Anomie and historical interpretation: Nazi Germany as “kingdom of chaos”

Maddalena Carli


The contribution traces the history of Behemoth. Structures and practices of National Socialism, the manuscript written by Franz Neumann in 1942 on commission from the American government, interested in understanding the functioning of the Third Reich in order to identify and arrest those responsible for a process to be held at the end of the conflict (the process of Nuremberg) and the purge of post-war Germany. Besides recalling the genesis of the work and some aspects of the intellectual profile of its author, exponent of the Frankfurt School during the years of New York exile, the work focuses on the interpretative novelty proposed by the Behemoth (consider the National Socialist state as a political system characterized by the - internal – struggle between several centers of power) and on the reason that has long concealed its importance for the understanding of the analyzed experience: the difficulty to deal with the modern, ideological and planning nature of fascistic attitudes.


National Socialism; totalitarianism; policracy; anomie.

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