World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Carl Schmitt


Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt
Born (1888-07-11)11 July 1888
Plettenberg, Westphalia, Prussia
Died 7 April 1985(1985-04-07) (aged 96)
Plettenberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
State of exception, friend–enemy distinction, borderline concept

Carl Schmitt (German: ; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a German jurist and political theorist. Schmitt wrote extensively about the effective wielding of political power. His work has been a major influence on subsequent political theory, legal theory, continental philosophy and political theology.

Schmitt's work has attracted the attention of numerous philosophers and political theorists, including Jaime Guzmán, Antonio Negri and Slavoj Žižek among many others. Much of his work remains both influential and controversial presently due to his association with Nazism, for which he is known as the "crown jurist of the Third Reich".[3]


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Beliefs 1.2
    • The case "Preussen contra Reich" 1.3
    • Nazi period 1.4
    • Post–World War II 1.5
  • Work 2
    • On Dictatorship 2.1
    • Political Theology 2.2
    • The Concept of the Political 2.3
      • Dialogue with Leo Strauss 2.3.1
    • Nomos of the Earth 2.4
    • Hamlet or Hecuba 2.5
    • Theory of the Partisan 2.6
  • Influence 3
    • Neoconservatism 3.1
  • Bibliography 4
    • English translations of Carl Schmitt 4.1
    • Secondary literature 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early years

Schmitt, whose father was a minor businessman, was the son of Roman Catholic parents from the German Eifel region who settled in Plettenberg, Westphalia. He studied law in Berlin, Munich and Strasbourg and took his graduation and state examinations in then-German Strasbourg during 1915.[4] He volunteered for the army during 1916.[4] The same year, he earned his habilitation in Strasbourg. He taught at various business schools and universities in Munich, Greifswald, Bonn, Berlin and Cologne.

During 1916, Schmitt married his first wife, Pavla (in Germany usually rendered as "Pawla" even though the letter "w" is used in the Serbian auxiliary Latin alphabet only for foreign words) Dorotić,[5] a Serbian woman who pretended to be a countess. They were divorced, though an appeal to the Catholic Church for an annulation was rejected. During 1926 he married his second wife, Duška Todorović (1903–1950), also Serbian; they had one daughter, named Anima. Subsequently Schmitt was excommunicated because his first marriage had not been annulled by the Church.[5] His daughter Anima Schmitt de Otero (1931–1983) was married, from 1957, to Alfonso Otero Valera (1925–2001), a Spanish law professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela and a member of the ruling Spanish Falange party under the Franco régime. She translated several works by her father into Spanish. Letters from Carl Schmitt to his son-in-law have also been published.


As a young man, Schmitt was "a devoted Catholic until his break with the church in the mid twenties."[6] From around the end of the First World War he began to describe his Catholicism as "displaced" and "de-totalised".[7] Consequently, Gross argues that his work "cannot be reduced to Roman Catholic theology given a political turn. Rather, Schmitt should be understood as carrying an atheistic political-theological tradition to an extreme."[8]

The case "Preussen contra Reich"

Apart from his academic functions, during 1932 Schmitt was counsel for the Reich government in the case "Preussen contra Reich" wherein the Social Democratic Party of Germany-controlled government of the state of Prussia disputed its dismissal by the right-wing government of Franz von Papen. Papen was motivated to do this because Prussia, by far the largest state in Germany, served as a powerful base for the political left, and also provided them with institutional power, particularly in the form of the Prussian Police. Schmitt, Carl Bilfinger and Erwin Jacobi represented the Reich[9] and one of the counsel for the Prussian government was Hermann Heller. The court ruling on October 1932 was that the Prussian government had been suspended unlawfully but the Reich had the right to install a commissar.[9] In German history, this struggle resulting in the de facto destruction of federalism in the Weimar republic is known as the "Preußenschlag."

