The Second Part of Alain de Benoist's review of the achievement of the German writer Ernst Juenger

IN HIS WORK on national-Bolshevism Louis Dupeux described the unease with which Der Arbeiter was greeted in Germany when it came out. In a letter to Henri Plard Juenger himself noted that neither the national-socialists nor their opponents were able to exploit it to their advantage. At a time when the rise of national-socialism seemed irresistible, Juenger had ignored racialism and anti-semitism. At a time when nationalist movements were singing the praises of the rural idyll and individualism, Juenger wrote of the supression of the individual and the omnipotence of technics. While political extremes clashed, Juenger distanced himself from all then existing political formations and anticipated an eventual disappearance of the national frame of reference, an unthinkable hypothesis for nationalist commentators. Furthermore, he situated himself to a certain extent in a Marxist perspective, albeit to then transcend it. Apart from Niekisch, there is no immediately discernible outside influence at work in Der Arbeiter. One person who did play an important role in the evolution of Juenger's thought however, was Hugo Fischer. He had attended Hans Driesch's Biology course at Leipsic University at the same time as Juenger. His principle work, Lenin, der Machiavelli des Ostens was to have been published in Hamburg in 1933 but publication was forbidden by the government for political reasons and the work did not appear until 1962. Among other works by Fisher is a study of Marx (Karl Marx und sein Verhaeltnis zu Staat und Wirtschaft Jena 1932), which argues that Marx's notion of alienation amounted to a critique of modernity as such. (On the same theme, available in English, there is Ernst Nolte's The Conservative Features in Marxism (published in Marxism, Fascism, Cold War Von Gorcum, Assen 1982.) Hugo Fisher was also the first to have a monograph published dedicated to the painter and designer Paul Weber. Weber spent several months in a concentration camp in 1937 because of his links with the national Bolsheviks. Fisher accompanied Juenger to Norway in 1935, whence he emigrated to England. He died in 1977.

With the notable exception of the expressionist poet Gottfried Benn, who wrote a foundamental appraisal of Der Arbeiter upon its publication, Juenger's new work got a hostile reception from other Conservative Revolutionaries. For Hermann Sinsheimer, writing in the Berliner Tageblatt on October 4th 1932, the book was a "phantom". Hans Bogner, close to Wilhelm Stapel, accused Juenger of Bolshevism (Die neue Literatur 1932); this was also Hilderbert Boehm's view. Boehm, one of the principle members of the circle around Moeller van den Bruck, described the programme put forward in Juenger's book as that of "a kind of Bolshevism". For their part, representatives of the V<148>lkisch current of the Conservative Revolution were alienated by Juenger's assertion that all forms of neo-romanticsm and rural rootedness were affirmations of "bourgeois values". Both Hermann Rauschning and Oswald Spengler were also hostile to the work.

