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Franz Perrot’s "Era Articles" Attacking Bismarck’s Ministry, Liberals, and the Jews (June 29 - July 1, 1875)

Franz Perrot (1833-1891) was an antisemitic conservative writer who published a series of blockbuster essays in his party’s leading newspaper, the Neue Preussische (Kreuz-) Zeitung. They were written in reaction to the scandals of the “Founding Era” (1871-1873) and the apparent triumph of liberal views in German government policy. As Otto Glagau (1834-1892) had done a few months earlier – in another document included in this collection – Perrot blames the Jews for Germany’s economic crisis; he attacks the government’s economic policy; and he names leading individuals among Bismarck’s inner circle of advisors. These include Gerson Bleichröder (1822-1893), Bismarck’s Jewish banker; Otto Camphausen (1812-1896), a former president of the Prussian Maritime Bank and liberal Minister of Finance; and Rudolf Delbrück (1817-1903), one of Prussia’s most able administrative and economic experts and Bismarck’s deputy in the Reich Chancellery. These articles contributed to Bismarck’s tempestuous but short-lived break with his former conservative allies in 1875-1876.

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Era Articles
Dated June 29, 1875.


Rarely, perhaps never in the history of the world, has there been a time period more favorable for a grandly designed national economic policy than the period in Germany after the war of 1870/71.

Perhaps never before in German history was there a point in time more conducive to making great creative contributions to the lasting welfare of the nation than the past four years – and perhaps never before was a great moment for state economics frustrated more pathetically, wasted more regrettably, botched more completely than the period of French indemnity payments in Germany.

The immortal credit for these outstanding contributions to recent German national economic policy can be ascribed, mind you, to Messrs Delbrück and Camphausen.

In the recent 77th session of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies, however, Herr Camphausen replied to Herr von Kardorff that “out of respect for his friend Delbrück,” he would renounce any claim to being recognized as the “intellectual author of our entire economic policy.” We are not entirely sure, though, whether a time might come when Mr. Delbrück will also want to turn down the honor of this “intellectual authorship.” And indeed, according to our knowledge of the situation, Mr. Delbrück might not be entirely guilty of the honor of “intellectual authorship,” probably not even mostly guilty – ultimately, this honor must be claimed by the great “financial-national economic” spiritus familiaris, the good spirit of the New German Empire – Mr. G. von Bleichröder. It definitely seems necessary to enlighten the German public in the most comprehensive manner about the enormous contributions of Mr. G. v. Bleichröder, since his very properly calculated modesty allows him to carefully prevent the public from learning of his extraordinary contributions to the new German national economy and his role in helping billions evaporate with as few traces as possible. And since the great, so-called “national liberal” press is primarily in the hands of his co-religionists, or at least under the control of people more or less directly or indirectly dependent on them, his intended modesty has definitely been crowned with success thus far.

You see, Mr. G. v. Bleichröder is, as we add in parenthesis, of the Jewish faith and a ruling banker, with the former, incidentally, following almost automatically from the latter, since, for example, in 1861, only 92 of Prussia’s 642 bankers were Christian; 550, on the other hand, were Jewish. This, however, is only a parenthetical reference.

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