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“The Protocols of Zion - An Exposure”
Transcript of Philip Graves' articles published in the London Times, August 16 to 18, 1921
[Posted 21 November 2002]
This book is a translation of a book published in Russia in 1905, by Sergei Nilus, a government official, who professed to have received from a friend a copy of a summary of the minutes of a secret meeting, held in Paris, by a Jewish organization that was plotting to overthrow civilization in order to establish a Jewish world state.
These “Protocols” attracted little attention until after the Russian Revolution of 1917, when the appearance of the Bolshevists, among whom were many Jews, professing and practicing political doctrines that in some points resembled those advocated in the “Protocols,” led many to believe that Nilus alleged discovery was genuine. The “Protocols” were widely discussed and translated into several European languages. Their authenticity has been frequently attacked and many arguments have been adduced for the theory that they are a forgery.
In the following articles our Constantinople Correspondent for the first time presents conclusive proof that the document is in the main a clumsy plagiarism. He has forwarded us a copy of the French book from which the plagiarism is made. The British Museum has a complete copy of the book, which is entitled, “Dialogue aux Enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu, ou la Politique de Machiavel au XIX. Siècle. Par un Contemporain,” and was published at Brussels in 1865. Shortly after its publication the author, Maurice Joly, a Paris lawyer and publicist, was arrested by the police of Napoleon III. and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
A LITERARY FORGERY.
(From Our Constantinople Correspondent.)
“There is one thing about Constantinople that is worth your while to remember,” said a diplomatist to the writer in 1908. “If you only stay here long enough you will meet many men who matter, and you may find the key to many strange secrets.” Yet I must confess that when the discovery which is the theme of these articles was communicated to me I was at first incredulous. Mr. X who brought me the evidence was convinced.
“Read this book through,” he said, “and you will find irrefutable proof that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Sion’ is a plagiarism.”
Mr. X., who does not wish his real name to be known, is a Russian landowner with English connexions. Orthodox by religion, he is in Political opinion a Constitutional Monarchist. He came here as a refugee after the final failure of the White cause in South Russia. He had long been interested in the Jewish question as far as it concerned Russia, had studied the “Protocols,” and during the period of Denikins ascendancy had made investigations with the object of discovering whether any occult “Masonic” organization, such as the “Protocols” speak of, existed in Southern Russia. The only such organization was a Monarchist one. The discovery of the key to the problem of the “Protocols” came to him by chance.
THE SWISS ORIGINAL.
A few months ago he bought a number of old books from a former officer of the “Okhrana” (Political Police) who had fled to Constantinople. Among these books was a small volume in French, lacking the title page, with dimensions of 5 ½ in. by 3 ¾ in. It had been cheaply rebound. On the leather back is printed in Latin capitals the word Joli. The preface, entitled “Simple avertissement,” is dated Geneva, October 15, 1864. The book contains 324 pages, of which numbers 315-322 inclusive follow page 24 in the only copy known to Mr. X, perhaps owing to a mistake when the book was rebound. Both the paper and the type are characteristic of the “sixties and seventies” of the last century. These details are given in the hope that they may lead to the discovery of the title of the book [Note from Emperor's Clothes: The introduction, above, states that Publisher had located the text in the British Museum. Today you can buy it from amazon.com].
Mr. X believes it must be rare, since, had it not been so, the “Protocols” would have speedily been recognized as a plagiarism by anyone who had read the original.
That the latter is a “fake” could not be maintained for an instant by anyone who had seen it. Its original possessor, the old Okhrana Officer, did not remember where he obtained it, and attached no importance to it. Mr. X, glancing at it one day, was struck by a resemblance between a passage which had caught his eye and a phrase in the French edition of the “Protocols” (Edition de la Vieille France, 1920, 5, Rue du Préaux-Cleres, 5, Paris 7th Arrondissement). He followed up the clue, and soon realized that the “Protocols” were to a very large extent as much a paraphrase of the Geneva original as the published version of a War Office or Foreign Office telegram is a paraphrase of the ciphered original. (1)
Before receiving the book from Mr. X, I was, as I have said, incredulous. I did not believe that Sergei Niluss “Protocols” were authentic; they explained too much by the theory of a vast Jewish conspiracy. Professor Niluss account of how they were obtained was too melodramatic to be credible, and it was hard to believe that real “Learned Elders of Sion” would not have produced a more intelligent political scheme than the crude and theatrical subtilties of the Protocols. But I could not have believed, had I not seen, that the writer who supplied Nilus with his originals was a careless and shameless plagiarist.
