The Face of Abandonment

The world’s media has a new face to play around with.  The photo of a bloodied and shell-shocked Syrian boy has no doubt been spread around the world.  It is being used in an all-too familiar fashion, with millions of white progressives status-signaling how horrible this civil war is in some land they likely gave no shit about until 3 years ago.  The photo itself is fairly harrowing, particularly for those who have children.  As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Here, it’s a never-ending story.

The Syrian Civil War has raged on for about 5 years now, with no real end in sight despite the droning, piss-poor excuse for optimism we get from pundits, “experts” and various UN peace committees.  The multi-sided proxy war continues unabated, with American-backed militias having it out with Russian-supported ones, Iranian-backed ones, and apparently interdepartmental proxy wars between the Pentagon and the CIA have become a thing recently, as the high stakes game now involves various US government departments all seeking to carve out their own little spheres of influence.  Syria is a playground for anyone with money and influence to wager in a bizarre, high-stakes game of poker.  While the elites amuse themselves with little militias fighting to the death in a war that remains unwinnable, the more unscrupulous among them use the war for other means.  Entire cities are being depleted of their people, most of them young men of fighting and working age.  They continue to swarm into Europe, into the arms of countries whose governments welcome them with open arms, in gleeful spite of the wishes of their own people, who have lost their patience with their guests’ behaviors (which include but are not limited to raping women and children, beating up on the elderly, using anything and everything as their bathroom, etc., etc.).

These “refugees” will serve the worst people the West has ever produced, in many roles.  Progressives will want to whitewash them and turn them into white people with different skin tones, while globalists and businesses are drooling over the chance to exploit their labor as the native workforces actually sustaining their countries continue to age, retire and die.  Nobody cares for the European population growth rate anyway, which are abysmal and the product of over 50 years of liberal shitmongering and one status crusade after another.  To the globalists and progressive who hate actual Europeans with a passion for different reasons, this civil war is a godsend.

So what of our young photo op?  Well, there are many different roads he could be placed on.  He will likely die at some point, unless he’s taken in by yet another gullible European family.  Or he’ll grow up to the manly, fighting age of 12 and find himself on one of the many militias, fighting to amuse their owners.  Everyone wants him to live a normal life, but that’s out of the question.  At the very least, he can expect to be milked like a prize cow by bleeding heart white liberals who reside in gated communities and university campuses with extensive private security personnel. No matter the path, he can expect to be used like the “men” of Syria who abandoned him and their country.  Unlike those cowardly bastards, though, that child really *is* a victim in this war.  Abandoned by the men of his country, abandoned by the international community who like to take to Twitter instead of actually doing something productive, and destined to be used by countless special interests around the globe, this boy and his photo really do describe the tragedy of the situation.  His face is the face of true abandonment—he and other genuinely suffering Syrians are left to fend for themselves, with little to no hope of anyone rescuing them or propping them up so they may fight for themselves.  They have no champion, no savior, no lighthouse among the rocky shores.

Such a fate is the way our happy, plentiful post-WWII era operates.

The Orlando Shootings and the Real Crisis

On the night of June 12th, a man by the name of Omar Mateen (born Omar Mir Seddique) went to a gay nightclub in Orlando and unloaded on partygoers, killing 49 and injuring 53.  It was the worst atrocity committed against the LGBT crowd in American history.  Mateen, a 2nd-generation immigrant whose Pashtun father had emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980’s from Afghanistan, called police before carrying out his attack and declared his allegiance to ISIS over the phone.  He opened fire and was, after slaughtering a lot of people, himself gunned down by police to end the killing spree.  The United States and the rest of the Western world reacted in the usual way: with signaling shock and sadness, hashtags, various rainbow filters and the usual prayers and Snapchat stories showing everyone how sad they were.

I could go into the various crises that this shooting highlighted: the American Left jumping on the opportunity to clamp down on gun-owning whites in flyover country, the conservatives for thinking that their Magic Dirt Theory still holds any substance (spoiler: it doesn’t), or the reality that vetting is a joke and that maybe, just maybe, some sort of profiling needs to be adopted as part of this mythical vetting process we keep hearing about.  But those are topics for another day, to be elaborated on by better minds than I.

No, there is a crisis within the Western world that was showcased during the aftermath of the Orlando shootings.  In fact, it goes back a long way, to when the Information Age was brought to the wider swathes of humanity.  The development of miniature processors and ever-increasing storage capacities, along with a revolution in data processing capabilities, coupled with “the future is now” mentality, enabled the world to keep up with information in ways that made the era of 24/7 news channels look obsolete.  The rise and ascendancy of data technology can be summed up in the evolution of its greatest child: the smart phone.  What was once a concept in the form of Blackberries utilized mainly by businesses and the professional classes underwent a revolution in 2007 when Apple, acting as the Information Age’s Prometheus, released the first iPhone.  Its capabilities outclassed anything else on the market, and its touchscreen and sleek look became an instant hit with the masses all around the world.  It’s now 2016, and the iPhone continues to evolve in both storage and data processing capabilities, each new model taking advantage of bigger, better, and faster networks built and maintained in order to keep a population demanding more distraction dumb, happy, and all the easier to mold.

During this time, the United States and Europe had seen quite a lot of tragedies.  By the time the iPhone was released to the world in 2007, Americans had, by and large, filed 9/11 away to their calendars, to be forgotten among a motley of holidays that had long since lost their meaning (except April 15th—everyone understands the true significance of Tax Day).  Lost among the wreckage of neoconservative-inspired wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and missing amidst the bodies of various terrorist attacks in Europe were the notions that these even happened in the first place.  And it’s only gotten worse.  The United States since 2007 has seen, among other things: a sniper on the Beltway, a mass shooting at a Batman premiere in Colorado, a shooting of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook, a bombing at the Boston Marathon, a dumbass shooting up a church of unarmed black people, and a shooting at a mental health facility in San Bernardino.  Meanwhile, across the pond in Western Europe, we’ve had bombings in Brussels, a shooting of satirists in Paris, some bombings in London, and the ominous and ongoing attempts by globalists to transform the whole of humanity in Europe into a makeup of what you’d find in major cities, and failing spectacularly so far, to nobody’s regret or attention.

As the iPhone continued to evolve and various social media became more accessible in the form of convenient “Apps”, so too did our minds and our abilities to focus, and not for the better.  While we lived on notifications, alerts and “likes”, our men and women began coming home from two wars of dubious value, with nothing to show for it except the rising rates of divorces, broken homes, alcoholism, skyrocketing suicide numbers and crosses in veteran cemeteries across the country.  Of course, the brass and politicians often glossed all of it over with their WWII-era shades, and naturally the rest of the country followed suit with various hashtag campaigns, Facebook filters and the ubiquitous Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day sales.  Something concerning the Veterans Administration allowing veterans to die while on waiting lists was a thing for a time, but that too has been swept under by both a bureaucracy that couldn’t care less, and a populace that felt their 5 minutes of outrage and angry tweets were well spent before moving on to other things.  The last time I checked, surviving veterans and current service members are still tweeting and Facebooking in rage.  I wonder if enough stories get shared, perhaps a VA administrator will get reprimanded.  I’m not holding my breath.

It’s now 2016, the “Current Year”.  While the Western world loses itself in its smart phones, the decay continues to grow unabated.  As Americans content themselves with making out on Snapchat stories with the indispensable rainbow filters to show their solidarity with the Orlando shootings (along with the best in hot sex tips from Cosmopolitan and why Brexiteers are racist imperialists from Vox in the recommended-for-you sections), and as they continue to show off their latest relationship trophies on Instagram, things lurk about on the horizon that have for a long time.  Black Americans continue to flounder under the crushing weights of the ongoing annihilation of the black family unit, black-on-black crime, and the disgusting lack of leadership and the non-existent sense of civic duty from their self-proclaimed leaders, who are more interested in enriching themselves than rebuilding a lost community.  American infrastructure continues its epic decline as inner cities proceed to rot away, their ruins a stark reminder of what used to be.  There is a certain beauty to those ruins, in a haunting, melancholy sort of way.  Perhaps some of these will make it onto somebody’s Instagram, complete with the appropriate hashtags and headliners.  The colonization of the American Southwest and Southern California by Central Americans continues apace, as the mostly white, Spanish-descended government of Mexico maintains a time-honored tradition of exporting people it doesn’t want within its overpopulated borders.  Google Image “illegal immigrants”, the “Mexican Supreme Court” and various Mexican government cabinet positions sometime, you’ll be entertained.

Meanwhile, in Europe, governments subordinated to Brussels continue their plans to make big businesses happy and old Leftists thrilled by importing millions of (mostly male) Third Worlders, ostensibly to provide cheap labor and population “rejuvenation” in the form of total replacement as the goal, as Western Europeans are simply too busy earning worthless degrees and pursuing empty careers to reproduce among themselves.  In the wake of various terrorist attacks, Europeans have followed suit with the Americans: react accordingly on social media, post pretty little flag filters, retweet various overrated and useless celebrities, and go back to business as usual.  The only difference is that Europeans don’t use terrorist attacks as an excuse to have clearance sales like we do in the presence of 9/11 Remembrance Day, or whatever it’s called.

Two weeks ago, Omar Mateen murdered 49 people in cold blood and gave 53 others nightmares that they’ll be waking up from in a cold sweat for the rest of their lives.  A little under two weeks ago, makeshift memorials, prayer pictures, dozens of hashtags, countless “solidarity” Snapchat stories and political posturing sprang up and dominated the conversation around the country, and important cultural landmarks around the West were covered in rainbow lights.  A week ago, people slowly began moving on to other topics, having already gone through the grieving process, and as is customary in America, divided themselves into the usual warring camps: pro-gun, Molon Labe types who usually miss the point, and the side that finds a way, despite the odds and the people involved, to blame Republicans, evangelical Christians and white people, regardless of circumstance.  And now we are here in the “Current Day”.  We’ve already moved on from Orlando, leaving it to be discussed by overpaid pundits who will broadcast whatever opinions and random, cherry-picked facts they’re told to, and it will be available for us all to glean over whenever we get bored.  Herein lies the tragedy of Orlando, and the tragedy of our day and age:

We have become a society that has replaced the light in the human mind with cheap data processing and simple information.  All of our capacities to process events naturally, to come to real terms with various happenings, have been reduced to simple retweets, flag filters, Snapchat filters and other worthless, expendable signaling.  The Information Age has reduced the human heart to nothing more than an instrument made of silicon, unable and unwilling to truly express itself to its fellow people, and completely subordinated to the whims of processed information molded into whatever its maker wants the new heart to express.

Technological progress masks societal decay.  A fine epitaph for our era, unless we can show a willingness to change that.

The Great “White”-Washing

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When we attribute to primitive and prehistoric people only our virtues and none of our vices, we dehumanize them as much as ourselves.”–Dr. Lawrence H. Keeley, “War Before Civilization”

Besides globalists, international-minded elitists who live in comfortable surroundings and Irish republicans, nothing is more annoying and in more dire need of a throat-punching than leftist college activists.  How we got to students shedding crocodile tears and flinging shit at a statue of a long-dead imperialist from a day and age that saw students arming themselves, flying monarchist colors and barricading their university from Communist militants in Bavaria and swelling the ranks of anti-republican, anti-Communist freebooting military units is totally beyond me.

But I digress.

Today, there are few things more loathsome than college activists.  They scream for diversity and yet when one looks at their protests (or their pathetic attempts at them), they tend to be snow-white like the communities they were born into.  They rail against elitism and the evils of capitalism and yet they are overwhelmingly of comfortable middle-class extraction.  They want to experience the world but instead tend to hit up the usual Spring Break spots and attend cookie-cutter resorts meant for tourists rather than drinking with the actual locals in their actual neighborhoods (of course, if you were a regular guy in say, Ciudad Juarez, would you drink with some spoiled little brat with a neckbeard from Cal-Berkeley?)