Nazi period

Schmitt remarked on 31 January 1933 that with Hitler's appointment "one can say that 'Hegel died.'"[10] Richard Wolin observes:

it is Hegel qua philosopher of the "bureaucratic class" or Beamtenstaat that has been definitely surpassed with Hitler's triumph. ... this class of civil servants—which Hegel in the Rechtsphilosophie deems the "universal class"—represents an impermissible drag on the sovereignty of executive authority. For Schmitt … the very essence of the bureaucratic conduct of business is reverence for the norm, a standpoint that could not but exist in great tension with the doctrines of Carl Schmitt. ... Hegel had set an ignominious precedent by according this putative universal class a position of preeminence in his political thought, insofar as the primacy of the bureaucracy tends to diminish or supplant the prerogative of sovereign authority.[11]

Schmitt joined the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933.[12] Within days of joining the party, Schmitt was party to the burning of books by Jewish authors, rejoicing in the burning of "un-German" and "anti-German" material, and calling for a much more extensive purge, to include works by authors influenced by Jewish ideas.[13] During July, he was appointed State Councillor for Prussia (Preußischer Staatsrat) by Hermann Göring and became the president of the Vereinigung nationalsozialistischer Juristen ("Union of National-Socialist Jurists") during November. He also replaced Hermann Heller as professor at the University of Berlin[14] (a job he had until the end of World War II). He presented his theories as an ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship, and a justification of the Führer state with regard to legal philosophy, particularly through the concept of auctoritas.

"San Casciano", home of Carl Schmitt in Plettenberg-Pasel from 1971 until 1985.

Six months later, during 1934 June, Schmitt was appointed editor-in-chief of the Nazi newspaper for lawyers, the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Journal").[15] During July 1934, he published in it "The Leader Protects the Law (Der Führer schützt das Recht)", a justification of the political murders of the Night of the Long Knives with the authority of Hitler as the "highest form of administrative justice (höchste Form administrativer Justiz)".[16] Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin during October 1936,[17] where he demanded that German law be cleansed of the "Jewish spirit (jüdischem Geist)", going so far as to demand that all publications by Jewish scientists should henceforth be marked with a small symbol.

Tombstone of Carl Schmitt, catholic cemetery, Plettenberg-Eiringhausen.

Nevertheless, during December 1936, the SS publication Das schwarze Korps accused Schmitt of being an opportunist, a Hegelian state thinker, and basically a Catholic, and called his anti-semitism a mere pretense, citing earlier statements in which he criticized the Nazis' racial theories. After this, Schmitt resigned from his position as "Reichsfachgruppenleiter" (Reich Professional Group Leader), although he retained his job as a professor in Berlin, and his job as "Preußischer Staatsrat". Although Schmitt continued to be investigated into 1937, further reprisals were stopped by Göring.[18][19]

Post–World War II

During 1945, Schmitt was captured by American forces and, after spending more than a year in an internment camp, he returned to his home town of Plettenberg after his release during 1946, and later to the house of his housekeeper Anni Stand in Plettenberg-Pasel. Schmitt refused every attempt at de-nazification, which effectively barred him from academic jobs. Despite being isolated from the mainstream of the scholarly and political community, he continued his studies especially of international law from the 1950s on, and he received a frequent series of visitors, both colleagues and younger intellectuals, until well into his old age. Important among these visitors were Ernst Jünger, Jacob Taubes and Alexandre Kojève.

During 1962, Schmitt gave lectures in Francoist Spain, two of which resulted in the publication, the next year, of Theory of the Partisan (Telos Press, 2007), in which he qualified the Spanish Civil War as a "war of national liberation" against "international Communism." Schmitt regarded the partisan as a specific and significant phenomenon that, during the latter half of the 20th century, indicated the emergence of a new theory of warfare.

Schmitt died on 7 April 1985 and is buried in Plettenberg.


On Dictatorship

During 1921, Schmitt became a professor at the University of Greifswald, where he published his essay Die Diktatur (on dictatorship), in which he discussed the foundations of the newly established Weimar Republic, emphasising the office of the Reichspräsident. In this essay, Schmitt compared and contrasted what he saw as the effective and ineffective elements of the new constitution of his country. To him, the office of the president could be characterized as a comparatively effective element within the new constitution, because of the power granted to the president to declare a state of emergency. This power, which Schmitt discussed and implicitly praised as dictatorial,[16] was seen as more in line with the underlying mentality of political power than the comparatively slow and ineffective processes of legislative political power reached through parliamentary discussion and compromise.

Schmitt was at pains to remove what he saw as a taboo surrounding the concept of "dictatorship" and to show that, in his opinion, the concept is implicit whenever power is wielded by means other than the slow processes of parliamentary politics and the bureaucracy:

"If the constitution of a state is democratic, then every exceptional negation of democratic principles, every exercise of state power independent of the approval of the majority, can be called dictatorship."

