Years Of Study And Suffering In Vienna
WHEN MY MOTHER DIED MY FATE HAD ALREADY BEEN DECIDED IN ONE RESPECT. During the last months of her illness I went to Vienna to take the entrance examination for the Academy of Fine Arts. Armed with a bulky packet of sketches, I felt convinced that I should pass the examination quite easily. At the Realschule I was by far the best student in the drawing class, and since that time I had made more than ordinary progress in the practice of drawing. Therefore I was pleased with myself and was proud and happy at the prospect of what I considered an assured success.
But there was one misgiving: It seemed to me that I was better qualified for drawing than for painting, especially in the various branches of architectural drawing. At the same time my interest in architecture was constantly increasing. And I advanced in this direction at a still more rapid pace after my first visit to Vienna, which lasted two weeks. I was not yet sixteen years old. I went to the Hof Museum to study the paintings in the art gallery there; but the building itself captured almost all my interest, from early morning until late at night I spent all my time visiting the various public buildings. And it was the buildings themselves that were always the principal attraction for me. For hours and hours I could stand in wonderment before the Opera and the Parliament. The whole Ring Strasse had a magic effect upon me, as if it were a scene from the Thousand-and-one-Nights.
And now I was here for the second time in this beautiful city, impatiently waiting to hear the result of the entrance examination but proudly confident that I had got through. I was so convinced of my success that when the news that I had failed to pass was brought to me it struck me like a bolt from the skies. Yet the fact was that I had failed. I went to see the Rector and asked him to explain the reasons why they refused to accept me as a student in the general School of Painting, which was part of the Academy. He said that the sketches which I had brought with me unquestionably showed that painting was not what I was suited for but that the same sketches gave clear indications of my aptitude for architectural designing. Therefore the School of Painting did not come into question for me but rather the School of Architecture, which also formed part of the Academy. At first it was impossible to understand how this could be so, seeing that I had never been to a school for architecture and had never received any instruction in architectural designing.
When I left the Hansen Palace, on the Schiller Platz, I was quite crestfallen. I felt out of sorts with myself for the first time in my young life. For what I had heard about my capabilities now appeared to me as a lightning flash which clearly revealed a dualism under which I had been suffering for a long time, but hitherto I could give no clear account whatsoever of the why and wherefore.
Within a few days I myself also knew that I ought to become an architect. But of course the way was very difficult. I was now forced bitterly to rue my former conduct in neglecting and despising certain subjects at the Realschule. Before taking up the courses at the School of Architecture in the Academy it was necessary to attend the Technical Building School; but a necessary qualification for entrance into this school was a Leaving Certificate from the Middle School. And this I simply did not have. According to the human measure of things my dream of following an artistic calling seemed beyond the limits of possibility.
After the death of my mother I came to Vienna for the third time. This visit was destined to last several years. Since I had been there before I had recovered my old calm and resoluteness. The former self-assurance had come back, and I had my eyes steadily fixed on the goal. I would be an architect. Obstacles are placed across our path in life, not to be boggled at but to be surmounted. And I was fully determined to surmount these obstacles, having the picture of my father constantly before my mind, who had raised himself by his own efforts to the position of a civil servant though he was the poor son of a village shoemaker. I had a better start, and the possibilities of struggling through were better. At that time my lot in life seemed to me a harsh one; but to-day I see in it the wise workings of Providence. The Goddess of Fate clutched me in her hands and often threatened to smash me; but the will grew stronger as the obstacles increased, and finally the will triumphed.
I am thankful for that period of my life, because it hardened me and enabled me to be as tough as I now am. And I am even more thankful because I appreciate the fact that I was thus saved from the emptiness of a life of ease and that a mother's darling was taken from tender arms and handed over to Adversity as to a new mother. Though I then rebelled against it as too hard a fate, I am grateful that I was thrown into a world of misery and poverty and thus came to know the people for whom I was afterwards to fight.
It was during this period that my eyes were opened to two perils, the names of which I scarcely knew hitherto and had no notion whatsoever of their terrible significance for the existence of the German people. These two perils were Marxism and Judaism.
For many people the name of Vienna signifies innocent jollity, a festive place for happy mortals. For me, alas, it is a living memory of the saddest period in my life. Even to-day the mention of that city arouses only gloomy thoughts in my mind. Five years of poverty in that Phaecian1 town. Five years in which, first as a casual labourer and then as a painter of little trifles, I had to earn my daily bread. And a meagre morsel indeed it was, not even sufficient to still the hunger which I constantly felt. That hunger was the faithful guardian which never left me but took part in everything I did. Every book that I bought meant renewed hunger, and every visit I paid to the opera meant the intrusion of that inalienable companion during the following days. I was always struggling with my unsympathic friend. And yet during that time I learned more than I had ever learned before. Outside my architectural studies and rare visits to the opera, for which I had to deny myself food, I had no other pleasure in life except my books.
1 The Phaecians were a legendary people, mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. They were supposed to live on some unknown island in the Eastern Mediterranean, sometimes suggested to be Corcyra, the modern Corfu. They loved good living more than work, and so the name Phaecian has come to be a synonym for parasite.
I read a great deal then, and I pondered deeply over what I read. All the free time after work was devoted exclusively to study. Thus within a few years I was able to acquire a stock of knowledge which I find useful even to-day.
But more than that. During those years a view of life and a definite outlook on the world took shape in my mind. These became the granite basis of my conduct at that time. Since then I have extended that foundation only very little, and I have changed nothing in it.
On the contrary: I am firmly convinced to-day that, generally speaking, it is in youth that men lay the essential groundwork of their creative thought, wherever that creative thought exists. I make a distinction between the wisdom of age--which can only arise from the greater profundity and foresight that are based on the experiences of a long life--and the creative genius of youth, which blossoms out in thought and ideas with inexhaustible fertility, without being able to put these into practice immediately, because of their very superabundance. These furnish the building materials and plans for the future; and it is from them that age takes the stones and builds the edifice, unless the so-called wisdom of the years may have smothered the creative genius of youth.
The life which I had hitherto led at home with my parents differed in little or nothing from that of all the others. I looked forward without apprehension to the morrow, and there was no such thing as a social problem to be faced. Those among whom I passed my young days belonged to the small bourgeois class. Therefore it was a world that had very little contact with the world of genuine manual labourers. For, though at first this may appear astonishing, the ditch which separates that class, which is by no means economically well-off; from the manual labouring class is often deeper than people think. The reason for this division, which we may almost call enmity, lies in the fear that dominates a social group which has only just risen above the level of the manual labourer--a fear lest it may fall back into its old condition or at least be classed with the labourers. Moreover, there is something repulsive in remembering the cultural indigence of that lower class and their rough manners with one another; so that people who are only on the first rung of the social ladder find it unbearable to be forced to have any contact with the cultural level and standard of living out of which they have passed.
And so it happens that very often those who belong to what can really be called the upper classes find it much easier than do the upstarts to descend to and intermingle with their fellow beings on the lowest social level. For by the word upstart I mean everyone who has raised himself through his own efforts to a social level higher than that to which he formerly belonged. In the case of such a person the hard struggle through which he passes often destroys his normal human sympathy. His own fight for existence kills his sensibility for the misery of those who have been left behind.
From this point of view fate had been kind to me. Circumstances forced me to return to that world of poverty and economic insecurity above which my father had raised himself in his early days; and thus the blinkers of a narrow petit bourgeois education were torn from my eyes. Now for the first time I learned to know men and I learned to distinguish between empty appearances or brutal manners and the real inner nature of the people who outwardly appeared thus.
At the beginning of the century Vienna had already taken rank among those cities where social conditions are iniquitous. Dazzling riches and loathsome destitution were intermingled in violent contrast. In the centre and in the Inner City one felt the pulse-beat of an Empire which had a population of fifty-two millions, with all the perilous charm of a State made up of multiple nationalities. The dazzling splendour of the Court acted like a magnet on the wealth and intelligence of the whole Empire. And this attraction was further strengthened by the dynastic policy of the Habsburg Monarchy in centralizing everything in itself and for itself.
This centralizing policy was necessary in order to hold together that hotch-potch of heterogeneous nationalities. But the result of it was an extraordinary concentration of higher officials in the city, which was at one and the same time the metropolis and imperial residence.
But Vienna was not merely the political and intellectual centre of the Danubian Monarchy; it was also the commercial centre. Besides the horde of military officers of high rank, State officials, artists and scientists, there was the still vaster horde of workers. Abject poverty confronted the wealth of the aristocracy and the merchant class face to face. Thousands of unemployed loitered in front of the palaces on the Ring Strasse; and below that Via Triumphalis of the old Austria the homeless huddled together in the murk and filth of the canals.
There was hardly any other German city in which the social problem could be studied better than in Vienna. But here I must utter a warning against the illusion that this problem can be 'studied' from above downwards. The man who has never been in the clutches of that crushing viper can never know what its poison is. An attempt to study it in any other way will result only in superficial talk and sentimental delusions. Both are harmful. The first because it can never go to the root of the question, the second because it evades the question entirely. I do not know which is the more nefarious: to ignore social distress, as do the majority of those who have been favoured by fortune and those who have risen in the social scale through their own routine labour, or the equally supercilious and often tactless but always genteel condescension displayed by people who make a fad of being charitable and who plume themselves on 'sympathising with the people.' Of course such persons sin more than they can imagine from lack of instinctive understanding. And thus they are astonished to find that the 'social conscience' on which they pride themselves never produces any results, but often causes their good intentions to be resented; and then they talk of the ingratitude of the people.
