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Rudolf Steiner and the Great War

Journalist Robert Fisk was interviewed in The Progressive recently (June 2005) about Iraq . One paragraph in particular caught my attention.

"My father was a soldier in the First World War. When he died at the age of 93 in 1992, I inherited his campaign medal, on the back of which was written "The great war for civilization." In the 17 months that followed the Great War, the victorious powers created the borders of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, and most of the Middle East. I’ve spent my professional career watching the people on these borders burn – in Belfast, in Sarajevo, Baghdad, Beirut, across the Middle East."

It is claimed by opponents that Rudolf Steiner objected to the course and outcome of the First World War for petty Geman nationalistic reasons. This is completely mistaken. Steiner did have objections, but he was not German (he was Austrian, and later a naturalized Swiss citizen) and was not a nationalist. Rather, he was extremely far-sighted about the probable long-term results of the peace, and did everything he could to prevent the disaster. In the end he accomplished little in this area, but the motive for his efforts has been egregiously misrepresented. He did not want short-term benefits for Germany. He was, as usual, concerned with the long-term well-being of all humanity. Reading Rudolf Steiner‘s statements from this period makes this very clear. It is only those who are not familiar with Steiner’s own work who could be fooled into thinking that Steiner was a German nationalist.

2 Responses to “Rudolf Steiner and the Great War”

  1. Rudolf Steiner was never a naturalized Swiss citizen. He was Austrian his entire live.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Jens.

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