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Nietzsche and the Nazis

43 customer reviews

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(Sep 20, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews


Nietzsche and the Nazis is such a wonderful combination of information and entertaining presentation that I cannot praise it too highly. In fact, I plan to use it in my Existentialism course. (Dr. Fred Seddon, Pennsylvania State University) --Victory Multimedia, 2007

Recently I had the good fortune to watch a fascinating, informative and very disturbing DVD, produced and written by professor of philosophy Stephen Hicks of Rockford College in Illinois, titled Nietzsche and the Nazis. I am an avid fan of the History Channel and other forums where the theme that ideas have consequences can be encountered, but the work on this DVD was better than nearly everything else along these lines I have seen. ... Professor Hicks' presentation is immensely rich with facts, quotations, analysis and insight. Especially fascinating is the list of very erudite Europeans - Noble Laureates and the like - who eagerly supported the Nazis, as well as the slogans Nazis loved which are often exactly what our own politicians urge us to internalize - for example, about the superiority of the public versus the private interest. Anyone with just an ounce of interest in recent intellectual and political history will find watching this DVD a disturbing as well as riveting experience. (Dr. Tibor Machan, Chapman University) --Desert Dispatch, June 5, 2007

About the Actor

Dr. Stephen Hicks is Professor of Philosophy at Rockford College, Illinois, and a member of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society and the North American Nietzsche Society. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. He is also the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (Second edition, W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), and articles in academic journals such as The Review of Metaphysics and other publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen R.C. Hicks, John Barrett & Christopher Vaughan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Widescreen, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: N2 Productions
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2006
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,493 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Review Guy on September 21, 2010
This documentary is an unusually fine example of what philosophy can do when it's done properly. Stephen Hicks takes the viewer on a information rich tour of the intellectual history of 20th Century Germany. His presentation is scholarly, fastidious, and fair.

Hicks refuses to completely acquit Nietzsche of responsibility for Nazism, but he doesn't stoop to cheap caricatures, either. Nietzsche, no pale criminal, would likely accept responsibility for everything Hicks levels at him. After all, to call Nietzsche "dangerous" is merely to appreciate him in full.

But Hicks is not merely doing positive intellectual history. This video essay is also a normative philosophical endeavor. Hicks takes the unfashionable view that ideas have consequences, that they drive history. Hicks appreciates that Nazism was a highly sophisticated and fully-articulated philosophy. As Walter put it The Big Lebowski, "Say what you want about National Socialism dude - it's an ethos." Nazism was not a spasm of madness, but a coherent response to perennial questions. It is not enough that we dismiss Nazism, or simply forget it; in the long run it's certain to emerge once again. Instead, Hick holds, we have to engage it - and engage Nietzsche - to determine and then to prove where each goes wrong and why.

Hicks sees philosophy as a sort of ideological bomb squad, dispatched to dismantle rogue ideologies before they become catastrophes. As thrilling as I find this notion, my view is a bit more cynical. In 1930's Germany, Hicks has identified one of the few points in the last 2000 years when philosophy had some causal traction on the highway of world history - and in that instance the result was not pretty.

Still, if you're interested in these things you'll be hard-pressed to find a more engaging three hours of television anywhere.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Salisbury on March 20, 2011
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I had never seen a Lecture I liked before, now I have. Although there is very little about Friedrich Nietzche, Dr Hicks does a great job of showing how Nazi philosophy was influenced by Nietzche. This video is crammed full of facts about how the National Socialist of Germany gaine popular support and how their methods shaped a generation of followers. It is put in terms that will allow you to see that the very same methods are in place with in western culture today without a mention of modern times in the video. In this video you will discover the strategy behind who supported the National Socialists, how this strategy perpetuated National Socialist support, and even how college students were behind book burnings. Although there was not an obvious agenda, it leads to the feeling when watching this lecture that Dr. Hicks was warning us that this history could easily repeat itself if we become complacent. This Video should be required viewing for highschool students. After viewing this video I found Dr Hicks website and posted a thank you for such a great video, and he responded. Some people are a benefit to humanity, and Dr Stephen R.C. Hicks is one of those people.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Paul G. Joseph on March 13, 2011
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I thought I knew a lot about World War II (and Nietzsche) until I saw this documentary on Netflix.

It was simply fantastic--most writing/documentaries on WWII strike me as a form of "pornography" in that they go on over and over about what happened and the evil things that were done, but almost none organize, explain, and make sense of the mass of detail/facts as Prof Hicks does here. Also, many either glorify Nietzsche or portray him as "evil" instead of taking the even handed approach that this documentary takes.

I hope Prof. Hicks does many more similar productions--I have become a big fan, and plan to buy his DVD and the accompanying book for my local library.

I also commend him for his initiative in the unusual (and inspiring) approach he took to produce this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 11, 2011
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The first thing you should know if you buy this DVD is that it is not a documentary. There are no pieces of historical footage or talking head experts. Other than the occasional still photo or graphic, it is basically several hours of one man lecturing, with scene changes to try and keep it interesting. The cover says it is a "personal view" and this is the first hint that there is a purpose behind the project.

In the introduction, Hicks says something like "these views (the ones held by the Nazis and supposedly derived from Nietzsche) are still alive today" in a way that implies (to me) that we should be concerned.

My suspicions raised, I did a Google search for "Leo Strauss Stephen Hicks". Sure enough, Hicks' own website has an interview discussing the controversy surrounding noted Nietzsche scholar Leo Strauss and his supposed connection with US neoconservative politics. So, the hidden agenda behind this DVD is a left-liberal crusade.

I should add here that my own leaning is probably more left-liberal than anything else, so I have no objection to Hicks' political stance. However, anyone buying this DVD should know what they are getting.

The big problem for this DVD as a first exposure to Nietzsche is that it is hopelessly biased from the start by placing him solely in the context of a discussion about the Nazis. Of course it is a legitimate question to consider Nietzsche's relationship with Nazi ideology, and it is one that everyone interested in Nietzsche will have to tackle in a serious way at some stage. However, taken out of context, the case is oversimplified.
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