German Reactionary Modernism

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

To understand National Socialism one must consider the concept of `reactionary modernism’ – a concept which reconciles anti-modernism, romanticism, and tradition with modernity – and it is this apparently contradictory combination  of  traditional culture and aesthetics, and  a  modern reliance on instrumental reason and modern means that made the Third Reich a unique and highly effective political system.
Reactionary modernist tradition was an important component of German nationalism, and it was pervasive within the conservative revolution in Weimar, and in the cultural politics of German engineering from the 1870s to the collapse of the Weimar Republic.
Before 1933, the National Socialists were aware of the tradition, and were contributors to it.
The reactionary modernist tradition continued until the very end of the Third Reich.
It did not give way to rural nostalgia or post-ideological technocratic world views.
This is not to say that Luddites and technocrats did not exist in the Third Reich.
Rather, the continuity of ‘reactionary modernist’ ideology, after 1933, was both more pervasive than these other views, and more important in accounting for the primacy of ideological politics during those years.
The embrace of technology articulated by the reactionary modernists contributed to the technical innovation that characterized the Third Reich.
Development of a distinctive National Socialist view of technology began well before the seizure of power. 
At the centre of all National Socialist views on the subject stood a historical construction of a racial battle between Aryan and Jew – ‘Blut und Gold’ – (blood and gold).
National Socialism combined both anti-Semitism and thr approval of technological advance, which is important to note, given the frequency with which anti-Semitism and generalized rejections of industrial society have been associated with one another.

Alfred Rosenberg
Gottfried Feder

In the years immediately following World War I, Gottfried Feder, himself an engineer, dominated discussion on the subject in the NSDAP In the early 1920s, his pamphlet, ‘Das Manifest zur Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft des Geldes’ (The Manifesto on Breaking the Interest Slavery of Money) was, along with Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’, and Alfred Rosenberg’s ‘Mythos der 20. Jahrhundert’ (Myth of the 20th Century), one of the party’s most important tracts.

Feder distinguished between “Jewish finance capital” and “national capital,” thereby encouraging anti-capitalist rhetoric that left actual property relations intact.
“Creative labor” and industrial capital would have to be liberated from the tentacles of international Jewish power.
His works borrowed from Marxist vocabulary, speaking of the “liberation of productive labour” and calling on the people to unite against the force of international finance.
In his 1923 pamphlet, ‘Der deutsche Staat auf nationaler und sozialer Grundlage’ (The German State on National and Social Foundations), Feder insisted that “the Jew” had remained remote from productive labour, and was the bearer of a parasitic spirit.
But at the same time he claimed that German big industry – Krupp, Mannesmann, Thyssen – and its property were “not at all in conflict with the interest of the totality.
The fundamental recognition of private property is deeply anchored in the clear awareness of the Aryan spiritual structure.”
Feder summarized his “theoretical” contribution to National Socialism in the formula, “creative versus parasitic capital” (schaffendes gegen raffendes Kapital), which appeared in his 1933 work, ‘Kampf gegen Hochfinanz’.
Creative capital was a source of utility, employment, and technological advance, whereas parasitic capital drained national resources for the benefit of a smaller number of international financiers.
Feder’s outlook served to shift the conflict between capital and labour into a nationalist idiom.
Describing capital as “creative” banished any talk of class conflicts arising from the labour process, blamed the banks for the problems of the whole economic system, and carried hints of the aestheticization of the labour process that the NSDAP made so much of in the Amt Schönheit der Arbeit.
In 1926, Hitler selected Feder as he final arbiter of disputes arising from formulation of the party’s twenty-five-point program.
Feder used this position to publish a series of pamphlets, the “National Socialist Library,” which set forth a National Socialist theory on economic organization and technology.
In July 1933, a published speech by Feder stated that National Socialism was compatible with the internal tradition of the engineers and with their desires to elevate “service” to the nation above individual profit.
In his view, National Socialism would fulfil the engineers’ demands for greater social recognition, and more state intervention to unleash technology.
He admitted that technology posed dangers, for example, undue dependence on foreign raw materials, an unhealthy urban atmosphere, and an excessive division of labour that might destroy the German “feeling for home” (Heimatgefühl).
But all of these problems could be surmounted if technology were placed in the service of the national “totality.”
In practical terms, this meant job programs, highway construction, and production of synthetic fuels to reduce German dependence on imported oil.
Feder’s National Socialist Library was the vehicle for the first “official” National Socialist statement on modern technology, which appeared in 1930.
‘Nationalsozialismus und Technik: Die Geistigkeit der nationalsozialistischen Bewegung’ (National Socialism and Technology: The Spirituality of the National Socialist Movement) was written by Peter Schwerber, a philosophically adept engineer who, four years earlier, had written that right-wing politics and Christian ethics were the path of salvation from the depravity of modern industrialism.
‘Nationalsozialismus und Technik’ was the earliest effort to synthesize Nazi ideology with the indigenous traditions of German engineers.

Oswald Spengler

Schwerber made reference to Dessauer, Zschimmer, and Spengler as well as to Feder and Hitler.

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (29 May 1880 – 8 May 1936) was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandes’ – (The Decline of the West), published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. He proposed a new theory, according to which the lifespan of civilizations is limited and ultimately they decay. He wrote extensively throughout World War I and the interwar period, and supported German hegemony in Europe.

His pamphlet rested on one main idea, namely, that racism was the logical end point of Germany’s reconciliation with modern technology.
Schwerber’s argument became a familiar one in Germany after 1933.
Far from being anti-technological, National Socialism was dedicated to liberating technology from the “domination of money” and the “fetters” of Jewish materialism.
Jewish abstraction” was alien to the “autonomous life element of the German Volk,” whereas technology was not only in tune with the Volk, but was something around which a whole world view could and ought to be constructed. 
Schwerber wrote that technology was more than a material foundation of National Socialism.
It was an “independent factor” of a new, post-liberal, post-materialist culture.

 Fronterlebnis 

It was the generation that survived the Fronterlebnis that really grasped the idea of freedom inherent in technology.

National Socialism was the product of this generation.
But the idea of freedom – from physical labour, and for free time – remained unrealized due to the “domination of a power alien to the essence of technology, that is, the power of money…the Jewish- materialist suffocating embrace [Umklammerung] of our life elements.”’
The really decisive contribution of National Socialism, Schwerber continued, lay not only in recognizing the “major cause of our misfortune,” but also, and more importantly, in moving to the level of the “decisive deed. . .the act of liberation.”
Only “blood” and action would prevail against “the titanic power of money.”
National Socialism was more than a collection of protests against materialism and the Jews.
Schwerber attributed to both technology and National Socialism a “primal life instinct.”
Both would join forces against “Jewish- materialist restrictions.”

Victory of Spirit Over Matter
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Like the engineering professors at the technical universities, Schwerber saw technology as a natural force, at once demonic and passionate, which sought a victory of “spirit over matter.”

But Schwerber introduced a new twist: Whereas the Jews destroyed and misused technology, the Nordic race was ideally suited to it.
Technical Geist and the Völkisch racial myth would form a common front against Jewish materialism.
National Socialism was dedicated to emancipating technology from capitalist exchange, a goal that bore striking similarities – at least on a rhetorical level – to the engineers’ own anti-capitalist language.
Schwerber’s protest was against insufficient rather than excessive technological progress.
If we substitute “relations of production” for “Jews” and “technology” for “forces of production,” Schwerber’s rendition of  Völkisch ideology amounts to an appeal to liberate a will or telos said to be inherent in the forces of production from restrictions imposed by the existing bourgeois social relations of production.
Removal of the Socialist and Communist parties and the trade unions, dissolution of parliament, and breaking the Versailles restrictions on German rearmament were the practical meaning of such a program.
This conception of the “primacy of politics” was simultaneously a plan for political reaction, and technological modernization presented as a cultural revolution from the Right.

Hermann Rauschning

At the centre of the Third Reich stood the figure of Adolf Hitler and his ideas.

The view, first expressed by Hermann Rauschning, that Hitler was an opportunist without scruple, has been effectively laid to rest by scholars such as Eberhard Jäckel and Joachim Fest.
Hitler’sWeltanschauung was both coherent and politically decisive.
At no time did he join in the hostility to technology found in some völkisch ideologies.
For Hitler, the decisive element remained the ideology of the will to power.

The ‘will to power’ (der Wille zur Macht) is a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans: achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all manifestations of the will to power.



Arthur Schopenhauer
Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche found early influence from Arthur Schopenhauer, whom he first discovered in 1865. Schopenhauer puts a central emphasis on Will, and in particular has a concept of the “will to live.”
Writing a generation before Nietzsche, Schopenhauer explained that the universe and everything in it is driven by a primordial Will, which results in all living creatures’ desire to avoid death and procreate.
For Schopenhauer, this will is the most fundamental aspect of reality – more fundamental even than being.
Hitler was deeply influenced by Schopenhauer’s writing and the concept of the Will.
For Nietzsche, however, the Will to power means self-perfection as well as outward, political, elitist, aristocratic domination. Nietzsche, in fact, explicitly and specifically defined the egalitarian state-idea as the embodiment of the will to power in decline.

If life and politics were essentially a struggle in which the strongest won, then in politics among nations the technologically weak would deserve to be defeated.
He insisted that the Germans must succeed in the battle against nature in order to win in the battle among nations and races.
As early as 1919, in a speech advocating German rearmament and abrogation of the Versailles treaty, Hitler said that “the misery of Germany must be broken by Germany’s steel. That time must come.”
In ‘Mein Kampf’, he divided humankind into three categories: founders, bearers, and destroyers of culture, and assigned these historical roles to the Aryans, the Japanese, and the Jews, respectively.

The Building of the Reich’s Chancellery – Erich Merke
‘Greek Spirit and Germanic Technology’

He went so far as to define Aryan culture as a synthesis of “the Greek spirit and Germanic technology.”

He also acknowledged his debt to Gottfried Feder’s ideas on “breaking interest slavery.”
This notion was :
a theoretical truth which would inevitably be of immense importance for the future of the German people. The sharp separation of stock exchange capital from the national economy offered the possibility of opposing the internationalization of the German economy without at the same time menacing the foundations of an independent national self-maintenance by a struggle against capital.
This selective anti-capitalism had been common in the völkisch tradition.
But where Sombart’s anti-capitalism attacked Jewish Geist, Hitler turned this cultural revolution into a biological revolt.

Die Ruinenwerttheorie
Adolf Hitler and Alber Speer

Hitler did not write extensively on the subject of technology.

Albert Speer reports listening to Hitler’s theory of “ruin value,” according to which the purpose of Nazi architecture and technological advance should be to create ruins that would last a thousand years and thereby overcome the transience of the market. (the juxtaposition of permanent technology and evanescent capitalism was an important theme among the reactionary modernists.)

Die Ruinenwerttheorie – (Theory of Ruin Value) is the concept that a building be designed such that if it eventually collapsed, it would leave behind aesthetically pleasing ruins that would last far longer without any maintenance at all. The idea was pioneered by German architect Albert Speer while planning for the 1936 Summer Olympics, and published as “The Theory of Ruin Value” (Die Ruinenwerttheorie), although he was not its original inventor. The intention did not stretch only to the eventual collapse of the buildings, but rather assumed such buildings were inherently better designed and more imposing during their period of use.

John Soane – Ruins of the Bank of England

The idea was supported by Adolf Hitler, who planned for such ruins to be a symbol of the greatness of the Third Reich, just as Ancient Greek and Roman ruins were symbolic of those civilisations.  Predecessors include a ‘new ruined castle’ built by the Landgraf of Hesse-Kassel in the 18th century, and the designs for the Bank of England built in the 19th century produced by Sir John Soane. When he presented the bank’s governors with three oil sketches of the planned building one of them depicted it when it would be new, another when it would be weathered, and a third what its ruins would look like a thousand years onward
Hitler accordingly approved Speer’s recommendation that, in order to provide a “bridge to tradition” to future generations, modern “anonymous” materials such as steel girders and ferroconcrete should be avoided in the construction of monumental party buildings, since such materials would not produce aesthetically acceptable ruins like those wherever possible. Thus the most politically significant buildings of the Reich were intended, to some extent, even after falling into ruins after thousands of years, resemble their Roman models.

Hitler was the first political leader of the twentieth century to use the air-plane extensively.

Hitler over Germany

The radio spread his voice and fast cars sped him over the Reichautobahnen.

His conversations with associates, published as the “table talks,” reveal a man fascinated with the details of military technology.
His embrace of modern technology as an expression of Aryan will was fully consonant with rejection of the Enlightenment and the social consequences of the French and industrial revolutions.
Given his outlook, Hitler never feared that a rearmed Germany would be a soulless Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, devoted a great deal of effort to convincing the Germans that their souls were compatible with modern technology.

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945.
As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous orations and antisemitism.
Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 19th century romantic drama – . he also wrote novels and plays.
He became a member of the NSDAP in 1924. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. Goebbels despised capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core.
Goebbels rose to power in 1933 and he was appointed Propaganda Minister.
Goebbels exerted control over the media, arts and information in Germany.

Goebbels’s speeches on the subject are interesting because they were directed to the general public as well as to engineers, and thus combined elements of the conservative revolution, romanticism, and völkisch ideology with a cult of technological modernism.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

For example, in a speech in 1932, Goebbels echoed Hitler’s view that the true politician was an artist whose task was to give form to the “raw material” of the masses.

In the century of mass politics, the political leader must avail himself of the most modern means of propaganda, such as the radio, to encourage “spiritual mobilization” (geistige Mobilmachung).
In March 1933, he assured his audience that he was not “an un-modern man who is inwardly opposed to the radio. . . but a passionate lover of the press. . . theatre. . . radio.”
In his view, the radio should not be used to create an illusory objectivity, but to assist in the spiritual mobilization the National Socialist regime was fostering.
The Germans, he argued, must learn the primary lesson of World War I: Germany was defeated by deficiencies of the spirit rather than by material deficiencies.

German Troops Returning to Berlin from the Front

We did not lose the war because our cannons failed, but rather because our spiritual weapons didn’t fire.

The radio gave National Socialism unprecedented means for reaching the masses with this message of spiritual revolution.
From his earliest broadcasts to his last, Goebbels returned to a theme that reflected reactionary modernism.
In November 1933, he first celebrated a “steely romanticism” (stählerne Romantik) that had “made German life worth living again.”
This new romanticism did not hide from the “hardness of being”, or dream of escape into the past.
Instead it “heroically” faced up to the problems of modern times.

Die stählerne Romantik – Reichsautobahn
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Goebbels often discussed the meaning of stählernde Romantik, and his speeches were reprinted in ‘Deutsche Technik’ (German Technology), a monthly journal published from 1933 to 1942.

One particularly graphic example appeared in the February 1939 issue of this journal. 
The cover shows Goebbels delivering a speech, a Volkswagen on one side, Hitler on the other.
The following passage indicates Goebbels’s skill at administering a cultural tradition – what Horkheimer later called the bureaucratic dispensation of the revolt of nature: 
‘We live in an era of technology.
The racing tempo of our century affects all areas of our life.
There is scarcely an endeavour that can escape its powerful influence.
Therefore, the danger unquestionably arises that modern technology will make men soulless.
National Socialism never rejected or struggled against technology.
Rather, one of its main tasks was to consciously affirm it, to fill it inwardly with soul, to discipline it and to place it in the service of our people and their cultural level. 
National Socialist public statements used to refer to the steely romanticism of our century.
Today this phrase has attained its full meaning.
We live in an age that is both romantic and steellike, that has not lost its depth of feeling.
On the contrary, it has discovered a new romanticism in the results of modern inventions and technology.
While bourgeois reaction was alien to and filled with incomprehension, if not outright hostility to technology, and while modern sceptics believed the deepest roots of the collapse of European culture lay in it, National Socialism understood how to take the soulless framework of technology and fill it with the rhythm and hot impulses of our time.”
This is a remarkable condensation of reactionary modernist themes.
Over and over again, Goebbels claimed that the cultural crisis German conservatism had feared had been “overcome” by National Socialism.
Filling technology with soul was a practical matter as well.

KdF Wagen Poster

The Volkswagen meant that now modern technology was accessible to the masses, and accessible in a way that spread the “rhythm and hot impulses of our time.”

KdF Wagen Logo
Volkwagen
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

During the war years, Goebbels continued to boast that National Socialism had developed a “new ideal of cultivation” freed from the “false and saccharine romanticism” of the past.

In Heidelberg in July 1943, Goebbels elaborated on the theme of the kind of romanticism peculiar to National Socialism.
Every time has its romanticism, its poetic presentation of life. . . Ours does as well.
It is harder and crueller than a previous romanticism, but it remains romantic.
The steely romanticism of our time manifests itself in actions and deeds in service of a great national goal, in a feeling of duty raised to the level of an unreachable principle.

KdF Wagen
Volkwagen

We are all more or less romantics of a new German mood.

The Reich of droning motors, grandiose industrial creations, an almost unlimited and unenclosed space which we must populate to preserve the best qualities of our Volk – is the Reich of our romanticism.’
For Goebbels, the war years were a period “overflowing with deeds,” in sharp contrast to the “exaggerated intellectualism” of Weimar politics and culture.
German victories were possible only because German engineers and scientists approached their work with the “same fanaticism and wild determination” as did German soldiers, workers, and peasants.
In the last year of the war, Goebbels again turned to stahlernde Romantik.
The geistige Mobilmachung must again turn for assistance to the “German genius for invention” (deutsche Erfindungsgenie) to avoid impending defeat.

V-2 (A4) Rocket
V-1 Flying Bomb

In July 1944, Goebbels promised that Hitler’s leadership, the spirit of the Volk, and the V-1 and V-2 rockets would combine to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. There are two points to be made about these passages.

First, Goebbels spoke with slogans and stock formulas.
He was, in other words, an administrator of political meanings.
But however administered these meanings were, they were not arbitrary.
On the contrary, Goebbels spoke a language familiar to German engineers (among others), one stemming from traditions that really did, as he put it, “grow from the Volk.”
Without this cultural resonance, he would not have been the successful propagandist he was.
Second, it is difficult to determine the degree of cynicism or belief Goebbels aroused in his listeners, but we certainly ought not to rule out the possibility that he actually believed what he was saying.
Sociology has devoted much effort to measuring public opinion, but less thought has been given to the effect of political propaganda on the political elites that express it.
It is – and was – obvious to anyone with minimally unclouded vision that “fanaticism and wild determination” would do little to turn the tide of the war in 1944.

Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer

Hitler was an enthusiast of technical advance.

The reception of National Socialism among German engineers also appears to have been enthusiastic, but less so than that of the legal and medical professions, as indicated by the results of student elections at German technical universities in 1933. 
About 41 percent of the 10,000 students at the technical universities voted for the Nazis in student elections compared 48 percent of the 37,000 students at the non-technical universities.
Beyond the campuses, approximately 300,000 people were classified as engineers in 1933, including Germany’s 36,000 architects and 31,000 chemists.
Of this total, around 7,000 belonged to the NSDAP.
In January 1933, party membership stood at 720,000 (of a population of 32 million). 
Hence, about the same proportion of German engineers was drawn to membership in the NSDAP as German citizens generally, but less so than white-collar workers and independent professionals.
After 1933, the number of engineers in the NSDAP doubled, but the increase in the other middle-class professions was even greater (about 230 percent).
Only 13.1 percent of the leadership positions in the mid-1930s were held by engineers, compared to 56 percent for lawyers, and 15.5 percent for doctors.
Since their inception, the national engineering associations in Germany had bemoaned their lack of political influence and social prestige relative to the non-technical middle-class professions.
Both the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure(Association of German Engineers, VDI) and the cultural politicians publishing Technik und und Kultur called for a national office of planning for technical development, a Staatstechnik, which would coordinate state, industry, and engineering in the interests of the national community.
The overall leadership of the new regime’s efforts at “coordination” (Gleichschaltung) lay with Robert Ley, the director of the  Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF – (German Labor Front), whereas Feder directed the activities of the Reichsbund deutscher Techniker(RDT).

Robert Ley
Deutsche Arbeitsfront – DAF
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF – (German Labour Front) was the National Socialist trade union organization which replaced the various trade unions of the Weimar Republic after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Its leader was Robert Ley, who stated its aim as ‘to create a true social and productive community‘ (Smelster, 1988). The DAF existed to act as a medium through which workers and owners could mutually represent their interests. Wages were set by the 12 DAF trustees. The employees were given relatively high set wages, security of work, dismissal was increasingly made difficult, social security programmes were made mandatory by the Arbeitsfront, leisure programmes were instituted, canteens, pauses and regular working times were established, and therefore generally the German workers were satisfied by what the DAF gave them in repaying for their absolute loyalty.
Employment contracts created under the Weimar Republic were abolished and renewed under new circumstances in the DAF. Employers could demand more of their workers, while at the same time workers were given increased security of work and increasingly enrolled into social security programmes for workers. The organisation, by its own definition, combated capitalism and liberalism, The DAF prefered to have large companies nationalised by the German state, instead of privately owned companies.

Metropolis – Fritz Lang

Interestingly, the conclusion of Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ can be seen as a precursor one of the main concepts underlying the activity of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront with regard to the reconciliation of the interests of the employers and the workers in the German economy. The main themes of Metropolis culminate in the final scene on the cathedral steps, where Freder fulfils his role as mediator (“heart”), linking the hands of Fredersen (the city’s “head”) and Grot (its “hands”), to bring them together. In this way Hitler, through the Deutsche Arbeitsfront can be seen as bringing all social classes together in a united purpose as part of the Völksgemeinschaft. Not surprisingly, Dr Joseph Goebbels was impressed – and took the film’s message to heart. In a 1928 speech he declared that:
the political bourgeoisie is about to leave the stage of history. In its place advance the oppressed producers of the head and hand, the forces of Labor, to begin their historical mission“.

