Nietzsche's "Antichrist"

I have seen a number of comments about Nietzsche’s book “The Antichrist” but I have never seen any admirer of Nietzsche describing the real message of the book accurately.

Briefly, Nietzsche says that there is no God and Christianity is a complete lie, a harmful lie that negates what is really good in life. This idea is often referred to. What is always ignored as far as I can see is Nietzsche’s analysis of where this “lie” came from.

He explains - not just in passing but in great detail and at length - that this lie comes from the Jews. He says Christianity is nothing but a Jewish trick, an extension of Judaism and a mask of Judaism, which the clever Jews use to dominate and enslave stronger peoples. He refers to Jews (hiding behind the mask of Christianity) as poisonous blood sucking vermin.

Why is this always ignored, while one sentence condeming Wagner’s antisemitism is often pointed to?

The implications of this for the question of Nietzsche’s relationship to National Socialsim and Hitler are obvious.

Don’t trust me, read it for yourself (

Why do people like Jim Walker ( hunt for every clue linking Hitler to Christianity but ignore Hitler’s many links to Nietzsche, Darwin (via the German social Darwinist Ernst Haeckel) and Wagner?

Why don’t they do a website linking Stalin, Lenin, and Mao to atheism and secular humanism? Is this because of cowardice and lack of intellectual integrity, or simple ignorance?

That’s actually a pretty good question. Here is the entire text of Nietzsche’s Antichrist. Here is an excerpt:


You may be that rare thing, a true liberal, if you are not afraid to examine Nietzsche’s ideas instead of sweeping them under the rug like so many of his supporters do.

The quote you posted was representative, but not one of his most virulent.

As an atheist, Nietzsche believed that the Old Testament God of battles and conquests was an invention of man, but the projection of a healthy consciousness that allowed for the assertion of the will to power (though dressed up in religious language). An occasional favorable quote of Nietzsche about Jews relates to their earlier heroic period. He then argues that when this god failed them, instead of abandoning it altogether, as they should have, they invented a new concept - the god of laws, sin, punishment, priests and so on. This he claimed was a manipulative device based on a cunningly falsified “revelation.” Here is where the Jewish corruption of life and civilization began - at least according to Nietzsche. This is what he was referring to with the statement you cited, “The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price: this price involved a radical falsification of all nature, of all naturalness, of all reality, of the whole inner world, as well as of the outer…”

Here are some other quotes from Nietzsche’s Antichrist:

Notice that the Jews in the last quote are placed at the head of all movements of decadence. They are not decadent themselves, they are extremely tough-willed, but they use decadence to dominate others. This attitude explains how the Nazis could blame the Jews for literally everything: socialism, communism, the stock exchange, the abuses of capitalism bad modern art and music - the Jew is at the head of all decadence.

Also, his many attacks on Christianity are attacks on the Jews as well, since Christianity is nothing but a Jewish invention.

It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember thinking it was a condemnation of Western monotheism in general, rather than Judaism specifically. See Lib’s quoted passage, for example.

Can someone with a more recent memory of the book confirm or deny this?

Is there any evidence that Hitler ever actually read Nietzsche? My understanding is that the Nazis bastardized many of Nietzsche’s texts for propaganda purposes.

Western monotheism is Judaism and Christianity, especially in terms of 19th century Europe, whatever other theoretical monotheisms there might be.

Also, Lib’s quote plainly refers to Christianity, as does the great majority of the book itself, not to mention the title! Nietzsche’s thesis is plain - Christianity is a complete lie, and who introduced this lie? The Jews!!! Why did they introduce it? To dominate stronger people with the fake slave morality of kindness, decency, forgiveness, tolerance, and morality, all of which Nietzsche rejected.

What a pitiful man. Did he go mad because of syphilis, or because of his bizarre ideas, or both?

There is no direct evidence, but there is an awful lot of secondary evidence. For one thing, Hitler was not just a nut, though of course he was extremely bizarre. There is credible evidence that as a young man Hitler read widely. One example of this is found in Frank’s biography ( Referring to Hitler’s lifestyle after he moved to Munich before 1914, Franks refers to the Popps, the couple from whom Hitler rented a room. Citing another historian (Werner Maser) he writes:

Hitler’s practice of reading Schopenhauer during the war has been referred to. Any soldier who could take an interest in a ponderous German pseudo-philosopher while serving in the trenches was of an intellectual bent. Furthermore, the following passage from Mein Kampf reveals something of Hitler’s attitude toward books and toward reading. These are clearly not the reflections of an illiterate man.

The same source gives other evidence of Hitler’s tendency to read widely:

Given the fact that Hitler openly expressed his admiration for Nietzsche, and was an avid reader while young, it is hard to believe that he never read any of his books… Nietzsche’s Zarathustra was according to one source issued in large quantities to German troops in WWI - along, paradoxically, with the bible. The one was meant to instill the soldiers with Nietzsche’s hardness, cruelty, and love of war. The bible was meant to instill them with loyalty and obedience to the Kaiser, one of the main emphases of the state-controlled Lutheran Church. Frank has an interesting passage in connection with this:

At any rate, if Zarathustra was issued in large numbers to German troops, Hitler would certainly have come across it, given his interest in reading, the frequent periods of tedium of a soldier’s life, and the shortage of other reading material. Reading it, he must have been deeply attracted to (if not inspired by) its ugliness and brutality. However, even if it could be proven (which it cannot) that Hitler never read a line of Nietzsche, the deep parallels in their thinking show them to have been kindred spirits.

