Written by Vladimir Moss



     In its early stages Kant, Hegel and Goethe had all praised the French Revolution; and Kant’s disciple, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, had even declared that “henceforth the French Republic alone can be the country of the Just”. Friedrich Schlegel did not see France and Germany as rivals, but wanted “a relationship of mutual cooperation and fulfillment. Novalis too wanted to overcome national rivalries in a Christian Europe. The magazine Europa (1803-5) was also dedicated to the same end. It was edited by Friedrich Schlegel, whose brother August Wilhelm spoke of ‘European patriotism’.”[1] 

     Even Prussia’s overwhelming defeat by Napoleon at Jena in 1806 did not immediately dim the Germans’ enthusiasm for their conqueror. Hegel called him “that world spirit”, and the Swiss historian Johannes von Müller declared: “I see that God has given [Napoleon] dominion over the world; never has that been clearer to me than in this war.” And his worship of Napoleon led to him being made secretary of state for Westphalia in 1807.[2] 

     However, in the same year of 1807 there began one of the decisive, truly revolutionary turning-points in the history of ideas, when the secular, rationalist cult of the nation on the French model acquired an irrational, quasi-religious, Germanic Romantic passion that was, over the next century or more, to set much of Europe on fire. The cause was undoubtedly, as Adam Zamoyski writes, the same event that had elicited Hegel’s and von Müller’s eulogies - “Napoleon’s crushing defeat of the Prussians at the Battle of Jena in 1806. The humiliation of seeing the prestigious army created by the great Frederick trounced by the French led to painful self-appraisal and underlined the need for regeneration. But it also stung German pride and dispelled the last shreds of sympathy for France – and, with them, the universalist dreams of the previous decade.”[3]

     The origins of Fascist nationalism go back to this reaction against the French revolution that took place in Germany after Napoleon had marched through it as a conquering and destroying hero… Against the French insistence that they were “the great nation”, the universal nation that first confessed universal value, and therefore the only nation allowed to impose its values on all others, the Germans defended the uniqueness and holiness of their own nation. Their reaction was born of wounded pride, victimhood, “a form of collective humiliation", in Sir Isaiah Berlin’s words.[4]

     The reaction began with a powerful movement for reform in the army. As Philip Bobbitt writes, "The Prussian military reforms from 1807 on were designed to effect this change. Here it is enough to say that the Prussian force that fought from 1813 onward waged war with the same patriotic motivation as that which inspired the French. As Clausewitz wrote, it was 'a war of the people'"[5] 

     In 1809 the playwright Heinrich von Kleist called Napoleon “a spirit of destruction who rises from hell” [6], and the Germans were now prepared to reply to violence with violence… The German Masons also changed. As L.A. Tikhomirov writes, “having betrayed their fatherland at first, they raised their voices against the French, by virtue of which the German national movement arose”[7]

     But the decisive factor was that the Germans at last found a voice, a prophetic voice sounding in the wilderness of German defeat and desolation. This was the voice of Fichte in Addresses to the German Nation (1807), which used Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones to describe the future regeneration of Germany:“Although the bones of our national unity… may have bleached and dried in the storms and rains and burning suns of several centuries, yet the reanimating breath of the spirit world has not ceased to inspire. It will yet raise the dead bones of our national body and join them bone to bone so that they shall stand forth grandly with a new life… No man, no god, nothing in the realm of possibility can help us, but we alone must help ourselves, as long as we deserve it…”[8] 

     Fichte’s quest for resurrection for the German nation owed less to the resurrection of Christian faith than to the resurrection of paganism, and of the myths of the pagan German gods; whose final burial would come over a century later, in the ruins of Nazi Berlin…

     Görres described this pagan creed as follows: “Let the nation learn to trace itself to its source, delve into its roots: it will find in its innermost being a fathomless well-spring which rises from subterranean treasure; many minds have already been enriched by drawing on the hoard of the Niebelungen; and still it lies there inexhaustible, in the depths of its lair…”[9]

