Peter Paul Rubens. Emperor Maximilian I (a fragment). 1618
If the EU is to transform into a new soft neo-fascist model, the formation of something that can be described as the black aristocracy is essential.
Is “Habsburg in vyshyvanka” just a phenomenon from the turn of the 20th century, or does some sort of Ukrainian-Habsburg idea continue to hover in the rotten political air of Ukraine these days?
Today, the idea of regaining the Ukrainian (or, more precisely, West Ukrainian) throne by the Habsburgs is most actively promoted by Oleg Khavich, a Bukovinian journalist who is sometimes referred to as “the father of western Ukrainian separatism.”
The public first became acquainted with the views of Khavich – at that time a deputy of the Chernovtsy City Council – in the spring of 2000. In an interview with part.org.ua, Khavich detailed his plan of a “West Ukrainian state” – in other words “West Ukrainian Kingdom.” Emphasizing that this idea is not new, that it was implemented as early as November 1, 1918, when the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (WUPR) emerged, Khavich also pointed out the difference.
According to him, it lies in the fact that then “all of Europe was infected with republican ideas,” and the WUPR was paying tribute to the political fashion of the time. And today, the West Ukrainian state has to be not a republic, but rather a kingdom, i.e. a constitutional monarchy. As for the political system, it has to be a federation that would allow for the peculiarities of each region of western Ukraine: Transcarpathia, Galicia, Volyn, or Bukovina. Besides, autonomous districts will be essential for autochthonous ethnic groups, for example for Transcarpathian Hungarians or Bukovinian Romanians, who have lived on this land for hundreds of years, unlike the Russian diaspora that appeared in western Ukraine only in the 1940s.
If this plan is successful, Russians living there will be devoid of any benefits that everyone else will receive
The throne of the West Ukrainian kingdom, according to Khavich, should be offered “not to a nominee from some Ukrainian noble families, but to a representative of a dynasty that ruled in western Ukraine for centuries – a representative of the Habsburg dynasty. Especially since its current head Otto von Habsburg did not renounce his titles of the King of Galicia and Lodomeria (that is Volyn), the Grand Duke of Bukovina. Yes, he renounced the title of King of Hungary (Transcarpathia was once part of the Hungarian kingdom), but I think it would not be a matter of principle. Appointment to the throne of a representative of a respected European imperial dynasty, for one thing, would remove contradictions between domestic western Ukrainian groups who may claim the throne. On the other hand, Otto von Habsburg and members of his family are long-time deputies of the European Parliament, their experience with European structures, with the leaders of world states will allow western Ukraine to solve many problems arising before the newly formed state. It will be much easier than if western Ukraine is headed by one of its representatives”.
The fact that the representative of the Habsburg-Lorraine House is Catholic by faith, while western Ukraine is a predominantly Greek Catholic region where Catholics are a minority, is irrelevant, according to Khavich. Otto von Habsburg’s Catholicism would rather emphasize “the Europeanness of western Ukraine itself, which can afford such a choice.”
Khavich was not the only one who called on Otto von Habsburg to rule in Ukraine. On October 16, 2003, the major Ukrainian newspaper Den published an article by Yuri Topchiy, chairman of the All-Ukrainian non-government organization Throne. The article stated that in the spring of 2003, the Throne organization led by Topchiy, in an appeal to His Imperial and Royal Majesty Otto von Habsburg, announced that he and his successors were the only and undisputed claimants to the throne of a united Ukraine. The piece also mentioned Throne members swearing allegiance to Habsburg. In a written reply Otto von Habsburg expressed his gratitude, along with his love and respect for the entire Ukrainian nation.
Young Otto von Habsburg
Some may say that neither Khavich nor Topchiy are members of the highest Ukrainian elite, let alone government officials. That the current huge murky information flow makes it possible to come across the most delusional plans and statements. Hence referring to such statements does not prove anything. We agree that such references in themselves do not prove anything.
And the fact that Otto von Habsburg, then still alive, who had his secretaries and assistants check all such appeals scrupulously and responded to the appeal of the members of Throne, proves nothing either? The newspapers call Khavich a friend of the Habsburg Family, and the Habsburgs do not deny it – does this prove nothing either? And a special and lasting interest of the Habsburgs to Ukraine, the statements of Otto von Habsburg and his successors about the importance of Ukraine to Europe, the statement of Otto’s eldest son Karl von Habsburg that Ukraine is a “cornerstone of Europe” – this also proves nothing?
Of course, such evidence is not conclusive. But they are not entirely groundless either. And in order to get something more grounded and to understand where visionists like Havich and Topchiy really come from in Ukraine, one should carefully consider the biography of the “pretender claimant” to the Ukrainian lands of Otto von Habsburg.
Otto von Habsburg was born on November 20, 1912. He was the eldest son of Charles I, the last Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia and Slavonia, Galicia and Lodomeria.
Charles ascended the Austrian throne during World War I, in 1916. The war soon ended with the defeat of Austria-Hungary and its allies. The day after the signing of the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11, 1918 to end hostilities, Charles withdrew from the governing of the state. The Provisional National Assembly proclaimed Austria a republic. The era of Habsburg rule was over.
Otto von Habsburg with his parents, Charles I of Austria and Zita of Bourbon-Parma
In March 1919, Charles and his family went into exile in Switzerland.
On April 3, 1919, a special “Habsburg Law” was passed in Austria that forbade members of the former royal family to return to the country or make any claims to power. The Habsburgs were also stripped of their citizenship.
After Charles’ death in 1922 in exile, the “Head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine” became the nine-year-old Otto von Habsburg.
Otto von Habsburg and Fascism
The widespread myth about Otto von Habsburg shows him almost as a hero of the European Resistance who refused to meet Hitler. For example, in an article entitled The Last Prince of Old Europe, Konstantin von Eggert, host of programs on Kommersant FM radio station and Dozhd TV channel (foreign media recognized as a foreign agent), stated, “The Archduke knew absolutely everyone who played any role in the twentieth century, from his great-uncle Franz Joseph (although these were vague childhood memories) to Boris Yeltsin, from Pope Pius the Eleventh (and all subsequent popes) to Solzhenitsyn… The only Western statesman with whom the Archduke on principle would not meet was Hitler.”
Such statements give the impression that Otto von Habsburg did not accept Fascism on principle. But was this really the case?
In the early 20th century, fascist movements emerged in many European states. Austria was no exception and the coveted idea of ruling it again by the dethroned Habsburg dynasty still held true.
In 1932, Austria saw Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, leader of the Austrian Christian Social Party, come to power.
Once in office, Dollfuss opposed the policy of annexation of Austria into Germany (Anschluss) which was Hitler’s main trump card. At the same time he actively advocated for Mussolini’s Italian Fascism and Mussolini reciprocated support. Dollfuss highly valued his friendship with Mussolini who assured him that Italy would support the sovereignty of Austria.
Dollfuss came to power on the wave of conflict between left-wing social democratic forces and right-wing parties. Both the left and the right had paramilitary organizations and were constantly at odds with each other.
Engelbert Dollfuss. 1933
Due to the world economic crisis that began in 1929, the left began to prevail over the right parties, gaining more support in elections.
In February 1933, A parliamentary crisis arose in Austria due to a deadlock in a debate over the minimum wage law. The parliament was powerless and dissolved itself. Dollfuss took advantage of this to establish an authoritarian regime.
In May 1933, the Austrian Chancellor banned the Communist Party.
And in June 1933, Dollfuss banned the German National Socialist Workers’ Party, which was gravitating toward Hitler and demanded an Anschluss. Mussolini supported this decision, advising Dollfuss to ban the Social Democratic Party as well.
Dollfuss followed Mussolini’s advice. In February 1934, he banned the National Socialist Party.
By refusing to convene parliament, Dollfuss established an authoritarian regime in Austria called Austrofascism. This fascism is sometimes known as “green” fascism. It is also called the policy of building an estate or a corporate state. Historians admit that Dollfuss effectively copied Mussolini’s regime.
The backbone of Dollfuss’ Austro-Fascist regime was the Fatherland Front movement, designed to “politically unite all citizens of Austria.” Dollfuss proclaimed that he wanted to überhitlern, to outhitler Hitler himself – i.e. to make his National Socialism more Hitlerian than that of Hitler.
What does the “overhiterlizing” of National Socialism mean? It means the creation of another fascism, in a sense far more radical than that of Hitler’s National Socialism. A fascism that is capable of competing in the frameworks of Hitler’s National Socialism, while remaining faithful to the general fascist core.
What kind of fascism did Dollfuss offer his supporters?