A quote from Shirer is interesting: []:

Also significant are the striking parallels between Hitler’s comments in his Table Talk and Nietzsche’s views of Christianity. Nietzsche also blamed the Christians for the fall of Rome, while Hitler blamed it on the Jews - but according to Nietzsche the Christians were essentially Jews, so the circle is complete.

People who admire Nietzsche like to claim that the Nazis took him out of context. My view is that the Nazis understood Nietzsche well, and his defenders are too superficial to see the real implications of his “reevaluation of values” as clearly as the Nazis did.

Bastardization is hardly necessary when the assertion is made that anti-Semitism “is no more than the final consequence of Judaism”. You can pretty well rationalize launching a holocaust just by taking Nietzsche straight up.

My best guess: Nietzsche is the guy who coined the phrase “God is dead”. Any supporter of Nietzsche really doesn’t care if he gets the details wrong. Judeo-Christianity to them is just a Bad Thing.

Nietszche’s sister Elizabeth was an ardent Nazi & thoroughly supported the use (or misuse) of Brother Freddy’s writings against the Jews & for Hitler.

That said, the reasons many researchers do not blame FN as much as they do Richard Wagner for Hitler’s views are-

FN did not actually despise Jews, RW did. FN’s “blame” of them for C’nity is ACTUALLY a praise. FN is crediting them for devising a great survival mechanism
against the Gentile cultures which would destroy them. RW’s virulent hatred for Jews was one of several factors leading up FN’s final break with him.

In proper context, while the Nazis took terms from FN, they misinterpreted the concepts (with Sister Lizzie’s full support). FN’s “Overmen” of the “Master Race” were not overlords of a collectivist slave herd but people of individuality & integrity who would neither serve moral codes and social systems imposed by others NOR needed to impose moral codes & social systems upon others. That’s why Ayn Rand in her youth was an admirer of FN’s writings until his emotional Dionysian views conflicted with her “rational Apollonian” ones.

None of this is defending FN- the man wrote what he wrote & it easily lends itself to misinterpretation. Even the correct interpretation reveal a deeply maladjusted personality. I don’t know if his philosophy contribute to his syphlitic insanity but it probably didn’t help. (Btw, did you get that idea of his philosophically-induced insanity from Francis Schaeffer?)

Doesn’t seem to be a lot of love for ol’ Freddy here, does there? :smiley: I finished reading *Beyond Good and Evil * some six or seven months ago, and I detested it. The man may have been on to something when he talked about the human race facing a crisis in a confrontation with nihilism, but when he started blithering about supermen I wanted to grab him by the shirt, shake him real hard and shout in his face, *“GROW UP!!!” * (But give the devil his due. Many of his aphorisms struck me as apt and insightful.) However, at least now I understand why some people called Ayn Rand a dime-store Nietzsche.

I suspect Nietzsche and Robert E. Howard would have gotten along splendidly. I don’t mean that as a compliment.

Holy cow. I cannot believe that that interpretation of Nietzsche is still making the rounds. It is like finding the beauty in rotten meat by citing how prettily the green stuff glistens. Nietzsche and Wagner broke up because of the love triangle among them and Nietzsche’s wife, Cosima. Wagner manipulated and abused them both, knowing of their childhood traumas and Nietzche’s homosexuality. Nietzschian apologism is practically doomed to contradiction and philosophical serendipity, the best example of which, to me, is this: “Of course, the Jews will tell you that Hitler and the Nazis were followers of the philosophy of Nietzsche, but as you might expect, if the Jews say it, nothing could be further from the truth.” — Joseph Wallace

Where did you get the idea that Nietzsche is some sort of liberal guru?

Hitler got most of his anti-semitic ideas from street pampleteers, not from Nietzsche. It’s true he was an admirer of Wagner and it’s true that Wagner was a disgusting anti-semite, but I don’t see any “liberals” denying that or defending Wagner.

Putting Darwin on your list is just ridiculous. Are you actually trying to suggest that Charles Darwin was in any way responsible for Hitler? That’s absurd.

I think he explained that he meant via Ernst Haeckel (through Monism, no doubt). But you’re right; direct influence from Darwin is farfetched. For the liberal guru part, my guess is his atheism and hatred of Christianity — attributes pinned on modern liberals by modern conservatives.

Yep. Note that “Social Darwinists” would hold the position that the state should let people succeed or fail on their own, without state intervention. The Nazi death camps would be inconsistent with social Darwinism, as this would be interfering with the natural order of things.

Good point!

Then they would be clueless. Nietzsche would be more a libertarian guru. While libertarians may not be anti-religious, they hold that government should have nothing to do with religion.

“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

From “Mein Kampf”, by Adolf Hitler

Hitler wasn’t an atheist.

So it’s basically founded upon a caricature of contemporary political liberals. I suppose the OP would be shocked to find out that the vast majority American liberals believe in God and that most of them are specifically Christian. Even Hillary Clinton is a life-long, church going Methodist.

How has the right been so successful in portraying themselves as the “Christians” and the liberals as atheists, “anti-Christian,” etc?

Sadly, I suspect this is because the right has been successful in doing that. :frowning: And let’s not mention with perhaps the exception of the abortion issue, Catholics in the US tend toward liberalism. “Tax the rich and redistribute that to the poor”, and “Keep church and state separate” tend to be popular ideas amongst US Catholics.

Not to mention the RCC opposes capital punishment. They also opposed the invasion of Iraq- a fact that you don’t hear the right wing media pundits calling attention to very often.