Continued from Part Three
THE DIALOGUE AND THE PROTOCOLS
Maurice Joly, the author of Dialogue, had conceived the idea of the play during a time when it was forbidden to criticize the despotic regime of Napoleon III. In order to avoid press censorship, Joly had developed the idea of writing an imagined dialogue between the great champion of the French Enlightenment, Montesquieu, and the infamous Italian cynic, Machivelli. Montesquieu was to present the case for democracy, liberalism, and reform. Machivelli would defend the position of cynical despotism and Napoleon III. In this way he thought that he could criticize the Emperor. But the play, which was published in Brussels, was confiscated in Paris. Joly was arrested by the agents of Napoleon III and his writings were suppressed. In despair, Joly committed suicide in 1879.
But Joly’s play was indeed an admirable work - incisive, ruthless, and logically and beautifully constructed. The debate is opened by Montesquieu who argues that in the present age, the enlightenment ideas of liberalism had made despotism, which Montesquieu argued had always been immoral, impractical as well. But Machivelli replies with such eloquence and at such length that he dominates the rest of the play. Machivelli argues that the great mass of people are simply incapable of governing themselves; normally, they are inert and only too happy to be ruled by a strong man. Machivelli maintains that the concepts of politics have never had anything to do with morality and insofar as practicality is concerned, the inventions of the modern world were better suited to the imposition of despotism than democracy. Moreover, the people in actuality desired despotism. The forces that might oppose the despot’s rule could be dealt with easily enough: the press could be censored and political opponents could be watched by the police.
So long as the despot dazzled the people with his prestige, he could be sure of their support. Such is the book that inspired the forger of the Protocols. He plagiarized it shamelessly. In all, about one-half of the entire text of the Protocols is clearly based on passages from Joly. In nine of the chapters, the borrowings amount to more than half of the text; in some they amount to three-quarters; in one (Protocol VII) they amount to the entire text. Moreover, with less than a dozen exceptions, the order of the borrowed passages remains the same as it was in Joly’s play, as though the forger had worked through the Dialogue mechanically, page by page, copying straight into the Protocols as he proceeded. Even the arrangement in the chapters is much the same - the twenty-four chapters of the Protocols corresponding roughly to the twenty-five chapters of the Dialogue. Only towards the end, where the prophecy of the anti-Christian "Messianic Age" of Antichrist appears, does the forger allow himself any real independence of thought. [Please see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (New York: Harper and Row) for a lengthy comparison between the Protocols and the Dialogue.]
NILUS AND THE PROTOCOLS
Rachkovsky entrusted the finished forgery to Yulina Glinka, his agent in Switzerland. She then transferred it to Rachkovsky’s old friend, Sergey Nilus at Optina Pustyn. Nilus was enthralled and totally taken in by the ruse. Rachkovsky had reasoned that if anyone could be duped by the intrigue and find a way of publishing the Protocols, Nilus would be the man. Rachkovsky had not reasoned in vain.
Alexander du Chayla, a Frenchman who visited Nilus at Optina Pustyn during this time, has left an account of how truly fooled Nilus was by Rachkovsky’s forgery. Du Chayla writes:
"Nilus took (the Protocols) from the shelf and began to (read to me) ... the most remarkable passages of the text and of his own commentaries. At the same time he watched the expression on my face, for he assumed that I would be dumbfounded by the revelation. He was rather upset when I told him that this was nothing new to me ...
"Nilus was shaken and disappointed by this. He retorted that I took this view because my knowledge ... (of these things) was superficial and fragmentary. It was absolutely necessary that I should feel the full impact. And it would be easy for me to get to know the Protocols because the original was in French.
"Nilus did not keep the (actual) manuscript of the Protocols in his house for fear lest it be stolen by the Jews. I recall how amused I was by his perturbation when a Jewish chemist of Kozelsk, taking a walk with a friend in the monastery forest and trying to find the quickest route to the ferry, happened to stray into Nilus’s garden. Poor Nilus! He was convinced for a long time afterwards that the chemist had come to carry out a reconnaissance.
