Profile: Rudolf Jung

The ‘Karl Marx’ of German National Socialism


Early Years

Rudolf Jung  was born on 16 April 1882 in Plass, a small town on the Střela River in the heart of Bohemia. Jung’s childhood was spent in Iglau, a city in the neighboring region of Moravia. As well as being a garrison for the local military, Iglau was a ‘speech island’, an enclave for ethnic Germans in the Czech lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The significant number of Sudeten Germans in the area engendered an atmosphere of racial tension; since the 1880s there had been competition and conflict between Czech and German workers in the town, an atmosphere which would shape Jung’s perceptions as a child and have a significant impact on the development of his views as an adult.

As an adolescent Jung was sent to Vienna to study at its Technical High School. His natural intelligence ensured him a place at university and eventually, in 1906, a doctorate in mechanical engineering which opened further doors to employment as a railway engineer. It was presumably around this period that Jung’s political activism began. Austria’s state railways were heavily unionized, with the unions divided along racial lines – Czech and German workers not only competed for jobs, but also competed over which languages should be used in signage & paperwork, which provincial administrations would manage which sections of track, how many Czechs could be employed on German-majority territory (and vice versa), etc. Austria-Hungary had a large number of nationalist trade unions divided along ethnic lines, and as a result of these disputes the largest and strongest were those of the railwaymen. Jung was thrown right into the middle of this ferment.

The conditions in the railways did nothing but reinforce the views Jung had been forming since his childhood in Iglau: that Czech immigration was being used to undercut German labor with cheap wages and force Germans to emigrate from their native lands in search of better working conditions. It is likely also that Jung’s social views were further shaped by the ‘proletarian’ culture of the heavily unionized environment and the many working-class railway employees who he encountered. In any event, Jung soon became involved in union politics to such an extent that it impacted on his employment, with his activism on behalf of the railway workers earning him a punitive transfer by his employer from Vienna back to Bohemia. Ironically, this punishment just moved Jung out of one hotbed of social-nationalist agitation and right into another. 

Joining the DAP

In Bohemia, Jung came into contact with the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers’ Party, DAP), a minor political party founded in Trautenau in 1904 by a number of disgruntled Social-Democrats and members of the nationalist trade-unions. The party was tailor-made for Jung’s worldview, with its program presenting a synthesis of völkisch nationalism and proletarian socialism which agitated as much against the Czechs as it did for “the liberation of the working classes of the German people”. It was only a year after Jung joined the party in 1908 that the name frequently applied to this syncretic  ideology by its adherents, ‘National Socialism’, became widespread within the movement – an informal shorthand for the DAP and its worldview.


Iglau, 1913

It did not take long for Jung, with his talents as an intellectual and as an organizer, to became one of the DAP’s leading personalities. By 1913 he was not only an elected representative of the party in the Moravian Landtag, but had been – along with friend Walter Riehl – the drafter of its new political program. This ‘Iglau Program’  much more stridently repudiated Marxism than the previous Trautenau Program had done, and was more explicit in centering party ideology not just on social reform and socialism but on anti-Slavism and anti-Semitism. The Iglau Program presented its ‘national’ socialism as a true socialism, in contrast to the harmful, out-of-date ‘socialism’ of internationalist Marxism, and further claimed that this true socialism could only be maintained through increasing German territory. In concrete terms the program demanded pan-Germanism, the socialization of monopolies, the banning of “income without work”, and a national front of the German people united against Slavs, Jews, capitalism, clericalism, and Marxism. The Iglau Program was to serve as the seed from which Jung’s later ideas – and those of the National Socialist movement in general – would grow and evolve.

Jung’s activism only got him deeper into controversy with his employers; in 1910 he had finally been fired from his position as a state locomotive engineer, leading him to support himself full-time as a paid organizer for the DAP. Jung’s capacity to devote himself utterly to the party helped especially upon the outbreak of war in 1914, as his exemption from military service (perhaps granted because his skills in mechanical engineering were needed on the home front) meant leadership inevitably defaulted to himself and the few other senior members who were not drafted to the Austro-Hungarian fronts.

