ONE DAY IN THE SUMMER OF 1917 A STUDENT was reading in his room in Moscow. A stranger entered, laid a book on the table, and silently vanished. The cover of the book bore in Russian the words from the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew: 'He is near, he is hard by the door.'
The student sensed the masterful irony of higher powers in this strange happening. They had sent him a silent message. He opened the book, and the voice of a demon spoke to him.
It was a message concerning the Antichrist, who would come at the end of days. It was the portrait of a type of man who comes to the fore when an epoch is dying. He is a man with a white skin, in everyday clothes, dangerously contemporary, and a mighty demagogue. He will talk with the masses, and at his word the masses will rise up and turn a culture to ashes, a culture which has deserved no better, since it has borne the Antichrist in its own image and for its own destruction. The great Russian philosopher Soloviev described him. The Antichrist 'does not look like what he is,' and therein precisely lies the danger. He is a young man with a strong personality and seductive power of speech and writing. He is an ascetic and a vegetarian. He will win fame first by a book in which 'respect of the ancient traditions and symbols stands side by
- 1 -
side with a bold and thorough radicalism in social and political problems...absolute individualism with an ardent fidelity to the common weal....' Then, in Berlin, he will become ruler of the 'United States of Europe'; he will conquer Asia and North Africa; America will submit to him voluntarily. He is an absolute genius, and he may, says Soloviev, wear a small mustache.
This is the demon who speaks out of the book.
'We shall talk with the people on the streets and squares,' says the demon, 'and teach them to take the view of political questions which at the moment we require. For what the ruler says to the people spreads through the whole country like wildfire, the voice of the people carries it to all four winds.
'We' -- the demon always says 'We' -- 'shall create unrest, struggle, and hate in the whole of Europe and thence in other continents. We shall at all times be in a position to call forth new disturbances at will, or to restore the old order.
'Unremittingly we shall poison the relations between the peoples and states of all countries. By envy and hatred, by struggle and warfare, even by spreading hunger, destitution, and plagues, we shall bring all peoples to such a pass that their only escape will lie in total submission to our domination.
'We shall stultify, seduce, ruin youth.
'We shall not stick at bribery, treachery, treason, as long as they serve the realization of our plans. Our watchword is: force and hypocrisy!
'In our arsenal we carry a boundless ambition, burning avidity, a ruthless thirst for revenge, relentless hatred. From us emanates a specter of fear, all-embracing terror.'
A gabbling demon, and self-conceited, too:
'We are the chosen, we are the true men. Our minds give off the true power of the spirit; the intelligence of the rest is instinctive and animal. They can see, but they cannot foresee; their inventions are purely corporeal. Does it not follow clearly that Nature herself has predestined us to dominate the whole world?
'We shall not submit the unique greatness of our ultimate plan, the context of its particular parts, the consequences of each separate point, the secret meaning of which remains hidden, to the judgment
- 2 -
and decision of the many, even of those who share our thoughts; we shall not cast the gleaming thoughts of our leader before the swine, and even in more intimate circles we shall not permit them to be carped at.
'We shall paint the misdeeds of foreign governments in the most garish colors and create such an ill-feeling toward them that the peoples would a thousand times rather bear a slavery which guarantees them peace and order than enjoy their much-touted freedom. The peoples will tolerate any servitude we may impose on them, if only to avoid a return to the horrors of wars and insurrection. Our principles and methods will take on their full force when we present them in sharp contrast to the putrid old social order.
'Outwardly, however, in our "official" utterances, we shall adopt an opposite procedure and always do our best to appear honorable an co-operative. A statesman's words do not have to agree with his acts. If we pursue these principles, the governments and peoples which we have thus prepared will take our IOU's for cash. One day they will accept us as benefactors and saviors of the human race.
'If any state dares to resist us; if its neighbors make common cause with it against us, we shall unleash a world war.'
And then the demon spreads his wings, conceals the sky, darkens the world:
'By all these methods we shall so wear down the nations that they will be forced to offer us world domination. We shall stretch out out arms like pincers in all directions, and introduce an order of such violence that all peoples will bow to our domination.'
Who is this 'we'? Who is it that brags so absurdly?