     “Fichte,” writes Paul Johnson, “was much impressed by Niccolò Machiavelli and saw life as a continuing struggle for supremacy among the nations. The nation-state most likely to survive and profit from this struggle was the one which extended its influence over the lives of its people most widely. And such a nation-state – Germany was the obvious example – would naturally be expansive. ‘Every nation wants to disseminate as widely as possible the good points which are peculiar to it. And, in so far as it can, it wants to assimilate the entire human race to itself in accordance with an urge planted in men by God, an urge on which the community of nations, the friction between them, and their development towards perfection rest.’

     “This was a momentous statement because it gave the authority of Germany’s leading academic philosopher to the proposition that the power impulse of the state was both natural and healthy, and it placed the impulse in the context of a moral world view. Fichte’s state was totalitarian and expansive, but it was not revolutionary. Its ‘prince’ ruled by hereditary divine right. But ‘the prince belongs to his nation just as wholly and completely as it belongs to him. Its destiny under divine providence is laid in his hands, and he is responsible for it.’ So the prince’s public acts must be moral, in accordance with law and justice, and his private life must be above reproach. In relations between states, however, ‘there is neither law nor justice, only the law of strength. This relationship places the divine, sovereign fights of fate and of world rule in the prince’s hands, and it raises him above the commandments of personal morals and into a higher moral order whose essence is contained in the words, Salus et decus populi suprema lex esto.’ This was an extreme and menacing statement that justified any degree of ruthlessness by the new, developing nation-state in its pursuit of self-determination and self-preservation. The notion of a ‘higher moral order’, to be determined by the state’s convenience, was to find expression, in the 20th century, in what Lenin called ‘the Revolutionary Conscience’ and Hitler ‘the Higher Law of the Party’. Moreover, there was no doubt what kind of state Fichte had in mind. It was not only totalitarian but German. In his Addresses to the German Nation (1807), he laid down as axiomatic that the state of the future can only be the national state, in particular the German national state, the German Reich.”[10]

     The link between Fichte’s egoistic metaphysics and his nationalism was indicated by Bertrand Russell. Fichte was also an idealist philosopher, who “carried subjectivism to a point which seems almost to involve a kind of insanity. He holds that the Ego is the only reality, and that it exists because it posits itself; the non-Ego, which has a subordinate reality, also exists only because the Ego posits it… The Ego as a metaphysical concept easily became confused with the empirical Fichte; since the Ego was German, it followed that the Germans were superior to all other nations. ‘To have character and to be a German,’ says Fichte, ‘undoubtedly mean the same thing’. On this basis he worked out a whole philosophy of nationalistic totalitarianism, which had great influence in Germany”.[11]


     “As the revolution progressed,” writes Zamoyski, “the feeling grew in Germany that the French, with their habitual shallowness, had got it all wrong. They had allowed the pursuit of liberty to degenerate into mob rule and mass slaughter of innocent people because they perceived liberty in mechanical terms. German thinkers were more interested in ‘real liberty', and many believed that it was the ‘corrupt’ nature of the French that had doomed the revolution to failure. Such conclusions allowed for a degree of smugness, suggesting as they did that the French Enlightenment, for all its brilliance, had been flawed, while German intellectual achievements had been more profound and more solid. 

     “Fichte identified Germany’s greatness as lying in her essentially spiritual destiny. She would never stoop to conquer others, and while nations such as the French, the English or the Spanish scrambled for wealth and dominance, Germany’s role was to uphold the finest values of humanity.[12] Similar claims to a moral mission for Germany were made by Herder, Hölderlin, Schlegel and others… 

     “It had been central to Herder’s argument that each nation, by virtue of its innate character, had a special role to play in the greater process of history. One after another, nations ascended the world stage to fulfil their ordained purpose. The French were crowding the proscenium, but there was a growing conviction that Germany’s time was coming, and her destiny was about to unfold. The Germans certainly seemed ready for it. The country was awash with under-employed young men, and since the days of the proto-romantic movement of Sturm und Drang the concept of action, both as a revolt against stultifying rational forces and as a transcendent act of self-assertion, had become well established. Fichte equated virtually any action, provided it was bold and unfettered, with liberation.

