Übermensch and Nazis

The term Übermensch was used frequently by Hitler and the Nazi regime to describe their idea of a biologically superior Aryan or Germanic master race; a form of Nietzsche's Übermensch became a philosophical foundation for the National Socialist ideas. Their conception of the Übermensch, however, was racial in nature. The Nazi notion of the master race also spawned the idea of "inferior humans" (Untermenschen) which could be dominated and enslaved; this term does not originate with Nietzsche. Nietzsche himself was critical of both antisemitism and German nationalism. In defiance of these doctrines, he claimed that he and Germany were great only because of "Polish blood in their veins", and that he would be "having all anti-semites shot" as an answer to his stance on anti-semitism. To his friend Franz Overbeck he wrote, “I am just now having all anti-Semites shot.” After conferring with Burckhardt, Overbeck moved Nietzsche to a clinic in Basel. After the attentions of various specialists, Nietzsche was released to the care of his mother. He had moments of relative lucidity, but never fully regained his faculties.