With Gustav Landauer anarchism lost of of its finest brains and Germany one of its most daring and subtle thinkers, Landauer, whose many-sided actions and aspirations were intimately fused with the best and the most lasting work produced by the intellectual culture of his country in the course of the centuries.
In order to accomplish the smallest victory of anarchy, a general concurrence is necessary, living elements of all humanity, something very different from a working-class movement. It is necessary that mankind’s talents and energy be oriented in the direction of liberty and solidarity — something that demands a broadening, an expansion of the most varied types of propaganda — and that is not easy found; Gustav Landauer was a great talent proceeding toward that goal.
We do not wait for the revolution for socialism to begin; rather we begin to make socialism a reality to that the great transformation may come about in that way.
Gustav Landauer is born on April 7 in the bosom of a middle class Jewish family in the city of Karlsruhe (Rade-Wurtemberg) Germany, located at the food of the Black Forest and that today counts with some two hundred thousand inhabitants.
The notable libertarian work by Professor Eugen Duhring, Course of National and Social Economy, is published in Germany.
A long review of the book by Professor Duhring appears on August 27: Landauer’s first signed collaboration. He studies philosophy and German culture.
He is attracted to Goethe.
He enrolls in the University of Heidelberg. He studies Shakespeare. Attracted to socialism, he joins the German Social Democrat Party.
He continues his studies at the University of Berlin. He sympathizes with the anarchism-without-”adjectives” position held be Fernando Tárrida del Mármol, Ricardo Mella and Max Nettlau.
In his work Ernst Wollen, the former officer Moritz von Egidy advocates the close union of all people who wish a better world: Landauer sympathizes with this “German Tolstoy.” His essay “On Epic and Dramatic Poetry” appears in a Berlin journal.
He joins the Berlin “Independent” Socialists: the SPD (German Social Democratic Party) expells “the Young Ones,” to which Landauer belonged. He frequents the Friedrichshagen literary bohemia. Hertzka’s socialist ideas based on his utopia Freiland are disseminated in Germany. The first issue of the Sozialist edited by Landauer appears on November 15.
He reads with great pleasure Benedikt Frielander’s book entitled Libertarian Socialism in Opposition to the State Slavery of the Marxists, that is published in Berlin. He is attracted to the poetry of Richard Dehmel, Carl Spitteler, and Hedwig Lachmann. After an August Bebel lecture in Zurich, he and Max Baginski ask to speak.
He attends the Zurich International Socialist Congress (Bebel opposes its libertarian tendencies), drawing up a report. He also attends the Plattgarten-Werner Anarchist Conference. The Sozialist declares itself libertarian: “Let us call ourselves, then, anarchists, and let us fight together with our revolutionary comrades of other countries.” He gives a lecture in Zurich attended by Max Nettlau, Jacques Gross and Arthur Kahane. His novel The Pastor of Death is published. In May he is in London where he gives a lecture in “favor of libertarian coexistence and against one-sided-ness.” He marries and interrupts his studies. He earns a living doing editing work. In Berlin he frequents the Friedlander circle. On October 21 he is arrested for propaganda in favor of “disobedience against the power of the State”: he does his sentence of one year imprisonment in the Sorau (Silesia) jail, where he writes his novel Arnold Himmelheber.
He continues his studies and readings in jail. Moritz von Egidy;s beautiful journal Reconciliation appears in Berlin. He is denied entrance in the Fribourg Medical School “for having been in prison.”
The Sozialist reappears on August 17. He writes on “Anarchism in Germany” in the Berlin Journal Future; also in a Berlin socialist journal his Prison Diary. He studies the pamphlet A Way for the Emancipation of the Working Class (anonymous) for its ideas on libertarian cooperation. He has a daughter now and lives with difficulty, with many obligations, made worse by family disagreements. He spends some time in Bragenz (Austria).
