The opening chapter of Karl Otto Paetel’s 1933 ‘National Bolshevist Manifesto’
Over the past month I have been working on a translation of Karl Otto Paetel’s National Bolshevist Manifesto of January 1933. Reproduced below is the short opening chapter of Paetel’s document, ‘Vision’, in which the author poetically describes his dream of a National Bolshevik revolution. In Paetel’s vision, Greater Germany is declared socialist; land and property are nationalized; and the revolutionary forces of German nationalism and socialism – communists, National Socialists, Stahlhelm, and the revolutionary peasants (Landvolk) – band together to march towards the Rhine, jubilantly preparing to exact retribution on the Western powers for reducing Germany to the status of a colony through the Treaty of Versailles. Paetel’s origins lay in the Bündische Jugend (specifically the youth group Deutsche Freischar) before his move to radical politics saw him found the Group of Social-Revolutionary Nationalists (GSRN), and he was one of the few political figures in Germany at the time who willingly embraced the term ‘National Bolshevik’, which was typically used as a kind of pejorative (which he acknowledges in his Manifesto: “So we take up that dirty phrase, ‘National Bolsheviks!'”). The Manifesto was intended to rally nationalists and socialists in common cause for the March 1933 elections; Paetel previously had intimated plans to organize a National Communist Party. Its publication date of 30th January, 1933 – the day Hitler became Chancellor – was a kind of portent of doom for Paetel’s efforts. The GSRN was banned in the aftermath of the Reichstag fire, and in 1935 Paetel was forced to flee his country.
The red flag flutters over Cologne Cathedral.
Revolution over Germany. – –
Radiogram from Berlin:
“To the German people!
Land and soil belong to the nation.
The means of production are socialized.
Elections to the Council Congress are announced.
The verdicts of the People’s Court on all the enemies of the Socialist Fatherland, all those responsible for the old regime, are enforced.
The Treaty of Versailles is considered torn to pieces.
Greater Germany is socialist!
The imperialist bandit-states are approaching. The Rhine is to be held under all circumstances, the counter-attack is to be initiated!” Continue reading