In Italy Julius Evola wrote an analysis of Der Arbeiter which broadly agreed with the German neo-conservative point of view, except that Evola was less sweeping and less simplistic. Evola had in fact considered whether he should translate Juenger's work into Italian but finally decided to write a critical analysis instead: L'"Operaio" nel pensiero di Ernst Juenger (The "Worker" in the thought of Ernst Juenger). He also referred to Der Arbeiter in two of his own works, namely Gli uomini e le rovine and Il Cammino del Cinabro. Evola takes Juenger to task for his notion of the concept of "Arbeit" (work/labour) which Evola defined in a much more limited sense than Juenger. However we see work, argues Evola, whether as an end in itself, as a path to redemption, as expiation, as self-improvement or even as part of a myth of the "paroxysm of productive activity" for activity's sake, this modernist belief in work as a social superstructure, as the key to social life, a view accepted by Left and Right alike, must be condemned. Work in Evola's eyes can never be free of what he terms "the demon of economism": "One of the most obscure and most plebian aspects of the economic era is this kind of auto-sadism which consists in glorifying work as a kind of value and duty in itself and to consider no matter what activity as a kind of work". Evola further argues that Juenger paradoxically seeks an ethical value in work at the very time that technics are tending to supress the element of quality which subsists in it. For Evola, work is necessarily a base element of human activity because it is a response to economic considerations. In so far as an undertaking is not bound to economic considerations then "it is not work but action, the action of the leader, the explorer, the ascetic, the sage, the warrior, the artist, the diplomat, the theologian, the creator of new laws or the breaker of laws, the layer down of principles and the bearer of an elementary passion, the great entrepreneur and the great organizer." Therefore, for Evola, Juenger's very title is suspect. For Evola, "Work belongs to the fourth estate, the lowest caste." Juenger was prisoner to what Evola termed a "proletarian mentality", which "subsists precisely at the point where it is impossible to conceive of a higher form of man than the worker, when the work-ethic is praised to the skies, when the state calls itself a workers' state, when the courage fails a man to take a stand against these poisonous myths and say "NO"....The prime task is to de-proletarianise our vision of life, without which all our efforts are falsified, paralysed." In addition to his rejection of the glorification of work, Evola argued that the metaphysical option was insufficiently stressed in Der Arbeiter. If the domination of technics is to rise above the the level of the elementary in life, then they must be elaborated above contemporary values, in the realm of pure transcendence. In this respect the figure of the Worker is equivocal. It is quite feasible, from Juenger's book, to conceive of the Worker who acts within a closed circle shut off from all notion of transcendence and who is wholly incapabale of engendering new and authentic hierarchies.

The neo-conservative charge that Juenger's book preached a kind of "Bolshevism" seemed to be supported by the fact that national-Bolsheviks were almost the only people who reacted favourably to his book when it was published. Ernst Niekisch, who saw the manuscript before it was published, wrote an extensive critique for the Autumn 1932 edition of Widerstand in which he argued that the "Marxist" themes in the book only seemed to be Marxist. "Juenger is not a Bolshevik but he does show how Bolshevik Russia is in harmony with the times....he shows in masterly fashion how it is possible to utterly eliminate the bourgeois spirit." The hostility of orthodox Marxists to Der Arbeiter however, has remained constant for over fifty years, with the single exception of Karl Radek, who wrote that, "to enlist Ernst Juenger in the K.P.D. would be more important than gaining every single new vote on the electoral roll for the next election." For Wittfogel, Juenger's "Workers" were just the "activists of the ruling class" with a new name, while for Lukacs, the figure of the Worker was a "mystification of Prussian imperialism". For the Soviet academic Odouev, in a work published in 1980, the book consists of a "macabre romanticist adventurism", by which the irreconcilable interests of bourgeoisie and proletariat are synthesised in order to prepare the way for fascist demagogy.

Accused of "Bolshevism" but rejected by the Marxists who denounced the book as "fascist", Der Arbeiter was also received with hostility by the national-socialists. On 20th October 1932 the Voelkischer Beobachter published an article by one Thilo von Trotha in which the figure of the Worker is described as "an abstract monstrosity, a man from the Moon". Juenger is reproached for his rejection of the concept of Blut und Boden; Juenger's own attitude to national-socialism had indeed been hostile from very early days. In 1927 he had been approached by Adolph Hitler who suggested he stand for the Reichstag on the national-socialist ticket. Juenger is said to have replied that he considered it more valuable to write one good line of verse than represent sixty thousand cretins. Two years later when the Landbewegung in Schleswig-Holstein began to plant bombs, Juenger was deeply disappointed that this nationalist peasant's movement was not only condemned by the government but also by the N.S.D.A.P. and the K.P.D. In an article published in Das Tagebuch in 1929, Juenger developed his argument that contemporary so-called revolutionary parties would sacrifice revolutionary principle to exigency and had no idea of the problems which confronted German peasants. At the same time he was taken to task in Dr. Goebbels' Der Angriff for rejecting racialism and anti-semitism.

