Hans Paasche: Militant Pacifist in Imperial Germany

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Trafford, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 281 pages
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"Isn't it wonderful to suddenly find real human beings--Menschen--in circles where one would least expect to find them?" So wrote Rosa Luxemburg in November 1917 from her Breslau prison cell to her friend Clara Zetkin. She was referring to Hans Paasche (1881-1920), at that time also imprisoned, son of the Reichstag vice president but accused of high treason. Hans Paasche, Imperial Navy officer and combative pacifist, big game hunter and nature conservationist, Africa explorer and life reformer, alcohol abstainer and vegetarian, author and revolutionary.

Here the brief but active life of this extraordinary personality is narrated in detail--his vain attempts to change the Prussian Deutschland-uber-alles mindset, his reaching out to peoples of all colors, classes and political bent, the African military campaign where he leamed first hand the horror and futility of war, his African explorations with his also extraordinary wife Ellen, the first European woman to reach the Source of the Nile and the first to ascend Kilimanjaro and the recently erupted volcano Nylragongo (an aid in these explorations was the fact that they both spoke fluent kiSwahili). Paasche's fictional series of letters Lukanga Mukara a look at Germany through the eyes of an educated African, reveal the decadence then existing.

At last a retreat with Ellen and their four children to his estate Waldfrieden, where, at age 39 he fell victim to a political assassination. A gripping story about a remarkable life lived into the first two decades of the twentieth century.


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