by John Holawitz
The Austrian Mind, written by William M. Johnston, sets out to narrate the history of Austria-Hungary through six parts, twenty-eight chapters, and ninety-six sections. The book begins with an introduction to the pivotal years leading up to 1848. In this year, social revolutionaries rose up across Europe, from Russian Poland to France to Pre-unification Germany, and were put down by force of arms, compelling many to flee to the United States. The US would soon need their dynamism and experience to handle its own revolutionary movement that arose in the form of pan-Dixie secession. The book ends its timeline with the events of 1938 when Hitler entered Austria with the approval of the vast majority of the population, accomplishing what many a politician from the Christian Socialist, Revolutionary Conservative, or Social Democratic movements had begged the victorious Western Allies to allow in the peace of 1918.
One thing that the audience must understand is that this book is not an attempt to indict Semitism, Jews, and all those who protect them. What it does do, contrary to the intentions of the author, is provide factual information about the many negative effects of Jewish influence. I found myself several times reading the book with my mouth agape at the sheer hilarity of the claims that the author would sometimes make, only to refute his own arguments with evidence he would willingly bring forth in subsequent passages. If the reader ignores the superfluous adjectives the author uses throughout the book and instead focuses on the historical content, he will often find himself in agreement with individuals the author has chosen to attack. With increasingly great frequency, as you progress through the book, you will find yourself exclaiming “Hitler (and others the author attacks) are right!” if only within your own head.
The example that stands out most clearly in my memory is when Johnston defends Freud from another character who alleges, completely correctly as it turns out, that Freud runs a cult of Jews completely disconnected from the world of practising psychology within Vienna and within wider Austria-Hungary. The author admits to this assertion two pages later. According to Johnston’s own figures, Freud’s school of psychoanalysis was composed of ninety percent Jewish persons. Related to the reader is how Freud holds a special contempt for metaphysics, and especially Gentile metaphysics, though again Johnston continues attempts to soften with the overuse of adjectives that have little to no connection to the sentences they are placed in.
The State of Austria
Austria during the last seventy-one years of the Austro-Hungarian experiment was in a completely abysmal state. Industrialism had completely killed the spirit of the Austrian population within a decade of 1848, as the realm was largely dependent on agrarian particularism for a sense of self. The closing of the military frontier in Croatia and the Banat in 1869 (pg.52), as well as the move to an industrialised, semi-mobile form of warfare brought declining prestige for the upper classes. This occurred in an environment in which, until 1911, refusing a duel would cause an officer to lose his commission (pg. 53-54). Industrialization brought increasingly terrible conditions for the lower classes as they were forced into smaller and smaller living quarters far out of sight. The decay of Austrian self-worth can best be viewed within the K.U.K. army (from here-on in referred to as the Hapsburg Army). The populace “respected the military almost as much as they venerated the emperor (pg.51),” but behind the facade the Kaisers had erected the Hapsburg Army had “a record of disaster in every major war from 1740 to 1918 (pg.50)” and was mostly used “as a pacifier of the realm (pg.50).” Accordingly, morale was at rock bottom with “as many as one-half of officers … having pay docked to meet debts (pg. 52).” To add further insult to injury, enlisted men were transported in cattle cars with instructions painted on the side “For forty men or six horses” (pg. 52), implying that even when better accommodation was available for the lay person who had answered the call to national service, it was never employed. Many endeavoured to avoid this call by attempting to emigrate to the United States, with which Austria-Hungary was bound by treaty not to conscript (pg. 52). Some attempted to attend a university, which shortened the conscription term from three years to only one (pg. 53), but were refused enrolment.
Still worse conditions affected the whole of Austria-Hungary, where around three-quarters of the lay people were judged too illiterate to be eligible for national service (pg. 51-52). However, this last figure is not totally reliable, due to the untreatable amount of low-level corruption (referred to as Schlamperei) practised by Hapsburg functionaries. At various times, liberal academics asserted that such Schlamperei was the sole reason that the hated bureaucracy hadn’t strangled Austria as the Tsar had strangled Polish dreams of independence after the 1863 January Uprising. For the poor of Vienna, who were starving, lacked medical facilities, burial facilities, and any system of entrepreneurship or pensions, Schlamperei may well have been a saving grace (pg. 62-65).