Feder wanted to replace the existing technical associations – Fachvereines – with  organizations focused on his version of German anticapitalism; Ley sought to integrate the existing engineering organizations into the German Labor Front.
The RDT had been founded in 1918 to foster the interests of engineers in national politics.
Although Feder envisaged a Front der Technik under leadership of the RDT, by the end of 1933 it had collapsed.
Some of its functionaries turned to the Deutsche technokratische Gesellschaft (DTG), founded in 1932 as an international Weltbund, organized around slogans of a technocratic socialism.
Although Feder saw the greatest opportunity for technocratic ascendancy in private or state capitalism, those who took seriously the goal of production for human needs over the needs of profit became increasingly uncomfortable with the National Socialist regime, especially after the announcement of the four-year plan directed at rearmament.
The DTG, whose Veblenian socialism of the technicians was utterly removed from the goals of the regime, ceased to exist in 1937.
The Gleichschaltung process of the engineers is a chapter in the story of the underestimation of Hitler by the conservative elites of German society.
Initially it entailed a trade-off between the regime and the engineering organizations. 
In exchange for accepting and assisting the new regime, the engineers sustained a semblance of organizational independence, which, however, was gradually whittled down to insignificance.
The leadership of the VDI (which now had about 30,000 members) informed the new government that it was ready to help deal with the problems of unemployment, energy, and rearmament and to work with the National Socialist’s own organization of engineers, the ‘Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure’ (KDAI).

Rudolf Heß

In April 1933, the KDAI membership included only 3 percent of Germany’s engineers, a fact that led Rudolf Heß and Fritz Todt to urge integration rather than destruction of existing organizations.

The leadership of the VDI viewed Feder as economically incompetent, and was more interested in placing the engineers’ technical skills at the service of the new regime through combining the energies of industry, engineers, and the state.
Hitler also regarded Feder’s anti-capitalist rhetoric as unhelpful when the regime was intent on convincing the existing organizations that their interests were best served by adapting to the program of the new regime.
Although not enamoured of Feder’s ideological pronouncements, the leaders of the VDI opted for political accommodation rather than resistance.
In exchange for offering their services to the new regime in a spirit of objective functionality – objektive Sachlichkeit – the engineering associations were able to survive as organizations, although the leadership positions were controlled either by members of the NSDAP or sympathizers.
The executor of the political coexistence of regime and the pre-existing engineering organizations was Fritz Todt.

Organisation Todt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Fritz Todt

Fritz Todt (4 September 1891 – 8 February 1942) was a German engineer and the founder of ‘Organisation Todt’.
In World War I, he initially served with the infantry and then as front line reconnaissance observer within the Luftstreitkräfte (the German Air Forces – DLSK), winning the Iron Cross. After his military service, he finished his studies in 1920 and joined at first the “Grün & Bilfinger AG, Mannheim” company and, later, the civil engineering company Sager & Woerner (1921).
Following the appointment of Hitler as Reichskanzler on 30 January 1933, Todt became ‘Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen’ (“Inspector General for German Roadways”) and was involved in the new construction company for the motorways (Reichsautobahnen).
He later became ‘Leiter des Hauptamts für Technik in der Reichsleitung der NSDAP’ (“Director of the Head Office for Engineering in the National Directorate of the NSDAP”) and ‘Generalbevollmächtigter für die Regelung der Bauwirtschaft’ (“General Commissioner for the Regulation of the Construction Industry”).
Todt was permitted to have considerable power, and was not necessarily immediately answerable to any of the Reich ministries. He was also appointed to the rank of Generalmajor of the Luftwaffe after its official promulgation in March 1935. Todt was awarded the ‘German National Prize for Art and Science’ by Hitler for his work on the autobahnen.
In 1938, he founded the Organisation Todt (OT), joining together government firms, private companies and the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labor Service), for the construction of the “West Wall”, later renamed the “Siegfried Line”, for the defence of the Reich territory. On 17 March 1940, he was appointed Reichsminister für Bewaffnung und Munition (“Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions”) and oversaw the work of Organisation Todt in the occupied west.
He died in a plane crash on 8 February 1942.

In 1934, Hitler designated him as his representative for “all questions” concerning the organization and development of technology.
Todt, a party member since 1923, had strong and enduring ties to the engineering profession, and to its political and cultural traditions.
Rudolf Hess and Alfred Rosenberg also sang the praises of technology in National Socialist terms, but it was Todt, more than any other leading figure of the regime, who could truthfully claim roots in both the NSDAP and in the engineer’s cultural politics.
Following initial bureaucratic struggles with Feder, Todt assumed leadership of the ‘Amt der Technik’, the office charged with coordinating Hitler’s goals and the aspirations of the engineers.
Whereas Ley viewed the ‘Amt der Technik’ primarily as a tool for political control, Todt hoped to present this new political control as itself the outcome of the engineer’s own traditions.
To this end, he linked practical issues of raw material resources, new energy sources, and decreasing German dependence on raw materials with the ideological traditions that German engineers had themselves developed.
Todt urged his fellow engineers to consider political as well as technical issues and to favour both “revolution and tradition.”
In 1934, under the umbrella of the German Labor Front, Todt assumed leadership of the Amt der Technik, which in turn administered the Nationalsozialistischen Bund deutscher Techniker (NSBDT).
Members of the NSBDT were also members of the NSDAP, whereas most engineers were also required to join a broader front organization, the Reichsgemeinschaft Technischewissenschaftlichen Arbeit (RTA),and to pay dues to the all-encompassing Labor Front.
Thus Feder’s political demise did not mean that National Socialist ideology had given way to the solvent of industrial rationality.
His eclipse was accompanied by Todt’s ascendancy, and Todt was by no means an apolitical technocrat.
On the contrary, he understood that the price of formal autonomous existence for the Vereines was not a high price for the regime to pay for their political submission.
As part of this strategy of politicization, Todt used his office to publish the “technopolitical journal,” ‘Deutsche Technik’, from 1933 to 1941, a magazine of essays and photographs that sought to convince its approximately 80,000 readers that National Socialist ideology was compatible with modern technology.
Deutsche Technik thus supplanted , some of whose contributors were more taken with Feder’s anti-capitalism than with Todt’s emphasis on Staatstechnik.
By 1937, Todt announced with great pride that the “new ordering of German technology was complete” and that the NSDAP and the regime had completely integrated the organizations of German engineers that predated 1933.
The number of engineering organizations had been reduced from eighty to sixteen, and in 1937 these were placed under the control of a central government office called the Hauptamt fur Technik (Central Office for Technology).
About 81,000 of Germany’s 300,000 engineers participated in the schools and in propaganda efforts, and received journals published by the Hauptamt für Technik.

Reichsschule der deutschen Technik
Genossen Zimmer
Reichsschule der deutschen Technik

One of the most interesting examples of the amalgamation of ‘Modernism’ and ‘Tradition’ created by the Hauptamt für Technik was the ‘Reichsschule der deutschen Technik’ (The Reich School of German Technology – NSBDT) on the Plassenburg in Kulmbach, in the Gau Bayerische Ostmark.
The institution was founded by Fritz Todt.
A key task of the Reichsschule der deutschen Technik’ was to introduce various disciplines of engineering into the mindset of students so that major construction projects could be tackled holistically.
Significantly, rather that construct a new, modernistic building to house the Reichsschule, the architect Siegfried Schmelcher extensively remodeled and refurbished the medieval castle of Plass.

In 1939, Todt was elected chairman of the VDI.
By 1936, when Hitler announced a four-year plan of economic development, rationalization of industry, expanded development of synthetic energy substitutes, and rearmament, the Hauptamt für Technik and the NSBDT gave the regime an organizational monopoly over the technical instruments necessary for rearmament.
If up to 1936 the focus of National Socialist economic policy had been recovery from the depression, the four-year plan contained the additional goal of reducing German dependence on the world economy through technical innovation.
Fundamentalist slogans of national economic autarky went hand in hand with technical advances.
National Socialist publicists presented the plan as yet another act of liberation of technical workers from the tentacles of Jewish finance, and the leaders of the engineering associations extolled the ideal of placing their skills in the service of the Volk.
Pragmatic, rationalizing themes existed alongside traditional National Socialist ideology.
The propaganda of Todt’s office of technology insisted that there simply was no contradiction between developing new energy sources, building the Reichautobahnen, and rearmament, on the one hand, and serving the “general interest,” on the other. 
Whereas the National Socialists claimed that völkisch ideology and technical advance went hand in hand with Hitler’s ideology of the will, the engineers drawn to the regime believed that their sober commitments to technical rationality would finally be placed in the service of the state.
They also realized that their own power and importance would grow as the demands for armaments production expanded.
This history of organizational survival through political acquiescence reminds us that many German engineers remained outside the ideological disputes over the relation between technology and Germany’s soul.
The most that can be said on the basis of the evidence presented here is that in this period, when and if German engineers turned their attention to the connection between technology and Germany’s national identity, the terms of discussion were dominated by the cultural tradition of reactionary modernism.
The National Socialists were more successful at preserving their ideological souls than the engineers were at imposing pragmatism on the German dictatorship.
German engineers, however,  including Todt, subordinated their knowledge of technical realities to the demands of National Socialist ideology.
In the first issue of Deutsche Technik, published in September 1933, Todt wrote that the new “technopolitical journal” would make “German technology into a pillar of the total state” and place technology’s “cultural and spiritual outlook on the foundation of a pure National Socialist world view.”
Todt was able to speak in terms similar to the aesthetic and philosophical themes of the engineers’ traditions.

Reichsautobahnen

For example, the construction of the national highway system would be based on a unified plan, in sharp contrast to the chaos of the Weimar system.

It flowed from a unified Geist, and represented an artistic effort to give proper form to the German landscape.
Germany’s highways were to be far more than an engineering feat; they must be “an expression of the German essence.”
Todt argued that the “decisive” fact of the era for German engineers was that National Socialism was liberating technology from the “material bonds” that had restricted it for the last half century.
Here were both an opportunity and a necessity for “total engagement” by engineers in the nationalist revival.

Reichsautobahnen – Service Station
(note the ‘modernist’ architecture)

During the first years of the Third Reich, Todt pointed with pride to the construction of the Reichsautobahnen as evidence that the Nazis had rescued technology from an era that had treated it as an object without soul or spirit.

Like Freyer and Schmitt, Todt argued that now politics, not economics, was in command.
Aesthetic criteria were displacing the profit motive, and the National Socialists were demonstrating that technology did not consist of dead matter, but of “soulful cultural works” that grew organically from the Volk.

Reichsautobahnen – Under Construction

Todt also stated  that there was a specifically National Socialist conception of technology that elevated creativity over materialist considerations.

During these years, Deutsche Technik was filled with photographs of the highways gracefully weaving through valleys, mountains, and farmland.
These roads demonstrated that, as Todt put it, “the artistic and technical powers of invention and formation live together in the creative engineer.”
The following passage is typical of Todt’s view of technology as an art form:
The following are the features that make a road as a totality into an artwork that brings the environment joy through its intrinsic beauty and harmony with the environment: The direction of lines is bound to the land [landschaftsverbundene Lininefiihrung], Construction remains true to natural forms [naturformgetruere Erdbau]. Workmanship is based on the craftsman’s principles of building and implantation in the earth [bodenstände Bepflanzung‘.
If this was what highway construction was about, it hardly conflicted with the cultural revolution promised by National Socialism.

Reichsautobanen – Bridge

Building the “highways bound to the land” (landschaftsverbundene Strassen) and saving the German soul were mutually reinforcing projects.

Todt’s message was clear:
‘The new highways posed no threat to the German Volk.
On the contrary, they promised to restore the nation’s lost unity’.
As Albert Speer later put it, Todt did not see “brutal and loveless images of iron and cement” when he looked at highways, but rather deliverance and redemption from a fragmented, materialist era. 
As one of the official eulogies for Todt in 1941 put it, the National Socialists had learned to lift technology out of the web of “bureaucratism”, and had taught German engineers that “the language of technical works must rest. . .on the grammar of nature.”

Reichsautobanen 

Deutsche Technik is a striking document of the continuity of the reactionary modernist tradition after 1933.

The Zeitschrift des Vereins deutscher Ingenieure continued to appear in these years, but it was primarily devoted to technical discussions combined with promptings for loyalty to the Führer.
Deutsche Technik proceeded to adapt many of the themes that first appeared in.
Unlike Albert Speer’s Bureau of the Beauty of Labor, Deutsche Technik did not replace völkisch pastoralism with technocratic aesthetics but, as Todt urged, incorporated technology into the National Socialist Weltanschauung.
Articles were short, usually no more than three pages long.
The message of the journal was straightforward: Whatever had been posed as a problem before 1933 had now been solved.
At the Haus der deutschen Technik in Munich, the National Socialists presented annual exhibitions on the theme of art and technology.
Deutsche Technik reproduced many of these paintings as well as photographs of cars, planes, trains, and roads.
Typical of the commentary was a 1942 essay asserting that National Socialism understood that art infuses technical processes with Geist.
As a result of this understanding, German artists were “no longer out of step” with technology, but saw in it instead “the essential and necessary principle of our being,” which established law over arbitrariness, duty over selfishness.
Now that technology had become part of the Volksgemeinschaft, it had assumed clear and beautiful forms. 
Technical advance under the National Socialists was a cultural revolution that gave new meaning to cold steel.
Among the accomplishments of the Third Reich regarding technology were a “victory over the elementary,” “overcoming” the threat of Americanization, balancing city and country, and bringing to the surface a uniquely German “surrender” to technology.
Deutsche Technik elaborated the engineer’s view that there was a specifically German technology.
As contributors toTechnik und Kultur had done before them, the writers for Deutsche Technik traced technology back to famous figures of pre-industrial Europe, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who were stylized as models of the not-yet-divided engineer-artist or scientist-soldier.
The point of these accounts of the past was to stress links between the very old and the very new, and to root technology in pre-capitalist and pre-industrial traditions. 

Goethe der Technologe

A great deal was made of “Goethe the technologist.”

But the central message of Deutsche Technik was that National Socialism had indeed overcome the conflict between technology and culture.
An essay published in February 1943, “NS-Technik,” surveyed the first ten years of technology under Hitler.
Its argument was as follows: Before 1933, Germany and German technology had suffered from capitalist misuse, the Jewish financial “plutocracy,” American “de-souling” (Entseelung), and the threat of enslavement by the Bolsheviks.
National Socialism had made clear that it was the Germans who were the truly chosen people and had helped them construct a new German landscape saved from the “filth of civilization” and the “American-Jewish destruction of German nature.” 
Ferdinand Fried, editor of ‘Die Tat’ in the Weimar years, presented such views in several essays.
Although Germany’s “racial soul” was in tune with technical advances, technology had been “raped” by the Jewish Ungeist.
Under the National Socialists, the German soul was reasserting itself.

The Volkswagen, the Autobahnen, the air force, and Speer’s Bureau of the Beauty of Labour were all examples of a new NS-Technik.

Fried claimed that envy and resentment of Germany’s liberation from “the chains of Jewish money” were the real motivations of the Reich’s enemies. 
The danger of dehumanization at the hands of the machine or of destruction of the German landscape had been averted.
National Socialism meant deliverance from a wasteland.
Deliverance from the past only highlighted present dangers.
Like the reactionary modernists, the National Socialist propagandists transformed Germany’s geographical location into a cultural-political identity.
Germany, they said, as the country between East and West, was the only one to really grasp the “essence of technical creation.”
The Deutsche Technik authors repeated the complaints about American and British materialism, and Soviet-style dialectical materialism.
Only the Germans had synthesized technics and nature.
By the time Hitler’s armies dominated Europe from the Soviet Union to the Atlantic, such ideas were developed into a Grossraum Technik, a unified, integrated technological system in Europe, with Germany as its center.
The reader will recognize the familiar themes of reactionary modernism in these ideas. 
The National Socialist propagandists were administrators of already existing traditions.
But they were distinct within the panoply of German nationalism for the emphasis they placed on anti-Semitism, and the biological foundations they gave to German technological advance.
They wrote that the Nordic race had peculiar technical and scientific abilities.
Had Germany only been a nation of poets, philosophers, and artists, it would be defenceless.
Fortunately for the Germans, the Nordic race had a distinctive urge to dominate nature.
Unlike the Americans, or the Jewish-Bolsheviks, who introduced technology with murder and forced labor, the Nazis built on German racial foundations to ward off the threats from both capitalism and socialism. 
As one frequent contributor, Richard Grun, put it,
In this ruthless world, a nation of poets is defeated, a nation of philosophers hungers, a nation of aesthetes is subject to ridicule. Only a people able to produce arms, weapons, commodities, machines and knowledge is able to survive.”
Grun argued that Germany must compensate for its numerical disadvantages in relation to its enemies with its technical capabilities, and with efforts to increase the birth rate among the scientifically and technically talented.
Deutsche Technik, like Technik und Kultur earlier, published excerpts from books or from essays that later were expanded into books published in editions of about twenty to twenty-five thousand.
The continuities with reactionary modernist ideology are striking.
In 1936, for example, Fritz Nonnenbruch’s ‘Die dynamische Wirtschaft’ (The Dynamic Economy) was published by the National Socialists.
He wrote that National Socialism had overcome the abstract economic laws of a capitalism bereft of “ties to the Volk.”
The primacy of politics, not class conflict, had led to “the actual overcoming of capitalism.”
Nonnenbruch periodized the history of German capitalism in terms of predominance of either the Jewish or the Nordic spirit.
Whereas pre-1933 capitalism had been dominated by the spirit of the merchant and financier, he argued that after 1933 it was dominated by the spirit of the “Nordic peoples” and was therefore productive and favourable to the interests of German engineers.
Economic crises had been brought about by production for the market rather than for the needs of the nation.
But the economic recovery after 1933 was evidence of the affinity between “the Geist of technics and the Geist of the race.”

Ernst Jünger

In a manner reminiscent of Ernst Jünger, Nonnenbruch recalled the soldier formed by the Fronterlebnis as a “master of technology.”

The war had shown a generation of young Germans that technology need not be soulless and impersonal, but could be “great, manly, dangerous, free and wild. . .The will of the race speaks in highway construction.”
Like many other contributors to Deutsche Technik, Nonnenbruch argued that the National Socialist’s great accomplishment was to have restored a dynamic to capitalism without also restoring bourgeois rationalism.
Placing economics at the centre of attention would have been a purely “intellectual exercise.
But surrendering to the “will of the race for technology” would be a matter of the spirit and the soul, which are “superior to the intellect.”
“Where the race speaks, the intellect can offer no resistance. Appeals to the intellect bring dis-harmony. Appeals to the will of the race bring unity, harmony and creation.”
Nonnenbruch picked up on Goebbels’s efforts to recast romanticism for a technological age, thereby linking National Socialism to another German tradition: Technology is romantic but in a way that is totally different from any other kind of romanticism. It is not a flight from reality but a flaming illumination of reality.
Flying in an airplane, driving in a car, the thunder of the elevated railway, the various landscapes of the battlefield, the glowing stream of flowing iron in the ghostly night filled with steel ovens – all of these thing are incomparably more romantic than anything previous romantics could imagine.
Both Goebbels’s steellike romanticism and Nonnenbruch’s new romanticism were directed against those elements of the romantic tradition that supported a reconciliation with or return to nature.
There were only two alternatives for the reactionary modernists: effeminate and cowardly escape into the Asian or pastoral past, or masculine and courageous flight into the German future.

Carl Jung

In  a later of Technik und Kultur, Paul Ernst’s criticisms of the dehumanizing impact of the division of labour were rejected in favour of a Jüngerian celebration of the Gestalt of the worker.

Ernst was charged with escapism, having a merely “external” view of technology, and failing to recognize that technology was essential to the nation and grew out of the “inner necessity of our being.”
The process of selectively borrowing from past cultural traditions, in this case romanticism, is again apparent in these statements.
The reactionary modernist tradition would have been inconceivable without romantic legacies.
Nonnenbruch’s second book-length work, ‘Technik, Politik und Geist’, repeated many of the themes he had developed in ‘Die dynamische Wirtschaft’.
The immediate purpose of the book was to depict the four-year plan, in particular the achievements of the German chemical industry, as examples of a will-to-freedom present in the German nation.
Development of synthetic fuels would free Germany from foreign sources of raw materials, and state direction of the economy abolished restrictions on growth due to commercial greed.
In Nonnenbruch’s account, National Socialism was attempting to reverse the results of World War I by “unleashing” technology.
In so doing, the Nazis demonstrated that technology expressed the will of the Volk rather than the will of “international capitalism hostile to the Volk.”

Fronterlebnis

The synthesis of energy and organization in the four-year plan had been prefigured by the Fronterlebnis of World War I.

