered, that is, just the mass and weight of his body perhaps was fairly pure Oriental." 9

As we see, the purest metempsychosis. What mysterious forces were at work when the "Nordic racesoul" of Beethoven was stuck into a vile Oriental body? Or did, perhaps, the Jews or the Freemasons have a hand in it!

There remains the last question, whether the qualities which man acquires during the course of his life or which are imparted to him by the culture in which he lives have actually no influence on his inherited factors. If this could be proved, then indeed should we be compelled to speak of a "Kismet of the blood" which no one could withstand. But how does the matter stand in reality? The power of the acquired characters reveals itself every day in our lives and constantly conceals the inherited factors with which we began our life journey. As examples we may take the two strongest impulseswhich in all living beings and in men of every race and clime reveal themselves as equally powerfulhunger and love. Man has surrounded these two instincts in which the whole vital energy of the individual and the race exhausts itself, with such a network of ageold customs and usages, which in the course of time have been erected into definite ethical principles, that the inborn urge in most cases no longer asserts itself against this web of imparted and acquired concepts. Do we not see every day how in our great cities thousands of miserable, starving human beings silently sneak past the rich display in the showwindows of our food stores? They devour these splendours with greedy eyes, but very seldom does one of them dare to yield to the inborn impulse and take what would serve for the satisfaction of his most urgent needs. Fear of the law, dread of public opinion, inculcated respect for the rights of property of others prove stronger than the drive of the inborn impulse. And yet we are dealing here with acquired characters which are no more transmissible by heredity than are the calloused hands of the blacksmith. The child confronts these things quite without comprehension until it gradually learns to adjust itself to them.

And love? With how many prohibitions, duties and grotesque customs has man hedged in this most elemental of his impulses. Even among primitive peoples there exist a great mass of morals and customs which are sanctified by usage and respected by public opinion. Human imagination invented the cult of Astarte in Babylon and that of Mylitta in Assyria, the sexual religions of India and the asceticism of the Christian saints. It created all the institutions of sexual behaviour: polygamy, polyandry, monogamy, and all of the forms of promiscuity from the "sacred prostitution" of the Semitic peoples to the sequestration by the state of the women of the street. It brought the whole gamut of sexual passion under strict rule and developed definite views which today are deeply rooted in the minds of men. And yet here are at work also merely acquired concepts, customs, institutions, which have found emotional expression in definite trainedin characteristics. And it is just these characteristics which direct the lovelife of man into definite courses and constantly impel the individual to quite distressing suppression of his inborn impulses. Even the most cunning sophistry cannot avoid these facts.

Every phase of human history shows us the powerful influence of religious, political and moral ideas on the social development of men, the strong influence of the social conditions under which they live and which in their turn react on the form of their ideas and opinions. This eternal reciprocal influence constitutes the whole content of history. Hundreds of thousands of men have gone to their death for particular ideas, very often with the most frightful accompaniments, and have by their conduct defied the strongest inborn impulse that exists in every living being. And this has happened under the overpowering influence of acquired ideas. Religions like Islam and Christianity have drawn peoples of all races into their bonds. The same may be said of all the great popular movements of history. We need but think of the Christian movement in the decaying Roman Empire, of the great movements of the time of the Reformation of international floods of ideas like liberalism, democracy or socialism, which have been able to exert their proselyting power upon men and women of every social class and enlist them under their banners. The peoples of the "Nordic race" have been no exception to this rule.

Our race alchemists have tried to save their faces by maintaining that the peoples of the Nordic race have all too often been misled by ideas that are racially alien to them and for which they had no real inner inclination. They call this incomprehensible invasion by "foreign custom" and "foreign spirit" one of the most lamentable aspects of Germanism and of the Nordic race in general. Such outbursts, which are quite common with Giinther, Hauser, Neuner, and others, seem rather odd. What sort of remarkable race is this which allegedly feels itself drawn toward foreign Ideas and foreign customs as iron is drawn to the magnet? This unnatural phenomenon might easily make us think that we have here a morbid degenerate form of the "Nordic race-soul" which otherwise is shown clearly enough by the whole "race" rubbish of our time. It is still more remarkable that the enraptured worshipers of the Nordic wonder-race constantly strive to eliminate these moral blemishes of their idol and in the same breath announce that race is destiny. If this is true, what is the use of all the indoctrination? Of what use that Gunther and his "Nordic Ring"a sort of BlueBlond Internationaltry by all means to prevent a war between the Nordic peoples in the future; or that Otto Hauser proclaims to an astonished world that the principal strategists of the World War on both sides were blond Nordics and honours the French General Joffre as a "blond Goth"? All the worse if this is so. It then merely proves that blond Nordics on opposite sides have killed one another for a cause which according to their blood was alien to them; above all it proves that the inborn "voice of the blood" could not prevail against the economic and political interests about which the war was fought.

The French race ideologist, Vacher de Lapouge, once announced that in the twentieth century "we shall kill one another by the millions because of one or two degrees more or less in the cephalic index," and that "by this sign, which will replace the biblical shibboleth and kinship of language, related races will recognise one another, and the last sentimentalist will live to see a mighty extermination of peoples." Even the bald and terrible reality of the war was less fantastic than the bloodthirsty imagination of this race fetishist. In the World War we did not smash skulls because they were a little longer or shorter, but because the opposing interests within the capitalistic world had grown to such a degree that the war seemed to the ruling classes the only available way by which they could hope to escape from the blind alley into which they had gotten themselves. In the late World War the most various races fought shoulder to shoulder on both sides. We even drew black men and yellow into the catastrophe with us, without any hindrance from the "voice of the blood," to let themselves be slaughtered for interests which were certainly not their own.

Peoples have not infrequently undergone a fundamental change in their morals and customs which could in no way be traced to racial crossing. According to the unanimous testimony of all recognised race theorists, men of the Nordic race are today most numerous in the Scandinavian countries, especially in Sweden. But these very Swedes, Norwegians and Danes have in the course of their history experienced a profound change in their ancient ways of living. Those very countries which were once hated and feared as the home of the most warlike tribes in Europe now harbour the most peaceful population on the continent. The famous "spirit of the Vikings" which is supposed to have been the outstanding characteristic of Nordic race is, in these same Scandinavian lands, as good as extinguished The phrase "born pacifists," which was invented by Gunther and his satellites especially to bring the socalled "Oriental man" into moral disrepute, fits no one better than the presentday Scandinavians. they merely show that the latest destiny-faith of race is the shallowest fatalism that has ever been devised; it is the most pitiful and degrading surrender of the spirit to the cannibalistic delusion of the "voice of the blood."

In order to prevent the submersion of the "Noble Race" they have hit, in Germany, on the grand idea of "nordification," which has led cunning minds to the most daring proposals. The nordification theory has during the past ten years called forth a whole flood of literary productions than which anything more grotesque would be hard to find. No other country can approach Germany in this. Most of those strange saints who obtrude themselves in Germany today as reformers of sexual relations wish to put procreation under the controlling hand of the state. Others stand openly for the legal introduction of polygamy in order to put the Nordic race the quicker on its somewhat weakened legs. And, so that the lord of the family may come into his rights "in the midst of this effeminate old world"as Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's spiritual adviser, so picturesquely expresses itHerr Richard Rudolf in his essay, Geschlechtsmoral, defends polygamy, not only because it provides a means for raising the fecundity of the Nordic race to its highest capacity, but also because this institution better corresponds to the polygamous instincts of the male.