He expounds his theory of social and libertarian cooperativism in his pamphlet The Mutualist Pioneer published in Berlin. On March 15 he is arrested when together with others he presides over a conference on “Anarchism in our Time.” Immediately released he moves to Zurich where he publishes Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread translated into German by B. Kampfmeyer. He attends the London International Socialist Congress, with Freedom publishing his report Social Democracy in Germany. In the London capital he becomes well acquainted with Kropotkin, Louise Michel, Errico Malatesta and Élisée Reclus. His pamphlet From Zurich to London published in Berlin is also published in London (English), Paris (French), and Forli (Italian). Albert Weidner’s little newspaper Poor Conrade appears in September with Landauer’s contribution.
He organizes a large number of artists and men of science in support of the Montjuich victims. He is the author of the pamphlet The Horrors of Justice in Barcelona, published in Berlin by Wilhelm Sphor.
Moritz von Egidy dies and Reconciliation ceases to appear. On March 22 he is sentenced to six months in prison for his pamphlet The Ziethen Case; he spends the six months in the Tegel jail near Berlin.
His first marriage becomes undone. In February his father dies. In March he falls in love with the poetess Hedwig Lachmann, who lives in Krumbach (Bavaria). Special issue of the Sozialist on Goethe. In the youth magazine The Cenacle a great review of his of the works of Wilhelm Sphor, who had translated several of Multatuli’s works. He piblishes a study on Dostoievsky in The New Yearbook. He travels around the south of Germany and Switzerland. In October Poor Conrade ceases to appear, and in December the Sozialist (first period).
A book on The Life and Works of Moritz von Egidy, that transcribes his writings favorable to anarchism, is published in German. He discourses on the theme For the Separation of the Community (writing that he had drawn up in his mother’s house), which is published in pamphlet form. In April he writes a letter to the German judge Paul Elzbacher, whose book Anarchism has just been published. He collaborates with the Hart brothers’ “Community,” and in the eight issues of their organ The New Community. He writes about Jacques Dejacque’s L’Humanisphere, whose German edition had appeared the year before.
With the collaboration of the Hart brothers, F. Hollander, and Landauer the pamphlet The New Community is published. With Max Nettlau he compiles a book of Bakunin’s thoughts, that is published in Berlin. He gets to know the country poet Christian Wagner and he disseminates his book New Creed. In August he freely weds the poetess Hedwig Lachmann, and he travels with her to Belgium and England. He lives in Bromley, close to Kropotkin (he was to later translate his Mutual Aid, The Great Revolution, and Fields, Factories and Workshops). Landauer becomes a close friend of Fernando Tárrida del Mármol (born in Havana in 1861 and dies in London in 1915), whom he loved very deeply. Together with his companion, he translates Oscar Wilde, whom he calls “the English Nietzsche.”
He visits several musuems in London with Max Nettlau.
A member of his family, his brother-in-law Adolf, disseminates the social ideas of the English architect Ebenezer Howard (Garden Cities) in Germany, introduced in that country by B. Kampfmeyer. A modern adaptation of the mystical writings of Master Eckhardt written by Landauer is published with the title Doubt and Mysticism. In the work Force and Power he collects some of his short novels. The Barcelona La Huelga General–The General Strike (Francisco Ferrer’s newspaper) publishes his work “New Currents in Germany” in its eleventh issue.
His daughter Gudula is born. Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol is published in Berlin (translation by Landauer and his companion). Helped by the novelist August Hauschner, he lives in the Berlin suburb of Hermsdorf. He gives a series of lectures in private settings. He begins to work (in order to learn a trade) in Karl Schanabel’s publishing company and book store.
His daughter Brigitte is born. Oscar Wilde’s book Salome, translated by Landauer’s companion is published in Berlin.
He stops working at the Berlin publishing company. He contributes to theatrical journals and publishes his work Three Dramas and Three Judges. Other contributions of his in The Literary Echo, The Blue Book (essays on Richard Dehmel and Walter Cole), and in the Viennese journal The Torch (where he published his Thirty Socialist Theses).