Like all of the National Socialist propaganda its effectiveness rested on the repetition of  metaphors and associations such as – Geist, Gemeinschaft, Schicksal (destiny), Heldentum (heroism), Opferbereitschaft (readiness for sacrifice), will, freedom, and race.
In this cultural perspective, rationalization of industry appears as a cultural revolt against the obsolete and historically bypassed liberal era.
‘Politik, Technik, und Geist’ is evidence of the reactionary modernist effort to preserve the charismatic experience of World War I, and of the persistence of reactionary modernism.
In 1937, Wilhelm Stortz, a professor of engineering at the technical university in Stuttgart, presented a National Socialist version of technological development in modern Germany, ‘Der Weg der deutschen Technik’.
His reconstruction was as follows:

Bismark

Nineteenth-century Germany was spared the full brunt of the soulless materialism that engulfed England, France, and the United States because its industrialization process was guided by the state under Bismarck, Germany’s “first National Socialist.” But by the turn of the century, “production of useful goods” (Gebrauchs gutererzeugung) was replaced by “commodity production” (Warenerzeugung), with a resultant decline both in the quality of goods and in the skills of the labor force, as well as growing unemployment. The years preceding World War I were characterized by the increasing predominance of “capitalist market calculation” over “technical quality.” But the war reversed this trend by wrenching technology out of the control of exchange relations and placing it in the service of the nation.

Treaty of Versailles

For Stortz, the tragedy of German technology was that at the very moment the generation formed by the war experience became aware of the value of technology for German nationalism, the Treaty of Versailles blocked German technical expansion.

The Weimar system once again established the primacy of “economic thinking” over that of technical idealism.

Oswald Spengler
No wonder Spengler’s pessimism found an echo.
Stortz saw in National Socialism a political movement that presented resistance to cultural pessimism and that averted the “escape from technology which threatened to strangle us before 1933.”
Stortz credited the National Socialists with having successfully incorporated technological advance into the spiritual renewal of a victorious national revolution. 
As with so many of the reactionary modernists who preceded him, Stortz saw in war and nationalism the ideological and political alternative to the culture and politics of the market.
Book-length expositions of reactionary modernist themes continued to appear during the war years.
Several works published from 1940 to 1943 deserve mention: Alexander Friedrich’s ‘Die unsichtbare Armee: Das Buch der Energie’ (The Invisible Army: The Book of Energy), Richard Grun’s ‘Wir und die Technik’, and Anton Zischka’s ‘Erfinder brechen die Blockade’ (Inventors Break the Blockade), and ‘Seig der Arbeit: Geschichte der fünftausendjährigen Kampfes gegen Unwissenheit und Sklaverei’ (Victory of Labor: The History of the 5ooo-year-long Struggle against Ignorance and Slavery).
All three authors continued to maintain that technology is not a threat to the German soul, and to insist that it is an expression of the heroic virtues of a united Volksgemeinschaft.
All of them attacked intellectuals and artists who have shown no appreciation for technics, and no understanding that “from Gutenberg and Luther through Hitler,” the Germans have used technology to advance national unity.
And all of them attacked those remaining humanist Luddites who, they believed, were incapable of grasping the higher laws working in technical processes.
These laws were not social or economic laws but determinations grounded in Germany’s racial soul.
For years German technology had suffered from the unproductive jüdische Geist, but those days of depraved commercialism were over.
Grun in particular stressed the masculine nature of technology.
The proper order of things suggested that men built technological artefacts, while women remained in the home.

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Further, he distinguished between tradition, which was good because it offered ties to the past and hope for the future, and reaction, which was bad because it stubbornly clung to obsolete methods of production and could thus harm the nation.
The National Socialists had addressed the engineers’ need for tradition by integrating technology into the traditions of the whole nation.
The calling of engineers demanded that they be innovators and revolutionaries, but this did not mean that they would be separated from the Volk.

Darwin

Recalling Todt’s words on nature and technical form, Grun celebrated the synthesis of a German feeling for nature with a no less German drive for technical progress. 

Finally, Grun wrote that National Socialism demonstrated that Social Darwinism, the laws of nature, and the laws of technological advance were compatible.
If the survival of the fittest was an unavoidable requirement of life, restricting technical progress would conflict with biological laws and make possible the triumph of those less racially fit.
The real National Socialist achievement was to have seen that technology was a biological rather than an economic phenomenon.
To have succumbed to the anti-technological currents within German nationalism would have meant rejecting National Socialism’s racial theory of history.

Synthetic Fuel Production

Zischka and Friedrich also attacked Jewish influence on German technology, praised Hitler for restoring technical progress in Germany, and advocated further development of synthetic fuels to overcome Germany’s paucity of natural resources. 

Both Friedrich and Zischka emphasized the importance of scientific and technical discoveries for Germany’s independence.

‘Erfindung liegt in unserem Blut’ – Die Glocke ?

As Zischka put it, Germany was strong because “invention lies in our blood.”

Now that the power of the Jews over German energy and technology had been broken, a bright future of national independence, technical advances, and authoritarian politics promised to sustain the Volksgemeinschaft indefinitely.
Germany’s enemies  – the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union — still laboured under the burden of the Jews.
The reactionary modernist tradition by no means faded away under the pressures of political rule and the conduct of war.
On the contrary, the National Socialists gave to the tradition both institutional and propagandistic expression.
The German soul and will proved tenacious but eventually woefully inadequate when confronted with the Allied arsenal. 

The reactionary modernist tradition was politically consequential in that it contributed to the technological strength that made the war conceivable, if not winnable.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
To understand National Socialism one must consider the concept of `reactionary modernism’ – a concept which reconciles anti-modernism, romanticism, and tradition with modernity – and it is this apparently contradictory combination  of  traditional culture and aesthetics, and  a  modern reliance on instrumental reason and modern means that made the Third Reich a unique and highly effective political system.

Gas Attack on the Western Front
People in Germany realised the importance of technology before 1914, but the First World War nevertheless came as a shock because it fundamentally questioned the widespread belief that technology was an occasionally difficult but potentially obedient servant of humanity.
Not only the common soldiers in combat felt the overwhelming power of modern weapons, but so also did the military and political leadership, who were forced to change all of their plans to adapt to the realities of industrial and technological warfare.
War was no longer a matter solely of the military sector as scientific achievements, the potential for industrial production, and the mental preparedness for war were at least as important for success as the armed forces themselves.
The pressure to attempt total mobilisation in modern warfare forced Germany to accept the industrial and technological logic unreservedly, that is to say, with all the often unwanted consequences a strong focus on efficiency implied.

Ernst Jünger
Ernst Jünger was one of the many middle-class volunteers who in 1914 saw the First World War as a chance to escape from the boredom of a secure everyday life.
He was motivated by the hope of finding his `true self ‘ and a more `elemental reality’ outside bourgeois society.
This hope and desire to engage on an adventurous journey to discover one’s authentic existence beyond the false conventions of civilised society was not a `pre-modern’ notion, but an expression of a `romantic individualism‘ originating in the artistic way of life of early romanticism, giving the central motif to many modern writings and representing a common ambition for the avantgarde and ‘life-reform’ movements at the turn of the century.
In a similar vein, Jünger believed that society in the `mechanical age‘ restricted the potential of a much richer self, while a more authentic life promised the discovery of one’s own individuality and the experience of the `multitude of life, its diversity and the glowing beauty of its intoxications’.
But Jünger was quickly forced to realise that his naive notions of a warrior’s life had little in common with modern warfare.
The desire for adventure and emotional intensity is an integral part of modernity, but for achieving success the industrial world demands, in war as much as in peace, the precise work of every soldier or worker as a small cog in a large technical system.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Inspired by Nietzsche, Jünger could not reject technology, which was clearly the prime instrument of the human `will to power’ in modern times.
As there was no escape from the all-pervasive power of technology, he had to find a way of integrating it into his world-view.
The acceptance that it was not the `abilities of the individual’ which counted in modernity (in particular in modern warfare), but `production, level of technology, education and railway systems’ was a difficult step for Jünger as it challenged his hope and desire for a less civilised space in which one could realise an adventurous path of life.
On the one hand, he admitted a `deep fear’ of modern technology, but on the other, his Nietzschean convictions forced him to embrace all aspects of the modern condition.
After a laborious struggle, he reached a position towards the end of the 1920s where he strongly rejected any glorification of nature or ‘rural life’ by critics of civilisation as sterile `romanticism’, demanding an unreserved acceptance of modern life instead.

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It was not the conservative acceptance of technology which was original about Jünger’s position, nor was it the attempt to integrate it into his world view and employ it as a means for his own objectives.
What was new about Jünger and other conservative revolutionaries at the end of the Weimar Republic were the two following convictions:
Firstly, while earlier conservatives had the confidence to believe that modern technology could be used at will, Ernst Jünger was correct in realising that technical developments and applications followed their own logic and thus placed demands on users.
Different technical means could not be employed by any person for any purpose, but only by people prepared to accept fully all demands of the technical age, because individual technical means are part of an interdependent technical system and cannot exist in isolation.
Furthermore he developed the conviction that a productive engagement with technology demanded a certain `language’.
As users have to follow a certain code to live in the technical world and make use of technical means, modernity turns them not `just into subjects of technical processes, but simultaneously into their objects’. `The application of these [technological] means demands a specific lifestyle, which encompasses every single aspect of life. Technology is thus by no means a neutral force, no reservoir of effective and simply convenient means, which any traditional power can take from at pleasure’.
The First World War had taught Jünger an important lesson which the Weimar Republic could only reinforce: that modern technology places precise demands on its users, produces unintended results and becomes a force in its own right, shaping history in unexpected ways.

Walther Darré
Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer
Equally, Hitler called himself a techno-enthusiast (`Narr der Technik’), Goebbels said programmatically that National Socialism `consciously approves‘ of technology, and a publication of the SS called it a `weapon in the struggle for life‘.
Himmler and Walther Darré were more critical, but Albert Speer, Fritz Todt and Robert Ley were also advocates of the unreserved embrace of modern technology.
Even one of the main representatives of the  völkisch wing, Alfred Rosenberg, saw technology as an expression of an `eternal Germanic drive’, and Peter Schwerber’s book `National Socialism and Technology‘, published in the official NSDAP series of pamphlets stressed technology’s positive role.

Essen Krupp Werke
While it attacked the banking system and the primacy of profits in the capitalist system as an expression of allegedly Jewish materialism and greed, it praised the potential of modern technology and the deeds of entrepreneurs such as Krupp.


The Krupp family, a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments.



Adolf Hitler and Gustav Krupp
The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
Gustav Georg Friedrich Maria Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, (7 August 1870 – 16 January 1950) ran the German Friedrich Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate from 1909 until 1941
Alfried Felix Alwyn Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was an amateur photographer and Olympic sailor, he was an early supporter of the NSDAP and, joined the SS in 1931, never disavowing his allegiance to Hitler.

At the center of National Socialist views on technology and modernism stood a mythic historical construction of a racial battle between Aryan and Jew, blood and gold.
However, the National Socialists accepted technology `consciously and happily‘ as the foundation of the nation, of a high standard of living and of military strength.

Reichsautobahn
Hitler Promotes the Reichsautobahnen
With an equally strong belief in the positive role of modern technology in changing society, Franz Lawaczeck, one of the three founding fathers of the National Socialist engineers’ association, ‘Kampfbund Deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure‘, believed that the Third Reich could generate an abundance of cheap electricity that would promote small farms and businesses and promote a decentralisation of modern society. In its presentation to the public, National Socialism also stressed its positive attitude towards technology.
With the slogan `Hitler above Germany’, National Socialism drew attention to his use of an aeroplane.
Hitler also presented himself  as the father of the autobahn, opened car exhibitions and promoted the idea of a cheap car for the mass of the people, not primarily for military or economic purposes.
He wanted to become a moderniser of German cities and had a book of photographs published in which he presented himself alongside cars, aeroplanes, ships and industrial sites.
Also, the hope that a `Wunderwaffe‘ might miraculously change the outcome of the war indicates a strong belief in the power of technology.

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While Ernst Jünger, and other conservatives in the Weimar Republic, had eventually realised that systematic work in large technological systems is a necessary prerequisite for efficiency under modern conditions (this was exactly their original contribution to a conservative understanding of modern technology), National Socialism largely maintained the belief held by earlier or less advanced techno-enthusiasts that exceptionally gifted personalities with strong will-power could overcome all the odds and turn technology into an obedient servant.
It neither saw the need to speak the `language‘ of technology, and adapt to its imperatives, nor did it realise the dialectical connection between using technology and submitting to a technological lifestyle.
On a more practical level, Nazi policy never aimed for the consistency and all- pervasive planning necessary to realise a technocratic state.
The National Socialist cultural policy was also marked by certain inconsistencies.
While the modernists on the left and right demanded that all cultural forms should reflect the functions of the technical age by abandoning all unnecessary decoration (`form follows function‘), National Socialism embraced more traditional styles.

Triumph des Willens
Triumph des Willens
In contrast to Jünger’s  futurist demand for a functional logic and a technical style, which was to penetrate and determine all aspects of society and human existence, National Socialism rejected such attempts to close the gap between technology and culture, favouring an undogmatic mix instead.
In literature, novels about exceptional engineers and technological achievements co-existed with stories about rural life.





Hitler Over Germany
Nürnberg Reichsparteitag in 1934
For the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag in 1934 (communicated to us mainly through the modern medium of film, via the famous ‘Triumph of the Will’ ) the historic city of Nuremberg was used as background for Hitler’s arrival in his aeroplane, for mass rallies and military parades with modern armaments.

Traditional Costumes
Adolf Hitler auf dem Bückeberg
The `beauty of work’ programme promoted swimming pools, grass and gardens, but also an increase in productivity; and the attempt to increase agricultural production was connected with an invention and promotion of traditions such as wearing traditional costumes, engaging in folk dance or accompanying the passing on of the farm to the son with a festive ritual.

From 1933 to 1937 the NSDAP arranged an annual Harvest Festival at Bückeberg, close to the city of Hamelin. More than one million people gathered there, dressed in elaborate traditional folk costumes, in order to celebrate the German peasant, and to listen to speeches. To manage this number of participants a special arena designed by Albert Speer was built. The site was intended to be one of the symbolically important in the Third Reich.

Entartete Kunst
This enhancement of modern reality with all forms available from past and present as well as the ousting of a more critical ‘Entartete Kunst’ (decadent art), was essential to National Socialist aesthetics and culture.

Traditional Regional Style Architecture
This is particularly clear in Nazi architecture.
It did not break completely with the modern functional style, but used it primarily for commercial buildings, in road construction and town planning.
Official buildings were designed in a refined classical or monumental style, and residential housing was ideally built in accordance with a traditional regional style.
While the industrial sphere was thus supposed to be functional and the political sphere awe-inspiring, the private sphere was aiming to give a feeling of warmth and gemütlichkeit.

Gemütlichkeit means a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry.

National Socialism accepted that even people who want to be heroes have secret selves, whose `tastes lie toward safety, soft beds, and beer‘.
National Socialists thus used heroic imagery on an ideological level, but sensibly tried to keep the sacrifices of their followers to a minimum.
Different opinions could exist, because technology was not seen as a the sole principal in society.
If one accepts that the creation of a ‘pure Aryan‘ race was the main goal of National Socialism, then the attitude towards technology could vary and alter, because its value was determined by the question whether it threatened or helped to achieve that goal.

Arischen Rasse
Some National Socialists were against technology, because they believed that it would undermine the strength of the ‘Arischen Rasse’ (Aryan race), but most were convinced that the National Socialist goals could only be achieved by means of a full embrace of modern technology.
Like the group of those right-wing extremists in the Weimar Republic which have been named `reactionary modernists’ (but also like many other conservatives), National Socialism accepted technology as an important tool in achieving their militaristic and racist goals.
But while the modernists on the right tried to face the fact that technology also places demands on its users and thereby alters them and society, National Socialism drew on less sophisticated beliefs more typical of conservatives in imperial Germany.

Relaxation and Distraction
Liegender Frauenakt – Ernst Liebermann
The technical age was accepted as a practical necessity, but not celebrated in a ‘technical style’; people had to fulfill their function, but relaxation and distraction were granted; and culture was consciously employed as an escape from a certain aspects of material reality.
In this respect, the National Socialists arrived at a more sustainable lifestyle within modern reality than the modernists: in their openness to compromise in all but their core beliefs they accepted that the demands of the modern functional age were only bearable if allowance was made for traditional values and culture.
National Socialism was popular and politically successful because it acknowledged and tolerated different forces and desires in human beings, thereby avoiding purist extremes.
Ironically, the National Socialists world-view (with their trust in the positive potential of a pure Nordic race) allowed them to absorb pragmatically a whole variety of impulses of the time, and thereby integrate different important social groups.

Olympia-Schwimmhalle – National Socialist Modernism
National Socialism cannot be understood as completely anti-modern, because it made full use of technology.
It is simply not strange or paradoxical to reject modernism and embrace technology at the same time.
National Socialism does not have just one cultural root.
It is eclectic, drawing on many different traditions and reacting pragmatically to the circumstances.
As its attitude towards technology is mainly pragmatic, it could take many different forms.
The requirement to maintain power and achieve its central policy goals largely determined its usage of technology, not a preconceived world view.
Thus National Socialism can be seen as the optimum position with regard to the apparently antagonistic positions of modernity and tradition.
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The Enigma of Hitler – Léon Degrelle

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

 Léon Degrelle

The mountains of books that have been written about Hitler  based on blind hatred and ignorance do little to describe or explain this enigmatic individual. How, I ponder, do these thousands of disparate portraits of Hitler in any way resemble the real man ? 
People have come to accept a fiction, repeated a thousand times over, as reality.
Yet they have never seen Hitler, never spoken to him, never heard a word from his mouth.
The very name of Hitler immediately conjures up a grimacing devil, the fount of all of one’s negative emotions.
Like Pavlov’s bell, the mention of Hitler is meant to dispense with substance and reality.
In time, however, history will demand more than these summary judgements.

