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291 13 A Godfather Too: Nazism as a Nietzschean “Experiment” Kurt Rudolf Fischer It is important to keep in mind that the “real Nietzsche” was not the historically effective Nietzsche.* My interest turns to the Nietzsche we knew before Giorgio Colli and Mazzimo Montinari prepared their critical edition.1 The historically effective texts allowed Nazi as well as antiNazi readings from a Nazi standpoint as well as from an anti-Nazi standpoint! Thus from two opposite ideological points of view two opposite results were possible, and indeed existed. In approached the problem of Nietzsche’s relation to fascism, I find it necessary first to raise the question of the meaning of “fascism.” There have been at least two uses of this expression: a narrower use that refers especially, and sometimes exclusively, to the movement, party, and worldview initiated by Benito Mussolini. Mussolini indeed referred explicitly to Nietzsche in a well-known speech of May 21, 1934. And there is a second use of the expression, which points to a wider meaning —mainly employed by the Left—which not only includes but especially refers to the Hitler movement. I am familiar with this use of the expression since my adolescence in Austria and Czechoslovakia. At that time, among others, the Austrian Christlich Soziale Partei (and later the Vaterländische Front) as well as many radical Right movements were considered to be fascist in this wider sense of the term.2 It may be of interest to remark on the similarities and differences of the two main fascist movements, the German and the Italian.3 The dif- 292 䡲 kurt rudolf •scher ference between them can hardly be overstressed. It stands out in the genocidal racism of German National Socialism that we do not find in the Italian variety of fascism, nor in Austrian or Spanish fascism. The second difference between these fascisms is perhaps of lesser significance : the difference between the unlimited power of the Führer, and the power of the Duce that was limited by the king of Italy. Some of these differences can also be explained by the objective contrast in conditions under which the two nations found themselves, and under which they actually existed. The Italians, a Mediterranean people, had only 50,000 Jews in their territory; and these Jews moreover did not have to serve as scapegoats for defeat in World War I because Italy was one of the victorious powers. But there were also significant similarities, and Hitler knew about them. He admired the Duce for his merciless brutality toward his political enemies. A most important point of similarity was that both the German and the Italian fascist parties tried and succeeded in attracting workers even while fighting the trade unions, the communists, and the socialists. Both detested parliamentary democracy and desired a strong state. Both worried about the condition of Western culture, which they wished to save by the use of propaganda and terror. One is also reminded that Mussolini began his career as a socialist journalist , and that Hitler admired Social Democratic techniques of organization and their propaganda. Both Hitler and Mussolini aimed at expansion of their territory—the former wanted more Lebensraum in the East, while the latter wished to expand in the Mediterranean area and the Danube basin. Moreover, although both Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were deadly enemies of communism and of the Soviet Union— there are strong similarities between the Third Reich and Stalinist Russia. But that similarity is not relevant to the topic of this chapter.4 Both the genuine and the forged Nietzsche were opposed to communism and socialism. I am concerned here with Nietzsche and National Socialism, and thus with one particular branch of fascism in the wider sense of the term. At the same time, I believe that the historically effective Nietzsche can be read from two opposite perspectives with two opposite results, both as a proponent and as an opponent of National Socialism. In this endeavor , I think that I am close to Nietzsche’s own methodological view as expressed in the Genealogy of Morals: There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective “knowing”; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity,” be.5 The “real” Nietzsche was not too different from the contaminated and forged Nietzsche, had no historical effect, and played no role in...


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