Under Jung’s direction the DAP adopted a pro-war stance, advocating a militant patriotism which was something of a compromise considering its previous ambivalence to the legitimacy of the Empire’s dual monarchy. Deliberately choosing to put aside political agitation in service of the war effort, the DAP’s non-enlisted members instead devoted themselves solely to moderate industrial activism, working to protect the job rights of German workers currently serving in the military. Jung in addition continued to write and publish articles, with the content of his work at this time reflecting the more revolutionary direction in which the DAP had been drifting. During this period Jung coined the slogan Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz (‘the common good comes before self-interest’), which was to become a central component of National Socialist ideology right through to 1945, and also advocated that Germans seize Lebensraum in the East as spoils of war.

Founding the DNSAP

The end of the war in 1918 saw the DAP enter a new phase in its development, its membership meeting in Vienna on May 5th to adopt a new name and party program. The inspiration for this desire to seek out a fresh direction was obvious – the utter defeat of Austria-Hungary during the war was clearly leading to the break-up of the Empire and the final end of the monarchy, necessitating a well-navigated change in course. The party for the first time formally and unequivocally rejected the Habsburg monarchy, advocating instead Austrian union with the Reich. In addition, it finally formalized use of the term ‘National Socialism’ by changing its name to Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei (German National Socialist Workers’ Party, DNSAP). Jung was the chief author of the new DNSAP program; the excerpt below, from its statement of general principles, is characteristic of its ideological direction:

Early DNSAP swastika

Early DNSAP party symbol, designed by Dr. Walter Riehl

THE GERMAN NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS’ PARTY seeks the uplift and liberation of the German working classes from economic, political, and spiritual oppression and their full equality in all areas of völkisch and state life… Not revolution and class struggle, but creative reform work alone can overcome today’s unbearable social conditions… Private economy can never be wholly or violently abolished but alongside it all forms of communal property should be increased… We advocate unconditionally the transfer of all large capitalist-monopolistic concerns to the state, province, or township.

THE GERMAN NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS’ PARTY is no narrow class party; it represents the needs of all honest labor. It is a freedom-loving and strictly völkisch party and hence opposes all reactionary efforts of clerical, noble, and capitalist privilege and every foreign influence, above all of the Jewish-commercial spirit, in all areas of public life. The supremacy of work and skill in state and society is our goal; the unity of the German working population in economic and political action is the means to this end.

The Vienna Program was in some ways less revolutionary than the earlier programs of the DAP, and in some ways more. It certainly represented a more clear and defined elucidation of Jung’s National Socialist outlook, indicating the growing maturation of the ideas he had gradually been developing over the previous decade. Politically the new program demonstrated a more moderate outlook than Jung’s positions of the recent past, declaring the party “liberal” as well as völkisch and advocating for a “democratic and social German Reich”. In economics, however, the Vienna Program was more radical. Although it offered a clear defense of limited private property so far as it served “the common good” (establishing yet another foundational feature of National Socialism), it at the same time demanded the nationalization of transport undertakings, mines, banks, water power, insurance companies, advertising- in short, any “capitalist large-scale enterprise” whose private management was deemed injurious to the volk as a whole. The banks under this plan would not just be state-owned, but were to be managed democratically.

Jung and Der Nationale Sozialismus

Despite the breadth of the new program, Jung felt that more work was needed. His belief was that the maturation of the National Socialist movement necessitated not only a new party program, but a major ideological work – a book which would serve as a foundational philosophical text for National Socialism much as Marx’s Kapital had done for communism.  In Jung’s eyes there was still a necessity for a more thorough outline of the ideology, one that would place it into a broader historical context and set out in detail its various theoretical facets. Jung, additionally, had a personal as well as political goal motivating him in pursuit of this idea: he saw himself as the ‘Karl Marx’ of National Socialism, and aimed with his book to demonstrate his right to this reputation as well as to a lasting place in the history of the movement and the German people.


