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Traders and Heroes

Author(s): Werner Sombart

Patriotic Reflections

Werner Sombart’s Traders and Heroes, published in 1915 during World War I, is an insightful and concise treatise on the differences in national character between the English and the Germans. The bourgeois trade mentality of the English clashes with the heroic and sacrificial one of the Germans. While the former only desire individual enrichment and creating the necessary global preconditions for it, the latter crave unity with the folk in life and death, so that they become the perfect physical expression of the national soul.

The English want to avoid war because it is bad for business. The Germans, on the other hand, crave war because it tests their spirit and liberates them from the mundaneness of everyday existence while simultaneously affirming the axiom that the whole of the nation is paramount to the individual self.

Like the Jews of yore, the Germans of Sombart’s time are universally despised because of their insistence on their uniqueness. Sombart argues that Germans should justifiably be proud of their superiority and as a result need not feel shame looking down on other peoples.

  • Traders and Heroes ... belongs to this second, culturally pessimistic phase of Sombart’s thinking. It is dedicated to the “young heroes, out there facing the enemy”. German nationalism and veneration for the state are treated therein as an antidote to the rampant commercial spirit espoused by England. “All Great Wars”, Sombart opines, “are religious Wars”. Ideals rather than economic interests drove German statecraft, in his estimation.
    Leslie Jones, The Quarterly ReviewThe Quarterly Review
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Foreword by Alexander Jacob

Introduction: The Religious War

Part One: English Traders

The Features of the English Mind

English Science

The English State and English Culture

Part Two: German Heroism

The German Mind

The German Idea of the Fatherland

The German Idea of the State

German Militarism

Part Three: The Mission of the German Nation

Life before the War

Desperate Rescue Attempts

The Redemption from the Evil

We and the Others






Werner Sombart





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Arktos Media Ltd


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