Karl Liebknecht


Chapter One

1. "In the social production of their life men enter certain necessary economic relations which are independent of their will, conditions of productions corresponding to a certain stage of the development of their material forces of production." MARX.

2. To the arms, properly speaking, to munition and defensive implements of all kinds, including lighting arrangements, to fortresses and war vessels, are added, for instance, the military means of communication (horses, wagons, bicycles, construction of roads and bridges, inland navigation, railroads, automobiles, telegraphy, wireless telegraphy, telephones), not forgetting the telescope, air-ships, photography and war dogs.

3. The Italian development in the XVth century is also of the greatest interest in this connection and allures the investigator into absorbing studies. It confirms throughout our fundamental conception. Cf. Burckhardt, "Kultur der Renaissance in Italien," 9th edition.

4. This also applies to the Russian revolution (of 1905) in first stage. A characteristic instance, among innumerable others, is the armed rising in Moscow in December, 1905, the astonishing tenacity of which finds an explanation in the cooperation of the mass of the urban population with the fighting revolutionaries who, by the way, were not numerous. The tactics of the urban guerilla method, splendidly developed in Moscow, will be epochal.

5. The working together in factories, etc., and the living together in the "working-class neighborhood" have however to be taken into account.

6. Cf. Burckhardt, I, p. 22.

7. Resolutions adopted at a conference of German princes and their representatives at Carlsbad, in 1819. These resolutions concerned stringent police measures against the so-called demagogues, especially professors and students who had the temerity to remind the German princes of their promises to grant constitutions to their peoples, promises made when the princes were in great trouble. Those police persecutions lasted for a whole generation and found innumerable victims among the democratic elements of Germany. The period is generally described as the demagogue chase. -- TRANSLATOR.

8. Metternich, the Austrian statesman, was the head of German and European reaction. This evil genius of Germany dominated the affairs of Germany until 1848, when he tremblingly fled to London before the infuriated people of Vienna. -- TRANSLATOR.

Chapter Two

9. Bernstein [the prominent German Socialist leader] wrongly stated in Vie socialiste of June 5, 1905, that modern military institutions were only the heritage of the more or less feudal monarchy.

10. One need only consider Russia where, however, entirely peculiar circumstances which did not arise from interior conditions helped to bring about the result. Standing armies resting on a basis different from that of universal military service are, for instance, the mercenary armies. In the Italian cities of the XVth century militias were also known (Burckhardt, p. 327).

11. In his well-known letter to Bluntschli (December, 1880) we read: "Eternal peace is a dream, and not even a beautiful one, and war is a part of God's world order. In it are developed the noblest virtues of man, courage and abnegation, dutifulness and self-sacrifice at the risk of life. Without war the world would sink into materialism." A few months earlier Moltke had written: "Every war is a national misfortune" (Collected Works V, p. 193 and p. 200), and in 1841 he even wrote in an article that appeared in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung: "We confess openly to be in favor of the much derided idea of a general European peace."

12. The value of the entire foreign trade of the world rose, according to Hubler's tables, from 75,224 million marks in 1891 to 109,000 million marks in 1905.

13. "What complicates our situation to-day and renders it more difficult are our oversea pursuits and interests."

14. Moltke's views in this respect were highly fantastic. According to him the times when wars were resolved upon by cabinets were indeed past, but he considers the political party leaders to be wicked and dangerous provokers of war. The party leaders and -- the stock exchange! It is true that here and there he has a deeper view of things (Collected Works, 3, pp. I, 126, 135, 138).

15. Characterized by that fantastic abortion, entitled, "The Invasion of 1910."

16. On account of the quarrel about Morocco France spent, in 1906, far more than a hundred million for the military protection of her eastern frontiers.

17. About the alleged, not yet fully explained plan of Semler, the Reichstag representative of the Hamburg shipowners, to capture Fernando Po in the Jameson manner, see the budgetary debates of the Reichstag of December, 1906.

18. That is not disproved because he declared for the time being against universal military service, which is regretted by the Kreuzzeitung [the junker organ], of November 29, 1906, because, according to the paper, universal service would educate the English people into a better understanding of the seriousness of war. In Germany, of course, universal military service has only the importance to force the people to make sacrifices in blood and money, in conformity with the will of the noble knights of the Kreuzeeitung, whilst the decision about peace and war rests with those for whom the seriousness of war exists least. They can even appreciate democracy for abroad! Concerning the strong tendency in England and America towards a universal militia, see p. 51.