Like many other writers of the Conservative Revolution, Juenger condemned what he called the "plebian aspects" of Hitler's movement, including its adulation of the masses, its electoral opportunism, its Voelkisch mysticism, its simplistic biologism, its lack of genuine ideology, its anti-statism and its pan-Germanism. For Juenger, political realism at the global level is incompatible with a racialist position. Furthermore, Juenger did not believe in the mystique of "the great men of history". As we have seen, he believed that what the age required was not one great man but an entirely new kind of Man. (In 1954 Evola was to echo this sentiment when arguing that all dictatorship is a degeneration or inversion of the principle of true authority.) Juenger's position regarding national-socialism has been compared to that of Joseph de Maistre facing the Revolution of 1789 or Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the Revolution of 1917. Juenger however did not consider himself to be a counter-revolutionary, rather the partisan of another revolution. He did not believe that Hitler's totalitarianism would create the new man. In 1933 Juenger entered "interior exile" in Goslar. Like Carl Schmitt he made a point of attending functions held at the Soviet Embassy while on the other hand he refused membership of the newly created Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung. His study was searched by the authorities because of his former association with national-Bolsheviks, but nothing incriminating was found and he continued to write and be published. In 1934 Juenger protested to the Voelkische Beobachter about its unauthorized publication of extracts from his book, Das abenteurliche Herz.

On September 1st 1939, the first day of World War II, a new work by Juenger, Auf den Marmorklippen (On cliffs of marble) was published. Printing of the book was stopped a year later, after 35,000 copies had already been sold. "I would give nearly all the literature which has been produced in the last ten years for that book" enthused Julien Graque in 1950. Jean-Michel Palmer described it as "the most courageous and the most profound critique of nazism ever written by any one then writing, not in exile, but on German soil." In 1942, Gaerten und Strassen (Gardens and Roads) was published but was banned in 1943, Juenger having refused to agree to the supression of passages in the book which the authorities deemed to be "misplaced". From 1942 it had become impossible for Juenger to find a publisher. Among the dignitaries of the regime it was Bormann and Rosenberg who felt an antipathy akin to repulsion towards him, whereas Hitler seems to have rather admired the author of Feuer und Blut and In Stahlgewittern. For Juenger Hitler was a kind of "mentor in reverse": "I owe it to the example of Adolph Hitler that I never ventured into politics," he said. Juenger took part in the French campaign of 1940 and received a permanent post in France which he held until 1944, apart from a short spell on the Eastern Front between October 1942 and February 1943. He struck up friendship with a number of French literary figures, including Marcel Jouhandeau and Paul Leautaud. In his memoires Gerhard Heller writes that Juenger was at the heart of a group of German opponents of the regime. This did not go unnoticed by the authorities and Juenger was expelled from the army in the wake of the July plot. His brother Friedrich Georg was also viewed with deep suspicion. In 1934 he had had a poem published entitled Der Mohn (The Poppy) in which "the childish song of inglorious drunkeness" (kindisches Lied ruhmloser Trunkenheit) clearly referred to national-socialism. The Gestapo had him followed and searched his rooms more than once. In January 1944, Juenger's son Ernst was imprisoned in Wilhelmshaven for criticising Hitler in public. As for Niekisch, he was arrested by a detachment of the S.A. during the night of 7th/8th March 1933, later released and then again arrested in 1937 and susequently condemned to life imprisonment. He was released by Allied forces in 1945, half-paralysed and almost blind.

