Where and when did Nietzsche's sister meet Hitler?

Where and when did Nietzsche's sister meet Hitler?

It is well-known that Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche, was a nationalist and anti-semite who took control of her brother's papers on his death and propagated a distorted version of his thinking in tune with her own views. As a review of Ben Macintyre's biography of her puts it,

she played down his momentous break with Wagner, denied his opposition to German nationalism, and soft-pedaled his contempt for Christianity. In compiling “The Will to Power” from her brother's writings, [… ] she further distorted his beliefs by cobbling together unrelated fragments of his writings.

Kakutani, On the Trail of the Other Nietzsche

The review and Wikipedia note that Hitler himself attended her funeral in 1935. However, there is no mention of her actually meeting the Fuehrer. But Brigitte Hamann's Hitler's Vienna relates a conversation between the two people. Hitler explained to her why he had never married:

[It was] “that he couldn't even consider marriage, because he belonged to the whole Volk, and to the work of construction dedicated to the Volk. He was surely not born for enjoying life, but for shaping and molding it.” And his conversation partner, Nietzsche's aged sister Dr. Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche, exclaimed, “my brother always preached [hat immer gepredigt], 'A hero must be free!'”

(Hamann German paperback edition, p. 538. The citation is from H. S. Ziegler, A. H. aus dem Erleben dargestellt, Goettingen 1965.)

My question: When and under what circumstances did Elisabeth Nietzsche meet Hitler? More generally, where could we find more examples of spoken statements by E. F-N. where she (mis)applies her brother's thought to Hitler or to the Nazi regime more broadly?

It took place outside of the Nietzsche's Archive Building in Weimar: Hitler kissed Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche's hand as a clue to acceptance of the Nietzsche's philosophy by Nazis. (Strathern, Paul., Nietzsche in 90 Minutes (Farsi translation), p44) (Photo1) (Photo2)

Unfortunately, I do not have English edition of the book in hand.

See also: Hitler's Private Library

She died in Nov 1935. I think the meeting referred to above took place in the summer of 1935 - she was still quite spry aged 89 - but, definitely after Hitler became Chancellor (1933,34 are also possibilities) - but I think Hitler was too busy those years - long knives and all. By 35 he was more confident - and the answer above quite correct - it was understood by all to be supremely symbolic at the leader-level so to say - he was photographed in a richly staged way with Nietzsche's bust in the background.

I can say with more confidence that I think his sister presented Hitler with Nietzsche's walking stick (which he had mostly used in Switzerland and Italy - ha ha!)

Hitler himself - the great actor - probably never read a word of Nietzsche - and was proud of it!

As to the final paragraph of your question: look at a book published by Prin Univ Press in 2015: "Nietzsche's Jewish Problem" ISBN 9780691167558

He actually seems to develop a much more sympathetic approach to the sister than you usually hear; it was her husband who was the rabid anti-Semite - she stepped back from it after his death by the 1890s - also never a member of the Nazi party - and never particularly vocal in her support of it (still, she no doubt jumped at the Hitler visit chance - she was an operator!) she also acknowledged apparently genuinely the place Jewish scholars had had in Nietzsche's belated "discovery" - etc etc -- also of note: the Nazi regime always had to treat Nietzsche very carefully - always wanted to "claim him" of course, but that was made difficult by the copious amount of plainly philo-semitism in his (particularly early) work - I recall lines in Daybreak to the effect of the Jews "inheriting" the Earth and the sooner the better (I summarize)- --the planned critical edition of his works (briefly?) underway in the mid-30s had to be quietly shutdown for that reason. -- Heidegger was a member of the board for the critical ed. - would love to know how he stirred to pot on that issue!

To somebody inspecting a faded photograph of gruff Lord Redesdale and his young children - all posed somewhat grumpily in a Cotswold garden in the early 20th century - there is little to reveal the dramatic destinies and political rivalries that would await them.

Who could know that the beautiful Diana and the attention-seeking Unity would court the affections of Adolf Hitler, becoming his trusted friends?

Or see in Jessica Mitford any glimpse of the communist and rebel that she would become, avowed to destroy the exploitative funeral industry?

Is there any sign in the young Nancy of the best-selling novelist who would secretly denounce her own sister to British Intelligence?

Little of these strange, disparate futures can be guessed from these childhood images.

The children of Lord and Lady Redesdale were already very different in character &ndash though the girls seemed to have shared the particular wit and look which would become the Mitford brand. The family lived in the inherited home at Batsford Park before Lord Redesdale sold the expensively maintained pile and moved them all to Asthall Manor at Burford, eventually relocating to a rather uglier house of his own design in the village of Swinbrook, when money ran lower still.

An Isolated Upbringing

The sisters&rsquo own accounts have described Redesdale, or &lsquoFarve&rsquo as the children called him, as prone to rages and dismissive of outsiders, creating a somewhat secluded environment for their upbringing. The girls were mostly taught at home (though this was not completely unusual for girls of their social class at that time) their parents were not great believers in schools.

Jessica and Unity created a made-up language called &lsquoBoudledidge&rsquo and, using a diamond ring, etched Communist and Nazi symbols into a windowpane, declaring their separate political allegiances. Certainly Jessica begrudged missing school and even established a &lsquoRunning Away&rsquo fund where she would store her early savings, ready for the dramatic escape that she actually enacted at age nineteen when she eloped to America with a nephew of Winston Churchill.

Once the sisters had left home, their lives would take them in wildly different (and quite often controversial) directions. They would each pursue their own destinies, yet would remain in frequent contact over the years that followed &ndash staying friends despite the events that would rock the family.

Nancy the Novelist

Nancy, the eldest sister, became a satirical writer, lampooning her society friends and family with well-received books. She drew upon her father and upbringing when writing her best-known books In Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.

Nancy infuriated her Nazi supporting sisters Diana and Unity with her novel Wigs on the Green, which made fun of Diana&rsquos husband&rsquos right-wing posturing and mocked Fascism. &lsquoI warn you you can&rsquot possibly publish it,&rsquo Unity wrote to her from Munich in 1934, &lsquo&hellipbecause if you did I couldn&rsquot possibly ever speak to you again.&rsquo

Correspondence continued after the book&rsquos release, however, and for Unity&rsquos 21st birthday, Nancy wrote to her: &lsquo&hellipI enclose a miserable cheque to buy yourself some pretty little Nazi emblem with.&rsquo

Sisters in Fascism

Perhaps the most remembered Mitford &ndash for all the wrong reasons &ndash is the striking society beauty Diana.

After a scandalous affair with the charismatic Oswald Mosley &ndash leader of the British Union of Fascists &ndash she later wed him in Germany at the house of Joseph Goebbels. Hitler was their guest of honour, presenting the couple with a framed portrait of himself as a wedding gift. &lsquoFarve&rsquo was furious at their union (for Diana had left her first husband, Bryan Guinness, for Mosley) and banned her younger sisters from seeing her.

Diana was eventually imprisoned for her Fascist affiliations &ndash and we now know that Nancy supported the sentencing. &lsquoThere is little doubt that she acted as a courier between her husband and the Nazi government,&rsquo reads a recently revealed MI5 file, which also contains several damning comments from Nancy. "[Diana is] far cleverer and more dangerous than her husband&hellip[she] sincerely desires the downfall of England and democracy generally and should not be released&hellip[she] will stick at nothing to achieve her ambitions, is wildly ambitious, a ruthless and shrewd egotist, a devoted Fascist and admirer of Hitler".

After her eventual release Diana spent most of her life in France, writing articles and reviews for a variety of publications. She died decades later in 2003, a suspected victim of heatstroke.

Though the Mitford sisters were known for their regular correspondence (despite leading such different and turbulent lives), relations between Diana and communist Jessica remained distant and strained (&lsquoThey should be kept in jail where they belong&rsquo, Jessica wrote to Winston Churchill when Diana and Mosley were released. Diana later retaliated by declaring Jessica: &lsquoA rather boring person, actually.&rsquo).

Unity Valkyrie Mitford was completely devoted to Hitler and his regime. A fanatic by many accounts, Unity was besotted with the Fuehrer and a committed Fascist, often seen raising her hand in the Nazi salute. She obsessively wrote of &lsquoPoor Hitler&rsquo in her letters and mentioned a collection of &lsquo304 postcards of the Fuehrer&rsquo.

A photograph from the very first Nuremberg Rally shows Diana and a 19 year old Unity, smiling prettily amongst the dark shirts of the grinning Nazis who had just seized power. After engineering a meeting with Hitler in a caf., Unity would enjoy many audiences with her idol.

As relations between England and Germany soured, she clung to her hopes England and Germany could broker an alliance. When war was finally declared, she shot herself in the head with an ornate pistol (another gift from the glorious &lsquoLeader&rsquo). Yet the shot failed to kill her. The bullet stuck in her head and she was reduced to an infantile and confused condition. Transported back to England via neutral Switzerland, Unity was cared for by her mother until her death in 1948.

Jessica Mitford, the &lsquoRed Sheep&rsquo

At the extreme opposite end of the political spectrum was Jessica &lsquoDecca&rsquo Mitford. A runaway, firebrand aristocrat who fled to fight with the Reds in the Spanish Civil War at the age of 19, she dedicated herself to communism and, later, civil rights.

Deserting the family home at the age of 19 with her suitor Esmond Romilly, an anarchist nephew of Winston Churchill, Jessica had set the tone for a life of witty defiance (Hitler comforted a saddened Unity when she shared the news of Jessica&rsquos elopement).

After Romilly was killed in action in 1941, she helped bring about state investigations into police brutality and battled for years against Service Corporation International, who she hounded for exploitation and immorality within the funeral industry, publishing the bestselling expose The American Way of Death. When she died in 1996, she left instructions for her assistant to bill Service Corporation International for her funeral expenses (&lsquo&hellipafter all, look at all the fame I've brought them!&rsquo).

The Other Siblings

The Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah &lsquoDebo&rsquo Cavendish, was for many years the only surviving sister and known as the public face of the Chatsworth estate (she died in September 2014). She decried many of the books that were written about her sisters, and released her own memoirs, entitled Wait for Me! in 2010.

The Duchess was known for her close friendship with the late JFK and her most surprising eccentricity was her fondness for Elvis.

The sisters&rsquo brother, Thomas, died soldiering in Burma in 1945 &ndash though he had been introduced to Hitler by Unity in 1935, it is uncertain if he ever shared his sisters&rsquo support for the dictator.

Farve never really recovered from the loss of his son, while Jessica&rsquos desertion and Diana&rsquos imprisonment still rankled. One gets the impression that he regretted losing touch with his daughters in the years before his death.

Pamela Mitford created considerably less column inches than her more bombastic sisters. She was regularly referred to as &lsquoWoman&rsquo or &lsquoWomb&rsquo by the rest for her demure and virtuous nature. The Mitford girls were perhaps their own best publicists Pamela seems to have evaded the limelight, seeking only a quiet life.

The Mitford Legacies

One of the Mitfords&rsquo legacies was the impact Jessica had on Harry Potter author J.K Rowling: &lsquoMy most influential writer, without a doubt, is Jessica Mitford. When my great-aunt gave me [Jessica&rsquos autobiography] Hons and Rebels when I was 14, she instantly became my heroine,&rsquo Rowling said in a 2002 interview with The Scotsman. &lsquo&hellipI think I've read everything she wrote. I even called my daughter after her.&rsquo

The sisters are all gone now yet fascination with these uncanny characters endures. Perhaps we can attribute this to their combination of intelligence, aristocracy, pluck and beauty or maybe because, in their early adulthood, they became entangled with the most infamous players on the global stage, in those distant and naive seeming years before WWII.

Jessica was inexpensively cremated in America, in keeping with her famous animosity towards the funeral industry. Nancy, Diana, Unity and Pamela lie buried in the humble graveyard at Swinbrook &ndash together again, after everything that went on inbetween.

1912: How did Hitler and Eva Braun Meet?

On this day Hitler’s mistress and wife Eva Braun was born. She was born in Munich and was as much as 22 years younger than Hitler. She met him when she was 17 years old, at the time when she was working as an assistant of Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer of the Nazi Party (NSDAP).

When they first met, Hitler introduced himself as Herr Wolf, the name he often used as pseudonym for safety reasons (Wolf as an association to Hitler’s name Adolf which, in the old Germanic language meant something like “noble wolf”). Eva supposedly fell in love with him at first sight. Hitler, however, at that time lived with Geli Raubal, his niece. The nature of uncle-nice relationship cannot be exactly verified, but it is known that Hitler was very attached to her.

Geli committed suicide with Hitler’s gun in 1931. After that Hitler began to see Eva Braun more often. Their relationship was hidden before the public. Hitler supposedly did not want to get married because he considered himself to be sexually attractive and thought that his bachelor status provides him popularity among German women.

He started to appear in public with her only after her sister Gretl married SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, the member of his party, so Hitler could introduce Eva as Fegelein’s sister-in-law. Eva refused to leave Berlin while the Red Army was approaching. She and Hitler were married only about 40 hours before both of them committed suicide. They both took a cyanide capsule, and he additionally shot himself with his gun, the same one that his nice Geli Raubal had used to kill herself 14 years earlier.


Youth (1844–1868) Edit

Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the town of Röcken (now part of Lützen), near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth (Nietzsche later dropped his middle name Wilhelm). [55] Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813–1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher and Franziska Nietzsche (née Oehler) (1826–1897), married in 1843, the year before their son's birth. They had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846 and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849 Ludwig Joseph died six months later at age two. [56] The family then moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's maternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house, now Nietzsche-Haus, a museum and Nietzsche study center.

