Arendt and America by Richard H. King PDF

By Richard H. King

German-Jewish political thinker Hannah Arendt (1906–75) fled from the Nazis to long island in 1941, and through the subsequent thirty years in the US she wrote her best-known and such a lot influential works, similar to The Human , The Origins of Totalitarianism, and On Revolution. but, even though a considerable element of her oeuvre was once written in the United States, no longer Europe, not anyone has at once thought of the impact of the US on her thought—until now. In Arendt and America, historian Richard H. King argues that whereas all of Arendt’s paintings was once haunted by way of her event of totalitarianism, it used to be in simple terms in her followed native land that she used to be in a position to formulate the belief of the trendy republic as a substitute to totalitarian rule.
Situating Arendt in the context of U.S. highbrow, political, and social heritage, King unearths how Arendt constructed a fascination with the political considered the Founding Fathers. King additionally re-creates her highbrow exchanges with American neighbors and associates, similar to Dwight Macdonald and Mary McCarthy, and exhibits how her full of life correspondence with sociologist David Riesman helped her comprehend glossy American tradition and society. within the final element of Arendt and America, King units out the context during which the Eichmann controversy came about and follows the talk approximately “the banality of evil” that has endured ever on the grounds that.  As King exhibits, Arendt’s paintings, despite concentration, was once formed by way of postwar American proposal, tradition, and politics, together with the Civil Rights move and the chilly War.

For Arendt, the USA was once even more than a safe haven from Nazi Germany; it was once a stimulus to reconsider the political, moral, and historic traditions of human tradition. This authoritative blend of highbrow heritage and biography bargains a special strategy for puzzling over the impression of the US on Arendt’s rules and likewise the influence of her rules on American thought.

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Sample text

41 The cruel irony of all this later became apparent in the Auschwitz trials at Frankfurt in the mid-1960s when one of the only “good” men at Auschwitz, Dr. Franz Lucas, was sentenced to three years and three months imprisonment, even though he was one of the few men in Auschwitz who had saved lives and helped inmates. He had been whipsawed by the twin, but not always compatible, charges of committing a murder and complicity in mass murder. 42 Arendt concluded “Organized Guilt” by viewing “humanity” and the burden of equality from a global perspective.

23 He also contrasted the German system with the Soviet Gulag. 24 Later, in Origins, Arendt also noted the absence of genocidal intent in the Soviet system and emphasized the way that the Gulag system did not rationally serve Soviet economic, military, and strategic purposes. 25 All this clearly anticipated Arendt’s emphasis in Origins on administrative murder and the industrial nature of the extermination system. In general, then, both thinkers posited the overwhelming contemporary power of state and corporate institutions, within which individuals were forced to make moral and political choices.

Du Bois applied the colonial analogy to black Americans. 25 By neglecting the ways that American racial politics and warfare tracked the same European phenomena, Origins undoubtedly helped confirm the notion of American exceptionalism, particularly when contemplating the horrors of recent European history. Riesman also tried to persuade Arendt to incorporate more American material into what became Origins. But she generally resisted.

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