Inspired adherents of nordification a few years ago called to life a special movement for the advocacy of the socalled "Midgard marriage" whose sponsors proposed the founding and financing of special settlements where Nordic men and women selected for this purpose should, in loving collaboration, devote themselves to the exalted task of preventing the decline of the noble race. There were to be ten women for every man. The marriage was to be regarded as a sort of bond of pregnancy which was to last only till the birth of the child, unless both the mates expressed a wish to prolong the union. In his book, Weltanschauung und Menschenzuchtung, Health Commissioner F. Dupre advocated a socalled ''temporary marriage" which was to serve merely for breeding purposes. A stateappointed "Council of Elders" was to supervise these matters. "The couple must be brought together purely for the purpose of propagation," declares this curious elaboration. "When this has been accomplished they are to separate.... The expenses of this breeding are to be borne by the state." Very much like Hentschel, the inventor of the "Midgard marriage", Herr Walther Darre, later Germany's National Socialistic Minister of Nutrition, sets to work, in his book, Neu- Adel aus Blut und Boden ("A New Nobility from the Blood and the Soil"), for the breeding of a new nobility on special Hegehofen ("breeding farms"). Herr Darre wishes to bring the propagation of the nation under constant supervision by establishing "breedwardens." For this purpose special "herd books" and "family records" are to be prepared for all women. All virgins are to be divided into four classes to whom on the basis of special "breeding laws" marriage is to be permitted or denied according to their racial characteristics and fitness for childbearing. On March 12, 1930, the National Socialists introduced in the Reichstag the following addition to Article 2I8 of the Criminal Code:

Whoever undertakes artificially to restrict the natural fertility of the German people to the injury of the nation, or by word, writing, print, picture, or in any other way to assist such attempts, or whoever by mating with members of the Jewish bloodcommunity or of the coloured races contributes or threatens to contribute to the corruption and disintegration of the German people shall be punished by imprisonment for racial treason.
On December 31, 1931, the national administration of Hitler's Storm Troopers issued a decree that after January 1, 1932, a marriage license should be issued to every Storm Trooper by a socalled "Race-office." This curious document, which pleads for the "preservation by hygienic heredity of a distinct GermanNordic species," and makes reference to a "book of kinship of the S.S.," gave us the first foretaste of the glories of the Third Reich. It is characteristic that the same crowd which peddles s its "German idealism" so insistently and with such profound moral enthusiasm combats the "materialistic debasement" of Germany, values sexual relations purely from the viewpoint of the breeder and would reduce the lovelife of men to the level of the breeding stall and the studfarm. After the "rationalisation of industry," the rationalisation of sexual intercourse -- what a future!
But all the talk about nordification is entirely worthless because all the conditions for such a process are lacking. Even if the race were not a mere idea, but an actual living unity whose characteristics were transmitted to their progeny in their entirety, still such a project could not be undertaken. A farmer may be in a position to breed his oxen, cows or swine for the production of meat, milk or fat, but to breed human beings for definite moral and intellectual characteristics is quite another matter. All experiments which have so far been made on plants and animals have shown that a race never enters a mixture as a whole. So long as human beings with like or with very similar racial characteristics keep to themselves and propagate only within their own circle their peculiar characters reappear more or less conjoined and in like relations. When, however mixture with other racial elements occur, then race is not inherited as a compact unity, but each separate character by itself or in separate constellations Therefore, not only may both pure and mixed characters occur in the offspring; there exists for each of them the possibility of every conceivable combination of the parental hereditary primordia.

There are no longer any pure races, least of all in Europe. The so-called "fundamental races" of Europe are today so thoroughly jumbled together that racially pure peoples are simply not to be found. This holds true especially for Germany, which because of its geographical situation in the heart of the continent seems to have been made for a highway for tribes and peoples. At the time of the migration of peoples Nordic tribes left the old homeland in troops and moved towards the south, where the Nordic blood gradually fused with that of the indigenous "racealien." Slavic tribes, which invaded the land from the east, took possession of the halfemptied territories and spread in the north as far as the Elbe and in the south as far as the Regnitz. Up to the middle of the eleventh century the Thuringian Forest was called the Slavenwald, and one can recognise in the appearance of the population there the strong influence of Slavic blood even today. The ancient population of Germany was completely recast by these continued intermixtures of blood. The Germans have long ceased to correspond to the description that Tacitus once wrote of the Germanic people. Not only have the physical characteristics altered, the mental and spiritual characters, too, have undergone a profound change. Among the sixty millions which today inhabit Germany there is probably hardly one person whom one could describe as a pure Nordic. It is, therefore, one of the strangest delusions that men have ever harboured that out of this variegated mixture there can be redistilled one of the old "basic races." One must, in fact, be a racetheoretician to be able to think such things. The whole nordification Utopia is as Brunhold Springer cleverly remarks "not an undertaking, but an Old-German community play." 10

It is the extremes which mutually attract one another, especially in the love of the sexes. The blond will always be more drawn to the brunette than to one of his own type. It is the strange that charms and allures and sets the blood astir. The very fact that there are no pure races and that all peoples are mixtures proves that the voice of nature is stronger than that of race or of blood. Even the strictest castes of India were not able to preserve their racial purity. The "Nordic man" of Gunther and his followers is a purely imaginary picture. The belief in a race which unites in itself every feature of physical beauty along with the most exalted qualities of mind and spirit is a wonderfaith, a dream notion, which corresponds to nothing in the past or the future.

If the Nordic race were in fact the miraculous entity from which every human culture has proceeded, how came it that in its Nordic homeland it was unable to bring forth any culture worth mentioning? Why did its "inborn culturemaking capacity" unfold only in distant zones and far from its native soil? Why must we go to Greece and Rome to find a Sophocles, a Praxiteles, a Pericles, a Demosthenes, an Alexander, an Augustus, a hundred others, who are honoured by the Gunthers, Woltmanns and Hausers as representatives of the Nordic race? The fact is, alas, that the Nordic man revealed his celebrated culturebuilding powers only in another environment and in association with foreign peoples. For the "proud Viking voyages" with which the books on race are all ablaze could hardly be described as cultural activities. On the contrary, they all too frequently threatened culture and laid waste valuable elements of it, as the robber-raids of Goths, Vandals, Normans and other Germanic tribes show clearly enough.

All modern race theorists are, however, agreed that the capacity for statemaking was the most important characteristic of Nordic man, which destined him alone to be the leader and guide of peoples and nations. If this is true, how is it that Nordic man in those very Nordic lands never set up a great kingdom, like, for example, that of Alexander, the Roman Caesars, or Genghis Khan, but always stayed shut up in little communities? It really seems rather odd that this crowd which has so much to say about the statebuilding genius of the blond Nordic, in the same breath bewails the eternal disunion of the Germanic tribes as one of the most lamentable manifestations of their character and warns the presentday Germans of the fatal consequences of this bad habit of their forebears. Such a state of affairs is surely hard to reconcile with the capacity to weld together great kingdoms and nations; a factwe may remark in passingthat is no great misfortune. The impulse of the Germanic tribes to split up, which is quite proverbial, goes very poorly, in fact, with their alleged capacity for statebuilding. The blond Nordic acquired this only in foreign parts when the powerconcepts of the Roman Empire came to him as a new revelation -- and a catastrophe.

We do not mean to deny to "Nordic man" cultural capacity or other valuable characters. Nothing is farther from our intent than to fall into the opposite error from that of the race ideologists. But we guard ourselves with all modesty against the immeasurable arrogance of those persons who dare to deny to other races not only all deep feeling for culture but every idea of honour and fidelity. In the end, all the talk about the "race soul" is nothing but an idle playing with imaginary ideas. The method which brings all human groups mentally and spiritually under a single norm is a monstrosity which can but lead to the most perniciously erroneous conclusions. It is not to be disputed that men who have reproduced for centuries in the same territory and under the influence of the same natural and social environment have certain outer and inner characters in common. These resemblances are more manifest between members of the same family than in a tribe or a people; and yet what immeasurable contrasts of character one finds when one goes deeper into the mental and spiritual makeup of the individual members of a family. In general the socalled "collective character" of a people, a nation or a race expresses merely the personal views of individuals which are taken up by others and thoughtlessly repeated.

What, for instance, are we to think when Gunther in his Rassenkunde les judischen Volkes has this to say about the socalled "Oriental race"? "This race came out of the desert and their mental attitude inclines them to allow formerly cultivated lands to become desert again." This is empty prattle based on nothing at all. In the first place, we lack any historical evidence that this race in fact came out of the desert; and in the next place, who is to produce proof that in the members of this race there really resides the instinct to "let cultivated lands become desert again"? But Gunther needed this construction of history to convince his readers of the utter worthlessness of the Jews. Yet, in Palestine, the Jews were an agricultural people; their whole legislation was built around this fact. The Arabs changed Spain into a garden of which great portions became desert again after the expulsion of the Moors.

Fear of the Jews has developed among the advocates of the race theory into a genuine race panic. It is admitted, of course, even in those circles, that actually no such thing as a Jewish race exists, and that the Jews, like all other peoples, are a mixture of every possible racial element. Modern race theoreticians go so far as to assert that along with Levantine, Oriental, Hamitic and Mongolian blood, even a drop or two of Nordic blood flows in the veins of Jews! Nevertheless, it seems that of all races the Jewish has the worst inheritance. There is hardly any evil quality that hostile imagination has not attributed to the Jew. He was the real inventor of socialism, and at the same time he let capitalism loose in the world. He has infected all countries with his liberal ideas and loosened all bonds of authority; still, his religion is a creed of strictest authority, a cult of the utmost despotism. He caused the War and invoked the revolution. He seems to have just the one secret purpose of hatching out subtle conspiracies against the noble Nordic man. We are assured that mixture of blood destroys the original characteristics of a race and diverts the course of its mental and spiritual tendencies. How comes it, then, that so highly mixed a race as the Jews have for two thousand years been able to preserve their religious system in spite of the horrible persecutions they have endured because of it? Must one not infer from this that there are in history other factors than hereditary racial characteristics? And how comes it that the Jews could poison the whole world with their "modernistic spirit" if the ideas of man are only the outcome of hereditary fact inherent in his blood? Must we not conclude from this either that the Jew is much more closely akin to us by blood than our race ideologists are willing to admit or that the blood-determined hereditary characteristics are too weak to withstand foreign ideas?