To the student it is not absurd. It sounds fantastic, but it is not a mere tissue of lies. He turns back the pages and discovers that all this accursed wisdom, all these diabolical plans, were hatched out by a group of old Jews, who met together in a back room in Basel, Switzerland, in the year 1897. The demon aiming to devour the world is a Jewish club. It stands there in black and white, described at length, with place and date. Twenty years had passed before this knowledge found the right man. And thus The Proto-
- 3 -
cols of the Wise Men of Zion, since become so famous, fell into the hands of Alfred Rosenberg.
A mysterious occurrence. Rosenberg himself has often told how the unknown suddenly stepped into his room, laid down the book, and silently departed. To Rosenberg it was a sign from heaven. Both the place and the hour were significant. Moscow, 1917. Far to the west, the German-Russian phase of the First World War was drawing to an end in crumbling trenches; in the streets of the capital, the Russian Revolution was ebbing and flowing. Alfred Rosenberg, the son of a shoemaker, born in Reval (Tallinn) on the Baltic, was then twenty-four years old; he was of German descent but as an Esthonian, he was a subject of the Russian tsar. He had been raised in the German and Russian languages; he had first studied engineering and architecture at Riga, also on the Baltic; then, when the German army occupied Riga, he had fled. Now he was studying in Moscow.
The globe was afire. The tsar's empire was crumbling. Perhaps there would never again be peace. Perhaps this book would tell him why. The demon, who had incited the nations against each other, had spoken. Perhaps he, Alfred Rosenberg, understood him better than others; for in his own soul he could feel more strongly than others the mesh woven by hatred and love between the nations. He came from the tsar's Baltic, German provinces. He could scarcely say whether he was more Russian or more German. But today there were greater things concerning which he must achieve clarity. Here in Russia's holy city, in Russia's language, he had received a message. Judah, a book has brought forth thine innermost thoughts! He, the student, would close his eyes and believe it all his life, as firm as a rock. Was a new epoch of world history begining in Moscow at that hour? Surely one of the most astounding, far-reaching, and bloody conspiracies of all time was bound to that hour. He who could read would go far.
'The nations,' say the demon, 'love and honor audacity in statesmen. Faced with an act of violence, they say: that was vile but clever! A scoundrel's trick, but wonderfully executed! With what insolence! Our leaders must move toward their goal with unparalled boldness. Then we shall break all resistance in our path.'
- 4 -
The vision sends forth an icy chill and a breath of deadly truth.
The demon of world domination has spoken. He has proclaimed the great secret: the world can be dominated. Bowed with weariness, the peoples demand subjection. And those who resist will be tamed by terrible blows and sufferings. Modern society is charged with a magical current which in all men creates the same thoughts. The masses expect great things of their rulers. And for that reason, great things are easy.
This is the true sense of the secret writings which we today know as The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion. Everything else in the develops from the basic idea that world domination is possible in our time: with sovereign contempt it is shown with what relative ease it can be achieved. Later, at third, fourth, and fifth hand, these profound thoughts were woven together with a figment of forgeries and purposeful lies which confused and obscured the whole document to the point on unintelligibility. But precisely in that condition it could be swallowed without understanding by millions of readers, and this gave it its great effect.
Today we are in a position to re-create the original content of the document. Its content is how to establish dictatorship with the help - and abuse - of democratic methods. The genesis of Caesarism is described. We are told that democracy, if carried to its extreme conclusion, provides the usurper with his best weapons. Furthermore, democracy, in the international field actually offers a dictator, who has formly entrenched himself in one country, the possibility of world domination. This is the true content of the famous Protocols.
Three generations ago a brilliant thinker wrote this secret formula for the achievment of world domination. We know little concerning his life. He was a French lawyer named Maurice Joly. He was, at the time he wrote his little book, a conservative, legitimist and monarchist. He had no thought of writing a secret document; on the contrary, he had in mind a satire against Napoleon III, then emperor of the French. Whether he ever percieved that he was leaving behind him the prophecies of a great seer; whether he ever guessed that his book embraced a political doctrine of world-shaking force, we don't know.