The Geneva book is a very thinly-veiled attack on the despotism of Napoleon III in the form of a series of 25 dialogues divided into four parts. The speakers are Montesquieu and Machiavelli. In the brief preface to his book the anonymous author points out that it contains passages which are applicable to all Governments, “but it particularly personifies a political system which has not varied in its application, for a single day since the fatal and alas! Too distant date when it was enthroned.” Its references to the “Haussmannisation” of Paris, to the repressive measures and policy of the French Emperor, to his wasteful financial system, to his foreign wars, to his use of secret societies in foreign policy (cf., his notorious relations with the Carbonari) and his suppression of them in France, to his relations with the Vatican, and to his control of the Press are unmistakable.
The Geneva Book, or as it will henceforth be called the Geneva Dialogues, opens with the meeting of the spirits of Montesquieu and Machiavelli on a desolate beach in the world of shades. After a lengthy exchange of civilities Montesquieu asks Machiavelli why from an ardent Republican he had become the author of “The Prince” and “the founder of that sombre school of thoughts which has made all crowned heads disciples, but which is well fitted to justify the worst crimes of tyranny.” Machiavelli replies that he is a realist and proceeds to justify the teaching of “The Prince,” and to explain its applicability to the Western European States of 1864.
In the first six “Geneva Dialogues” Montesquieu is given a chance of argument of which he avails himself. In the seventh dialogue, which corresponds to the fifth, sixth, seventh, and part of the eighth “Protocols,“ he gives Machiavelli permission to describe at length how he would solve the problem of stabilizing political societies “incessantly disturbed by the spirit of anarchy and revolution.“ Henceforth Machiavelli or in reality Napoleon III., speaking through Machiavelli, has the lions share of the dialogue. Montesquieus contributions thereto become more and more exclamatory; he is profoundly shocked by Machiavelli-Napoleon’s defence of an able and ruthless dictatorship, but his counter-arguments grow briefer and weaker. At times, indeed, the author of “LEspirit des Lois“ is made to cut as poor a figure asparvum componere magnodoes Dr. Watson when he attempts to talk criminology to Sherlock Holmes.
DIALOGUE AND “PROTOCOL.“
The “Protocols” follow almost the same order as the Dialogues. Dialogues 1-17 generally correspond with “Protocols” 1-19. There are a few exceptions to this. One is in the 18th “Protocol,” where, together with paraphrases of passages from the 17th Dialogue (“Geneva Dialogues,” pp. 216, 217) there, is an echo of a passage in the 25th “Geneva Dialogue,” viz. :–“Quand le malheureux est opprimé il dit si le Roi le savait; Quand on veut se venger, qu on espère un secours, on dit le Roi le saura.” This appears on page 68 of the English edition of the “Protocols” (4th Edition, published by “The Britons,” 62, Oxford-street, London, W.) as “In order to exist, the prestige of power must occupy such a position that the people can say among themselves, ‘If only the King knew about it,’ or ‘When the King knows about it.’”
The last five “Protocols” (Nos. 20-24 inclusive) do not contain so many paraphrases of the “Geneva Dialogues” as the first 19. Some of their resemblances and paraphrases are, however, very striking, eg., the following:
But generally speaking “Protocols” 20 and 21, which deal (somewhat unconvincingly) with the financial programme of the Learned Elders, owe less to the “Geneva Dialogues,” Nos. 18-21, than to the imagination of the plagiarist author who had for once in a way to show a little originality. This is natural enough since the “Dialogues” in question describe the actual financial policy of the French Imperial Government, while the “Protocols” deal with the future. Again in the last four “Geneva Dialogues” Machiavellis apotheosis of the Second Empire, being based upon historical facts which took place between 1852 and 1864, obviously furnished scanty material for the plagiarist who wished to prove or, very possibly, had been ordered to prove in the “Protocols” that the ultimate aim of the leaders of Jewry was to give the world a ruler sprung from the House of David.
The scores of parallels between the two books and a theory concerning the methods of the plagiarist and the reasons for the publication of the “Protocols” in 1905 will be the subject of further articles. Meanwhile it is amusing to find that the only subject with which the “Protocols” deal on lines quite contrary to those followed by Machiavelli in the “Dialogues,” is the private life of the Sovereign. The last words of the “Protocols” are “Our Sovereign must be irreproachable.” The Elders evidently propose to keep the King of Israel in great order. The historical Machiavelli was, we know, rather a scandalous old gentleman, and his shade insists that amorous adventures, so far from injuring a Sovereigns reputation, make him an object of interest and sympathy to “the fairest half of his subjects.”
