Karl Liebknecht
Militarism & Anti-Militarism
I. Militarism

4. Particulars of Some of the Main Sins of Militarism
(Part 1)

1. The ill-treatment of soldiers, or militarism as a penitent but incorrigible sinner

Two dilemmas

The militarists are not stupid. This is clear from the nature of the education system, which has been most cunningly worked out. They are remarkably skilful in their speculations on mass psychology. Although the standing army of Frederick, composed as it was of mercenaries and the dregs of the population, could be held together by the discipline of drill and by physical violence for the performance of its more mechanical tasks, this no longer applies to our army which is drawn from the whole population with its higher level of intelligence and morality, which is built on the principle of citizen duty and which makes great demands on the individual. This was immediately and clearly seen by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau [1*], whose army re-organization was inaugurated with the announcement of the abolition of capital punishment. [1] Nevertheless assaults, abuse, blows and all kinds of refined and horrible methods of ill-treatment belong to the stock-in-trade of the present-day military education system, as we have already pointed out.

The attitude taken on the militarist side towards the ill-treatment of soldiers is of course not determined by considerations of ethics, civilization, humane feelings, justice, Christianity and similar fine things, but by purely Jesuitical considerations of expediency. The fact that this constitutes a hidden underground menace to discipline and even to the “spirit” of the army [2] is far from being generally understood. [3] The ridicule by the old hands of the recruits and soldiers who make trouble, the vulgar barracks jokes and coarse abuse of all kinds, as well as a considerable amount of pushing around, of beating, etc., of men being tossed in the air or dragged along the ground – all this is approved even in our day by the majority of the non-commissioned officers and even of the officers, who have become cut off from and hostile to the people and who have been trained to be narrow-minded politicians in miniature. In their hearts they approve of these things, and even regard them as necessary. The struggle against these excesses meets a resolute passive resistance from the very beginning. One can hear every day – not openly, but on the quiet – how the superiors characterize the demand that “the fellows” should be treated according to human dignity as stupid humanitarian drivel. Army service is harsh. But even when the underground menace of secret disciplinary ill-treatment has been recognized, one again finds oneself in one of those dilemmas into which a coercive system, which goes against the path of natural development, must land at every step. We have already brought some of these dilemmas to light. The method of ill-treatment, as we shall show later in more detail, is an indispensable auxiliary to the normal drill method. Capitalist militarism, for which a disciplinary structure based on free will is impossible, cannot avoid the use of such treatment. In spite of all doubts and regrets, this system serves – not officially, we repeat, but through official channels – as an illegal but necessary method of military education.

