Struggle for the Russian Culture Germ

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The struggle for the Russian culture germ was repeatedly addressed by Rudolf Steiner. This is also the case in a handwritten manuscript which, as in many lectures, deals with the elucidation of the true background of World War I. The undated text, which Steiner himself did not publish, must have been written after the American entry into the war in April 1917 and before the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, probably during the first phase of the peace negotiations from December 1917 to January 1918 in connection with a meeting in Dornach.[1] The manuscript was probably first published by Thomas Meyer in "Europäer Jg. 3/ Nr. März 1999". Since 2011 it has also been included in (Lit.:GA 173c, p. 264f). It is also cited in Markus Osterrieder's World War book - but not completely, as Irene Diet criticises.[2]

What is at confrontation in this war and what is it being fought for?

The leading force is a group of people who want to dominate the earth by means of mobile capitalist economic impulses. To them belong all those circles of men whom this group is able to bind and organise by economic means. The essential thing is that this group knows that in the area of Russian territory there is a collection of people, unorganised in the sense of the future, which carries within itself the germ of a socialist organisation. To bring this socialist germ impulse under the sphere of power of the anti-social group is the well calculated aim. This aim cannot be achieved if a union is sought with understanding from Central Europe with the Eastern germinal impulse. It is only because that group is to be found within the Anglo-American world that the present constellation of powers has come into being as a subordinate moment, which conceals all real antagonisms and interests. Above all, it conceals the true fact that the Russian cultural germ is being fought for between the Anglo-American pluto autocrats and the Central European people. The moment Central Europe reveals this fact to the world, an untrue constellation is replaced by a true one. The war will therefore continue in some form or other until Germans and Slavs have come together for the common goal of liberating mankind from the yoke of the West.

There is only one alternative: Either one exposes the lie with which the West has to work if it wants to succeed, one says: the doers of the Anglo-American cause are the bearers of a current which has its roots in the impulses which predate the French Revolution and which consists in the realisation of a world domination by capitalist means, using only the revolutionary impulses as a phrase to hide behind; or one cedes to an occult group within the Anglo-American world the world domination until the true spiritual goal of the earth is rescued from the subjugated German-Slavic territory by future streams of blood.“ (Lit.:GA 173c, p. 264f)

In an address given by Rudolf Steiner to Russian anthroposophists in Helsinki on 5 June 1913, he said:

„You are in a peculiar position, my dear friends. You are in a certain sense in the opposite position from a people who, in a certain relation to a brief splendour, also populate the earth in an ascending way. You are in an opposite position to the North American people. Consider, my dear friends, that this North American people, which is your antithesis, has begun to advance gradually from the West towards the East from the time when the age of materialism began in Europe, and has developed it further. Consider that materialism is at the root of Americanism. Consider for a moment that the people who cultivated America did so with the ideas of the cultivated European centuries ago, which are so little far behind us. What have these people done? With the materialistic ideas of modern parliaments, with the ideas of modern natural science, with the modern social order, these people did what otherwise uneducated people do when they clear the primeval forests, conquer arable land piece by piece, prepare the land for culture. All this has sprung from materialism. And if you look today at Woodrow Wilson, who is recognised as their most important writer and whom the Americans elected as their leader, who is really an important writer by today's standards, who has made brilliant literary achievements for the social view, if you look at him, at his concepts and ideas, at everything he represents as a representative of the American people, what is it? A house of cards. A house of cards, destroyed by a single breath, if it were once breathed out of the spiritual worlds. Then this whole culture would fall down. Every detail from which American culture originates can be traced from external history books, from the cultural history of previous centuries. Everything is there in the open, everything is man's work, from which it has sprung.

Ask where your folklore comes from, where your spiritual life comes from, ask where the best comes from that you can cherish in your souls. You will not find it on earth! It is not to be found in this way, it is rooted in the spiritual world itself. That is organism, living being, that is not a house of cards! We must never use such things as an inducement to our arrogance, but as an inducement to our humility, our modesty, because we are not to fetch from it a reckless self-confidence, but a sense of responsibility.“ (Lit.:GA 158, p. 216f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. Cf. Hans Kühn, Dreigliederungs-Zeit, Dornach 1978, p. 16
  2. Cf. Willy Lochmann, Zeitgeschichtliche Illustrationen Nr. 101 (October/November 2014)