His model of an authoritarian state was based on corporations. Corporations as Dollfuss saw them had nothing to do with what is now called corporations. Those corporations, in other words corporate groups, were very reminiscent of the estates that existed in pre-capitalist society. It was something akin to the medieval guilds of bricklayers, weavers, and potters.
If such a society had been created, not only in Austria, but throughout Europe, then, speaking in the words of Marx, what superstructure would such a base need? Why not attach a monarchical superstructure to it in this case? And why not integrate the great Habsburgs into such a superstructure, with their superior and ancient imperial tradition? Why not build a Europe that would replicate the Habsburg empire and be, in a sense, the embodiment of Emperor Charles V von Habsburg’s dream of a universal worldwide Catholic empire?
And since the Habsburgs had always ruled very incoherent empires consisting of fairly sovereign national components, the emergence of such an empire would not have strained the nations of Europe as much as Hitler’s, in fact complete, destruction of national sovereignties under the heel of a purely German Reich. That is why Austria did not want to fall under the heel of Germany, because it cherished the dream of restoring the former Austro-Hungarian greatness. The ultimate embodiment of that greatness would be another version of the Holy Roman Empire. The latter, of course, could again be called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, but it would still be more nationally equal than Hitler’s construction.
Could such a construction have been in demand in the 1930s? And if not then, were there any chances that it would be in the future?
In the 1930s, this construct, alternative to Hitler’s and as Nazi in nature as the Third Reich, could not be in demand. First of all, because Hitler’s power quickly began to prevail over all other European powers. And not only over the small powers – Polish, Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian. But also over the more serious powers, above all the French. Hitler rose so swiftly himself and so swiftly lifted Germany to great power that all others had only to submit. And they did. Austrians more than anyone else.
This is what the Austrofascism of Dollfuss and his associates is all about. It is another version of the same fascism, not anti-fascism. And you would have to be a scurrilous cynic to call this version of fascism anti-fascism. Is Mussolini also anti-fascist then? And Franco even more so? But let us go back to Dollfuss.
Dollfuss and Mussolini
Dollfuss pursued the creation of a national estate state and at the same time fiercely resisted the Anschluss. He was assassinated in July 1934 in an attempted coup organized by the Austrian SS. The coup was thwarted due to Mussolini backing Dollfuss’ supporters rather than the Austrian SS, who were in favor of Anschluss
Later, in a 2007 interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Otto von Habsburg recalled Dollfuss as follows, “I had very close ties with him [Otto von Habsburg specified that these ties were indirect, and personal contact was planned but never took place because of the murder of Dollfuss]. Politically, we were perhaps more close than with Schuschnigg. I have the deepest respect for Dollfuss. He was brave and willing to fight for Austria to the bitter end. Back then I looked at everything from this point of view: we had to save Austria.” (Note that surely Dollfuss, had he been alive, would have said the same thing: “It was necessary to overhitlerize National Socialism to save Austria.” After all, we know that everything in history is always done “in the name of”…)
Dollfuss’ successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, who after Dollfuss’ death became at first Acting Federal Chancellor and then Chancellor, managed, with the support of Mussolini, to continue the policy of his predecessor for some time.
Schuschnigg tried to establish close ties with the Habsburgs in the same way that Dollfuss did. In the interview with Die Presse, Otto von Habsburg recalled that while living in exile in Belgium and frequenting France, he had no access to Austria. However, their communication with Schuschnigg was not indirect, as with Dollfuss, but quite personal: Otto von Habsburg “met Schuschnigg in secret abroad.” One of these meetings took place in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. But, as Otto von Habsburg said, he had also “met him before.”
At the same time, Schuschnig pursued the Austro-Fascist policy almost as forcefully as Dollfuss. And he resisted Hitler’s Anschluss almost as strongly, leaning on Mussolini as Dollfuss did, having some sort of views on the Habsburgs just as much as Dollfuss did.
Kurt Schuschnigg. 1934
That is, Schuschnigg was, in fact, almost a second edition of Dollfuss.
And of the other non-Hitlerian fascism of Dollfuss, designed to overhitlerize National Socialism.
And of the policy of wooing Mussolini in the hope that he would save Austria from Hitler by using his influence over the Führer.
And of the establishment of contacts with the Habsburgs, who wagered on Austrofascism, which was much more convenient for them than Hitler’s fascism.
At the same time, Schuschnigg was forced to yield more and more to Hitler.
Nevertheless, continuing, in general, to follow the policy chosen by Dollfuss, Schuschnigg completely repealed the “Habsburg Law” – not only the part forbidding members of this family from entering Austria, but also the part prohibiting them from ascending the throne.
Having managed for a time to prevent Hitler’s takeover of the Austrian fascist state, Schuschnigg became more and more dependent on Mussolini for protection.. But Mussolini could only prolong the agony of the fascist state for so long before he eventually surrendered Austria, bowing down to the greatness of the German Reich. Under pressure from Hitler, Schuschnigg resigned and on March 11, 1938, Arthur Seyss-Inquart became chancellor. With this the Anschluss of Austria took place days later on March 13.
Hitler’s dislike of the Habsburgs was justified by a number of circumstances, including, in the Führer’s opinion, their overly lenient attitude toward Jews and Slavs. Among the most important reasons for Hitler’s negative attitude toward the Habsburgs was his specific anti-Semitism which only grew more antagonistic due to the fact that Hitler took very seriously the idle gossip about the Rothschilds as the main bankers of the Habsburgs.
In reality, the Rothschilds were indeed the bankers of the Habsburgs, that is, at the beginning. Was there still any connection between the Habsburgs and the Rothschilds by the time Europe went from feudal to capitalist and Rothschild money became more important than belonging to the incredibly dignified Habsburg family?
Of course, capitalism has dramatically changed the rules of the game.
But first of all, the degree of this sharp change should not be absolutized.
And secondly, we are interested now not in the essence of the connection between the real Rothschilds and the Habsburgs free from any conspiracy theory, but in Hitler’s fantasies about this connection and its conspiratorial Jewish content unacceptable for Hitler. Such fantasies prevented Hitler, who was building a categorically anti-Semitic fascism, from positively embracing less primitively anti-Semitic (though not without anti-Semitism) varieties of fascism. This includes the Austrofascism of Dollfuss – Schuschnigg – Mussolini – von Habsburg.
Is it correct to list all four of these political figures when discussing Austrofascism? To answer this question, let us examine all of the connections that existed between these four.
Schuschnigg and Mussolini. 1935
The connection between Dollfuss and Schuschnigg and Mussolini was extremely strong. As for the connection between the Habsburgs and Mussolini, it was no less strong. Il Duce saw in the support of the Habsburgs an opportunity to further legitimize his power. He even suggested to Otto von Habsburg’s mother Zita of Bourbon-Parma to strengthen the relations by the marriage between Otto and an Italian princess. However, this marriage never took place. Mussolini had to take into account the degree of Hitler’s aversion to both Otto von Habsburg and Austrofascism. Mussolini in fact surrendered Schuschnigg just as he had abandoned the Habsburgs. And how he then surrendered everything and everyone under Hitler’s pressure.
So we have established that, first, the Austrofascists Dollfuss and Schuschnigg – extremely dependent on Mussolini and in closest ideological and political relations with him – were close to Otto von Habsburg. This alone was enough to make Hitler hate him.
That, secondly, Otto von Habsburg’s family had very close ties with Mussolini and seriously waged on Il Duce himself and on Italian Fascism.
And thirdly and finally, for many reasons, both Otto von Habsburg and the entire Habsburg community liked the fascisms of the Austrian, Italian or Spanish type – quite loyal to Catholicism, and thus to a universal Catholic Europe, the idea of which stand in close relation to the Habsburgs – immeasurably more than the nearly anti-Catholic Nazism of Hitler.
Thus, Austrofascism can indeed be called Austrofascism after the names of the four we have just discussed – Dollfuss, Schuschnigg, Mussolini and Otto von Habsburg.
The Anschluss. Graz. March 1938
Shortly before the Anschluss of Austria was carried out, Hitler’s agents intercepted a letter from Otto von Habsburg to Schuschnigg. In the letter, Otto von Habsburg stated that in these difficult times he would gladly assume the office of chancellor. This letter was the occasion for Hitler to declare to Mussolini that Austria, together with Czechoslovakia, was preparing to attack Germany. After which the Anschluss was carried out.
The Nazi operation to seize Austria in 1938 was code-named “Otto.” This alone suggests that Hitler considered Otto von Habsburg his most dangerous rival. After seizing power, Hitler drove the Habsburgs out of the country as an unnecessary political irritant and reinstituted the “Habsburg Law.”
