Carl Schmitt sees the 1933 Nazi seizure of power as a revolution that inaugurates an entirely new era of political-legal order. Analyzing Schmitt’s rarer Nazi-texts, diaries, and correspondence, I argue that from 1933 to 1936 Schmitt attempts to theorize the Nazi revolution by developing an entirely new political language of Nazism, cleansed from non-German ways of thinking, especially nineteenth-century liberalism. I focus on three conceptual transformations through which Schmitt understands the remaking of the German state: (1) The shift from the liberal democratic neutral state to a new one-party state or a Führer-state dominated by a movement – a shift symbolized by the “death of Hegel”; (2) the transformation of sovereign power into Führertum (“leadershipness”), represented by the symbolical deaths of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes, whose thought cannot comprehend the totality of the Nazi movement, and (3) the perversion of the liberal-democratic equality before the law to the völkisch equality of the race (Artgleichheit) as the basis of all Nazi political–legal life. Criticizing previous interpretations of Schmitt’s Nazi thinking, I demonstrate that when Schmitt abandons his own decicionist thought in favor of concrete order thinking in 1933/1934 the idea of race becomes the basis of his political–legal thought.
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