- 5 -
The work was published in Brussels in 1864, by A. Mertens et Fils, as an illegal propaganda pamphlet; it was written in French and bore the title: Dialogue aux enters entre Machiavel et Montesquieu, ou la politique de Machiavel au XlXe siecle, par un Con- temporain. (Dialogue in hell between Machiavelli and Montesquicu, or the politics of Machiavelli in the nineteenth, century by a contemporary.) His anonymity did not avail the author. The police of the French emperor discovered him, he was sent to prison for fifteen months. His book was published in a second edition, then it was forgotten, and today scarcely any copies of it can be found.
For the author had seen the secret disease of his epoch, and that is something which men do not like. Today we read Joly with quite different eyes. Today the evils are no longer secret. To us, living in the present day, some of the sentences of this forgotten book seem like a lightning flash, bathing the present in dazzling light. They are unpleasant truths, but great truths, and they come down to us from great sources. Joly gathered his wisdom from Machiavelli and Montesquieu; the Italian political philosopher of the fifteenth, the French political philosopher of the eighteenth century, step forward in his book and utter the,icleas of their great works, Il Principe and L'Esprit des Lois. Chiefly the ideas of Machiavelli were retained in the book's later form, The Protocols of Zion. Joly applied these ideas to the technique of dominating the modern masses; that was his contribution. In the final version the conception is broadened to cover the masses of whole continents, of the entire globe.
This brings us to world domination. It is a secret necessity inherent in the mechanism of our existence, it lives in our minds as a secret goal; it stands in the sea of the future as a magnetic mountain, inexorably attracting the ship of modern society. The modern world is a unit. China and England may not pray to the same God, but a telephone bell means the same thing to the yellow man as to the white; a telegraphic transfer of pounds sterling or dollars buys in Asia the rice which is eaten in Europe or America. Such a world would be perfect under the leadership of a central mind, informed over a thousand wires, seeing through millions of electric eyes, aided by the best brains; a mind which would know the needs
- 6 -
of the world and satisfy them with all the means which a dominated earth holds at the disposal of the knowing.
Is this the truth? Who has spoken? Perhaps it is only a half truth, but even in its halfness it is of enormous import, which is not seen by most, men. The demon has spoken - or shall we say the spirit of the age - or, in still other words - the new type of man, who is imprinting his features on this age. History is the most skeptical of all sciences; it knows no absolute truths. It does not matter whether things really are as the demon says - what matters is to know whether there are men who see them that way; and whether these men are, important.
This is the meaning which our age breathes into the teachings of Machiavelli. At its base, however, lies an eternal pessimistic wisdom which teaches that men are easily satisfied, hence easy for a clever mind to dominate. These two elements, the modern truth and the timeless wisdom, give the book a terrifying power which shines through the varnish of superimposed lies.
Maurice Joly had understood the meaning of domination. He knew the modern mass and its state of mind. He had seen a master guide it. The master was Napoleon III, conspirator, usurper, and for nearly twenty years emperor of the French; at once nationalist and socialist, democrat and tyrant, pacifist and conqueror, dictator by virtue of bayonets and the plebiscite; applauded by the masses whom he had politically raped. Joly had written his book with him in mind. He was meant when the demon spoke: we shall stultify the people, we shall promote disturbances in Europe and elsewhere, we shall create a mighty central power, we shall commit crirnes, and the people will admire us for them. If gallstones had not made a wreck of this third Napoleon, he might have died in power and glory.
Joly's magnificent portrait of modern tyranny underwent a strange fate. After thirty years of oblivion, its great day came. It was discovered by a group of Russian conspirators. Not, to, be sure, by the Russian revolutionaries of that day, the Nihilists, Social Democrats, or Social Revolutionaries; but by a few crafty agents of the counter-revolution, members of the Ochrana, the tsar's secret police. They wanted to frighten the tsar and drive him to blood-
- 7 -
shed. To this end they persuaded him that the Jews of the whole world had devised a secret conspiracy to achieve domination, first over Russia, then over the whole world.
Claims of this sort were not new; they lay to a certain extent in the air. In the nineteenth century the Jews had nearly everywhere - though not in Russia - achieved civil equality and thus taken their place in modern society. Some had amassed great wealth, a few - for example, the house of Rothschild - had even attained real influence, and inspired a venomous anti-Semitism. Soloviev, for example, quotes a French priest who wrote 'that he lived by anticipation of that glorious day when, the skin stripped off ... the Jews will he used for making cheap carpets.'