"Some time after our first conversation about the Protocols, one afternoon about four o’clock, one of the patients from Nilus’s home ... brought me a letter: Nilus was asking me to come and see him on an urgent matter. (He was at last prepared to show me the actual manuscript - the original - of the Protocols).
"I found Sergey in his study. He was alone ... Dusk was falling, but it was still light for the earth was covered with snow. I noticed on his writing-table something like a rather large envelope, made of black material and decorated with a big triple cross with the inscription: ‘In this sign you shall conquer’. A little picture of St. Michael, in paper, was also stuck in the envelope. Quite clearly all this was intended as an exorcism.
"Sergey crossed himself three times before the great icon of the Mother of God ... and opened the envelope, from which he took a leather-bound notebook ...
"‘Here it is’, said Nilus, ‘the charter of the Kingdom of Antichrist’.
"He opened the notebook ... The text was written in French by various hands and, it seemed to me, with different inks.
"‘You see’, said Nilus, ‘during the sessions of the secret Jewish government, at different times, various people filled the office of secretary, hence the different handwritings’.
"After showing me the manuscript, Sergey placed it on the table ... and said: ‘Well, now read!’... While reading the manuscript, I was struck by certain peculiarities in the text. There were some spelling mistakes and above all, some expressions which were not French [Du Chayla was a native Frenchman, while the forger, Rachkovsky, was Russian and spoke French only as a second language - editor.] Clearly the manuscript was written by a foreigner ... It took me two and a half hours to read the document ... (Finally) Sergey wanted to know what impression my reading had produced on me. I told him straight out that I (still) stood by my previous judgment. I didn’t really believe in the ‘Elders of Zion’.
"Nilus’s face clouded. ‘You really are under the influence of the Devil’, he said. ‘Satan’s greatest ruse is to make people deny (these things) ... What will you say now if I show you how what is said in the Protocols is being fulfilled, how the mysterious sign of the coming of Antichrist appears on all sides, how the imminent advent of his kingdom can be felt everywhere’?" Then he proceeded to the ‘exhibits in the case’. He opened the chest. Inside there were, in an indescribable state of disorder, detachable collars, India rubbers, household utensils, insignia of various technical colleges, even the cipher of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Cross of the Legions d’honheur. On all these objects Nilus detected, in his hallucination, the seal of Antichrist, in the form of a triangle or of two superimposed triangles ... If an object bore a trademark even vaguely suggesting a triangle, that was enough to secure it entry to his museum ...
"With increasing excitement and anxiety, in the grip of a sort of mysterious terror, Nilus explained to me that the sign of ‘the Son of Perdition’ is now contaminating all things, that it shines even from the scrolls of the great icon behind the altar in the Church of the Hermitage ... I felt a sort of fear. It was now past midnight. The gaze, the voice, the reflex-like gestures - everything about Nilus - gave me the feeling that he was walking on the edge of a (mental) abyss and that at any moment his reason might disintegrate into madness." [A. du Chayla in La Tribune Juive, pgs 3-4.]
Clearly, then, Nilus really believed in the Protocols and in the myth of the "Jewish-World Conspiracy." Rachkovsky had done his work well in choosing as his agent the mentally deranged Sergey Nilus.
Nilus soon arranged to have the book passed by the Moscow Censorship Committee on September 28, 1905 and it appeared in print a short time later attached to a commentary by Nilus called The Root of Our Troubles - meaning, of course, the Illuminati, i.e., the Jews. Nilus’s star quickly rose at the Imperial Court as a result, and the Metropolitan (Archbishop) of Moscow ordered a sermon quoting Nilus’s version of the Protocols to be read in all 368 churches of Moscow. This was duly done on October 16, 1905 and the sermon was promptly reprinted throughout all of Russia.