Otto von Habsburg emigrated to the United States. We should add that his less fortunate close relatives, the children of Franz Ferdinand von Habsburg – the one whose assassination was the most immediate cause of World War I – were sent to Nazi concentration camps.
It should be noted that this twist of fate for Otto von Habsburg, Dollfuss, Schuschnigg and others allowed these Austro-Fascists and Euro-Fascists, who professed a less anti-Semitic, quasi-Mussolini Fascist faith, to act as victims of Hitler’s Nazism. Mussolini did not have time to act as such a victim because he was hanged. And he stood up to the Americans after all. The Habsburgs, on the other hand, were very convenient for the Americans. And since the Americans, at the beginning of the Cold War, feared the great influence of the pro-Soviet communists in Western Europe, needed to get hold of some new fascist ideology, there was nothing more convenient for them than Austrofascism, Eurofascism, in other words neo-fascism of the Habsburgian type. And they wagered on this model, imposing it on the Nazis of Europe after their defeat in World War II.
Dollfuss and Mussolini on the beach
The so-called black aristocracy was much needed for the unfolding of this new soft neo-fascist model posing as almost anti-fascist. Why not? After all, even the “victims of Hitler’s regime” practiced it! These “victims” included not only Otto von Habsburg, but also hardened Nazis such as Otto Strasser, one of the leaders of the left wing of the National Socialist Party, the younger brother of Gregor Strasser. Gregor Strasser was a very important figure in Hitler’s NSDAP. He was one of the founders of the party, a man who was no less respected within it than Hitler himself. Gregor’s advanced level of influence in the NSDAP alarmed Hitler greatly. Gregor Strasser was murdered on June 30, 1934, during the so-called Night of the Long Knives. This leading Otto Strasser to flee from Hitler in go into exile.
So here you have a reason to talk about the Strassers as victims of Hitler. Had Ernst Röhm, chief of staff of the SA [German: “Sturmabteilung”, English: “Assault Division” – translator’s note], managed to escape and emigrate, he would have been presented as such a victim. Because, again, it was necessary to unite the remaining fascists against the Soviet Union. These scum were collected all over the world. They could not be gathered without being recommended as something anti-Hitler. The hatred of the peoples of Europe for Hitler was too great. And then there is the anti-Semitic factor discussed above. Hitler hated the Habsburgs because of his anti-Semitism? Okay, then one could even try to pass them off as Holocaust victims.
By the way, it’s the same with Bandera or the Romanian fascists. They all had to be turned into victims of Hitler. Did Bandera spend some time in Hitler’s camp in conditions of special comfort? He was also a victim of Hitler’s regime.
A new type of fascism, convenient for the United States, was taking shape, and this myth of Nazi victims, who were hardened fascists but had to be legitimized under the conditions of the demand for anti-Soviet fascism, turned out to be compatible with Western democracy.
This is what Otto von Habsburg began to integrate himself into in the post-war years. And he brilliantly carried out this integration, participating in the essential process of switching Fascism to new rails, the need for which was conditioned by the defeat of Hitler, the Nuremberg trials, the memory of the horrors of Hitlerism. All this made it impossible to move from denigration of fascism to its praise in a short historical period. The USA and its allies needed a new fascism to fight the USSR and communism, and it had to be the one that could be presented in some way as almost a victim of Hitler. This fascism was brought to the political surface – with the substantial assistance of Otto von Habsburg.
It is difficult to understand the intricacies carried out by the enemies of the USSR during the Cold War times – in all the right-wing and far-right coups arranged by these enemies, hiding their fascist essence behind various masks, in the so-called strategy of tension and patronage that allowed the Banderites to become a serious factor in European politics – without discussing a certain reform of fascism, carried out by the fascists themselves (including the remaining SS members) under the responsive supervision of the West. It was this reform of fascism, accompanied by the reformers’ hypocritical rejection of Hitler’s excesses on the question of Jews and Hitler’s hatred of Anglo-Saxons, that allowed the West to present the reformed Fascists as almost zealots of democracy.
That is why it must be especially persistently pointed out that the conflict of the Habsburgs and their political supporters (Dollfuss, Schuschnigg, etc.) with Hitlerism in general and personally with the Führer of the Third Reich Adolf Hitler is not a conflict of anti-fascists with fascists, but a conflict of zealots of two fascist projects – Austrian and Great-German. Denied on the level of propaganda and publicity, this statement is historically unquestionable. There is too much evidence of this.
Yes, the Habsburgists and the Hitlerites were in conflict for a variety of reasons. But is it impossible that the representatives of one ideology or two close ideologies fight mercilessly with each other for power, for the form of realization of their ideological visions?
Exactly such a war was underway between Otto von Habsburg and Adolf Hitler. Pushkin said of the conflict between Russia and Lithuania, “It is a dispute of the Slavs among themselves.” Paraphrasing Pushkin, we can say that the sharpest dispute between Otto von Habsburg and Hitler is “a dispute of the Nazis among themselves,” a competition for the right to implement his fascist project.
It was precisely because of this competition that Otto von Habsburg, being in exile, did not want Hitler to come to power in Austria, having his own – Austro-Fascist, not German-Nazi – views on it. And Hitler, who feared the possibility of restoring the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, for the same reason mortally hated Otto von Habsburg, who upheld a different kind of fascism, who insisted on a different geopolitical version of establishing a fascist Europe, and who was last but not least Hitler’s fascist political rival. As we can see, the grounds for hatred were plentiful. And all of them had nothing to do with the hatred of the fascist Hitler against the anti-fascist Habsburg. There is clearly a hatred of one fascist for another.
One can begin to consider the deeper levels of this “dispute among themselves” and discuss the differences between the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollerns or even the Habsburgs and the Hohenstaufens whom Hitler oriented himself to.
The Hohenzollerns are a Germanic dynasty whose ancestor was Tassilo of Zollern, a Swabian count. So, at least, one of the legends says. Another legend says that the Hohenzollerns descended from the Swabian ducal dynasty of Burchardings. In any case, without going into details, we will confine ourselves to stating that the Hohenzollerns were a Swabian dynasty with several branches. That the Hohenzollerns who ruled in Germany assembled the German imperial Reich, relying on Brandenburg and the Kingdom of Prussia. And that the Hohenzollerns were emperors of Germany for a fairly short time – from 1871, when France was defeated, until 1918, when Germany lost World War I.
Hitler could not begin to praise a dynasty that had so shamefully lost the world war. Besides, having started to praise the Hohenzollerns, one would have to carry this to its logical conclusion, in other words to restore this unpopular defeated dynasty to power. And the specific pretenders to the throne were, as they say, known to everyone. Hitler had no intention of giving up power to anyone. And so he always avoided praising the Hohenzollerns. While gladly praising another imperial dynasty, the Hohenstaufens.
For Germany, the Hohenstaufen signified not the recent events, like the Hohenzollerns, but glorious deeds of bygone days. They ruled in the Holy Roman Empire in the 12-13th centuries. Their rise to power was marked by a struggle with the so-called papal party, also known as the Younger Welf [Guelph] dynasty, which was a branch of the Italian house of Este.
Este is one of the oldest Italian princely families, which for a long time supported the Pope.
The most well-known conflict between the Hohenstaufen and the Younger Welf dynasty, also known as the conflict between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs, is the wars of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, during whose reign the clash between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy reached its climax.
The Vatican repeatedly excommunicated Frederick II, calling him the Antichrist. And Frederick II considered himself the new Constantine the Great, the successor of King David, the God’s vicar on earth and ruler of the universe. Frederick II was one of the most educated men of his time.
However, Hitler’s greatest respect was not even for Frederick II, but for Frederick I – Frederick Barbarossa. It is no coincidence that Hitler called his plan of invasion of Russia the “Operation Barbarossa,” drawing an analogy between his military campaign and the Third Crusade, which was led by this German emperor.
Without any desire to go into occult details, always questionable due to their use by various fantasists and conspiracy theorists, let us note that the inclination of Nazi leaders to the occult is an undeniable fact in itself. Any delving into the problem of this commitment is fraught with the transitions from the realm of the undeniable to the realm of the doubtful. Any assertion makes no sense in this case. It is necessary to add the word “apparently” when discussing everything.
Apparently, Hitler considered himself the reincarnation (i.e., the new incarnation) of Frederick Barbarossa.
Apparently, he believed that Frederick Barbarossa was the owner of a certain holy spear, in other words the spear with which, according to the Gospel of John (19:31-37), a Roman centurion pierced Jesus Christ. To delve into this story in more detail would be to distract from the main content of the current topic.