     “The problem was that the nation was still not properly constituted. Some defined it by language and culture, or, like Fichte, by a level of consciousness. The Germans were, according to him, more innately creative than other nations, being the only genuine people in Europe, an Urvolk, speaking the only authentic language, Ursprache. Others saw the nation as a kind of church, defined by the ‘mission’ of the German people. Adam Müller affirmed that this mission was to serve humanity with charity, and that any man who dedicated himself to this common purpose should be considered a German. In his lectures of 1806, Fichte made the connection between committed action and nationality. Those who stood up and demonstrated their vitality were part of the Urvolk, those who did not were un-German. Hegel saw the people as a spiritual organism, whose expression, the collective spirit or Volksgeist, was its validating religion. The discussion mingled elements of theology, science and metaphysics to produce uplifting and philosophically challenging confusion.

     “But in the absence of clear geographical or political parameters, Germany’s national existence was ultimately dependent on some variant of the racial concept. And this began to be stated with increasing assertiveness. ‘In itself every nationality is a completely closed and rounded whole, a common tie of blood relationship unites all its members; all… must be of one mind and must stick together like one man’, according to Joseph Görres, who had once been an enthusiastic internationalist. ‘This instinctive urge that binds all members into a whole is a law of nature which takes preference over all artificial contracts… The voice of nature in ourselves warns us and points to the chasm between us and the alien’.

     “The location and identification of this ‘closed and rounded whole’ involved not just defining German ethnicity, but also delving into the past in search of a typically German and organic national unit to set against the old rationalist French view of statehood based on natural law and the rights of man. The bible of this tendency was Tacitus’s Germania. Placed in its own time, this book is as much about Rome as about Germanic tribes. It imagines the ultimate non-Rome, a place that had not been cleared and cultivated, and a people innocent of the arts of industry and leisure. The forest life it describes is the antithesis to the classical culture of Rome. It is also in some ways the original noble savage myth, representing everything that decadent Rome had lost; beneath Tacitus’s contempt for the savage denizens of the forest lurks a vague fear that by gaining in civilization the Romans had forfeited certain rugged virtues.

     “The German nationalists picked up this theme, which mirrored their relation to French culture. Roma and Germania, the city and the forest, corruption and purity, could stand as paradigms for the present situation. The ancient Teutonic hero Arminius (Hermann) had led the revolt of the German tribes against Rome and defeated the legions in the Teutonburg Forest. His descendants who aspired to throw off the ‘Roman’ universalism of France could take heart.”[13]


     Dostoyevsky developed this theme of the age-old opposition between Germany and Rome, of the perpetual revolt of the former against the latter: “Germany’s aim is one; it existed before, always. It is her Protestantism – not that single formula of Protestantism which was conceived in Luther’s time, but her continual Protestantism, her continual protest against the Roman world, ever since Arminius, - against everything that was Rome and Roman in aim, and subsequently – against everything that was bequeathed by ancient Rome to the new Rome and to all those peoples who inherited from Rome her idea, her formula and element; against the heir of Rome and everything that constitutes this legacy…

     “Ancient Rome was the first to generate the idea of the universal unity of men, and was the first to start thinking of (and firmly believing in) putting it practically into effect in the form of universal empire. However, this formula fell before Christianity – the formula but not the idea. For this idea is that of European mankind; through this idea its civilization came into being; for it alone mankind lives.

     “Only the idea of the universal Roman empire succumbed, and it was replaced by a new ideal, also universal, of a communion in Christ. This new ideal bifurcated into the Eastern ideal of a purely spiritual communion of men, and the Western European, Roman Catholic, papal ideal diametrically opposed to the Eastern one.

