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The New International, November 1944

Karl Marx on Herr Vogt – II

Russian Intrigue in XlXth Century Europe



From The New International, Vol. X No. 11, November 1944, pp. 377–380.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


(Concluded from August issue)

The endeavor to herald Russia as the protecting lord of liberalism and national aspirations is not new. Catherine II was celebrated as the banner-bearer of progress by a whole host of French and German Enlighteners. The “noble” Alexander I (Le Grec du Bas Empire, as Napoleon ignobly called him) in his time played the hero of liberalism throughout Europe. Did he not bless Finland with the benedictions of Russian civilization? Did he not, in his generosity, give France, in addition to a Constitution, a Russian Prime Minister, the Duke of Richelieu? Was he not the secret head of the “hetaeria,” while at the same time he pushed Louis XVIII, at the Congress of Verona, through suborned Chateaubriand, into the campaign against the Spanish rebels? Did he not egg on Ferdinand VII, through his father confessor, to an expedition against the insurgent Spanish-American colonies, while at the same time promising the President of the United States of North America his support against any intervention of European powers on the American continent? Did he not dispatch Ypsilanti to Wallachia as the “leader of the holy host of Hellenes” and betray the host through the same Ypsilanti, and have Wladimiresco the Wallachian rebel leader, assassinated?

Nicholas too was greeted before 1830, in every language, whether it made sense or not, as the nationalities-emancipating hero. When he undertook the war against Mahmud II in 1828–29 for the liberation of the Greeks, after Mahmud had refused to let a Russian army march in for the purpose of suppressing the Greek rebellion, Palmerston explained to the English Parliament that the foes of liberating Russia are necessarily the “friends” of the greatest world-monsters, Don Miguel’s, Austria’s, and the Sultan’s. Did not Nicholas, out of paternal solicitude, give the Greeks a Russian general, Count Capo d’Istria, for their President? Only, the Greeks were not Frenchmen and they murdered the noble Capo d’Istria.

Although Nicholas played his role mainly as patron of legitimacy following the outbreak of the revolution of July 1830, he nevertheless did not neglect for a single moment to work for the “liberation of the nationalities.” A few examples suffice. The constitutional revolution of Greece in September 1843 was led by Katakasi, the Russian minister to Athens, former responsible senior inspector over Admiral Heyden during the catastrophe of Navarino. The center of the Bulgarian rebellion of 1842 was the Russian consulate at Bucharest. There, in the spring of 1842, the Russian general, Duhamel, received a Bulgarian deputation to which he presented the plan for a general insurrection. Serbia was to serve as the reserve of the insurrection, and the Hospodariat of Wallachia was to be transmitted to the Russian general, Kisselev. During the Serbian insurrection (1843), Russia, through the Embassy at Constantinople, pushed Turkey to violent measures against the Serbs, in order, on this pretext, to appeal thereupon to the sympathy and fanaticism of Europe against the Turks. Not even Italy was excluded from the emancipating plans of Czar Nicholas: La Jeune Italie, for a time the Paris organ of the Mazzini party, reported in an issue of November 1843:

“The recent disturbances in the Romagna and the movements in Greece were more or less connected ... The Italian movement failed because the genuine Democratic Party refused to join in it. The Republicans did not want to support a movement set afoot by Russia. Everything was to begin in Naples, where it was expected that a part of the army would place itself at its head or would immediately make common cause with the patriots. After the outbreak of this revolution, Lom-bardy, Piedmont and the Romagna were to rise; and an Italian Realm was to be founded under the Duke of Leuchtenberg, son of Eugene Beauharnais and son-in-law of the Czar. ‘Young Italy’ thwarted the plan.”

The Times of November 20, 1843, observed about this communication of Jeune Italie:

“If this great goal – founding of an Italian realm with a Russian Prince at its head, could be achieved, so much the better; but another, more immediate, even if not so important, advantage was to be achieved by any outbreak in Italy – to cause Austria alarm and divert its attention from the fearful plans of Russia on the Danube.”

