Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ernst Jünger, conservative philosopher

Ernst Jünger
It is the birthday of German writer Ernst Jünger (1895), whose best known work, Storm of Steel (1920), is his personal account of his experiences as a German officer on the Western Front during World War I. It is a particularly graphic work, especially when depicting the horrors of trench warfare. Still, it is considered a book that glorifies war, and raises the life of a soldier to a mystical experience. It has undergone as many as seven revisions, some toning down the graphic details of the war. It was first published in English in 1929. After the war, Jünger kept his distance from the Nazi Party as it rose to power but he did serve in the German Army, and was stationed in Paris, where he hobnobbed with artistic luminaries such as Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. He was a prolific writer, producing more than 50 books, including several diaries. He became known as a conservative philosopher and was greatly admired by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Françios Mitterrand. Jünger used mescaline, ether, hashish, cocaine and LSD. He was a friend of Albert Hofmann, who invented LSD, and took it with him several times. When he was 89, he said the ideology of war in Germany before and after World War I was  "a calamitous mistake." He lived to be 102.

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