II. Capitalistic Militarism

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Karl Liebknecht



Militarism is not specifically a capitalistic institution. It is, on the contrary, an institution peculiar and essential to all societies divided in classes, of which capitalist society is the last. It is true that capitalism develops, like every other society divided in classes, a kind of militarism peculiar to itself,[1] for militarism is in its nature a means to an end, or to several ends, which differ with the kind of the society and which are to be attained in various ways according to the different characters of the societies. That fact appears not only in the constitution of the army, but also in the remaining substance of militarism which mani tests itself in the tasks militarism has to accomplish.

Best adapted to the capitalistic stage of development is the army built on universal military science which, though an army constituted by the people, is not an army of the people, but an army against the people, or becomes increasingly. converted into such a one.

Now it appears in the shape of a standing army, now as a militia. The standing army,[2] which is likewise not an institution peculiar to capitalism, appears as its most developed, and even its normal form, this will be shown in the following pages.

  1. Bernstein [the prominent German Socialist leader] wrongly stated in Vie socialiste of June 5, 1905, that modern military institutions were only the heritage of the more or less feudal monarchy.
  2. One need only consider Russia where, however, entirely peculiar circumstances which did not arise from interior conditions helped to bring about the result. Standing armies resting on a basis different from that of universal military service are, for instance, the mercenary armies. In the Italian cities of the XVth century militias were also known (Burckhardt, p. 327).

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