Czarist Intrigues in Italy

After Nicholas had turned to “Young Italy” without success in 1843, he sent M. von Butenyev to Rome in March 1844. Butenyev notified the Pope in the name of the Czar that Russian-Poland was to be ceded to Austria in exchange for Lombardy, which was to constitute a North Italian kingdom under Leuchtenberg. The Tablet of April 1844, then the English organ of the Roman See, observed about this proposal:

“The enticement for the Roman Court in this fine plan lay in Poland coming into Catholic hands, while Lombardy remained as before under a Catholic dynasty. But the diplomatic veterans of Rome perceived that while Austria can hardly hold its own possessions and in all human probability must sooner or later surrender its Slavic provinces, a transfer of Poland to Austria, even if this part of the proposal was seriously intended, would only be a loan to be repaid later; whereas North Italy would fall in actual fact under Russian protection with the Duke of Leuchtenberg, and before long would unfailingly fall under the Russian scepter. As a result the warmly recommended plan was for the time being set aside.”

So much from the Tablet of 1844.

The only circumstance that justified the state existence of Austria since the middle of the eighteenth century, its resistance to the advances of Russia in Eastern Europe – a helpless, inconsistent, cowardly but obdurate resistance – induces Vogt to the discovery that “Austria is the prop of every schism in the East” (l. c., page 56). With “a certain simplicity,” so well suited to his greasy manner, he explains Russia’s alliance with France against Austria, apart from the liberating tendencies of the “benevolent Czar,” by the ingratitude of Austria for services rendered by Nicholas during the Hungarian revolution.

“In the Crimean War itself Austria went on to the ultimate limits of armed, hostile neutrality. It is self-evident that this behavior which, in addition, bore the stamp of deceit and perfidy, necessarily embittered the Russian government against Austria to an enormous degree and therewith also pushed it toward France.” (L. c., pages 10, 11.)

Russia, according to Vogt, pursues a sentimental policy. The thanks that Austria offered the Czar at Germany’s expense during the Warsaw Congress of 1850 and by means of the expedition of Schleswig-Holstein, is not yet enough to satisfy the grateful Vogt.

The Russian diplomat, Pozzo di Borgo, in his famous dispatch from Paris, December 1825, says, after having enumerated Austria’s machinations against Russia’s intervention plans in the East: “Our policy therefore bids us to show this state [Austria] in a terrible light, and to convince it by our preparations that if it dares to undertake a movement against us, the fiercest storm it has ever experienced will explode over its head.” After Pozzo has threatened war from without and revolution from within, characterized Austria’s grabbing of the “promised provinces” of Turkey as a possible peaceful solution, but depicted Prussia simply as a subordinated ally of Russia, he continues: “Had the Vienna Court yielded to our good purposes and intentions, the plan of the Imperial Cabinet would long ago have been realized – a plan that extends not only to the seizure of the Danubian principalities and Constantinople, but even to driving the Turks out of Europe.” In 1830, as is known, a secret treaty was concluded between Nicholas and Charles X. It was stipulated therein: France allows Russia to seize Constantinople and receives as compensation the Rhine provinces and Belgium; Prussia is compensated by Hanover and Saxony; Austria receives a part of the Turkish provinces on the Danube. Under Louis Philippe, the same plan was once more presented to the Petersburg Cabinet by Mole, at Russia’s suggestion. Immediately thereupon, Brunnov traveled with the document to London where it was communicated to the English government as proof of France’s treachery and was used for the formation of the anti-French coalition of 1840.

Let us now see how Russia was supposed to exploit the Italian War in agreement with France, as it exists in the mind of the Vogt inspired by his Parisian original sources. The “national” composition of Russia, and especially the “Polish nationality” might seem to hold some difficulties for a man whose “guiding star is the principle of nationality,” but while “the principle of nationality is dear to us, the principle of free self-determination is even dearer” (page 12, l. c.)

