Intellectual Currents in Contemporary Germany

ALL that I have to say about the intellectual life of the Germany of to-day may be summed up by a word of Nietzsche’s: ‘The Germans have as yet no to-day; they are of the day before yesterday and of the day after to-morrow.’ For perhaps never has the tragic truth of this word been more impressively revealed than now.

It is indeed hard to see how the German of to-day can obtain a view of the present in any way satisfying or acceptable. Wherever he looks, he sees popular misery, foreign oppression, national disintegration and decay. How, then, could it be otherwise but that the whole trend of contemporary German thought should turn either toward the shades of the past or the yet unborn forms of the future?


Memories of the past are naturally uppermost in the minds of the older generation, especially that part of it which preëminently shared in the splendor of the Wilhelminian age: the bureaucracy, the army and navy, the university professors, the landed and industrial aristocracy. How everything seemed to flourish and progress in the powerful Empire founded by the Iron Chancellor! German industry and commerce encircled the globe. German city administration was recognized all over the world as an unequaled model of civic efficiency and integrity. The social legislation of the Empire assured to the German working class a material basis of living such as no other country offered. The universal military service guaranteed a bodily vigor of the broad masses and a widely diffused sense of public duty, perhaps more sharply pronounced than anywhere else. The German universities and polytechnics were unquestionably the most productive institutions of research in the world and attracted a body of students who in methodical training and thoroughness of scholarship surpassed the youth of most other countries. The cultivation of art, particularly of music and the stage, was valued in a much higher degree than elsewhere as a public task, and had led in the widest circles of the population to a susceptibility to artistic impressions and to an intensity of interest in æsthetic questions which again had hardly a parallel among other peoples.

That this mighty empire and this brilliant civilization rested after all upon feet of clay, that they had been put in the service of a policy which ignored the fundamental conditions of healthy progress, respect for personal freedom and earnest desire for international brotherhood, and therefore was bound to conjure up fatal conflicts within and without—this is a truth which was hardly realized even by the most enlightened before the war. That its realization to-day should come particularly hard to those who themselves were instruments of that policy — the intellectuals of the old régime — is easy to understand. And yet, what a service could these intellectuals have rendered to the young struggling German Republic, and thereby to the Fatherland, if they, particularly the teachers in the Gymnasia and the university professors, had wholeheartedly accepted the new political responsibilities which the collapse of the old order brought for them; if they had earnestly pledged themselves to the Weimar Constitution and the ideals of popular government contained in it; if they had made themselves the mouthpiece of an enlightened internationalism. Instead of that, a defiant pessimism seems to have settled upon the minds of most of these men. They take no part in the efforts to substitute a new public consciousness for the played-out monarchy; they ascribe all popular misery to what they call Socialist misrule or Jewish conspiracy; they rail at all measures of internal reform; they clamor for a return to Bismarckian principles; they even acclaim the methods of a Ludendorff.

From this atmosphere of resentment and despair there has arisen the book which as no other work of scholarship has fascinated German readers of the last half decade: Oswald Spengler’s Doom of the Occident (Der Untergang des Abendlandes). That this book is in its way an extraordinary achievement cannot be gainsaid. It is a brilliant speculative survey of the higher life of the European nations, including their Oriental predecessors and winding up with the present. It is saturated with learning, it presents a vast amount of organized material, it abounds in striking characterizations both of individual figures and of general movements. Its most original contribution to the philosophy of history is, however, the pervading thought of a contrast between culture and civilization.

The customary division of European history into ancient, mediæval, and modern times Spengler replaces by the conception of a multitude of individual, autochthonous cultures, each of which has its own ‘soul’; and the customary assumption of a continuity of development from one national culture to another he replaces by the thesis that each individual culture completes its own circle of life separately, from infancy to manhood, senility, and utter extinction. The senile age of culture is civilization; in other words, civilization is that stage of human development when the soul-life of a given culture has become torpid, when unconscious production has been hardened into conscious reflection, when the dynamic has given way to the mechanic, when science takes the place of art, when the chief concern is no longer the creation of ideas, but only their diffusion among the largest possible number of people.