Hitler was a man of peace in 1936,  a man of war from 1939
The first thing anyone noticed when he came into view was his small mustache.
Countless times he had been advised to shave it off, but he always refused: people were used to him the way he was.
He was not tall – no more than was Napoleon or Alexander the Great.
Hitler had deep blue eyes that many found fascinating and bewitching.
Some even said that there was an electric current that his hands were said to give off.
His face showed emotion or indifference according to the passion or apathy of the moment.
At times he was as though benumbed, saying not a word, while his jaws moved in the meanwhile as if they were grinding an obstacle to smithereens in the void.
Then he would come suddenly alive and launch into a speech directed at individual but, paradoxically, as though he were addressing a crowd of hundreds of thousands at Berlin’s Tempelhof airfield.
Then he became as if transfigured.
Even his complexion, otherwise dull, lit up as he spoke.
And at such times, to be sure, Hitler was strangely attractive, and as if possessed of magic powers.
Anything that might have seemed too solemn in his remarks, he quickly tempered with a touch of humor.
The picturesque word, the biting phrase were at his command.
In a flash he would paint a word-picture that brought a smile, or come up with an unexpected and disarming comparison.
He could be harsh, and even implacable in his judgments, and yet almost at the same time be surprisingly conciliatory, sensitive and warm.
After 1945 Hitler was accused of every cruelty, but it was not in his nature to be cruel.
He loved children.
It was an entirely natural thing for him to stop his car and share his food with young cyclists along the road. Once he gave his raincoat to a derelict plodding in the rain.
At midnight he would interrupt his work and prepare the food for his dog Blondi.
He could not bear to eat meat, because it meant the death of a living creature.
He refused to have so much as a rabbit or a trout sacrificed to provide his food.
He would allow only eggs on his table, because egg-laying meant that the hen had been spared rather than killed.
Hitler’s eating habits were a constant source of amazement to those around him.
How could someone on such a rigorous schedule, who had taken part in tens of thousands of exhausting mass meetings from which he emerged bathed with sweat, often losing two to four pounds in the process; who slept only three to four hours a night; and who, from 1940 to 1945, carried the whole world on his shoulders while ruling over 380 million Europeans: how could he physically survive on just a boiled egg, a few tomatoes, two or three pancakes, and a plate of noodles ? But he actually gained weight !
He drank only water.
He did not smoke, and would not tolerate smoking in his presence.
At one or two o’clock in the morning he would still be talking, untroubled, close to his fireplace, lively, often amusing.
He never showed any sign of weariness.
Dead tired his audience might be, but not Hitler.
Hitler’s most notable characteristic was ever his simplicity.
The most complex of problems resolved itself in his mind into a few basic principles.
His actions were geared to ideas and decisions that could be understood by anyone.
The laborer from Essen, the isolated farmer, the Ruhr industrialist, and the university professor could all easily follow his line of thought.
The very clarity of his reasoning made everything obvious.
His behavior and his lifestyle never changed even when he became the ruler of Germany.
He dressed and lived frugally.
During his early days in Munich, he spent no more than a mark per day for food.
At no stage in his life did he spend anything on himself.
Throughout his thirteen years in the chancellery he never carried a wallet or ever had money of his own.
Hitler was self-taught and made not attempt to hide the fact.
The smug conceit of intellectuals, their shiny ideas packaged like so many flashlight batteries, irritated him at times.
His own knowledge he had acquired through selective and unremitting study, and he knew far more than thousands of diploma-decorated academics.
I don’t think anyone ever read as much as he did.
He normally read one book every day, always first reading the conclusion and the index in order to gauge the work’s interest for him.
He had the power to extract the essence of each book and then store it in his computer-like mind.
he often talked about complicated scientific books with faultless precision, even at the height of the war.
His intellectual curiosity was limitless.
He was readily familiar with the writings of the most diverse authors, and nothing was too complex for his comprehension.
He had a deep knowledge and understanding of Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus Christ, as well as Luther, Calvin, and Savonarola; of literary giants such as Dante, Schiller, Shakespeare, and Goethe; and of analytical writers such as Renan and Gobineau, Chamberlain and Sorel.
He had trained himself in philosophy by studying Aristotle and Plato.
He could quote entire paragraphs of Schopenhauer from memory, and for a long time carried a pocked edition of Schopenhauer with him. Nietzsche taught him much about the willpower.
His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable.
He spent hundreds of hours studying the works of Tacitus and Mommsen, military strategists such as Clausewitz, and empire builders such as Bismarck. Nothing escaped him: world history or the history of civilizations, the study of the Bible and the Talmud, Thomistic philosophy and all the master- pieces of Homer, Sophocles, Horace, Ovid, Titus Livius and Cicero. He knew Julian the Apostate as if he had been his contemporary.
His knowledge also extended to mechanics.
He knew how engines worked; he understood the ballistics of various weapons; and he astonished the best medical scientists with his knowledge of medicine and biology.
The universality of Hitler’s knowledge may surprise or displease those unaware of it, but it is nonetheless a historical fact: Hitler was probably one of the most cultivated men of this century.
Many times more so than Churchill, an intellectual mediocrity; or than Pierre Laval, with his mere cursory knowledge of history; or than Roosevelt; or Eisenhower, who never got beyond detective novels.
Even during his earliest years, Hitler was different than other children.
He had an inner strength and was guided by his spirit and his instincts.
He could draw skillfully when he was only eleven years old.
His sketches made at that age show a remarkable firmness and liveliness.
His first paintings and watercolors, created at age 15, are full of poetry and sensitivity.
One of his most striking early works, “Fortress Utopia,” also shows him to have been an artist of rare imagination.
His artistic orientation took many forms.
He wrote poetry from the time he was a lad.
He dictated a complete play to his sister Paula who was amazed at his presumption.
At the age of 16, in Vienna, he launched into the creation of an opera.
He even designed the stage settings, as well as all the costumes; and, of course, the characters were Wagnerian heroes.
More than just an artist, Hitler was above all an architect.
Hundreds of his works were notable as much for the architecture as for the painting.
From memory alone he could reproduce in every detail the onion dome of a church or the intricate curves of wrought iron, indeed, it was to fulfill his dream of becoming an architect that Hitler went to Vienna at the beginning of the century.
When one sees the hundreds of paintings, sketches and drawings he created at the time, which reveal his mastery of three dimensional figures, it is astounding that his examiners at the Fine Arts Academy failed him in two successive examinations.
German historian Werner Maser, no friend of Hitler, castigated these examiners: “All of his works revealed extraordinary architectural gifts and knowledge. The builder of the Third Reich gives the former Fine Arts Academy of Vienna cause for shame.”
Impressed by the beauty of the church in a Benedictine monastery where he was part of the choir and served as an altar boy, Hitler dreamt fleetingly of becoming a Benedictine monk.
And it was at that time, too, interestingly enough, that whenever he attended mass, he always had to pass beneath the first swastika he had ever seen: it was graven in the stone escutcheon of the abbey portal.
Hitler’s father, a customs officer, hoped the boy would follow in his footsteps and become a civil servant.
His tutor encouraged him to become a monk.
Instead the young Hitler went, or rather he fled, to Vienna.
And there, thwarted in his artistic aspirations by the bureaucratic mediocraties of academia, he turned to isolation and meditation.
Lost in the great capital of Austria-Hungary, he searched for his destiny.
During the first thirty years of Hitler’s life, the date April 20, 1889, meant nothing to anyone.
He was born on that day in Branau, a small town in the Inn valley.
During his exile in Vienna, he often thought of his modest home, and particularly of his mother.
When she fell ill, he returned home from Vienna to look after her.
For weeks he nursed her, did all the household chores, and supported her as the most loving of sons.
When she finally died, on Christmas eve, his pain was immense.
Wracked with grief, he buried his mother in the little country cemetery: “I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief,” said his mother’s doctor, who happened to be Jewish.
In his room, Hitler always displayed a picture of his mother.
The memory of the mother he loved was with him until the day he died.
She had blue eyes like his and a similar face.
Her maternal intuition told her that her son was different from other children
She acted almost as if she knew her son’s destiny.
When she died, she felt anguished by the immense mystery surrounding her son.
Throughout the years of his youth, Hitler lived the life of a virtual recluse.
He greatest wish was to withdraw from the world.
At heart a loner, he wandered about, ate meager meals, but devoured the books of three public libraries.
He abstained from conversations and had few friends.
It is almost impossible to imagine another such destiny where a man started with so little and reached such heights.
Alexander the Great was the son of a king.
Napoleon, from a well-to-do family, was a general at twenty-four.
Fifteen years after Vienna, Hitler would still be an unknown corporal.
Thousands of others had a thousand times more opportunity to leave their mark on the world.
Hitler was not much concerned with his private life.
In Vienna he had lived in shabby, cramped lodgings, but for all that he rented a piano that took up half his room, and concentrated on composing his opera.
He lived on bread, milk, and vegetable soup.
But he never stopped painting or reading.
Landlords and landladies in Vienna and Munich all remembered him for his civility and pleasant disposition. His behavior was impeccable.
His room was always spotless, his meager belongings meticulously arranged, and his clothes neatly hung or folded.
He washed and ironed his own clothes, something which in those days few men did.
He needed almost nothing to survive, and money from the sale of a few paintings was sufficient to provide for all his needs.
Hitler had not yet focused on politics, but without his rightly knowing, that was the career to which he was most strongly called.
Politics would ultimately blend with his passion for art.
People, the masses, would be the clay the sculptor shapes into an immortal form.
The human clay would become for him a beautiful work of art like one of Myron’s marble sculptures, a Hans Makart painting, or Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
His love of music, art, and architecture had not removed him from the political life and social concerns of Vienna.
When Hitler later said that he had formed his social and political doctrine in Vienna, he told the truth.
Ten years later his observations made in Vienna would become the order of the day.
Thus Hitler was to live for several years in the crowded city of Vienna as a virtual outcast, yet quietly observing everything around him.
His strength came from within.
He did not rely on anyone to do his thinking for him.
Exceptional human beings always feel lonely amid the vast human throng.
Hitler saw his solitude as a wonderful opportunity to meditate and not to be submerged in a mindless sea.
In order not to be lost in the wastes of a sterile desert, a strong soul seeks refuge within himself.
Hitler was such a soul.

The lightning in Hitler’s life would come from the Word.
All his artistic talent would be channeled into his mastery of communication and eloquence.
Hitler would never conceive of popular conquests without the power of the Word.
He would enchant and be enchanted by it.
He would find total fulfillment when the magic of his words inspired the hearts and minds of the masses with whom he communed.
He would feel reborn each time he conveyed with mystical beauty the knowledge he had acquired in his lifetime.
Hitler’s incantory eloquence will remain, for a very long time.
The power of Hitler’s word is the key.

Did Hitler believe in God ?
He believed deeply in God.
He called God the Almighty, master of all that is known and unknown.
He acknowledged that every human being has spiritual needs.
The song of the nightingale, the pattern and color of a flower, continually brought him back to the great problems of creation.
No one in the world has spoke so eloquently about the existence of God.
He held this view not because he was brought up as a Christian, but because his analytical mind bound him to the concept of God.
Hitler’s faith transcended formulas and contingencies.
God was for him the basis of everything, the ordainer of all things, of his destiny and that of all others.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

   

 “At the age of twelve, I saw … the first opera of my life, Lohengrin. In one instant I was addicted.
My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master knew no bounds.”

“When human hearts break and human souls despair, then from the twilight of the past, the great conquerors of distress and care, of shame and misery, of spiritual slavery and physical compulsion, look down and hold out their eternal hands to the despairing mortals. Woe to the people ashamed to grasp them !”


“He who would live must fight

And he who would not contend in this world of eternal struggle
Does not deserve to live.”

“I am founding an Order.
It is from the burgs that the second
stage will emerge – the stage of the Man-God, when Man will be the measure and centre of
the world. The Man-God, that splendid Being, will be an object of worship … But there are
other stages about which I am not permitted to speak …”


“It is my ultimate aim to perform an act of creation, a divine operation, the goal of a biological mutation which will result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race and the appearance of a new race of heroes, demi-gods and god-men”.

“Creation is not finished. Man is clearly approaching a phase of metamorphosis. The earlier human species has already reached the stage of dying out…. All of the force of creation will be concentrated in a new species… which will surpass infinitely modern man….  “

“We shall rejuvenate the world.  This world is near its end.”

“Do you now appreciate the depth of our National Socialist Movement?  Can there be anything greater and more all comprehending?  Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it.  It is more even than religion; it is the will to create mankind anew !”

“All of the force of creation will be concentrated in a new species… which will surpass infinitely modern man…. “

“The new man is living amongst us now! He is here!…I will tell you a secret. I have seen the new man. He is intrepid and cruel. I was afraid of him.” 

“We are at the outset of a tremendous revolution in moral ideas and man’s spiritual orientation. A new age of the magic interpretation of the world is coming, an interpretation in terms of will and not the intelligence.”

“The real destiny of man is something the average man could not conceive and would be unable to stomache if given a glance.

Our revolution is the final stage in an evolution that will end by abolishing history.
My Party members have no conception of the dreams that haunt my mind or the grand design for the foundations that will have been laid before I die.
The world has reached a pivetol point and will undergo an upheaval which you unititated people cannot understand” 

“The old beliefs will be brought back to honor again.

The whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine, the demonic.
We will wash off the Christian veneer and bring out a religion peculiar to our race.”

for more information see
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
‘And the Will lieth therin, which dieth not.
Who knoweth the mysteries of the Will and its vigour ?
For God is but a great Will pervading all things by the nature of its intentness.
Man doth not yield himself to the Angels nor to Death uterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble Will !’

Joseph Glanvill – (1636–1680)

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Click here for August Kubizek’s own fascinating account of his friendship with Adolf Hitler
   
 Hitler Mein Jugendfreund
(Hitler – My Boyhood Friend)


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Bildung in Deutschland und Österreich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Bildung in Deutschland und Österreich

The German word ‘Bildung’ is usually translated into English as ‘education’, but this is incorrect – the term Bildung has a far wider and more subtle meaning, although it cannot be satisfactorily translated.
The term ‘Bildung’ dates to 16th century Pietistic theology, according to which, the devout Christian should seek to cultivate (Bildung) his talents and dispositions according to the image of God, which was innate in his soul.
In addition to this theological usage, Paracelsus (1493-1591), Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), and Leibniz (1646-1716) also used the term in natural philosophy to refer to “the development or unfolding of certain potentialities within an organism.”
Paracelsus

Paracelsus (born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December 1493 – 24 September 1541) was a German Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and occultist.

Jakob Böhme

He founded the discipline of toxicology. He is also known as a revolutionary for insisting upon using observations of nature, rather than looking to ancient texts, in open and radical defiance of medical practice of his day

Jakob Böhme (probably April 24, 1575 – November 17, 1624) was a German mystic and theologian.
He is considered an original thinker within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as ‘Aurora’, caused a great scandal. 

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 – November 14, 1716) was a German mathematician and philosopher. He occupies a prominent place in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy.

In the 18th century, Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), used the term in the sense of unfolding one’s potential in an influential essay in 1784, ‘Was ist Aufklärung ?’ (What is Enlightenment ?’, identifying ‘Bildung’ with ‘Enlightenment’ itself.
Pedagogical theorists, like Joachim Heinrich Campe (1746-1818), also focused on how pedagogical reform could promote the development (Ausbildung) and education (Bildung) of the citizenry.
Joachim Heinrich Campe (June 29, 1746 – October 22, 1818) was a German writer, linguist, educator and publisher.
By the end of the 18th century, Bildung was becoming a term with not only spiritual, but also philosophical and political connotations.
Increasingly, Bildung was associated with liberation of the mind from tradition and superstition, but also liberation of the German people from a pre-modern political system of small feudal states that owed allegiance to the Heiliges Römisches Reich.
Heiliges Römisches Reich (The Holy Roman Empire) (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, was a complex political union of territories in Central Europe existing from 962 to 1806.[2][3]
The empire grew out of East Francia, a primary division of the Frankish Empire, and explicitly proclaimed itself the continuation of the Western Roman Empire under the doctrine of translatio imperii (“transfer of rule” via a succession of singular rulers vested with supreme power). Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned as emperor by Pope Leo III in 800, restoring the title in the West after more than three centuries. The title was passed in a desultory manner during the decline and fragmentation of the Carolingian dynasty, eventually falling into abeyance. The title was revived in 962 when Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (Latin: Imperator Romanus Sacer), beginning an unbroken line of emperors running for over eight centuries.
This political usage is apparent in the writings of Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), in which he went beyond the sense of individual formation or development to the development of a people (Volk).
Johann Gottfried von Herder 

Johann Gottfried von Herder (25 August 1744 – 18 December 1803) was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.

In German the word Volk can have several different meanings, such as folk (simple people), people in the ethnic sense, and nation.
German Volk is commonly used as the first, determining part (head) of compound nouns such as Volksentscheid (plebiscite, literally “decision of/by the people”) or Völkerbund (League of Nations).
For Herder, Bildung was the totality of experiences that provide a coherent identity, and sense of common destiny, to a people.
Although Herder is rightfully associated with late-eighteenth-century German nationalist, he conceived the German Volk as including both royalty and peasants, envisioning a classless society.
Accordingly, Herder’s cultural nationalism required that social unity be promoted from the bottom up, in contrast to the top down political nationalism to which many historians have attributed the rise of German militarism that ultimately culminated in the Third Reich.
Because of the quality of his ideas and pervasiveness of his influence, it would be difficult to overemphasize Herder’s importance in Western intellectual history.
It has been said that Goethe (1749-1832) was transformed from a clever but conventional poet into the great artist we remember today by his encounter with Herder in 1770, and his continuing friendship with the philosopher.

Friedrich Wilhelm von Humboldt

Herder developed fundamental ideas about the dependence of thought on language that are taken for granted today, and that inspired work by Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) that are widely viewed as the foundation of modern linguistics.

Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt (22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin, which was named after him (and his brother, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt) in 1949. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system 
Friedrich Schleiermacher 

Herder developed the methodological foundations of ‘hermeneutics’, or the theory of interpretation, that Schleiermacher (1768-1834) later built upon, and that ultimately culminated in nineteenth-century German classical scholarship and modern Biblical scholarship.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity. He also became influential in the evolution of Higher Criticism, and his work forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics. 
Wilhelm Dilthey
Nietzsche

Herder’s writings also led to the establishment of the modern discipline of anthropology and its methodology.

Additionally, Herder profoundly influenced intellectuals as diverse as Hegel, Nietzsche (1844-1900), and Dilthey (1833-1911).

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and composer. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony, and aphorism.

Wilhelm Dilthey (19 November 1833 – 1 October 1911) was a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher, who held Hegel’s Chair in Philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a polymathic philosopher, working in a modern research university, Dilthey’s research interests revolved around questions of scientific methodology, historical evidence and history’s status as a science.

In a series of works written over a period of almost fifty-years, Herder developed and defended the conception of philosophy that is at the very heart of the German Bildung tradition.
The titles of some of these works are revealing: ‘How Philosophy Can Become More Universal and Useful for the Benefit of the People’ (1765), ‘This Too a Philosophy of History for the Formation of Humanity’ (1774), ‘Ideas for the Philosophy of History of Humanity’ (1784-91), and ‘Letters for the Advancement of Humanity’ (1793-1797).
As these titles suggest, Herder believed philosophy must have a practical result, which can be summarized as human growth, and that philosophical ideas have to be understood within their social and historical context.
Similar to the Renaissance Humanists, Herder believed that the proper study of man is man, and thus sought to displace academic philosophy with philosophical anthropology.
For Herder, philosophy is, quite simply, the theory of Bildung; more precisely, philosophy is the theory of how the individual develops into the sort of organic unity that will constantly work toward the full development of its talents and abilities and that will drive social progress or social Bildung.
For Herder, properly understood, philosophy must transform individuals and, at the very same time, it must have a broad social impact.
The conception of philosophy Herder defended carried forward from Herder to Wilhelm von Humboldt and G.W.F. Hegel, to Friedrich Schleiermacher, to the Left Hegelians and Wilhelm Dilthey: the tradition of hermeneutics and historicism.
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

At about the same time that he encountered Herder, Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) inaugurated the pre-Romantic ‘Sturm und Drang’ movement in literature, which emphasized the unpredictable emotional life of the individual.

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thus in Goethe’s ‘Die Leiden des jungen Werther’ (The Sorrows of Young Werther) (1774), the protagonist is driven to suicide by despair.

In the late 1780s, Goethe and Schiller launched a new literary movement that became known as ‘Weimar Classicism’.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German writer, artist, and politician. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, and more than 10,000 letters written by him are extant, as are nearly 3,000 drawings.
Weimarer Klassik

Spurred on by Enlightenment themes as well as efforts to recover ancient aesthetic values, Weimar Classicism sought the enlightenment or liberation of man through an organic unification and harmonization of thought and feeling, mind and body.

Both men were also critical of the contemporaneous movement of ‘German Romanticism’.
Although there are distinct similarities between ‘Weimar Classicism’ and ‘German Romanticism’, no doubt owing to the fact that both developed in the same milieu, unlike the Romantics, Goethe sought to harmonize the vivid emotions he had emphasized in his ‘Sturm and Drang’ period with the clarity of Enlightenment reason.

Weimarer Klassik – (Weimar Classicism) is a cultural and literary movement of Europe. Followers attempted to establish a new humanism by synthesizing Romantic, classical and Enlightenment ideas. The movement, from 1772 until 1805, involved Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Christoph Martin Wieland, and often concentrated on Goethe and Schiller during the period 1788–1805.
The conception of “harmony” (also “totality” or “wholeness”) – as it was earlier accepted as a fundamental element in Greek culture by German Classicism – which was profoundly embedded within Weimar Classicism, which developed during a period of social turmoil and upheaval, is neither an aim toward Platonic perfection nor, as promoted by the German Romantics, toward universality, which was systematized later by G. W. F. Hegel. In fact, it is the sole expression of a particular’s singular imperfect integrity. Similarly, Goethe held that the two polarities of classicism and romanticism may be employed in a work of art by means of excellence and discretion.

Moreover, Goethe criticized the Romantic notion that an individual could intuitively tap into their genius in order to apprehend transcendent truth.
Similarly, Goethe followed Herder’s lead by rejecting the transcendent reason of the Enlightenment, claiming, for example, that the laws of a country cannot be based on pure reason because geography and history shape the habits of individuals and their cultures.
For Goethe, both the Enlightenment and Romanticism had erred by their excessive devotion to their respective ideals, thus undermining the sort of inner balance and harmony that he championed.
Unlike his earlier novel, in Wilhelm Meister’s ‘Apprenticeship’ the protagonist undergoes a journey of Bildung, or self-realization.
Thus Goethe initiated the tradition of the ‘Bildungsroman’, the novel of formation.
The only sort of transcendence that Wilhelm seeks in the novel is to rise above the soulless life of a bourgeois businessman by reconciling or shaping his particular interests so that they serve a greater good, which is service to his society.
This novel represents the very essence of German humanism, the ideal of which is the formation of individuals whose conduct is governed by a highly developed inner character rather than imitation of the conduct of others.
The type of character formation sought requires the identification and molding of one’s talents and inclinations through wise education and life experience.
This education teaches Wilhelm that the individual must find his vocation, a calling to which he is well-suited and that contributes to the growth and maturation of the culture in which he lives.
In so doing, the individual harmonizes not only mind and body, but also self and society.
As this tradition develops through Goethe, into what is often called German ‘neo-humanism’, it is assumed that all individuals have different talents and thus need to live in a society in which the unique talents of others compliment their own.
Hence a well-developed society is one that allows wide scope for the unique development of each individual as the very catalyst of social harmony.
Rather than depict the individual as at odds with his society, German neo-humanism champions a harmony of the individual with his society through the development of his uniqueness and an acceptance of his social responsibility as the avenue toward self-development.
Self-realization is unattainable for those who wallow in their own narrow emotions or self-interest.
Satisfaction is not found in a romantic transcendence of social bonds, but in the activities of concrete social life.
Goethe developed these ideas further in the sequel to ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship’.

Thomas Mann

As Thomas Mann explains, ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Travels’ (1821)
“begins with individualistic self-development through miscellaneous experiences and ends in a political utopia.