But apart from these general doubts, the militarists have had a bad conscience since the time when they began to get caught, that is, since the time when ruthless Social-Democratic criticism began to be levelled at the military organization and when even wide strata of the middle class began to recoil in the face of this militaristic morality. Militarism had to bear with set teeth the fact that it was not being run and commanded simply by the Supreme War Lord, but that materially it was dependent above all on the representatives of the people, upon whom it looked with scorn and contempt, that is, on the Reichstag, in which sit even representatives of the “common people” – in short, it was dependent on the “rabble”, who, under the protection of their Reichstag immunity, could lay bare the essence of the militarist system. It therefore found itself obliged, suppressing its rage, to keep this rabble, the “Reichstag fellows”, as well as the despised public opinion, in a good mood. It was a case of not putting the military piety of the bourgeoisie to too severe a test, for the bourgeoisie, tough it was ordinarily ready to pay for every possible military requirement, quite often and especially in times of financial difficulty tried to kick against the pricks. It was also a question of easing its position in relation to the electors, who, as far as their position in life is concerned, belong to the anti-militarist classes and who, on recognizing their true class position, would go over to the side of Social-Democracy. It was therefore finally a question of depriving Social-Democracy of its most effective weapons, so that the next tactic adopted was that of keeping quiet and hushing things up. The proceedings of the military courts were kept secret; “no ray of light fell in the darkness of their heart”. And if any ray of light did manage to get in, they lied, disputed the evidence and embellished the matter with all their might. But the torch of Social-Democracy shed more and more light even behind the barracks walls and through the bars of military prisons and fortresses. The military debates in the German Reichstag in the ’eighties and ’nineties of the last century represent a hard and passionate struggle for the recognition of the fact that the horrors of the barracks were not a rare and isolated phenomenon, but a regular, very frequent and to a certain extent organic, constitutional manifestation of militarism. Good service was rendered in this struggle by the fact that in other states the proceedings of the military courts were carried out in public, which made it easier to prove without doubt that military ill-treatment was a normal property of militarism, even of the republican militarism of France, even of Belgian militarism and even, to an increasing extent, of the militarism of the Swiss militia. Social-Democratic criticism scored a victory essentially because of the impression created by the decrees of Prince George of Saxony (of June 8, 1891) [4] and of the Bavarian Ministry of War (of December 13, 1891), published in Vorwärts early in 1892, as well as by the Reichstag debates of February 15 to 17, 1892. After the usual “considerations” and wrangling, a reform of our military criminal procedure was, with great difficulty, finally achieved in 1898. It was nevertheless still quite possible to hang the cloak of Christian love over the frightful secrets of the barracks, and on a wide scale, by excluding publicity. But in spite of all the decrees effectively ruling out such publicity, in spite of the action taken against the judges in the Bilse case [2*], the reform soon brought into the open such a cloudburst of horrifying cases of ill-treatment that all the objections to the criticism made by the Social-Democrats were brushed aside without any trouble, and the torturing of soldiers was recognized almost everywhere, if unwillingly, to be a standing institution of militarism in its support for the state. There were attempts, not always of an honest nature, to come to grips with this frightening institution which provided so much opportunity for Social-Democratic “agitation”. Even if these attempts were not genuine, in that their promoters did not believe in their success, the point was to create an impression that there was dissatisfaction with the phenomenon and a desire to attempt to get rid of it. The torturers began to be prosecuted in a relatively thorough way. But for militarism the fight against the ill-treatment of soldiers is of course less important than its interest in military discipline and in preparing the people to bear arms in the fight against what are in fact, their own international and national interests. One only has to compare the sentences passed on torturers of the commonest kind with those which are often passed on soldiers for quite minor offences, and offences committed in a state of excitement or of drunkenness – such actions, directed against officers, take place almost every day. In this case the slightest misdemeanours against the holy ghost of militarism are punished with bloodthirsty and draconian measures. But where it is the soldiers who are ill-treated, comparative indulgence is shown to their torturers, in a spirit of understanding. It is therefore quite natural that the struggle of military justice against such ill-treatment, and against the merciless strangling of every trace of an awakening demand for independence and equal rights among the lower ranks, meets with little success. The case of the Prince of Saxe-Meiningen is relevant here. He had the courage to appeal to the men to support the struggle against ill-treatment, in fact to make it their duty to support it in order to get to the root of the evil with more determination than usual. But because of this bold step the prince was forced to retire from the service. [5] This case throws a somewhat lurid light upon the feeble and hopeless character of the official struggle against ill-treatment in the army.

The pamphlet written by our comrade Rudolf Kraff a former Bavarian officer, entitled Opfer der Kaserne (Victims of the Barracks), puts together valuable material with a skill which only someone with personal experience could possess. The regular compilation by our Party press of details of trials concerning the ill-treatment of soldiers – and of sailors [6] – news of which has come up from time to time, provides an overwhelming mass of material. But this material has unfortunately not yet been worked over. [7] This is an important and profitable task which ought to be put in hand.

Because of our fundamental standpoint we cherish no illusions about militarism. The Scharnhorst decree on military punishment says: “Experience teaches us that recruits can be taught to drill without the use of blows. An officer who thinks this impossible lacks either the necessary ability to teach or a clear understanding of what really constitutes the teaching of drill ...” – and this is theoretically true, but too far in advance of its time to be possible in practice. The ill-treatment of soldiers springs from the very essence of capitalist militarism. The human material is for the most part, as far as the mind is concerned, and to an even greater extent as far as the body is concerned, not fitted for the demands made upon it by military life, especially those of the parade drill. More and more young men enter the army whose outlook is hostile and dangerous to the military spirit, It is necessary to tear out a part of the soul of these “fellows”, and instil a new spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the crown. All these tasks cannot be solved by even the cleverest instructors, let alone the kind of instructors at the disposal of militarism. Here again, therefore, militarism must be more economical than it would like to be. [8]