The rise and decay of three indigenous cultures Spengler singles out for particular study, the life-span of each of which he estimates at about a thousand years: Græco-Roman culture, ending with the Augustan age; Arab culture, having its roots in the same soil that brought forth Christianity, and withering away about the eleventh century; Occidental culture, rising in the eleventh century and now nearing its doom. The ‘soul’ of Græco-Roman culture he designates as Apollinic; the ‘soul’ of Arab culture as magic; the ‘soul’ of Occidental culture as Faust-like. With special emphasis he contrasts the first and the last of these types with each other. The Apollinic soul consists in calm and clarity, the Faust-like soul in unrest and longing. Græco-Roman culture consequently finds its highest expression in the mastery of the finite, Occidental culture in the striving for the infinite. The genius of the former is plastic, the genius of the latter musical. The universe of the former is Ptolemaic, the universe of the latter Copernican, The one produces Euclidean geometry, the other the differential calculus of Leibniz. The one leads to the Aristotelian philosophy of the actual, the other to Kantian Transcendentalism. In short, in every sphere of life a fundamental contrast between classical and modern culture.

But this very polarity of their psychic character brings out all the more clearly the parallelism in the external development of these two — as indeed of all — individual cultures in rise and decay. With Alexander the Great, Greek culture entered upon its senility; it turned into civilization; it no longer produced new ideas, but only put the old ideas into wider circulation. The senile age of Occidental culture set in at the beginning of the nineteenth century, with Napoleonic imperialism. The Faust-like soul of the Occident has lived itself out. It has realized all its possibilities. It has exhausted itself in philosophy and religion, in art and science. The only work left is collecting and classifying what has been achieved and applying it to practical purposes. Not the creation of new ideals of culture, but a life in the service of civilization is the demand of the hour. And the only hope of the future lies in a new Cæsar or a generation of Cæsars able to weld all the forces of civilization into one mighty mechanism which will keep automatically in motion until it wears out.

‘If under the impression of this book’ — these are Spengler’s own words — ‘youths of the new generation should turn to the hammer instead of the pen, to the rudder instead of the brush, to politics instead of metaphysics, they would do what I wish, and I could not wish anything better for them.’ Without sentimental wailings to prepare ourselves for the coming doom is the only becoming thing. ‘The ancient world died without foreboding its death. We know our history. We shall die with full consciousness; we shall follow all the stages of our own dissolution with the keen eye of the experienced physician.’

No wonder that the brilliant paradoxes and daring affirmations of Spengler, in a time dark with despair, were welcomed and feverishly consumed as a sort of soporific. But it certainly cannot be said that this self-constituted physician of his age has contributed much to its health. What the world — and especially Germany — needs to-day is a new faith, a new hope of the future. All the intellectual and moral forces of the people should be summoned to the service of inner regeneration. The conviction should be planted in all hearts that from the ruin of the old Germany a new and better Germany must arise. Spengler does everything he can to stifle this conviction. Rooted solely in the past, he has lost the sense for the meaning of the present, and the future is a blank to him. He, the admirer of Greek tragedy, the keen student of Shakespeare, the reveler in Bach and Beethoven, the disciple of Goethe and Nietzsche, demands from his contemporaries that they renounce all higher aspirations and strivings and chain themselves, in fatalistic contempt of the world, to the practical routine of the day. Why? Because he thinks the age doomed to perdition; because he believes that the death knell of Occidental culture has struck. For the sake of this whim, like a modern Cato, he calls upon his fellow countrymen to commit moral suicide.


Fortunately, a more productive form of relief from the distressing present than this exclusive dwelling in the past is afforded by the innate German love of work and the innate German interest in the affairs of the spirit, which have stood the test even of the desperate material conditions of to-day. The mental concentration which enabled Spengler to bring to its consummation, in the midst of national disaster, a work of such massive learning and such marked originality is itself a striking illustration of this fact. But it is not an isolated illustration.

