Angloskeptisch is a racial fraud


Steven E. Aschheim

Nietzsche and the Germans

Cult career

Translated from the English by Klaus Laermann

Publishing house J. B. Metzler
Stuttgart • Weimar
Title of the original American edition:
Steven E. Aschheim, The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany 1890-1990
© 1992 by The Regents of the University of California

The German Library - CIP standard recording

Aschheim, Steven E .:

Nietzsche and the Germans: Career of a Cult / Steven E. Aschheim.
From the English by Klaus Laermann. - special edition . - Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2000
Uniformity: The Nietzsche legacy in Germany

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© 2000 J. B. Metzlersche Verlagbuchhandlung

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Cover design: Willy Löffelhardt
using a picture by Albrecht Soder
(see illustration no.10 in the book)
Set: Gisela Fischer, Weimar
Printing and binding: Franz Spiegel Buch GmbH, Ulm
Printed in Germany
George Mosse,
the teacher and - above all - friend


Chapter 1
Nietzsche's legacy
and history

Chapter 2
Germany and the struggle for Nietzsche,

Chapter 3
The not very discreet Nietzscheanism
the avant-garde

Chapter 4
Institutionalized Nietzscheanism

Chapter 5
Zarathustra in the trenches
The Nietzsche myth, the First World War
and the Weimar Republic

Chapter 6
Nietzschean socialism
the left and the right

Chapter 7
After the death of God
Variants of Nietzschean religion

Chapter 8
Nietzsche in the Third Reich

Chapter 9
National Socialism and
the Nietzsche debate
Cultural criticism, ideology and history

Chapter 10
in Germany and abroad

Nietzsche and National Socialism
Some methodological
and historical reflections


Name register

The present investigation would never have undertaken, let alone finished

without the support and help of many friends and colleagues
gen. Impossible I can name all those here who have changed over the years
took to discuss them with me. Still, I have to hear the names of Jeffrey Herfund
Mention Jerry Muller, who read the entire manuscript and is equally valuable to me.
have given full, intelligent and constructive advice. George Mosse has given me
as with my other work, so also with this one personally and knowingly
socially inspired. This book is dedicated to him. My friend John Landau did
patiently endure my complaints; he has clarity in my thinking too
wanted to bring me and encouraged me to continue working. Robert Alter, Yehoshua Arielli,
Klaus Berghahn, David Biale, Menachem Brinker, Michael Heyd, Martin Jay, James
Joll, Leo Löwenthal, Paul Mendes-Flohr, Rudolf Vierhaus and Robert Wistrich
always gave me knowledgeable and helpful advice.
Edward Dimendberg and Michelle Nordon from the University of California Press
have encouraged me relentlessly. Last but not least, this book has become readable
through the lavish proofreading of Edith Johnson. Frank Moser did the photographic
graphic work with his own amiable sense of humor. The historical
cal Commission in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for History in Göttingen
supported me through generous research grants. Ze'ev Rosenkrantz
and Michael Toch provided valuable technical assistance.
Although I consulted many libraries while working on this book,
I would like to extend my special thanks to the National and University Library in Jerusalem. Your
Hardly manageable treasures as well as their friendly and competent staff
make research a pleasure.
Last but not least, I want to mention the guilt that is most agreeable to me. Without the men-
the friendly influence of my wife Hannah and our children Ariella, Yoni
and Daniel this book would have been unthinkable. You know how much i love them

Nietzsche's legacy

and history


If I lay myself out, I lay down in it:

I cannot be my interpreter myself.
But who only climbs on his own path,
Also carries my picture up to a brighter light.
Nietzsche, The Happy Science

A great, that is "important" person is always

inevitably our creation as we are his.
Ernst Bertram, Nietzsche. Attempt a mythology

Friedrich Nietzsche was responsible for the cultural and political development of the 20th
hundred of extraordinary importance. Since the nineties of the
19th century his work was incessant all over Europe, in the United States
States, even present in Japan.1 The present study makes it the
The task of presenting and analyzing its importance for Germany, i.e. for

