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Remembering Carl Schmitt
(July 11, 1888–April 7, 1985)

Carl Schmitt, 1888–1985

1,036 words

Carl Schmitt was born on July 11, 1888 in Plettenberg, Westphalia, Germany — where he died on April 7, 1985, at the age of 96. The son of a Roman Catholic small businessman, Carl Schmitt studied law in Berlin, Munich, and Strasbourg, graduating and taking his state exams in Strasbourg in 1915. In 1916, he earned his habilitation in Strasbourg, qualifying him to be a law professor. He taught at business schools and universities in Munich, Greifswald, Bonn, Berlin, and Cologne.

During the Third Reich, Schmitt joined the NSDAP (on May 1, 1933). He was appointed Prussian State Counselor and President of the Union of National Socialist Jurists. He particularly enjoyed the confidence and patronage of Hermann Göring, but from 1936 on was regarded as ideologically unsound by some within the SS. In 1945, he was arrested and interned for more than a year by American occupiers. Schmitt refused “de-Nazification” and retired to the village of his birth where he continued to write, receive visitors, and quietly maintain his political contacts until the end of his life. Among his many visitors were Ernst Jünger, Alexandre Kojève, Guillaume Faye, and Jean-Louis Feuerbach.

Schmitt is now widely recognized as one of the great anti-liberal political and legal theorists, whose works are valued on the anti-liberal left as well as on the right. His books are steadily being translated into English. Available titles include:

Schmitt is one of the most significant political theorists for the North American New Right, and one measure of the embryonic state of our movement is that we are just beginning to come to grips with him. Counter-Currents has published a number of works by Schmitt online:

We have also published several studies of Schmitt:

The following essays make substantial reference to Schmitt:

Schmitt is also the subject of conversation in some of our podcasts:



  1. roo_ster
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink


    What ought to be read first about Schmidtt? What worof Schmidtts ought to be the first tackled?


  2. Lord Shang
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    This looks to be an excellent CC collection. I have neglected Carl Schmitt, though I first heard of him from a special issue of the leftist journal TELOS in the early 90s. It might interest one and all to know that Schmitt is becoming too important to ignore: the excellent (if expensive) Oxford Handbooks series now has a volume devoted to him. Here are the contents:

    The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt

    Edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

    A Chronology of Carl Schmitt’s Life

    A List of Carl Schmitt’s Writings

    Part I-Introduction

    1 “A Fanatic of Order in an Epoch of Confusing Turmoil”: The Political, Legal, and Cultural Thought of Carl Schmitt
    Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

    Part II-the lives of Carl Schmitt

    2 “Catholic Layman of German Nationality and Citizenship”? Carl Schmitt and the Religiosity of Life
    Reinhard Mehring

    3 The “True Enemy”: Antisemitism in Carl Schmitt’s Life and Thought
    Raphael Gross

    4 Schmitt’s Diaries
    Joseph W. Bendersky

    5 Carl Schmitt in Plettenberg
    Christian Linder

    Part III-the political thought of Carl schmitt

    6 Fearing the Disorder of Things: The Development of Carl Schmitt’s Institutional Theory, 1919-1938
    Jens Meierhenrich

    7 Carl Schmitt’s Political Theory of Dictatorship
    Duncan Kelly

    8 The Political Theology of Carl Schmitt
    Miguel Vatter

    9 Teaching in Vain: Carl Schmitt, Thomas Hobbes, and the Theory of the Sovereign State
    John P. McCormick

    10 Concepts of the Political in Twentieth-Century European Thought
    Samuel Moyn

    11 Carl Schmitt’s Defense of Democracy
    William Rasch

    12 Same/Other versus Friend/Enemy: Levinas contra Schmitt
    Aryeh Botwinick

    13 Carl Schmitt’s Concepts of War: A Categorical Failure
    Benno Teschke

    14 Carl Schmitt’s Concept of History
    Matthias Lievens

    15 What’s “Left” in Schmitt? From Aversion to Appropriation in Contemporary Political Theory
    Matthew G. Specter

    Part IV-the legal thought of Carl Schmitt

    16 A Jurist Confronting Himself: Carl Schmitt’s Jurisprudential Thought
    Giorgio Agamben

    17 Carl Schmitt and the Weimar Constitution
    Ulrich K. Preuss

    18 The Concept of the Rule-of-Law State in Carl Schmitt’s Verfassungslehre
    David Dyzenhaus

    19 Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt: Growing Discord, Culminating in the “Guardian” Controversy of 1931
    Stanley L. Paulson

    20 States of Emergency
    William E. Scheuerman

    21 Politonomy
    Martin Loughlin

    22 Carl Schmitt and International Law
    Martti Koskenniemi

    23 Demystifying Schmitt
    Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule

    Part V-the Cultural Thought of Carl Schmitt

    24 Carl Schmitt and Modernity
    Friedrich Balke

    25 Is “the Political” a Romantic Concept? Novalis’s Faith and Love or The King and Queen with Reference to Carl Schmitt
    Rüdiger Campe

    26 Walter Benjamin’s Esteem for Carl Schmitt
    Horst Bredekamp

    27 Legitimacy of the Modern Age? Hans Blumenberg and Carl Schmitt
    Alexander Schmitz

    28 Tragedy as Exception in Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba
    David Pan

    29 At the Limits of Rhetoric: Authority, Commonplace, and the Role of Literature in Carl Schmitt
    Johannes Türk

    30 Carl Schmitt’s Spatial Rhetoric
    Oliver Simons



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