Basic Issues of the Social Question
Basic Issues: Notes
Page 21 (Preface) In Ausführung der Dreigliederung des Sozialen
Organismus. These 22 essays by Rudolf Steiner, along with 44 others on
the subject, are now contained in a volume entitled Aufsätze über die
Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus (Essays on the Triformation of
the Social Organism) published in 1961 by the Rudolf Steiner Verlag,
Page 33 Ferdinand Lassalle. 1825-1864, founder of the Social
Democratic movement in Germany. The speech referred to here was made
before the Berlin criminal court in defence against the charge
of having publicly incited the propertyless classes to hate and
contempt of the property owners, on 16 January, 1863. Ferdinand
Lassalle Gesammelte Reden und Schriften. Berlin 1919/20.
Page 42 For years I taught ... in a workers' educational
institute. Rudolf Steiner taught history and science subjects in
the Workers' Training School in Berlin, a socialistically oriented
institution, from 1899 to 1904. See chapter 28 of his autobiography.
The Course of my Life. Although his courses were very popular with the
worker-students, he was eventually forced to leave because his
teaching methods were neither materialistic nor Marxist.
Page 54 Von Seelenrätseln. Extracts from this book have been
published by the Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1970, under the title
The Case for Anthroposophy, selected, translated, arranged and with an
introduction by Owen Barfield.
Page 61 Carl Jentsch Volkswirtschaftslehre (Economics) published 1895.
Page 122 Dr. Walther Rathenau. His book Nach der Flut was published
in 1919. As foreign minister in Germany's post-war government, he was
shot dead in the street on 24 June 1922. His books were burned by the
Nazis when Hitler became chancellor.
Page 129 A League of Nations Reference is to the
organization of this name established by the victorious allies on 28
July 1919, mostly at the initiative of President Wilson. It had no
sooner been created than it suffered an almost mortal blow when the
United States Congress rejected it.
Page 132 The Austro-Hungarian state ... in need of a
reorganization. An American journalist-historian has since seen
it this way. The Danube monarchy was dying of indigestion. For
centuries a minority of German-Austrians had ruled over the polyglot
empire of a dozen nationalities and stamped their language and culture
on it. But since 1848 their hold had been weakening. The minorities
could not be digested. Austria was not a melting pot. In the 1860s the
Italians had broken away and in 1867 the Hungarians had won equality
with the Germans under the so-called Dual Monarchy. Now, as the
twentieth century began, the various Slav peoples the Czechs,
the Slovaks, the Serbs, the Croats and the others were
demanding equality and at least national autonomy. Austrian politics
had become dominated by the bitter quarrel of the nationalities. But
this was not all. There was social revolt too and this often
transcended the racial struggle ... William L. Shirer, The Rise
and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1960.
Page 132 The Serbo-Austrian conflict The
Austrian Grand Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on
28 June 1914 in Sarajevo by members of a Serbian secret society. The
assassination was the outward event which triggered the war.
Page 134 And the German Empire? The second
German Empire was founded on 18 January 1871 through the efforts of
its chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. On that date, King Wilhelm I of
Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of Germany in the Hall of Mirrors at
Page 135 social reforms During the period 1883
to 1889 Bismarck had enacted various such reforms, which went far
beyond anything known at that time in other countries. They included
compulsory insurance for old-age sickness, accidents and incapacity
and they were operated by the state, but financed by employees and
employers. Such reforms had the effect of dampening the workers'
enthusiasm for extreme socialism but, at the same time, increased
their faith in the state as protector.