In between stands the idea of education…It teaches us to see the element of education as the organic transition from the world of inwardness to that of the objective; it shows how the one grows humanely and naturally out of the other.”
Hegel
Hegel was profoundly influenced by German neo-humanism, eschewing transcendent realities and timeless truths, and championing a metaphysics of experience according to which philosophy deals with the world of human experience rather than a noumenal realm that transcends possible human experience.
Hence, Hegel’s logic is not a theory of the categories of reality, but a theory of the categories according to which we experience reality.
But most importantly Hegel was first and foremost concerned with Bildung, the self-development of the individual human spirit as well as the self-development of the human race.
The P’hänomenologie des Geistes’ (Phenomenology of Spirit) can be read as a Bildungsroman, a story about the individual’s, as well as humanity’s, development.
In the Phenomenology, Hegel shows the reader the development of an open and intelligent mind in a complex society that lacks universally accepted values, as the main character encounters a wide variety of experiences.
As is typical of a Bildungsroman, the center of interest is the links between the main character’s successive experiences and his gradual achievement of a fully rounded personality and well-tested philosophy of life.
For Hegel, the self is always engaged in a project and ordinarily proceeds in a state of harmony with its environment, which Hegel calls “natural consciousness.”
In this state, there is no subject/object dualism because the self is at one with its environment. Periodically, the self encounters an obstacle to its project, which Hegel terms a negation.
When this occurs, consciousness is rent asunder, identifying an object over and against the self, that is to say the obstacle that disrupted its project.
After analysis of the negation, the self imagines solutions that will alter itself, by modifying its project, and alter the object in such a way that consciousness can be reunified and the self can resume its project.
When the self succeeds at reunification, the negation becomes a “determinate negation,” meaning a negation that leads to progress or growth.
The self emerges from experiences of this kind not only unified but also enlarged because it has gained valuable experience.
Rather than a metaphysical reality, subject/object dualism is a moment within experience that serves a particular function.
The process I have described here is Hegel’s dialectic, but it also Bildung.
Accordingly, rather than a theory of knowledge, Hegel developed a theory of learning, and philosophy became the philosophy of education.
Although textbook accounts claim that the dialectic is driven by contradiction, this term oversimplifies Hegel’s concept of negation.
Although, for Hegel, negation can lead to a fairly routine learning process, it can also lead to existential crises.
In either case, rather than a contradiction of propositions, negation is a disruption of the process of living, which Hegel often describes as a pathway or road.
To use Hegel’s words, when the self encounters a negation, it loses its truth on this path.
The road can therefore be regarded as the pathway of doubt, or more precisely as the way of despair. For what happens on it is not what is ordinarily understood when the word ‘doubt’ is used: shilly-shallying about this or that presumed truth, followed by a return to that truth again, after the doubt has been appropriately dispelled – so that at the end of the process the matter is taken to be what it was in the first place.
The self presumes to have knowledge until it encounters a negation, which leads it into a state of doubt or despair.
If and when the self successfully resolves the problem that initiated the process, it gains knowledge that is has tested for itself.
Quite literally, the self gains self-determination.
Hegel’s concept of Bildung, which is prominent throughout all of his works, dovetails with his view that knowledge is gained only from experience, and that it also requires us to seek, like the protagonist of a Bildungsroman, the widest variety of experience.
Furthermore, on the Bildung model, learning involves activity.
Hence Hegel rejected Locke’s passive spectator theory of the mind, according to which we should restrain our passions in order to gain objective knowledge.
For Hegel, learning requires a passionate search for truth; it is a matter of conscious self-development that requires arduous individual effort and responsibility.
For Hegel, fulfillment must come in the activities of real life.
Finally, Hegel’s emphasis on self-knowledge, an accurate perception of one’s talents, interests, and abilities, explains his criticisms of the Enlightenment’s fixation on a narrow conception of knowledge as a search for indubitable truth.
The notion of timeless truth worried Hegel for very practical reasons.
He was convinced that the French Revolution had turned to terror because revolutionaries believed they had apprehended transcendent truth that provided them with a preconceived blueprint to which their society must conform.
In short, Hegel argued that the notion of transcendent truth tends toward an inflexible dogmatism that not only foreshortens inquiry, but can also lead to fanatical, and even violent, devotion to an ideology.
As rector of the Nuremburg Gymnasium from 1808 to 1815, Hegel developed a philosophy of education that opposed past German models as well as the Enlightenment model of education, the latter of which he identified as “utilitarian.”
Hegel described education, the dialectic, as a process of alienation and return, in which the mind is continually stretched beyond its ordinary point of view.
Hegel contended that Gymnasium education is accomplished best by alienating the child’s mind from its received point of view through the study of the ancient world and its languages.
Ancient civilizations are sufficiently alien, he argued, to separate the child from his natural state, but sufficiently close to his own language and world for him to return to himself enlarged and transformed. On the practical level, Hegel argued that education in the Gymnasia should prepare students for life rather than merely for jobs.
He also averred that students should be treated with respect, as ends in themselves, and at the Nuremburg Gymnasium, he encouraged discussion in class, but would not tolerate giving students complete freedom in the schools.
The goal of education, for Hegel, was to help students realize the ideal of modernity, which is for the individual to become a self-directed, self-formed person.
In this way, Hegel expanded upon the German Bildung tradition’s emphasis on education that liberates one from blind obedience to superstition, tradition, or any sort of belief in realities that transcend the possibilities of human experience.
Hegel was also consistent with past proponents of Bildung in emphasizing the social nature of the self.
The notion of a self that can transcend its social and historical context was as untenable to Hegel as any other abstract concept without a context.
Although the liberated, or enlightened, individual learns to think critically about his society, he cannot transcend it.
This brings us to a crucial difference in Hegel’s use of the notion of Bildung.
Rather than the unfolding of a form immanent in an individual, or in a people, Hegel presents Bildung as a process of relentless self-estrangement.
Thus in the Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel writes that consciousness “suffers…violence at its own hands” because it must confront its own naïve certainty to go beyond itself and experience growth.
Bildung is not an autonomous activity, nor is it divorced from one’s desires and passions.
On the contrary, Bildung requires self-knowledge, discerning one’s own talents by discovering activities that bring satisfaction, and even a sense of fulfillment.
And the greatest sort of fulfillment for Hegel is activity that promotes Bildung for one’s society.
The person of Bildung promotes cultural progress through the same process of alienation and return, which can be characterized as a method of immanent cultural critique.
Hegel intended the dialectic as a method of cultural criticism that identifies the standards of rationality within an existing culture or system of thought and then criticizes practices that do not accord with those standards of rationality.
This method is immanent critique in the sense that it criticizes a culture on its own terms, on the basis of its highest ideals, rather than some apodictic first principle or transcendent, abstract moral standards.
There are three key features of Hegel’s dialectic.
First, Hegel’s dialectic “must be immanent or internal to its subject matter.”
There is no God’s eye view or Archimedean point from which we can investigate a subject matter.
We cannot legitimately ask if a theory accurately describes its subject matter, because to some degree a theory always creates the subject it seeks to explain.
We can examine a theory’s internal coherence, however, and ask whether it accomplishes the goal(s) it sets for itself.
Second, Hegel’s dialectic is “dialogical in character.”
The dialectic does not take place within an internal, private mind, but is always a conversation between past, contemporaneous, and future interlocutors.
For Hegel, all thinking is mediated by the intellectual tradition we have inherited from our predecessors. For this reason, his works generally have the character of a conversation with illustrious predecessors in which he recognizes their contribution to our current point of view.
Rather than refute his opponents, Hegel engaged them in conversation.
Third, Hegel’s dialectic is based on the assumption that all theory has a vitally important historical dimension. He accepted Kant’s contention that the mind actively categorizes sense data, but historicized the categories. For Hegel, our conceptual structure is historically and culturally relative; all logical categories, even those that appear to be the most permanent, are temporally contingent.
Hegel sought to counter the charge of historical relativism by claiming historical epochs fit into a larger narrative.
For Hegel, the person of Bildung can discern a moral unity to history.
He hypothesized that the ‘Weltgeist’, or world-spirit, tirelessly moves in the direction of ever increasing human freedom.
Hegel’s Weltgeist may be understood as an interpretation of the history of the human race, which can be known only by its actions.
Geist, for Hegel, has no pre-existing essence, it is known only by what it has actually done thus far, nor does it have a predetermined end.
Hence, for Hegel, the disciplines of philosophy and history are inextricably linked because, together, they are the source of individual and cultural Bildung.
Finally, Bildung is a central motif of Hegel’s 1821 ‘Philosophy of Right’, in which he illuminated the concept by repeating the advice of a Pythagorean philosopher to a father about the best way to educate his son: “Make him the citizen of a state with good laws.”
Thus the ‘Philosophy of Right’ highlights the political connotations of Bildung.
Bildung requires a well-ordered society in which the individual has the freedom, and even luxury, to develop his unique talents and abilities.
Bildung also requires a society in which there is scope for all kinds of complementary individuals and activities because exposure to different kinds of people and experimentation with different types of lives is crucial to the sort of moral development Hegel had in mind.
Hegel made it apparent throughout the ‘Philosophy of Right’ that Bildung should begin in the family, continue more systematically in school, and be taken to a higher level in the university.
After formal schooling is completed, in civil society the individual should achieve the final stage of Bildung, recognition of the rational basis of his society’s institutions.

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Bildungsroman

Karl Morgenstern
Bildungsroman

In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (a novel of formation/education/culture – or coming-of-age story) is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and in which character change is thus extremely important.
The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905.
The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features.
The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical.

 ‘Parzival’
Wolfram von Eschenbach

The folklore tale of the dunce who goes out into the world seeking adventure and learns wisdom the hard way was raised to literary heights in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval epic ‘Parzival’ – (later adapted by Richard Wagner in his magnificent music-drama ‘Parsifal’), and in Hans Grimmelshausen’s picaresque tale ‘Simplicissimus’ (1669).

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Adalbert Stifter
Christoph Martin Wieland

The first novelistic development of this theme was Christoph Martin Wieland’s ‘Geschichte des Agathon’ (1766–67; History of Agathon).

Christoph Martin Wieland (September 5, 1733 – January 20, 1813) was a German poet and writer. Without creating a school in the strict sense of the term, Wieland had a strong influence on the German literature of his time. 

It was followed by J.W. von Goethe’s ‘Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre’ (see above) (1795–96; Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship), which remains the classic example of the genre.
Other examples are Adalbert Stifter’s ‘Nachsommer’ (1857; Indian Summer) and Gottfried Keller’s ‘Der grüne Heinrich’ (1854–55; Green Henry).

Adalbert Stifter (23 October 1805 – 28 January 1868) was an Austrian writer, poet, painter, and pedagogue. He was especially notable for the vivid natural landscapes depicted in his writing, and has long been popular in the German-speaking world, while almost entirely unknown to non-German readers.

The bildungsroman traditionally ends on a positive note, though its action may be tempered by resignation and nostalgia.
If the grandiose dreams of the hero’s youth are over, so are many foolish mistakes and painful disappointments, and, especially in 19th-century novels, a life of usefulness lies ahead.
In the 20th century and beyond, however, the bildungsroman more often ends in resignation or death.

A common variation of the bildungsroman is the Künstlerroman, a novel dealing with the formative years of an artist.
Such other variations as the Erziehungsroman (“novel of upbringing”) and the Entwicklungsroman (“novel of [character] development”) differ only slightly from the bildungsroman, and these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Thomas Mann

Although the Bildungsroman arose in Germany, it has had extensive influence in Europe.
One of the most influential late examples of this literary form is ‘Der Zauberberg’ by Thomas Mann.
Mann started writing what was to become ‘Der Zauberberg’  in 1912.
It began as a much shorter narrative which revisited in a comic manner aspects of ‘Tod in Venedig’ (Death in Venice), a novella that he was then preparing for publication.

‘Der Zauberberg’ 

The newer work reflected his experiences and impressions during a period when his wife, who was suffering from a lung complaint, was confined to Dr. Friedrich Jessen’s Waldsanatorium in Davos, Switzerland for several months.
In May and June 1912 Mann visited her and became acquainted with the team of doctors who were treating her in this cosmopolitan institution.

Thomas Mann

According to Mann, in the afterword that was later included in the English translation, this stay became the foundation of the opening chapter (‘Ankunft’ – Arrival) of the completed novel.
The Weltkrieg, and its aftermath, led the author to undertake a major re-examination of European bourgeois society, including the sources of the willful, perverse destructiveness displayed by much of civilised humanity.

‘Der Zauberberg’ – Thomas Mann

He was also drawn to speculate about more general questions surrounding personal attitudes to life, health, illness, sexuality and mortality.
Given this, Mann felt compelled to radically revise and expand the pre-war text before completing it in 1924.
‘Der Zauberberg’ was eventually published in two volumes by S. Fischer Verlag in Berlin.
‘Der Zauberberg’ is a classic example of the European Bildungsroman – a “novel of education” or “novel of formation”.

Sigmund Freud

Thomas Mann’s description of the subjective experience of serious illness, and the gradual process of medical institutionalization are of interest in themselves, as are his allusions to the irrational forces within the human psyche at a time when Freudian psychoanalysis was becoming prominent.
These themes relate to the development of the main character over the time span covered by the novel, a point that the author himself underlined.
In 1953 Mann stated that “what [Hans – the main character] came to understand is that one must go through the deep experience of sickness and death to arrive at a higher sanity and health . . . .”
At the core of this complex work is an encyclopaedic survey of the ideas and debates associated with modernity.
Mann acknowledged his debt to the skeptical insights of Friedrich Nietzsche concerning modern humanity and embodied this in the novel in the arguments between the characters.

The other Berghof
The Berghof

Throughout the book the author employs the discussion with and between Settembrini, Naphta and the medical staff to introduce the impressionable Hans Castorp to a wide spectrum of competing ideologies about responses to the Age of Enlightenment, however, whereas the classical Bildungsroman would conclude by having “formed” Castorp into a mature member of society, with his own world view and greater self-knowledge, ‘Der Zauberberg’ ends as it has to for “life’s delicate child” as a simultaneously anonymous and communal conscript, one of millions, under fire on some battlefield of World War I (Weltkrieg).
Significantly, the sanatorium situated in the mountains is referred to as the ‘Berghof’.
While this had little significance when Mann wrote the novel, subsequently the appellation developed interesting associations.

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Conclusions

In conclusion, according to the German Bildung tradition, philosophy and education are virtually synonymous terms that designate an ongoing process of both personal and cultural maturation.
This maturation is evidenced in a harmonization of the individual’s mind and heart and in a unification of society.
Harmonization of the self is achieved through a wide variety of experiences and challenges to the individual’s accepted beliefs; in Hegel’s writings, these challenges entail agonizing alienation from one’s “natural consciousness” that leads to a reunification and development of the self.
Learning requires a passionate search for continual growth, tempered by reason that is developed through intense study of one’s intellectual tradition.
Fulfillment comes through practical activity that promotes the development of one’s talents and abilities as well as development of one’s society.

Berchtesgaden

BERCHTESGADEN
STADTWAPPEN BERCHTESGADEN


Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps



It is located in the south district ofBerchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich.

To the south of the city the Berchtesgaden National Park stretches along three parallel valleys.
Berchtesgaden is often associated with the Mount Watzmann, at 2713 m the third-highest mountain in Germany (after Zugspitze and Hochwanner), which is renowned in the rock climbing community for its Ostwand (East Face), and a deep glacial lake by the name ofKönigssee (5.2 km²).

Another notable peak is the Kehlstein mountain (1835 m) with its Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest * see below), which offers spectacular views to its visitors.
Berchtesgaden’s neighbouring towns are Bischofswiesen, Marktschellenberg, Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee.
The first historical note dates back to 1102 and it mentions the area because of its rich salt deposits.
Much of Berchtesgaden’s wealth has been derived from its salt mines.
The town served as independent Fürstpropstei until the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in 1803.
During the Napoleonic wars, Berchtesgaden changed hands a few times, such as in 1805 under the Treaty of Pressburg, when the area was ceded to Austria.

Berchtesgaden came under Bavarian rule in 1810 and became instantly popular with the Bavarian royal family, which often visited Königssee and maintained a royal hunting residence in the town itself.

Nascent tourism started to evolve and a number of artists came to the area, which reportedly gave rise to “Malereck” (literally painter’s corner) on the shore of Königssee.
The most famous author who lived in Berchtesgaden was Ludwig Ganghofer.

ECKART – HITLER – AND THE OBERSALZBURG


The area of Obersalzberg was purchased by the Nazis in the 1920s for their senior leaders to enjoy.
Hitler’s mountain residence, the Berghof, was located here.
Berchtesgaden and its environs (Stanggass) were fitted to serve as an outpost of the German Reichskanzlei office (Imperial Chancellery).
Some typical Third Reich buildings in Berchtesgaden include the railway station, that had a reception area for Hitler and his guests, and the post office next to the railway station.
The Berchtesgadener Hof Hotel was a hotel where famous visitors stayed, such as Eva Braun, Erwin Rommel, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, as well as Neville Chamberlain and David Lloyd George.

Not long after Hitler siezed the leadership of the party and became it’s Fuhrer, his mentor, Eckart, introduced him to the lovely village of Berchtesgaden that was nestled in the Bavarian Alps.

Located near the Austrian border and only a two hour train ride south-east of Munich, Berchtesgaden was a small farming, mining and resort community.
Since about 1850 the area had been one of the summer stomping grounds for Germany’s royalty and high society.
Since the first world war it had fallen on leaner times.
Under the influence of Eckart, Hitler adapted the custom of spending weekends, holidays, and vacations at the mountain retreat.
Hitler stayed with Eckart in a house, called the Sonnenhauesl, or as Hitler called it, the “Sonnenkopfl,” at Lockstein.
About a year after his introduction to Berchtesgaden, Hitler and a friend made a two mile hike up to Obersalzberg.
Dotted with a few small farms and summer guest-houses, the area offered some of the most spectacular scenic views of the German and Austrian Alps.
Hitler described the region as “a countryside of indescribable
beauty.”

He soon began spending most of his free time there and normally took a room at the Pension Moritz (see right).
A short walk below the Moritz was the Gasthof zum Turken (see left) (named after an innkeeper who fought the Turks) where Hitler and his friends enjoyed the “genuine goulash” and often lingered in one of the small public rooms lost in conversation.
It no doubt impressed Hitler to learn that the Moritz and Turken had once been the meeting places of such dignitaries as Prince-Regent Luitpold of Bavaria, the composer Johannes Brahms and even Crown prince Wilhelm of Prussia.
Having taught Hitler the oratory skills to manipulate an audience through the techniques of hand gestures, voice control and timing, Eckhart now presented his prodigy with a place that would overwhelm him with majestic and inspiring grandeur.
Little wonder that Hitler later said that it was here that he had spent his most pleasant times, and conceived his greatest ideas.
And opposite the Eckart’s Sonnenhauesl (The Little House of the Sun) was the mighty Untersberg (see right) – the massive mountain that dominates the Obersalzburg.
Interetingly, the Untersburg is no ordinary mountain, and one reason Hitler became intrigued by the mountain is because of re-occuring events, legends and tales of people gone missing, people experiencing missing time, encounters with elves and extraterrestrials and passageways to what Hitler called “the inner earth”.
Often noted by occultists as an “energy spot” or “magnetic geo-node,” many seekers came to the Untersberg to be refreshed by the water and drawn to over 400 caves and tunnels by what is described as a “strong magnetic anomaly.”
The Untersberg has been characterized by the Dalai-Lama as the “sleeping dragon,” the “heart-chakra of the world.”
The legends of time portals, missing expeditions, tunnel systems leading to fountains, temples, forests and marble rooms go back hundreds of years.
One of the most persistent rumors involves the legend of Karl the Great (of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation), known in the west as Charles the Great or Charlemagne.
Though physically buried in the German village of Aachen, it is believed that the “astral form” of this emperor sleeps in the mysterious depths of a subterranean throne room, surrounded by his strongest knights, gnomes, frost giants and fire giants, Valkyries and other “Volk,” awaiting the final liberation of his country and kinsmen; that he will rule over a thousand year kingdom of Aryan dominion.

Other accounts maintain this entity is the spirit of the emperor Frederich Barbarossa.
Within the ancient mythologies of the Nordic People are the prophecies that at a future point in time, though time itself is a variable, the “Watcher-god”, Heimdall, will sound his horn to summon the children of Loki (see right).
This semi-divine/human Sixth Race will break their bonds and unite with mystical forces to sail from the land of the Niflheim, located in an astral plane beyond the auroras, waging the final battle with the current “usurpers” of the planet to culminate in the enthronement of their vaticinated king.
It is this anticipated kingdom and its preparation that has been the goal of the ancient spirits. This is the heart of ‘The Awakening of the Black Sun’.
The Untersberg is known to be inhabited by certain kinds of elemental spirits of Nature, some of which are good and benevolent, others of a wicked and malicious nature, and inimical to mankind; and there are innumerable tales circulating among the people in the neighborhood, telling about the doings of the gnomes, fairies, and giants, dwelling within caves and in gorgeous marble halls and grottoes filled with gold and precious stones that will turn into dead leaves and stones when seen in the light of day.
“Some of the friendly tribes come out of the Untersberg on certain occasions, and they are said to have sometimes associated with the inhabitants of our plane of existence, partaking in the dances and amusements of the peasants, and even taking stray children with them into the Untersberg; and, incredible as it may appear, it is even asserted by, “those who know” that marriages have taken place between citizens of our world and the inhabitants of the kingdom of gnomes.
Of course it is well known that within the mysterious depths of the Untersberg there dwells the soul of a great emperor in his astral form.
There, together with his retinue, he sleeps an enchanted sleep, waiting for the liberation of his country.
Sometimes very suddenly, even on a clear summer day, clouds are seen to issue from the sides of the mountain; grotesquely-formed ghost-like mists arise from the caverns and precipices, crawling and gliding slowly upwards toward the top, and form on the neighboring peaks also, clouds of monstrous shapes and sometimes of gigantic proportions floating on, until the head of the Untersberg is surrounded by a surging sea of vapours growing dense and dark.
Seldom included in historical analysis of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, is the spiritually mesmerizing impact of Mount Untersberg.
Hitler’s first direct encounter took place in 1923, upon which date the future führer would describe his feelings, “It was so wonderful! A view of the Untersberg! Indescribable!”
While not specifically recorded, it is unlikely that the youthful Hitler would have been unaware of the writings of Franz Hartmann.
His obsession with occultism and theosophy, now well documented, would explain the peculiar fascination with the “sleeping dragon” as described by the Dalai Lama.
Having rented Haus Wachenfeld, a small vacation villa across the valley from Mount Untersberg, for four years, it was in 1932, with proceeds earned from royalties from Mein Kampf, that Adolf Hitler purchased what would become the Berghof.

