Essays

The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman (Part 20)

As part of our commitment to the celebration of forgotten classics—i.e., great works of the past which have been intentionally flushed down the memory hole by our Orwellian overlords—National Vanguard is proud to present a condensed edition of Lothrop Stoddard’s pioneering treatise The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman, originally published in 1922.

To appreciate the significance of this work, one must understand that in his day Stoddard was a certified member of America’s (now-former) WASP establishment. An old-stock Yankee from Brookline, Massachusetts, Stoddard held a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University and was one of the most prominent intellectuals in the country prior to the Second World War. It is only because of the triumph of Jewish propaganda from that war that racialists like Stoddard have since been relegated to obscurity.

By Lothrop Stoddard

TO DESCRIBE BOLSHEVISM’S subversive efforts throughout the world would fill a book in itself. Let us confine our attention to the two most striking fields of Bolshevist activity outside of Russia — Hungary and Asia.

The Bolshevik regime in Hungary represents the crest of the revolutionary wave which swept over Central Europe during the year 1919 [81]. It was short-lived, lasting less than six months, but during that brief period it almost ruined Hungary. As in Russia, the Bolshevik coup in Hungary was effected by a small group of revolutionary agitators, taking advantage of a moment of acute political disorganization, and backed by the most violent elements of the city proletariat. The leaders were mainly young “intellectuals,” ambitious but not previously successful in life, and were mostly Jews. The guiding spirit was one Bela Kun, [82] a man of fiery energy but of rather unedifying antecedents. Kun had evidently come to disapprove of the institution of private property at an early age, for he had been expelled from school for theft, and later on, during a term in jail, he was caught stealing from a fellow prisoner. Down to 1914 Kun’s career was that of a radical agitator. Early in the war he was captured by the Russians, and after the Russian revolution he joined the Bolsheviki. Picked by Lenin as a valuable agent, he was sent home at the end of the war with instructions to Bolshevize Hungary. His first efforts led to his arrest by the Hungarian authorities, but he soon got free and engineered the coup which placed him and his associates in power.

The new revolutionary government started in on approved Bolshevik lines. Declaring a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” it established an iron despotism enforced by “Red Guards,” prohibited liberty of speech or the press and confiscated private property. Fortunately there was comparatively little bloodshed. This was due to the express orders of Lenin, who, realizing how exposed was the position of Bolshevik Hungary, told Bela Kun to go slow and consolidate his position before taking more drastic measures. Kun, however, found it hard to control the zeal of his associates. Many of these were burning with hatred of the bourgeoisie and were anxious to “complete the revolution.”

In the last days of the Bolshevik regime, when its fall appeared more and more probable, the more violent elements got increasingly out of hand. Incendiary speeches were made inciting the proletariat to plunder and slaughter the bourgeois classes. For example, Pogany, one of the Bolshevik leaders, launched the following diatribe at the middle classes:

Tremble before our revenge! We shall exterminate you, not only as a class but literally to the last man among you. We look upon you as hostages, and the coming of Allied troops shall be of ill omen for you. Nor need you rejoice in the white flag of the coming bourgeois armies, for your own blood shall dye it red.

As a matter of fact, many atrocities took place, especially those committed by a bloodthirsty Commissar named Szamuely and a troop of ruffians known as the “Lenin Boys.” However, there was no general massacre. The Bolsheviks were restrained by the sobering knowledge that they were surrounded by “white” armies, and that a massacre of Budapest bourgeois would mean their own wholesale extirpation. At the very last, most of the leaders escaped to Austria and thence ultimately succeeded in making their way to Moscow.

So ended the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Despite the relatively small loss of life, the material damage done was enormous. The whole economic life of the country was disrupted, huge debts were contracted, and Hungary was left a financial wreck.

As matters turned out, Soviet Hungary was merely an episode — albeit an instructive episode, since it shows how near Europe was to Bolshevism in 1919. Quite otherwise is it with Asia. Here the Bolshevik onset is very far from having failed. On the contrary, it has gained important successes, and must be seriously reckoned with in the immediate future.

Asia is to-day full of explosive possibilities. For the past half century the entire Orient has been the scene of a vast, complicated ferment, due largely to the impact of Western ideas, which has produced an increasing unrest — political, economic, social, religious, and much more besides [83]. Oriental unrest was, of course, enormously aggravated by the Great War. In many parts of the Near East, especially, acute suffering, balked ambitions, and furious hates combined to reduce society to the verge of chaos.