Such persons are slow to learn that here there is no place for merely social activities and that there can be no expectation of gratitude; for in this connection there is no question at all of distributing favours but essentially a matter of retributive justice. I was protected against the temptation to study the social question in the way just mentioned, for the simple reason that I was forced to live in the midst of poverty-stricken people. Therefore it was not a question of studying the problem objectively, but rather one of testing its effects on myself. Though the rabbit came through the ordeal of the experiment, this must not be taken as evidence of its harmlessness.
When I try to-day to recall the succession of impressions received during that time I find that I can do so only with approximate completeness. Here I shall describe only the more essential impressions and those which personally affected me and often staggered me. And I shall mention the few lessons I then learned from this experience.
At that time it was for the most part not very difficult to find work, because I had to seek work not as a skilled tradesman but as a so-called extra-hand ready to take any job that turned up by chance, just for the sake of earning my daily bread.
Thus I found myself in the same situation as all those emigrants who shake the dust of Europe from their feet, with the cast-iron determination to lay the foundations of a new existence in the New World and acquire for themselves a new home. Liberated from all the paralysing prejudices of class and calling, environment and tradition, they enter any service that opens its doors to them, accepting any work that comes their way, filled more and more with the idea that honest work never disgraced anybody, no matter what kind it may be. And so I was resolved to set both feet in what was for me a new world and push forward on my own road.
I soon found out that there was some kind of work always to be got, but I also learned that it could just as quickly and easily be lost. The uncertainty of being able to earn a regular daily livelihood soon appeared to me as the gloomiest feature in this new life that I had entered.
Although the skilled worker was not so frequently thrown idle on the streets as the unskilled worker, yet the former was by no means protected against the same fate; because though he may not have to face hunger as a result of unemployment due to the lack of demand in the labour market, the lock-out and the strike deprived the skilled worker of the chance to earn his bread. Here the element of uncertainty in steadily earning one's daily bread was the bitterest feature of the whole social-economic system itself.
The country lad who migrates to the big city feels attracted by what has been described as easy work--which it may be in reality--and few working hours. He is especially entranced by the magic glimmer spread over the big cities. Accustomed in the country to earn a steady wage, he has been taught not to quit his former post until a new one is at least in sight. As there is a great scarcity of agricultural labour, the probability of long unemployment in the country has been very small. It is a mistake to presume that the lad who leaves the countryside for the town is not made of such sound material as those who remain at home to work on the land. On the contrary, experience shows that it is the more healthy and more vigorous that emigrate, and not the reverse. Among these emigrants I include not merely those who emigrate to America, but also the servant boy in the country who decides to leave his native village and migrate to the big city where he will be a stranger. He is ready to take the risk of an uncertain fate. In most cases he comes to town with a little money in his pocket and for the first few days he is not discouraged if he should not have the good fortune to find work. But if he finds a job and then loses it in a little while, the case is much worse. To find work anew, especially in winter, is often difficult and indeed sometimes impossible. For the first few weeks life is still bearable He receives his out-of-work money from his trade union and is thus enabled to carry on. But when the last of his own money is gone and his trade union ceases to pay out because of the prolonged unemployment, then comes the real distress. He now loiters about and is hungry. Often he pawns or sells the last of his belongings. His clothes begin to get shabby and with the increasing poverty of his outward appearance he descends to a lower social level and mixes up with a class of human beings through whom his mind is now poisoned, in addition to his physical misery. Then he has nowhere to sleep and if that happens in winter, which is very often the case, he is in dire distress. Finally he gets work. But the old story repeats itself. A second time the same thing happens. Then a third time; and now it is probably much worse. Little by little he becomes indifferent to this everlasting insecurity. Finally he grows used to the repetition. Thus even a man who is normally of industrious habits grows careless in his whole attitude towards life and gradually becomes an instrument in the hands of unscrupulous people who exploit him for the sake of their own ignoble aims. He has been so often thrown out of employment through no fault of his own that he is now more or less indifferent whether the strike in which he takes part be for the purpose of securing his economic rights or be aimed at the destruction of the State, the whole social order and even civilization itself. Though the idea of going on strike may not be to his natural liking, yet he joins in it out of sheer indifference.
I saw this process exemplified before my eyes in thousands of cases. And the longer I observed it the greater became my dislike for that mammoth city which greedily attracts men to its bosom, in order to break them mercilessly in the end. When they came they still felt themselves in communion with their own people at home; if they remained that tie was broken.
I was thrown about so much in the life of the metropolis that I experienced the workings of this fate in my own person and felt the effects of it in my own soul. One thing stood out clearly before my eyes: It was the sudden changes from work to idleness and vice versa; so that the constant fluctuations thus caused by earnings and expenditure finally destroyed the 'sense of thrift for many people and also the habit of regulating expenditure in an intelligent way. The body appeared to grow accustomed to the vicissitudes of food and hunger, eating heartily in good times and going hungry in bad. Indeed hunger shatters all plans for rationing expenditure on a regular scale in better times when employment is again found. The reason for this is that the deprivations which the unemployed worker has to endure must be compensated for psychologically by a persistent mental mirage in which he imagines himself eating heartily once again. And this dream develops into such a longing that it turns into a morbid impulse to cast off all self-restraint when work and wages turn up again. Therefore the moment work is found anew he forgets to regulate the expenditure of his earnings but spends them to the full without thinking of to-morrow. This leads to confusion in the little weekly housekeeping budget, because the expenditure is not rationally planned. When the phenomenon which I have mentioned first happens, the earnings will last perhaps for five days instead of seven; on subsequent occasions they will last only for three days; as the habit recurs, the earnings will last scarcely for a day; and finally they will disappear in one night of feasting.
Often there are wife and children at home. And in many cases it happens that these become infected by such a way of living, especially if the husband is good to them and wants to do the best he can for them and loves them in his own way and according to his own lights. Then the week's earnings are spent in common at home within two or three days. The family eat and drink together as long as the money lasts and at the end of the week they hunger together. Then the wife wanders about furtively in the neighbourhood, borrows a little, and runs up small debts with the shopkeepers in an effort to pull through the lean days towards the end of the week. They sit down together to the midday meal with only meagre fare on the table, and often even nothing to eat. They wait for the coming payday, talking of it and making plans; and while they are thus hungry they dream of the plenty that is to come. And so the little children become acquainted with misery in their early years.
But the evil culminates when the husband goes his own way from the beginning of the week and the wife protests, simply out of love for the children. Then there are quarrels and bad feeling and the husband takes to drink according as he becomes estranged from his wife. He now becomes drunk every Saturday. Fighting for her own existence and that of the children, the wife has to hound him along the road from the factory to the tavern in order to get a few shillings from him on payday. Then when he finally comes home, maybe on the Sunday or the Monday, having parted with his last shillings and pence, pitiable scenes follow, scenes that cry out for God's mercy.
I have had actual experience of all this in hundreds of cases. At first I was disgusted and indignant; but later on I came to recognize the whole tragedy of their misfortune and to understand the profound causes of it. They were the unhappy victims of evil circumstances.
Housing conditions were very bad at that time. The Vienna manual labourers lived in surroundings of appalling misery. I shudder even to-day when I think of the woeful dens in which people dwelt, the night shelters and the slums, and all the tenebrous spectacles of ordure, loathsome filth and wickedness.
What will happen one day when hordes of emancipated slaves come forth from these dens of misery to swoop down on their unsuspecting fellow men? For this other world does not think about such a possibility. They have allowed these things to go on without caring and even without suspecting--in their total lack of instinctive understanding--that sooner or later destiny will take its vengeance unless it will have been appeased in time.
To-day I fervidly thank Providence for having sent me to such a school. There I could not refuse to take an interest in matters that did not please me. This school soon taught me a profound lesson.
In order not to despair completely of the people among whom I then lived I had to set on one side the outward appearances of their lives and on the other the reasons why they had developed in that way. Then I could hear everything without discouragement; for those who emerged from all this misfortune and misery, from this filth and outward degradation, were not human beings as such but rather lamentable results of lamentable laws. In my own life similar hardships prevented me from giving way to a pitying sentimentality at the sight of these degraded products which had finally resulted from the pressure of circumstances. No, the sentimental attitude would be the wrong one to adopt.
Even in those days I already saw that there was a two-fold method by which alone it would be possible to bring about an amelioration of these conditions. This method is: first, to create better fundamental conditions of social development by establishing a profound feeling for social responsibilities among the public; second, to combine this feeling for social responsibilities with a ruthless determination to prune away all excrescences which are incapable of being improved.
Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation--which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred--and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.
During my struggle for existence in Vienna I perceived very clearly that the aim of all social activity must never be merely charitable relief, which is ridiculous and useless, but it must rather be a means to find a way of eliminating the fundamental deficiencies in our economic and cultural life--deficiencies which necessarily bring about the degradation of the individual or at least lead him towards such degradation. The difficulty of employing every means, even the most drastic, to eradicate the hostility prevailing among the working classes towards the State is largely due to an attitude of uncertainty in deciding upon the inner motives and causes of this contemporary phenomenon. The grounds of this uncertainty are to be found exclusively in the sense of guilt which each individual feels for having permitted this tragedy of degradation. For that feeling paralyses every effort at making a serious and firm decision to act. And thus because the people whom it concerns are vacillating they are timid and half-hearted in putting into effect even the measures which are indispensable for self-preservation. When the individual is no longer burdened with his own consciousness of blame in this regard, then and only then will he have that inner tranquillity and outer force to cut off drastically and ruthlessly all the parasite growth and root out the weeds.
But because the Austrian State had almost no sense of social rights or social legislation its inability to abolish those evil excrescences was manifest.
I do not know what it was that appalled me most at that time: the economic misery of those who were then my companions, their crude customs and morals, or the low level of their intellectual culture.