This epoch lies behind us. Today Rothschild is a memory, no longer a power. Anonymous, massive concentrations of power in industry and finance have relegated the Jewish bankers and big merchants - once so impressive - to second or third rank. There is a Jewish problem; this book will not attempt to deny it. As a modern Jewish leader, Theodor Herzl, said, 'The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in any considerable number. . . . The longer anti-Semitism lies dormant, the more furiously it must break out: Nevertheless, painful as it is, it principally concerns the Jews themselves; it is not and never was the chief problem of society as a whole, which has other and graver worries. But in the nineteenth century, it was possible for imaginative minds to he frightened by the aura of political power surrounding certain Jewish names. In 1868, Hermann Gödsche, a German signing himself Sir John Retcliffe the Younger, wrote a novel entitled Biarritz. In it twelve rabbis from all corners of the earth meet in the Jewish cemetery in Prague. There they set up a cry of Satanic glee, for through accursed gold, through its mighty bankers, Judah has conquered the world, bought kings and the princes of the Church; Judah is wallowing in vice and glory. The rabbis represent the twelve tribes of Israel and speak Chaldaean. Subsequently this chapter, somewhat revised, was printed in pamphlet form and translated into foreign languages. And now, lo and behold, we have an 'authentic document,' proving the existence of a Jewish world conspiracy.
- 8 -
Gödsche's text was childish and none too convincing. But suppose you take these rabbis conspiring in their cemetery and give them the worldly wisdom, the contempt for humanity, the seductive power of Joly's tyrant. Don't just make them avaricious braggarts; make them subtle and crafty: make them speak the accursed satirical wisdom of Machiavelli, but in deadly earnest; finally, confound the fabulous nocturnal conspiracy with an international Jewish congress which actually did convene to discuss such sober matters as the problem of emigration. Then we have before us, in all its bloody romantic horror, the demon of Jewish world domination gathered in a congress and fixed in a protocol.
That is what happened. The group of Russian conspirators dug up Joly's forgotten book; they were also familiar with the horror story about the Jewish cemetery in Prague; they knew by the newspapers that in 1897 the Jewish Zionist Movement had very publicly been founded at a congress in Basel; finally, they knew only too well the golden awe emanating from the ancient fame of the Rothschilds. The ingredients of a magnificent conspiracy lay at hand, requiring only to be mixed.
The Ochrana, the tsarist secret police, furnished the means and the brains. First General Oryevsky, one of its heads, had a pamphlet prepared, based on the rabbis' conspiracy in Gödsche's story. The novelty was that the pamphlet was written in the form of protocols; this gave it a much more serious look. The pamphlet served as a frame to which Joly's ideas were embroidered in glowing colors. This was the work of General Ratchkovsky, the leader of the French division of the Ochrana. For the Ochrana had divisions for all countries. Everywhere it tracked down the activities of Russian, and not only Russian, revolutionaries. It was a kind of world conspiracy; a net of spies, intriguers, bribe-givers, and political agitators, which Russian tsarism had cast over the world.
With his eye for conspiracy, Ratchkovsky saw the explosive power inherent in Joly's timeworn and seemingly harmless work. It described modern dictatorship, its secret and yet so open methods; laid bare its cogs and springs. A real tyrant would never have spoken so self-revealingly; only a hostile satirist could have put such words of braggadocio into his mouth. The effect was a terrible
- 9 -
self-inclictment of modern dictatorship. This presumably is why the material appealed so strongly to these conspirators of dictator- ship. They were confronted with their own image.
They could scarcely have pondered the matter very deeply, but it is precisely in the unconscious acts of men that history is most clearly revealed. The Ochrana men knew that this was good material, that they could make use of it. That was enough. In one or two evenings, over a pipe and a cup of tea, you could adapt this colorful but rather anonymous document for any purpose, put any label on it. Where Joly speaks in the first person singular, puts his speeches in the mouth of Machiavelli, means Napoleon III, and is actually denouncing modern Caesarism as such - just substitute 'We Jesuits,' 'We Freemasons,' 'We Englishmen,' or 'We Jews'- the result would be a fragment of perverted truth, hence not entirely incredible. As for Ratchkovsky and his clique, they were interested in the Jewish angle.
