Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monarchists Today: Germany

The most prominent monarchist group or movement (that I am aware of) in Germany is the group “Tradition und Leben”. It was officially registered with the German authorities in Cologne in January of 1959 but existed prior to that in an organizational stage. “Tradition und Leben” seems to be a good group and, given their platform, there are probably some who would be surprised to hear yours truly say that. However, I say it because they are being serious and realistic about the restoration of monarchy in Germany and for no other reason. In these times when the internet is such a dominant part of everyday life, one will often come across what I like to call “e-monarchists” who are often strident, childish and totally unrealistic in both their aims and methods. Oftentimes they do not really want to restore monarchies so much as they want to turn the clock back and if that were not unrealistic enough many want to go beyond that to arguing for some ideal alternate reality of their own where all of their preferences are put into effect. Trying to please or even trying to deal with these types at all is a waste of time and it makes no difference because these are, again, “e-people” who exist solely to gripe on the internet and social media. They may as well just be names on a screen -they do not exist in reality.

Unfortunately, I have to deal with these “e-people” more often than I would like doing what I do. They often pop up when the subject of German monarchy arises. Some will recoil in horror at the thought of there being a King of Prussia again, others would prefer a republican Germany to anything other than a full return to the Holy Roman Empire, still others want to re-draw the map of Germany and most of central Europe entirely and a few will quote centuries old laws by long defunct entities to assert that it is impossible to restore monarchy in Germany or that doing so could only be accomplished by warfare. In other words, these people are not being realistic, are not living in the real world. “Tradition und Leben” on the other hand, is made up of actual people, actual German monarchists and members of the former ruling families of the German states. They accept the facts of their current situation and are working from there in such a way as to have the best chance of seeing as many of the old German monarchies restored as possible. Personally, there is much about the current state of affairs in the Federal Republic of Germany and most of Europe that I find less than ideal and I wish it were not so but the situation on the ground is what it is and wishing will change nothing. The German monarchists of “Tradition und Leben” are working within the existing framework to make the case to the modern German public for the restoration of monarchy.

Readers will know what I mean by that when I say that the motto of “Tradition und Leben” is, “We crown democracy”. They are not trying to set the clock back to pre-1918 days when the King of Prussia and German Kaiser more or less had final say on everything. “Tradition und Leben” advocates converting the existing federal republic into a constitutional monarchy in which the German Kaiser presides over a parliamentary democracy. The chancellor would still be the one to run the government and, in what is probably a very strong ‘selling point’ for the modern German public, it does not presume that all the old German royal houses will be restored at once but that this should be done on a state by state basis as the people prefer. So, the federal union would exist as it does today but with some states being republican and other states being monarchist as the local population chooses. Of course, they would like to see all the old monarchies restored but this emphasis on local choice is probably a smart move and a means of advancing the monarchist cause in a non-threatening way for a public that has been taught to view monarchy in a negative light. They are also pro-European Union (which I am not but the majority of Germans is) and they are adamant that absolute nothing but peaceful means will see monarchy restored (so, yes, there can be a German monarchy again without invading Poland).

“Tradition und Leben” also (quite correctly) recognizes Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia as the legitimate head of the House of Hohenzollern and the heir to the German throne in recognition of the tradition and history of Prussian leadership in the creation of the modern, united Germany. This is a group that has well established roots in Germany. Their “father”, so to speak, was the German monarchists who got together after World War II under the motto, “Letters for Tradition und Leben”. Their “grandfather” organization was the “Bund der Aufrechten” founded by German monarchists in Berlin in 1918 (the final days of the German Empire) and which was banned along with all other anti-republic groups in 1922 and which continued to be suppressed by the Nazi Party. Prince Oskar and Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia, sons of the last Kaiser, were both members. Some members of this group were also part of the now famous anti-Nazi Kreisau Circle. “Tradition und Leben” is working with the existing system, taking into account the current situation and values in Germany to advance the monarchist cause. It is hard work to be sure but the statistics show that they are having an effect. A poll taken in 2010 found 13% of respondents in favor of having a monarch reigning over Germany and by 2013 that number had risen to 19% in favor with the greatest increase being among young people and a much higher percentage at least expressing an interest in monarchy. This is all good news and shows that the effort being made by German monarchists is not being wasted. The numbers are improving and going by current trends the support for monarchy in Germany should increase rather than decrease.

“Tradition und Leben” strives to educate the public on Prussian history and organizes lectures, trips, special exhibitions and group discussions about monarchy and the monarchist tradition in all parts of Germany. They talk about the German roots of monarchy, not just from 1870 but back to the German Confederation and the Holy Roman Empire of the German People as well. Some members meet regularly to commemorate the birthdays of the Prussian King Frederick the Great and the last German Kaiser Wilhelm II. “Tradition und Leben” also makes regular pilgrimages to the grave of the last Kaiser in The Netherlands to mark the passing of the late monarch or for other occasions. They strive to show the modern German public how monarchy and democracy are compatible and that the restoration of monarchy in Germany is possible. That is an important point to make as so many people (and the aforementioned “e-monarchists” do not help this) tend to view monarchy in Germany as belonging to the past, something that cannot fit in to their world in the here and now and so simply do not give it any consideration. “Tradition und Leben” says, quoting Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, that, “There is nothing impossible in politics”. We wish them all the best in their efforts even if their views and our own are not exactly in perfect alignment on every issue. Let the monarchy be restored and then we can go from there in perfecting it. Those interested or German readers who would wish to join in supporting “Tradition und Leben” can go to their website at www.pro-monarchie.de for all the details.