Suspiciously Non-Diverse Activists

A group of suspiciously not-very-diverse college activists.  Note the token Asian woman in the corner though, so it’s all good.

So what has triggered my ire as of late?  Well, it’s been an ongoing thing.  See, these pampered little bastards have apparently decided the statues of Cecil John Rhodes, by all means a brilliant adventurist, imperialist, businessman and scholar who’s wealth of accomplishments vastly dwarf those of his protesters, must go.  We’ve seen all the trendy little hashtags: #RhodesMustGo, #RhodesMustFall and the usual virtue-signalling the Left has become known for.  What originated at the University of Cape Town in South Africa (where protesters decided to fling shit at his statue until it had to be taken down for sanitary reasons) found its way to Oxford University, where a student by the name of Ntokozo Qwabe touched off a campaign to get the statue of Rhodes removed, due to like, feelings and stuff (Qwabe, by the way, was able to attend Oxford thanks to the scholarship set up in Rhodes’ name, and to this day, hasn’t returned the money.  Principles are flexible, fickle things, y’know).  Left wing rags such as The Guardian have cheered these developments on, because one has to find happiness when all of one’s assets have to be liquidated just to keep the lights on for a few more years.  Donors to Oxford, however, weren’t having any of this hashtag nonsense and told the university that countless millions in donations would be withheld if the statue were taken down.  The university buckled, activists decried the fact that “Caesar Rhodes” would remain, and then dispersed to await the next great cause.  See?  Standing up to bullies really does work.  Imagine that.  If only the American GOP had understood that 35-40 years sooner…

So why the rage over Rhodes, and what of “white”-washing?

When Cecil John Rhodes passed away in March of 1902 in Muizenburg, Cape Colony, he left behind money to form what became known as the Rhodes Scholarship, the world’s very first international study program.  True to the idealistic and altruistic spirit of his time, he opened up the scholarship to any British resident living in Britain and her colonies, to the United States and to Germany, in order to render war impossible through international cooperation and understanding between the greatest powers of the world.  Now, we have to note something here.  Rhodes, during his empire-building activities in Southern Africa, made it a point to extend suffrage as much as possible.  Though he regarded Africans as uncivilized barbarians, Rhodes was an imperialist in the old progressive mindset: anyone could be civilized if given the opportunities from better, more advanced civilizations.  “Suffrage for all civilized men south of the Zambezi!” was his cry, and he meant it with the spirit of this scholarship.  So here’s where we get to the crux of the issue.

Young progressives today, particularly the protest-happy crowd, hate history, and they hate it with a passion.  See, history is inconvenient for them once they study it beyond the stale, Marxist interpretations they are spoon-fed by aging professors who haven’t come to terms that the world has passed them by.  To most, history is “boring” and “icky” and full of dead white guys.  To the dedicated (i.e., hopeless and beyond salvation), history is full of evil whites doing evil things to completely, totally helpless people of color, who for some reason will remain helpless until the right white people come to their rescue.  And so the whitewashing shall continue.

I found this gem of a post here which broke down various things regarding international elites and the professors who are part of that community, and, in a piece tackling lunacy at Harvard, named multiple blacks who had been involved in upper education since the 1850’s to destroy the premise that blacks have always been poor, dumb and never afforded opportunities by whites (which is, in of itself, a racist premise because it supposes that blacks will always need the help of white liberals in order to ever advance in life.  Malcolm X is getting more correct by the day, I swear to God).  One of those names stuck out to me: Alain LeRoy Locke, who was the first American black to receive the Rhodes Scholarship.  Now, follow along with me here.  Progressive conventional wisdom (read: hysterical screeching carefully balanced with subtle social conditioning) would have you believe that this would have been a recent development, like say, the Civil Rights Era from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, and that blacks getting any kind of advancement was literally impossible until the 1950’s when things magically started turning out for the better thanks to the federal government and courageous, pasty white people from tolerant and compassionate Northern states.

Something isn’t right with that premise though, because history.  Locke, who none of these neckbearded protesters could tell you about, received the Rhodes Scholarship in 1907 after obtaining degrees in English AND Philosophy from Harvard University , and did it  back when those degrees required a working knowledge of both Latin and Ancient Greek.  Something is amiss here…let’s see, when did Rhodes die again?  1902.  Oh wow.  Woooowwwww.  Only 5 years after the “evil-racist-imperialist-and-like-all-the-bad-things-literally-Hitler” Rhodes had passed away, we see a black man getting a scholarship in his name to study at Oxford, in the heart of the evil, horrific and terrifyingly racist British Empire at the very height of its glory, in a year where only 73 Rhodes Scholarships were allotted in the entire world, and where the United States only got its allotments in 1904.  And mind you, this wasn’t an ordinary black man, either.  Locke would go on to become the intellectual cornerstone of the Harlem Renaissance, and would inspire a generation of black intellectuals; so much so that Martin Luther King Jr. would refer to him in his speeches.

Progressive history doesn’t account for people like Locke, or W.E.B. Du Bois, or many others.  No, for the young, hip and trendy progressive, minorities of any kind were poor, oppressed unthinking wards of evil patriarchal white men until they were saved by brave, courageous, snow-white men (and the federal government, run more or less by white men).  That same principle is seen in the progressive’s attitude to the non-white world.  In their mindset, it was the white man who came, conquered a peaceful, happy people, corrupted them with civilization’s evils and forced them to fight each other in brutal wars of conquest.  And the whites were all the same, much like the blacks they so horribly enslaved.  But here is where we see an insidious whitewashing.  Progressives leave out numerous things when decrying the situation in “Africa”:

-The Arab and Turkish slave trades that extended as far west as Mali, and as far south as Dar es Salaam. They were extensive, were centuries older than its more infamous Atlantic counterpart, and wound up enslaving millions more than the Europeans did. And contrary to what we are told today, the slavery practiced by the Muslims in Africa was not a very happy proposition. In fact, it was downright brutal.  And the Arabs would not be compelled to abolish it until the 1890’s, when…*gasp!* the British and French began getting involved.  With Arab settlement came Islam and ethnic tensions that often flared up over the years, and still do (Darfur, one of the great progressive causes of the last decade until it wasn’t, was a result of this: the Sudanese government deliberately favored Arabs and segregated Arabs from non-Arabs, and began persecuting the non-Arabs with glee, resulting in the genocides of that region).

-Africans not only engaged in trading slaves, they saw Europeans as willing customers and eagerly traded prisoners to the Europeans. In fact, for centuries, Europeans were the junior partner in this relationship. Europeans never bothered with the interior of Africa until the 1870’s, figuring that they leave that business to the people who understood it best: the native African kingdoms that headed the slave trades.

-Africans were absolutely brutal to each other in ways that boggle the mind (and still are today: look up what “necklacing” is and you’ll get an idea). Genocides were thorough, raids were constant and tribal hatreds ran very, very deep. Think of all the people we don’t know about, all the links in the human web we’ve lost, all the tribes we will never find because they were utterly slaughtered and erased.  If anything, imperialism in the long run wound up saving many tribes and preserving their languages.  The slaughter continued in earnest after the Europeans began leaving Africa at the behest of economic distress and liberal academics who shed their tears and screamed bloody murder from the confines of comfortable homes in Britain and the United States.

With progressive whitewashing, Africans are reduced to pacified, convenient, interchangeable black people with no history of their own and the continent is reduced to a single entity, completely ignorant of its great diversity.  The history of the continent is reduced to simplistic notions of a pure, Rousseauean existence that was shattered by whites (Arabs being left out because non-whites can’t oppress other non-whites, apparently).  The dissonance occurred when it was implied that only Communist organizations (with natives educated, funded and organized by liberal whites while studying abroad in European universities) would be able to fix all of Africa’s problems during the decolonization era.  After that didn’t work out–African nations fell into poverty, disease, genocide and tragedy–it began being implied that only NGO’s, humanitarianism, rock concerts and philanthropy would be able to help.  We saw armies of suburban, middle class whites travel to Africa to help the poor, beleaguered blacks, hang around for a few months to feel good about themselves and then return home to their comfortable middle class surroundings, happy they could return home to count their blessings and talk about how sad it was that people on the other side of the world were suffering, probably over some Starbucks or something.  The entire exercise is essentially that of a hands-on zoo: you get to leave your happy, middle class home, work among natives in their own lands, get your pictures taken so you can status-signal your progressiveness to the world, and then head back to your familiar surroundings while the Africans you helped out continue to mill about in misery, awaiting the next group of gullible, young white adults to repeat the process while nothing ever really gets done.  The tragedy is that Africans continue to die (and reproduce at unsustainable rates with considerable encouragement from progressive whites living half a world away), their governments fall into total kleptocracy, and more of them (usually working-age males) continue to stream into Europe, where eager progressives hope to turn them into…well, white people with skin color.  This last point is one I’ll hammer on in a moment.

Progressives are also very touchy on American history.  The fact that Boston, Newport and Bristol were major slave-trading centers is whitewashed, and even though we know that few people in the South owned slaves–the massive plantations staffed by hundreds of slaves were restricted to only the wealthiest people in the entire country and were thus far and few in between–it is hammered on over and over again that blacks were kept down in the South while free in the North.  Never mind that after the American Civil War, when blacks began migrating by the thousands to Northern cities, they were vigorously resisted (and starting in the 20th century, supposedly equality-loving, non-racist whites began moving out of the cities and into white suburbs, maintaining ethnic divisions in the cities).  The fact that an estimated quarter of the 4 million freed slaves were dead within a few years of the Civil War due to disease and starvation (along with being murdered by other freed slaves) is gently swept under the rug.  We always hear of racist lynch mobs running amok through the Reconstruction, and yet progressives omit the parts where Union soldiers happily ignored the plight of blacks after Emancipation; scores of bodies of dead blacks were heaped into ditches all through the “liberated” South.  But that’s all brushed aside.

As I pointed out earlier, protesters of the Rhodes statues probably couldn’t tell you who Alain LeRoy Locke was.

There is a reason that goes beyond their general ignorance.

For the more aware among the progressive crowd, as the whitewashing must go, black history has to be distorted and downplayed in order to paint whites in an evil light.  Figures like Martin Luther King Jr. appear out of seemingly nowhere and with the aid of sympathetic whites, burst onto the scene to fight Jim Crow, a racist white establishment.  The Tuskegee Airmen are known only because of their oppressed status and their fight against racism instead of their outstanding war record that included 3 Distinguished Unit Citations, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, and over 1,500 combat missions flown.  Black accomplishments are always overshadowed by the racism topic, and the white presence is always consistent: either they’re evil segregationists or sympathetic, heroic whites.  And the latter are everywhere: even Nelson Mandela had his; Joe Slovo, a Lithuanian immigrant to South Africa, was a high-ranking member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party, and is held in high regard by progressives the world over.

So what do white, activist progressives want nowadays?

They want a few things, actually: they want life to be a sort of Avatar, where they can tap into their inner Jake Sully and become the (strangely opaque and monotonous) diverse people they loudly proclaim they protect.  There’s a popular old, and very true, statement that good girls like to date the bad boy in order to tame him.  The same goes for activist leftists and the non-whites they slather over.  They want to take minorities and make them into little hip white people that believe in the same things the activists do, from third and fourth-wave feminism to their pseudo-environmentalist mantra and their hatred of old white guys, even though they stubbornly refuse to relocate from their predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods and universities.  They don’t want actual and diverse non-whites.  The minorities have to be sanitized for suitable consumption first.  They want the kind you find at universities and gentrified, urban areas.  Anytime a progressive seeks to wander about the non-white world that hasn’t been made safe for the activists, things like this tend to happenOr thisAnd this.  And just plain psychotic shit like this. And many other incidents just waiting to happen, or have happened and were just swept under the rug because causes are pretty important.

