Anderton, Rex (2009)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
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.
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