Ever since I’ve gotten into college, I’ve met a lot of people who in varying words whispered Seig Heil in my ears. To be honest, the overwhelming amount of Hitler fans is staggering for a person who grew up reading Anne Frank’s diary. So it should be no wonder if it comes equally as a surprise when no one really knows about Nietzsche.
If you are a Hitler fan, you ought to have read something about him. I mean, c’mon people!
This lack of knowledge about the person who indirectly (yes, indirectly) influenced Hitler’s ideology compels me to write about him. So, here we are.
So, what’s up with Nietzsche’s moustache?
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (pronounced Neet-cha) was a German philosopher born on October 15th 1844. He was a gifted student since his childhood, and despite his father’s untimely demise when he was just 5, he showed his intellect. He also grew up to sport a fabulous, also outright weird moustache.
Philosophical thories of Nietzsche
Nietzsche promoted the individuality of man. His concept of Ubermensch, perspectivism (a notion that favours the non-existence of a universal truth) and the most famous, God is dead were some of the most groundbreaking writings in philosophy.
Ubermensch: According to Nietzsche, a human being is capable of becoming a great entity by itself, an entity who could set an example of human pinnacle. Nietzsche’s works have had numerous interpretations, and accordingly his Ubermensch has received many faces, ranging from a metaphor of a man who has created his own values to outright God.
Criticism of religion: Almost all of the earlier philosophies of medieval period springs from Christianity, either to support or to oppose its doctrines. Nietzsche was not an exception, and his views on religion were rebellious, to put it mildly. He questioned the moral implications of religion and how they hinder individuals in finding their own morality. He was strongly against conformism, and shunned religion in general for its lack of a broad moral scope which couldn’t include those who did not believed in them.
God is dead: All the atheist who hadn’t read Nietzsche would be jumping with joy at this one. Sorry to pop your balloons, but he was talking about the lack of usefulness of God in a human world where a plethora of religions thrive. If someone to throw away his Christian beliefs, he’d exclude himself from Christian morals and values as well. This would lead to nihilism, a belief in nothing. This was something Nietzsche found unacceptable, and he worked to find a better, deeper set of values for human beings.
Where does Hitler fit in all of this?
The title of this article isn’t a clickbait, mind you. Nietzsche did inspire Hitler, indirectly.
Many of Nietzsche’s writings went unpublished after his death. His sister, Elisabeth took to edit his unpublished writings. She was a pro-German nationalist however, and so he plagiarized her brother’s writings to fit them into her own ideologies, often contradicting his earlier writings. His newly-published writings soon became associated with fascism and Nazism. Adolph Hitler has been said to frequently use phrases from Nietzsche’s works, and many Nazi leaders selectively used his works to their own perceptions (ironic, if you consider Nietzsche’s views on perspectivism). In a very indirect way, Nietzsche inspired Hitler, though none of it was his fault.
This is why editors and grammar Nazis are important. They can make you, and they can break you. They can also turn you into an inspiration for racial discrimination and genocides.
Nietzsche was an influential philosopher, and his works still hold great respect amongst the philosophers and the common man alike. His was a tragic story, but his Zarathustra still speaks to us and we are all too eager to listen.
Here are links to some of his works (no free e-books, sorry):