How often our bourgeoisie rises up in moral indignation on hearing from the mouth of some pitiable tramp that it is all the same to him whether he be a German or not and that he will find himself at home wherever he can get enough to keep body and soul together. They protest sternly against such a lack of 'national pride' and strongly express their horror at such sentiments.
But how many people really ask themselves why it is that their own sentiments are better? How many of them understand that their natural pride in being members of so favoured a nation arises from the innumerable succession of instances they have encountered which remind them of the greatness of the Fatherland and the Nation in all spheres of artistic and cultural life? How many of them realize that pride in the Fatherland is largely dependent on knowledge of its greatness in all those spheres? Do our bourgeois circles ever think what a ridiculously meagre share the people have in that knowledge which is a necessary prerequisite for the feeling of pride in one's fatherland?
It cannot be objected here that in other countries similar conditions exist and that nevertheless the working classes in those countries have remained patriotic. Even if that were so, it would be no excuse for our negligent attitude. But it is not so. What we call chauvinistic education--in the case of the French people, for example--is only the excessive exaltation of the greatness of France in all spheres of culture or, as the French say, civilization. The French boy is not educated on purely objective principles. Wherever the importance of the political and cultural greatness of his country is concerned he is taught in the most subjective way that one can imagine.
This education will always have to be confined to general ideas in a large perspective and these ought to be deeply engraven, by constant repetition if necessary, on the memories and feelings of the people.
In our case, however, we are not merely guilty of negative sins of omission but also of positively perverting the little which some individuals had the luck to learn at school. The rats that poison our body-politic gnaw from the hearts and memories of the broad masses even that little which distress and misery have left.
Let the reader try to picture the following:
There is a lodging in a cellar and this lodging consists of two damp rooms. In these rooms a workman and his family live--seven people in all. Let us assume that one of the children is a boy of three years. That is the age at which children first become conscious of the impressions which they receive. In the case of highly gifted people traces of the impressions received in those early years last in the memory up to an advanced age. Now the narrowness and congestion of those living quarters do not conduce to pleasant inter-relations. Thus quarrels and fits of mutual anger arise. These people can hardly be said to live with one another, but rather down on top of one another. The small misunderstandings which disappear of themselves in a home where there is enough space for people to go apart from one another for a while, here become the source of chronic disputes. As far as the children are concerned the situation is tolerable from this point of view. In such conditions they are constantly quarrelling with one another, but the quarrels are quickly and entirely forgotten. But when the parents fall out with one another these daily bickerings often descend to rudeness such as cannot be adequately imagined. The results of such experiences must become apparent later on in the children. One must have practical experience of such a milieu so as to be able to picture the state of affairs that arises from these mutual recriminations when the father physically assaults the mother and maltreats her in a fit of drunken rage. At the age of six the child can no longer ignore those sordid details which even an adult would find revolting. Infected with moral poison, bodily undernourished, and the poor little head filled with vermin, the young 'citizen' goes to the primary school. With difficulty he barely learns to read and write. There is no possibility of learning any lessons at home. Quite the contrary. The father and mother themselves talk before the children in the most disparaging way about the teacher and the school and they are much more inclined to insult the teachers than to put their offspring across the knee and knock sound reason into him. What the little fellow hears at home does not tend to increase respect for his human surroundings. Here nothing good is said of human nature as a whole and every institution, from the school to the government, is reviled. Whether religion and morals are concerned or the State and the social order, it is all the same; they are all scoffed at. When the young lad leaves school, at the age of fourteen, it would be difficult to say what are the most striking features of his character, incredible ignorance in so far as real knowledge is concerned or cynical impudence combined with an attitude towards morality which is really startling at so young an age.
What station in life can such a person fill, to whom nothing is sacred, who has never experienced anything noble but, on the contrary, has been intimately acquainted with the lowest kind of human existence? This child of three has got into the habit of reviling all authority by the time he is fifteen. He has been acquainted only with moral filth and vileness, everything being excluded that might stimulate his thought towards higher things. And now this young specimen of humanity enters the school of life.
He leads the same kind of life which was exemplified for him by his father during his childhood. He loiters about and comes home at all hours. He now even black-guards that broken-hearted being who gave him birth. He curses God and the world and finally ends up in a House of Correction for young people. There he gets the final polish.
And his bourgeois contemporaries are astonished at the lack of 'patriotic enthusiasm' which this young 'citizen' manifests.
Day after day the bourgeois world are witnesses to the phenomenon of spreading poison among the people through the instrumentality of the theatre and the cinema, gutter journalism and obscene books; and yet they are astonished at the deplorable 'moral standards' and 'national indifference' of the masses. As if the cinema bilge and the gutter press and suchlike could inculcate knowledge of the greatness of one's country, apart entirely from the earlier education of the individual.
I then came to understand, quickly and thoroughly, what I had never been aware of before. It was the following:
The question of 'nationalizing' a people is first and foremost one of establishing healthy social conditions which will furnish the grounds that are necessary for the education of the individual. For only when family upbringing and school education have inculcated in the individual a knowledge of the cultural and economic and, above all, the political greatness of his own country--then, and then only, will it be possible for him to feel proud of being a citizen of such a country. I can fight only for something that I love. I can love only what I respect. And in order to respect a thing I must at least have some knowledge of it.
As soon as my interest in social questions was once awakened I began to study them in a fundamental way. A new and hitherto unknown world was thus revealed to me.
In the years 1909-10 I had so far improved my, position that I no longer had to earn my daily bread as a manual labourer. I was now working independently as draughtsman, and painter in water colours. This métier was a poor one indeed as far as earnings were concerned; for these were only sufficient to meet the bare exigencies of life. Yet it had an interest for me in view of the profession to which I aspired. Moreover, when I came home in the evenings I was now no longer dead-tired as formerly, when I used to be unable to look into a book without falling asleep almost immediately. My present occupation therefore was in line with the profession I aimed at for the future. Moreover, I was master of my own time and could distribute my working-hours now better than formerly. I painted in order to earn my bread, and I studied because I liked it.
Thus I was able to acquire that theoretical knowledge of the social problem which was a necessary complement to what I was learning through actual experience. I studied all the books which I could find that dealt with this question and I thought deeply on what I read. I think that the milieu in which I then lived considered me an eccentric person.
Besides my interest in the social question I naturally devoted myself with enthusiasm to the study of architecture. Side by side with music, I considered it queen of the arts. To study it was for me not work but pleasure. I could read or draw until the small hours of the morning without ever getting tired. And I became more and more confident that my dream of a brilliant future would become true, even though I should have to wait long years for its fulfilment. I was firmly convinced that one day I should make a name for myself as an architect.
The fact that, side by side with my professional studies, I took the greatest interest in everything that had to do with politics did not seem to me to signify anything of great importance. On the contrary: I looked upon this practical interest in politics merely as part of an elementary obligation that devolves on every thinking man. Those who have no understanding of the political world around them have no right to criticize or complain. On political questions therefore I still continued to read and study a great deal. But reading had probably a different significance for me from that which it has for the average run of our so-called 'intellectuals'.
I know people who read interminably, book after book, from page to page, and yet I should not call them 'well-read people'. Of course they 'know' an immense amount; but their brain seems incapable of assorting and classifying the material which they have gathered from books. They have not the faculty of distinguishing between what is useful and useless in a book; so that they may retain the former in their minds and if possible skip over the latter while reading it, if that be not possible, then--when once read--throw it overboard as useless ballast. Reading is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Its chief purpose is to help towards filling in the framework which is made up of the talents and capabilities that each individual possesses. Thus each one procures for himself the implements and materials necessary for the fulfilment of his calling in life, no matter whether this be the elementary task of earning one's daily bread or a calling that responds to higher human aspirations. Such is the first purpose of reading. And the second purpose is to give a general knowledge of the world in which we live. In both cases, however, the material which one has acquired through reading must not be stored up in the memory on a plan that corresponds to the successive chapters of the book; but each little piece of knowledge thus gained must be treated as if it were a little stone to be inserted into a mosaic, so that it finds its proper place among all the other pieces and particles that help to form a general world-picture in the brain of the reader. Otherwise only a confused jumble of chaotic notions will result from all this reading. That jumble is not merely useless, but it also tends to make the unfortunate possessor of it conceited. For he seriously considers himself a well-educated person and thinks that he understands something of life. He believes that he has acquired knowledge, whereas the truth is that every increase in such 'knowledge' draws him more and more away from real life, until he finally ends up in some sanatorium or takes to politics and becomes a parliamentary deputy.
Such a person never succeeds in turning his knowledge to practical account when the opportune moment arrives; for his mental equipment is not ordered with a view to meeting the demands of everyday life. His knowledge is stored in his brain as a literal transcript of the books he has read and the order of succession in which he has read them. And if Fate should one day call upon him to use some of his book-knowledge for certain practical ends in life that very call will have to name the book and give the number of the page; for the poor noodle himself would never be able to find the spot where he gathered the information now called for. But if the page is not mentioned at the critical moment the widely-read intellectual will find himself in a state of hopeless embarrassment. In a high state of agitation he searches for analogous cases and it is almost a dead certainty that he will finally deliver the wrong prescription.
If that is not a correct description, then how can we explain the political achievements of our Parliamentary heroes who hold the highest positions in the government of the country? Otherwise we should have to attribute the doings of such political leaders, not to pathological conditions but simply to malice and chicanery.
