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The Franz Neumann Project:

Beyond the Behemoth


Toward a Critical Psychopathology of Fascism



"Hardly any other ideological element is held in such profound contempt in our civilization as international law. Every generation has seen it break down as an instrument for organizing peace, and a theory that disposes of its universalist claims has the obvious advantage of appearing to be realistic. The fallacy should be equally obvious, however. To abandon universalism because of its failures is like rejecting civil rights because they help legitimize and veil class exploitation, or democracy because it conceals boss control, or Christianity because churches have corrupted Christian morals. Faced with a corrupt administration of justice, the reasonable person does not demand a return to the war of each against all, but fights for an honest system. Likewise, when we have shown that international law has been misused for imperialistic aims, our task has begun, not ended. We must fight against imperialism."

---Franz Neumann, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933-1944




Note on the Name Behemoth

"In the Jewish eschatology---of Babylonian origin---Behemoth and Leviathan designate two monsters, Behemoth ruling the land (the desert), Leviathan the sea, the first male, the second female. The land animals venerate Behemoth, the sea animals Leviathan, as their masters. Both are monsters of the Chaos. According to the apocalyptic writings, Behemoth and Leviathan will reappear shortly before the end of the world. They will establish a rule of terror---but will be destroyed by God. In other versions Behemoth and Leviathan will fight each other incessantly, and finally will destroy each other. The day of the righteous and just will then come. They will eat the meat of both monsters in a feast which announces the advent of a realm of God. Jewish eschatology, the Book of Job, the prophets, the apocryphal writings are full of references to this myth, which is often differently interpreted and often adapted to political circumstances. St. Augustine saw in the Behemoth the Satan.

It was Hobbes who made both the Leviathan and the Behemoth popular. His Leviathan is the analysis of a state, that is a political system of coercion in which vestiges of the rule of law and of individual rights are still preserved. His Behemoth, or the Long Parliament, however, discussing the English civil war of the seventeenth century, depicts a non-state, a chaos, a situation of lawlessness, disorder, and anarchy.

Since we believe National Socialism is---or tending to become---a non-state, a chaos, a rule of lawlessness and anarchy, which has 'swallowed' the rights and dignity of man, and is out to transform the world into a chaos by the supremacy of gigantic land masses, we find it apt to call the National Socialist system

The Behemoth."

----"Note on the Name Behemoth" from Franz Neumann, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933-1944, New York: Oxford University Press, 1942,1944.

Franz Neumann Biography

Herbert Marcuse, "Repressive Tolerance"



[Updated: February, 2006]

Franz Neumann [Short biographical sketch and bibliography]

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Franz Neumann [1900 - 1954 ]

Born into an assimilated German-Jewish family in Kattowitz (a city near Kraków which became Polish in 1921), Franz Neumann became involved in the socialist politics of soldiers' and workers' councils at the end of W.W. I, and was instrumental in organizing the Student Socialist Society in Frankfurt, where in 1918 he met Leo Lowenthal, future member of the Frankfurt School. At Breslau, Leipzig, Rostock and Frankfurt am Main, Neumann acquired a legal training which he put into practice during the Weimar Republic, working as a labor lawyer affiliated with the Social Democratic Party. He was arrested by the Nazis in April of 1933, and after a month of incarceration, escaped to England. At the London School of Economics he studied under Harold Laski and was granted a doctorate in Political Science. At Laski's recommendation Neumann joined the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research in 1936. His presence at the Institute enhanced the critical-theoretical analysis of fascism and German National Socialism. His most significant work, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933-1944 [Oxford, 1942, 1944] remains a classic in the field. In 1941, Neumann was recruited to the U.S. Board of Economic Warfare by William J. Donovan, and in July of 1942 he became the chief economist of the Intelligence Division at the Office of the U.S. Chief of Staff. In 1943 Neumann was transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where he became deputy chief of the Central European Section [Rolf Wiggershaus, The Frankfurt School, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1994, 300-301]. In the summer of 1945, Neumann travelled to Nuremberg, where he was to become the first chief of research of the International War Crimes Tribunal. He died in 1954. 

