Conservative Revolutionary movement
The Conservative Revolutionary movement, sometimes the Conservative Revolution, is a term for several radical right-wing ideologies/movements in the Weimar Republic. It was critical of the results of the German Revolution of 1918–19 and more generally the liberal ideas of the French Revolution. It did not support the non-radical conservatism of the Weimar Republic (and was not closely associated with any particular political party), and neither supported a reactionary restoring of old systems, but instead supported establishing new systems suitable for the new circumstances, but still influenced by the good characteristics of non-liberal traditions and systems.
The term itself has a long history, in various countries, with various meanings, often differing from the later meaning. It, and related terms, were used in the Weimar Republic by some members of the movement(s). Importantly, in the postwar period, Armin Mohler (part of the Neue Rechte) wrote the Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918-1932 (1950), the fame of which contributed to the movement and the term itself becoming widely known. One purpose was to provide new pathways based on old traditions for a non-National Socialist and non-fascist right.
The movement(s) included many different views, but has been divided it into several main components, although also in these there were great variation:
- Die Jungkonservativen (The young conservatives). Influenced by the pre-Enlightenment world, especially the Holy Roman Empire, (Protestant) Prussia, and/or Catholic social theories, among others. Support (by some members) for principles such as rule by a benevolent elite, a new (German-centered pan-European) Empire/Reich, extensive autonomy for local regions and ethnic groups, rejection of separation of the state and Christianity, and/or corporatism/"Prussian socialism". A notable member was Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Others included Edgar Julius Jung, Othmar Spann, and Carl Schmitt. Influences on the European New Right and Identitarianism .
- Die Völkischen. Associated with the Völkisch movement and race issues, and/or more "Aryan" religious/esoteric views, such as Armanism and Ariosophy, Aryan Christianity, and/or paganism.
- Die Nationalrevolutionären (The national revolutionaries). Less influenced by the past. Influences from the military (notably, the early Ernst Jünger) and/or the Soviet Union (notably, National Bolsheviks, such as Ernst Niekisch).
Wikipedia gives the impression that anti-Christianity was the most important characteristic of the movement, possibly to scare away Christian conservatives, but parts of it was highly supportive of (pre-Enlightenment) Christianity and/or certain Christian social theories, with some members even described as supporting Christian theocracy.
As postwar descriptions, such as by Armin Mohler, describe it as a non-National Socialist radical right, included individuals were generally not National Socialists, or, if initially supportive, they later had a falling out and/or had little later influence. This for a variety of reasons, which varied for different individuals, including NSDAP persecutions (especially after the Night of the Long Knives, with victims such as Edgar Julius Jung), views on nationalism (such as seen as being too narrowly German), views governance (with, for example, a federal empire/Reich or Soviet-influenced ideas seen as preferable), views on race, views on religion, and views on anti-Semitism. Some were admirers of the old Prussian aristocracy, or an elitist society more generally, and disliked the argued proletarian and demagogic character of the NSDAP. Wikipedia gives misleading descriptions regarding the support of members for National Socialism, possibly as attempted guilt by association.
- Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
- Carl Schmitt
- Edgar Julius Jung
- Ernst Jünger
- Ernst von Salomon
- Ludwig Klages
- Oswald Spengler
- Othmar Spann
- Werner Sombart