What most commentators have failed to understand when appraising Der Arbeiter is that it is not and was not intended to be a book relating to specific events or issues. The vision of the book is metaphysical and because it is not specifically "up to date" it is always "up to date". One commentator who did understand this was Martin Heidegger. During the winter term of of 1939-1940 at the University of Freiburg, Heidegger devoted an entire series of studies to Der Arbeiter. The series of seminars was stopped by the authorities, a move which suggests how suspicious the regime was of both Juenger and Heidegger; the latter was at that time the butt of the diatribes of the national-socialist philosopher Ernst Kriek. According to Heidegger, Der Arbeiter had resumed, "in a way different to Spengler's, the task to which to date all Nietzschean literature has proved unequal, namely of making possible an experience of Being as Will to Power ....A point of departure for a renewed dialogue with the essence of nihilism." Heidegger praises Juenger above all for having wrenched metaphysical representation from that "biological-anthropological imperative which had led Nietzsche astray." But for Heidegger Juenger is still too much influenced by Nietzsche, whose notion of Wille zur Macht (Will to Power) is dominated by value judgements, the value of "life" having replaced the value of "good", Nietzsche being thereby unable, according to Heidegger, to escape from the tradition of Western metaphysics. Nevertheless, in "reversing" Western metaphysics, as Marx reversed the Hegelian dialectic, Nietzsche had brought metaphysics to the highest point. The figure of the Worker may be compared to the figure of Zarathustra, part of the metaphysics of the Will to Power. The figure of the Worker is characterised by a profound identity between what it perceives or grasps and the action of perceiving or grasping. If the Worker is able to mobilise the world by a Will to Power interpreted in terms of Work, then this effort or will corresponds to the Western notion of Being. But Being according to Heidegger is not a matter of human disposition. In making it so, Juenger has transferred the essence of God to Man and this takes us back to Western metaphysics. The advent of the Worker represents the realisation of the essence of Western metaphysics through the omnipotence of modern technics. In depicting the metaphysical aspect of the "technicalisation" of the world Juenger unmasks the essence of nihilism. Total mobilisation by the Worker to attain mastery of the earth is the perfection and fulfillment of the Will to Power.

Although Der Arbeiter certainly should be read for itself it is nevertheless a work which should be understood in the context of the evolution of its writer, for after 1945 an apparently fundamental rupture in Juenger's works took place. Many things which he had taken for granted now become matters of speculation and investigation. He turned to entymology and to literature. He distanced himself to a far greater extent than before from the events of his time. There are three crucial figures or types in Juenger's work which may be identified with three successive stages in his work: the Worker, the Rebel, the Anarch. One stage succeed another, modifying and correcting, but not effacing the stage before. The observations which Juenger made of the world as it was developing in 1931 are not denied but the writer does propose to draw different lessons from the same observations. In contrast to his attitude in 1931 the post-war Juenger takes a highly critical view of technics. Juenger the rebel developed a systematic critique of the omnipresence of machines. The Worker must now become a remedy and not the auxilliary of the unchaining of the elementary forces through technological advance. Juenger now concedes that man should not ally with the Titans. The Worker must call on the Gods to chain them again. The problems posed in Der Arbeiter are not rejected but they are now seen from another perspective. In the aftermath of the second war Juenger conceded that technics had not created a new man; if anything they have enslaved man. Furthermore, far from having put an end to the rule of the bourgeoisie they have made that rule universal. Technical thought is seen as immensely reductionist. The mechanical replaces the organic, dynamism replaces rhythms. It is only in the middle of the century that the true face of the time had emerged, had begun to really set the pace. "I am ever in search of virgin territory but even in New Guinea everything is American....The world has become a planet of machines," he wrote in 1954 and in an interview given to Magazine litteraire in 1978, Juenger expressed a revulsion towards machines in general.

In Der gordische Knoten (1953) Juenger returned to the idea of a fundamental antagonism between elementary forces always ready to burst out in the form of titanic powers, immense and formless, wild, limitless, aiming "daemonically" at brutal destruction, and on the other hand a luminous element, divine in the proper sense of the word, represented by the will that settles order amidst chaos and by the power of the spirit. Symbolically, Juenger depicts the confrontation between Asia, corresponding to the elementary forces, and Europe, whose spiritual power is the sword that will cut the Gordian knot. As Evola noted, Asia thus depicted is not so much a geographical or geopolitical entity as a "universal spiritual category". There is a potential "Asia" in all of us.