1 Nietzsche's influence was documented early on. See Genevieve Bianquis, Nietzsche en
France, Paris: F. Alcan 1929; Guy de Pourtales, Nietzsche en Halle, Paris: Grasset 1929. To
the more recent studies of its importance for individual national cultures include pa-
trick Bridgewater, Nietzsche In Anglosaxony: A Study of Nietzsche's Impact on English and
American Literature, Leicester: University of Leicester Press 1972; Bernice Glatzer roses
thal, ed., Nietzsche in Russia, Princeton, N.J .: Princeton University Press 1986; Gonzalo So-
bejano, Nietzsche en Espana, Madrid: Gredos 1967; David S. Thatcher, Nietzsche in Eng-
land 1890-1914: The Growth of a Reputation, Toronto: Toronto University Press 1970.
Nietzsche's importance in the Habsburg Empire is abundantly clear in Laszlo Peter and
Robert B. Pynsent, eds., Intellectuals and the Future in the Hapsburg Monarchy 1890-1914,
London: Macmillan 1988. But Nietzsche's importance did not stop at the western one
World limited. As early as the nineties of the 19th century, his writings were
ten as a modernizing force in Japan. There he was considered the most influential representative of that
Individualism that is alien to traditional Japanese culture, see Hans Joachim
Becker, The Early Nietzsche Reception in Japan (1893-1903): A Contribution to Individualism
music problems in the modernization process, Wiesbaden: Otto Harassowitz 1983.

Chapter 1

the country where its influence is most sustained, lasting and consequential
richest unfolded. Forty years ago, Walter Kaufmann remarked that Nietzsche was like that
become very part of German life that an investigation into the
history of his fame »became a cultural history of Germany in the twentieth century
century, as it is derived from a single, but
particularly illuminating perspective. «2
The following pages attempt to write such a story. You run
However, they do not aim at just one perspective. Because the problematic meaning
Nietzsche's influence in Germany lies precisely in the fact that he is everywhere
asserts that it is based in diverse and often contradicting ways on the
the outgoing arenas of political and cultural life come to light. It
would in fact be more correct, not from one but from many influences of Nietzsche
to speak, which are reflected in the changing times. In these reflections
In the following, some of the trend-setting political consciousnesses
changes of being appear with which people face
tried to provide clarity about crises, in order to then find new ways to resolve these crises
to overcome.
Nietzsche's historical legacy must be the result of the dynamic
game of the diverse aspects of his thinking and the peculiarities of those
will see who have made this thinking their own. It is about
always about a comparatively open, reciprocal,
creative process, 3 according to the other needs of the performers
to a selective filtering and incessant reshaping of the topics Nietz-
sches led.4 Its legacy was found to be changeable as much as it was his
different spheres of activity in turn, as well as corresponding to them
according to the concrete and changing circumstances of the Wilhelmine imperial
Reich, World War I, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism and
the post-war period was changed. Through this politically motivated mediation
the work of Nietzsche became a living and enduring
part of national life in Germany.

2 Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4th ed., Princeton: Prince-
ton University Press 1974: German: Nietzsche. Philosopher - Psychologist - Antichrist, Darmstadt:
Knowledge Buchgesellschaft 1988, p. 9. Nietzsche's influence on modern thinking and his
In the following, significance for the individual scientific disciplines will only be
the impact on culture, politics and the national identity of Germany.
3 For a general presentation of the problems of a reception theory, see the relevant
gigen writings by Hans Robert Jauss.
4 Cf. on the dynamics of Nietzsche's reception Massimo Ferrari Zumbini, »Unterzüge und
Dawn: About Spengler and Nietzsche "in: Nietzsche Studies 5 (1976) p. 219. Die
Commentators have long recognized that the portrayal of the philosophical
Nietzsche's philosophy of the twists and turns in the history of the interpretation of his work
follows. See the statement on this as well as the remarks on the timelessness of Nietz
sches with Gerhard Lehmann, The German Philosophy of the Present, Stuttgart: Alfred Krö-
ner, 1943, p. 184.