A major renovation of the house soon followed, including a series of extensions, a bowling alley, a library and a basement.
(see Grundstein – Foundation Stone of 1936 – left – with Thule Swastikas)
Most importantly, however, was the construction of a huge picture window, providing a completely open view of the Untersberg.
Hitler was deeply affected by the legend and remarked to Albert Speer, his architect and armaments minister:
Look at the Untersberg over there.It is not just by chance that I have my seat across from it.
In February of 1942, the Fuhrer commented to Heinrich Himmler, “Charlemagne was the one of the greatest men to ever live.”
It may well have been that Adolf Hitler had hoped to see some type of manifestation: his telescopes were specifically designed for earth observation.
Those were the best times of my life,” he would later say. “My great plans were forged there.”
So magnetic was the mountain that the Führer later explained,
I basically built the house around the window,” and he even named the structure Berghof: “The Mountain Court.”
The Berghof has been described as a “Bavarian country house guarded by 2,000 SS troops,” with Adolf Hitler gazing from a “gigantic window… across a valley to the Untersberg massif, a sheer wall of mountain that looms large in Teutonic myths.”
For almost a decade Obersalzburg had become the Holy Mountain of the Third Reich, drawing thousands of pilgrims to pay homage to their Führer.
On February 2, 1942, Hitler said that his residence in Obersalzberg – Berghof, was “Gralsburg”. This indicates a certain connection to the Holy Grail and the Templars.
Just a few days before the end of war some local people reported seeing strange SS convoys that headed toward the Zillertal Alps (a mountain range on the Austrian-Italian border) where they, on their way to the Schleigeiss Glacier, allegedly buried some boxes deep in ice somewhere near a precipice.
Some esoteric authors write that the Holy Grail is here.

     

A recent expedition (August 2008) into the gigantic cave-system under the mountain revealed that it goes down so far, that its lowest point had not been reached yet.The cave explorers had to return from their expedition without knowing how far down it goes.According to a German newspaper report they had gone down 1056 meters before being forced to return at an abyss-like precipce.This had been accomplished by being able to pass an extremely narrow passageway that had been previously unpassable.They also discovered more than 800 new passageways and a lake in 930 meters depth.
Initially Hitler rented a chalet called Haus Wachenfeld – a holiday home built in 1916 by Otto Winter, a businessman from Buxtehude.

Winter’s widow rented the house to Hitler in 1928, and his half-sister Angela (see right) came to live there as housekeeper, although she left soon after her daughter Geli’s 1931 death in Hitler’s Munich apartment.
By 1933 Hitler had purchased Haus Wachenfeld with funds he received from the sale of his political manifesto Mein Kampf.
The small chalet-style building was refurbished and much expanded during 1935-36 when it was re-named The Berghof.
A large terrace was built, a dining room was panelled with very costly cembra pine.
Hitler’s large study had a telephone switchboard room.
The library contained books “on history, painting, architecture and music.”

A great hall was furnished with expensive ‘Nordic’ style furniture, a large globe and an expansive red marble fireplace mantel.
Behind one wall was a projection booth for evening screenings of films.
A sprawling picture window (see right) could be lowered into the wall to give a sweeping, open air view of -the Untersberg. – And on the terrace Hitler installed the finest, very large terrestial telescopes (see left) so that he could observe the mysterious Untersberg in detail.
In his own memoirs, Nazi Germany’s court architect and minister of armaments, Albert Speer, recalled his evening at Hitler’s retreat in the Alps above Berchtesgaden, right after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact that — with its secret clause giving the Soviet Union part of Poland — opened the way to the Nazi invasion that triggered World War Two.
Speer wrote :

In the course of the night we stood on the terrace of the Berghof with Hitler and marveled at a rare natural spectacle. Northern lights of unusual intensity threw red light on the legend-haunted Untersberg across the valley, while the sky above shimmered in all the colours of the rainbow. The last act of the Götterdämmerung could not have been more effectively staged. The same red light bathed our faces and our hands. The display produced a curiously pensive mood among us. Abruptly turning to one of his military adjutants, Hitler said: ‘Looks like a great deal of blood. This time we won’t bring it off without violence.’” 



HITLER’S  BERGHOF





Haus Wachenfeld – Later known as the Berghof 





Haus Wachenfeld – Terrace






Haus Wachenfeld – Terrace 






Haus Wachenfeld 





Haus Wachenfeld and the Untersberg







Haus Wachenfeld – the Telescope






The Berghof – Final Form 









Berghof – Terrace




Berghof – Salon








Berghof – The Picture Window









Berghof – Sitting Area








Berghof – Living Room




Berghof – Study




Berghof – Salon




Berghof – Dining Room










Berghof – Dining Room








Berghof – Dining Room




Portrait of Adolf Hitler in Eva Braun’s Bedroom








 KEHLSTEINHAUS
 *(Adlerhorst – The Eagle’s Nest)

The Kehlsteinhaus – ‘Adlerhorst’ (the Eagle’s Nest) is a chalet-style structure erected on a subpeak of the Hoher Göll known as the Kehlstein.
It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex erected in the mountains above Berchtesgaden.
The Kehlsteinhaus was intended as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler to serve as a retreat for Hitler and place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.
The Kehlsteinhaus was commissioned by Martin Bormann, with construction proceeding over a 13-month period.

It was completed in the summer of 1938, prior to its formal presentation to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939.
It is situated on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain 1,834 m (6,017 ft), reached by a 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long and 4 m (13 ft) wide road that cost 30 million RMs to build (about 150 million euros in 2007, adjusted in line with inflation).
It includes five tunnels but only one hairpin turn and climbs 800 m (2,600 ft).

The last 124 m (407 ft)[1] up to the Kehlsteinhaus are reached by an elevator bored straight down through the mountain and linked via a tunnel through the granite below that is 124 m (407 ft) long.

The inside of the large elevator car is surfaced with polished brass, Venetian mirrors and green leather.
The main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble, presented by Mussolini.
Much of the furniture was designed by Paul László.
A significant event held at the Kehlsteinhaus was the wedding reception that followed the marriage of Eva Braun’s sister Gretl to Hermann Fegelein on June 3, 1944.
The building is often mistakenly referred to as a “tea house”, a corruption of its abbreviated name, “D-Haus”, short for “Diplomatic Reception Haus”.
As a result it is frequently confused with the actual tea house at Hitler’s Berghof, the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus he visited daily after lunch.
Although the site is on the same mountain as the Berghof, Hitler rarely visited the property.

It has been suggested he only visited the Kehlsteinhaus around 10 times, and most times for no more than 30 minutes, however he did receive André François-Poncet (the departing French ambassador to Germany) there on October 18, 1938.
As a result of the lack of close association with Hitler the property was saved from demolition at the end of the war.
A trail leads above the Kehlsteinhaus towards the Mannlgrat ridge reaching from the Kehlstein to the summit of the Hoher Goll.
The route, which is served by a Klettersteig, is regarded as the easiest to the top.


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Ludwig II Konig von Bayern

the best site for King Ludwig II of Bavaria – the ‘Swan King’
The Arms of the House of Wittlesbach
King of Bavaria was a title held by the hereditary Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria in the state known as the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1805 until 1918, when the kingdom was abolished.
It was the second kingdom, almost a thousand years after the short-lived Carolingian kingdom of Bavaria.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Pressburg concluded December 26, 1805 between Napoleonic France and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, several principalities allied to Napoleon were elevated to kingdoms.
One of the staunchest of these had been the prince-elector of Bavaria, Maximilian IV Joseph, and on January 1, 1806, he formally assumed the title King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.
He was a member of the Wittelsbach branch Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken.
On 26 May 1818, the constitution of the Kingdom of Bavaria was proclaimed.

The parliament would have two houses, an upper house comprising the aristocracy and noblemen, including the high-class hereditary landowners, government officials and nominees of the crown.
The second house, a lower house, would include representatives of small landowners, the towns and the peasants.
The rights of Protestants were safeguarded in the constitution with articles supporting the equality of all religions, despite opposition by supporters of the Roman Catholic Church.
The initial constitution almost proved disastrous for the monarchy, with controversies such as the army having to swear allegiance to the new constitution.
The monarchy appealed to the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire for advice, the two refused to take action on Bavaria’s behalf, but the debacles lessened and the state stabilized with the accession of Ludwig I to the throne following the death of Maximilian in 1825.

In 1864, Maximilian II died early, and his eighteen year-old son, Ludwig II (see left), arguably the most famous of the Bavarian kings, became King of Bavaria as escalating tensions between Austria and Prussia grew steadily. Prussia’s Minister-President Otto von Bismarck (see right), recognizing the immediate likelihood of war, attempted to sway Bavaria towards neutrality in the conflict. Ludwig II refused Bismarck’s offers and continued Bavaria’s alliance with Austria.
In 1866, violence erupted between Austria and Prussia and the Austro-Prussian War began. Bavaria and most of the south German states, with the exception of Austria and Saxony, contributed far less to the war effort against Prussia.
Austria quickly faltered after its defeat at the Battle of Königgrätz and was totally defeated shortly afterward.
Austria was humiliated by defeat and was forced to concede control, and its sphere of influence, over the south German states.
Bavaria was spared harsh terms in the peace settlement, however from this point on it and the other south German states steadily progressed into Prussia’s sphere of influence.
With Austria’s defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, the northern German states quickly unified into the North German Confederation, with Prussia’s King leading the state.
Bavaria’s previous inhibitions towards Prussia changed, along with those of many of the south German states, after French emperor Napoleon III began speaking of France’s need for “compensation” from its loss in 1814 and included Bavarian-held Palatinate as part of its territorial claims.
Ludwig II joined an alliance with Prussia, in 1870, against France, which was seen by Germans as the greatest enemy to a united Germany.
At the same time, Bavaria increased its political, legal, and trade ties with the North German Confederation. In 1870, war erupted between France and Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War.
The Bavarian Army was sent under the command of the Prussian crown prince against the French army.
With France’s defeat and humiliation against the combined German forces, it was Ludwig II who proposed that Prussian King Wilhelm I be proclaimed German Emperor or “Kaiser” of the German Empire (“Deutsches Reich”), which occurred in 1871 in German occupied Versailles, France.
The territories of the German Empire were declared, which included the states of the North German Confederation and all of the south German states, with the major exception of Austria. The Empire also annexed the formerly French territory of Alsace-Lorraine, due in large part to Ludwig’s desire to move the French frontier away from the Palatinate.
Bavaria’s entry into the German Empire changed, from jubilation over France’s defeat, to dismay shortly afterward, over the direction of Germany under the new German Chancellor and Prussian Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck.
The Bavarian delegation under Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg had secured a privileged status of the Kingdom of Bavaria within the German Empire (Reservatrechte).
Within the Empire the Kingdom of Bavaria was even able to retain its own diplomatic body and its own army, which would fall under Prussian command only in times of war.
But the persecution of the Catholic Church in Bismarck’s Kulturkampf frustrated the predominantly Catholic southern German states, including Bavaria, although Bismarck was eventually compelled to moderate his policies.
After Bavaria’s unification into Germany, Ludwig II became increasingly detached from Bavaria’s political affairs and spent vast amounts of money on personal projects, such as the construction of a number of fairytale-like castles and palaces, the most famous being the Wagnerian-style Castle Neuschwanstein (see left and below).
Although Ludwig used his personal wealth to finance these projects instead of state funds, the construction projects landed him deeply in debt.
These debts caused much concern among Bavaria’s political elite, who sought to persuade Ludwig to cease his building; he refused, and relations between the government’s ministers and the crown deteriorated.
At last, in 1886, the crisis came to a head: the Bavarian ministers deposed the king, organizing a medical commission to declare him insane, and therefore incapable of executing his governmental powers.
A day after Ludwig’s deposition, the king died mysteriously after asking the commission’s chief psychiatrist to go on a walk with him along Lake Starnberg (then called Lake Würm).
Ludwig and the psychiatrist were found dead, floating in the lake.
An autopsy listed cause of death as suicide by drowning, but some sources claim that no water was found in Ludwig’s lungs.
These facts have led to many conspiracy theories of political assassination.

The crown passed to Ludwig’s brother Otto I, but since Otto had a clear history of mental illness, the duties of the throne actually rested in the hands of the brothers’ uncle, Prince Luitpold, serving as regent.
During the regency of Prince-Regent Luitpold, from 1886 to 1913, relations between Bavarians and Prussians remained cold, with Bavarians remembering the anti-Catholic agenda of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf, as well as Prussia’s strategic dominance over the empire.

Bavaria protested Prussian dominance over Germany and snubbed the Prussian-born German Emperor, Wilhelm II, in 1900, by forbidding the flying of any other flag other than the Bavarian flag on public buildings for the Emperor’s Birthday, but this was swiftly modified afterwards, allowing the German imperial flag to be hung side by side with the Bavarian flag.
In 1912, Luitpold died, and his son, Prince-Regent Ludwig, took over as regent of Bavaria.
A year later, the regency ended when Ludwig declared himself King of Bavaria and from that point on was known as Ludwig III.

In 1914, a clash of alliances occurred over Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb militant.
Germany went to the side of its former rival-turned-ally, Austria-Hungary, while France, Russia, and the United Kingdom declared war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.
Initially, in Bavaria and all across Germany, recruits flocked enthusiastically to the German Army. At the outbreak of World War I King Ludwig III sent an official dispatch to Berlin to express Bavaria’s solidarity.
Later Ludwig even claimed annexations for Bavaria (Alsace and the city of Antwerp in Belgium, to receive an access to the sea).
His hidden agenda was to maintain the balance of power between Prussia and Bavaria within the German Empire after a victory.
Over time, with a stalemated and bloody war on the western front, Bavarians, like many Germans, grew weary of a continuing war.
In 1917, when Germany’s situation had gradually worsened due to World War I, the Bavarian Prime Minister Georg von Hertling became German Chancellor and Prime Minister of Prussia and Otto Ritter von Dandl was made new Prime Minister of Bavaria.
Accused of showing blind loyalty to Prussia, Ludwig III became increasingly unpopular during the war.
In 1918, the kingdom attempted to negotiate a separate peace with the allies but failed.

By 1918, civil unrest was spreading across Bavaria and Germany; Bavarian defiance to Prussian hegemony and Bavarian separatism being key motivators.
In November 1918, William II abdicated the throne of Germany, and Ludwig III, along with the other German monarchs, issuing the Anif declaration, followed in abdication shortly afterwards. With this, the Wittelsbach dynasty came to an end, and the former Kingdom of Bavaria became the Free State of Bavaria.
Kings of Bavaria

Maximilian I Joseph 1805–1825

Ludwig I 1825–1848 (d.1868)

Maximilian II 1848–1864

Ludwig II 1864–1886

Otto 1886–1913 (d.1916)

Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, Regent 1886–1912

Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, Regent 1912–1913

Ludwig III 1913–1918

König Ludwig von Bayern 
Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death.
He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King, (German).
Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.
Ludwig is sometimes also called “Mad King Ludwig”, though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental illness without any medical examination and died a day later under mysterious circumstances, questions about the medical “diagnosis” remain controversial.
One of his most quoted sayings was “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others.”
Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles and palaces, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Since his legacy of grandiose castles lives on in the form of massive tourist revenue, King Ludwig is generally well liked and even revered by many in Bavaria today.
Ludwig II. Otto Friedrich Wilhelm von Bayern (* 25. August 1845 auf Schloss Nymphenburg, München; † 13. Juni 1886 im Würmsee, dem heutigen Starnberger See, bei Schloss Berg), aus dem deutschen Fürstenhaus Wittelsbach stammend, war vom 10. März 1864 an bis zu seinem Tod König von Bayern. Nach seiner Entmündigung am 10. Juni 1886 übernahm sein Onkel Luitpold als Prinzregent die Regierungsgeschäfte. Ludwig II. hat sich in der bayerischen Geschichte vor allem als leidenschaftlicher Schlossbauherr, unter anderem von Neuschwanstein, ein Denkmal gesetzt, weshalb er volkstümlich auch als Märchenkönig bezeichnet wird.
T H E   F A M I L Y
Ludwig’s father – Ludwig I
Ludwig (left) with his parents & brother Otto
Born in Nymphenburg Palace (today located in suburban Munich), he was the eldest son ofMaximilian II of Bavaria (then Crown Prince) and his wife Princess Marie of Prussia.
His parents intended to name him Otto, but his grandfather,Ludwig I of Bavaria, insisted his grandson was to be named after him, since their common birthday, 25 August, is the feast day of Saint Louis, patron saint of Bavaria.
A younger brother, born three years later, was named Otto.
Like many young heirs in an age when Kings governed most of Europe, Ludwig was continually reminded of his royal status.
King Maximilian wanted to instruct both of his sons in the burdens of royal duty from an early age.
Ludwig was both extremely indulged and severely controlled by his tutors and subjected to a strict regimen of study and exercise.
There are some who point to these stresses of growing up in a royal family as the causes for much of his odd behavior as an adult.
Ludwig was not close with either of his parents.
King Maximilian’s advisers had suggested that on his daily walks he might like, at times, to be accompanied by his future successor.
The King replied, “But what am I to say to him? After all, my son takes no interest in what other people tell him.”
Later, Ludwig would refer to his mother as “my predecessor’s consort”.
 Marie Friederike Franziska Hedwig von Preußen
Königin von Bayern

Ludwig’s mother was  (so it’s interesting that he so quickly submitted to Prussia’s military will; see post below). She married Ludwig’s father, Maximilian II, at 17 (he was twice her age), and gave birth to Ludwig at 19; she was also her husband’s cousin. Marie was considered a socially engaged monarch, and was well-liked by Bavaria’s Catholics, even though she herself was an Evangelical Protestant (not quite like today’s evangelicals, however; those of Marie’s day were dedicated to personal salvation and piety, and such social causes as temperance and abolitionism). While no intellectual – she once wondered aloud why anyone would spend time reading – Marie nevertheless revived the dormant Bavarian Women’s Association, a service organization which eventually was taken over by the Red Cross. She had the reputation of being a well-meaning, but distant, mother – by most accounts, Ludwig found what motherly affection he came by from his governess (not dramatized in Valhalla), Sybille Meilhaus. Meanwhile Ludwig’s father doted on his brother Otto, who was considered a far happier child than Ludwig, who even as a boy was perceived as inclined to romantic melancholy. To “correct” this tendency, his governess was replaced by a strict military tutor when Ludwig was nine (tellingly, he remained in touch with her for the rest of his life). After Maximilian’s death, Marie converted to Catholicism, at first living with Ludwig in the castle her husband had built for them. But as Ludwig grew more eccentric, she slowly withdrew, spending more and more of her time at her own estate in the Alps. She outlived Ludwig by three years.

He was far closer to his grandfather, the deposed and notorious King Ludwig I, who came from a family of eccentrics.
Ludwig’s childhood years did have happy moments.
He lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee (Swan Lake) near Füssen.
It was decorated in the Gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas.
The family also visited Lake Starnberg.
Teenaged Ludwig became best friends with (and possibly the lover of) his aide-de-camp, the handsome aristocrat and sometime actor Paul Maximilian Lamoral, a scion of the wealthy Thurn and Taxis dynasty.
The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged excerpts from the operas of their idol, Richard Wagner.
Their relationship lapsed when Paul became engaged in 1866.
During his youth Ludwig also initiated a lifelong friendship with his half-first cousin once removed, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, later Empress of Austria.
They loved nature and poetry; Elisabeth called Ludwig “Eagle” and he called her “Dove.”
Young Ludwig in Uniform

Ludwig’s brother – Prince Otto
Prince Otto served in the Bavarian army from 1863.
When King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles, Prince Otto represented his brother who refused to participate.
Otto then criticized the celebration as ostentatious and heartless in a letter to Ludwig.
It is claimed Otto suffered from severe mental illness.
He was declared insane in 1875.
The cause of his illness has not been revealed.
He was kept confined in Fürstenried Palace under medical supervision from 1875 until his death.
Otto became King of Bavaria upon his older brother’s deposition and unexplained death in 1886.
However, Otto never truly ruled as King and was by some accounts not even aware that he had become King.
Otto’s uncle, Prince Luitpold, served as Prince Regent for Otto until Luitpold’s death. Luitpold’s son Ludwig then became the next Prince Regent.
The constitution of Bavaria was amended on 4 November 1913, to include a clause specifying that if a regency for reasons of incapacity lasted for ten years with no expectation that the King would ever be able to reign, the Regent could proclaim the end of the regency and assume the crown himself.
The following day, Otto was deposed by his cousin, Prince Regent Ludwig, who then assumed the title Ludwig III.
The parliament assented on 6 November, and Ludwig III took the constitutional oath on 8 November. Otto was permitted to retain his title and honours until his death in 1916.
In this time Bavaria had “two kings”.
Otto’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich.
Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Miraculous Image) in Altötting, beside those of his brother, father and grandfather.
Portrait of König Ludwig II 

König Ludwig II 

König Ludwig II von Bayern – Portrait
König Ludwig II – right
Prince Otto of Bavaria – standing – Prince Wilhelm of Hesse – left
(1863 Munich)
König Ludwig II and Duchess Sophie in Bavaria
Ludwig became engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, his cousin and the youngest sister of his dear friend, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
The engagement was publicized on 22 January 1867, but after repeatedly postponing the wedding date, Ludwig finally cancelled the engagement in October.
A few days before the engagement had been announced, Sophie had received a letter from the King telling her what she already knew: “The main substance of our relationship has always been … Richard Wagner’s remarkable and deeply moving destiny.”
After the engagement was broken off, Ludwig wrote to his former fiancee, “My beloved Elsa! Your cruel father has torn us apart. Eternally yours, Heinrich” (the names Elsa and Heinrich came from characters from Wagner operas).
Ludwig never married, but Sophie later married Ferdinand d’Orléans, duc d’Alençon (1844–1910).
Ludwig and Josef Kainz
Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian theatre actor Josef Kainz, courtier Alfons Weber (born c.1862) and Richard Wagner.
He began keeping a diary in which he recorded his private thoughts and his attempts to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith.
Ludwig’s original diaries from 1869 were lost during World War II, and all that remains today are copies of entries during the 1886 plot to depose him.
These transcribed diary entries, along with private letters and other surviving personal documents, suggest that Ludwig was homosexual and struggled with his orientation throughout his life.
Homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813.
Some earlier diaries have survived in the Geheimes Hausarchiv in Munich and extracts starting in 1858 were published by Evers in 1986.
Josef Kainz
Josef Gottfried Ignaz Kainz (2 January 1858 – 20 September 1910) was an Austrian actor of Hungarian birth. He was highly active in theatres in Austria and Germany from 1873–1910.
Revered as one of the greatest actors of the German-speaking theatre, the city of Vienna annually bestowed a theatre award for outstanding acting performance named after him, the Kainz Medal, from 1958 to 1999 (replaced by the Nestroy Award in 2000).
From 1880 he worked with Ernst von Possart at the National Theatre Munich and became one of the favourite actors of King Ludwig II of Bavaria appearing in private performance exclusively for the monarch’s delight. 
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
LUDWIG II and RICHARD WAGNER

Richard Wagner’s great opera cycles might not exist were it not for the support of his patron Ludwig II, King of Bavaria (1845–86).

