Myth of Jewish Menace - Lucien Wolf

The Demonology of the 'Morning Post'

The prodigious essay on "The Cause of World Unrest" which the Morning Post has lately published in seventeen articles and some sixty columns of printed matter[1] is a document on which the student of political thought in England will dwell sadly. Over a century ago, in world circumstances of startling similarity and almost from the same party standpoint, Burke gave us, in his "Causes of the Present Discontents," his "Reflections," and his "Regicide Peace" a large and stately piece of political philosophy. To-day the leading organ of Conservative opinion in this country can only expound a sort of political demonology, borrowed partly from the obscurantists of Bourbon Clericalism and partly from the fanatics of Hohenzollern Anti-Semitism. It would be merciful to pass by this strange effort in silence, but unfortunately there is reason to believe that, with all its grotesqueness, it is calculated to work a good deal of mischief. Credulous and vicious people are still abundant, and they are not confined to the crowd. Mr. Winston Churchill has darkly hinted that he reads the signs of the times much in the same way as the Morning Post, and a curious story is current that the translation of the Russian forgery on which the theory of that journal mainly rests was actually made in the Intelligence Department of the War Office. Then there are Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Belloc and quite a conventicle of smaller fry who have been vainly preaching the same apocalypse for years. The Morning Post may bring them recruits, and that assuredly is not desirable.

The theory of the Morning Post may be briefly stated. Its fundamental contention is that all political unrest is artificial. It is a product of the Hidden Hand which is now revealed to us as a "Formidable Sect" encompassing the world. This sect has been at its present work for at least a hundred and fifty years. The French Revolution was contrived by it, as well as all the subordinate revolutions down to our own time. Trade Unionism, Socialism, Syndicalism, Bolshevism, Sinn Fein, Indian Nationalism, and their analogues in every part of the globe are outward and visible signs of its sinister activity. That there are social grievances and even evils at the root of this unrest is not denied, but they are as artificial as the unrest itself. They have all been deliberately brought about by the Hidden Hand in order to stir up revolt against the Throne and Altar. The way in which it has been done is a little complicated. Behind the restless and seditious movements which we all know there is a secret revolutionary organisation in the shape of Freemasonry. But this is only intermediate, for Freemasonry itself, through some obscure transaction between the Templars and the Old Man of the Mountain, was created by the "Formidable Sect," and is wholly, though perhaps unconsciously, under its control. Freemasonry had a specially "activist" wing in the Illuminati—also an invention of the Formidablists—which was chiefly responsible for the French Revolution.

Now, what is this "Formidable Sect"? It is no other than the Jews. Those ancient enemies of the human race appear to have been even more daring and dynamic in evil-doing than even Torquemada supposed. Throughout their world-wide Dispersion they have secretly preserved their old political organisation, and they have used it—and are still using it—with deadly persistency to overturn the established Christian order of things and to found in its place a universal Jewish dominion under the sceptre of a Sovereign of the House of David. The Jews are, in short, the "cause of the world unrest."

There is nothing new in this theory except the claim of its authors to have produced documentary proof of its final development—that is, of its Jewish aspect. Qua international conspiracy, it was invented over a century ago, as it has been resurrected to-day, to explain the unfamiliar international character of the prevailing unrest. The clergy and the nobility of the ancien regime were as little capable as the Morning Post to-day of understanding the natural causes of this phenomenon. And yet they were by no means obscure. The French Revolution, as Burke pointed out, was not a mere uprising against local oppression, but a "revolution of doctrine and theoretic dogma"[2] which was bound to find echoes beyond the French frontiers. In this respect it resembled the Reformation, and also that other "armed doctrine" which we know as Bolshevism. Nevertheless it puzzled the Bourbon apologists, and, confusing cause and effect, they became convinced that they were in the presence of an international conspiracy.

The theory was first propounded by a Superior of the Seminary of Eudists at Caen in 1790,[3] but it was afterwards vastly developed by the Abbe Barruel in his "Memoires sur le Jacobinisme," by Robison of Edinburgh in his "Proofs of a Conspiracy," and by the Chevalier de Malet in his tedious "Recherches Historiques." Their conclusion was that there was a triple conspiracy of Philosophers, Freemasons, and Illuminati, who formed an actual sect aiming deliberately and methodically at the overthrow of the established religions and governments throughout Europe. It is noteworthy that their researches failed to discern any Jewish element in this conspiracy, though in minuteness of investigation and in the gluttony of their credulity they were by no means inferior to the Morning Post, while they had the advantage over that journal of being in close touch with the facts. The theory had a short shrift, though the industry of its authors certainly did much to throw light on the organisation and activities of the secret societies. So far as the Freemasons and Illuminati were concerned, it was easily demolished by the Earl of Moira, who at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of England in 1800 showed convincingly that it was a mare's nest.[4] As for the Philosophers, no one ever took the charge against them seriously. For half a century scarcely anything more was heard of this aspect of the "Formidable Sect," though meanwhile the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 took place. The non-suit of Barruel was chose jugee.

It was revived in the sixties under the influence of the religious passions kindled by the war for Italian unity. The struggle for Jewish emancipation had triumphed all over Western Europe, largely as a consequence of the Revolutions of 1848, and the new citizens thus enfranchised had everywhere cast in their lot with the Liberal parties. This was swiftly and angrily noted by the Ultramontane polemists, and the old bogey of a "Formidable Sect" began to haunt them in a revised and enlarged form. In the new conspiracy there was no longer any talk of Philosophers and Illuminati. Their place was taken by Jews and Protestants. The "Formidable Sect" thus became a triple alliance of Freemasons, Jews, and Protestants, which was said to be directed by the "Grand Master Palmerston," and supported by the whole British people, not only as Protestants, but as descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. The chief protagonist of this stupendous hallucination was M. Gougenot des Mousseaux, who in 1869 embodied it in a volume entitled "Le Juif, le Judaisme, et la Judaisation des Peuples Chretiens." From his own admissions, however, it appears that he was largely indebted to German Catholic inspiration. Once again the theory failed to find support, and Gougenot's book, like the books of Barruel and Robison, became relegated to the literature of forgotten crazes.

Later on attempts to revive it were made by M. de Saint-Andre, the Abbe Chabauty, M. Drumont, M. Martin, and M. Copin-Albancelli, in the full flood of the Anti-Semitic agitation which had been imported into France from Germany. The only notable addition made to the theory by these writers was the hypothesis of a secret Jewish Government, transported from Jerusalem into the Diaspora, which, throughout the ages, has never ceased to command the allegiance of an imaginary international Jewry, to keep it disloyal to all other Governments, and to direct it in an insidious campaign against the established order of Christian Society. Since 1909 the agitation has become retransferred to the headquarters of Clerical Anti-Semitism in Vienna and Munich, and the most recent works on the subject—with which the Morning Post appears to have mainly worked, although for obvious reasons it does not acknowledge them—are Wichtl's "Weltfreimaurerei, Weltrevolution, Weltrepublik," Meister's "Judas Schuldbuch," and Rosenberg's "Die Spur des Juden im Wandel der Zeiten," all published in 1919. All this literature, while expounding exactly the same theory of a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy as the Morning Post, is as violently anti-English as it is anti-Masonic and anti-Jewish. A great deal of it is published under the auspices of the Deutschland's Erneuerung Committee, of which Mr. Houston Chamberlain is a leading spirit.

This, then, is the very dubious raw material of the theory hashed up by the Morning Post as a serious contribution to the grave political preoccupations of British statesmanship at this moment. It will be noted that in the forms so far reviewed it is confessedly a theory, resting at the best on evidence of a highly conjectural and circumstantial character. The novelty in its latest presentation is that an effort is made to bolster it up with what is claimed to be direct evidence. This takes the form of a document entitled "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," which was opportunely published in an anonymous pamphlet a few months ago by Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode. These protocols are alleged to be the minutes of certain meetings of the Secret Directory of the Jewish people held in Paris towards the end of the last century, and they pretend to record avowals by the "Elders" of the very conspiracy set forth hypothetically by MM. Gougenot des Mousseaux and Copin-Albancelli. The joy of the Morning Post at the discovery of this evidence is not difficult to understand. Its theory threatened to collapse under the weight of its inherent grotesqueness, and here, in the nick of time, was documentary proof, complete and apparently irrefutable. "In this book," says the Post triumphantly, "for the first time we find an open declaration of the terrible conspiracy of the 'Formidable Sect.'"[5]

Unhappily for the Morning Post, this document is a forgery, and one which has already been used for even more disreputable purposes than the bolstering up of the malicious hypothesis in support of which it is cited. The story of this forgery will be told presently.[6] For the moment I content myself with noting that it is a forgery, and proceed to examine briefly the main historical propositions which it is invoked to corroborate and co-ordinate. This is necessary not because they are in themselves worth taking seriously, but because they are held to react on the forged protocols and to supply presumptive evidence of their genuineness.

