Heidegger calling for “someone capable of instilling terror”

From Martin Heidegger’s lectures in the winter semester of 1929-1930 on “The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics.”

The Great War had ended over a decade before but, Heidegger argued, its world-historical significance must not be lost. So the professor is explaining to his students what Germany needs:

heidegger-seated“We must first call for someone capable of instilling terror into our Dasein again. For how do things stand with our Dasein when an event like the Great War can to all extents and purposes pass by without leaving a trace? Is this not perhaps a sign that no event, however momentous it may be, is capable of assuming this task if a man has not prepared himself for awakening in the first place?”

The remark is striking, as Heidegger joined the Nazi Party three years later. A hotly-debated question is still: to what extent his basic philosophy implicated in his politics and to what extent was the university professor was already promoting national-socialistic ideology prior to significant National Socialist electoral success?

Quoted in William H. F. Altman, Martin Heidegger and the First World War: Being and Time as Funeral Oration (Lexington Books, 2012), p. 78. Originally in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, translated by William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995) p. 172.

“Heidegger and World War One — Altman’s book.”

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