Karl Liebknecht
Militarism & Anti-Militarism
I. Militarism

2. Capitalist Militarism

Preliminary remarks

Militarism is not specific to capitalism. It is moreover normal and necessary in every class-divided social order, of which the capitalist system is the last. Capitalism, of course, like every other class-divided social order, develops its own special variety of militarism [1]; for militarism is by its very essence a means to an end, or to several ends, which differ according to the kind of social order in question and which can be attained according to this difference in different ways. This comes out not only in military organization, but also in the other features of militarism which manifest themselves when it carries out its tasks.

The capitalist stage of development is best met with an army based on universal military service, an army which, though it is based on the people, is not a people’s army but an army hostile to the people, or at least one which is being built up in that direction.

Sometimes it appears as a standing army, sometimes as a militia force. The standing army, which is not peculiar to capitalism [2] appears as its most developed, even as its normal form. This will be demonstrated below.


1. “Militarism against the external enemy”, navalism and colonial militarism. Possibilities of war and disarmament

The army of the capitalist social order, like the army of any other class-divided social order, fulfils a double role.

It is first of all a national institution, designed for external aggression or for protection against an external danger; in short designed for use in cases of international complication or, to use a military phrase, for use “against the external enemy”.

This function of the army is in no sense eliminated by the latest developments. For capitalism war is in fact, to use the words of Moltke [2*], “a link in God’s world order”. [3] In Europe itself there is admittedly something of a tendency for certain causes of war to be eliminated: the probability of war breaking out in Europe is decreasing, in spite of Alsace-Lorraine and the anxiety caused by the French trinity of Clemenceau [3*], Pichon and Picquart, in spite of the Eastern question, in spite of Pan-Islamism and in spite of the revolution taking place in Russia. On the other hand new and highly dangerous sources of tension have arisen in consequence of the aims of commercial and political expansion [4] pursued by the so-called civilized states, sources which have been handed down to us by the Eastern question and Pan-Islamism in the first instance, and as a consequence of world policy, and especially colonial policy, which – as Billow himself unreservedly acknowledged in the German Reichstag on November 14, 1906 [5] – conceals countless possibilities of conflict. [6] This policy has at the same time pushed forward ever more energetically two other forms of militarism: naval militarism and colonial militarism. We Germans know a few things about this development!

Navalism, naval militarism, is the twin brother of militarism on land and bears all its repulsive and virulent features. It is at present, to a still higher degree than militarism on land, not only the consequence but also the cause of international dangers, of the danger of a world war.

If some people, whether honest or deceitful, want to make us believe for example that the tension between Germany and England [7] is due to misunderstandings, to the inflammatory words of malicious journalists, to the boastful expressions of bad musicians in the concert of diplomacy, we know different. We know that this tension is a necessary consequence of the sharpening economic competition between England and Germany on the world market, therefore a direct consequence of unrestrained capitalist development and international competition. The Spanish-American war over Cuba, Italy’s Abyssinian war, England’s war in the Transvaal, the Sino-Japanese war, the adventure of the Great Powers in China, the Russo-Japanese war: all, though their particular causes and conditions are manifold, possess one great common feature, that they are of expansion. And if we recall the Anglo-Russian tension in Tibet, Persia and Afghanistan, the Japanese-American disagreements of the winter of 1906, and finally the glorious and memorable Morocco conflict of December 1906 with its Franco-Spanish co-operation [8], we recognize that the capitalist policy of expansion and its colonial policy have placed countless mines under the edifice of world peace. The fuses lie in the most varied hands, and the mines may easily and unexpectedly explode. [9] A time may of course come when the division of the world is so far advanced that one may expect the formation of a trust governing all possible colonial possessions by the colony-owning states, that is to say, the elimination of colonial competition between the states, just as has been achieved within certain limits through cartels and trusts in the field of private competition between capitalists. But that will take a good while, and may be postponed to the quite remote future by the economic and national rise of China alone.

Thus all the alleged plans for disarmament appear for the moment to be simple folly, empty talk, attempts to cheat. The stamp of the Tsar as the author of the comedy of the Hague [4*] can be found throughout.

