quarta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2004


"The provisions concerning recruiting and the length of active military service had to be fixed by the Reichstag; parliamentary consent was required, moreover, for the budgetary allowance for the army. But the Parliament had no influence over the management of military affairs. The army was the army of the King of Prussia, not of the people or the Parlia­ment. The Emperor and King was Supreme War Lord and com­mander in chief. The chief of the Great General Staff was the Kaiser's first assistant in the conduct of operations. The army was an institution not within but above the apparatus of civil adminis­tration. (...)

To the increase of the armed forces financial considerations were a smaller obstacle than the shortage of the supply of men whom the generals considered eligible for commissions on active duty. With the expansion of the armed forces it had long become impossible to give commissions to noblemen only. The number of nonaristocratic officers steadily grew.(...)

The political system of the new German Empire has been called militarism. The characteristic feature of militarism is not the fact that a nation has a powerful army or navy. It is the paramount role assigned to the army within the political structure. Even in peace­time the army is supreme; it is the predominant factor in political life. (...)

Empire did not employ foreign soldiers. It was not preserved by bayonets but by the almost unani­mous consent of its subjects. The nation approved of the system, and therefore the soldiers were loyal too. The people acquiesced in the leadership of the "state" because they deemed such a system fair, expedient, and useful for them. There were, of course, some objectors, but they were few and powerless."

"The liberals therefore did not fear that the new electoral system would postpone or seriously imperil their inexorable final victory. The outlook for the immediate future was not very comforting but the ultimate prospects were excellent. One had only to look at France. In that country too an autocrat had founded his despotism upon the loyalty of the army and upon universal and equal franchise. But now the Caesar was crushed and democracy had triumphed.

The liberals did not greatly fear socialism. The socialists had achieved some success. But it could be expected that reasonable workers would soon discover the impracticability of socialist utopias. Why should the wage earners whose standard of living was daily improving be deluded by demagogues who—as rumors whispered—were on the pay roll of Bismarck?

Only later did the liberals become aware of the change taking place in the nation's mentality. For many years they believed that it was only a temporary setback, a short reactionary incident which was doomed to disappear very soon. For them every supporter of the new ideologies was either misguided or a renegade. But the numbers of these apostates increased. The youth no longer joined the liberal party. The old fighters for liberalism grew tired. With every new election campaign their ranks became thinner; with every year the reactionary system which they hated became more power­ful.

Some faithful men still clung to the ideas of liberty and democracy, gallantly fighting against the united assaults on liberal­ism from the Right and from the Left. But they were a forlorn squad. Among those born after the battle of Königgrätz almost nobody joined the party of liberalism. The liberals died out. The new generation did not even know the meaning of the word."

Omnipotent Government The Rise of the Total State and Total War, by Ludwig von Mises(1944)

This remarkable treatise on Nazism and the total state was published by Yale University (New Haven, CT) in 1944 and reprinted by Arlington House (New Rochelle, NY) in 1969. It is now published by the Libertarian Press (Grove City, PA) and available from the Mises Institute's catalog

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