Promise and Failure: Nationalism in the Interwar Thought of Carl Schmitt and Eric Voegelin

Pedro T. Magalhães

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article analyses the role played by the concept of nation in the interwar writings of Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) and Eric Voegelin (1901-1985). It contends that, although these conservative thinkers were drawn in different ways to the anti-progressive potential of nationalist ideas, the centre of their political and theoretical horizons in that period is occupied by the problems of political unity and authority. Therefore, their nationalism is fundamentally determined by, and instrumental to, their adherence to a monistic and authoritarian conception of the state. This, in turn, leads them to embrace, though not without some reservations, the solutions put forward by the emergent far-right 'strongmen' to the interwar crisis of liberal democracy. Each author tested in his own way the porous borders between conservatism, nationalism, and fascism - a topic whose scholarly and political relevance is far from being exhausted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)11-30
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5171 Political Science
  • Nationalism
  • radical conservatism
  • authoritarianism
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • History of Political Thought
  • 611 Philosophy
  • Continental Political Philosophy

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