Hitler and the Enlightenment - Release information

The success of National Socialism cannot be explained by its primitive appeal or its sheer inanity, but rather on the one hand, by its boundless rationality and the total materialism, which objectified even human beings – and on the other, by its own “ethic”, which cannot set bounds to rational reasoning, since all ethics are devolved from rational reasoning itself. If a policy appears right and ethical, only because it is rational or in a sense, reasonable and fit for purpose, it follows that it could not also fail to justify crime as right and ethical. The rationality of the national socialistic world view claims a sensibility which is as irrefutable as the rationality of thieving is to a thief.

Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative does not protect people from crime, should this become both a category in itself and a rational necessity grounded in logic and reason (i.e. the improvement of the genome by racial laws and for survival in a “battle of the peoples”). On closer scrutiny, National Socialism may well appear to be even more “rational” than conventional crime, as nobody, not even the criminals themselves, would defend it with reasoning as an acceptable category. The categorical imperative, which prohibits minor acts of evil, actually encourages major such acts. It therefore follows that the Third Reich, contrary to general perception, was no mere historical coincidence, but rather the consequence of the despiritualisation of society (the exchange of the ethos set in stone with man-made ethics) made possible by the Enlightenment which shaped the 19th century.

Analysis of the National Socialist “battle of the peoples” mythology reveals this to be a concocted mythological picture, although it does confer emotional height to the “rational humanity” of a system which, in reality, was inhuman. In comparing Kant and Hitler’s agendas, it emerges that the notion of National Socialism as a “political religion”, so currently popular, cannot be taken seriously, as it places the blame for the Holocaust squarely at the feet of the Christian teachings, thereby serving the personal prejudices of some members of the scientific community.

This study is not a critique of the Enlightenment; rather, it casts a critical eye over the religious discrimination which the Enlightenment entailed, replacing the irrevocable commandment not to kill with a negotiable ethic which sanctioned the killing of human beings based on reason, a freedom which continues to exist up to the present day.

Donatus Prinz von Hohenzollern: Hitler and the Enlightenment. The Absence of Religion as the Causal Factor in the Success of National Socialism
Frankfurt a.M.: August von Goethe Literaturverlag 2016. 135 pages, www.amazon.de

As Book: ISBN 978-3-8372-2402-3
EUR 14,00, SFR 16,00, GBP 12,00

The book was reviewed in german by Dr. Josef Bordat as Book of the week (28.02.2014).

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