For Schmitt, every government capable of decisive action must include a dictatorial element within its constitution. Although the German concept of Ausnahmezustand is best translated as "state of emergency", it literally means state of exception which, according to Schmitt, frees the executive from any legal restraints to its power that would normally apply. The use of the term "exceptional" has to be underlined here: Schmitt defines

  • Carl Schmitt entry by Lars Vinx in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Carl Schmitt in the German National Library catalogue
  • The Return of Carl Schmitt by Scott Horton Balkinization 7 November 2005 — discusses the continuing influence of Schmitt's legal theories in modern American politics
  • Focus on the International Theory of Carl Schmitt in the (LJIL)Leiden Journal of International Law. Contributions by Louiza Odysseos and Fabio Petito, Robert Howse, Jörg Friedrichs, Christoph Burchard and Thalin Zarmanian.
  • The Germanic Review, a journal of German critical studies, has published numerous special issues and articles about Carl Schmitt.
  • Telos, a journal of politics and critical theory, has published numerous articles both by and about Carl Schmitt, including special sections on Schmitt in issues 72 (Summer 1987), 109 (Fall 1996), 125 (Fall 2002), 132 (Fall 2005), 142 (Spring 2008), 147 (Summer 2009), and 153 (Winter 2010). Telos Press Publishing has also published English translations of Schmitt's The Nomos of the Earth (2003), Theory of the Partisan (2007), and Hamlet or Hecuba (2009).
  • "World Orders: Confronting Carl Schmitt's The Nomos of the Earth." A special issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, volume 104, number 2. William Rasch, special issue editor.
  • " A Fascist Philosopher Helps Us Understand Contemporary Politics" by Alan Wolfe. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2004
  • "Carl Schmitt and Nuremberg" by Joseph W. Bendersky, Telos Press, July 19, 2007.

External links

  1. ^ Hooker, William (2009-11-12). Carl Schmitt's International Thought: Order and Orientation. Cambridge University Press. p. 204.  
  2. ^ William E. Scheuerman, Carl Schmitt: The End of Law, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999, p. 209.
  3. ^ Carl Schmitt's Concept of the Political, Charles E. Frye, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Nov., 1966), pp. 818-830, Cambridge University Press
  4. ^ a b Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 56 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  5. ^ a b Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p. 57 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  6. ^ McCormick, John P. Carl Schmitt's Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology. 1st pbk. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999:86–87.
  7. ^ Müller, Jan-Werner. A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003:xxix.
  8. ^ Gross, Raphael. Carl Schmitt and the Jews: The Jewish Question, the Holocaust, and German Legal Theory. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007: 97.
  9. ^ a b Balakrishnan, Gopal (2000). The Enemy. Verso. pp. 168–69.  
  10. ^ Balakrishnan (2000), p187
  11. ^ Wolin, Richard (1992). "Carl Schmitt: The Conservative Revolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror".  
  12. ^ Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 58 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  13. ^ Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 59 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  14. ^ Balakrishnan (2000), p 183-4
  15. ^ german original as pdf
  16. ^ a b c Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung, 38, 1934; trans. as "The Führer Protects Justice" in Detlev Vagts, Carl Schmitt's Ultimate Emergency: The Night of the Long Knives (2012) 87(2) The Germanic Review 203.
  17. ^ Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 207 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  18. ^ Bendersky, Joseph, W., Theorist For The Reich, 1983, Princeton, New Jersey
  19. ^ Noack, Paul, Carl Schmitt – Eine Biographie, 1996, Frankfurt
  20. ^ State of Exception (2005), pp. 52–55.
  21. ^ Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, p. 168. On the February 28, 1933 decree of the Ausnahmezustand (state of exception), Agamben notes that this very term was conspicuously absent: "The decree remained de facto in force until the end of the Third Reich... The state of exception thus ceases to be referred to as an external and provisional state of factual danger and comes to be confused with juridical rule itself."
  22. ^ William E. Scheuerman, "Survey Article: Emergency Powers and the Rule of Law after 9/11", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Volume 14, No. 1, 2006, pp. 61–84.
  23. ^ Gottfried, Paul (1990). Carl Schmitt. Claridge Press. p. 20.  
  24. ^ Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: the hidden dialogue, Heinrich Meier, University of Chicago Press 1995, 123
  25. ^ Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: the hidden dialogue, Heinrich Meier, University of Chicago Press 1995, 125
  26. ^ Schmitt, Carl (2004). "Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political (1963)".  
  27. ^ Hoelzl, Michael; Ward, Graham (2008). Editors' introduction to Political Theology II. Polity. p. 4.  
  28. ^
  29. ^ Derrida, Jacques (1997). The Politics of Friendship. Verso. p. 146.  
  30. ^ Schmitt, Carl (2004). "Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political (1963)".  
  31. ^ See for example Lebovic, Nitzan (2008), "The Jerusalem School: The Theo-Political Hour," New German Critique (103), 97–120.
  32. ^ [4]
  33. ^ Herfried Münkler, Erkenntnis wächst an den Rändern – Der Denker Carl Schmitt beschäftigt auch 20 Jahre nach seinem Tod Rechte wie Linke, in Die Welt, 7 April 2005
  34. ^ Snyder, Timothy (20 March 2014). "Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine".  
  35. ^ El pensamiento político de Jaime Guzmán (2nd ed.). LOM Ediciones. Retrieved 10 de julio de 2014. 
  36. ^ a b Legal justification
    • Thinking out loud about John Yoo (and about Carl Schmitt) by Sandy Levinson, Balkinization, April 12, 2008
    • The Bush Regime from Elections to Detentions: A Moral Economy of Carl Schmitt and Human Rights by Abraham, David, University of Miami – School of Law, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007 – 20 May 2007
    • Torture, Necessity and Existential Politics by Kutz, Christopher L., University of California, Berkeley – School of Law (Boalt Hall), UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 870602, December 2005
    • The Return of Carl Schmitt Scott Horton, Balkinization, 7 November 2005
    • Deconstructing John Yoo by Scott Horton, Harpers, 23 January 2008
    • The will to undemocratic power By Philip S Golub, Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2006
    • The Leo-conservatives by GERHARD SPÖRL, Der Spiegel, 4 August 2003
  37. ^ War crimes warning
    • Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings By Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, 19 May 2004
    • Torture and Accountability by Elizabeth Holtzman, The Nation, 28 June 2005
    • US Lawyers Warn Bush on War Crimes By Grant McCool, Lawyers Against the War, Global Policy Forum, 28 January 2003
  38. ^ David Luban, "Carl Schmitt and the Critique of Lawfare", Georgetown Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 11-33, p. 10


