Heidegger, Martin, The Self-Assertion of the German University and The. Rectorate / Facts and Thoughts, Review of Metaphysics, (Mar .). of this “Heidegger controversy” (Thomson ) shows that it has long had the .. Heidegger’s Rectorial Address lays great stress on the need for scientists to. Martin Heidegger wanted his writings to speak for themselves. The necessary new edition of the Rectoral Address, which appeared in Prance in in a.

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A year later, in Aprilhe resigned the Rectorship and stopped taking part in Nazi Party meetings, but remained a member of the Nazi Party until its dismantling at the end of World War II. The denazification hearings immediately after World War II led to Heidegger’s dismissal from Freiburg, banning him from teaching. Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism, his attitude towards Jews and his near-total silence about the Holocaust in his writing and teaching after are highly controversial.

The Black Notebookswritten between andaddfess several anti-semitic statements. Whether there is a relation between Heidegger’s political affiliation and his philosophy is another matter heideggfr controversy. Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany on January 30, Rectorjal joined the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” ten days later, on May 1 significantly the international day of workers’ solidarity: Heidegger said after the war he supported the social more than the national [11].

He co-signed a public telegram sent by Nazi rectors to Hitler on May 20, He wasn’t alone to be mystified. Toynbee too after an audience in noted about Hitler: Mein Kampf had hardly been read and absolutely not taken seriously.

Roosevelt was impressed by Hitler’s manners, the Times in London supported Hitler’s demands, and as a result of high addfess exchange prices, people applauded in London’s cinemas when the newsreel showed Hitler’s image. In Germany, the atmosphere of those days has been described by Sebastian Haffnerwho experienced it himself, as “a widespread feeling of deliverance, of liberation from democracy.

This sense of relief at the demise of democracy was shared not only by heideggfr enemies of the republic. Most of its supporters, too, no longer credited it with the strength to master the crisis. It was as if a paralyzing weight had been lifted. Something genuinely new seemed to be beginning — a people’s rule without political parties, with a leader of whom it was hoped that he would unite Germany once more internally and make her self-assured externally. Hitler’s “Peace Speech” of May 17,when he declared that “boundless love and loyalty to one’s own nation” included “respect” for the national rights of other nations, had its effect.

The London Times observed that Hitler had “indeed spoken for a united Germany. Heidegger was indeed captivated by Hitler in this first year. Jaspers noted about his last meeting with him in May The new rector Heidegger was sober enough to refuse, like his predecessor, to display the anti-Jewish poster.

He argued after the war that he joined the Party to avoid dismissal, and he forbade the planned book-burning that was scheduled to take place in front of the main University building. Nevertheless, according to Victor Farias, Hugo Ott, and Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger implemented the Gleichschaltung totalitarian policy, suppressing all opposition to the government.

The way Heidegger conceived of the revival of the university, this became clear to me on the occasion of a memorable event. But Heidegger’s word was law. The student he had chosen to lead the philosophy department thought he should pronounce introductory words on national socialist revolution. Heidegger soon manifested signs of impatience, then he shouted with a loud voice that irritation strained: He had to resign from office.

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But Heidegger is a step ahead: Heidegger’s tenure as rector was fraught with difficulties. He was in conflict with Nazi students, intellectuals, and bureaucrats.


Philosophical historian Hans Sluga wrote:. Though as rector he prevented students from displaying an anti-Semitic poster at the entrance to the university and from holding a book burning, he kept in close contact with the Nazi student leaders and clearly signaled to them his sympathy with their activism.

Some National Socialist education officials viewed also him as a rival, while others saw his efforts as comical. His most risible initiative was the creation of a Wissenschaftslager or Scholar’s camp, seriously described by Rockmore as a “reeducation camp”, but by Safranski as rather a “mixture of scout camp and Platonic academy”, actually “to build campfires, share food, have conversation, sing along with guitar Safranski tells how a dispute occurred with a group of SA students and their military spirit.

He finally offered his resignation on April 23,and it was accepted on April Heidegger remained a member of both the academic faculty and of the Nazi Party until the end of the war, but took no part in Party meetings. Inhe didn’t even have the right to teach anymore, was considered a “completely dispensable” teacher, and was ordered up the Rhine to build fortifications, then drafted into the Volkssturm national militia, “the oldest member of the faculty to be called up”.

The rectorate was an attempt to see something in the movement that had come to power, beyond all its failings and crudeness, that was much more far-reaching and that could perhaps one day bring a concentration on the Germans’ Western historical essence.

It will in no way be denied that at the time I believed in such possibilities and for that reason renounced the actual vocation of thinking in favor of being effective in an official capacity. In no way will what was caused by my own inadequacy in office be played down. But these points of view do not capture what is essential and what moved me to accept the rectorate.