On the other hand, one who has cultivated the art of reading will instantly discern, in a book or journal or pamphlet, what ought to be remembered because it meets one's personal needs or is of value as general knowledge. What he thus learns is incorporated in his mental analogue of this or that problem or thing, further correcting the mental picture or enlarging it so that it becomes more exact and precise. Should some practical problem suddenly demand examination or solution, memory will immediately select the opportune information from the mass that has been acquired through years of reading and will place this information at the service of one's powers of judgment so as to get a new and clearer view of the problem in question or produce a definitive solution.
Only thus can reading have any meaning or be worth while.
The speaker, for example, who has not the sources of information ready to hand which are necessary to a proper treatment of his subject is unable to defend his opinions against an opponent, even though those opinions be perfectly sound and true. In every discussion his memory will leave him shamefully in the lurch. He cannot summon up arguments to support his statements or to refute his opponent. So long as the speaker has only to defend himself on his own personal account, the situation is not serious; but the evil comes when Chance places at the head of public affairs such a soi-disant know-it-all, who in reality knows nothing.
From early youth I endeavoured to read books in the right way and I was fortunate in having a good memory and intelligence to assist me. From that point of view my sojourn in Vienna was particularly useful and profitable. My experiences of everyday life there were a constant stimulus to study the most diverse problems from new angles. Inasmuch as I was in a position to put theory to the test of reality and reality to the test of theory, I was safe from the danger of pedantic theorizing on the one hand and, on the other, from being too impressed by the superficial aspects of reality.
The experience of everyday life at that time determined me to make a fundamental theoretical study of two most important questions outside of the social question.
It is impossible to say when I might have started to make a thorough study of the doctrine and characteristics of Marxism were it not for the fact that I then literally ran head foremost into the problem.
What I knew of Social Democracy in my youth was precious little and that little was for the most part wrong. The fact that it led the struggle for universal suffrage and the secret ballot gave me an inner satisfaction; for my reason then told me that this would weaken the Habsburg regime, which I so thoroughly detested. I was convinced that even if it should sacrifice the German element the Danubian State could not continue to exist. Even at the price of a long and slow Slavization of the Austrian Germans the State would secure no guarantee of a really durable Empire; because it was very questionable if and how far the Slavs possessed the necessary capacity for constructive politics. Therefore I welcomed every movement that might lead towards the final disruption of that impossible State which had decreed that it would stamp out the German character in ten millions of people. The more this babel of tongues wrought discord and disruption, even in the Parliament, the nearer the hour approached for the dissolution of this Babylonian Empire. That would mean the liberation of my German Austrian people, and only then would it become possible for them to be re-united to the Motherland.
Accordingly I had no feelings of antipathy towards the actual policy of the Social Democrats. That its avowed purpose was to raise the level of the working classes--which in my ignorance I then foolishly believed--was a further reason why I should speak in favour of Social Democracy rather than against it. But the features that contributed most to estrange me from the Social Democratic movement was its hostile attitude towards the struggle for the conservation of Germanism in Austria, its lamentable cocotting with the Slav 'comrades', who received these approaches favourably as long as any practical advantages were forthcoming but otherwise maintained a haughty reserve, thus giving the importunate mendicants the sort of answer their behaviour deserved.
And so at the age of seventeen the word 'Marxism' was very little known to me, while I looked on 'Social Democracy' and 'Socialism' as synonymous expressions. It was only as the result of a sudden blow from the rough hand of Fate that my eyes were opened to the nature of this unparalleled system for duping the public.
Hitherto my acquaintance with the Social Democratic Party was only that of a mere spectator at some of their mass meetings. I had not the slightest idea of the social-democratic teaching or the mentality of its partisans. All of a sudden I was brought face to face with the products of their teaching and what they called their Weltanschauung. In this way a few months sufficed for me to learn something which under other circumstances might have necessitated decades of study--namely, that under the cloak of social virtue and love of one's neighbour a veritable pestilence was spreading abroad and that if this pestilence be not stamped out of the world without delay it may eventually succeed in exterminating the human race.
I first came into contact with the Social Democrats while working in the building trade.
From the very time that I started work the situation was not very pleasant for me. My clothes were still rather decent. I was careful of my speech and I was reserved in manner. I was so occupied with thinking of my own present lot and future possibilities that I did not take much of an interest in my immediate surroundings. I had sought work so that I shouldn't starve and at the same time so as to be able to make further headway with my studies, though this headway might be slow. Possibly I should not have bothered to be interested in my companions were it not that on the third or fourth day an event occurred which forced me to take a definite stand. I was ordered to join the trade union.
At that time I knew nothing about the trades unions. I had had no opportunity of forming an opinion on their utility or inutility, as the case might be. But when I was told that I must join the union I refused. The grounds which I gave for my refusal were simply that I knew nothing about the matter and that anyhow I would not allow myself to be forced into anything. Probably the former reason saved me from being thrown out right away. They probably thought that within a few days I might be converted' and become more docile. But if they thought that they were profoundly mistaken. After two weeks I found it utterly impossible for me to take such a step, even if I had been willing to take it at first. During those fourteen days I came to know my fellow workmen better, and no power in the world could have moved me to join an organization whose representatives had meanwhile shown themselves in a light which I found so unfavourable.
During the first days my resentment was aroused.
At midday some of my fellow workers used to adjourn to the nearest tavern, while the others remained on the building premises and there ate their midday meal, which in most cases was a very scanty one. These were married men. Their wives brought them the midday soup in dilapidated vessels. Towards the end of the week there was a gradual increase in the number of those who remained to eat their midday meal on the building premises. I understood the reason for this afterwards. They now talked politics.
I drank my bottle of milk and ate my morsel of bread somewhere on the outskirts, while I circumspectly studied my environment or else fell to meditating on my own harsh lot. Yet I heard more than enough. And I often thought that some of what they said was meant for my ears, in the hope of bringing me to a decision. But all that I heard had the effect of arousing the strongest antagonism in me. Everything was disparaged--the nation, because it was held to be an invention of the 'capitalist' class (how often I had to listen to that phrase!); the Fatherland, because it was held to be an instrument in the hands of the bourgeoisie for the exploitation of the working masses; the authority of the law, because that was a means of holding down the proletariat; religion, as a means of doping the people, so as to exploit them afterwards; morality, as a badge of stupid and sheepish docility. There was nothing that they did not drag in the mud.
At first I remained silent; but that could not last very long. Then I began to take part in the discussion and to reply to their statements. I had to recognize, however, that this was bound to be entirely fruitless, as long as I did not have at least a certain amount of definite information about the questions that were discussed. So I decided to consult the source from which my interlocutors claimed to have drawn their so-called wisdom. I devoured book after book, pamphlet after pamphlet.
Meanwhile, we argued with one another on the building premises. From day to day I was becoming better informed than my companions in the subjects on which they claimed to be experts. Then a day came when the more redoubtable of my adversaries resorted to the most effective weapon they had to replace the force of reason. This was intimidation and physical force. Some of the leaders among my adversaries ordered me to leave the building or else get flung down from the scaffolding. As I was quite alone I could not put up any physical resistance; so I chose the first alternative and departed, richer however by an experience.
I went away full of disgust; but at the same time so deeply moved that it was quite impossible for me to turn my back on the whole situation and think no more about it. When my anger began to calm down the spirit of obstinacy got the upper hand and I decided that at all costs I would get back to work again in the building trade. This decision became all the stronger a few weeks later, when my little savings had entirely run out and hunger clutched me once again in its merciless arms. No alternative was left to me. I got work again and had to leave it for the same reasons as before.
Then I asked myself: Are these men worthy of belonging to a great people? The question was profoundly disturbing; for if the answer were 'Yes', then the struggle to defend one's nationality is no longer worth all the trouble and sacrifice we demand of our best elements if it be in the interests of such a rabble. On the other hand, if the answer had to be 'No--these men are not worthy of the nation', then our nation is poor indeed in men. During those days of mental anguish and deep meditation I saw before my mind the ever-increasing and menacing army of people who could no longer be reckoned as belonging to their own nation.
It was with quite a different feeling, some days later, that I gazed on the interminable ranks, four abreast, of Viennese workmen parading at a mass demonstration. I stood dumbfounded for almost two hours, watching that enormous human dragon which slowly uncoiled itself there before me. When I finally left the square and wandered in the direction of my lodgings I felt dismayed and depressed. On my way I noticed the Arbeiterszeitung (The Workman's Journal) in a tobacco shop. This was the chief press-organ of the old Austrian Social Democracy. In a cheap café, where the common people used to foregather and where I often went to read the papers, the Arbeiterszeitung was also displayed. But hitherto I could not bring myself to do more than glance at the wretched thing for a couple of minutes: for its whole tone was a sort of mental vitriol to me. Under the depressing influence of the demonstration I had witnessed, some interior voice urged me to buy the paper in that tobacco shop and read it through. So I brought it home with me and spent the whole evening reading it, despite the steadily mounting rage provoked by this ceaseless outpouring of falsehoods.
I now found that in the social democratic daily papers I could study the inner character of this politico-philosophic system much better than in all their theoretical literature.
For there was a striking discrepancy between the two. In the literary effusions which dealt with the theory of Social Democracy there was a display of high-sounding phraseology about liberty and human dignity and beauty, all promulgated with an air of profound wisdom and serene prophetic assurance; a meticulously-woven glitter of words to dazzle and mislead the reader. On the other hand, the daily Press inculcated this new doctrine of human redemption in the most brutal fashion. No means were too base, provided they could be exploited in the campaign of slander. These journalists were real virtuosos in the art of twisting facts and presenting them in a deceptive form. The theoretical literature was intended for the simpletons of the soi-disant intellectuals belonging to the middle and, naturally, the upper classes. The newspaper propaganda was intended for the masses.