All of the above mentioned needs to be discussed only insofar as it casts light on the relationship between Hitler and Otto von Habsburg.
How should a man who is convinced that he is the new incarnation of Frederick Barbarossa, that is, in fact, the emperor of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, threat the real Habsburg, who inherits everything connected with this very mighty dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors, Emperors of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, etc.
Now, the incarnate Hohenstaufen cannot love the real Habsburg. Even if this Habsburg shares his fascist ideological views. Mussolini can love the Habsburgs. Both because there is no conflict of interest (Mussolini does not care about the fate of Austria) and because there are no underlying occult motives for disliking them. Mussolini has none of this, but Hitler does. That is why the Habsburgs are friends with Mussolini and not friends with Hitler.
Such an excursus into history is necessary to dismiss the idle talks about Otto von Habsburg’s democratism. Otto von Habsburg was firmly associated with the Austro-Fascists and Mussolini, and was a representative of a European fascism different from the German model. Only very naive and uninformed journalists would take his ironically relaxed discourse about the good of democracy at face value. Or people promoting Otto.
Since we have discussed both the Hohenzollerns and the Hohenstaufens, it is necessary to say at least a few words about the Habsburgs.
The Habsburgs are one of the most powerful monarchical dynasties in Europe. It is particularly famous because the Habsburgs really sought to unite Europe under their aegis on Catholic foundations. Most successful in this was the aforementioned Charles V of Habsburg, one of the greatest statesmen of Europe in the first half of the 16th century.
Catholic France stood in the way of the realization of the Habsburg claims and countered these Habsburg pan-European imperial claims with its own national and even superpower interests. Europe was torn by this conflict of interests for a very long time. Zealous French Catholics, such as the Dukes of Guise of Lorraine, were convinced that for the sake of the triumph of Catholicism, France must submit to the Habsburgs, who were both related to the Guises and in a close alliance with them arising from a common incandescent Catholicism. The shadow of the Habsburgs had hung over Europe for centuries. And it continues to do so.
It is the presence of such a shadow that gives rise to the special importance of the Habsburgs in pan-European endeavors. For if Europe were ever to unite under a monarchical umbrella – which is highly unlikely, though not impossible – it would be the aegis of the Habsburgs.
Otto von Habsburg and the Paneuropean Union
In the United States, Otto von Habsburg became close to Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, author of the project to create a united European state – Paneurope.
Otto von Habsburg and Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi
It is sometimes asserted that this rapprochement between Otto von Habsburg and such a patented democrat as Coudenhove-Kalergi alone is irrefutable evidence of Otto’s own democratism. We shall not anticipate the things and immediately refute the democratism of Coudenhove-Kalergi. But – in order to avoid turning such assertions into something politically indisputable – we will straight away point out that Coudenhove-Kalergi himself, and not his opponents demonizing him, in his autobiography A Life for Europe (German: Ein Leben für Europa) points out that in 1933 Benito Mussolini officially invited him to Rome, where they met. Allegedly, Coudenhove-Kalergi was banned from entering Italy (as he learned a couple of years later) because he was on the “anti-fascist” list. But because he was invited personally by Mussolini, he was able to enter the country.
Mussolini, like Hitler, was very sensitive to the opinions of his comrades-in-arms. If these comrades-in-arms, who suspected the Duce of sympathizing with hostile forces, put Coudenhove-Kalergi on the persona non grata list, then Mussolini himself would think ten times whether he should interfere and support someone who was called an enemy by his own comrades-in-arms. And if Mussolini did so, it means he had special reasons for doing so. And the existence of such reasons refutes the claim of the patented and unconditional democratism of Coudenhove-Kalergi. Had he been such a patented and unconditional democrat, the Duce would not have bothered to meet with a figure who was obviously of no interest to him because of his absolute and unconditional commitment to democracy. Pointing out this circumstance, let us discuss in detail both Coudenhove-Kalergi himself and the connection between him and Otto von Habsburg.
Beginning with his emigration to the United States, the whole life of Otto von Habsburg – who remained loyal to his American-backed soft Austro-Fascism, also known as Euro-Fascism, whose founders wanted to overhitlerize National Socialism – is defined by the establishment of close relations with this count, who played a very significant role in the construction of a united Europe. But who is this doppelganger of Otto von Habsburg, also known as Richard Nikolaus Eijiro Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi?
Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi
Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi was an Austrian politician, author of political essays, one of the ideologists of the creation of a united Europe. He is the founder of the Paneuropean Union, a social and political movement advocating the unification of Europe. This Paneuropean Union did not just discuss plans and projects for European unification. It had the most direct influence on the creation of a real united Europe. And Coudenhove-Kalergi had a leading position in the Paneuropean Union, acting in conjunction with Otto von Habsburg whom we are discussing in this chapter.
Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s father, Count Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi, played an important role in relations between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Japan. He was the official representative of Austria-Hungary in Japan. While living in Japan, Count Henry married a Japanese woman Mitsuko (Mitsu) Aoyama. Mitsuko was one of the first Japanese women to emigrate to Europe.
Mitsuko’s father was Kihachi Aoyama, an antiques and oil dealer in Tokyo. The 18-year-old Mitsuko and Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi met as a result of an accident that happened to Count Heinrich. Count was thrown by a horse, and he was injured quite badly. The incident occurred near Mitsuko’s father’s antique store. Mitsuko so touchingly cared for the injured count that he fell passionately in love with her and made her the Countess von Coudenhove-Kalergi. At the same time Mitsuko was baptized in a Catholic church in Tokyo and took the name Maria Tekla.
In 1896 Count Heinrich and his exotic wife moved from Japan to Europe. By this time they already had two children, one of whom was Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi.
In Europe, Heinrich and Mitsuko had five more children.
And yet having moved to Europe and settled on the estates of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Mitsuko established strict Japanese rules in her new European home. Several languages were spoken in Heinrich’s house, but Mitsuko hardly spoke any German and spoke mostly Japanese in the family circle. When she became an artist, she painted in the Japanese style. She formally converted to Catholicism but remained committed to Buddhism.
Count Heinrich died in 1906, and Mitsuko became the sole administrator of Heinrich’s estates and the caretaker of their many children. Mitsuko was very famous in Europe. She shone in Vienna’s high society, and was its special celebrity.
Speaking of the unconditional democracy of Coudenhove-Kalergi, one points in particular to the fact that his father Heinrich was clearly sympathetic to the chief ideologist of Zionism Theodor Herzl. In fact, sympathy for Zionism was felt both by those who wanted to rid Europe of the Jews and by pro-Habsburg circles, which had always patronized certain elite Jewish groups. Namely, those groups who were convinced that the Habsburg Empire was a far lesser evil than the emergence in the event of its dissolution of new independent states, each charged with their own nationalism. Having made such a note in the margin, we should continue to consider all that is really connected with the ideology of Coudenhove-Kalergi and his ancestral history.
Coudenhove is an ancient Brabant, i.e. Dutch, noble family. The nobility was granted to the founder of family Coudenhove in 1099 for going on a crusade.
Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s grandfather married Marie Kalergi in 1857. She was the daughter of Maria Kalergis. Maria Kalergis was a famous Polish pianist and patron of the arts, the daughter of Count Fyodor Karlovich Nesselrode, a hero of the Battle of Borodino, and the niece of the Chancellor of the Russian Empire Karl Vasilievich Nesselrode. Note that the House of Nesselrode is a German count’s family, quite famous in Russia. As for the mother of Maria Kalergis, she was Polish, the sister of the chamberlain of the court of the Russian Emperor Alexander I.
Marie Kalergi married the diplomat Franz-Karl Count of Coudenhove. Their son, already known to us Count Heinrich, received the right to unite the paternal and maternal surnames. This is how the Coudenhove-Kalergi family came into being.
Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi whom we are discussing here and whose father Heinrich, by the way, spoke sixteen languages received a brilliant education in Vienna.
In 1922, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi founded the Paneuropean Union, whose members included prominent people of their time such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Aristide Briand, and Konrad Adenauer. It would seem that membership in the Paneuropean Union of such great humanistic thinkers as Einstein and Thomas Mann is the irrefutable evidence of the anti-fascist essence of this union.
But in 1922, Europe had not yet come to its senses from the bloody world slaughter, and any idea of unification of European states that would not allow a new world war (which was brewing in the meantime) had to be received with flying colors by all humanists, and so they perceived it. The founder of the idea of the unification of Europe in the name of eternal peace was the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who formed it in his treatise “Towards Eternal Peace.” This dream of eternal peace in war-torn Europe could not but be supported by all the humanists of that time.