Nietzsche attended a boys' school and then a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder, all three of whom came from highly respected families. Academic records from one of the schools attended by Nietzsche noted that he excelled in Christian theology. [57] [ better source needed ]

In 1854, he began to attend Domgymnasium in Naumburg. Because his father had worked for the state (as a pastor) the now-fatherless Nietzsche was offered a scholarship to study at the internationally recognized Schulpforta (the claim that Nietzsche was admitted on the strength of his academic competence has been debunked: his grades were not near the top of the class). [58] He studied there from 1858 to 1864, becoming friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. Nietzsche led "Germania", a music and literature club, during his summers in Naumburg. [56] At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important grounding in languages—Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and French—so as to be able to read important primary sources [59] he also experienced for the first time being away from his family life in a small-town conservative environment. His end-of-semester exams in March 1864 showed a 1 in Religion and German a 2a in Greek and Latin a 2b in French, History, and Physics and a "lackluster" 3 in Hebrew and Mathematics. [60]

While at Schulpforta, Nietzsche pursued subjects that were considered unbecoming. He became acquainted with the work of the then almost-unknown poet Friedrich Hölderlin, calling him "my favorite poet" and composing an essay in which he said that the mad poet raised consciousness to "the most sublime ideality". [61] The teacher who corrected the essay gave it a good mark but commented that Nietzsche should concern himself in the future with healthier, more lucid, and more "German" writers. Additionally, he became acquainted with Ernst Ortlepp, an eccentric, blasphemous, and often drunken poet who was found dead in a ditch weeks after meeting the young Nietzsche but who may have introduced Nietzsche to the music and writing of Richard Wagner. [62] Perhaps under Ortlepp's influence, he and a student named Richter returned to school drunk and encountered a teacher, resulting in Nietzsche's demotion from first in his class and the end of his status as a prefect. [63]

After graduation in September 1864, [64] Nietzsche began studying theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn in the hope of becoming a minister. For a short time, he and Deussen became members of the Burschenschaft Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother), he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith. [65] As early as his 1862 essay "Fate and History", Nietzsche had argued that historical research had discredited the central teachings of Christianity, [66] but David Strauss's Life of Jesus also seems to have had a profound effect on the young man. [65] In addition, Ludwig Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity influenced young Nietzsche with its argument that people created God, and not the other way around. [67] In June 1865, at the age of 20, Nietzsche wrote to his sister Elisabeth, who was deeply religious, a letter regarding his loss of faith. This letter contains the following statement:

Hence the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire. [68]

Nietzsche subsequently concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig in 1865. [69] There, he became close friends with his fellow student Erwin Rohde. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after.

In 1865, Nietzsche thoroughly studied the works of Arthur Schopenhauer. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation and later admitted that Schopenhauer was one of the few thinkers whom he respected, dedicating the essay "Schopenhauer as Educator" in the Untimely Meditations to him.

In 1866, he read Friedrich Albert Lange's History of Materialism. Lange's descriptions of Kant's anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe's increased concern with science, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority intrigued Nietzsche greatly. Nietzsche would ultimately argue the impossibility of an evolutionary explanation of the human aesthetic sense. [70]

In 1867, Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. He was regarded as one of the finest riders among his fellow recruits, and his officers predicted that he would soon reach the rank of captain. However, in March 1868, while jumping into the saddle of his horse, Nietzsche struck his chest against the pommel and tore two muscles in his left side, leaving him exhausted and unable to walk for months. [71] [72] Consequently, he turned his attention to his studies again, completing them in 1868. Nietzsche also met Richard Wagner for the first time later that year. [73]

Professor at Basel (1869–1878) Edit

In 1869, with Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received an offer to become a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He was only 24 years old and had neither completed his doctorate nor received a teaching certificate ("habilitation"). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Leipzig University in March 1869, again with Ritschl's support. [74]

Despite his offer coming at a time when he was considering giving up philology for science, he accepted. [75] To this day, Nietzsche is still among the youngest of the tenured Classics professors on record. [76]

Nietzsche's 1870 projected doctoral thesis, "Contribution toward the Study and the Critique of the Sources of Diogenes Laertius" ("Beiträge zur Quellenkunde und Kritik des Laertius Diogenes"), examined the origins of the ideas of Diogenes Laërtius. [19] Though never submitted, it was later published as a gratulationsschrift ('congratulatory publication') in Basel. [77] [ii]

Before moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless. [78] [79]

Nevertheless, Nietzsche served in the Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) as a medical orderly. In his short time in the military, he experienced much and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria and dysentery. [80] Walter Kaufmann speculates that he might also have contracted syphilis at a brothel along with his other infections at this time. [81] [82] On returning to Basel in 1870, Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire and Otto von Bismarck's subsequent policies as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding their genuineness. His inaugural lecture at the university was "Homer and Classical Philology". Nietzsche also met Franz Overbeck, a professor of theology who remained his friend throughout his life. Afrikan Spir, a little-known Russian philosopher responsible for the 1873 Thought and Reality and Nietzsche's colleague, the famed historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on him. [83]

Nietzsche had already met Richard Wagner in Leipzig in 1868 and later Wagner's wife, Cosima. Nietzsche admired both greatly and during his time at Basel frequently visited Wagner's house in Tribschen in Lucerne. The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their most intimate circle—including Franz Liszt, of whom Nietzsche colloquially described: "Liszt or the art of running after women!" [84] Nietzsche enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Bayreuth Festival. In 1870, he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of "The Genesis of the Tragic Idea" as a birthday gift. In 1872, Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy. However, his colleagues within his field, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work in which Nietzsche eschewed the classical philologic method in favor of a more speculative approach. In his polemic Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff damped the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde (then a professor in Kiel) and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted unsuccessfully to transfer to a position in philosophy at Basel.

In 1873, Nietzsche began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. Between 1873 and 1876, he published four separate long essays: "David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer", "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life", "Schopenhauer as Educator", and "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth". These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title Untimely Meditations. The essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. During this time in the circle of the Wagners, he met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow. He also began a friendship with Paul Rée who, in 1876, influenced him into dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of "German culture", which Nietzsche felt a contradiction in terms as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to his subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.

With the publication in 1878 of Human, All Too Human (a book of aphorisms ranging from metaphysics to morality to religion), a new style of Nietzsche's work became clear, highly influenced by Afrikan Spir's Thought and Reality [85] and reacting against the pessimistic philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. In 1879, after a significant decline in health, Nietzsche had to resign his position at Basel. Since his childhood, various disruptive illnesses had plagued him, including moments of shortsightedness that left him nearly blind, migraine headaches, and violent indigestion. The 1868 riding accident and diseases in 1870 may have aggravated these persistent conditions, which continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work became impractical.

Independent philosopher (1879–1888) Edit

Living off his pension from Basel and aid from friends, Nietzsche traveled frequently to find climates more conducive to his health and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria near St. Moritz in Switzerland. He spent his winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo, and Turin and the French city of Nice. In 1881, when France occupied Tunisia, he planned to travel to Tunis to view Europe from the outside but later abandoned that idea, probably for health reasons. [86] Nietzsche occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and, especially during this time, he and his sister had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation.

While in Genoa, Nietzsche's failing eyesight prompted him to explore the use of typewriters as a means of continuing to write. He is known to have tried using the Hansen Writing Ball, a contemporary typewriter device. In the end, a past student of his, Heinrich Köselitz or Peter Gast, became a private secretary to Nietzsche. In 1876, Gast transcribed the crabbed, nearly illegible handwriting of Nietzsche's first time with Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. [87] He subsequently transcribed and proofread the galleys for almost all of Nietzsche's work. On at least one occasion, on 23 February 1880, the usually poor Gast received 200 marks from their mutual friend, Paul Rée. [88] Gast was one of the very few friends Nietzsche allowed to criticize him. In responding most enthusiastically to Also Sprach Zarathustra ('Thus Spoke Zarathustra'), Gast did feel it necessary to point out that what were described as "superfluous" people were in fact quite necessary. He went on to list the number of people Epicurus, for example, had to rely on to supply his simple diet of goat cheese. [89]

To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck remained consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music-critic Carl Fuchs. Nietzsche stood at the beginning of his most productive period. Beginning with Human, All Too Human in 1878, Nietzsche published one book or major section of a book each year until 1888, his last year of writing that year, he completed five.

In 1882, Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science. That year he also met Lou Andreas-Salomé, [90] through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée.

Salomé's mother took her to Rome when Salomé was 21. At a literary salon in the city, Salomé became acquainted with Paul Rée. Rée proposed marriage to her, but she, instead, proposed that they should live and study together as "brother and sister", along with another man for company, where they would establish an academic commune. [91] Rée accepted the idea and suggested that they be joined by his friend Nietzsche. The two met Nietzsche in Rome in April 1882, and Nietzsche is believed to have instantly fallen in love with Salomé, as Rée had done. Nietzsche asked Rée to propose marriage to Salomé, which she rejected. She had been interested in Nietzsche as a friend, but not as a husband. [91] Nietzsche nonetheless was content to join together with Rée and Salomé touring through Switzerland and Italy together, planning their commune. The three traveled with Salomé's mother through Italy and considered where they would set up their "Winterplan" commune. They intended to set up their commune in an abandoned monastery, but no suitable location was found. On 13 May, in Lucerne, when Nietzsche was alone with Salomé, he earnestly proposed marriage to her again, which she rejected. He nonetheless was happy to continue with the plans for an academic commune. [91] After discovering the situation, Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth became determined to get Nietzsche away from the "immoral woman". [92] Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg in Thuringia, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as a chaperone. Salomé reports that he asked her to marry him on three separate occasions and that she refused, though the reliability of her reports of events is questionable. [93] Arriving in Leipzig, (Germany) in October, Salomé and Rée separated from Nietzsche after a falling-out between Nietzsche and Salomé, in which Salomé believed that Nietzsche was desperately in love with her.

While the three spent a number of weeks together in Leipzig in October 1882, the following month Rée and Salomé ditched Nietzsche, leaving for Stibbe (today Zdbowo in Poland) [94] without any plans to meet again. Nietzsche soon fell into a period of mental anguish, although he continued to write to Rée, stating "We shall see one another from time to time, won't we?" [95] In later recriminations, Nietzsche would blame on separate occasions the failure in his attempts to woo Salomé on Salomé, Rée, and on the intrigues of his sister (who had written letters to the families of Salomé and Rée to disrupt the plans for the commune). Nietzsche wrote of the affair in 1883, that he now felt "genuine hatred for my sister". [95]

Amidst renewed bouts of illness, living in near-isolation after a falling out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo, where he wrote the first part of Also Sprach Zarathustra in only ten days.

By 1882, Nietzsche was taking huge doses of opium, but he was still having trouble sleeping. [96] In 1883, while staying in Nice, he was writing out his own prescriptions for the sedative chloral hydrate, signing them "Dr. Nietzsche". [97]

He turned away from the influence of Schopenhauer, and after he severed his social ties with Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now, with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating, and the market received it only to the degree required by politeness. Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, though he often complained. His books remained largely unsold. In 1885, he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra and distributed a fraction of them among close friends, including Helene von Druskowitz.

In 1883, he tried and failed to obtain a lecturing post at the University of Leipzig. According to a letter he wrote to Peter Gast, this was due to his "attitude towards Christianity and the concept of God". [98]

In 1886, Nietzsche broke with his publisher Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted by his antisemitic opinions. Nietzsche saw his own writings as "completely buried and in this anti-Semitic dump" of Schmeitzner—associating the publisher with a movement that should be "utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind." [99] He then printed Beyond Good and Evil at his own expense. He also acquired the publication rights for his earlier works and over the next year issued second editions of The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and of The Gay Science with new prefaces placing the body of his work in a more coherent perspective. Thereafter, he saw his work as completed for a time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, if rather slowly and hardly perceptibly to him. During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler, and Gottfried Keller.

In 1886, his sister Elisabeth married the antisemite Bernhard Förster and travelled to Paraguay to found Nueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony [100] [101] Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued through cycles of conflict and reconciliation, but they met again only after his collapse. He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible.

In 1887, Nietzsche wrote the polemic On the Genealogy of Morality. During the same year, he encountered the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, to whom he felt an immediate kinship. [102] He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine and Georg Brandes. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him. However, before fulfilling this promise, Nietzsche slipped too far into illness. At the beginning of 1888, Brandes delivered in Copenhagen one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

Although Nietzsche had previously announced at the end of On the Genealogy of Morality a new work with the title The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values, he seems to have abandoned this idea and, instead, used some of the draft passages to compose Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist in 1888. [103]

His health improved and he spent the summer in high spirits. In the fall of 1888, his writings and letters began to reveal a higher estimation of his own status and "fate". He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, however, especially to the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner. On his 44th birthday, after completing Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo. In its preface—which suggests Nietzsche was well aware of the interpretive difficulties his work would generate—he declares, "Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else." [104] In December, Nietzsche began a correspondence with August Strindberg and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilation Nietzsche contra Wagner and of the poems that made up his collection Dionysian-Dithyrambs.

Mental illness and death (1889–1900) Edit

On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental breakdown. [105] Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale from shortly after his death states that Nietzsche witnessed the flogging of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms around its neck to protect it, then collapsed to the ground. [106] [107]

In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings—known as the Wahnzettel (literally "Delusion notes")—to a number of friends including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt. Most of them were signed "Dionysus", though some were also signed "der Gekreuzigte" meaning "the crucified one". To his former colleague Burckhardt, Nietzsche wrote: [108]

I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished.

Additionally, he commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany, [109] that the pope should be put in jail and that he, Nietzsche, created the world and was in the process of having all anti-Semites shot dead. [110]

On 6 January 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he had received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day, Overbeck received a similar letter and decided that Nietzsche's friends had to bring him back to Basel. Overbeck traveled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of a serious mental illness, [111] and his mother Franziska decided to transfer him to a clinic in Jena under the direction of Otto Binswanger. [112] In January 1889, they proceeded with the planned release of Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. From November 1889 to February 1890, the art historian Julius Langbehn attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the methods of the medical doctors were ineffective in treating Nietzsche's condition. [113] Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secretiveness discredited him. In March 1890, Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic and, in May 1890, brought him to her home in Naumburg. [111] During this process Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. In February, they ordered a fifty-copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed one hundred. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo because of their more radical content. [111] Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge. [114]

In 1893, Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania in Paraguay following the suicide of her husband. She studied Nietzsche's works and, piece by piece, took control of their publication. Overbeck was dismissed and Gast finally co-operated. After the death of Franziska in 1897, Nietzsche lived in Weimar, where Elisabeth cared for him and allowed visitors, including Rudolf Steiner (who in 1895 had written Friedrich Nietzsche: a Fighter Against His Time, one of the first books praising Nietzsche), [115] to meet her uncommunicative brother. Elisabeth employed Steiner as a tutor to help her to understand her brother's philosophy. Steiner abandoned the attempt after only a few months, declaring that it was impossible to teach her anything about philosophy. [116]

Nietzsche's mental illness was originally diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, in accordance with a prevailing medical paradigm of the time. Although most commentators [ who? ] regard his breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, Georges Bataille dropped dark hints ("'Man incarnate' must also go mad") [117] and René Girard's postmortem psychoanalysis posits a worshipful rivalry with Richard Wagner. [118] Nietzsche had previously written, "All superior men who were irresistibly drawn to throw off the yoke of any kind of morality and to frame new laws had, if they were not actually mad, no alternative but to make themselves or pretend to be mad." (Daybreak, 14) The diagnosis of syphilis has since been challenged and a diagnosis of "manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis followed by vascular dementia" was put forward by Cybulska prior to Schain's study. [119] [120] Leonard Sax suggested the slow growth of a right-sided retro-orbital meningioma as an explanation of Nietzsche's dementia [121] Orth and Trimble postulated frontotemporal dementia [122] while other researchers have proposed a hereditary stroke disorder called CADASIL. [123] Poisoning by mercury, a treatment for syphilis at the time of Nietzsche's death, [124] has also been suggested. [125]

In 1898 and 1899, Nietzsche suffered at least two strokes. They partially paralyzed him, leaving him unable to speak or walk. He likely suffered from clinical hemiparesis/hemiplegia on the left side of his body by 1899. After contracting pneumonia in mid-August 1900, he had another stroke during the night of 24–25 August and died at about noon on 25 August. [126] Elisabeth had him buried beside his father at the church in Röcken Lützen. His friend and secretary Gast gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!" [127]

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled The Will to Power from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks and published it posthumously. Because his sister arranged the book based on her own conflation of several of Nietzsche's early outlines and took liberties with the material, the scholarly consensus has been that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent. (For example, Elisabeth removed aphorism 35 of The Antichrist, where Nietzsche rewrote a passage of the Bible.) Indeed, Mazzino Montinari, the editor of Nietzsche's Nachlass, called it a forgery. [128] Yet, the endeavour to rescue Nietzsche’s reputation by discrediting The Will to Power often leads to a scepticism about the value of his late notes, even of the whole Nachlass. People often forget the simple fact that the Nachlass and The Will to Power are two different things. [129]

Citizenship, nationality and ethnicity Edit

General commentators and Nietzsche scholars, whether emphasizing his cultural background or his language, overwhelmingly label Nietzsche as a "German philosopher." [45] [130] [69] [131] Others do not assign him a national category. [132] [133] [134] Germany had not yet been unified into a nation-state, but Nietzsche was born a citizen of Prussia, which was then part of the German Confederation. [135] His birthplace, Röcken, is in the modern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. When he accepted his post at Basel, Nietzsche applied for annulment of his Prussian citizenship. [136] The official revocation of his citizenship came in a document dated 17 April 1869, [137] and for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless.

