Friedrich Julius Stahl

Konservative Staatslehre und geschichtliche Entwicklung
By Peter F. Drucker
Conservative Theory of the State and Historical Development (Translation)

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Introductory remarks on Drucker's essay
By Richard Brem

Peter Drucker recognized the danger of the National Socialists at an early date, and already at the end of the twenties he warned of their takeover. In his autobiography, Adventures of a Bystander, he describes a conversation he had on this issue in spring 1932 with Berthold Freyberg, his closest friend. Drucker writes that he suddenly heard himself say: "One thing I do know, Berthold. If the Nazis come to power, I shan't stay in Germany." At that time Drucker was writing for a Frankfurt newspaper and various magazines and had begun to teach in law faculty of Frankfurt University. "When I realized that I would leave upon Hitler's coming to power - and also that I expected that to happen - I did not, of course, stop doing all these things. I did hope aganist hope. After all, it was not entirely wishful thinking in 1932 to believe that the Nazi wave was cresting; the Nazi vote actually did fall with every successive election."

At the same time however, Drucker was already making preparations for his departure from Germany. He also decided "to make sure that I could not waver and stay. The day after my evening with my friend Berthold, I began to write a book that would make it impossible for the Nazis to have anything to do with me, and equally impossible for me to have anything to do with them. It was a short book, hardly more than a pamphlet. Its subject was Germany's only Conservative political philosopher, Friedrich Julius Stahl - a prominent Prussian politician and Conservative parliamentarian of the period before Bismarck, the philosopher of freedom under the law, and the leader of the philosophical reaction against Hegel as well as Hegel's successor as professor of philosophy at Berlin. And Stahl had been a Jew! A monograph on Stahl, which in the name of conservatism and patriotism put him forth as the exemplar and preceptor for the turbulence of the 1930s, represented a frontal attack on Nazism. It took me only a few weeks to write the monograph. I sent it off to Germany's best-known publisher in political science and political history, Mohr in Tübingen."