19. Cf. p. 51 and Roosevelt's message of December 4, 1906.

20. Chiefly motivated by the Morocco conflict.

21. Twenty-four and three-fourths millions for the navy, 51 millions for the army, 7 millions for interest -- a total increase of some 83 million marks as compared with the budget of 1906-7. Fine prospects of further extravagant naval armaments were held out by an evidently inspired article that appeared in the Reichbote, on December 21, 1906. To all that must be added the enormous expenses for colonial wars (454 millions for the China Expedition, 490 millions already for the rebellion in Southwest Africa, 2 millions for the rebellion in East Africa, etc.); the question of footing those bills led, in December, 1906, to a conflict and the dissolution of the Reichstag.

22. See Berliner Tageblatt of October 27, 1906. Note above all the notorious resolution handed in by Ablass, December 13, 1906, and the Liberal platform for the Reichstag elections of January 25, 1907.

23. La Revue, October 1, 1900. The "actual results achieved" by the movement for disarmament, are a well preserved secret of the editorial board of the Revue.

24. Germany's colonial expenditure is in a greatly preponderating measure of a military nature, even according to Dernburg's memorial of October, 1906, in spite of all his cooking of accounts.

25. Since December 31, 1900, France possesses a real colonial army which has brought her the saddest disappointments. See the Hamburg Correspondent, December 7, 1906 (No. 621), also note 18 on next page and p. 72. In Germany they are busily engaged in creating a colonial army. We are approaching it at the double quick.

26. See Péroz, France et Japon en Indochine, Fanin, l'armée coloniale; E. Reclus, in his Patriotisme et Colonisation; Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus, in Neue Zeit, vol. 99/00, p. 365, about the bataillons d'Afrique, p. 369. Regarding Germany see the speech of Roeren, member of the Reichstag, of December 3, 1906, Reichstag debates.

27. Military punishment, too, here adopts a peculiarly brutal form. About France's foreign legion and bataillons d'Afrique see Däumig, cited above; about the abolition of the "biribiri, p. 53

28. This hypocritical and, at the same time, shamefaced excuse is now being dropped with frank cynicism; see the article, signed by G B., in the monthly magazine, Die deutschen Kolonien (October, 1906), and the remark made by Strantz at the pan-German convention (September, 1906), where he said: "In the colonies we don't want to convert people into Christians; they are to work for us. This humanitarian softheadedness is downright ridiculous. German sentimentality has deprived us of a man like Peters." Again, Heinrich Hartert wrote in the Tag, December 21,1906, that it is "the duty of the missions . . . to adapt themselves to given circumstances"; but they had succeeded "in frequently becoming a nuisance to the commercial man." It is at this point that the principal friction arises between the German Clerical Party and the Government in regard to colonial policy, this alone explains the furious fight entered upon in December 1906, by the merchant Dernburg against the so-called collateral government of the Clerical Party. --For America the Kreuzzetung ( September 29, 1906) preaches: "The simple extermination of whole tribes of Indians is so inhuman and unchristian that it cannot be defended under any circumstances, especially as it is in no way a question of existence for the Americans." But where it is such a question whole tribes may be "exterminated" even by the believer in Christian charity -- according to the views of the colonial Christian.

29. See the memorable debates of the German Reichstag between November c8 and December 4, 1906, where the " abscess was lanced."

30. See Hamburger Nachrichten, November 3, I906.

31. The number of the victims of the wars between 1799 and 1904 (excluding the Russo-Japanese War) is estimated at about 15,000,000 men killed.

32. Cf. Moltke, p. 24, note 6, of this book, and "Moltke's Collected Works," II, p. 288. In his opinion war is supposed to promote virtue and efficiency, especially moral energy.

33. That task of bolstering up the existing interior order of things devolves upon militarism not only in the capitalist order of society, but in all societies based upon class-division.

34. See the struggle between the French state and church during the conflict of December, 1906.

35. See the disorders during the election in Upper Silesia in 1903.

36. Since the above was written great changes have taken place in the army system of Great Britain. During the world war the mercenary army has disappeared and a conscript army has taken its place. Moreover, in the years immediately preceding the war Great Britain's volunteer forces underwent great changes in composition and name. The militia, too, ceased to exist, either in name or in fact, after 1908. [TRANSLATOR. ]

37. In 1905-6, 229,820. In the Native States 136,837 soldiers in 1903.

38. Recruiting is becoming ever more difficult, and the percentage of alien recruits is growing, a fact that worries the American government.