(To be continued.)
DETAILS OF THE FORGERY.
We published yesterday an article from our Constantinople Correspondent, which showed that the notorious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” one of the mysteries of politics since 1905were a clumsy forgery, the text being based on a book published in French in 1865.
The book, without title page, was obtained by our Correspondent from a Russian source, and we were able to identify it with a complete copy in the British Museum.
The disclosure, which naturally aroused the greatest interest among those familiar with Jewish questions, finally disposes of the “Protocols” as credible evidence of a Jewish plot against civilization.
We publish below a second article, which gives further close parallels between the language of the Protocols and that attributed to Machiavelli and Montesquieu in the volume dated from Geneva.
PLAGIARISM AT WORK
(From our Constantinople Correspondent.)
While the Geneva Dialogues open with an exchange of compliments between Montesquieu and Machiavelli, which covers seven pages, the author of the Protocols plunges at once in medias res.
One can imagine him hastily turning over those first seven pages of the book which he has been ordered to paraphrase against time, and angrily ejaculating, “Nothing here.” But on page 8 of the Dialogues he finds what he wants; the greater part of this page and the next are promptly paraphrased, thus:
The gift of liberty according to the Machiavelli of the Geneva Dialogues, of self-government according to the Protocols (page 2), leads speedily to civil and social strife, and the State is soon ruined by internal convulsions or by foreign intervention following on the heels of civil war. Then follows a singular parallel between the two books which deserves quotation:
RIGHT AND WRONG.
Both “Machiavelli” and the author of the Protocols agree (Prot. p. 3, Geneva Dialogues, p. 11) almost in the same words that politics have nothing in common with morality. Right is described in the Protocols as “an abstract idea established by nothing,” in the Dialogues as an “infinitely vague” expression. The end, say both, justifies the means. “I pay less attention,” says Machiavelli, “to what is good and moral than to what is useful and necessary.” The Protocols (p. 4) use the same formula, substituting “profitable” for “useful.” According to the protocols he who would rule “must have recourse to cunningness (sic) and hypocrisy.” In the second Dialogue (p. 15) Montesquieu reproaches Machiavelli for having “only two words to repeatForce and guile.” Both Machiavelli and the “Elders” of the Protocols preach despotism as the sole safeguard against anarchy. In the Protocols the despotism has to be Jewish and hereditary. Machiavellis despotism is obviously Napoleonic.
There are scores of other parallels between the books. Fully 50 paragraphs in the Protocols are simply paraphrases of passages in the Dialogues. The quotation per me reges regnant, rightly given in the Vieille France edition of the Protocols (p. 29), while regunt is substituted for regnant in the English version (p. 20), appears on p. 63 of the Geneva Dialogues. Sulla, whom the English version of the Protocols insists on calling “Silla,” appears in both books.
“After covering Italy with blood, Sulla reappeared as a simple citizen in Rome: no one durst touch a hair of his head.” Geneva Dialogues, p. 159.
“Remember at the time when Italy was streaming with blood, she did not touch a hair of Sillas head, and he was the man who made her blood pour out.” Protocols, p. 51.
Sulla, who after the proscriptions stalked “in savage grandeur home,” is one of the tyrants whom every schoolboy knows and those who believe that Elders of the 33rd Degree are responsible for the Protocols, may say that this is a mere coincidence. But what about the exotic Vishnu, the hundred-armed Hindu deity who appears twice in each book? The following passages never were examples of “unconscious plagiarism.”
Geneva Dialogues, p. 141:
Protocols, p. 43:
Geneva Dialogues, p. 207:
Protocols, p 65:
TAXATION OF THE PRESS.
The Dialogues and the Protocols alike devote special attention to the Press, and their schemes for muzzling and control thereof are almost identical, absolutely identical, indeed, in many details. Thus Machiavelli on pp. 135 and 136 of the Dialogues expounds the following ingenious scheme:
[Dialogues, pp. 135 and 136 ]
The Protocols, p. 41, has:
Both have the same profound contempt for journalists:
Geneva Dialogues, pp. 145, 146:
Protocols, p. 44:
CONTEMPT FOR THE PEOPLE.