     “This Western Roman Catholic incarnation of the idea was achieved in its own way, having lost, however, its Christian, spiritual foundation and having replaced it with the ancient Roman legacy. [The] Roman papacy proclaimed that Christianity and its idea, without the universal possession of lands and peoples, are not spiritual but political. In other words, they cannot be achieved without the realization on earth of a new universal Roman empire now headed not by the Roman emperor but by the Pope. And thus it was sought to establish a new universal empire in full accord with the spirit of the ancient Roman world, only in a different form. 

     “Thus, we have in the Eastern ideal – first, the spiritual communion of mankind in Christ, and thereafter, in consequence of the spiritual unity of all men in Christ and as an unchallenged deduction therefrom – a just state and social communion. In the Roman interpretation we have a reverse situation: first it is necessary to achieve firm state unity in the form of a universal empire, and only after that, perhaps, spiritual fellowship under the rule of the Pope as the potentate of this world.

     “Since that time, in the Roman world this scheme has been progressing and changing uninterruptedly, and with its progress the most essential part of the Christian element has been virtually lost. Finally, having rejected Christianity spiritually, the heirs of the ancient Roman world likewise renounced [the] papacy. The dreadful French revolution has thundered. In substance, it was but the last modification and metamorphosis of the same ancient Roman formula of universal unity. The new formula, however, proved insufficient. The new idea failed to come true. There even was a moment when all the nations which had inherited the ancient Roman tradition were almost in despair. Oh, of course, that portion of society which in 1789 won political leadership, i.e. the bourgeoisie, triumphed and declared that there was no necessity of going any further. But all those minds which by virtue of the eternal laws of nature are destined to dwell in a state of everlasting universal fermentation seeking new formulae of some ideal and a new word indispensable to the progress of the human organism, - they all rushed to the humiliated and the defrauded, to all those who had not received their share in the new formula of universal unity proclaimed by the French revolution of 1789. These proclaimed a new word of their own, namely, the necessity of universal fellowship not for the equal distribution of rights allotted to a quarter, or so, of the human race, leaving the rest to serve as raw material and a means of exploitation for the happiness of that quarter of mankind, but, on the contrary – for universal equality, with each and every one sharing the blessings of this world, whatever these may prove. It was decided to put this scheme into effect by resorting to all means, i.e., not by the means of Christian civilisation – without stopping at anything. 

     “Now, what has been Germany’s part in this, throughout these two thousand years? The most characteristic and essential trait of this great, proud and peculiar people – ever since their appearance on the historical horizon – consisted of the fact that they never consented to assimilate their destiny and their principles to those of the outermost Western world, i.e. the heirs of the ancient Roman tradition. The Germans have been protesting against the latter throughout these two thousand years. And even though they did not (never did so far) utter ‘their word’, or set forth their strictly formulated ideal in lieu of the ancient Roman idea, nevertheless, it seems that, within themselves, they always were convinced that they were capable of uttering this ‘new word’ and of leading mankind. They struggled against the Roman world as early as the times of Arminius, and during the epoch of Roman Christianity they, more than any other nation, struggled for the sovereign power against the new Rome.

     “Finally, the Germans protested most vehemently, deriving their formula of protest from the innermost spiritual, elemental foundation of the Germanic world: they proclaimed the freedom of inquiry, and raised Luther’s banner. This was a terrible, universal break: the formula of protest had been found and filled with a content; even so it still was a negative formula, and the new, positive word was not yet uttered.

     “And now, the Germanic spirit, having uttered this ‘new word’ of protest, as it were, fainted for a while, quite parallel to an identical weakening of the former strictly formulated unity of the forces of his adversary. The outermost Western world, under the influence of the discovery of America, of new sciences and new principles, sought to reincarnate itself in a new truth, in a new phase. 

