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remarkable predictions of Marx, made at the time of the Franco-Prussian War. These, our first two documents, not only show some of the leading features of the Socialist position to-day, but apply them to the present conflict. Moreover, they indicate the essential soundness of some of these positions; and they suggest, when read in connection with the documents following, the line of change and development in Socialist thought.


The following paragraphs, contained in a manifesto issued by the Social Democratic Party of Germany, entitled “To the German Workers,” were written three days after the battle of Sedan, September 5, 1870:

So long as the mercenaries of Napoleon threatened Germany it was our duty as Germans to defend the independence of the Fatherland. Such a defensive war does not exclude offensive measures. It includes, as does every war, the necessity of forcing the enemy to accept peace.

But now, in the hour of victory, it becomes our duty not to be swept away with the drunkenness of the victory, but to remain cool and thoughtful and to ask ourselves what shall be done.

The new Republic must and will seek peace with Germany. It must and will recall the declaration of Napoleon.

Was it the French people who declared war against us? No, it was Napoleon. Let us not be deceived by the circumstance that the victorious invasion of the German army turned the hearts of France toward war.

Now that the empire was overthrown and the republic established, Marx not only demanded peace, but he opposed all annexation of French territory, and predicted that the conquest of Alsace and Lorraine would inevitably lead to a Franco-Russian alliance and to another war. He continues :

But, we are told, it will be at least necessary that we take Alsace and Lorraine from France. The war camarilla, the professors, the burghers, and the tavern politicians claim that this is the only way to protect Germany for all times from a French war. On the contrary, it is the surest way to transform this war into a European institution.

It is the infallible means of converting the coming peace into a truce to be broken as soon as France has recuperated sufficiently to recapture the lost territory. It is the infallible means of ruining France and Germany by mutual slaughter.

The knaves and fools who claim that they have discovered a guarantee for eternal peace should have learned something from Prussian history, from the Napoleonic horse medicine after the peace of Tilsit-how these violent measures for the pacification of a virile nation produce the exact opposite result. And what is France even after the loss of Alsace and Lorraine as compared with Prussia after the peace of Tilsit?

Whoever is not totally stupefied by the noise of the moment, or has no interest in stupefying others, must realize that the war of 1870 bears within its womb the necessity of a war with Russia, even as the war of 1866 bore within its womb the war of 1870.

I say necessarily, inevitably, except in the doubtful event of a Russian revolution.

If this doubtful event does not take place, then the war between Germany and Russia must be treated as an accomplished fact.

If they take Alsace-Lorraine, then Russia and France will make war on Germany. It is superfluous to point out the disastrous consequences.

We must not allow Marx's striking prediction and condemnation of the present war to eclipse other points of this extraordinary document. It shows Marx's attitude to war generally. He was opposed to waging war on France as soon as she became a democratic republic, and had favored war against her when she was an aggressive and militaristic empire.

Marx, in another manifesto, written for the General Council of the International at London, and issued four

days after the preceding one, continued his protest against the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine in the following words:

Do the Teutonic patriots seriously believe that the independence, liberty, and peace of Germany may be secured by driving France into the arms of Russia ?

If the luck of arms, the arrogance of success, and the intrigue of the dynasties lead to the robbing of French territory, then there are only two ways open for Germany.

It either must pursue the dangerous course of being a tool for Russian aggrandizement, a policy which coincides with the tradition of the Hohenzollern, or it must, after a short pause, prepare itself for a new “defensive” war. Not one of those new-fangled “localized” wars, but a race war, a war with the united Slav and Latin races. This is the peace prospect held out by the brainless patriots of the German middle class.

History will not measure her retribution by the circumference of the square miles conquered from France, but by the intensity of the crime of having re-established in the second half of the nineteenth century the policy of conquest. (Our italics.)

Of especial moment in this second document are Marx's satirical prophecies that the German Government would attempt to picture the war he predicted as being “defensive" and that it would also make a pretense of trying to “localize” it—in a way, of course, to secure a German preponderance. He also shows that he feared the Russian-German alliance, which is again so much dreaded by German Socialists as a probable result of the present war. (See Chapter XIX.)

FREDERICK ENGELS ON THE COMING WAR An article written by Engels in 1892 emphasizes a no less important feature of the Socialist position, the idea that a general European war, undesired by the people, though fought by them, would surely lead, sooner or later, to a general European revolution.

In an article written by Engels for Die Neue Zeit in 1892 occurs the following passage:

No Socialist of whatever nationality can wish the triumph of the present German Government in the war, nor that of the bourgeois French Republic, and least of all that of the Czar, which would be equivalent to the subjection of Europe, and therefore the Socialists of all countries are for peace. But if it comes to war nevertheless, just one thing is certainthis war in which fifteen or twenty million armed men will slaughter one another, and all Europe will be laid to waste as never before-this war must either bring the immediate victory of Socialism, or it must upset the old order of things from head to foot and leave such heaps of ruins behind that the old capitalistic society will be more impossible than ever, and the social revolution, though put off until ten or fifteen years later, will surely conquer after that time all the more rapidly and all the more thoroughly.

Engels, then, expected the advance of Socialism from a general European war, not through the patriotic defense of each country by its Socialists, but through the revolutionary action of all at the proper moment. The victory of Germany would be almost as bad as the victory of Russia.

Engels, as we have said, favored the Germans in the War of 1870, but after the republic was declared, he even went so far as to offer his services to the French, as has been testified by the French Socialist leader, Vaillant, in L'Humanité.

MARX AND ENGELS NOT PACIFISTS The following extracts from a Neue Zeit article are important as showing the position of not only Marx and Engels, but of Edward Bernstein, leader of the German revisionists.

In his interpretation of Marx's position, Bernstein


uses the expressions about the “national existence" being at stake and military necessity," which figure in such an important way in the official defense of the German Government. Bernstein attributes to Marx the belief that “the national existence” of Germany was at stake in 1870, and that her conduct up to the predatory peace (which he denounced, as we have seen) was justified by “military necessity”:

But just as the time for a demonstration against the war on the ground of principle could not last indefinitely, this applies also, according to Marx, to the period of recognition and support of the war. This he shows in the letter in which he treats of the abstention of Bebel and Liebknecht [i.e., their refusal to vote in the Reichstag on the war loan of 1870

-see below). Decisively he agrees to the plan of an answer of the International to the German Party Executive, which Engels had laid before him on his own request, in which it is said (see the letter of Engels, August 15, 1870): “I think the German Social Democracy can:

"1. Take part in the national movement in so far as and as long as it limits itself to the defense of Germany (which under certain conditions does not exclude the offensive, until peace is declared);

"2. Emphasize the difference between German national interests, and dynastic Prussian interests;

"3. Work against any annexation of Alsace-Lorraine; “4. As soon as a republican, non-chauvinist government is at the helm in Paris, to work for an honorable peace with it;

“5. Continue to keep in the foreground the unity of the interests of German and French workingmen, who did not justify the war, and did not make war upon one another;

“6. Indicate the menace of Russia in the background, as in the International address.”.

In the manifesto issued after Sedan [above quoted] Marx and Engels scrupulously pointed out the period for which the support of the war by Social Democrats was proper. This period for them was marked by the change of the war from one of defense to one of conquest. In making this distinction they allowed a wide place to the war of defense.

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