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:
- Political Romanticism (1919, 1925), trans. Guy Oakes (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1986).
- Dictatorship: From the Origin of the Modern Concept of Sovereignty to Proletarian Class Struggle (1921), trans. Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014).
- Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (1922, 1934), trans. George D. Schwab (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985).
- Roman Catholicism and Political Form (1923), trans. G. L. Ulmen (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996).
- The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (1923, 1926), trans. Ellen Kennedy (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1988).
- The Idea of Representation: A Discussion (1923), trans. E. M. Codd (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1988), reprint of The Necessity of Politics: An Essay on the Representative Idea in the Church and Modern Europe (London: Sheed and Ward, 1931).
- The Concept of the Political (1927, 1932), trans. George D. Schwab (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996; expanded edition 2006, with an Introduction by Tracy B. Strong).
- Constitutional Theory (1928), trans. Jeffrey Seitzer (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007).
- Four Articles, 1931–1938, trans. Simona Draghici (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1999). (See below.)
- Legality and Legitimacy (1932), trans. Jeffrey Seitzer (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004).
- On the Three Types of Juristic Thought (1934), trans. Joseph Bendersky (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2004).
- Writings on War (1937–1945), trans. Timothy Nunan (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011).
- The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol (1938), trans. George D. Schwab & Erna Hilfstein (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996).
- The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of Jus Publicum Europaeum (1950), trans. G. L. Ulmen (New York: Telos Press, 2003).
- Land and Sea (1954), trans. Simona Draghici (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1997). (See below.)
- Hamlet or Hecuba: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play (1956), trans. David Pan and Jennifer R. Rust (New York: Telos Press, 2009).
- Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political (1963, 1975), trans. G. L. Ulmen (New York: Telos Press, 2007).
- Political Theology II: The Myth of the Closure of any Political Theology (1970), trans. Michael Hoelzel and Graham Ward (Malden, Mass.: Polity Press, 2008).
- The Tyranny of Values (1979), trans. Simona Draghici (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1996). (See below.)
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/North American New Right has published a number of works by Schmitt online:
- Land and Sea
- “Total Enemy, Total State, and Total War,” an essay from Four Articles, 1931–1938
- “The Way to the Total State,” an essay from Four Articles, 1931–1938
- “Further Development of the Total State in Germany,” an essay from Four Articles, 1931–1938
- “Neutrality According to International Law and National Totality,” an essay from Four Articles, 1931–1938
- “The Tyranny of Values, 1959,” from The Tyranny of Values
- “The Tyranny of Values, 1967,” from The Tyranny of Values (in Romanian)
- “Isolationism and Pan-Interventionism”
We have also published several studies of Schmitt:
- “The Lesson of Carl Schmitt,” by Guillaume Faye and Robert Steuckers
- “Reflections on Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political,” by Greg Johnson (in French)
- “The Political Soldier: Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan,” by Greg Johnson
- “Mircea Eliade, Carl Schmitt, and René Guénon,” by Greg Johnson
- “Carl Schmitt on the Tyranny of Values,” by Greg Johnson
- “Schmitt, Sovereignty, and the Deep State,” by Greg Johnson (Translations: Portuguese, Spanish)
- “Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political,” by Michael O’Meara
- “Notes on Liberal Democracy and its Alternative,” by John Gordon
The following essays make substantial reference to Schmitt:
- Julius Evola, “Historiography of the Right”
- Greg Johnson, “Leo Strauss, the Conservative Revolution, and National Socialism,” Part 1, Part 2
- Greg Johnson, “Lessing’s Ideal Conservative Freemasonry” (in Spanish)
- Edouard Rix, “Geopolitics of Leviathan,” Part 1
- Lucian Tudor, “The German Conservative Revolution and its Legacy”
In the coming years, we will considerably expand our coverage of Schmitt by commissioning studies of his various works as well as translations of literature by European New Right authors. All of this is contingent on our ability to raise the necessary funds, so please consider donating to our summer fund-raising campaign today.