Léon de Poncins’ The Occult War

Originally published at Counter Currents.

By Julius Evola

Evola’s “Conclusion” to La Guerra occulta

Shortly before the Second World War, Léon de Poncins, by agreement with his publishers, added a last chapter to an Italian edition of La Guerre occulte which is now unavailable, entitled “Europe Calling for Help.”

At that time, this addition seemed necessary. The first edition ended with the advent of Bolshevism in Russia and a first assessment of the First World War; thus, it seemed, in a way, truncated with respect to the further developments of the occult war and to a series of new facts which seemed to lead to a reaction, to the awakening of nationalist Europe and to the formation of a common front against the forces of global subversion.

However, after the inter-war years, the Second World War, and the catastrophe in which it was to end, a new series of facts presented themselves to the attention of the historian. Thus, what de Poncins had added in “Europe Calling for Help” appears in its turn incomplete and in need of revision. This is why we felt it necessary to substitute this chapter, comprising a summary of the parts of “Europe Calling for Help” which are still valid, with certain additional considerations on further events, our intention being to provide the reader with an updated general perspective.

In “Europe Calling for Help,” it was first noted that, even prior to the advent of Bolshevism in Russia and the Versailles Treaty, the forces of anti-Tradition in their main two columns, that of the democracies, the financial international, Freemasonry, and Judaism, on the one hand, and that of revolutionary Marxism, on the other, seemed to be in the process of completing a triumph able to secure them a lasting and unshakable tyranny. Once the main obstacles were overcome (to wit, once three of the main European monarchies, Russia, Austria, and Germany, had been brought down) a series of social perturbations, not only among the vanquished, but also among the victors, was intended to complete, by other means and under other labels, the work of the war.

Though it may have seemed otherwise for numerous proletarians and workers, whose destruction was meant to pave the way for the fulfillment of more distant objectives, phenomena such as the so-called hyper-inflation must be put among the episodes of the occult war, the entire story of which has not been written yet. It has been thought that this hyper-inflation was a phenomenon due to impersonal causes, to the force of circumstance. In reality, inflation, which pervaded not only in the countries which had lost the war, but also, eventually, those which had won it, turned into a large-scale expropriation of all fungible wealth and had two specific purposes.

The first was to destroy the financial independence of the nations which were subject to it, in order to strengthen the hegemony of anonymous international capital and of those who controlled it. The second was to throw the masses, in the most vulnerable areas of Europe, into a state of indigence and thus of exacerbated suffering, which would drive them into the hands of the agitators, in order that combined they might destroy what still remained, in terms of organisations and politico-social institutions, of the previous world.

Another front of the offensive must not be forgotten, namely, the cultural and intellectual one, the purpose being here to afflict and debase any higher principle or ideal. Here we find what was called “cultural bolshevism” or “cultural nihilism,” whose action converges tactically, and in the tendencies to which it gives rise, with that of political and social subversion. This was a process of demoralizing and ultimately discrediting, any concept of authority, of tradition, of race, or of fatherland, and any form of idealism or heroism, while tending to highlight, at the same time, the lower and more material aspects of human nature. This activity was accompanied by physical, economical and social harassment and developed by a vast literature and by other means of public dissemination, in all fields, of a pronounced internationalist and apparently pacifist tendency, and its purpose was to put both the victors and the vanquished into such a frame of mind as to make the further stages of the destruction of Europe easily and fully realizable.

Thus, even where the movements of communist revolt after the First World War were checked, everything seemed to be ready for a sort of general mopping-up operation by the forces of global subversion. In the light of these real effects, the working hypothesis of the solidarity of the two great international fronts, that which waves the flags of democracy and that of communists and radicals, seemed to be confirmed.

This whole movement, however, suddenly paused. The cause of this pause lies in the fact that the forces in question, in the security of their definitive victory, forgot that one of the main factors in their success was that they had acted in the shadows and in secret. Too self-confident, they threw away their masks. However, at this point Europe seemed still to possess reserves of energy able to give birth to a resistance opposed to communism, to hegemonistic capitalism, to internationalism, to Freemasonry, and to Judaism itself.