At least toward the end of his life, Nietzsche believed his ancestors were Polish. [138] He wore a signet ring bearing the Radwan coat of arms, traceable back to Polish nobility of medieval times [139] and the surname "Nicki" of the Polish noble (szlachta) family bearing that coat of arms. [140] [141] Gotard Nietzsche, a member of the Nicki family, left Poland for Prussia. His descendants later settled in the Electorate of Saxony circa the year 1700. [142] Nietzsche wrote in 1888, "My ancestors were Polish noblemen (Nietzky) the type seems to have been well preserved despite three generations of German mothers." [143] At one point, Nietzsche becomes even more adamant about his Polish identity. "I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood." [144] On yet another occasion, Nietzsche stated, "Germany is a great nation only because its people have so much Polish blood in their veins. I am proud of my Polish descent." [145] Nietzsche believed his name might have been Germanized, in one letter claiming, "I was taught to ascribe the origin of my blood and name to Polish noblemen who were called Niëtzky and left their home and nobleness about a hundred years ago, finally yielding to unbearable suppression: they were Protestants." [146]

Most scholars dispute Nietzsche's account of his family's origins. Hans von Müller debunked the genealogy put forward by Nietzsche's sister in favor of Polish noble heritage. [147] Max Oehler, Nietzsche's cousin and curator of the Nietzsche Archive at Weimar, argued that all of Nietzsche's ancestors bore German names, including the wives' families. [143] Oehler claims that Nietzsche came from a long line of German Lutheran clergymen on both sides of his family, and modern scholars regard the claim of Nietzsche's Polish ancestry as "pure invention." [148] Colli and Montinari, the editors of Nietzsche's assembled letters, gloss Nietzsche's claims as a "mistaken belief" and "without foundation." [149] [150] The name Nietzsche itself is not a Polish name, but an exceptionally common one throughout central Germany, in this and cognate forms (such as Nitsche and Nitzke). The name derives from the forename Nikolaus, abbreviated to Nick assimilated with the Slavic Nitz it first became Nitsche and then Nietzsche. [143]

It is not known why Nietzsche wanted to be thought of as Polish nobility. According to biographer R. J. Hollingdale, Nietzsche's propagation of the Polish ancestry myth may have been part of his "campaign against Germany." [143]

Relationships and sexuality Edit

Nietzsche never married. He proposed to Lou Salomé three times and each time was rejected. [151] One theory blames Salomé's view on sexuality as one of the reasons for her alienation from Nietzsche. As articulated in her 1898 novella Fenitschka, Salomé viewed the idea of sexual intercourse as prohibitive and marriage as a violation, with some suggesting that they indicated sexual repression and neurosis. [152] Reflecting on unrequited love, Nietzsche considered that "indispensable . to the lover is his unrequited love, which he would at no price relinquish for a state of indifference." [iii]

Deussen cited the episode of Cologne's brothel in February 1865 as instrumental to understand the philosopher's way of thinking, mostly about women. Nietzsche was surreptitiously accompanied to a "call house" from which he clumsily escaped upon seeing "a half dozen apparitions dressed in sequins and veils." According to Deussen, Nietzsche "never decided to remain unmarried all his life. For him, women had to sacrifice themselves to the care and benefit of men." [80] Nietzsche scholar Joachim Köhler [de] has attempted to explain Nietzsche's life history and philosophy by claiming that he was homosexual. Köhler argues that Nietzsche's syphilis, which is ". usually considered to be the product of his encounter with a prostitute in a brothel in Cologne or Leipzig, is equally likely. Some maintain that Nietzsche contracted it in a male brothel in Genoa." [153] The acquisition of the infection from a homosexual brothel was confirmed by Sigmund Freud, who cited Otto Binswanger as his source. [154] Köhler also suggests Nietzsche may have had a romantic relationship, as well as a friendship, with Paul Rée. [155] There is the claim that Nietzsche's homosexuality was widely known in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, with Nietzsche's friend Paul Deussen claiming that "he was a man who had never touched a woman." [156] [157]

Köhler's views have not found wide acceptance among Nietzsche scholars and commentators. Allan Megill argues that, while Köhler's claim that Nietzsche was conflicted about his homosexual desire cannot simply be dismissed, "the evidence is very weak," and Köhler may be projecting twentieth-century understandings of sexuality on nineteenth-century notions of friendship. [155] It is also known that Nietzsche frequented heterosexual brothels. [154] Nigel Rodgers and Mel Thompson have argued that continuous sickness and headaches hindered Nietzsche from engaging much with women. Yet they offer other examples in which Nietzsche expressed his affections to women, including Wagner's wife Cosima Wagner. [158]

Other scholars have argued that Köhler's sexuality-based interpretation is not helpful in understanding Nietzsche's philosophy. [159] [160] However, there are also those who stress that, if Nietzsche preferred men—with this preference constituting his psycho-sexual make-up—but could not admit his desires to himself, it meant he acted in conflict with his philosophy. [161]

Composer Edit

Nietzsche composed several works for voice, piano, and violin beginning in 1858 at the Schulpforta in Naumburg when he started to work on musical compositions. Richard Wagner was dismissive of Nietzsche's music, allegedly mocking a birthday gift of a piano composition sent by Nietzsche in 1871 to his wife Cosima. German conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow also described another of Nietzsche's pieces as "the most undelightful and the most antimusical draft on musical paper that I have faced in a long time." [162]

In a letter of 1887, Nietzsche claimed, "There has never been a philosopher who has been in essence a musician to such an extent as I am," although he also admitted that he "might be a thoroughly unsuccessful musician." [163]

Because of Nietzsche's evocative style and provocative ideas, his philosophy generates passionate reactions. His works remain controversial, due to varying interpretations and misinterpretations. In Western philosophy, Nietzsche's writings have been described as a case of free revolutionary thought, that is, revolutionary in its structure and problems, although not tied to any revolutionary project. [164] His writings have also been described as a revolutionary project in which his philosophy serves as the foundation of a European cultural rebirth. [165] [166]

Apollonian and Dionysian Edit

The Apollonian and Dionysian is a two-fold philosophical concept, based on features of ancient Greek mythology: Apollo and Dionysus. Even though the concept is famously related to The Birth of Tragedy, the poet Hölderlin had already spoken of it, and Winckelmann had talked of Bacchus.

Nietzsche found in classical Athenian tragedy an art form that transcended the pessimism found in the so-called wisdom of Silenus. The Greek spectators, by looking into the abyss of human suffering depicted by characters on stage, passionately and joyously affirmed life, finding it worth living. The main theme in The Birth of Tragedy is that the fusion of Dionysian and Apollonian Kunsttriebe ("artistic impulses") forms dramatic arts or tragedies. He argued that this fusion has not been achieved since the ancient Greek tragedians. Apollo represents harmony, progress, clarity, logic and the principle of individuation, whereas Dionysus represents disorder, intoxication, emotion, ecstasy and unity (hence the omission of the principle of individuation). Nietzsche used these two forces because, for him, the world of mind and order on one side, and passion and chaos on the other, formed principles that were fundamental to the Greek culture: [167] [168] the Apollonian a dreaming state, full of illusions and Dionysian a state of intoxication, representing the liberations of instinct and dissolution of boundaries. In this mold, a man appears as the satyr. He is the horror of the annihilation of the principle of individuality and at the same time someone who delights in its destruction. [169] Both of these principles are meant to represent cognitive states that appear through art as the power of nature in man. [170]

Apollonian and Dionysian juxtapositions appear in the interplay of tragedy: the tragic hero of the drama, the main protagonist, struggles to make (Apollonian) order of his unjust and chaotic (Dionysian) fate, though he dies unfulfilled. Elaborating on the conception of Hamlet as an intellectual who cannot make up his mind, and is a living antithesis to the man of action, Nietzsche argues that a Dionysian figure possesses the knowledge that his actions cannot change the eternal balance of things, and it disgusts him enough not to act at all. Hamlet falls under this category—he glimpsed the supernatural reality through the Ghost, he has gained true knowledge and knows that no action of his has the power to change this. [171] [172] For the audience of such drama, this tragedy allows them to sense what Nietzsche called the Primordial Unity, which revives Dionysian nature. He describes primordial unity as the increase of strength, the experience of fullness and plenitude bestowed by frenzy. Frenzy acts as intoxication and is crucial for the physiological condition that enables the creation of any art. [173] Stimulated by this state, a person's artistic will is enhanced:

In this state one enriches everything out of one's own fullness: whatever one sees, whatever wills is seen swelled, taut, strong, overloaded with strength. A man in this state transforms things until they mirror his power—until they are reflections of his perfection. This having to transform into perfection is—art.

Nietzsche is adamant that the works of Aeschylus and Sophocles represent the apex of artistic creation, the true realization of tragedy it is with Euripides, that tragedy begins its Untergang (literally 'going under' or 'downward-way' meaning decline, deterioration, downfall, death, etc.). Nietzsche objects to Euripides' use of Socratic rationalism and morality in his tragedies, claiming that the infusion of ethics and reason robs tragedy of its foundation, namely the fragile balance of the Dionysian and Apollonian. Socrates emphasized reason to such a degree that he diffused the value of myth and suffering to human knowledge. Plato continued along this path in his dialogues, and the modern world eventually inherited reason at the expense of artistic impulses found in the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy. This leads to his conclusion that European culture, from the time of Socrates, had always been only Apollonian, thus decadent and unhealthy. [174] He notes that without the Apollonian, the Dionysian lacks the form and structure to make a coherent piece of art, and without the Dionysian, the Apollonian lacks the necessary vitality and passion. Only the fertile interplay of these two forces brought together as an art represented the best of Greek tragedy. [175]

An example of the impact of this idea can be seen in the book Patterns of Culture, where anthropologist Ruth Benedict acknowledges Nietzschean opposites of "Apollonian" and "Dionysian" as the stimulus for her thoughts about Native American cultures. [176] Carl Jung has written extensively on the dichotomy in Psychological Types. [177] Michel Foucault commented that his own book Madness and Civilization should be read "under the sun of the great Nietzschean inquiry". Here Foucault referenced Nietzsche's description of the birth and death of tragedy and his explanation that the subsequent tragedy of the Western world was the refusal of the tragic and, with that, refusal of the sacred. [178] Painter Mark Rothko was influenced by Nietzsche's view of tragedy presented in The Birth of Tragedy.

Perspectivism Edit

Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any universal perspective on things and any coherent sense of objective truth. [179] [180] [181] Nietzsche rejected the idea of objective reality, arguing that knowledge is contingent and conditional, relative to various fluid perspectives or interests. [182] This leads to constant reassessment of rules (i.e., those of philosophy, the scientific method, etc.) according to the circumstances of individual perspectives. [183] This view has acquired the name perspectivism.

In Also Sprach Zarathustra, Nietzsche proclaimed that a table of values hangs above every great person. He pointed out that what is common among different peoples is the act of esteeming, of creating values, even if the values are different from one person to the next. Nietzsche asserted that what made people great was not the content of their beliefs, but the act of valuing. Thus the values a community strives to articulate are not as important as the collective will to see those values come to pass. The willingness is more essential than the merit of the goal itself, according to Nietzsche. "A thousand goals have there been so far", says Zarathustra, "for there are a thousand peoples. Only the yoke for the thousand necks is still lacking: the one goal is lacking. Humanity still has no goal." Hence, the title of the aphorism, "On The Thousand And One Goal". The idea that one value-system is no more worthy than the next, although it may not be directly ascribed to Nietzsche, has become a common premise in modern social science. Max Weber and Martin Heidegger absorbed it and made it their own. It shaped their philosophical and cultural endeavors, as well as their political understanding. Weber, for example, relied on Nietzsche's perspectivism by maintaining that objectivity is still possible—but only after a particular perspective, value, or end has been established. [184] [185]

Among his critique of traditional philosophy of Kant, Descartes, and Plato in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche attacked the thing in itself and cogito ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am") as unfalsifiable beliefs based on naive acceptance of previous notions and fallacies. [186] Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre put Nietzsche in a high place in the history of philosophy. While criticizing nihilism and Nietzsche together as a sign of general decay, [187] he still commended him for recognizing psychological motives behind Kant and Hume's moral philosophy: [188]

For it was Nietzsche's historic achievement to understand more clearly than any other philosopher . not only that what purported to be appeals of objectivity were in fact expressions of subjective will, but also the nature of the problems that this posed for philosophy. [189]

Slave revolt in morals Edit

In Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche's genealogical account of the development of modern moral systems occupies a central place. For Nietzsche, a fundamental shift took place during human history from thinking in terms of "good and bad" toward "good and evil."