At that time, the question of what it will be, this pan-European state, and what content it will be filled with was not yet on the agenda. It was understood that this state could only be filled with a noble humanistic content. And since the discussion of the actual content was very vague, each of the two thousand delegates who founded the Pan-European Union had every right to put their own content into it. The world empire of the Habsburgs, for example, was also a kind of Pan-European Union. And so was Europe, conquered by Hitler …
But let’s get back to Coudenhove-Kalergi.
In the same year, 1922, when the Paneuropean Union was founded, Coudenhove-Kalergi became a member of the Viennese Masonic lodge Humanitas. He soon left this lodge but kept in touch with his brothers.
After Hitler came to power, the Paneuropean Union was banned, and the works of Coudenhove-Kalergi were included in the list of books to be burned. We have discussed the reasons for this attitude towards the Pan-European Union in sufficient detail. Hitler did not want to unite Europe except under his own auspices. And any other plans for its unification – both Austrofascist and democratic – were equally alien to him.
Like Otto von Habsburg, Coudenhove-Kalergi, being an enthusiast for the unification of Europe and an alternative to Hitler, became an enemy of Hitler. Like Otto von Habsburg, Coudenhove-Kalergi, being an opponent of Hitler, emigrated to the United States. He became extremely close to Otto von Habsburg, who became the most active member of the Pan-European Union.
Anticipating things, we will note that the ideas of Coudenhove-Kalergi began to acquire real power by 1943, when the very powerful Fifth Congress of the Paneuropean Union was held in New York. And that they fully got not a utopian but a real political character in 1946, after Coudenhove-Kalergi returned to Europe. At that time Winston Churchill gave a momentous speech at the University of Zurich speaking of the need for a United States of Europe. This speech was written under the direct influence of the ideas and texts of Coudenhove-Kalergi, with whom Churchill had previously met. Coudenhove-Kalergi himself was referred to in Churchill’s Zurich speech as one to whom “the Pan-European Union owes so much,” that, in turn, “much work has been done upon this task [building a kind of United States of Europe] by the exertions of the Pan-European Union”.
Flag of the Paneuropean Union
Coudenhove-Kalergi’s role in the unification of Europe is indeed quite significant. Many people contrast the project of a united Europe of Coudenhove-Kalergi, also known as Pan-Europe, as a democratic and positive project, to the Nazi project of the forced unification of Europe under the aegis of Hitler’s Germany. And these are indeed very different projects. But is Coudenhove-Kalergi’s project that democratic? To answer this question, it is necessary not only to look closely at the process of the real unification of Europe, but also to read the works of Coudenhove-Kalergi.
In his manifesto Pan-Europe [German: Pan-Europa, der Jugend Europas gewidmet] published in 1923, Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that Europe had a common Christian-Hellenic “root,” and that it was this root that made possible the creation of a united European nation. Coudenhove-Kalergi called the united Europe which he intended to create the sixth project of European unification. The first such project, in his opinion, was the empire of Alexander the Great (this project Coudenhove-Kalergi called “Hellenic”). The second project was the empire of Julius Caesar (“Roman” project). The third was the empire of Charlemagne (“Germanic” project). Fourth is the empire of Pope Innocent II (“papal” project). Fifth is the empire of Napoleon I (“French” project). And finally, the sixth and last project was to be the future Europe, which Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed to build.
Flag of the European Union
Coudenhove-Kalergi contrasted kinship by blood, of which he thought purely negatively, with kinship by spirit. It was this kinship that, in his opinion, was to form a united “European nation” as a spiritual community with common spiritual teachers.
In 1925 Coudenhove-Kalergi published his book Practical Idealism (German: Praktischer Idealismus), in which he justified the spiritual leadership of Judaism in European civilization. It is clear why Hitler was the mortal enemy of Coudenhove-Kalergi after the latter expressed such ideas. However, whether it is possible to build a democratic Europe on the basis of Coudenhove-Kalergi’s “Practical Idealism” is highly questionable.
For Coudenhove-Kalergi Christianity was only a second edition of Judaism, and he regarded the Essenes and the Alexandrian Jews as the true spiritual ancestors of the Christians. Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that the ethical dominance of the Chinese in the East was supplemented by the ethical dominance of the Jews in the West. The superiority of the Jews in intelligence and ethical attitude toward the world, according to Coudenhove-Kalergi, is predetermined by the course of world history. The Jews throughout history have been persecuted and through this persecution purified themselves of the weak elements, eventually becoming a nation of leaders.
Coudenhove-Kalergi argued that two special “races of quality” stand out from the general European “humanity of quantity.” These people, according to Coudenhove-Kalergi, believe “in their higher mission, in their superiority by blood” (here Coudenhove-Kalergi departed from the primacy of spirit over blood that he usually claimed), “in human differences by rank.” These two races are the “aristocracy of blood” (here is the origin of the mutual fervent attachment of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and Otto von Habsburg) and “Jewry” (“aristocracy of the brain”). In these two “races” Coudenhove-Kalergi saw “the core of the aristocracy of the future.” The ideologist of a united Europe praised the Jewish socialist leaders and Trotsky, whom he insistently discussed precisely in the context of his nationality. (Coudenhove-Kalergi once mentioned Lenin, describing him as a representative of the “provincial small gentry.”)
Engelbert Reinecke. Awarding of the Coudenhove-Kalergi Prize to Kohl in Bonn. Otto von Habsburg speaks. 2004
The people of the future, Coudenhove-Kalergi declared, would be “a Eurasian-Negroid race, outwardly resembling the ancient Egyptians.” It is characteristic that the European ideologist called “the Russian as a Slavic-Tatar-Finnic mestizo” “the forerunner of the planetary man of the future in contemporary Europe.” As already mentioned, according to Coudenhove-Kalergi, a stratum, the core of which will consist of aristocrats and Jews, will govern a kind of the future Eurasian-Negroid race.
Such views of Coudenhove-Kalergi and the connections of this European ideologist with Paul Warburg, Bernard Baruch, and other representatives of the Western elite make it possible to interpret his concept of a united Europe in very different ways. Refusing conspiracy interpretations and not trying, unlike many, to consider Coudenhove-Kalergi as a demonic figure, we consider it necessary to problematize his democracy since democracy is understood as anti-elitist and equality of people, regardless of their belonging to one or another people.
In a sense, the Coudenhove-Kalergi ideas described above explain his alliance with Otto von Habsburg. For whom, the most important thing is that there is an elite and that this elite dominates. And who, by virtue of his belonging to the Habsburg family, does not have such hatred for the Jews that Hitler had.
It should be emphasized that for centuries the Habsburgs were in custody of those Jesuits who were particularly active in shaping Ukrainism. Being far from desire to demonize the Jesuits and being equally alien to the conspiracy theories of Jewish and Jesuit world domination, we cannot ignore the special attitude of the Jesuits toward the Jews. And that this attitude combines two elements – Jesuit fundamental anti-Semitism and a Jesuit desire to have the Jews on their side by creating a special elite caste within Jewry that would be under the control of the Jesuits and would deeply despise the Jewish masses.
A typical example of Jesuit work in the Jewish milieu was everything that was associated with the activities of Jacob Frank. Frank declared himself a Jewish messiah and created a sect that was in conflict with other Jewish orthodox communities. Frank first converted to Islam in Turkey and called himself the new incarnation of Shabtai Zvi, the founder of Sabbatianism. Then he converted twice to Catholicism. At one time, he also suggested that the Russian clergy accept his sect into Orthodoxy. But in the end Frank’s sect embraced Catholicism. Researchers in the field of the Frankist movement claim that Zbigniew Brzezinski’s entire family is the members of the Frankist movement and that Brzezinski’s particularly negative attitude toward the state of Israel is related to this.
In view of the above and having no opportunity to discuss this intricating subject in detail in this paper, we insist on the special reasons for the close connection between Coudenhove-Kalergi and Otto von Habsburg and that such a connection simply could not help but be patronized by the Jesuits. This, in turn, both casts doubts on the democratism of the project, in which the role of the Coudenhove-Kalergi–Habsburg tandem is too great, and also allows for a different view of the Jewish aspect of the project. Since this aspect of the Coudenhove-Kalergi and Habsburg project is too clearly defined, not by the defamers, but by the authors themselves, then, as they say in Russia, “You can’t rid a song of its words.” But what is the real meaning of these words is a separate issue.
Hitler’s anti-Semitism and the ideas of Coudenhove-Kalergi combined with Habsburgism are, of course, incompatible. But the question of whether these ideas are compatible with Austrofascism is more complicated. If there had not been such compatibility, Mussolini would not have invited Coudenhove-Kalergi to Italy. And Otto von Habsburg would not have been fond of Coudenhove-Kalergi.