Recently the soap bubble of England’s alleged disarmament has burst in a ludicrous manner: Haldane, the Minister of War, the alleged promoter of such intentions, has come out in the sharpest words against any reduction of the active armed forces, and has been revealed and shown up as a militaristic agitator [10], while at the same time the Anglo-French military convention rises above the horizon. And at the very same hour at which the second “Peace conference” is being prepared, Sweden is enlarging its navy, the military budget is growing ever larger in America [11] and Japan, and in France the Clemenceau ministry is stressing the need for a strong army and navy by demanding an increase in spending of 208 million Marks. [12] The Hamburger Nachrichten meanwhile suggests that belief in military armament as the only salvation is the quintessence of the outlook of the ruling class of Germany, and the German people are favoured by the government with demands for further increases in the military budget [13], for which even our Liberals stretch out their hands. [14] Thus we can judge the naïvety of the French senator d’Estournelles de Constant, a member of court of the Hague, displayed in his latest essay on the limitation of armaments. [15] In fact, for this political dreamer it does not even take one swallow to make the summer of disarmament – a sparrow is enough for him. It is almost refreshing after this to see the honest brutality with which the Great Powers taking part in the conference let Stead’s proposal fall, and even resisted the disarmament question being put on the agenda of the second conference.

The third offshoot of capitalism in the military field, colonial militarism, deserves a few words. The colonial army – that is to say, the standing colonial army, not the colonial militia force allegedly “planned” for German South-West Africa [16], and even less the quite different militia of the almost independent British colonies – plays an extremely important role for Britain; its importance is also increasing for the other civilized states. For Britain such an army fulfils not only the task of the suppression or checking of the “internal colonial enemy” (that is, the natives of the colonies), but also that of providing a means of force against the external colonial enemy (Russia, for example). For the other states with colonies, especially America and Germany [17], the first and almost exclusive task of the colonial army, often under the name of a “defensive formation or of a “foreign legion” [18], is to drive the luckless natives into slavery, to turn them into forced labourers for the capitalists, and – when they wish to defend their native land against the foreign robbers and blood-suckers – to shoot them down mercilessly, to cut them down with the sword and to starve them out. The colonial army, which is often made up of the scum of the European population [19], is the most bestial, the most abominable of all the tools used by our capitalist states. There is hardly a crime which colonial militarism and the tropical frenzy bred of it has not committed. [20] Men like Tippelslurch, Woermann, Podbielski, Leist, Wehlan, Peters, Ahrenberg & Co. are evidence and proof of this for Germany. They are the fruits by which we recognize the essence of colonial policy, of that colonial policy which – under the deceptive mask [21] of spreading Christianity and civilization or of defending the national honour – profits and deceives with pious gaze in the service of the colonial interests of the capitalists, murders and assaults the defenceless, burns up their property, robs and plunders their goods and possessions, and scorns and shames Christianity and civilization. [22] The events in India and Tonkin, in the Congo State, in German South-West Africa and in the Philippines eclipse even the stars of a Cortez or a Pizarro.


2. Proletariat and war

Even if the function of militarism against the external enemy is described as a national function, that does not mean that it is a function which conforms to the interests, welfare and will of the peoples ruled and exploited by capitalism. The proletariat of the whole world can expect no advantage from the policy which makes it necessary that militarism against the external enemy should exist; indeed, its interests are in the sharpest contradiction to militarism, which directly or indirectly serves the ruling classes of capitalism in their exploitation. It is a policy whose function is more or less skilfully to pave the way into the world for the disordered chaotic production and senseless murderous competition of capitalism, in the process of which it tramples underfoot all civilized duties towards the less developed peoples. And actually it attains nothing, except for the fact that it insanely endangers the whole framework of our civilization by bringing into existence the threat of world war.

