We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Omnipotent Government

The Rise of the Total State and Total War

Ludwig von Mises

Publication Year: 2012

Published in 1944, during World War II, Omnipotent Government was Mises's first book written and published after he arrived in the United States. In this volume Mises provides in economic terms an explanation of the international conflicts that caused both world wars. Although written more than half a century ago, Mises's main theme still stands:  government interference in the economy leads to conflicts and wars. According to Mises, the last and best hope for peace is liberalism—the philosophy of liberty, free markets, limited government, and democracy.Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He earned his doctorate in law and economics from the University of Vienna in 1906. In 1926, Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. From 1909 to 1934, he was an economist for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. Before the Anschluss, in 1934 Mises left for Geneva, where he was a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies until 1940, when he emigrated to New York City. From 1948 to 1969, he was a visiting professor at New York University.Bettina Bien Greaves is a former resident scholar, trustee, and longtime staff member of the Foundation for Economic Education. She has written and lectured extensively on topics of free market economics. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Human Events, Reason, and The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. A student of Mises, Greaves has become an expert on his work in particular and that of the Austrian School of economics in general. She has translated several Mises monographs, compiled an annotated bibliography of his work, and edited collections of papers by Mises and other members of the Austrian School.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (558.2 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (529.6 KB)
pp. vii-x

read more

Foreword to the Liberty Fund Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF (535.3 KB)
pp. xi-xii

Ludwig von Mises, eminent economist, was the leading spokesman for the Austrian School of economics throughout half of the twentieth century. Born in pre–World War I Austria-Hungary, he spent most of his working life in Vienna, teaching at the University of Vienna and advising the Austrian government on economic affairs. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (548.8 KB)
pp. xiii-xvi

In dealing with the problems of social and economic policies, the social sciences consider only one question: whether the measures suggested are really suited to bringing about the effects sought by their authors, or whether they result in a state of affairs which—from the viewpoint of their supporters—is even more undesirable ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (619.4 KB)
pp. 1-20

The essential point in the plans of the German National Socialist Workers’ party is the conquest of Lebensraum for the Germans, i.e., a territory so large and rich in natural resources that they could live in economic self-sufficiency at a standard not lower than that of any other nation. ...

Part I: The Collapse of German Liberalism

read more

I. German Liberalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (601.0 KB)
pp. 23-38

It is a fundamental mistake to believe that Nazism is a revival or a continuation of the policies and mentalities of the ancien régime or a display of the “Prussian spirit.” Nothing in Nazism takes up the thread of the ideas and institutions of older German history. ...

read more

II. The Triumph of Militarism

pdf iconDownload PDF (581.4 KB)
pp. 39-50

In the late afternoon of September 1, 1870, King William I, surrounded by a pompous staff of princes and generals, was looking down from a hill south of the Meuse at the battle in progress, when an officer brought the news that the capitulation of Napoleon III and his whole army was imminent. ...

Part II: Nationalism

read more

III. Etatism

pdf iconDownload PDF (701.9 KB)
pp. 53-90

The most important event in the history of the last hundred years is the displacement of liberalism by etatism. Etatism appears in two forms: socialism and interventionism. Both have in common the goal of subordinating the individual unconditionally to the state, the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion. ...

read more

IV. Etatism and Nationalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (690.7 KB)
pp. 91-125

In the early nineteenth century the political vocabulary of the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland did not differentiate between the concepts state, people, and nation. The conquests which expanded the realm and brought countries and their inhabitants into subjection did not alter the size of the nation and the state. ...

read more

V. Refutation of Some Fallacious Explanations

pdf iconDownload PDF (617.5 KB)
pp. 126-144

The current explanations of modern nationalism are far from recognizing that nationalism within our world of international division of labor is the inevitable outcome of etatism. We have already exposed the fallacies of the most popular of these explanations, namely, of the Marxian theory of imperialism. ...

Part III. German Nazism

read more

VI. The Peculiar Characteristics of German Nationalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (631.0 KB)
pp. 147-168

German nationalism did not differ from other peoples’ nationalism until—in the late 1870’s and early ’80’s—the German nationalists made what they believed to be a great discovery. They discovered that their nation was the strongest in Europe. They concluded that Germany was therefore powerful enough to subdue Europe or even the whole world. ...

read more

VII. The Social Democrats in Imperial Germany

pdf iconDownload PDF (630.1 KB)
pp. 169-190

The older legend, developed before 1914, runs like this: The German bourgeoisie have betrayed freedom to German militarism. They have taken refuge with the imperial government in order to preserve, through the protection of the Prussian Army, their position as an exploiting class, which was menaced by the fair claims of labor. ...

read more

VIII. Anti-Semitism and Racism

pdf iconDownload PDF (652.4 KB)
pp. 191-216

German chauvinism claims for the Germans a lofty ancestry. They are the scions of the Nordic-Aryan master race, which includes all those who have contributed to the development of human civilization. The Nordic is tall, slim, with fair hair and blue eyes; he is wise, a gallant fighter, heroic, ready to sacrifice, and animated by “Faustic” ardor. ...

read more

IX. The Weimar Republic and Its Collapse

pdf iconDownload PDF (706.0 KB)
pp. 217-254

The main argument brought forward in favor of the Hohenzollern militarism was its alleged efficiency. Democracy, said the nationalist professors, may be a form of government adequate to small countries, whose independence is safeguarded by the mutual rivalries of the great powers, ...

read more

X. Nazism as a World Problem

pdf iconDownload PDF (582.0 KB)
pp. 255-266

It is the function of historical research to trace historical events back to their sources. The historian has to demonstrate how any historical situation developed out of previously existing—natural and social— conditions and how the actions of men and occurrences beyond human control transformed any previous state of affairs ...

Part IV: The Future of Western Civilization

read more

XI. The Delusions of World Planning

pdf iconDownload PDF (605.4 KB)
pp. 269-285

It is obvious that in this age of international division of labor, on the one hand, and of government interference with business on the other, unrestricted sovereignty for each nation must lead to economic nationalism and through it to conflict. No one ventures to deny that economic nationalism and peace are incompatible. ...

read more

XII. Peace Schemes

pdf iconDownload PDF (661.9 KB)
pp. 286-314

It would be an illusion to assume that any nation today is prepared to abandon protectionism. As the ruling parties favor government interference with business and national planning, they cannot demolish the trade barriers erected by their own countries. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (562.9 KB)
pp. 315-322

The eighteenth-century liberals had full confidence in man’s perfectibility. All men, they held, are equal and endowed with the faculty of grasping the meaning of complicated inferences. They will therefore grasp the teachings of economics and social philosophy; ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (600.5 KB)
pp. 323-332

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878940
E-ISBN-10: 1614878943
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865977549

Page Count: 350
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None