The Complicity of the Jews
While the men of Austria-Hungary struggled with docked pay to return their debts, suffered the indignity of being transported across the realm in cattle cars; while the populace at large suffered with embarrassingly low literacy, lack of space, and general dissatisfaction, the Jewish element that infested Austria-Hungary led a much easier, relaxed existence. They were employed as censors, like the future Bela-Kunist Commissar Georg Von Lukacs (pg. 365); as directors of banks, like Von Lukacs’ father Josef (pg. 365); as teachers in schools to the lower classes, like Karl Mannheim (pg. 375) and Béla Balázs (pg. 384); and most profoundly, running the newspapers, like Moritz Benedikt, who operated the Neue Freie Presse (pg. 358).
The control of the Jews over the press in Austria-Hungary was all-encompassing. Along with the Jewish ownership of the Neue Freie Presse, the Wiener Tagblatt was operated by the Jew Moriz Szeps. Mr Johnston states these big newspapers “promulgated liberal views written largely by Jews for other Jews” (pg. 23). If you think or hope that smaller journals would be safer for Gentile expression of Gentile interests, you would be sadly mistaken, as Johnston continues “Similarly subscribers to smaller journals like Karl Kraus’s Die Fackel were mainly Jewish” (pg. 23). Indeed, our humble author even gives us a precise year in which we can be reasonably sure Jewish domination of the press was completed, transforming the press from a tool of journalism into the club of letters that has become known as the Lügenpresse, or “lying press.” Johnston states “Without this audience avid for witticisms and novelty, Austrian literature might have been just as impoverished after 1850 as it has become since 1938” (pg. 23)
As was the case in many other places in the world, the influence and population of Jews in Marxist revolutionary movements was so astounding that Johnston has no option but to make the comment “In some fields such as Psychoanalysis and Austro-Marxism, Jews constituted an overwhelming preponderance” (pg. 23). Some of the prominent Jewish Marxists include the aforementioned Georg Von Lukacs and Bela Kunist Béla Balázs, the Bela-Kunist Commissar for Military Affairs Tibor Szamuely, Trotsky, Lenin, Bela Kun himself, and the father of Austro-Marxism, Viktor Adler (pg. 99). It is only natural that the successors and compatriots of Viktor Adler would be Jews themselves, like his son Friedrich Adler (pg. 101). Otto Bauer, who was born into a wealthy industrialist family, went on to earn a doctorate in law and became secretary of the Social Democratic Workers Party (SDAP) (pg. 102-103). Max Adler, who was unrelated to either Viktor or Friedrich Adler, was a Jew born in Vienna. This latest Adler earned a law degree in the city of his birth and later went on to practice law. He ended up, after many a career change, including three years serving as an official of the Nationalrat from 1920, as a professor of sociology (pg. 109). It is also interesting to note that Johnston writes that the seemingly Gentile Austro-Marxist forefather Karl Renner “was the first to argue that expropriation would merely deprive paper owners of rights that are in-fact exercised by agents; such managers would retain their authority even under state-ownership” and “more conciliatory than Bauer, this Marxist turned Socialist might well have fared better as party leader (of the SDAP)” (pg. 108).
The Future They Chose: The Agenda of the Liberal Aristocracy
Much now is said of the half-Japanese, half-Sudeten German liberal aristocrat Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and his outlook for the future of Europe as laid out in his Practical Idealism. This work joins Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together in the list of books that will never see a competent English translation published if the publishing houses can get their way. Johnston writes an interesting passage about Coudenhove-Kalergi, bringing up a point I have not seen mentioned before:
“Although the Coudenhove-Kalergi family numbered ancestors from Crete and Brabant by way of Russia and Paris, it epitomised values of Bohemian Reform Catholicism: altruism, piety and oneness with nature. These qualities animated Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi’s treatise, Das Wesen des Antisemitismus (Berlin, 1901), which interpreted anti-semitism as a product of religious rather than economic hatred. Having opened the book with a fifteen-page poem celebrating Enoch, the author closed by confessing that once he too had been an anti-semite. After surveying Jewish history, he branded every sort of anti-Judaism unchristian.” (pg. 321)
One can see plainly from this and other passages in the book that the history of the Jews in Austria-Hungary during the period covered by Johnston is nothing but anti-Christian and often a naked power grab over the tools of the state such as the censors, bankers (pg. 365), and lawyers (pg. 102-103, 109). To call it “unchristian” to be averse and hostile to such a display is rather a strange comment if one was not aware of the power of the Jews in print. In 1924, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi published Paneuropa (pg. 321) and began a push for a European federalism that would stretch from Norwegian Lapland to the Sahara and from Portugal to Slovakia and Hungary, with the exception of the British mainland. Richard Coundhove-Kalergi considered Britain already a part of the “World Powers” which had come to replace the old Europhilic Great Power system. The “World Powers” included the Russian Empire, British Empire, United States of America, Japanese Empire, and would in future include the Chinese Empire. Johnston explains it thusly:
“Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that because the World War had abolished Europe’s hegemony, World Powers would supersede Great Powers. England already enjoyed global authority thanks to her colonies, as did Russia by controlling the Eurasian landmass. Japan’s emergence as a World Power would soon liberate (East/Oriental) Asia from European dominance, so that China too would assume privileged status. In 1924 the leading World Power was the United States, which must decide whether to abet or impede unification of Europe” (pg. 321).