39. See p. 151.

40. Even Sheriff von Sievers-Roemershof writes of the "blood-thirsty Circassians" in the Dünazeitung of December 4, (17,) 1906.

41. Not even, as now proposed, in the modern way of jobbing away and discounting concessions and natural resources to American trusts, that last invention and cry of despair of the financial policy of Czarism

Chapter Three

42. A word coined in Germany to describe those parts of Prussia situated east of the river Elbe, the home of the Prussian junkers. [TRANSLATOR.]

43. "Kadavergehorsam" (the obedience of the corpse) is the expressive word used in the German original. [TRANSLATOR.]

44. A dangerous method from a sanitary point of view, which in France, for instance, is leading to a very extensive infection of the people with tuberculosis and syphilis. The French army shows from five to seven times more cases of tuberculosis than the German army. In a few decades, exclaims a warning voice in France, France will be decimated if the barracks system be not abolished. young men. Various means are employed for that purpose.

45. We need only point to the intentioned helplessness of the police in face of disorderly soldiers, and especially officers. The reader is further referred to the privilege of the soldiery to march in processions of unending lengths through the cities and thus to disturb traffic greatly without rhyme or reason -- to satisfy, of course, the demands of military æsthetics. The acme of the ridiculous conceit of this carefully reared craziness was seen some years ago in Berlin when the fire brigade, hastening to a fire, was simply stopped by a military column that crossed its route and that felt no inclination to have its beautiful and majestic order deranged. It is true, this was condemned later on.

46. These are indeed strange saints! The reader may remember the Bilse case of the month of November, 1903, the many small garrisons" after the Forbach model, the gambling and champagne decrees, the officers' dueling practices (that fine fleur of the officers' honor), the stabbings of Brüsewitz and the shooting propensities of Hüssener, the Ruhstrat affair and that of the "harmless," the novels of Bilse and Beyerlein depicting the life of the officers with photographic truth, "First-class People" by Schlicht (Count Baudissin), the scandals about Jesko von Puttkamer and, last but not least, that about Prince Arenberg which also belongs to this category. The French "Little Garrison," Verdun, raised much dust in the fall of 1900. In the eyes of the worshippers of the uniform all these things are of course mostly considered as mere "amiable, piquant weaknesses" of the worshipped saint, who is, however, very particular about people confessing the Christian creed. Naturally, we find here, too, that international solidarity of the noblest and best. An interesting case is the ragging practice of the officers of the English grenadier guard regiments, which were exposed at the beginning of 1903.

47. The German non-commissioned officer has been called the "representative of God on earth."

48. The most shocking proof is furnished by the statistics of suicides among soldiers. Those suicides of soldiers are another international phenomenon. According to official "statistics" one soldier among 3,700 committed suicide in Germany in I90I; in Austria, one among 920 In the I0th Austrian army corps 80 soldiers and 12 officers committed suicide in I901, 127 others became insane and left as invalids in consequence of self-mutilation and maltreatment. In the same period 400 men deserted and 725 were condemned to hard labor or close arrest. In Austria, of course, the conflict of nationalities greatly contributes to aggravate the situation.

49. This premium system, with a maximum of 1000 marks was introduced for the whole of Germany in I89I, after having been in existence before that time in Saxony and Württemberg and after having had a forerunner in the empire in the "non-recurrent extra-pay." It is also met with elsewhere; in France, however, where the amounts are much higher (up to 4,000 francs), it has been employed with little success. The schools for non-commissioned officers are also a case in point.

50. The speech made by Chancellor Caprivi (Bismarck's successor) in the Reichstag, on February 27, 1891, is the classical confession of a noble capitalist-militarist soul of its troubles and anxieties, its hopes and aims and the methods adopted in the pursuit of those aims. It throws wide open a window through which we can have a good look at the most secret parts of that soul. The speech begins with the statement that the government refrained from re-introducing the expired anti-socialist law [by which Bismarck had sought to fight down socialism during the preceding dozen years or so -- TRANSLATOR] only on the understanding that all possible measures be resorted to in order to cut the ground from under the feet of the Social Democracy and engage in a struggle with it; one of those measures (clearly a substitute for the anti-socialist law) was to consist of the premiums for non-commissioned officers in conjunction with the "Zivilversorgungsschein" (a warrant entitling the holder to a place in a civil office). Caprivi continued: "The demands made on non-commissioned officers increase on account of the growing education of the nation. A superior can fill his position only if he feels superior to the men entrusted to his charge....