His book Revolution is published in the “Society” collection of monographs directed by Martin Buber in Frankfurt. The two translations of Oscar Wilde done with his companion – The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Two Conversations on Art and Life – are published. Bernard Shaw’s pamphlet Socialism for Millionaires translated by Landauer is published in Berlin. The Polish published Gahlberg publishes the pamphlet Utopia (with studies by Landauer) in Przem (Poland) in Polish. He contributes to his friend Albert Weidner’s new newspaper Free Will.
Lectures of his in different parts of Germany. The Sozialist reappears, where Landauer signs his name with the small initials “gl.” He founds The Socialist League, whose principles he establishes in twelve points. In Berne (Switzerland) he meets the great socialist Margarethe Fass Hardegger (editor of the Exploited Woman) with whom he lectures in this capital and in Zurich.
He is now an intimate friend of the German Friedlander, “noble, strong and masculine Jew,” who was passionating disseminating Professor Duhring’s libertarian writings. His lectures continue. The Landauerian groups “Labor and Community” and “Foundation and Land” are founded in Germany, while in Switzerland a similar group is founded: “The Hammer.”
The Socialist League consists of seventeen groups, five of which are active in Berlin and three in Switzerland. He interviews Kropotkin in Lodnon. Extraordinary issue of the Sozialist dedicated to Leo Tolstoy (in homage of his death). He attends the German Anarchist Federation Congress held in Halle. He gives lectures in several German cities.
The Berlin Socialist League publishes the first edition (5,300 copies) of his great work Incitement to Socialism, “a general exposition of his conception of socialism.” Landauer’s manifesto: The Suppression of War by the Action of the People is published in seventy thousand copies. He gives ten speeches on “The Men and Women of the French Revolution.” He publishes Voltairine de Cleyre’s “Dominating Idea” and Paul Berthelot’s The Gospel of the Hour. A book with selections from Proudhon, compiled by Landauer, appears in the Berlin “Philosophical Library.”
The German Social Democrat Party receives a majority in the German elections. He works on a book selecting personal letters of the French Revolution. He publishes letters of the third volume (even published today) of Élisée Reclus’ Correspondence. He also publishes the pamphlet The Great Family by the same Reclus.
The German Social Democrats vote for “the rearmament law.” He translates and publishes Kropotkin’s The Modern State. He discovers and publishes an early essay on Stirner (praising the humanism of the German philosopher) from the pend of Dr. Gustav Mayer. The Sozialist publishes a good biography of Eugen Duhring. He collaborates in the London Freedom with a work on the war in the Balkans. He also contributes to the journals Jewish Poetry and Heretical Thought.
Landauer refutes Jean Jaurès’ assumption: “Four million German socialists will rise as one man and overthrow the Kaiser if he tries to make war.” Unanimously, on August 4, the Prussian socialists vote “the war credits.” Faithful to its reformist destiny, the Social Democrat Party unites the destiny of the German people to that of the German empire. The assassination of Jaurès in France (director of L’Humanité and the founder of the French Unified Socialist Party). The First World War breaks out. Together with his companion he finishes several translations of books of art. His translations of Herbet Spencer’s Man Against the State is published in Berlin. His pamphlet From Zurich to London is published in Portuguese (Lisbon: Ed. A Sementeira).
On March 15 the Sozialist (second epoch) cease to appear. He meets Albert Einstein.
His book A Voice of the German Spirit appears, a collection of different articles that appeared in the Sozialist. He contributes to the journal Jews of Eastern Germany. The opposition to the war led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg begins in Germany.
Ernst Toller meets with Landauer in Krumbach. About this meeting Toller would write in his autobiography I Was a German: “H was one of the finest men, one ofo the greatest intellects of the German Revolution.”
The First World War ends. His beloved companion, the poetess Hedwig Lachmann, dies in Krumbach, an overwhelming blow for Landauer. He moves to Munich with his daughters. In November the revolutionary regimes begin in Bavaria, to which he devotes himself completely: the soldiers and workers expell the Bavarian government and the Jewish newspaperman Kurt Eisner is elected president of the first Bavarian republic. The latter with its centralism opposes the federative orientation of Landauer and Eric Mühsam, who attempt to impart a libertarian orientation to the Bavarian councils.