Nothing perhaps is a greater surprise to the American traveling in Germany to-day than the undiminished scientific and artistic zeal making itself felt everywhere. Large museum buildings, such as the Pergamon Museum and the German Museum at Berlin, are, in spite of all difficulties, being slowly carried forward toward completion. Last autumn the city of Augsburg devoted a whole week to the study of Romanticism, through addresses of prominent scholars on Romantic literature, exhibitions of Romantic painting, and performances of the works of Romantic composers and dramatists. This winter, even the smaller German cities offer a regular repertoire of drama and opera far exceeding in seriousness and dignity theatrical conditions in Boston or Chicago. And professors of many different German universities were unanimous in telling me last summer that they never had had such students as now. A feverish thirst for learning, they said, seemed to have taken possession of them; and no privations or hardships, no unheated rooms, no lack of light, no empty stomachs, no threadbare clothes, no difficulties in obtaining a book or scientific instrument, no hard bodily work in factories or warehouses could dampen the enthusiasm with which these youths plunged into intellectual pursuits. It was natural that under pressure of economic distress a majority of the students should turn to the technical and exact sciences; but the humanistic studies also, such as philosophy, history of literature, history of art, showed no marked decrease in numbers and surpassed former times by the ardor and devotion of their followers.

These testimonies of professors are borne out by many manifestations of university life that have come to my notice: artistic achievements such as the annual Händel festivals at Göttingen; welfare movements such as the widespread activity of student organizations in support of Professor Damaschke’s schemes of land-holding reform; moral efforts such as the propaganda of the Eucken Alliance for cultivation of liberal and enlightened religious views — all symptoms of an academic idealism which in the midst of national collapse stands out for the reconstruction and heightening of individual life.

It was my good fortune, twice during the last few years, to take part in an academic celebration which revealed in a most impressive manner this spirit of unquenchable idealism: the socalled Kieler Herbstwoche für Kunst und Wissenschaft (Kiel Autumnal Week for Art and Science). Well known is the old Kieler Woche, an international regatta instituted by the former Emperor as a German counterpart to the famous ‘Cowes Week.’ Twelve years ago, I was present at this old Kieler Woche, and I shall never forget the fine June day when from the Imperial yacht Hohenzollern I saw the beautiful Kiel harbor before me filled with the vessels of all nations, a large part of the German navy arrayed in gala formation, the Hags flying from all steeples and houses of the town, and a festive multitude crowding the shores and the streets. Then came the war and the collapse. But in the autumn of 1920 I could witness the first new Kieler Woche — not an imperial naval review and sporting event, but a feast of science and art, arranged by the University and the City of Kiel, and supported by eminent scholars and artists from all over Germany. In the deserted harbor there lay the last sad remnants of what had once been the proud German navy; the last great German floating dock was being put in readiness for the tugs that were to tow it away to England; from the distance there were heard the dull reports of the blasting of the surrounding forts. But all this did not seem to affect the people of Kiel. Again the city had put on its array of flags; again a festive crowd moved through the streets; and young and old, high and low seemed bent only upon showing what this new Kieler Woche was to be: a holiday of the spirit.

The festivities began on Saturday evening with a private performance, by members of the University, of Goethe’s little allegorical play, Palœophron and Neoterpe — the old time and the new conversing with each other and forming a covenant for the future. On Sunday morning there were special services in all the churches, in the afternoon a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, in the evening Hauptmann’s Weavers. And then there followed six days of such a wealth of intellectual and spiritual treats as it is hard to describe. Every forenoon an address by some leading man from the foremost of German universities, beginning with Einstein on the theory of relativity and ending with the Rector of Bonn University on the comparative study of law. Every afternoon some symphony or oratorio. And every evening both a drama and an opera of the highest rank, the dramas leading from Goethe’s Egmont to Byron’s Manfred, the operas culminating in Wagner’s Meistersinger. Never have I seen an audience stirred to such a height of feeling as at this performance of the Meistersinger. It seemed as if Hans Sachs, represented by Feinhals of Munich with perfect art, was instinctively felt to be the embodiment of the very best in German character, its simplicity, purity, earnestness, its proud modesty, and its moral strength. He was joyously acclaimed as the genius of his people, as a pledge of the national future. One forgot the stage; one forgot the anguish of the present; one seemed to see a time when Germany, drawing forth new life from the deepest roots of her being, will again take her place, admired and beloved, among the nations.

