II. Capitalistic Militarism
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, 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,
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.
The army of the capitalist order of society
serves a double purpose, like the army of the other social systems.
It is, in the first place, a national institution
destined for attack abroad or for the protection against a danger
coming from abroad, in short, designed for international complications
or, to use a military catch-phrase, against the foreign enemy.
That function has in no way been done away
with by more recent developments. For capitalism war is indeed,
in Moltke's phrase, "a part of God's world order." It is true that there exists
in Europe itself at least a tendency to eliminate certain causes
of war, and the probability of a war originating in Europe itself
decreases more and more, in spite of Alsace-Lorraine, the anxiety
about the trio, Clemenceau, Pichon, Picquart, in spite of the
Eastern Question, in spite of pan-islamism, and in spite of the
revolution going on in Russia. In their place, however, new and
highly dangerous causes of friction have arisen in consequence
of the desires for commercial and political expansion cherished by the so-called "civilized nations," desires
which are mainly responsible for the Eastern Question and pan-islamism,
and in consequence of world politics, especially colonial politics
which, as Chancellor Bulow frankly recognized in the Reichstag,
on November 14, 1906, contains
innumerable possibilities. Of conflict and forces to the front ever more vigorously two other
forms of militarism -- navalism and colonial militarism.
We Germans can tell a story of that!
on sea, is the natural brother of land militarism and shows all
its repulsive and vicious traits. It is in a still greater degree
than land militarism is at present not only an effect, but also
a cause of international dangers, of the danger of a world war.
Some good folk and deceivers want to make us
believe that the strained relations between Germany and England are merely the result of
some misunderstandings, agitations of mischievous journalists,
the braggings of unskilful diplomatists; but we know better. We
know that these strained relations are a necessary result of the
increasing economic competition between Germany and England in
the world's markets, a direct result of the unbridled capitalistic
development and international competition. The Spanish-American
War for Cuba, Italy's Abyssinian War, England's South African
War, the Chinese-Japanese War, the Chinese adventure of the Great
Powers, the Russian-Japanese War, all of them, however different
their special causes and the conditions from which they sprung
might have been, yet exhibit the one great common characteristic
feature of wars of expansion. And if we remember the strained
relations between England and Russia on account of Thibet, Persia
and Afghanistan, the disagreements between Japan and the United
States in the winter of 1906, and finally the Morocco conflict
of glorious memory with the Franco-Spanish coöperation of
December, 1906, we must
recognize that the capitalistic policy of colonization and expansion
has placed numerous mines under the edifice of world peace, mines
whose fuses are in many hands and which can explode very easily
and unexpectedly. It is certainly
thinkable that a time may come when the division of the world
has progressed to such an extent that a policy of placing all
possible colonial possessions in trust for the colonial empires
becomes feasible, thus eliminating colonial competition, as has
been accomplished in regard to private capitalist competition
to a certain extent by the combines and trusts. But that is a
distant possibility which the economic and national rise of China
alone may defer for an incalculable space of time.
All the alleged plans for disarmament
are thus seen to be for the present nothing but foolery, phrase-making
and attempts at deception. The fact that the Czar was the chief
originator of the comedy at the Hague puts the true stamp on all
Indeed, in our own days-the bubble of an alleged
English disarmament burst in a ridiculous fashion. Secretary for
War Hilton, the alleged promoter of those intentions, came out
in strong words as an opponent of each and every reduction of
the active military forces and showed himself as a true military
hotspur, whilst at the same
time the Anglo-French military convention appeared above the horizon.
Moreover, at the very hour when preparations were being made for
the second "Peace Conference," Sweden increased her
fleet, America and Japan
saw their military budgets mount higher and higher, and the Clémenceau
government in France demanded an increase of 208 millions, dwelt upon the necessity of
a strong army and navy, the Hamburger Nachrichten [an important
semi-official German newspaper] was describing the unshakeable
faith in the holy savior Militarism as the quintessence of the
feeling dominating Germany's ruling classes, and the German people
were treated by their government to increased military demands which were greedily grasped
at even by our Liberals.
Such facts give us a measure of the naïveté displayed
by the French Senator, d'Estournelles de Constant, a member of
the Hague Tribunal, in an essay on the limitation of armaments. Indeed, in the imagination of
this political dreamer it needs not even the proverbial swallow
to make the summer of disarmament, a simple sparrow will do. After
that it is almost refreshing to encounter the honest brutality
with which the great powers at the conference dropped Mr. Stead's
proposals and refused even to place the question of disarmament
on the agenda of the second conference.
A few more remarks must be made about the third offspring of capitalism on the military side, viz., colonial militarism. The colonial army (by this is meant not the colonial militia, as planned for German Southwest Africa, still less the entirely different militia of the almost independent British colonies) is of extraordinarily great importance for England, and its importance is also increasing for the other civilized countries. Whilst for England it not only fulfils the task of oppressing and keeping in check the colonial "interior enemy," i.e., the natives of the colonies, but also constitutes a weapon against the exterior colonial enemy, Russia, for instance, it serves the other colonizing powers, especially America and Germany, often under the names of "Schutztruppe" (protective troops) or foreign legion, almost exclusively for the first named purpose, that of driving the miserable natives to slave in the bagnios for capitalism, and to shoot and cut them down and starve them without pity whenever they attempt to protect their country against the foreign conquerors and extortioners. The colonial army, which frequently consists of the scum of the European population, is the most brutal and abominable of all the tools employed by our capitalistic states. There is hardly a crime which colonial militarism and savage tropical brutality [Tropenkoller, the Germans call it], directly cultivated by it, have not produced. The names of Tippelskirch, Woermann, Podbielski, Leist, Wehlau, Peters, Ahrenberg, and others testify and prove it for Germany, too. They are the fruit by which the nature of the policy of colonization can be known, that colonial policy which, pretending to spread Christianity of civilization or to protect national honor, piously practices usury and fraud for the advantage of capitalists interested in colonies, which murders and-violates defenceless human beings, burns down the possessions of the defenceless, robbing and pillaging them, mocking and disgracing Christianity and civilization. Even the fame of a Cortez or a Pizarro fades before India and Tongking, the Congo, German Southwest Africa and the Philippines.