But this contempt is nothing compared to that which both Machiavelli and the Elders evince towards the masses whom tyranny is to reduce to a more than Oriental servitude.
ATTITUDE TO THE CHURCHES
Both the Elders and Machiavelli propose to make political crime thoroughly unpopular by assimilating the treatment of the political criminal to that of the felon. Both devote not a little attention to police organization and espionage; the creator of Machiavelli had evidently studied Napoleon III.s police methods, and suffered at the hands of his agents. Each proposes to exercise a severe control over the Bar and the Bench. As regards the Vatican, Machiavelli-Napoleon, with recent Italian history in mind, aims at the complete control of the Papacy. After inflaming popular hatred against the Church of Rome and its clergy, he will intervene to protect the Holy See, as Napoleon III did intervene, when “the chassepots worked wonders.” The Learned Elders propose to follow a similar plan: “when the people in their rage thro themselves on to the Vatican we shall appear as its protectors in order to stop bloodshed.” Ultimately, of course, they mean to destroy the church. The terrible chiefs of a Pan-Judaic conspiracy could hardly have any other plan of campaign. Machiavelli, naturally, does not go so far. Enough for him if the Pope is safely lodged in the Napoleonic pocket.
Is it necessary to produce further proofs that the majority of the Protocols are simply paraphrases of the Geneva Dialogues, with wicked Hebrew Elders, and finally an Israelite world ruler in the place of Machiavelli-Napoleon III., and the brutish goyim (Gentiles) substituted for the fickle masses, “gripped in a vice by poverty, ridden by sensuality, devoured by ambition,” whom Machiavelli intends to win?
The questions now arise, how did the originals become known in Russia, and why were the Protocols invented?
(To be continued.)
THE PROTOCOL FORGERY.
In articles from our Constantinople Correspondent, published yesterday and on Tuesday, we proved that the so-called “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which have been believed by some since their publication in 1905 to indicate a Jewish plot against civilization, were a clumsy forgery.
To-day our Correspondent reviews the use to which the Protocols were put in recent Russian politics, and summarizes his conclusions.
THE PROTOCOLS IN RUSSIA.
(From Our Constantinople Correspondent.)
There is no evidence as to how the Geneva Dialogues reached Russia. The following theory may be suggested.
The Third Napoleons secret police, many of whom were Corsicans, must have known the existence of the Dialogues and almost certainly obtained them from some of the many persons arrested on the charge of political conspiracy during the reign of Napoleon III. In the last two decades of the 19th century and in the early years of the 20th there were always a few Corsicans in the Palace Police of the Tsar, and in the Russian secret service. Combining courage with secretiveness, a high average of intelligence with fidelity to his chief, the Corsican makes a first-class secret agent or bodyguard. It is not improbable that Corsicans who had been in the service of Napoleon III., or who had kinsmen in his secret service, brought the Geneva Dialogues to Russia, where some members of the Okhrana or some Court official obtained possession of them. But this is only a theory.
As to the Protocols, they were first published in 1905 at Tsarskoye Selo in the second edition of a book entitled “The Great Within the Small,” the author of which was Professor Sergei Nilus. Professor Nilus has been described to the writer as a learned, pious, credulous Conservative, who combined much theological and some historical erudition with a singular lack of knowledge of the world. In January, 1917, Nilus, according to the introduction to the French version of the Protocols, published a book, entitled “It is here, at Our Doors!!” in which he republished the Protocols. In this latter work, according to the French version, Professor Nilus states that the manuscript of the Protocols was given him by Nicolaievich Sukhotin, a noble who afterwards became Vice-Governor of Stavropol.
According to the 1905 edition of the Protocols they were obtained by a woman who stole them from “one of the most influential and most highly initiated leaders of Freemasonry. The theft was accomplished at the close of the secret meeting of the initiated in France, that nest of Jewish conspiracy.” But in the epilogue to the English version of the Protocols Professor Nilus says, “My friend found them in the safes at the headquarters of the Society of Zion which are at present situated in France.” According to the French version of the Protocols, Nilus in his book of 1917 states that the Protocols were notes of a plan submitted to the “Council of Elders” by Theodor Hertzl at the first Zionist Congress which was held at Basle, in August, 1897, and that Hertzl afterwards complained to the Zionist Committee of Action of the indiscreet publication of confidential information. The Protocols were signed by “Zionist representatives of the 33rd Degree” in Orient Freemasonry and were secretly removed from the complete file of the proceedings of the afore-said Zionist Congress, which was hidden in the “Chief Zionist office, which is situated in French territory.”