Their plan was more than a simple palace conspiracy. It was the first great attempt at a mighty national counter-revolution against the democratic and socialist revolution of the nineteenth century. The plan was to fuse the passion of the people and the cold power of the state into a mighty, counter-revolutionary force that would shake society to its foundations. If the movement had succeeded, it would most likely have transformed the old autocratic tsarism profoundly from within, made it a hundred times more powerful. In Holy Russia, at the beginning of the twentieth century, it would probably have created a new phenomenon in many respects resembling the later fascist dictatorships. Society in Russia was further advanced in its spiritual disintegration, inwardly more prepared for revolution than anywhere else in the world; at the same time the state power was stronger than anywhere else. Hence, it is understandable that this first attempt at a state-directed revolution should have been made here. It is in any case worth thinking about. Through this conspiracy, Russia became the spiritual mother country of modern fascism, as it later became the world center of communism. As nucleus of the counter-revolutionary popular movement, a new party was formed. A certain Butmy was its leader. This party was
- 10 -
military in organization. Its storm troops rode through the country, performing 'propaganda by action.' Chief among their activities was a bloody persecution of the Jews, the aim being to call attention to the Jews as the ostensible cause of bad conditions. Always strike the minority was their principle - for when a minority is punished, it is guilty in the eyes of the masses. The name of the movement was 'The Black Hundreds,' which meant simply: the black guard. The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion became the program of this movement; with it they were born, and with it they grew. Even the primitive version, based on Gödsche's nocturnal conspiracy of rabbis, had a terrible effect. It was circulated widely, and in 1903 gave the signal for the Kishenev pogrom, in which several thousand Jews were massacred.
By its very nature every fascist movement strives to harness both the people and the state power to its will. The men who cooked up the Protocols wanted not only to stir up the masses, but also to take in the credulous tsar. To this end, they gave the book a political timeliness. A first version had been prepared toward the end of the nineties by Golovinski and Manuilov, two journalists in the service of Ratchkovsky. This version included Joly's most impressive bits. For some reason or other the bombshell was left unused for a few years. It was not hurled until political developments offered a particularly grateful target. In 1904-05, the pamphlet was refurbished as an attack on Prince Svatopulk-Mirski, minister of the interior, and Count Witte, the finance minister, who were too liberal for the Ochrana. A pamphlet on financial policy, by a certain Sharapov, attacking Count Witte was appended. References to the unfortunate Russo-Japanese War and to Witte's role as peacemaker were woven in. All this, of course, beneath the paper- thin trimming of a Jewish conspiracy. Other propaganda works represented the Jews as warmongers; now, on the contrary, they had to be peacemongers; for if Witte made peace with the Japanese, he did so - say the Protocols - on the instigation of the Jews, who were opposed to a Russian victory. They did not want a Russian victory, because it would have thwarted their plan for world domination.
This is the origin of the supposed textbook of Jewish world dom-
- 11 -
ination. Today the forgery is incontrovertibly proved, yet some. thing infinitely significant has remained: a textbook of world domination pure and simple. The leaders of the Black Hundreds had written this great method of demagogy, the tsar's secret police had given it plastic form. Or, to call this clique of political oiecials, venal writers, conspiratorial officers, by their proper name. the armed intellectual (1) was out to seize power over the masses. He denied it, to be sure; he said: no, no, this was not my work. The Jew devised these plans; I only stole them and brought them to light for the salvation of mankind. But today we know better. An impartial court has established the truth, even anti-Semitic propagandists have today dropped the myth of the Jewish conspiracy in Basel and admitted Joly's authorship. At first the anti-Semites comforted themselves with the idea that Joly was a Jew and that a 'Jewish spirit' had impelled him to write his book; but then Joly's baptismal record was found, exploding this last hope; since then, some anti-Semites have declared merely that the Protocols are 'deeper wisdom,' beyond any possibility of documentary proof. Actually they do contain a deeper truth; but the demonstrable history of their origin shows that this truth involves not a Jewish but a fascist world conspiracy.