See also

  • "Indagini su Epimeteo tra Ivan Illich, Konrad Weiss e Carl Schmitt" (PDF) (in Italiano).  
  • Ignaz Zangerle, "Zur Situation der Kirche," Der Brenner 14 (1933/34): 52 ff.
  • Johannes, Türk. “The Intrusion: Carl Schmitt’s Non-Mimetic Logic of Art.” Telos 142 (2008): 73-89.
  • Ola Tunander, The Dual State and the Sovereign: A Schmittian Approach to Western Politics, Challenge Second Annual Report to the European Commission 2006 (7.3.3 Work package 3 – Deliverable No. 32), Challenge, Brussels
  • Telos 153, Special Issue on Carl Schmitt's Hamlet or Hecuba. New York: Telos Press, Winter 2010.
  • Telos 147, Carl Schmitt and the Event. New York: Telos Press, Summer 2009.
  • Telos 142, Culture and Politics in Carl Schmitt New York: Telos Press, Spring 2008.
  • Telos 132, Special Edition on Carl Schmitt. New York: Telos Press, Fall 2005.
  • Telos 125, Carl Schmitt and Donoso Cortés. New York: Telos Press, Fall 2002.
  • Telos 109, Carl Schmitt Now. New York: Telos Press, Fall 1996.
  • Telos 72, Carl Schmitt: Enemy or Foe? New York: Telos Press, Summer 1987.
  • Nicolaus Sombart, Die deutschen Männer und ihre Feinde: Carl Schmitt, ein deutsches Schicksal zwischen Männerbund und Matriarchatsmythos, Munich: Hanser, 1991. ISBN 3-446-15881-2 (2nd ed Fischer TB, Frankfurt, 1997, ISBN 3-596-11341-5).
  • Gabriella Slomp, Carl Schmitt and the Politics of Hostility, Violence and Terror (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) ISBN 978-0-230-00251-7
  • Ojakangas Mika, A Philosophy of Concrete Life: Carl Schmitt and the political thought of late modernity (2nd ed Peter Lang, 2006), ISBN 3-03910-963-4
  • Ingo Müller (Deborah Lucas Schneider trans.) (1991). Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press) ISBN 0-674-40419-X
  • Chantal Mouffe (ed.), The Challenge of Carl Schmitt (1999).
  • Heinrich Meier: The Lesson of Carl Schmitt: Four Chapters on the Distinction between Political Theology and Political Philosophy. University of Chicago Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-226-51886-2.
  • Reinhard Mehring: Carl Schmitt – Aufstieg und Fall. Eine Biographie. München: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2009. ISBN 978-3-406-59224-9.
  • Michael Marder, "Groundless Existence: The Political Ontology of Carl Schmitt" (London & New York: Continuum, 2010).
  • William Hooker, Carl Schmitt's International Thought: Order and Orientation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) ISBN 978-0-521-11542-1
  • Julia Hell, "Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Imperial Theology and the Ruins of the Future," The Germanic Review 84:4 (2009): 283 – 326.
  • Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Empire (2000).
  • Paul Gottfried, Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990) ISBN 0-313-27209-3
  • Carlo Galli, "Hamlet: Representation and the Concrete" (translated from Italian by Adam Sitze and Amanda Minervini) in Points of Departure: Political Theology on the Scenes of Early Modernity, Ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton And Graham Hammill, University of Chicago Press, 2011
  • Jacques Derrida, Politics of Friendship (1997).
  • Jacques Derrida, "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority'," in Acts of Religion (2002).
  • Mariano Croce, Andrea Salvatore, The Legal Theory of Carl Schmitt (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012) ISBN 978-0-415-68349-4.
  • Renato Cristi, Carl Schmitt and Authoritarian Liberalism (1998)
  • Eckard Bolsinger, The Autonomy of the Political: Carl Schmitt's and Lenin's Political Realism (2001)
  • Alain de Benoist, Carl Schmitt Today: Terrorism, 'Just' War, and the State of Emergency (2013)
  • Amine Benabdallah, Une réception de Carl Schmitt dans l'extrême-gauche: La théologie politique de Giorgio Agamben (2007). [3].
  • Gopal Balakrishnan, The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt (2000). Reviewed here.
  • Jeffrey Andrew Barash, Politiques de l'histoire. L'historicisme comme promesse et comme mythe (2004)
  • Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception (2005).
  • (1998).
    • Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life

