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Edgar J. Jung, "Germany and the Conservative Revolution" (1932)

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The Third Reich therefore cannot be a continuation of the great process of secularization but only its termination. It will be Germanically Christian or not at all. It encompasses in itself the turn away from the secular forms of the nation-state, from the constrictions of a misdirected nationalism. The new nationalism is a religious–cultural concept because it presses toward totality and tolerates no restriction to the purely political. The language of the German revolution will be—despite and precisely because of this fundamentally nationalistic attitude—a world language. In the struggle for our self-preservation we will, for the first time, speak a language that captures the hearts of other peoples. For the German cause will become the cause of all the peoples who do not want, like France, to constrain the course of history by attempting to constitute themselves and their culture as the crowning summit of all time. Thereby the moment of international liberation is already embraced within the voluntary assumption of the German revolution as the task of Europe as a whole. Revolution signifies the domination of a new principle of social value. Every revolution must therefore be a world revolution, though its specific form might remain confined within boundaries drawn by national character. But should we dream about our little place in the sun, merely proclaim our right to existence? Or should we, frankly and freely, go before the world and say to it that, failing our contribution, the face of humanity would display no ordered spiritual features? Should we, the people of Luther, Kant, Beethoven, and Goethe, should we be denied decisive participation as well in the new political ordering of the world?

German cannot easily be used as a world language of the spirit, a statement that is not meant philologically. The language of a Hegel, a Marx, a Nietzsche has indeed acquired political vitality in the world. People in Italy, in France, and in other nations do indeed strain to hear the voices of Germany’s conservative revolution. However, much more notice is being given to the mighty mass protest represented by National Socialism. It professes its commitment to the Third Reich, but whether in that profound, comprehensive sense with which it is being cultivated by the men who have reinvigorated the idea of the holy Reich remains an open question. It is possible to maintain that it is necessary for National Socialism to be permeated by the spiritual renaissance with which Germany has been blessed in the last decade. Yet it is also permissible to attribute a more limited historical task to National Socialism, the destruction of a rotten world and the preparation of the great field upon which the new seed is to be sewn. This much is certain: the longing of all the masses making sacrifices today for National Socialism springs from the great conservative genetic inheritance that stirs within them and compels them to such action. Whether—to continue in the language of racial hygiene—the phenomenal form of this longing, which goes today under the name of National Socialism, predominantly bears the traits of the conservative revolution or of the liquidation of liberalism will remain unanswered here. The mighty energies that pulse through the awakening German people are indestructible. Prophets, enemies, and friends might passionately debate the future of National Socialism; they might proclaim its rapid fulfillment or temporary setbacks. Those of us who carry the coming Reich and the will to achieve it steadfastly in our hearts will not be diverted from our fundamental course either by setbacks or the tumultuous success of the masses.

We are reproached for proceeding alongside or behind active political forces, for being romantics who fail to see reality and who indulge in dreams of an ideology of the Reich that turns toward the past. But form and formlessness represent eternal social principles, like the struggle between the microcosm and the macrocosm endures in the eternal swing of the pendulum. The phenomenal forms that mature in time are always new, but the great principles of order (mechanical or organic) always remain the same. Therefore if we look to the Middle Ages for guidance, finding there the great form, we are not only not mistaking the present time but apprehending it more concretely as an age that is itself incapable of seeing behind the scenes. A romantic is one who presents historical models that run counter to the laws of an age. The romantics of the nineteenth century painted such model images and failed to recognize that the wave of liberalism had not yet broken. When, however, they attempted from the depths of their souls to give life to a new reality in opposition to the apparent reality of the liberal world model, they were not divorced from reality. Their reality was a greater and more profound one because their perceptual senses were more finely developed.

For us things are different. The time has come, since the dissolution is complete, since the reality of the liberal conception of the world has revealed itself as illusory, since it has proved impossible to gain mastery over life through abstraction and the rule of understanding. We once again see the world as it is because we are ourselves not only of this world, but because we have an immediate sense of the metaphysical and feel its presence within us as a cosmic law. That is why our hour has come: the hour of the German revolution.

Source of English translation: Edgar J. Jung, “Germany and the Conservative Revolution” (1932), in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, edited by Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg. © 1994 Regents of the University of California. Published by the University of California Press, pp. 352-54. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Source of original German text: Edgar J. Jung, “Deutschland und die konservative Revolution,” Deutsche über Deutschland. Munich: Albert Langen, 1932, pp. 369-82.

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