Nietzsche's legacy and history

The complexity of such mediations can only be grasped if they are carried out at the same time
be examined thematically and chronologically. To get this broader picture
To give a structure, I have to focus on certain groups and on
related spheres of influence concentrated. The focus is on
Institutions, developments and broader intellectual currents. The relationship
and the relationships of individual individuals to Nietzsche are only discussed to the extent that
tert, as they illuminate its effect in its more general aspects. On a dar-
the complexity and creative intensity of such individual encounters
We had to do without in favor of a general overview.5 Clearly
requires any attempt at a coherent representation of these manifold ones
Influencing the development of their respective ideological and historical
Context a certain selection. With the density and the almost overwhelming
The wealth of the documents available would almost be a comprehensive representation
impossible and probably not at all desirable.6 An encyclopedic sub-
taking amounts to little more than an exercise in cataloging; it would
also darken rather than lighten the crucial connecting lines. With the
I hope to present a stimulating analysis that focuses on the
relevant and representative sources.
My book thrives on the conviction that Nietzsche's work with its diverse
gen influences can only be adequately understood if it does not apply to just one
elementary component is reduced and if one does not claim to have it
only a single, clearly valid sense. Cultural historians should not have any privilege
claiming gregarious access to a text considered immutable by
from which any subsequent use of this text would have to be judged.7 It should

5 Of course, Nietzsche had an extremely different effect. Some who do him
read, came under his influence only temporarily, others took him rhapsodically and
persistently, others received it more experimentally and fragmentarily. Number-
rich of the encounters with his work mentioned in this book - such as that of Thomas
Mann, Oswald Spengler, Gottfried Benn, Carl Gustav Jung and others - are already detailed and
been searched. We should adhere to Nietzsche's admonition that »a
the notorious "and" in the title of scientific work is a sign of limitation,
cf. Friedrich Nietzsche, Götzen-Dämmerung, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 3, Berlin: de Gruyter 1969,
Aphor. 16, p. 115f. [Note d. Translator: In the present book the writings of Nietzsche
quoted from the edition that has been published by de Gruyter in Berlin since 1967.]
6 To the extent and the reach of Nietzsche's reception in Germany alone up to
To be measured in 1918, see the indispensable bibliography by Richard Frank Krummel,
Nietzsche and the German Spirit, 2 vols., Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1974/1983.
A multilingual, but far less comprehensive compilation that covers the year
1918 can be found at Herbert W. Reichert and Karl Schlechta, International
Nietzsche Bibliography, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960.
7 “Then the effects or the structure of a text are not limited to its> true
heit <, on the opinion of its alleged author, let alone on his allegedly one
unique and identifiable signatory. «Jacques Derrida» Nietzsche's Otobiography
or Politics of the Self-Name (The Teaching of Nietzsche) "in: Fugen. German-French
Jahrbuch für Textanalytik, No. 1 (1980) pp. 54-98, here: p. 89.

Chapter 1

neither a finished picture of the "authentic" Nietzsche, nor dogmatic certainty
in relation to its original intentions. Just a reception story
[In the original German, note d. Transl.], Which is responsible for the incomplete openness and redesigned
power in the legacy of this philosopher has a feeling for it, this legacy is
able to appreciate rich complexity.
Amazingly, there has been no such investigation to date. The important
Rather, most of the works published after World War II have one
taken essentialist position. They represent the history of the impact of Nietz
as a result of inappropriate deviations from (or reasonable excess
agreement with) a previously assumed construction of the "real"
Nietzsche. They consistently start from moralizing, static histories
cast out who proceed either apologetically or denunciatory and who
are less interested in the actual course of influences than they are
to judge or condemn certain effects. 8
Walter Kaufmann's extremely influential interpretation of Nietzsche and his
History of impact offers a striking example here. Businessman turns
right at the beginning of his book against what he called the "Nietzsche legend".
This fateful faulty design was, in his opinion, of those car
which he blames for the thesis that Nietzsche's work is hopeful
inconspicuously ambiguous, without theoretical connection and therefore subject
contradicting interpretations. The proponents of this thesis - important Nietzsche-
others like Elisabeth Förster Nietzsche, Stefan George and his circle, Ernst Bertram
as well as Karl Jaspers - are not considered with regard to their political intentions, institutional
nal connections and historical contexts are examined, but only insofar as
they have contributed to what Kaufmann considers dangerous abuse and un-
ambiguous misinterpretation of Nietzsche's teaching considered. It must therefore not
surprise when the connection between Nazism and Nietz
from this point of view see outright disfigurement as well as radical damage
tion of the essentially apolitical teaching of the master is discussed. 9 The deci-
diert Marxist reading of Nietzsche by Georg Lukäcs is determined by one
completely contrary, but similarly essentialist view. Lukacs creates a picture
Nietzsche as the irrationalist mouthpiece of the reactionary bourgeoisie
1870, as a thoroughly proto-fascist thinker, as the father of a natio
nal socialism, which is based on the compelling logic of historical development
Reflect ideas faithfully and inescapably. 10