The proletariat too welcomes the mighty industrial progress of our time. But it knows that this economic progress could have come about without the armed hand, without militarism and naval militarism, without the trident in our fist, and without the bestialities of our colonial economic policy, if only it were served by sensibly directed communities working according to international agreement and in conformity with the duties and interests of civilization. The proletariat knows that our world policy is to a large extent a policy of forcible and clumsy attempts to overcome and confuse the social and political difficulties which the ruling classes see themselves faced with at home; in short, a Bonapartist policy of attempts at deception and deceit. The proletariat knows that the enemies of the workers prefer to cook their soup over the fire of narrow-minded chauvinism, that the fear of war carefully fostered by Bismarck [5*] in 1887 aided precisely the most dangerous forces of reaction, and that a recently exposed neat little plan of very important persons was intended to snatch away from the German people, in a confused period of war jingoism “after the return of a victorious army”, its right to elect the Reichstag. [23] The proletariat knows that this policy is an attempt to exploit economic progress for its own ends, and especially that all the benefit from our colonial policy flows only into the capacious pockets of the class of employers, of capitalism, the sworn enemy of the proletariat itself. It knows that the wars waged by the ruling classes inflict on it the most scandalous sacrifices of property and blood [24], for which, after its work is complete, it is rewarded with miserable disablement pensions, veterans’ aid funds, barrel-organs and kicks of all kinds. It knows that in every war a volcano of hun-like brutality and baseness erupts among the peoples involved, and that for years civilization is set back and barbarism reigns. [25] It knows that the fatherland, for which it must fight, is not its own fatherland, that the proletariat of every land has only one real enemy: the capitalist class which oppresses and exploits it; that because of its special interests the proletariat of every land is closely united with the proletariat of every other land; that all national interests recede before the common interests of the international proletariat; and that the international coalition of exploitation and slavery must be opposed by the international coalition of the exploited, the enslaved. It knows that, in so far as it is used in a war, it is led to fight against its own brothers and class comrades and so to fight against its own interests.

The class-conscious proletariat does not simply remain cool towards the international task of the army, as well as towards the whole capitalist policy of expansion, but takes up a serious and clear-sighted position of opposition to this task and policy. Faced with the important task of struggling against this aspect of militarism too, it is becoming ever more conscious of its mission. This is shown by the international congresses, and by the exchange of demonstrations of solidarity between German and French socialists at the time of the outbreak of the Franco-German war, between the Spanish and American socialists when the Cuban war broke out, and between the Russian and Japanese socialists when the East Asian war broke out in 1904. It is also shown by the decision of the Swedish Social-Democrats in 1905 to call a general strike in the case of a war between Sweden and Norway, and by the parliamentary position taken up by the German Social-Democrats with regard to war credits in 1870 as well as in the Morocco conflict; and it is shown by the attitude of the class-conscious proletariat towards intervention in Russia.


3. Characteristics of “militarism against the internal enemy” and its task

Militarism is, however, not only a means of defence and a weapon against the external enemy; it has a second task [26], which comes more and more into prominence with the sharpening of class contradictions and the growth of proletarian class-consciousness. Thus the outer form of militarism and its inner character are more and more precisely determined: it has the task of protecting the prevailing social order, of supporting capitalism and all reaction against the struggle of the working class for freedom. Here militarism manifests itself as a pure tool in the hands of the ruling classes, designed to hinder the development of class-consciousness by its alliance with the police and the system of justice, with the school and church, and further to secure for a minority at any cost, even against the conscious will of the majority of the people, its dominant position in the state and its freedom to exploit.

This is how modern militarism stands before us. It wants neither more nor less than the squaring of the circle; it arms the people against the people itself; it is insolent enough to force the workers – by artificial but ruthless attempts to introduce into our social organization a principle of division according to age – to become oppressors, enemies and murderers of their own class comrades and friends, of their parents, brothers, sisters and children, murderers of their own past and future. It wants to be at the same time democratic and despotic, enlightened and machine-like, at the same time to serve the nation and to be its enemy.

It must not, however, be forgotten that militarism is also directed against the nationalist and even the religious enemy [27] at home – in Germany for example against the Poles [28], Alsatians and Danes – and even finds employment in conflicts between the non-proletarian classes [29]; that it is a phenomenon which takes many forms and often changes its character [30]; and that Prussian-German militarism has blossomed into a very special flower owing to the peculiar semi-absolutist, feudal-bureaucratic conditions in Germany. This Prussian-German militarism possesses all the evil and dangerous qualities of every form of capitalist militarism, so that it is well qualified to stand as a paradigm of contemporary militarism, in its forms, methods and effects. Just as it is said, to use the words of Bismarck, that no one has been able to imitate the Prussian lieutenant, so indeed no one has been able to imitate Prussian-German militarism, which has become not simply a state within the state, but actually a state above the state.

Let us next consider the way in which the army is constituted in other countries. Here we must take into account not only the army proper but also the gendarmerie and police, which often have the character of special military organizations designed for everyday service against the internal enemy, and in their rough and violent nature bear the mark of military origin.


