Go to Part 1.
It should be noted that Steding is opposed even to the culture of the Holy Roman Empire, which he considers as a mere “European cultural community” in which the Germans occupied a position hardly suited to their central location. It could perform “cultural tasks” because it was a very loose structure whose individual parts were always in a state of disintegration.” Indeed, the desire among ideologues to bring about a revival of the Holy Roman Empire is itself only a Romantic sentiment that is repeated in the similar yearning for a return to “the Germany of poets and thinkers who are emphatically understood as political fools.”
In this unreal world of Romanticism fake psychological theories proliferated to ease the increasing malaise felt by the European peoples. Thus:
Psychological theories and psychotherapies were again not coincidentally developed in Switzerland or in the Netherlands easily falling prey to all eastern and western spiritual wisdoms and were greedily seized on by the interim Reich. In these theories it was always a matter of apparently clearing paths to reality to men living in an unreal existence, deracinated, but highly cultivated — thus, also interesting — men of a chaotic age hostile to the Reich — even though their secret effort therein was always to obstruct this path to the facts themselves. Hence the unceasing raisonnement that is so striking in the dialectical theologians, in Kierkegaard, and which they intentionally do not ever want to allow to stop, just as professional psychologists may never allow their analyses to stop.
More alarming is the quick mastery of this decaying society by the Jews, who now stepped in to take over the German intelligentsia:
Now it becomes understandable also why in the interim Reich a certain sort of Jews could become the trustees of German “culture,” to such an extent that at that time German “culture” seemed almost identical to Jewish “culture.” For, quite uncommon opportunities had to appear to the Jews as the eternally distant — because eternally wandering — foreigners, aliens, always living only for themselves and as the members of a very ancient people, when, among the German people always born only for the Reich — that is, for intensified reality in general — there occurred the distancing from their own task, that self-alienation which, through German thoroughness, led to an alienation from all reality, that is, also solidity. Significantly, Burckhardt or Bachofen or Nietzsche or Kierkegaard had very competent admirers and interpreters among Jews such as those of the George Circle or those of ]Ludwig] Klages or Karl Jaspers, who belonged to or stood intellectually close to it.
This cultural ambiance created by the Jews was essentially an interpretational one psychologically related to the stock-exchange world of financial relations and networks:
It did not fail to happen that the German culture in this period — when it was delivered to the men of the border zones distant from the Reich essentially, and indeed from the “mere” reality of normal daily life, and to the Jews always standing only at the peripheries — became essentially unoriginal, to speak literarily, and realized itself especially as an “interpretational culture” speaking roundabout all things. It becomes clear, further, how to this interpretational culture — even Burckhardt, Huizinga and Georg Brandes or Kierkegaard are only interpreters — corresponded, in the economic field, to the bank and stock-exchange culture where everything was resolved in relations, thus in fictions, where once again special opportunities appeared to the Jews as those never, or seldom, standing within but rather always in relative positions.
Einstein’s theory of relativity was a similar expression of the same psychological peculiarity of the Jews within the realm of physics. More dangerous are the psychoanalysis and historical materialism of the Jews Freud and Marx. The Marxist ideology is characterized by an abstractness and distance from reality that reduces all society and politics to the dictates of a literary work, Das Kapital. The predilection of the Jews for Bolshevism is indeed due to the innate utopian quality of their thought:
Once again, it is not accidental that precisely the Jews are especially predestined for Marxist Bolshevism and represent the major percentage of the theoreticians of this modern movement. As a consequence of the age of their nation they live a “distant” and withdrawn, almost unreal literary, existence when one compares them to the young nations of Europe to which the German especially belongs. … It is therefore no wonder why this bourgeois-Bolshevist “culture” sees its real goal in the destruction of all substantial forms in favor of a universal “cultural synthesis,” in reality, thus, of a cultural porridge.
The Jewish bourgeois intelligentsia exploited the Germans
either as active pioneers of Bolshevism, as especially in Russia, or also in the Reich, as spokesmen of controlled democracy and of solely mercantile stock-exchange capitalism.
it hates to a quite extraordinary degree every genuine reality and every genuine sense of reality as it was developed always most strikingly among the peasant population who, accordingly, have to undergo a special manipulation by the Bolshevist intelligentsia living off numerical speculations and the grotesque world of machines.