(1) The word 'intellectual' makes it necessary, for the first and the last time in this book, to bother the reader with a footnote. The German 'Intellektueller' and the English'intellectual' do not mean the same thing. The German word has (especially in recent times) taken a broader meaning and is frequently used merely to designate people with an education above the average; either academic or technical. But the difficulty does not stop here. This book deliberately uses the word 'intellectual' to designate a group, or rather a type, characterized, not by a common economic or material interest, but a common outlook. It comes close to the type of the pragmatical and mechanistically minded modern man, product of mass education, whose sole criterion is: Will it work? Such a man may be, for example, an executive, dentist, or engineer, but whatever his occupation, be will have a sense of class superiority due to an education above the average. In Germany it was this type, restless and disillusioned, that gravitated most readily to the Nazis and formed the backbone of the movement.
The term 'bohemian,' which occurs later, can best be defined as the 'intellectual' who has not found his place in society; who was 'uprooted and disinherited' by the economic upheavals of the twenties and thirties, and unable - owing to the stricter class consciousness of the European - to slide comfortably dowa into the ranks of the proletariat. He has been perfectly described by Karl Marx, in his The Eighteenth ot Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, where he calls the scum of all classes which carried through the coup d' état of Napoleon III 'creatures of whom the best that can be said is that they are men of ill repute . . . each a noisy bohème, out for looting the state.'
- 12 -
At first the concept of conspiracy is purely symbolical. The human mind, with its tendency to personify great objective phenomena, interprets surprising objective contexts as a personal plan. World history becomes a moral drama; the eternal struggle between man and society becomes the struggle between good and evil; the lofty ruthlessness of history seems bearable only when it is humanized. Thus we give it a mythological form: the great hereditary enemy, the Antichrist, the destroyer, and finally, the conspirator. The nineteenth century in Europe was indeed full of conspirators, from the German Burschenschaften, the Italian Carbonari, the Irish Fenians, to the Russian Nihilists and Socialists. Behind all this, our imagination seeks a world context, a world conspiracy aiming at world domination. Where is the kernel of historical truth in the fantasy of a Jewish world conspiracy? It lies in the great world struggle for human equality to which the Jews owe their admission to modern society; this is the historical fact standing in the broad daylight of truth, whence it casts weirdly magnified, indistinct, and unfathomable shadows into the background of fantasy. On the opposing side, the great principle of inequality fights to preserve its rule; the ruling class philosophy of a natural hierarchy, of innate differences between men. Once this principle is expressed in the form of historical events, it also soon assumes an aspect of conspiracy. The coup d' état of Napoleon III on December 2, 1851, and The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion were not hatched out by the same mind. But they are acts of one and the same psychological type; only this made it possible for history to combine one with the other by the thin red thread of a documentary connection.
The spirit of the Protocols, therefore, contains historical truth, though all the facts put forward in them are forgeries. Hence its influence on such varied times and peoples. When they were published, their deeper, genuine content beneath the varnish of falsification found a receptive mood in many sections of the Russian people-a mood of decadence and despair. The Russian literature of the period from Tolstoi to Sologub bears witness to this mood. The superstitious tsar permitted himself to be frightened and influenced by wonder-working monks. Serious religious people were
- 13 -
oppressed by the warnings of Soloviev. He associated the materialism and silly optimism of modern culture with the approach of the Antichrist as a modern demagogue; his book, to some extent, is an attack on Toistoi. Soloviev's Antichrist finally disappears in a battle against the desperate Jews, many of whom he had massacred before. But one of his disciples makes the Antichrist himself a Jew: this was a certain Sergei Nilus.
Nilus was a religious writer. It is hard to say whether he was an honest visionary or an intriguing swindler. At all events, he became the tool of the Ochrana in a picturesque palace intrigue, which was part of the above-mentioned general fascist plan. The purpose of the intrigue was to remove a foreign wonder-worker, the French magnetic healer Philippe, from the tsar's entourage. Ratchkovsky's clique wished to replace the Frenchman by Nilus as their creature. Why Nilus? He had written a book, under the influence of Soloviev, on the theme of the Jewish Antichrist. Its title: 'Small signs betoken great events. The Antichrist is near at hand.' The book is one of hundreds of documents attesting a forgotten mood, and would today be quite lost sight of were it not for a noteworthy change made in the second edition. This second edition was sponsored by the Ochrana and published in 1905 in the Imperial state printing shop in Tsarskoye Selo. Its appendix includes The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion. This was the first publication of the Protocols in their present form, and it was claimed by Nilus that these Protocols were the minutes of speeches and debates which were made at the founding congress of the Zionist Move- ment in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897.
