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Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Herf
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Kurzbeschreibung

12. Januar 2008
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.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 264 Seiten
  • Verlag: Cambridge University Press; Auflage: Reprint (12. Januar 2008)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0521338336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521338332
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,7 x 16 x 1,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 289.560 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

'Jeffrey Herf, in his most interesting and original study ... has drawn attention to a strain in German social thought which made it possible to link the ideas of the new technology of the twentieth century to the concepts of the German Volksgemeinschaft and of the uniqueness of the German spiritual experience.' The Times Literary Supplement 'Jeffrey Herf's scrupulously researched and well written study demonstrates once more the extent to which ... [historical enquiry] can help us to understand the factors which contributed to the formation of the national socialist worldview and which rendered it acceptable in the Germany of the thirties.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Thomas Mann ... wrote that 'the really characteristic and dangerous aspect of National Socialism was its mixture of robust modernity and an affirmative stance toward progress combined with dreams of the past: a highly technological romanticism'. This accomodation of opposites Jeffrey Herf has labeled 'reactionary modernism,' and in a highly original book he has described the way in which modern nationalism, without diminishing the system's romantic and antirational aspects.' The New York Review of Books 'The particular contribution of this exemplary piece of imaginative and well-researched historical sociology of ideas is a thorough analysis of the German thinking on the relation between society (culture) and technology among literary figures as well as among the professors at the technical universities.' German Studies Newsletter

Synopsis

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.

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4.5 von 5 Sternen
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4.0 von 5 Sternen An important intellectual tradition reconsidered! 6. November 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Herf's book on "Reactionary Modernism" is important because it brings up an intellectual tradition that has been unjustly neglected since the end of WWII. Herf's "paradigm" consists of the right-wing intellectuals, Spengler, Junger, Sombart, Freyer, Schmitt and Heidegger whose main philosophical preoccupation was the impact of technology on modern civilization and the radical shift in human relations that technological progress has caused. Herf locates the peculiarity of this tradition to its love/hate relationship with modern technology. All the aforementioned thinkers realized the tremendous potential of technology but sought to integrate it within the German quasi-romantic GEIST in order to safeguard it from Bolshevism and Americanism. This analysis is complemented by a brilliant chapter on German engineers and their idea about technology and politics. Despite the original contribution of the author to the history and sociology of ideas, his analysis raises some doubts especially in relation to the chapters on Sombart and Spengler. In addition, the author neglects to point to the fact that the "suffocating" state of technology was also pointed out by Marx. Having said that, all credit to Herf who was bold enough to throw light into the "politically incorrect" aspects of German social theory and philosophy. Such attempts are useful and valuable since they put things on perspective shattering one-dimensional views about the current state of civilization. Essential reading for all those who are not afraid to search for the truth even when this is against the current!
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen Worth the Read 7. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde
If you are attempting to understand what happened in interwar Germany then this book is worth reading. The main philosophy is that Germany attempted to combine the beauty of modernization with the romanticization of a mythological past. This book helps to explain the foundations of the Nazi regime and why it became so appealing on a mass level. At times the reading gets tough and little on the dry side, but if you can get thought that part of it, you will find the book worth your time.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  5 Rezensionen
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An important intellectual tradition reconsidered! 6. November 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Herf's book on "Reactionary Modernism" is important because it brings up an intellectual tradition that has been unjustly neglected since the end of WWII. Herf's "paradigm" consists of the right-wing intellectuals, Spengler, Junger, Sombart, Freyer, Schmitt and Heidegger whose main philosophical preoccupation was the impact of technology on modern civilization and the radical shift in human relations that technological progress has caused. Herf locates the peculiarity of this tradition to its love/hate relationship with modern technology. All the aforementioned thinkers realized the tremendous potential of technology but sought to integrate it within the German quasi-romantic GEIST in order to safeguard it from Bolshevism and Americanism. This analysis is complemented by a brilliant chapter on German engineers and their idea about technology and politics. Despite the original contribution of the author to the history and sociology of ideas, his analysis raises some doubts especially in relation to the chapters on Sombart and Spengler. In addition, the author neglects to point to the fact that the "suffocating" state of technology was also pointed out by Marx. Having said that, all credit to Herf who was bold enough to throw light into the "politically incorrect" aspects of German social theory and philosophy. Such attempts are useful and valuable since they put things on perspective shattering one-dimensional views about the current state of civilization. Essential reading for all those who are not afraid to search for the truth even when this is against the current!
6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Myth Buster 17. Juli 2005
Von Steven Larsen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Mr. Herf's has written a book that is well researched and fair. Too often, studies dealing with National Socialism and related idealogies lack objectivity, never revealing the full depth and breadth of the thinkers involved. Not so here. The author even points out the mistakes made by many critics in underestimating the thinkers in question.