But the attacks of modern race doctrine are not directed solely against the Jews; in even greater force they are massed against a section of their own people, against the offspring of the socalled "Alpine race" which Gunther rebaptised "Eastern." When Gunther, Hauser, Clauss and their associates speak of the Eastern peoples they become downright malicious. That the Eastern race settled in the very heart of Europe is, according to Gunther, a great misfortune, for with its "impure blood" it constantly threatens the exalted Nordic, whose mixture with this "talentless," "uncreative" race leads only to ruin. The Eastern is the exact opposite of the Nordic man. If in the latter the "spirit of the commander" finds its most distinguished expression, in the former lives only the "sullen soul" of the pikeman capable of no great campaign. The Eastern is the "born pacifist," the "mass man"; hence his preference for democracy, which grows out of his need to pull down everything superior to himself. He has no heroic traits and no feeling at all for the greatness of the fatherland and the nation. The Easterns are the "men of Jean Paul, already plentiful enough, in fact, far too plentiful, in Germany." They make good subjects, but they can never be leaders only the Nordic man is a predestined leader (see Hitler and Goebbels). But that is not all.

"Sexual intercourse among near relatives, also between brothers and sisters and parents and children, is, I am assured by country doctors, said not to be unusual in those districts settled by Easterns. The Eastern mind, perhaps because of its origin, is not acquainted with the idea of incest." 11

Otto Hauser has the worst things to say about Eastern man, of whom he presents the following charming picture:

He will do anything for money. He would unhesitatingly sell his honour if he had any. He is the born democrat and capitalist.... The Eastern man is more lascivious than the pure races or than the other mixed races. He makes men and women dance naked on the stage or wrestle with one another. He loves to read about perversions and practices them when he can afford it. He enslaves woman and is enslaved by her. He advocates individualism in the sense that everyone is to do what he pleases, violate girls and young boys, employ any means in social, mental, or political contests. And though it is contrary to all rules of sportsmanship to grasp an opponent by the genitals, he, who advocates in general the freeing of all desire, likes to make use of the practice when he wants to drag down to his own level those inconvenient geniuses whom he, the devoid of genius, cannot beat in a fair fight. 12
In another place in his works Hauser tells his readers:
The Eastern is vulgar in his sexuality. One cannot be with him half an hour before he begins telling not merely indecent stories, but his own sex experiences and possibly even those of his wife; and the women entertain the listeners with accounts of their menstrual difficulties. His brats bedaub the walls with vulvas and phalluses and make dates for sexual intercourse at public comfort-stations.
One can hardly trust one's eyes when one reads such stuff. The first impression is that one is dealing with a diseased mind, for this joyous wallowing in the imagined sexuality of another surely springs from a perverted disposition and a morbid imagination incapable of healthy perceptions. Let us be clear about the monstrousness of these accusations which are published thus to the whole world. They throw this filth at a whole body of human beings, numbering millions in their own countries, and ascribe to them alleged "character traits" which really spring only from their own diseased and unclean imagination. This sort of "demonstration" is characteristic of the methods of the presentday race ideologists; it also is typical of the mental degradation of the men who do not hesitate even to draw on the secrets of the comfortstation in order to hang something on the "racial enemy" and so to satisfy their own dirty instincts. And this poison has been poured into the country for years by countless books, pamphlets and newspaper articles. Let no one be surprised if this sowing of dragon's teeth shall some day germinate. For the absurdity of the presentday nationalistic movement in Germany is just this: that it rests on the race theory and that its advocates in their blindness fail to see that they are destroying with their own hands the strongest bulwark of the nation, the inbred feeling of national cohesion.
If one is not sufficiently deluded to be able thus to insult the members of his own nation, he can easily see how this race fatalism must operate against other peoples. Out of the shortsighted belief in the divinely ordained superiority of the noble race follows logically the belief in its "historical mission." Race becomes a question of destiny, a dream of the renewal of the world by the conscious will of Germankind. And since one cannot admit that all peoples will view the approaching destiny from just the same angle of vision, war becomes the only solution. Experience has shown us where that leads. The belief that "In Germankind the world once more its weal will find" (Am deutschen Wesen einmal noch die Welt genesen) rouses in just those classes which had the greatest influence on the fate of Germany the conviction of the inevitability of the "German war," of which they talked so much in Chamberlain's circle. In a widely circulated work in which war is hailed as "midwife of all culture" Othmar Spann declares: "We must desire this war just to prove that all its burden will rest on us, that we alone must fight it out with all the power that the lordly Germanic race has manifested throughout the millennia." 13

This spirit was cherished through the decades and gradually reared to that fatalistic delusion which views all history under the aspect of race. Spann was not the only one who played with the race war of the future. At the conference of the Alldeutscher Verband ("All-German Union") of November 30, 1912) the question of the coming war held the most prominent place. There was talk of the "decisive struggle between the collective Slavic peoples and Germankind" by Baron von Stossel and others; and Dr. ReuterHamburg declared that it "is our chief task to inform the people about the real grounds of the war which is probably coming," which is to be regarded only as a "battle of united Slavism against Germanism." When the German administration brought in its new safety proposals in April, 1913, BethmannHolweg based the new provisions on the necessity of preparing for the threatened clash between Slavs and Germans. Although the groupings of the powers at the beginning of war must prove to every person of insight that there could be no talk here of a "war of the races," there were still not lacking those who saw in the frightful catastrophe only the inevitable impact of races. Even so widely known a historiographer as Karl Lamprecht published in the Berliner Tageblatt of August 23, 1914, an essay in which he spoke of a "war of Germandom and Latin [Catholic] Slavdom against the invading Oriental barbarism."

Lamprecht discovered then that Scandinavia, Holland, Switzerland, and America had been led by racial feeling to favour the German cause, and he announced jubilantly "Blood will tell ! " The illusion of having America as an ally even led him to proclaim the living future of a "TeutonicGermanic race!" And since very finally England did not fit into this scheme, the great historian emphasises: "Just observe that the central land of the British worldempire is no longer dominated by a pure Germanic spirit, but rather by the Celtic." [14]
If the race theory can produce such incurable delusion in the brain of a scholar of worldwide renown, need we wonder at the crazy presumption of an economist like Sombart, who at that day of the world could announce: "Just as the German bird, the Eagle, soars high above all other animals on earth, just so shall the German feel himself exalted above all that mankind which surrounds him and which he sees at an infinite distance beneath him." 14
We do not maintain that only the German is capable of such deluded notions. Every belief in a chosen religion, nation or race leads to similar monstrosities. But we must recognise that among no other people has the race theory found such wide acceptance or inspired a literature of such general circulation as among the Germans. It seems almost as if the Germany of 1871 had wished to make up for what its greatest spirits before the foundation of the empire, because of their broadly humanistic attitude, had fortunately omitted.

The exponents of race doctrine find themselves in the enviable position that they can venture the most extravagant assertions with no need to trouble themselves about intelligible proofs. Since they themselves know that most of these assertions cannot be maintained on the basis of their scientific value, they appeal to the infallibility of the race instinct, which allegedly gives clearer insight than is vouchsafed to the painstaking experience of scientific research. If this famous instinct of race were real and demonstrable to everybody it would get along very nicely with science, since the "inner voice" or "race in one's own bosom" would bring certainty to men on every difficult question, even when science failed. But in that event we should expect at least the most distinguished advocates of the race theory to be in complete agreement and to voice a certain unanimity in their conclusions. But here is just the trouble. There is hardly a single question of fundamental importance about which those in the camp of the race ideologists are even halfway agreed. Often their views are so far apart that no bridging of the difference is conceivable. Just a few instances of this from the thousands:

In his work, Rasse und Kultur, Otto Hauser informs us that the Greeks "were a strictly blond people who, quite of themselves, attained to a height of culture that will always arouse admiration, will always serve as a model as long as the related Nordic blood flows in any people, in any human being." Woltmann, Gunther, and others have said the same thing in other wordsbasing their opinion, doubtless, on the same "Nordic instinct" which permeates the related blood through the millennia. But Gobineau, the real founder of the race theory, found nothing good to say of the Greeks; rather he constantly disparaged them in every way, because of his ingrained hatred of democracy. In his 200page Histoire des Perses he praises the culture of the Persians in exaggerated terms and pictures Greece as a halfbarbaric country with no culture of its own worth mentioning. Gobineau even denies to the Hellenes every moral quality and declares that they had no understanding of the sentiment of honouras we see, the purest "Oriental."