Eisner has Mühsam and another eleven revolutionaries arrested. The reactionary wave begins in Germany with the new government of the Social Democrat newspaperman Friedrich Ebert (president of the German republic beginning in February). Mühsam is sentenced to eight years in prison, Toller to five years in jail, A. Wadler to eight years in prison. Death penalty for the outstanding militant extremist socialist Eugen Leviné-Niessen. On April 7 an aristocrat assassinates Eisner, who is replaced by Johan Hoffman. Discontented workers expell Hoffman and proclaim the Soviet Republic. Landauer devotes himself completely to this regime, attempting to impart his libertarian orientation to it, with great opposition from the Bolsheviks, Social Democrats, Monarchists and other reactionaries, who on April 13 succeed in arresting several soviet revolutionaries. Meanwhile, the army of the criminal Noske (one hundred thousand men under the command of General von Oven) invades Bavaria and crushes the new Republic, murdering more than seven hundred people. On May 1 they arrest Landauer; they take him with other prisoners to the Starnberg jail them to the Stadelheim barracks prison, Landauer being barbarously mistreated along the way. Baron Freiherr von Gagern (high official of the Prussian army) gave the signal with his whip for the frightful murder of Landauer by part of the brutal soldiers. Landauer was 49 years old. On May 3 Rudolf Rocker learned the terrible news in Berlin. Karl Liebknect, who had made a great deal of antimilitarist propaganda, and Rosa Luxeumburg (born in Zamose, Poland in 1871) were also murdered. His antiwar book To Give an Account is published, and in Julius Bab’s pamphlet Work of Recollection there are references to Landauer’s youth.
Agustin Souchy’s book, Gustav Landauer, Philosopher of the Revolution, appears in Swedish in Stockholm. Landauer’s work Shakespeare (twenty lectures on the great dramatic poet of England, compiled by Martin Buber) is published in Berlin.
A Yiddish translation of Incitation to Socialism is published in Berlin. Another new anthology by Martin Buber is the book Man’s Development by Landauer: studies on Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Goethe, Holderlein, Whitman, Strindberg and others.
The Swedish journal Roeda Fanor publishes an essay by Landauer on Nietzsche.
The novelist Auguste Hauschner dies. The philosopher Fritz Mauthner, also much loved by Landauer, also dies.
The Cologne (Germany) “Principles” Collection publishes his Thirty Socialist Theses in book form. New anthology by Martin Buber: his book To Begin (two volumes with studies on socialism). Death of Hertzka, the forerunner of Freiland.
In the Waldfriedhof Munch necropolis Landauer’s monument is discovered. A great stone primitively carved with this simple inscription: 1870 – Gustav Landauer – 1919.” The funds had been collected by the workers of the Bavarian Anarcho-syndicalist Association.
Agustin Souchy’s essay entitled Gustav Landauer, Philosopher of the Revolution is published in the Weekly Supplement of the Buenos Aires La Protesta (“Suplemento Quincenal de la Protesta”) (numbers 227-230). Illustrated edition with a photograph of Landauer.
His daughter Charlotte, also by his first wife, dies.
Martin Buber compiles his correspondence and publishes the book The Life of Gustav Landauer through His Letters (594 letters and portraits). Notes by Ina Britschgi-Schimmer. There are several letters of Landauer’s in the book Auguste Hauschner’s Correspondence published in Berlin. The “Syndicalist” publishing company of the German capital publishes the book Constructive Thought in Socialism with the goal of interesting readers in Landauer’s ideas. The Buenos Aires Suplemento Quincenal de la Protesta (number 309, July 31) contains an extensive study by Max Nettlau on Landauer. The Barcelona (Spain) journal La Revista Blanca-The White Review publishes in its number 146 a great study by Max Nettlau entitled “Como sacar al socialismo de su callejón sin salida, con algunas consideraciones sobre la obra de Gustav Landauer” (How to Free Socialism from its Impasse, with some considerations on the Work of Gustav Landauer).