And the existence of these military instructors is by no means assured. They are entirely dependent on the goodwill, on the whim of their superiors. They may expect to be sacked at any moment if they cease to perform their main task – that of fashioning the soldiers after the image of militarism. This is an excellent means of ensuring the pliability of the whole apparatus of military officers (commissioned and non-commissioned) in the hands of the authority in command. One can easily understand that such superiors drill the men with a nervous ruthlessness which soon comes to no more than the statement: “If you do not obey orders I will use violence”. And this violence is finally employed in the form of ill-treatment by the superior ranks, who have absolute power of life and death over their subordinates, themselves in a position of unconditional subjection. But it is a natural and humanly necessary consequence, and even the newly baked Japanese militarism quickly found itself involved in the same methods. [9] Militarism finds itself therefore, in this dilemma too.

The causes of such “pleasures of military life” are of course varied. The degree of education of the people, above all, exercises a strong moderating influence. [10] And it is not surprising that even French colonial militarism contrasts favourably with the militarism of the Prusso-German fatherland. [11]

But this method of wing violence as a disciplinary measure, which is due to a necessity inherent in the system, provides us with excellent means of fighting militarism at its roots and of achieving success, of stirring up ever greater masses of the people and of spreading consciousness among strata which it would otherwise be impossible, or at least much more difficult, to reach. Ill-treatment of soldiers together with military class justice is one of the manifestations of the uncivilized character of capitalism which makes people most angry. Since it is at the same time an underground menace to military discipline, it is the most powerful weapon in the hands of the proletariat in its struggle for freedom. This sin of capitalism is turned back with double force against itself. However penitent the sinner, whether in genuine contrition or in the manner of the fox in a children’s story, we must not allow these weapons to be snatched from us, for in spite of his sackcloth and ashes this sinner is incorrigible.


2. The cost of militarism, or La douloureuse

Another dilemma

Historical materialism, the theory of dialectical development, is the doctrine of the essential necessity of retribution. Every class society is doomed to self-destruction. Every class society is a force which wants to do evil and does what is good, as it wants to do good but must do evil. It is doomed to destruction by the inherited sin of its class character, for, whether it likes it or not, it must eventually produce the Oedipus which will strike it down – but unlike the legendary Theban, in full consciousness of parricide. This applies in any case to the capitalist social order and to the proletariat.

The ruling class of capitalism would of course like to look after its financial interests without being disturbed. But the peace which it would like is neither permitted by capitalist competition, national or international, nor does it suit for any length of time the taste of those from whose skin capitalism cuts its thongs. It is therefore necessary for capitalism to build a terrible fortress of domination, bristling with weapons, in order to protect the system of wage slavery and the divine right of profit. But even though capitalism requires militarism, it by no means finds the cost of militarism agreeable; on the contrary, it finds it very disagreeable. Yet since in our day it is no longer possible, according to the old prescription of Cadmus, to sow teeth and to see armed soldiers spring up out of the ground, there is nothing to be done but to put up with the greed of militarism and to feed its insatiable hunger. The budget discussions which take place every year in the parliaments show how much pain this financial question causes to the ruling classes. Capitalism, which is addicted to surplus value, is once again hit in its weak spot – finance. The fact that it costs so much is the only thing which keeps militarism within some kind of limit, at least in so far as the cost has to be borne by the bourgeoisie itself. But of course the morality of profit seeks and finds a convenient and miserly way out, by piling the greatest part or at least a large part of the burden on the shoulders of those strata of the population which are not only the weakest, but are also the very groups whose suppression and exploitation is the chief purpose of militarism. Like other ruling classes in other societies, the capitalist classes make use of their position of domination, which is based essentially on the exploitation of the proletariat, to force the oppressed and exploited classes not only to forge their own chains but also to help pay for them. It is not enough that the sons of the people are made into torturers of the people – even the pay of these torturers is wrung to the utmost from the sweat and blood of the people itself. And even if the provocative and bloody nature of this robbery sometimes comes to the surface, capitalism still remains true unto death to its faith – faith in the golden calf.