The chapter on Ernst Junger is the most fascinating. Herf makes Junger's writings clear by placing them in the cultural milieu of the time, something important for understanding most authors, but vital for Junger. While I imagine in hindsight Junger still come off as strange to most of us, he is at least understandable now.

While I can't match the author's experience in research and reading, I remain somewhat skeptical of the extent to which the Nazis adopted reactionary modernism. Was it just a means to an end, to be abandoned once the war was won, in favor of romantic pastoralism. Why the need for lebensraum in the east if not to escape the crowded, "un-nordic" city life?

Also, I wonder if the author's reading of Heidegger isn't a bit off. While Heidegger himself may have prefered the cabin in the woods to the metropolis, I always read his anti-technological views as an attack on a technological, calculating mindset, or way of viewing the world, not as being against the machine neccesarily.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Worth the Read 7. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
If you are attempting to understand what happened in interwar Germany then this book is worth reading. The main philosophy is that Germany attempted to combine the beauty of modernization with the romanticization of a mythological past. This book helps to explain the foundations of the Nazi regime and why it became so appealing on a mass level. At times the reading gets tough and little on the dry side, but if you can get thought that part of it, you will find the book worth your time.
9 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Review of Jeffrey Herf's "Reactionary Modernism" 27. April 2001
Von M Saporito - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
A review of Jeffrey Herf's "Reactionary Modernism: Technology, culture, and politics in Weimar and the Third Reich." By Michael J. Saporito, MA History candidate, Salem State College. "Reactionary Modernism: Technology, culture, and politics in Weimar and the Third Reich." By Jeffrey Herf. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1984. pp. ix, 251.
Jeffrey Herf's Reactionary Modernism studies the complexities involved in Weimar and Nazi Germany's attempts to simultaneously modernize and antiquate their nation. Herf explores the conservative, anti-democratic groups during Weimar and how they were able to bring together the technological modernization of Germany, while at the same time rejecting almost of the liberal qualities of the Enlightenment. Herf looks to the intellectual, political writings of Juenger, Sombart and Spengler (also, Heidegger, Schmitt and Freyer) to demonstrate how the intellectual community desired to bring Germany into the modern era, while still retaining their distinct German Kultur. Other interesting sources that Herf uses to state his case are German engineering journals and the research of historian Karl-Heinz Ludwig. These sources show how German engineers were brought inline with the reactionary modernist line of thought. Herf successfully demonstrates how the synthesis of technology and German Kultur not only existed, but also thrived. Reactionary Modernism's incorporation of anti-Semitism is detailed if full. Herf explains that this explanation of modern German anti-Semitism is more solid than the version set forth by Adorno and Horkheimer in "The Dialectic of Enlightenment." Anti-democratic groups in Weimar Germany saw the Jew as the reason behind everything that was wrong with Germany. Herf's conclusions show how the Nazis became lost in their ideology and this ended up making technology that was needed for the war effort suffer. The popular myths of German technological supremacy are put to rest. a "Reactionary Modernism" is a valuable source for anyone studying Weimar, the Third Reich or the influence of the Enlightenment in totalitarian governments.
6 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Reactionary Modernism and Conservative Revolution. 10. Dezember 2002
Von New Age of Barbarism - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
_Reactionary Modernism_ deals with the way in which certain thinkers on the German Right dealt with the ideals of rationality and technological progress fostered by the Enlightenment. Thus, as distinguished from the traditional Ludditism (i.e. rejection of technology) and anti-technological focus of the traditional right, certain thinkers among the conservative revolutionaries in Germany after the First World War were able to accept the idea of technological progress while rejecting the Enlightenment ideals of rationality. These thinkers distinguished between Technik and Kultur and tried to bring Technik into the realm of Kultur and out of the realm of Zivilisation. Brought together by the experiences of the front (Fronterlebnis) during World War I, the reactionary modernists praised a masculinized ideal of technology. Such reactionary modernist thinkers including Oswald Spengler, Ernst Junger, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Werner Sombart, and Moeller van den Bruck were precursors to fascism and national socialism (and in fact many became outright Nazis before the Second World War). _Reactionary Modernism_ focuses upon the thinking of such "conservative revolutionaries" as these thinkers as well as upon the thought of the German engineers and their understanding of capitalism and socialism and various aspects of the Third Reich and Hitler's movement. On one side were the ideals of "blood and soil" and the Volk, opposed to the modern "liberal" ideals of capitalism, communism, and modern finance. The reactionary modernists often were quite antisemitic contrasting the life blood of the German Volk with the more nefarious qualities of "Jewish finance and Bolshevism". While much of the thought of the reactionary modernists fueled the catastrophe that became the Third Reich, reactionary modernism offered a unique perspective which synthesized the aspects of Techniks and Kultur while rejecting the ideals of the Enlightenment.
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