     “When, at the time of the French revolution, the first attempt at such a reincarnation took place, the Germanic spirit became quite perplexed, and for a time lost its identity and faith in itself. It proved impotent to say anything against the new ideas of the outermost Western world. Luther’s Protestantism had long outlived its time, while the idea of free inquiry had long been accepted by universal science. Germany’s enormous organism more than ever began to feel that it had no flesh, so to speak, and no form for self-expression. It was then that the pressing urge to consolidate itself, at least outwardly, into a harmonious organism was born in Germany in anticipation of the new future aspects of her eternal struggle against the outermost Western world…”[14] 


     Let us return to the narrative of Germany’s War of Liberation… “The French,” continues Zamoyski, “became villains, and Napoleon himself was even portrayed as the Antichrist, a focus for the crusading struggle of deliverance that would regenerate Germany. Poets composed patriotic verse and anti-Napoleonic songs…

     “An analogous wave of renewal swept through society. In 1808 the Tugenbund or League of Virtue, a society for the propagation of civic virtue, was formed in Königsberg and quickly ramified through Prussia. In 1809 Ludwig Jahn founded the more middle-class Deutsche Bund, based in Berlin. Joseph Görres demanded that all foreign elements be expunged from national life, so that essential German characteristics might flourish, and declared that no power could stand in the way of a nation intent on defending its soul. ‘That to which the Germans aspire will be granted to them, the day when, in their interior, they will have become worthy of it.’ Even the archetypically Enlightenment cosmopolitan Wilhelm von Humboldt was turning into a Prussian patriot. He was reorganizing the state education system at the time, and managed to transform it into a curiously spiritual one in which education and religion of state are inextricably intertwined. 

     “But while the mood changed, reality had not. Germany was still divided and cowered under French hegemony. To the deep shame of much of her officer corps, Prussia was still an ally of France when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. Her forces, which did not take part in the march on Moscow, were to support the French and secure their flank in East Prussia. And it was when the frozen remnants were trudging back into Prussia and Poland that this support would have been most welcome. But it was precisely then that the Prussian military judged it safe to show their colours. General von Yorck, in command of 14,000 men in East Prussia, found himself in a pivotal position. With his support, Marshal Macdonald would be able to hold the line of the River Niemen and keep the Russians out of Poland; without it, he had no option but full retreat. The Prussian general had been in touch with the Russians for some time, through the intermediary of a young German officer in Russian service by the name of Carl von Clausewitz. On Christmas Day 1812 Yorck met the commander of the Russian advance guard and, by a convention he signed with them at Tauroggen, repudiated Prussia’s alliance with France. It was an act of mutiny, the first in a series of acts by the German army to ‘save’ the fatherland against the orders of its political leaders. It was also the signal for all the nationalists to come out into the open.

     “The irascible Ernst Moritz Arndt was well to the fore. ‘Oh men of Germany!’ he exhorted, ‘feel again your God, hear and fear the eternal, and you heard and fear also your Volk; you feel again in God the honour and dignity of your fathers, their glorious history rejuvenates itself again in you, their firm and gallant virtue reblossoms in you, the whole German Fatherland stands again before you in the august halo of past centuries… One faith, one love, one courage, and one enthusiasm must gather again the whole German Volk in brotherly community… Be Germans, be one, will to be one by love and loyalty, and no devil will vanquish you.’

     “The king of Prussia did not feel quite brave enough to ‘be German’ yet. He ordered the arrest of Yorck, and then moved to Breslau, where he was out of reach of the French. In March 1813, when he saw that it was safe for him to jump on the anti-Napoleon bandwagon, Frederick William announced the formation of citizens’ volunteer forces, the Landwehr and the Landsturm. On 17 March he issued a proclamation to the effect that his soldiers would ‘fight for our independence and the honour of the Volk’, and summoned every son of the fatherland to participate. ‘My cause is the cause of my Volk,’ he concluded, less than convincingly. But nobody was looking too closely at anyone’s motives in the general excitement. The cause of the German fatherland justified everything. ‘Strike them dead!’ Heinrich von Kleist had urged the soldiers setting off to war with the French. ‘At the last judgement you will not be asked for your reasons!’ 