It is true that by throwing the military burden onto the shoulders of the poorer classes one lowers the degree to which these classes can be exploited. But this is inevitable, and also helps to place capitalism, greedy for profit, in further financial difficulties.

Militarism weighs like lead on our whole life. But it is especially an economic weight, a pressure under which our economic life groans, a vampire which constantly, year after year, sucks the blood of the economy by drawing the strength of the nation away from productive and cultural work, as well as by the direct effect of its insane cost. Thus in Germany at present about 655,000 [12] of the strongest and most capable workers, mostly aged between 20 and 22, are withdrawn from work in this way. In Germany too the swelling military and naval expenditure amounts for example (including colonial [13] but not supplementary expenditure) to over 1,300 million Marks for 1906-7, that is, to roughly 11/3 milliards. The expenditure of the other military states is, relatively speaking, no less heavy [14], and even the military expenditure of the richer states, such as the U.S.A. [15], Britain (which spent 1,321 million Marks on the army and navy in 1904-5!), Belgium and Switzerland, is so enormous that it constitutes the chief item in the state budget. There is a tendency everywhere for costs to increase to the very boundaries of possibility.

The following compilation of the Manuel du Soldat is very revealing:

In 1899 Europe had a military budget of 7,184,321,093 Francs. There were 4,169,321 men employed in a military capacity. If they were working they could produce daily (at the rate of 3 Francs per man) to the value of 12,507,963 Francs. Further, 710,342 horses were required for military purposes, which, at a rate of 2 Francs per day per horse, could produce daily to the value of 1,420,684 Francs. This makes a total of 13,928,647 Francs. If we multiply this number by 300 it makes, when added to the budget, a loss in productive value of 11,362,915,313 Francs.

But from 1899 to 1906-7 the military budget of Germany alone has grown from about 920 million Marks to about 1,300 millions, or by more than 40 per cent. Total European military expenditure, without counting the cost of the Russo-Japanese war, would now come to about 13,000,000,000 Marks a year, or about 13 per cent of all world trade. Such a policy must surely end in bankruptcy.

Just as in the Russian Baltic provinces the military suppression of the revolutionary movement was for a long time delegated to the barons, who had been particularly affected by the movement, so in America the possibility has been created of entrusting to the bourgeoisie, even in times of peace, a certain element of the task of maintaining capitalist order. This is the role of the Pinkertons [4*], who have straightway become a legal institution directly employed in the class struggle; This institution, like the Belgian form of the Civil Guard, has at any rate the advantage that it moderates the phenomena which accompany militarism (ill-treatment of soldiers, the cost, etc.) [16] and is disliked by the bourgeoisie itself. The enemy of capitalist society is thereby partially deprived of highly effective propaganda matter. But this way of avoiding the problem, which is also more acceptable to the proletariat, is normally ruled out for the capitalist states, as we have already pointed out. As far as one can see ahead, they are unable to adopt the much less costly militia system because of the political task which must be performed by the army at home, because of the function it performs in the class struggle. This function in fact accords with the striking tendency to do away with the existing militia system.

By comparing the total expenditure of the German Reich for 1906-7, which came to 2,397,324,000 Marks, with the portion which falls to the share of the army and navy, it can be seen that all the other items are simply peripheral in comparison with this great sum, and that the whole taxation system and financial policy centre round the military budget, “like the host of stars around the sun”.

Militarism therefore becomes a dangerous impediment, often even the gravedigger of that cultural progress which in itself might be in the interest of the social order of our day. The school, art and science, public hygiene, the communications system: all these are treated in the most shabby fashion because, to use a popular expression, the greed of Moloch leaves nothing over for culture. The words of the minister, that cultural requirements are not to suffer, were endorsed with genuine approval only by the East Elbean Junkers who have some cultural pretensions. They could only cause ironic smiles among the other representatives of capitalist culture.

The figures are conclusive. It is enough to compare the German military expenditure of 11/3 milliards for 1906 with the 171 millions which Prussia spent in the same year for education of every kind, or the 420 millions which Austria-Hungary spent for military purposes in 1900 with the 5½ millions which it spent on primary schools. The most recent Prussian law on the maintenance of schools, with its petty rules on the question of teachers’ pay, as well as Studt’s notorious decree against raising teachers’ pay in the towns, speak volumes.

