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.
lt the function of militarism was above defined
as being a national one directed against the foreign enemy it
must not be understood to mean that it is a function answering
the interests, welfare and wishes of the capitalistically governed
and exploited peoples. The proletariat of the whole world can
not expect any profit from the policies which make necessary the
"militarism for abroad", its interests are most sharply
opposed to such policies. Directly or indirectly those policies
serve the exploiting interests of the ruling classes of capitalism.
They are policies which prepare more or less skilfully, the way
for the world-wide expansion of the wildly anarchical mode of
production and the senseless and murderous competition of capitalism,
in which process all the duties of civilized man towards the less
developed peoples are flung aside; and yet nothing is really attained
except an insane imperiling of the whole existence of our civilization
in consequence of the warlike world complications that are conjured
up. The working-class, too, welcome the immense economic developments
of our days. But they also know that this economic development
could be carried on peacefully without the mailed fist, without
militarism and navalism, without the trident being in our hand
and with out the barbarities of our colonial system, if only sensibly
managed communities were to carry it on according to international
understandings and in conformity with the duties and interests
of civilization. They knew that our world policy largely explains
itself as an attempt to fight down and confuse forcibly and clumsily
the social and political home problems confronting the ruling
classes, in short, as an attempt at a policy of deceptions and
misreadings such as Napoleon III. was a master of. They know that
the enemies of the working-class love to make their pots boil
over the fires of narrow-minded jingoism, that the fear of war
in 1887, unscrupulously engineered by Bismarck, did excellent
service to the most dangerous forces of reaction, that according
to a nice little plan, lately revealed,
and hatched by a number of highly placed personages, the Reichstag
suffrage was to be filched from the German people in the excitement
of jingoism, "after the return of a victorious army."
They know that the advantages of the economic development which
those policies attempt to exploit, especially all the advantages
of our colonial policies, flow into the ample pockets of the exploiting
class, of capitalism, the arch-enemy of the proletariat. They
know that the wars the ruling classes engage in for their own
purposes demand of the working-class the most terrible sacrifice
of blood and treasure, for
which they are recompensed, after the work has been done, by miserable
pensions, beggarly grants to war invalids, street organs and kicks.
They know that after every war a veritable
mud-volcano of Hunnic brutality and baseness sends its floods
over the nations participating in it, rebarbarizing all civilization
for years. The worker knows
that the fatherland for which he is to fight is not his fatherland;
that there is only one real enemy for the proletariat of every
country the capitalist class who oppresses and exploits the proletariat,
that the proletariat of every country is by its most vital interests
closely bound to the proletariat of every other country, that
all national interests recede before the common interests of the
international proletariat, and that the international coalition
of exploiters and oppressors must be opposed by the international
coalition of the exploited and oppressed. He knows that the proletarians,
if they were to be employed in a war, would be led to fight against
their own brethren and the members of their own class, and thus
against their own interests. The class-conscious proletarian therefore
not only frowns upon that international purpose of the army and
the entire capitalist policy of expansion, he is fighting them
earnestly and with understanding. To the proletariat falls the
chief task of fighting militarism in that direction, too, to the
utmost, and it is more and more becoming conscious of that task,
which is shown by the international congresses; by the exchange
of protestations of solidarity between the German and French Socialists
at the outbreak of the Franco-German War of 1870, between the
Spanish and American Socialists at the outbreak of the war about
Cuba, between the Russian and Japanese Socialists at the outbreak
of the war in eastern Asia in 1904, and by the resolution to declare
a general strike in case of war between Sweden and Norway, adopted
by the Swedish Social Democrats. It was further shown by the parliamentary
attitude of the German Social Democracy towards the war credits
of 1870 and during the Morocco conflict, as also by the attitude
taken up by the class-conscious proletariat towards intervention
Militarism does not only serve for defence
and attack against the foreign enemy; it has a second task, one which is being brought out
ever more clearly with the growing accentuation of class antagonism,
defining ever more clearly the form and nature of militarism,
viz., that of protecting the existing state of society, that of
being a pillar of capitalism and all reactionary forces in the
war of liberation engaged in by the working-class. Here it shows
itself purely as a weapon in the class struggle, a weapon in the
hands of the ruling classes, serving, in conjunction with the
police and law-courts, school and church, the purpose of obstructing
the development of class-consciousness and of securing, besides,
at all costs to a minority the dominating position in the state
and the liberty of exploiting their fellow-men, even against the
enlightened will of the majority of the people.
This is modern militarism, which attempts nothing
less than squaring the circle, which arms the people against the
people itself, which, by trying with all means to force upon social
division an artificial division according to ages, makes bold
to turn the workman into an oppressor and an enemy, into a murderer
of members of his own class and his friends, of his parents, sisters
and brothers and children, into a murderer of his own past and
future; which pretends to be democratic and despotic, enlightened
and mechanical, popular and anti-popular at the same time.
It must, however, not be forgotten that militarism
can also turn the point of its sword against the interior national,
and even the interior religious
"enemy" (in Germany, for instance, against the Poles, Alsatians and Danes), and
can moreover be employed in conflicts among the non-proletarian
classes, that militarism is a highly polymorphous phenomenon,
capable of many changes, and that the Prusso-German militarism
has attained a peculiarly flourishing state in consequence of
the peculiar semi-absolutist, feudal bureaucratic conditions of
Germany. This Prusso-German militarism is endowed with all the
bad and dangerous qualities of any form of capitalist militarism,
so that it is best suited to serve as a paradigm for showing militarism
in its present stage, in its forms, means and effects. As nobody
has as yet succeeded, to use a Bismarckian phrase, in imitating
our Prussian lieutenants, nobody has as yet been fully able to
imitate our Prusso-German militarism, which has not only become
a state within the state, but positively a state above the state.
Let us first consider the army systems of some other countries. In doing so we must take into consideration not only the army proper, but also the constabulary and police forces, which frequently appear to be merely special military organizations for everyday use against the interior enemy, but betray their military origin by their very violence and brutality.
- 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."
- See Hamburger Nachrichten, November 3, I906.
- The number of the victims of the wars between 1799 and 1904 (excluding the Russo-Japanese War) is estimated at about 15,000,000 men killed.
- Cf. Moltke, p. 24, note 6, of this book, and "Moltke's Collected Works," II, p. 288. In his opinion war is supposed to promote virtue and efficiency, especially moral energy.
- That task of bolstering up the existing interior order of things devolves upon militarism not only in the capitalist order of society, but in all societies based upon class-division.
- See the struggle between the French state and church during the conflict of December, 1906.
- See the disorders during the election in Upper Silesia in 1903.