This much was true, that in 1897 in Basel the Jewish Nationalist Movement of the Zionists was born. The goal of this group, to put it simply, was to lead the Jews back again to Palestine; to state it more exactly, to create for those Jews who were leading an intolerable life of oppression, especially in Russia, a 'legally assured homestead' in Palestine. In order to disappear in that little corner on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean they had, as Theodor Herzi, the founder of the movement, put it, 'to make the Jewish problem ... a question of world politics.'
This was the purpose of the Basel congress. But, if we believe
- 14 -
Nilus, its true, secret aim was just the opposite; that is, the foundation of an uncontested world domination by the Jews. He claimed that the public congress was a mere blind for a number of far more important secret sessions. In these secret sessions the Zionist leaders set forth their plan for Jewish world conquest. It was there that those speeches allegedly were made: 'We shall, everywhere arouse ferment, struggle, and enmity - we shall unleash a world war - we shall bring the peoples to such a pass that they will voluntarily offer us world domination.'
These speeches were taken down in shorthand and entered in the minutes., A courier of the congress was supposed to bring the terrible papers from Basel to the German city of Frankfurt am Main, to be preserved in the secret archives of the Rising Sun Lodge of Freemasons. But the courier was a traitor. On the way he spent the night at a little city in Baden. Some officials of the Ochrana were waiting for him there with a staff of scribes, and that night the Protocols were copied in a hotel room.This was Nilus's story in 1905; but in a later edition he has quite a different version; the mistress of a French Zionist stole the papers from him and delivered them to the Ochrana. In later editions he gives still other versions. There is but one point to which he always adheres: that he himself had received the papers from a certain Suchotin, marshal of nobility in the district of Chernigov, who had received them from Ratchkovsky.
The book was laid on the tsar's table. Its effect was strong but not lasting. At first the tsar was shaken, praised the book's wealth of ideas, its mighty perspective, and believed it all. But Ratchkovsky had gone too far. At that time, perhaps, the deepest sources of the forgery were not discovered; but it soon became clear to the Russian public, who for a hundred years had been only too familiar with the methods of the secret police, that such documents from the hand of the Ochrana did not carry much weight. Minister Stolypin even succeeded in convincing the tsar of the forgery. The tsar gave orders that the book should no longer be used as propaganda, for dwe must not fight for a pure cause with unclean weapons.' Not Nilus but Rasputin became the tsar's confessor.
Nonetheless, the Ochrana did its best to spread its product among
- 15 -
the masses. Butmy, the leader of the Black Hundreds, also published a version of the Protocols. In 1917, during the World War and after the tsar's downfall, Nilus published the last edition of his book, with the Protocols in the appendix. This time it was: 'He is near, he is hard by the door.' It is this edition which was placed on Alfred Rosenberg's table. It was from this edition that the loquacious and seductive demon of world domination spoke to the young man.
Rosenberg believed in the secret session of Basel, at least he did then. For this we cannot be too hard on a lad of twenty-four. For beneath the heavy coating of a clumsily exaggerated forgery, the Protocols contain a genuine element which might well carry a strong, mysterious appeal to the modern intellectual. This element is their radicalism. The Protocols are the work of a decadent, unscrupulous group of intellectuals, who pondered the problem of dominating the masses. They saw the modern mass in revolutionary motion. They set themselves the task of weaning the masses from their revolutionary leaders. See what these socialist agitators had succeeded in doing with a few revolutionary phrases and little apparent thoughtl Why couldn't we learn to do as well? We academicians would surely be a match for a band of trade-union secretaries There is a technique of dominating the masses, and in principle technical problems can always be solved. The intellectual's envy of the demagogue gave birth to a new political technique.