Indeed, the Judaized bourgeois world tends to proliferate in artificial urban settings rather than in natural rural ones so that the products of the new German intelligentsia resemble in general hothouse horticultural ones. Further, the marked feminine character of cultural history is shared by the Jews too as a people:
Cultural history is therefore obvious and evident to many Jews – the exceptions here confirm the rule – because among Jewish men too a quite striking feminine character predominates.
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In his focus on the Prussian ethos as a virile political foundation, Steding, like Carl Schmitt in his 1919 work, Politische Romantik, was totally opposed to all political “Romanticism,” which both authors considered as an aestheticizing of politics that has dangerously eroded the genuine political instinct of the Germans. The essentially apolitical worldview that resulted from liberal doctrines is manifest in the spirit of Geneva (where the League of Nations had its headquarters from November 1920) as well as in the Marxism that radically intensified the political nihilism of liberal ideologies.
Schmitt’s and Steding’s rejection of Romanticism as a movement that is purely aesthetic and devoid of political impetus is noteworthy, since many of the thinkers associated with the National Socialist movement, like Alfred Baeumler and Ludwig Klages, drew on German Romantic literature for their inspiration. Steding, on the other hand, points out the opposition to the political concerns of the Reich that are contained in Klages’ psychological experiments as well as in his support of Bachofen’s disquisitions on matriarchal mysteries. Similarly, Nietzsche too is criticized by Steding for his “Dionysiac” rhapsodies which undermined the “Apollonian” orientation of the Reich. It is not surprising to Steding that Nietzsche became a staunch critic of Bismarck’s Reich as well as a champion of the lighter French culture against what Nietzsche considered to be the essential lack of any vibrant “culture” — in the Western European sense — within the German Reich.
Though Heidegger was at one time a teacher of Steding’s, he disagreed sharply with the latter’s denunciation of Nietzsche. This is true also of Alfred Baeumler, who had in his 1931 work Nietzsche, der Philosoph und der Politiker characterised Nietzsche as a herald of National Socialism. A sharp denunciation of Steding’s exposure of Nietzsche’s anti-Reich sentimentality appeared in a review in Alfred Rosenberg’s Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte (September 1939) by Heinrich Härtle in which the author described Steding’s view of Nietzsche as “enemy of the Reich” as a “heresy.” Walter Frank, however, defended Steding as a hero of the Third Reich by appending a refutation of Steding’s critics in the second edition of the book that he published in 1940.
It barely needs mentioning that Steding’s Prussianism entails a belief in the political superiority of the North Germanic race. Steding admits that the recent emergence of non-Nordic racial elements, such as the eastern Baltic, into the forefront of European affairs may have produced incidental felicitous examples of lyricism and Romantic mysticism but “in the establishment of the architectonic organization of our Central European world [they have had] as little a share as Dostoevsky had in the construction of the Tsarist Empire.” Steding also believed that, unlike the urbanized populations of the “cultural” centers of Basel, Amsterdam, etc., the peasant population of North Germany did not feel that they were different from their fellows in neighbouring countries like Holland or the Scandinavian countries, and this commonalty should serve as the foundation of the new European Reich. Thus Steding differs from Langbehn, who in his work Rembrandt als Erzieher had glorified the Northwestern Germanic peoples as the most culturally developed. Rather, Steding reveals that only the North Germanic peoples of Germany itself could correct the alarming degeneration of the North Germanic peoples in the outlying countries that had become neutral with regard to the German Reich and even hostile to it.
It is not surprising then that, in spite of Alfred Rosenberg’s aversion to Steding’s work, it found a very favourable acceptance in the SS circles headed by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich which considered the work a “philosophy of history in the grand style.”
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In this context, we must pause to compare Steding’s focus on the North Germans as quintessential “political animals” with Nietzsche’s ravings in Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887) about “the magnificent blond beast avidly prowling round for spoil and victory,” for they are superficially similar in setting aside the conquering North German peoples from other more “cultured” ones. However, Steding’s North Germans are more gifted in state-formation than the merely adventurous Nietzschean “beasts.” Indeed, Nietzsche’s depiction of the ancient Germans is diametrically opposed to that of Steding’s state-conscious Germans:
they enjoy freedom from every social constraint, in the wilderness they compensate for the tension which is caused by being closed in and fenced in by the peace of the community for so long, they return to the innocent conscience of the wild beast, as exultant monsters, who perhaps go away having committed a hideous succession of murder, arson, rape and torture, in a mood of bravado and spiritual equilibrium as though they had simply played a student’s prank, convinced that poets will now have something to sing about and celebrate for quite some time.