Juenger also modified his position regarding the individual. Now that technics was bound to statism and forms of collective life, liberty increasingly seemed in his eyes to be a matter of the lone wolf. "Technical bonds may be broken and rightly broken by the individual" he wrote in Declaration of a Rebel but this "individual" is not the "individual" whom he had attacked in Der Arbeiter. This is a rebel, not a bourgeois. And who is the rebel? The rebel is the one who "deprived of a homeland by the march of events...delivered up to meaninglessness" is nevertheless determined to resist and by resisting finds himself "by the very laws of nature enters into a rapport with liberty". He has decided not to cooperate with the world ruled by the perversity of technics and affirms instead values in man which cannot be defined technically. Liberty remains at the centre of Juenger's thought but whereas in Der Arbeiter it was crystalised in the dialectic of Worker/ Bourgeois it was later crystalised in the dialectic of Worker/Rebel. In a world where the liberty to refuse is systematically limited, the Rebel will be a lonely traveller (ein Einzelgaenger) a forest explorer (Ein Waldgaenger)-the return to the forests, an ancient German tradition, constitutes a "new response of liberty", but these "forests" could be anywhere, even the alleys of some great city.

While in Der Arbeiter Juenger had foreseen the development of a universal state as heralding the new man, he now saw the universal state as "fatal to the individual". After the war, Juenger had at first believed it possible to conserve the perspective of a planetary state oriented in another direction from that of the Worker, but he abandoned this idea. Significantly he told Jean-Louis de Rambures in an interview for Le Monde (20th June 1978), "I believe that the world state and the technology which goes with it is fatal to the individual." As is well known his ideas at this time were strongly influenced by those of his brother, whose Die Perfektion der Technik written in 1939, became at once victim of what it denounced: the plates were destroyed in an air-raid. A subsequent attempt to bring the book out during the war suffered the same fate in 1944. The work finally appeared in 1946.

Friedrich Georg Juenger's work was received with hostility at the time. He was accused of "romanticism" and "cultural pessimism". Since 1968 however, attitudes to the work have begun to become more subtle and less hostile. The main argument of Die Perfektion der Technik is that true wealth consists not in having but in being and that the more technology advances, the poorer the world becomes. Technology brings no profound joy but breeds avidity and envy. The machine arouses appetites which cannot be satisfied. The technical world everywhere sows anxiety and alienation. The individual man becomes an object, an adjunct of technical procedure. Society becomes ever more mechanical. One of the most characteristic symptoms of the mechanisation of society is the domestication of time. Devices are invented to save time, and no one has time. Man is no longer the measure of all things but is measured by all things. There is a technical compulsion towards perfection (Perfektionstrieb) the end of which is an existence rationally and mechanically ordered where social transparence will be complete, where everything is functional, automatic and from which there will be no escape. The capitalist and Marxist mechanisms are brothers, both springing from "the ideology of the machine". For Ernst Juenger too the world powers are modalities of the same Worker figure. "Perhaps the world state will be a synthesis of Marxism and capitalism...the same buildings, the same factories, the same nuclear power stations" (interview for Le Magazine litteraire 1981).

Far from heralding human liberation, the dominance of technology destroys spiritual well-being. The planet is subjected to a generalised pillage. Where all is a matter of calculations, the land is a calcuable factor from which a given maximum may be exploited. At the centre of this process is the machine. The machine devestates landscapes, pollutes the environment, rolls the country back before the advance of conurbations which are ever more dangerous, ugly and uninhabitable. Generalised exploitation engenders generalised devestation. So our contemporary world is one of chipping away, disintegration, breaking up, atomisation. The dichotomy between being and having, knowing and doing, becomes more accentuated every day.

