Woman as National Socialist

A 1926 defense of women’s role in political life, by Austrian National Socialist activist Rita Marholz

On 25 November 1920, in a speech before the Czechoslovakian parliament, German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP) deputy Rudolf Jung declared, in response to an accusation of sexist conduct from a political opponent: “I would therefore like to explicitly state here that it was in no way my intention, as is evident from the full meaning of my speech, to insult women in general or any of the women here, or to suggest that I do not consider them to be equal. On the contrary. The turn of phrase which I chose was intended to give credit to the lady who spoke before me, not so much as a woman, but as an orator…. This should be self-evident to anyone who knows my party’s position on the question of women.” The “party position” Jung was referring to was section (h)2. of the DNSAP programme, which explicitly demanded “legal and political equality for women and further advancement of the Marriage Law.” This position set the DNSAP somewhat apart from its younger ‘brother-party’ (the NSDAP) across the border in Munich, whose programme offered no real stance on women’s issues beyond a mention of health care for mothers, and whose political culture was more overtly militant, masculine, and ‘conservative’ in nature; although the official position of the NSDAP on women was somewhat more complex than it is often given credit for, it was undeniably less progressive in regards to the ‘Frauenfrage’ (‘woman question’) than the older National Socialist parties in Austria and the Sudetenland. The original German Workers’ Party in Austria (Deutschen Arbeiterpartei in Österreich, DAPÖ), out of which the DNSAP had been reorganized following the end of the First World War, had featured women activists among its ranks from its first beginnings in 1904, and the DNSAP regularly ran women members as candidates in elections after the introduction of women’s suffrage in 1918, with a number even going on to win and to represent the party in municipal and provincial councils. This aspect of the DNSAP’s organizational culture was one of several challenged by the ascent of Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP in the early 1920s, particularly after the older National Socialist parties in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland officially acknowledged Hitler as the supreme Führer of the NS movement in 1922 and subsequently came under increasing pressure to accept political directives issued from the more ‘rightist’ Hitler-party in Munich. The article translated below, written by activist Rita Marholz in 1926 and published in the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse (the central party-organ of the Austrian DNSAP), presents a favorable perspective on the idea of women as National Socialist political activists. Marholz’s article can be seen as a defense of the more ‘traditional’ National Socialist perspective towards women – characterized by support for female equality and for women’s untrammeled participation in political life – in the face of the challenge posed by rising conservative elements among the movement. It is notable also for its ‘pro-worker’ language, such as its positive references to “proletarians” and to Social-Democratic politicians, a not uncommon characteristic of DNSAP publications. 

Woman as National Socialist
By Rita Marholz

First published 2 October, 19261 in DNSAP newspaper
Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse vol. 18, no.36

NS_Swastika

Women in political life! It sounds new, and yet it really isn’t. Only the historically illiterate or disinterested person who reads nothing and who never thinks holds the view that such a thing in our day would be an innovation. Even if women were not always in the foreground of political events, they have nonetheless often had considerable direct and indirect influence upon leading minds in politics, upon statesmen, kings, and high-ranking military officials. From the Greek Aspasia and the Byzantine Empresses, to the great English Queen and the Russian Tsarinas; from the mighty Marquise Pompadour and the Prussian Queen who went to plead with the Corsican conqueror for the oppressed Fatherland, to the national and municipal councilwomen of today; the one and the same path leads to the same exact goal: the exercise of political power, political influence, and political ambition. Yet motives were just as varied as methods and fields of activity. Elizabeth of England reigned as a true regent, borne along in all constitutional decisions by the spirit of her father, Henry VIII – i.e. by an audaciously masculine spirit – while the scepter of Catherine de’ Medici was guided by cruelty and bloodlust, especially towards her principal enemies, the Huguenots. Maria Theresa governed, which means she established reforms, waged wars with her royal neighbor, and involved herself in all of the important affairs of state alongside her chancellor and councillors. The Tsarina forged alliances; Queen Louise stood at the head of the German war party, wishing to see Prussia’s freedom secured by defending it with the sword. The refined but scheming spirit of the Pompadour wove the threads of French politics, though not for the benefit of the Bourbons and the French Volk, and it remains open to discussion how great her indirect share in the ensuing atrocities of the Revolution may have been, for as the mistress of the royal libertine she dominated him in the most unfavorable manner, both personally and politically; moreover, she squandered a great deal of money on her external people. Countess Dubarry, the “best friend” of Louis XV, unfortunately arrived too late… By contrast, the influence of the noble hetaira2 Aspasia on that renowned statesman of ancient Greece, Pericles, was the most advantageous imaginable. Thaïs, the lover of Alexander of Macedonia, appears to have influenced him in a heroic fashion. Antiquity recognizes both these female figures as heroines of the spirit, appropriate to the greatness of the ancient world. All of these women, as with men, practiced politics from different perspectives, dependent upon the circumstances necessitated by their country at the time. But for many, personal vanity and the pursuit of power played the greatest part in the influence which they enjoyed in political life, particularly when it came to imposing their opinions upon an influential statesman or king. Whether consort or courtesan – feminine beauty and devilry triumphed in particular cases, often enough to the ruin of a nation, a royal family, an individual man, etc. Empress Eugenie of France and Carlota of Mexico constitute striking world-historical examples of what one should not do in politics, in order not to invoke catastrophes of monstrous proportions. – A thirst for power and excessive ambition, these evil mainsprings of their actions led to a bitter end, including for themselves. Continue reading