Last autumn I had again the privilege of sharing in this University Week of my native town. One hardly sees how it was possible to plan such a celebration under the present chaotic conditions of German life, and one cannot admire enough the courage which inspired the organizers to the following announcement of their programme : —

Joy has become a rare guest amongst us; economic and political disasters threaten to crush us. And yet we have dared, this year also, in simple forms befitting the time, to arrange an autumnal week for Art and Science. For more than ever do we need an opportunity to lift ourselves, through earnest introspection and noble enjoyment, above the cares of the day.

This time there were no flags from the housetops, there was no festive crowd in the streets. But again a number of other German universities had sent their representatives, again actors and singers from the foremost German theatres took part, and again a programme of genuine worth was carried through. The academic addresses related for the most part to the age of the Renaissance and the Reformation. The musical part was in the main a memorial tribute to Max Reger: his widow had been invited as a guest of honor, and almost every day brought a performance, mostly in churches, of one of his great compositions. The dramatic series began with King Lear and led through Strindberg’s Spectre-Sonata and a dramatization of Holbein’s Dance of Death to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Everyman. In short, this time also the Kieler Herbstwoche contained enough of beauty and thought to raise both contributors and recipients to a higher level and to impart to them strength for the inevitable sufferings of cruel reality.

‘We need such a store of food for the coming winter’ was one of the touching words of thanks which I heard after an address which I myself had been permitted to deliver during this week.


All the academic efforts thus far considered are after all only makeshifts or diversions. They contain nothing essentially new; they derive strength from the ideals and achievements of former generations. But there is no lack of efforts in contemporary Germany which at least make the claim of offering something essentially new and of pointing the way from the misery of the present to a freer and nobler conception of humanity.

Three remarkable men who, each in his own way, stand for this new ideal of life I shall attempt briefly to characterize: Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, Rudolf Steiner, and Count Hermann Keyserling.

Foerster is a much-disputed figure. To some he is anathema, a traitor to his country; by others he is acclaimed as a leader and as a prophet of true national greatness. Perhaps he has gone too far in his condemnation of German policy of the last decades — at least during the war it would have been wiser not to seem to abet the defamation of Germany by her enemies. But a genuine patriot Foerster is, nevertheless, and the martyrdom of conviction surrounds him with the halo of tragic experience.

For him, the salvation of Germany lies in the radical turning away from the Bismarckian policy of centralization and the appeal to might. Germany, he thinks, by her national temper as well as by her geographical position is predestined to become the great mediator in European life. Federalism, in his opinion, was always the fundamental principle of German internal politics; and in foreign affairs the tolerant and cosmopolitan German was naturally averse both to the narrow, centralized nationalism of the French, and to the harsh imperialism of the English. The imitation of these altogether un-German tendencies by the Prussian monarchy had been the ruin of the German State. In the first place externally. For by the appeal to might, a people living in the midst of neighboring rivals was bound to condemn itself to being overpowered by them; in its own interest it should have appealed to reason instead of to might. But spiritually also Bismarckian policy had damaged and impoverished the German people by forcing the wealth of its tribal individualities into the rigid pattern of militarism.

From these aberrations the German soul must be freed. The individual German must become again what he was in the classic age of German culture: a citizen of the world. And German policy must find its highest task in helping to lay the foundation of a true League of Nations.

In order to save ourselves from becoming the centre of war between East and West, we must become the centre of peace. In view of the tremendous tension of the present world situation, the aim of the new German policy must be everywhere to unite and adjust instead of splitting up and intriguing. We must, with tact and loyalty, see to it that the German question is not going to sow discord between the other Governments. In every dissension we must honestly work for European unity and for world accord. On every occasion — even in questions that do not affect us immediately—we must try to smooth out the difficulties of our former enemies, and in every individual case we must help all parties to arrive at a morally fruitful compromise. A German foreign policy of this sort would at once be recognized as a blessing to the world. Through it we should atone for the dynamite policy of the former, militaristic Germany; we should open new paths to all other nations. Thus the one forcibly disarmed people might save the rest of the world from its own armaments.

