Nietzsche & The Third Reich

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Haven
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Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby Haven » 08 Oct 2015 01:50

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Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses & Abuses of a Philosophy
Edited by Jacob Golomb & Robert S. Wistrich

Introduction

Jacob Golomb and Robert S. Wistrich

Nietzsche and fascism? Is it not almost a contradiction in terms? What can Nietzsche have in common with this murderous ideology? The central ideal of Nietzsche's philosophy was the individual and his freedom to shape his own character and destiny. The German philosopher was frequently described as the "radical aristocrat" of the spirit because he abhorred mass culture and strove to cultivate a special kind of human being, the Übermensch, endowed with exceptional spiritual and mental qualities. What can such a thinker have in common with National Socialism's manipulation of the masses for chauvinistic goals that swallowed up the personalities, concerns, and life of the individual?

In 1934, Adolf Hitler paid a much publicized visit to the Nietzsche archives at Weimar. He had gone at the insistent request of its director, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche (sister of the long-deceased German philosopher), and he was accompanied by his personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann. The main purpose of the visit, it seems, was to enable Hoffmann to take a picture of Hitler contemplating the bust of Nietzsche, which stood in the reception room. Perhaps appropriately, only half of the philosopher's head was shown in the picture, which duly appeared in the German press with a caption that read, "The Führer before the bust of the German philosopher whose ideas have fertilized two great popular movements: the National Socialism of Germany and the Fascist movement of Italy."

Although Benito Mussolini was certainly familiar with Nietzsche's writings and was a long-time admirer of the philosopher, Hitler's own connection with Nietzsche remains uncertain. As a soldier during the First World War, he had carried the works of Schopenhauer and not those of Nietzsche in his backpack. There is no reference to Nietzsche in Mein Kampf (though there is to Schopenhauer), and in Hitler's Table Talk, he refers only indirectly to Nietzsche, saying: "In our part of the world, the Jews would have immediately eliminated Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kant. If the Bolsheviks had dominion over us for two hundred years, what works of our past would be handed on to posterity? Our great men would fall into oblivion, or else they'd be presented to future generations as criminals and bandits."1

Thus the picture of Hitler gazing at Nietzsche's bust had more to do with a carefully orchestrated cult, one aspect of which was to connect National Socialism with the philosopher's legacy, at least by association. On October 1944, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Nietzsche, Alfred Rosenberg, the leading Nazi party ideologist, delivered an official speech in Weimar, seeking to reinforce this impression: "In a truly historical sense, the National Socialist movement eclipses the rest of the world, much as Nietzsche, the individual, eclipsed the powers of his times."2 Of course, Nietzsche was not the only German philosopher invoked as a spiritual guide and forerunner of the Nazi revolution, but his "Nazification" in the course of the Third Reich is a historical fact that cannot be denied, though it is more open to interpretation than is sometimes assumed.

More of the Introduction: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7403.html

PDF of Introduction: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7403.pdf

I own this entire book in PDF form.--- Haven

BOOK REVIEWS

Reviewed by Peter Bergmann (Department of History, University of Florida)
Published on H-German (October, 2004)
This lively, problematic, but rewarding volume encapsulates the latest phase of Nietzsche interpretation. During the Nazi era, anti-Nietzscheanism became a convenient rallying cry for anti-fascists. Gyoergy Lukacs, in the Soviet hinterland, and Crane Brinton, in Harvard yard, summoned an anti-Hitler, anti-Nietzsche coalition whose admonition for a defeated Germany was abandon Nietzscheanism. The credibility of the "great man" explanation of Nazism (i.e. from Luther to Hitler via Nietzsche) faded as historians trooped into the archives. Intellectual history went out of fashion, and philosophers returned to either ignoring Nietzsche or depoliticizing (i.e. de-nazifying) him. The "new Nietzsche" of postwar existentialism offered refuge from the philistinism of triumphalist Stalinism or liberalism, while the Dionysian undercurrents of the 1960s opened a back door to a post-fascist Nietzsche. The shadow of the Holocaust prompted qualms, however, even in postmodern quarters. Troubled by the fact that the "only politics calling itself Nietzschean" was Nazi, Jacques Derrida warned, "one can't falsify just anything" (pp. 8, 47). The editors of Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?, both professors at the University of Jerusalem (one a philosopher, the other an historian), take this stricture to heart. Berel Lang's essay on Nietzsche's "responsibility" for his "misinterpretations" underscores their concern that Nietzsche not escape scot-free.