The first edition of Jung’s work appeared in 1919 bearing the title Der Nationale Sozialismus: Seine Grundlagen, Sein Werdegang, und Seine Ziele (‘National Socialism: its Foundations, its History, and its Goals’). Just short of 200 pages in length, it is not a massive tome in the way Das Kapital is, nor is it as dry or as densely theoretical. Yet Nationale Sozialismus is certainly a legitimate intellectual work, drawing its inspiration from sources as varied as the Social-Democratic and Pan-German traditions from which the DAP originally sprang, as well as from such diverse figures as Lagarde, List, Chamberlain, Lensch, Dühring, Schönerer, Spengler, Gesell, Lassalle, Sombart,  Naumann, and Rodbertus. It represented in many ways the final culmination of decades’ worth of interplay between the völkisch, Marxist, and conservative-socialist philosophical streams in Germany and Austria. Jung synthesized them all in his intellectual crucible and the result was the work on which the entire National Socialist theoretical tradition was to be built.

The impact of Jung’s work cannot be overstated, despite its obscurity now. Nationale Sozialismus anticipated Gottfried Feder’s Der deutsche Staat auf nationaler und sozialer Grundlage (‘The German State on a National and Social Basis’) by four years,  Hitler’s Mein Kampf by six, and Alfred Rosenberg’s Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (‘The Myth of the 20th Century’) by over a decade. It was the first major work dealing with National Socialist theory and ideology, and it was to provide all subsequent works with much of their tone, their substance, and their slogans. Many aspects of doctrine commonly attributed to Feder, such as the concept of Mammonism and the distinctions between productive and rapacious capital, were actually first described by Jung. Along with Alois Hudal’s Die Grundlagen des Nationalsozialismus (‘The Foundations of National Socialism’), Jung’s book is one of the great overlooked works of National Socialist political theory.

The beginning section of Nationale Sozialismus anticipates the agrarianism and Blut und Boden peasant-life romanticism promulgated years later by Richard Walther Darré in the NSDAP’s post-Urban Plan period. No doubt influenced like Darré by the völkisch tradition, Jung outlines a vision of German history in which the idealized, pre-industrial harmony of medieval German peasant life was disrupted by the intrusion of corrupting foreign influences. German society in this original Teutonic Golden Age was imbued with, in Jung’s view, a kind of racial hypostasis he called “the German spirit” – a spirit embodied in the soul and culture of free tribal peasants and artisans, connected intrinsically to the land they worked and traded on, obedient to their leaders yet without modern distinctions of rank or class or servility. Jung argues that the rot set in with the introduction of two destructive, alien, interconnected elements – abstract, ‘oriental’ Roman law and a capitalism infected with the antagonistic “Jewish spirit”.

For Jung, as for later National Socialist legal theorists, Roman law disrupted the German tradition of natural law emanating from the people, from blood, from the volk, and instead set it as deriving from the State – hence distancing the law from ordinary Germans and making it open to alien manipulation. Capitalism additionally disrupted the stability and tranquility of German society – industrialization had uprooted the German peasant and taken away his connection to the land, while wage labor and industrial mass production had curtailed the German artisan’s capacity for creative, personally-rewarding activity. Both the peasant and industrial worker were now impoverished, and in their impoverishment they had divided against each other in class conflict – and against the growing German middle-classes – out of need for survival. Usury, credit, the banking system, foreign capital, liberal-democracy, and Marxism – all of which had slipped into German territory on the heels of capitalism – provided ready-made avenues for the unscrupulous to exploit these divisions in pursuit of power and wealth.

In Jung’s eyes, therefore, a study of history allows us to make a further distinction between the trade and property ownership of the pre-capitalist era and that of the capitalist era. Pre-capitalism, personal property existed as the product of “honest toil”; exchange was conducted through simple petty trade; Germans worked on German land with German tools; and the ‘means of production’ (such as land) were typically held in common rather than private use. Under capitalism, by contrast, honest toil was replaced by living off the work of others through loans, rents, and interest; department stores and large industrial enterprises formed monopolies (often through collusion with the banks) to box out independent traders and craftsmen; foreign labor and ownership impoverished Germans and alienated them from their own soil; and the means of production were narrowly concentrated in private hands, even if those hands made deliberately poor use of them. Jung argued that the benign economic conditions of pre-industrial Germany had been sullied or torn away and replaced by ‘Mammonism’, a materialistic worldview embodying the Jewish spirit: the pursuit and fetishization of personal wealth at the expense of one’s volk.