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"The Origins of the North Atlantic Treaty, West Germany

& the Opportune Career of General Adolf Ernst Heusinger (1949 - 1964)"**

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[**Note: These are notes for an article-in-progress on NATO & NEOFASCISM**]

[Note from Rick Rozoff at Richard Sanders is the coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade [COAT] and is organizing the "No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence" in Ottawa, Canada on October 6th to protest the NATO PA meeting there from October 5-8,2001. The following compilation of reasons to oppose NATO is the most comprehensive and convincing I've ever seen, and I would strongly encourage all friends of peace and international justice to contact Richard and offer assistance. And please pass this on to friends and other contacts.]

In preparation for COAT's "No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence" (on Oct. 6, in Ottawa), I've produced a tentative list of "REASONS TO OPPOSE NATO." Please feel free to suggest additional reasons or ways to improve the list. This is a draft. - Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)


(1) NATO is a creature of the Cold War and should be abolished, not expanded.

(2) NATO's official military doctrine reserves for itself the right to use nuclear weapons despite the fact that in 1996 the World Court made such use, or threat, illegal. NATO's "first use" nuclear weapons policy means it is willing to use nuclear weapons even when none have been used against them. The use of nuclear weapons contravenes International Humanitarian Law because civilian deaths would be massive and indiscriminate. NATO's nuclear weapons also pose the risk of environmental catastrophe, including the global holocaust of "nuclear winter." NATO's nuclear weapons policy also contravenes the Nonproliferation Treaty (to which all NATO members are signatories) that requires all states to press quickly to abolish nuclear weapons. NATO member states (US, UK and France) now have more than 9,000 nuclear warheads in active service, about 60% of the world's nuclear arsenal. These three NATO states have committed some of their nuclear weapons to NATO for its use in war. NATO itself maintains between 60 and 200 nuclear weapons at airbases in Western Europe. NATO's nuclear weapons and the threat of their use are a means of coercion and intimidation, especially against states that do not possess these weapons.

(3) NATO's powerful core members (the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Spain) have a long history of controlling vast empires. Former colonies of these NATO countries -- today's Third World -- still suffer from tragic economic inequalities resulting from hundreds of years of imperialism imposed by nations that are now members of NATO. Transnational corporations controlled by economic interests in NATO countries continue to dominate these former colonies under a neoliberal economic system now labeled "corporate globalization."

(4) According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, about 80% of the world's total military equipment was produced by NATO members in 1996. The following NATO members are among the world's top ten military producers: the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Canada. The U.S., U.K. and France alone contributed about 70% of world's total arms production for that year.

(5) After the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO became increasingly irrelevant and needed a reason for its continued existence. NATO therefore escalated its efforts to foment ethnic wars in the Balkans in order to create excuses for its own military interventions in the region. NATO's interventions -- so-called "humanitarian wars" -- were then sold to the public as a means of settling conflicts between ethnic groups. NATO's real purpose is to expand the colonial spheres of influence of its member states and their corporate allies.

(6) NATO waged a war of aggression against Yugoslavia that was illegal under its own Charter and various international laws.

(7) NATO forces used 1,200 warplanes and helicopters to fly 35,000 combat missions against Yugoslavia. It dropped 20,000 bombs and missiles containing 80,000 tons of explosives on that country. Contrary to international law, NATO targeted civilian infrastructure, including over 1,000 targets of no military significance, such as: schools, hospitals, farms, bridges, roads, railways, waterlines, media stations, historic and cultural monuments, museums, factories, oil refineries and petrochemical plants.

(8) NATO's illegal bombing campaign severely impacted the health of Yugoslavia's civilian population. Thousands of civilians were killed, at least 6,000 were injured and countless others, especially children, suffered severe psychological trauma.

