Germany’s Third Empire

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Das dritte Reich, cover 1st edition

Germany's Third Empire (original German: Das dritte Reich) is a book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck written in 1922 and published 1923. It presents a revolutionary, conservative, nationalist, socialist, anti-liberal, anti-marxist and anti-capitalist philosophy arguing for the creation of a Third German Empire. English editions include by Arktos.


3rd edition (read online)
The last sentence in Das dritte Reich: "The animal in man crawls forwards. Africa's darkness approaches Europe. We must be the guardians on the threshold of values."
  • Prefactory Letter To Heinrich von Gleichen
  • I. Revolutionary: Let us win the Revolution
  • II. Socialist: Each People has its own socialism
  • III. Liberalism: Liberalism is the death of nations
  • IV. Democrat: Democracy exists where the people take a share in determining their own fate.
  • V. Proletarian: The Proletarian is such by his own desire.
  • VI. Reactionary: A Policy may be reversed: History cannot.
  • VII. Conservative: Conservatism has eternity on its side.
  • VIII. The Third Empire: We must have the strength to live in antithesis.

Key Quotes

  • “The conservatism that corresponded to the state-for-the-sake-of-the-state had treated the problem of nationality too cavalierly. Therefore it foundered. The patriotism in which we were bred by that state considered nationality to be merely a question of the country in which we were born and the language which we spoke. This was not enough. A common country and a common speech and the foundations of a nation, but historically the nation receives its own peculiar character from the manner in which the men of its blood value life. Consciousness of nationhood means consciousness of a nation’s living values. Not only those are Germans who speak German, or were born in Germany, or possess her citizen rights. Conservatism seeks to preserve a nation’s values, both by conserving traditional values, as far as these still possess the power of growth, and by assimilating all new values which increase a nation’s vitality. A nation is a community of values; and nationalism is a consciousness of values.”
  • “[The Conservative] has no ambition to see the world as a museum; he prefers it as a workshop, where he can create things which will serve as new foundations. His thought differs from the revolutionary's in that it does not trust things which were hastily begotten in the chaos of upheaval; things have a value for him only when they possess certain stability. Stable values spring from tradition. We may be the victims of catastrophes which overtake us, of revolutions which we cannot prevent, but tradition always re-emerges.”
  • “The reactionary’s reading of history is as superficial as the conservative’s is profound. The reactionary sees the world as he has known it; the conservative sees it as it has been and will always be. He distinguishes the transitory from the eternal. Exactly what has been, can never be again. But what the world has once brought forth she can bring forth again. The reactionary’s policy is no policy; the conservative’s is policy on the grand scale. When policy makes history it is grand and enduring. The reactionary confuses the one with the other and would fain reverse the course of history.”
  • “The liberal professes to do all he does for the sake of the people; but he destroys the sense of community that should bind outstanding men to the people from which they spring. The people should naturally regard the outstanding man, not as an enemy but as a representative sample of themselves.”
  • “Liberalism is the party of upstarts who have insinuated themselves between the people and its big men. Liberals feel themselves as isolated individuals, responsible to nobody. They do not share the nation’s traditions, they are indifferent to its past and have no ambition for its future. They seek only their own personal advantage in the present. Their dream is the great International, in which the differences of peoples and languages, races and cultures will be obliterated.”
  • “Nations who had ceased to feel themselves a people, who had lost the state-instinct, gave liberalism its opportunity. The masses allowed an upper crust to form on the surface of the nation. Not the old natural aristocracy whose example had created the state; but a secondary stratum, a dangerous, irresponsible, ruthless, intermediate stratum which had thrust itself between. The result was the rule of a clique united only by self-interest… they found it most effective and successful to style themselves democrats.”
  • “Reason should be one with perception. This reason ceased to perceive; she merely reckoned. Understanding is spiritual instinct; reason became mere intellectual calculation. The consequences showed themselves first in the political sphere. Reason it seemed was capable of drawing any deduction that self-interest wished to draw. Reason arrived at the conclusion that the highest wisdom is to be found when each contributes his individual wisdom. Only understanding is capable of drawing the simple inference from empiric fact, that when all act exactly as they like, the net result is wont to be an infinity of unreason. What everyone thought was for the best, proved the worst for everyone. Understanding and reason are mutually exclusive…”
  • “Rationalist logic bears the same relation to truth as statistics bear to reality. It embraces everything except what is vital. Logic convinces us of progress, but history refutes it. Men have always been setting out on fresh adventures without being sure of the way, or even of the goal. To this spirit of enterprise, that sets itself tasks without any certainty of being able to fulfil them, we owe all the values and achievements of history.”
  • “The materialist conception of history, which gives economics greater weight than man, is a denial of history; it denies all spiritual values… Man revolts against the merely animal in himself; he is filled with the determination not to live for bread alone—or, at a later stage, not alone for economics—he achieves consciousness of his human dignity. The materialist conception of history has never taken cognizance of these things. It has concentrated on half man’s history: and the less creditable half.”
  • “Every people has its own socialism… When we talk of a German socialism, we do not of course mean the socialism of the social democrat in which the party took refuge after our collapse; neither do we mean the logical Marxist socialism which refuses to abandon the class war of the Internationals… International socialism does not exist. It did not exist before the War, still less after the War….Socialism begins where Marxism ends. German socialism is called to play a part in the spiritual and intellectual history of mankind by purging itself of every trace of liberalism… This New Socialism must be the foundation of Germany’s Third Empire.”
  • “We were originally a democratic people. When we first stepped out of the twilight of prehistory we had already solved the question of how a people can take a share in its own government. The answer had nothing to do with the theoretic rights of man; it was utterly simple: the democracy was the people. There was no social contract, but there was the bond of blood.”
  • “The question of democracy is not the question of the Republic… The German democracy which received its constitution in Weimar is slow to recognize that it can only win a right to endure if it is able to make itself the continuation of the monarchy, not its negation. We repeat: it can only survive if it succeeds in being for the nation what the monarchy was of old: a democracy with a leader—not parliamentism.”

Publisher description (Arktos)

"Written in 1923, when Germany was in the throes of revolutionary demands from both the Left and the Right, Moeller van den Bruck envisioned a Germany that was radical, traditional and nationalistic. Angered by the harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War, and frustrated by the types of reforms being called for in the Weimar Republic, he examines all of the major political doctrines of his day and finds them wanting. Instead, he calls for a return to empire – not the empire of the Kaiser or the Holy Roman Empire, but an empire of all German-speaking peoples, with a social hierarchy based upon strong communal values and German traditions which nurture, rather than belittle, strong individuals. Although van den Bruck was not a supporter of the National Socialists, they ended up adopting his term Das dritte Reich for the state they intended to build. With an original Foreword and Bibliography compiled by French “New Right” founder Alain de Benoist, who explains the book’s continuing relevancy, this edition makes one of the most important works of Germany’s Conservative Revolution available again for the English-speaking world. This edition is a revised version of the condensed edition first published in 1934."[1]

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