For Chamberlain, Christianity is the highest expression of the Aryan spirit; in the Christian faith the Germanic soul reveals itself in its true profundity and divorces itself most definitely from every Semitic religious concept. For Judaism is the complete antithesis of the Christian religion; any philosophic synthesis of the Jewish and the Germanic mind, even in religion, is quite unthinkable. On the other hand, Albrecht Wirth sees in Christianity a product of the Jewish-Hellenic mind, which undertook, as the "despised Jew fled from the misery of the outer world, to erect about it a higher inner world." 15 While Eugen Duhring condemns Christianity utterly because by its influence the Judaizing of the Aryan mind was accomplished. 16 Ludwig Neuner accuses the Frankish kings of having stolen from our ancestors and utterly destroyed "the ancient, indigenous faith that sprang from a childlike view of nature" and forcing on them instead "a harsh system of religion of outspokenly international character." 17 Then Erich Mahlmeister assures us, in his essay, Fur deutsche Geistesfreiheit: "Christianity is of an unmanly, slavish nature, directly opposed to the German nature." On the person of Christ he passes judgment thus: "The outcast traitor to his country of a hatred race is the God before whom the German is expected to bend his knee."

Gunther, Hauser, Clauss, see in Protestantism a spiritual movement of the Nordic race, and Lapouge, as well, sees in it "the attempt to adapt Christianity to the specific type of the Aryan race." Chamberlain, too, is a decided opponent of the Catholic church and refers in his Grundlagen to the Semitic origin of the Papacy. He sees in the latter the exact antithesis of the Germanic spirit, which recognises no priestly caste and is emotionally opposed to a world hierarchy. For him, therefore, the Reformation is the revolt of Nordic man against the Semitic Caesarism of Rome and one of the greatest deeds of Germanism in general. Against this, Woltmann exalts the Papacy as the glorification of Germanism and takes great pains to demonstrate the Germanic descent of most of the popes. He was especially impressed by that "child of the Goths," Hildebrandt, who sat on the papal throne as Gregory VII and was the real founder of the temporal power of the Papacy. Otto Hauser, however, explains this patent confusion of the Germanic spirit as follows: "It is characteristic of the power hunger of Nordic man that he is able to employ all his force in every undertaking and unhesitatingly makes use of every means to an end. We know how extremely frivolous was the attitude of many of the popes toward the Papacy and Christianity. So, while the Papacy was represented for a while by an almost uninterrupted line of Germans, it was nevertheless an un-German, unNordic idea." 18

How are we to find our way in all this? What sort of strange thing is this "Nordic racial soul"? It glimmers with all the colours of a chameleon. It is popish and antipopish, Catholic and Protestant. The Voice of the Blood in it is opposed to the rulership of a privileged priestly caste and rejects the thought of a world hierarchy, but at the same time its representatives exert every effort to bring the world under the yoke of the Papacy, whose forms are derived from "the Oriental despotism of the Semites"; and the matter becomes still more interesting when we learn that Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, was a blondhaired descendant of Germansas Woltmann and Hauser assert. Here, as in the case of Beethoven, it seems that a dirty trick was played on nature. Think of it: Loyola, a blondhaired, blueeyed German, the warlike herald and acknowledged preacher of the counterReformation; and Martin Luther, the "soul of the German Reformation," a darkhaired man, of stocky figure, with brown eyes, who exhibits so plainly the outward characteristics of the "Eastern" that even Gunther, Hauser and Woltmann cannot deny this! That Gobineau in his work on race and elsewhere makes laudatory mention of the controlling hand of the Catholic church, and in his Ottar Jarl damns heartily every heresy against Holy Mother Church, does not tend to simplify the matter. And, as if all this were not enough, Hauser assures us that the Reformation was a "movement of the blood" and indicates the "displacing of the mixedrace spirit by the Nordic." 19 And he says this just after he has, a few pages farther back, drawn for us this picture of the men of the Reformation: "What was left of Germany had reached the lowest point of its cultural and racial ebb about I500. The Germans were at that time usually so ugly that Durer and his forerunners and contemporaries in their realistic paintings are almost never able to present a beautiful, clearcut, noble countenance, only features of a quite beastly repulsiveness; and even in their representations of the divine personages and saints from sacred history they were very seldom able to depict a halfway beautiful being because they had not even models to follow." But these men of the "racial ebb," after all, made the Reformation. How explain that this "movement of the blood" which displaced the "mixedrace spirit" occurred just at the time when, according to Hauser's own statement, Germany had reached the "lowest point of its cultural and racial ebb"?

Let one take any period whatever of human history and one stumbles always on these same contradictions. There is, for example, the great French Revolution. It is mere matter of course that one finds among the exponents of the race theory no trace of understanding of the economic, political and social causes of that great European upheaval. Just as gypsies read the fate of a man in the lines in his hand, so the soothsayers of the race theory read from the portraits of the leading spirits of that stormlashed time the whole story of the Revolution and its "blooddetermined') causes. "We know that a man must of necessity behave as his appearance indicates, and that this law can manifest itself as well in the most primitive as well as in the most complicated and confused fullness of expression, that it must remain always and everywhere the timeless and unchanging law of the inheritance of life." 20

This masterly exposition, which disposes of the most difficult question with which science has dealt for many decades as if it were the most matter of course affair in the world, is quite astounding. "We know!" Who knows? How do we know? Who established this "law" of which our author speaks? No one! No science! We are dealing here merely with an empty assertion that is not worth a bad penny. In fact, the author tried from the portraits of Louis XVI, Mirabeau, Madame Roland, Robespierre, Danton, Marat, to establish the inner law of their behaviour and to infer it from the degree of their racial mixture. Unfortunately this deduction rests on no law but merely on imagination, which is neither "timeless" nor "unchanging." There may be men whose character is written on their forehead, but there are not many of them; for types like Karl and Franz Moor live only in works of fiction; in actual life one seldom meets them. No one is able to recognise the mental and moral characters of a man from his external features; the most expert physiognomists could hardly read the importance of any of the great personages of history from their faces. This ability is usually revealed only when one knows with whom he is dealing; and it would not have been so easy for the author of our selected work to pass judgment on persons like Mirabeau, Robespierre, Marat or Danton if these men had their historic roles still to play.

Gobineau saw in the great revolution only the revolt of "Celto-Romanic mongreldom" against the Germanic ruling class of the French nobility and damned the whole tremendous movement with the virulent hatred of the royalist, who on principle condemned every attempt to destroy the divinely ordained order. The revolution was for him the slaverevolt of men of baser race, whom he already despised because they were the exponents of those modern revolutionary and democratic ideas in Europe which had struck a deathblow at the ancient master caste. Chamberlain judged the revolution from a like point of view, since he, like Gobineau saw in democracy and liberalism the deadly foe of the Germanic spirit. In contrast, Woltmann saw in the revolution a demonstration of that same Germanic spirit and in support of this view tried to prove that most of the leading minds of the revolution were of German origin. While for Gobineau the slogan of the revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," was merely the utterance of a completely unleashed racial mixture, Hauser tells us: "The demand for liberty, equality and fraternity is genuinely Protestant, but it holds good only for the selection which Protestantism makes, only for groups like that." In another place in the same work he says: "The revolution begins as the work of Germans and Germanoids and on the basis of a Germanic idea, it finds an echo in all those of higher race, but it ends in the witches' sabbath of the unshackled impulse of the baseborn mass, which has made use of the Germanic 'heavenly light' only 'to be beastlier than any beast.' 21 Now does this mean that the Germanic descent of the French nobility of which Gobineau tells us was just an idle boast, or are we here dealing with an annihilating war of Germans against Germans, a sort of racesuicide?

