How do democracies end? Reading The Murdered Republic by Alexis Lacroix.

How do the democracies that their spoiled children imagine being established permanently end? An essay by Alexis Lacroix leads to this question: Killed Republic. Weimar 1922 (Deer). One hundred years ago, Walter Rathenau, a minister of the Weimar Republic, was assassinated by an extremist right-wing group. This attack, with nationalist, anti-liberal and anti-Semitic motives, heralded a black horoscope whose theater of mourning tragedy was to be Europe. A mockery of Nazism, Rathenau’s assassination was a total event—an event that collectively reflected the totality of the present and a certain future.

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A brilliant intellectual and politician, heir to an industrial, Jewish, humanistic empire, animated by the philosophical convictions of Aufklärung, the German Lmier, Rathenau saw in this republic. unity of state and culture “Culture” in the French sense, cosmopolitan, not in German, romantic and organic, folk ! Lacroix takes over “the essential anti-romanticism of this bourgeois democracy”. The Weimar Republic was both the political embodiment of a vision of a social being closer to Enlightenment than Romanticism, and the first rule of law ever known to Germany. “a humane, non-violent, legal and respectful regime. »


Who were his killers, what was their conservative revolution? A trend that focused its propaganda on the fable about the incompatibility of the German soul and parliamentary democracy. Anti-Jewish, their discourse has always been both anti-Kantian and anti-French. They demonized the French spirit, this matrix of human rights, parliamentarism, which they considered evil. The Republic is abstract, they argued, far from real people, born of rational thinking, and held captive by finances. The real people will be the muzzled silent majority and their voice will be confiscated by the elite.

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This protonazi current appealed to the people against democracy, seeking to “illegitimate a republic with a red-black-gold flag”hoping for a popular right-wing revolution. Hence his anti-elitist, anti-financial, anti-judicial, anti-intellectualist, anti-parliamentary theme, glorifying the revolt of the small against the big, finding its abscesses of crystallization in anti-Semitism. Anti-elitism, anti-financialism, anti-judicial, anti-banking, anti-intellectual, etc. are like rivers that all flow into the same mouth: anti-Semitism.

This rhetoric has become familiar to us again. Implicitly, Alexis Lacroix’s work questions the temptations of France in the 2020s, it is impossible to read it without thinking about the semantics and themes, to put it mildly, excited by certain candidates in the last presidential election. Speaking of the killers of the Weimar Republic, Alexis Lacroix asks the right question: “Do our anti-systems, a century later, really reflect a different state of mind? »

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Could the French Republic ever come under attack from the great-nephews of the activists of the German conservative revolution? Our essayist generously delivers to his reader a useful lesson in historical understanding: the fatal sequence that threw Weimar into the grave and raised Nazism to power is not only a historical sequence. It is also a paradigm, a model for understanding yesterday and today and anticipating tomorrow. This important book, based on the knowledge of the past, sounds like a warning.

*Alexis Lacroix, Killed Republic. Weimar 1922Olenina, 134 pages, €15.