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Democracy and Equality

The conservative revolutionaries, many of whom were born in the last decade of the 19th century, were all basically formed by their experiences of the World War I.[citation needed] The war and the German Revolution was for them a clean break from the past, which left them greatly disillusioned.[citation needed] First, the experience of the horrors of trench warfare, the filth, the hunger, the negation of heroism to a man’s effort to stay alive on the battlefield and the random death led to many recognizing that there was no meaning to this war, or to life itself.[citation needed] They also had to contend with the Dolchstoßlegende (“stab-in-the-back legend”) of the end of the war.[citation needed] Second, in this Kriegserlebnis (“war experience”) they sought to re-establish the Frontgemeinschaft (the “frontline camaraderie”) that defined their existence on the warfront.[citation needed] They felt that they were “like a puppet which has to dance for the demonic entertainment of evil spirits”.[citation needed] Some were attracted to nihilist ideas.[citation needed] In their Froschperspektive writings, they sought to give their experience meaning.[citation needed]

The conservative revolutionaries held an ambivalent view of the Nazis.[9] After 1933, some of the proponents of the conservative revolutionary movement were persecuted by the Nazis, most notably by the SS of Heinrich Himmler, who wanted to prevent reactionaries from opposing or deviating from Hitler’s regime in this early time. Jung would lose his life in the Night of the Long Knives and this would for many conservative revolutionaries end the alliance between them and the Nazis.[10] Rauschning came “to the bitter conclusion that the Nazi regime represented anything other than the longed-for German revolution” and his position was “generally typically of the majority” of conservative revolutionaries.[11]

Some conservative revolutionary movement members went into anonymity, some arranged themselves within the new regime and became Nazi Party members. Rauschning defected to the West and wrote against the Nazi regime. Others, like Claus von Stauffenberg, remained inside the Reichswehr and later Wehrmacht to silently conspire in the 20 July plot of 1944. Historian Fritz Stern stated that it was “a tribute to the genuine spiritual quality of the conservative revolution