This probing into books and newspapers and studying the teachings of Social Democracy reawakened my love for my own people. And thus what at first seemed an impassable chasm became the occasion of a closer affection.
Having once understood the working of the colossal system for poisoning the popular mind, only a fool could blame the victims of it. During the years that followed I became more independent and, as I did so, I became better able to understand the inner cause of the success achieved by this Social Democratic gospel. I now realized the meaning and purpose of those brutal orders which prohibited the reading of all books and newspapers that were not 'red' and at the same time demanded that only the 'red' meetings should be attended. In the clear light of brutal reality I was able to see what must have been the inevitable consequences of that intolerant teaching.
The psyche of the broad masses is accessible only to what is strong and uncompromising. Like a woman whose inner sensibilities are not so much under the sway of abstract reasoning but are always subject to the influence of a vague emotional longing for the strength that completes her being, and who would rather bow to the strong man than dominate the weakling--in like manner the masses of the people prefer the ruler to the suppliant and are filled with a stronger sense of mental security by a teaching that brooks no rival than by a teaching which offers them a liberal choice. They have very little idea of how to make such a choice and thus they are prone to feel that they have been abandoned. They feel very little shame at being terrorized intellectually and they are scarcely conscious of the fact that their freedom as human beings is impudently abused; and thus they have not the slightest suspicion of the intrinsic fallacy of the whole doctrine. They see only the ruthless force and brutality of its determined utterances, to which they always submit.
If social democracy should be opposed by a more truthful teaching, then even, though the struggle be of the bitterest kind, this truthful teaching will finally prevail provided it be enforced with equal ruthlessness.
Within less than two years I had gained a clear understanding of Social Democracy, in its teaching and the technique of its operations.
I recognized the infamy of that technique whereby the movement carried on a campaign of mental terrorism against the bourgeoisie, who are neither morally nor spiritually equipped to withstand such attacks. The tactics of Social Democracy consisted in opening, at a given signal, a veritable drum-fire of lies and calumnies against the man whom they believed to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries, until the nerves of the latter gave way and they sacrificed the man who was attacked, simply in the hope of being allowed to live in peace. But the hope proved always to be a foolish one, for they were never left in peace.
The same tactics are repeated again and again, until fear of these mad dogs exercises, through suggestion, a paralysing effect on their Victims.
Through its own experience Social Democracy learned the value of strength, and for that reason it attacks mostly those in whom it scents stuff of the more stalwart kind, which is indeed a very rare possession. On the other hand it praises every weakling among its adversaries, more or less cautiously, according to the measure of his mental qualities known or presumed. They have less fear of a man of genius who lacks will-power than of a vigorous character with mediocre intelligence and at the same time they highly commend those who are devoid of intelligence and will-power.
The Social Democrats know how to create the impression that they alone are the protectors of peace. In this way, acting very circumspectly but never losing sight of their ultimate goal, they conquer one position after another, at one time by methods of quiet intimidation and at another time by sheer daylight robbery, employing these latter tactics at those moments when public attention is turned towards other matters from which it does not wish to be diverted, or when the public considers an incident too trivial to create a scandal about it and thus provoke the anger of a malignant opponent.
These tactics are based on an accurate estimation of human frailties and must lead to success, with almost mathematical certainty, unless the other side also learns how to fight poison gas with poison gas. The weaker natures must be told that here it is a case of to be or not to be.
I also came to understand that physical intimidation has its significance for the mass as well as for the individual. Here again the Socialists had calculated accurately on the psychological effect.
Intimidation in workshops and in factories, in assembly halls and at mass demonstrations, will always meet with success as long as it does not have to encounter the same kind of terror in a stronger form.
Then of course the Party will raise a horrified outcry, yelling blue murder and appealing to the authority of the State, which they have just repudiated. In doing this their aim generally is to add to the general confusion, so that they may have a better opportunity of reaching their own goal unobserved. Their idea is to find among the higher government officials some bovine creature who, in the stupid hope that he may win the good graces of these awe-inspiring opponents so that they may remember him in case of future eventualities, will help them now to break all those who may oppose this world pest.
The impression which such successful tactics make on the minds of the broad masses, whether they be adherents or opponents, can be estimated only by one who knows the popular mind, not from books but from practical life. For the successes which are thus obtained are taken by the adherents of Social Democracy as a triumphant symbol of the righteousness of their own cause; on the other hand the beaten opponent very often loses faith in the effectiveness of any further resistance.
The more I understood the methods of physical intimidation that were employed, the more sympathy I had for the multitude that had succumbed to it.
I am thankful now for the ordeal which I had to go through at that time; for it was the means of bringing me to think kindly again of my own people, inasmuch as the experience enabled me to distinguish between the false leaders and the victims who have been led astray.
We must look upon the latter simply as victims. I have just now tried to depict a few traits which express the mentality of those on the lowest rung of the social ladder; but my picture would be disproportionate if I do not add that amid the social depths I still found light; for I experienced a rare spirit of self-sacrifice and loyal comradeship among those men, who demanded little from life and were content amid their modest surroundings. This was true especially of the older generation of workmen. And although these qualities were disappearing more and more in the younger generation, owing to the all-pervading influence of the big city, yet among the younger generation also there were many who were sound at the core and who were able to maintain themselves uncontaminated amid the sordid surroundings of their everyday existence. If these men, who in many cases meant well and were upright in themselves, gave the support to the political activities carried on by the common enemies of our people, that was because those decent workpeople did not and could not grasp the downright infamy of the doctrine taught by the socialist agitators. Furthermore, it was because no other section of the community bothered itself about the lot of the working classes. Finally, the social conditions became such that men who otherwise would have acted differently were forced to submit to them, even though unwillingly at first. A day came when poverty gained the upper hand and drove those workmen into the Social Democratic ranks.
On innumerable occasions the bourgeoisie took a definite stand against even the most legitimate human demands of the working classes. That conduct was ill-judged and indeed immoral and could bring no gain whatsoever to the bourgeois class. The result was that the honest workman abandoned the original concept of the trades union organization and was dragged into politics.
There were millions and millions of workmen who began by being hostile to the Social Democratic Party; but their defences were repeatedly stormed and finally they had to surrender. Yet this defeat was due to the stupidity of the bourgeois parties, who had opposed every social demand put forward by the working class. The short-sighted refusal to make an effort towards improving labour conditions, the refusal to adopt measures which would insure the workman in case of accidents in the factories, the refusal to forbid child labour, the refusal to consider protective measures for female workers, especially expectant mothers--all this was of assistance to the Social Democratic leaders, who were thankful for every opportunity which they could exploit for forcing the masses into their net. Our bourgeois parties can never repair the damage that resulted from the mistake they then made. For they sowed the seeds of hatred when they opposed all efforts at social reform. And thus they gave, at least, apparent grounds to justify the claim put forward by the Social Democrats--namely, that they alone stand up for the interests of the working class.
And this became the principal ground for the moral justification of the actual existence of the Trades Unions, so that the labour organization became from that time onwards the chief political recruiting ground to swell the ranks of the Social Democratic Party.
While thus studying the social conditions around me I was forced, whether I liked it or not, to decide on the attitude I should take towards the Trades Unions. Because I looked upon them as inseparable from the Social Democratic Party, my decision was hasty--and mistaken. I repudiated them as a matter of course. But on this essential question also Fate intervened and gave me a lesson, with the result that I changed the opinion which I had first formed.
When I was twenty years old I had learned to distinguish between the Trades Union as a means of defending the social rights of the employees and fighting for better living conditions for them and, on the other hand, the Trades Union as a political instrument used by the Party in the class struggle.
The Social Democrats understood the enormous importance of the Trades Union movement. They appropriated it as an instrument and used it with success, while the bourgeois parties failed to understand it and thus lost their political prestige. They thought that their own arrogant Veto would arrest the logical development of the movement and force it into an illogical position. But it is absurd and also untrue to say that the Trades Union movement is in itself hostile to the nation. The opposite is the more correct view. If the activities of the Trades Union are directed towards improving the condition of a class, and succeed in doing so, such activities are not against the Fatherland or the State but are, in the truest sense of the word, national. In that way the trades union organization helps to create the social conditions which are indispensable in a general system of national education. It deserves high recognition when it destroys the psychological and physical germs of social disease and thus fosters the general welfare of the nation.
It is superfluous to ask whether the Trades Union is indispensable.
So long as there are employers who attack social understanding and have wrong ideas of justice and fair play it is not only the right but also the duty of their employees--who are, after all, an integral part of our people--to protect the general interests against the greed and unreason of the individual. For to safeguard the loyalty and confidence of the people is as much in the interests of the nation as to safeguard public health.
Both are seriously menaced by dishonourable employers who are not conscious of their duty as members of the national community. Their personal avidity or irresponsibility sows the seeds of future trouble. To eliminate the causes of such a development is an action that surely deserves well of the country.
It must not be answered here that the individual workman is free at any time to escape from the consequences of an injustice which he has actually suffered at the hands of an employer, or which he thinks he has suffered--in other words, he can leave. No. That argument is only a ruse to detract attention from the question at issue. Is it, or is it not, in the interests of the nation to remove the causes of social unrest? If it is, then the fight must be carried on with the only weapons that promise success. But the individual workman is never in a position to stand up against the might of the big employer; for the question here is not one that concerns the triumph of right. If in such a relation right had been recognized as the guiding principle, then the conflict could not have arisen at all. But here it is a question of who is the stronger. If the case were otherwise, the sentiment of justice alone would solve the dispute in an honourable way; or, to put the case more correctly, matters would not have come to such a dispute at all.