Rudolf Jung’s “National Socialism”

The “Das Kapital” of National Socialism… kind of

Slightly over a year ago, I began work on translation of Rudolf Jung’s 1922 work National Socialism: Its Foundations, Development, and Goals, the first book which sought to offer a full, systematic exposition of the entire breadth of the National Socialist ideological worldview. I can now announce that the translation is complete – it can be downloaded directly from WordPress using this link: Jung – National Socialism – Its Foundations, Development, and Goals (2nd ed., 1922)

Alternatively, I’ve also uploaded a copy for access via the Internet Archive.

One of the first articles I ever posted on this blog was a profile of Jung, so I won’t go into too much detail about his personal background here. People who are interested in knowing more about Jung’s life can read that article, or they can read the introduction I included within the translation. The book itself is significant for a number of reasons. Primarily this is because, as mentioned, it constituted the first genuine attempt by a member of the National Socialist movement to actually set out the theoretical aspects of National Socialist doctrine on any kind of comprehensive, intellectual level. Articles or pamphlets had been written on NS ideology in the past, but nothing of the range or scope (or length) of Jung’s book. Jung’s ambition was to be the ‘Karl Marx’ of National Socialism, and his stated hope to those who knew him was that his book would serve as the movement’s Das Kapital. Some historians tend to be fairly dismissive of this aspiration, claiming that Jung’s book is intellectually shallow in comparison with Marx’s works. While it’s true that Jung’s book isn’t on the same level as Kapital (for one thing, Kapital comprises three pretty dense volumes of critique and theory – National Socialism is a pamphlet by comparison), I don’t think the dismissive attitude affected by some writers is really warranted. There are interesting historical arguments in National Socialism, some thought-provoking analyses of capitalist economics and property relations (a good chunk of the book is focused on outlining the bases of NS economic theory, particularly issues relating to land ownership), and Jung’s book is (at least in my opinion) far more readable than Marx’s. The intellectual foundations of Jung’s work are solid enough for their purpose, even if they don’t have quite the grandeur that the author may have hoped for or intended. In any event, now that the book is available in English, readers will be able to make such assessments for themselves. Continue reading

The Nationality-Programme of Austrian Social-Democracy

The nationality-programme of the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria: a socialist solution to the ‘national question’?

