There is an oft assumed fallacy in philosophy and historical studies from the last hundred years. This fallacy is the idea that Nietzsche caused fascism in Germany. The reason being is obvious "Hitler`s public speeches involving misquoted Nietzsche text. Scholars today still argue over the issue. This short article will redeem Nietzsche of these charges.
Walter Kaufmann, a leading Jewish Nietzsche scholar of the 20th century was the leading Nietzsche scholar who went against this fascism charge. In his Nietzsche he states that Hitler knew ten times as much about Wagner as he did about Nietzsche. "(Nietzsche 290-308) Kaufmann explains that Wagner was the true Anti-Semite and this racism is part of the cause of the well-known split between the former friends Wagner and Nietzsche. Nietzsche ended his friendship with Wagner and pursued a path inimical to the Nazi`s. In multiple places in Nietzsche`s writings he explains himself as an anti-anti-Semite, with discussions on Judaism. For example, The dignity of death and a kind of consecration of passion has perhaps never yet been presented so beautifully "than by certain Jews of the Old Testament: to these even the Greeks could have gone to school! "(Nietzsche notebooks 301) This statement is certainly not that of an anti-Semite`s!
As for Hitler`s speeches and references to Nietzsche, it was all an attempt to scapegoat his crimes on someone prior. Nietzsche`s works were mostly recognized posthumously. After Nietzsche`s death, Elisabeth Forster (Nietzsche`s sister), likely edited some of the works of anti-Germanic, and pro-Jewish statements. She is regarded as the one who spread Nietzsche`s work, but she also was known to have a right-winged husband in the political party. Even then, Hitler`s references to Nietzsche were taken out of context and bastardized.
I had a professor during my undergraduate philosophy degree who once told the class, that Nietzsche was clearly a racist. The professor`s proof was the statement Blond Beast " in Genealogy of Morals and other racial " statements. This professor had no idea what these metaphors mean. In the same passage as Blond Beast " Nietzsche goes on to explain that he is referring to Roman, Arabian, Germanic, Japanese nobility, Homeric heroes, Scandinavian Vikings " "(Genealogy 41). If my professor had really read this passage carefully enough, he would have realized Nietzsche`s Blond Beast " was a metaphor for the Lion, and these peoples he has listed are like all like a Beast of Prey ". The metaphor is not racial, it is cultural. It is unfortunate that my professor considered Nietzsche`s statement racial and not cultural, for this is how these misconceptions get spread in the first place.
Any opinions expressed on this website are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Student Operated Press