Germany could, with the funds at its disposal, solve all its cultural problems. And the more these problems were solved, the easier it would be to pay the cost. But militarism blocks the way.

The manner in which military costs are met in Germany – but the situation is not much different elsewhere, for example in France – is especially pernicious. It is militarism, one might almost say, which creates and supports our oppressive and unjust system of indirect taxation. The whole imperial customs and taxation policy, which tends to exploit the great masses of people, that to say the poor sections of the population, is essentially the cause of the fact that, in 1906 for example, the cost of living for the bulk of the people rose by between 10 and 15 per cent in comparison with the average for the years 1900-4. This policy, apart from serving Junkerdom, that class of parasites (and the loving care from which they benefit is for the most part based on the militarist system) serves, above all, the aims of militarism.

It is also militarism which is mainly to be thanked for the fact that our communications system, whose extension and perfection should after all be in the best interests of a capitalism which was intelligent and perceptive of its own needs, nevertheless fails by a long way to satisfy the demands made by traffic and technical developments. The system is instead employed as a milk cow, to impose a special indirect tax upon the people. The story of the last imperial finance bill introduced by Stengel would open even the eyes of the blind. One can calculate almost to the penny that this bill was only called forth by the need to fill up a 200-million Mark hole which militarism has again torn out of the state treasury. And the system of taxation laws, which puts heavy duty on items of mass consumption like beer and tobacco, and even on traffic, on which the vitality of capitalism depends, constitutes an excellent illustration of the point made above.

There is no doubt that militarism is in many respects a burden on capitalism, that this burden attaches itself as firmly to the neck of capitalism as the old man of the seas to that of Sinbad the Sailor. Capitalism needs militarism just as spies are needed in wartime and executioners and torturers in peacetime. It may hate militarism, but it cannot do without it, just as the civilized Christian abhors sins against the gospel yet cannot live without sin. Militarism is an inherited sin of capitalism, a sin which is of course open to rectification here and there [17], but which will be eliminated only in the purgatory of socialism.


3. The army as a tool against the proletariat in the economic struggle

Preliminary remark

We have already seen how militarism has actually become the axis around which our political, social and economic life more and more revolves, how it pulls the wires which make the puppets of the capitalist puppet theatre dance on their strings. We have seen what goal militarism serves, how it seeks to attain this goal, and how in the pursuit of this goal it is forced by physical necessity to produce the very poison which will bring about its death. We have also discussed the important role which it plays – rather unsuccessfully – as a school for the inculcation of militarist ideas among those in uniform and among civilians. But militarism is not satisfied with all this. Even now, in peacetime, it exerts its influence in various directions in order to uphold the state and to prepare for the great day when, having served its time as apprentice and journeyman, it must deliver its masterpiece, for the day when the people will dare to rise in rebellion against its masters, the day of the great cataclysm.

On this day – and its bodyguard would prefer to see it come now rather than tomorrow, since it could be more sure of its ability to turn it into a massacre of Social-Democracy – on that day it will shoot and kill, murder to its heart’s content in order (with God’s aid) to save King and Fatherland. As its ideal, its model, it will take January 22, 1905, and the bloody May Week of 1871. Schönfeldt, the commander of the Vienna corps, made the following pledge to the bourgeoisie at a banquet in April 1904: “You may rest assured that you will find us behind you when the existence of society and the enjoyment of hard-earned property are threatened. When the bourgeois stands in the front line, the soldier will hurry to his aid!”

The iron fist is thus always raised to strike a crushing blow. There are hypocrites who talk of “safeguarding law and order”, of “protecting the freedom to work”, but what they mean is “safeguarding oppression” and “protecting exploitation”. If the proletariat makes its presence felt with undue liveliness and power, militarism immediately rattles its sabres to try and frighten it back into its place. The omnipresent and almighty force of militarism – which stands behind every action taken by the state power against the workers and in the last instance lends it insuperable power – far from remaining in the background, behind the vanguard of the police and gendarmerie, is quite prepared to carry out everyday work, to strengthen the pillars of the capitalist order in the hand-to-hand struggle. It is precisely this multiplicity of activity which characterizes the scheming nature of capitalist militarism.