Jung also expounds in Nationale Sozialismus the suggestion that elements of the original, pure, truly German economic forces live on and can be identified operating within the system of capitalism. Jung adopts the term ‘creative workers’ (schaffender Arbeiter) as a label to identify all those workers, both white-collar and blue-collar, involved in ‘creative labor’ – work which not only financially enriches the individual, but which also personally enriches them through simultaneously enriching society and the volk as a whole. ‘Creative national capital’ is Jung’s term to describe this creative, Germanic spirit acting in motivating tandem with what conventional economists call labor capital, industrial capital, and agricultural capital; Feder later used the term schaffendes Kapital to describe the same thing. Jung contrasts this ‘creative national capital’ against ‘destructive finance capital’ (for Feder, raffendes Kapital, or ‘rapacious capital’), capital which produces nothing of material value and which relies on manipulation or exploitation to create profits: interest, land speculation, mortgages, ground rent, war bonds, etc. It is the goal of National Socialism, Jung argues, to do away with ‘destructive finance capital’ and Mammonism (aspects of the Jewish spirit) in pursuit of a new Germany, a Germany which will be a Werkgemeinschaft aller Schaffenden (‘working community of all who produce’) founded on common respect for the dignity of labor.

National Socialism in short is presented by Jung as the only means of salvation for the German worker. Social-Democrats, Jung argues, are at worst malevolent and at best misguided. They agitate for the rights of Czech minorities at the expense of Germans in Austria and the Sudetenland; they act on behalf of foreign powers and influences through their adherence to internationalism; and they seek to resolve the problem of capitalist exploitation by fighting beneficial ‘creative national capital’ while ignoring Jewish finance capital. For Jung, social-democracy was too materialistic, too foreign, too beholden to Jewish influences to offer the reprieve from capitalism that it promised. A genuine Volksgemeinschaft (peoples’ community) could only be established by a national form of socialism.

So far we have seen that Jung anticipated ideas later expounded and expanded upon by the followers of Hitler. Mammonism and ‘schaffendes Kapital v. raffendes Kapital‘ were the hallmarks of Feder, as were attacks on the ‘bondage of interest’; Jung’s  völkisch agrarianism puts one in mind of Darré; the notion of a capitalistic Jewish spirit was central to the thought of Hitler’s mentor Dietrich Eckart; the extension of the label ‘working-classes’ to all those involved in ‘creative labor’ was a favorite conceit of Gregor Strasser; and other ideals (‘dignity of labor’, ‘common good before self-interest’, ‘the community of productive labor’) were to become popular slogans of the NSDAP. While Jung may not have been the originator of some of these concepts, he was the first to combine them with traditional socialist critiques and put them together as a coherent whole, as a consistent worldview which could be employed to interpret historical, political, and economic phenomena.

The one key area of difference between the worldview conveyed in Nationale Sozialismus and that of later National Socialism lies in their visions of the ideal National Socialist social order. Jung, like the later Hitlerists, ostensibly rejects parliamentary democracy as a Western imposition which opened the door to further Jewish influence and exploitation, and which resulted in rule by the rich and by incompetent career bureaucrats. Jung, however, posits against this the ideal of a corporatist structure inspired heavily by Spengler’s Preußentum und Sozialismus: a uniquely pan-German corporatism based on the medieval system of estates, but with power decentralized somewhat among the different territorial regions of the amalgamated Reich. This new state would be governed by a meritocratic elite, its industries would be broken up and socialized, and it would be protected by a popular mass army. While Jung is opposed to traditional German colonialism in Africa and Oceania, he nonetheless advocates for a ‘social imperialism’ which would seize territory for the new Reich in “the East”. While many of these ideas would remain influential within factions of the National Socialist movement through to 1945, the majority were rejected by the later NSDAP. The ordenstaat which was to be the outcome of Hitlerian National Socialism was far more authoritarian, far more centralized, and far more explicitly totalitarian than the state dreamed of by Jung.