8 Of course, historians must be careful not to overlook certain texts by Nietzsche

invent, clean up, selectively edit or even directly falsify. All too well known
are the corresponding interventions carried out by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche.
9 Cf. Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist. Antichrist, supra, p. 4; German:
Nietzsche. Philosopher - Psychologist - Antichrist, op. Cit., P. 4. Chapter 10 brings his Dar
Position of National Socialism.
10 Cf. Georg Lukäcs, The Destruction of Reason, in: Works. Vol. 9, Darmstadt and New
wied: Luchterhand 1974.

Nietzsche's legacy and history

A philosopher is not only free to judge and
evaluate, but he is obliged to do so. Cultural historians, on the other hand, must
Exercise caution in this direction. At the center of a cultural and historical un-
In Nietzsche's case, the dynamics of the process that emanates from him must be examined
Influences as well as the complex dissemination and use of his ideas,
but not their truth, falsehood or plausibility. Essentialist approaches
have a tendency to darken rather than lighten historical representations,
by forcing the relevant material under preconceived interpretive patterns. If
they were right or not - the different interests of the readers Nietz-
in fact, each led to different interpretations. I want to
trace their contexts and consequences. Nietzscheanism through
penetrated, in one form or another, many of the essential politi
see and cultural currents of the 20th century. Its history can
a simple representation of the present influences by no means do justice.
Its cultural environment and its historical texture are just too open to diffe
limited and too diverse for essentialist or one-sided theses to be attributed to them
are able to match.
Historians have also taken note of it (even in the most recent studies)
Guilty of Nietzsche's legacy to either reactionary or progressive
Reduce aspects. They too have (with sometimes quite limited
Constructions) Nietzsche and Nietzscheanism in the service of interest-
forced historical theses. In his work on the afterlife of the ancient
European order beyond 1914, for example, Arno J. Mayer
claims that Nietzsche's thinking primarily had the function of rhetorical
and ideologically the aristocratic interests of the late 19th century to un-
support. He presents Nietzscheanism as »ideally suited to the
rebellious elements of the ruling classes "in articulating their anti-
to help democratic, illiberal and reactionary ideas.
Mayer carelessly ignores the fact that these conservative forces of the
old order almost inevitably took a position against Nietzsche. You oppose-
opposed to his anti-Christian, immoralistic attitude and were about his ra-
dical questioning of any authority or tradition shocked and appalled. This one
Kreisen was aware that Nietzsche was talking about "a new nobility" and that it was him
was about an aristocratic ethos that differed from that of the hereditary nobility like the
Great landowners were completely different.11 The few attempts to

11 Arno J. Mayer, The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War, New York: Pan-
theon, 1981, p. 290; see also pp. 275-329; German: aristocratic power and bourgeoisie. The crisis of
European Society 1848-1914, Munich: C. H. Beck 1984, p. 286. Mayer brings for
his reasoning does not include any sources. For a further discussion of the relationships
For the relationship between Nietzscheanism and the ruling elite, see Chapter 4. To
Nietzsche's reference to the "new nobility" cf. Thus spoke Zarathustra in: Werke, Vol. VI, 1.
Berlin 1968, p. 250.