A cross-section of philosophers, historians, and Germanists along with a theologian and a political scientist bravely struggle with Nietzsche's connection to fascism. Historians have been notoriously out of their depth when faced with Nietzsche's philosophical ruminations, while philosophers have often resorted to heavy breathing and thin abstractions when obliged to consider Nietzsche's political impact. The godfather analogy allows for some indirection. A godfather can be present at the christening as a spiritual guardian or be the underworld boss unleashing the criminality of the nether world. The latter option is never seriously entertained, and the former is employed primarily as a provocation. Representative is Kurt Rudolf Fischer's argument that even if Nazism was a "Nietzschean experiment," Nietzsche functioned more as an accessory than a precursor. The jury of fifteen contributors seem to arrive at the Scotch verdict of "Not Proven." A question is raised, not resolved. Nietzsche is found neither innocent nor guilty, yet inexorably bound to the catastrophic first half of the twentieth century.

More: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=9900

The Compulsive Reader

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is someone for whom words such as brilliant, disturbing, original, radical, and strange might have been coined. Reading his work helps one to make sense of all sorts of vague impressions and thoughts one may have been too afraid to think through. I always admired Nietzsche for his willingness to question everything; and to choose forms of culture and thought that were useful to him and his projects, something I imagine would be important to African-American thinkers and writers who have inherited various traditions, not all of which are helpful in fulfilling needs or achieving hopes. Nietzsche reminds me not only of the power philosophy has, but of the power of language: his language is one of forceful insight, of formidable style, of wit, of challenge and outrage, of nobility and spirituality. Nietzsche is very attractive; and he can be just as repellent. He was taken up during his life by French historian Hippolyte Adolphe Taine, Danish critic Georg Brandes (yes, Georg), and Swedish playwright August Strindberg, and after his death by Thomas Mann, Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, and Cornel West—and Hitler and Mussolini. I did an independent study course on Nietzsche many years ago in college and, in my lasting admiration for his criticality and wit, I was taken aback a few years ago when I mentioned him in the midst of a friendly conversation with an Asian studies professor and she described him as a founder of fascism—I didn’t know what she was talking about, but now...

More: http://www.compulsivereader.com/2005/04 ... trich-eds/

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Re: Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby Haven » 08 Oct 2015 01:57

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The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany, 1890 - 1990
Steven E. Aschheim

Countless attempts have been made to appropriate the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche for diverse cultural and political ends, but nowhere have these efforts been more sustained and of greater consequence than in Germany. This is a chronicle of the philosopher's presence in German life and politics from before the turn of the century through the recent reunification. Nietzsche, the philosopher who claimed he would never have disciples, emerges as a thinker whose work crucially influenced - and was recast to fit - a multitude of contradictory projects.

Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=lPPRA ... &q&f=false

I own this entire book in PDF. -- Haven

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Re: Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby Haven » 08 Oct 2015 02:10

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The source: “The Uses and Abuses of Nietzsche in the Third Reich: Alfred
Baeumler’s ‘Heroic Realism’” by Max Whyte, in Journal of Contemporary History, April ­2008.

During World War II, Hitler’s soldiers marched off to battle with field-gray edi­tions of Friedrich Nietzsche’s works in their packs, and ordinary Germans were occasionally urged on with the philosopher’s words. After the defeat at Stalingrad in 1943, Nazi propa­ganda minister Joseph Goeb­bels de­clared, “We shall once more justify the words of the phil­os­opher: ‘That which does not kill me makes me stronger.’” Yet today Nie­tzsche (1844–1900) is one of the guiding lights of modern and postmodern thought, his exploitation by the Nazis dis­missed as a travesty based on ignorance and willful ­distortion.

Not so fast, says Max Whyte, who recently received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Nazi thinkers picked selectively from Nietzsche’s vast and ambiguous cor­pus, but we must still reckon with the fact that many of the philos­opher’s ideas did lend themselves to the Nazi cause. Liberal bourgeois ­existence—­the very ideas of Christian morality, democracy, and ­rationality—­filled Nietzsche with contempt. God is dead, he declared, and mankind must reinvent itself in a new image of greatness. The door was ­open.

Among the Nazi thinkers who seized on Nietzsche was Alfred Baeumler (1887–1968). A professor at the ­Friedrich-­Wilhelms-­Univer­sität Berlin, Baeumler embraced the Nazi cause around 1930 and was granted an hour-­long audience with Hitler himself in 1931, the same year he published his influential Nietz­sche: The Philosopher and Politician. Baeumler also edited Nietzsche’s works and wrote for the general public; Whyte adds that he was “a close personal and pro­fes­sional ally of Alfred ­Rosenberg—­the ­self-­proclaimed ‘chief ideologist of National Socialism.’”

For Nietzsche, the way toward a new human future lay through the ancient Greeks, pioneered by the Übermensch, or super­man, a heroic figure who through great struggle would transcend the banalities of everyday experience. Baeumler had to make some twists and turns to get around other Nietzschean ideas, such as the philosopher’s emphasis on the creative, Diony­sian side of Greek culture (notably in music) over its more orderly Apollonian aspect. He based much of his argument on the posthumous Will to Power (1901), in which Nietzsche argued that the desire to dominate is the most es­sen­tial human drive, sur­passing even the will to ­live.