Upon its founding in Hainfeld in 1889, the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Österreichs, SDAPÖ) was faced with challenges which, outside of Russia, were largely unique within the context of European socialist politics. Austria-Hungary was a sprawling multinational land empire, a dual monarchy governing a cosmopolitan blend of different races which had become increasingly dispersed as a by-product of capitalist development and growing industrialization. As a consequence, from the very beginning the SDAPÖ found itself not only dealing with material class issues, but also with the competing demands of different national ethnic groups, and the party soon discovered that abstract appeals to “internationalism” were often not enough to attenuate the ethnic disquiet felt by many workers – whether Germans faced with the threat of “cheap Czech labor” migrating from other parts of the Empire, or non-German minorities who felt discriminated against by the state (and even by the party and the unions). The ‘national question’ proved so divisive for the SDAPÖ that in 1897 it split into six separate (but still theoretically united) Social-Democratic parties, one for each of the major ethnic groups represented within the Austrian state. In 1899, at a Social-Democratic conference in Brünn, the SDAPÖ made an attempt to grapple with the issue directly by drafting a “nationality-programme,” a proposed outline for a future socialist state which the party believed would eliminate national conflicts among the workers while still preserving Austria as a unified, independent entity. The Brünn proposal (a “democratic state federation of nationalities”), and much of the theory which developed out of it in the following years, would subsequently become one of the defining characteristics of “Austromarxism,” that unique form of Social-Democracy which developed within Austria as a consequence of the country’s particular political idiosyncrasies. In order to explore the nationality-programme and some of the critical reactions to it from the broader socialist movement, I have reproduced a number of documents below. The first is a brief account from a historical work providing some background and context to the programme. The second is the translated text of the nationality-programme itself, taken from an SDAPÖ publication. The final three pieces are extracts, critiques of the programme from three different sources: one from Otto Bauer, representing an internal critique (the Austromarxist view); one from Joseph Stalin, representing the Bolshevist perspective; and one from Alois Ciller, representing the National Socialist outlook. Each of these three men had some connection to the Austrian proposal, whether through background or expertise, and each had his own independent interpretation of the programme’s efficacy and its potential impact upon socialist theory and socialist activism.

Nationalism Among the Workers:
The Historical Context Behind the Social-Democratic Nationality-Programme
From historian Andrew G. Whiteside’s “Austrian National Socialism Before 1918” (1962)

Andrew G. Whiteside’s book constitutes an exploration of the conditions which gave rise to the German-völkisch National Socialist movement, whose origins lay within Austria-Hungary (particularly the Sudetenland) and which was already an established, active political force there before Hitler joined the Bavarian German Workers’ Party in 1919. The short extract below, taken from the chapter “Nationalism Among the Workers,” provides some of the historical context surrounding the drafting of the Brünn nationality-programme. It briefly outlines the impact which inter-ethnic worker conflicts had upon the SDAPÖ; the difficulties Social-Democratic leaders experienced in trying to reconcile Austrian conditions with the theory of internationalism; how these conditions helped give rise to the idea of a federation of nationalities; and, finally, how in the end the party’s strategy could still not prevent a complete splitting of the SDAPÖ along racial lines. – Bogumil

The Austrian Social-Democratic Party during these years [the 1890s to early 1900s] was beset by difficulties that did not exist for Socialists in most of the other countries of Europe. Its basic doctrine of proletarian solidarity and the irrelevance of nationality was refuted by the division between Czech and German workers. As a liberating force it had to admit a man’s right to be educated and to do his work in his native tongue. At the same time many of its leaders – Adler, Kautsky, Pernerstorfer, Renner, Bauer, Seliger, Ellenbogen, and others – were firmly convinced that the international labor movement should be directed by men with German brains and character. Like Marx and Engels they distrusted Slavs. Friedrich Stampfer, a spokesman for the betont deutsch1 wing of Austrian Social-Democracy, writing in the Leipziger Volkszeitung, actually opposed political democracy because it would mean handing over the country to Slavs and clericals. Viktor Adler, complaining to Liebknecht about the spread of nationality madness, declared that it was based chiefly on envy, misunderstanding, and irrationality. Otto Bauer, defending the Viennese German leadership, said that the success of the Socialist movement required empire-wide international unions with unified finances, administration, and policy; the Czechs, by stubbornly insisting on autonomy, were failing to show the “the necessary discipline of the minority” and were sabotaging the whole labor movement. Bauer was in the dilemma of all dedicated Austrian Socialists, torn between his belief in the special role of the Germans in advancing Socialism and his sympathy with the Czechs’ desire for national equality. Continue reading

The National Socialist Conception of Freedom

National Socialist theoretician Rudolf Jung explains the concept of freedom and its place within National Socialist ideology