The initial form of morality was set by a warrior aristocracy and other ruling castes of ancient civilizations. Aristocratic values of good and bad coincided with and reflected their relationship to lower castes such as slaves. Nietzsche presented this "master morality" as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. [190] To be "good" was to be happy and to have the things related to happiness: wealth, strength, health, power, etc. To be "bad" was to be like the slaves over whom the aristocracy ruled: poor, weak, sick, pathetic—objects of pity or disgust rather than hatred. [191]

"Slave morality" developed as a reaction to master morality. Value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission while evil is worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. Nietzsche saw slave morality as pessimistic and fearful, its values emerging to improve the self-perception of slaves. He associated slave morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions, as it is born out of the ressentiment of slaves. Nietzsche argued that the idea of equality allowed slaves to overcome their own conditions without despising themselves. By denying the inherent inequality of people—in success, strength, beauty, and intelligence—slaves acquired a method of escape, namely by generating new values on the basis of rejecting master morality, which frustrated them. It was used to overcome the slave's sense of inferiority before their (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness, for example, to be a matter of choice, by relabeling it as "meekness". The "good man" of master morality is precisely the "evil man" of slave morality, while the "bad man" is recast as the "good man". [190]

Nietzsche saw slave morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. Modern Europe and Christianity exist in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both contradictory values determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are "motley"). Nietzsche called for exceptional people not to be ashamed in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which he deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. He cautioned, however, that morality, per se, is not bad it is good for the masses and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own "inner law". [190] A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar, reads: "Become what you are." [192]

A long-standing assumption about Nietzsche is that he preferred master over slave morality. However, eminent Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann rejected this interpretation, writing that Nietzsche's analyses of these two types of morality were used only in a descriptive and historic sense they were not meant for any kind of acceptance or glorification. [193] On the other hand, Nietzsche called master morality "a higher order of values, the noble ones, those that say Yes to life, those that guarantee the future." [194] Just as "there is an order of rank between man and man", there is also an order of rank "between morality and morality." [195] Nietzsche waged a philosophic war against the slave morality of Christianity in his "revaluation of all values" to bring about the victory of a new master morality that he called the "philosophy of the future" (Beyond Good and Evil is subtitled Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future). [196]

In Daybreak, Nietzsche began his "Campaign against Morality". [197] [198] He called himself an "immoralist" and harshly criticized the prominent moral philosophies of his day: Christianity, Kantianism, and utilitarianism. Nietzsche's concept "God is dead" applies to the doctrines of Christendom, though not to all other faiths: he claimed that Buddhism is a successful religion that he complimented for fostering critical thought. [199] Still, Nietzsche saw his philosophy as a counter-movement to nihilism through appreciation of art:

Art as the single superior counterforce against all will to negation of life, art as the anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Nihilist par excellence. [173]

Nietzsche claimed that the Christian faith as practiced was not a proper representation of Jesus' teachings, as it forced people merely to believe in the way of Jesus but not to act as Jesus did in particular, his example of refusing to judge people, something that Christians constantly did. [199] He condemned institutionalized Christianity for emphasizing a morality of pity (Mitleid), which assumes an inherent illness in society: [200]

Christianity is called the religion of pity. Pity stands opposed to the tonic emotions which heighten our vitality: it has a depressing effect. We are deprived of strength when we feel pity. That loss of strength in which suffering as such inflicts on life is still further increased and multiplied by pity. Pity makes suffering contagious. [201]

In Ecce Homo Nietzsche called the establishment of moral systems based on a dichotomy of good and evil a "calamitous error", [202] and wished to initiate a re-evaluation of the values of the Christian world. [203] He indicated his desire to bring about a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself.

While Nietzsche attacked the principles of Judaism, he was not antisemitic: in his work On the Genealogy of Morality, he explicitly condemned antisemitism and pointed out that his attack on Judaism was not an attack on contemporary Jewish people but specifically an attack upon the ancient Jewish priesthood who he claimed antisemitic Christians paradoxically based their views upon. [204] An Israeli historian who performed a statistical analysis of everything Nietzsche wrote about Jews claims that cross-references and context make clear that 85% of the negative comments are attacks on Christian doctrine or, sarcastically, on Richard Wagner. [205]

Nietzsche felt that modern antisemitism was "despicable" and contrary to European ideals. [206] Its cause, in his opinion, was the growth in European nationalism and the endemic "jealousy and hatred" of Jewish success. [206] He wrote that Jews should be thanked for helping uphold a respect for the philosophies of ancient Greece, [206] and for giving rise to "the noblest human being (Christ), the purest philosopher (Baruch Spinoza), the mightiest book, and the most effective moral code in the world." [207]

Death of God and nihilism Edit

The statement "God is dead," occurring in several of Nietzsche's works (notably in The Gay Science), has become one of his best-known remarks. On the basis of it, many commentators [208] regard Nietzsche as an atheist others (such as Kaufmann) suggest that this statement reflects a more subtle understanding of divinity. Scientific developments and the increasing secularization of Europe had effectively 'killed' the Abrahamic God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years. The death of God may lead beyond bare perspectivism to outright nihilism, the belief that nothing has any inherent importance and that life lacks purpose. Nietzsche believed that Christian moral doctrine provides people with intrinsic value, belief in God (which justifies the evil in the world), and a basis for objective knowledge. In constructing a world where objective knowledge is possible, Christianity is an antidote to a primal form of nihilism—the despair of meaninglessness. As Heidegger put the problem, "If God as the supra sensory ground and goal of all reality is dead if the supra sensory world of the ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself." [209]

One such reaction to the loss of meaning is what Nietzsche called passive nihilism, which he recognized in the pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer's doctrine—which Nietzsche also referred to as Western Buddhism—advocates separating oneself from will and desires to reduce suffering. Nietzsche characterized this ascetic attitude as a "will to nothingness". Life turns away from itself as there is nothing of value to be found in the world. This moving away of all value in the world is characteristic of the nihilist, although, in this, the nihilist appears to be inconsistent this "will to nothingness" is still a (disavowed) form of willing. [210]

A nihilist is a man who judges that the real world ought not to be and that the world as it ought to do not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: this 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos—an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.

Nietzsche approached the problem of nihilism as a deeply personal one, stating that this problem of the modern world had "become conscious" in him. [211] Furthermore, he emphasized the danger of nihilism and the possibilities it offers, as seen in his statement that "I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes a master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!" [212] According to Nietzsche, it is only when nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true foundation on which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure. Heidegger interpreted the death of God with what he explained as the death of metaphysics. He concluded that metaphysics has reached its potential and that the ultimate fate and downfall of metaphysics was proclaimed with the statement "God is dead." [213]

Will to power Edit

A basic element in Nietzsche's philosophical outlook is the "will to power" (der Wille zur Macht), which he maintained provides a basis for understanding human behavior—more so than competing explanations, such as the ones based on pressure for adaptation or survival. [214] [215] As such, according to Nietzsche, the drive for conservation appears as the major motivator of human or animal behavior only in exceptions, as the general condition of life is not one of a 'struggle for existence.' [216] More often than not, self-conservation is a consequence of a creature's will to exert its strength on the outside world.

In presenting his theory of human behavior, Nietzsche also addressed and attacked concepts from philosophies then popularly embraced, such as Schopenhauer's notion of an aimless will or that of utilitarianism. Utilitarians claim that what moves people is the desire to be happy and accumulate pleasure in their lives. But such a conception of happiness Nietzsche rejected as something limited to, and characteristic of, the bourgeois lifestyle of the English society, [217] and instead put forth the idea that happiness is not an aim per se. It is a consequence of overcoming hurdles to one's actions and the fulfillment of the will. [218]

Related to his theory of the will to power is his speculation, which he did not deem final, [219] regarding the reality of the physical world, including inorganic matter—that, like man's affections and impulses, the material world is also set by the dynamics of a form of the will to power. At the core of his theory is a rejection of atomism—the idea that matter is composed of stable, indivisible units (atoms). Instead, he seemed to have accepted the conclusions of Ruđer Bošković, who explained the qualities of matter as a result of an interplay of forces. [iv] [220] One study of Nietzsche defines his fully developed concept of the will to power as "the element from which derive both the quantitative difference of related forces and the quality that devolves into each force in this relation" revealing the will to power as "the principle of the synthesis of forces." [221] Of such forces Nietzsche said they could perhaps be viewed as a primitive form of the will. Likewise, he rejected the view that the movement of bodies is ruled by inexorable laws of nature, positing instead that movement was governed by the power relations between bodies and forces. [222] Other scholars disagree that Nietzsche considered the material world to be a form of the will to power: Nietzsche thoroughly criticized metaphysics, and by including the will to power in the material world, he would simply be setting up a new metaphysics. Other than Aphorism 36 in Beyond Good and Evil, where he raised a question regarding will to power as being in the material world, they argue, it was only in his notes (unpublished by himself), where he wrote about a metaphysical will to power. And they also claim that Nietzsche directed his landlord to burn those notes in 1888 when he left Sils Maria. [223] According to these scholars, the "burning" story supports their thesis that Nietzsche rejected his project on the will to power at the end of his lucid life. However, a recent study (Huang 2019) shows that although it is true that in 1888 Nietzsche wanted some of his notes burned, this indicates little about his project on the will to power, not only because only 11 "aphorisms" saved from the flames were ultimately incorporated into The Will to Power (this book contains 1067 "aphorisms"), but also because these abandoned notes mainly focus on topics such as the critique of morality while touching upon the "feeling of power" only once. [129]

Eternal return Edit

"Eternal return" (also known as "eternal recurrence") is a hypothetical concept that posits that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, for an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. It is a purely physical concept, involving no supernatural reincarnation, but the return of beings in the same bodies. Nietzsche first proposed the idea of eternal return in a parable in Section 341 of The Gay Science, and also in the chapter "Of the Vision and the Riddle" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, among other places. [224] Nietzsche considered it as potentially "horrifying and paralyzing", and said that its burden is the "heaviest weight" imaginable (" das schwerste Gewicht"). [225] The wish for the eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life, a reaction to Schopenhauer's praise of denying the will‐to‐live. To comprehend eternal recurrence, and to not only come to peace with it but to embrace it, requires amor fati, "love of fate". [226] As Heidegger pointed out in his lectures on Nietzsche, Nietzsche's first mention of eternal recurrence presents this concept as a hypothetical question rather than stating it as fact. According to Heidegger, it is the burden imposed by the question of eternal recurrence—whether it could possibly be true—that is so significant in modern thought: "The way Nietzsche here patterns the first communication of the thought of the 'greatest burden' [of eternal recurrence] makes it clear that this 'thought of thoughts' is at the same time 'the most burdensome thought.'" [227]

Nietzsche suggests that the universe is recurring over infinite time and space and that different versions of events that have occurred in the past may take place again, hence "all configurations that have previously existed on this earth must yet meet". [228] With each repeat of events is the hope that some knowledge or awareness is gained to better the individual, hence "And thus it will happen one day that a man will be born again, just like me and a woman will be born, just like Mary—only that it is hoped to be that the head of this man may contain a little less foolishness. " [228]

Alexander Nehamas writes in Nietzsche: Life as Literature of three ways of seeing the eternal recurrence:

  1. "My life will recur in exactly identical fashion:" this expresses a totally fatalistic approach to the idea
  2. "My life may recur in exactly identical fashion:" This second view conditionally asserts cosmology, but fails to capture what Nietzsche refers to in The Gay Science, p. 341 and finally,
  3. "If my life were to recur, then it could recur only in identical fashion." Nehamas shows that this interpretation exists totally independently of physics and does not presuppose the truth of cosmology.

Nehamas concluded that, if individuals constitute themselves through their actions, they can only maintain themselves in their current state by living in a recurrence of past actions (Nehamas, 153). Nietzsche's thought is the negation of the idea of a history of salvation. [229]

Übermensch Edit

Another concept important to understanding Nietzsche is the Übermensch (Overman). [230] [231] [50] [232] Writing about nihilism in Also Sprach Zarathustra, Nietzsche introduced a value-creating Übermensch, not as a project, but as an anti-project, the absence of any project. [164] According to Laurence Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism (II. 19 III. 8). Zarathustra's gift of the overman is given to mankind not aware of the problem to which the overman is the solution." [233] Zarathustra presents the overman as the creator of new values, and he appears as a solution to the problem of the death of God and nihilism. The overman does not follow the morality of common people since that favors mediocrity but rises above the notion of good and evil and above the "herd". [234] In this way Zarathustra proclaims his ultimate goal as the journey towards the state of overman. He wants a kind of spiritual evolution of self-awareness and overcoming of traditional views on morality and justice that stem from the superstition beliefs still deeply rooted or related to the notion of God and Christianity. [235]

From Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue, §§ 3–4): [236]

I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? . All beings so far have created something beyond themselves and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughing stock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape . The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let you will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth . Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss . what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.

Zarathustra contrasts the overman with the last man of egalitarian modernity (the most obvious example being democracy), an alternative goal humanity might set for itself. The last man is possible only by mankind's having bred an apathetic creature who has no great passion or commitment, who is unable to dream, who merely earns his living and keeps warm. This concept appears only in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and is presented as a condition that would render the creation of the overman impossible. [237]

Some [238] have suggested that the eternal return is related to the overman, since willing the eternal return of the same is a necessary step if the overman is to create new values untainted by the spirit of gravity or asceticism. Values involve a rank-ordering of things, and so are inseparable from approval and disapproval, yet it was dissatisfaction that prompted men to seek refuge in other-worldliness and embrace other-worldly values. It could seem that the overman, in being devoted to any values at all, would necessarily fail to create values that did not share some bit of asceticism. Willing the eternal recurrence is presented as accepting the existence of the low while still recognizing it as the low, and thus as overcoming the spirit of gravity or asceticism. One must have the strength of the overman to will the eternal recurrence. Only the overman will have the strength to fully accept all of his past life, including his failures and misdeeds, and to truly will their eternal return. This action nearly kills Zarathustra, for example, and most human beings cannot avoid other-worldliness because they really are sick, not because of any choice they made.

The Nazis tried to incorporate the concept into their ideology. After his death, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche became the curator and editor of her brother's manuscripts. She reworked Nietzsche's unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while often contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism. Through her published editions, Nietzsche's work became associated with fascism and Nazism [52] 20th-century scholars contested this interpretation of his work and corrected editions of his writings were soon made available.