I take the propositions in the logical order of the argument they are put forward to illustrate:—


This proposition, borrowed, for the most part, from the wild conjectures of Copin-Albancelli, has a queer flavour of the anti-Catholic bogey which was at one time so fiercely exploited by Hot-gospellers, and in which even Mr. Gladstone believed as late as 1874—the Pope standing for the Prince of the Captivity and the Syllabus for the Protocols of Nilus. What, however, is very remarkable is that the protagonists of this fantastic calumny are, for the most part, Roman Catholics who have themselves suffered from it in a form much more difficult to grapple with. The short answer to it in the case of the Jews is that it is an invention, and that not only is there no trace of it in the history of the Dispersion, but that, on the contrary, the Jews, even as a Church, and still more in their secular relations, have suffered more from the want of international organisation and uniformity than any other Church or religious community. The Princes of the Captivity, for example, were confined to the Babylonian Exile, and were little more than the local Presbyters omnium Judaeorum Angliae of Angevin England or the Presidents of the Jewish Consistory of modern France. The allegation that the final aim of this Secret Government is the establishment of a universal Jewish dominion under a Prince of the House of David is a curious muddle of eschatology and politics. With much better reason the early Anabaptists said virtually the same thing of the Roman Catholic Church, and, indeed, on the Morning Post plan of campaign, it might be retorted on all the great Churches. With the Jews it has no more to do with practical politics than the analogous hopes of pious Christendom. The Morning Post, however, does not stand alone in its error. A curious variant of it is found in recent German Antisemitica. The World Unrest is there pictured as due to a conspiracy of Jewry and the British Empire, based on the Anglo-Israelitish theory that the British people are the Lost Tribes and the Royal House of Windsor the authentic seed of David. Accordingly, Britons and Jews together are accused of having plotted the late war in order to fulfil the Messianic prophecies in the person of King George.[7] Les grands esprits se rencontrent!


It follows that if there is no "Secret Government of the Jewish Nation," such a Government cannot well be "the occult power which works behind Freemasonry."[8] The Morning Post, however, is very careful to hedge on this, as on many other points. Its alternative theory is that Freemasonry is Judaical because it is descended from the Templars, who received their Jewish traditions from the Assassins.[9] The only foundation for the suggestion that the Assassins could act as intermediaries between the Jews and the Templars is, on the one hand, that they were Ishmaelites, and consequently "first cousins" to the Jews, and, on the other, a much disputed hypothesis of Von Hammer, that certain Templars were initiated into the mysteries of the Assassins.[10] The truth is that the Assassins were not Ishmaelites, except in the figurative sense that all Mohammedans claim to be descended from Ishmael, and even if they were, they had no contact with Jews, and their tenets bear no trace of Jewish influence. Consequently, whatever else the Templars may have learnt from them, they certainly did not learn Judaism. The nearest approach to a tradition of Hebrew influence on Templarism is found in a very dubious legend of Swedish Masonry which alleges that certain Templars of Jerusalem received the secrets of the Essenes from seven Syrian Christians whom they rescued from the Saracens.[11] But if this story were true, the secrets thus taught would assuredly have been more Christian than Jewish. To anyone, however, who knows anything of mediaeval history, and the relations of Moslems and Jews at this period, the whole of this conjecture is the crudest buffoonery. No section of the Crusaders dealt with the Jews except by way of massacre. Moreover, had there been the slightest ground for believing that the Templars had Judaised it would have been seized upon as the most damning of all crimes alleged against them when the Order was suppressed. But throughout the comprehensive indictment, which ranges from the Gnostic heresy to gross licentiousness, there is no hint of the deadly sin of Judaism.


This, however, is not the end of the matter. Yet other historical testimonies are alleged—the Temple cultus in Freemasonry, the "Jewish Ritual" of the Order, and the direct activities of Jews in its anti-monarchical and anti-Christian machinations.

(a) The first of these arguments may best be judged by the Morning Post's own witnesses. Whether Freemasonry was or was not derived from the Templars and whether or not the Templars became infected with Jewish ideas transmitted through the Assassins, nothing is more certain than that the founders of Templarism established their Order on the Temple cultus long before they could have known anything of the Assassins, and while they were still impeccable Knights of the Cross. Hence, if the Freemasons took the Temple from them, it was innocent of Jewishness. But Robison—one of the main authorities of the Morning Post—will not even have it that the Freemasons were indebted to the Templars, much less to the Jews. He states that the theory, and even the Temple cultus, were unknown to Freemasonry before 1743, when they were introduced to them for the first time by the Jacobite, Andrew Ramsay.[12]

(b) The so-called "Jewish Ritual" of Masonry is equally a delusion, as the Morning Post could have found out for itself, had it taken the trouble to consult somebody who knows Hebrew and Hebrew literature. The grammatical forms and the transliteration of the limited number of Hebrew words found in the Masonic rituals prove conclusively their non-Jewish origin. The legendary matter, too, has but few traces of Jewish provenance, and is clearly not due to Jewish redaction. If the rituals were Jewish, one might expect to find parallel passages in the Hebrew Prayer-Book and similar literature, but nothing of the kind is discoverable. It is really remarkable that Jews had nothing to do—and indeed, I believe, never have had anything to do—with the composition of the Masonic rituals, seeing that the lodges, in this country, at least, have always been open to them, and at an early date learned Jews were interested in them and possibly joined them; but so it is. The true explanation of the Hebrew elements in Freemasonry, as in Templarism, is that both borrowed from the Old Testament, as a Christian document.

(c) As for the activities of Jews in the anti-monarchical and anti-Christian machinations of Masonry, the answer is that orthodox Masonry has never been anti-monarchical or anti-Christian, and if there have been spurious lodges open to this reproach, and if orthodox lodges have been improperly used for this purpose, they were, at any rate, free of the added reproach of Jewish control or inspiration. The only evidence on this head cited by the Morning Post—or, rather, by Mrs. Webster on its behalf—is that a Jew known by the nickname of Piccolo Tigre issued a scandalously anti-social manifesto to the Piedmontese Alta Vendita in 1822, and that he was abetted by "others of his race."[13] We are not told who these "others" were, nor even what Piccolo Tigre's real name was. If Mrs. Webster does not know his name, how can she know that he was a Jew? The answer is that she got the story from Gougenot des Mousseaux, but even he naively admits that he never knew who Piccolo Tigre was.[14] And yet he is positive he was a Jew. This is typical of all the Morning Post's evidence.


If the Freemasons think it worth while, they will, no doubt, reply to the Morning Post through a better-qualified member of the Craft than myself,[15] but, unlike the Jews, they can afford to treat the superstitions with which they are assailed with contempt. It will suffice here to quote what Lord Moira said on the subject in 1800:—

"Certain modern publications have been holding forth to the world the society of Masons as a league against constitutional authorities—an imputation the more secure because the known constitutions of our fellowship make it certain that no answer can be published. It is not to be disputed that in countries where impolitic prohibitions restrict the communication of sentiment, the activity of the human mind may, among other means of baffling the control, have resorted to the artifice of borrowing the denomination of Freemasons, to cover meetings for seditious purposes, just as any other description might be assumed for the same object. But, in the first place, it is the invaluable distinction of this free country that such a just intercourse of opinions exists without restraint as cannot leave to any number of men the desire of forming or frequenting those disguised societies where dangerous dispositions may be imbibed. And, secondly, the profligate doctrines which may have been nurtured in any such self-established assemblies could never have been tolerated for a moment in any lodge meeting under regular authority. We aver, therefore, that not only such laxity of opinion has no sort of connection with the tenets of Masonry, but is diametrically opposite to the injunction which we regard as the foundation-stone of the lodge, namely, Fear God and honour the King."[16]

To this it should be added that Masonic lodges—more or less spurious—have not only been used by Atheists and Revolutionists for their own sinister purposes, but also by their enemies. We learn from Robison that even the Roman Catholic Church at one time tried to capture them—possibly for ends not over-friendly to the Established Church in this country—and that the Jacobites, who can scarcely be called enemies of the Throne and Altar, were extremely active in the Masonic Order during the eighteenth century.[17]


This is a pet theory of Mrs. Webster, and is very largely based on the untenable propositions noticed above. It is, however, also sought to show that the Illuminati and the Martinezists were active artisans of the Revolution, and that they were abetted by Jews. On this the only concrete evidence adduced is that Martinez Pasqualis, who figured prominently in both movements, was "generally reputed to be a Portuguese Jew." As a matter of fact, there were scarcely any Portuguese Jews at the time, and even the distinction between Old and New Christians in Portugal had been recognised as obsolete and abolished by decree in 1768.[18] Pasqualis was probably as little—or as much—a Jew as Pombal or Dom Joseph in the popular anecdote.[19] As for his alleged Jewish abettors, it is noteworthy that neither Barruel nor Robison—both contemporaries of the Revolution—knew anything of them. Barruel, indeed, ignored the theory when it was actually suggested to him, and for good reason. No one knew better than he how ludicrous it was. The Jews in Paris at the time were few and relatively insignificant; they did their duty by the new Government, but were sturdily on the side of moderation, and so far from having had any hand in making the Revolution they were actually the last to benefit by it. They were, in fact, the only class of the population whose disabilities were continued by the new regime, and it was not until September, 1791, that, after many appeals from them and in face of a strong opposition, the National Assembly consented to their emancipation.[20] As for their political opinions, they are sufficiently illustrated by the fact that one of the first acts of the Terror was to arrest forty-six of them as suspect of "delits contre-revolutionnaires"—the charge is itself a vindication—and nine of them were executed.[21] None of these good people were of any political prominence. Indeed, whether for good or evil, not a single Jewish name figures conspicuously in the history of the Revolution. With the subsequent Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 the case was different, but these were essentially bourgeois movements, and the Jewish activity in them was characteristically middle-class and moderate.