If there is only consolation in the fact that these activists are able to swindle large chunks of university student bodies, it’s that should we ever become a Socialist Utopia or some other “darkest-timeline” entity, it’s that they will get exactly the multicultural, diverse and vibrant society that they want.  And unlike the wealthier ones who were wise enough to forge good connections, they won’t be able to get away from their paradise (like J.M. Coatzee running away from South Africa, or the hordes of liberal blue staters moving to solidly red state areas to escape the consequences of their actions).

The Tortured History of Post-WWI Bavaria (Epilogue)

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Bavaria, specifically Munich, had undergone a traumatic transformation. In a 6-month period they had been under 6 different occupations and governments, in rapid succession: it began with the monarchy, which was overthrown and replaced with revolutionary Socialism, moderate Socialism, anarchy, and Communism in quick succession, and it all ended with a savage military operation designed to bring Bavaria back into the fold of the central German government of Weimar. It succeeded, but the 6-month period of turmoil ending with a blood-soaked disaster in May would leave a city and region in ruins. Munich was originally a decent place to be for intellectuals and academics, and was generally a laid-back, easygoing place for anyone living or visiting there. That changed with the postwar world. Munich was now filled with feelings of vengeance, hatred and intrigue. Dozens of parties and security apparatuses sprang up, and soon Munich descended into a modern-day Viking Age, where different parties raided each other’s meetings, assassinated adversaries, and intimidated each other’s members. By the end of May that year, Munich was crawling with government spies and agents all trying to keep tabs on political parties in Munich and their various defense associations.

Ominous Forebodings

The Freikorps’ invasion of Munich was an ominous foreboding. Initially a major asset to the government of Friedrich Ebert and Gustav Noske, the Freikorps were to become a bigger asset than the Weimar Republic could handle, as the massacre of the St. Joseph’s Society was to show. The Freikorps were never fond of the republican government, and even law-abiding organizations such as the Stahlhelm were openly hostile to Weimar, proudly declaring themselves anti-republican, flying the old black-white-red colors and displaying imperial symbols. The Freikorps were growing at an alarming pace, as former officers preferred the status as a Freikorps commander over that of a middling junior officer in the ineffective Reichswehr. Indeed, many of these officers often turned down commission offers to retain their status as Freikorps commanders. Freikorps units in the Baltic were perhaps the wildest group of them all, and they openly declared their intent on creating military colonies in the Baltic ala’ the Teutonic Knights for the express purpose of marching on Berlin to initiate a Hohenzollern restoration. Freikorps units in Germany proper would send reinforcements to these units, often mobilizing in the cities in front of government officials just to spite them. Even the Eiserne Front, a Freikorps unit dedicated to republicanism (and possibly the only one of its kind), disdained the Weimar government, seeing it as a failed entity. What the Bavarian Revolution showed was that the government would lose control of these units and their officers, and would never command their respect and allegiance as they had in late 1918/early 1919. The Freikorps would continue initiating street battles with Communists until the rise of the Nazi Party, where in 1934 many of the Freikorps surrendered their standards and pledged their allegiance to the NSDAP. The more troublesome Freikorps leaders were simply killed off in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.

The Fertile Grounds of Nazism

Everyone knows of the rise of the Nazi Party to prominence. Indeed, we get to hear about it every time there’s a major election in the United States. It’s generally presented that the Nazis rose out of the anger and hatred left over from Germany losing the war and the ensuing Treaty of Versailles, but in truth it’s far more complicated than that. In Northern Germany, the Spartacists managed to get a major rebellion going until they were utterly annihilated by the Freikorps, who at the time in early 1919 were still composed primarily of former military units. The northern part of Germany didn’t undergo 6 different government changes in 6 months. Considering how Bavaria went, the rest of Germany managed to have a relatively smooth transition of power (until the Freikorps decided to do whatever they wanted to, anyway). Bavaria was different, and here’s where things aren’t as well-known to the general public. Your average history often leaves out the Bavarian Revolution, where Bavaria underwent 6 governments in 6 months. Bavaria was like your average South American nation during this time, and the Weimar government wasn’t able to do anything about it until they got the Communist rebellion under control in their neck of the woods. Bavaria was on the edge of losing its sanity, and with the Freikorps’ occupation in May, it lost it entirely. Now, despite being reintegrated with the Weimar government, Bavaria was fairly lawless. Assassinations, kidnappings, beatings and shootings were commonplace, organizations such as the Thule Society were able to thrive, and the local police were utterly helpless to prevent any of these things, that is, if they weren’t too busy in assisting various parties (usually rightist-leaning ones).

The only sign that Munich was under the German government rather than total anarchy were the numerous Reichswehr agents that crawled around the city. People know that Adolf Hitler resided in Munich in his postwar years because he refused to return to Austria and that he gained a reputation as a diehard nationalist; what they don’t realize was that he was one of those political agents. His job was to keep tabs on organizations deemed violent, revolutionary, or overly nationalistic. He was to go around various taverns, beer halls and open forums to listen in on whatever was going on and report back to his superior officers, who would make a judgment call on what to do over these organizations and political parties. In September of 1919, on the orders of his superior officer, Hitler checked himself into a little tavern to observe a meeting of a “German Workers’ Party”, which had garnered a reputation as a nationalistic organization. There, Hitler would go on to impress Anton Drexler, the organization’s founder, as a superb orator, and would eventually take command of the little party, helping it evolve into the Nazi Party by 1920. The experiences the Freikorps brought to Munich that May would be noted and emulated by the Nazis for the next decade during their rise to power. Those experiences are seen in the formation of the S.A. and its security branch the S.S. (the ranks of both organizations would emulate Freikorps command structures rather than conventional army ones), and the S.A. would grow in power to the point of having Reichswehr officers worrying about their size and influence. The paranoia, rage and bitterness in Munich would make it possible for the Nazis to rise to power, with all the implications that came with that event.
Implications

In the United States, we often liken fears of Communist takeovers as a Red Scare. We had two of them in a 30-year period: the aftermath of WWI and again in the 1950’s. Today, it’s used as a way to paint opponents of collective policies as hysterical conservative nutjobs. We even look at historical fears of Communism through biased eyes: people were simply overreacting to a non-existent threat…though those same sneering critics of our enlightened day and age are often the first ones to scream “Nazis!” at the slightest hint of disagreement with progressive legislation, or anytime someone has second thoughts about backing whatever token cause is taken up in the name of shock value and “human rights.”

The thing is, is that fears of Communist takeovers in other countries after the formation of the USSR weren’t just fears: they were very much a reality in the post-WWI world. Germany had barely survived a revolution by Spartacists; had the Freikorps not mobilized and rallied around the cause of saving their country, we could have very well seen a Communist government take place in Berlin. As it was, the revolution was utterly crushed by the Freikorps and the people of Germany, who refused to have anything to do with dreams of revolution after enduring 4 years of war and British blockades. But for a period of 6 months, the revolution overtook one of the most important states of Germany in Bavaria; with Hungary undergoing a Bolshevik revolution in March of 1919 and staging successful counterattacks on Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians and Poles, Central Europe was looking to be the next outlandish success of the Communists. Only the ineptitude of the Communist leadership in Hungary, coupled with the instability of Bavaria and the coming of the Freikorps in the northern half of Germany, prevented what could have been a catastrophic nightmare for Europe. One also has to consider the Polish-Soviet War. Had the Polish lost Warsaw in 1920 after what had been an absolutely disastrous war for them, not even the Freikorps would have been able to hold off the coming tsunami of Bolshevik revolutionaries streaming from the USSR and Poland.

However the failed revolutions turned out in Germany, one thing is perfectly clear: the Communists had the power and the drive to continue trying, and would spend the next 14 years fighting in the streets, organizing large rallies, and constantly attempting to assert themselves over rival factions of leftists and their mortal enemies in the nationalists and the nascent power of the Nazis. Even after the ascendency of the Nazi Party to power, the Communists were a major problem—they routinely got into street battles with reckless SA men. It was only after the Night of the Long Knives that the Communists—along with like-minded SA personnel (i.e., Strasserites)—were finally brought to heel. They would not appear again until the USSR established the German Democratic Republic after World War II, and this time, they wouldn’t have to worry about the ideological splits that occurred during and after the First World War.

So why was this all important? Simply, because I wanted to shine some light on a relatively unknown but extremely important part of history. The fact that the Bavarian Revolutions never get any press is incredible—I’ve been able to find exactly one book that deals with it in good faith and with a ton of information. There is a lesson to be learned by studying events such as the Bavarian Revolution: the greatest storms often begin in little-known, out-of-the way places. That was true when the Romans went to crush the little-known Mamertines in Sicily. They got into a skirmish with the local Carthaginian forces there, which kicked off the first of three Punic Wars, the results of which are familiar to everyone: Rome got the Western Mediterranean, Carthage got salt sowed in its crops. That was also true in Sarajevo in 1914 when a sickly Bosnian Serb, acting on the orders of an obscure Serbian terrorist organization, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. That event triggered the annihilation of the old order and condemned European civilization to the dustbin of history. The little-regarded, out-of-the-way conferences in World War II such as Bretton Woods paved the way for the destruction of economic nationalism and the establishment of globalist-minded organizations dedicated to free trade, cheap labor and the movement of capital. Naturally, this was to result in the dominance of the United States in international economic affairs, as the United States escaped the war with its industry intact (this dominance would also result in the demise of colonial empires, as the United States, always in a fit of anticolonialism and eager to gain access to African and Asian markets while giving Britain a raised middle finger, happily moved in to replace the declining European empires). We are still reeling under the effects of Bretton Woods today, as First World nations have killed off all of their industrial strength in favor of outsourcing for easier profits, cheaper labor, and to build unsustainable service economies.

Conventional histories will always espouse the simple things. Hitler rose from nowhere with a party in tow, assumed power, and then proceeded to murder 12 million people in the Holocaust, never mind the tens of millions dead by the end of his war in 1945. How he got there isn’t really important, our academic mandarins will drone, but that we must prevent it from happening again at all costs. The ignorance of the events in Bavaria from 1918-1920 will ensure that they’ll be wrong. Remember, the flaps of a butterfly’s wings are insignificant in of themselves. In the world of history, they’re enough to trigger every form of disaster known to humanity.

The Tortured History of Post-WWI Bavaria (Part Three)

In Part Two, we saw things in Munich and Bavaria unravel into utter chaos. Kurt Eisner, a Jewish drama critic from Berlin and head of his own Independent Socialists, was on his way to the Bavarian Landtag to tender his resignation on a cold February morning in 1919 when suddenly, a spurned minor member of nobility named Count Anton Arco-Valley, leapt out and shot twice into Kurt Eisner, with both bullets making their mark. Arco-Valley, a young man undergoing something of a major identity crisis with his ambitions to join an association of occultist intellectuals dedicated to German nationalism, had touched off a massive crisis. With Eisner gone, the Majority Socialists under Johannes Hoffmann were unable to maintain any semblance of government—the Communists, sensing an opportunity, began organizing and strikes paralyzed Munich and much of the countryside began isolating themselves off from the ineffective (non-existent, really) Bavarian government. The fact that the government wasn’t able to raise any sort of Freikorps units as the central government in Berlin and Weimar were able to do left Bavaria utterly defenseless. With the success of the Communists in establishing a Hungarian Soviet Republic in March, the Majority Socialists decided they could not promote a stable government and established a government in exile, in Bamberg, near the border with Germany proper.

