Edgar Julius Jung

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Dr. jur. Edgar Julius Jung

Edgar Julius Jung (b. 6. March 1894 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Rhenish Palatinate, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire; d. 1 July 1934 in Berlin, German Reich) was a German lawyer and one of the intellectual leaders of the Conservative Revolutionary movement in Germany, which stood not only in opposition to the Weimar Republic, whose parliamentarian system he considered decadent and foreign-imposed, but also to the mass movement of National Socialism.


Edgar Julius Jung was born in Ludwigshafen, the son of the elementary school teacher Wilhelm Jakob Jung and his wife Frieda, née Friedrich. He visited the Volksschule, then the humanistisches Gymnasium in Ludwigshafen, achieving his Abitur in 1913. In the same year, he began studying law at the University of Lausanne. There he attended lectures by Vilfredo Pareto. He also studied in Heidelberg and Würzburg.

At the onset of World War I, Jung voluntarily joined the Imperial German Army (member of the 3. Chevaulegers-Regiment „Herzog Karl Theodor“ of the Bavarian Army), served as an Infantryman and reconnaissance troop leader, was transferred to the field artillery in 1917 and reached the rank of lieutenant (Leutnant). After the end of the war, he participated in the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic in the spring of 1919 as part of the Freikorps Epp and in the resistance against the French occupation of the Palatinate, taking part in the assassination of the separatist leader Heinz Orbis. He achieved his PhD (Dr. jur.) in 1920. Expelled by the French authorities, Jung move to Munich, where, in 1925, he opened a law firm and dampened his political activism slightly.

In the late 1920s and the early 1930s Edgar Jung was very active among various Conservative organizations and parties, oftentimes making speeches and running as a political candidate. Despite having support from wealthy industrialists and many like-minded conservatives, Jung did not manage to succeed because of factionalism. By late 1932, he became concerned about the growing influence of Hitler's National Socialism, which he believed was merely just one more manifestation of liberalism, Marxism, and democracy, even though it had some conservative traits. Jung regarded Weimar Germany as teetering on the brink of revolutionary turmoil with the very real prospect of a Red Revolution sponsored by the Soviet Union or a Brown Revolution by the Nazis. Jung, like Carl Schmitt, believed the breakdown of liberal parliamentarism to be inevitable as the instability of Weimar Germany was unfolding before his eyes. After the formation of the "government of national concentration" under the leadership of Adolf Hitler on 30 January 1933, Jung became a political consultant and speechwriter for the vice-chancellor of the coalition cabinet, Franz von Papen.

According to Alexander Jacob (in "The Neo-Conservative Reich of Edgar Julius Jung") "Jung's opposition to Hitler took a more concerted form in early 1934 when he undertook extensive travels throughout Germany to develop a network of Conservative supporters who would assist in overthrowing the Hitler regime.... Jung even contemplated personally assassinating Hitler, though fears that this drastic action might disqualify him from assuming a leading role in the new leadership after the Nazi dictatorship caused him to adopt the academic alternative of writing another speech for Papen which the latter delivered at the University of Marburg on 17 June, 1934." The speech criticized the National Socialist government as being illegitimate. Jung was killed by the SS during the Night of the Long Knives after the NSDAP leadership decided he was a menace that needed to be eliminated. His body was found dumped in a ditch near the town of Oranienburg near Berlin on July 1.

Jung's Worldview

Jung's magnum opus, Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen (in English as "The Rule of the Inferiour"), was the single most significant work setting down his worldview and its intellectual foundations in a single source. In this large book he expounded his vision of a corporatist, federalistic, supranational pan-European Reich with a partly open yet authoritarian and aristocratic elite guided by religious, Christian spirituality. Jung argued for a hierarchical society with a virtuous nobility and monarch at the top guided by a sense of duty to the larger community and to Divine principles. This system, which is inspired by the Medieval Holy Roman Empire, was also supposed to have a Volkisch foundation, even though it is elitist in nature. This book also made extensive arguments against secularism, Liberalism, individualism (which was linked to liberalism), democracy, republicanism, and Communism.

Jung asserted the primacy of supra-individual entities and vehemently rejected individualism and sought to combat it (both the ideology as well as atomization, which is the negative result of individualist psychology), which he believed was a key cause of decay in modern society. He also rejected nationalism - an attitude unusual among German Conservatives - because it is equivalent to a kind of national egoism which contradicts the principle of Empire. Jung's imperial vision was federalistic and, despite being non-nationalistic, upheld the value of Volk and homeland (secured from dissolution through the federal system). Jung also criticized the "biological materialism" of scientific racialism, asserting the primacy of culture and spirit as opposed to the reduction of humans to their biological type. However, he recognized that blood and genetics had a role in human character, and for this reason advocated Eugenic practices to remove people of inferior genetic types. In terms of the Jewish Problem, Jung was hostile to the Jews on a spiritual-cultural basis because he believed they were individualistic and egoistic culturally (he did not believe, however, that the Jewish Problem had a biological factor).