This analysis in many respects directly contradicts the views expressed in Der Arbeiter but Juenger remains constant in posing the same problem, namely how is it possible for man to be master of himself, a creator of forms? In Der Arbeiter Juenger argued that technics were the enemy of the bourgeois but has now come to believe that the bourgeois is allied to technics. Will men or machines rule the world? The question is unchanged. The figure of the Worker retains its importance. In An der Zeitmauer (1959) Juenger claims that it is the figure of the Worker which emerges with increased strength from every conflaguration. At this stage Juenger considers the possibilty that the Worker may not be necessarily bound to technics. Technics are the uniform of the Worker but it is possible to change uniform. Already in his journal of 1945 he was writing, "If the figure of the Worker is incarnated, as I am sure that it is, in personalities which are both powerful and persuasive, such personalities do not have to come, perhaps do not come at all, from the ranks of technicians." In 1980, in a letter to Gilles Lapouge he wrote that, "Perhaps the link between the figure of the Worker and the technician is provisional. Today the Worker dons the uniform of the technician; tomorrow he may be transformed from an economic figure to a mythical one..."

Juenger's thought had clearly undergone a fundamental reorientation, and some questions have to be asked. When the Worker is no longer allied to technics does he still merit the name of Worker at all? Is the Worker simply reaching out for new means to obtain power or is the Worker rehabilitated, no longer intrinsically bound to the forces of destruction? Has the Worker escaped from the world of Titans to ally himself with the world of the Gods? Can it be that the Worker will give sense to the world, thus enabling man to escape from nihilism and become the princely measure of all things? In Maxima-Minima Juenger wrote, "the true conservative is not defined as a person who wishes to retain or conserve this or that, but as one who seeks to affirm an image of man as the measure of things." Another question: if the technical transformation of the world is a defeat for man, how is it possible to reverse that defeat? Here again we need to turn our attention to the work of Friedrich Georg Juenger.

Like many of his contemporaries in the German world of letters, Friedrich Georg Juenger sought inspiration in the world of myths, specifically the Greek myths, in order to find a key to a comprehension of the current situation. A myth does not belong to yesterday or tomorrow, it is eternal. It always speaks to those who will listen. A significant number of his works, creative and theoretical, are given over to the Greek myths, for example Griechische Goetter (1943), Die Titanen (1944), Griechische Mythen (1947). The world of technics originates in the universe of the Titans, of whom the most famous in Greek mythology is Prometheus. It is no coincidence that nearly every expression relating to Homo faber in Ancient Greek is perjorative, for the Ancient Greeks believed that the more man invested energy in technics the further he distanced himself from the Gods. The Titanic character of technology today can be seen at once in the modernist taste for the colossal, the gigantic without soul, the disappearance of all communal sense of beauty, harmony or proportion.

The adversaries of the Titans are the Gods, of whom the most important for F.G. Juenger are Apollo, Dionysius and Pan. Dionysius especially incarnates a feeling for life (Lebensgefuehl) entirely opposed to the technical world and the world of calculations and reasonings. Dionysos is the God of infinite possibility, of metamorphosis. Apollo is the God of permanence, but also of order and beauty, the opponent of chaos, the tracer of limits. He is the supreme spiritual conscience opposed to all that is irresolute, ambiguous, indecisive. F.G. Juenger writes, " is the spirtuality of form which speaks to us through Apollo...Form is by definition that which makes a whole from the parts, the subjugation of matter to form." Pan for F.G. Juenger symbolises the abolition, non-existence of time and is therefore the figure who reconciles Dionysius and Apollo. Like Empedocles, F.G. Juenger proclaims a natural solidarity, an organic continuity, in the universe between all that lives. It is the continuity of life which constitues the enchantment of the world but this enchantment is destroyed by technology because technology breaks down the distance between different forms. "Where there is no distance, everything becomes diabolic" ("Wo keine Distanz ist, wird alles daemonisch") (Gedanken und Markzeichen). This disenchantment of the world (Entzauberung) wrought by technology, as Max Weber saw, is the prolongation of the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the struggle of Christianity against Paganism. The felling of the sacred oak of Thor by Saint Boniface for example, is interpreted by F.G. Juenger as a supreme act of disdain for life itself. The world for the technician is an object of pity or exploitation, but always an object, never alive, never a father. F.G. Juenger affirms that there is nothing we need more today than to love the earth.

