Nietzsche and the Nazis

A Personal View by Stephen Hicks, Ph.D.

Ockham’s Razor Publishing, 2006, 2010.

nn-cover-colorFriedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is famous for his statement that “God is dead” — and for the fact that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis claimed Nietzsche as one of their great inspirations.
* Were the Nazis right to do so — or did they misappropriate Nietzsche’s philosophy?
* What were the key elements of Hitler and the National Socialists’ political philosophy?
* How did the Nazis come to power in a nation as educated and civilized as Germany?
* What was Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy — the philosophy of “Live dangerously” and “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”?
* And to what extent
did Nietzsche’s philosophy provide a foundation for the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis?


* Hardcover book version published August 2010.
* Kindle version at Amazon published 2011.
* Audiobook edition published 2013. MP3 and YouTube links below.
* 2:45-hour documentary at Netflix and on DVD at Amazon; published 2006.
nn-polish-cover-front-150px* Polish translation by Izabela Kłodzińska (Chojnice, Poland: Fundacji Fuhrmanna, 2014). Preface in English. Przemysław Zientkowski’s foreword.
* Persian translation by Mohsen Mahmoudi (Tehran, Iran: Bourgeois Publishing, 2015).
Ukrainian translation (Mariupol, Ukraine: Mariupol State University Press, 2016).
* Spanish translation by Luis Kofman (Buenos Aires, Argentina: Babarroja Ediciones, 2016.)
* Russian translation forthcoming in 2018.
* Portuguese translation forthcoming in 2018.
* Samples of the manuscript are below in PDF format.

Table of Contents [PDF]
Part 1. Introduction: Philosophy and History [PDF] [MP3] [YouTube]

NN-Persian vitruvian_man-50x1. Fascinated by history
2. What is philosophy of history?

Part 2. Explaining Nazism Philosophically [PDF] [MP3] [YouTube]

nazibks-50px3. How could Nazism happen?
4. Five weak explanations for National Socialism
5. Explaining Nazism philosophically

Part 3. National Socialist Philosophy [MP3] [YouTube]

nsdap-cover-50px6. The Nazi Party Program
NN-Spanish-front-17. Collectivism, not individualism
8. Economic socialism, not capitalism
9. Nationalism, not internationalism or cosmopolitanism
10. Authoritarianism, not liberal democracy
11. Idealism, not politics as usual
12. Nazi democratic success

Part 4. The Nazis in Power [MP3] [YouTube]

icon-waffen-50px13. Political controls
14. Education [PDF]
15. Censorship
16. Eugenics
17. Economic controls
18. Militarization
19. The Holocaust
20. The question of Nazism’s philosophical roots

Part 5. Nietzsche’s Life and Influence [MP3] [YouTube]

21. Who was Friedrich Nietzsche? [PDF] nn-cover-kindle-150px
22. God is dead
23. Nihilism’s symptoms
24. Masters and slaves
25. The origin of slave morality
26. The Overman

Part 6. Nietzsche against the Nazis [MP3] [YouTube]

lion-50-px27. Five differences
28. On the “blond beast” and racism
29. On contemporary Germans
30. On anti-Semitism
31. On the Jews
32. On Judaism and Christianity
33. Summary of the five differences

Part 7. Nietzsche as a Proto-Nazi [MP3] [YouTube]

luft-50px34. Anti-individualism and collectivismnn-dvd-wrap-150px
35. Conflict of groups
36. Instinct, passion, and anti-reason
37. Conquest and war
38. Authoritarianism
39. Summary of the five similarities

Part 8. Conclusion: Nazi and Anti-Nazi Philosophies [MP3] [YouTube]

earth_50px40. Hindsight and future resolve
41. Principled anti-Nazism

Part 9. Appendices

nn-audio-version-150px42. Appendix 1: NSDAP Party Program [PDF]
43. Appendix 2: Quotations on Nazi socialism and fascism [PDF]
44. Appendix 3: Quotations on German anti-Semitism [PDF]
45. Appendix 4: Quotations on German militarism [PDF]


Covers of the various editions and translations (at right).

NN-Ukrainian (1)Reviews: Tibor Machan, Ph.D. Piotr Kostyło, Ph.D. Lorenzo Warby. Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. Dan Schneider. James Henderson. Mike Lumish, Ph.DMagdalena Wędzińska.

Nietzsche and the Nazisdocumentary screenshots.

The brochure with the full table of contents [PDF].

The first several minutes of the documentary are posted at YouTube:

On a lighter note: Ricky Gervais’s “Politics (Hitler interprets Nietzsche).”

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63 thoughts on “Nietzsche and the Nazis

  • August 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Dear Dr. Hicks,
    only now did I find your book „Nietzsche and the Nazis“ and I would like to thank you for your work and your opinion which is very much appreciated.

    Being German, I am trying to find answers to this phenomenon that still provokes feelings of shame and the necessity to understand. I have read as much as I could on the history of the Third Reich from the major and renowned historians. That alone did not provide a real answer, so I later on immersed in psychology trying to figure out what major psychologists or psychiatrists had to say about Hitler himself (like Walter Langer for example) and the whole broader range of authors that emphasize on totalitarianism/authoritarianism (i.e. Hannah Arendt etc.) – Nazism, fascism and communism. Later on I added books that talk about evil and destructiveness itself – everything from Fromm to Buber – including the whole works of Carl Gustav Jung trying to figure out what made us go so low. I am roughly your age – so this topic of my people is accompanying my whole adult life and I still have not found the “definitive” answer to all the questions and maybe never will as it is such a complex and multi-faceted topic.

    Still am seeking to shed some more light to that dark side and although it was quite interesting to have read the accounts on Hitler’s personality and his analysis in general, it never satisfied me. It was a bit like the old German saying: Der Führer ist an allem schuld, trying to project all the guilt and responsibility to the sorcerer who hypnotized innocent Germans so-to-speak. I was always more interested in the question: What happened BETWEEN the ‘Führer’ and the ‘Volk’? What was their interaction – conscious or unconsciously? Your book was very useful to me in that respect too and it has also helped me clarify some of Nietzsche’s concepts and crystalize some related points with national socialism. It certainly is another important piece in the big mosaic-like puzzle that I am trying to figure out to get the bigger picture with the help of scholars like you.


  • August 22, 2017 at 7:53 am

    It is a large puzzle, indeed, Petra, and I too am seeking the fuller picture. Happy that my book helped with parts of it. Thanks.

  • August 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I appreciate this note, Joshua, and I agree entirely with your two-sides-of-the-same-collectivist-coin point.

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