A young group of intellectuals, led by a playwright named Ernst Toller, dedicated to the memory and ideals of Eisner, established a “Republic of Communes” and while they were entertaining and practically harmless, the “Coffeehouse Anarchists” only lasted 6 days. A trio of authentic Communist activists made their way into Munich, and effortlessly overthrew the government of Toller. All three were Russian-born and hailed from Jewish families; Eugen Levine and Max Levien were both from wealthy merchant families who studied in Germany and obtained university degrees before the war. A fourth activist named Rudolf Egelhofer, a charismatic military-minded Communist, was made commander of the newly-established Bavarian Red Army.

With this group in power, Hoffmann’s government-in-exile knew the game was up but, not wanting to submit to the central government and thus surrendering Bavarian independence, refused to go along with the inevitable. Hoffmann raised a small, ragged force and sent them south to try to spark an insurrection against the Communists. They ran into a force of Communists near Dachau on April 20th, ironically led by Ernst Toller, who was made a regional commander despite having no interest in military affairs. Hoffmann’s force broke and ran, and with that shameful display, the Majority Socialists gave in. Begging Gustav Noske and Friedrich Ebert for assistance, the central government acquiesced, but on a few conditions: Noske was to be the commander, and any orders from Hoffmann were to be studiously ignored. More importantly, Hoffmann was to forget any idea that Bavarian sovereignty would be maintained. It was made very clear that Bavaria was to be reintegrated into Germany, whether they liked it or not. Hoffmann’s government accepted all terms, surrendered their sovereignty, and Noske gave the order to the Freikorps to mobilize. The best and most ferocious units staged themselves on the border, and with that, our final chapter begins.

The Freikorps Enter Bavaria

The Ehrhardt Brigade

The Ehrhardt Brigade

By April 1919, the Freikorps had come a very long way. What began as a suggestion by former Imperial Army General Georg Rudolf von Maercker that resulted in the 4,000-man strong Volunteer Rifles had exploded into a massive force of nearly 400,000. 30,000 of these soldiers stood ready on the Bavarian border, ready to take the fight to the Communists occupying Munich. These were no ordinary units, however. Units such as the “Horse Guards Division”, General Franz Ritter von Epp’s “Freikorps Epp” (Ernst Rohm was a member of this unit), and a unit of naval officers and students under the command of Hermann Ehrhardt. This last unit was arguably the most ferocious of all the Freikorps units, one raised by Noske during the Kiel Mutinies in 1918. With professional-grade soldiers, officers, equipment and structure, the Communists did not stand a chance. The invasion began two days after the disaster at Dachau. Here’s how fast it commenced: attacking on two fronts (one from Wuerttemburg, the other from the north), the Freikorps utilized the railways and easily took the northern towns. By April 29th, they had reached the suburbs of Munich. It was here where they encountered genuinely tough resistance, but the Communists, while giving a fight at Dachau, fled to the security of Munich. Surrounding the city by a space of 10 miles on all sides, the Freikorps could have easily taken Munich. However, understanding that the Communists were keen on the concept of martyrs, the attack was deferred to May 2nd.

Egelhofer’s defensive lines had been utterly smashed, and a plea to the people of Munich to defend the Communist cause had fallen upon deaf ears. Ernst Toller and the remains of the Independent Socialists were now openly rebelling against the Communists, and many Bavarians in the city began following suit—denouncing “the Russians” with the cry “we Bavarians are not Russians!”, they began demanding that they either leave or turn themselves in to the oncoming Freikorps. The Bavarian Red Army melted away as hundreds threw away their rifles and armbands. Toller contacted Hoffmann’s government in Bamberg on the night of April 30th, and offers of surrender were rejected—he was told that the Communist leadership had to turn themselves into the Freikorps. The Communist Party held a meeting that night, where they and the Independent Socialists pondered about their situation.

Suddenly, a man broke into that meeting and screamed that the Whites (the Freikorps) had taken the city’s railroad station. While it was false—the Freikorps settled in to wait until May 2nd to attack—a flurry of panic and chaos was unleashed. The headquarters of the Bavarian Red Army was deserted in minutes, leaving only a bewildered Toller, Egelhofer, and a bodyguard standing in stunned silence. The well-to-do of Munich, in a salty mood, raised the Wittelsbach colors over the city while armed university students occupied the former royal palace and raised the blue and white flag. Church bells rang out, and the Communists (what few there were left) left to fortify their positions in the city center, understanding correctly that their lives would not be spared. Max Levien managed to sneak out of the city and into Austria, while Towia Axelrod and Eugen Levine hid in the city.

The Executions

During the wild regime changes since Eisner was assassinated in February, the Communists had steadily been imprisoning royalists, rightists, nationalists, and anyone sympathetic to their causes, as well as a number of Thule Society members. They were imprisoned at a school building, Luitpold Gymnasium, and lived in miserable conditions. Egelhofer, seeing the situation beyond lost, decided to do what damage he could: he ordered a prison guard to start killing prisoners. The guard happily complied, and by the time Ernst Toller got him to stop, 20 prisoners consisting of the wealthiest members of Munich were murdered and mutilated beyond the point of recognition. As we’ll see, that event was like tossing a gasoline jug into an open fire.

Vengeance and Terror

“The liberal working class is celebrating its anniversary freely and openly not only in Soviet Russia, but also in Soviet Hungary and Soviet Bavaria!”—Vladimir Lenin to a crowd in Red Square, May Day 1919

“The liberal working class is celebrating its anniversary freely and openly not only in Soviet Russia, but also in Soviet Hungary and Soviet Bavaria!”—Vladimir Lenin to a crowd in Red Square, May Day 1919

On May Day, the Freikorps, having heard of Egelhofer’s executions in Luitpold Gymnasium, dropped their restraint and unleashed unholy hell on the Communists. Using artillery and flamethrowers on the remnants of the Communist resistance, the Freikorps butchered the remains of the Bavarian Red Army. Rudolf Egelhofer was shot while he was trying to escape, and columns of Freikorps goose-stepped down the Ludwigstrassee. By May 3rd, the city was firmly in the hands of the Freikorps. Vengeance had been served. The terror began in earnest. What’s important to note is that the Freikorps in Munich were a little different than the kind that made up Maercker’s Volunteer Rifles back in 1918. University students began swelling the ranks of newly-formed Freikorps units, and while they lacked definable political ideals, these youths generally found themselves wanting to clean Germany of Jews, Bolsheviks, and those who they identified as “November Criminals”, the people who signed the Armistice. The Freikorps in Munich, outside of units like the Ehrhardt Brigade (which retained a strict military professionalism as Hermann Ehrhardt, who’s reputation allowed him the pick of the litter in applicants to his unit), largely resembled this makeup. Desiring to emulate the freebooting Freikorps of the Thirty Years War, the young students of the Freikorps loved instilling fear into the populaces of wherever they marched. This attitude was the difference between the new Freikorps and the older ones from 1918; the ones who mobilized in 1918 after the end of the war were frontline veterans who came home to see their homes and families threatened by Communist revolutionaries, and wanted to put an end to that.

The reprisals began once the occupation was complete. Eugen Levine was dragged out of his hiding place, brought before a tribunal, and with a cry of “long live the world revolution!”, he was killed by a Freikorps firing squad. Gustav Landauer, the Commissar for Public Education during Ernst Toller’s regime, was picked up by a Freikorps patrol and brought to Stadelheim, where he was beaten, shot and rifle butted. His body was left to rot for a few days. Editors and writers of Die Rote Fahne were brought before tribunals, judged and then brought before firing squads to meet their fates. Towia Axelrod would have been shot, but due to his diplomatic status, he was reluctantly given up to the Soviets, who threatened reprisals on German diplomats if he was in any way harmed.

The Freikorps in Munich had unleashed a wave of terror, and because they were now staffed largely by over-enthusiastic university students and middle-class adventurers, they were relatively naïve of the world around them. Unable and unwilling to distinguish the working classes, they would commit an atrocity that would come to haunt Munich for a long time. On the night of May 6th, workingmen belonging to a society called the Society of St. Joseph met at a local tavern as they had annually for years. The matters they discussed were typically religious, and they often kept to themselves. None of that mattered to the Freikorps. A patrol claiming to look for “Spartacists” rounded up these men, marched them off to the headquarters of a Freikorps unit, and the workingmen, terrified, tried to explain who they were and that they were not revolutionaries. It didn’t matter. The patrol led them into the cellar of the headquarters and bayoneted 21 of them to death.

Munich absolutely exploded with fury. At the beginning of the week, the city cheered and celebrated with the Freikorps as the hated Communists were routed and crushed. By the end of the week, the city was putting up posters denouncing “the Prussians” and demanding the Freikorps leave, or face open insurrection. A week later, the government of Johannes Hoffmann was allowed to return and on May 13th, the Freikorps departed, having initiated a reign of terror that saw no less than 1,000 persons murdered in a 6-day period.

The Tortured History of Post-WWI Bavaria (Part Two)

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In the last installment of this miniseries, we looked at the fall of Imperial Germany, the abolition of the monarchies within the Empire, and how Bavaria was no different. Here’s a quick recap of the situation: the war ends with the Allies on the doorstep of the German Empire, and elements such as Prince Max of Baden—desperate to save the Empire at any cost—announced the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wilhelm fled to the Netherlands (where, three weeks later, he officially announced his abdication to live the quiet life of a country gentlemen on the estate of Huis Doorn), and things were briefly looking up for Max and a potential interim government where the monarchy could be salvaged. But by briefly, I mean an hour or two—Phillip Scheidemann, an arrogant, revolutionary-minded Socialist and committed republican—announced to a huge crowd the proclamation of a German republic. The more respectable Friedrich Ebert, who wanted to retain the monarchy in a more constitutional form and had lost two sons in the war, rightfully ripped into Scheidemann (who probably had a chuckle over it and went back to eating his soup). Sadly, this did not result in a restoration. Revolutions, started in the Kiel Shipyards by various naval divisions, began spreading all over Germany. Ludwig III Wittelsbach, the reigning King of Bavaria, was strolling in his garden when an aide came up to him, begging him to come to the palace. Waiting for Ludwig III and the royal family was one Kurt Eisner, a Jewish drama critic turned Socialist revolutionary from Berlin. Eisner emphatically stated that the safety of the royal family could not be guaranteed, and although an official abdication never came, the writing was on the wall: 700 years of Wittelsbach rule in Bavaria was extinguished.

Kurt Eisner set about creating a government based more on theory and intellectual ventures rather than concrete policies, and while for a time Eisner was liked (especially in Munich), there were wolves in the forest waiting to tear into the eccentric pastures of Eisner’s Bavaria. Eisner’s government began falling apart a mere three weeks after its declaration. The economy was in freefall and thousands of soldiers were bankrupting the government through demobilization pay, and essentially loitered in their barracks with no purpose. Food was running low and a meeting with Ebert in Berlin went very sour, very quickly. A Spartacist revolution erupted in Munich in December and was barely put down, and a snap election proved to Eisner that he was finished as a revolutionary leader—his Independent Socialists were annihilated at the polls. With factions on the left and the right growing in power by the day and his party all but done for, Eisner did the only thing he could: he resolved to tender his resignation and return to a quiet life of critiquing drama and literature.

He never made it to the Landtag to tender that resignation, and it is here where we resume our story.