Steding’s North Germans are closer to Spengler’s Prussians in his 1919 essay, Preußentum und Sozialismus (Prussianism and Socialism), which contrasted Prussian socialism with the socialism of the English, which Spengler considered as a form of Viking-like individualism that has encouraged the colonial rapacity of the British Empire and the mercantile ruthlessness of its leaders. The Norman conquest of England had put an end to the Anglo-Saxon way of life and introduced the “piracy principle” whereby “the barons exploited the land apportioned to them, and were in turn exploited by the duke.” The modern English and American trade companies are enchained to the same motives of profiteering. The Prussian form of socialism, on the other hand, is based entirely on the notion of the primacy of the state, which is indeed the ideal of the Teutonic knight, diametrically opposed to the roving plunder of the Viking:
The Teutonic knights that settled and colonised the eastern borderlands of Germany in the Middle Ages had a genuine feeling for the authority of the state in economic matters, and later Prussians have inherited that feeling. The individual is informed of his economic obligations by Destiny, by God, by the state, or by his own talent . . . Rights and privileges of producing and consuming goods are equally distributed. The aim is not ever greater wealth of the individual or for every individual, but rather the flourishing of the totality.
Another precursor of Steding’s North German-oriented ideology was Julius Langbehn, whose Rembrandt als Erzieher was an early contribution to what was later termed the Conservative Revolutionary movement. The political successes of Prussia at the time of the unification of Germany in 1871 threatened to engulf Germany with its militarism, industrialization, and rationalist tendencies in science and art. Marxists responded to this threat with essentially economic projects based on the principle of “class struggle.” Idealists on the other hand proposed a cultural revolution through the renewal of German culture itself. Langbehn’s work sought to combat the evils of democratic culture at the turn of the century — established by parvenu cosmopolitan elites that promoted foreign, especially French artistic fashions — with a return to the natural aristocratic ethos of the strongest element in the German population, the North Germans. According to Langbehn only a reversion of Germany to its North German character could effectively neutralize the materialistic scientific spirit that had begun to disintegrate its culture at the end of the nineteenth century.
The increasing sterility of modern science can be countered only by a regeneration of the psychological sources of creativity within the German character. These sources are located by Langbehn — quite unlike Steding in this regard — in the German’s sense of individuality and his developed personality. The modern Germans should learn from the best individuals and personalities of their historic past, and to facilitate this exercise, Langbehn chooses the Lower German painter Rembrandt as the symbolic exemplar of the quintessential German spirit. Rembrandt was indeed not classical but mysterious in his connection to the Dutch soil and peasantry as well as to the natural aristocratic ethos of the Lower Germans.
Quite unlike Steding, Langbehn considers the Dutch as the embodiment of the spirit of freedom that was expressed most strikingly in their war of independence against the Spanish Hapsburgs in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Langbehn significantly maintains that a truly conservative nation, that is, a nation that is strongly rooted in its traditions, is “liberal” or devoted to freedom, whereas a liberally disposed people, on the other hand, need the discipline of conservatism. Other Lower German sources of the psychological quickening of the German spirit are Denmark/Sweden and England.
Steding takes care in his work to attack Langbehn for maintaining that individualism is essential to cultural development and “style.” We have seen that Steding refutes Langbehn’s argument by pointing out the selfless quality of monumental architecture such as was developed in the great empires of Egypt and Rome. Langbehn is incapable too of appreciating the superb architectonic of the Prussian army as itself a cultural product. Thus, while Langbehn may have yearned in his work for a “secret Kaiser” who would be an ideal ruler molding the life of the nation, the reality was the unfortunate transformation of the actual German Kaiser into a Hollandized cultural artefact.
