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THE NAZI CONSCIENCE by Claudia Koonz



All this digging about in the dusty corners of a building whence I am departing has dug up some books that I bought years ago, put aside essentially unopened, and never got back to.

One of these is THE NAZI CONSCIENCE (2003), a book by a professor of history at Duke University about the various intellectual veneers created for National Socialism during its heyday.

So I'm skimming it now.  Koonz links Martin Heidegger,Carl Schmitt, and Gerhard Kittel as three tenured intellectuals, none of whom had supported Nazism before 1933, each of whom clambered in his own way on board the bandwagon.

"The reactions of these three quite different men illustrate the ecumenical attractiveness of a charismatic force so plastic that listeners could fashion their own myths of the Fuhrer. To Heidegger, Hitler was authenticity personified, to Schmitt he was a decisive leader, and to Kittel, a Christian soldier," three ideas that "converged on one point -- the desire for moral rejuvenation of the  Volk -- even as Nazi paramilitaries destroyed the civil society of the Weimar Republic."

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