- 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.
- 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).
- In his well-known letter to Bluntschli (December, 1880) we read: "Eternal peace is a dream, and not even a beautiful one, and war is a part of God's world order. In it are developed the noblest virtues of man, courage and abnegation, dutifulness and self-sacrifice at the risk of life. Without war the world would sink into materialism." A few months earlier Moltke had written: "Every war is a national misfortune" (Collected Works V, p. 193 and p. 200), and in 1841 he even wrote in an article that appeared in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung: "We confess openly to be in favor of the much derided idea of a general European peace."
- The value of the entire foreign trade of the world rose, according to Hubler's tables, from 75,224 million marks in 1891 to 109,000 million marks in 1905.
- "What complicates our situation to-day and renders it more difficult are our oversea pursuits and interests."
- Moltke's views in this respect were highly fantastic. According to him the times when wars were resolved upon by cabinets were indeed past, but he considers the political party leaders to be wicked and dangerous provokers of war. The party leaders and -- the stock exchange! It is true that here and there he has a deeper view of things (Collected Works, 3, pp. I, 126, 135, 138).
- Characterized by that fantastic abortion, entitled, "The Invasion of 1910."
- On account of the quarrel about Morocco France spent, in 1906, far more than a hundred million for the military protection of her eastern frontiers.
- About the alleged, not yet fully explained plan of Semler, the Reichstag representative of the Hamburg shipowners, to capture Fernando Po in the Jameson manner, see the budgetary debates of the Reichstag of December, 1906.
- That is not disproved because he declared for the time being against universal military service, which is regretted by the Kreuzzeitung [the junker organ], of November 29, 1906, because, according to the paper, universal service would educate the English people into a better understanding of the seriousness of war. In Germany, of course, universal military service has only the importance to force the people to make sacrifices in blood and money, in conformity with the will of the noble knights of the Kreuzeeitung, whilst the decision about peace and war rests with those for whom the seriousness of war exists least. They can even appreciate democracy for abroad! Concerning the strong tendency in England and America towards a universal militia, see p. 51.
- Cf. p. 51 and Roosevelt's message of December 4, 1906.
- Chiefly motivated by the Morocco conflict.
- Twenty-four and three-fourths millions for the navy, 51 millions for the army, 7 millions for interest -- a total increase of some 83 million marks as compared with the budget of 1906-7. Fine prospects of further extravagant naval armaments were held out by an evidently inspired article that appeared in the Reichbote, on December 21, 1906. To all that must be added the enormous expenses for colonial wars (454 millions for the China Expedition, 490 millions already for the rebellion in Southwest Africa, 2 millions for the rebellion in East Africa, etc.); the question of footing those bills led, in December, 1906, to a conflict and the dissolution of the Reichstag.
- See Berliner Tageblatt of October 27, 1906. Note above all the notorious resolution handed in by Ablass, December 13, 1906, and the Liberal platform for the Reichstag elections of January 25, 1907.
- La Revue, October 1, 1900. The "actual results achieved" by the movement for disarmament, are a well preserved secret of the editorial board of the Revue.
- Germany's colonial expenditure is in a greatly preponderating measure of a military nature, even according to Dernburg's memorial of October, 1906, in spite of all his cooking of accounts.
- Since December 31, 1900, France possesses a real colonial army which has brought her the saddest disappointments. See the Hamburg Correspondent, December 7, 1906 (No. 621), also note 18 on next page and p. 72. In Germany they are busily engaged in creating a colonial army. We are approaching it at the double quick.
- See Péroz, France et Japon en Indochine, Fanin, l'armée coloniale; E. Reclus, in his Patriotisme et Colonisation; Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus, in Neue Zeit, vol. 99/00, p. 365, about the bataillons d'Afrique, p. 369. Regarding Germany see the speech of Roeren, member of the Reichstag, of December 3, 1906, Reichstag debates.
- Military punishment, too, here adopts a peculiarly brutal form. About France's foreign legion and bataillons d'Afrique see Däumig, cited above; about the abolition of the "biribiri, p. 53.
- This hypocritical and, at the same time, shamefaced excuse is now being dropped with frank cynicism; see the article, signed by G B., in the monthly magazine, Die deutschen Kolonien (October, 1906), and the remark made by Strantz at the pan-German convention (September, 1906), where he said: "In the colonies we don't want to convert people into Christians; they are to work for us. This humanitarian softheadedness is downright ridiculous. German sentimentality has deprived us of a man like Peters." Again, Heinrich Hartert wrote in the Tag, December 21,1906, that it is "the duty of the missions . . . to adapt themselves to given circumstances"; but they had succeeded "in frequently becoming a nuisance to the commercial man." It is at this point that the principal friction arises between the German Clerical Party and the Government in regard to colonial policy, this alone explains the furious fight entered upon in December 1906, by the merchant Dernburg against the so-called collateral government of the Clerical Party. --For America the Kreuzzetung ( September 29, 1906) preaches: "The simple extermination of whole tribes of Indians is so inhuman and unchristian that it cannot be defended under any circumstances, especially as it is in no way a question of existence for the Americans." But where it is such a question whole tribes may be "exterminated" even by the believer in Christian charity -- according to the views of the colonial Christian.
- See the memorable debates of the German Reichstag between November c8 and December 4, 1906, where the " abscess was lanced."