The general suggestion of the Morning Post that the Jewish Community is, for the most part, composed of dangerous Revolutionists is a little difficult to deal with, because, at the same time, it is admitted that they are not sincere. While preaching their subversive doctrines they are said to be really anti-democratic, and to simulate a zeal for Atheism and Anarchy only in order to bring about the social and political Armageddon out of which their own Davidic Autocracy is to emerge and triumph. Everything, then, hinges on this motive, and it has already been shown that it is nothing more than a millennial hope which has no place in the field of practical politics. The appeal to Karl Marx as the Archetype of the Jewish Revolutionist is, in this connection, particularly unfortunate. In the first place, Marx was not even remotely a Jew by religion, and therefore the Messianic motive is scarcely likely to have weighed with him. He was probably a sincere Revolutionist, and, in that case, he was just as little a Jew, seeing that his philosophy has no relation to any recognised school of Jewish thought. Marx, indeed, was an intellectual product of the essentially Gentile teachings of Hegel and Feuerbach. Perhaps the best test of the Gentilism of his outlook is that, while his Jewish disciples were comparatively few, his Christian converts are numbered in millions. In the second place, if Marx was the chief instrument of a Jewish plot to subvert Christian society, he must have proved something of a disappointment to his secret employers. Among the forces which are making for World Unrest to-day he is a relatively conservative element. The Morning Post itself supplies the proof of this. In its anxiety to convict Marx of adding the sin of Germanism to the criminality of anti-Christian Thuggee—a little difficult to reconcile—it recalls his life-long quarrel with Bakounine, and explains it as exclusively a struggle between Judeo-Germanism and Slavism.[22] There is, however, no reason to believe that it was at bottom anything but a conflict between Socialism and Anarchism—that is, between those who, however revolutionary they may be in a social sense, would still maintain the structure of the State, and those who would destroy it root and branch. Here we see that it is not the Jew Socialist who works to destroy the established political order of things, but the Gentile Anarchist. This point may be still further illustrated by Syndicalism and Bolshevism, which are both far more destructive than Socialism and are both revolts against Marx. It is true that Lenin pretends to be a strict Marxist, but his orthodoxy is vehemently contested by all the leading Marxists in England, France, and Germany, and by the whole body of Russian Mensheviks, among whom are many Jews.[23]

It is impossible, within the restricted scope of this essay, to deal with all the incidental accusations against Jews contained in the Morning Post indictment; but most of them will be found covered by the above classification. The charge of Bolshevism, which is the only conspicuous exception, will be examined in a later chapter.

The upshot of the matter is that the "Formidable Sect" is a German Anti-Semitic and Anglophobe myth, founded in malice and hysteria, built up of garbled history, and synthetised by impudent forgery. How it came to impose itself on the plethoric patriotism of the Morning Post is a mystery which may be worth investigating. Whatever the explanation, it must be counted a triumph for German junkerdom and a consoling token to that eminent traitor Herr Houston Chamberlain that he is not altogether without spiritual affinities in the land of his birth.

[1] Morning Post, July 12-30, 1920.
[2] "Thoughts on French Affairs" (Burke's Works, Vol. III., p. 350).
[3] Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1794.
[4] Infra p. 14.
[5] Morning Post, July 16, 1920.
[6] Infra pp. 19 et seq.
[7] See Wichtl and Meister op. cit. A peculiarly crazy statement of this theory, illustrated by an obscene chart pedigree of Queen Victoria, will be found in Semi-Imperator (Munich, 1919). Cf. Proceedings of the British Israel World Federation Congress, July 5-10, 1920.
[8] Morning Post, July 14, 1920.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Quoted by Frost, "Secret Societies of the European Revolution," Vol. I., p. 6.
[11] Frost, op. cit., pp. 12-13.
[12] Robison: "Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe" (Lond., 1797), pp. 38-39.
[13] Morning Post, July 15, 1920. See also Spectator, June 19 and 26, 1920.
[14] Gougenot des Mousseaux, op. cit., p. 343.
[15] Since this was written a learned and comprehensive reply has been published, demolishing the whole Masonic side of the Morning Post's argument. (See A.W. Waite: "Occult Freemasonry and the Jewish Peril" in the Occult Review, Sept., 1920.)
[16] Oliver: "History of Masonic Persecution," pp. 298-300.
[17] Robison, op. cit., pp. 30, 38-39, 62.
[18] Smith: "Memoirs of Pombal," Vol. II., p. 248.
[19] Ibid., pp. 249-250. As a matter of fact Pasqualis was a Christian born at Grenoble (Waite: Occult Rev., Sept., 1920).
[20] Kahn: Les Juifs a Paris, pp. 64-71.
[21] Ibid., pp. 72-85.
[22] Morning Post, July 16, 1920.
[23] Infra pp. 45-46.

The Forged Protocols

Chief among the pieces justificatives relied upon by the demonologists of the Morning Post is an anonymous pamphlet which calls itself "The Jewish Peril."[24] As has been stated in the previous chapter, this pamphlet is a forgery, or, rather, a garbled translation of a clumsy Russian forgery by a certain Sergyei Nilus, intended to pander to the superstition of the "Hidden Hand." There is reason to believe that it has itself been engineered by a more substantial hand reaching out stealthily from the arcanum of German Militarist Reaction.

The literary and political history of this pamphlet is quite easy to trace, though it has been a little obscured by its author's infirmities of memory. Fundamentally it belongs to a type of forgery which was common enough in the 17th and 18th centuries, when party passions ran high and the reckless scurrilities of political warfare could not be made effective without the concoction of bogus documents.[25] In our own time this fraudulent traffic has become relatively rare, though the notorious Pigott and Dreyfus forgeries are there to show how easily it may be tempted into life when malicious controversialists venture on accusations which they cannot otherwise substantiate. This is precisely the case of "Professor Sergyei Nilus," the alleged author of the Russian original of "The Jewish Peril."

His documented "discovery" that the Jews, in conspiracy with certain secret brotherhoods, are at the bottom of all the political and religious convulsions and all the social instabilities throughout the world, has been devised to bolster up a theory which has long failed to convince. The theory itself, of which the Morning Post's "Formidable Sect" is the latest product, is at least three centuries old. It was the staple of the pseudo-Apocalyptic literature of Antichrist and the Wandering Jew which assailed the early years of the Reformation and filled the literary armoury of the League during the Thirty Years' War. It took more definite political shape in the tracts and broadsheets, afterwards collected by the German Evangelical Clericals under the title of Anabaptisticum et Enthusiasticum Pantheon, which, among other fearsome things, explained the Puritan Revolution in England—the Bolshevism of its day—as a plot against Christianity and Monarchy contrived by the Quacker, Frey-Geister und Heil und Gottlosen Juden.[26] In the early eighteenth century its specifically anti-Jewish aspects were emphasised by the misapplied learning of Eisenmenger, whose anti-Semitic classic, "Entdecktes Judenthum," was published at the cost of King Frederick of Prussia.[27] After the French Revolution and the upheavals of 1830 and 1848, a fresh impulse was given to the agitation. Meanwhile, the Illuminati had come into existence, and Freemasonry had become known, and they were promptly annexed by the scaremongers and substituted for the Quakers and Freethinkers in their new redaction of the "Hidden Hand." A number of blood-curdling works dealing in minute detail with their supposed activities as authors of the Revolutions were published by such writers as Father Barruel (1797, etc.), the Chevalier de Malet (1817), Eckert (1854), Gougenot des Mousseaux (1860), Cretineau-Joly (1863), Saint-Andre (1880), and Chabauty (1883). These books all fell flat. The blood of the public refused to be curdled, and to-day they are only found in second-hand bookshops or in the libraries of collectors of Masonic and Occult ana.