(9) According to the UN Environmental Program, NATO's bombing campaign triggered an ecological catastrophe in Yugoslavia and the surrounding region.

(10) In its war against Yugoslavia, NATO used weapons that are prohibited by the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the Nuremburg Charter, such as depleted uranium missiles that are radioactive and highly toxic weapons with long-term, life-threatening health and environmental consequences, and anti-personnel cluster bombs designed to kill and maim (that contravene the "Ottawa Process on Landmines" because many "bomblets" do not explode during initial impact). NATO continues to stockpile these prohibited weapons for use against civilian populations in future wars.

(11) After its bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO refused to disarm the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as required by United Nations resolution 1244. Instead, NATO converted the KLA into the Kosovo Protection Force supposedly to maintain peace and order in NATO-controlled Kosovo. Under the watchful eye of 40,000 NATO troops, the revamped KLA terrorists ethnically cleansed the area of 250,000 people who were not of Albanian heritage (as well as some ethnic Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia). During NATO's occupation, 1,300 citizens have been killed and another 1,300 have been reported missing. Kosovo's remaining minorities have no freedom of movement, live in ghettoes and face frequent terrorist attacks and property destruction.

(12) NATO appointed Agim Ceku, an alleged war criminal, as commander of the Kosovo Protection Force. Ceku, an Albanian Kosovar, led the Croatian army's "Operation Storm" that ethnically cleansed the Serbian population from their ancestral lands in Croatia. If the Hague were to pursue an indictment of Ceku, and other such terrorists, it would be a major embarrassment to their NATO bosses.

(13) As an occupying colonial power, NATO forces helped to enforce the cancellation of election results in Bosnia, shut down the offices and transmission towers of media stations that were critical of NATO's presence and seized the assets of political parties that refused to cooperate with them.

(14) The exploitative behavior rampant in military culture is exemplified by the actions of NATO troops based in the Balkans. For example, NATO troops fuel the demand for prostitution in both Bosnia and Kosovo. The women who service NATO troops live in deplorable conditions and are frequently held against their will by local captors. When evidence of UN or NATO involvement in this trade has surfaced, implicated officers have been discharged and sent home but no criminal proceedings have ever been initiated against them.

(15) NATO has been a prime source of destabilization in Macedonia by giving military assistance to Albanian terrorists there. The London Times (June 10, 2001) reported that NATO's appointee to the Kosovo Protection Force, Agim Ceku, sent 800 KLA troops to Macedonia to aid the nascent Albanian insurgency there. This June, NATO troops intervened to evacuate KLA fighters when Macedonian forces closed in on the rebels near Aracinovo. German media reports state that NATO's evacuation was ordered because 17 former U.S. military personnel -- hardened by years of Balkan fighting and working for a private U.S. mercenary group -- were among the KLA terrorists. NATO has also used diplomatic means to pressure the Macedonian government to succumb to Albanian demands.

(16) NATO's aggressive policy of expansion into Eastern Europe severely threatens international stability. With NATO's annexation of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland now complete, Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have declared an interest in joining the NATO juggernaut. NATO has also set its sights on penetrating even further into former Soviet spheres of influence by trying to encompass Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and the Ukraine. NATO's intention to press beyond the former borders of the Soviet Union is dangerously confrontational and risks provoking war with Russia.

(17) NATO's expansion into Central and Eastern Europe is a means of integrating the military forces within those countries under NATO (and largely U.S.) control As military units within NATO, the armed forces of new NATO member states must submit to demands for standardization of military training, weapons and other military equipment. Requirements that new members standardize their military equipment to NATO's exacting specifications is a tremendous boon to U.S. and European military industries that profit greatly from these expanded export markets.

(18) New NATO member states may also lose sovereignty over other important aspects of their armed forces, such as the command, control, communications and intelligence functions, which also risk being subsumed under the auspices of NATO standardization.