Into this ominous turmoil there now came the sinister influence of Russian Bolshevism, marshalling all this diffused unrest by systematic efforts for definite ends. Asia was, in fact, Bolshevism’s “second string.” Bolshevism was frankly out for a world revolution and the destruction of Western Civilization. It had vowed the “proletarianization” of the whole world, beginning with the Western peoples but ultimately including all peoples. To attain this objective the Bolshevik leaders not only launched direct assaults on the West, but also planned flank attacks in Asia. They believed that, if the East could be set on fire, not only would Russian Bolshevism gain vast additional strength, but also the economic repercussion on the West, already shaken by the war, would be so terrific that industrial collapse would ensue, thereby throwing Europe open to revolution.

In its Oriental policy, Russian Bolshevism was greatly aided by the political legacy of Russian imperialism. From Turkey to China, Asia had long been the scene of Russian imperialist designs and had been carefully studied by Russian agents who had evolved a technic of “pacific penetration” that might be easily adjusted to Bolshevik ends. To intrigue in the Orient required no original planning by Trotzky or Lenin. Czarism had already done this for generations, and full information lay both in the Petrograd archives and in the brains of surviving Czarist agents ready to turn their hands as easily to the new work as the old.

In all the elaborate network of Bolshevik propaganda which to-day enmeshes the East, we must discriminate between Bolshevism’s two objectives: one immediate — the destruction of Western political and economic power; the other ultimate — the Bolshevizing of the Oriental masses and the consequent extirpation of the native upper and middle classes, precisely as has been done in Russia and as is planned for the countries of the West. In the first stage, Bolshevism is quite ready to back Oriental “nationalist” movements and to respect Oriental faiths and customs. In the second stage all these matters are to be branded as “bourgeois” and relentlessly destroyed.

Russian Bolshevism’s Oriental policy was formulated soon after its accession to power at the close of 1917. The year 1918 was a time of busy preparation. An elaborate propaganda organization was built up from various sources: from old Czarist agents; from the Russian Mohammedan populations such as the Tartars of South Russia and the Turkomans of Central Asia; and from the nationalist or radical exiles who flocked to Russia from Turkey, Persia, India, China, Korea, and even Japan. By the end of 1918, Bolshevism’s Oriental propaganda department was well organized, divided into three bureaus, for the Islamic countries, India, and the Far East respectively. These bureaus displayed great activity, translating tons of Bolshevik literature into the various Oriental languages, training numerous secret agents and propagandists for “field-work,” and getting in touch with disaffected or revolutionary elements.

The effects of Bolshevik propaganda have been visible in nearly all the disturbances which have afflicted the Orient since 1918. In China and Japan few tangible successes have as yet been won, albeit the symptoms of increasing social unrest in both those countries have aroused distinct uneasiness among well-informed observers [84]. In the Near and Middle East, however, Bolshevism has achieved much more definite results. Indian unrest has been stimulated by Bolshevik propaganda; Afghanistan, Turkey, and Persia have all been drawn more or less into Soviet Russia’s political orbit; while Central Asia and the Caucasus regions have been definitely Bolshevized and turned into “Soviet Republics” dependent upon Moscow. Thus Bolshevism is to-day in actual operation in both the Near and Middle East.

Soviet Russia’s Oriental aims were frankly announced at the “Congress of Eastern Peoples” held at Baku, Transcaucasia, in the autumn of 1920. The president of the congress, the noted Russian Bolshevik leader, Zinoviev, stated in his opening address:

We believe this Congress to be one of the greatest events in history, for it proves not only that the progressive workers and working peasants of Europe and America are awakened, but that we have at last seen the day of the awakening, not of a few, but of tens of thousands, of hundreds of thousands, of millions of the laboring class of the peoples of the East. These peoples form the majority of the world’s whole population, and they alone, therefore, are able to bring the war between capital and labor to a conclusive decision.