4. The constitution of the army in some foreign countries

We find special forms of army constitution for example in Britain and America, in Switzerland and Belgium.

Great Britain has a hired army (a “regular army”) and a militia force, together with the Yeomanry. It also has the so-called Volunteers, a mostly unpaid force which in 1905 numbered 245,000 men. The standing army, including the militia – in which substitution is permitted – numbered in the same year around 444,000 men, of which, however, only about 162,000 were stationed in England. Further, a militarily organized police corps has been prepared for Ireland (about 12,000 men). The standing army is for the most part used outside the home country, especially in India, where the army of about 230,000 men [31] is two-thirds composed of natives. The colonies as a rule have their own militia and volunteer corps. The relation between Britain’s home and colonial militarism is marked by the military budget, which for example in 1897 amounted to about 360 million Marks at home and about 500 millions for India. There is also the immense navy with a complement of around 200,000 men together with marine troops.

The constitution of the army in the United States of America is a mixture of standing army and militia. The standing army, based on conscription [32] and constitutionally limited to a maximum of 100,000 men, actually numbered in peace time according to an estimate of 1905 around 61,000 men (on October 15, 1906, including the Philippine Scouts, 67,253 men), of which 3,800 were officers, most of whom had passed through West Point Military Academy. In the same year the militia numbered about 111,000 men. It is organized in a fairly democratic way. In times of peace it is under the Governor, and is not highly armed or trained. The often militarily organized police forces also play an important role. Quite peculiar is another organization which, formally speaking, does not belong here, but which cannot be ignored because of the function it performs. In all capitalist countries we find “black hundreds”, gangs organized by the bosses, even if only in the sense that the capitalists arm their strikebreakers (something which is not rare for example in Switzerland and France, and was seen in Germany in last year’s shipyard strike in Hamburg and in the Nuremberg events of 1906). But in the armed Pinkerton detectives [6*] the American capitalists have a “black hundred” of first quality permanently at their disposal. If we finally take note of the roughly 30,000 men who formed the navy in 1905, we see that the United States offers good examples of the most important forms of armed state power.

In Switzerland there existed until recently a real popular army, a general arming of the people. Every Swiss citizen capable of bearing arms possessed a gun and ammunition permanently at home. This was the army of democracy, with which Gaston Moch deals in his well-known book. Since Switzerland has a multi-national citizenry, as does Belgium, it was natural that “external militarism” could take on and preserve a particularly mild character here, to the success of which numerous other factors have contributed. But with the sharpening of class contradictions, “militarism at home” changed its character. The need of the capitalist section of the population to consolidate its power caused the possession of arms and ammunition in the hands of the proletariat to be felt as a hindrance to the freedom to exploit and oppress, even as a danger to the existence of the capitalist class. Thus in September 1899 the disarming of the people began with the withdrawal of ammunition, while at the same time there was an attempt to extend existing militaristic tendencies according to the pattern of the great military states. Thus even in the famous Swiss militia the frightening traits which have made every standing army into a disgrace to civilization are more and more evident. The resolution of the National Council of December 21, 1906, concerning the law on military reorganization, which dealt with the use of soldiers in strikes, changes nothing in this respect. [33]

