The Antichrist, 1888



In a letter to Heinrich Köselitz, dated June 20, 1888, five days after the death of Emperor Friedrich III, Nietzsche writes: ‘The death of Emperor Friedrich moved me; in the end he was a little shimmering light of free thought, the last hope for Germany. Now begins the rule of Stöcker; I am drawing the consequences and know already that my Will to Power will now be confiscated in Germany.’1 For liberals of the era, the death of the Emperor after a brief reign of just three months ended all hope for a less repressive political climate in the Reich, for the Emperor had wished to strengthen the parliamentary system. Although anti-liberal, Nietzsche had similar concerns about increasing political repression, but his principal target was the ‘Christian state’ which had recently re-emerged in Germany after nearly half a century in abeyance. Thus Nietzsche’s final year of intellectual activity is marked by his unprecedented ‘Curse on Christianity’,2 including a continuing critique of the political ideologies that share its ‘ancestry’: democracy, socialism, anarchism.3


German Culture Grand Politics Lunatic Asylum Liberal Institution Political Writing 
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  1. 15.
    See Uriel Tal, Christians and Jews in Germany: Religion, Politics, and Ideology in the Second Reich, 1870–1914, trans. Jonathan Jacobs (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975), p. 133.Google Scholar
  2. 38.
    Letter to Helen Zimmern, December 8, 1888, KSB 8:512. For an account of this letter see Curtis Cate, Friedrich Nietzsche: A Biography (London: Pimlico, 2003), p. 544.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Frank Cameron and Don Dombowsky 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityCanada
  2. 2.Bishop’s UniversityCanada

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