    Secondary literature

    • Über Schuld und Schuldarten. Eine terminologische Untersuchung, 1910.
    • Gesetz und Urteil. Eine Untersuchung zum Problem der Rechtspraxis, 1912.
    • Schattenrisse (veröffentlicht unter dem Pseudonym ‚Johannes Negelinus, mox Doctor‘, in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Fritz Eisler), 1913.
    • Der Wert des Staates und die Bedeutung des Einzelnen, 1914.
    • Theodor Däublers ‚Nordlicht‘: Drei Studien über die Elemente, den Geist und die Aktualität des Werkes, 1916.
    • Die Buribunken, in: Summa 1/1917/18, 89 ff.
    • Politische Romantik, 1919.
    • Die Diktatur. Von den Anfängen des modernen Souveränitätsgedankens bis zum proletarischen Klassenkampf, 1921.
    • Politische Theologie. Vier Kapitel zur Lehre von der Souveränität, 1922.
    • Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parliamentarismus, 1923.
    • Römischer Katholizismus und politische Form, 1923.
    • Die Rheinlande als Objekt internationaler Politik, 1925.
    • Die Kernfrage des Völkerbundes, 1926.
    • Der Begriff des Politischen, in: Archiv für Sozialwissenschaften und Sozialpolitik 58/1927, 1 ff.
    • Volksentscheid und Volksbegehren. Ein Beitrag zur Auslegung der Weimarer Verfassung und zur Lehre von der unmittelbaren Demokratie, 1927.
    • Verfassungslehre, 1928.
    • Hugo Preuß. Sein Staatsbegriff und seine Stellung in der dt. Rechtslehre, 1930.
    • Der Völkerbund und das politische Problem der Friedenssicherung, 1930, 2. erw. Aufl. 1934.
    • Der Hüter der Verfassung, 1931.
    • Der Begriff des Politischen, 1932 (Erweiterung des Aufsatzes von 1927).
    • Legalität und Legitimität, 1932.
    • Staat, Bewegung, Volk. Die Dreigliederung der politischen Einheit, 1933.
    • Das Reichsstatthaltergesetz, 1933.
    • Staatsgefüge und Zusammenbruch des Zweiten Reiches. Der Sieg des Bürgers über den Soldaten, 1934.
    • Über die drei Arten des rechtswissenschaftlichen Denkens, 1934.
    • Der Leviathan in der Staatslehre des Thomas Hobbes, 1938.
    • Die Wendung zum diskriminierenden Kriegsbegriff, 1938.
    • Völkerrechtliche Großraumordnung und Interventionsverbot für raumfremde Mächte. Ein Beitrag zum Reichsbegriff im Völkerrecht, 1939.
    • Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar – Genf – Versailles 1923–1939, 1940 (Aufsatzsammlung).
    • Land und Meer. Eine weltgeschichtliche Betrachtung, 1942.
    • Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europaeum, 1950.
    • Donoso Cortes in gesamteuropäischer Interpretation, 1950.
    • Ex captivitate salus. Erinnerungen der Zeit 1945/47, 1950.
    • Die Lage der europäischen Rechtswissenschaft, 1950.
    • Das Gespräch über die Macht und den Zugang zum Machthaber, 1954.
    • Hamlet oder Hekuba. Der Einbruch der Zeit in das Spiel, 1956.
    • Verfassungsrechtliche Aufsätze aus den Jahren 1924–1954, 1958 (Aufsatzsammlung).
    • Theorie des Partisanen. Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen, 1963.
    • Politische Theologie II. Die Legende von der Erledigung jeder Politischen Theologie, 1970.
    • Glossarium. Aufzeichnungen der Jahre 1947–1951, hrsg.v. Eberhard Freiherr von Medem, 1991 (posthum).
    • Das internationale Verbrechen des Angriffskrieges, hrsg.v. Helmut Quaritsch, 1993 (posthum).
    • Staat – Großraum – Nomos, hrsg. von Günter Maschke, 1995 (posthum).
    • Frieden oder Pazifismus?, hrsg. von Günter Maschke, 2005 (posthum).
    • Carl Schmitt: Tagebücher, hrsg. von Ernst Hüsmert, 2003 ff. (posthum).