In 1868 an ingenious German named Hermann Goedsche conceived the idea of galvanising the agitation into effective life by giving a dramatic form to all its theoretical extravagances.[28] Formerly in the Prussian postal service, where he also acted as a spy for the Secret Police and the Kreuz Zeitung party, he had been dismissed from his office for subornation of forgery in connection with the prosecution of the famous Democratic leader Benedict Waldeck.[29] He was now engaged in palming off on the German public a series of apocryphal works, half memoirs and half historical romances, which he alleged were written by an Englishman named "Sir John Retcliffe." They dealt with all the palpitating international political problems and events of the middle of the nineteenth century, from the Crimean War to the War of the Danish Duchies. In one of these romances, entitled "Biarritz,"[30] he touched on the economic question which had been opened in its most formidable shape by the foundation of Lassalle's Workingmen's union and the publication, in the previous year, of Marx's "Das Kapital." This led him to a melodramatic Jewish interlude.

Two of his characters, a Jewish Social Democrat named Lasali and a scientific dreamer named Faust, overhear the proceedings of a secret assembly of the "Elect of Israel," held once in every century round the tomb of a mythical "Holy Rabbi" named Simeon ben Jehudah in the ancient Jewish cemetery at Prague. The conclave is pictured as engaged in the worship of the Golden Calf,[31] which, we are told, has been preserved as the profoundest mystery of the Jewish Cabala by which the Jews may eventually secure their domination over all the nations of the earth. The practical application of the principles of this cultus is discussed in a long series of cynical speeches, which are in close agreement with the hypotheses of Gougenot des Mousseaux and similar writers. The Jews are to work with gold and the Press for the subversion of Christianity, and they are to act as a universal disturbing and demoralising instrument, so that in the fulness of time they may establish the Jewish universal Dominion on the ruins of Christian society. When on the stroke of midnight this uncanny conventicle breaks up, Lasali solemnly pledges himself to his friend Faust to fight the hideous materialism of his co-religionists with the ideals of Social Democracy.[32]

This was the editio princeps of a number of forged anti-Semitic documents, of which the Nilus Protocols are the latest redaction. They differ among themselves in detail, according to the varying stages of the evolution of the political and economic struggle, but in their broad lines they are constant to the original presentation of their case by Goedsche.

The first forgeries, in which Goedsche's avowed fiction was transformed into protocols or reports of alleged Jewish confessions, were produced early in the eighties by the more irresponsible elements of the German anti-Semitic movement then in process of formation by Treitschke and Stocker in Germany, and were widely circulated as broadsheets. In 1893 the same material was worked up simultaneously by two German anti-Semitic papers, the Deutsch-soziale Blatter and the Antisemitische Korrespondenz, and published as an authentic speech delivered by a Jewish Rabbi at a secret meeting of his disciples held in the Jewish cemetery at Prague.[33] The source of this fabrication was placed beyond doubt by a thoughtless editorial statement that it was extracted from a work written by an eminent Englishman named "Sir John Retcliffe," and entitled "Memoirs of the Politico-Historical Events of the Last Ten Years." Needless to say, this book is as apocryphal as Retcliffe himself, the alleged speech being chiefly a condensed paraphrase of Goedsche's avowed fiction. There is, however, one important deviation from the original which brings it nearer to the Nilus text, the Jews being pictured not as divided into anti-Christian Materialists and Socialists, but as being all simulators of Socialism and Anarchism for their own revolutionary purposes while still remaining, among themselves, devotees of the Golden Calf, with all its moral, or rather immoral, implications. In 1901 a literal Czech translation of this precious protocol, but without the acknowledgment of indebtedness to "Retcliffe," was published in Prague under the title "A Rabbi on the Goyim."[34] It was immediately confiscated by the police on the ground that it was calculated to disturb the peace, but the anti-Semites revenged themselves by incorporating the whole text in an interpellation to the Minister of Justice, which was brought forward by the deputy Brzenovsky in the Austrian Reichsrath on March 13, 1901, and gave rise to a lively debate.[35] It was not heard of again until 1911, when it was translated into French—this time with the "Retcliffe" acknowledgment—by M. Kalixt de Wolski, and published together with a rechauffe of the more notorious forgeries of Braafmann and Lutostansky.[36] Finally, in 1912 the anti-Semitic Press in Germany republished it in a new form. Instead of an alleged historical document, it now appeared as a piece of news—a stenographic report of a speech delivered by a "Jewish Rabbi" at a Jewish Congress held at Lemberg.[37] Anyone who takes the trouble, however, to make the comparison will find that it is a textual precis of the speeches made by the Golden Calf worshippers in Goedsche's "Biarritz."

It is consoling to note that none of these scandalous fabrications made any durable appeal to the relatively sober mentality of those happy pre-war days. No reputable newspaper noticed them. Even M. Drumont, while appropriating all the theories of Gougenot des Mousseaux in his "France Juive"—without acknowledgment, by the way—does not mention Goedsche or any of his malicious plunderers.

Now it needs but a very cursory glance at these forgeries and their raw material in the treatises of the literary scaremongers to perceive at once the fraud which has been practised on the public by Nilus's book. But before I press this point home, let us see whether Nilus himself has any reasonable explanation to offer of the provenance of his documents. It should be borne in mind that these documents consist of a number of so-called "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," in which, as in the Goedsche romance, certain Jewish teachers are made to avow to their disciples the dark designs of Jewry for the corruption and subjugation of Christendom. Nilus does not refuse to say how he came by these Protocols. On the contrary he gives us no fewer than three explanations. unfortunately for him, they are not only elusive and incredibly melodramatic, but they are also hopelessly contradictory. Two of them will be found in the English edition. According to one, the Protocols came from a deceased friend unnamed, who received them from a woman, also unnamed, who stole them from "one of the most influential and most highly initiated leaders of Freemasonry ... at the close of a secret meeting of the initiated in France."[38] According to the other, there was no woman intermediary and no despoiled French Freemason, but the whole business was done by the deceased friend himself, who rifled the safes of "the Headquarter Offices of the Society of Zion in France."[39] The inconsistency of these two stories may conceivably be explained, but it is not so easy to account for the third story, which Nilus relates in a third and enlarged edition of his work published in 1911. Here he tells us that the documents came not from France, but from Switzerland, that they were not Judeo-Masonic, but Zionist, and that they were the secret Protocols of the Zionist Congress held in Basle in 1897.[40] From these conflicting statements it is perfectly clear that Nilus is not a witness of truth, and the damaging conclusion suggested by a comparison of his Protocols with the Goedsche fiction and its progeny of forgeries becomes irresistible.

The Protocols are, in short, an amplified imitation of Goedsche's handiwork adapted to the circumstances of the Russian Revolution of 1905. Whether it was made direct from the melodramatic text of "Biarritz" is doubtful. Had Nilus worked with that document his credulous mysticism would assuredly not have resisted its Golden Calf theory, of which he is refreshingly innocent. On the other hand, he does adopt the blending of the Materialist and Social Democratic elements which are separate and conflicting in Goedsche, but which, with the exclusion of the Golden Calf, were the chief points of difference between the Czech forgery of 1901 and its Goedsche original. It therefore seems probable that it was with the Czech text that Nilus operated, and this is confirmed by his own avowal that the "manuscript" which first made him acquainted with the alleged Protocols was given to him in 1901, the year in which the Czech pamphlet was published.[41]

In his main ideas Nilus followed this pamphlet very closely, but borrows, or, rather, purloins, additional matter, especially in regard to the Freemasons, from Gougenot des Mousseaux. He also annexes political and economic ideas on a large scale from modern Russian reactionary writers and from certain early Bolshevist programme-mongers. How closely his main thesis follows that of the Czech-Goedsche pamphlet is shown by the following parallel, in which both explain how the Jews hope to accomplish their fell purpose by simulating sympathy with the proletariat and leading it into destructive, and eventually suicidal, political revolution:—

The Czech Goedsche.

"Our people are conservative, faithful to the religious ceremonies and customs which have been bequeathed to us by our ancestors, but our interest exacts that we should simulate a zeal for the social questions which are the order of the day, especially those which deal with the amelioration of the condition of workmen. In reality our efforts should be directed to capturing this movement of public opinion. The blindness t of the masses, their propensity to yield themselves to oratory as empty as it is sonorous, makes of them an easy prey and a docile instrument of popularity and credit. We shall find without difficulty among our own people the expression of such factitious sentiments and as much eloquence as sincere Christians find in their enthusiasm. We must as much as possible sustain the proletariat and bring it within the reach of those who have money at their disposal. By this means we shall be able to rouse the masses whenever we please, to lead them into upheavals and revolutions. Each of these catastrophes will advance by a long stride our own racial interests and will rapidly bring us nearer to our one great end—that of reigning over all the earth as it has been promised to us by our Father Abraham."


