TPA Editorial

A Great Bridge-Builder: Helmuth von Moltke – In memoriam

In this issue we are devoting a special insert for the commemoration of the 100th death day (18 June 1916) of Helmuth von Moltke (b. 23 May 1848), this important individual with his world-historical task.
Moltke is one of the great shapers of European history in the last thousand years – and indeed, over incarnations. In the 9th century in his incarnation as Pope Nicholas I, the Moltke individuality made the decision to ward off atavistic eastern spirituality from Europe, so that Europeans could embark on the necessary path to materialism, natural science, and technology. The Great Schism between East and West in 1054 was the consequence of Nicholas’ actions in the 9th century. It laid the ground for the conflict-ridden scenario of 1914: from the East-West divide came the East-West Conflict.
Moltke’s role as Chief of the General Staff of the German army as well as his whole personality have for the most part been distorted and slandered. Moltke’s connection with Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science has been the object of further slanders, also against Rudolf Steiner himself.
Steiner’s memorial address for Moltke on 20 June 1916 calls for objective accounts of the role and personality of Moltke in the future. Steiner sees Moltke’s world-historical significance primarily in the fact that he stood with the greatest sense of responsibility firmly on the earth  but also took the path to the spirit. Steiner followed the post-mortem life of Moltke’s soul and wrote hundreds of notes of post-mortem messages. These messages also sketch a picture of the spiritual activity of the Moltke individuality in the present and the future. They complement the picture of Moltke’s outer, earthly activity in a unique way. They represent a cornerstone for every future biographical and historical account which also seeks to include the esoteric, spiritual side.
In 1993 Perseus Verlag presented the exoteric and esoteric double nature of Moltke  in a two-volume publication titled Helmuth von Moltke –Dokumente zu seinem Leben und Wirken [Helmuth von Moltke  – Documents on his Life and Activities]1. It was republished in an expanded version in 2005/07. The first edition had followed substantial collaboration with Johannes Tautz, to whom the Moltke connoisseur and defender Jürgen von Grone (1887–1978) had entrusted Steiner’s original documents. The second edition contained, amongst other things, valuable commentary on the letters by the Der Europäer author Andreas Bracher; of especial note here are Bracher’s observations in his essay at the end of the second volume: “Der erste Weltkrieg in den nachtodlichen Mitteilungen”. [The First World War in the Post-mortem Communications].
The Moltke soul sees from its post-mortem perspective its present and future task in a new reconciliation between the sense world and the spiritual world, which should correspond to a new relationship between Central Europe and the Slavic East. This was for the Moltke individuality the consequence of the catastrophe of the First World War. On 22 June 1918 the post-mortem communications included this sentence: “It will be the reverse task of that in the 9th century”.
This new Moltke mission is in sharpest contrast to the present East European policy of the US regime and its NATO instruments, a policy supported by most Europeans, but which has not drawn the necessary consequences from either the First or the Second World War. This policy is short-sighted and spiritually blind and must, unless there is a change at the last minute, end in a third catastrophe.
May this centennial commemoration of Moltke not remain merely a historical retrospect, but lead to an awakening to the great historical tasks of the present and future.

T.H. Meyer


1   Available in English in a single volume Light for the new Millennium – Rudolf Steiner, Helmuth von Moltke, Eliza von Moltke, Letters, Documents, and After-Death Communications ed. T.H. Meyer (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997, rep. 2014).