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A Short History of German Philosophy$
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Vittorio Hösle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167190

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167190.001.0001

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Is Philosophy Partly to Blame for the German Catastrophe? Heidegger between Fundamental Ontology and History of Being

Is Philosophy Partly to Blame for the German Catastrophe? Heidegger between Fundamental Ontology and History of Being

Chapter:
(p.217) 13 Is Philosophy Partly to Blame for the German Catastrophe? Heidegger between Fundamental Ontology and History of Being
Source:
A Short History of German Philosophy
Author(s):

Vittorio Hösle

, Steven Rendall
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691167190.003.0013

This chapter considers the question of why German culture is responsible for what are probably the most atrocious crimes of the modern age. It suggests that anyone who wants to answer the question as to why so many Germans followed Hitler would do well to distinguish three levels of followers. First, there was a relatively small minority that supported the National Socialist policy of annihilation out of deep conviction. Second, there was a large group that did not approve of mass murder as a political means, but in 1933 was willing to bring to power a government from which every kind of brutality could be expected, so long as it could be hoped that it would make Germany strong again. Third, there was a large number of people who did not vote for Hitler, but nonetheless obeyed him, not only because they did not want to take any risks, but also because they were convinced that they owed obedience to the legal government.

Keywords:   German culture, German philosophy, German history, Nazi, Hitler

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