"We intend to appear as though we were the liberators of the labouring man come to free him from his oppression, when we shall suggest to him to join the ranks of our armies of socialists, anarchists, and communists. . . We govern the masses by making use of feelings of jealousy and hatred kindled by oppression and need. . . When the time comes for our Worldly Ruler to be crowned we will see to it that by the same means—tha is to say, by making use of the mob—we will destroy everything that may prove to be an obstacle in our way. . . The populace in its ignorance blindly believes in printed words and in erroneous delusions which have been duly inspired by us. . . The mob is used to listen to us who pay it for its attention and obedience. By these means we shall create such a blind force that it will never be capable of taking any decision without the guidance of our agents placed by us for the purpose of leading them".[42]

It would be easy to quote many other equally deadly parallels, but this one will assuredly suffice to show that, in their main argument, at any rate, the Protocols are not what they pretend to be—that is an actual statement of secret Jewish teaching by a Jew—but that they are not even an echo of Jewish ideas, seeing that they are derived from a Gentile forgery based on a work of confessedly Gentile imagination.

When we examine Nilus's added matter the revelation of fraud becomes still more remarkable. The main difference between Nilus and his German and Czech fore-runners is that he works out in detail the alleged Autocratic and Bolshevist philosophy of his Elders of Zion. He pictures these fabulous personages as genuine believers in Autocracy, but more intent on Jewish political domination than on merely mercenary exploitation. Accordingly, he attributes to them the design of practising a sort of State Bolshevism when their domination shall have been accomplished—that is to say, the creation of a paternal Jewish autocracy basing itself on a carefully controlled communistic system. It is by this ingenious device that he endeavours to show that the Jews are the arch-enemy at both extremes of the social organism.

Now, whence comes the autocratic philosophy he puts into the mouths of his Jewish Elders? It is exclusively a Russian doctrine. Nilus knows this very well, and he does not waste time in the hopeless task of finding counterblasts to democracy in Jewish political literature. He goes straight to the fountain-head of Russian obscurantism in the person of the late Procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantine Petrovich Pobyedonoszeff! This expedient has the appearance almost of a practical joke, for Pobyedonoszeff was not only a pure Muscovite and a fanatical Greek Christian, but so conspicuous an anti-Semite and oppressor of Jews, Stundists, and other Russian allogenes that he earned for himself the sobriquet of "the modern Torquemada." Nilus's Jewish Antichrist is, in short, nothing more than the austere super-Christian Procurator masquerading, like Edward Alleyn's Barabas, in a false nose and a prodigious property beard.

The evidence of this jumps to the eyes if we take the trouble to compare the first part of "The Jewish Peril" with Mr. Robert Crozier Long's translation of Pobyedonoszeff's "Reflections of a Russian Statesman,"[43] especially the chapters on "The New Democracy" and "The Great Falsehood of our Time." Many parallel passages might be quoted, but it will, perhaps, suffice if I extract one, fundamental to both writers, in which Nilus makes the Jewish Elder plagiarise the argument of the Christian Procurator, in part almost textually:—


"Forever extending its base, the new Democracy now aspires to universal suffrage. By this means, the political power would be shattered into a number of infinitesimal bits, of which each citizen acquires a single one. What will he do with it then; how will he employ it?... Each vote representing an inconsiderable fragment of power, by itself signifies nothing. . . The extension of the right to participate in elections is regarded as progress, and as the conquest of freedom by democratic theorists who hold that the more numerous the participants in political rights, the greater is the probability that all will employ this right in the interests of the public welfare. Experience proves a very different thing. The history of mankind bears witness that the most necessary and fruitful reforms emanated from the supreme will of statesmen or from a minority enlightened by lofty ideas and deep knowledge, and that, on the contrary, the extension of the representative principle is accompanied by an abasement of political ideas".[44]


"It suffices to give the populace self-government for a short period for this populace to become a disorganised rabble. . . Is it possible for the mass to discriminate quietly and without jealousies to administer the affairs of State? Can they be a defence against a foreign foe? This is impossible, as a plan broken up into as many parts as there are minds in the mass loses its value, and therefore becomes unintelligible and unworkable. Alone an autocrat can conceive vast plans clearly, assigning its proper part to everything in the mechanism of the machine of State. Hence we conclude that it is expedient for the welfare of the country that the Government of the same should be in the hands of one responsible person. Without absolute despotism civilisation cannot exist, for civilisation is capable of being promoted only under the protection of the ruler, whoever he may be, and not at the hands of the masses".[45]

In the second part of "The Jewish Peril," where the Elders of Zion are made to expound their State Bolshevism, the sources are not quite so clear. It is practically certain, however, that they are not Jewish. Had Nilus waited a few years he would, perhaps, have been able to quote convinced Bolshevist writers of Jewish birth like Radek and Zinovieff, but when he wrote in 1905 there were no such exponents of pure Leninism. The great split of 1903 found all the leading Russo-Jewish Socialists, such as Martoff, Axelrod, Trotsky, Martinoff, Liber, Dahn, and the whole of the Bund, ranged with the Mensheviks against Lenin.[46] The result was that, in reproducing Bolshevist ideas, Nilus must have been dependent on Gentile pamphleteers. It is not easy to identify these ephemeral writings with certainty, but many interesting parallels of this section of the Protocols may be found in Bucharin's "Programme of the Communists," which codifies all the early Bolshevist literature.[47] And Bucharin, be it noted, is just as little a Jew as was Pobyedonoszeff. This, of course, explains the alleged prophetic character of the Protocols which the Morning Post and its friends hold to be convincing evidence of their genuineness. If the Bolsheviks have acted on some of the principles attributed the Elders of Zion, they have done so not because they were of Jewish origin, but because they were exclusively the work of Lenin and his bodyguard of Gentile proletarians.

So much for the literary history of the Protocols. Their political history is not less discreditable. They were not published because they were discovered—whether in the pages of Goedsche or elsewhere—but they were discovered because they were wanted for the ignoble purpose of a pogrom-weapon. In the first edition of his book, published in 1901, Nilus knew nothing of them, but was absorbed by the more abstract aspects of the problem of Antichrist. In 1905 occurred the Russian Revolution, and this was followed by the incendiary conspiracy of the Okhrana to stir up pogroms all over Russia and drown the new Constitution in a welter of Jewish blood.[48] Nilus appears to have been employed by the Okhrana in this wicked campaign. At any rate, the Protocols first appeared at this date in the shape of small pamphlets or broadsheets and they were only afterwards collected and incorporated in a second edition of Nilus's work as a denouement of his theory of the Judeo-Masonic nature of Antichrist. Nor has their role as a pogrom-weapon been confined to the year 1905. Quite recently abstracts of them were widely circulated in Denikin's and Koltchak's armies. They were printed in the Eparchial Library at Rostoff, and were distributed by the remnants of the organisation of Black Hundreds known as the union of the Russian People. How effective they were for their murderous purpose we know from the horrible massacres of inoffensive Jews and Jewesses which dogged the foot-steps of Denikin's armies throughout South Russia.

But this was not the only sinister movement with which the Protocols seem to have been associated. The year in which they were first published in Russia was also the year of a very serious Russo-German intrigue against the Triple Entente; and here again these Protocols—or, rather, their argument—appear as one of the main weapons of the plotters.

It will be remembered that in July, 1905, the basis of an anti-British Alliance was secretly agreed upon by the Tsar and the Kaiser at Bjoerkoe.[49] A few months later, while the Treaty was still incomplete, Count Lamsdorf proposed to the Tsar that advantage should be taken of "the new friendly relations" with Germany to conclude an agreement between the two countries for combating the alleged Jewish and Masonic peril.[50] Now, the secret Memorandum in which this precious scheme was set forth, and which the Tsar formally approved in January, 1906, is virtually a reproduction of the anti-Semitic argument which the alleged "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are designed to prove. It is true that the Protocols themselves are not mentioned, but Count Lamsdorf is none the less positive, with the fabricators of those documents, that the Jews are the soul of the Revolutionary movement in Europe, that their "principal aim is the all-around triumph of anti-Christian and anti-Monarchist Jewry," that their millionaires subvention this movement with "gigantic pecuniary means," and that they are abetted in this enterprise by the Freemasons. The Protocols are, indeed, little more than a dramatic version of Count Lamsdorf's Memorandum. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that in some occult way—perhaps not so very occult—Nilus's book was intended to serve the sinister ends of the pro-German foreign policy of Count Lamsdorf in the same way as it served the bloody purposes of the pogrom-mongers. It should be especially noted in this connection that the book is as anti-British as it is anti-Jewish, and that it was published in December, 1905, that is to say, at the very time that the Tsar had the Lamsdorf scheme under consideration.

The more recent history of the Protocols is even more unsavoury. It is incredible, but it is nevertheless a fact, that these crazy forgeries have played a part behind the scenes in the international combinations for assisting the anti-Bolshevist reaction in Russia, which have filled so much of the public mind during the last two years, and which have cost this country close on £100,000,000. There was a moment when the Great Powers were disposed to leave the Russians to fight out their quarrels among themselves. Various objections to this policy were urged by the friends of Admiral Koltchak and General Denikin, and among them was the argument that there was, in fact, no civil war in Russia, that Bolshevism was not Russian, but exclusively alien, the work of international Jews who were themselves the instruments of a world-wide and deep-laid Jewish conspiracy against Christendom and the political order of Europe. Bolshevism was, in short, a European menace. Russia was pictured as the first instalment of the Jewish conquest of Europe, which had already sent its eclaireurs to Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, and Budapest, whence they were advancing to the Rhine and the Alps.