As can be plainly read in documents such as OSS, CIA and European unity: The American Committee on United Europe, 1948-1960 published by Richard J. Aldrich in the British journal Diplomacy & Statecraft, the United States going as far as having both houses of the US congress pass motions calling for the creation of the United States of Europe in 1947 (Aldrich, 1997; pg. 190). To add detail to Coudenhove-Kalergi’s envisioned United States of Europe Johnston offers this insight based on Coudenhove-Kalergi’s views:
“The only hope for a Europe devastated by war was to federate along lines that Aurel Popovici and others had proposed for Austria-Hungary. Pan-Europe would encompass a more flexible Austro-Hungary, one capable of competing with other World Powers. English would serve as a world language, spoken by everyone in addition to his native tongue” (pg. 321).
With this detail, the first thing that seems out of place is that English would be the new imperial language, considering that England and her colonies and the United States of America constituted two other competing World Powers. In addition, fierce phonic patriotism was present in both the German realms and French realms. This detail is even more queer when one considers that Latin was the imperial language in Hungary until it was replaced by German after the military and political defeat of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, though before this the Hungarians had been in transition away from using Latin as the language of state and politics. This process started in 1831, when it became necessary to have a full understanding of Magyar to pass the legal bar. Latin was the language of state in Croatia until 1847, when a similar trend of phonic patriotism swept across the country. Why then would English be necessary as an imperial language when Latin, which had deeper roots in all of Central and Western Europe, couldn’t survive a wave of phonic patriotism? The only conclusion I am able to come to is the future intention to integrate these “World Powers” into a single Super-Federal entity as is the plan now. If documents such as the Protocols of Zion are to be believed, this has always been the case.
The second queer detail that becomes apparent is the phrase “a more flexible Austro-Hungary.” One can assume this includes continuation of Jewish ownership of the press (pg. 23, 358) and of the banks (pg. 365) due to the lack of any information contradicting this position.
The other notable liberal aristocrat covered in this work is Bertha Von Suttner, born a countess in the Bohemian nobility of the Kinsky family. She lived a life of leisure on the credit of her dead father until his wealth was depleted (pg. 318). She then tried to become a singer, but after a short time she became much more successful as a music teacher (pg. 318). In 1876 Bertha and her lover Arthur Suttner eloped to the Russian Caucasus, where they became direct witnesses to the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-1878. She converted her home into a hospital ward, where she volunteered as a nurse; she became a devout pacifist during this period.
In 1892 Bertha Von Suttner, now married to Arthur Suttner, co-founded and co-edited the pacifist journal Die Waffen Nieder! with the Jewish bookdealer Alfred Fried (pg. 318). She continued to edit this journal until 1899. In 1891 Arthur Von Suttner founded the Vienna branch of the Union for the Defence against Anti-Semitism (pg. 319).
Fighting for the Essence: Christian Socialism and Austrian Corporatism
This decaying empire began to be called the Sick Man of Europe. This term was originally applied to the Ottoman Empire by Tsar Nicholas I, but was quickly reapplied to Austria-Hungary starting around May 1860. After the suicide of Baron Bruck, the 12th May 1860 edition of the New York Times ran the terrible headline “Austria In Extremis;” the article gets no less apocalyptic in the main body:
While England and Switzerland are wasting their precious time in futile attempts to impress the great Powers with the enormous importance to the “balance of power” of the annexation of Savoy to France, events of quite another significance are rapidly ripening in the East of Europe.
