Nietzsche and Nazism

51EhzxMbJhL._SL300_During the holidays, one of my favorite pastimes has been reading the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer, journalist and eyewitness to the Second World War and its background. The chapter which has drawn my attention most, so far, deals with the intellectual roots of the Third Reich, especially with the influence of much-celebrated Nietzsche’s thought.

Nazi writers never got tired of praising him. Hitler often visited the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar, and would openly show his admiration for the philosopher, posing for the photographers in an ecstatic attitude before the bust of the great man.

Any Nazi could quote him while discussing almost every imaginable topic. About Christianity, for instance, Nitzsche said that is was “a terrible curse, excessive and deep perversion”. And exalted the superman, animal of prey, “the magnificent blond brute, aggressively thirsting for plunder and victory.” In “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” the philosopher shouted: “I don’t recommend you peace, but victory (…) You say that good cause justifies even war? I tell you: the good war is one which justifies any cause. War and courage have done grander things than love for neighbor”. Finally, there was the prophecy of Nietzsche that there would emerge an elite to rule the world and from which the superman would arise. In Will to Power, he slogans: “A fearless race and leader is being created (…). The objective will be to prepare a transposition of values ​​by a kind of particularly strong man, the most highly endowed with intelligence and will. This man, and the elite around him, will become the ‘lords of the earth’ “. There’s no doubt that, in the end, Hitler considers himself the super-man of Nietzsche’s prophecy.
That said, there’s a need to think over the importance and weight bestowed on Nietzsche’s thought to this day. Nazism fell, but some of its philosophical foundations are still present in modern mentality and culture, which maybe accounts, to a great extent, for the roots of our civilization’s evils, such as the exacerbation of violence, eugenics, currently expressed in the defense of abortion of human beings regarded as “inviable”, the disappearance of charitable acts, justice and personal virtue, annihilated by individualism and social Darwinism, etc.
Undoubtedly, today’s world has technology and speed, it just needs to be clarified where we are going (and accelerating!)?

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