    Works in German

    • The Concept of the Political. George D. Schwab, trans. (University of Chicago Press, 1996; Expanded edition 2006, with an Introduction by Tracy B. Strong). Original publication: 1927, 2nd edn. 1932.
    • Constitutional Theory. Jeffrey Seitzer, trans. (Duke University Press, 2007). Original publication: 1928.
    • The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. Ellen Kennedy, trans. (MIT Press, 1988). Original publication: 1923, 2nd edn. 1926.
    • Four Articles, 1931–1938. Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1999). Originally published as part of Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar — Genf — Versailles, 1923–1939 (1940).
    • Hamlet Or Hecuba: The Intrusion of the Time Into the Play. David Pan and Jennifer R. Rust, trans. (Telos Press, 2009). Originally published 1956.
    • The Idea of Representation: A Discussion. E. M. Codd, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1988), reprint of The Necessity of Politics (1931). Original publication: 1923.
    • Land and Sea. Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1997). Original publication: 1954.
    • Legality and Legitimacy. Jeffrey Seitzer, trans. (Duke University Press, 2004). Original publication: 1932.
    • The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol. George D. Schwab & Erna Hilfstein, trans. (Greenwood Press, 1996). Original publication: 1938.
    • The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum. G.L. Ulmen, trans. (Telos Press, 2003). Original publication: 1950.
    • On the Three Types of Juristic Thought. Joseph Bendersky, trans. (Praegar, 2004). Original publication: 1934.
    • Political Romanticism. Guy Oakes, trans. (MIT Press, 1986). Original publication: 1919, 2nd edn. 1925.
    • Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. George D. Schwab, trans. (MIT Press, 1985 / University of Chicago Press; University of Chicago edition, 2004 with an Introduction by Tracy B. Strong. Original publication: 1922, 2nd edn. 1934.
    • Roman Catholicism and Political Form. G. L. Ulmen, trans. (Greenwood Press, 1996). Original publication: 1923.
    • State, Movement, People (includes The Question of Legality). Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 2001). Original publication: Staat, Bewegung, Volk (1933); Das Problem der Legalität (1950).
    • Theory of the Partisan. G. L. Ulmen, trans. (Telos Press, 2007). Original publication: 1963; 2nd ed. 1975.
    • The Tyranny of Values. Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1996). Original publication: 1979.
    • War/Non-War: A Dilemma. Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 2004). Original publication: 1937.

    Note: a complete bibliography of all English translations of Schmitt's books, articles, essays, and correspondence is available here.

