Going Through These Things Twice

world-in-trance

World In Trance

IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE, and it was happening again last week. An obscure man whose only tools were his brain and his pen was shaping the minds of men who shape the world. Winston Churchill had made one of this man's books "must" reading for the British War Cabinet and for Dominion Premiers who visited London last May. British liberals, scorned and derided by this man, had risen against him. A later book by the same man had just begun to make a stir in the U.S. The man is Leopold Schwarzschild, a German Jew who once was also a German idealist and democrat. The book that gripped Winston Churchill is World in Trance, a burning, raging indictment of the Versailles era— "years of lofty dreaming and low demagogy—the era of the empty phrase—the age of complacency—the years of self-destruction." When the book was published in 1943, it got almost no notice. But the book and its current sequel, Primer of the Coming World (Knopf), were news last week because:

  • The Allied attitudes and beliefs which these books examine are still alive in the world, and must soon be put again to the test of peace.
  • The German formula for recovery and reaggression after World War I, also examined by these books, is still the German formula, as no less an authority than Joseph Goebbels made clear last week when he asked the world to believe that the Germans are decent and worthy people who mean well.

The Myth.

Author Schwarzschild left Germany in 1933, moved from Paris to New York in 1940. At root, his thesis is simple: the Old Adam is, always has been and always will be uppermost in mankind. People have not improved much in the past, they are not improving now, and only fools assume the contrary. Woodrow Wilson and all those caught with him in the perfectionist dream of the Versailles years did assume the contrary, and led the world into chaos.

"Never again," says Schwarzschild, "must we succumb to the myth that power and armaments and compulsion are of themselves sinful. . . . All order, all civilization, all law and dignity, rest on the existence of weapons and power." The Illusion. Author Schwarzschild's No. 2 thesis is that Germans have more than their share of the Old Adam in them. Woodrow Wilson, believing that the postwar Germans of the new republic would be good and deserving democrats; the British, playing balance-of-power politics and encouraging a strong, pre-Hitler Germany; the assorted liberals, radicals, plain men of good will who trusted the Weimar Republic—all these, says Schwarzschild, were members of Germany's "foreign legions," and their illusion was part of the era's tragic foolery.

Of Versailles' Big Four—Wilson, Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau—'only Clemenceau really impressed Schwarzschild. The old Frenchman's attitude, denounced the world over as a fatally stupid and selfish policy, was actually, says Schwarzschild, the only sensible policy. Only the Tiger understood that Germany was a jungle to be controlled for France's sake and the world's. Says Schwarzschild:

"For those who knew the German people, their longing for democracy was always extremely doubtful. In the field of foreign policy [Hitlerism] was only the continuation of previous German policy. Even if the Officers' Corps and their hangers-on had not made an alliance with Hitler...Germany would have inevitably steered her course toward the restoration of her overwhelming military power and eventually toward war."

The Remedy.

Schwarzschild's remedy is armed internationalism—total, indefinite occupation of Germany by U.S., British and Russian troops (600,000 would do the job, he thinks). Furthermore, Germany must be deprived of every means of making war, of preparing for war, or of teaching war. Says Schwarzschild:

"Nothing, positively nothing [must] survive which can materially or spiritually become the nucleus of a new military renaissance...not just for a few years, but for a minimum of 50 to 60. By A.D. 2000, the last Germans who have ever led or trained troops or manufactured weapons will have died."

The Rebuttal.

HG Wells called Schwarzschild "superficially intelligent and massively stupid." Journalist Michael Foot, called Trance "a facile, scintillating treatise which...has received applause from those weary brains which prefer the dismal past to the adventurous future."

Leopold Schwarzschild's appeal to ordinary folks is about as simple as the Old Adam. To them, he sounds like a man telling them what they already know, deep down: that they aren't really as noble, great and good as their Fourth of July orators make out. And that is at least half the story.

Keep this in mind when the Code Pinkers and Obama's minions come to take away your guns just as the Arabs and other distorted Muslims are ready to conquer the world with suicide bombers, Beslan-like motifs, or the explosion of sets of buildings at a time.

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