At least they weren’t Nazis


Twenty five German conspirators have been arrested for plotting to overthrow the government.

The plotters are said to include members of the extremist Reichsbürger [Citizens of the Reich] movement, which has long been in the sights of German police over violent attacks and racist conspiracy theories. They also refuse to recognise the modern German state.

An estimated 50 men and women are alleged to have been part of the group, said to have plotted to overthrow the republic and replace it with a new state modelled on the Germany of 1871 – an empire called the Second Reich.

So they want to return to the glory days of Otto von Bismarck and the Franco-Prussian War? That’s weird. Is this a big thing in Deutschland?

One of the ringleaders was an old aristocrat, which I find mildly amusing. At least we don’t have those around here.

Heinrich XIII comes from an old noble family known as the House of Reuss, which ruled over parts of the modern eastern state of Thuringia until 1918. All the male members of the family were given the name Heinrich as well as a number.

Naming your member Heinrich is an odd European custom.

What isn’t funny is their violent plans.

They had already established plans to rule Germany with departments covering health, justice and foreign affairs, the prosecutor said. Members understood they could only realise their goals by “military means and violence against state representatives” which included carrying out killings.

As well as a shadow government, the plotters allegedly had plans for a military arm, with active and former members of the military a significant part of the coup plot, according to reports. They included ex-elite soldiers from special units. The aim of military arm was to eliminate democratic bodies at local level, prosecutors said.

I commend the German state in so thoroughly and effectively crushing an insurrection. Hint, hint, US Attorney General.

Comments

  1. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    All the male members of the family were given the name Heinrich as well as a number.

    Do they regenerate? Own blue boxes that tend to fade away?

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    So they want to return to the glory days of Otto von Bismarck and the Franco-Prussian War? That’s weird. Is this a big thing in Deutschland?

    Which is kinda of what Hitler and the Nazis were promising if I recall. Therefore, it’s a distinction without a difference.

  3. wzrd1 says

    I don’t know if arresting half of the miscreant group’s membership should be considered thorough.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    There used to be a thousand small polities in central Europe in the medieval era.
    Today the only surviving such mini-states are Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino. The Vatican is not really a successor of the much larger papal principality.
    This is fortunate, otherwise every Tom, Dick and Harry would have been a chief of state.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    A more constructive coup would to re-create the Danelaw. Imagine, the English would not only Rejoin, they would become Danes, with a Danish standard of living.

  6. billseymour says

    I can imagine becoming a Dane; although, given that I come from the United States, they might not want me.

  7. dorght says

    I watched Amsterdam last evening. A whole so-so fictional movie built around a presently significant bit of history. That bit of history is relevant and parallels today’s social and economic situation. “The Business Plot” had J.P. Morgan Jr., Irénée du Pont, and the CEOs of General Motors and General Foods conspiring to install a shadow government using the methods of Mussolini and Hitler because their fortunes were threatened by the removal of the gold standard. The plot never unfolded and only those trying to uphold democracy were punished in the oligarchy’s press.
    All sound hauntingly familiar?
    P.S. Christian Bale does a great imitation of Peter Falk. Unfortunately it comes off as an uninspired imitation, but I’m older and remember Peter Falk’s acting.

  8. R. L. Foster says

    I wonder if banning coffee was on their reactionary agenda, too?

    Prussia’s King Frederick the Great issued this decree on September 13, 1777:

    “It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the amount of money that goes out of the country in consequence. Everybody is using coffee. If possible, this must be prevented. My people must drink beer. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were his ancestors, and his officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer; and the King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be depended upon to endure hardship or to beat his enemies in case of the occurrence of another war.”

    That alone would cause contemporary Germans to take up arms against these would-be insurrectionists.

  9. whywhywhy says

    #12 The introduction of coffee is postulated to be a key piece to the industrial revolution. Rather than all the workers drinking a few beers at lunch they then drank coffee and productivity increased.