    English translations of Carl Schmitt


    Some have argued that neoconservativism has been influenced by Schmitt.[36] Most notably the legal opinions offered by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo et al. by invoking the unitary executive theory to justify highly controversial policies in the war on terror—such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions,[37] enhanced interrogation techniques, NSA electronic surveillance program—mimic his writings.[36] Professor David Luban had indicated that "[a] Lexis search reveals five law review references to Schmitt between 1980 and 1990; 114 between 1990 and 2000; and 420 since 2000, with almost twice as many in the last five years as the previous five".[38]


    According to historian Renato Cristi in the writing of the present Constitution of Chile Pinochet collaborator Jaime Guzmán based his work on the pouvoir constituant concept used by Schmitt as well as drawing inspiration in the ideas of market society of Friedrich Hayek. This way Guzmán would have enabled a framework for an authoritarian state with a free market system.[35]

    Timothy D. Snyder has asserted that Schmitt's work has greatly influenced Eurasianist philosophy in Russia by revealing a counter to the liberal order.[34]

    Schmitt is described as a "classic of political thought" by Herfried Münkler,[33] while in the same article Münkler speaks of his post-war writings as reflecting an: "embittered, jealous, occasionally malicious man" ("verbitterten, eifersüchtigen, gelegentlich bösartigen Mann"). Schmitt was termed the "Crown Jurist of the Third Reich" ("Kronjurist des Dritten Reiches") by Waldemar Gurian.

    Schmitt's influence has also recently been seen as consequential for those interested in contemporary political theology, which is much influenced by Schmitt's argument that political concepts are secularised theological concepts. The German-Jewish philosopher Jacob Taubes, for example, engaged Schmitt widely in his study of Saint Paul, The Political Theology of Paul (Stanford Univ. Press, 2004). Taubes' understanding of political theology is, however, very different from Schmitt's, and emphasises the political aspect of theological claims, rather than the religious derivation of political claims.

    Through Chantal Mouffe and other writers, Carl Schmitt has become a common reference in recent writings of the intellectual left as well as the right.[31] This debate concerns not only the interpretation of Schmitt's own positions, but also matters relevant to contemporary politics: the idea that laws of the state cannot strictly limit actions of its sovereign, the problem of a "state of exception" (later expanded upon by Agamben).[32]


    Schmitt concludes Theory of the Partisan with the statement: "The theory of the partisan flows into the question of the concept of the political, into the question of the real enemy and of a new nomos of the earth."[30]

    Despite certain signs of ironic distrust in the areas of metaphysics and ontology, The Concept of the Political was, as we have seen, a philosophical type of essay to 'frame' the topic of a concept unable to constitute itself on philosophical ground. But in Theory of the Partisan, it is in the same areas that the topic of this concept is both radicalised and properly uprooted, where Schmitt wished to regrasp in history the event or node of events that engaged this uprooting radicalisation, and it is precisely there that the philosophical as such intervenes again.[29]

    Schmitt's Theory of the Partisan originated in two lectures delivered during 1962,[26] and has been seen as a rethinking of The Concept of the Political.[27] It addressed the transformation of war in the post-European age, analysing a specific and significant phenomenon that ushered in a new theory of war and enmity. It contains an implicit theory of the terrorist, which during the 21st century has resulted in yet another new theory of war and enmity. In the lectures, Schmitt directly tackles the issues surrounding "the problem of the Partisan" figure: the guerrilla or revolutionary who "fights irregularly" (pg. 3).[28] Both because of its scope, with extended discussions on historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, as well as the events marking the beginning of the 21st century, Schmitt's text has had a resurgence of popularity. Jacques Derrida, in his Politics of Friendship remarked:

    Theory of the Partisan

    Published during 1956, Hamlet or Hecuba: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play was Schmitt's most extended piece of literary criticism. In it Schmitt focuses his attention on Shakespeare's Hamlet and argues that the significance of the work hinges on its ability to integrate history in the form of the taboo of the queen and the deformation of the figure of the avenger. Schmitt uses this interpretation to develop a theory of myth and politics that serves as a cultural foundation for his concept of political representation. Beyond literary criticism or historical analysis, Schmitt's book also reveals a comprehensive theory of the relationship between aesthetics and politics that responds to alternative ideas developed by Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno.

    Hamlet or Hecuba

    Notable in Schmitt's discussion of the European epoch of world history is the role played by the New World, which ultimately replaced the old world as the centre of the Earth and became the arbiter in European and world politics. According to Schmitt, the United States' internal conflicts between economic presence and political absence, between isolationism and interventionism, are global problems, which today continue to hamper the creation of a new world order. But however critical Schmitt is of American actions at the end of the 20th century and after World War I, he considered the United States to be the only political entity capable of resolving the crisis of global order.