Soldiers as competitors of free labourers

Militarism is well aware, as a functionary of capitalism, that its highest and most sacred duty is to protect the employers’ profits. So it considers itself quite free, even bound, officially or unofficially, to place the soldiers like beasts of burden at the disposal of the exploiting classes and especially of Junkerdom. This is meant to solve the problem of the shortage of agricultural workers, a shortage brought about by the inhuman exploitation and brutality to which they are subject.

Soldiers are also given leave to gather in the harvest – another practice detrimental to the interests of labour, like the system of orderlies. It also makes it clear, even to the monomaniacs of the goose step and parade drill, that to present the system of long-term service as a military necessity is an unscrupulous and clumsy swindle. And it calls up memories, which are not at all flattering, of the company system as it existed before Jena. One should bear in mind, for example, the much discussed decrees of the general command to the Ist [18], IVth, Xth [19] and XVIIth Prussian army corps in 1906. The very many instances in which the post and railways draw upon soldiers for help in cases of heavy traffic should also be mentioned here, though their significance is more complex.


The army and strike-breaking

Militarism interferes directly with the struggles of the labour movement for freedom by employing soldiers as blacklegs under military command. In this connection we might recall the case, recently brought to the fore again, of Lieutenant-General von Liebert, the present commander of the Imperial Slander League against Social-Democracy, who as a simple colonel in 1896 had already grasped the fact that a strike is a public calamity like a fire or a water famine. That is to say, it is calamity for the employers’ class, whose guardian angel and executor von Liebert considered himself to be.

Specially notorious in Germany is the method employed in the Nuremberg strike of 1906, a method which consisted in pushing the men who were leaving their jobs back into the ranks of the blacklegs, by the use of a little gentle pressure.

Three events which took place outside of Germany are of much greater importance. First, there was the mass military blacklegging in the general strike of the railways in Holland in January 1903. The result of this episode was that the railwaymen were deprived of the right to form trade unions. [20] Second was the general strike of the Hungarian railway workers in 1904, where the military administration went even further. On the one hand it formed a blackleg column out of men on active service, who, contrary to the law, were kept under military command when their period of service had finished. On the other hand it went so far as to call up the reservists and men of the Landwehr who were to be found among the railwaymen, as well as non-railwaymen in the same groups who were technically suitable, and forced them to work as blacklegs on the railways. Third was the Bulgarian railway strike declared on January 2,1907.

No less important is the struggle inaugurated by the ministers of agriculture and war in Hungary at the beginning of December 1906 against the right of the agricultural workers to form trade unions and go on strike. The careful training of soldiers to take part in blackleg columns for the harvest is very important here.

In France too blacklegging by soldiers is a well-known phenomenon. [21]

The fact that military education systematically encourages blacklegging, and the danger caused to the fighting proletariat by those workers who have just come out of the army and are quite ready to stab their class comrades in the back – these things also contribute to the gains made by international militarism. [22]

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1. See the very interesting but quite illusory Regulations on Military Discipline.

2. The perceptive order made by Manteuffel and dated April 14, 1885, says among other things: “Abuse injures and destroys the sense of honour, and the officer who abuses his subordinates is digging his own grave; for one cannot rely on the loyalty or bravery of someone who allows himself to be abused ... In a word, subordinates are what they are treated as by their superiors, from the general down to the lieutenant.”

3. The mass of deserters and those liable for service but who evade it serves among other things as a rough guide. 15,000 German deserters lost their lives during the first thirty years of the glorious Empire in the French Colonial Army alone. The bloody baffle of Vionville in comparison only resulted in 16,000 dead and wounded. See Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus.

4. They speak of “very serious conditions”, of “refined torture”, of the “efflux of brutality and degeneracy” which, given the officers in charge, is “hardly credible”, and was thought to have been rendered “practically impossible by the system of supervision. On February 8, 1895, Vorwärts published an Imperial decree, also applicable in this context, and addressed to the generals in command. The decrees of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (after Jena) and of Manteuffel (April 18, 1885) are relevant in another connection, as is the decree of the Prince of Saxe-Meiningen.