Belgium’s need of soldiers for the standing army is, because of its neutrality, considerably less than the “supply” of soldiers (about half). The system of general military service is therefore complemented by the system of exemptions and finally by the system of buying oneself out, of substitution, which has cut deeply into the character of the army. Of course, only the wealthy are in a position to pay for someone to take their place, and equally naturally they make full use of the system. If this already well developed system of substitution was not in itself especially significant politically, it did lead – in a country which was heavily composed of proletarians and where a great percentage of workers were to be found among those liable for military service as well those excused from it – to an extremely dangerous situation for the ruling class. The army, proletarian through and through, was – in so far as it was not already composed in and for itself of class-conscious and determined proletarians – so rapidly convinced of the anti-militarist propaganda that for years the possibility of using it as a tool of the ruling class against the internal enemy has been ruled out, and it is no longer so used. But an answer was at hand. For a long time there had existed the organization of the so-called Civil Guard. To the Civil Guard belong those who have been lucky in the draw and those who have bought themselves out of the army; but only those can join who provide their own uniform and weapon, an arrangement (a kind of weeding-out system) whose effect is that the poorer part of the population more or less excludes itself. Earlier it was nothing more than a great masquerade, its members were mostly liberal and the organization democratic. The Civil Guards kept their weapons at home, chose their officers themselves, etc. But with the increasing unreliability of the standing army a change came about. The administration and direction of the Civil Guard were taken out of the hands of the municipalities and put into those of the government, while the democratic arrangements were abolished, and the weapons taken away from individuals and locked up in the stores of the military administration. A rather tighter form of military duty was introduced and the training of the Civil Guards transferred to the worst of the ex-officers of the standing army. The age group between 20 and 30 must now exercise no less than three evenings in the week and half a Sunday every fortnight. And whereas previously in relation to the organization of these exercises the old method – or lack of method – recalling the days of our “old-time town soldiers” was used, now everything is much more sharply controlled and punctuality enforced on pain of punishment. It is worth noting that this new organization of the Civil Guard only took place in communities of over 20,000 inhabitants, while elsewhere the Civil Guard has remained an absurd shadow. This fact too brands the organization with the mark of its true goal, which is to be a special defensive Force of the government in the struggle against the “internal enemy”. In 1905 the standing army, excluding the gendarmerie, numbered around 46,000 men, the active Civil Guard around 44,000, almost exactly as many!

Belgium thus possesses one army directed against the external enemy and one directed against the internal enemy, a very cunning arrangement which, as the use of the Civil Guard in the recent strikes and struggles over voting rights proves, has performed and will perform good service for the capitalist régime of Belgium.

The country also has a gendarmerie, which in strikes and disturbances as well as in war takes on a simple military role. It is very numerous and distributed over the whole country; of great mobility, it can at any time be concentrated, moved and mobilized. In Tervueren near Brussels it has a general barracks for its flying squad, from which in the case of strikes and the like it swarms out as if from a wasps’ nest. It is made up for the most part of former non-commissioned officers, is excellently armed and well paid; in short, an elite force. The Civil Guard was created simply for its task in the class struggle, so that it represents nothing but a special military mobilization of the capitalist class itself, which is quite conscious of its own interests; but the “watchdogs of capital” organized in the gendarmerie play their role no less well, according to the saying: “Whoever pays me, I’ll sing to his tune”.

Japan, which stands on about the same capitalist-feudal level of development as Germany, has also in recent years – in spite of its land position similar to that of Britain, and indeed in consequence of the tension in its external position – become a true counterpart of Germany in relation to militarism, apart perhaps from the better military training of its forces.


5. Conclusions


From all this it follows that the size and special organizational character of the army is essentially determined by the international situation, by the function of the army against the external enemy. International tension is as a rule very high today and – even in the non-capitalist states, because of competition with and the need for protection against the capitalist states – necessitates the use of all citizens capable of bearing arms, as well as of the toughest forms of organization: the standing army and universal military service. This tension may, however, either through natural causes – for example, England’s island position, and even in a sense that of the United States of America – or through cultural-political causes – for example, Switzerland’s and the Netherlands’ declaration of neutrality – be subject to a very considerable relaxation.

“Militarism at home”, on the other hand, which faces the internal enemy, is a phenomenon which always necessarily accompanies capitalist development; Gaston Moch himself describes “the restoration of order” as “a legitimate function of a popular army”. And if militarism exhibits very different forms in regard to this function, this is simply explained by the fact that its fulfilment does not depend so much on international competition, so that it can take on very different forms and many more national peculiarities. Britain, incidentally, and also America (where for example from 1896 to 1906 the standing army was strengthened from about 27,000 to about 61,000 men, the number of naval personnel doubled, the budget of the department of war increased by two and a half times, and that of the department of the navy by more than three times, while for 1907 Taft has again demanded an extra 100 millions) are driven more and more along the path of European-Continental militarism, a fact which is certainly determined in the first place by the change in the international situation and the requirements of jingoistic-imperialist world policy, but in the second place without doubt by the change in internal relations of tension, by the increase in the danger of class war. The militaristic attacks of the British War Minister Haldane in September 1906 are hardly coincidental with the energetic independent appearance of the organized British working class on the political stage. [34] The tendency to introduce general conscription according to the Swiss model, which has still not been passed in England in spite of the important public agitation for it which has been carried on, but which has found significant expression in the United States in Roosevelt’s message of December 4, 1906, is no symptom of progress. It means in spite of everything a strengthening of militarism in relation to the present position, and lies after all on the steep path to the standing army, about which the example of Switzerland can teach us something.