Jung and Hitler

One interesting feature of Jung’s book is that its different editions can be used to map the growth of the rapid  and dramatic impact which Hitler was to soon have on the National Socialist movement. In the first (1919) and second (1922) editions of Nationale Sozialismus Jung dedicates his work simply to “the courageous, the energetic, and the selfless”, and its foreword radiantly describes the “black-red-gold storm-banner” (still considered the colors of pan-German nationalism in Austria at the time) as the symbol of National Socialism. By the publication of the third edition in 1923, however, Jung has made changes – the book is now dedicated to Adolf Hitler, the foreword now praises the “red swastika banner” instead of the “black-red-gold”, and certain sections have been rewritten to more favorably reflect the movement’s growing sense of Führerprinzip.

Jung’s relationship with Hitler was never quite so easy as this apparent supplication makes out, however. When Jung’s book was first published Hitler was still an unknown, and the party Hitler had joined – the Bavarian DAP founded by Anton Drexler and Karl Harrer in January 1919 – was the youngest and least influential of the National Socialist parties. By 1919 the DNSAP had broken into two as a result of the creation of Czechoslovakia, its Sudeten and Austrian branches forced to reconstitute themselves as separate independent parties as a result (both, however, continuing to bear the same name), and yet still they were both larger and more vital than the Bavarian DAP. As a consequence of this split Jung found himself the major leader of the Sudeten DNSAP, and in 1920 he was elected to the Czech Parliament in Prague – a seat he was to hold until 1933. Jung’s position of seniority, his long association with National Socialism dating back to before the War, and his proven intellectual contributions to the movement should have made him its leading figure of authority in all German-speaking territories.


“Sturm! Sturm! Sturm!” Poster announcing a joint meeting by Hitler & Jung, 1922

Yet, as time went on, Hitler’s star began to rapidly outshine Jung’s. Contact between the various National Socialist parties in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Polish Silesia, and Germany was established as early as September 1919, and it was supposedly Jung’s influence which persuaded Hitler and Drexler to rename the Bavarian DAP to the ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party’ in 1920.  A major international meeting between all the parties was held at Salzburg in August 1920, where it was recognized that, as a pan-German movement united under the same ideological banner, their interests would be best served through mutual cooperation. In December 1919 the Sudeten and Austrian DNSAP had formed an ‘Interstate Chancery’ to better direct their political activism and union work across border lines, and the other parties were now brought into this organization and offered seats and voting rights on its council. In addition, a new cross-border party was formed, the Nationalsozialistische Partei des deutschen Volkes (‘National Socialist Party of the German Peoples’), with the idea being that this party would put forth a common program and guidelines for activism which the others would follow.

Hitler, however, offered vigorous opposition to these measures. Although he supported both DNSAPs and gave speaking tours in Austria to drum up electoral support for National Socialist candidates, he was adamantly against giving up any of his growing authority within the NSDAP to outside bodies. As Hitler’s stature grew and the NSDAP became increasingly shaped by his ideas, his relationship with Jung grew increasingly more complex as a result. Jung, like others in the movement, recognized that ultimate leadership of their pan-German movement should come from within the borders of Germany, the “heartland of the Reich”. In addition, he recognized that Hitler was an undisputed talent who had taken a tiny political party and, by 1923, built it up so effectively that it dwarfed its older counterparts in Austria and the Sudetenland. Jung was even willing to accept Hitler as his Führer, at least on an intellectual if not an emotional level. But Jung, viewing himself as the movement’s ‘Karl Marx’, had difficulty overcoming his inability to subordinate himself to Hitler completely.

This was, in part, due to their differing outlooks. While Jung spoke of revolution and of opposition to democracy, his perspective in these areas was similar to that of the Social-Democrats. He was against liberalism, he wanted a revolutionary overturn of society, and he advocated socialism – yet he believed that the best way to achieve his goals was via reformism, working through the existing Czechoslovakian parliamentary machinery and avoiding the kind of radicalism which would endanger Czechoslovakia’s Sudeten German minority population. Hitler, especially at this early stage of his career, was by contrast of far more revolutionary temperament. The NSDAP at this time was not a parliamentary party and advocated irrevocably the achievement of National Socialism by total revolutionary overthrow of the state. Hitler, too, had by early 1922 completely eliminated all internal party democracy within the NSDAP, making himself undisputed leader. Jung, while ostensibly  opposed to democracy, nonetheless ran his DNSAP on remarkably democratic lines, with members electing party chairmen and deciding policy through discussion and votes. Jung was quite open in expressing his more conciliatory and anti-putschist temperament, such as in his letter of 1930 urging Otto Strasser to return to the NSDAP:

What is needed instead is sober work within the parliament… Now you are of the opinion that the Reich party [the NSDAP] has abandoned socialism and is no longer in a position to win over the artisans [Handwerker]. According to my experience, one achieves this only when the party is strong enough to protect them and to work in their social and political interest. But that in turn is only possible when the party enters the Reichstag in greater numbers. Then it would be compelled to take stands on the issues of the day soberly and objectively in the various committees and plenary sessions. That is the way we do it. Nor does one need to atrophy, as our example demonstrates. We achieve the necessary balance through large rallies, for example the ‘völkischer Tag‘ [‘German Day’], and are simultaneously party and movement.

Despite their differences Hitler and Jung worked together throughout the ’20s, and after the failure of Hitler’s putsch in 1923 Jung frequently visited him in Landsberg Prison. Hitler could not afford to completely alienate Jung, who was invaluable as the National Socialist representative for a significant population of volksdeutsch just across the border. Jung, likewise, could not afford to completely alienate Hitler – not only because his ideological inclinations towards Führerprinzip disallowed it, but because of the pull Hitler had even within the Czech and Austrian DNSAPs. The significant growth the Czech DNSAP experienced during the late ’20s and especially during the early ’30s was almost entirely due to the influence of Hitler, with young Sudeten Germans flocking to National Socialism out of enthusiasm for the exciting dynamism, rallies, marches, and brawls of the NSDAP just across the border. The DNSAP thus became, despite Jung’s personal convictions, an imitator of the NSDAP, adopting its symbolism and militant radicalism.

Flight into Germany

This imitation would, inevitably, lead Jung into trouble. In 1929 a group of young Sudeten German National Socialists had founded the Volkssport, ostensibly a sports club devoted to gymnastics, cycling, and hiking but, in reality, a conscious imitation of the NSDAP’s Sturmabteilung. The Volkssport swiftly grew to become the DNSAP’s own paramilitary wing, something which just as swiftly drew the attention of Czech authorities who were already concerned about the rise of Hitler and the potential of a fifth column among the country’s sizeable German minority. In November 1932 the government finally took action, beginning the infamous ‘Volkssport trial’ in which the paramilitary was forcibly disbanded and seven of its leaders were tried and, eventually, convicted for violation of the Law for the Protection of the Republic.


The symbol of the Volkssport, directly modelled on that of the SA

The Volkssport trial also provided a pretext to clamp down even harder against the DNSAP. As months passed and the trial dragged on, the parliamentary immunity of Jung and other DNSAP representatives was dissolved, offices were searched, and prominent activists began being picked off in arrests. Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 ironically made the position of the DNSAP leaders even more precarious, since it only increased the likelihood of the Czech state viewing them as a treasonous threat. When the Supreme Court in Brünn confirmed the outcome of the Volkssport trial and the guilt of the Volkssport Seven, the party leadership saw the writing on the wall. In anticipation of the inevitable ban they called an extraordinary meeting on September 28 1933 and dissolved the DNSAP. While a number of prominent National Socialist leaders managed to escape to Germany immediately afterwards, Jung was not so lucky. He was arrested and imprisoned on  October 4th, and was himself not able to flee into exile in the Reich until his eventual release seven months later.

Jung spent much of his time in Germany attempting to gain the prominence in the new state that he felt his history of activism entitled him to. Obtaining membership in the NSDAP was not difficult for someone with Jung’s public profile, and in 1935 he received official recognition as an Alter Kämpfer (an ‘old fighter’ – one who joined the National Socialist movement before 1930): his membership number was lowered to Pg.85 (not insignificant, considering NSDAP membership was now in the millions) and he was awarded the Golden Party Badge, a medal given only to the first 100,000 party members. In addition, in 1936 he was appointed to the German Reichstag as representative for Westphalia-South, and in 1938, in official recognition of his 30 years of activism, a small ceremony was held in which Jung was granted the rank of ‘honorary Gauleiter’ and the title of SS-Gruppenführer.

