Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
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Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
|Born||23 April 1876|
Solingen, Westphalia, German Empire
|Died||30 May 1925 (aged 49)|
Berlin, Weimar Germany
|Cause of death||Suicide|
(m. 1897; div. 1904)
Arthur Moeller van den Bruck (23 April 1876 – 30 May 1925) was a German cultural historian and writer, best known for his controversial 1923 book Das Dritte Reich (The Third Reich), which promoted German nationalism and was a strong influence on the Conservative Revolutionary movement and later the Nazi Party. From 1906 to 1922, he also published Elisabeth Kaerrick's first full German translation of Dostoyevsky's works.
Arthur Wilhelm Ernst Victor Moeller van den Bruck was born on 23 April 1876 in Solingen, Westphalia as the only child of bourgeois parents. His father was Ottomar Victor Moeller, a German state architect, and his mother was Elise van den Bruck, the daughter of Dutch architect van den Broeck and—allegedly—a Spanish mother. At birth Moeller van den Broek was assigned the first name "Arthur" (in honor of Arthur Schopenhauer), but he would later drop the part from his name.
He was expelled from a gymnasium (a type of German secondary school) for his indifference towards his studies. The young Moeller van den Bruck believed German literature and philosophy, particularly the works of Nietzsche to be a more vital education. Afterwards, he continued his studies on his own in Berlin, Paris, and Italy.
In 1897 he married Hedda Maase (later Eulenberg). She divorced him in 1904.
Moeller van den Bruck's eight-volume cultural history Die Deutschen, unsere Menschengeschichte ("The Germans, our people's history") appeared in 1905. In 1907 he returned to Germany and in 1914 enlisted in the army at the start of World War I. Soon thereafter, he joined the press office of the Foreign Ministry and was attached to the foreign affairs section of the German Supreme Army Command.
His essay "Der Preußische Stil" ("The Prussian Style"), in which he celebrated the essence of Prussia as "the will to the state", appeared in 1916, marking his embrace of nationalism. It showed him as an opponent of parliamentary democracy and liberalism, and exerted a strong influence on the Jungkonservativen ("young conservative movement").
Moeller van den Bruck was the joint founder of the "June Club" (Juniklub), which sought to influence young conservatives in the fight against the Treaty of Versailles. Later, it was renamed "Deutscher Herrenklub" (German Gentlemen's Club): it became very powerful, helping Franz von Papen to become Reichskanzler in 1932.
Influence on Nazism
In his 1918 book Das Recht der jungen Völker ("The Right Of Young Nations"), Moeller van den Bruck presents a version of the Sonderweg theory, in which he developed the theme of Russia as representing Communist civilization and the United States representing capitalist civilization, both of which are rejected. Germany is held up as the model between the two extremes. In the same book, Moeller van den Bruck advocated an expressly anti-Western and anti-imperialist philosophy of the state (Staatstheorie), which attempted to bridge the gap between nationalism and concepts of social justice.
He had a major influence on the Jungkonservativen (Young Conservatives) in their opposition to the Weimar Republic. He may have also supplied the Nazis with some of the concepts underpinning their movement, though upon meeting Hitler in 1922, Bruck rejected him for his "proletarian primitiveness". The Nazis still made use of his ideas where they could, including appropriating the title of his 1923 book Das Dritte Reich (meaning "The Third Reich") as a political slogan and the Germanic Übermensch idea.
- Die moderne Literatur in Gruppen und Einzeldarstellungen (1900)
- Das Variété: Eine Kulturdramaturgie (1900)
- Die Deutschen: Unsere Menschheitsgeschichte (1904)
- Zeitgenossen (1905)
- Die italienische Schönheit (1913)
- Der preußische Stil (1915)
- Das Recht der jungen Völker (1918)
- Das Dritte Reich (1923)
- Sebastian Maaß, Kämpfer um ein drittes Reich. Arthur Moeller van den Bruck und sein Kreis. Regin-Verlag, Kiel, 2010.
- Stan Lauryssens, The Man Who Invented the Third Reich: The Life and Times of Arthur Moeller Van Den Bruck. Sutton Publishing, NY, 2003. ISBN 0-7509-3054-3.
- Gabor Hamza, The Idea of the “Third Reich” in the German Legal, Philosophical and Political Thinking in the 20th Century. Diritto e cultura 11 (2001) 127-138.
- Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of Germanic Ideology, UCP, Berkeley, 1974. ISBN 0-520-02626-8.
- Gerhard Krebs, Moeller van den Bruck: Inventor of the Third Reich. The American Political Science Review, Volume 35, No. 6 (December 1941).
- Chamberlain, Houston Stewart (2005). Political Ideals. Lanham, MD.: University Press of America.
- Rhodes, James M. (1970). "Dionysian and Promethean," The Modern Age, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 174–189.