     “The campaign of 1813, when the patched-up Napoleonic forces attempted to stand up to the combined armies of Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Austria, and finally succumbed at Leipzig, should, according to Chateaubriand, go down in history as ‘the campaign of young Germany, of the poets’. That was certainly the perception. The by no means young Fichte finished his lecture on the subject of duty and announced to his students at Berlin that the course was suspended until they gained liberty or death. He marched out of the hall amid wild cheers, and led the students off to put their names down for the army…

     “The War of Liberation, Freiheitskrieg, was, above all, a war of purification and self-discovery. It did not stop with the expulsion of French forces from Germany in 1813. If anything, it was in the course of 1814, when Napoleon's forces were fighting for survival on French soil, that the War of Liberation really got going in Germany… 

     “But the War of Liberation was being waged no less vehemently at the cultural level. The poets were not squeamish when it came to singing of the national crusade, while the painters rallied to the cause in a memorable way. Caspar David Friedrich, who had already done so much to represent the symbolic German landscape as an object of worship through a series of paintings in which people are depicted contemplating its wonder like so many saints adoring the nativity in a medieval triptych, now turned to glorifying the nation. He painted several representations of an imaginary tomb of Hermann, evocatively set among craggy boulders and fir trees. And he also produced various set-pieces representing the war. Other painters depicted groups of patriotic German volunteers going forth in their hats to free the fatherland. Joseph Görres led a movement demanding the completion of Cologne Cathedral as a sign of German regeneration. ‘Long shall Germany live in shame and humiliation, a prey to inner conflict and alien arrogance, until her people return to the ideals from which they were seduced by selfish ambition, and until true religion and loyalty, unity of purpose and self-denial shall again render them capable of erecting such a building as this,’ he wrote.”[15]

     And yet the majority of the German people no longer believed either in the Catholicism that had erected Cologne cathedral, or in the Protestantism that had first raised the word of protest against the Franco-Roman world. (Or if the peasantry believed, the intellectuals did not.) The attempt to resurrect the past was actually a sign that the past was definitely dead. Thus German nationalism and its numerous offshoots was a new, degenerate religion taking up the void in the European soul that was left by the death of Christianity. 

     And of liberalism, too… Under the impact of the new collectivist nationalism, individualist liberalism withered. As George L. Mosse writes: “Even a devoted Liberal like Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) came, in the end, to the conclusion that ‘there are only two realities, God and the nation.’ At first he tried to combine individualism with a confrontation of the national problem as Fichte had done, but he, too, came to the realization that ‘man is nothing by himself except through the force of the whole with which he tries to fuse himself.’ Such romanticism swept before it the older cosmopolitan and humanitarian ideas of the last century. The old Goethe, who still proclaimed such sentiments and who derided the new nationalism, was as isolated a figure in Weimar as, a century later, the old Benedetto Croce was to be an isolated figure in the new Italy. His concept of liberal freedom was as outdated then, so it seemed, as Goethe’s was after the German wars of liberation against the French. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was the wave of the future. His book Volkstum (1810) glorified the German Volk who represented the whole of humanity and whose task it was to civilize the world by force. But the Volk must keep itself pure and undefiled as a race; Rome had fallen because races had mixed. Here already we can see the leanings of the glorification of the Volk toward an explicit racism. The state formed by the Volk would be democratic – Jahn as yet kept representative institutions and did not push the mystical unity of the Volk to the point where it superseded all representative forms of government.