We have already indicated when the ideas of Coudenhove-Kalergi began to acquire real power. But due to the particular complexity and importance of the topic we are considering the giving of some chronological details essential. We shall describe the events that preceded this acquisition and complete the analysis of the European project of Coudenhove-Kalergi.
In his manifesto Pan-Europe, Coudenhove-Kalergi called on Europeans to unite in the face of the threats that lay in store for them: a new world war, US economic hegemony, and Russian expansion.
Three years after the publication of the manifesto, in 1926, the First Congress of the Pan-European Movement was held in Vienna, which brought together two thousand representatives of the 24 nations of Europe.
The Pan-Europe that Coudenhove-Kalergi proposed to build was an economic and political union of European states with a common parliament. Europeans were supposed to first create a common customs union and form a single economic space, and then proceed to create a political union, the United States of Europe. Coudenhove-Kalergi also spoke of a single European currency, armed forces, and a constitution.
Coudenhove-Kalergi called the “Russian threat” the main reason for building Pan-Europe – a section with the same title in his manifesto was devoted to this topic. Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote, “The main goal of European politics is to prevent Russian invasion. There is only one means to prevent it: the unification of Europe.” According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, Russia is already a threat to Europe by the mere fact of its existence and its size:
“No European state could militarily oppose an efficient and industrialized Russia. Russia is already exerting constant pressure on European states simply by its presence; this pressure will only grow, since European population growth cannot match that of Russia”
Any Russia is a threat to Europeans, regardless of whether “the Reds” [the Bolsheviks] or “the Whites” [monarchists and militarists] build it:
“The future form of the Russian state does not matter in this case. As soon as Russia has the opportunity to make Europe dependent on itself, it will use this opportunity, be it red or white.”
Moreover, as “Russia has been supposedly in a state of military march to the West since the time of Peter the Great” – one recognizes the familiar thesis of Russian liberals that not even Stalin, but Peter was supposedly responsible for all troubles in Russia.
In 1927, French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand became honorary president of the Paneuropean Union.
Another Paneuropean Congress was held in 1932, at which Coudenhove-Kalergi puts forward the thesis that Europeans have an irreconcilable attitude “toward Hitler and Stalin.” Five years later Coudenhove-Kalergi published book Totalitarian State – Totalitarian Man [German: Totaler Staat – Totaler Mensch], in which he equated Fascism and Communism.
Thus, Coudenhove-Kalergi advanced the equating of fascism and communism as “two totalitarianisms” long before Karl Popper, usually considered the progenitor of this idea. [It must be said that this idea was already in the air in 1937, when Coudenhove-Kalergi published his book. Lionel Curtis – Coudenhove-Kalergi’s acquaintance and supporter of his idea of a European federation, founder of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) – also equated Fascism with Communism in his book published the following year.] We draw attention to this not only because of a certain ideological continuity, which always implies those who ensure such continuity. While this circumstance is important, another is even more important.
Karl Popper equated the two totalitarian evils after one of them, Nazism, was defeated. It was defeated by none other than a force that Popper described as the second evil. Accordingly, Popper’s concept of the two evils was unequivocally directed against communism, which, at the time Popper’s work went to print, was not the defeated forse, but the de facto victor.
Coudenhove-Kalergi, on the other hand, equates the two evils under completely different historical conditions, namely, Hitler’s rise to power. The idea of the equality of two evils at such a historical moment is equivalent to a ban on the anti-Hitler coalition between Western democracy and the Soviet communist state. It was precisely such a coalition that defeated Nazism, with Soviet communism playing a decisive role. Let us imagine that the ideas of Coudenhove-Kalergi had won minds to such extent that this coalition would become impossible. Who would win in this case? Hitler.
The economic crisis in Europe and World War II temporarily interrupted attempts to build Pan-Europe. But Coudenhove-Kalergi continued his activities in exile in the United States, where, as already mentioned, the Fifth Pan-European Congress was held.
Coudenhove-Kalergi’s meeting with Otto von Habsburg in exile, their gathering of elite forces to give political weight to the European idea, their return to post-war Europe and the development of their project into a political one there resulted in what we have today. And what seemed impossible 70 years ago. Even though contemporary Europe has little to do with the Coudenhove-Kalergi–Habsburg ideas, it is, first and foremost, united. Second, the elite core that promoted the pan-European process has been preserved and strengthened. And thirdly, as they say, it ain’t over until it’s over. In our opinion, the events in Ukraine corroborate this.
An elite core of supporters of European integration was forming around the union of Coudenhove-Kalergi and Otto von Habsburg.
As we have already pointed out, in 1946, their project began to take on actual features after the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous speech on September 19 on the need to create the United States of Europe.
In 1949, following Churchill’s proposal, the Council of Europe was created – the ideological engine of European integration.
Interestingly, in 1955, at the suggestion of Coudenhove-Kalergi, a crown of 12 yellow stars on a blue background became the flag of the Council of Europe, which later became the flag of the European Union. (By the way, as the co-author of the flag Arsene Heitz stated, 12 stars are borrowed from the Revelation of St. John the Theologian (Apocalypse), “The Woman Clothed with the Sun,” having a crown of 12 stars around her head. Usually, this image is correlated with the Virgin Mary, so the Catholic theme is clearly an implication here. Furthermore, this flag was a partial copy of the symbol of the Pan-European Coudenhove-Kalergi Union – a red cross against a yellow circle surrounded by 12 stars.
“Ode to Joy” – the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony – was later chosen as the anthem of the Council of Europe and then the European Union, also according to the idea of Coudenhove-Kalergi.
In 1957, Otto von Habsburg became vice-president of the Pan-European Union.
In the same year, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created – the direct and immediate predecessor of the European Union. The EEC countries entered into a customs union among themselves.
Thus, the project of the founder of the Pan-European Union was partly implemented. However, the main dream of Coudenhove-Kalergi, giving Europe a political dimension, has not yet been realized to this day. The fact is that creating a political supranational European structure means the de facto liquidation of the sovereignty of national states, the politicians and population of which still do not agree with such a suicidal measure.
Memorial plaque to Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi
Let us add that, of course, the Pan-European Union, like the Council of Europe, was created as a purely anti-Soviet and anti-Russian organization. According to the leaders of the Pan-European Union, United Europe should not include a united and strong Russia.
In 1961, Otto von Habsburg officially renounced his rights to the Austrian throne to be allowed to return to Austria.
And on May 24, 1963, the Austrian administrative court granted Otto von Habsburg’s request for the possibility of returning to his homeland. The right-wing government of Josef Klaus approved this possibility. However, the proposal to return the representatives of the dynasty to the country caused strong opposition from left-wing parties. As a result, there was a crisis of power called the “Habsburg crisis.” Finally, on June 1, 1966, after the conservative People’s Party’s victory in the elections, Otto von Habsburg received an Austrian passport. On October 31 of the same year, he crossed the Austrian border.
Otto von Habsburg’s official biographies more or less touch upon the facts of his life described above. However, there is another, much more closed side of “Archduke’s” European activities, about which his biographers usually prefer to remain silent.
The most egregiously black European structure in which Otto von Habsburg played one of the leading roles was the European Freedom Council (EFC).
European Freedom Council was created on June 30-July 2, 1967 at a conference in Munich to coordinate the work of anti-Soviet organizations in Europe. The chairman of the Council was Banderite Yaroslav Stetsko, chairman of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) and former head of the government of the “Ukrainian State”, self-proclaimed in 1941 in Lvov. As a matter of fact, the European Freedom Council was created by the ABN as its representation in Europe. The Nazi criminal Theodor Oberländer was a member of the EFC executive committee. And Otto von Habsburg became honorary chairman of the European Freedom Council for many years.
The Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations took rise in a conference of “enslaved nations” that was held in 1943 in the Rovno region at the initiative of the Banderites. At that time, the separatists from various Soviet republics who collaborated and regions with the Nazis decided to unite in anticipation of the defeat of Germany, which was already looming ahead. For many years in exile, the ABN was headed by Yaroslav Stetsko, and after his death by his wife Yaroslava (Slava). These were the friends that the former ally of the Austro-Fascists Otto von Habsburg found in Europe.
It should be noted, however, that cooperation between Otto von Habsburg and Stetsko began much earlier than the European Freedom Council was founded. The two characters had already cooperated within the framework of the European Center for Documentation and Information (ECDI), in which Otto von Habsburg played a leading role. This structure was founded in Spain in 1952 to fight against Bolshevism in European countries and had a distinctly Catholic orientation.