Feburary 21st, 1919

Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley

Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley

Before we get back to Kurt Eisner, let us step back for a moment to introduce ourselves to another figure: Count Anton Arco-Valley. Arco-Valley was born in Sankt-Martin, Upper Austria, in 1897. His father, Maximilian, was an estate owner and his mother, Emily Freiin von Oppenheim, came from a wealthy Jewish banking family. Arco-Valley fought in the last year of the war as a lieutenant of a guards infantry regiment of the Bavarian Army, despite hailing from Austria. Returning from the frontlines to the wreckages of postwar Bavaria, Arco-Valley was disillusioned and furious at the state of affairs. He tried to soothe these feelings over by joining a local organization called the Thule Society, a club of intellectuals dedicated to the study of Germanic culture…in theory, anyway—in practice, they devoted themselves more to anti-Semitic causes and read more literature disparaging the Jews than studying the origins of an ancient “homeland” that never existed, that place being “Thule”, the supposed lost Nordic kingdom and birthplace of the Germanic peoples. The Thule Society had grown exponentially in the months after the war; they actively recruited writers such as Dietrich Eckart and young officers such as Rudolf Hess, and charter members included people such as Alfred Rosenberg, who arrived from his Baltic homelands with copies of various anti-Semitic works such as the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They adopted the Hakenkreuz as their symbol and greeted each other by crying out “Heil!” (Although the membership list reads like a “who’s who” of future Nazi Party members, there is significant debate of who was actually a member and who was merely invited to speak at their conferences. The links forged by Anton Drexler between the Thule Society and extremist worker factions in Bavaria, however, were definitely a thing, and helped contribute to the rise of the NSDAP later on).

Arco-Valley desperately wanted to join this organization, but due to his mother’s Jewish heritage, he was flat out denied by the Thule Society. Desperate to prove himself, Arco-Valley—knowing that the Thule Society had failed to kidnap Kurt Eisner in December, decided to one-up them—he set out to assassinate the now-deposed revolutionary. On the morning of February 21st, the 22-year old Count stalked Eisner as he made his way to the Landtag. Shortly before 10am, Arco-Valley walked up to Eisner (who was flanked by his devoted secretary Felix Fechenbach and a personal guard) and fired off two shots into Eisner’s head. Kurt Eisner was dead before he hit the ground, and Anton Arco-Valley was shot by Eisner’s guards; ironically it was Fechenbach who saved Arco-Valley’s life by preventing a mob from murdering him on the spot. A surgeon operated on the young Count, sparing his life.

Kurt Eisner's funeral procession

Kurt Eisner’s funeral procession

Munich itself, however, was not spared of the coming earthquake that this assassination produced.

Believing the assassination to be some sort of rightist conspiracy, workers all over Munich began taking their revenge. An hour after Eisner was killed, a butcher’s apprentice named Alois Lindner casually walked into the Landtag and shot Eisner’s rival, Erhard Auer (he somehow survived). An Army officer that jumped at Lindner was shot and killed by this apprentice, who melted away into the crowd outside the Landtag. All over the city, church bells were chiming for Eisner, and a Red Guard stood watch over the spot where Eisner was murdered. The city was paralyzed by a three-day strike on the day of Eisner’s funeral (February 26th), and the Majority Socialists, now headed by Johannes Hoffmann, had to flee to Nuremberg in order to preserve a semblance of government (Nuremberg was within range of a few Freikorps units who could offer actual protection…don’t worry, though, they’ll show up later on in a very big way).

Falling To Pieces

The chaos surrounding Eisner’s funeral—placards calling for bloody revenge and the massive strikes that brought the city to its knees—was only intensified. With the only legitimate government in Nuremberg, Munich was left in a state of total anarchy. A Bolshevik revolution in nearby Hungary, led by Soviet-trained and financed Bela Kun (sent to Hungary under the guise of being a Russian representative of the Red Cross) created a major problem for Bavaria. With Eisner’s assassination and the ensuing state of anarchy in Munich, the Majority Socialists could only hope to exert a very shaky influence over the city, never mind the former kingdom. They had to abide by the requests of rapidly-growing workers and soldiers’ councils, who held the real power in Bavaria. By the end of March, with the Bolsheviks coming to power in Hungary (and receiving instructions directly from Lenin everyday), time was all but up for the Majority Socialists and their leader, Johannes Hoffmann. March was harsh on Munich in another way: it was a particularly icy month and the lack of foresight and grasp of basic economics left the city without any coal. The city had to resort to printing its own currency in order to keep the unemployment payments going. Workers now owned arms and ammunition, and nightly rallies by the Communists and Independent Socialists were growing larger and more frightening. The kicker for Hoffmann’s Majority Socialists came when the news of the Hungarian Soviet Republic reached Munich. On April 6th, proclaiming a “Republic of Councils” in the hopes of joining with Hungary (and perhaps Austria) in a revolutionary confederation of Danubian nations, a 25-year old poet and playwright by the name of Ernst Toller, along with several other intellectuals in Munich (all of them members of the Independent Socialists) assumed power in Munich with the vast support of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils. Hoffmann’s government fled to Bamberg, Upper Franconia, the next day, establishing a sort of Bavarian government-in-exile. Pledging allegiance to Ebert’s government in Berlin, Hoffmann could only bide his time until an opportunity arose to reestablish a “proper” government in Munich.

The reign of Ernst Toller’s “Coffeehouse Anarchists” was characterized by how eccentric they were: they outdid everything Kurt Eisner did. Toller began his rule with a proclamation that the arts were to lead the way in the liberation of the spirit of humanity, and the University of Munich—long a hotbed of monarchist sympathizers—was to be free to all who wanted to attend. “History”, proclaimed Toller’s regime, “that enemy of civilization”, was to be suppressed as a viable form of education (naturally, this touched off a lot of fistfights in the university as the students there absolutely refused to have anything to do with leftists). The Commissar for Finances was given the green light to experiment with his own ideas for money (to the detriment of the Bavarian economy, now in a state of disintegration), and the Commissar for Foreign Affairs—Dr. Franz Lipp—was quite literally insane. He decorated his office everyday with red carnations, and probably caused Lenin to have an aneurysm or three with the telegraphs and letters he would send off to Moscow: he wired Lenin complaining that Johannes Hoffmann stole the keys to “his ministry’s toilet”, sent Lenin two theses regarding the works of Immanuel Kant, and wired all of the Commissars of the Republic of Councils that he was personally declaring war on Switzerland and Württemberg because they refused to grant him 60 trains, and made it quite clear he was going to ask the Pope for his blessings in the endeavor.

Ernst Toller

Ernst Toller

The Coffeehouse Anarchists lasted all of 6 days. Then, the Communists arrived.

The Russians

The Communists who arrived in Bavaria were an interesting sort. They weren’t authorized, official representatives of the German Communist Party, who were still in a state of rebuilding after their attempted revolution was utterly crushed by the Freikorps in March. The Communist Party in Germany even told its followers to abstain from any armed conflicts for the time being. Because of this, they had no interest in the events going on in Bavaria. Another interesting fact about these Communists who called their government the “Munich Commune” was that they were not representatives of Lenin or his international movement (Towia Axelrod, one of the three Communists now in Bavaria, was with Lenin in Petrograd for a short time—only Axelrod could be considered anything like an international “delegate”. More on him in a moment). These Communists were called “the Russians”, and I’ll explain who they were, one by one:

Towia Axelrod: As mentioned, Axelrod was the only one of these three that could be considered a delegate in any sense of the word, of international Communism. Axelrod was born into a Jewish family in Moscow in 1887, and grew up to become a revolutionary and an advocate for Communism. With the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian government, Axelrod was assigned to the staff of one Adolf Yoffe, the Soviet ambassador to Imperial Germany. Days before the Armistice, Yoffe’s staff was tossed out of the country as he aroused suspicions that his staff was in the process of inciting a Communist revolution (this wasn’t far-fetched: Ottokar Czernin, the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Foreign Minister, remarked that during negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, Yoffe very sincerely told him that he had “hoped to raise the revolution in your [Czernin’s] country.” So we have a clear view of Yoffe’s intentions for foreign policy). Yoffe and his staff were tossed out of the country, Axelrod hung behind to keep an eye on things. With the news of Eisner’s takeover of Munich, Axelrod fled south to avoid the inevitable clashes with agitated Berliners in the wake of the abdication of Wilhelm II.

Towia Axelrod

Towia Axelrod

Max Levien: Max Levien was the scion of a wealthy Jewish merchant family that claimed both German and Russian heritage, and was also born in Moscow. Levien fled Russia for Germany before the war and studied at the University of Halle before moving back to Russia…where he was arrested for revolutionary activities and sentenced to work in Siberian lead mines. He escaped this punishment and fled to Zurich, Switzerland, where he met with Vladimir Lenin, and made his way back to Germany, only to find himself drafted into the German Army. Silently advocating revolution in the early years of the war, when the war began falling apart for the German Empire Levien openly called for revolution and became a Spartacist. He desired an Allied win over Germany, stating:

“It is necessary that Germany be humiliated, that the colonial troops of France and England march through the Brandenburg Gate, that Helgoland become the property of the English, and that the German fleet be taken away.”
In mid-December of 1918, Levien moved south to Bavaria to organize Spartacist groups there, and with the assassination of Eisner in February, he took advantage of the chaos and fervor in Munich to declare the Catholic cathedral in the city be turned into a “revolutionary temple”, which he got—and taking things one step further, Levien insisted that the “Goddess Reason” preside over the ceremony. Max Levien was a man of action and motion, and totally dedicated to the Communist cause (he was also described by many in Munich as being sadistic, which given his penchant for invoking the French Revolution, executing hostages, and utilizing terror tactics to get his way, was in all likelihood an accurate description).

Max Levien

Max Levien

Eugen Levine: Not to be confused with Levien, Levine was the third “Russian” and the oldest of the three. Hailing from a Jewish family in St. Petersburg, Levine also came to study in Germany as Levien did. Levine returned to Russia in 1905 to witness the uprisings, only to head back to Germany in 1909. Also like Levien, Levine was drafted to fight in the German Army and became a Spartacist. During the chaos of the postwar, he was sent by the infamous Rosa Luxembourg to Moscow as a representative of the German Communist Party to the Comintern (international Communist Congress of sorts). Levine wasn’t able to cross the border, which wasn’t surprising given the chaos of Polish soldiers fighting with German irregulars over territorial disputes and personal spats. Directed by Paul Levi (head of the German Communist Party after Freikorps assassinated Rosa Luxembourg in late 1918) to organize the Communist Party in Bavaria, Levine left for Munich in March. Taking command of the Party, he proceeded to purge the committee, executives, and membership by taking in their cards and reissuing less than 3,000 of them back. A fanatic for the Communist cause, Levine funnily enough shied away from violence and terror, preferring a practical, less stringent approach.

Eugen Levine

Eugen Levine

The only truly German national in the Munich Commune that occupied the upper crust of the Communist Party was a 26 year-old sailor and veteran of the Kiel Mutiny, Rudolf Egelhofer. He was well liked by “the Russians” for his iron-clad devotion to the Communist cause, and Levien adored him for his ruthlessness. Egelhofer was charged with creating a Communist army in Bavaria, and was made the military commander of the “Republic of Councils.” Lacking the brains as it were, Egelhofer commanded a fantastic ability to rally people around the cause, and in mid-April of 1919, he issued his call to arms. While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that by the end of the month Egelhofer commanded an Army of about 20,000. His army was one of the best-paid in history, with basic privates earning 25 Marks a day, non-commissioned officers getting 130 marks, and officers were making money beyond avarice. The Bavarian Red Army also promised prostitutes and liquor, and delivered on both. Russian POWs were recruited from nearby prison camps and swelled Egelhofer’s ranks. His agents began arresting and shooting known nationalists and anticommunists, and soon Stadelheim Prison began swelling with prisoners—primarily middle-class and noble families. Unlike Toller’s Coffeehouse Anarchists, the Communists simply shut down all the schools and universities, and began purging moderate leftists. The Majority Socialists tried to initiate a coup but they were annihilated by Egelhofer.