By 1864 Wagner’s life was at its lowest point,his marriage was over, many operas were unproduceable by musicians, and he was in heavy debts.
Wagner was almost suicidal with despair when on 3 May 1864, he received a card from Herr Pflstermeister, secretary to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, requesting to see him.

Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister 

Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister (14 December 1820 – 2 March 1912), was the court secretary and State Council of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Pfistermeister entered history not only as a politician, but also musically when in his first official administrative function he was ordered by King Ludwig II to find the composer Richard Wagner and bring him to Munich. Franz Seraph Freiherr von Pfistermeister was born on 14 December 1820 in Amberg, Germany. After attending the gymnasium in Amberg, Franz Pfistermeister began his career in the Royal Bavarian governmental service as military fiscal adjunct. In 1849 he was appointed to the Court Office in Munich, and by the year 1866 he then began working as Cabinet Secretary to Kings Maximilian II and Ludwig II.
Because of his opposition to Richard Wagner, and his costly promotion by King Ludwig II in 1866, his dismissal from the 1866 service was “the highest immediate service”. From 1864 to 1895 he served as State Council of the Kingdom of Bavaria. He died on the 2 March 1912 in his home on Knöbelstraße, Munich, where he lived from 1881

Not seeing any point to the visit, Wagner refused but Herr Pfistermeister persisted, and when Wagner eventually agreed to meet, he realised that his salvation was at hand – King Ludwig II had decided to pay all the debts of Wagner, and also finance his Operas.
The young, handsome King Ludwig was truly besotted with Wagner’s music and wanted to become his patron.
He offered to take all the financial burden away from Wagner leaving him free to create his art in an ideal atmosphere.
To this end, King Ludwig installed Wagner in a beautiful villa close to the royal castle of Hohenschwangau.

It was on May 5 1864 the monarch and the composer met for the first time.
After their first meeting in May 1864, King Ludwig wrote to Richard Wagner: 
Be assured that I will do everything in my power to make up for your suffering of the past.”
At the time Richard Wagner is in deep financial troubles, he is sickly and homeless. The king is his salvation.

Tristan und Isolde

After his audience with King Ludwig II. Wagner wrote: 
“…he loves me with the sincerity and glow of a first love… I am to complete the Nibelungen….he will give me everything necessary for me to perform my works. I shall be relieved of all problems. Can that be anything but a dream ?” 
The composer’s debts are paid, he receives the impressive salary of 4000 guilders and is able to move into a large house in Munich.Preparations begin for the performance of “Tristan und Isolde”.

More than 20 rehearsals place.
Stage scenery and costumes swallow up large amounts of money.
Following several postponements the day of the premiere the king had waited for so long finally arrived on June 10 1865.
The king was received with loud cheers and fanfare in the royal Court Theater.
The public broke out into enormous storms of applause, and the opera is a great triumph for Wager as well as for Ludwig.

Ludwig’s enormous fairy-tale castles, Teutonic, neo-gothic and oriental versions of Versailles which virtually bankrupted the country, were the grand opera sets made flesh.
He endeavoured to be an absolute monarch at the dawn of the modern republican world, when such goals were impossible.
But having failed in the political and domestic realm, he made his dream reality in art and music.
No expense was spared for the staging of Wagner’s operas, which were often performed with Ludwig the sole member of the audience, and in return Wagner gave him his genius and his love.
Wagner acknowledged that :
Without him I am as nothing ! Even in loving him he was my first teacher. O my King ! You are divine! 
They exchanged some 600 letters, and it is hard to say who was more enthusiastic, at least in the beginning.
Wagner: “What bliss enfolds me! A wonderful dream has become a reality! . . . I am in the Gralsburg, in Parsifal’s sublime and loving care. . . . I am in your angelic arms! We are near to one another.” Or Ludwig: “My only beloved Friend! My saviour! My god! . . . Ah, now I am happy, for I know that my Only One draws near. Stay, oh stay! adored one for whom alone I live, with whom I die.”
Their relationship was almost certainly physical, though not necessarily “genital.”
Wagner at one time held homoerotic ideals, and in ‘Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft’ (The Art-work of the Future), comments on the love of comrades in Sparta :
“This beauteous naked man is the kernel of all Spartanhood; from genuine delight in the beauty of the most perfect human body – that of the male – arose that spirit of comradeship which pervades and shapes the whole economy of the Spartan State. This love of man to man, in its primitive purity, proclaims itself as the noblest and least selfish utterance of man’s sense of beauty, for it teaches man to sink and merge his entire self in the object of his affection. . . . The higher element of that love of man to man . . . not only included a purely spiritual bond of friendship, but this spiritual friendship was the blossom and the crown of the physical friendship. The latter sprang directly from delight in the beauty, aye in the material bodily beauty of the beloved comrade.”
Ludwig refused to get married, even for state reasons, and wanted to give up the throne to live with and for Wagner, but it was not to be, for Wagner loved women as well as music and power.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013




LUDWIG’S DOWNFALL

Why, after years of eccentric behavior, was Ludwig finally declared insane and deposed by his Cabinet? The reasons were probably financial in nature.
While Ludwig paid for his palaces out of his own resources, his relentless building program had dragged him deeper and deeper into debt, and the scandal of royal bankruptcy had begun to loom.
In 1884 a loan had to be secured from the Bavarian State Bank to continue the work on Neuschwanstein, but rather than economize as a result, Ludwig only planned even grander projects – he had the site cleared for Castle Falkenstein, and announced Byzantine and Chinese palaces would soon follow.
When Ludwig turned to his Cabinet for a second loan, however, they refused; the king responded by sending servants out to other monarchs to beg for funds, and gossip arose that he was seeking men for a crazed plan to break into banks in Berlin, Frankfurt and Paris.
By 1886, it was rumored Ludwig had even begun seeking new ministers for his Cabinet, and the ruling clique decided it had to act.

The Cabinet settled on a plan to depose Ludwig for constitutional reasons (rather than through a coup d’etat), by removing him due to his unfitness to govern, by reason of insanity. One problem with this plan was that Ludwig’s brother Otto, next in line to the throne, was clearly incurably mad, and had been institutionalized since 1872. Ludwig’s uncle, Prince Luitpold, however, agreed to act as Regent, but only on the condition that he was convinced Ludwig was truly unfit to govern. Thus a team of four eminent psychiatrists, headed by Dr Berhard von Gudden – the leading German psychiatrist of the day – was chartered to compile an official report on Ludwig, and Count von Holnstein, Ludwig’s Master the Horse, set about collecting stories and gossip about the king.
There was no shortage of lurid rumors.
Ludwig’s public appearances were bizarre enough – he often chattered to himself, pulling his beard, and was so shy on state occasions that he sometimes hid behind screens of flowers. The king was also known to repeatedly hug various pillars and architectural features of his castles, and enjoyed dressing up as Lohengrin and other medieval heroes.

Otto Eduard Leopold
Fürst von Bismarck

But servants also told tales of beatings, children’s games, and stable-boys dancing naked before the king in the moonlight.
The report convinced Prince Luitpold, and a mission was sent to Neuschwanstein to arrest the king.
Appropriately enough, the mission ended in a debacle – alerted to its approach, peasants loyal to Ludwig swarmed the castle, and a baroness in love with the king caused a scene by brandishing her parasol menacingly at the gate.
Loyalists tried to persuade Ludwig to flee over the Alps, but he refused; the king then attempted to issue a proclamation protesting the mission, but it was suppressed by the government.
From Berlin, Bismarck – who was only partly sympathetic to the Cabinet – advised Ludwig that to hold onto the throne, he must show himself to the people, but the neurotic Ludwig refused this course of action, too.

Schloß Berg – Starnberg See
The Arrest of Ludwig

At 4 a.m. on 10 June 1886, a government commission including Holnstein and von Gudden arrived at Neuschwanstein to formally deliver the document of deposition to the king and place him in custody. 
Tipped off an hour or two earlier by a faithful servant, his coachman Fritz Osterholzer, Ludwig ordered the local police to protect him, and the commissioners were turned back at the castle gate at gun-point. 
That same day, the Government publicly proclaimed Luitpold as Prince Regent.
The king’s friends and allies urged him to flee, or to show himself in Munich and thus regain the support of the people.
Ludwig hesitated, instead issuing a statement, allegedly drafted by his aide-de-camp Count Alfred Dürckheim, which was published by a Bamberg newspaper on 11 June:
‘The Prince Luitpold intends, against my will, to ascend to the Regency of my land, and my erstwhile ministry has, through false allegations regarding the state of my health, deceived my beloved people, and is preparing to commit acts of high treason. I call upon every loyal Bavarian to rally around my loyal supporters to thwart the planned treason against the King and the fatherland.’
The government succeeded in suppressing the statement by seizing most copies of the newspaper and handbills.
As the king dithered, his support waned.
Peasants who rallied to his cause were dispersed, and the police who guarded his castle were replaced by a police detachment of 36 men who sealed off all entrances to the castle.
Eventually the king decided he would like to escape, but it was too late.
In the early hours of 12 June, a second commission arrived.
The King was seized just after midnight and at 4 a.m. taken to a waiting carriage.
Ludwig was then transported to Castle Berg (see above) on the shores of Lake Starnberg, south of Munich.
Starnberg See
On 13 June 1886, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig asked Gudden to accompany him on a walk through the Schloß Berg parkland along the shore of Lake Starnberg.
Gudden agreed; the walk may even have been his suggestion, and he told the nurses not to accompany them.
His words were ambiguous (“Es darf kein Pfleger mit gehen”) and whether they were meant to follow at a discreet distance is not clear.
The two men were last seen at about 6:30; they were due back at eight but never returned.
After searches were made for more than three hours by the entire castle personnel in a gale with heavy rain, at 11:30 that night the bodies of both the King and Gudden were found, floating in the shallow water near the shore.
The King’s watch had stopped at 6:54. Gendarmes patrolling the park had heard and seen nothing.
Ludwig’s death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, but this has been questioned.
Ludwig was known to be a strong swimmer in his youth, the water was less than waist-deep where his body was found, and the official autopsy report indicated that no water was found in his lungs.
Ludwig had expressed suicidal feelings during the crisis, but the suicide theory does not fully explain Gudden’s death.
Gudden’s body showed signs of strangulation and of a struggle, leading to the suspicion that he was strangled to death by Ludwig.
Many hold that Ludwig was murdered by his enemies while attempting to escape from Berg.
Ludwig II Lying in State
Ludwig’s body was dressed in the regalia of the Order of Saint Hubert, and lay in state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace.
In his right hand he held a posy of white jasmine picked for him by his cousin the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
After an elaborate funeral on 19 June 1886, Ludwig’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich.
His heart, however, does not lie with the rest of his body.
Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Mercy) in Altötting, where it was placed beside those of his father and grandfather.
König Ludwig II von Bayern – Death Mask
König Otto von Bayern (1848-1916)
King Ludwig II was succeeded by his brother Otto, but since Otto was genuinely incapacitated by mental illness, the king’s uncle Luitpold remained regent.

König Ludwig III von Bayern
Ludwig III (Ludwig Luitpold Josef Maria Aloys Alfried), (January 7, 1845 – October 18, 1921) was the last King of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918.
Ludwig was born in Munich, the eldest son of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and of his wife, Archduchess Augusta of Austria (daughter of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany).
Hailing from Florence, Augusta always spoke in Italian to her four children.
Ludwig was named for his grandfather, King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Ludwig spent his first years living in the Electoral rooms of the Munich Residenz and in the Wittelsbacher Palace.
When he was ten years old, the family moved to the Leuchtenberg Palace.
In 1861 at the age of sixteen, Ludwig began his military career when his uncle, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, gave him a commission as a lieutenant in the 6th Jägerbattalion.
A year later he entered the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich where he studied law and economics.
When he was eighteen, he automatically became a member of the Senate of the Bavarian Legislature as a prince of the royal house.
In 1866, Bavaria was allied with the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War.
Ludwig held the rank of Oberleutnant; he was wounded at the Battle of Helmstedt, taking a bullet in his thigh.
He received the Knight’s Cross 1st Class of the Bavarian Military Merit Order
M Ü N C H E N
Residenz – Műnchen
As admirer of ancient Greece and the Italian renaissance Ludwig patronized the arts as principal of many neoclassical buildings, especially in Munich, and as fanatic collector.
Among others he had built were the Walhalla temple, the Befreiungshalle, the Ludwigstrasse, the Bavaria statue, the Glyptothek, the Old and the New Pinakothek.
His architects Leo von Klenze and Friedrich von Gärtner also strongly influenced the cityscape of modern Athens. The king collected Greek and Roman sculptures, Early German and Early Dutch paintings, masterpieces of the Italian renaissance, and contemporary art for his museums and galleries.
He placed special emphasis on collecting Greek and Roman sculpture.
One of his most famous conceptions is the celebrated “Schönheitengalerie” (Gallery of Beauties), in the south pavilion of his Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. A collection of 36 portraits of the beautiful women painted between 1827 and 1850 mostly by Joseph Karl Stieler.
After his abdication, Ludwig remained an important and lavish sponsor for the arts. This caused several conflicts with his son and successor Maximilian. Finally Ludwig financed his projects from his own resources.
Melchio Frank – Thronsall -Residenz Műnchen – Bayern Deutschland
München – Glyptothek
The Glyptothek is a museum in Munich, Germany, which was commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Greek and Roman sculptures (hence γλυπτο- glypto- “sculpture”, from the Greek verb γλύφειν glyphein “to carve”). It was designed by Leo von Klenze in the Neoclassical style, and built from 1816 to 1830. 
The Glyptothek was commissioned by the Crown Prince (later King) Ludwig I of Bavaria alongside other projects, such as the neighboring Königsplatz and the building which houses the State Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, as a monument to ancient Greece.
He envisioned a “German Athens”, in which the ancient Greek culture would be remembered; he had this built in front of the gates of Munich.
The layout of the Königsplatz complex was designed by the architects Karl von Fischer and Leo von Klenze in 1815, the latter arranged it in the style of a forum, with the Glyptothek on the north side.
Colorful frescoes and stuccos made by distinguished artists such as Peter von Cornelius, Clemens von Zimmermann, and Wilhelm von Kaulbach adorned the walls of the museum.
Propyläen – München
The Propyläen is constructed in Doric order and was completed by Leo von Klenze in 1862, and evokes the monumental entrance of the Propylaea for the Athenian Acropolis.
The gate was created as a memorial for the accession to the throne of Otto of Greece, a son of the principal King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
The reliefs and sculptures celebrating the Bavarian prince and the Greek War of Independence were created by Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler.
Bavaria with Ruhmeshalle 
Bavaria is the name given to a monumental, bronze sand-cast 19th-century statue in Munich, southern Germany. It is a female personification of the Bavarian homeland, and by extension its strength and glory.
The statue is part of an ensemble which also includes a hall of fame (Ruhmeshalle) and a stairway.
It was commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria, with the specific design being chosen by competition.
It was cast at the Munich foundry of J.B. Stiglmair between 1844 and 1850 and is the first colossal statue since Classical Antiquity to consist entirely of cast bronze.
It was and is up to the present day considered a technological masterpiece. Because of its size it had to be produced in several parts; it is 18.52 meters high and weighs about 87.36 tons.
It rests on a stone base which is 8.92 meters high.
L U D W I G ‘ S C A S T L E S
SCHLOß  HOHENSCHWANGAU
Hohenschwangau Castle or Schloss Hohenschwangau (lit: High Swan County Palace) is a 19th century palace in southern Germany.
It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
It is located in the German village of Schwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in southwestern Bavaria, Germany, very close to the border with Austria.
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
As a boy Ludwig lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee (Swan Lake) near Füssen.
In 1832, Ludwig’s father King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought its ruins to replace them by the comfortable neo-Gothic palace known as Hohenschwangau Castle. Finished in 1837, the palace became his family’s summer residence.
It was decorated in the gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas.
The family also visited Lake Starnberg.
As an adolescent, Ludwig became best friends with his aide de camp, Prince Paul of Bavaria’s wealthy Thurn und Taxis family. The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged scenes from the Romantic operas of Richard Wagner. 
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Music Room with the ‘Wagner Piano’


Richard Wagner
portrait by Franz Von Lenbach
One of Ludwig’s first royal acts was to become an official patron of Wagner, and he invited the composer to visit his court, despite Wagner’s controversial political past, and what was perceived as the “radicalism” of his operas.
Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’, with its Swan Knight hero, had particularly captured the young king’s fancy, and no wonder – his childhood home, Schloss Hohenschwangau, was built by Ludwig’s father, Maximilian, on the remains of the fortress Schwanstein (or “Swan Stone” Castle), which was first mentioned in records from the 12th century.
Legend had it that a family of knights was responsible for its construction.
After the demise of their order in the 16th century, the fortress changed hands several times, and had fallen into ruin by the time Maximilian ascended the throne.
Ludwig’s awareness that his home was built on the ruins of this legendary fortress would eventually combine with his obsession with Lohengrin to produce his greatest architectural folly – the castle later known as Neuschwanstein (“New Swan Stone” Castle).
Ludwig outlined his vision in a letter to Wagner, dated 13 May 1868; “It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin at Hohenschwangau near the Pollat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles…the location is the most beautiful one could find, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world.
The foundations of the building were laid on September 5, 1869 – although Ludwig would not live to see the project completed. Neuschwanstein was designed by Christian Jank, a theatrical set designer, which explains much of its fantastic decoration.
Despite its faux-medieval appearance, however, the castle was built on a steel frame and came outfitted with every modern convenience.
During Ludwig’s life, the building was known as ‘Schloß Neuhohenschwangau’  (New Hohenschwangau Castle); it was only after his death that the name “Neuschwanstein” became popular, melding Ludwig’s identity with that of the Swan Knights.

SCHLOß   NEUSCHWANSTEIN

‘Schloß Neuhohenschwangau’

Schloss Neuschwanstein, is a 19th-century Gothic Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner.
Neuschwanstein is comprised of a gatehouse, a “Bower,” the Knight’s House with a square tower, and a Palas, or citadel (above), with two towers to the Western end.
On the exterior, it is a fanciful pastiche of medieval and Romanesque elements; its interior, however, was intended as an even more flamboyant evocation of the chivalric ethos of Richard Wagner’s operas.
The rooms within the Palas that were finished by Ludwig are so overdecorated as to be almost overwhelming; the Throne Room in particular was intended to resemble the legendary Grail-Hall of Parsifal (father of Lohengrin), and so was designed in an elaborate Byzantine style by Eduard Ille and Julius Hofmann.

Lohengrin – Schwan Ritter – Swan Knight

Lohengrin first appears in the written record as “Loherangrin,” the son of Parzival, the Grail King, in the epic Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170-1220). The Knight of the Swan story was part of a long oral tradition associated with Godfrey of Bouillon, but von Eschenbach was the first to tie the tale to the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail. In this version of the story, Loherangrin serves his father as one of the Grail Knights, who are sent out in secret to guard kingdoms that have lost their protectors. Loherangrin is eventually called to this duty in Brabant, where the duke has died without a male heir. The duke’s daughter Elsa fears the kingdom will be lost, but Loherangrin arrives in a boat pulled by a swan and offers to defend her, though he warns that she must never ask his name. They fall in love and eventually wed, but one day Elsa asks what she knows is verboten. The Swan Knight answers, but then regretfully steps back onto his boat, never to return.
In 1848 Richard Wagner adapted the tale into his wildly popular opera Lohengrin,the work through which the story is best known today. In the opera, Lohengrin appears on his favorite mode of transport to defend Princess Elsa from the false accusation of killing her brother (who turns out to be alive and well at the end of the opera). Intriguingly, Wagner extends the theme of the Holy Grail, and its symbolism of masculine purity, further into the story by adding an explanation for Lohengrin’s keeping his true identity in the closet: the Grail, recovered by Lohengrin’s father, imbues the Knight of the Swan with mystical powers that can only be maintained if their source remains unspoken.