Militarism undoubtedly possesses, with respect to the manifold combination of factors determined by the extent and character of the special requirements of external and internal defence, a plurality of aspects and a flexibility which is most clearly seen in army organization. This flexibility, however, comes into play everywhere within the boundaries which are set by that goal which is absolutely essential to militarism, the protection of capitalism. The development of militarism can nevertheless take quite different paths. While for example France under Picquart was seriously engaged in shortening considerably the training time of the Reserve and Territorial forces [35], in the reform of the biribi and in the abolition of the special military jurisdiction [36], the President of the German military court of the Reich, von Massow, was resigning his post in autumn, 1906, because the military command (the Prussian War Ministry) had by means of legal interpretations formally and directly interfered in the independence of the military courts (circular of spring, 1905), an independence which of course had taken on a peculiar character in the action against the judges in the Bilse case. These “French concessions” were almost exclusively based on anti-clericalism. Clericalism had important support in the army; the government needed the proletariat in the “struggle for culture”. This combination is of course neither permanent, nor does it arise from an essential, lasting tendency of development. It depends, as far as its nature is concerned, on the passing conjuncture, and goes hand in hand with an energetic struggle against militarism, as we have shown.

Russia is interesting from this point of view. The high state of tension in its international position has forced it to introduce universal military service, while as an Asiatic-Despotic state it is faced with an unequalled internal conflict. The internal enemy of Tsarism is not only the proletariat, but also the great mass of the peasantry and bourgeoisie, even indeed a large part of the nobility. Ninety-nine per cent of Russian soldiers are by class position bitter enemies of Tsarist despotism. A low level of culture, national and religious conflicts, and also contradictions in economic and social interests, together with the more or less subtle pressure exercised by the extensive bureaucratic apparatus as well as the unfavourable local organization, the inadequately developed transport system and other things: all these represent an important check on the development of class-consciousness. There exists a much attacked system of elite troops, who are provided with every facility: the gendarmerie, for example, and especially the Cossacks, which effectively constitute a special social class on account of their good pay and other material provision, of their extensive political privileges, and of the arrangement by which they live in a semi-socialist community; they are thus closely bound in an artificial way to the ruling classes. In this way Tsarism tries to secure a sufficient number of loyal supporters to offset the ferment which has penetrated deep into the ranks of the army. And to all this, to these “watchdogs of Tsarism , there must be added the Circassians [37], and other barbarian peoples living in the empire of the fist, who were loosed over the land like a pack of wolves in the Baltic counter-revolution, together with all the other numberless parasites on Tsarism, the police and their accomplices, and the hooligans and black hundreds.

But if in the bourgeois-capitalist states the army based on universal military service and designed as a weapon against the proletariat represents a frightful and bizarre contradiction, the army based on the same system under the despotic Tsarist system of government is a weapon which is necessarily turned more and more with crushing weight against the Tsarist despotism itself. The experiences of the anti-militarist movement in Russia can therefore only be applied to the bourgeois-capitalist states with the greatest of care. And if the efforts of the ruling classes of capitalism in the bourgeois-capitalist states to bribe the people to fight against itself – to a great extent indeed with money actually taken from the people – are finally doomed to failure, we already see before our very eyes how the desperate and pitiable attempts of Tsarism to buy off the revolution by bribery are suffering a rapid and wretched fiasco in the tragic world of Russian finance, in spite of all the attempts of unscrupulous international capital to save the régime. The question of financial loans is certainly an important one, at least for the tempo of the revolution. But if the revolutions cannot easily be made, it is even less easy to buy them off [38], even with the means available to the big capitalists of the world.

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1. Bernstein [1*] wrongly says in La Vie Socialiste of June 5, 1905, that the present-day militarist institutions are only an inheritance from the more or less feudal monarchy.

2. Cf. Russia, where quite special circumstances, which did not grow out of internal conditions, helped to bring about this result. The hired armies are for instance standing armies on a basis different from that of universal military service. The Italian towns of the fifteenth century also had a militia force. (Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance, vol.I, p.327.)

