Extract IV from „Entschwörungstheorie“

According to their political program, German workers of the post 1871 era struggled for an international workers revolution as Social Democracy propagated it. But the imprinting of Prussian military education on several generations had already left its traces on these plans. Still, Social Democrats referred to Marx but with a strong tendency they selected from his ideas.

Because of the escalated situation in 1848, Marx had written about a special urgency for a victorious social revolution in Germany. This urgency now changed into a necessity in the popular understanding of Social Democrats. The indicated hurry and the special circumstances transformed into a certainty that the revolution would have to happen anyway and that everything was going according to a historical plan. The thought that the workers would have to make the revolution because they suffered the most and were therefore most interested in change metamorphosized into a workers cult glorifying the life of those wage-related to be an anticipation of the new social order to come. Marx‘ dictum of the „German condition“ being „below all criticism“ was lost with the establishment of the more and more religiously appearing idea of the historical mission of the proletariat.

From this mixture of national liberation and social salvation the ideological mélange emerged that later caused the bellicism of the German workers in World War I as well as the development of the Leninist variety of Marxism stressing class war, iron disciplin, historical necessities and national liberation. The glorified proletarian self-depiction also laid grounds for the conspiratorial thinking that became dominant in the Stalin era as it identified the good, strong, unified nation with the working class.