  10. mordred says

    Publically most Reichsbürger claim to want to reestablish the Republic of 1918 (as they consider the modern German state to be illegal for … reasons). They’re not fooling anybody, its clear what Reich they find attractive. It’s also not he second.

    Their fans on German news sites’ forums defend these wannabe putschists with claims that all this can’t be true because with so few people you could not achieve anything anyway and the state is only persecuting them. Also they’re really harmless as the putsch would have failed anyway…

  11. KG says

    All the male members of the family were given the name Heinrich as well as a number.

    So how is it they’ve only got up to XIII (13)? Do they recycle the number when a Heinrich pops his clogs?

  12. leerudolph says

    So how is it they’ve only got up to XIII (13)? Do they recycle the number when a Heinrich pops his clogs?

    According to one blog comment I saw elsewhere, they use the first hundred ordinals I through C; there are many more than 100 Heinrichs in the extended family, and after one dies, the next male birth in the family receives the next ordinal (or I, if the dead Heinrich was Heinrich C). For instance, apparently the Heinrich XIII in question is the father of Heinrich something-other-than-XIV (unless it was the other way around and he’s the son of Heinrich something-other-than-XII).

  13. laugengebaeck says

    Is this a big thing in Deutschland?

    As a German I’d say no. There was quite some talk of taking action against the “Merkel dictatorship” during the 2020/2021 Covid lockdowns on the right (AfD, i.e. our local brand of Trumpist Republicans, and further to the right), but reinstating a 1871-type of monarchy is pretty much a thing of the lunatic fringe of the right wing.

    Concerning that Heinrich: probably a good headline for news abroad, but the Reuss family only had local significance at the best of times and those are more than a century ago. More worrisome is that one of the arrested is Birgit Malsack-Winkelmann, a judge and member of parliament for the AfD from 2017 to 2021 (our last federal elections). And here it becomes interesting: the AfD currently holds 78 (out of 736) seats in federal parliament, is present in most state parliaments but is also under surveillance of the Verfassungsschutz since 2018 (Verfassungsschutz = office for the protection of the constitution, i.e. the agency being responsible for keeping an eye on domestic political extremists). There have already been prior calls for starting the proceedings to ban the AfD due to it being counter-constitutional and I suppose if it turns out that more high ranking AfD politicians were involved in this the state might finally have enough ammunition to go through with it (banning parties in Germany has a pretty high bar and has only succeeded twice in the 1950s, with the communist party and a successor organization of the Nazis being banned. Attempts at banning the NPD — a party even more to the right than the AfD — have failed ten years ago despite it having close ties to known extremists).

  14. Oggie: Mathom says

    From R. L. Foster’s quote @12:

    King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be depended upon to endure hardship or to beat his enemies in case of the occurrence of another war.”

    Well, after winning the wars with Austria and France (both fought before coffee became really popular), the (mostly) united Germanies then lost the Great War and World War II. Must have been the coffee drinking.

  15. outis says

    Well, whatever it was, it does dovetail with various episodes happening in Germany in the last years.
    Some clown got slightly famous for “manifesting” in front of the Reichstag in Berlin, waving a red, black and white flag and clamoring for the return of the Hohenzollern or similar. His argument is, more or less, that a peace treaty between Germany and its opponents in 1918 was never written, so that war never ended, so everything should return as it was then, including der Kaiser. Driveling loon, but he got some TV interviews out of it.
    And make no mistake, those Reichsbürger tinybrains have the potential to be dangerous. Some of them come from the army, so they are something more than weekend soldiers, and every time the police grabs a cache of weapons there’s some fearsome hardware on display.
    Only good thing is, here in Germany if they catch you with an illegal submachine gun you’ll be in the Knast (calabozo) for a long, long time.

  16. says

    “One of the ringleaders was an old aristocrat, which I find mildly amusing. At least we don’t have those around here.”
    No but you have tax dodging snake-oil peddling Presidential wannabees as a close substitute.

