The Meaning of Facism

Germany the fermenting station of theories and ideas, with enough chemical potentialities to undo the equilibrium of the Western world, both intellectually and politically is engaging on another experiment…

This experiment was fascism, and Gerhard Schade wrote about it almost in wonderment in an essay from 1931 entitled “The Meaning of Fascism.” Schade, a teacher and writer, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1926, wrote in such a way that he seemed unsure of the direction that this “experiment” was going to take Germany. Schade did know, though, that whatever would happen was going to be big.

Schade, as someone who considered himself an scholar, focused his essay on intellectual life in Germany under Fascism. He predicted that intellectuals would become “the moral backbone of Germany’s mystic-spiritual power, to the disadvantage of objective science and world peace.”1 Schade was eerily correct in predicting that even scholarly life in Germany would get caught up in the philosophy of the Nazi regime.

The boat on which Gerhard Schade traveled to the United States in 1926.


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Schade’s essay on Fascism.