3. In his well-known letter to Bluntschli (December 1880) he writes: “Eternal peace is a dream, and not a nice one, and war is a link in God’s world order. In war are expressed the noblest virtues of man: courage and renunciation, loyalty and willingness for sacrifice of life. Without war the world would sink into the morass of materialism.” A few months earlier Moltke had written: “Every war is a national disaster” (Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten, Berlin n.d., vol.11, pp.195 and 200), and in 1841 he had written in an article in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung: “We openly associate ourselves with the much derided idea of a general European peace.”

4. The total value of the world’s export trade, according to Hübner’s tables, rose from 75,224 million marks in 1891 to almost 109,000 millions in 1905.

5. “What today complicates our situation and makes it difficult are our overseas aims and interests.”

6. Moltke’s opinions on this subject were very unsettled. According to him the time of cabinet wars is past; but on the other hand he considers the party leaders as criminal and dangerous provokers of war. The party leaders and – the stock exchange! It is true that now and then he has more profound insight. (Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten, vol.III, pp.1ff., 126, 135, 138.)

7. Which is characterized after all by that fantastic abortion of English jingoism entitled “The Invasion of 1910”.

8. France spent more than 100 millions in 1906, as a result of the Morocco dispute, to secure its eastern border from a military standpoint!

9. On the question of the alleged but never fully explained plan of Semler, the representative of the Hamburg shipping firms to capture Fernando Po à la Jameson, see the debates of the budget commission at the beginning (December 1906)

10. It is irrelevant that he remains opposed to universal military service – a fact which the Kreuz-Zeitung of November 29, 1906, regrets, on the ground that universal military service would educate the British people to a better appreciation of the seriousness of war! In Germany indeed, according to the wish of the knights of the Kreuz-Zeitung, the only purpose of universal military service is to force sacrifice of blood and property on the people, while the decision as to war and peace remains for those to gamble with who least understand the seriousness of war. They quite understand the value of democracy abroad, of course! With regard to the strong tendency to a universal militia force which is manifesting itself in England and America, see part 1, chapter 2.5.

11. See this chapter 2, section 5, part 1, chapter 4.2 Another dilemma, and Roosevelt’s message of December 4, 1906.

12. Mainly based on the Morocco conflict.

13. 24¾ millions for the navy, 51 millions for the army, 7 millions interest – total: an increase of about 83 million Marks as against the budget of 1906-7! Rosy prospects of further “limitless” naval armament expenditure are given in an obviously inspired article in the Reichsboten of December 21, 1906. There is also the vast colonial war expenditure (the China expedition: 454 million marks; the South-West African rising: 490 millions so far; the East African rising: 2 millions, etc.). The question of the ratification of all this expenditure has now, on December 13, 1906, caused a conflict and the dissolution of the Reichstag.

14. See for instance the Berliner Tageblatt of October 27, 1906, and above all the notorious bill introduced by Ablass on December 13, 1906, as well as the Liberal electoral slogan of January 25, 1907.

15. La Revue of October I, 1906. The “results actually achieved” by the disarmament movement, prophesied by the editor of the Revue, remain his own deep secret.

16. Dernburg in the Reichstag sitting of November 29, 1906.

17. Whose colonial expenditure, even according to Dernburg’s memorandum of October 1906, is of an overwhelmingly military character, in spite of all attempts to conceal the fact in the balance sheet.

18. Since December 31, 1900, France has possessed a regular colonial army, with which the most evil experiments are being carried out. See the Hamburgischer Correspondent, no.621, December 7, 1906, and also footnotes 29, 6i. In Germany the formation of such an army is being busily worked on, and the progress is rapid.

19. See Péroz, France et Japon en Indochine; Famin, L’armée coloniale; E. Reclus in Patriotisme et colonisation; Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus; Die Neue Zeit, year XVIII (1899-1900), 2nd vol., p.365; on the battaillons d’Afrique, p.369. See also, for Germany, the Deputy Roeren in the Reichstag on December 3, 1906.

20. The disciplinary system also assumes an especially sharp form of brutality. On the question of the French Foreign Legion and the battaillons d’Afrique, see Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus; on the elimination of the biribi, see pp.27-8, 34.

