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The “Third Reich” in the German Legal, Philosophical and Political Thinking

Keywords: Third Reich , Empire , National Socialism , Conservative , Germany , Depression

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The idea that after the Nazi takeover, the German political propaganda machine strongly supported the naming of their land the “Third Reich” (Drittes Reich) is a misperception shared by many historians, political scientists and legal scholars. It is much less known that Hitler himself was never in full support of this expression, even though it proved quite effective both before and after the NSDAP takeover. Leading conservative intellectuals and works had made this notion popular, such as Das dritte Reich by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck (1876-1925). Also, it can be ascertained that the idea of the “Third Reich” dates back a long time, given that traces of it are already present in Fichte’s philosophy. This paper explores the history of this notion and its variations, which are most revealing of German political, intellectual and institutional life in the first half of the 20th century.


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