There is no need here to recount the various forms of this reaction. After the failure of the communist revolution in the first post-war years, first of all in Hungary, then in Germany and Austria, after the defeat of the Red Army at the gates of Warsaw, and with the advent of Fascism in Italy and of National Socialism in Germany, solid foundations seemed to have been laid for a campaign of defense and reconstruction in Europe. This process was continued by similar movements in other nations: the rebirth of Portugal, which, among other things, followed the unprecedented example given by Italy by banning Freemasonry, and the counter-attack and victory of nationalist and traditionalist forces led by Franco in Spain. This was the period in which the secret forces of global subversion saw an obstacle arise unexpectedly and were forced to pass from the offensive to the defensive, in order to study other tactics, to benefit from the mistakes of their adversaries, and to prepare a new stage of the occult war.

The subsequent events and the game of action and reaction to which they gave rise are still too close to us for us to be able to assume that we can analyse and evaluate them in all their aspects. What can however be said with certainty is that, in general, the forces and ideas which had been characteristic of the First World War were reprised in the Second, so that the latter can be considered a mere continuation of the former.

As is well-known, after the collapse of the forces of the Axis, propaganda organised on a gigantic scale made every effort to make the “totalitarian” regimes of yesterday appear as the quintessence of all abjectness. An initial silence was maintained regarding the Soviet regime, a “totalitarianism” of much vaster dimensions. The passive and traumatized masses, including, unfortunately, vast strata of Germany itself, took, and still take, what they were told at face value. Now, a point must be emphasized even if what has been put forward regarding the Gestapo, the S.S., the concentration camps, the extermination of Jews, and the so-called “war crimes” (naturally, this meant exclusively those committed by the vanquished, despite Hiroshima and so on) were true – and what truth there is in all these allegations exists only in proportions which are utterly different to those claimed by the propaganda), no price would have been too high to accept if it had led to victory in this war and the following achievements: the breaking of the back of the Soviet Union; its exclusion from the group of the world’s Great Powers; the freeing and decommunising of an immense territory and its opening to the expansion of Central-Western Europe; in consequence, the prevention, in all probability, of the communisation of China, which in turn would have prevented it from becoming what it is now, to wit, a new, more and more dangerous, great power, not only for the East; the humiliation of the “great democracy,” the United States, removing it from the sphere of European interests; and the survival of a part of the colonial heritage, whose area, in the atmosphere of the new European order, with men faithful to the idea of the different dignity of races and of the hierarchy of races, would not have at all easily become what it is becoming under the effect of the inconceivable stupidity of the exponents of the democratic gospel: the place of a massive revolt of colored people which is rapidly putting an end to the last remains of the hegemony and prestige of Europe, in the first place to the detriment of the victorious nations themselves.

Even if there were questionable institutions, and men who were not equal to the highest goals and principles, in the regimes of yesterday, all this could have been gradually rectified if there had been such a victory, essentially through the influx into the higher positions within these institutions and regimes of new elements shaped by the experience of war.

Among the most grievous consequences of defeat was the following one: the negative aspects of the regimes of yesterday could be employed to discredit almost irreparably their positive ideas, tendencies, and requirements, to the greater glory of communism, democracy and Judaism. In this regard, the point has been reached where, in Western Germany today, to speak at all of the Reich sounds suspect and “Nazistic”; where, in Italy, everything which is Roman in inspiration is stigmatized as empty rhetoric; where “racism” is used as the most frightful of scarecrows; where, owing to the German persecutions, the Jew has acquired a sort of sacrosanct and untouchable character, so that to venture to say one word against him causes a chorus of indignant protestations and even exposes the speaker to legal sanctions.

If the resumption on a large scale, and the intensification, of what we have called “cultural bolshevism” is added to this, it can be said that the field is entirely cleared: the way is now prepared for democracy and communism, and the only snag, the only default of beauty, in the global image, is the clash between eastern and western factions for the conquest of a befuddled and demoralized world, in which the possibility of the affirmation of a third idea and of a third force with the necessary military and economic potential appears extremely problematic.