In support of this argument, Russian Intelligence Officers, armed with doctored typewritten translations of the Nilus Protocols, with the anti-British passages carefully expunged, were sent to London, Paris, Rome, and Washington, where they circulated this precious literature confidentially among Cabinet Ministers, heads of public departments, and persons of influence in society and journalism. That this campaign was not fruitless is attested by many curious facts, which, unfortunately, cannot be more particularly referred to at this moment without a breach of confidence. Overt evidence of the mischief that was wrought is, however, not wanting. It may be found, for example, in certain oracular utterances of Mr. Winston Churchill in a Sunday paper, in the anti-Semitic outbursts of the Morning Post, and the itching of the Times and the Spectator to do likewise, and, finally, in the discreditable propaganda leaflets distributed in the interior of Russia by the air service of the British armies at Archangel and Murmansk.[51]

Why the Protocols were circulated thus secretly is clear. Their political purpose had nothing to gain, and, indeed, everything to lose from public criticism and discussion. Nevertheless, they leaked out. A copy got into the hands of an official of the united States Department of Justice, and he, anxious for further information, and following some tactless office rule, sent it to the President of an important Jewish organisation in New York for his observations. The President promptly replied that it was a forgery of a very familiar type, and took no further notice of it. In June, 1919, the present writer, while in Paris, heard of the circulation of the Protocols as a pogrom pamphlet in Denikin's country, but he also attached no special importance to it. Later on came the first intimation of the proposed publication of the Protocols in Western Europe. It came in very characteristic shape. One day the members of a certain Jewish Delegation in Paris received a visit from a mysterious Lithuanian who had been connected with the Russian Secret Police. He professed himself anxious to serve the Jewish community, and said that he was in a position to prevent the publication of an exceedingly dangerous book, which, if it saw the light, would probably involve the whole house of Israel in ruin. Quite naturally, he wished to be paid for this service, but the sum was a mere trifle, a matter of £10,000. He was asked for a sight of the volume, and he produced it. It was, of course, "the Protocols." Needless to say, no business was done. It was possibly only a coincidence that in the following December a German edition was published under the title "Die Geheimnisse der Weisen von Zion," and two months later the English edition saw the light under the title "The Jewish Peril: Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion." The German and English publication would have been simultaneous but for the fact that difficulty was experienced in finding a reputable London publishing house to take the Protocols seriously.

One further word about the English edition. Its history and aims are much less clear than those of its Russian original, owing partly to the circumspect anonymity in which its sponsors have elected to veil themselves. It is inconceivable that it is intended to stir up pogroms in this country, though the suggestion is not obscurely made in recent articles in the Times and the Spectator. More probably—as has already been hinted—it is part of a German intrigue to prejudice the recent German general elections in favour of the Militarist Reactionaries and perhaps even to justify the forcible upsetting of the German Government by means of another Kapp Putsch. Here is the evidence for this startling conjecture.

The German Reactionaries have lately been putting all their money on anti-Semitism. Their publicity agencies in Charlottenburg and Munich have flooded the country with pamphlets denouncing the Republican Government as a Judaized Junta, the instrument of a far-reaching Judeo-Masonic conspiracy to ruin Germany and to involve the whole of Christian and Monarchical Europe in her fate. This campaign has lately become official, and a paragraph was inserted in the Electoral Manifesto of the German Nationalists—the party of Kapp and Lutzow—formally adopting anti-Semitism as a plank in their platform. One of the aims of the party is to secure foreign sympathy and help, and they hope to do this by finding a common ground in anti-Semitism. In these circumstances the publication of "The Jewish Peril" in England wears a disturbing significance, but it becomes much more disturbing when we find that the German edition was published almost simultaneously with it, with a dedication appealing not only to the German people, but also to "The Princes of Europe." The object was clearly to get English support, and unfortunately the response was not long in coming. On May 8th the Times was inveigled into publishing an article expressing alarm at the revelations of the Protocols and calling for an investigation. The delight of the German Reactionaries knew no bounds. It was voiced by Count Reventlow in a long article in the Deutsche Tageszeitung of May 17 welcoming the Times's acceptance of the Jewish peril as an indication that English public opinion was beginning to recognise the righteousness of Kapp and Co. in their resistance to the Ebert regime and what the Count called the "pax Judaeica."[52]

Whether the translators and editors of "The Jewish Peril" have consciously lent themselves to this intrigue, which is part of the German Reactionary plot to upset the Treaty of Versailles and perhaps plunge Europe into another war, cannot be said. But assuredly the worst suspicions are permissible so long as these gentlemen elect to skulk in the coulisses and shrink from responsibility for their scrubby handiwork. Even Titus Oates had the courage of his forgeries.

[24] Lond., Eyre and Spottiswoode, Ltd., 1920. Morning Post, July 16 and 17, 1920.
[25] See Isaac D'Israeli, "Curiosities of Literature," Vol. III., pp. 143-150.
[26] Anabaptisticum, etc. (1702). See particularly the tract entitled Erschrockliche Bruderschafft der Alten und Neuen.
[27] Preface to Schieferl's edition (Dresden, 1893).
[28] As a matter of fact, he was not the first worker in this field, though he was the first literary ancestor of Nilus. The idea of the dramatic treatment of a Jewish conspiracy against Christian Society was worked out by the Polish poet Krassinsky in his Nie-Boska Komedya ("The undivine Comedy"), published in 1834. It differs in scope and detail from Goedsche. Its attack on the Jews was strongly censured by Adam Mickiewicz.
[29] Meyer's Konversations-Lexikon (1897), Vol. VII., sub. voc. Goedsche and Waldeck. Stenographischer Bericht uber die Verhandlungen in der Anklage gegen Dr. Waldeck (Berlin, 1849).
[30] In four volumes, Berlin, 1868.
[31] It was a custom of some mediaeval German Jews to place the "first fruits" of their cattle to grass in the cemeteries. This gave rise to a popular belief that the idolatrous cultus of the Golden Calf still lingered among them. (Schudt: Judische Merckwurdigkeiten (1714), Vol. II., p. 376.)
[32] Biarritz, Vol. I., pp. 130-180. Further characteristic references to the Jewish question will be found in a later novel of the Retcliffe series entitled um die Weltherrschaft, Vol. I., pp. 309-310, 338, 360, 415; Vol. II., pp. 55, 56, 63; Vol. III., pp. 127, 130; Vol. IV., pp. 190-191, 467; Vol. V., pp. 22, 83-84, 206.
[33] Berichte uber die 3 Generalversammlung des Vereins zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus (Vienna, 1893), pp. 8, 9.
[34] Hebrew for "Gentiles."
[35] Stenographische Protokolle des Hauses der Abgeordneten des Oesterreichischen Reichsrathes (1901), pp. 1282-1284.
[36] Wolski: La Russie Juive (Paris, 1911), pp. 7-19.
[37] The text is quoted by Meister: Judas Schuldbuch, p. 155.
[38] "The Jewish Peril," p. III.
[39] Ibid., p. 88.
[40] Berliner Tageblatt, May 18, 1920. The story is repeated with further variations, in the fourth edition, published in 1917, extracts from which are given in the Morning Post, August 12, 1920. In this edition Nilus quotes certain enigmatic statements of the late Theodor Herzl as proof of a secret Jewish teaching. It happens that the correspondence with Herzl on this subject is in the possession of the present writer. It has nothing to do with a secret Jewish teaching.
[41] Fourth edit., cap. III. (Quoted by Morning Post, Aug. 12, 1920.)
[42] "The Jewish Peril," pp. 12, 13, 14, 32.
[43] Lond., 1898.
[44] Pobyedonoszeff: "Reflections" (English edit.), pp. 26, 27, 28. Allowance must be made for the different styles and qualities of the two translations.
[45] "The Jewish Peril," pp. 2, 5.
[46] Mautner: Der Bolschewismus (Stuttgart, 1920), p. 95. See also Landau-Aldanov: Lenine (Paris, 1920), pp. 31-32. It is amusing to note that the Morning Post (July 21, 1920) counts almost all these Jewish Mensheviks as Bolsheviks.
[47] The date of the original Russian edition is unknown to the present writer, but a German edition was published at Zurich in 1918.
[48] Semenoff: "The Russian Government and the Massacres" (Lond., 1907).
[49] "The Nikky-Willy Correspondence," Times, Sept. 4, 1917; Daily Telegraph, Sept. 4, 27, and 29, 1917; and Morning Post, Sept. 15, 1917.
[50] For Russian text of Count Lamsdorf's proposal see Vol. VI. of "Secret Documents," published by the Soviet Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. An English translation with an introduction appears in Wolf: "Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question" (London, 1919), pp. 54-62.
[51] These leaflets were very promptly withdrawn as soon as the attention of His Majesty's Government was called to them.
[52] Besides Count Reventlow's article see a very light-giving article entitled "Reventlow und die Weisen von Zion" in the Berliner Tageblatt, May 18, 1920.