That Marx and Lassalle were Jews by descent is, for men of the stamp of Philipp Stauff and Theodor Fritsch and their kind, the best proof that the socialist doctrine is based on the Jewish mentality and is alien to the racial feeling of Nordic man. That the enormous majority of the founders of socialism were nonJews and that the socialist movement found quite as easy entrance into Germanic countries as into Romanic and Slavic has for these gentlemen just as little significance as the fact that Marx and Lassalle were influenced most deeply and permanently in their mental development, not by the ideology of Judaism, but by the philosophy of Hegel. As for the idea of socialism itself, Woltmann explains, that it has its most convinced adherents in the German sections of the proletarian population on account of their blood, because in the Germanic elements the urge to freedom finds strongest expression. Gobineau, on the contrary, recognises in socialism a typical sign of Mongolism and the covetousness of the born slave, hence his outspoken contempt for the workers, to whom he denies any sustained cultural ambition. Driesmans designates the socialists as "CeltoMongolians." Chamberlain scents in the socialistic movement everywhere the influence of Jewish ideology, which in this movement pursues its aim of utterly destroying the Germanic spirit in Germans. Duhring, however, declared categorically: "The Jewish social democracy is a reactionary gang whose stateenforced activities tend, not toward freedom and good husbandry, but toward the universality of bondage and exploitation through enforced service to the state in the interest of leading the Jews and associations of Jews." 22 . And so that nothing might be lacking to this crazy potpourri, the "rough riders" of the race theory in Germany declared a holy war against Judaized Marxism and proclaimed a so-called "national socialism" that probably presents the most gruesome enlivening of capitalistic platitudes with wornout socialistic slogans that was ever thought of. Under this banner, and with the lovely motto, "Germany awake! Judah, perish!" they made their way into the Dritte Reich.

But crazier still was the picture when the advocates of the race theory set themselves to subject to the Nordic bloodtest the great personalities of history. What they got out of it could be written on no single parchment, though it were made from the skin of the famous Cloudcow Audumla of the Norse saga. First, there is Goethe, whose character portrait in the racebooks is suspiciously shaky. The appearance of this "most German of all Germans" is certainly very little like the representation of a Germanic man. To begin with, he lacked the "sparkling skyblue eye," the blond hair and several other features which alone make the loo percent Nordic. Regardless of this, Chamberlain rates him as the most perfect genius of the Germanic race and recognises in Faust the ripest product of the German mind. Albrecht Wirth is of the opinion, in which anthropologists seem to be fairly well agreed, that Goethe was a nonNordic; and most anthropologists see in him a product of the Alpine race. Lenz recognises in Goethe a LevantineGermanic hybrid. Duhring questions the Aryan descent of Goethe and believes that he recognises in him Semitic traits. Hans Hermann goes farthest of all. In his Sanatorirm of Free Love he presents this picture of the greatest of German poets: "One looks now at Goethe; these protruding brown eyes, this nose slightly hooked at the tip, this long body with its short legs, with even a slightly 'melancholy' expression; and we have before us the very prototype of a descendant of Abraham."

Lessing, whose creative work was of such decisive and profound significance for the intellectual development of Germany, is honoured by Driesmans as the living embodiment of the German spirit. Duhring, on the contrary, sought to adduce proofs that the author of Nathan had Jewish blood in his veins. Even the noses of Schiller and Richard Wagner aroused the scorn of the race snifflers, and Schiller was as good as done for when Adolf Bartels, the literary pope in the present Hitlerite state, traced the ''un-Germanics' in Schiller's works to Celtic admixtures in his blood.

For Chamberlain Napoleon I was the living embodiment of all Non-Germandom. But Woltmann discovered in him a blondhaired German, and Hauser opines: "If one sees in him a 'Corsican' one assigns him to a group in which he is an exception; in the North Italian nobility, however, to which he belongs, one finds all the splendid condottieri of the Renaissance and perceives at once that he is to be counted with these." 23 As to this, we may note that the notion that Napoleon sprang from a line of condottieri is merely the thoughtless adoption of an assertion of Taine's. The fact is that in the whole tribe of the Bonapartes there was not a single condottiereneither in the line from Treviso nor in that from Florencethough probably there is Saint Bonaventura. Wherefore Mereshkowski quite properly inquires: "Why should the blood of these supposititious robbers (condottieri) have run stronger in the veins of Napoleon than that of the actually provable saint?"

But enough of this unpleasant game, which one could keep up indefinitely without becoming any the wiser. It is neither the conclusions of science nor the voice of the blood which is responsible for the ideas of the founders of the race theory, but their strongly asocial sentiment, which makes them walk roughshod over every feeling of human dignity. To no one so well as to them does the old saying of Goethe apply: "We are able to understand correctly how anyone will think about any particular matter only when we know what is his sentiment toward it." It was not their doctrine that shaped their sentiment; it was the sentiment that gave form and content to the doctrine. But this sentiment is rooted in the very foundations of all spiritual, political and social reaction: in the attitude of masters towards their slaves. Every class that has thus far attained to power has felt the need of stamping their rulership with the mark of the unalterable and predestined, till at last this becomes an inner certainty for the ruling castes themselves. They regard themselves as the chosen ones and think that they recognise in themselves externally the marks of men of privilege. Thus arose in Spain the belief in the sangre azul, the "blue blood" of the nobility, which is first mentioned in the medieval chronicles of Castile. Today they appeal to the blood of the "noble race" which allegedly has been called to rule over all the peoples of the world. It is the old idea of power, this time disguised as race. Thus one of the best known defenders of the modern race idea declares with noble self-assurance: "All Nordic culture is power culture; all Nordic talent is talent for matters of power, for matters of enterprise and worldmaking, whether in the material or in the spiritual realm, in the state, in art, in research." 24

All advocates of the race doctrine have been and are the associates and defenders of every political and social reaction, advocates of the power principle in its most brutal form. Gobineau stood squarely in the camp of the counterrevolution and made no bones about his purpose of attacking by his teaching "democracy and its weapon, the revolution." The slaveowners of Brazil and of the southern states of North America appealed also to his work to justify Negro slavery. Chamberlain's Grundlagen was an open declaration of war against all the achievements of the last hundred years in the direction of personal freedom and the social equalisation of men. He hated everything which had sprung from the revolution with grim bitterness and remained to the last the bellwether of political and social reaction in Germany. In this respect the representatives of the modern race theory differ in not the slightest degree from their predecessors except that they are more soulless, outspoken and brutal, and therefore more dangerous at a time when the spiritual in people is crippled and their emotions have grown callous and dull because of the war and its horrible aftereffects. People of the brand of Ammon, Gunther, Hauser and Rosenberg, are in all their undertakings ruthless and hidebound reactionaries. What that leads to, the Third Reich of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels shows us realistically. When Gunther, in his Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes speaks of a "gradation in rank of the Germans according to their blood" his concept is thoroughly that of a slavepeople who are arranged in a definite order of ranks that reminds us of the castes of the Indians and the Egyptians. One comprehends how this doctrine found such ready acceptance in the ranks of the great industrialists. The Deutsche Arbeitgeberzeitung wrote thus about Gunther's book: "What becomes of the dream of human equality after one takes even a single glance at this work? Not only do we regard the study of such a work as this as a source of the highest interest and instruction; we believe, too, that no politician can form a correct judgment without investigation of the problems here dealt with."

Of course! No better moral justification could be produced for the industrial bondage which our holders of industrial power keep before them as a picture of the future.

The race theory first appeared as an interpretation of history. But with time it has acquired a political significance, and it has crystallised today in Germany into a new ideology of reaction in which lurk future dangers that cannot be overlooked. He who thinks that he sees in all political and social antagonisms merely blooddetermined manifestations of race, denies all conciliatory influence of ideas, all community of ethical feeling} and must at every crisis take refuge in brute force. In fact, the race theory is only the cult of power. Race becomes destiny, against which it is useless to struggle; therefore any appeal to the basic principles of humanity is just idle talk which cannot restrain the operation of the laws of nature. This delusion is not only a permanent danger to the peaceful relations of peoples with one another, it kills all sympathy within a people and flows logically into a state of the most brutal barbarism. Whither this leads is shown in Ernst Mann's Moral der Kraft) where we read: "Who because of his bravery in battle for the general welfare has acquired a serious wound or disease, even he has no right to become a burden to his fellow men as cripple or invalid. If he was brave enough to risk his life in battle, he should possess also the final courage to end his life himself. Suicide is the one heroic deed available to invalids and weaklings."