Rudolf Egelhofer

Rudolf Egelhofer

Critical Mass

The economy of Bavaria was in total ruin by this point in time. The Bavarian Red Army demanded constant maintenance of their wages, which drained the treasuries of Bavaria to nothing. Even worse, the Majority Socialists, while exiled in Bamberg, managed to create a semi-successful blockade of Munich, relying on the farmers in the countryside who distrusted the money coming out from the city. Food shipments were now halted, and the situation in Munich was not looking very bright. The Soviets in Russia were in the dark as to what exactly was going on in the city, so they were reduced to cautious cheerleading from the sidelines. However desperate the situation was in Munich, the Majority Socialist government under Hoffmann couldn’t take advantage of it at all. Bavarian antipathy towards Prussia, mixed with Eisner’s stances on pacifism, made it nearly impossible to recruit Freikorps in the region, thus depriving the Majority Socialists of a true military force. Bavarians, while distrusting the Communists and at times openly rebelling against them, were also not fond of Hoffman’s government or his party. Faced with the prospect of engineering an invasion by mostly Prussian-led, Prussian-staffed Freikorps (which would certainly drive Bavarians into the arms of “the Russians”) and trying to create an army from scratch (almost impossible given that much of the manpower was concentrated in the ranks of the Bavarian Red Army, and the Communists controlled the important armories and their supplies), Hoffmann’s government decided on the latter despite Gustav Noske’s offer of Freikorps armies to assist with the retaking of Bavaria. Turning down Noske, Hoffmann scrapped together a small, pathetic force of his own, hoping to maybe spark some kind of insurrection against the Communists.

The Majority Socialists sent their forces south and on April 20th, near the German town of Dachau, they engaged the Communists, who were sent out to meet Hoffmann’s forces. It was a total disaster. The Majority Socialists broke down and ran, being chased by the Communists who resorted to throwing rocks at their fleeing adversaries. The commander of Hoffmann’s ill-fated expedition commandeered a train to flee the area, and the Communist forces, commanded by Ernst Toller (of Coffeehouse Anarchist fame…the Munich Commune made him a military commander, believe it or not), took nearly 40 soldiers and 5 officers prisoner. The captured forces didn’t endear themselves to their captors with their flight from battle, nor by the blue and white-colored armbands they were wearing, those colors not only being Bavarian but the colors of the former Wittelsbach dynasty. Egelhofer wired Toller to have the prisoners shot on the spot, but Toller, who was a pacifist and an intellectual, flat-out refused.

The End of the Majority Socialists

Johannes Hoffmann

Johannes Hoffmann 

This battle, while seemingly small, comedic and insignificant, was to have a major and devastating effect on the Bavarian Revolution. Hoffmann and the Majority Socialists, who had hoped to retain a semblance of Bavarian independence in the postwar world, were now forced to undertake the unthinkable. Accepting their situation as hopeless without any genuine fighting force, Hoffmann and his Majority Socialists in Bamberg traveled to Weimar. Kowtowing to the German government, they accepted the terms of Gustav Noske and Friedrich Ebert: any notions entertaining the idea of Bavarian independence were to be completely forgotten, and the reoccupation of Munich was to be seen as keeping Bavaria within the Weimar Republic rather than its liberation and establishment as the capital city of an independent Bavaria. Hoffmann would retain his position as Minister-President, legitimately elected by the people of Bavaria, but he wouldn’t head a separate Bavarian nation: he would, from this point on, answer to the central government. The Freikorps forces sent to Bavaria would only answer to Noske and the central government, and were under the strictest orders to ignore Hoffmann’s orders, should Hoffmann get any ideas. That the Freikorps mobilized so quickly and had a working plan in order showed that the Majority Socialists’ embarrassing defeats were predicted by the Weimar government.

This surrender of the Majority Socialists and acknowledgement of the central government’s superiority would result in the destruction of the Communists in Munich. Even with the resources of Weimar stretched beyond critical, they still had the immense numbers of Freikorps forces, all of whom could boast of frontline experience during the war, had maintained rigorous discipline and cohesive command structures, and most importantly, had been very effective in smashing the Communists during the 1919 uprisings. With around 30,000 of these battle-hardened troops on the borders of Bavaria, and with the increasing numbers of desertions in the Bavarian Red Army, along with the situation in Munich garnering the full attention of the central government, the stage was set.

The Bavarian Revolution was entering its final, tragic, blood-stained phase.

The Tortured History of Post-WWI Bavaria (Part One)

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German history is an interesting creature, a creature that will keep people entertained and enthralled, at least, if they study it genuinely and passionately. Today, obviously, German history is sadly relegated entirely to 1933 and forward—I’ve been told by numerous German friends over the years that the school system there emphasizes the rise of Hitler, the Second World War, the Holocaust and the coming of the Americans, plus something about a Cold War (which emphasizes the dominance of West Germany over East Germany; the latter despite being Communist looks more appealing by the day) and why the past must never be repeated, ever again. You know, guilt-complex training and whatnot.

The real history, of course, is far more complicated than that. While the defeat of the German Empire in 1918 and its subjugation to the Allied powers in 1919 is well-known, the immediate postwar period is not. In fact, the German Revolution and the subsequent German Civil War from 1919-1923 are strangely and shockingly never covered in conventional histories; if one wants to read of the Freikorps’ movements into the Baltic to fight with Soviets, Latvians and Estonians, or if one wants to brush up on the Freikorps duking it out with Spartacist revolutionaries in Berlin, that person will have to consult specialized literature dealing with the topic (I highly recommend Richard M. Watt’s masterpiece, “The Kings Depart”, which provides a phenomenal level of material for this period, and is a book you’ll see me use as a reference over and over).

This void is obviously a major let-down. The rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to power, the ignition of the Second World War and the complete destruction of the last vestiges of Old Europe and the withering away of the tortured ghosts of a bygone era, all of that came out of the immediate postwar wreckage left by the collapse of Imperial Germany. In particular, Bavaria gets no attention at all, and it certainly ought to for the sheer impact that the years between 1918-1920 left. So come, let’s all venture together down Memory Lane to visit a house not only long abandoned by posterity, but left to rot by the neighborhood it was built in.

Prelude to Madness: 1917

The war for Imperial Germany had undergone an incredible rollercoaster in a short span of merely a year and a half. 1917 was a year of utter desperation for the Allies: Russia was effectively out of the war, Romania was almost totally overrun, the Balkans were more or less occupied and massive swathes of land in the Baltic, Poland and Ukraine were occupied by the Germans. Even with the entry of the United States in 1917, it would be months before they formed an effective force. The British were beating up on the Turks (and unwittingly unleashing a Pandora’s Box of future problems by inciting the Arabs to revolt), but were tied down all over East Africa trying to corner Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck’s Schutztruppen, a task they would ultimately fail in doing despite Germany’s loss in WWI. 1918 saw Germany negotiate a separate peace with the newly-formed Soviet government of Vladimir Lenin, and with the development of infiltration tactics thanks to Oskar von Hutier’s experiences in the Baltic, the “Michael Offensives” would prove to be a massive success in the Spring of that year. But the Allies didn’t break: all five major German offensives, despite beginning with shocking ease and power, petered out, and with a steady stream of American reinforcements (and the outbreak of an influenza pandemic), combined with a relentless British blockade, German and Austrian manpower was beginning to wane. The sight of sickly, undersized soldiers on the frontlines in ill-fitting uniforms was becoming a common sight, and reports of starvation in Germany and Austria-Hungary were beginning to multiply.

And then, the reversal of fortune for Germany: on August 8th, 1918, the Allies countered with a series of offensives of their own. They smashed into the front lines and the Germans fell back, kilometer by kilometer. It was the greatest Allied breakthrough since the beginning of the war, and the Germans, having seen the light of victory at the start of the year, were now beginning to wonder if peace overtures were a good idea. By September they were being discussed in the halls of power but with the military not interested in any of them. By October, most powerholders were openly clamoring for a settled peace, by the end of the month, even Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, the supreme commanders of the war effort, were demanding peace at any price. The Central Powers were beginning to disintegrate, or already had: Bulgaria ceased combat operations and sued for peace on September 29th, the Ottoman Empire on October 30th, and Austria-Hungary—an empire with multiple parliaments—surrendered in separate sessions. Austria and Hungary both voted to end the war on November 4th, the Hapsburg Empire having effectively disintegrated the previous week with Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs and others declaring their independence. Germany stood alone with the Allies on the borders of the Empire itself.

November 8th, 1918

Ludwig III Wittelsbach

Ludwig III Wittelsbach

The King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, was taking a walk in his garden when an aide ran up to him with a note, begging him to come to the palace, the München Residenz, where the monarchs of Bavaria resided. There to greet the King was a revolutionary Socialist by the name of Kurt Eisner and his Cabinet. Eisner informed Ludwig III that the situation in Bavaria was desperate, that the revolutions breaking out all over Germany were happening in Bavaria and that the new republican government could not guarantee the safety of the monarch and his family. Packing what belongings they could into an automobile, Ludwig III of Bavaria—along with his wife Maria Theresa von Austria-Este—left into exile. Despite not formally abdicating, Eisner took Ludwig III’s flight as such and over 700 years of Wittelsbach rule ended (as an aside, the royal family of Bavaria would return, but for only a short time. Maria Theresa, Ludwig III’s wife, would pass away in February of 1919 and after Eisner was assassinated in the same month, Ludwig III would flee to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and finally at a personal estate in Hungary, where he would pass away in 1921. The Bavarian government, fully republican by that point, dreaded a state funeral of Ludwig III and Maria Theresa, but couldn’t do much about it when 100,000 onlookers gathered around to witness the royal family’s burial and internment). The day after the Bavarian royal family fled into exile, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s abdication was announced by Prince Max of Baden, and in Berlin, a Socialist by the name of Phillip Schiedemann casually proclaimed a republic to a humongous crowd gathered outside. Revolutions continued to erupt as all the monarchies melted away, their families heading into exile, and the Imperial Army still demobilizing on the front lines was still completely in the dark about the situation inside Germany. And in Munich, a drama critic-turned revolutionary now headed the government of Bavaria. A question now arises: just who was this man, who saw off the Bavarian royal family into exile?

Kurt Eisner

Kurt Eisner

Kurt Eisner was 51 years old when he assumed control of one of the oldest continuous nations in Europe. Funnily enough, he took over Bavaria despite not having been a Bavarian: Eisner was born in 1867 to a Jewish family in Berlin (of all places!), and graduated from university there, living his entire life in the Kingdom of Prussia (if you understand the rivalry between Prussia and Bavaria, the fact that Eisner managed to become the head of a government in Munich becomes an astounding one). In 1897, Eisner wrote an article satirizing Wilhelm II and was sentenced to 9 months in a Prussian jail, where he met Karl Liebknecht, a legend amongst the German socialist movements. Liebknecht duly converted Eisner to his cause, made him an editor of the revolutionary magazine Vorwärts (Forward!) and Eisner would likely have spent the rest of his life as a theorist and editor for the Social Democratic Party were it not for him getting caught up in a vicious interparty war between revolutionaries and revisionists. Savagely denounced by Rosa Luxemburg (another towering figure of the German Left) as being too insincere in his studies of economics and social theory (which admittedly he was) and being too inclined towards literary critiques, Eisner was given the boot from the SDP and, leaving his wife and 5 children behind in Prussia, fled to Nuremburg in 1907, then on to Munich in 1910. Eisner took up residence at a small cottage of an old socialist’s daughter and until the later phases of the war, lived a simple life as a drama critic, essayist, theoretician and writer, all of which ensured he would blend in as Munich during this time was absolutely full of artists and writers. It was the unfolding catastrophe of the war that thrust Eisner onto the stage. Establishing the Independent Socialist Party (Bavaria) in 1918, he led countless strikes all over Munich and the surrounding areas. Authorities tossed him into prison and until October of that year, Eisner resided in Cell 70 of Stadelheim, the Bavarian state prison (wild fact: that same cell would be occupied by Eisner’s assassin, Count Arco-Valley in 1919, and in 1923, one Adolf Hitler would also reside in this very same cell. Ernst Röhm was shot to death in this cell in 1934 when the Nazis purged the more troublesome elements of their party). He, along with other antiwar demonstrators, were granted amnesty by Prince Max of Baden and he was released, where he formed a cabinet and effectively rode the wave of discontent and uncertainty to power in Bavaria.

