Berliner visiting Austria? (Berliner in Österreich?)


No: Socialists visiting Socialists!

Sometimes, when a Prussian visits Austria, he stands in front of St. Stephan’s cathedral and asks, »Is that the biggest you’ve got?« That’s the reputation that Berliners have, and it’s not entirely unjustified.

Why is the Weltbühne in Vienna?[P1]  The German edition of our weekly magazine has a lot of friends here, but we can’t expect Austrians to also shoulder Germany’s problems. German politics certainly affect Austria, but not nearly as much as the Nazis would have us believe. Austria is not Germany. We are now publishing a Viennese Weltbühne for our Austrian friends, because Austrian politics can not be made from Berlin. They are made in Vienna.

The Weltbühne has been showing what it wants for twenty-eight years. Founded by my master, the fondly remembered Siegfried Jacobsohn, it was continued after his death by Carl von Ossietzky and myself. Ossietzky cannot express himself in this Viennese edition: he is in prison. Trying to work against war whenever it casts it’s dark shadow, my friend Ossietzky published an article of which probably any journalist would have approved: it concerned strange goings-on in the German skies. The imperial courts condemned the author and the editor responsible, Carl von Ossietzky, to a year and a half in prison, an administrative measure which had little to do with justice. Ossietzky still has his will to fight; he will come out of prison as he went in: a loyal soldier of peace.

He and the publishers were involved in the discussions about this Viennese Weltbühne. We want to extend our reach. Is that legitimate? Is it acceptable to meddle in the affairs of another country?

It is not just acceptable; sometimes it is necessary. One has got to do it to support foreign allies. It has to be done calmly, with tact, understanding, and detailed knowledge, but there are no internal affairs which are not of interest to the neighbours. Europe is one big house. Since when have the tenants in the second floor been allowed to start a fire and call, »Don’t meddle in my affairs! This is my apartment?« Every apartment is part of a house, every European country is part of Europe. Anyone who isolates himself is stupid, and a disturber of the peace.

And it is not true that the nationalists do not meddle in the affairs of others! They do it all the time. The fascists evangelize outside Italy whenever they can, and very few governments prevent them from doing so. The mob gets on fine with one another. What business has Goebbels in Vienna? You have got enough big-mouths of your own. Whoever preaches nationalism should do so at home. The Internationale of the nationalists is the armaments industry.

It is a different matter when supporters of international socialism join their allies. For us, Austria is not a German land, it is a country in which a socialist party has achieved more than the German social democrats. We support the achievements of the Austrian socialists; whatever there is to criticise about them, it is for our Austrian friends to do it.

We did that with the German social democrats, to whom we have made great accusations. Not that they made pacts, but that they betrayed their principles. Politics is not mathematics, but that the German socialists did that without achieving anything for themselves, that they continuously betrayed themselves, from Fritz Ebert to the unspeakable Breitscheid, without bringing anything home as a result, that they were much too cowardly to be November criminals[P2] : that’s what we accuse them of. What has become of this party? A Judas with no pieces of silver. We wish greater success to Austrian socialism.

Because the interests of the labouring class come first, and national interests second, for us, we are also active in Austria. We have the same enemy, whom we want to defeat together.

 [P1]This article is the justification for the establishment of a Viennese edition of the Weltbühne, as the political situation in Germany became more threatening..

 [P2]A reference to the accusation by nationalists that it was the left which was responsible for defeat in 1918. The ‘knife in the back legend’

Author: Kurt Tucholsky

Published in: cropped-weltbc3bchne2.jpg Die Weltbühne


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