Inspired by the Hagia Sophia, the two-story Throne Room was only completed in the year of the king’s death; the throne itself was never made.
The Grotto, which was not underground, as one might expect, but was located between Ludwig’s living room and his study, was one of the most unusual rooms in Neuschwanstein, and was used by the increasingly-isolated king as a refuge in which to indulge his melancholy moods.
Its artificial stalactites were built of oakum and plaster-of-Paris by the famed landscape sculptor Dirrigl of Munich.
Dirrigl had already built a far more extravagant grotto in the park of the Schloss Linderhof.
This artificial lake was designed as a kind of real-life stage set for the “Venus Grotto” scene from Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

Schloß Neuschwanstein
The building design was drafted by the stage designer Christian Jank and realized by the architect Eduard Riedel.
Initial ideas for the palace drew stylistically on Nuremberg Castle and envisaged a simple building in place of the old Vorderhohenschwangau Castle, but they were rejected and replaced by increasingly extensive drafts, culminating in a bigger palace modelled on the Wartburg.
The king insisted on a detailed plan and on personal approval of each draft.
His control went so far that the palace has been regarded as his own creation rather than that of the architects involved.
Whereas contemporary architecture critics derided Neuschwanstein, one of the last big palace building projects of the 19th century, as kitsch, Neuschwanstein and Ludwig II’s other buildings are now counted among the major works of European historicism.
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Plan – showing proposed un-built Chapel
Schloß Neuschwanstein under construction 1882-1885
Schloß Neuschwanstein under construction 1886
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Photochrom print c.1900
For financial reasons a project similar to Neuschwanstein – Fanstelkein Castle – never left the planning stages.
The palace can be regarded as typical for 19th century architecture.
The shapes of Romanesque (simple geometric figures such as cuboids and semicircular arches), Gothic (upward-pointing lines, slim towers, delicate embellishments) and Byzantine architecture and art (the Throne Hall décor) were mingled in an eclectic fashion and supplemented with 19th century technical achievements.
The Patrona Bavariae and Saint George on the court face of the Palas (main building) are depicted in the local Lüftlmalerei style, a fresco technique typical for Allgäu farmers’ houses, while the unimplemented drafts for the Knights’ House gallery foretell elements of Art Nouveau.
The basic style was originally planned to be neo-Gothic but was primarily built in Romanesque style in the end. The operatic themes moved gradually from Tannhäuser and Lohengrin to Parsifal.
for more information about Christian Jank, Fanstelkein and Parsifal see –

for more information about Richard Wagner see:
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle, or “New Swan Stone Castle”, is a dramatic Romanesque fortress with Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic interiors, which was built high above his father’s castle: Hohenschwangau.
Numerous wall paintings depict scenes from the legends Wagner used in his operas.
Christian glory and chaste love figure predominantly in the iconography, and may have been intended to help Ludwig live up to his religious ideals, but the bedroom decoration depicts the illicit love of Tristan & Isolde (after Gottfried von Strasbourg’s poem).
The castle was not finished at Ludwig’s death; the Kemenate was completed in 1892 but the watch-tower and chapel were only at the foundation stage in 1886 and were never built.
The residence quarters of the King – which he first occupied in May 1884 – can be visited along with the servant’s rooms, kitchens as well as the monumental throne room.
Unfortunately the throne was never completed although sketches show how it might have looked on completion.
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Turm – (Tower)
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Turm – (Tower)
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Pforte
Schloß Neuschwanstein
SCHLOß  NEUSCHWANSTEIN

I N T E R I O R
Vestibule – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Staircase – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Corridor – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Study – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Study – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Chapel – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Grotto – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein


Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Throne Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein

Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal Dome – Schloß Neuschwanstein
View from Schloß Neuschwanstein
View from Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Project
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Swan Fabric
Because of its obvious beauty and elegance, the swan had long been a favored emblem of European nobility; nobles across Britain, Germany and France wanted swans in their moats and peacocks pecking at their lawns.
There seems to have been a “perfect storm” of swan imagery around Ludwig II, however.
The name of his childhood home, Hohenschwangau, literally translates as “High Swan District,” and it overlooked the Schwansee (“Swan Lake”), a natural habitat for the birds .
The foundation of Hohenschwangau had also been built centuries before by the Knights of Schwangau, or the Swan Knights; it’s not so strange, having grown up in this environment, that Ludwig should have been especially drawn to the mythical Swan Knight Lohengrin.
SCHLOß   LINDERHOF
Schloß Londerhof
Linderhof Palace (German: Schloss Linderhof) is in Germany, near Oberammergau in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey.
It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.
Atlas Sculpture – Schloß Linderhof
Schloß Linderhof – Fountain
The water parterre in front of the castle is dominated by a large basin with the gilt fountain group “Flora and puttos”. The fountain itself is nearly 25 meters high.
Schloß Linderhof at Night
Schloß Linderhof – Plan
Linderhof Castle is an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo style, with handsome formal gardens.
Just north of the palace, at the foot of the Hennenkopf, the park contains a Venus grotto where Ludwig was rowed in a shell-like boat on an underground lake lit with red, green or “Capri” blue effects by electricity, a novelty at that time, provided by one of the first generating plants in Bavaria.
In the forest nearby a romantic wooded hut was also built around an artificial tree (see Hundinghütte above).
Inside the palace, iconography reflects Ludwig’s fascination with the absolutist government of Ancien Régime France.
Ludwig saw himself as the “Moon King”, a romantic shadow of the earlier “Sun King”, Louis XIV of France.
From Linderhof, Ludwig enjoyed moonlit sleigh rides in an elaborate eighteenth century sleigh, complete with footmen in eighteenth century livery.
He was known to stop and visit with rural peasants while on rides, adding to his legend and popularity.
The sleigh can today be viewed with other royal carriages and sleds at the Carriage Museum (Marstallmusem) at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich.
Its lantern was illuminated by electricity supplied by a battery.
There is also a Moorish Pavilion in the park of Schloß Linderhof.
Schloß Linderhof – State Bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – State Bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – Salon
Schloß Linderhof – Salon
Schloß Linderhof -Ludwig’s Private bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – Peacock
Schloß Linderhof – Gardens
Schloß Linderhof – Garden Temple
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
This building was designed by the Berliner architect Karl von Diebitsch for the International Exhibition in Paris 1867.
Ludwig II wanted to buy it but was forestalled by the railroad king Bethel Henry Strousberg. Ludwig bought the pavilion after the bankruptcy of Strousberg.
The most notable piece of furniture of this building is the peacock throne.
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk – Interior
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk – Interior


Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
The Peacock Throne
Schloß Linderhof – Venusgrotte
The building is wholly artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”.
Ludwig liked to be rowed over the lake in his golden swan-boat but at the same time he wanted his own blue grotto of Capri. Therefore 24 dynamos had been installed and so already in the time of Ludwig II it was possible to illuminate the grotto in changing colours.
Schloß Linderhof – Venusgrotte
SCHLOß  HERRENCHIEMSEE
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee is a replica (although only the central section was ever built) of Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, France, which was meant to outdo its predecessor in scale and opulence – for instance, at 98 meters the Hall of Mirrors is a third longer than the original.
The palace is located on the Herren Island in the middle of the Chiemsee Lake.
Most of the palace was never completed once the king ran out of money, and Ludwig lived there for only 10 days in October 1885, less than a year before his mysterious death.
It is interesting to note that tourists come from France to view the recreation of the famous Ambassadors’ Staircase.
The original Ambassadors’ Staircase at Versailles was demolished in 1752.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
The unfinished Neues Schloss (New Palace) was designed by Christian Jank, Franz Seitz, and Georg von Dollmann and built between 1878 and 1885.
Between 1863 and 1886 a total of 16,579,674 Marks was spent constructing Herrenchiemsee. An 1890 ’20 Mark’ gold coin contained 0.2304 troy ounce (7.171 g) of gold. Therefore, 16,579,674 Marks would equate to 190,998 oz of gold.
Ludwig only had the opportunity to stay within the Palace for a few days in September 1885. After his death in the following year, all construction work discontinued and the building was opened for the public.
In 1923 Crown Prince Rupprecht gave the palace to the State of Bavaria.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Spiegelgalerie – (Hall of Mirrors)
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Ambassador’s Staircase
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Ambassador’s Staircase
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Spiegelgalerie – (Hall of Mirrors)
Unlike the medieval design of Neuschwanstein Castle begun in 1869, the New Palace is, in a sense, a Neo-Baroque monument to Ludwig’s admiration of King Louis XIV of France.
In the great hall of mirrors of the palace the ceiling is painted with 25 tableaux showing Louis XIV at his best.
It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died in 1886, where-after construction was discontinued leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace incomplete.
It was never meant to be a perfectly exact replica of Versailles and in several places surpasses it.
With a length of 98 m (322 ft) and 23 arches the Hall of Mirrors is larger than the Versailles equivalent.
The dining room features an elevator table and a huge chandelier of Meissen porcelain, the largest in the world.
The building also benefits from nearly two centuries of technological progress, while the original Versailles palace did not have a single toilet and the only running water was outside in the fountains.
King Ludwig’s “copy” has more modern facilities including a central heating system and a large heated bathtub.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Gardens & Fountains
Also, unlike Versailles, it was built on an island and is now only accessible by a small ferry.
The formal gardens are filled with fountains, a copy of the Versailles Bassin de Latone and statues in both the classical style typical of Versailles and in the fantastic style typical of romanticism that was favored by King Ludwig. Cool maidens which look as if they have stepped out of a museum of classical antiquity are never too far from dragons, winged warriors, giant lizards and other extravagant beings which look as if they have come from one of Richard Wagner’s romantic operas.
Adolf Hitler visiting Schloß Herrenchiemsee
c1930s

Adolf Hitler visiting Schloß Herrenchiemsee
c1930s

click here for more information about Adolf Hitler
Wappen Freistaat Bayern
Bavaria, formally the Freistaat Bayern (Free State of Bavaria), pronounced is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of the country.
With an area of 70,548 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), it is the largest German state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany.
Bavaria is Germany’s second most populous state (after North Rhine-Westphalia) with almost 12.5 million inhabitants, more than any of the three sovereign states on its borders.
Bavaria’s capital is Munich.
One of the oldest states of Europe, it was established as a duchy in the mid first millennium.
In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, and Bavaria has since been a free state (republic).
Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia.

for more information see
click here for ‘Richard Wagner
a fascinating, fully illustrated study of this
truly remarkable period of modern history
click here for ‘Parsifal’
Richard Wagner’s greates music drama
for the art of Peter Crawford go to

Ehrwald and Lermoos


LERMOOS & EHRWALD
    
Lermoos is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.
It consists of 2 places. Unterdorf and Oberdorf, which are separated from each other.
The vilage is set on a beautiful location looking towards the Zugspitze (the highest mountain in Germany) and the Sonnenspitze.



Ehrwald is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.
Ehrwald lies at the southern base of the Zugspitze (2950 meters above sea level), Germany’s highest mountain, but which is shared with Austria.
The town is connected to the Zugspitze with the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn


Zugspitze – Blick auf Ehrwald 






Ehrwald – Seebensee





Peter Swimming in the Seebensee
Ehrwald

Ruhpolding

RUHPOLDING

    
(A BAVARIAN VILLAGE)



Peter first visited Ruhpolding in 1958 with his parents John and Jane Crawford.

Ruhpolding is a municipality of the Traunstein district in southeastern Bavaria, Germany.

It is situated in the south of the Chiemgau region in the Alps.
Ruhpolding has a population of approximately 6,400.
The economy is based on tourism and sports.
The name “Ruhpolding” originates from the Bavarian word Rupoltingin and means “the people of the strong famous one”. The town is mentioned as Ruhpoldingen for the first time in 1193.
It was connected through railway in 1895.
Since 1948, Ruhpolding became a famous spa and tourist resort, especially for winter sports.









Ruhpolding – Satellite View






Ruhpolding Bahnhof






Ruhpolding Bahnhof






Welcoming Music at Ruhpolding Station







‘Grüß Gott in Ruhpolding’





Ruhpolding – the Village





Ruhpolding – Haus Tant Agnes






Ruhpolding – Village Centre






Ruhpolding – General View






Kurhaus – Ruhpolding






Jane and Peter – Kurhaus
Ruhpolding – c 1958






Auf dem weg nach Ruhpolding – Bayern 

      
HOLIDAY IN RUHPOLDING


Peter was very excited, although he had little idea of where Bavaria was, or what the place was like.

1950s British Passport
Soon, however, the excitement was forgotten, and it was only with a trip to the photographers on Hounslow Broadway, opposite the Bus Garage, in the early summer, that the enthusiasm was rekindled.
The photographs were for a new passport, and in those days British Pasports were ‘real passports’, with hard covers of a royal blue, buitfully embossed and gilded with the Royal Arms.
The next step was John Crawford’  visit to the Bank Manager, armed with his passport, in order to change some english sterling into Deutschmarks.
Then it was time for new clothes, with shirts and shorts for Peter, in Jane’s favourite pale green.
Then the school Summer Holidays came in August, and it was time to go on holiday.
Now Peter had been abroad before – to France – and by air – which was a real adventure in the 1950s, but only to Calais and Paris.
Bavaria was like Ruritania, however, a strange place in the middle of Europe, high among the mountain peaks – so this was to be a real adventure !

The Prisoner of Zenda

And Peter had seen the prisoner of Zenda a few years earlier – one of his favourite films – and also had a copy of the book – so he knew what to expect The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)—Starring Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern, Jane Greer, Lewis Stone, Robert Douglas, James Mason and Robert Coote. It was adapted by Edward Rose, (dramatization) Wells Root, John L. Balderston, Noel Langley and Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue, originally uncredited). It was directed by Richard Thorpe.It is a shot-for-shot copy of the 1937 film, the only difference being that it was made in Technicolor.

Harwich – Gateway to Europe

So – the summer came, and with it for Peter, came the summer holidays from school.
And the holiday began, but not with a trip to the airport – currency restrictions made that too expensive – so it was off to Liverpool Street station, and a train to the coast and a ferry to the continent.

Pullman
Liverpool Street Station – London

Then it was a journey by train across Europe – and a long journey  – and this was the most exciting adventure that Peter had ever had – apart from flying to France perhaps.
And this involved a crossing of the North Seas by British Rail Ferries (later known as Sealink) and then the train journey provided by a company called ‘Blue Cars’ – which was a reference to the Pullman cars.

Liverpool Street to Harwich
Arriving at Harwich

Liverpool Street station, in London, was still a place of steam and noise, as the boilers of huge locomotives were fired up in preparation for their journeys.

For Peter, this was the start of a momentous journey, and it was also Peter’s first journey on a Pullman train – where you actually slept on the train.
But there was no sleeping to begin with – because first there was a rather boring journey to Harwich.

SS Amsterdam
British Railways Logo – 1950s

As the train steamed into Parkston Quay in Harwich the atmosphere changed completely.
There is nothing like the crisp smell of sea salt and marine diesel, which for many years, for Peter, meant the beginning of an adventure.

Hoek van Holland – 1950s

The next step was to board the SS Amsterdam, one of British Rail’s newest ships, and then settle down and prepare for the sea crossing.
This was a daytime crossing, for the trip from Harwich to the Hoek van Holland.
The crossing in those days, took about seven hours, and the SS Amsterdam would reach the Hoek in the late afternoon.
After a good look round the ship, Peter, Jane and John Decided to have lunch.

Dining on Board the Ferry

The SS Amsterdam was a large, new ferry, and had a magnificent dining salon.
Arrival at the Hoek involved disembarkation and customs – remember that this was in that golden time before the European Common Market, and border restrictions were scrupulously enforced on the continent by imposing and intimidating customs officers, in resplendent uniforms, and carrying side-arms.
Jane, John and Peter then re-boarded the Pullman, and prepared for the journey across Europe.

British Railways Dining Car

The Train started its journey, passing through the incredibly flat countryside, dotted with the inevitable windmills, which reminded Peter of the Norfolk Broads.
By then it was getting dark so, before retiring for the night, Peter Jane and John decided to go to the restaurant car for dinner.
After dinner it was time to go to bed – and for Peter, the first ‘bed-time’ on a train.
Obviously Peter found it difficult to sleep. Obviously there was the noise and the movement, and the dim blue light that remained on in the compartment throughout the night – but Peter also had the urge to peek out through the curtains to glimpse the twinkling lights of the occasional town, village and station.
Then came the oblivion of sleep…….

Now while Peter is sleeping we may consider the strange circumstances of this holiday to Bavaria – or Bayern as it is called in German.
We have already explained how Jane had an antipathy to Germans, and in particular Herr Hitler as a result of what had happened during the war.
Well now we must consider a little of the recent history of the particular alpine resort that Peter’s parents had decided to use as the base for their first continental holiday.
Remember as you read this that there were many other places in Germany that they could have visited, and more significantly many places in Europe other than Germany.
We mention this because Ruhpolding had some rather interesting recent history.
Ruhpolding Hauptplatz
Celebration of the Austrian Anchluß
Ruhpolding Hauptplatz Feb 1936

We know that in 1938, a year after Jane and John married, and the year of the Anchluß  that there was a celebration in the main square in Ruhpolding.
We know this because there is photographic evidence.
Of course, everybody that Peter ever met in Germany, (with the exception of Adolf Lördermann, who we will meet later), made it very clear that they had nothing to do with the National Socialists or the Third Reich, so it’s interesting to see evidence of the villagers giving enthusiastic Nazi salutes – and it makes one wonder just who were all those enthusiastic people in the Nürnberg Stadium, (remember Nürnberg is also in Bavaria).

Finnish SS – Ruhpolding
23rd of May 1943

Equally, later in the war the Finnish SS were stationed in Ruhpolding.
That is as it may be, but even more interesting is the link that Ruhpolding had with the highest echelons of the Third Reich hierarchy.
While, in the 1950s, most of the leaders of the Reich and individuals closely associated with Hitler were either dead, or had gone into hiding, usually in some obscure South American state, some of those closest to Jane’s much reviled Herr Hitler were actually living in Ruhpolding.

Family of Eva Braun

We are referring  of course, to Adolf Hitler’s in-laws.
Yes, members of Eva Braun’s family were living openly and unmolested in Ruhpolding.
And these people were pillars of the community, and were regular visitors to the local Gasthof where, in fact, they met Peter, Jane and John.
So this makes this holiday very strange.

Gretl and Fegelein
Adlerhorst 1944

Friedrich Braun (also known as Fritz; a School teacher; – Parents: Phillip Braun, Christina Heyser)
Birth: Neckargmund, Germany – Death: 22 January 1964 in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany
Franziska Kronberger – Birth:1880 – Death: January 1976 in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany
Occupation: Seamstress ; Father: Unidentified Veterinarian b: in of Oberpfalz, Germany
Their Children: – Eva Anna Paula Braun b: 6 February 1912 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Margarete (Gretl) Braun (married SS-Gruppenführer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein 3 June 1944. born 30 October 1906 in Ansbach, Germany, and died 29 April 1945 in Berlin, Germany.

And then, to cap it all, John arranged for a visit to Berchtesgaden, the ruins of the Berghof, the  Gasthof Zum Türken, and the Adlerhorst (Eagles Nest) on the Kehlstein.
But, of course, while Peter slept he knew nothing of this.
So back to the story …

Chiemgau Alps – Bayern

Peter woke up early – he could see the sun shining brilliantly through the curtains.
Bleary eyed, Peter opened the curtain just a little, only to get one of the biggest shocks of his life.
Outside the window, above the passing forest were huge, snow-capped mountains.
So then, after dressing, Peter, Jane and John went to the dining car for breakfast, and this would be the last English meal that Peter would have for two weeks.
So it was breakfast while watching the beautiful Bavarian Alps.

Arrival in Ruhpolding

Ruhpolding Bahnhof – Bayern
Tirolean Band – Ruhpolding Bahnhof

And so the final destination came into view.
A tiny little station, without a proper platform, (on the continent then you either climbed up or climbed down to enter or leave a train).
And on the low platform were a group of Bavarian villagers, and a Tirolean Band.
There, amid the raucous sounds of the ‘oompah’ band and the chatter of the villagers, was a very small, dark haired woman, probably in her sixties.

She was looking for ‘Herr Crawford’, because this was to be our hostess for the next two weeks.

This was Frau Agnes – a sweet little old lady, with dark, ‘frizzy’ hair, who was dragging a small trolley.
She insisted on loading the cases onto the little trolley, despite John’s protestations to the contrary.
She then began dragging the trolley from the station to the road, chatting away all the time in broken English, as they all made their way through the village.
Agness, as Peter learned later, had been married, but her husband, a forester (sounds like something from ‘Red Riding Hood’), had been killed in the First World War.
Agness had then inherited a remarkably large house in the centre of the village.
What she had done during the Third Reich and the Second World War Peter never discovered, (but then that was the case with most of the people he met in Austria and Germany), but in the fifties she had supported herself by renting out rooms in her spacious home to tourists.
And that, of course, is how Peter, Jane and John met her.

Die Gebrüder Grimm 

To Peter, Ruhpolding was like a place for a Brothers Grimm story.

Die Gebrüder Grimm (The BrothersGrimm) – Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of European folk tales, and their work popularized such stories as “Cinderella”, “The Frog Prince” (Der Froschkönig), “Hansel and Gretel” (Hänsel und Gretel), “Rapunzel”, “Rumpelstiltskin” (Rumpelstilzchen), and “Snow White” (Schneewittchen). Their first collection of folk tales, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.

Ortszentrum Ruhpolding
The quaint houses, in most case with painted stucco façades and carved wooden, flower bedecked balconies, were set in a lush landscape of pasture of gentle, green hills overlooked by some magnificent mountains.
In the centre of the town was a water trough, undoubtedly originally used for the passing dairy herds, and a strange object which reminded Peter of an Indian Totem pole indicated the various amenities of the village and the surrounding area.


click here for Peter’s Biography

‘Peter – the early years’