The Communist International said from the very first day of its existence: “There are four or five times as many people living in Asia as live in Europe. We will free all peoples, all who labor.” . . . We know that the laboring masses of the East are in part retrograde. Comrades, our Moscow International discussed the question whether a socialist revolution could take place in the countries of the East before those countries had passed through the capitalist stage. You know that the view which long prevailed was that every country must first go through the period of capitalism before socialism could become a live question. We now believe that this is no longer true. Russia has done this, and from that moment we are able to say that China, India, Turkey, Persia, Armenia also can, and must, make a direct fight to get the Soviet system. These countries can, and must, prepare themselves to be Soviet republics.

We array ourselves against the English bourgeoisie; we seize the English imperialist by the throat and tread him under foot. It is against English capitalism that the worst, the most fatal blow must be dealt. That is so. But at the same time we must educate the laboring masses of the East to hatred, to the will to fight the whole of the rich classes indifferently, whoever they may be . . . so that the world may be ruled by the worker’s horny hand.

Such is Russian Bolshevism’s Asiatic goal. And it is a goal by no means impossible of attainment. Of course, the numbers of class-conscious “proletarians” in the East are very small, while the Communist philosophy is virtually unintelligible to the Oriental masses. These facts have often been adduced to prove that Bolshevism can never upset Asia. The best answer to such arguments is — Soviet Russia! In Russia an infinitesimal Communist minority, numbering, by its own admission, not much over 600,000, is maintaining an unlimited despotism over at least 150,000,000 people. And the Orient is, politically and socially, much like Russia. Western countries may rely upon their stanch traditions of ordered liberty and their highly developed social systems; the East possesses no such bulwarks against Bolshevism. In the Orient, as in Russia, there is the same backwardness of the masses, the same absence of a large and powerful middle class, the same tradition of despotism, the same popular acquiescence in the rule of ruthless minorities. Finally, the East is filled with every sort of unrest.

The Orient is thus patently menaced with Bolshevism. And any extensive spread of Bolshevism in the East would be a hideous catastrophe both for the Orient and for the world at large. For the East, Bolshevism would spell downright savagery. The sudden release of the ignorant, brutal Oriental masses from their traditional restraints of religion and custom, and the submergence of the relatively small upper and middle classes by the flood of social revolution, would mean the destruction of all Oriental civilization and a plunge into an abyss of anarchy from which the East might not emerge for centuries.

For the world as a whole the prospect would be perhaps even more terrible. The welding of Russia and the Orient into a vast revolutionary block would spell a gigantic war between East and West beside which the late war would seem mere child’s play and which might leave the entire planet a mass of ruins.

Yet this is precisely what the Soviet leaders are working for, and what they frankly — even gleefully — prophesy. The vision of a revolutionary East destroying the “bourgeois” West fills many Bolshevists with wild exultation. Says the Bolshevist poet Peter Oryeschin:

Holy Mother Earth is shaken by the tread of millions of marching feet. The crescent has left the mosque; the crucifix the church. The end of Paris impends, for the East has lifted its sword. I saw tawny Chinamen leering through the windows of the Urals. India washes its garments as for a festival. Prom the steppes rises the smoke of sacrifice to the new god. London shall sink beneath the waves. Gray Berlin shall lie in ruins. Sweet will be the pain of the noblest who fall in battle. Down from Mont Blanc hordes will sweep through God’s golden valleys. Even the Kirghiz of the steppes will pray for the new era.

Thus, in the East as in the West, the world, wearied and shaken by the late war, is faced by a new war — the war against chaos.

Notes/References

81. Germany, in particular, was afflicted with a whole crop of Bolshevik uprisings. In Bavaria, especially Munich, a Bolshevik regime was actually established for a short time, its overthrow being marked by a massacre of bourgeois “hostages.” In Berlin there were several bloody risings of the proletariat. In Finland there was a sanguinary civil war, ending in the triumph of the “whites” over the “reds.” These are merely the outstanding instances of a long series of revolutionary disorders.

82. Ne Cohen.

83. I have discussed this unrest in its various aspects, with special reference to the Near and Middle East, in my book, The New World of Islam, already referred to.

84. For revolutionary unrest in China, see Legendre’s book, already quoted. For social unrest in Japan, see, Sen Katayama, The Labor Movement in Japan (Chicago, 1918). Katayama is the most prominent leader of Japanese Socialism. Since writing the book referred to he has grown much more violent, and is now an extreme Bolshevik.

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Source: Dissident Millennial

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