Baeumler called his simplified Nietzschean doctrine “heroic realism.” Enmity and war were not unfortunate facts of the human condition, he declared, but its essential and perpetual characteristics. Vio­lent conflict was the only path to ennobled human life. Baeumler then shifted the role of the Über­mensch to the German Volk (people), hungry for a political and cultural rebirth in the unhappy years after World War I: “The old task of our race reap­peared before Nietz­sche’s eyes: the task to be leaders of Europe.”

Baeumler was not alone among Nazi ideol-ogists in drawing on ­Nietzsche—­the philos­opher Martin Heidegger shared his view for a ­time—­but some sharply criticized the practice. (Nietzsche had, among other things, spoken out against ­anti-­Semitism.) “Baeumler’s depiction of Nietzsche . . . was cer­tainly ­one-­sided and myopic, but it was neither incoherent nor ab­surd,” Whyte concludes. National Social­ism was not a cohesive doc­trine, he adds, and understanding it, as well as Nietzsche’s place in it, remains unfinished business for ­scholars.

From: http://archive.wilsonquarterly.com/in-e ... -and-nazis

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Haven
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Re: Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby Haven » 08 Oct 2015 02:27

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Adolf Hitler & Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche

philosophical conversations
January 14, 2005
Nietzsche & Fascism

I'm still working on Sarah Kofman at the moment, in particular, her book Le Mepris des Juifs [Contempt for the Jews], in which she attempts to salvage Nietzsche from the interpretation of his work as proto-fascist, and, more importantly for Kofman, anti-Semitic. Kofman provides a 'survey' of Nietzsche's remarks about the Jews, and attempts to contextualise them in terms of the state of his identity, in relation to important figures in his life: his mother, his sister, and Wagner and Schopenhauer. She argues, roughly, that Nietzsche matured when he was able to renounce the anti-Semitic (amongst other things) attitudes of these 'forebears,' and finally came to identify himself as a Jew. As with many critics who rally to Nietzsche's defence against the nazi appropriation, Nietzsche's sister gets a bad rap in this book, elis1933.jpg and it appears that Nietzsche might not have suffered the maligning that he did, had it not been for his sister's presiding over his literary estate, controlling how his books were published, and publicising Nietzsche's work as proto-fascist.

My question to Kofman is, what is her stake in cleansing Nietzsche of the taint of nazism? I read her interpretation of Nietzsche as very much implicated in her own feelings of ambivalence regarding her 'Jewishness'. In the light of her Rue Ordener, Rue Labat (discussed in a previous post). Rue Ordener is an autobiographical account of the trauma she suffered during WWII, after her father had been taken to Auschwitz and she was divided between her mother and a gentile 'lady' who wanted to Christianise her--Kofman perhaps identified not only with Nietzsche's philosophical perspective, but also with his deep ambivalence regarding the Jews. In this respect, her cleansing of Nietzsche of any ambiguity regarding his position on the Jews, is also a cleansing of herself... And Elisabeth Nietzsche plays the part of the dupe, or 'scapegoat,' upon whose back their collective sins are heaped on their day of atonement.

More: http://sauer-thompson.com/conversations ... 02780.html

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Re: Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby Haven » 08 Oct 2015 02:35

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A Study of Various Nationalist appropriations of Nietzsche in the Weimar Republic
Rex Anderton
A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of MPhil(B) Modern
European Cultures
German Department
School of Humanities
The University of Birmingham
September 2009

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to identify and evaluate the appropriations of Friedrich Nietzshce’s philosophy by three key nationalist figures from Germany during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). These three individuals are the author Ernst Jünger, and from within the Nazi Party, the Nietzsche scholar, Alfred Baeumler and the ideologue Alfred Rosenberg. There has been significant research into these separate fields of study but the aim here is to consider them alongside one another in order to defend both Nietzsche and Jünger from claims of (proto-) Nazism. In doing so, it will highlight Baeumler’s and Rosenberg’s misappropriations of Nietzsche’s philosophy as well as highlight the ideological gap that existed between Jünger and National Socialism. It looks first at the Nazi appropriations of Nietzsche, then at Jünger’s, in each case identifying distance from the original and from one another, considering ideas such as the Good European, the Eternal Recurrence and Transvaluation of all Values. Following this, the concluding chapter summarises the arguments presented throughout, conceding that Nietzsche’s inherent ambiguities allow for liberal interpretation in many cases, but that the Nazi examples often overstepped this boundary. Furthermore, it reviews the point that Jünger’s ideological distance from the Nazis can be identified through his appropriation of Nietzsche’s philosophy.

PDF Thesis: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/367/1/Anderson09MPhil.pdf

gomila
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Re: Nietzsche & The Third Reich

Postby gomila » 15 Jul 2017 19:15

dear haven,

im interested in the book Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism?: On the Uses & Abuses of a Philosophy Edited by Jacob Golomb & Robert S. Wistrich for academic purposes. i see u have it in PDF. would you be so kind to send it to me via gomilarva@gmail.com?

thank you


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