To further supplement this explanation, it would be helpful to quote the brief description given by Larry Eugene Jones in his essay "Edgar Julius Jung: The Conservative Revolution in Theory and Practice":

Jung implored the younger generation to become more actively involved in the struggle for Germany's political future and to take the lead in forging a new sense of national unity so powerful that it could override the social, confessional, and generational cleavages that had become so deeply embedded in Germany's parliamentary system. This was a theme to which Jung was to return time and time again throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. In a particularly revealing essay which he wrote on the tragedy of the front generation for the Suddeutsche Monatshefte at the beginning of 1930, Jung contrasted the selflessness and high spirituality of those who had chosen to risk their lives in service of their nation with the banality and empty phrases of those who had remained at home to preach the virtues of a war whose true meaning they were incapable of grasping. The tragedy of the front generation was that the idealism of those who had served in the trenches had no place in a society where egoism and self-aggrandizement had become the order of the day. To rebaptize Germany in the spirit of what they had experienced at the front, that was the task to which Jung dedicated himself and his generation.

As a self-styled apostle of the new Germany that was to emerge from the ashes of the Weimar Republic, Jung published the first edition of his Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen in the summer of 1927 as a memorial to all of those who had sacrificed themselves for the ideals of the great war. Informed by the corporatism of Spann, the elitism of Pareto, and the organicism of the German romantics, Jung's book was a sustained assault against the political tradition whose revolutionary motto of liberte, egalite, fraternite had shaped the course of European history since 1789. To Jung the spirit of 1789 was a corrosive force that threatened to dissolve the fabric of European society into an amorphous mass of competing economic interests. No where could the fragmented character of modern public life be seen with greater clarity than in the plethora of parties that had sprung up with the introduction of mass democracy in Germany and the rest of western Europe. It was only through the creation of a massive state bureaucracy that the bitter conflict that had accompanied the dissolution of traditional European society could be regulated, though not so much in the interest of the common good as in that of the special interest or coalition of special interests that had most recently seized control of the state apparatus. Jung, on the other hand, offered a vision of state and society that was essentially medieval in inspiration. Not only did Jung call for a restoration of the corporations that had played such an important role in medieval economic life, but he placed renewed emphasis on the role of religion and constantly juxtaposed the fragmented character of modern life to the organic character of life in the Middle Ages. If there was anything revolutionary about Jung's particular brand of conservatism, therefore, it was not so much the goals he espoused as the means by which he proposed to realize them. For the only way that any of this could ever be achieved was through a revolution that, unlike the Marxist revolution that simply sought to improve the material conditions of life, would not stop until it had touched the deepest resources of the human spirit.