Despite these official signs of recognition, Jung – who still regarded himself perhaps not unfairly as the intellectual source from which National Socialism had sprung – was still not entirely satisfied. What Jung desired more than anything was not an honorary position but one with actual prestige and influence. This he was never really able to obtain. Between 1937 and 1940 he worked as a professor at Berlin’s Holschule für Politik, lecturing in political theory and publishing numerous works on ideological issues as well as articles agitating against the Czech race and the Czech state. The Czech government had vigorously protested against Jung’s appointment to a seat in the Reichstag, and Jung – who despised the Czechs perhaps even more than he did the Jews – was especially enthusiastic in attacking the Czech people and advocating for a speedy Anschluß of the Sudetenland. While in Germany he also continued to offer clandestine advice and direction to the National Socialists still in Czechoslovakia, who by late 1933 had reorganized as a faction of the Sudetendeutsche Heimatsfront (‘Sudeten German Homeland Front)’.

Sudetenland, Eger, Besuch Wilhelm Frick

Reconvening of the banned DNSAP, shortly after the annexation of the Sudetenland, 1938

Returning Home

Jung, then, must have been particularly satisfied when the Reich finally annexed the Sudetenland in 1938, followed by the rest of the Czech lands in early 1939. Jung’s hope was that he would have a place in the administration of this new region of the Reich, aspiring to be made Gauleiter, mayor of Prague or, at the very least, Rektor of Prague University. Jung, to his chagrin, was to be passed over. He and his family did move back to the newly-christened ‘Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia’ in 1943, but only so Jung could take up the post of Reich Inspector for Labor Management in the Protectorate, a fairly unassuming public service role in the Arbeitseinatz, a Labor Ministry organization overseeing government intervention in the local labor market.

Those who knew Jung in this period, so close to the end of the War and also (unbeknownst to him) to the end of his life, reported that he was an unsatisfied man. At one time Jung had been a key leader in an international political movement, a major thinker who saw himself (and was seen by others) as the ‘Karl Marx’ of a vital new economic worldview. Now, however, that same movement had passed Jung by, had grown beyond his control, and had left him behind as a minor official in a minor part of the Reich. Jung, apparently, was sensitive to the fact that his contributions had not been sufficiently recognized, that his name – unlike the names of so many other National Socialist leaders from the Kampfzeit – graced no street or square or plaque. Jung’s eventual fate, the ignominious end that fell upon him in his small office in his minor administrative post in his gloomy corner of a crumbling Reich, can only be regarded as tragic.

In early March, 1945, Jung packed up his family’s belongings and their furniture and sent them away, back to Germany and back, hopefully, to some measure of safety from the approaching Russian forces. He himself was arrested in his offices less than two months later on May 5th, the day of the Prague Uprising by Czech citizens against the remnants of German military administration. For a time Jung, as a minor official, was allowed some measure of freedom, kept only under police surveillance rather than under lock and key. Eventually, however, he was placed into Pankrács Prison, where he was to await trial for his role in the German occupation. With the strength of anti-German sentiment in the nation at the time, with the looming influence of the Soviet Red Army only heightening that sentiment, and with a body of violent anti-Czech rhetoric behind him, Jung must have felt that his outlook of survival, let alone reprieve, was grim. On December 11, 1945, in a dank Czech prison cell, the Karl Marx of German National Socialism took his own life. His legacy, despite his enormous intellectual influence, largely died with him.


2 thoughts on “Profile: Rudolf Jung

  1. Amazing work as always. Do you plan to translate more bits from his book Der Nationale Sozialismus? Your post on ”council-nationalism” was fascinating.

    • Thanks. Yes, I do, I plan on picking it up again soon and working through it slowly as a side-project. Probably the 1919 2nd edition – there are substantial differences between it & the 1922 3rd edition written after Hitler’s influence spread to the Sudeten NS movement, although I’d eventually like to do both. Jung is really interesting to me, I’d really like there to be an English version of his writing available since he was so influential.

      A few months back I did acquire an old 1919 book on council-nationalist ideas which influenced Jung, by Dr. Paul Tafel. Some translations of that will go up eventually, but the party programmes of the Austrian DAP & DNSAP are my main focus next, you might find those interesting.

Leave a Reply