Who is the anti-christ

Summary of The antichrist

The establishment of the welfare state by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck

No other politician influenced the politics of the German Empire, founded in 1871, as significantly as the first Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. According to the constitution, Bismarck's office as Chancellor was solely dependent on the German Kaiser and not on the Reichstag. Bad election results did not pose an imminent threat to his political career. As long as he enjoyed the emperor's favor, Bismarck was able to rule with quasi dictatorial powers and a great deal of room for maneuver.

The social legislation of the 1880s was one of the most momentous political undertakings of Bismarck: in 1883 he introduced the first state health insurance, in 1884 the accident insurance and in 1889 the old age and disability insurance. He was not driven by humanistic ideals, but pursued power-political goals. since August Bebel, the “working-class emperor”, had given a speech in the Reichstag in 1871 in favor of the socialist Paris Commune, for Bismarck social democracy was a movement that threatened the state. Bismarck hoped that social legislation would bind the workers more closely to the state and thus alienate them from the socialist parties. Ultimately, he did not achieve his political goals, but his model of a welfare state became a role model and was adopted by many countries around the world. Today, social legislation - alongside the unification of the empire - is viewed as Bismarck's most important domestic political achievement.


At the end of the 1870s, Nietzsche retired early due to a rapid deterioration in his health. From then on, the former professor of classical philology at the University of Basel lived as a freelance philosopher - constantly on the lookout for healthy climatic conditions in Switzerland, Italy and France. His works, most of which were created during this period, received little attention and even less recognition. Particularly painful for Nietzsche was the lack of response to what was written in symbolic and poetic language Thus spoke zarathustra from 1885. The fact that even closest friends reacted with incomprehension to this book drove him further and further into loneliness.

The antichristwas written in 1888 - the last year in which Nietzsche was still writing and in which he displayed both enormous productivity and increasing megalomania. In the summer of this year, Nietzsche announced the long-cherished plans for his main work - The will to power - on. He built the already collected materials into the first 23 chapters of the Antichrista. This should initially be the first of four parts of a work entitled “Revaluation of all values”. Nietzsche finished writing on September 30, 1888 in Turin - a day that, according to Nietzsche, should usher in a new era. A few weeks later, Nietzsche no longer viewed the text as the first of four parts, but as the complete "revaluation of all values". To his longtime friend Paul Deussen he wrote in November: “My revaluation of all values, with the main title 'the Antichrist', is finished. In the next few years I have to take the steps to have the work translated into seven languages; the first edition in each language c. a million copies. "

Impact history

The publication of the AntichristNietzsche was no longer aware of it. In January 1889 he suffered a mental breakdown in Turin from which he could not recover. The publication was therefore postponed for the time being. It did not take place until 1894 as part of an early edition of the work, which was under the eyes of Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche originated. Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche had several parts of the writing that seemed to offend Jesus and the incumbent Kaiser Wilhelm II deleted.

The antichristwas largely defended when it appeared. Already here the later tendency to interpret Nietzsche's late work in the light of his illness and not to take it philosophically seriously became apparent. The philosopher Arthur Drews said around 1904, The antichrist is "no longer a criticism, but a wild rant, with Nietzsche talking himself into anger, like a madman who has lost control of himself."

Some theologians tried that Antichristto be reduced to a cosmetic criticism. They said that Nietzsche only wanted to point out certain undesirable developments in Christianity. The theologian and Nietzsche expert turned against this Peter Köster with the following diagnosis: "One idea seems to cause serious difficulties for theological authors anyway: (...) namely that Nietzsche saw Christianity very sharply in some essential traits - and yet could have negated it".