No. If unsocial and dishonourable treatment of men provokes resistance, then the stronger party can impose its decision in the conflict until the constitutional legislative authorities do away with the evil through legislation. Therefore it is evident that if the individual workman is to have any chance at all of winning through in the struggle he must be grouped with his fellow workmen and present a united front before the individual employer, who incorporates in his own person the massed strength of the vested interests in the industrial or commercial undertaking which he conducts.
Thus the trades unions can hope to inculcate and strengthen a sense of social responsibility in workaday life and open the road to practical results. In doing this they tend to remove those causes of friction which are a continual source of discontent and complaint.
Blame for the fact that the trades unions do not fulfil this much-desired function must be laid at the doors of those who barred the road to legislative social reform, or rendered such a reform ineffective by sabotaging it through their political influence.
The political bourgeoisie failed to understand--or, rather, they did not wish to understand--the importance of the trades union movement. The Social Democrats accordingly seized the advantage offered them by this mistaken policy and took the labour movement under their exclusive protection, without any protest from the other side. In this way they established for themselves a solid bulwark behind which they could safely retire whenever the struggle assumed a critical aspect. Thus the genuine purpose of the movement gradually fell into oblivion, and was replaced by new objectives. For the Social Democrats never troubled themselves to respect and uphold the original purpose for which the trade unionist movement was founded. They simply took over the Movement, lock, stock and barrel, to serve their own political ends.
Within a few decades the Trades Union Movement was transformed, by the expert hand of Social Democracy, from an instrument which had been originally fashioned for the defence of human rights into an instrument for the destruction of the national economic structure. The interests of the working class were not allowed for a moment to cross the path of this purpose; for in politics the application of economic pressure is always possible if the one side be sufficiently unscrupulous and the other sufficiently inert and docile. In this case both conditions were fulfilled.
By the beginning of the present century the Trades Unionist Movement had already ceased to recognize the purpose for which it had been founded. From year to year it fell more and more under the political control of the Social Democrats, until it finally came to be used as a battering-ram in the class struggle. The plan was to shatter, by means of constantly repeated blows, the economic edifice in the building of which so much time and care had been expended. Once this objective had been reached, the destruction of the State would become a matter of course, because the State would already have been deprived of its economic foundations. Attention to the real interests of the working-classes, on the part of the Social Democrats, steadily decreased until the cunning leaders saw that it would be in their immediate political interests if the social and cultural demands of the broad masses remained unheeded; for there was a danger that if these masses once felt content they could no longer be employed as mere passive material in the political struggle.
The gloomy prospect which presented itself to the eyes of the condottieri of the class warfare, if the discontent of the masses were no longer available as a war weapon, created so much anxiety among them that they suppressed and opposed even the most elementary measures of social reform. And conditions were such that those leaders did not have to trouble about attempting to justify such an illogical policy.
As the masses were taught to increase and heighten their demands the possibility of satisfying them dwindled and whatever ameliorative measures were taken became less and less significant; so that it was at that time possible to persuade the masses that this ridiculous measure in which the most sacred claims of the working-classes were being granted represented a diabolical plan to weaken their fighting power in this easy way and, if possible, to paralyse it. One will not be astonished at the success of these allegations if one remembers what a small measure of thinking power the broad masses possess.
In the bourgeois camp there was high indignation over the bad faith of the Social Democratic tactics; but nothing was done to draw a practical conclusion and organize a counter attack from the bourgeois side. The fear of the Social Democrats, to improve the miserable conditions of the working-classes ought to have induced the bourgeois parties to make the most energetic efforts in this direction and thus snatch from the hands of the class-warfare leaders their most important weapon; but nothing of this kind happened.
Instead of attacking the position of their adversaries the bourgeoisie allowed itself to be pressed and harried. Finally it adopted means that were so tardy and so insignificant that they were ineffective and were repudiated. So the whole situation remained just as it had been before the bourgeois intervention; but the discontent had thereby become more serious.
Like a threatening storm, the 'Free Trades Union' hovered above the political horizon and above the life of each individual. It was one of the most frightful instruments of terror that threatened the security and independence of the national economic structure, the foundations of the State and the liberty of the individual. Above all, it was the 'Free Trades Union' that turned democracy into a ridiculous and scorned phrase, insulted the ideal of liberty and stigmatized that of fraternity with the slogan 'If you will not become our comrade we shall crack your skull'.
It was thus that I then came to know this friend of humanity. During the years that followed my knowledge of it became wider and deeper; but I have never changed anything in that regard.
The more I became acquainted with the external forms of Social Democracy, the greater became my desire to understand the inner nature of its doctrines.
For this purpose the official literature of the Party could not help very much. In discussing economic questions its statements were false and its proofs unsound. In treating of political aims its attitude was insincere. Furthermore, its modern methods of chicanery in the presentation of its arguments were profoundly repugnant to me. Its flamboyant sentences, its obscure and incomprehensible phrases, pretended to contain great thoughts, but they were devoid of thought, and meaningless. One would have to be a decadent Bohemian in one of our modern cities in order to feel at home in that labyrinth of mental aberration, so that he might discover 'intimate experiences' amid the stinking fumes of this literary Dadism. These writers were obviously counting on the proverbial humility of a certain section of our people, who believe that a person who is incomprehensible must be profoundly wise.
In confronting the theoretical falsity and absurdity of that doctrine with the reality of its external manifestations, I gradually came to have a clear idea of the ends at which it aimed.
During such moments I had dark presentiments and feared something evil. I had before me a teaching inspired by egoism and hatred, mathematically calculated to win its victory, but the triumph of which would be a mortal blow to humanity.
Meanwhile I had discovered the relations existing between this destructive teaching and the specific character of a people, who up to that time had been to me almost unknown.
Knowledge of the Jews is the only key whereby one may understand the inner nature and therefore the real aims of Social Democracy.
The man who has come to know this race has succeeded in removing from his eyes the veil through which he had seen the aims and meaning of his Party in a false light; and then, out of the murk and fog of social phrases rises the grimacing figure of Marxism.
To-day it is hard and almost impossible for me to say when the word 'Jew' first began to raise any particular thought in my mind. I do not remember even having heard the word at home during my father's lifetime. If this name were mentioned in a derogatory sense I think the old gentleman would just have considered those who used it in this way as being uneducated reactionaries. In the course of his career he had come to be more or less a cosmopolitan, with strong views on nationalism, which had its effect on me as well. In school, too, I found no reason to alter the picture of things I had formed at home.
At the Realschule I knew one Jewish boy. We were all on our guard in our relations with him, but only because his reticence and certain actions of his warned us to be discreet. Beyond that my companions and myself formed no particular opinions in regard to him.
It was not until I was fourteen or fifteen years old that I frequently ran up against the word 'Jew', partly in connection with political controversies. These references aroused a slight aversion in me, and I could not avoid an uncomfortable feeling which always came over me when I had to listen to religious disputes. But at that time I had no other feelings about the Jewish question.
There were very few Jews in Linz. In the course of centuries the Jews who lived there had become Europeanized in external appearance and were so much like other human beings that I even looked upon them as Germans. The reason why I did not then perceive the absurdity of such an illusion was that the only external mark which I recognized as distinguishing them from us was the practice of their strange religion. As I thought that they were persecuted on account of their Faith my aversion to hearing remarks against them grew almost into a feeling of abhorrence. I did not in the least suspect that there could be such a thing as a systematic anti-Semitism.
Then I came to Vienna.
Confused by the mass of impressions I received from the architectural surroundings and depressed by my own troubles, I did not at first distinguish between the different social strata of which the population of that mammoth city was composed. Although Vienna then had about two hundred thousand Jews among its population of two millions, I did not notice them. During the first weeks of my sojourn my eyes and my mind were unable to cope with the onrush of new ideas and values. Not until I gradually settled down to my surroundings, and the confused picture began to grow clearer, did I acquire a more discriminating view of my new world. And with that I came up against the Jewish problem.
I will not say that the manner in which I first became acquainted with it was particularly unpleasant for me. In the Jew I still saw only a man who was of a different religion, and therefore, on grounds of human tolerance, I was against the idea that he should be attacked because he had a different faith. And so I considered that the tone adopted by the anti-Semitic Press in Vienna was unworthy of the cultural traditions of a great people. The memory of certain events which happened in the middle ages came into my mind, and I felt that I should not like to see them repeated. Generally speaking, these anti-Semitic newspapers did not belong to the first rank--but I did not then understand the reason of this--and so I regarded them more as the products of jealousy and envy rather than the expression of a sincere, though wrong-headed, feeling.
My own opinions were confirmed by what I considered to be the infinitely more dignified manner in which the really great Press replied to those attacks or simply ignored them, which latter seemed to me the most respectable way.
I diligently read what was generally called the World Press--Neue Freie Presse, Wiener Tageblatt, etc.--and I was astonished by the abundance of information they gave their readers and the impartial way in which they presented particular problems. I appreciated their dignified tone; but sometimes the flamboyancy of the style was unconvincing, and I did not like it. But I attributed all this to the overpowering influence of the world metropolis.
Since I considered Vienna at that time as such a world metropolis, I thought this constituted sufficient grounds to excuse these shortcomings of the Press. But I was frequently disgusted by the grovelling way in which the Vienna Press played lackey to the Court. Scarcely a move took place at the Hofburg which was not presented in glorified colours to the readers. It was a foolish practice, which, especially when it had to do with 'The Wisest Monarch of all Times', reminded one almost of the dance which the mountain cock performs at pairing time to woo his mate. It was all empty nonsense. And I thought that such a policy was a stain on the ideal of liberal democracy. I thought that this way of currying favour at the Court was unworthy of the people. And that was the first blot that fell on my appreciation of the great Vienna Press.