In the face of the policy of conquest and oppression which the present, militaristic France is pursuing on the Rhine and Ruhr, such words as these will appear to many as the childlike fancies of a day-dreamer. And yet, do they not spring from motives which ought to become general — motives which, if made general, would indeed usher in a new and better era of humanity? And would the vanquished and mutilated Germany not achieve a moral victory more glorious than her military defeat was crushing, if she indeed succeeded by such a policy of reconciliation in kindling that same spirit in her former enemies? A liberating force these thoughts are in any case. They free from the dull pressure of suffering by making us see the meaning of suffering. They turn our glance toward ideals, the mere pursuit of which, irrespective of success or failure, sets all the highest instincts of our being in motion.

Rudolf Steiner also — the originator of the German variety of contemporary theosophical thought — aims at the creation of a new consciousness of international solidarity. It is significant that he should call his system of ideas, not theosophy but anthroposophy — science of man, not of God. He shares with the Indo-EnglishAmerican theosophists the belief in the spirituality of the universe and the striving for an ever heightened spiritualization of the individual. But he is distinguished from them by holding aloof from all manner of occultism and by the absorption of the whole tradition of German intellectual history. The name ‘Goetheanum,’ borne by the central sanctuary of the widely spread communities of his followers, is a visible symbol of his intellectual breadth. And much more energetically than any of his spiritual brethren of other nationalities he devotes himself to the problems of social reform.

Here again it is symptomatic of the course which a considerable current of contemporary German thought is taking, that Steiner also sees the deepest cause of the German collapse in the overstraining of the national conception of the State. The German State, according to him, had encroached arbitrarily upon the other two principal spheres of public activity, the industrial and the cultural. The urgent need of to-day, therefore, is to make the three fundamental forms of social life — State, industry, and culture — independent of each other, and to recognize each of these forms in its individuality and special task. The State, Steiner thinks, has to do only with the legal relation of man to man, or, as Super-State, with the legal relation of people to people. If it tries, itself, to carry on industrial enterprises, if it tries to regulate intellectual production, then it loses thereby the power to fulfill its own mission, the nonpartisan administration of justice; it becomes party itself; nay, it becomes the tyrant of society.

This was indeed, according to Steiner, the condition of Germany before the war. Brilliant as was the development of German industry during the last fifty years, industry, through its close connection with the State, had become an instrument of politics and had thereby called forth political frictions all over the worId. And even the much-admired social legislation of the Empire, the invalid and old-age insurance, had been robbed of its inner worth by the fact that it was planned as a political measure for the curbing of Social Democracy and therefore failed to win over the hearts of the laboring class.

Steiner takes a similar view of the scientific and artistic production and the whole educational system of the old Empire. Schools, universities, and academies of art were, in his opinion, only too often managed as breedingplaces of a particular set of political views, and, in so far as this was the case, were made to serve purposes alien to their real task. In spite of their undoubted technical efficiency and in spite of many individual achievements of research made possible by them, they accordingly — as a whole — fell short of the chief goal of all education: the creation of a free, broad, unbiased, universally human conception of life. In a word, great as were the successes achieved by the German Empire during the last fifty years, by concentrating the energy of a whole people upon the immediately attainable and the nationally useful, this Empire has not fulfilled a far-reaching and lasting international mission.

It is for the defeated and humiliated Germany to fulfill such a mission, by emancipating the three fundamental forms of social life from each other. A State which limits its activity to safeguarding equal rights for all, which does not aspire to being an industrial overlord or an intellectual dictator, is certain in its relation with other countries likewise to avoid encroachment upon legitimate rights. An industrial system which does not serve political interests is certain to carry on its intercourse with foreign industrial systems in the spirit of international compromise, not of international threats. An intellectual life which is permitted to develop without any political interference, spontaneously and from within, is certain to seek out its kindred in other countries also and, by amalgamating with them, to help in producing a truly international mind and a living consciousness of the unity of the human race.