The condition of Austria at the present moment is not less threatening in itself, though less alarming for the peace of the world, than was the condition of Turkey when the Czar NICHOLAS invited England to draw up with him the last will and testament of the “sick man of Europe.” It is, indeed, hardly within the range of probability that another twelvemonth should pass over the House of HAPSBURG without bringing upon the Austrian Empire a catastrophe unmatched in modern history since the downfall of Poland. (Austria In Extremis; NYTimes 12th May 1860)
It was in this waiting catastrophe that Karl Lueger led the Christian Socialists to mayoral victory in Vienna in 1897, where he ruled until 1910 (pg. 63), only four years before the long awaited “catastrophe unmatched in modern history” finally fell upon Austria-Hungary and the rest of the European World.
Lueger was an impoverished child who had difficulty speaking and always lived with both of his sisters, even after he was married (pg. 63). A true Austrian patriot, Lueger was utterly outraged by the defeat of the Austrian-led German Confederation by Prussia and its allies in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866. This war ended the last remnant of the Hapsburg-led Holy Roman Empire and the forced compromise with the Hungarians, which was the transition from the Austrian empire to the Dual Monarchy Austria-Hungary (pg. 63). Lueger was so outraged by this turn of events that he “never ceased to wage anti-magyar propaganda (pg. 64).” After earning a doctorate degree in law in the same year that the German Confederation was defeated, he began a career as a lawyer with liberal politics between 1870 and 1875. Between the time Lueger entered the Vienna city council in 1875 to 1885, when he entered the Reichsrat, he transitioned away from his previous liberal politics to Christian Socialist positions, which have a remarkable similarity to and are a great foreshadowing of the rise of Adolf Hitler (pg. 64). Indeed, in 1885 he was “denouncing International Capitalism as a Jewish monopoly (pg. 64).” In 1888, Lueger became friends with the Catholic Socialist Karl Von Vogelsang, who would later influence him to such an extent that in 1893, when Lueger founded the Christian Socialist Party, he would wholesale incorporate many of the doctrines Von Vogelsang espoused (pg. 64).
In 1895, only two years after the Lueger founded the Christian Socialist Party, it had already won the outright majority of the Viennese city council. The body of Christian Socialists moved to have Lueger elected mayor; this was denied purely on the grounds of the prerogative of the Emperor Franz Joseph. The Emperor, listening to the advice Count Erich Von Kielmansegg, dissolved the city council and ruled for two years through a board of commissioners until 1897. Eventually, Emperor Franz Joseph became alarmed that the now dissolved city council had met often enough to hold the vote for mayor four more times, electing Lueger in each instance. He was also concerned that during the 1896 Corpus Christi parade Lueger almost rivaled the Emperor in popularity to the people. Franz Joseph finally bowed to the inevitable and made “der schöne Karl” uncrowned king and supremo of Vienna until Lueger’s death in March of 1910 (pg. 64).
During his thirteen year reign Lueger undertook many projects for the advancement of the common people of Vienna. He worked against the ravages of a state in the grasp of nihilism and against the privations caused by the Jewish population. Not all of Lueger’s projects, at least as viewed through the medium of Johnston’s work, can be taken as having been initially successful or sustainable in the long term. For example, Lueger’s municipalisation of the gas works under the Viennese city jurisdiction in 1899 forced him to go to the Jewish banks in Vienna itself. After being refused by every one of them, he secured a loan through the German Bank of Berlin (p. 64). Far more successful was Lueger’s building of a slaughterhouse under the direct authority of the Viennese city council, for which Franz Joseph had made him supremo. Lueger also introduced electric street lighting into the city, which until that point had been powered by gas. If Lueger had died at this point, at the very start of his historical reign, he would have been a good mayor but would not have received what Johnston relates as the largest funeral “that the city had yet seen” (pg. 64).