While in Vienna I continued to follow with a vivid interest all the events that were taking place in Germany, whether connected with political or cultural question. I had a feeling of pride and admiration when I compared the rise of the young German Empire with the decline of the Austrian State. But, although the foreign policy of that Empire was a source of real pleasure on the whole, the internal political happenings were not always so satisfactory. I did not approve of the campaign which at that time was being carried on against William II. I looked upon him not only as the German Emperor but, above all, as the creator of the German Navy. The fact that the Emperor was prohibited from speaking in the Reichstag made me very angry, because the prohibition came from a side which in my eyes had no authority to make it. For at a single sitting those same parliamentary ganders did more cackling together than the whole dynasty of Emperors, comprising even the weakest, had done in the course of centuries.
It annoyed me to have to acknowledge that in a nation where any half-witted fellow could claim for himself the right to criticize and might even be let loose on the people as a 'Legislator' in the Reichstag, the bearer of the Imperial Crown could be the subject of a 'reprimand' on the part of the most miserable assembly of drivellers that had ever existed.
I was even more disgusted at the way in which this same Vienna Press salaamed obsequiously before the meanest steed belonging to the Habsburg royal equipage and went off into wild ecstacies of delight if the nag wagged its tail in response. And at the same time these newspapers took up an attitude of anxiety in matters that concerned the German Emperor, trying to cloak their enmity by the serious air they gave themselves. But in my eyes that enmity appeared to be only poorly cloaked. Naturally they protested that they had no intention of mixing in Germany's internal affairs--God forbid! They pretended that by touching a delicate spot in such a friendly way they were fulfilling a duty that devolved upon them by reason of the mutual alliance between the two countries and at the same time discharging their obligations of journalistic truthfulness. Having thus excused themselves about tenderly touching a sore spot, they bored with the finger ruthlessly into the wound.
That sort of thing made my blood boil. And now I began to be more and more on my guard when reading the great Vienna Press.
I had to acknowledge, however, that on such subjects one of the anti-Semitic papers--the Deutsche Volksblatt--acted more decently.
What got still more on my nerves was the repugnant manner in which the big newspapers cultivated admiration for France. One really had to feel ashamed of being a German when confronted by those mellifluous hymns of praise for 'the great culture-nation'. This wretched Gallomania more often than once made me throw away one of those 'world newspapers'. I now often turned to the Volksblatt, which was much smaller in size but which treated such subjects more decently. I was not in accord with its sharp anti-Semitic tone; but again and again I found that its arguments gave me grounds for serious thought.
Anyhow, it was as a result of such reading that I came to know the man and the movement which then determined the fate of Vienna. These were Dr. Karl Lueger and the Christian Socialist Movement. At the time I came to Vienna I felt opposed to both. I looked on the man and the movement as 'reactionary'.
But even an elementary sense of justice enforced me to change my opinion when I had the opportunity of knowing the man and his work, and slowly that opinion grew into outspoken admiration when I had better grounds for forming a judgment. To-day, as well as then, I hold Dr. Karl Lueger as the most eminent type of German Burgermeister. How many prejudices were thrown over through such a change in my attitude towards the Christian-Socialist Movement!
My ideas about anti-Semitism changed also in the course of time, but that was the change which I found most difficult. It cost me a greater internal conflict with myself, and it was only after a struggle between reason and sentiment that victory began to be decided in favour of the former. Two years later sentiment rallied to the side of reasons and became a faithful guardian and counsellor.
At the time of this bitter struggle, between calm reason and the sentiments in which I had been brought up, the lessons that I learned on the streets of Vienna rendered me invaluable assistance. A time came when I no longer passed blindly along the street of the mighty city, as I had done in the early days, but now with my eyes open not only to study the buildings but also the human beings.
Once, when passing through the inner City, I suddenly encountered a phenomenon in a long caftan and wearing black side-locks. My first thought was: Is this a Jew? They certainly did not have this appearance in Linz. I watched the man stealthily and cautiously; but the longer I gazed at the strange countenance and examined it feature by feature, the more the question shaped itself in my brain: Is this a German?
As was always my habit with such experiences, I turned to books for help in removing my doubts. For the first time in my life I bought myself some anti-Semitic pamphlets for a few pence. But unfortunately they all began with the assumption that in principle the reader had at least a certain degree of information on the Jewish question or was even familiar with it. Moreover, the tone of most of these pamphlets was such that I became doubtful again, because the statements made were partly superficial and the proofs extraordinarily unscientific. For weeks, and indeed for months, I returned to my old way of thinking. The subject appeared so enormous and the accusations were so far-reaching that I was afraid of dealing with it unjustly and so I became again anxious and uncertain.
Naturally I could no longer doubt that here there was not a question of Germans who happened to be of a different religion but rather that there was question of an entirely different people. For as soon as I began to investigate the matter and observe the Jews, then Vienna appeared to me in a different light. Wherever I now went I saw Jews, and the more I saw of them the more strikingly and clearly they stood out as a different people from the other citizens. Especially the Inner City and the district northwards from the Danube Canal swarmed with a people who, even in outer appearance, bore no similarity to the Germans.
But any indecision which I may still have felt about that point was finally removed by the activities of a certain section of the Jews themselves. A great movement, called Zionism, arose among them. Its aim was to assert the national character of Judaism, and the movement was strongly represented in Vienna.
To outward appearances it seemed as if only one group of Jews championed this movement, while the great majority disapproved of it, or even repudiated it. But an investigation of the situation showed that those outward appearances were purposely misleading. These outward appearances emerged from a mist of theories which had been produced for reasons of expediency, if not for purposes of downright deception. For that part of Jewry which was styled Liberal did not disown the Zionists as if they were not members of their race but rather as brother Jews who publicly professed their faith in an unpractical way, so as to create a danger for Jewry itself.
Thus there was no real rift in their internal solidarity.
This fictitious conflict between the Zionists and the Liberal Jews soon disgusted me; for it was false through and through and in direct contradiction to the moral dignity and immaculate character on which that race had always prided itself.
Cleanliness, whether moral or of another kind, had its own peculiar meaning for these people. That they were water-shy was obvious on looking at them and, unfortunately, very often also when not looking at them at all. The odour of those people in caftans often used to make me feel ill. Beyond that there were the unkempt clothes and the ignoble exterior.
All these details were certainly not attractive; but the revolting feature was that beneath their unclean exterior one suddenly perceived the moral mildew of the chosen race.
What soon gave me cause for very serious consideration were the activities of the Jews in certain branches of life, into the mystery of which I penetrated little by little. Was there any shady undertaking, any form of foulness, especially in cultural life, in which at least one Jew did not participate? On putting the probing knife carefully to that kind of abscess one immediately discovered, like a maggot in a putrescent body, a little Jew who was often blinded by the sudden light.
In my eyes the charge against Judaism became a grave one the moment I discovered the Jewish activities in the Press, in art, in literature and the theatre. All unctuous protests were now more or less futile. One needed only to look at the posters announcing the hideous productions of the cinema and theatre, and study the names of the authors who were highly lauded there in order to become permanently adamant on Jewish questions. Here was a pestilence, a moral pestilence, with which the public was being infected. It was worse than the Black Plague of long ago. And in what mighty doses this poison was manufactured and distributed. Naturally, the lower the moral and intellectual level of such an author of artistic products the more inexhaustible his fecundity. Sometimes it went so far that one of these fellows, acting like a sewage pump, would shoot his filth directly in the face of other members of the human race. In this connection we must remember there is no limit to the number of such people. One ought to realize that for one, Goethe, Nature may bring into existence ten thousand such despoilers who act as the worst kind of germ-carriers in poisoning human souls. It was a terrible thought, and yet it could not be avoided, that the greater number of the Jews seemed specially destined by Nature to play this shameful part.
And is it for this reason that they can be called the chosen people?
I began then to investigate carefully the names of all the fabricators of these unclean products in public cultural life. The result of that inquiry was still more disfavourable to the attitude which I had hitherto held in regard to the Jews. Though my feelings might rebel a thousand time, reason now had to draw its own conclusions.
The fact that nine-tenths of all the smutty literature, artistic tripe and theatrical banalities, had to be charged to the account of people who formed scarcely one per cent of the nation--that fact could not be gainsaid. It was there, and had to be admitted. Then I began to examine my favourite 'World Press', with that fact before my mind.
The deeper my soundings went the lesser grew my respect for that Press which I formerly admired. Its style became still more repellent and I was forced to reject its ideas as entirely shallow and superficial. To claim that in the presentation of facts and views its attitude was impartial seemed to me to contain more falsehood than truth. The writers were--Jews.
Thousands of details that I had scarcely noticed before seemed to me now to deserve attention. I began to grasp and understand things which I had formerly looked at in a different light.
I saw the Liberal policy of that Press in another light. Its dignified tone in replying to the attacks of its adversaries and its dead silence in other cases now became clear to me as part of a cunning and despicable way of deceiving the readers. Its brilliant theatrical criticisms always praised the Jewish authors and its adverse, criticism was reserved exclusively for the Germans.
The light pin-pricks against William II showed the persistency of its policy, just as did its systematic commendation of French culture and civilization. The subject matter of the feuilletons was trivial and often pornographic. The language of this Press as a whole had the accent of a foreign people. The general tone was openly derogatory to the Germans and this must have been definitely intentional.
What were the interests that urged the Vienna Press to adopt such a policy? Or did they do so merely by chance? In attempting to find an answer to those questions I gradually became more and more dubious.
Then something happened which helped me to come to an early decision. I began to see through the meaning of a whole series of events that were taking place in other branches of Viennese life. All these were inspired by a general concept of manners and morals which was openly put into practice by a large section of the Jews and could be established as attributable to them. Here, again, the life which I observed on the streets taught me what evil really is.
