Prince Heinrich XIII and the Failed German Coup
When liberal elites mouth crisis, what they really mean is opportunity.
The German government is preparing to crack down on the nation’s already relatively strict gun laws after what some are calling Germany’s January 6.
Last week, 25 individuals were arrested in connection to an alleged plot to overthrow the German government. Among them, the 71-year-old Prince Heinrich XIII of Reuss, who was allegedly the group’s choice to take over as Germany’s head of state after the coup. Some of the co-conspirators, according to authorities, were members of the German law enforcement and German military, even special forces.
The German government claims that Heinrich XIII used his hunting lodge in Waidmannsheil to host meetings to orchestrate the alleged plot that would put him atop this new German state. Heinrich XIII also used the lodge’s basement to store some of the group’s weapons and explosives, and had range sessions in the forest on Heinrich XIII’s property, according to government prosecutors.
The conspirators are allegedly members of the Reichsbürger movement, which reports claim seeks to supplant the modern German state with a style of government more similar to that of the German empire pre-World War I. The Reichsbürgers believe that the post-World War II German state is not a sovereign nation; rather, it is a client state of the World War II Allies designed to protect Western corporate interests.
The Waidmannsheil lodge was one of 150 different locations raided by German authorities last week in one of the largest counterterrorism operations in Germany’s modern history. German intelligence had been monitoring Heinrich XIII and the alleged plotters since the fall of 2021, and nearly made a move on the group on two separate occasions earlier this year, when intelligence officials claimed the group seemed ready to act. Periodically, Heinrich XIII even allegedly tried to get the Russians involved by trying to set up meetings with Russian diplomats with the help of his young, Russian girlfriend. Apparently, the Russians never responded.
After authorities completed their raids and made their arrests, Nancy Faeser, the German interior minister, said the conspirators, “are not harmless crazy people but suspected terrorists who are now in custody.” Fraser said that “maximum pressure” needed to be exerted on groups like the Reichsbürger movement, and said the German government must “soon tighten gun laws further” to ensure no such coups are possible in the future. Some pundits and media outlets even went so far as to compare the alleged coup to the German experience of “January 6 trauma,” an event they invoked to make the plot seem more threatening, not less.
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It’s all a bit absurd. And the liberal elite—those with real power, not some little known fringe aristocrat—knows it’s absurd. They don’t actually think that a group of twenty-odd individuals that met at an estate in the woods hours away from Berlin would take the Reichstag and Bundeskanzleramt with force. They’re not actually afraid that a couple dozen militia members led by former and current German special forces soldiers would use weapons and explosives kept in the basement of some septuagenarian descendant of the medieval German aristocracy from 700 years ago to install him as the new head of state.
But these bizarre, fringe instances have become one of the main ways the liberal elites in crumbling regimes maintain their grip on power. In the case of the kidnapping plot of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, sometimes they’ll even concoct the conspiracies themselves and coerce individuals into participating. Whether it’s January 6 or the coup plot in Germany, liberal elites mouth “crisis,” when what they really mean is “opportunity.” An opportunity to introduce radical changes that tighten their grasp on power in the name of protecting the status quo. Meanwhile, they paint all objectors to their regime and its goals with the same broad strokes. If you don’t take this coup plot seriously, you’re no better than Heinrich XIII himself.
Liberal elites will say they’re waging a war on extremists. But we’re all extremists now.