This is the Russian translation from the German original of Hans Kohn's lecture "The Essence of Nationalism," which was delivered on April 10, 1919, at a makeshift university for Austrian prisoners of war in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. In the lecture Kohn turns to the writings of the German philosopher Fichte to offer his vision of Zionism as an integral nationalism. According to Kohn, Jews in the years of World War I faced questions similar to those faced by the Germans at the time of the Napoleonic empire.
Kohn sees parallels between Fichte and Herzl in how both saw volition as a condition for the emergence of nationhood. For Kohn, nation is a community founded on common consciousness and common origin. He sees nationhood as a fact of life and a phenomenon that is not entirely intelligible by science. He objects to the idea of "cultural Zionism," arguing that it does not reflect the fullness of the national ideal. Kohn refers to Hasidism as an example of a holistic lifestyle and worldview that is useful for nationalists. In the spirit of integral nationalism, Kohn appealed to his listeners to become Jews, and to participate in the common search for a national ideal.