Although Nietzsche has famously been misrepresented as a predecessor to Nazism, he criticized anti-Semitism, pan-Germanism and, to a lesser extent, nationalism. [239] Thus, he broke with his editor in 1886 because of his opposition to his editor's anti-Semitic stances, and his rupture with Richard Wagner, expressed in The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche contra Wagner, both of which he wrote in 1888, had much to do with Wagner's endorsement of pan-Germanism and anti-Semitism—and also of his rallying to Christianity. In a 29 March 1887 letter to Theodor Fritsch, Nietzsche mocked anti-Semites, Fritsch, Eugen Dühring, Wagner, Ebrard, Wahrmund, and the leading advocate of pan-Germanism, Paul de Lagarde, who would become, along with Wagner and Houston Chamberlain, the main official influences of Nazism. [117] This 1887 letter to Fritsch ended by: "And finally, how do you think I feel when the name Zarathustra is mouthed by anti-Semites?" [240]

Critique of mass culture Edit

Friedrich Nietzsche held a pessimistic view of modern society and culture. He believed the press and mass culture led to conformity, brought about mediocrity, and the lack of intellectual progress was leading to the decline of the human species. In his opinion, some people would be able to become superior individuals through the use of will power. By rising above mass culture, those persons would produce higher, brighter, and healthier human beings. [241]

A trained philologist, Nietzsche had a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy. He read Kant, Plato, Mill, Schopenhauer and Spir, [242] who became the main opponents in his philosophy, and later engaged, via the work of Kuno Fischer in particular, with the thought of Baruch Spinoza, whom he saw as his "precursor" in many respects [243] [244] but as a personification of the "ascetic ideal" in others. However, Nietzsche referred to Kant as a "moral fanatic", Plato as "boring", Mill as a "blockhead", and of Spinoza, he asked: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray?" [245] He likewise expressed contempt for British author George Eliot. [246]

Nietzsche's philosophy, while innovative and revolutionary, was indebted to many predecessors. While at Basel, Nietzsche lectured on pre-Platonic philosophers for several years, and the text of this lecture series has been characterized as a "lost link" in the development of his thought. "In it, concepts such as the will to power, the eternal return of the same, the overman, gay science, self-overcoming and so on receive rough, unnamed formulations and are linked to specific pre-Platonic, especially Heraclitus, who emerges as a pre-Platonic Nietzsche." [247] The pre-Socratic thinker Heraclitus was known for rejecting the concept of being as a constant and eternal principle of the universe and embracing "flux" and incessant change. His symbolism of the world as "child play" marked by amoral spontaneity and lack of definite rules was appreciated by Nietzsche. [248] Due to his Heraclitean sympathies, Nietzsche was also a vociferous critic of Parmenides, who, in contrast to Heraclitus, viewed the world as a single, unchanging Being. [249]

In his Egotism in German Philosophy, Santayana claimed that Nietzsche's whole philosophy was a reaction to Schopenhauer. Santayana wrote that Nietzsche's work was "an emendation of that of Schopenhauer. The will to live would become the will to dominate pessimism founded on reflection would become optimism founded on courage the suspense of the will in contemplation would yield to a more biological account of intelligence and taste finally in the place of pity and asceticism (Schopenhauer's two principles of morals) Nietzsche would set up the duty of asserting the will at all costs and being cruelly but beautifully strong. These points of difference from Schopenhauer cover the whole philosophy of Nietzsche." [250]

Nietzsche expressed admiration for 17th-century French moralists such as La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère and Vauvenargues, [251] as well as for Stendhal. [252] The organicism of Paul Bourget influenced Nietzsche, [253] as did that of Rudolf Virchow and Alfred Espinas. [254] In 1867 Nietzsche wrote in a letter that he was trying to improve his German style of writing with the help of Lessing, Lichtenberg and Schopenhauer. It was probably Lichtenberg (along with Paul Rée) whose aphoristic style of writing contributed to Nietzsche's own use of aphorism. [255] Nietzsche early learned of Darwinism through Friedrich Albert Lange. [256] The essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson had a profound influence on Nietzsche, who "loved Emerson from first to last", [257] wrote "Never have I felt so much at home in a book", and called him "[the] author who has been richest in ideas in this century so far". [258] Hippolyte Taine influenced Nietzsche's view on Rousseau and Napoleon. [259] Notably, he also read some of the posthumous works of Charles Baudelaire, [260] Tolstoy's My Religion, Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Demons. [260] [261] Nietzsche called Dostoyevsky "the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn." [262] While Nietzsche never mentions Max Stirner, the similarities in their ideas have prompted a minority of interpreters to suggest a relationship between the two. [263] [264] [265] [266] [267] [268] [269]

In 1861 Nietzsche wrote an enthusiastic essay on his "favorite poet," Friedrich Hölderlin, mostly forgotten at that time. [270] He also expressed deep appreciation for Stifter's Indian Summer, [271] Byron's Manfred and Twain's Tom Sawyer. [272]

Nietzsche's works did not reach a wide readership during his active writing career. However, in 1888 the influential Danish critic Georg Brandes aroused considerable excitement about Nietzsche through a series of lectures he gave at the University of Copenhagen. In the years after Nietzsche's death in 1900, his works became better known, and readers have responded to them in complex and sometimes controversial ways. [273] Many Germans eventually discovered his appeals for greater individualism and personality development in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but responded to them divergently. He had some following among left-wing Germans in the 1890s in 1894–1895 German conservatives wanted to ban his work as subversive. During the late 19th century Nietzsche's ideas were commonly associated with anarchist movements and appear to have had influence within them, particularly in France and the United States. [274] [275] [276] H.L. Mencken produced the first book on Nietzsche in English in 1907, The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and in 1910 a book of translated paragraphs from Nietzsche, increasing knowledge of his philosophy in the United States. [277] Nietzsche is known today as a precursor to existentialism, post-structuralism and postmodernism. [278]

W. B. Yeats and Arthur Symons described Nietzsche as the intellectual heir to William Blake. [279] Symons went on to compare the ideas of the two thinkers in The Symbolist Movement in Literature, while Yeats tried to raise awareness of Nietzsche in Ireland. [280] [281] [282] A similar notion was espoused by W. H. Auden who wrote of Nietzsche in his New Year Letter (released in 1941 in The Double Man): "O masterly debunker of our liberal fallacies . all your life you stormed, like your English forerunner Blake." [283] [284] [285] Nietzsche made an impact on composers during the 1890s. Writer Donald Mitchell noted that Gustav Mahler was "attracted to the poetic fire of Zarathustra, but repelled by the intellectual core of its writings." He also quoted Mahler himself, and adds that he was influenced by Nietzsche's conception and affirmative approach to nature, which Mahler presented in his Third Symphony using Zarathustra's roundelay. Frederick Delius produced a piece of choral music, A Mass of Life, based on a text of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, while Richard Strauss (who also based his Also sprach Zarathustra on the same book), was only interested in finishing "another chapter of symphonic autobiography." [286] Famous writers and poets influenced by Nietzsche include André Gide, [287] August Strindberg, [288] Robinson Jeffers, [289] Pío Baroja, [290] D.H. Lawrence, [291] Edith Södergran [292] and Yukio Mishima. [293]

Nietzsche was an early influence on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. [294] Knut Hamsun counted Nietzsche, along with Strindberg and Dostoyevsky, as his primary influences. [295] Author Jack London wrote that he was more stimulated by Nietzsche than by any other writer. [296] Critics have suggested that the character of David Grief in A Son of the Sun was based on Nietzsche. [297] Nietzsche's influence on Muhammad Iqbal is most evidenced in Asrar-i-Khudi (The Secrets of the Self). [298] Wallace Stevens [299] was another reader of Nietzsche, and elements of Nietzsche's philosophy were found throughout Stevens's poetry collection Harmonium. [300] [301] Olaf Stapledon was influenced by the idea of the Übermensch and it is a central theme in his books Odd John and Sirius. [302] In Russia, Nietzsche influenced Russian symbolism [303] and figures such as Dmitry Merezhkovsky, [304] Andrei Bely, [305] Vyacheslav Ivanov and Alexander Scriabin incorporated or discussed parts of Nietzsche philosophy in their works. Thomas Mann's novel Death in Venice [306] shows a use of Apollonian and Dionysian, and in Doctor Faustus Nietzsche was a central source for the character of Adrian Leverkühn. [307] [308] Hermann Hesse, similarly, in his Narcissus and Goldmund presents two main characters as opposite yet intertwined Apollonian and Dionysian spirits. Painter Giovanni Segantini was fascinated by Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and he drew an illustration for the first Italian translation of the book. The Russian painter Lena Hades created the oil painting cycle Also Sprach Zarathustra dedicated to the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. [309]

By World War I, Nietzsche had acquired a reputation as an inspiration for right-wing German militarism and leftist politics. German soldiers received copies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra as gifts during World War I. [310] [311] The Dreyfus affair provided a contrasting example of his reception: the French antisemitic Right labelled the Jewish and leftist intellectuals who defended Alfred Dreyfus as "Nietzscheans". [312] Nietzsche had a distinct appeal for many Zionist thinkers around the start of the 20th century, most notable being Ahad Ha'am, [313] Hillel Zeitlin, [314] Micha Josef Berdyczewski, A.D. Gordon [315] and Martin Buber, who went so far as to extoll Nietzsche as a "creator" and "emissary of life". [316] Chaim Weizmann was a great admirer of Nietzsche the first president of Israel sent Nietzsche's books to his wife, adding a comment in a letter that "This was the best and finest thing I can send to you." [317] Israel Eldad, the ideological chief of the Stern Gang that fought the British in Palestine in the 1940s, wrote about Nietzsche in his underground newspaper and later translated most of Nietzsche's books into Hebrew. [318] Eugene O'Neill remarked that Zarathustra influenced him more than any other book he ever read. He also shared Nietzsche's view of tragedy. [319] The plays The Great God Brown and Lazarus Laughed are examples of Nietzsche's influence on him. [320] [321] [322] Nietzsche's influence on the works of Frankfurt School philosophers Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno [323] can be seen in the Dialectic of Enlightenment. Adorno summed up Nietzsche's philosophy as expressing the "humane in a world in which humanity has become a sham." [324]

Nietzsche's growing prominence suffered a severe setback when his works became closely associated with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Many political leaders of the twentieth century were at least superficially familiar with Nietzsche's ideas, although it is not always possible to determine whether they actually read his work. It is debated among scholars whether Hitler read Nietzsche, although if he did, it may not have been extensively. [v] [vi] [325] [326] He was a frequent visitor to the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and used expressions of Nietzsche's, such as "lords of the earth" in Mein Kampf. [327] The Nazis made selective use of Nietzsche's philosophy. Mussolini, [328] [329] Charles de Gaulle [330] and Huey P. Newton [331] read Nietzsche. Richard Nixon read Nietzsche with "curious interest", and his book Beyond Peace might have taken its title from Nietzsche's book Beyond Good and Evil which Nixon read beforehand. [332] Bertrand Russell wrote that Nietzsche had exerted great influence on philosophers and on people of literary and artistic culture, but warned that the attempt to put Nietzsche's philosophy of aristocracy into practice could only be done by an organization similar to the Fascist or the Nazi party. [43]

The Influence of Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was notoriously unread and uninfluential during his own lifetime, and his works suffered considerable distortion in the hands of his sister Elisabeth, who managed his literary estate and twisted his philosophy into a set of ideas supporting Hitler and Nazism (Hitler had Thus Spoke Zarathustra issued to every soldier in the German army). By far his most often quoted utterance–seldom understood–is “God is dead,” which placed his thought beyond the pale for many readers.

But Nietzsche’s influence has been much richer and varied than these simple stereotypes suggest. It is not surprising that an author who embraced such contradictions should have influenced thinkers of an extraordinary variety.

The only philosopher to feel his influence while he could be aware of it was the Danish critic and philosopher Georg Brandes (1842-1927), who in the late 1880s developed a philosophy which he called “aristocratic radicalism” inspired by Nietzsche’s notion of the “overman.” Nietzsche’s insistence that the decay of religion (the “death of God”) requires that humanity take responsibility for setting its own moral standards inspired existentialists from Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) to Albert Camus (1913-1960).

Nietzsche’s relativism has had a powerful influence on two of the most important modern French Deconstructionist philosophers, Jacques Derrida (b. 1930) and Michel Foucault (1926-1984). (Summary of a 1971 Foucault essay relating to Nietzsche).

Oddly enough, he has also been a powerful influence on certain theologians, notably Paul Tillich (1886-1965), who developed an Existentialist, human-centered theology which tried to salvage elements of traditional faith while drawing on rationalism. Thomas Altizer (b.1927) created a sensation (and found himself on the cover of Time) in the 1960s by helping to create the oxymoronically named “death of God theology” together with a number of other theologians who argued for religion without God. Their constant use of Nietzsche’s catch phrase is a reminder of their indebtedness to him. Although the direct influence of this school hardly lasted out the decade, other theologians used Nietzsche’s thought as well, notably embracing his idea that human values should be based not on denial (“thou shalt not”) but on affirmation (“thou shalt”). The Jewish theologian Martin Buber (1878-1965)–also a great influence on Christian theology–translated part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra into Polish. He read Nietzsche’s works very early, beginning in 1892. His emphasis on process in theology resembles some of Nietzsche’s ideas.

Although he did not draw directly on Nietzsche’s work, the notions of “creative evolution” espoused by Henri Bergson (1859-1941) had a powerful influence on the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1885-1957), who combined his studies under Bergson with his reading of Nietzsche to produce a version of what is known as “process theology” which is most readily studied in the little book The Saviors of God and is also expressed in his most popular novel, Zorba the Greek. According to Kazantzakis, God is the result of whatever the most energetic and heroic people value and create. This is clearly very similar to Nietzsche’s ideas about the sources of religion. Nietzsche’s notion of heroes as creators is at the heart of Kazantzakis’ philosophy.

The two grandfathers of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Carl Jung (1875-1961), both had a deep admiration for Nietzsche and credited him with many insights into the human character.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) developed an “individual psychology” which argues that each individual strives for what he called “superiority,” but is more commonly referred to today as “self-realization” or “self-actualization,” and which was profoundly influenced by Nietzsche’s notions of striving and self-creation. The entire “human potential movement” and humanistic psychology (Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, etc.) owes a great debt to this line of thought. Even pop psychologists of “self-esteem” preach a gospel little different from that of Zarathustra. The ruthless, self-assertive “objectivism” of Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is difficult to imagine without the influence of Nietzsche.

Besides Kanzantzakis, many novelists have drawn on Nietzsche. Thomas Mann (1875-1955) wrote repeatedly about him and his characters are often engaged in struggles to define their ideas in a world in which old philosophies are decaying, like Nietzsche, torn between romanticism and rationalism (notably in The Magic Mountain). Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) similarly explored the necessity for the individuals to overcome their social training and traditional ideas to seek their own way (Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game).

Many other famous writers influenced by Nietzsche include André Malraux (1901-1976), André Gide (1869-1951), and Knut Hamsun (1859-1952).

Given the poetic style in which he wrote, it is not surprising that numerous poets have been drawn to Nietzsche, including Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). He, like many writers influenced by Nietzsche, rejected the kind of traditional Christian dualism which sorts existence into good and evil with the physical and earthly being regarded as a source of evil and goodness identified with pure spirit and the life after death. His celebration of mortal life as a sort of religion is extremely Nietzschean. He was also became lover of Lou Andreas-Salomé, a woman who ten years earlier Nietzsche loved unrequitedly.