Here lie the most portentous, and the most hopeful, tasks of the German future.

Count Keyserling is the most brilliant of the three men considered here in common. The spirited observer of life who in happier days traveled around the globe in order to find himself, who, after the return to his ancestral estate in Esthonia, was plunged through the war into the conflict between his German blood and allegiance to a hostile Government, and finally, through the Russian revolution, was bereft of everything and sent into exile, has now for years placed himself resolutely and without reserve in the service of European reconstruction; and from his ‘School of Wisdom’ in Darmstadt, from before the very gates of foreign oppression and misrule, there come forth ever new words of life and inspiration.

Keyserling is not, like Foerster, an unconditional pacifist; the repulse of attacks upon the foundations of national existence is for him a matter of course. Nor is he, like Foerster and Steiner, an absolute opponent of the Bismarckian conception of the State. But the past is for him something irrevocably dead; he condemns any attempt to restore its forms; he lives altogether in the future; in the present he sees only and wants to see only the new emerging from the ruins of the old.

He says: —

Perhaps never before was a people, as a thing of the past, so entirely done for as the German people to-day. The heroic figures of its great tradition are gone; the representatives of its most recent past have proved incapable of satisfying the demands of a new spirit of the times. Neither the Prussian officer, nor the official, nor the professor, nor even the technical expert, as traditional types, can be depended upon as leaders in the work of reconstruction. But on the other hand, never before did a people in like circumstances bear so much future in itself. It is the most youthful, most virile, most promising people of all Europe. Thanks to the breadth of its intellectual basis and to the afflux of fresh elements through the immigration of exiled Germans from abroad, it has suffered less in quality through the war than most other belligerents.

Now its task is to understand its character and its mission correctly and to remodel its type accordingly. Since types are creations of the spirit, such a remodeling is always possible; and Germans are particularly easy to remodel, since no other people is so easily influenced by ideas. If Germany remodels herself in accordance with the needs of the time, then her speedy rise is beyond all question. For she has before her a goal of such tremendous import that all the experiences of the past pale before it.

What is this goal? Keyserling has tried to answer this question chiefly from two points of view, the political and the industrial.

The assurance of a great political task of Germany for the new Europe Keyserling finds, paradoxically, in the essentially unpolitical character of the German people. Politics, in the diplomatic sense of the word, as a manifestation of the national craving for power, is doomed — he thinks — to play in the future only a secondary rôle.

Inadequate as have been, hitherto, the attempts to regulate the relations of countries with each other through the resort to an international court, the whole development of modern civilization nevertheless inevitably leads to the conception of humanity as a unit, within which the claims of individual nations for power must be subordinated to the law of the whole. The rule of might is therefore bound more and more to lose caste, to appear as something second-rate, something out of date.

Now the German character is conspicuously unfit for wielding might; and it was a fatal mistake of the Wilhelminian age not to have taken account of this national peculiarity. In spite of Nietzsche’s hysterical cries for power and mastery, the German character stands, essentially, not for power and mastery but for insight and understanding. The average German likes to adapt himself rather than to rule; he is less organizing than organizable; his patriotism — in so far as it is not simply feeling for home — rests not so much on pride in political dominion as on appreciation of æsthetic and spiritual creations. The chief motives of his moral conduct are truthfulness, conscientiousness, objectivity, respect for higher values, diligence, joy of work — in other words, the less the German is fitted to be a politician, the more valuable is he as a citizen.

The political service of the German people for Europe should therefore consist in demonstrating the superiority of citizenship over politics, by creating a model democracy and a model socialistic State. The old State has paved the way for such a change in many directions. What is needed now is to instill a new spirit, the spirit of freedom, into the old organization; to break entirely away from the principle of class; to appraise the workman, not as a marketable commodity, but as a member of society; and thus, not so much to fulfill the Socialistic party programme as to carry out the fundamental principle of Socialism: that every man must be treated, not only as a means to an end, but above all as an end in himself.