    The Nomos of the Earth is Schmitt's most historical and geopolitical work. Published during 1950, it was also one of his final texts. It describes the origin of the Eurocentric global order, which Schmitt dates from the discovery of the New World, discusses its specific character and its contribution to civilisation, analyses the reasons for its decline at the end of the 19th century, and concludes with prospects for a new world order. It defends European achievements, not only in creating the first truly global order of international law, but also in limiting war to conflicts among sovereign states, which, in effect, civilised war. In Schmitt's view, the European sovereign state was the greatest achievement of Occidental rationalism; in becoming the principal agency of secularisation, the European state created the modern age.

    Nomos of the Earth

    Some of the letters between Schmitt and Strauss have been published. Schmitt's positive reference for Leo Strauss, and Schmitt's approval of his work, had been instrumental in winning Strauss the scholarship funding that allowed him to leave Germany.[24] In turn, Strauss's critique and clarifications of The Concept of the Political led Schmitt to make significant emendations in its second edition. Writing to Schmitt during 1932, Strauss summarised Schmitt's political theology thus: "[B]ecause man is by nature evil, he therefore needs dominion. But dominion can be established, that is, men can be unified only in a unity against – against other men. Every association of men is necessarily a separation from other men... the political thus understood is not the constitutive principle of the state, of order, but a condition of the state."[25]

    Dialogue with Leo Strauss

    Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning this work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) Additionally, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force dominating potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to affect politics, lest civil war result.

    Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friend and enemy. This distinction is to be determined "existentially," which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27) Such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.

    Schmitt changed universities during 1926, when he became professor of law at the Handelshochschule in Berlin, and again in 1932, when he accepted a position in Cologne. It was from lectures at the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin that he wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political".[23] Distinct from party politics, "the political" is the essence of politics. While churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it makes a clear distinction between the "friend" and the "enemy"). The political is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity.

    The Concept of the Political

    A year later, Schmitt supported the emergence of totalitarian power structures in his paper "Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus" (roughly: "The Intellectual-Historical Situation of Today's Parliamentarianism", translated as The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy by Ellen Kennedy). Schmitt criticized the institutional practices of liberal politics, arguing that they are justified by a faith in rational discussion and openness that is at odds with actual parliamentary party politics, in which outcomes are hammered out in smoke-filled rooms by party leaders. Schmitt also posits an essential division between the liberal doctrine of separation of powers and what he holds to be the nature of democracy itself, the identity of the rulers and the ruled. Although many critics of Schmitt today, such as Stephen Holmes in his The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism, take exception to his fundamentally authoritarian outlook, the idea of incompatibility between liberalism and democracy is one reason for the continued interest in his political philosophy.[22]

    The book's title derives from Schmitt's assertion (in chapter 3) that "all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts" —in other words, that political theory addresses the state (and sovereignty) in much the same manner as theology does God.

    On Dictatorship was followed by another essay during 1922, titled "Politische Theologie" (political theology); in it, Schmitt, who at the time was working as a professor at the University of Bonn, gave further substance to his authoritarian theories, analysing the concept of "free will" influenced by Christian-Catholic thinkers. The book begins with Schmitt's famous, or notorious, definition: "Sovereign is he who decides on the exception." By "exception," Schmitt means the appropriate moment for stepping outside the rule of law in the public interest. (See discussion of On Dictatorship above.) Schmitt proposes this definition to those offered by contemporary theorists of sovereignty, particularly Hans Kelsen, whose work is criticized at several points in the essay.

    Political Theology

    The reason why Schmitt has been taken so seriously by political theory, is to the theorisation of the crisis and state of emergency not as exceptional moments in political life, opposed to some stable normality, but as themselves the predominant form of the life of modern nations.

    , with the suspension renewed every four years, implying a continual state of emergency). Reichstag Fire Decree rather, it was "suspended" for four years, first with the 28 February 1933 [21] Schmitt opposed what he termed "commissarial dictatorship", or the declaration of a state of emergency in order to save the legal order (a temporary suspension of law, defined itself by moral or legal right): the state of emergency is limited (even if

    [16]").Der Führer schützt das Recht's concept of a "pure" or "revolutionary" violence, which did not enter into any relationship whatsoever with right. Through the state of exception, Schmitt included all types of violence under right, in the case of the authority of Hitler leading to the formulation "The leader defends the law" ("Walter Benjamin Schmitt's conceptualization of the "state of exception" as belonging to the core-concept of sovereignty was a response to [20]

    This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
    Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
    By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

    Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
    a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.