Among many others, one can find strong Nietzschean themes in the works of Beat Generation poets such as Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) and Gary Snyder (b. 1930), who were drawn to the vitalistic, anti-dualistic themes also earlier expressed in the English and American traditions by William Blake and Walt Whitman. Blake, Whitman and Nietzsche form a sort of triumvirate whose influence runs through large swaths of modern literature in their rejection of dualism and embrace of the body as good. Like many other poets, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) combined an admiration for Blake with interest in Nietzsche.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) expressed his version of Nietzsche’s struggle for power in his play Man and Superman, and more than one character in the plays of Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) is under Nietzsche’s spell.

If there are few names from the second half of the 20th century cited above it is not because Nietzsche’s influence has dwindled. Rather it so pervades modern culture that many who have never read him are influenced by his thought indirectly. Consider the following ideas circulating in American culture today, all of them traceable at least in part to Nietzsche, although many of them are much simpler than similar ideas held by him:

  • The goal of life should be to find yourself. True maturity means discovering or creating an identity for yourself.
  • The highest virtue is to be true to yourself (consider these song titles from a generation ago: “I Gotta Be Me,” “I Did It My Way”).
  • When you fall ill, your body is trying to tell you something listen to the wisdom of your body.
  • People who hate their bodies or are in tension with them need to learn how to accept and integrate their physical selves with their minds instead of seeing them as in tension with each other. The mind and body make up a single whole.
  • Athletes, musicians, etc. especially need to become so attuned to their bodies that their skills proceed spontaneously from the knowledge stored in their muscles and are not frustrated by an excess of conscious rational thought. (The influence of Zen Buddhism on this sort of thinking is also very strong.)
  • Sexuality is not the opposite of virtue, but a natural gift that needs to be developed and integrated into a healthy, rounded life.
  • Many people suffer from impaired self-esteem they need to work on being proud of themselves.
  • Knowledge and strength are greater virtues than humility and submission.
  • Overcoming feelings of guilt is an important step to mental health.
  • You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself.
  • Life is short experience it as intensely as you can or it is wasted.
  • People’s values are shaped by the cultures they live in as society changes we need changed values.
  • Challenge yourself don’t live passively.It is notable that none of these ideas flows from the traditional Judeo-Christian culture which dominated Europe for a thousand years. Many of them have their roots in Romanticism, with Nietzsche merely articulating impulses that others shared but he is a major transmitter of them to the modern world.

More Study Guides for 18th and 19th Century European Classics

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5 Crazy Facts About The Life of Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher who really hated Christianity and morality. His philosophy has often erroneously been conflated with Nazism because his sister was kind of a dick Nazi who wanted to revive her brother’s work after his death. By revive, I mean grossly manipulate to make it seem anti-semitic and Nazi-ish because, hey, when in Rome, right?

In 2000, Alain de Botton made a six part series on philosophy which is now available online. One episode on Nietzsche details his life and work. Little did I know Nietzsche’s life was kind of a shit show. Here are the five craziest things about Nietzsche’s life from Alain de Botton’s video.

#1 Nietzsche was a failure during his lifetime

Nietzsche had the impressive feat of becoming a professor by the age of 24. However, he was alienated by his peers and forced to retire by the age of 35. Nietzsche also wanted abandon philosophy in favor of gardening, but apparently failed at that as well. It wasn’t until after his death that Nietzche’s work began to be read widely.

#2 His mustache frightened women

Botton claims that Nietzsche was grotesquely incompetent at romance. Apparently, Nietzsche’s epic hipster mustache “scared” women at the time. And that’s probably for the better, because Nietzsche also managed to contract syphilis at a brothel while he was still in college.

Nietzsche was also allegedly in love with this woman

#3 He was sickly for most of his life

You would think a philosopher who argued for the embrace of suffering and the triumph of the over-man must be the philosophical equivalent of Chuck Norris. But it turns out, Nietzche’s philosophy is seemingly ironic when you find out he was always constantly ill and not very ubermenschy. Part of this was due, of course, to that syphilis he caught earlier. Given the Darwinian interpretation that some give to Nietzsche’s work (which many argue is wrong), this becomes a little hilarious. It would almost be as ironic as discovering conservative god-figure Ayn Rand was on government handouts. Oh wait, she was.

Of course, Botton points out that Nietzsche’s philosophy is all the more fitting for his life. For a man who suffered a lot, he learned to celebrate it.

#4 He had a mental breakdown when he saw a horse being beaten

After seeing a horse being whipped in the streets of Turin, Italy, Nietzsche had a mental breakdown that put him in an asylum for the rest of his life. Nietzsche is reported to have run over to the horse and held it in his arm to protect it before he collapsed to the ground. The scene was also the subject a movie by Bela Tarr (whom Jacques Ranciere wrote a book about) called The Turin Horse.

According to Botton, after the horse incident Nietzsche “returned to his boarding house, danced naked” and thought of shooting the Kaiser. Botton continues to explain that Nietzsche began to believe himself to be Jesus, Napoleon, Buddha and other historical figures. Nietzsche’s family threw him into asylum where he died 11 years later at the age of 56.

#5 He thought alcohol was as bad as Christianity

Nietzsche lumped alcohol and Christianity in the category of “shit that makes you not embrace suffering.” Nietzsche, according to Botton, doesn’t think we should “drown our sorrows”. As such, he never drank. Nietzsche, according to Botton, believed that Christianity like alcohol, “dulls pain” but also “weakens resolve to overcome the problem from which the pain has arisen.” And if you thought that might piss off the Church, it did. After his death, Nietzsche’s burial records written by church authorities note he was “a known antichrist” next to his name”

Friedrich Nietzsche went mad after allegedly seeing a horse being whipped in the Italian city of Turin

Many times, a writer, in order to prove a point or deepen the significance of his work, looks for a nice bite-sized snippet from a piece previously written by a great mind. After a while, when a particular author comes across something that sounds right for their particular context, such as “He wrapped himself in quotations–as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors” (Rudyard Kipling, Many Inventions), he or she then wraps it with quotation marks and pops it in, entirely separated from the context of the original.

Quoted enough, these nice-sounding sentences, used outside of their original surroundings, run the risk over time of becoming a representation of ideas that the author never endorsed, let alone advocated. And the author might become an icon for an idea that he or she never had in the first place.

Such is the story of the man behind the phrase “God is Dead,” now a widely quoted statement from one of the greatest and, by many estimations, one of the most misquoted and misunderstood philosophers of all time: Friedrich Nietzsche. The German thinker’s unique persona, philosophy, and ideas remain shrouded and concealed by the opinions of others, as are his last years, which were driven by insanity.

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882. One of five photographs by photographer Gustav Schultze, Naumburg, taken early September 1882.

It is believed that Nietzsche lost his sanity, with one particular event in 1889 often highlighted as the definitive moment of his mental collapse.

The story goes that on the morning of January 3, 1889, while Nietzсche was taking a long walk through the city streets, he saw a horse being whipped by its owner. The merchant apparently had difficulty getting his the stubborn horse to move, so in frustration began to flog the animal. Distraught at the sight, Nietzsche rushed toward him in a flight of rage, threw his arms around the horse’s neck in order to defend it from the vicious blows, only to break into tears and collapse to the ground right after.

Nearly arrested for this unexpected outburst, the philosopher was quickly ushered away by his friend and landlord, David Fino, who took him home. He spent the next two days on a couch in a complete vegetative state. At least, this is one version of the events, used as a premise in a movie about the horse, and his life after.

He was sent to a mental asylum in Basel and on January 18, only two weeks later, he was transferred to the Jena mental asylum, where he was given a diagnosis of tertiary cerebral syphilis based on the fact that he was displaying signs of paralytic dementia, a neuropsychiatric disorder associated with the later stages of syphilis.

Photograph from the series “Der kranke Nietzsche” (The ill Nietzsche) by Hans Olde, between June and August 1899.

If untreated, in the tertiary (late) stage of this disease, those infected display an onset of symptoms associated with Neurosyphilis, which usually occurs 10 to 20 years after infection. Paralytic dementia, or general paralysis of the insane, is one of them.

Many, including Nietzche’s family, consider syphilis to be the reason for his mental breakdown that morning in Turin. They speculated that he had contracted it earlier in his life, and that having gone untreated for so many years, it took its toll. The letters he wrote in very quick succession before and after this event only strengthened their beliefs. The subsequent reports by the people receiving these letters eventually became the basis for his hospitalization.

Dedication of Dionysos-Dithyramben. Author Slavić, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Nietzsche Channel offers a full array of these writings, labelled “Letters of Insanity” or Wahnbriefe, which were short letters he sent to many of his friends, as well as royal figures, signed alternatively underneath as “Dionysus” or “The Crucified” these two characters, themselves polar opposites, were much discussed in many of his writings.

Letter from Friedrich Nietzsche to Meta von Salis (“Madonna”): “Fraulein von Salis. The world is transfigured, for God is on the earth. Do not you see how all the heavens rejoice? I have just taken possession of my empire, cast the Pope into prison, and let Wilhelm, Bismarck, and Stöcker be shot. The Crucified.” Author, University Library of Basel, CC BY-SA 3.0.

However, many of his collaborators and friends doubted this, and recent evidence leads to alternative reasons for his spiral into ill health and death. One plausible theory is offered by Dr. Leonard Sax, who in 2003 published an elaborate study in the Journal of Medical Biography, claiming it was not syphilis that killed Nietzsche, but a slow-developing tumor. He strongly objects to the syphilis theory, first because notes from back then show no real indications of the symptoms which nowadays are regarded as indicative of syphilis, such as a blank face, an inability to write or articulate sentences, slurred speech, to name a few, and secondly, during those times, anyone diagnosed with tertiary syphilis would have died within 18 to 24 months. On the contrary, Friedrich Nietzsche lived for another 11 years.

Paul Julius Mobius, the doctor who, according to Dr. Leonard Sax and his journal, allegedly had letters from the two Leipzig doctors who had treated Nietzsche.

He adds that the only piece of evidence that points to him having syphilis was a single section in a book published by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum right after World War II, which ended claiming “a Berlin neurologist told me that Nietzsche had infected himself with syphilis in a Leipzig brothel during his time as a student there and that he had been treated for syphilis by two Leipzig physicians.” Despite the lack of evidence to support this claim, his view was adopted by many intellectuals who were more than willing to smear Nietzche’s name and his later works, claiming they were anti-Semitic and a direct product of slow-growing lunacy. His only support were the two letters the two doctors sent to a colleague in Berlin. The letters were supposedly destroyed and the name of the doctor was never provided in his claims.

“Extraordinarily, this single passage in Lange-Eichbaum’s obscure book is the chief foundation, cited again and again, directly or indirectly as we shall see, as ‘’proof’’ not only that Nietzsche had syphilis, but also that Nietzsche’s dementia was caused by paretic syphilis,” states Dr.Sax in his journal. He goes on to articulate, “one man’s gossip becomes another man’s reference, which in turn becomes a scholar’s footnote.”

Friedrich Nietzsche. Photograph from the series “Der kranke Nietzsche” (The ill Nietzsche) by Hans Olde, showing him being cared for by his mother, Franziska Oehler.

His ideas, layered through thousands and thousands of pages, are, to say the least, hard to grasp, let alone summarize without running the risk of getting him wrong, especially if one considers the fact that his writings are ambiguous and often times contradictory. So it came to be that many of them, in particular his ideas expounded in “Will to Power,” published in 1901, a year after he died of pneumonia and exhaustion, were wrongfully interpreted to serve the cause of the Nazis in their glorification of the Übermensch (Superman).

Unable to take care of himself, his mother did so for a time. He died in 1900, after having lived a full 10 years in a near catatonic state. His sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, took up the task of completing his unpublished books and ideas during this period. It is speculated that much of his works during this time were altered and conceptualized through her views. She became a strong advocate of Adolf Hitler and his views, who attended her funeral in 1935, and she was responsible for her brother’s false image as “the godfather of fascism.”

Photograph of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche.

The Nietzsche Encyclopedia offers some much-needed insight on this subject matter, and its publisher Christian Niemeyer, in an interview he gave for The Daily Telegraph, states “Förster-Nietzsche did everything she could–such as telling stories about Nietzsche, writing false letters in the name of her brother, and so on–to make it seem that Nietzsche had been a right-wing thinker like herself.” He and his team of 150 distinguished scholars found that she was omitting parts of books where her brother was condemning anti-Semitism, and implementing her own bigotry instead. Furthermore, they discovered a whole plethora of falsified letters dating from as far back as 1887.

The library of the former Nietzsche Archives in Weimar, Germany, first founded by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche in 1894 in Naumburg. Author: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-1221-002 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

This brings the authenticity of the letters he wrote right before and shortly after he had a breakdown into question, and it could well be that those deemed as his “Letters of Insanity” or “The Madness Letters” don’t belong to Nietzsche at all.

Many believe that to even begin to understand Nietzsche’s contradictory views, one must read him from start to finish. Almost everyone who has done so agreed that the event that occurred on January 3, 1889 is the same day when he lost his sanity and his descent into madness began. But others say the story of the Turin horse has its roots in a tale of hearsay from 1910, which was 10 years after Nietzsche died.

In 2011, the Hungarian filmmaker and artisan Bela Tar filmed The Turin Horse, in which he proposes a storyline of what happened to the horse after the event. As for what happened to Friedrich Nietzsche, it is still unclear and a subject of much speculation.


But the images lay bare the unfortunate family connections brought into focus by the programme.

Sophie was not the only sibling with Nazi links. Three of Philip’s four sisters – Margarita, Cecile and Sophie – married German aristocrats who became leading figures in the Nazi party.

The documentary features an interview with Prince Rainer von Hessen, the son of Sophie and Prince Christoph. In it, he reveals the contents of his mother’s memoir for the first time.

Princess Sophie writes of a private lunch with Hitler and how she thought he was a ‘charming and seemingly modest man’. She married Prince Christoph von Hessen, a director in the Third Reich Air Ministry, an SS colonel and the chief of Goering’s secret intelligence service – responsible for spying on anti-Nazis.

The couple were such devoted Nazis that they named their first son Karl Adolf in honour of Hitler.

Celebration: Philip's sister Sophie, right, opposite Hitler at the 1935 wedding of Goering (with gold braid) in scene featured in Channel 4 documentary

Prince Philip’s oldest sister, Princess Margarita, married Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. During the war, Prince Gottfried fought for the Germans on the Russian front, where he was badly wounded. But he turned against the Fuhrer, and was among the aristocratic officers implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944 – which led to Prince Gottfried’s dismissal from the army.