Chapter 1

Establishing a connection to Nietzsche's lifetime became complete by himself
unequivocally disapproved:
In a special case I once saw everything about a single book - it
was "beyond good and evil" - sinned; I would have presented a fine report
about to pay. Should you believe that the national newspaper is a Prussian newspaper,
noticed for my foreign readers, I read myself, with all due respect, only the Journal of the
Debats - in all seriousness knew how to understand the book as a> sign of the times right Junker philosophy, to which the Kreuzzeitung only lacks courage? 12
A corresponding presentation of Nietzsche's teaching would undoubtedly have a func-
tion in the sense of the ruling classes. But it can be empirically
prove that such a reception in these classes (by only a few bemer
Notable exceptions) simply did not take place. in the
by and large, the traditional elites viewed the philosopher as one
dangerous and insane representatives of the coup. The right made itself
his apprenticeship seriously only after the First World War, i.e. in the time of the Weima
r republic, and even then its reception was primarily the work
radically revolutionary elements.
In his 1983 study, R. Hinton Thomas comes across the
is closer to the thesis that Nietzsche's supporters are typically dissidents
and radicals who have alienated themselves from the established social order. 13
Far from being the reactionary (or even conservative) sections of society
To represent, they were mainly concerned with emancipation, progress and humanisti
see ideals oriented. The supporters of socialism and anarchism who
Representatives of the women's movement and members of the revolting youth
alliances - they all fell under Nietzsche's libertarian magic.
Although Thomas has an essential aspect of Nietzsche's reception in mind
its one-sidedness ultimately leads to a crooked picture. 14 Only if you can
leaves out significant other aspects and argues one-sidedly, the An
Nietzsche's hanger before 1918 should be ascribed to the emancipatory camp as a whole.
In any case, the decisive factor is that it was never possible to keep Nietzsche's legacy in a simplistic way
to be called either "reactionary" or "progressive". And this does not apply
only because Nietzsche himself would have mocked such purposeful labeling (to

12 Friedrich Nietzsche, "Why I Write Such Good Books" 1-2, Ecce homo, in: Works,
Vol. VI, 3, Berlin 1969, pp. 298f.
13 R. Hinton Thomas, Nietzsche in German Politics and Society 1890-1918. Manchester: Man
Chester University Press 1983.
14 The book of Thomas is in many of its parts which make up the present investigation a
have found a lot of value. Yet its focus is on progressive and
"Libertarian" elements too one-sided and insufficiently nuanced to cope with the complexity of the Re
to meet reception processes. Reference is made to only one important example: Thomas
mentions neither the name of Elisabeth Förster Nietzsche nor her influential work
at the head of the Nietzsche archive in Weimar. For this omission only ideo
logical blinkers to be responsible.

Nietzsche's legacy and history

the overriding of which he has in fact made a decisive contribution), but also,

because the range of topics covered by Nietzsche's followers is remarkably broad
Covered a range of political and cultural interests. These interests were
which is mostly articulated in a radical way. They were interested in eclectic visions of cultural
real revaluation and political redemption. However, while these interests, like us
will be seen, were presented by progressive circles, were found
Among the followers of Nietzsche there were also those who can hardly be classified: parts
the avant-garde, various wings of the life reform movement and above all
those who in the 20th century adopted the German version of a post-conservative »revolution
tional rights «.
It is one of the main theses of this book that Nietzsche and his
Followers a broad iconoclastic movement that goes beyond the usual Un
to override or disregard distinctions between left and right, progressive and reactionary
made it appear incomprehensible, both triggered and benefited from it. 15 you
also presented the simple dichotomies of modern and premodern, ra-
tional and irrational in question. Connected in diverse and unpredictable ways
Nietzsche's followers are archaic with futuristic elements.
Because research has so far generally assumed that Nietzscheanism
sit something like a coherent political personality, does he have the different
overlooked the motivations and complex processes with which Nietzsches
Ideas from diverging interests were actively adopted and redesigned.
who are. Like its lord and master, Nietzscheanism was never just one
coloured. A critical and selective appropriation of Nietzsche's works and
Themes led the audience across Europe to a connection with Nietzsche
with a wide range of cultural and political attitudes: to anarchisti
see, expressionist, feminist, futuristic, nationalist, national
nalsocialist, religious, sexually libertarian, socialist, ethnic and
Zionist positions. Only by dealing with these heterogeneous positions
melted, both Nietzsche and Nietzscheanism gained significant importance
Force. The following investigation therefore devotes its attention to dynamics
a historical mediation and analyzes the dissemination, popularization,
Assimilation, rejection and prismatic refraction of the image that is divided
the public of Nietzsche in changing historical and ideological
Have made contexts.
But why did Nietzsche exercise such a protean fascination? Why could
he is attractive to so many generations who have made his work their own
Act? Why has this work been viewed as a vital force by so many groups?
hen? While much of his fascination comes from the special interventions and