Quotes from Jung

  • "The Conservative Revolution is what we call the Restoration of all those laws and values, without which Man's connection to Nature and to God is lost and no true order can be built. In the place of equality there will be inherent standards, in the place of social consciousness a just integration into the hierarchical society, in the place of mechanical election an organic elite, in the place of bureaucratic leveling the inner responsibility of genuine self-government, in the place of mass prosperity the rights of a proud people."
  • "The difference between previous and coming culture is conditioned by the degree of the mastery of natural forces. Proud is this real progress to merge with the new faith. But the pathetic condescension of the "enlightened" people, who suspect everywhere natural scientific causes, will cease. For what does it signify for the meaning of history, what for the battle of each human soul and the experience of God, whether or not humans are "descended" from apes? However petty, however, is the nonsense of wanting to make a worldview out of the doubtful results of such researches."
  • "We battle for the living community, in order to rescue the soul and the personality. In us lives the spirit of all the great people who, wherever they were, were against the rule of the masses."
  • "The sum of men with equal rights forms the modern society. Without the spirit of true community, without inner binding, they live in dumb spitefulness beside one another. Formal courtesy and badly warmed up humanity conceal strenuous envy, dislike, and joylessness."
  • "A great part of German literateurs mimes a delayed Jacobinism. People strive enthusiastically to combat and destroy the slightest traces of authority, reverence, and sense of honour, without which the community spirit cannot live."
  • “Seen historically we have three great forms of irreligious, secular, materialistic liberalism: Manchesterism, which ends in bourgeois democracy; then Marxism, which is nothing but the negative reflection of bourgeois democracy; and finally as the third counter-movement - this time directed against the Left - National Socialism. In its own way it is a mixture of the other two. It can be shown not only historically, but also from the intellectual orientation of National Socialism that it is a form of liberalism carried to extremes, even if I include the small group within it that is religiously motivated and is committed to the organic concept of the state. If I make a careful study of the Volkischer Beobachter, negation predominates. Moreover, it is impossible to build up [a movement] when the national honor of anyone who is not a National Socialist is immediately suspect.”
  • “Whoever like myself has closely observed the movement for years certainly knows the aspirations of Adolf Hitler. Aside from his disappointing intellectual format, however, it is hard to imagine that the German people will ever entrust itself to a man who has failed as dismally as Adolf Hitler failed in the November days of 1923.”
  • “The internal political system lacks the necessary relaxation of tensions. The failure to mobilize all national and civic forces for the great task of German self-help cannot continue. Only when the government is well on its way to returning to the concept of authority and to freeing itself from the sterility of German parliamentarism can these forces be placed in the service of the nation as a whole. In reorganizing the cabinet the goal should be the complete abandonment of its party basis. Not the approval of parties, but professional and practical competence should determine the selection of those whom you, respected chancellor, will need to help you in the mastery of these difficult tasks.”
  • “For Fascism [as Jung observed towards the end of his speech] is on the one hand the culmination of the liberal era, on the other the precondition and will for its supersession. It is now a matter of translating the great conservative ideas into practical reality. Fascism and National Socialism are political phenomena behind which great ideological forces are slumbering. The course which the dialectic of history has assigned to these revolutionary currents, however, leads past the present to the overcoming of the masses, the creation of a new hierarchy, the transcendence of nationalism, the establishment of an indestructible volkisch foundation from which the volkisch struggle can take form.”
  • “If I have sketched the problems of the German revolution and my attitude towards it so sharply, then that is because there has been no end to the talk of a second wave that will complete the revolution. Whoever plays so irresponsibly with such ideas should not forget that a second wave can easily be followed by a third, that whoever threatens to use the guillotine is most likely to come under its blade. Much is being said about the coming socialization. . . . No people can tolerate a permanent rebellion from below if it wants to stand before the bar of history. At some point the movement must come to an end; at some point a firm social structure together with an unimpeachable trust in law must emerge. . . . If therefore a second wave of new life is to pass through the German revolution, then [it will be] not as a social revolution, but as the creative consummation of the work already begun. . . . The success of the German revolution and the future of our people depends upon whether or not it will be possible to find a satisfactory solution to the dualism of party and state.”
  • "We are reproached for proceeding alongside or behind active political forces, for being romantics who fail to see reality and who indulge in dreams of an ideology of the Reich that turns toward the past. But form and formlessness represent eternal social principles, like the struggle between the microcosm and the macrocosm endures in the eternal swing of the pendulum. The phenomenal forms that mature in time are always new, but the great principles of order (mechanical or organic) always remain the same... We once again see the world as it is because we are ourselves not only of this world, but because we have an immediate sense of the metaphysical and feel its presence within us as a cosmic law. That is why our hour has come: the hour of the German revolution."

Works (excerpt)

  • Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen, ihr Zerfall und ihre Ablösung (1927)
  • Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen, ihr Zerfall und ihre Ablösung durch ein neues Reich (1930)
  • Föderalismus aus Weltanschauung (1931)
  • Sinndeutung der deutschen Revolution (1933)
  • The Rule of the Inferior (1995) [Translation of Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen]

See Also


  • Alexander Jacob, Europa: German Conservative Foreign Policy 1870-1940 (Lanham, MD, USA: University Press of America, 2002).
  • Alexander Jacob, "The Neo-Conservative Reich of Edgar Julius Jung," The Scorpion, Issue 19. <http://thescorp.multics.org/19jung.html>.
  • Alexander Jacob, Introduction to Political Ideals, by Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Lanham, MD, USA: University Press Of America, 2005).
  • Larry Eugene Jones, "Edgar Julius Jung: The Conservative Revolution in Theory and Practice," Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association, vol. 21, Issue 02, 1988, p. 142-174.
  • Larry Eugene Jones, "The Limits of Collaboration. Edgar Jung, Herbert von Bose, and the Origins of the Conservative Resistance to Hitler, 1933-34", in: Larry Eugene Jones/James Retallack (Eds.), Between Reform, Reaction, and Resistance. Studies in the History of German Conservatism from 1789 to 1945, Providence 1993, pp. 465-501.
  • Edgar Julius Jung, "Germany and the Conservative Revolution," published in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, edited by Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), pp. 352-54. (See Online)
  • Edgar Julius Jung, The Rule of the Inferiour, 2 volumes (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995).
  • Sebastian Maass, Die andere deutsche Revolution: Edgar Julius Jung und die metaphysischen Grundlagen der Konservativen Revolution. (Kiel: Regin Verlag, 2009).
  • Michael Lee Mosley, Metaphysical Revenge: The Ideas and Life of Edgar Julius Jung (Ph.D. Dissertion, Florida State University, 1997).
  • Walter Struve, Elites Against Democracy; Leadership Ideals in Bourgeois Political Thought in Germany, 1890-1933 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, 1973), pp. 317-352.
  • Lucian Tudor, From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right (Santiago, Chile: Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas, 2015).
  • Lucian Tudor, "Othmar Spann: A Catholic Radical Traditionalist," Counter-Currents.com, 19 March 2013, <http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/othmar-spann-a-catholic-radical-traditionalist/>.

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