The Fuhrer, On The Other Hand Essay

1550 Words May 4th, 2015 7 Pages
The Führer, on the other hand, had a more nebulous relationship with Nietzsche’s writings. While Hitler appropriated Nietzsche’s ideas into his ideology, he never actually read his works personally. There were, however, stories and rumors spread throughout Germany regarding the two. Viennese actress Rosa Albach-Petty, for example, reportedly heard a story from a friend of a young workman named Adolf Hitler who asked to borrow Thus Spoke Zarathustra and another book by Nietzsche, saying, “‘almost solemnly,’” “‘I promise you ma’am, that I will cherish the books like life itself.’” Stories like this, while untrue, served a valuable purpose in Germany. They constructed a connection, albeit a fabricated one, between the Führer and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who was viewed as a great German man. In reality, Hitler learned of Nietzsche and other philosophers through secondary sources such as newspapers and Elisabeth’s “essential sayings” that were reinterpreted and distorted from their original form. Clearly, not having read works such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra in context, Hitler was able to mold Nietzsche’s words to his will. Even if he did have a better understanding of Nietzsche’s intent behind concepts such as the Übermensch, kraft, and macht, it is unlikely that the Führer would have been bothered by this knowledge. As Stanley Corngold and Geoffrey Waite put it, Hitler “did not give a sweet damn” about Nietzsche. It was immaterial for Hitler whether Nietzsche was…

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