15 A view of the erosion of these distinctions that deviates from mine
Ze'ev Sternhell, Neither Right nor Left, Berkeley: University of California Press

Chapter 1

Purges result, from the whims and commands of selection as well as from the
cret reworking and each other's applications, the approach must be one
The answer can certainly also be found in aspects of the text corpus itself. Without that
tremendous supply of suggestive topics, ideas and categories without the sparkling ones
No "Nietzscheanism" would have been possible with language and brilliant rhetoric.
That Nietzsche was opposed to so many opposing tendencies and interests
sen proved to be congenial and that his work testifies to the ability to generate new reactions
to evoke without end is due to an important peculiarity of his
post-Hegelian thought and its method: the rejection of systematization
rer and the systems as well as the determination to deal with a variety of problems
To look at perspectives. »I mistrust all systematics and run out of them
the way, ”he wrote. »The will to the system is a lack of righteousness
heit. «16 Nietzsche's aphoristic style reflects this rejection of fixed systems
contrary. He saw style as a sign of inner complexity. “A state, an internal one
Tension of pathos through signs, including the tempo of these signs, with-
to divide - that is the point of every style; and considering that the multiplicity is inner
My condition is extraordinary, there are many possibilities of style for me -
the most diverse art of style that a person has ever had at his disposal. ”17 That
the narrator's point of view changes again and again with Nietzsche, facilitated
from different interpretations of his works.
For an understanding of the Nietzsche reception it is also important to understand
sung by Walter Kaufmann, “that Nietzsche's philosophy actually from the beginning to
The end of a glorification of the creative is "that" every creation actually
creating new values ​​and norms is «. 18 These ever-changing values
and norms influenced the manner in which they were appropriated; because there was one here
principled openness as well as the invitation to dare to go your own way. A self-
A certain creative act should help a vision to its content and con-
provide doors. Kurt Rudolf Fischer's remarks about the superman read
must apply to most of Nietzsche's other topics and categories:
We shorten Nietzsche when we want to define what the "superman" is. Because I
believe that it is part of the destiny of the "superman" not to be determinate - that we
experiment that we should be creative. Nietzsche emphasizes the creativity of the human
and that is why we should insist that the concept of the "superman" is
agile is indefinite. We shouldn't ask whether an author here is confusing or confusing the problem
presented us with a dangerous solution. 19

16 Friedrich Nietzsche, "Proverbs and Arrows", No. 26, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 3, Berlin 1969, p. 57.
17 Friedrich Nietzsche, "Why I write such good books", Ecce homo, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 3,
loc. cit., p. 302.
18 Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, a. a. O., p. 414; see.
also p. 250; German: Nietzsche. Philosopher - Psychologist - Antichrist, op. Cit., P. 481.
19 Kurt Rudolf Fischer quoted from Robert E. McGinn, “Metamorphoses of Nietzsche's
people in Mediterranean literature: d'Annunzio, Marinetti and Kazantza-
kis «in: Nietzsche Studies 10/11 (1981-1982) p. 611.