For instance, in June 1956 the regular congress of the ECDI was held in the Spanish royal palace of El Escorial. At this congress, Stetsko, in particular, stated that Europe should include not only Western Europe, but also Eastern Europe, whose peoples, “enslaved” by Moscow, are friendly to the West. And Otto von Habsburg emphasized at the same congress the important role played by Spain as the bastion of Europe in the struggle against godless Bolshevism. (Recall that in Catholic Spain during this period the pro-fascist Franco regime was in power.)
At the same time, Otto von Habsburg was engaged in the public European structures as well.
In 1973, at the suggestion of French President Georges Pompidou, Otto von Habsburg was elected president of the Paneuropean Union. He left this post in 2004 due to his advanced age.
And in 1979, Otto von Habsburg took part in the first general elections in the legislative body of a united Europe – the European Parliament, where he for twenty years represented the interests of the Christian-Social Union in Bavaria and was the oldest deputy. With his participation, the Paneuropean Working Group of Deputies was established in the European Parliament. Otto von Habsburg argued in the European Parliament for the enlargement of the European Union, by incorporating the countries such as Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia in the first place, which were once part of the Habsburg Empire.
The Austrian “Archduke” is also very interested in the fate of the events that took place in the USSR. Thus, on January 14, 1983, at the suggestion of Otto von Habsburg, the European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing support for the voices of the “national, independent and sovereign” Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. (We emphasize that this is 1983 brainchild eight more years before the collapse of the Union). The adoption of this association so inspired the Bandera allies of Otto von Habsburg that the aforementioned “European Council for Freedom” decided to accept the acceptance of the adoption of the association in relation to the “enslaved peoples of Russia” by the European structure.
Otto von Habsburg then discusses the possibilities of pressure on official European structures at meetings of the “European Council for Freedom.” Thus, in May 1983, he addressed this council meeting with a speech that he called “Possibilities for cooperation between the EC and the European Parliament.” In it, Otto von Habsburg argued that “enslaved nations” should use an instrument like the European Parliament “for their own benefit.”
On August 19, 1989, with the active participation of Otto von Habsburg, the so-called “European Picnic” was held, which became the prologue to the FRG and the GDR unification. This “picnic” took place on the Austro-Hungarian border near the city of Sopron. By mutual agreement of both countries, the border gates were opened for three hours. Taking advantage of this, more than 600 citizens of the GDR fled to the West, despite the agreements between the GDR and Hungary not to let anyone into a non-socialist country.
Monument to the European Picnic, held in 1989
After Otto von Habsburg got into a car accident in 1997 and suffered from pneumonia a year and a half later, he retired from active social and political activity. However, left does not mean he left completely. On the contrary, Otto von Habsburg, during this period, was very active in support of the further expansion of Europe and against Russia.
Otto von Habsburg and Russia
The idea of “decolonization” of the USSR and Russia was one of the central issues for Otto von Habsburg.
Speaking in 1977 at the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) Conference (WACL was another branch of the ABN headed by Stetsko) Otto von Habsburg stated, “We must tell the world that, in the age of decolonization, the USSR must not further be allowed to remain the world’s last unchanged colonial empire.” Picturing the horrors of the USSR he said that, “entire nations today are detained in the concentration camps.”
In another speech in late 1980s Otto von Habsburg argued “the attitude of the Soviet Union towards the hundreds of millions of people it conquered.” He again reiterated the idea of decolonization, “Annexed were not only the adjacent countries of the Yalta zone of Europe, but also Asian territories. Let us not forget that the Soviet Union is essentially the last colonial empire in the world in the late era of decolonization….”
The aforementioned journalist Konstantin von Eggert, recalling his conversation with Otto von Habsburg in Munich in November 2007 at a reception to mark the 95th birthday of the “Archduke,” quoted him as saying:
“I am proud that in 1990 I introduced Boris Yeltsin to the deputies of the European Parliament for the first. He, of course, made mistakes. But he had a firm idea of Russia’s future as a free and democratic state. And sooner or later Russia will be forced to return to this vision.”
In one of his interviews, Otto von Habsburg directly ridiculed Yeltsin and, at the same time, all Russians:
“Putin is something completely different than Yeltsin was. Yeltsin was always drunk, which made him likeable. (laughs) He was just a typical one hundred percent Russian. He always made a very good impression on me.”
Putin made a far worse impression on the scion of an ancient aristocratic family. For example, in 2005 during a lecture entitled “The New Europe” at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, Otto von Habsburg stated that “our biggest problem in Europe today is Russia and Putin’s regime.” Otto von Habsburg argued that Putin speaks very openly about his intentions, and that Hitler did the same. And “such people do as they say.” Of course, a catastrophe can only happen if the rest of the world will not respond to the existing danger. Meanwhile, Russia has not yet been “decolonized” completely. It still occupies Islamic territories. The dispute over the Southern Kurils “occupied” by the Soviet Union in 1945 is also not resolved, and a “peaceful Asian invasion” is possible in the Amur region on the border with China…
Otto von Habsburg’s comparisons of Russia to Nazi Germany were as persistent as the earlier claims of the Pan-European Union members that the threats posed by Hitler and Stalin were equivalent.
For example, in one of his interviews, when asked about the US President George W. Bush’s plans to station missile defense systems in Europe, Otto von Habsburg answered:
“Of course, I’m not a strategist to analyze the situation. But, in general, I welcome his decision. Now when Russia is strengthening its armaments, we, too, must think about our defense. Let me remind you that Hitler did the same thing before World War II, strengthening the power of the Third Reich.”
Otto von Habsburg was persistently using the same Nazi analogy when answering the question of whether the confrontation between Russia and the United States would end in World War III:
“Not necessarily. However, it is one of the possibilities. Mr. Putin’s policy is such that it increases the likelihood of international conflict. It is reminiscent of Hitler, who also strengthened armaments.”
As for the reasons for this intense dislike of Russia, in another interview with Russian outlet Otto von Habsburg quite frankly explained that the supposedly “wrong” Russians were “unnecessarily clinging to their territories.” “You see, Russia is a very important country for us. It is our neighbor, with whom we would very much like to live in peace, and whom we cannot trust now. … If you go to Finland today, [you will find that] outwardly they are very friendly, but their deep mistrust of Russia is a reality. After all, Karelia belongs to Finland, and whether it is now part of Russia or not – it doesn’t change anything. Besides, Russia is big enough as it is. The strange thing about the Russian government is that they all have a peasant mentality, they cling to the land, and yet this land often brings them mortal danger. You have to be especially careful in Asia.”
Finally, when discussing the possibility of Russia joining Europe, Otto von Habsburg, as well a number of other European ideologues, openly stated that Russia is certainly welcome there – but only in pieces. In an interview in 2005, Otto von Habsburg said, “I believe very strongly in the principle that Pan-Europe means all of Europe. Europe is not primarily an economic entity but a security community. … So one could say that if one day Russia abandons its Asian areas we call today Siberia, Russia can demand membership in the European Union, but certainly not before.”
Otto von Habsburg and Ukraine
Otto von Habsburg called himself a lobbyist for Ukraine in Europe and insisted that Ukraine should become a member of the European Union. At the same time, as mentioned above, being the honorary president of the European Council for Freedom, Otto worked for the cause of the collapse of the USSR in close conjunction with its president, the Ukrainian fascist Yaroslav Stetsko.
Otto von Habsburg did not hesitate to express a positive attitude towards the Bandera criminals during the Great Patriotic War. So, in 1982, he joined the “International Jubilee Committee in honor of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation),” created in connection with the 40th anniversary of this organization famous for its atrocities.
Otto von Habsburg and Stetsko showed warm personal relations.
So, in November 1982, Yaroslav Stetsko congratulated Otto von Habsburg on his 70th birthday, wishing him “long years of continued successful activity in the liberation of enslaved peoples from the Russian yoke and in support of the unification, freedom and national independence of the countries of all Europe.”
And in 1986, Otto von Habsburg was among those who brought personal condolences to Yaroslav Stetsko’s widow and “all Ukrainians” on his death. In particular, he wrote to his widow, “President Stetsko throughout his life remained an exemplary Ukrainian patriot who accomplished a great deed for his fatherland. Although he denied that he had achieved ultimate success, I am convinced that his work was not in vain. He has sown seeds that will bear fruit.”
In 2007, Otto von Habsburg visited “independent” Ukraine, which was already reaping the fruits of Stetsko’s activities.
Answering questions in a chat on Korrespondent.net, which took place on June 15 during this visit, Otto von Habsburg emphasized that his parents are from Ukraine: “I have long been historically interested in visiting Ukraine. My parents are from Kolomyia.”