*Addition: Interested parties may also wish to visit http://www.aufrechte-monarchisten.de/

12 comments:

  1. "Tradition und Leben" has not been as visible lately as the German Monarchist Community and Bund Aufrechte Monarchisten.

    I really do think there is potential for monarchism in Germany given its potential appeal to the youth, and the fact that German society is at the crossroads with generational ferment. What is lacking, to me, is strategy and organisation to promote the ideal in the public forum and connect with those youth who are interested.

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    1. Visibility is proving to be a problem, at least from where I sit. I have put up a link to BaM but the site is mostly under renovation. Does the German Monarchist Community have a website? I couldn't find one but I'll add a link to them to if you have an address.

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  2. Is this a new series?

    I like hearing about monarchist organizations around the world and seeing progress, makes it seem less like a lost cause and more like it could actually happen.

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    1. It will be but a rather minor one. I've wanted to do something like this for a long time but problems always arise over different groups or factions that often do not get along and get very upset if you talk about the others guys and not them and that sort of thing. Then are those countries where the succession is disputed -huge can of worms there and it can sometimes be a struggle to have much to write about when it comes to people having meetings.

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  3. It would make a lot of sense for Germany, a republic that currently has an elected and largely ceremonial president, to convert to a monarchy. I mean, seriously, why have a ceremonial partisan president when you can have a ceremonial traditional monarch?

    The shame Germans have of their own history might even quiet down as well. Which is only a plus, of course.

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    1. Certainly in my book. In fact, I think a restoration of the monarchy would be a good way for Germany to put the whole Nazi-era behind them rather than continuing on in this current, uncomfortable situation where everything is a result of what the Nazis did.

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  4. Fantastic post! I love hearing about such movements today. I try to view restorations realistically and it's always a breath of fresh air to hear about movements that take the same pragmatic view. I would love to hear more about current movements. If this isn't a new series of articles, you should certainly consider making it one! You constantly remind me why your blog is the only one I ever check daily.

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    1. Thank you very much for keeping up every day.

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  5. I agree. The most realistic path to the restoration of German monarchies is to do it state by state according to the view of the local population while maintaining the current international border of Germany. Even though Germans lost a lot of territories in the last century, waging war and irredentism are unnecessary and not acceptable in the Europe of today. However, if all the former German monarchies from the empire are to be restored, should not the administrative division of Germany be redrawn to resemble those of the German Empire with minor adjustment to accommodate Hannover, Heese, and Saxony?

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    1. I would think so, at some point. Even that may require a step-by-step process whereby certain houses had their status restored within a particular state and then later on work out a division that would restore the former territory. Some, of course, are going to have to live with diminished territory for the foreseeable future, particularly the Kingdom of Prussia, much of which today lies within the borders of Poland and Russia.

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  6. Hey MM,

    I'm sure you've ran across the Royalist Party. USA at some point. I feel their goal of reinstating the British Monarchy across all 50 states is unrealistic. I base this on the knowledge that opinions polls over the last decade consistently place only 10% of Americans as wanting the monarchy back.

    However, that 10% equates to roughly 30 million people. That is more people than what live in the entire state of Texas. If we could mobilize those people politically, maybe we'd have a chance of a territorial secession and form an overseas territory?

    Or is that also only a dream of an e-monarchist? I'm trying to find more realistic goals for this unit. Can I get some input here?

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    1. I came across them when one member left an insulting comment on an article about other American monarchist organizations and then seemed rather miffed that subsequent comments were not posted either. When it comes to monarchists/royalists I would prefer to say nothing if I cannot say something positive. I have seen such groups come and go a number of times over the years and they all follow the same pattern. Even most monarchists in America do not take them seriously. As for 30 million Americans being pro-monarchy, I doubt it. I'd have to see that study. I have seen some polls where a fair number of Americans expressed support for the British Royal Family *in Britain* or thought the monarchy was a good thing for other people but I've never seen any such numbers given for people in support of a monarchy in America. Most American monarchists I know would not be among that group. Even most American monarchists I know, if asked if they favored "wanting the monarchy back" would immediately ask, "Which monarchy?" before answering. Most see the idea of pushing for a monarchy for the United States as silly and prefer to focus on countries overseas with native royal traditions. For those that do, some support having an American-made monarchy, some joining with the British monarchy, some favor inviting a foreign monarch to reign over the country there are numerous little circles or one-man shows to choose from with a variety of opinions.

      Living where I do, I also know how hard it is to politically mobilize people. The supporters of Texas independence have been trying to do it for years. I doubt there are 30 million pro-monarchy people in America and what numbers do exist are too scattered all over the country and that will not change. Many people from many political ideologies have tried to form concentrated communities in certain areas to achieve local control, from communists to White supremacists and I don't know of any that have ever succeeded at it. Most people just don't want to move.

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