The part which the Jews played in the social phenomenon of prostitution, and more especially in the white slave traffic, could be studied here better than in any other West-European city, with the possible exception of certain ports in Southern France. Walking by night along the streets of the Leopoldstadt, almost at every turn whether one wished it or not, one witnessed certain happenings of whose existence the Germans knew nothing until the War made it possible and indeed inevitable for the soldiers to see such things on the Eastern front.
A cold shiver ran down my spine when I first ascertained that it was the same kind of cold-blooded, thick-skinned and shameless Jew who showed his consummate skill in conducting that revolting exploitation of the dregs of the big city. Then I became fired with wrath.
I had now no more hesitation about bringing the Jewish problem to light in all its details. No. Henceforth I was determined to do so. But as I learned to track down the Jew in all the different spheres of cultural and artistic life, and in the various manifestations of this life everywhere, I suddenly came upon him in a position where I had least expected to find him. I now realized that the Jews were the leaders of Social Democracy. In face of that revelation the scales fell from my eyes. My long inner struggle was at an end.
In my relations with my fellow workmen I was often astonished to find how easily and often they changed their opinions on the same questions, sometimes within a few days and sometimes even within the course of a few hours. I found it difficult to understand how men who always had reasonable ideas when they spoke as individuals with one another suddenly lost this reasonableness the moment they acted in the mass. That phenomenon often tempted one almost to despair. I used to dispute with them for hours and when I succeeded in bringing them to what I considered a reasonable way of thinking I rejoiced at my success. But next day I would find that it had been all in vain. It was saddening to think I had to begin it all over again. Like a pendulum in its eternal sway, they would fall back into their absurd opinions.
I was able to understand their position fully. They were dissatisfied with their lot and cursed the fate which had hit them so hard. They hated their employers, whom they looked upon as the heartless administrators of their cruel destiny. Often they used abusive language against the public officials, whom they accused of having no sympathy with the situation of the working people. They made public protests against the cost of living and paraded through the streets in defence of their claims. At least all this could be explained on reasonable grounds. But what was impossible to understand was the boundless hatred they expressed against their own fellow citizens, how they disparaged their own nation, mocked at its greatness, reviled its history and dragged the names of its most illustrious men in the gutter.
This hostility towards their own kith and kin, their own native land and home was as irrational as it was incomprehensible. It was against Nature.
One could cure that malady temporarily, but only for some days or at least some weeks. But on meeting those whom one believed to have been converted one found that they had become as they were before. That malady against Nature held them once again in its clutches.
I gradually discovered that the Social Democratic Press was predominantly controlled by Jews. But I did not attach special importance to this circumstance, for the same state of affairs existed also in other newspapers. But there was one striking fact in this connection. It was that there was not a single newspaper with which Jews were connected that could be spoken of as National, in the meaning that my education and convictions attached to that word.
Making an effort to overcome my natural reluctance, I tried to read articles of this nature published in the Marxist Press; but in doing so my aversion increased all the more. And then I set about learning something of the people who wrote and published this mischievous stuff. From the publisher downwards, all of them were Jews. I recalled to mind the names of the public leaders of Marxism, and then I realized that most of them belonged to the Chosen Race--the Social Democratic representatives in the Imperial Cabinet as well as the secretaries of the Trades Unions and the street agitators. Everywhere the same sinister picture presented itself. I shall never forget the row of names--Austerlitz, David, Adler, Ellenbogen, and others. One fact became quite evident to me. It was that this alien race held in its hands the leadership of that Social Democratic Party with whose minor representatives I had been disputing for months past. I was happy at last to know for certain that the Jew is not a German.
Thus I finally discovered who were the evil spirits leading our people astray. The sojourn in Vienna for one year had proved long enough to convince me that no worker is so rooted in his preconceived notions that he will not surrender them in face of better and clearer arguments and explanations. Gradually I became an expert in the doctrine of the Marxists and used this knowledge as an instrument to drive home my own firm convictions. I was successful in nearly every case. The great masses can be rescued, but a lot of time and a large share of human patience must be devoted to such work.
But a Jew can never be rescued from his fixed notions.
I was then simple enough to attempt to show them the absurdity of their teaching. Within my small circle I talked to them until my throat ached and my voice grew hoarse. I believed that I could finally convince them of the danger inherent in the Marxist follies. But I only achieved the contrary result. It seemed to me that immediately the disastrous effects of the Marxist Theory and its application in practice became evident, the stronger became their obstinacy.
The more I debated with them the more familiar I became with their argumentative tactics. At the outset they counted upon the stupidity of their opponents, but when they got so entangled that they could not find a way out they played the trick of acting as innocent simpletons. Should they fail, in spite of their tricks of logic, they acted as if they could not understand the counter arguments and bolted away to another field of discussion. They would lay down truisms and platitudes; and, if you accepted these, then they were applied to other problems and matters of an essentially different nature from the original theme. If you faced them with this point they would escape again, and you could not bring them to make any precise statement. Whenever one tried to get a firm grip on any of these apostles one's hand grasped only jelly and slime which slipped through the fingers and combined again into a solid mass a moment afterwards. If your adversary felt forced to give in to your argument, on account of the observers present, and if you then thought that at last you had gained ground, a surprise was in store for you on the following day. The Jew would be utterly oblivious to what had happened the day before, and he would start once again by repeating his former absurdities, as if nothing had happened. Should you become indignant and remind him of yesterday's defeat, he pretended astonishment and could not remember anything, except that on the previous day he had proved that his statements were correct. Sometimes I was dumbfounded. I do not know what amazed me the more--the abundance of their verbiage or the artful way in which they dressed up their falsehoods. I gradually came to hate them.
Yet all this had its good side; because the more I came to know the individual leaders, or at least the propagandists, of Social Democracy, my love for my own people increased correspondingly. Considering the Satanic skill which these evil counsellors displayed, how could their unfortunate victims be blamed? Indeed, I found it extremely difficult myself to be a match for the dialectical perfidy of that race. How futile it was to try to win over such people with argument, seeing that their very mouths distorted the truth, disowning the very words they had just used and adopting them again a few moments afterwards to serve their own ends in the argument! No. The more I came to know the Jew, the easier it was to excuse the workers.
In my opinion the most culpable were not to be found among the workers but rather among those who did not think it worth while to take the trouble to sympathize with their own kinsfolk and give to the hard-working son of the national family what was his by the iron logic of justice, while at the same time placing his seducer and corrupter against the wall.
Urged by my own daily experiences, I now began to investigate more thoroughly the sources of the Marxist teaching itself. Its effects were well known to me in detail. As a result of careful observation, its daily progress had become obvious to me. And one needed only a little imagination in order to be able to forecast the consequences which must result from it. The only question now was: Did the founders foresee the effects of their work in the form which those effects have shown themselves to-day, or were the founders themselves the victims of an error? To my mind both alternatives were possible.
If the second question must be answered in the affirmative, then it was the duty of every thinking person to oppose this sinister movement with a view to preventing it from producing its worst results. But if the first question must be answered in the affirmative, then it must be admitted that the original authors of this evil which has infected the nations were devils incarnate. For only in the brain of a monster, and not that of a man, could the plan of this organization take shape whose workings must finally bring about the collapse of human civilization and turn this world into a desert waste.
Such being the case the only alternative left was to fight, and in that fight to employ all the weapons which the human spirit and intellect and will could furnish leaving it to Fate to decide in whose favour the balance should fall.
And so I began to gather information about the authors of this teaching, with a view to studying the principles of the movement. The fact that I attained my object sooner than I could have anticipated was due to the deeper insight into the Jewish question which I then gained, my knowledge of this question being hitherto rather superficial. This newly acquired knowledge alone enabled me to make a practical comparison between the real content and the theoretical pretentiousness of the teaching laid down by the apostolic founders of Social Democracy; because I now understood the language of the Jew. I realized that the Jew uses language for the purpose of dissimulating his thought or at least veiling it, so that his real aim cannot be discovered by what he says but rather by reading between the lines. This knowledge was the occasion of the greatest inner revolution that I had yet experienced. From being a soft-hearted cosmopolitan I became an out-and-out anti-Semite.
Only on one further occasion, and that for the last time, did I give way to oppressing thoughts which caused me some moments of profound anxiety.
As I critically reviewed the activities of the Jewish people throughout long periods of history I became anxious and asked myself whether for some inscrutable reasons beyond the comprehension of poor mortals such as ourselves, Destiny may not have irrevocably decreed that the final victory must go to this small nation? May it not be that this people which has lived only for the earth has been promised the earth as a recompense? is our right to struggle for our own self-preservation based on reality, or is it a merely subjective thing? Fate answered the question for me inasmuch as it led me to make a detached and exhaustive inquiry into the Marxist teaching and the activities of the Jewish people in connection with it.
The Jewish doctrine of Marxism repudiates the aristocratic principle of Nature and substitutes for it the eternal privilege of force and energy, numerical mass and its dead weight. Thus it denies the individual worth of the human personality, impugns the teaching that nationhood and race have a primary significance, and by doing this it takes away the very foundations of human existence and human civilization. If the Marxist teaching were to be accepted as the foundation of the life of the universe, it would lead to the disappearance of all order that is conceivable to the human mind. And thus the adoption of such a law would provoke chaos in the structure of the greatest organism that we know, with the result that the inhabitants of this earthly planet would finally disappear.
Should the Jew, with the aid of his Marxist creed, triumph over the people of this world, his Crown will be the funeral wreath of mankind, and this planet will once again follow its orbit through ether, without any human life on its surface, as it did millions of years ago.
And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.