Thus we should happily attain the cultural level of the Papuans. Such lines of thought lead to total depravity and inflict on all human feeling deeper wounds than one suspects. The race theory is the leitmotif of a new barbarism which endangers all the intellectual and spiritual values in culture, threatening to smother the voice of the spirit with its "voice of the blood." And so belief in race becomes the most brutal violence to the personality of man, a base denial of all social justice. Like every other fatalism, so also racefatalism is a rejection of the spirit, a degrading of man to a mere bloodvessel for the race. The doctrine of race when applied to the concept of the nation proves that this is not a community of descent, as has been so often asserted; and as it dissects the nation into its separate components it destroys the foundations of its existence. When in spite of this its adherents today so noisily proclaim themselves the representatives of the national interests, one can but recall the saying of Grillparzer: "The course of the new education runs from humanity through nationality to bestiality."

  • 1Ernst Vatter, Die Rassen und Volker der Erde. Leipzig, 1927, p. 37.
  • 2F. Boas in Die Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, 1913; Band 45. Compare also the same author's Kultur und Rasse. Zweite Auflage, Berlin, 1922.
  • 3Die Germanen in Europa. Dresden, 1916, p. 5.
  • 4Demokratie und Freiheit. Munich, 1917.
  • 5Letter to George Brandes of February, 1871, in Henrik Ibsens samtliche Werke in deutscher Sprache. Zehnter Band, Berlin, 1905.
  • 6Ludwig Woltmann, Die Germanen und die Rensissance in Italien; 1905, Die Germanen in Frankreich; 1907.
  • 7"Volk und Rasse" in Suddeutsche Monafshefte, 1927.
  • 8The wellknown race hygienist of Munich, Max von Gruber, President of the Bavarian Academy of Science and a leading mind in the race movement in Germany, certainly an unprejudiced witness, has drawn the following picture of Hitler: "Today I saw Hitler closeup for the first time. Face and head of a bad race, a mixture. Low, retreating forehead, ugly nose, wide cheekbones, little eyes, dark hair. A tiny toothbrush mustache, only as wide as his nose, gives his face a defiant aspect. His expression is not that of a selfcontrolled commander, but of a crazy emotionalist. Repeated twitchings of the facial muscles. Final expression that of happy self-satisfaction (Esstner Volkswacht of November 9, 1929.)
  • 9Rasse und Seele, Munich, 1925, p. 60
  • 10Brunhold Springer, Die Blutmirchung als Grundgesetz des Lebens, Berlin.
  • 11L. F. Clauss, Rasse und Seele, p. 118.
  • 12Rasse und Kultur, Braunschweig, p. 69.
  • 13Zur Soziologie und Philosophie les Krieges, 1913.
  • 14F. Hertz: Rasse und Kultur.
  • 15Das Auf und Ab der Volker. Leipzig, 1920, p. 84.
  • 16Die Judenfrage als Frage der Rassenschadlichkeit fur Existenz, Sitte und Kultur der Volker. See also, Sache, Leben und Feinde.
  • 17Deutsche GottNatur-Kunde.
  • 18Die Germanen in Europa, p. 112.
  • 19Rasse und Kultur, p. 331.
  • 20A. Harrar, Rasse Menschen von Gestern und Morgen. Leipzig, p. 86.
  • 21 Die Germanen in Europa, pp. 149-150
  • 22Sache, Leben, und Feinde, p. 207
  • 23Rasse und Kultur, p. 14.
  • 24L. F. Clauss, Rasse und Seele, p. 81.


19. Political Unity and the Evolution of Culture

Submitted by sabot on September 7, 2011

Concerning the Concept of Culture.
Culture As Ethical Standard of Value with Kand, Herder, and Others.
Culture in the Struggle against Tyranny and Lust for Power.
Solidarity As the Most Effective Promoter of Culture.
Relation of Separate Human Groups to the General Course of Culture.
Cultural Vitalisation by Foreign Influences.
Victory of the Higher Culture over Political Suppression.
Cultural Fitness and Assimilation by the State

Before we go further into the relation of the national state to the general course of culture it is necessary to define as sharply as possible the concept of culture, so as to avoid confusion. The word “culture,” the general use of which is a rather recent matter, embodies no very clearly defined idea-as one would infer from the multiplicity of its applications. Thus one speaks of culture of the soil, of physical, spiritual, and mental culture, of the culture of a race or a nation, of a man of culture, and other like matters, and in each instance the word means something different. It is not very long since we gave to the concept of culture an almost purely ethical meaning. One spoke of the morality of peoples as we today speak of their cultures. In fact, up to the end of the 18th century and later men employed the concept “humanity,” which is a purely moral concept, in the same sense in which we today use the word culture, and one cannot say that such application was less appropriate or less clear.

Montesquieu, Voltaire, Lessing, Herder and many other thought of culture only as a moral concept. Herder, in his Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind, had laid down the principle that the culture of a people is higher in proportion as it expresses the spirit of humanity. Besides, even today, ethical feeling is for many the essential content of all culture. Thus, Vera Strasser declares, in a much-noticed work, that “the progress of culture consists in this: that every individual shall suppress the bestial and develop the spiritual,” which by the contrast selected reveals clearly that the spiritual is thought of as primarily a moral concept.

Kant, also, saw in morality the essential characteristic of culture. Preceding from the standpoint that man is a being in whom the inclination toward seclusion is matched with the impulse toward sociability, he thought he saw in conflict of these two attitudes the “great instrument of culture” and the real source of ethical feeling in man. By it man was first enabled to overcome his natural crudity and to ascend the steps of culture, which, according to Kant’s own utterance, “comprises the social worth of man.” Culture seemed to him the final purpose of nature, which in man attained to consciousness of itself. According to Kant’s view, culture carries in itself many obstacles which seem to hinder the free growth of humanity, but which really serve this final purpose. Holding this opinion he thought he saw in every form of expression of culture a fingerpost that pointed to the great goal toward which humanity strives.
Later, attempts were made to differentiate culture and civilization. Civilization was to mean merely the subjugation of external nature by man, while culture was to be valued as intellectualizing and spiritual refinement of physical existence. Based on this definite divisions were made of the phenomena of social life and conceived art, literature, music, religion, philosophy and science as separate spheres of culture; while technical skill, industrial life and political organization were gathered under the heading of civilization, since its practical application constantly influenced and transformed the material life of man. Each of these attempts has its peculiar advantages, each also its inadequacies; for it is not a simple matter to draw lines of division here, even when we recognize that this is only an attempt to set up a classification that shall make the study of actual occurrences easier.

The Latin word cultura, which had been almost forgotten, was originally applied almost exclusively to agriculture, animal-breeding and similar matters which represent a conscious attack by man upon the course of natural events; it had very nearly the meaning of rearing or cultivating. Such an approach involves no contradiction; it can also be conceived as a particular shaping of events which attaches itself to the long course of natural occurrences. It is very probable that only the Christian theologic way of thinking was the cause of this setting up of an artificial opposition between nature and culture by its placing of man above nature and its belief that nature was created entirely for man's sake.

When we take culture to mean simply man's conscious attack on the blind operation of natural forces, with the possibility of distinguishing between lower and higher forms of cultural process, there is no longer any possibility of misinterpretation. Thus understood, culture is the conscious resistance of man against the course of nature, to which resistance alone he owes the preservation of his species. Countless genera which once inhabited the earth perished in the early glacial period because nature had deprived them of food and of their old conditions of life. But man struggled against the altered conditions and found ways and means to escape from their destructive influence. In this sense the whole course of his development and dispersal over the earth has been a constant struggle against the natural conditions of his environment, which, in his way, he has tried to change to his advantage. He made for himself artificial utensils, weapons and tools, learned to use fire, and adapted himself by appropriate clothing and shelter to the circumstances under which he was compelled to live. Thus he made, so to speak, his own climate and was enabled to change his residence and to defy the natural conditions of his life. Thus understood, the appearance of man is the beginning of culture, and human life is merely its content. Ludwig Stein made an illuminating presentation of the contrasting concepts, nature and culture:

The unbroken regularity in the succession of events which goes on without definite purpose and independent of human activity, we call nature. What human beings have elaborated, planned, striven for, achieved, shaped purposively and deliberately, we call culture. What grows freely from the soil without any demands upon human labor is a natural product; but what takes shape only by the intervention of human labor is an artifact or culture-product. By pursuing conscious purposes and by a developed system of adapting these purposes to available means human effort controls the unconsciously adaptive creative activity of nature. By means of tools, which men as an imitative being makes in the approximate likeness of his own members, and with the help of institutions and labor-saving devices which he has invented, man speeds up the monotonous, tedious course of natural processes, and makes them serve his own ends. The type of the natural status is, therefore: mastery of man by his environment; the essence of the cultural status, on the other hand, is: mastery of his environment by man.

