History of the World Crisis

Lecture 8:
Germany's Current Political Situation

Translated by Juan R. Fajardo, 1998
(Delivered to the “Gonzales Prada” People’s University,
at the Peruvian Student Federation hall, Lima, on July 13, 1923.)



For some reason Mariátegui changed the program for the evening and delivered the lecture on German politics, the notes for which appear below, and postponed the planned talk on the Treaty of Versailles until the following week. -Trans.


Author's Notes:

The major German political groups are: pangermanists, populists, Catholics, democrats, socialists, communists. Consul Organization, Eschrish Organization, Hittler and Ludendorf's Bavarian fascism.

Antecedents to the present situation: The fall of Wirth's cabinet. The formation of the Cuno cabinet. The return of Hugo Stinnes' populists' to government. The socialists' position on this government. The effects of the occupation of the Rohr on German politics. The current German crisis is but the exasperation of the political crisis brought about by Social Democracy's collaboration with the bourgeoisie. Cuno's resignation. Stressemann's cabinet. Minister of Finance Hilferding.

Rhennish separatism. Smeets and Dorten's separatist factions. Their agitation and coming fusion. France's promotion of it.

The occupation of the Rohr's consequences on the German economy. The catastrophe of the mark. The impossibility that mutilated, fractured Germany reorganize itself. A nation is a living organism. It is not possible to wound it without altering, without disordering its functioning. The occupation of the Rohr condemns Germany to ruin, to misery. But, a ruined Germany means a worsening of the European economic crisis. Moribund nations, starving nations cannot coexist with nations filled with vitality, plethoric nations. The world's economic organism has become too solidarious for this to occur. A nation that is primitive, insignificant, and little-evolved economically can descend into misery without visibly affecting the other nations of the continent. But a nation with so complex and so vast an international dynamism cannot be brought down and destroyed without mortal damage to its neighbors. The problems of peace have uncovered this solidarity between victors and the defeated which prevents the former from crushing the latter.

The true causes of the occupation of the Rohr. The chauvinists, the nationalists desire the annihilation of Germany. They have the nightmare of German reconstruction, of German revenge. The metallurgists aspire to posses German coal. The metallurgists' press exploits the patriotism of the petit bourgeois classes. The national bloc, the left bloc, and the communists.

Stinnes' program: suppression of the eight-hour workday, reduction of State personnel, handing over of the railways to private enterprise. In a word, the abolition, the derogation of all the conquests of the socialist minimum program. A bourgeois coalition lacks the strength to act on this plan.

The dissention within social-democracy. The left tendency and the right tendency. The fear of communist participation.

The policies of the German communists, Dacussig, Stöcker. The factory councils. The proletarian united front. The workers' government. The nationalization of 51 percent of the businesses, under the workers' control. The Social Democrats and their apprehensions and fears.

The nationalist phenomenon. The penury middle- and petit bourgeois. The poverty of the intellectuals. Radek proposes that fascism be fought not only with arms but also with political weapons. The middle class, dominated by the memory of its past well-being, leans toward a re-establishment of the old order. It lacks a class mentality, class consciousness. A government of the middle class cannot but carry out capitalist policies. The middle class needs to join either the capitalist class or the salaried class. It has no room for a middle or independent position.

Which are the present hour's perspectives? An immediate rectification of French policies is not probable. Occupation of the Rohr will, therefore, continue to disorganize, impoverish and ruining Germany. There is talk of the possibility that German and French industrialists coordinate and make an arrangement. This alliance of French capitalism with German capitalism would be made only at the expense of the working class. There already have been preludes of intelligence of this nature: the Loucheur-Lubersac agreement. This intelligence would disquiet England. German industry and French industry would constitute a formidable continental bloc. Likewise, there is talk of England proposing the formation of an Anglo-Franco-German conglomerate. Lastly, Mussolini dreams of a continental bloc: Germany, France, and Italy. But these projects stumble over the difficulty of nationalist egoisms. Each power longs for an alliance in which it gets the lion's share. The climate left by the war is a noxious and asphyxiating climate. It is poisoned by hates, rancors, and egoistic passions. The reasoning that common sense and common interests will prevail in the mentality of the various European capitalist groups is a reasoning which ignores the dark and mysterious, but decisive, influence which psychological factors have on the march of history.

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