Jeffrey Herf: Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (1985)

4 October 2013, dusan

“In a unique application of critical theory to the study of the role of ideology in politics, Jeffrey Herf explores the paradox inherent in the German fascists’ rejection of the rationalism of the Enlightenment while fully embracing modern technology. He documents evidence of a cultural tradition he calls ‘reactionary modernism’ found in the writings of German engineers and of the major intellectuals of the Weimar right: Ernst Juenger, Oswald Spengler, Werner Sombart, Hans Freyer, Carl Schmitt, and Martin Heidegger. The book shows how German nationalism and later National Socialism created what Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, called the ‘steel-like romanticism of the twentieth century’. By associating technology with the Germans, rather than the Jews, with beautiful form rather than the formlessness of the market, and with a strong state rather than a predominance of economic values and institutions, these right-wing intellectuals reconciled Germany’s strength with its romantic soul and national identity.”

Publisher Cambridge University Press, 1985
ISBN 0521338336, 9780521338332
251 pages

Reviews: R.J. Overy (English Historical Review), Geoff Eley (Telos).
Commentary: Thomas Rohkraemer (Contemporary European History).



Iain Thomson: Heidegger on Ontotheology. Technology and the Politics of Education (2005)

8 August 2009, dusan

Heidegger is now widely recognized as one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the twentieth century, yet much of his later philosophy remains shrouded in confusion and controversy. Restoring Heidegger’s understanding of metaphysics as ‘ontotheology’ to its rightful place at the center of his later thought, this book demonstrates the depth and significance of his controversial critique of technology, his appalling misadventure with Nazism, his prescient critique of the university, and his important philosophical suggestions for the future of higher education. It will be required reading for those seeking to understand the relationship between Heidegger’s philosophy and National Socialism, as well as the continuing relevance of his work.

• Examines the direct connection between Heidegger’s philosophy and his decision to join the National Socialist party in 1933 • Provides a clear reconstruction and defense of Heidegger’s later philosophy • Bridges the gap between continental and analytic philosophy

Publisher Cambridge University Press, 2005
ISBN 052161659X, 9780521616591
202 pages

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