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Shades of the Future?: Daniel Frymann [Heinrich Claß] (1912)

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Any expansion in Europe can be achieved, from the very outset, only by victorious war, since neither France nor Russia will be so charitable as to cede part of their territory to us; once we have won and force the cession of land, we will receive regions inhabited by people, Frenchmen or Russians, that is, people who are hostile towards us, and one has to ask whether such an increase in land improves our situation. [ . . . ]

But if one gets to the bottom of the special situation of the German people, which is tightly bound within Europe and which, with continued strong growth, could possibly suffocate if it doesn’t gain some breathing room, one will have to recognize that there may be a time when it will have to demand from the defeated enemy in the West or East land empty of humans – unless we had colonies capable of being settled overseas, or we were determined to allow once again the emigration of Germans to foreign states. [ . . . ]

Thus the fact remains that an expansion in Europe to the East and West is not be to considered except in an utmost emergency; but it remains to be pondered whether the Southeast might offer space for us, the parts of Austria-Hungary and the Balkans inhabited by the so-called “sub-Germanic” Slavic tribes of every kind. Our relationship to this land will be discussed later on, but let me say here that a magnificent settlement of the Southeast will represent an entirely sound solution – under two conditions, that a relationship is found between the German Reich and Austria-Hungary, which, in the form of an eternal alliance, creates a complete and lasting solidarity between the interests of both states, and, in addition, that the Habsburg Empire gives itself an internal state form that guarantees for all times the cultural and political leadership of the German element in it, namely on both sides of the Leitha river.

Source: Daniel Frymann [Heinrich Claß], Wenn ich der Kaiser wär: Politische Wahrheiten und Notwendigkeiten [If I were Kaiser: Political Truths and Necessities]. Leipzig, 1912, p. 5ff.

Original German text reprinted in Willibald Gutsche, Herrschaftsmethoden des deutschen Imperialismus 1897/8 bis 1917 [The Ruling Methods of German Imperialism, 1897/8 to 1917]. East Berlin, 1977, pp. 154-59.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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