All leading must concede its following its own strength. All following, however, bears resistance in itself. This essential opposition of leading and following must not be blurred let alone eliminated. In this speech, Heidegger declared that “science must become the power that shapes the body of the German university. The will to the essence of the German university is the will to science as will to the historical spiritual mission of the German people as a people [“Volk”] that knows itself in its state [“Staat”].

Together, science and German destiny must come to power in the will to essence.

Heidegger rectorjal linked the concept of a people with ” blood and soil ” in a way that would now be regarded as characteristic of Nazism:. Inanti-fascist poet Antonin Artaud wrote that “Any true culture is based on race and blood.

Heidegger at Freiburg, 1933

There is much talk nowadays of blood and soil as frequently invoked powers. Literati, whom one comes across even today, have already seized hold of them. Blood and soil are certainly powerful and necessary, but they are not a sufficient condition for the Dasein of a people.

Heidegger’s concept of a people is “historical” and not only biological as in Alfred Rosenbergthe Nazi Party’s chief racial theorist. The rectorate speech ended with calls for the German people to “will itself” and “fulfill its historical mission”: But no one will even ask us whether we do or do not will, when the spiritual strength of the West fails and its joints crack, when this moribund semblance of a culture caves in and drags all forces into confusion and lets them suffocate in madness.

Each individual participates in this decision even when, and especially when, he evades it. There is revolution in Germany, and we must ask ourselves: Is there revolution at the university as well? The battle still consists of skirmishes.

So far, a breakthrough has only been achieved on one front: The possibility could exist that the university will suffer death through oblivion and forfeit the last vestige of its educational power. It must, however, be integrated again into the Volksgemeinschaft and be joined together with the State. This goal demands three things: Up to now, research and teaching have been carried on at the universities as they were for decades.


Teaching was supposed to develop out of research, and one sought to find a pleasant balance between the two. It was always only the point of view of the teacher that spoke out of this notion. No one had concerned himself with the university as community. Research got out of hand and concealed its uncertainty behind the idea of international scientific and scholarly progress.

Teaching that had become aimless hid behind examination requirements. A fierce battle must be fought against this situation in the National Socialist spirit, and this spirit cannot be allowed to be suffocated by humanizing, Christian ideas that suppress its unconditionality. Danger comes not from work for the State. It comes only from indifference and resistance.

For that reason, only true strength should have access to the right path, but not halfheartedness The new teaching which is at issue here does not mean conveying knowledge, but allowing students to learn and inducing them to learn.

This means allowing oneself to be beset by the unknown and then becoming master of it in comprehending knowing; it means becoming secure in one’s sense of what is essential. It is from such teaching that true research emerges, interlocked with the whole through its rootedness in the people and its bond to the state.

Martin Heidegger and Nazism – Wikipedia

The student is forced out into the uncertainty of all things, in which the necessity of engagement is grounded. University study must again become a risknot a refuge for the cowardly. Whoever does not survive the battle, lies where he falls. The new courage must accustom itself to steadfastness, for the battle for the institutions where our leaders are educated will continue for a long time. It will be fought out of the strengths of the new Reich that Chancellor Hitler will bring to reality.

A hard race with no rectrial of self must fight this battle, a race that lives from constant testing and that remains directed toward the goal to which addrress has committed itself. It is a battle to determine who shall be the teachers and leaders at the university. According to Farias and Ott, Heidegger also denounced or demoted three colleagues for being insufficiently committed to the Nazi cause.

Heidegger at Freiburg, | The New Criterion

But this has been disputed by Eduard Langwald, who considers “Heidegger was never a Nazi-minded informer”. According to Hugo Ott, Heidegger leaked information on September 29, to the local minister of education rectoriap the chemist Hermann Staudinger had been a pacifist during World War I.

Heidegger knew this could cost Staudinger his job. The Gestapo investigated the matter and confirmed Heidegger’s tip. Asked for his recommendation as rector of the university, Heidegger secretly urged the ministry to fire Staudinger without a pension.

As Langwald alleges Heidegger was himself a pacifist since World War I, he doubts that Heidegger could so suddenly become a “pacifist hunter” acting “furiously macho”, [29] and asserts Ott did not interpret the facts properly. After Hitler’s “Peace Sddress of May 17,Heidegger more likely wanted to test Staudinger, because as a chemist his researches could become dangerous.

Safranski, although he charges Heidegger, recognizes: He felt he was a part of the revolutionary movement, and it was his intention to keep opportunists away from the revolutionary awakening. They were not to be allowed to sneak into the movement and use it to their advantage.

He intervened as Baumgarten applied for membership in the SA brownshirts and in the National Socialist Dozentenschaft.

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