The Russians in Poland

When Russia, through the treaties of 1815, annexed the by far largest part of Poland proper, it obtained a position projected so far to the West, it drove such a wedge not only between Austria and Prussia but between East Prussia and Silesia, that Prussian officers (Gneisenau, for example) already then called attention to the unbearableness of such frontier relations with a superior neighbor. But when the crushing of Poland in 1831 subjected this territory to the complete discretion of the Russians, the real significance of this wedge first unfolded itself. The suppression of Poland served only as a pretext for the large-scale fortifications established at Warsaw, Modlin, Ivangorod. Their real purpose was the complete strategical domination of the Vistula region, the establishment of a basis for the attack upon the North, South and West. Even Haxthausen, who is smitten with the orthodox Czar and everything Russian, sees here a quite decisive danger and threat to Germany. The fortified position of the Russians on the Vistula threatens Germany more than all the French fortresses taken together, particularly from the moment when Poland’s national resistance should cease and Russia should dispose of Poland’s military power as its own aggressive power. Vogt therefore reassures Germany that Poland is Russian out of free self-determination.

“Undoubtedly,” says he, “undoubtedly, as a result of the efforts exerted by the Russian People’s Party, the gulf that yawns between Poland and Russia has decreased appreciably and it requires perhaps only a slight impulse to fill it up entirely.” (L. c., page 12)

This slight impulse was supposed to be offered by the Italian War. (Alexander II convinced himself during this war, however, that Poland did not yet stand on Vogt’s level.) Poland, absorbed into Russia by “free self-determination,” would be the central body attracting to itself by virtue of the law of gravity the members of the whilom Polish Empire languishing and amputated under foreign rule. So that this process of attraction should proceed more easily, Vogt counsels Prussia to seize the moment to rid itself of the “Slavic appendage” (page 17, l. c.), namely Posen (page 97, l. c.) and probably West Prussia too, since only East Prussia is recognized as “genuinely German land.” The members separated from Germany would naturally revert immediately to the central body absorbed by Russia and the “genuinely German land” of East Prussia would be converted into a Russian enclave. On the other side, so far as Galicia is concerned, which is also incorporated into Russia in the map “L’Europe en 1860” its separation from Austria was one of the direct aims of the war, to liberate Germany from the un-Germanic possessions of Austria. Vogt recalls that “before 1848, the image of the Rusian Czar was to be found more frequently than that of the Austrian Kaiser” (page 12, l. c.) and “given the unusual skill which Russia possesses in threading such intrigues, Austria would have substantial grounds here for apprehension.” (L. c.)

It is, however, perfectly obvious that to rid itself of the “enemy at home,” Germany must calmly permit the Russians “to shift troops to the border” (page 13) who support these intrigues. While Prussia itself parts with its Polish provinces, Russia was to separate Galicia from Austria by utilizing the Italian war, just as Alexander I back in 1809 was paid with a piece of Galicia for his purely theatrical support of Napoleon I. It is known that Russia successfully asked, in part from Napoleon I and in part from the Vienna Congress, for the return of those portions of Poland that had fallen originally to Austria and Prussia. In 1859, according to Vogt, the moment had arrived for uniting all of Poland with Russia. Instead of the emancipation of the Polish nationality from Russians, Austrians and Prussians, Vogt demands the dissolution and extinction of the whole former Polish realm into Russia. Finis Poloniae! This “Russian” idea of the “restoration of Poland,” which spread throughout Europe right after the death of Czar Nicholas, can already be found in March, 1855, in the pamphlet: The New Hope of Poland, denounced by David Urquhart.

But Vogt has still not done enough for Russia.

“The extraordinary civility,” says this amiable companion, “you might almost say the brotherliness, with which the Russians treated the Hungarian revolutionists, contrasted too greatly with the conduct of the Austrians for it not to exercise its full effect. Although it put down the party [Nota bene: According to Vogt, it was not Hungary that Russia put down but the party], but treated it with mercy and courtesy, Russia laid the basis for a way of viewing things which can perhaps be expressed in the need of choosing the lesser of two evils, and that in the given case, Russia is not the greater evil” (pages 12, 13, l. c.).