This definition of the concept is simple and clear; it has the further advantage that it simply presents the relation between nature and culture without setting up and express opposition between them. This is important; for if one holds the view that man also is only a part of nature, one of its creatures who stands neither above it nor outside it, then neither does his work fall outside the general frame of nature, whether we call it culture, civilization, or something else. Viewed thus, culture is only a special manifestation of nature, and its beginning is linked with the appearance of man upon earth. His history is the history of culture in its manifold gradations; and yet he belongs, like every other being, to the same totality of things that we call nature. It is culture that assures him of his place in the great realm of Nature, who is his mother also. Of course, one can speak only of a relative mastery of nature by man, for even the most advanced culture is not yet in a position completely to control nature. A tidal wave suffices to destroy his carefully build dams, to drown his planted fields, and to send his well-built ships to the bottom of the sea. An earthquake annihilates in a few minutes painful products of a century of creative activity. The progress of culture is therefore only a gradual mastery of nature by man, which with his advancing development becomes ever better planned and surer of its goal without ever becoming absolute.

With this view the artificial distinction that has been set up between "nature peoples" and "culture peoples" disappears. Such a distinction corresponds in no way to actual facts, since there are no tribes or peoples anywhere entirely without a culture. Indeed, Friedrich Ratzel, the actual founder of the anthropo-geographical theory of history, stated, in his Völkerkunde, that there is to be found no essential difference between nature peoples and culture peoples, but merely differences in the degree of their culture, so that one can in reality speak only of culturally poorer and cultural richer peoples.

The different forms of the cultural life have of themselves given rise to certain distinctions, and even though it is hardly possible to draw sharp lines between the separate fields of activity of human culture, still we cannot get along without them, for our brains are so constructed that we can proceed only with the help of the crutches of concepts. So it was the presentation of the purely political history of separate states, whose content was limited almost exclusively to the enumeration of dynasties, the description of wars and conquests and the explanation of the different systems of government, which undoubtedly gave the first impulse to profounder cultural interpretations of history. We came to see that these one-sided presentations by no means exhaust the unlimited abundance of cultural events but rather make indecent display of their most unfruitful aspect. For, just as the forces of nature are not all of service for human purposes, so also, not all the occurrences in the social environment man has built up further his higher development. Some of them, in fact, operate as dangerous obstacles to this development.

Even slavery and despotism are manifestations of the general cultural movement; for they, too, represent a conscious attack on the natural course of things. But these are in the last analysis only defects of social culture, and their disastrous effects are brought more and more clearly to the consciousness of man in the course of his history. The long list of social upheavals and the uncounted uprisings against old and new systems of rulership bear witness to this. As man continually strives to impart to his natural environment more and more of his own character, his own development impels him in ever increasing measure to eliminate the evils of his social environment, to advance the intellectual development of his species and to lead it toward ever higher perfection. It is the essential core of all culture that man does not submit blindly to the rough caprice of natural processes, but struggles against them in order to shape his fate by his own standards; so he will some day break those chains which he forged for himself while ignorance and superstition still interfered with his freer insight. The farther his mind forces its way along the winding road of his social evolution, the broader become the purposes he holds before him, the more consciously and insistently will he try to influence the course of this evolution and to make all social occurrences serve the higher ends of culture.

Thus we advance, urged by an inner longing and spurred on by the influence of the social institutions under which we live, toward a social culture which will no longer know any form of exploitation or slavery. And this coming culture will work the more beneficently the more clearly its representatives recognize in the personal freedom of the individual and the union of all in the solidaric bonds of a sense of social justice the mainspring of their social activity. Freedom, not in the abstract sense of social activity. Freedom, not in the abstract sense of Hegel, but conceived as a practical possibility which guarantees to every member of society that he may develop to the fullest all those powers, talents and capacities with which nature has endowed him, without hindrance by authoritative compulsion and the inevitable effects of an ideology of brute force! Freedom of the person on the basis of economic and social justice! Only by this is man offered the possibility of bringing to full flower that consciousness of his personal responsibility which is the firm foundation of each and every freedom, and of developing the vital sense of his unity with his own kind to a stage where the wishes and desires of the individual spring from the depths of his social feeling.

Just as in nature the brutal struggle for existence that is fought out with tooth and claw is not the only mode of maintaining life; just as along with this crude manifestation another and much more involved form of the struggle for existence is in operation which finds expression in the social banding together of the weaker genera and in their practical rendering of mutual aid; so also in culture are manifested different forms of human activities which employ the more primitive or the finer traits of man. And just as in nature that second type of struggle for existence is far more effective in preserving the individual and the race than the brutal war of the so-called "strong" against the "weak"—a fact which is shown satisfactorily by the astounding retrogression of those species which have no social life and in their struggle with the environment have to rely merely on physical superiority3--so also in the social life of mankind the higher forms of moral and intellectual development slowly achieve victory over the brute forces of political forms of rulership, which have thus far only served to cripple every higher cultural development.
We are led to conclude, then, that if culture is simply a constant subduing by man of the primitive processes of nature, and the political endeavors within the social structure which throughout his life circumscribe man and subject his creative activities to the external compulsion of rigid forms, then it is in its essence everywhere the same despite the ever increasing number and the endless diversity of its special forms of expression. Then the notion of the alleged existence of purely national cultures, each of which constitutes by itself a closed whole and carries within itself in common with life's realities. The universal which lies at the foundation of all cultures is infinitely more important than the difference in their outer forms, which are for the most part determined by the environment. For every culture springs from the same urge and strives consistently toward the same goal. Everywhere it begins at first as a civilizing force enables man to satisfy his essential needs more easily and with less interference. Later there grows out of it quite spontaneously the aspiration for worthier organization and loftier spirit in social and individual life that is deeply rooted in the social sentiment of man and must be regarded as the driving force in every higher culture. If one wishes to get a clear picture of the relations and closer connections of the various groups of human beings with this thing we call culture he might make use of this comparison:

Over the broad surface of the ocean the sun unceasingly draws up watery vapors to the skies. Clouds form, and float, wind-driven, to the land where they discharge their garnered fullness and fall to earth as fruitful rain. By millions the raindrops hide themselves within the bosom of the earth, and then from countless springs gush, laughing, out again upon its surface. Rivulets are formed, cut through the land in every direction, swell to a brook, a river. The river rolls its floods down again circuit has gone on with irresistible certainly, unchanging; and it will continue unbroken sequence as long as the cosmic conditions of our solar system themselves endure unchanged.

It is not different with the cultural work of peoples, with every creative activity of the individual. What we in general designate as culture is at bottom only a great all-embracing unity of the "Occurring," which is gripped by a restless, uninterrupted transforming and makes itself apparent in countless forms and structures. Always and everywhere the same creative urge is hungry for action; only the mode of expression differs and is adapted to the environment. Just as every spring, every brook, every river is in its depths allied to the sea, into whose tides it ever pours itself anew, so also is every separate culture cycle only part of the same all-embracing unity, from which it draws its deepest and most original forces and into whose lap its own creative work always falls again at last. Like the brooks and rivers are all the culture forms that through the millennia have followed one another or have existed side by side. They are all rooted in the same primitive soil, to which they are in their depth allied as are the waters to the sea.

Cultural reconstructions and social stimulation always occur when different peoples and races come into closer union. Every new culture is begun by such a fusion of different folk elements and takes its special shape from this. This is quite natural, for only through outside influences do those new needs, those new understandings arise which constantly struggle for expression in every field of cultural activity. The desire to preserve the "purity of the culture" of a people y the deliberate elimination of foreign influences—a notion which is today advocated with great zeal by extreme nationalists and adherents of the race doctrine—is just as unnatural as it is futile, and merely shows that these peculiar fanatics for cultural autonomy have not understood at all the profound significance of the cultural process. Such distorted ideas have about the same meaning as saying to a man that he can attain to the highest state of manhood only if he eliminates woman from his life. The result would be the same in both cases.
New life arises only from the union of man with woman. Just so a culture is born or fertilized only by the circulation of fresh blood in the veins of its representatives. Just as the child results from the mating so new culture forms arise from the mutual fertilization of different peoples and their spiritual sympathy with foreign achievements and capacities. One needs a strong dose of mental short-sightedness to dream of withdrawing an entire country from the spiritual influences of the wider cultural circle to which it belongs, especially today when peoples are more than ever bent on the mutual enlargement of their cultural aspirations.

