Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism


Here is the preface to Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism (Mises Institute, 2007).

In the summer of 1940, with Hitler’s troops moving through France to encircle Switzerland, Ludwig von Mises sat beside his wife Margit on a bus filled with Jews fleeing Europe. To avoid capture, the bus driver took back roads through the French countryside, stopping to ask locals if the Germans had been spotted ahead – reversing and finding alternative routes if they had been.

Mises was two months shy of his fifty-ninth birthday. He had left Vienna some years earlier, escaping only days before the Nazis ransacked his apartment, confiscated his records, and froze his assets. He had hoped to be safe in Geneva. Now nowhere in Europe seemed safe. Not only was he a prominent intellectual of Jewish descent; he was widely known to be an archenemy of National Socialism and of every other form of socialism. Some called him "The Last Knight of Liberalism."

Failing to catch him in Vienna, the Nazis tried to snatch him in Switzerland. Again they did not succeed. Mises did not assume his luck would last.

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September 5, 2007