Within National Socialist circles, Carl Schmitt was particularly pleased with Steding’s work and wrote a long review of it in 1939. Like Steding, Schmitt had, already in the 1920s, denounced the “Helvetization” of Germany through the League of Nations and he now considered Steding’s work, marked by what he called “philosophischen Tiefen” (philosophical profundities), a “grosse Waffenschmiede” (great arsenal) in the fight against Liberalism and Communism. Already in 1931, in his work Der Hüter der Verfassung (The Guardian of the Constitution), Schmitt had introduced the notion of the “stato agnostico” of the neutral powers. This agnosticism deprives the state of its executive aura and transforms it into a mechanical product of technology. Like Steding, Schmitt valued the Prussian state above Western European democracies and his review of Steding’s work repeats his analyses and arguments in his 1934 work Staatsgefüge und Zusammenbruch des zweiten Reiches. Der Sieg des Bürgers über den Soldaten (State Structure and Collapse of the Second Reich: The Victory of the Citizen over the Soldier) to highlight the corrupting action of the Liberal constitutionalism introduced into the Prussian state that resulted in the defeat of 1918 and the establishment of the Socialist republic of Weimar.
Steding’s view of the importance of the German Reich as an organizing force on the continent coincided with Schmitt’s own theories of “Grossraum (great space).” Schmitt defended Hitler’s expansionist goals against the ostentatious pacifism and anti-militarism of the League of Nations in his Die Wendung zum diskrimierenden Kriegsbegriff (The Turn to a Discriminating Concept of War) (1938). At the same time, the turn in his writings around this time from the geopolitical concepts of the “state” and the “great space” to that of the “Reich” reflects his reading of Steding’s congenial work. It is not surprising that he referred to the book among his friends as “the only intelligent book from the National Socialist circle.”
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Although the disease that Western European culture inflicted on the German Reich was acute, Steding believed that it should be considered a God-given opportunity for the regeneration of the Reich and the European continent. The diagnosis of the disease that Steding offers in his work is itself a requirement for the healing that must be undertaken by individuals, societies and nations within Europe so that they no longer languish in the dying past but assert their will-to-live to produce the vital culture of a politically grounded Reich. We have seen that Steding’s vision of a Reich is one that is informed not only by the political aptitude of the North Germans but also by its strict avoidance of the feminisation and romanticism characteristic of liberal culture. Steding believed that Germany was to be the center of any future European Reich not only because it is the central land in Europe, but because Bismarck and Hitler had shown that it was possible for the political realism required for empire-building to triumph over the decadent aesthetic culture of a Western Europe that obstructed the restoration of Europe as a political power.
 reasoning, argumentation.
 The intellectual and artistic circle of the poet Stefan George.
 This characteristic had been pointed out already by the Jewish writer Otto Weininger in his Geschlecht und Charakter (1903).
 Schmitt and Steding thus refute the thesis of the Jewish cultural critic associated with the Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin, who maintained in his 1935 work Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit that Fascism represented an aestheticisation of politics, or an introduction of aesthetics into politics that subjugated the proletarians through mass rituals and war so as to distract them from their real economic needs. Benjamin’s criticism — directed primarily at the modern technological reproductions of art as well as at the Italian Futurist glorification of arms and war – does not appreciate the anti-aesthetic stance of champions of the German Reich like Schmitt and Steding. Since the latter sought to combat the self-destructive tendencies of all culture that is not informed by the political vision of a Reich, Benjamin.” critique is more applicable to a Jewish capitalist society like the United States than to Fascist Italy or Germany.
 Nietzsche held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel for ten years from 1869.
 See Nicolas Tertulian, “Scènes de la vie philosophique sous le IIIe Reich” in Y.C. Zarka (ed.), Carl Schmitt ou le mythe du politique, Paris: PUF, 2009, pp.121-160.
 Härtle published a book on Nietzsche in 1938 called Nietzsche und der Nationalsozialismus.
 Steding’s aversion to the Baltic peoples may be one reason why Alfred Rosenberg, a Baltic German, was opposed to Steding and his work.
 See Helmut Heiber, Walter Frank und sein Reichsinstitut für die Geschichte des neuen Deutschlands, Stuttgart, 1966, p.525.
 F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, tr. C. Diethe, Cambridge: CUP, 2006, p.23.
 Oswald Spengler, “Prussianism and Socialism,” in Selected Essays, Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co., 1967, p.62.
 Ibid., p. 62.
 “Neutralität und Neutralisierungen. Zu Christoph Steding, Das Reich und die Krankheit der europäischen Kultur,” in Deutsche Rechtswissenschaft, IV, 2, April 1939, pp. 97-118, reprinted in C. Schmitt, Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar — Genf — Versailles, 1923—1939 (1940).
 Quoted in Armin Mohler, “Christoph Stedings Kampf gegen die Neutralisierung des Reiches,” Staatsbriefen, 6 (1990), pp.21-25.