Philip broke a 60-year public silence about his family’s Nazi ties in 2006. In an interview for a book titled Royals and the Reich, he said that – like many Germans – they found Hitler’s early attempts to restore Germany’s power and prestige ‘attractive’.

‘There was a great improvement in things like trains running on time and building,’ he explained.

The duke has previously stressed he was never ‘conscious of anybody in the family actually expressing anti-Semitic views’

‘There was a sense of hope after the depressing chaos of the Weimar Republic. I can understand people latching on to something or somebody who appeared to be appealing to their patriotism and trying to get things going. You can understand how attractive it was.’

The duke stressed that he was never ‘conscious of anybody in the family actually expressing anti-Semitic views’.

But he added that there were ‘inhibitions about the Jews’ and ‘jealousy of their success’.

Unsurprisingly, none of Prince Philip’s sisters were invited to the Queen’s wedding in 1947. The German connection was still too shaming, only two years after the end of the war.

Philip’s opposition to the Nazis has never been in doubt.

He fought valiantly for Britain during the war, seeing action in the Battle of Crete, the Battle of Cape Matapan in Greece and the Allied invasion of Sicily. But, as the documentary shows, there were questions and disquiet at court about the prince’s German blood.

The Queen Mother apparently referred to Prince Philip as ‘the Hun’. And, although he was born a prince of the Greek royal family, his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, daughter of a German prince.

Prince Philip’s father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, is descended from the German ducal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – Philip’s real surname.

But, on his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, he assumed his mother’s maternal surname – Mountbatten, which is an Anglicised version of the German ‘Battenberg’.

The Queen’s real surname is also is German – Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. That was the surname of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, who was born near Coburg in Germany.

The Royal Family’s surname was changed to Windsor in 1917, during the First World War, when Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was considered too German a name – not least because the planes coming over to bomb Britain were called Gotha bombers.


Prince Philip’s older sister Sophie met Adolf Hitler and his henchman Hermann Goering after she married a German aristocrat.

In a previously unpublished memoir, written in her old age, she described how family friend Goering came for tea at her flat near Frankfurt before the Nazis rose to power.

She wrote: ‘He talked a lot about the new political party which he had joined, the “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei”.

‘He was very enthusiastic about it all, especially about the party leader, a man called Adolf Hitler.

‘As Germany was going through hard times and there was a lot of poverty and general dissatisfaction everywhere, we were interested to hear about the great improvements his party was planning to do.’

Prince Philip’s older sister Sophie met Adolf Hitler and his henchman Hermann Goering (right) after she married a German aristocrat

Princess Sophie later met the Nazi leader at her home.

‘As Goering was insistent we should meet Hitler personally, we decided to ask him to lunch at our flat,’ she wrote.

‘I had been warned he was a vegetarian, and found it difficult to plan an appropriate meal. In those days we had a cook-housekeeper, which was just as well, as my ideas about cooking and housekeeping were fairly hazy (being only eighteen at the time).

‘We settled for an assortment of vegetables which turned out to be a great success.

‘I have to say here, that, although Chri [her husband Prince Christoph von Hessen] and I changed our political view fundamentally some years later, we were impressed by this charming and seemingly modest man, and by his plans to change and improve the situation in Germany.

‘This explains why Chri joined the SS in 1932, as his new friends had urged him to do.

‘In 1935 he was appointed head of the “Forschungsamt” [research bureau] of the Air Ministry.

‘Its employees were pledged to secrecy and Chri never spoke about his work.’

The couple married in 1930 when Sophie was 16. Her meetings with Goering and Hitler appear to have taken place in 1931 or 1932.

Prince Christoph was killed in a plane crash in 1943 and his wife died in 2001.

Excerpts from her private memoir were read by the couple’s son – Prince Rainer von Hessen – as part of the Channel 4 Secret History documentary Prince Philip: The Plot To Make A King. The programme is due to be shown at 9pm on July 30.

Where and when did Nietzsche's sister meet Hitler? - History

Röcken Lutherischen Kirche
Nietzsches Geburtshaus
Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony.
Röcken Dorf
Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813�), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826�), married in 1843, the year before their son's birth, and had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846, and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849 his younger brother died in 1850.

Paul Deussen
In 1854, he began to attend Pforta in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally recognised Schulpforta admitted him as a pupil, and there he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864.

In 1881, when France occupied Tunisia, he planned to travel to Tunis to view Europe from the outside, but later abandoned that idea (probably for health reasons).
His favourite area in Europe was t he Engadin.

The Engadin

The Engadin or Engadine (German: Engadin, Italian: Engadina, Romansh: Engiadina tr: garden of the Inn) is a long valley in the Swiss Alps located in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland. It follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until the Inn flows into Austria, one hundred kilometers downstream. The Engadin is protected by high mountains on all sides and is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes, and outdoor activities.

Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle.

'Peter Gast' - Johann Heinrich Köselitz (10 January 1854󈝻 August 1918) was a German author and composer. He is known for his long-time friendship with Friedrich Nietzsche, who gave him the pseudonym 'Peter Gast'. Gast was born in Annaberg, Saxony to Gustav Hermann Köselitz (1822�), the vice mayor (Vizebürgermeister), and his wife Caroline (1819�), a native of Vienna.
From 1872, Gast studied music with Ernst Friedrich Richter at the University of Leipzig. He transferred in 1875 to the University of Basel, where he attended the lectures of Jacob Burckhardt, Franz Overbeck, and Friedrich Nietzsche. In Basel, a friendship developed between Gast and Nietzsche. Gast read for Nietzsche during the latter's intermittent spells of near blindness, and also took dictation. Gast was instrumental in the preparation of all of Nietzsche's works after 1876, reviewing the printer's manuscript and sometimes intervening to finalize the text formatting. Nietzsche's break with Wagner and his search for a 'southern' aesthetic with which he could immunize himself from the gloomy German north led him to over-appreciate Gast as a musician. As an amanuensis, however, Gast was invaluable writing apropos 'Menschliches, Allzumenschliches' Nietzsche claimed that Gast ' wrote and also corrected: fundamentally, he was really the writer whereas I was merely the author '. All the while, Köselitz worshipped his teacher, assisting him to the point of self-denial. Gast was financed by his father, and also intermittently supported by Nietzsche's friend Paul Rée. In addition to being a musician and the editor of Nietzsche's writings and letters, he worked as a writer under various pseudonyms, including: Ludwig Mürner, Peter Schlemihl, Petrus Eremitus.

Franz Camille Overbeck (16 November 1837 - 26 June 1905) was a German Protestant theologian. In Anglo-American discourse, he is perhaps best known in regard to his friendship with Friedrich Nietzsche while in German theological circles, Overbeck remains discussed for his own contributions. Franz Overbeck was born in Saint Petersburg as a German citizen to Franz Heinrich Herrmann Overbeck, a German-British merchant, and his wife, Jeanne Camille Cerclet, who was born in Saint Petersburg to a French family. Consequently, his upbringing was European and humanistic: first taking place in Saint Petersburg, then in Paris from 1846 until the February Revolution of 1848, once again in Saint Petersburg, and after 1850 in Dresden. From 1856 until 1864, Overbeck studied theology in Leipzig, Göttingen, Berlin, and Jena. In 1859, he received his doctorate degree, after which he worked on his Habilitation on Hippolytus until 1864. After 1864, he taught as a Privatdozent in Jena. During his student time in Leipzig, he became close friends with Heinrich von Treitschke. After Nietzsche left Basel in 1879, he and Overbeck continued a personal friendship through regular correspondence. At the beginning of January 1889, Nietzsche sent letters to friends that exhibited symptoms of a mental collapse. After Overbeck received such a letter, he travelled to Turin the same day to retrieve the sick Nietzsche and his manuscripts. He continued to visit Nietzsche until the latter's death in 1900.

Malwida von Meysenbug (28 October 1816 - 23 April 1903) was a German writer, who was a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner. She also met the French writer Romain Rolland in Rome in 1890, and is the author of 'Memories of an Idealist'. She published the first volume anonymously in 1869. Von Meysenbug was born at Kassel, Hesse. Her father Carl Rivalier descended from a family of French Huguenots, and received the title of Baron of Meysenbug from William I of Hesse-Kassel. The ninth of ten children, she broke with her family because of her political convictions. Von Meysenbug introduced Nietzsche to several of his friends, including Helene von Druskowitz. She invited Paul Rée and Nietzsche to Sorrento, a town which overlooks the bay of Naples, in the autumn of 1876. There, Rée wrote The Origins of Moral Sensations, and Nietzsche began Human, All Too Human.

Malwida von Meysenburg died in Rome in 1903 and is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in the city.

Lou Andreas Salomé
That year he also met Lou Andreas Salomé, (see right) through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée.
Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg in Thuringia, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as a chaperone.

The subsequent "feelings of revenge and resentment" embittered him. "And hence my rage since I have grasped in the broadest possible sense what wretched means (the depreciation of my good name, my character and my aims) suffice to take from me the trust of, and therewith the possibility of obtaining, pupils."
In 1886 Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner.
He then printed 'Beyond Good and Evil' at his own expense, and issued in 1886� second editions of his earlier works ('The Birth of Tragedy', 'Human, All Too Human', 'The Dawn', and 'The Joyful Science), accompanied by new prefaces in which he reconsidered his earlier works. Thereafter, he saw his work as completed for a time and hoped that soon a readership would develop.
In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, if rather slowly and in a way hardly perceived by him.

Bernhard Förster
During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler, and also Gottfried Keller.
In 1886 his sister Elisabeth married Bernhard Förster (see left) and traveled to Paraguay to found Nueva Germania, a "Germanic" colony.
Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but they would meet again only after his collapse.
He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887 Nietzsche wrote the polemic 'On the Genealogy of Morals'.
During the same year Nietzsche encountered the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky, with whom he felt an immediate kinship.
He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine, and then also with Georg Brandes.
Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him.
However, before fulfilling this undertaking, he slipped too far into sickness.
In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche (July 10, 1846, Röcken, Prussia – November 8, 1935, Weimar, Germany), who went by her second name, was the sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the creator of the Nietzsche Archive in 1894.
Förster-Nietzsche was two years younger than her brother.
Both were children of a Lutheran pastor in the German village of Röcken bei Lützen.
The two children were close during their childhood and early adult years.
There has been speculation that the relationship between Elizabeth and Fritz was so close that it was almost 'incestuous'.
Nietzsche himself only ever had one romantic relationship with a woman - Lou Andreas Salomé , and it is significant that Elizabeth did everything in her power to bring the relationship to an end.
An early believer in the superiority of the Teutonic races, she married a Volkisch philosopher, Bernhard Förster.
In the 1880s they went to Paraguay and founded Nueva Germania, a pure Aryan colony, but the enterprise failed, and Förster committed suicide.
She next served as Nietzsche’s guardian at Weimar after his mental breakdown in 1889.
On his death (1900) she secured the rights to his manuscripts and renamed her family home the 'Nietzsche-Archiv'.

Adolf Hitler and Elizabeth Förster Nietzsche
at the Nietzsche-Archiv
While Elisabeth gained a wide audience for her writings, in an effort to preserve her brother's reputation, she withheld Nietzsche’s self-interpretation, 'Ecce Homo', until 1908.
Meanwhile, she collected many of his notes under the title 'Der Wille zur Macht' (“The Will to Power”) and presented this work, first as part of her three-volume biography (1895�), then in a one-volume edition (1901), and finally in a two-volume edition (1906) that was widely considered Nietzsche’s magnum opus.
Elisabeth was a supporter of the NSDAP her funeral in 1935 was attended by Adolf Hitler and other members of the Government of the Third Reich.

Later Developments

A central irony of the text is that Nietzsche mimics the style of the Bible in order to present ideas which fundamentally oppose Christian and Jewish morality and tradition.

Wants deep, deep eternity.")

The symbol of the Übermensch also alludes to Nietzsche's notions of "self-mastery", "self-cultivation", "self-direction", and "self-overcoming". Expounding these concepts, Zarathustra declares:

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
"All beings so far have created something beyond themselves and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.
"Whoever is the wisest among you is also a mere conflict and cross between plant and ghost. But do I bid you become ghosts or plants?
"Behold, I teach you the overman! The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go!"

Other aspects of 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' relate to Nietzsche's proposed "Transvaluation of All Values". This incomplete project began with 'The Antichrist'.

Nietzsche injects myriad ideas into the book, but there are a few recurring themes.
The overman (Übermensch), a self-mastered individual who has achieved his full power, is an almost omnipresent idea in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Man as a race is merely a bridge between animals and the overman. Nietzsche also makes a point that the overman is not an end result for a person, but more the journey toward self-mastery.
The eternal recurrence, found elsewhere in Nietzsche's writing, is also mentioned.
The eternal recurrence is the idea that all events that have happened will happen again, infinitely many times.
Such a reality can serve as the litmus test for an overman. Faced with the knowledge that he would repeat every action that he has taken, an overman would be elated as he has no regrets and loves life.
The 'will to power' is the fundamental component of human nature.
Everything we do is an expression of the will to power.
The will to power is a psychological analysis of all human action and is accentuated by self-overcoming and self-enhancement.
Contrasted with living for procreation, pleasure, or happiness, the will to power is the summary of all man's struggle against his surrounding environment as well as his reason for living in it.
The book in several passages expresses loathing for sentiments of human pity, compassion, indulgence and mercy towards a victim, which are regarded as the greatest sin and most insidious danger.
Part of Nietzsche's reactionary thought is also that the creature he most sincerely loathes is the spirit of revolution, and its hatred for the anarchist and rebel.
Many criticisms of Christianity can be found in 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', in particular Christian values of good and evil and its belief in an afterlife.
Nietzsche sees the complacency of Christian values as fetters to the achievement of overman as well as on the human spirit.

The book inspired Richard Strauss (see left) to compose the tone poem 'Also sprach Zarathustra', which he designated "freely based on Friedrich Nietzsche."
Zarathustra's 'Midnight Song' is set as part of Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony (1895-96), originally under the title 'What Man Tells Me', or alternatively 'What the Night tells me' (of Man).
Frederick Delius (see right) based his major choral-orchestral work 'A Mass of Life' (1904-5) on texts from Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
The work ends with a setting of Zarathustra's 'Midnight Song' which Delius had composed earlier, in 1898, as a separate work.

Rudolf Steiner
Upon the substance of my ideas as these find expression in 'The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity', Nietzsche's thought had not the least influence.
Goethe and Schiller Institute - Weimar
I belong among those readers of Nietzsche, who, after having read their first page from him, know for a certainty that they will read every page and listen to every word which he has ever uttered. My confidence in him continued from that time on . I understood him as if he had written for me, in order to express me intelligibly, but immodestly, foolishly.