National Socialism, like Marxism, has its own conception of freedom, one separate from the individualist ideal central to liberal-democracy. In some respects there are similarities between the two movements and their perceptions of freedom; certainly members of the NSDAP would have agreed with Marx and Engels that, “Only in the community… is personal freedom possible.” Fundamentally, though, each interpretation was built on different ideological ground. For Marxists, freedom is determined by material economic conditions; those without the money or resources to live a safe, comfortable, fulfilling life are not genuinely free, regardless of which individual rights they might have on paper. For National Socialists, conversely, freedom is ultimately determined by race as well as material circumstance; each racial group has different cultural values, a different outlook on the world, and hence a different conception of the form of freedom appropriate to them as a united people. Freedom and a Volk’s capacity for defending themselves are intrinsically bound together: only by finding the style of freedom best suited to them as a people would a race thus be in the best position to fight and defend themselves as a people. Individualism was the form most suited to the English, with their mercantile, “piratical” spirit. Anarchy was most suited to the chaotic, tumultuous French. And for the Germans, with their supposedly natural inclination towards collectivism? A marriage of the spirit of Prussia in the north with the spirit of the “Baiuvarii” in the south: duty and order, the totality before the individual, but shorn of unthinking submission and centralistic authoritarianism, tempered by a respect for freedom of conscience. At least this is how National Socialist writer and politician Rudolf Jung explained it in his book National Socialism: Its Foundations, Development, and Goals, the earliest major programmatic work of National Socialist theory. Whether or not Jung’s description of National Socialist freedom matches the conditions which later developed in the Third Reich is up for debate, particularly as Hitler arguably represented a more authoritarian strand of NS ideology. The translated excerpt below consists of almost the entire chapter from Jung’s book which covers the subject; the only part I have cut is the introductory paragraph, an excerpt from the DNSAP programme which can be already be read in its entirety here. This translation is of the 1922 2nd edition of Jung’s book, which I have been working on for the past five or six months. The complete translation is probably still a few months away from being finished, but it will be posted on the blog when I am done.

The National Socialist Conception of Freedom
From the chapter ‘The Concept of Freedom and Defensive Readiness’, in
Rudolf Jung’s “National Socialism,” 1922 (2nd ed.)

“Freedom, that which I love, that which fills my heart,”1 sang the poet, thereby telling us that freedom is something which cannot be explained rationally, but is something which must be felt. Now, because freedom is a matter of emotion, it will be different for every Volk. English, French, Germans, Czechs, etc., all feel differently, and therefore all also interpret the concept of freedom differently. There are even different gradations within the individual races. Let us take the Germans, for example. Does the supposedly revolutionary communist – who is certainly imbued with the conviction that he is a thoroughly free-thinking person, standing far above the arch-reactionary bourgeoisie – truly have a feeling for freedom when he, as is so often the case in the German Reich, runs to the representatives of the Entente in order to sabotage his differently-minded countrymen? Or when, for the same reason, he calls upon the help of the Czech authorities, who are thoroughly imbued with the police spirit and are, moreover, capitalist? Is not the exact same question relevant in regards to those bourgeois elements who, in their anxiety over their property, appeal to alien peoples to protect them? And what about press censorship, the prohibition on the publication of newspapers, as well as the forcible integration of people into organizations?

In light of all the things which have happened to the German Volk since the days of the Revolution, after all the lamentable manifestations of servility and indignity, all the errors of an overstretched centralism, one might well doubt the very existence of a feeling of freedom. However, we need to keep in mind that every great upheaval – and such is indeed what we are presently in the middle of – is full of confusion and atrocities, and that brutal people, who tend to be the most involved in these phenomena, are generally cowards within the depths of their souls and are therefore not free at all, but are instead merely of a servile disposition. Only the courageous are truly free. Alien to them is the pitiful fear of death which makes cowardly people tremble, and hence makes them servile. That is why courage and the feeling of freedom, and therefore also one’s readiness to defend themselves,2 belong together. One is inconceivable without the other. But defensive readiness – if that is to serve as our touchstone – must be voluntary and not coerced, because courage cannot be forced. Continue reading