  17. macallan says

    So they want to return to the glory days of Otto von Bismarck and the Franco-Prussian War? That’s weird. Is this a big thing in Deutschland?

    Not as far as I know. They’re basically Germany’s sovereign citizens, except they want the monarchy back.

    One of the ringleaders was an old aristocrat, which I find mildly amusing. At least we don’t have those around here.

    They lost their privileges when Bismarck ( and the prussian military ) forced them at gunpoint to let him establish the empire with the prussian king as emperor. They were allowed to keep their titles as part of their family names, with all the weirdo rules left in place to this day. So they’re basically cosplaying as nobility.

  18. says

    We don’t have aristocrats — but we do have people who, for whatever reason, really, really, really love political dynasties and instinctively lean down to lick boots. There have been several that reached the Presidential level and the people who want more of them suffer from the same philosophical illness as the monarchist movements in Europe — I saw some idiot in 2016 saying “oh, after Hillary the Democrats should run Michele Obama, Chelsea Clinton, and then Malia Obama!” and wanted to throw up. (Although honestly I think Michele Obama was a more decent human being than anybody the Democrats have run for high office in decades, which may be part of the reason why it was Barack who ran for President.) It’s bad enough that inherited wealth has so much power; trusting to the genetic lottery for your leadership is unfathomably dumb, it’s how you get national embarrassments proclaiming homeopathic medicine from the throne, like Charles III in England and Martha Louise in Norway.

  19. macallan says

    I guess what I meant to say is, we don’t have aristocrats, we have a bunch of fossilized wankers which are literally nobility in name only.

  20. Markus Schäfer says

    One thing of note when talking about German aristocracy: From the perspective of the state it does not exist. Any noble titles in German law function just like stage names. You can just give yourself such a name (within reason), and the “noble titles” only have as much meaning as people feel like giving them.

  21. bcw bcw says

    Well, 13 will now be a prisoner and can start asking “who’s number one?”

    Now that’s a obscure reference for old folk. Although I see it was there was a remake on BBC which got bad reviews with Ian McKellan as Two.

  22. whheydt says

    Re: billsemour @ #6…
    I could probably pull of being allowed to be a Dane. Both of my mother’s parents came to the US from Denmark…

    As for the Franco-Prussian War…not wanting to fight in that is why a great-grandfather of mine (Karl Otto Heydt) left Prussia to come to the US.

  23. says

    @30: I do not think Heinrich XIII will be proclaiming “I am not a number, I am a free man!” any time soon; he sounds very… unmutual.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    I am not a number… is that the TV series with McGoogan and the weird balloon robots?

  25. birgerjohansson says

    Suggestion for the Scots- Norway is not far away, and their royal family seems down to Earth and free from scandals.
    The Shetland isles were even part of Norway until the 14th century so they can claim a precedent.
    Much better than has-been German aristocrats or the 18-century German imports currently calling themselves Windsor.

  26. KG says

    Well, after winning the wars with Austria and France (both fought before coffee became really popular), the (mostly) united Germanies then lost the Great War and World War II. Must have been the coffee drinking. – Oggie: Mathom@

    The British troops in those wars, of course (the lower ranks, at least, coffee was until recently predominantly a drink of the upper and middle classes), drank tea, which (combined with cows’ milk) is
    a great source of moral fibre :-p

  27. R. L. Foster says

    Oh, by all means have a scion of an old Prussian family lead modern day Germany. By the way, where is Prussia today? Can’t seem to find it on the map.

  28. KG says

    R.L.Foster@37,
    Heinrich XIII is not a scion of an old Prussian family. Thuringia, whence his family originates, is in central Germany, not in Prussia, which was in the north-east (much of it is now in Kaliningrad, swiped by the USSR after WW2 and now an exclave of the Russian Federation). There are plenty of Hohenzollerns (the Prussian royal/German imperial family) left, they are still trying to reclaim property, but are realistic enough not to claim the imperial throne.

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