Jews and Bolshevism

The final argument of the anti-Semitic scaremongers is the Judeo-Bolshevik bogey. The Morning Post theory of "World Unrest" may prove difficult of assimilation to matter-of-fact minds, and the authenticity of the Nilus Protocols may be suspect, but the Bolshevism of the Jews is asserted to be an incontrovertible fact, which proves that both the theory and its documents are morally justifiable. Were it not for its very tragical possibilities, the evocation of this bogey would be a fit subject for mirth, or, at best, a problem for the folk-lorist or the student of corporate hallucination. As it is, it is a very serious matter, seeing that the lives of many thousands of innocent persons are jeopardised by it.

The bogey takes the specific form of a charge against the Jews of Russia and Poland that they are for the most part Bolsheviks, and that the Bolshevist revolution was engineered by them and is still controlled and directed by them.[53] The only evidence cited in support of it is that Trotsky and a few of the more prominent Bolshevist commissaries are men of Jewish birth, and that a similar element on an even more restricted scale is found in certain of the Soviets. But those men are no more Jews than Lenin, Lunacharsky, Chicherin, and the great bulk of the Russian Bolsheviks are Christians. It would, indeed, be just as reasonable to say that the mainstay of Russian Bolshevism is to be found in American and British Christendom because it has found sympathisers in Mr. Bullitt and Mr. Steffens, in Mr. Goode, Mr. Price, Mr. Russell, Mr. Ransome, Mr. Hunt, and many other Americans and Englishmen of Christian birth.

The appearance of the bogey at this moment is not difficult to understand. There has always been at the back of the anti-Semitic mind an uneasy feeling that the Jews are, as the old law books say, perpetui inimici Regis et Religionis. Their participation in the bourgeois Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 gave political point to this superstition, and ever since it has been a favourite theory of the more fanatical reactionaries that the whole Democratic movement in Europe is a Jewish conspiracy for the subversion of Christianity and Christian society. In this respect the Morning Post theory is, as has already been shown, not new. In Russia it became early an expedient of reactionary tactics. To denounce revolution on its merits was difficult, but to denounce it as a Jewish conspiracy against the Throne and the Altar was always calculated to impress large classes of the population who otherwise might not have been indisposed to look indulgently on a great political change. This was the cue of all the incendiary appeals of the Okhrana against the Revolution of 1905.[54]

Thus, when Bolshevism arose, it was quite in the line of traditional Russian policy to denounce it as the work of the Jews. From the reactionary camps of Deniken and Koltchak, and even from the Allied armies in the North, where the Intelligence and Propaganda Services were necessarily in the hands of Russian officers of the old Tsarist regime, the country was flooded with pamphlets and broadsheets declaring that Bolshevism was a Jewish plot, and that the aim of those who were making war on it was not to fight their Russian brothers, but to deliver them from their Jewish bondage. It was, however, in Germany that the bogey was adapted for consumption in Western Europe. The old Junker anti-Semitism received a great impulse from the collapse of thrones which followed the Armistice of 1918. All the revolutionary movements were at once attributed by them to the Jews, and, by way of showing the victorious Allies the danger they were courting by tolerating them, bloodcurdling pictures of Russian Bolshevism as the first fruits of an international Jewish conspiracy were issued from the presses of the anti-Semitic society known as Deutschland's Erneuerung, in Munich.[55] A circle of Russian Monarchist refugees in Berlin founded a weekly paper called The Sunbeam to help in the holy work. It was in the columns of this journal that translations of extracts from Nilus's forged Protocols first appeared.[56] Early in 1919 the themes of these imbecile ephemerides were gathered up and co-ordinated in bulky volumes by Baron Hans von Liebig,[57] by Dr. Friedrich Wichtl, and by a person calling himself "Wilhelm Meister."[58] These writers were the final artificers of the bogey as we now know it, Trotsky being represented in their pages as the conscious instrument not only of the Jewish Rabbinate and of Jewish finance, but also of the secretly Judaised Masonic Lodges. A curious restatement of this apocalypse will be found in an anonymous pamphlet, entitled "Le Bolshevisme," which was printed in Paris last year by the Jesuits of the Rue Garanciere.[59] The French, however, have been very loth to touch this unclean product of German Kultur.

We need only glance at the leading tenets of the Bolsheviks to realise how stupid all this is—indeed, how impossible it is that Bolshevism should find even an appreciable measure of sympathy in the Jewish community. Lenin, Trotsky, and their associates are not only extreme Communists, but are also avowed Atheists. On the other hand, the great bulk of the Jews of Russia are extremely orthodox members of the Synagogue, who hold in horror every symptom of Atheism. The strength of this element was recently estimated by M. Paderewski himself at 75 per cent. In their economic affiliation these Jews are not less hostile to Bolshevism. They belong in an overwhelming proportion to the upper and middle-class bourgeoisie. Moreover, the Jew is instinctively and by all his traditions an individualist. It has been possible to found under the great names of Lamennais, Kingsley, Maurice, Hughes, Bishop Ketteler, and others a school of Christian Communism seeking its sanctions in the teachings of orthodox Christianity. No such school in the strictly economic sense exists or is possible in the Jewish Church. Marx and Lassalle ceased to be Jews long before they became Socialists, and, in so far as the Jewish proletariat which has arisen in Russia and Poland under the stress of exceptional and ephemeral conditions is Socialistic, it is notoriously remote from the Synagogue—as from every other kind of "clericalism"—and impatient of its control.

But, it is said, the Jews must be held responsible for Bolshevism because Bolshevism is only applied Marxism, and Marx was a Jew. I have already pointed out that, strictly speaking, Marx was not a Jew, but, even supposing he were, that would not make Bolshevism a Jewish creation, seeing that in point of fact it is, in its main lines, not even Marxist. There is so much loose thinking on this question that it may be well to indicate—however briefly—the fundamental differences between the teachings of Marx and Lenin. In the first place, Marx was a Democrat, while Lenin is confessedly an Oligarch. Democracy is axiomatic with Marx, the foundation of all his doctrine. Lenin, on the other hand, derides the mere counting of heads. He is, as he would put it, for the supremacy of truth, whatever the number of its disciples. This vital difference affects the systems of the two men at all essential points. Thus, while Marx teaches that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat should be the outcome of a Democratic Republic based on Universal Suffrage, Lenin rejects Universal Suffrage, and bases the Dictatorship on a Guild or Soviet Republic. Again, Marx stands for Revolution by Law in all Democratic States, while Lenin stands for Revolution by Force, whatever the constitution of the State. Nor does this apply only to revolutions, for while Marx holds that the authority of the State must, whenever possible, be exercised by peaceful means, Lenin teaches that Force is inherent in the State and its exercise unavoidable. This leads Lenin to the view of Robespierre that even the Terror is in a sense mystically sanctified—a view of which Marx never dreamt in his most daring moments. Finally, contrast the conceptions of the State as set forth by the two men. Both, of course, are for the State, but while Marx pictures it, after the decision of the Class War, as composed of the whole Democracy seeking the conciliation of its conflicting elements, Lenin would confine it to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, even though the other classes might be in the majority.[60] There is, of course, much to be said for both theories within the ring-fence of Socialist polemics, but I am not concerned at this moment with their respective merits. All I want to show is that Marx cannot be held responsible for Bolshevism as we know it, and that if the alleged Jewishness of Bolshevism rests on the theory that it has any essential affinity with Marxism it is singularly unconvincing.

