(1844 - 1900), German

Friedrich Nietzsche’s Politics

Certain interpretations of Nietzsche’s works, plus his adoption by far-right movements like Fascism and Nazism, have led many to describe Nietzsche as a Nazi and Fascist, among other far-right political groups and ideas. 

However, Friedrich Nietzsche was already dead by the time Adolph Hitler formed the Nazi party in 1919. Nietzche, who died in 1900, was several decades gone when Hitler ascended to power with the Nazi party. Hitler quite possibly admired and made use of some of Nietzsche’s ideas such as his views about race and human inequality, his celebration of power and strength, his championing of the Übermensch (superman) and “master morality,” and his condemnation of the weak. However, scholars argue that the Nazis misunderstood Nietzsche and utilized his ideas in a way that the philosopher would disapprove of. 

Friedrich Nietzsche's Politics 1

Nietzsche endorsed eugenics, but scholars believe he would not have endorsed the brutal elimination of the disabled and invalids like the Nazis infamously carried out. Also, while Nietzsche believed that certain traits were inherited and passed within certain groups, his solution was for the races to mix, not for the elimination of races believed to have inferior characteristics. Nietzsche opposed the idea that the Germans were of superior racial stock and vehemently disagreed with and disliked anti-Semites. 

Elizabeth Forster’s Tampering

Nietzsche’s sister, Elizabeth Forster, has been identified as the person behind the perception that Nietzsche had Nazi sympathies. After her brother’s death, she took control of his literary estate. She was a fascist and was married to an anti-Semitic man.  She had invited Hitler to a Photo op in the Nietzsche Archive and had edited and manipulated some of Nietzsche’s books to make it seem like the philosopher was favorably disposed to some of the core Nazi doctrines. 

Nietzsche’s own attacks on democracy and his ridiculing of the idea of equality have provided fuel for accusations that he was fascist. His case was not helped by the fact that he seemed to admire tyrants like Napoleon Bonaparte and Cesare Borgia. Scholars have contended that Nietzsche was in fact apolitical. 

Why Nietzsche supposedly liked “strong men”

Nietzsche was opposed to political parties as he saw them as manifestations of humanity’s herd mentality, and as demanding hard allegiances that were not in keeping with his standards of intellectual honesty. Nietzsche’s praise for Borgia has been shown to be an ironic put-down of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, and his praise for Napoleon had more to do with the French commander’s liberalism, rather than his authoritarianism 

Closer examination shows that Nietzsche condemns democracy and equality as strongly as he condemns autocracy, tyranny, oligarchy, theocracy, nationalism, militarism, racism, and intolerance. Nietzsche was only concerned with the self-actualization of individuals and took interest in great States only insofar as they can produce great individuals. He advocates personal virtues, rather than political ones. 

About Israel Njoku
Israel has a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. He loves entertainment, pop-culture and the arts and tries to extract themes with wider reaching implications from them through rigorous analysis.
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