Such are Professor Nilus rather contradictory accounts of the origin of the Protocols. Not a very convincing story! Theodor Hertzl is dead; Sukhotin is dead, and where are the signatures of the Zionist representatives of the 33rd Degree!
Turning to the text of the Protocols, and comparing it with that of the Geneva Dialogues, one is struck by the absence of any effort on the part of the plagiarist to conceal his plagiarisms. The paraphrasing has been very careless; parts of sentences, whole phrases at times, are identical: the development of the thought is the same; there has been no attempt worth mentioning to alter the order of the Geneva Dialogues. The plagiarist has introduced Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche in one passage in order to be “up to date”; he has given a Jewish colour to “Machiavellis” schemes for dictatorship, but he has utterly failed to conceal his indebtedness to the Geneva Dialogues. This gives the impression that the real writer of the Protocols, who does not seem to have had anything to do with Nilus and may have been some quite unimportant précis writer employed by the Court or by the Okhrana, was obliged to paraphrase the original at short notice. A proof of Jewish conspiracy was required at once as a weapon for the Conservatives against the Liberal elements in Russia.
Mr. X, the discoverer of the plagiarism, informs me that the Protocols, shortly after their discovery in 1901, four years before their publication by Professor Nilus, served a subsidiary purpose, namely, the first defeat of monsieur Phillippe, a French Hypnotist and thought-reader, who acquired considerable influence over the Tsar and the Tsaritsa at the beginning of the present century. The Court favourite was disliked by certain great personages, and incurred the natural jealousy of the monks, thaumaturgists, and similar adventurers who hoped to capture the Tsar through the Empress in their own interest, or in that of various cliques. Phillippe was not a Jew, but it was easy to represent a Frenchman from “that nest of Jewish conspiracy” as a Zionist agent. Phillippe fell from favour, to return to Russia and find himself once more in the Courts good graces at a later date.
THE FIRST REVOLUTION
But the principal importance of the Protocols was their use during the first Russian Revolution. This revolution was supported by the Jewish element in Russia, notably by the Jewish Bund. The Okhrana organization knew this perfectly well; it had its Jewish and crypto-Jewish agents, one of whom afterwards assassinated M. Stolypin; it was in league with the powerful Conservative faction; with its allies it sought to gain the Tsars ear. For many years before the Russian revolution of 1905-1906 there had been a tale of a secret council of Rabbis who plotted ceaselessly against the Orthodox. The publication of the Protocols in 1905 certainly came at an opportune moment for the Conservatives. It is said by some Russians that the manuscript of the Protocols was communicated to the Tsar early in 1905, and that its communication contributed to the fall of the Liberal Prince Sviatopolk-Mirski in that year and the subsequent strong reactionary movement. However that may be, the date and place of publication of Niluss first edition of the Protocols are most significant now that we know that the originals which were given him were simply paraphrases.
The following conclusions are, therefore, forced upon any reader of the two books who has studied Niluss account of the origin of the Protocols and has some acquaintance with Russian history in the years preceding the revolution of 1905-1906:
1. The Protocols are largely a paraphrase of the book here provisionally called the “Geneva Dialogues.”
2. They were designed to foster the belief among Russian Conservatives, and especially in Court circles, that the prime cause of discontent among the politically minded elements in Russia was not the repressive policy of the bureaucracy, but a world-wide Jewish conspiracy. They thus served as a weapon against the Russian Liberals, who urged the Tsar to make certain concessions to the intelligentsia.
3. The Protocols were paraphrased very hastily and carelessly.
4. Such portions of the Protocols as were not derived from the Geneva Dialogues were probably supplied by the Okhrana, which organization very possibly obtained them from the many Jews it employed to spy on their co-religionists.
So much for the Protocols. They have done harm not so much, in the writers opinion, by arousing anti-Jewish feeling, which is older than the Protocols and will persist in all countries where there is a Jewish problem until that problem is solved; rather, they have done harm by persuading all sorts of mostly well-to-do people that every recent manifestation of discontent on the part of the poor is an unnatural phenomenon, a factitious agitation caused by a secret society of Jews.
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Footnotes and Further Reading
1. For articles on
antisemitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, go to
For articles related to “The Protocols of Zion,” see:
First page of London
Times, 16 August 1921