So to recap what we have here: a Prussian-born, Jewish intellectual flees to Bavaria after getting booted from the Social Democratic Party, lives a quiet life of intellectual pursuits, and in the final year of the war seizes his chance and organizes strikes all over Munich, where he’s tossed into prison…only to be granted amnesty by the German government by October of 1918, where he leads his party to power and sees off the last Bavarian monarch, assuming power in an overwhelmingly Catholic, very conservative state with a long history of antipathy towards anything from Northern Germany. The world is a very strange place, indeed.

Eisner’s government, if one could call it that, was a strange exercise in total democracy and transparency. Eisner, contrary to popular thought, was not a Bolshevik or an agent of Lenin, and he ran his revolutionary government in what started out as being more casual than a university student senate meeting. Eisner loved making dramatic speeches filled with literary references and witty remarks, and conducted government business much in the same fashion. If you wanted to stroll into the government offices formerly occupied by Bavarian royalty and civil officials, read a telegram to President Friedrich Ebert or demand to see a copy of the minutes of any cabinet meeting, you were encouraged and welcome to it. It wasn’t unusual to have impatient workers and peasants burst into the offices of Eisner, demanding a problem be addressed on the spot. Eisner, not one to turn down requests from the lower classes, would oblige and deal with the issue.

Eisner did not pay much attention to economics, which true to Rosa Luxemburg’s criticism of him, he did not understand much. Indeed, he held off on socializing any industries in Bavaria due to his lack of understanding of economic issues. However, he was extremely keen on the arts. True to his intellectual nature, Eisner and his “Council of Intellectual Workers” (basically, his fellow Munich intellectual friends gathered from the coffeehouses and newspapers) poured out highly theoretical works at an astounding pace in order to bring about the “moral improvement of humanity.” This process included reducing working hours, making education more available to women, and abolishing military service. Even rabid revolutionaries had trouble mustering up hatred for the man due to his commitment to furthering the socialist cause in Bavaria.

But beneath every smooth surface of the sea, there lurk wild currents and shifting dangers, threatening to break the surface to reveal a portion of its power to the world. In Bavaria, this started within a month of Eisner’s takeover. Eisner’s government published 194 documents in late November, documents that had been located within the now abandoned Foreign Ministry building used by the Kingdom of Bavaria. These documents were published to prove that Bavaria was an innocent party in the war, having been dragged along by Imperial Germany. Essentially, Eisner was playing upon Bavarian feelings that the war was strictly the fault of Prussian intransigence and thus Bavaria should be treated as a separate entity by the Allies. Naturally, that did not go well with Chancellor Ebert when Eisner traveled to Berlin the day after those documents were published. Ebert ripped into Eisner over the release of the documents, stating emphatically (and quite correctly) that Eisner was being incredibly naïve regarding the feelings of the Allies, informing Eisner that the only government the Allies were going to be dealing with was to be the one in Berlin, and that the elections for the new German National Assembly were to continue regardless of how Eisner felt about them or that the new German government, along with its new constitution, was going to be exerting a more centralizing influence over the various constituent states. Eisner, of course, thought all of this was sheer nonsense and booked it back to Munich, where on the 26th of November, his government severed diplomatic relations with Ebert’s government and proceeded to set up their own foreign policies.

Things would not proceed as planned for Kurt Eisner’s government. The wrench in these plans did not emerge from the far-right, but rather from the far-left. The Bavarian Spartacists, the hardcore leftists in the mold of the Bolsheviks, furiously demanded why Eisner refused to use terror to further the revolution, along with all the trappings of human evil that only the Bolsheviks could wring from the darkest recesses of the human heart. Of course, the answer was because Eisner was not a Bolshevik—he was an intellectual—specifically, a German one. His answer to the radicals was simply that German socialists had nothing to learn or gain from what he regarded as a backward nation of feudalistic Asians, and that he distrusted the entire bunch of Bolsheviks running the revolution from Moscow. This provided the spark the far-left of Bavaria needed. On December 7th, 400 radicals consisting of elements from the Spartacists and the “People’s Naval Division” surrounded the offices of Erhard Auer (Bavarian Ministry of the Interior) and, putting a gun to his head, demanded his resignation (Auer, being cheeky, accepted the “offer”, only to retract it as the would-be revolutionaries marched off into the countryside that very same night). Eisner’s government managed to suppress the insurrection, but now he faced a far more dangerous adversary—the Bavarian far-right.

Kurt Eisner was well-liked by Müncheners, who were perhaps the only people who could understand the man in his entirety. But Bavaria was not populated purely by the city folks of laid-back Munich. The economy of Eisner’s Bavaria was in total freefall, with resources being sent away to the Allies as part of reparations’ payments under the Armistice terms. The countryside was in disarray, so there would be no food sent to the cities until the springtime. Legions of demobilized soldiers could only count on drawing demobilization pay in Bavaria because there were no jobs they could go; these payments bankrupted Eisner’s Bavaria. By the end of 1918, demonstrations were surging against the drama critic and his status as a Jewish man from Berlin did not help his image amongst the countryside. Rumors flew around that he was actually a Russian agent named Saloman Kuchinsky, and demonstrators screamed slogans such as “Out with the Israelite Devil!” and other remarks. (Most of these demonstrators, by the way, were university students. The universities of Bavaria at this time were regarded by the far-left as hotbeds of monarchists, rightists and those favoring a royal restoration…how the times have changed, indeed!).

By January of 1919, Eisner had lost his touch with Bavarians. A snap election to decide representatives to the Bavarian Landtag on January 12th produced proof of how far Eisner and his Independent Socialists had fallen—what was once a popular and eccentric man heading a revolution was now a broken intellectual and a party that garnered only 86,000 votes…to the Majority Socialists’ 1,124,000. Cabinet meetings had disintegrated into total anarchy and Eisner was reduced to the status of a figurehead within his own government, only 2 months after sweeping the halls of power to claim them as his own. Understanding all was lost, with the far-left and far-right growing in power to levels beyond Bavaria’s control, and weary of the political stage, Eisner set out from the Foreign Ministry for the Landtag on a cold February morning to resign his government.

He never arrived.

(To Be Continued in Part 2)

January 21st, 1793

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Upon the sound of metal striking bone and wood, the World convulsed in a way it had not in a long time. Amidst the cheering, simplistic crowds and crowing, ugly intellectuals, Hell was unleashed that day. The evils of the human heart were hard to keep at bay, but those evils were and remain those of passion. The true evils unleashed on that day were the evils of the human mind: the calculating, cruel, and demonic forces that see only in black and white, “fit” and “unfit”, old and new.

Unleashed on that day was the Revolution in its purest form: the emphasis was no longer to improve life, but to harvest death. Death, guided by “Light” and “Reason”, was to be the centerpiece of a new Trinity. Christianity was born when Christ died on the Cross for all mankind to redeem us in the eyes of God; the Revolution sought to baptize their new “Man” in the blood and agony of numberless souls deemed “imperfect” and therefore “unfit” for the new order, a process repeated with every reincarnation of the idea of perfectibility.

At the zenith of the celebrations over this single death of a man, there was short-lived jubilation, cheers and proclamations of freedom. They cheered as the chains, forged only in the minds of unrealistic and out of touch intellectuals, fell off, chains that existed only in the writings of men who knew nothing of living.

The coming storm merely laughed at all this and directed its minions and lieutenants to the slaughter. The crowds, too silent to react, only stared in wide-eyed wonder as the blood began to flow, having been too eager to listen to the promises of vain fools who eagerly sacrificed and baptized for their cause.

The King was dead. With his death, “Man”–in all of his abstractions, the numberless mass graves he would come to fill, the countless skulls he would plant in the killing fields of the wars and genocides to be harvested by unrestrained madmen–was born.

“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

Civilization From Chaos: Russia (Epilogue)

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March 13, 1913, The Russian Empire

On a wet and windy morning in February 1913, St. Petersburg celebrated three hundred years of Romanov rule over Russia.  People had been talking about the great event for weeks, and everyone agreed that nothing quite so splendid would ever be seen again in their lifetimes.  The majestic power of the dynasty would be displayed, as never before, in an extravaganza of pageantry.  As the jubilee approached, dignitaries from far-flung parts of the Russian Empire filled the capital’s grand hotels: princes from Poland and the Baltic lands; high priests from Georgia and Armenia; mullahs and tribal chiefs from Central Asia; the Emir of Bukhara and the Khan of Khiva…above the tram-lines were strung chains of coloured lights, which lit up at night with the words ‘God Save the Tsar’ or a Romanov double-headed eagle and the dates 1613-1913.”

Orlando Figes, “A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924

Russia had survived the Time of Troubles and multiple foreign invasions to become a viable state, and under Peter the Great, a world-class power.  It was Peter I that introduced Western-style reforms to Russia, moving the capitol city from Moscow to his new city near the Baltic in order to give Russia a fresh new face (it would come to be called Saint Petersburg).  The city was built along western lines, with western-style buildings, and Peter also introduced western-style administration, forcing a modernized bureaucracy upon what had remained a medieval/traditional style system of governance since the days of Kievan Rus.  His numerous (and very successful) wars enlarged Russia into a genuine empire, and set Russia up for long-term success.  His son Alexei was slotted to become the Tsar but Alexei was entirely against his father’s reforms, demanding a return to the “Old Russia” where Tsars lived in Moscow and Yaroslav at alternating periods of the year, and despised the imperial ambitions of the reformed army.  Alexei wound up angering Peter and was arrested, and died in prison on July 7th, 1718 in Petropavlovskaya Prison, Saint Petersburg.

Needing an heir, Peter managed to change the succession laws to allow tsars to name their successors if necessary.  Power passed onto his wife Catherine, who reigned as Catherine I of Russia when Peter died in 1725; she reigned for only two years before she died in 1727.  The male half of the Romanov line went extinct in 1730 with the death of Peter II, who also reigned for a short time.

The dynasty would still survive through the matrilineal side of Peter the Great, through his eldest daughter Anna Petrovna.  Her son, Peter of Holstein-Gottorp (and the nephew of Elizabeth of Russia, who assumed the throne after the death of Peter II), became the Emperor of All the Russias in 1762 upon the death of Elizabeth, reigning as Peter III.  He only lasted a short time before his wife, Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, overthrew him in 1762.  She would assume the name of Catherine and her reign would see Russia expand tremendously at the expense of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, who were faltering from the ravages of democratic aristocracy, and the Ottoman Empire, who were beginning the stages of their decline 80 years after they were driven away from the gates of Vienna.  Her expansions would include what we know now as the Ukraine, bringing the ancient birthplace of Russia back into the Russian fold, and the double-headed eagle flew over the shores of the Black Sea and the northern reaches of the Caucasus Mountains.

Russia would add on more territory in the early half of the 19th-century: Alexander I would gain everlasting affection from the Finns for liberating Finland from Sweden in 1809–the victory in that short war against Sweden would give Saint Petersburg breathing room, as the Swedes were only a short distance away until they lost Finland.  The Finns were granted autonomous status and would hold an illustrious title in “Grand Duchy of Finland”.