Russia and Austria in Hugary

With what “extraordinary civility, mercy, courtesy,” you might almost say “brotherliness,” does Plon-Plon’s Falstaff lead the Russians to Hungary and make himself the “canal” of the illusion on which the Hungary revolution of 1849 shattered. It was Gorgei’s party which then disseminated the belief hi a Russian Prince as the future King of Hungary and through this belief broke the power of resistance of the Hungarian revolution. [1]

Without having any fixed position toward any race the Habsburgs naturally based their rule over Hungary before 1848 upon the prevailing nationality – the Magyars. In general, be it said in passing, Metternich was the greatest preserver of the nationalities. He misused them against each other, or else he used them in order to abuse them. Therefore he preserved them. Compare Posen and Galicia. After the revolution of 1848–49, the Habsburg dynasty, which had beaten the Germans and Magyars through the Slavs, endeavored, in imitation of Joseph II, to bring the German element forcibly to power in Hungary. Out of fear of Russia, the Habsburgs did not dare to sink into the arms of their saviors, the Slavs. Their entire state reaction in Hungary was even more directed against their saviors, the Slavs, than against their vanquished, the Magyars. In combat with their own saviors, the Austrian reaction, as Szemere showed in his pamphlet: Hungary, 1848–1860, London 1860, therefore drove the Slavs back under the banner of Magyardom. Austrian rule over Hungary and the rule of the Magyars in Hungary therefore coincided before and after 1848. It is quite different with Russia whether it rules in Hungary directly or indirectly. Counting together the racially and religiously kindred elements, Russia disposes of the non-Magyar majority of the population right off. The Magyar race succumbs instantly to the racially kindred Slavs and the religiously kindred Wallachians. Russian rule in Hungary is therefore equivalent to the destruction of the Hungarian nationality, i.e., of the Hungary which is historically linked with the rule of the Magyars. [2]

Vogt, who has the Poles dissolve into Russia through “free self-determination,” has the Hungarians perish in Slavdom through Russian rule. [3]

But Vogt has still not done enough for Russia.

Among the “outer-German provinces” of Austria for which the German Confederation was not to “resort to the sword” against France and Russia, which “stands entirely on the side of France,” were to be found not only Galicia, Hungary, Italy, but particularly also Bohemia and Moravia. “Russia,” says Vogt “offers the firm axis around which the Slavic nationalities strive increasingly to group themselves.” (L. c., page 91.) Bohemia and Moravia belong to the “Slavic nationalities.” As Muscovy expanded to Russia, so must Russia to Pan-Slavonia. “With the Czechs at our back, we shall succumb to every foe.” We, that is, Germany, must seek to unload the Czechs, that is, Bohemia and Moravia. “No guarantee for outer-German possessions of the ruler.” (Page 133, l. c.) “No outer-German provinces in the Confederation any more” (l. c.) but only German provinces in France! It is therefore necessary not only “to let alone the present French Empire so long as it does not violate the territory of the German Confederation” (page 9, Introduction), but also to “let alone” Russia so long as it violates only “outer-German provinces in the Confederation.” Russia will aid Germany in the development of its “unity” and “nationality” by shifting troops to the “Slavic appendages” of Austria which are subjected to its intrigues. While Austria is being kept busy in Italy by Louis Bonaparte, and Prussia forces the sword of the German Confederation back to its scabbard, the “benevolent Czar” will understand how “to support secretly, with money, arms and munitions, revolutions in Moravia and Bohemia” (page 11, l. c.).

And “with the Czechs at our back we shall succumb to every foe”!

How generous, then, of the “benevolent Czar” to free of us Bohemia and Moravia and their Czechs, who must naturally “group themselves as Slavic nationalities around Russia.”