5. Cf. for example the case of the unfortunate Rückenbrodt. In this case a terrible part was played by the use of a rope-like packing of asbestos with wire twisted round it. The torturers, with biting irony, called it the “military educator”. (Vorwärts, September 25, 1906.)

6. Cf. The Frankfurter Zeitung of April 6,1903, the Verhandlungen des Reichstages of March 4 and 8, 1904, especially the speeches of the deputies Bebel, Ledebour and Müller-Meiningen, and Vorwärts of May 6, 13, 14 and 21, 1903. Also the cabinet order reprinted in the Armee-Verordnungsblatt of April 29, 1903, which stresses that it is not the duty of soldiers to make complaints, but only their right. See in addition the Militär-Wochenblatt of May 29, 1903, according to which the fact that the Prince of Saxe-Meiningen had been reprimanded and sacked had caused a “most embarrassing sensation”. In what circles?

7. There is something in Prinz Arenberg und die Arenberge, pp.15ff., about “aristocrats who ill-treat soldiers”.

8. On February 27, 1891, Caprivi [3*] explained in connection with the ill-treatment of soldiers that “the educated non-commissioned officer is of more use to us than the common one, because the former more seldom allows himself to be carded away by his temperament, even when he is angry”. But where are educated N.C.O.s to be found, unless they are kidnapped?

9. Cf. for instance the Brandenburger Zeitung of December 8, 1906.

10. The river Main forms no demarcation line here. In the domain of the ill-treatment of the soldier, at least, German unity and solidarity have been realized.

11. Cf. Däumig, Schlachtopfer des Militarismus, p.370.

12. In 1906-7 there were 614,362 men in the standing army, and in 1905-6 there were 40,672 men in the navy.

13. Each soldier fighting in German South-West Africa cost the German Reich 9,500 Marks in 1906.

14. In France, for example, a total of 1,101,260,000 Francs in 1905! Since 1870 France has spent nearly 40 milliard Francs for military purposes (excluding the colonies!).

15. See part 1, chapter 2.5.

16. But even in the U.S.A. the Departments of War and of the Navy alone in 1904-5 took 240 million dollars out of a total budget of 720 millions.

17. See part 1, chapter 2.5.

18. The editor of the Königsberger Volkszeitung was condemned to a heavy fine in the autumn of 1906 for alleged libel, in that he criticized the decree concerning the granting of leave during the harvest.

19. Cf. the reply of the general in command in Vorwärts, November 3, 1906.

20. The strike began on January 30, 1903, and ended victoriously on February 1. On March 10 the anti-strike law came before the chamber, on April 6 the general strike was declared, on April 9 the anti-strike law was voted through, on April 13 the general strike collapsed. The mills of capitalism grind quickly when “Holland is in danger”.

21. See the Manuel du Soldat, p.9.

22. Ibid., p.8.

Additional notes by the translator

1*. SCHARNHORST, GERHARD VON (1755-1813). Appointed head of the Army Reform Commission after the Peace of Tilsit (1807). Collaborated in this field with Gneisenau, with the aim of introducing conscription coupled with political reform. Chief of Staff to Blücher in 1813, he died the same year after receiving a wound in the Battle of Lutzen. – GNEISENAU, GRAF VON (1760-1830). Prussian Field Marshal. In 1813 became First General Staff Officer to Scharnhorst, then Chief of Staff. Attempted to convert the mercenary Prussian army into a so-called citizen army.

2*. BILSE TRIAL. The court-martial of Lieutenant Bilse, which took place in Metz in November 1903. The accused had written a novel depicting the dissolute morals of the officer corps. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment. His judges were later reprimanded for having conducted the trial in public, for the facts which were brought to light were such as to throw the accusation back on the military system.

3*. CAPRIVI, GRAF VON (1831-1899). Imperial Chancellor from 1890 to 1894. Responsible for the bill of 1893 raising the strength of the army by more than 80,000 men, while reducing the period of conscription from three to two years. Dismissed in October 1894.

4*. PINKERTONS. Private police in the United States of America organized by Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884). Used against American labour unions, especially during the strikes of 1877.

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