     “The ‘force of the whole’ was the German nation singled out by God as the only valid Volk. Jahn organized the Turnerschaft to keep the people fit for the war that was coming. Significantly, the word turnen came from the medieval tournaments, but gymnastics were practical tasks to enable young men to be the soldiers of tomorrow. From their founding (1811) these Turnerschaften became centres of German nationalism; so did the Burschenschaften which Jahn was also instrumental in founding (1815). Students were united in them irrespective of their province or social class. Non-Germans, like the Jews, were excluded from the fraternities. These became instruments for German unity, meeting at the Wartburg in Thuringia, the constant symbol of a glorious German past. Here Luther worked and here the old Minnesaenger had held their festivals of song. Wagner was to put this spirit on the stage in his Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and in Tannhauser as well. This romantic nationalism was directed, above all, against France which had so recently occupied the country. Jahn’s diatribes against that nation were violent, just as Wagner later castigated French perfidy in the last lines of the Meistersinger. This nationalism, then, was inspired by the romantic movement. It was ‘total’ in the sense that it was not concerned with boundaries or even with blueprints for a government, but with ‘culture’ as a whole. Jahn addressed his Turners in uniforms representing an age long past, symbolizing the organic Volk which has its own and superior way of life.”[16]

     From now on, European man would only rarely be induced to die for God or Church or Sovereign. But he could be induced to die for his country; for the nation was now seen to incarnate the highest value, whether that value was defined as simply racial superiority (Germany), or cultural eminence (France), or the rule of law in freedom (England).


August 5/18 2017. 

[1] Dietrich von Engelhardt, “Romanticism in Germany” in Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich (eds.), Romanticism in National Context, Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 117.

[2] Von Müller, in M.J. Cohen and John Major, History in Quotations, London: Cassell, 2004, Cohen and Major, p. 534.

[3]Zamoyski, Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999, p. 166.

[4] Berlin, "The Bent Twig: On the Rise of Nationalism", The Crooked Timber of Humanity. London: John Murry, p. 245.

[5]Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles, London: Penguin, 2002, p. 539.

[6] Von Kleist, in Cohen and Major, op. cit.,

[7] Tikhomirov, Religiozno-Filosofskie Osnovy Istorii (The Religious-Philosophical Foundations of History), Moscow, 1997, p. 455.

[8] Fichte, in Cohen and Major, op. cit., p. 535.

[9]Görres, in Cohen and Major, op. cit., p. 535.

[10] Johnson, The Birth of the Modern, World Society 1815-1830, London: Phoenix, 1992, pp. 810-811.

[11]Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, London: Allen & Unwin, 1946, pp. 744-745.

[12] Thus Fichte said: “The genius of foreigners will be like the amiable hummingbird [or] the industrious and skilful bee which gathers in the honey… but the German spirit will be the eagle which will lift his heavy body on powerful wings and, through a long and exciting flight, climbs ever higher and higher towards the sun” (Addresses to the German Nation). (V.M.)

[13] Zamoyski, op. cit., pp. 162, 163-165.

[14] F.M. Dostoyevsky, The Diary of a Writer, May-June, 1877, chapter III, 1; Haslemere: Ianmead, 1984, pp. 727, 728-730. “It may perhaps be accidental,” writes Sir Karl Popper, “but it is in any case remarkable, that there is still a cultural frontier between Western Europe and the regions of Central Europe which coincide very nearly with those regions that did not enjoy the blessings of Augustus’ Roman Empire, and that did not enjoy the blessings of the Roman peace, i.e. of the Roman civilization. The same ‘barbarian’ regions are particularly prone to be affected by mysticism, even though they did not invent mysticism. Bernard of Clairvaux had his greatest successes in Germany, where later Eckhart and his school flourished, and also Boehme.

     “Much later Spinoza, who attempted to combine Cartesian intellectualism with mystical tendencies, rediscovered the theory of a mystical intellectual intuition, which, in spite of Kant’s strong opposition, led to the post-Kantian rise of ‘Idealism’, to Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel” (The Open Society and its Enemies, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966, p. 353).

[15] Zamoyski, op. cit., pp. 166, 167-168, 169-170. In the same year of 1813, and in the same city of Leipzig, where Napoleon was finally defeated by Prussia, the composer Richard Wagner was born. He, too, was to make an important contribution to German nationalism…

[16] Mosse, The Culture of Western Europe, Boulder & London: Westview Press, 1988, pp. 58-59.

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