"The maintenance of discipline has in itself become more difficult, and it becomes harder still when we have to take up the struggle with the Social Democracy; I mean by this not the struggle by means of shooting and bayoneting. My memory goes back to the year 1848. Conditions were far better at that time, for the ideas had then not arisen through long years of propaganda; they cropped up suddenly and the old non-commissioned officers had a much easier task in dealing with the men than they have now in dealing with the Social Democracy. (Quite right! on the benches of the parties of the Right.) And, touching upon the most extreme case, we want far better non-commissioned officers in street fighting against the Social Democracy than in fighting against the enemy. When facing the enemy the troops can be filled with enthusiasm and willingness to sacrifice by means of patriotism and other lofty sentiments. Street fighting and all that is connected with it is not calculated to raise the self-reliance of the troops, who always feel that they are facing their countrymen." . .. "The non-commissioned officers can retain their ascendancy only if we seek to raise their status. The allied governments [this is the official title of the German federal government -- TRANSLATOR] desire to raise the level of the class of the non-commissioned officers." He went on to say that it was necessary to create a "class of people" who were "bound to the state with every fibre of their existence."

This is likewise a fine description of the psychology of the elite troops.

51. Arrest combined with the deprivation of food, bed and light; extra-drill, etc.; the barbaric "tying up" in war-time. The Austrian practice of "binding hand and foot" and "tying up," the Belgian cachots, the international naval cat-o'-ninetails and similar devices are well known. Less well remembered are perhaps the atrocious instruments of torture employed in the French disciplinary sections, even against "political" refractory elements -- the poucettes, the menottes and the crapaudine (see the pamphlet, "Les bagnes militaires," published in 1902 by the Fédération socialiste autonome de Cher, a speech by Breton in the French Chamber, with illustrations; Georges Darien, "Biribiri," (the collective name of all military disciplinary institutions in North Africa), Dubois-Desaulle, "Sous la casagne," both published in Paris by Stock. Material about the compagnies de discipline, pénitenciers and the travaux forces (penal companies, penitentiaries and hard labor) in the French Foreign Legion and the victims of these institutions can be found in Däumig's article in the Neue Zeit, vol. 99-100, p. 365, and especially p. 369. At this writing energetic attempts are being made to suppress the "biribiri," (Debates of the French Chamber, December 8 and 10, 1906).

52. The military results of these educational methods are dealt with elsewhere. We must also point out their moral results, which induce the bourgeois, the anarchist and semianarchist opponents of militarism to let themselves be carried away by an indignation breathing an uncommon passion and delivered with a verbose pathos. "The army is the school of crime" (Anatole France); "drunkenness, sexual immorality and hypocrisy, that is what life in the barracks teaches" (Prof. Richet). According to the "Manuel du soldat" the time of military service is an "apprenticeship in brutality and vulgarity"; "a school of debauchery"; it leads to "moral cowardice, submission and slavish fearfulness." Indeed, one can scarcely imagine certain military festivals without the patriotic drunkenness, which is of course "upholding the state." Consult the Leipeiger Volkszeitung, of December I, 1906 about "the drinking and rioting festivals" of the veterans' associations (words used by Pastor César). The sanitary results are likewise anything but gratifying. Concerning the French army, see p. 64, note 3; the sanitary state of the standing armies of England and America, those democratic countries, is downright terrible; the death rate is far higher in those countries than in Germany. Cf. Surgeon-General R. M. O'Reilly's report of 1906 with regard to dysentery and alcoholism.

53. We naturally include in the battle against the interior enemy the fight carried on against the spirit of international solidarity which is opposed to "militarism for abroad."

54. It should be explained that in Germany it is the ambition of most well-to-do young men to become a lieutenant of the reserve after having served in the army for one year as a volunteer. The title of lieutenant of the reserve is the key to official society. [TRANSLATOR ]

55. The bold exploit of the "captain of Koepenick" that ingenious cobbler and jail-bird, has exactly in this connection been pointed to as the writing on the wall, and that also by Liberals.