The Barcelona (Spain) “Publicationes Mundial” (World Publications) publishes a special edition for the Buenos Aires “Ediciones Nervio” (Nervio Editions) of Landauer’s beautiful work entitled Incitación al Socialism, trasnlated by Diego Abad de Santillán and with a “Publisher’s foreward” by the translator, in which he writes that for two lustrums there has been concern in Argentina for the dissemination of the name and thought of Landauer. This edition, that lacks the author’s first preface, has a magnificent cover by Kras (artist who illustrated works in the libertarian journal Nervio).
The Nazi hordes disenter Landauer’s remains and send his bones to the Munich Jewish community. They also pull down his monument in the Waldfriedhip cemetary (Cemetary of the Woods). The beautiful Barcelona (Spain) Revista Blanca publishes in its number 246 the tribute Gustav Landauer by H. R. It is illustrated with a photograph of the monument by Landauer. The Nervio journal contains a review by I. Iarkin of Landauer’s book Di Revoluzie (The Revolution).
Agustin Souchy’s book on Landauer is published in Buenos Aires. The Nazi racists murder Eric Mühsam in the Orienberg concentration camp.
The Buenos Aires “Iman” Publishing Company publishes Pierre Ganivet’s interesting book entitled The Hungarian Commune (revolutionary events in Hungary, 1918-1919).
The same publishing company publishes Ernst Toller’s interesting book entitled Una Juventud en Alemania-A Youth Spent in Germany.
The great German poet Ernst Toller dies in New York. The Dutch lady Adama van Scheltema-Kleefstra, who was in charge of the libertarian collections of the Amsterdam Institute of Social History, visited one of Landauer’s daughters and her husband, who were living in terror in a Rhine city, thus succeeding in incorporating Landauer’s manuscripts into the Institute.
Surrender of the Nazis in Germany (May 8). With them there disappears a barbarous totalitarian form of government.
The “Americalee” publishing company of Buenos Aires publishes the second Spanish edition of Incitación al Socialism. It reproduces the first “Nervio” edition, including Landauer’s “Preface to the First German Edition”; and it is in the Suplemento Quincenal de la Protesta. The same publishing company publishes Landauer’s Shakespeare.
The first edition of Martin Buber’s book Caminos de Utopia-Utopian Roads is published by the Mexican “Fondo de Cultura Económica”: chapters on Proudhon, Kropotkin and Landauer.
The third volume of Rudolf Rocker’s memoirs, entitled Revolución y Regresión, is published in Buenos Aires by “Americalee.” It contains the chapter “El Fin de Gustav Landauer” (The End of Gustav Landauer), besides another very interesting chapter on “The Munich Republic of Soviets.”
In the London Freedom (September 26) Willy Fritzenkotter writes on “The Munich Soviet Republic” and of the role played in it by Landauer and Eric Mühsam.
A real achievement of the Buenos Aires “Editorial Proyección” when it publishes Landauer’s book Revolución, translated by Pedro Scaron and with a prologue especially written by H. Koehlin. Dr. Angel J. Cappelletti publishes in the Revista del Instituto de Derecho y Ciancia Sociales (Journal of the Institute of Law and Social Sciences) of the National University of the Coast, Rosario (Argentina), number 8, the essay “Gustav Landauer: El Espíritu contra el Estado” (Gustav Landauer: Spirit Against the State).
The German “Rutten and Loening” publishing company publishes the second edition of Landauer’s work entitled Letters about the French Revolution, and a new edition of Shakespeare.
Reconstruir-To Reconstruct, number 29 (March-April), reprints Doctor Cappelletti’s essay on Landauer.
In the first issue of the journal Paris Libertarian Studies there is an essay on Landauer translated from the London journal Anarchy (number 54), to which the Strasbourg libertarian youth group contributes with a Bibliography of Gustav Landauer.
The last German edition of Incitation to Socialism, with an introduction by Heinz Joachim Heydorn, is published in Frankfurt by the “Europiasche Verlags-Anstalt.”