What Lueger did was historically significant because he espoused the defence of what Johnston calls the lower middle class, but was in fact the artisan class of the later Middle Ages, wholly untouched by the reformation and the slow advancement of technology that the modern era of “new imperialism” had brought. He also defended the working poor by opening a beach on the Danube River. He doubled the parks in the city and added flower boxes to every lamppost and bought outright two funeral companies which had been considered by the locals to have been charging extortionate prices. He municipalised a savings bank, a pension company, and a life insurance company, and created a housing agency to help the locals find homes to live in (pg. 65).
The greatness of these acts by Lueger as mayor of Vienna stand on their own as great accomplishments for the period and good accomplishments for the modern day. But in Vienna, they were especially great due to the complete backwardness that was evident in the entirety of Austria-Hungary, especially within the Imperial City itself. In addition to this ever-present backwardness, there was an ongoing dismantling of the artisan class by loss of business to foreign producers, who were themselves taking advantage of industrial improvements in cities such as Berlin (pg. 65). From the economic crash in 1873 the Austro-Hungarian artisan class, which prized hand-made and hand-built merchandise, began to lose almost all business in commodities such as toys, fans, and leather goods (pg. 65). Lueger firstly came to the aid of this class specifically and all the classes of Vienna in general by lowering the expenditures of every member of society and increasing the quality of life with beautification laws, tight control over utilities and necessities such as the insurance industry, funeral companies, and pension companies (pg. 65). Secondly, Lueger reintroduced religion into the school system and attacked the lying press by barring them, when they became particularly odious, from meetings of the city council (pg. 65). It wasn’t all a stage of continuous advances though, for overly restrictive internally set protectionist policies meant for shops limited the types of products that could be sold and slowed the arrival of general stores and department stores until after the turn of the 20th century (pg. 65). Also backward from a modern point of view is the complete lack of factories until 1905. The first bread factory was built in this year, possibly in response to the penetration of American factory-produced shoes the previous year (pg. 65).
It was six years into the reign of Karl Lueger as mayor of Vienna that Othmar Spann, the future creator of the ideology of Austrian Corporatism, earned a doctorate and went on to work at a research institute in Frankfurt for five years before receiving his habilitation in 1908 (pg. 311). Born of an artisan father, Spann held a deep regard for a Catholic society. Like Lueger and his development of Christian Socialism with the doctrines of his friend Karl Von Vogelsang, and it might even be fair to call Spann the grand-father of current day Catholic Distributionism or Communitarianism.
The main conception within Spann’s philosophy of Austrian Corporatism is pairings (pg. 312). This conception leads to the central premise of Spann’s espoused philosophy, which states that an object by itself, as is often portrayed within individualist thought, is not a solitary object but a component of a whole within a whole, defined as the lowest thing in a society or in reality capable of being interacted with (pg. 312). This reasoning contains within itself, in alignment with Spann’s Catholic upbringing, that the lowest whole or element of society is the family (pg. 312). As one can expect, for this bold and offensive claim Spann was shouted down by the individualist philosophers and their followers. He had to retort, with a rather timid response, that “universalism does not demean individualism in the way individualism ignores the whole; rather universalism incorporates the perspective of the individual into a larger framework (pg. 312).”
In 1936 the socialist Karl Polanyi denounced Spann as a “Fascist Hegel who lacked the revolutionary dynamic in the German (pg. 314).” Johnston relates that Spann’s ideas of society and objective reality were “repugnant to liberal and socialist alike (pg. 314).” It comes somewhat as a shock then that in 1936, when initially approached for recruitment into the National Socialist apparatus by Reinhard Heydrich, Spann and his followers refused (pg.311). Spann’s refusal of this offer seems to have been the wrong option from a historical perspective, as he was reviled by the progressive elements of society. His hardships under the National Socialist regime started in 1938, when he was deprived of his professorship and briefly imprisoned (pg. 311). A parallel can be drawn from his life after the defeat of the Axis powers and Hitler’s Germany, where between 1945 and 1950 Spann lived in retirement and social exile in Burgenland until he finally died at the age of 72, branded by the progressive elements of society as a closet Nazi (pg. 311). All evidence suggests that despite holding a clearly fascist or fascist-like philosophy of the Corporate Society he did not consider himself a National Socialist; otherwise, his answer to the offer in 1936 would certainly have been different.
The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History 1848-1938
William M. Johnston
OSS, CIA and European unity: The American committee on United Europe 1948-60
Richard J. Aldrich. Diplomacy & Statecraft, 8(1),184-227.
Austria in Extremis
The New York Times