56. Colonel Gädke, when no longer in active service, had criticized the German war minister in the columns of the Berliner Tageblatt, a radical newspaper whose military expert he was at the time. The criticism concerned a speech in the Reichstag in which the minister had defended the duel. Gädke had to appear before a court and lost his military title. He then took the case before the imperial (federal) court and won. [TRANSLATOR.]

57. Liebknecht here refers to the former custom of making old superannuated soldiers school-teachers. [TRANSLATOR.]

58. There exists in Germany a kind of union of these officials -- The Association of German Military Claimants of Civil Employment.

Chapter Four

59. The men that reorganized the entire Prussian army system after the Prussian army had been shattered at Jena by Napoleon, in 1806. [TRANSLATOR.]

60. In Manteuffel's sensible command of April 18, 1885, we read: "Insults attack the sense of honor and kill it, and the officer who insults his subordinates undermines his own position; for there is no dependence on the loyalty or bravery of him who allows himself to be insulted." . . . "In a word -- as the subordinates are treated by their superiors, from the general to the lieutenant thus they are."

61. A slight indication is furnished by the mass of deserters and men liable to military service who disobeyed orders to join the army. No less than 15,000 German deserters perished in the French colonial army during the first thirty years of the existence of the "splendid German Empire," whilst the bloody battle of Vionville in the Franco-German War resulted in only I6,000 men being killed and wounded.

62. Every soldier fighting in German Southwest Africa meant an annual expense of 9,500 marks to the German Empire in 1906

63. In France, for instance, in 1905: 1,101,260,000 francs. Since 1870 France has spent some 40 billion francs for military purposes (exclusive of the colonies).

64 "Kulturaufgaben" -- a very difficult word to translate correctly. The lately much derided German word Kultur does not merely signify material civilization, but civilized life in its widest aspect. [TRANSLATOR.]

65. The practice of officers of engaging private soldiers as domestics. [TRANSLATOR]

66. See Hillquit's History of Socialism in the United States, which has been mostly used for the part referring to the United States.

67. The name of an inoffensive workman who had one of his hands hacked off by an infuriated custodian of law and order whose identity was never disclosed. [TRANSLATOR.]

68. The foot-note, continued on page 150, refers to the first great modern strike of the Westphalian miners, in 1880, when the men, who had great faith in the then very young Emperor, sent a deputation to Berlin to ask for his help. [TRANSLATOR.]

69. A great German iron-master who was notorious for his reactionary views and his patriarchial ideas on industrial life [TRANSLATOR.]

70. Ludwigshafen in the Palatinate was literally occupied by troops on the Sunday preceding the Reichstag elections of 1887, and only the self-possession of the Social Democrats prevented the rifles from going off. Of interest in this connection is an utterance by the German Emperor which is entered under December 12, 1889, in Hohenlohe's reminiscences: "then (when the Social Democrats had the majority in the Berlin city council) they would plunder the bourgeoisie; it was all one to him, he would have the castle loop-holed and watch them pillage; then the bourgeois would be forced to implore him to help them."

71 The first May-day demonstration (1890) deserves particular attention as the "military party" (Hohenlohe's reminiscences, September 14, 1893) then wanted very much to use the occasion for a bloody settlement with the troublesome and hated Social Democracy. into the very heart of militarism. That rattling of cannons still rings in our ears and encourages us to proceed with our fight against militarism with indefatigable persistence and unsparing ruthlessness.

72. This coming man is characterized by the Berlin Tageblatt as follows: "Helmut von Moltke is considered a pronounced reactionary, a quality tempered with a certain soldierly frankness and buoyancy, but he is also said to have spiritualistic inelinations. He is not at all a man of theory, but rather a dashing fighter who also possesses the 'courage of coolness' to carry on politics with the slashing sabre and the shooting rifle." So here we find at last the qualities desired by our violent reactionaries all in one heap!

73. Grape-shot prince was the name given73 the Prince of Prussia, the later Emperor William I., who was the head of the military camarilla that tried to crush and finally succeeded in crushing the revolutionary movement in Germany in 1848 and 1849. [TRANSLATOR.]

74. The German title of Nietzsche's "The Twilight of the Idols." It is a titular parody on Wagner's "Götterdämmerung." [TRANSLATOR.]

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