With this situation, heavy with a sinister destiny, we bring up to date our account of the occult war: we say this with respect not so much to the factions in struggle themselves, which are hardly masked any longer — the slogans and the expedients of the most trivial propaganda of both parts can be set aside — as to the ultimate, universal, global significance of the events, namely the probable end of an entire cycle of universal history.

Translator’s Note

The bibliographical history of La Guerra occulta, Evola’s translation into Italian of the work of Léon de Poncins and Emanuel Malinsky, La Guerre occulte, is as follows:

First edition: Milan: Hoepli, 1939, with a preface written by Julius Evola in his own name.
Second edition: Le Rune, 1961, octavo, with a new introduction, signed “Koussis,” which he requested replace the original preface, and a conclusion, unsigned.
Third edition: Padua: Ar, 1978.
Second edition facsimile reprint: Arthos, 1979, identical to 1961 second edition in all respects, including the new introduction signed “Koussis,” but with the addition of this editorial comment: “Now that, with the death of the author of these notes, any reason for reserve has vanished, we can state explicitly that they were both written by Julius Evola, over whose signature they reappear now.”
Fourth edition: Padua: Ar, 1988.

The attentive reader will note that much of Fascismo dal punto di vista della destra, published in 1964, repeats word-for-word passages from Evola’s conclusion to the 1961 edition, which we publish above.

It does not however contain this remark : “Regarding the physical elimination of the Jews, . . . , for these massacres, of which the vast majority of the German people only heard afterwards, no justification can be given.” (1st edition Il Fascismo. Saggio di una analisi critica dal punto di vista della destra, [Rome: Volpe, , 1964]; 5th edition Fascismo e Terzo Reich [Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee, 2001]).

The reader will recall that Julius Evola was arrested in April 1951 by the Political Police of the Prefecture of Rome and put on trial on suspicion of being the “intellectual guide” to various youthful “terrorist” groups. In the ironically titled “Il Razzismo e altre orrori” (“Racism and other horrors”), published in 1959 in Il Meridiano d’Italia and signed “Julius Evola”), he stated: “As for racism, it has become as stupid as it is commonplace nowadays to make it synonymous with anti-Semitism, Buchenwald, gas chambers and everything else which has been mouthed by the allied propaganda via plentiful exaggeration and even outright falsehood.”

According to The Road of Cinnabar, we know that Julius Evola planned to write a Secret History of the Secret Societies, but that this project never materialized because the materials he had gathered for it during his stay in Vienna, where he had been invited by certain senior members of the S.S. to study Masonic documents, were destroyed during a bombardment of the city.

The first evidence of Evola’s interest in occult history, in what is now called “conspiracy theory,” comes from as far back as the period of the Ur & Krur group, with an article called “Remarks on Counter-Initiation” (signed Arvo). Further evidence appears in the 1930s with the publication of “The Instruments of the Occult War” in 1938 in La Vita Italiana, and in his translation into Italian of the work of Léon de Poncins and Emanuel Malinsky, La Guerre occulte, with which we deal here. He had reviewed this work three years before in La Vita Italiana. His interest was not to flag after the Second World War, since he published two articles on this theme in 1952 in Il Meridiano d’Italia, “The Occult War” and “Behind the Scenes of History,” and the following year examined more systematically, in Men Among the Ruins, the tactics, weapons, and goals of the “occult war,” re-examining certain of the considerations he had already put forward in all the writings we have just mentioned.

Throughout, references to the work of Guénon are abundant, and in this context all Evola’s mentions of him are laudatory. As a matter of fact, the “occult war” is, in broad terms, what the French metaphysician designates, in his own terminology, with the name “counter-initiation,” a theme he explores in depth in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. To Julius Evola, “The occult war is the war which the forces of global subversion wage behind the scenes, by means which are almost always invisible to ordinary methods of investigation. The notion of occult war belongs, so to speak, to a three-dimensional vision of history, in which history is not considered superficially, according to two dimensions, those of the apparent causes, events, and leaders, but in depth, according to its third, underground, dimension, which contains decisive forces and influences often irreducible to the simple human element, be it individual or collective.”


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