And on June 18, 2007, Otto gave a detailed interview to the Ukrainian newspaper Gazeta 24.
To begin with, an elderly Austrian aristocrat said he was “Ukrainian”, “As a Ukrainian by origin, I can say that you must decide. Of course, you are in the line of fire. This is the most dangerous area. You have to stick to clear principles in your policies.”
Immediately after such a beginning, Otto von Habsburg called on Ukraine to join Europe, “Ukraine deserves [to join the EU]. Your country has always been in Europe… Ukraine is tied to Europe, as Europe to Ukraine.”
Finally, Otto von Habsburg explained the Ukrainians how “bad” Russia is, in his opinion. “It is rarely spoken of, but contemporary Russia is the last great colonial empire in the era of decolonization. And this is a very dangerous trend for us…Vladimir Putin is very honest about what he would like to do to us. This is a very terrible thing: when I look at Putin’s career, I get the impression that he is preparing for war…”
The above quote is a vivid example of laying the blame on Russia. First, they say that they want to take away more land from us, having already seized much and promised eternal friendship and love in return. And then they talk about our terrible aggressiveness.
Otto von Habsburg died in 2011. In line with the family tradition, he was buried in the family crypt of the Capuchin Church in Vienna, near the Hofburg Palace. His heart was buried in a monastery in Hungary. This was done contrary to tradition – the hearts of the 54 Habsburgs from Ferdinand II to Franz Karl are traditionally kept in silver urns in the “Heart Crypt” at the Augustinian Church in Vienna. This posthumous gesture toward Hungary can hardly be seen as anything else than a hint at the imperial attachments of this Austrian nobel family that has not forgotten its former imperial grandeur.
Requiems for Otto von Habsburg were held in Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and other cities of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is also noteworthy that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became prime minister of the Ukrainian government after the coup in Kiev in 2014, was among the high-ranking guests from Ukraine at the funeral.
Otto‘s Pan–European Heirs
In 2004, when Otto von Habsburg stepped down as president of the Paneuropean Union, his fifth, younger daughter Walburga, who had been secretary general of the organization from 1988-2004, became executive vice chairpeson of the union. Otto’s eldest son, Archduke Karl, the current “head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine,” has been head of the Austrian branch of the Paneuropean Union since 1986.
Austria’s assurance and future. Emperor Franz Joseph, Archduke Karl and Archduke Otto with toy soldiers, colour lithograph, around 1914
In October 2012, Walburga visited Ukraine as head of the Swedish delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
As the Kiev correspondent of the French newspaper Le Figaro wrote, Otto von Habsburg’s daughter was “thrilled” by what she heard there: the Ukrainians told her that “Lvov used to be called Lemberg, and was one of the most cheerful cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.” “The fate of this country,” Walburga said, “is part of my family’s history.” That’s why she is “sure that, despite all the difficulties, Ukraine’s future is in Europe, not elsewhere.” (This is such – purely family – arrogant confidence…)
Otto von Habsburg’s heir Karl, following in footsteps of his father, regularly reminded us of the importance of Ukraine’s joining the Europe Union.
On February 19, 2017, when asked by Ukrainian journalist Nikolay Knyazhitsky, a member of the Austrian International Press Institute, about the purpose of his visit to Ukraine, Karl said:
“This is the concept of the Paneuropean Union, the oldest European association since World War I, an organization that exists in almost every country in Europe. And I think it would be very good, now that we see all this chaos in the European Union, to strengthen the European idea as much as possible, especially here in Ukraine, because for me Europe without Ukraine will never be complete. I think that it would be very important to expand the idea of Ukraine as an integral part of Europe (it is quite understandable) and to work in the European Union itself in order to have close cooperation. That is my mission now.”
Karl emphasized that the Pan-European Union stands for giving Europe a “real political dimension” (meaning a politically united Europe). Karl then declared Ukraine’s key role in Europe’s security:
“It is quite clear that, for example, the concept of security for Europe cannot develop without Ukraine. Because Ukraine is the cornerstone of Europe. Ukraine has a very favorable geographical position, it is potentially a very rich country. The European Union has no future without Ukraine.”
The underlying message in Karl’s words is quite clear. Ukraine is indeed rich (it is no coincidence that Germany during the Ukrainian People’s Republic of 1917-1920, under Hetman Skoropadsky, and under Hitler tried to make Ukraine its breadbasket!), is perfectly situated geographically – from its territory it is very convenient to launch NATO missiles at Russia.
Let us add that Otto’s heir, Karl von Habsburg, was clearly not an accident; at one time a prominent member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Even during his lifetime, Otto spoke about his son in an interview with Radio Liberty (a foreign media outlet recognized as a foreign agent): “Now he is actively involved in the fund – the so-called representation of the Unrepresented People, that is, he represents peoples who have not yet had its representative office. This is a European-American foundation, and it is trying to help these peoples. This fund is being created, and it will probably be based in Estonia.”
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization was founded in 1991. Immediately before the collapse of the USSR, the Soviet Baltic republics of Estonia and Latvia managed to become its members, as well as Georgia and Armenia, in which anti-Soviet separatists were de facto in power by that time. Tatarstan was a member of UNPO from 1991 to 2008. And the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation), banned in Russia in 2016, still “represents” the Crimean Tatars in this organization.
The “Organization of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples” is the successor to the aforementioned “Anti-Bolshevik Bloc” of Peoples (ABN), headed by Stetsko and later by his widow. This organization is also part of the “Black International,” created by Western intelligence agencies from the most radical nationalist forces that want the collapse of the USSR and Russia. Carl von Habsburg served as Director-General of UNPO from January 2002 to January 2003.
On the organization’s main website, Karl stated that the UNPO is “a living example of the absolute need to establish the right to self-determination as the legal norm and standard … everything they [non-represented nations] do indicate that they also have a right to their own history, their cultural heritage, their language, their religion, their own territory and their right to decide their own destiny.”
A natural question arises: does everything said apply to Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Donbas, finally? However, this question, being natural, is at the same time rhetorical. Of course, “does not apply.”
As seen from all of the above, Otto von Habsburg is, of course, a “black prince,” deeply rooted in the anti-democratic structures of the Black International. And his heirs are the true successors of his work. Nevertheless, the example of Otto von Habsburg and his successors shows that within today’s relaxed, pluralistic Europe, obsessed with tolerance and minority rights, a specific core is hidden, contrasting with such a relaxed ideological periphery. And that this core, firstly, is closely connected with the Habsburgs. Secondly, it is just as closely connected with the edition of fascism that prevailed after the defeat of Hitlerism. Thirdly, it especially supports Bandera Ukraine, and, fourthly, it hates Russia intensely in all its guises – pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet.
Monument to Franz Joseph I of Habsburg in Chernovtsy (Ukraine), opened in 2009
We are not going to assert that this core dreams of a literal restoration of Catholic imperial Europe, nourished by the Habsburgs, who are sure that the creation of such a Europe is their great irrevocable mission. And one could say that the presence of such a core is of interest only to specialists in the theory of the elite. That this is the core in itself, and the European process is in itself. But today, it is already too evident that Europe itself is in a state of transition. That her current slackness and hypertolerance, of course, incompatible with any desires of the core we are discussing, is a temporary and transitional phenomenon. What kind of transition from state A with its tolerance and relaxation to state B should we talk about today? What are the characteristics of this future state B? How are they connected with fascism, an alternative to Hitler’s, with the Habsburgs, and with Bandera, who also claims to be involved in this alternative fascism at the same time, are carefully patronized by Europe?
These are the questions that inevitably arise when considering our topic. The purpose of this study is not to answer these questions but to put them on the agenda. If we have exposed the real content of the problems that give rise to them, history will force us all to answer these questions.
This is the translation of Chapter IV of the multi-authored monograph “Ukrainism: Who constructed it and why” first published in 2017 and re-published on the Rossa Primavera News Agency‘s web-site on March 6, 2022. This research work was written by the members of Aleksandrovskoye commune, which is part of the School of Higher Meanings of the Essence of Time movement and is supported by the members of the Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation.
Dr. Sergey Kurginyan is a political and social leader of the Essence of Time movement, theater director, philosopher, political scientist, and head of the Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation.
Speaking about the topic of the monograph “Ukrainism: Who constructed it and why”, Sergey Kurginyan explained, “We are studying Ukrainism, not Ukraine. Our subject is Ukrainism as a construct. The creation of this construct, its characteristics, its consecutive transformation, its implementation, and finally its outlook―this is the focus of our study, which is thus fundamentally different from a normal historical or sociological study of a normal Ukraine”.