These teachings of Luther had two very natural results. In the first place, the people were taught that they had no right to rebel or protest against even the most unjust ruler. I have never believed that the herd-instinct of the Germans, this blind obedience to Kaiser or Fuehrer, Chancellor or General, is an inborn, inhuman instinct. On the contrary, I have always believed that it is part of the German Lutheran tradition. Those who write about a German revolution, those who hope that the Germans will one day protest against the Nazis or militarism know nothing of either German history (for since the peasants' War and Martin Luther there has never been in Germany even the attempt of a real revolution), but they know less still about the basic German belief and spiritual backgroundthe teachings of Luther about strict and absolute obedience.
It is essential that I relate some details here about my privatelife. My childhood was a very happy one, judging by outwardcircumstances. My parents belonged to the old Russian nobility.I was the only child born of my mother's second marriage (mother was separated and I was born outside the second marriage, and then adopted). I was the youngest, the most spoiled, and the most coddled member of the family. This, perhaps, was the root cause of the protest against everything around me that very early burgeoned within me. Too much was done for me in order to make me happy. I had no freedom of maneuver either in the children's games I played or in the desires that I wanted to express. At the same time I wanted to be free.I wanted to express desires on my own, to shape my own little life. My parents were well-to-do. There was no luxury in the house, but I did not know the meaning of privation. Yet I saw how other children were forced to give up things, and I was particularly and painfully shocked by the little peasant children who were my playmates (we lived almost always in the countryside, on the estate of my grandfather, who was a Finn). Already as a smallchild I criticizedthe injustice of adults and I experienced as a blatant contradictionthe fact that everything was offered to me whereas so much was denied to the other children. My criticism sharpened as the years went by and the feeling of revolt against the many proofs of love around me grew apace.Already early in life I had eyes for the social injustices prevailing in Russia. I was never sent to school because my parents lived in a constant state of anxiety over my health and they could not endure thethought that I, like all other children, should spend two hours daily far from home. My mother probably also had a certain horror of the liberal influences with which I might come into contact at the high school. Mother, of course, considered that I was already sufficiently criticallyinclined. Thus I received my education at home under the direction of a proficient, clever tutoress who was connected with Russian revolutionary circles. I owe very much to her, Mme. Marie Strakhova. I tookthe examinations qualifying me for admission to the university when I was barely sixteen (in 1888)and thereafter I was expected to lead the life of a "young society woman."Although my education had been unusual and caused me much harm (for years I was extremely shy and utterly inept in the practical matters of life), it must nevertheless be said that my parents were by no means reactionaries. On the contrary, they were evenrather progressive for their time. But they held fast to traditions where it concerned the child, the young person under their roof. My first bitter struggle against these traditions revolved around the idea of marriage. I was supposed to make a good matchand mother was bent upon marrying me off at a very early age. My oldest sister, at the age of nineteen, had contracted marriage with a highly placed gentleman who was nearly seventy.I revolted against this marriage of convenience, this marriage for moneyand wanted to marry only for love, out of a great passion.Still very young, and against my parents' wishes, I chose my cousin, an impecunious young engineer whose name, Kollontai, I still bear today. My maiden name was Domontovich. The happiness of my marriage lasted hardly three years. I gave birth to a son. Although I personally raised my child with great care,motherhood was never the kernel of my existence. A child had not been able to draw the bonds of my marriage tighter. I still loved my husband, but the happy life of a housewife and spouse became for me a "cage." More and more my sympathies, myinterests turned to the revolutionary working class of Russia. I read voraciously. I zealously studied allsocial questions, attended lectures, and worked in semi-legal societies for the enlightenment of the people. These were the years of the flowering of Marxism in Russia (1893/96). Lenin at that time was only a novice in the literary and revolutionary arena. George Plechanov was the leading mind of the time. I stood close to the materialist conception of history, since in early womanhood I had inclined towards the realistic school. I was an enthusiastic follower of Darwin and Roelsches. A visit to the big and famous Krengolm textile factory, which employed 12,000 workers of both sexes, decided my fate. I could not lead a happy, peaceful life when the working population was so terribly enslaved. I simply had to join this movement. At that time this led to differences with my husband, who felt that my inclinations constituted an act of personal defiance directed against him. I left husband and childand journeyed to Zurich in order to study political economy under Professor Heinrich Herkner. Therewithbegan my conscious life on behalf of the revolutionary goals of the working-class movement. When I came back to St. Petersburg–now Leningrad–in 1899, I joined the illegal Russian Social Democratic Party. I worked as a writer and propagandist. The fate of Finland, whose independence and relative freedom were being threatened by the reactionary policy of the Czarist regime at the end of the '90's, exercised a wholly special power of attraction upon me. Perhaps my particular gravitation towards Finland resulted from the impressions I received on my grandfather's estate during my childhood. I actively espoused the cause of Finland's national liberation. Thus my first extensivescientific work in political economy was a comprehensive investigationof the living and working conditions of the Finnish proletariat in relation to industry.The book appeared in 1903 in St. Petersburg. My parents had just died, my husband and I had been living separately for a long time, and only my son remained in my care. Now I had the opportunity to devote myself completely to my aims:to the Russian revolutionary movement and to the working-class movement of the whole world.Love, marriage, family, all were secondary, transient matters. They were there, they intertwine with my life over and over again. But as great as was my love for my husband, immediately it transgressed a certain limit in relation to my feminine proneness to make sacrifice, rebellion flared in me anew. I had to go away, I had to break with the man of my choice, otherwise (this was a subconscious feeling in me) I would have exposed myself to the danger of losing my selfhood. It must also be said that not a single one of the men who were close to me has ever had a direction-giving influence on my inclinations, strivings, or my world-view. On the contrary, most of the time I was the guiding spirit. I acquired my view of life, my political line from life itself, and in uninterrupted study frombooks.
Spiritual but not religious - Wikipedia
In the political history of Germany, Luther and his influence is perhaps the easiest to trace. The immediate consequences, the Thirty Years Warall this is too well-known to be even indicated. It is in the more modern times, when liberalism began to rise in the civilised world, that we are interested. Here I can do no better than to quote what the great scholar Troeltsch has to say on the influence of Lutheranism: In the aggressive position which, after the eighteenth century had culminated in the French Revolution, the older spiritual forces again adopted towards the modern world, and in which they, with the union of ideological and practical politico-social powers, advanced victoriously against the new world, the restoration of Prussian-German Lutheranism was one of the most important events in social history. It united with the reactionary movement the monarchical ideas of agrarian patriarchalism, of the militaristic love of power; it gave an ideal to the political restoration and its ethical support. For this reason, then, it was supported, in its turn, by the social and political forces of reaction, by all the means of power at their disposal. Finally, Lutheranism of this type hallowed the realistic sense of power, and the ethical virtues of obedience, reverence, and respect for authority, which are indispensable to Prussian militarism. Thus Christianity and a conservative political attitude became identified with each other, as well as piety and love of power, purity of doctrine and the glorification of war and the aristocratic standpoint. Thus all attempts at Church reform were suppressed along with the world of liberal thought .Lutheranism played an important part in the political and military development of German Prussia.