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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a fresh analysis of the structural significance of antisemitism for the work of Carl Schmitt. Following the end of the Nazi state, Schmitt denied both his National Socialist and his public antisemitic engagement, constructing elaborate autobiographical legends. Many researchers have rejected any relationship between the political-legal theorist’s publications and his antisemitism. Critical voices represented a small minority of Schmitt researchers. This situation has essentially not changed despite controversy sparked by the publication in 2000 of the author’s doctoral dissertation, with its argument that encoded antisemitic ideas play a prominent role in Schmitt’s writings. Scholars skeptical of this argument have insisted that no clear evidence exists for Schmitt’s antisemitism before 1933. But as this chapter demonstrates, Schmitt’s diaries are replete with often crude and vehement antisemitic ideas. Key terms and concepts in Schmitt’s discursive arsenal must now be read in a very different light.

Keywords: Carl Schmitt, Nazi state, antisemitism, diaries, political-legal theorist

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