Nietzsche's legacy and history

This openness was decisive for Nietzsche's attraction. His followers
of all stripes responded to the call for dynamic self-realization
a design of their respective worldview. 20
Nietzsche's most-read text finally called for this in an intoxicating manner
[...] what is good and bad, nobody knows yet: - unless the creator! - But that is
He who creates man's goal and gives the earth its meaning and its future: this-
Only then can something be good and bad. 21
Nietzsche's rhetoric may have been brilliant, but most of his
Followers ultimately turn out to be human, all-too-human. Absolutely
incapable of the solitary creativity required of him, they sought consolation and
Protection against political ideologies. Only in this way could Nietzsche's work be made edible
made, and this circumstance could also be rashed in its own terms.
functionalize. One particularly ardent follower noticed that the master's work
long after a certain kind of interpretation and contemplation, if one
does not want to be helpless in the face of his creative chaos. 22nd
Nietzsche's work was therefore hermeneutically in-
institutionalized, and projection processes seemed to be more than creativity
To keep the upper hand. The contents of general terms such as the will to power,
Dionysian, revaluation of all values, eternal return and immoralism could
adapted to the given ideological patterns.
Nonetheless, Nietzsche's suitability as a projection surface inspired some authors
independent and significant work. They transferred his work into their mirror-
image and found their own conceptual and political preferences in it
confirms. Carl offers an excellent, but by no means unique, example of this
Gustav Jung's marathon seminar on Zarathustra (1934-1939) .23 Jung matters
Nietzsche a prophet of the concept of the collective unconscious as well as a le-
permanent example of its internal processes; so he sees in him his own
version of psychoanalysis confirmed. Works like this are key documents of a
gener art. They too must find their way into the dynamics of Nietzsche's reception.
Most of those who adopted his work wore blinders
pen. They didn't want all of Nietzsche or none of them. As readers, they could
Make a selection from the extraordinary multitude of positions and perspectives

20 Exactly this is evident in Martin Buber, "A word about Nietzsche and the words of life",
in: Die Kunst im Leben (December 1900) p. 13.
21 Friedrich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 1, Berlin 1968, pp. 242f.
("From old and new tablets").
22 Heinrich Berl "Nietzsche and Judaism", in: Menorah 10 (1932) pp. 59-69.
23 Carl Gustav Jung, Nietzsche's Zarathustra: Notes of the seminar Given in 1934-1939, 2 vols.,
James J. Jarret (ed.), Princeton, N.J .: Princeton University Press 1988. [Note. d. Translator:
According to the CG. Jung Institute in Küsnacht only contains the manuscript of this book
in English. In the following, therefore, the passages from
be translated back to me.]
Chapter 1

ven contained in this work. Some of them emphasized the
distinguish between the early, middle, and late scriptures, while others do these
Differences were completely ignored. The individual texts were therefore given a different
because it is given a different meaning and value. Nietzsche's image as
devastating critic, as a relentless unmasker in the service of truth
and as guardians of culture could be merged or distinguished from
that of the great defender of life against the ravages of a mortifying one
Intellect. The great stylist, lyricist and poet abandoned himself to the immoralist, ironic
and nihilists and his work as converters, as mercilessly grandiose
Separate legislators and prophets of the future as well as unite with them.
Admirers, opponents and critics alike agreed that Nietz-
he didn't just read it, but rather, as Thomas Mann put it in 1918,
pressed, became an "experience." 24 With incomparable intensity and immediacy
Nietzsche became what his contemporaries considered the key experience
their individual and collective identity. Considered from the start
those who canonized him, as well as those who condemned him, as original
lifters and critics of a new European modernity that was determined by the
all reevaluating, libertarian and devastating potentials of nihilism. If-
many of his opponents portrayed him as a reactionary and anti-modernist
it is mostly believed that Nietzsche is dramatically predictive and
embody a force that goes beyond the conventions of the 18th and 19th centuries -
strut. More than the work of any other thinker, his was like a prism,
in which existential problems in their changed forms and meanings ex-
were pressively recognizable. After reading this philosopher, Gerhard wrote
Hubert, a keen observer, 1911, Nietzsche was a seismograph of the modern
spiritual and intellectual life in Europe, a playground and battlefield
field in which its tensions, conflicts and possibilities are
would be played.25 Another follower of Nietzsche wrote: “Even if you