Russia and Germany’s Eastern Frontier

Let us see how our Reichs-Vogt protects the German eastern frontier with his incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia into Russia. Bohemia Russian! But Bohemia lies in the midst of Germany, separated from Silesia by Russian-Poland, and from Vogt-Russiafied Moravia by Vogt-Russiafied Galicia and Hungary. Thus Russia obtains a piece of German Confederation territory of fifty German miles long and twenty-five–thirty-five miles wide. It pushes its western frontier a good sixty-five German miles westward. Since there are only forty-five German miles from Eger to Lauterburg in Alsace, on a straight line, Northern Germany would be separated completely from Southern Germany by the French wedge on the one side, and even still more from the Russian on the other side, and the partition of Germany would be finished. The direct road from Vienna to Berlin would pass through Russia, yes, even the direct road from Munich to Berlin. Dresden, Nuernberg, Regensburg and Linz would be our border cities against Russia; our position with regard to the Slavs would be at least the same in the South as before Charlemagne (while Vogt does not permit us to go back in the West to Louis XV) and we could just as well strike a thousand years out of our history.

What Poland served for, Bohemia can serve for still better. Prague converted into a fortified camp and auxiliary fortifications at the confluence of the Moldau and the Eger into the Elbe – and the Russian army in Bohemia can calmly await the arrival of the German army, divided in advance, from Bavaria, from Austria, from Brandenburg, allowing the stronger to storm the fortresses and defeating the weaker piece by piece.

Look at the language map of Central Europe – let us take, for example, a Slavic authority, the Slovansky Zemêvid of Schafarik. Here the border of the Slavic tongue runs from the Pomeranian coast at Stolp over Zastrow south of Chodziehen on the Netz and then moves westward to Meseritz. From this point onward, however, it suddenly bends to the southwest. Here the massive German wedge of Silesia drives deep between Poland and Bohemia. In Moravia and Bohemia, the Slavic tongue again leaps far to the west – hemmed-in, to be sure, on all sides by the advancing German element and studded with German cities and language-islands, just as in the North the whole Lower Vistula and the best part of East and West Prussia are German and are pushed forward uncomfortably against Poland. Between the westernmost point of the Polish and the northernmost point of the Bohemian languages lies the Lausitz-Wendish language-island in the midst of the German language territory, but in such a manner as almost to cut off Silesia.

For the Russian Pan-Slavist Vogt, who has Bohemia at his disposal, there can be no question here as to where the natural frontier of the Slavic realm lies. It runs from Meseritz straight to Lieberose and Luebbe, from there south from the gap of the Elbe through the Bohemian mountain frontier and follows further along the western and southern frontiers of Bohemia and Moravia. What is farther east is Slavic; the few German enclaves and other interlopers on Slavic territory can no longer stand in the way of the development of the great Slavic entity; they have no rights where they are anyhow. This “Pan-Slavist status” once established, it turns out naturally that a similar rectification of the frontiers is needed in the south. Here a German wedge has likewise intruded itself between northern and southern Slavs, and occupied the valley of the Danube and the Styrian Alps. Vogt cannot tolerate this wedge and therefore he consistently annexes Austria, Salzburg, Styria and the German sections of Carinthia to Russia. That this establishment of the Slavic-Russian Empire according to the most tested principles of the “nationality principle” also has the few Magyars and Rumanians, as well as various Turks, fall to Russia (the “benevolent Czar” is also working on the “nationality principle” in the subjugation of Circassia and the extirpation of the Crimean Tartars!) in punishment for intruding between the Northern and Southern Slavs, has already been developed by Vogt in defiance of Austria.

The Partition of Germany

We Germans lose through this operation – nothing more than East and West Prussia, Silesia, parts of Brandenburg and Saxony, all of Bohemia, Moravia and the rest of Austria outside of the Tyrol (of which a part falls to the Italian “nationality principle”) and our national existence into the bargain!

But let us stick to the first step, according to which Galicia, Bohemia and Moravia become Russian!

Under such circumstances, German-Austria, Southwest Germany and North Germany could never act together, unless it be – and it would come to this inevitably – under Russian leadership.

Vive Alexandre,
Vive le roi des rois,
Sans rien prétendre,
Il nous donne des lois. [4]

Vogt’s “nationality principle,” which he sought to realize in 1859 through the union between the “white angel of the North” and the “white angel of the South,” was therefore to prove itself in the first place, according to his own views, in the dissolution of the Polish nationality, the extinction of the Magyar nationality, the passing of the German nationality into – Russiandom.

