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Investigating Hitler's philosophers

Image of the cover of Hitler's Philosophers

Press release issued: 25 April 2014

A compelling new book by a researcher at the University of Bristol exploring Hitler's relationship with philosophers is published in paperback this month.

Hitler saw himself as a 'philosopher-leader' and, astonishingly, gained the support of many intellectuals of his time.  In Hitler's Philosophers, Dr Yvonne Sherratt uncovers the cruelty, ambition, violence, and betrayal at the heart of Germany's ivory tower.

By investigates international archives, Dr Sherratt uncovers evidence dating back to the 1920s of Hitler's vulgarization of noble thinkers of the past, including Kant, Nietzsche, and Darwin.

She reveals how philosophers of the 1930s – Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt and a host of others – eagerly collaborated to lend the Nazi regime a cloak of respectability.

While these eminent men sanctioned slaughter, Semitic thinkers like Walter Benjamin and opponents like Kurt Huber were hunted down or murdered.  Many others, such as Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, were forced to flee as refugees.  The book portrays their fates, to be dispersed across the world, as the historic edifice of Jewish-German culture was destroyed by Hitler.

In this book, Dr Sherratt not only confronts the past but also tracks down chilling evidence of continuing Nazi sympathy in Western universities today.

Hitler's Philosophers by Yvonne Sherratt is published by Yale University Press, £10.99


"outstanding and disturbing" The Mail on Sunday Paperbacks of the Week

"a fascinating, disturbing and necessary book" The Independent

"compelling… a useful reminder of the depths to which supposedly civilised people can sink when confronted with the temptations of power" The Sunday Times

About the author

Dr Yvonne Sherratt taught at a number of universities including Cambridge and Oxford before coming to Bristol.  She is the author of Continental Philosophy of Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Adorno's Positive Dialectic (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

In translation

In 2015, 'Hitler's Philosophers' will be translated into Chinese by Wuhan Enlightenment Compilation and Translation Company Co. with SDX Joint Publishing Co., part of China Publishing Group Corporation.

The book has also been translated into Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Russian, Korean and Japanese. 


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