21. This hypocritical and shameful cloak is now thrown off with all the cynicism one could wish for. See the article of G.B. in the monthly journal Die deutschen Kolonien (October 1906), and the remarks of Strantz at the conference of the Pan-German Society (September 1906): “We do not want to make Christians of the people in the colonies, but to make them work for us. This dizzy talk about humaneness is quite ludicrous. German sentimentality has robbed us of a man like Peters.” Further, Heinrich Hartert writes in Der Tag of December 21, 1906 It is “the duty of the mission ... to adjust itself to given conditions”; but it has “often made itself directly troublesome to the trader”. This constitutes the main point of dispute in colonial policy between the Centre Party and the government, and only in this context can one understand the unrestrained and fierce attack made by the “trader Dernburg against the so-called shadow government of the Centre. In this respect too the divine “answer of Alexander” applies to foreign countries. For America the Kreuz-Zeitung preaches the following (September 29, 1906): “The simple extermination of whole tribes of Indians is so inhuman and un-Christian that it cannot under any circumstances be justified – especially since for the Americans it is in no way a question of to be or not to be”. Where that is the question, therefore, according to the conception of the colony-owning Christians, be who professes love for his neighbours may even “exterminate whole tribes”!

22. See the memorable debates in the German Reichstag between November 28 and December 4, 1906, in which the abscess was lanced.

23. See the Hamburger Nachrichten of November 3, 1906.

24. The sacrifice of human life in war between 1799 and 1904 (excluding the Russo-Japanese war) is estimated at about 15 millions.

25. See footnote 3, and Moltke, Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten, vol.II, p.288. Here war is supposed to raise the level of morality and efficiency, and especially to produce moral energy.

26. The task of bolstering up the existing internal order falls to militarism not only in the capitalist system but in all class-divided social orders.

27. Cf. the French “struggle for culture” during the conflict of December 1906.

28. Cf. the electoral row in Upper Silesia in 1903.

29. See Fuchsmühl.

30. For more details see this chapter, section 5 and part 2, chapter 5.

31. In 1905-6: 229,820. In the Native States in 1903: 136,837.

32. Enlistment is becoming even more difficult, and the percentage of foreigners recruited is rising – a fact which is worrying the American government.

33. See part 1, chapter 4.4 Germany.

34. Haldane’s own political position, sharply hostile to the Labour Party, is demonstrated by the facts reported by Rothstein in Die Neue Zeit, 25th year (1906-7), vol.I, p.121. Whether the conflict over the school legislation between the Upper and Lower Houses in November-December 1906 is also a symptom of sharpening tension only the future can tell us. The recently reported rejection of general compulsory service by Haldane does not stand in contradiction to this, but accords with it.

35. Rejected by the Chamber for the time being in December 1906.

36. Cf. especially Assistant State Secretary Chéron in the debate in the Chamber on December 10, 1906, and L’Humanité of December 11, 1906; also part 1, chapter 3, footnote 14.

37. In the Dünazeitung of December 4 (17), 1906, even the District Councillor von Sivers-Römershof speaks of the “bloodthirsty Circassians”.

38. Not even in the recently prominent modern form of cheap trade and discount in concessions and natural riches to American trusts, the “dernier cri” in the double sense of Tsarist foreign policy.

Additional notes

1*. BERNSTEIN, EDUARD (1850-1932). German Social-Democrat. Theoretician of reformism, most prominent representative of revisionism in the Social-Democratic Party.

2*. MOLTKE, GRAF VON (1800-1891). Chief of the Prussian and German general staff. Directed operations in the Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1.

3*. CLEMENCEAU, GEORGES (1841-1929). Radical, French Minister of the Interior from 1906. Became known as the strong man of French politics, especially because of his use of the army in social conflicts at home and his support for the general strengthening of the armed forces. Headed the French government from 1917 to 1920.

4*. HAGUE COMEDY. The peace conference held at The Hague in May-June 1899. It was inspired by Tsarist Russia, which was unable to keep up with the other powers in the armaments race.

5*. BISMARCK, GRAF VON (1815-1898). Minister President of Prussia from 1862, he was responsible for the political direction of the creation of the German Empire, of which he was effectively founder and first Chancellor. Based his strength for many years on the National Liberal Party, during which period he initiated the so-called Kulturkampf against the Catholic Centre. Later moved away from and attacked the National Liberals, without being able to replace them as a political support. Fell in 1896, soon after the accession of the new Kaiser, Wilhelm II.

6*. PINKERTONS. Private police in the United States of America organized by Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884). Used against American labour unions, especially during the strikes of 1877.

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