I have not mentioned his [Dentu’s] original pamphlet this time, because I kept in reserve one single striking quotation to prove that in everything that he half hints at and half babbles out here, he is obedient to one of the watchwords put forth by the Tuileries. In the May 2–16, 1858, number of Pensiero ed Azione, in which Mazzini foretells events that later occurred, he notes among other things that in the alliance concluded between Alexander II and Louis Bonaparte, the first condition read: “abbandono assoluto della Polonia” (absolute abandonment of Poland by France, which Vogt translates as the “complete filling up of the yawning gulf between Poland and Russia”).

“Che la guerra siprolunghi e assuma ... proporzioni europee, l’insurrezione delle privincie oggi turche preparata di lunga mano e equelle dell’ Ungheria, daranno campo all’Allianza di rivelarsi ... Principi russi governerebbo le provincie che surgerebbo sulle rovino dell’ Impero Turco e dell’ Austria ... Constantino di Russia è già proposto ai malcontenti ungheresi.” (See Pensiero et Azione, May 2–16, 185.) (“But should the war be prolonged and assume European proportions, the long-ago prepared insurrections of the present Turkish provinces and of Hungary will afford the Alliance the opportunity to expose themselves ... Russian princes will govern the states that will arise upon the ruins of Turkey and Austria ... Constantine of Russia has already been proposed to the Hungarian malcontents.”)

Karl Marx


1. It was, says the Polish Colonel Lapinski, who fought in the Hungarian revolutionary army until the surrender of Komorn and later against the Russians in Circassua, “It was the misortune of the Hungarians that they did not know the Russians.” (Theophil Lapinski: Feldzug der ungarischen Hauptarmee in Jahr 1849 – Campaign of the Main Hungarian Army in 1849 – Hamburg, 1859, page 216. “The Vienna cabinet was completely in the hands of the Russians ... It was upon their advice that the leaders were murdered ... While the Russians gained sympathy in every conceivable way, Austria was ordered by them to make itself even more hated than it had ever been before.” (L. c., pages 188–189.

2. General Moriz Perczel, renowned from the Hungarian revolutionary war, withdrew right in the midst of the Italian campaign from the Hungarian officers assembled around Kossuth in Turin, and set forth the reasons for his withdrawal in an open declaration – on one side, serving Kossuth only as a Bonapartist scarecrow, on the other, the perspective of Hungary’s Russian future. In a reply (dated St. Hélier, April 19, 1860 to a letter in which I asked for more detailed information about his declaration, he says, among other things: “Never shall I be a tool helping Hungary to be rescued from the talons of the Double Eagle only to turn It over to the deadly caress of the Northern Bear.”

3. Mr. Kossuth never deceived himself on the correctness of the view developed in the text. He knew that Austria can mistreat Hungary but not destroy it. “Kaiser Joseph II,” he writes to the Grand Vizier Reschid Pasha under date of Kutayah. February 15, 1851, “the only man of genius that the family of the Habsburgs has produced, exhausted all the extraordinary resources of his rare mind, as well as the then still popular notions about the power of his House, in the endeavor to Germanize Hungary, and to make it pass over into the united state, but Hungary emerged from the struggle with renewed vigor ... In the last revolution, Austria raised itself from the dust merely in order to fall at the feet of the Czar, the Czar of his master, who never gives his aid but always sells it. And Austria had to pay dearly for this aid.” (Correspondence of Kossuth, page 33) On the other hand, he says in the same letter, only Hungary and Turkey united can shatter the Pan-Slavist intrigues of Russia. He writes to David Urguhart under date of Kutayah, January 17, 1851: “We must crush Russia, my dear Sir! and, headed by you, we will! I have not only the resolution of will, but also that of hope! and this is no vain word, my dear Sir, no sanguine fascination; it is the word of a man, who is wont duly to calculate every chance: of a man though very weak in faculties, not to be shaken In perseverance and resolution, etc.” (l. c., p. 89)

4. “Long live (Czar) Alexander, long: live the King of Kings, without laying: claim to anything, he gives us our laws.” – Trans.

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