Thursday, August 11, 2016

Threefolding Movement of 1917-1922: Part 5

Hope, Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908

 

The Threefolding Movement of 1917-1922 and Its Present Significance


By Christoph Strawe*
(translated by Edward Udell)

Part 5 (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4)

Conversation Initiatives


Polzer-Hoditz gave the text on 23 July [1917] to his brother Arthur, and also took the opportunity to present the concept to the Prime Minister Ernst von Seidler. The brother, weakened in his position through intrigues, sees at the time no possibility of intervening and only presents the memorandum in November along with his resignation. Despite the Kaiser’s positive and interested perusal of the content, a political initiative does not result. In Berlin, R. Steiner himself presents the matter at the end of July or in August to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Richard von Kühlmann (1873-1948), who later brings the concept in his luggage to the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations. The brutally dictated peace treaty of 3 March 1918 is the exact opposite of that concept. The hope that Brest-Litovsk could become a promotional platform for a peace based on a new social order, and thus perhaps in the last hours could give a different direction to events, was not fulfilled.

R. Steiner holds numerous further conversations, among others one in January 1918 with the later German Chancellor Prince Max von Baden, for whom Steiner specially authored a forward to his 1910 Oslo lecture series on the psychology of nationalities. But this contact also does not lead to any tangible result. In Berlin, the greatest “result” is still that the texts, which indeed for a longer time must have been in circulation among the senior military leadership, are passed on further among them via one of R. Steiner’s students, the Württemberg factory owner Emil Molt, to whom the military has assigned a liaison officer.

Collapse – In the Changed Conditions of the Time


On 3 November 1918, sailors in Kiel refuse to render obedience, and the revolution breaks out. The world war, whose material battles and senseless sacrifice through static trench warfare brought horrors previously unknown, is over. On 9 November, Scheidemann and Liebknecht make parallel proclamations that the state is now a Republic. The collapse of the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies causes a whole world to collapse for many human beings. The hard armistice conditions are experienced by many as a “national disgrace.” Among workers, who are divided politically among the majority Social Democrats, the Independent Social Democrats, and the communist Spartacus League, the hope lives for a socialistic society without exploitation, oppression, and war.

[Part 6 is here.]


* Dr. Christoph Strawe has kindly given me permission to post my translation of his article. I have divided it into Parts 1, 2, etc. Words in brackets [ ] are my insertions. Apart from this note, the footnotes are from Dr. Strawe's article. The original German version can be read here. Dr. Strawe manages the Initiative Network Threefolding (Initiative Netzwerk Dreigliederung). The Initiative Network's English-language website is here.  The German-language website is here.  The Initiative Network Threefolding is part of the Institute for Present-Day Social Questions in Stuttgart (Institut für soziale Gegenwartsfragen e.V. Stuttgart). A biographical paragraph (in German) about Dr. Strawe can be found by scrolling near the end of this webpage. - transl.

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