This task of supreme importance could and should he accomplished by Germany, the only land of the Occident where knowledge predominates over the will, where everyone has his own individual view of the world and guides his own activity thereby. If, however, Germany does accomplish this task, then she is sure of an immense proselyting power. For everywhere in the Occidental world there exists the same longing for this new life; and it is only a question of where first it will come to fulfillment.

An equally wide horizon Count Keyserling opens up to the German people in industrial life. Not only the policy of might is — as we have heard — destined to play a comparatively subordinate part in international affairs of the future; the State itself is bound to lose more and more in importance as compared with the great industrial combinations.

Even before the war the internal balance of power had shifted in this direction. The greatness of England rested to no small degree in the fact that she had fallen behind politically in so far as the idea of Empire was borne, besides the State, by a variety of other free organizations. America’s marvelous rise resulted largely from the circumstance that there the State left leadership in industrial development to the enterprise of private corporations. As to Germany, her true power among the nations — which was far greater than most Germans knew — did not rest so much upon her army, which after all was only continental, as upon the fine meshes of her industrial cobweb, spanning the globe; and this power was destroyed only because the German Government carried on a policy inimical to the true interests of German industry, so that the true power of the country was overruled by the spirit of what in reality was the most insignificant and impotent part of the national body.

To-day the defeated, feeble, bankrupt German State is not in a position to take part in national reconstruction in any other way beyond what has already been indicated: the suffusion of public life with democratic and socialistic ideals. The actual task of reconstruction lies with the leaders of industry, the heads of the great private corporations. The Syndicate of the ‘Associated German Industries’ means more than Government and Reichstag put together. Now the interests of these industrial combinations themselves demand supra-national agreement. For them, more than for any other group of society, it is a question of the reconstruction — not of any single people, but of Europe. In their own interest, therefore, they must work for international reconciliation, for a real peace.

The great question of to-day is, Will the German industrial leaders be equal to their task? Will they be conscious of the fact that they are not private individuals, but rulers responsible to the national conscience and responsible for the national welfare? Will they refuse in common with the invaders of the Ruhr to enslave German workingmen and to sell German sovereignty of German soil? Will they see that the moment has come for them to demonstrate by great acts their right to assume the leadership formerly left to the State? In other words, will they save the German national dignity and the German soil? Will they actually carry out the socialization of the State, demanded by the age? ill they, by genuine international fraternization, permanently secure the peace of Europe?

Should the industrial leaders fail to live up to this momentous task, should they for personal gain sacrifice national sovereignty and the vital interests of the German workmen, then Germany’s last hour has come, then Bolshevism will destroy the last vestiges of German greatness of the past. But if the leaders of industry grasp the momentousness of their task and show themselves equal to it, then a new era of German achievements in industrial life also is assured. For it was her industrial organization which gave Germany her leadership before the war. If this organization now fills itself with the new spirit of democracy and of international accord, if thereby it comes to be the embodiment of the collective work of the whole people and the foremost representative of European unity, then Germany will be able—not as heretofore isolated, but in conjunction with the rest of the world — to employ her best strength. Not only the Prussian but also the nationalistic period of German history belongs irrevocably to the past. But it means more and is more fruitful to be a foremost part of progressive humanity than to maintain one’s self against all other nations. It means more to work for the benefit of all than for one’s self alone. In the new, industrially united world the best qualities of the German mind will soon assert themselves and will bring back to Germany the human leadership which, in other forms, she had in the classic epoch of our literature and philosophy.

Men like Foerster, Steiner, and Keyserling are perhaps too prone to overlook the obstacles which block the way to the goal seen afar from the height of their intuitive hopes. Surely, only the purest faith and the most exalted self-renunciation will be able to pass unscathed through the ordeals which beset the path of the German future from all sides. But even though the immediate future is dark, it means much to have men of this stamp point to the distant peaks on the horizon. And the constantly widening influence which particularly Count Keyserling, as the outstanding intellectual figure of to-day, is exerting upon the German mind seems a pledge that the remaking of the national type for which he and his kind are working is bound to become a reality.