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Omnipotent Government:
The Rise of the Total State and Total War
by Ludwig von Mises (1944)

This remarkable treatise on Nazism and the total state was published by Yale University (New Haven, CT) in 1944 and reprinted by Arlington House (New Rochelle, NY) in 1969. It is  available from the Mises Institute's catalog ($11 for paperback). Selected reviews below.

Entire Text in PDF Edition (pagination corresponds to original)

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

PART I. THE COLLAPSE OF GERMAN LIBERALISM

I. GERMAN LIBERALISM (pp. 18-32)

1. The Ancien Régime and Liberalism
2. The Weakness of German Liberalism
3. The Prussian Army
4. The Constitutional Conflict in Prussia
5. The "Little German" Program
6. The Lassalle Episode

II.    THE TRIUMPH OF MILITARISM (pp. 33-43)

1. The Prussian Army in the New German Empire
2. German Militarism
3. The Liberals and Militarism
4. The Current Explanation of the Success of Militarism

PART II. NATIONALISM

III.   ETATISM (part a and b) (pp. 44-78)

1. The New Mentality
2. The State
3. The Political and Social Doctrines of Liberalism
4. Socialism
5. Socialism in Russia and in Germany
6. Interventionism
7. Etatism and Protectionism
8. Economic Nationalism and Domestic Monopoly Prices
9. Autarky
10. German Protectionism

IV.   ETATISM AND NATIONALISM (parts a and b) (pp. 79-111)

1. The Principle of Nationality
2. The Linguistic Group
3. Liberalism and the Principle of Nationality
4. Aggressive Nationalism
5. Colonial Imperialism
6. Foreign Investment and Foreign Loans
7. Total War
8. Socialism and War

V.    REFUTATION OF SOME FALLACIOUS EXPLANATIONS (pp. 112-128)

1. The Shortcomings of Current Explanations
2. The Alleged Irrationality of Nationalism
3. The Aristocratic Doctrine
4. Misapprehended Darwinism
5. The Role of Chauvinism
6. The Role of Myths

PART III. GERMAN NAZISM

VI. THE PECULIAR CHARACTERISTICS OF GERMAN NATIONALISM (pp. 129-148)

1. The Awakening
2. The Ascendancy of Pan-Germanism
3. German Nationalism Within an Etatist World
4. A Critique of German Nationalism
5. Nazism and German Philosophy
6. Polylogism
7. Pan-Germanism and Nazism

VII. THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IN IMPERIAL GERMANY (pp. 149-168)

1. The Legend 155
2. Marxism and the Labor Movement
3. The German Workers and the German State
4. The Social Democrats Within the German Caste System
5. The Social Democrats and War

VIII. ANTI-SEMITISM AND RACISM (pp. 169-192)

1 . The Role of Racism
2. The Struggle against the Jewish Mind
3. Interventionism and Legal Discrimination against Jews
4. The "Stab in the Back"
5. Anti-Semitism as a Factor in International Politics

IX. THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC AND ITS COLLAPSE (parts a and b) (pp. 193-228)

1. The Weimar Constitution
2. The Abortive Socialization
3. The Armed Parties
4. The Treaty of Versailles
5. The Economic Depression
6. Nazism and German Labor
7. The Foreign Critics of Nazism

X. NAZISM AS A WORLD PROBLEM (pp. 229-239)

1. The Scope and Limitations of History
2. The Fallacy of the Concept of "National Character"
3. Germany's Rubicon
4. The Alternative

PART IV. THE FUTURE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

XI. THE DELUSIONS OF WORLD PLANNING (pp. 240-255)

1. The Term "Planning"
2. The Dictatorship Complex
3. A World Government
4. Planned Production
5. Foreign Trade Agreements
6. Monetary Planning
7. Planning International Capital Transactions

XII. PEACE SCHEMES (pp. 256-281)

1. Armament Control
2. A Critique of Some Other Schemes Proposed
3. The Union of the Western Democracies
4. Peace in Eastern Europe
5. The Problems of Asia
6. The Role of the League of Nations

CONCLUSION (pp. 282-288)

INDEX

Selected Reviews

"Mises was one of the first analysts…to show that nazism and fascism were totalitarian collectivist systems which had far more in common with communism than with free-market capitalism. And, what is more, they were the logical out of the galloping statism and militarism   of the pre-fascist societies. Mises's linkage of fascism with Marxian socialism was a shocker in the Marx-laden intellectual world of the 1940s… but his linkage of the totalitarian countries as common examples of aggravated statism remains, of course, perfectly sound, as does his insight that the only viable alternative to the interventionist-collectivist path is laissez-faire capitalism, the free-market economic and free society." Murray Rothbard, Libertarian Review, June 1975.

"In these times of indiscriminate advocacy of government intervention and of popular belief in the wisdom and power of bureaucracy, [Mises's] book might have a sobering effect, inducing the reader to consider more critically the role of the government in economic life." American Economic Review, December 1944

"Since the eclipse of the classical economists no writer has more powerfully or with fewer misgivings defended free private capitalism, not only as the system that works and contains within itself the mechanisms of self-correction, but as a social philosophy…. So one may come to the end of this book, or to almost the end, with a sense of nostalgia for the optimism of the eighteenth century liberals and a certain hopefulness." American Affairs, January 1945.

"Mises's book shows tellingly that the present trend towards economic interventionalism is liable to lead to disastrous international conflict." Economica, February 1945.

"Von Mises's explanation of what ails the world is to be found in Omnipotent Government, which is one of the great books of our age… An uncompromising anti-Nazi, von Mises insists that Hitlerism must be eradicated root and branch. But he hasn't much hope that the defeat of Hitlerism will lead the nations back to economic sanity." John Chamberlain, The New York Times, May 27, 1944.

"Omnipotent Government is less an indictment of tyranny than an epitaph, from the pen of the most dismal practitioner of the dismal science of an age long dead and forever past recapture." Frederick Schuman, New York Times Book Review, May 21, 1944.

"Whether one is a Socialist, a New Dealer, or even a Hoover Republican, one is likely to find the reading of Omnipotent Government by Ludwig von Mises an exhilarating experience. It is so extreme, angry, and perversely doctrinaire that one can enjoy it without believing a word of it…. Only a difference of degree and consistency [Mises claims] separates the economic philosophy of Coolidge and Hoover from that of Norman Thomas, Stalin, and Hitler." The Nation, August 28, 1944.

"It is a major work, full of learning, powerful in construction, trenchant in style." Political Science Quarterly, March 1945.