Alexander I would gain the North Caucasus in the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), liberating Georgia from centuries of Muslim rule, and maintained a war against the Ottoman Empire in the same time frame, a war that would make Russia a new power in the Danube with the annexation of eastern Moldavia (called Bessarabia by Russia).

The Russian Empire would face its greatest test of trials with the invasion of Napoleon in the summer of 1812.  The French, numbering some 600,000 (twice the size of the Imperial Army), invaded and ate up incredible amounts of territory; the defeats of Russia at the battles of Austerlitz (1805) and Friedland (1807) would give the French a sense of overconfidence in invading Russia; they “won” Borodino and occupied Moscow by September of that year but the Russians, through a strategic withdraw of their forces after claiming the lives of 49 French general officers, not only preserved their army but made it possible to chase the French out of Russia.  The French occupied Moscow but soon found it ablaze.  Bewildered that the Russians would initiate such a ferocious scorched-earth policy, the French retreated out of Russia, with the Russians in hot pursuit, Alexander I embracing his self-developed role of “Liberator of Europe”.  The French were later beaten in 1814 and permanently in 1815 after the legendary Battle of Waterloo.

Here, we see a turning point for Russia: while they were instrumental in regional policy (Poland, Sweden and Turkey), they were viewed as a giant curiosity in the courts of France and Britain, somebody with whom business could be conducted.  With the defeat of Napoleon, Russia truly arrived on the world stage.  Alexander I, always keen on foreign policy, was given a prominent role in reorganizing Europe and to maintain what was to become the “Concert of Nations”.  Alexander I, who grew up a liberal and entranced with Enlightenment thought, found himself quite the esoteric conservative by the time he passed away.  His reign saw a massive expansion of the empire, and would see the Russian flag planted as far away as Alaska.

Between 1825 and 1900, Russia would see its standards carried across Central Asia and the Far East, and would continue expanding across the Caucasus at the expense of the Ottoman Empire.  Those expansions underneath the Emperor Nicholas I saw Russia attain its geographical zenith, but unfortunately for him he had to deal with frightened foreign powers.  The Crimean War, however badly it went for everyone involved, would see Russia lose military access to the Black Sea and while the war triggered reforms for everyone involved, it really provided impetus for the Russians to reform.  The reign of Nicholas I was largely characterized by graft, corruption and micromanaging by the emperor himself.  He died before the Crimean War ended, leaving his son Alexander II to clean up the mess and deal with the consequences.

Given what Alexander II had to deal with, I’d say he cleaned up admirably.  In 1861, he liberated the serfs with the ending of the feudal system (state-owned serfs, the ones living on Imperial land, were liberated in 1866) and forced the nobility to give up a few of their privileges.  There were consequences–many of the peasants did not have enough land of their own to make it a survivable proposition, and the local zemstvos (local, centralized governments) began breaking apart the idea of an aristocracy that owned the land, with landowners not part of the nobility able to have a say in how things were being run.  The Emancipation Law also made it possible for a capitalist class to emerge in Russia, which for better or worse, made it possible for a massive shift to take hold in the empire.  The Finns benefited immensely from Alexander II as he encouraged them to take more responsibility for their land.  He allowed them to use their own currency, reconvened their Diet in 1863, and encouraged the use of the Finnish language and press (many today think of it as a way to dilute their ties with Sweden).  Finland saw foreign investment in their nation as a result, generating wealth for the Grand Duchy.  Alexander II is well-loved by the Finns, as he has a statue that still stands in Senate Square, in Helsinki.  He also garnered the “liberator” title from the Bulgarians, thanks to the victories scored by the Imperial Russian Army in 1877 against Turkey.  The Treaty of San Stefano revived an independent Bulgarian nation, the first since the Second Bulgarian Empire was occupied in 1396 by the Ottomans and furthered the decline of the Ottoman Empire.  There are statues of Alexander II in Bulgaria and a museum dedicated to his life in Pleven.  His nephew, Prince Alexander of Battenberg, became the first Tsar of Bulgaria since Constantine II.

One fine morning in March of 1880, Alexander II was on his way to the Mikhailovsky Manège for military roll call as he did every Sunday, when a group of revolutionaries calling themselves “Narodnaya Volya” (“People’s Will”) took it upon themselves to bomb the Tsar’s carriage.  The first bomb didn’t do the deed (but it did take out a few Cossacks), but the second one lobbed at Alexander II did, ripping him to shreds.  Last rites were issued that afternoon as he lay dying, and by 3:30pm he was dead.  He was working on a plan with Count Loris-Melikov to introduce an elected parliament, the Duma, to quell the increasing agitation of revolutionaries.  Had Alexander II not been assassinated, it is very possible that Russia would have embarked on the path to a constitutional monarchy where the emperor would still wield a good amount of power to keep their politicians in line; the Russian Revolutions of the early-20th century would likely have never happened and the more radical types would have been headed off.  What we do know is that the dreams of Russians constitutionalism more or less died with Alexander II.  Luckily, the revolutionaries got exactly what they deserved for their act of sheer stupidity.

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The reward for killing off a relatively moderate, level-headed emperor who had initiated the greatest reforms of Russian society since Peter the Great and Paul I was the ascension of Alexander III…a fiery and staunch defender of the old order, a man with reactionary views as imposing as his size (the man was over 6 feet tall and had incredible strength).  While he was one of the most humble of any Russian emperor–his idea of a good time was to head out to the woods for a few days with a sack of food and go exploring, and he was exceptionally faithful to his Danish wife and his children (he would often play with them), and he vastly preferred Moscow over Saint Petersburg–don’t let the love of the simple life fool you.  He was absolutely determined to see Russia remain Russian.  Reaffirming the principles of divine right as a sacred role and responsibility for the monarch, the plans for a Russian parliament were scrapped indefinitely, and the revolutionaries who murdered his father were chased to the ends of the empire, exiled to Siberia, or simply executed.  Alexander III understood something that to this day many leaders (particularly Americans) do not–you cannot negotiate with idealists and revolutionaries.  If you give them an inch, they begin demanding a mile.  A concession only produces a further demand, and on it goes until you’re on the chopping block.  Alexander III understood this, and with that understanding, proceeded to crush any and all notions of liberalism and reform within the empire.  Naturally, encouraged by both Alexander II’s assassination and the reactionary ambitions of Alexander III, “People’s Will” tried their stuff again…only to be absolutely crushed.  They were discovered by the Okhrana in 1887, captured, interrogated and hanged.  Among the revolutionaries that were hanged due to their connection to the plot to assassinate Alexander III was one Alexander Ulyanov–Vladimir Illych Ulyanov’s older brother.

Alexander III, unlike his father, desired to keep quiet on the foreign affairs.  While distrusting Otto von Bismarck, he understood the need for a stable frontier with Germany and despite his intense dislike for Wilhelm II, didn’t raise any fits with the Germans (though he did, oddly enough, pursue a close relationship with France when things were getting really sour with Germany.  France by this time was in the midst of their Third Republic and harboring, as usual, outrageously radical intellectuals in Paris).  Alexander III also kept things quiet in Central Asia, gradually extending Russian power and influence throughout the area but in a way that didn’t raise red flags with the British.  He refused to get involved militarily when Bulgaria began showing signs of wanting to be more Bulgarian and began filtering out Russian influence in their nation, and he didn’t let partisan elements dictate foreign policy.  Overall, his foreign affairs could be described as quiet and uneventful, and his domestic policies, while hard, gave Russia a tremendous boost in internal prosperity and stability.

On October 29th, 1888, Alexander III was traveling with his family back to Saint Petersburg after a holiday in the Crimea when it derailed near Borki.  The Tsar and his family were safe, but the trauma of the derailing wound up causing kidney damage that would prove to be fatal 6 years later, when he came down with nephritis, a kidney disease.  He died in the arms of his wife, Maria Feodorovna (formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark) in November of 1894, at only 49 years of age.  His son Nicholas II ascended the throne, and it is here where we come full circle.

We won’t go into the reign of Nicholas II too much, mostly because this entire series of posts was about the rise of Russia from chaos to civilization.  The descent of his reign into tragedy is a little beyond the scope of this series, but it does bear a cautionary tale.  Nicholas II inherited a Russia that had more or less conquered the problems of its past.  It was strong, infinitely more prosperous than its ancestor states, and it was relatively united–the great court wars of the past where various nobility (usually in the forms of very ambitious wives) were gone, a clear line of succession had operated since the late 18th-century, and there was a strong administrative, civil presence in the government that for better or worse, was there to stay, ensuring at least governmental legitimacy to even the smallest and remote villages.  The problems Russia faced now were modern: the nationalism of its subject peoples such as its Central Asian populations, the Baltic peoples, its Caucasus subjects and particularly the Polish, who weren’t faring as well in Russia as they were in Germany.  The Finns were, for the most part, content, having kept their autonomy intact even during the reign of Alexander III, who stressed his ambitions to have one Russia with one language, one religion and one purpose.  The other problems Russia faced were also modern, despite their ancient underpinnings: would Russia turn to constitutionalism and a European approach to government and society (the Petrine idea) or would it continue to embrace a Russian way, which involved autocracy, faith and a reverence for its heritage (the Muscovite idea)?  The internal problems, too, had changed.  Russia had always had to deal with peasant uprisings and foreign-backed pretenders, but now there was something infinitely more ominous and evil on the horizon.  The French Revolution a little over a hundred years ago, inspired by the writings of largely impatient and naive intellectuals, would in turn inspire more revolutionaries seeking to establish their own utopias and ideal societies on Earth.  The Revolutions of 1848, the unification movements in Italy and Germany, the burgeoning nationalism of the Balkans and the emergence of Communist revolutionaries throughout the world presented threats unlike any seen by Russia before.  These were people who would kill and die for an abstract cause, rather than a practical desire, making them especially dangerous.  And they advocated such foreign ideas to be imposed on Russian society: democracy, egalitarianism, and for many, atheism and the destruction of “superstitious” Russian traditions.  They wanted the destruction of the Russian soul, something not pursued by the Polish in the Time of Troubles or the Mongolian invasions.  This was what Russia was faced with when Nicholas II assumed the throne in 1894.

Russia had risen above its most desperate moments to not only survive, but grow and thrive.  It faced the Mongolian hordes and beat them back, it fended off the Teutonic Knights, it even survived the dying out of its founding dynasty and subsequent Polish and Swedish invasions to become a major power; it survived Napoleon to become a world power in its own right and by Nicholas II its empire stretched from Poland to the Bering Straits, from Siberia to the borders of Persia and Afghanistan, and commanded significant concessions in China.  Civilization won in Russia and were it not for the First World War, it would have continued to do so.

But nightmares were waiting on the horizon, perpetuated by its most vile and despicable generals, and building up the howling winds that would shatter humanity as they desired to rise to power to corrupt and enslave the souls of men.  Few understood the nature of the evil that unfolded in 1918 in Russia–and even fewer understand it today, even with all the information we have at our fingertips.  The tragedy of the collapse of civilization in Russia in the 20th century is that to this day we fail to acknowledge evil for what it is–even as it stares back at us from the skulls extracted from mass graves, from the ennui of those who simply “disappeared” into the night, and even as it gazes upon our blank faces from the bones of eleven people mercilessly and horrifically gunned down during a hellish night in 1918.

Hello Again!

The semester is over, and not a second too soon!  I can’t wait to get back to writing for this site!  I’m currently decompressing after a long semester but I’ll be back at it this week after Christmas!  For all those who have been reading the posts and keeping up with me, thank you for your patience and support!  You’re all awesome!

See you guys soon!

-Idaho Royalist

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