(19) The reasons for NATO's expansion eastward are largely economic. For instance, NATO's military access and control over Eastern Europe helps Western European corporations to secure strategic energy resources such as oil from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. The U.S. and Western European corporations will greatly benefit from NATO's control of the oil corridor through the Caucasus mountains. NATO wants its troops to patrol this pipeline and to dominate the Armenian/Russian route to the Caspian Sea. The Caucasus also link the Adriatic-Ceyhan-Baku pipeline with oil-rich countries even farther east, in the former Soviet Central Asia republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Billions of dollars in oil may someday flow through these corridors to Western Europe for the benefit of Western-based oil companies.

(20) NATO's growth is not only a provocation to Russia, it also threatens the security of China and other Asian states that may respond in kind by increasing their military spending, thus diverting resources from the essential needs of their citizens. NATO's expansion may eventually provoke an anti-NATO alliance in Asia, further destabilizing peace and leading to possible future wars.

(21) As part of the "NATO Defence Capabilities Initiative," NATO member states have committed themselves to increase their military abilities for "power projection, mobility and increased interoperability." This will require significant additional military expenditures. European NATO countries have already increased their expenditures for military equipment by 11% in real terms since 1995. Meanwhile, military budgets in the U.S. and Canada have also increased over the past two years. The military budgets of NATO countries amounted to about 60% of the world's total military spending (US$798 billion) for the year 2000. Rather than focusing on such genuinely humanitarian priorities as providing food, housing, health care, education, environmental protection and public transportation for their populations and the rest of the world, NATO is intent on increasing their military budgets for future interventions even farther afield.

(22) The testing and training conducted by NATO to prepare for war, also has numerous negative impacts on people and the environment. NATO's war preparations include military exercises, the training of pilots and the testing of weapons and warplanes. For instance, low level flight training areas and bombing ranges in Nitassinan threaten the traditional lifestyle of many in the Innu Nation. Their unceded territory in Quebec and Labrador is being turned into a military wasteland by NATO test flights. NATO nations also carry out dangerous bombing practices on Vieques Island, off Puerto Rico.

(23) In the late 1940s-early 1950s, at the bidding of the CIA, NATO helped to set up secret paramilitary, anti-communist cells in at least 16 European states. Originally called Operation "Stay Behind," this network of guerrilla armies was created to fight behind the lines in case of a Soviet invasion. It was codified under the umbrella of the Clandestine Co-ordinating Committee of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (which became NATO). These clandestine armies were condemned by the European Union in a resolution (Dec. 22, 1990) that blamed the CIA and NATO for their 40 year role in overseeing this covert operation. Widely known by the code name for the Italian campaign (i.e., "Operation Gladio") these organizations, which the EU feared may still have been operating in 1990, were accused of illegal interference in political affairs, conducting terrorist attacks, jeopardizing democratic structures and other serious crimes.

(24) Key NATO representatives have interfered with internal electoral/political developments in Europe. Although recent elections in Albania were fraught with irregularities and fraud (ballot box stuffing, ghost voters, selective disenfranchisement) NATO General Secretary George Robertson pronounced the election fair and legitimate. Earlier this year, another NATO spokesperson openly threatened that if the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (the party of former premier Vladimir Meciar) entered a coalition government, Slovakia would not be welcomed into NATO or allowed early European Union membership.


The next issue of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's quarterly magazine, Press for Conversion!, will elaborate on the above list of reasons to oppose NATO.

We'll gladly mail a free sample copy of that issue upon request. This offer is applicable to folks in Canada who haven't previously received a free issue. If you're interested, email us your street address in Canada before September 15.

(If you're outside Canada, send US$5 to COAT at the address below, or buy an annual subscription for US$17. Folks in Canada can also buy a copy for Cdn$5, or subscribe for Cdn$20.)

Richard Sanders

Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)

A national peace network supported by individuals and organizations across Canada

541 McLeod St., Ottawa Ontario K1R 5R2 Canada

Tel.: 613-231-3076 Fax: 613-231-2614


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