Friederich Nietzsche and
Frau Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche - Villa Silberblick - Weimar
There he lay on a lounge enveloped in darkness, with his beautiful forehead-artist's and thinker's forehead in one.
Friederich Nietzsche - Weimar

An inner shudder which seized my soul may have signified that this also underwent a change in sympathy with the genius whose gaze was directed toward me and yet failed to rest upon me.
The passivity of my gaze so long fixed won in return a comprehension of his own gaze: his longing always in vain to enable the soul-forces of the eye to work.

In this way also I formed an intimate friendship with Fritz Koegel.
It was a beautiful task which placed before my eyes the books in which Nietzsche himself had read.
His spirit lived in the impressions which these volumes made upon me – a volume of Emerson's filled throughout with marginal comments showing all the signs of an absorbing study Guyau's writing bearing the same indications books containing violent critical comments from his hand – a great number of marginal comments in which one could see his ideas in germinal form.
Eugen Dühring
A penetrating conception of Nietzsche's final creative period shone clearly before me as I read his marginal comments on Eugen Dühring's chief philosophical work.

Eugen Karl Dühring (12 January 1833, Berlin – 21 September 1921, Nowawes in modern-day Potsdam-Babelsberg) was a German philosopher and economist, a socialist who was a strong critic of Marxism.

Dühring there develops the thought that one can conceive the cosmos at a single moment as a combination of elementary parts.
Thus the history of the world would be the series of all such possible combinations.
When once these should have been formed, then the first would have to return, and the whole series would be repeated.
If anything thus exists in reality, it must have occurred innumerable times in the past, and must occur again innumerable times in future.
Thus we should arrive at the conception of the eternal repetition of similar states of the cosmos. Dühring rejects this thought as an impossibility Nietzsche reads this he receives from it an impression, which works further in the depths of his soul and finally take form within him as “the return of the similar,” which, together with the idea of the “superman,” dominates his final creative period. This reached its climax while he was sketching the outlines for his last work, 'Willen zur Macht, eine Umwertung aller Werte'.
Nietzsche was impelled to bring up in purely spiritual fashion everything which he thought or experienced in the depth of his soul.

Frau Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche - Nietzsche Archive
To create a world-concept from the spiritual events in which the soul itself participates – this was the tendency of his thought.
But the positivistic world conception of his age, the age of natural science, swept in upon him. In this conception there was nothing but the purely materialistic world, void of spirit.
What remained of the spiritual way of thought in the conception was only the remains of ancient ways of thinking, and these no longer found him.
Nietzsche's unlimited sense for truth would expunge all this.
In this way he came to think as an extreme positivist.
A spiritual world behind the material became to him a lie.
But he could create only out of his own soul – so create that true creation seemed to him to have meaning only when it holds before itself in idea the content of the spiritual world. Yet this content he rejected.
The natural-scientific world-content had so firmly gripped his soul he would create this as if in spiritual fashion.
Lyrically, in dionysiac rush of soul, does his mind soar aloft in 'Zarathustra'.
In wonderful fashion does the spiritual hover there, but it is a wonderful spiritual dream woven out of the stuff of material reality.
The spirit strews this about in its effort to escape because it does not find itself but can only live in a seeming reality in that dream reflected from the material.
It was thus that Nietzsche's work brought the problem of natural science before my mind in a new form.

Goethe and Nietzsche stood in perspective before me.
Goethe's strong sense for reality directed him toward the essential being and processes of nature.
He desired to remain within nature.
He restricted himself to pure perceptions of the plant, animal, and human forms.
But, while he kept his mind moving among these forms, he came everywhere upon spirit.
For within the material he found everywhere dominant the spirit.
All the way to the actual perception of the spirit living and controlling he would not advance.
A spiritual sort of natural science was what he constructed, but he paused before arriving at the knowledge of pure spirit lest he should lose his hold upon reality.

Nietzsche proceeded from the vision of the spiritual after the manner of myths. Apollo and Dionysos were spiritual forms which he experienced in vital fashion.
The history of the human spiritual seemed to him to have been a history of co-operation and also of conflict between Dionysos and Apollo.
But he got only as far as the mythical conception of such spiritual forms.
He did not press forward to the perception of real spiritual being. Beginning with the spiritual in myth, he made a path for himself to nature.
In Nietzsche's thought Apollo had to represent the material after the manner of natural science Dionysos had to be conceived as symbolizing the forces of nature.
But thus was Apollo's beauty dimmed thus was the world-emotion of Dionysos paralyzed into the regularity of natural law.
Peter Gast,
It was then clear to me that in certain of his thoughts which strove to reach the world of spirit Nietzsche was a prisoner of his conception of nature.
For this reason I was strongly opposed to the mystical interpretation of his thought of repetition.
I agreed with Peter Gast, who wrote in his edition of Nietzsche's work: “The doctrine – to be understood in a purely mechanical sense – of limitedness and consequent repetition in cosmic molecular combinations.”
Nietzsche believed that a lofty thought must be brought up from the foundations of natural science.
That was the way in which he had to sorrow because of his age.
Thus in my glimpse of Nietzsche's soul in 1896 there appeared before me what one who looked toward the spirit had to suffer from the conception of nature prevailing at the end of the nineteenth century.

Her brother by that time was 'non compos mentis'.

Annie Besant
Förster-Nietzsche introduced Steiner into the presence of the catatonic philosopher Steiner, deeply moved, subsequently wrote the book 'Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom'.

The German Section of the Theosophical Society grew rapidly under Steiner's leadership as he lectured throughout much of Europe on his spiritual science. During this period, Steiner maintained an original approach, replacing Madame Blavatsky's terminology with his own, and basing his spiritual research and teachings upon the Western esoteric and philosophical tradition. In 1912 there was a formal split from Annie Besant, when Steiner and the majority of members of the German section of the Theosophical Society broke off to form a new group, the Anthroposophical Society.

Adolf Hitler
Dietrich Eckart
In 1919, the political theorist of the National Socialist movement in Germany, Dietrich Eckart, publicly criticized Steiner.

'Nietzsche and National Socialism stand on the other side of the traditions of the German bourgeoisie.
What does that mean?
The spiritual forces which have formed the German bourgeoisie in the last several centuries have been Pietism, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. Pietism was the last truly revolutionary religious movement on Lutheran soil.
It led men from a hopeless political reality back into their own selves and gathered them together in small private circles.
It was a religious individualism which strengthened the inclination toward concern with self, toward psychological analysis and biographical examination.
Every apolitical state-alien tendency necessarily had to find support and nourishment in Pietistic Germany.
The wholly different individualism of the Enlightenment also worked in this direction.
This individualism was not of a religious-sentimental character.
It believed in reason, it was rational, but it was "political" only in that it denied the feudal system it was unable to erect an enduring political system of its own and was capable only of breaking the path for the economic system of capitalism.
Man was viewed as a wholly individual entity, cut off from all original orders and relations, a fictitious person responsible only to himself. In contrast, Romanticism saw man again in the light of his natural and historical ties.
Romanticism opened our eyes to the night, the past, our ancestors, to the mythos and the Volk. The movement that led from Herder to Gorres, to the brothers Grimm, Eichendorff, Arnim, and Savigny, is the only spiritual movement that is still fully alive.
It is the only movement with which Nietzsche had to wrestle.

When we call National Socialism a world view we mean that not only the bourgeois parties but also their ideologies have been annihilated.
Only ill-willed persons could maintain that everything that has been created by the past must now be negated.
Rather, we mean that we have entered into a new relationship with our past, that our view has been cleared for what was truly forceful in this past but which had been clouded by bourgeois ideology. In a word, we have discovered new possibilities for understanding the essence of German existence.
Precisely in this Nietzsche has preceded us.
We hold a view of Romanticism that is different from his. But his most personal and lonely possession, the negation of bourgeois ideology as a whole, has today become the property of a generation.

The foundations of Christian morality -- religious individualism, a guilty conscience, meekness, concern for the eternal salvation of the soul -- all are absolutely foreign to Nietzsche.
He revolts against the concept of repentance: "I do not like this kind of cowardice about one's own action one should not leave one's own self in the lurch before the assault of unexpected disgrace and vexation.
Rather, an extreme pride is in order here.
For, finally, what is the use! No deed can be undone by repentance." What he means here is not a reduction of responsibility, but rather its intensification.
Here speaks the man who knows how much courage, how much pride, is necessary to maintain himself in the face of Fate.
Out of his amor fati Nietzsche spoke contemptuously about Christianity with its "perspective of salvation." As a Nordic man he never understood for what purpose he should be "redeemed." The Mediterranean religion of salvation is alien to and far removed from his Nordic attitude.
He can understand man only as a warrior against Fate. A mode of thought which sees struggle and work only as a penance appears incomprehensible to him.
"Our real life is a false, apostatic, and sinful existence, a penalty existence." Sorrow, battle, work, death, are merely taken as objections to life. "Man as innocent, idle, immortal, happy -- this concept of 'highest desirability' especially must be criticized."
Nietzsche turns passionately upon the monastic vita contemplativa, against Augustine's "Sabbath of all Sabbaths." He praises Luther for having made an end of the vita contemplativa. The Nordic melody of strife and labor sounds strong and clear here. The accent with which we pronounce these words today we heard from Nietzsche for the first time.

We call Nietzsche the philosopher of heroism. But that is only a half-truth if we do not regard him at the same time as the philosopher of activism. He considered himself the world-historical counterpart to Plato.
"Works" result not from the desire for display, not from the acknowledgment of "extramundane" values, but from practice, from the ever repeated deed. Nietzsche employs a famous antithesis to make this clear:
"First and above all there is the work. And that means training, training, training! The accompanying faith will come by itself -- of that you can be certain."
Nietzsche opposes the Christian proscription of the political sphere, of the sphere of action altogether, with the thesis that also overcame the contrast between Catholicism and Protestantism (work and faith): "One has to train oneself not in the strengthening of value feelings, but in action One has to know how to do something." In this way he re-established the purity of the sphere of action, of the political sphere.

Nietzsche's "values" have nothing to do with the Beyond, and therefore cannot be petrified into dogma. In ourselves, through us, they rise struggling to the surface they exist only as long as we make ourselves responsible for them. When Nietzsche warns, "Be true to the Earth !" he reminds us of the idea that is rooted in our strength but does not hope for "realization" in a distant Beyond.
It is not enough to point out the "this-worldly" character of Nietzsche's values if one at the same time does not want to refute the notion that values are "realized" by action. Something inferior is always attached to the "realization" of given values whether these values are of a mundane or extramundane character.

Nietzsche's Nordic and soldierly valuation opposes that of the Mediterranean world and that of the priests.
His critique of religion is a criticism of the priest, and arises from the point of view of the warrior, since Nietzsche demonstrates that even the origin of religion lies in the realm of power.
This explains the fateful contradiction in a morality based on the Christian religion.
"To secure the rule of moral values, all kinds of unmoral forces and passions have to be enlisted. The development of moral values is the work of unmoral passions and considerations."
Morality, therefore, is the creation of unmorality.
"How to bring virtue to rule: This treatise deals with the great politics of virtue."
It teaches for the first time "that one cannot bring about the reign of virtue by the same means used to establish any kind of rule, least of all through virtue."
"One has to be very unmoral to make morality through deeds."
Nietzsche replaces the bourgeois moral philosophy with the philosophy of the will to power -- in other words with the philosophy of politics.
If in doing so he becomes the apologist for the "unconscious," this "unconscious" is not to be understood in terms of depth psychology.
Here the concern is not with the instinctive and unconscious drives of an individual. Rather, "un conscious" here means "perfect" and "able."
And beyond that, "unconscious" also means life as such, the organism, the "great reason" of the body.

Consciousness is only a tool, a detail in the totality of life. In opposition to the philosophy of the conscious, Nietzsche asserts the aristocracy of nature.
But for thousands of years a life-weary morality has opposed the aristocracy of the strong and healthy.
Like National Socialism, Nietzsche sees in the state, in society, the "great mandatory of life," responsible for each life's failure to life itself.
"The species requires the extinction of the misfits, weaklings, and degenerates: but Christianity as a conserving force appeals especially to them."
Here we encounter the basic contradiction: whether one proceeds from a natural life context or from an equality of individual souls before God.
Ultimately the ideal of democratic equality rests upon the latter assumption.
The former contains the foundations of a new policy.
It takes unexcelled boldness to base a state upon the race.
A new order of things is the natural consequence. It is this order which Nietzsche undertook to establish in opposition to the existing one.

In the face of the overpowering strength of the race, what happens to the individual ?
He returns - as a single member in a community.
The herd instinct is basically altogether different from the instinct of an "aristocratic society," composed of strong, natural men who do not permit their basic instincts to languish in favor of a mediocre average - men who know how to curb and control their passions instead of weakening or negating them.
This again must not be understood from an individualistic point of view.
For a long time emotions will have to be kept under "tyrannical" control.
This can be done only by one community, one race, one people.

If there ever was a truly German expression, it is this: One must have the need to be strong, otherwise one never will be.
We Germans know what it means to maintain ourselves against all opposition.
We understand the "will to power" -- even if in an altogether different manner than our enemies assume.
Even in this connection, Nietzsche has supplied the deepest meaning: "We Germans demand something from ourselves that nobody expected from us - we want more."

If today we see German youth on the march under the banner of the swastika, we are reminded of Nietzsche's "untimely meditations" in which this youth was appealed to for the first time.
It is our greatest hope that the state today is wide open to our youth.
And if today we shout "Heil Hitler!" to this youth, at the same time we are also hailing Nietzsche.'

Collapse and misuse

Nietzsche collapsed in the streets of Turin, Italy, in January 1889, having lost control of his mental faculties completely. Bizarre but meaningful notes he sent immediately after his collapse brought his friend Franz Overbeck, a Christian theologian, to Italy to return Nietzsche to Basel. Nietzsche spent the last 11 years of his life in total mental darkness, first in a Basel asylum, then in Naumburg under his mother’s care and, after her death in 1897, in Weimar in his sister’s care. He died in 1900. His breakdown was long attributed to atypical general paralysis caused by dormant tertiary syphilis. Later diagnoses included degeneration of the cerebral blood vessels and retro-orbital meningioma, a tumour of the brain meninges behind the (right) eye .

The association of Nietzsche’s name with Adolf Hitler and fascism owes much to the use made of his works by his sister, Elisabeth. She had married a leading chauvinist and anti-Semite, Bernhard Förster, and after his suicide in 1889 she worked diligently to refashion Nietzsche in Förster’s image. Elisabeth maintained ruthless control over Nietzsche’s literary estate and, dominated by greed, produced collections of his “works” consisting of discarded notes, such as Der Wille zur Macht (1901 The Will to Power). She also committed petty forgeries. Generations of commentators were misled. Equally important, her enthusiasm for Hitler linked Nietzsche’s name with that of the dictator in the public mind.

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