Friedrich Nietzsche biography
Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844, in
Röcken, Prussia. Both his grandfathers had been ordained
into the Lutheran Church. His father Ludwig, also a minister,
died in 1849, at the age of thirty-six, having sustained head
injuries through a fall about a year previously. Nietzsche was
five years old at the time of his father's death and was raised
by his mother in a home that included his grandmother, two maiden
aunts, and a sister.
During his childhood he seems to have developed an aversion
to such things as piety, nationalism, bourgeois provincialism
and domineering women. From 1858 he attended the academically
distinguished Pforta boarding school where he began to suffer
from the migraine attacks that were to be a burden to him for the
rest of his life. He was also affected by having poor eyesight.
Pforta had turned out many famous men in the past and was run
along "Prussian" lines of discipline, piety, and hard work.
After (gladly) leaving Pforta in 1864 he studied theology
and classical philology at the university of Bonn he was,
however, turning away from the religious atmosphere in which he
had been raised. He transferred his studies to Leipzig the
following year and this time was commited to the study of
classical philology only. Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as
Will and Idea greatly influenced him during his time at
Nietzsche was considered to be a most particularly
brilliant student and was appointed professor of classical
philology at the University of Basel at the young age of 24 - at
which time he had not yet been awarded a doctoral degree! When
his doctoral degree was awarded it was actually awarded without
Ill-health forced his retirement from the University post
at Basel in 1879 - his life was despaired of at this time but he
did make a recovery. That being said he himself believed that his
close brush with mortality had, in fact, enhanced his abilities
and deliberately set out to present a culminating view of his
philosophy and perceptions in two works later published as The
Gay Science and Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-5).
In 1889 he suffered a mental breakdown from which
he never recovered to anything like full sanity. The critical
breakdown occured in Turin where he collapsed with his arms about
the neck of a horse that had just been cruelly whipped by a
It happened however that, with Nietzsche being affected by
his health problems, his "opinions" were often sought from his
sister Elisabeth who, in response, tended to introduce a fair
amount of her own ideas. It would seem that The Will to
Power (1901) is in fact assembled from various sources
amongst the her brother's writings - the selection being made by
She also witheld his autobiographical work Ecce Homo
(1889) from publication and published some of his letters after
editing them in ways that altered their meaning.
Friedrich Nietzsche died in Weimar on August 25,
For some fuller mention of major works please follow the link
We strongly recommend:
Europe in 1848 : A seed-plot of History?
In relation to the European Revolutions of 1848 the historian Eric Hobsbawm has written:
"There have been plenty of greater revolutions in the history of the modern world, and certainly plenty of more successful ones.
Yet there has been none which spread more rapidly and widely, running like a bushfire across frontiers, countries and even oceans."
In 1806 the Habsburg Emperor, who held the "Holy Roman" Imperial title and exercised direct dynastic authority over many lands stretching from Poland to the Mediterranean,
was hard-pressed by the activities of Napoleon Bonaparte, and accepted the termination of the Holy Roman Empire (due to sweeping reforms instituted by Napoleon in western
parts of Germanic Europe), and adopted the title of Emperor of Austria.
By late spring 1848, the Habsburg Empire looked like a hopeless case: the monarchy's northern Italian possessions in revolt, invaded by a Piedmontese army
and largely cleared of Austrian troops; three different "national" governments in Vienna, Budapest and Zagreb each claiming sovereign authority; Polish, Romanian,
Slovenian, Serb, Czech, and Slovak national movements aspiring to a similar sovereign status; a mentally incompetent monarch and his court in flight from the
capital to the provinces; a state treasury completely bare.
Jonathan Sperber, The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, p. 203
In February 1948, the British historian Lewis Namier delivered a lecture commemorating the centennial of the
European Revolutions of 1848.
In this lecture Namier presented facts about the historical developments, themes, and events evident in 1848 and reached the
"1848 remains a seed-plot of history. It crystallized ideas and projected the pattern of things to come; it determined the course of the following century."
We are pleased to make available a series of informative pages about the highly significant and, we would venture to suggest,
the prodigiously historically instructive European Revolutions of 1848:
The events of 1848-1849 arose from the strong emergence into the Socio-Politico-Economic History of nineteenth-century Europe of populist forces such as Liberalism,
Constitutionalism, Nationalism and Socialism.
- 1 The European Revolutions of 1848 begin
- A broad outline of the background to the onset of the turmoils and a consideration of some of the early events in
Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest and Prague.
- 2 The French Revolution of 1848
- A particular focus on France - as an Austrian foreign minister said "When France sneezes Europe catches a cold".
- 3 The "Italian" Revolution of 1848
- A "liberal" Papacy after 1846 helps allow the embers of an
"Italian" national aspiration to rekindle across the Italian Peninsula.
- 4 The Revolution of 1848 in the German Lands and central Europe
- "Germany" had a movement for a single parliament in 1848 and many central European would-be "nations" attempted
to promote a distinct existence for their "nationality".
- 5 The European Revolutions - reactionary aftermath 1848-1849
- Some instances of social and political extremism allow
previously pro-reform liberal elements to join conservative elements in
supporting the return of traditional authority. Such nationalities living within
the Habsburg Empire as the Czechs, Croats, Slovaks, Serbs and Roumanians,
find it more credible to look to the Emperor,
rather than to the democratised assemblies recently established in
Vienna and in Budapest as a result of populist aspiration, for the future
protection of their nationality.
The Austrian Emperor and many Kings and Dukes regain political powers.
Louis Napoleon, (who was a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte), was elected as
President in France offering social stability at home but ultimately followed
policies which resulted in dramatic changes to the wider European structure of states and their sovereignty.
These populist forces were promoted by various interest groups within and between the pre-existing dynastic Empires and Kingdoms of Europe, often challenging the
continuance of dynastic authority and governance and proving to be competitive, in that popular aspirations expressed by some interest groups often proved unpalatable
to other interest groups within and between the pre-existing dynastic states of Europe.
Radical socialist reformers sought justice for the "disinherited" classes, the peasants and the factory workers, while more moderate political reformers were concerned
with protecting and increasing the influence of the middle classes, the bourgeoisie and the professional groups. The radicals in general favoured a republican
form of government while many moderates were prepared to accept constitutional monarchy as a satisfactory substitute …
… Many of the revolutionaries, especially in the German Confederation and Italy, wanted to transform their homeland into a strong and united country, but
their aims contradicted the nationalist aspirations of minority groups.
From the opening chapter to "Revolution and Reaction 1848-1852" by Geoffrey Brunn
Middle class liberals, who had favoured constitutional rather than dynastic governance, were amongst the first of the previously pro-reform aspirational groups to
return to supporting dynastic authority when it became plain that other populist interest groups favoured wider extensions of democracy than they themselves wished
to see adopted.
Rural dwellers were often largely satisfied with reforms to systems of land tenure and the reduction of obligations to provide assistance, through labour-services, to their
landlords. Once such reforms were put in place in the Austrian Empire, country dwellers, although often relatively materially poor, tended accept the suppression of
urban radicalism and the re-establishment of dynastic authorities.
All in all a "united front" failed to become established amongst those seeking reform and gradually proved possible for dynastic authorities to re-assert themselves
often with the aid of their pre-revolutionary military forces.
The historian A. J. P. Taylor later referred to the events of 1848 as being "a turning-point when history failed to turn" nevertheless "The Future" was put on notice that
such populist-aspirational forces were capable of making pressing claims in relation to Socio-Politico-Economic developments.