But even if the possibility existed, such a people would not experience an uplift in their cultural life, as the exponents of cultural autonomy so strangely exist. All experience indicates rather that such inbreeding would lead inevitably to a general stunting, to a slow extinction of a culture. In this respect it is with peoples as it is with persons. How poorly that man would fare who in his cultural development had to rely entirely on the creations of his own people! This quite apart from the fact that it is utterly useless to talk of such a possibility, since even the wisest is in no position to say which among the cultural possessions of a people they actually worked out for themselves and which they took over in one form or another from others. The inner culture of a man grows just in the measure that he develops an ability to appropriate the achievements of other peoples and enrich his mind with them. The more easily he is able to do this the better it is for his mental culture, the greater right he has to the title, man of culture. He immerses himself in the gentle wisdom of Lao-tse and rejoices in the beauty of the Vedic poems. Before his mind unfold the wonder-tales of the Thousand and One Nights, and with inner rapture he drinks in the sayings of the wine-loving Omar Khayyam or the majestic strophes of Firdusi. His soul absorbs the profundities of the Book of Job and swings in rhythm with the Iliad. He laughs with Aristophanes, weeps with Sophocles, reads with enjoyment the humorous incidents of the Golden Ass of Apuleius, and hears with interest Petronius' portrayal of conditions in declining Rome. With Maistre Rabelais he treads the tastefully decorated halls of the happy Abbey of Thélème and with François Villon he wanders past the Ravenstone. He tries to fathom the soul of Hamlet and rejoices in Don Quixote's lust for deeds. He presses through the terrors of Dante's Hell and grieves with Milton for the lost Paradise. In one word, he is everywhere at home, and therefore known better how to value the charm of his own homeland. With unprejudiced eye he searches the cultural possessions of all peoples and so perceives more clearly the strong unity of all mental processes. And of these possessions no one can rob him; they are outside the jurisdiction of the government and are not subject to the will of the mighty ones of the earth. The legislator may be in a position to close the gates of his country to the stranger, but he cannot keep him from making his demands upon the treasure of the people, its mental culture, with the same assurance as any native.

Here is the point at which the preponderant importance of culture over any political-national frontier-fixing reveals itself most clearly. Culture unlooses the shackles that the theological spirit of politics has fastened on the peoples. In this sense it is in its deepest essence revolutionary. We indulge in profound reflections about the evanescence of all existence and demonstrate that all the great kingdoms which have played a world-commanding role in history were irrevocably doomed to downfall as soon as they had attained the highest peak of their culture A number of well known historians have even maintained that we have to do here with the inevitable operation of a definite law, to which all historic process is subject. But really the fact that the decline or downfall of a kingdom is not in any way equivalent to the decline of a culture should indicate to us where the actual causes of the downfall are to be sought. A political rulership can go down without leaving behind a trace of its former existence; with a culture it is quite otherwise. IT can, as it were, wither in a country where it has been disturbed in its natural growth. In this event it looks for new possibilities of development outside its old circle of operation, gradually enters upon new fields and fertilizes there germs that were in a sense waiting for fertilization. Thus there arise new forms of the cultural process, which doubtless differ from the old, but nevertheless carry in them its creative forces. Macedonian and Roman conquerors could put an end to the political independence of the tiny Greek city-republics; they could not prevent the transplanting of Greek culture deep in Inner Asia, its growth to new bloom in Egypt, nor its intellectual vitalizing of Rome herself.

This is the reason why peoples of less developed culture could never actually bring under subjection peoples of higher cultural status even when they far excelled them in military strength. It is possible to completely subjugate only very small populations which because of their numerical weakness could be easily ground down; so to subdue any larger people which has been welded together in the course or many centuries by a common culture is unthinkable. The Mongols could easily deal with the Chinese militarily; they were even in a position to set up a man of their tribe as a despot of the Celestial Kingdom; but they had not the slightest influence on the inner structure of the social and cultural life of the Chinese peoples, whose distinctive customs were hardly disturbed by the invasion. On the other hand, the primitive culture of the Mongols could not hold out against the much older and immeasurable finer culture of the Chinese, and was in fact, so completely absorbed by it that it left not a trace behind. Two hundred years sufficed to transform the Mongolian invaders into Chinese. The higher culture of the "conquered" proved itself stronger and more effective than the brutal military power of the "conquerors."

And how often was the Apennine Peninsula, the present Italy, overrun or quite inundated by foreign tribes. From the times of the migrations of peoples to the invasion by the French under Charles VIII and Francis I, Italy was the constant object of attack by countless tribes and populations whom ancient yearning and, above all, the prospect of rich booty, drew southward. Cimbri and Teutons, Lombards and Goths, Huns and Vandals, and dozens of other tribes rolled their rude troops through the fertile vales of the peninsula, whose inhabitants suffered severely from the continuous invasions. But even the most powerful and the cruelest of the conquerors succumbed to the higher culture of the country, even though they opposed it at first with outspoken hostility or contemptuous disdain. 4 They were all gradually drawn into it and compelled to new ways of living. Their native strength has merely served to bring to that ancient culture new vitalizing factors and to fill its veins with their fresh blood.

History knows many similar instances. They serve repeatedly to demonstrate the infinite superiority of cultural processes over the pitiful stupidity of political endeavors. All efforts of conquering states to assimilate the population of new-won territories by the brutal exercise of power—suppression of the native language, forcible interference with traditional institutions, and so on—have been vain; more than that, in most instances, their effect has been just the opposite of what the conqueror sought to accomplish. England has never been able to win the loyalty of the Irish; her violent treatment has only deepened and widened the abyss that separates the two peoples and increased Irish hatred of the English. The "Germanizing efforts" of the Prussian government in Poland made the lives of the Poles more difficult and bitter, but they were not able to change their temper or make them friendlier to the Germans. Today we behold the fruits of this senseless policy. The Russifying policy of the tsarist government in the Baltic provinces led to shameful outrages against human dignity, but it brought the people no closer to Russia and was of profit chiefly to the resident German barons whose brutal exploitation of the masses it greatly furthered. The supporters of imperial policy in Germany might persuade themselves that they could win the affection of the Alsatians for Germanism by their "dictatorial decrees," but, although the people were German both in language and customs, Germany failed to achieve that end. Just as little will the present efforts of the French at assimilation in Alsace be able to instill into the inhabitants a love for France. Almost every great state has within its borders national minorities which it treats in this manner; the result is everywhere the same. Love and loyalty cannot be compelled, they have to be earned; and force and suppression are the least fitting means to this end. The national-suppression policy of the great states before the War developed in the suppressed nationalities an extreme nationalism which finds expression today in the according by the new-made states of the same treatment to their national minorities which, as national minorities, they themselves once received—a phenomenon showing all too clearly that little states follow in the footsteps of great ones and imitate their practices.

We can just as little convert a people by force to alien morals, customs and modes of thought as we can force a man into the frame of an alien individuality. A fusion of different tribes and racial elements is possible only in the realm of culture, because here no external compulsion arises, only an inner need, to meet which every member makes its special contribution. Culture rests neither on brute force nor on blind faith in authority; its effectiveness if based on the free acceptance of all that has resulted from collaborative efforts for spiritual and material welfare. The decisive matter here is the natural need, not the blind edict from above. For this reason, in all the great epochs, culture has marched hand in hand with the voluntary union and fusion of different human groups; in fact, these two factors are mutually necessary. Only voluntary determination which in most cases arises quite unconsciously is able to unite men of different descent in their cultural efforts and in this way to produce new forms of culture.
Here the situation is the same as it is with the individual. When I take up the work of a strange author who reveals new things to me and arouses my mind no one compels me to read the book or to appropriate its ideas. It is merely the mental influence that affects me and that will perhaps later be erased by influences of another kind. Nothing compels me to make a decision that is repugnant to my inmost nature and does violence to my mind. I appropriate the alien matter because it brings me pleasure and becomes a part of my spiritual being; I assimilate myself to it until at last there is no boundary between myself and the alien matter. It is in this way that all cultural and mental occurrences are brought about.

And this natural, unforced assimilation goes on without any oversight, without any evident analysis, because it grows out of the personal requirements of the individual and corresponds to his mental and spiritual experiences. Any cultural process goes on the more peacefully and with less friction, the less political motives are in evidence; for politics and culture are opposites which can never be fundamentally reconciled. They are striving in different directions, always widely divergent; their allegiance is to different worlds.



12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Steven. on September 7, 2011

Sabot, please don't add these chapters as new library articles, please go to the page of the parent book (in this case Book II), and click "add child page", then leave all of the tags/authors information blank. Many thanks!

I will edit this one into the book structure


12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by sabot on September 7, 2011

Sorry Steven. :oops: I'm not sure what went wrong there. I clicked on "add child page" to the parent book but then it took me to "create library" so I thought I'd give it a shot to see what would happen. It's my first time.