The case against the bogey is, however, not limited to these generalisations. It may be said, while the upper and middle classes in Jewry are probably free from Bolshevism, this is not the case with the Jewish proletariat. If not orthodox Jews, they certainly profess a strong Jewish nationalism, and if from them Bolshevism draws its main strength, then Jewry must bear the responsibility. On this point, happily, very definite information is available. First, with regard to the leaders. Bolshevism was founded in 1903, through a split among the Russian Socialists, which took the form of a revolt against Lenin. Who led the revolt? The Jew Martoff, and he was supported by all the most conspicuous Jews in the party, including Trotsky himself.[61] They were followed by the great bulk of the rank-and-file of so-called Jewish Socialists. How true this is, can be shown by an analysis of the Leninite party fourteen years later. In the autumn of 1917 the Bolsheviks themselves published a statistical analysis of the constituents of the Soviets, with special regard to their geographical and ethnographical distribution. It was there shown that the Bolsheviks had a clear majority over the Mensheviks, or non-Bolshevist Socialists, and that they were far more largely composed of pure Russian elements than the Mensheviks. Their greatest strength was found in the districts of Petrograd, Moscow, the Baltic Provinces, the Volga, the Ural, and Asiatic Russia, where the Great-Russian working masses dominate. On the other hand, the Mensheviks were almost entirely confined to the western and south-western provinces, the Don district, and the Caucasus, where the chief non-Russian races are found. Here the return for the Jewish Pale of Settlement that is, the provinces in which 95 per cent. of the Jews of Russia and Poland reside—is most significant. The number of organised Mensheviks is given at 18,000, while of organised Bolsheviks there is no trace whatever in the whole region. The other non-Russian districts in these provinces were less fortunate, for in the south-western governments the proportion of Bolsheviks to Mensheviks was 8 to 11, in the Don district 18 to 29, and in the Caucasus 1 to 5. The statistics here, however, show clearly that the strength of Bolshevism was always in an inverse ratio to the strength of the local Jewish population.[62]

Another important piece of evidence is to be found in the attitude of the Jewish "Bund," which is the main organisation of Jewish workmen in Poland and the Pale of Settlement. From the beginning of the Russian Revolution the "Bund," avowedly Socialist, threw all its strength on the side of the Mensheviks. The most passionate struggles in the Congress of Soviets in 1917 were those waged between Lenin, on behalf of the Bolsheviks, and Liber, the "Bund" leader, on behalf of the Mensheviks. Liber and his colleague Dahn were at that time among the staunchest supporters of the policy of the Entente in Russia. To this day the great majority of the members of the "Bund" have remained anti-Bolshevist in doctrine, although under the pressure of the administration and for other political reasons which have appealed equally to many ex-Tsarist generals and Christian Conservatives, they have lately pledged their allegiance to the Lenin regime. In political thought they are still numbered among the most ardent supporters of the great coalition of Russian Mensheviks, which has its headquarters in Stockholm, and—another significant fact—is captained by a Jew, the well-known Socialist writer Paul Axelrod. There are probably quite as many Jewish leaders in the anti-Bolshevist coalition as there are Jewish Commissaries among the Bolsheviks.

Nor are the upper and middle-classes of Russian and Polish Jewry merely passive spectators of the struggle. Politically they belong in an overwhelming proportion to the moderate Liberal party known as the Cadets, and many of them are active in the councils and Press of that party. The present leader of the Cadets, who succeeded Professor Miliukoff, after his unhappy but temporary defection from the cause of the Entente, is the distinguished Jewish lawyer M. Vinaver, equally conspicuous for his devotion to his co-religionists and the cause of ordered liberty in Russia. Admiral Koltchak and General Denikin, in spite of their compromising anti-Semitic associates, had no more strenuous supporter and no wiser counsellor than M. Vinaver. Another eminent Jew who may frequently be seen in consultation with MM. Sazonoff and Maklakoff at the Russian Delegation in Paris is Baron Alexandre de Gunzburg, at one time the most conspicuous member of the Jewish Community in Petrograd.

The anti-Semitic impression that Bolshevism is largely Jewish is, however, not altogether a bad dream, but rather an optical delusion which has been maliciously exaggerated. The so-called Jewish Bolsheviks are, indeed, a corps of officers without an army, and the anti-Semites have a little too hastily inferred the army. Even then these officers are not of the first rank. We have heard a great deal of "Jewish Commissars," and I find a notorious German anti-Semitic book quoting Mr. Robert Wilton, of the Times, as its authority for the statement that "of 384 People's Commissars who constitute the Government only 13 are Russians, while 300 are Jews."[63] What are the facts? The only officials in Soviet Russia who are authorised to hold the rank of People's Commissars are the members of the Cabinet.[64] These number 17,[65] and of them 16 are indisputably Gentiles, while only one—Trotsky—is of Jewish birth. And Trotsky, be it remembered, is a Jew who has publicly abjured the Jewish and all other religions, and who is so little a Jew in other respects that at the Socialist Congresses at the beginning of the century he led the cosmopolitans in denunciation of the Jewish Nationalism of the Bund. To describe Russian Bolshevism as Jewish because one member of Lenin's Council of People's Commissars is an apostate Jew is obviously ludicrous. Lenin might far more justly describe the anti-Bolshevism of Western Europe as Jewish because two years ago the French Cabinet contained one professing Jew and the British two. The other so-called Jewish Commissars are all men of the second and lower ranks of officials belonging exclusively either to the Civil Service or the Soviet analogue of our municipal life. They are probably fairly numerous, but in what may be called the second rank they do not number more than ten at the outside.[66] The others may or may not be convinced Bolsheviks. They are servants of the State who may have many other motives for serving the Soviets than an enthusiasm for Lenin's politics. Not every head of a Government Department or Chairman of a County Council in England is to-day necessarily a Lloyd Georgian. Trotsky has in his War Office and Corps of Officers probably as many ex-Tsarist officers—including sixteen Generals[67]—as there are "Jewish Commissars" in the whole Soviet Administration. And yet nobody dreams of describing the Red Legions as a Tsarist army. These officers are probably not even Bolsheviks. If we could know their motives we should probably find that they were not very widely different from those which actuate the "Jewish Commissars."

All this is not to say that there are no professing Jews in the Bolshevist ranks, or that the number of indifferent and apostate Jews who have thrown in their lot with the Soviets is quite negligible. What is contended is that normally the Jew is intensely anti-pathetic to Bolshevism, and that at the beginning of the Revolution relatively very few Jews—even of those who are Jews by race only—rallied to the call of Lenin. That this situation has changed during the last year is not improbable. But with whom does the blame rest? If Jews have reluctantly turned towards Bolshevism, it is because they have been forced into it by the anti-Bolsheviks. They cannot but be alarmed by the persistency and passion with which the charge of Bolshevism is levelled at them, and the threats which come from all sides to avenge in their persons the sins of Lenin and Trotsky. They have had a bloody instalment of this St. Bartholomew in the pogroms of the Polish borderlands and the Ukrainian plains. What wonder, then, if some of them—and they can only be relatively very few—turn for protection to the Soviets, especially in the lands where the Soviets rule? Nevertheless, their aversion from Bolshevism in theory and practice remains, and is, indeed, for the great majority of them insuperable.

One word in conclusion. If some of the charges against the Jews which have been examined in the foregoing pages were not so utterly unfounded as they prove to be, ample explanation and excuse might be found in the high and sustained tragedy of Jewish history. When in 1848 Ludwig Boerne was reproached by a political colleague with the excessiveness of his revolutionary zeal, he replied: "I was born a slave, and hence I love freedom better than you do." Twenty centuries of a terrible oppression has made of the Jews in Europe an element of no small importance in all the struggles for popular liberties, but throughout it all they have always remained a relatively conservative force. This is most strikingly exemplified by their career in the Russian Revolution. Human nature being what it is, it would not have been surprising if all the Jews in Russia had become fanatical Bolsheviks. The extravagances of Bolshevism are the natural reaction against the cruelties of Tsarism, and the Jews suffered more bitterly from those cruelties than any other section of the sorely tried Russian people. And yet their innate moderation—what Disraeli rightly diagnosed as their ineradicable attachment to Religion and Property—has prevailed, and even among the lower classes, who were proletariatised and driven to Socialism by the infamous May Laws,[68] Bolshevism has found only few and reluctant recruits. The Jews, no doubt, have their defects, very much in the same way as Christians, but what Mr. Gladstone once called "incivism" is not one of them.

[53] Morning Post articles on "The Cause of World Unrest," passim. See particularly July 21, 1920.
[54] Semenoff, op. cit.
[55] The chief members of this Society, which is as Anglophobe as it is Judeophobe, are a brother of General Von Below and the renegade Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
[56] S. Poliakoff in La Tribune Juive (Paris), No. 21.
[57] Der Betrug am Deutschen Volke (Munich, 1919).
[58] Supra, p. 6.
[59] It provoked an excellent reply by "Un Russe" entitled Bolchevisme et Judaisme (Paris, 1919).
[60] See on this subject the elaborate analysis of the two teachings in Mautner, op. cit., pp. 120-296.
[61] Mautner (p. 95) and Landau-Aldanov (pp. 31-32), op. cit.
[62] Report of the Commissar for National Economy reprinted from the Novaya Shisn in the Bote (Stockholm), Dec. 6, 1917.
[63] Meister, op. cit., p. 192.
[64] "Constitution of the Russian Soviet Republic," Article 48.
[65] Ibid., Article 43.
[66] As the result of a careful analysis M. Poliakoff gives their names as follows: Zinovieff, Radek, Sverdloff, Steklof-Nakhamkes, Litvinoff, Larine, Kameneff, Ganetzki-Furstenberg, Joffe and Ounitzky. Of these two are dead and one is only a half-Jew (La Tribune Juive, Dec. 26, 1919).
[67] Ibid., gives full list.
[68] See Prof. A.V. Dicey's introduction to "The Legal Sufferings of the Jews in Russia" (Lond., 1912).