And here history turns over a new leaf. The conspirators did not need to invent anti-Semitism; no, what they did was to create anti-Semitism as a weapon in the class struggle; something quite apart from the hostility which, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, had been aroused by the Jewish entrance into the bourgeois society of Europe. For now, in modern society, a new Jewish type had made its appearance - the Jewish intellectual; and it is predominantly he who became the target and victim of the most frightful outbursts of anti-Semitism in modern history. For it is his competitor, the non-Jewish intellectual, who incited and directed this anti-Semitism, and directed it chiefly, not against Jewish capital (though an outmoded propaganda says so), but
- 16 -
against the Jewish intellectuals - the lawyers, doctors, government officials, and others who had made themselves, by their share in modern education, so influential a part of society.
We are living in the age of technology. Technology is more than the transformation of heat into power. It is, in general, the dom- ination of brute force by trained intelligence. Natural scientists have studied the soul, and vaudeville 'professors' have demon- strated the power of hypnosis. The fakirs are not the only ones who can cast a spell over the masses. Here, this book shows what great things are possible, even with the simplest methods. Alfred Rosenberg is an engineer and architect, a young man who in a few months will take his examinations for registered engineer. The powers have laid this book on his desk and thereby given him the watchword that was to govern his life, the open sesame of technology: everything is possible.
With the book in his bag, he fled at the beginning of 1918 to his native city of Reval, later called Tallinn. German troops took the city. Rosenberg remembered that he was a German. He volunteered for the German army, to fight against the Bolsheviki who for some months had been in the saddle in Petersburg and Moscow. The German commandant distrusted the German Russian and rejected him. He remained a civilian, earning his living as a drawing instructor at the Gymnasium. His eyes were still fixed on Russia. The Bolsheviki had disbanded the Constituent Assembly, proclaimed the dictatorship of the proletariat and the advent of socialism, but at the same time had given the poor peasants land, or rather summoned them to take it; they had brutally suppressed all political freedom, all opposition parties. Those affected resisted; there were plots and assassinations. The Bolsheviki, in a desperate life-and-death struggle, always in power but always on the brink of catastrophe, struck down their enemies by ruthless, barbaric terror. They acted in accordance with the recommendations of The Protocols of Zion. Were they not themselves the Wise Men of Zion? Hadn't they Jewish leaders? Isn't Lenin, their top leader, a Jew? In this, to be sure, Rosenberg was mistaken. Lenin was no more a Jew than Rykov, Kalinin, Krassin, Bucharin, and other Bolshevik leaders of the old guard; but Trotzky, Zinoviev, Radek were Jews.
- 17 -
The Bolsheviki exterminated the Jewish bourgeoisie of Russia as heartlessly as the Christian; from time to time some little Jewish community cursed and excommunicated a Bolshevik leader who arose in its midst; for Rosenberg, however, Russia was ruled by the Jewish Antichrist which Nilus had prophesied. Rosenberg himself has a little drop of Jewish blood in his veins; let us assume that he did not know it at the time. The world in which his great experiences took place remains in any case Russia. It was there that he met the demon. It was there that the dice governing the destiny of nations were failing. There the Antichrist held sway over a field of corpses. From there the plague was moving on Europe. It was on Russia that we should march, when the time came, to tumble Satan from his throne. Our life work was to summon Europe to avenge our exile.
For at the end of 1918, Rosenberg was forced to leave Reval with the remnants of the withdrawing, disbanding German army. The Boisheviki pressed after them, occupied Reval, took Riga, approached the German border. He fled from them, crying: The plague is coming! An infected army, on the point of mutiny, flowed homeward, carrying him along. Thus he left Russia, came to Germany, bearing with him a treasure, the message of the Russian Antichrist, the Protocols. In a swarm of Russian fugitives, officers, intellectuals, barons and princes, Rosenberg reached Berlin, then Munich. At the same time other refugees reached Constantinople, London, Paris; Russians, Germans, but also Englishmen, Frenchmen, even Americans, members of those Allied expeditionary armies who, after the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution, had occupied, for a time, Russian territory in Siberia, in the North, in the Crimea. And with this flow of fugitives not a few copies of the Protocols reached Western Europe.
A pity that General Ratchkovsky never lived to see the day. The shadow of Russia fell over Europe. From the Kremlin, Lenin exhorted the world to revolution, holding aloft the Communist Manifesto. Rosenberg comes, a humble fugitive, with. the textbook of world domination in his battered suitcase.
September 27, 1998