24 Thomas Mann, Considerations of an Unpolitical, in: Collected Works, Vol. 12, Frank-
ford a. M .: S. Fischer 1974, p. 25.
25 Gerhard Hubert, modern goals of the will, Leipzig: A. Deichert 1911, p. 19. This was right
widespread topic that could be adapted to the inclinations of the respective commentator.
In this way, a Christian author who wanted to give his tired church new strength
lend, write, Nietzsche's fight against his time and its Christianity is that
Anticipation of his own struggle and Nietzsche's inner tension
that his mind shattered was entirely his own tension and that of his friends. See Theo-
dor Odenwald, Friedrich Nietzsche and today's Christianity, Giessen: Alfred Töpelmann,
1926, pp. 17 and 23. Nietzsche “was a phenomenal phenomenon, the European
summing up cultural abundance and complexity «. Thomas Mann, »Nietzsche's Philosophy
in the light of our experience "(1947), in: Collected Works in Thirteen Volumes, Vol. 9,
Speeches and essays 1, 2nd ed., Frankfurt a.M .: S. Fischer 1974, pp. 675-712, here: p. 675. In
Ernst Nolte has recently taken this view of Nietzsche's personality as one
The battleground of the tendencies of the epoch taken up again in his book Nietzsche und
Nietzscheanism, Frankfurt a.M. and Berlin: Propylaen, 1990.

Nietzsche's legacy and history

didn't know him at all, never would have heard of his name, would you know him-
because you have a piece of him in you. "26
This strong symbolic overuse inevitably led to a political
table mobilization. Even those who thought, any political
Assumption of Nietzsche represents an abuse and a distortion of his thinking
kens, understood that from the expressive power of his writings
there was an almost irresistible temptation to do just that. Georges Bataille
- this "purest" of all Nietzscheans - declared that Nietzsche's thinking was "a laby
rinth, the exact opposite of those directives that govern political systems
today from their followers. ”But he regretfully admitted that the doctrine
of the master
possesses an incomparable seductive power, a "power" that politicians use
had to be tempted to serve or which they at least want to reconcile with their interests-
ten. The doctrine of Nietzsche "mobilizes" the will and the aggressive impulses; it was
therefore it is inevitable that the ruling powers will remove these released and unbound
to integrate forms of the will and the drives of their respective movement.
ten. 27
Despite Nietzsche's repeated warnings - "I don't want any 'believers', I do
think i'm too vicious to believe in myself, i never talk to you
Crowds [...] I have a terrible fear that one day you will meet me
canonize ”28 - his mythicization and political appropriation turned out to be
inevitable. In the real world, few are able to Zoroaster
Warning to heed: »... and only when you have all denied me will I
return to you. "29
However, that alone cannot explain why Nietzsche did such a thing after 1890
won overpowering power. To this explanation is a stronger focus of the
historical perspective. Nietzsche's newfound attractiveness emerged
initially from its importance as a critic of Wilhelmine society and as
Prophet of their overcoming. He articulated a growing discomfort at the
Bigotry and the conventions of Wilhelmine Germany. Towards the end
of the century, the empire offered fertile ground on which the Nietz
scheanism could flourish; because it generated a multitude of modern protests
and reform movements. 30

26 Albert Kalthoff, Sermons of Zarathustra: Speeches about Friedrich's moral view of life

Nietzsches, Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1904, p. 4.
27 Georges Bataille, "Nietzsche et les fascistes", in: Oeuvres completes, Vol. 1, Paris: Gallimard
1970, pp. 447-465, here pp. 455 and 451.
28 Friedrich Nietzsche, "Why I am a fate", Ecce homo, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 3, op.
P. 363.
29 Friedrich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra, in: Werke, Vol. VI, 1, Berlin 1968, p. 97.
30 Cf. Thomas Nipperdey, »Was the Wilhelmine Society a subject society
schaft? «, in: Reflecting on German history, Munich: C. H. Beck 1986,
P. 178f.

Chapter 1

That was related to a significant change in thinking and in
Behavioral attitudes that emerged in large parts of Europe towards the end of the 19th
a hundred made noticeable. Nietzsche made a significant contribution to this