Conservative Revolution

German national conservative movement during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933)

The Conservative Revolution (German: Konservative Revolution), also known as the German neoconservative movement or new nationalism, was a German national-conservative movement prominent during the Weimar Republic, in the years 1918–1933 (between World War I and the Nazi seizure of power). Conservative Revolutionaries were involved in a cultural counter-revolution and showed a wide range of diverging positions concerning the nature of the institutions Germany had to instate, labelled by historian Roger Woods the "conservative dilemma". Nonetheless, they were generally opposed to traditional Wilhelmine Christian conservatism, egalitarianism, liberalism and parliamentarian democracy as well as the cultural spirit of the bourgeoisie and modernity. Plunged into what historian Fritz Stern has named a deep "cultural despair", uprooted as they felt within the rationalism and scientism of the modern world, theorists of the Conservative Revolution drew inspiration from various elements of the 19th century, including Friedrich Nietzsche's contempt for Christian ethics, democracy and egalitarianism; the anti-modern and anti-rationalist German Romanticism; the vision of an organic and organized society cultivated by the Völkisch movement; a Prussian tradition of militaristic and authoritarian nationalism; and their own experience on the front line during World War I, escorted by both irrational violence and comradeship spirit. The movement held an ambiguous relationship with Nazism from the 1920s to the early 1930s which led scholars to describe the Conservative Revolution as a form of "German pre-fascism" or "non-Nazi fascism". Although they share common roots in 19th-century anti-Enlightenment ideologies, the disparate movement cannot be easily confused with Nazism. Conservative Revolutionaries were not necessarily racialist as the movement cannot be reduced to its Völkisch component. If they participated in preparing the German society to the rule of the Nazis with their antidemocratic and organicist theories, and did not really oppose their rise to power, the Conservative Revolution was brought to heel like the rest of the society when Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933. Many of them eventually rejected the antisemitic or the totalitarian nature of the Nazis, with the notable exception of Carl Schmitt and a few others. From the 1960–1970s onwards, the Conservative Revolution has largely influenced the European New Right, in particular the French Nouvelle Droite and the German Neue Rechte, and through them the contemporary European Identitarian movement.
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movement: Conservative Revolution

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