Page 135 the decisive events in Berlin. The memoirs of
General Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of the German General Staff at the
outbreak of the war, were ready for publication in May 1919. Von
Moltke describes the German Government's attitude at that time,
especially on 31 July and 1 August 1914: The atmosphere grew
steadily more tense and I was completely alone. Then he was told
by the Kaiser, So now you can do whatever you want. Rudolf
Steiner wrote in a commentary: So there it was: the Chief of the
General Staff stood completely alone. Due to the fact that German
policy had reached the zero-point, Europe's destiny on 31 July and 1
August rested in the hands of a man who was obliged to do his military
duty. (Vorbemerkungen zu Die Schuld am Krieg, Betrachtungen und
Erinnerungen des Generalstabschefs H. von Moltke.) Aufsätze über die
Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus. This military duty
involved implementing the German army's predetermined war-plan,
prepared by von Moltke's predecessor General Schlieffen, which
provided for the domination of France before invading Russia. France
was to be attacked through Belgium and Holland. Von Moltke modified
the plan to the extent that Holland was omitted. His memoirs were
suppressed in 1919, but Rudolf Steiner, who was personally acquainted
with him, was familiar with their contents. In an interview which
appeared in the French newspaper Le Matin in October 1921, Steiner
said that the memoirs should have been published in 1919, but they
were suppressed because of fear on the part of the authorities.
Why this fear? These memoirs are in no way an accusation against
the imperial government. Something else is involved, which is perhaps
even worse: that this imperial government found itself in a state of
complete confusion and under an incredibly frivolous and ignorant
leadership. Jules Sauerman's interview with Dr. Rudolf Steiner
on the unpublished memoirs of the late Chief of the German General
Staff von Moltke. ibid.
Page 137 The author ... attempted to make known ...
Steiner wrote memoranda directed to leading government circles in
Germany and Austria which contained his ideas concerning the way these
countries could act in a manner which would have been beneficial to
themselves and the world. Count Otto Lerchenfeld brought a memorandum
to the German state secretary Kuhlman among others, and Count Ludwig
Polzer-Hoditz to his brother, Austria's chief cabinet officer. The
memoranda were not published during Steiner's lifetime. They are
included in Aufsätze über die Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus.
Page 137 Brest-Litovsk. On 15 December 1917, the peace
treaty between Germany and Russia was signed at Brest-Litovsk. The
conditions imposed by Germany were extremely hard (very comparable to
those imposed on her by the allies a year later). As a result of this
accord, Germany was free to concentrate her troops in the west. In
Russia, only two months after the revolution, the new communist
government led by Lenin was anxious to consolidate its power at home
without having to continue the inherited war. The suspicion also
exists that Lenin had secretly agreed to make peace with Germany while
he was still in exile in Switzerland, in return for his famous trip
from Zürich to Russia through Germany in a sealed railway carriage in
order to take command of the revolution.
Page 139 President Wilson's fourteen points
constituted the ideological basis for the principle of
self-determination of peoples, which was to underlie the
political restructuring of Europe after the war. This principle
presupposes that ethnic groups (peoples, nations) are perfectly
separable and definable, like so many individual pieces of a jigsaw
puzzle. If each governs itself through its own national state, then
the cause of political morality is served. In fact, Europe was and is
a quilt of nations with many overlapping ethnic grey
regions. The effect of self-determination or the nationalities
principle is the disenfranchisement of many smaller or larger
minorities with the resultant bitterness and frustration. The course
of history since this principle was put into effect in Europe and
elsewhere would seem to support such criticism. Winston Churchill
wrote the following about the carving up of the Austro-Hungarian
empire: The second cardinal tragedy was the complete break-up of
the Austro-Hungarian Empire ... There is not one of these peoples or
provinces that constituted the Empire of the Hapsburgs to whom gaining
their independence has not brought the tortures which ancient poets
and theologians had reserved for the damned. The Second World
War, Vol. 1, Chap. I, The Gathering Storm. According to the idea of
the social triformation, or threefold society,
the nationalities (ethnic) problem can only be solved by liberating
national life from the power of the political state. In
other words, the creation of a free cultural-spiritual sector.
Page 141 To the German People and the Civilized World. This appeal
was counter-signed by a number of personages from Germany, Austria and
Switzerland. Probably the only one immediately recognizable in the
English-speaking world of today is Hermann Hesse. It was printed and
distributed by committees in these and other European countries.