F.G. Juenger does not argue for a return to a pre-technical age however, but looks forward to a post-technical one, a world in which the eternal rhythm of life and the movements of dance replaces the dynamics of the machine and the movements of progress. Existence is not a "segment of history" caught as it were between two atemporal eternities of past and future, but an "explosion" in every direction with multiple, ever renewed and renewable, aspects. This is the notion of perpetual recurrence, expressed in poems like Die Perlenschnur: "Kyklos! Kyklos!/ Ich komme und gehe wieder/Und ich komme noch einmal, denn suess ist's". (The band of pearls: cyclos, cyclos, I come and go again/and I come yet again, so sweet it is). The notion of the Dionysian dance, of recurrence, reminds us of Nietzsche, and in fact F.G. Juenger wrote a book on Nietzsche, but he did not share Nietzsche's belief that nihilism must be fulfilled before it be surpassed, nor did he see a contradiction between eternal recurrence and eternal present. In Nietzsche's version of eternal recurrence he saw a disquieting tendency to accept the reign of the Titans. In place of Nietzsche's repudiation of linear time in favour of cyclical time, he proposed the radical negation of time.

Niekisch called Ernst Juenger a sismograph who detected coming changes in the social structure with the greatest precision. The man who was always interested in insects had himself social "antennae". Juenger's was always an intuitive and visual al nature. He saw from within, a gift which properly belongs to poets and prophets. The prophet does not work with the intellect but with the soul and like the poet he only distances himself to see things more exactly, closer. Prophets are the eyes of the people. They understand the times because they are above time. What does the "sismograph" Juenger detect today? Nihilism. It is on the theme of nihilism, linked as it is to his notion of the Worker, which formed the subject of his post-war dialogue with Martin Heidegger, who was one of the first to urge Juenger to try to have Der Arbeiter republished after the war. Juenger's understanding of nihilism, outlined in a work dedicated to Heidegger entitled Ueber die Linie (Over the Line) is a reflection on Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky. True to the interpretation given by Nietzsche, Juenger writes that nihilism is the general elimination of sense, revealed in a process of reduction. Like technics however, nihilism, at once destructive and the pre-requisite of a new construction of values, will reach a "zero-point", a line, beyond which it cannot reach (hence the title -"Beyond the Line"). This "heroic realism" calls to mind Juenger's stance in the aftermath of the Great War viewing Germany's total defeat as the point of departure of a new affirmation.

Heidegger's point of view is different. In his riposte to Juenger's work entitled Ueber "die Linie" he plays on the word "Ueber" giving it the sense of "about" and not "beyond", since for Heidegger the question is firstly to identify nihilism, to find out where it is situated. The accomplishment of nihilism (not to be confused with the realisation of nihilism, which is the cause of accomplishment) is not discernible even in the distant future. For Juenger, "at the point that the line is crossed, Being will enjoy new attributes and the Real will be reborn". Heidegger is sceptical. Is the Real reborn because of attributes? Is not the manner in which men live in a world without sense an attribute of being? Is it even possible to separate Being and the attributes of Being? If man submits to nihilism it is also true that it is man who has created nihilism? He participates in it; the human being is the essence of nihilism. Here comes Heidegger's principle objection: Juenger is too much a disciple of Nietzsche. He still clings to "value" and the Will to Power. Far from being the antidote to nihilism, as Nietzsche and Juenger believed, the Will to Power is on the contrary the accomplishment of nihilism. Power moves towards a reduction of plentitude and originality within the totality of Being. Juenger still speaks in the language of metaphysics ("Will to Power", "Values"), which, with or without God, is the fundamental source of today's nihilism. The very language of values or lack of them constitutes that barrier the crossing of which, according to Juenger, using the same language, will herald the passing of nihilism. The language of metaphysics itself makes it impossible to locate the source of nihilism because it reposes in what Heidegger calls the "forgetting of Being". The first thing to do is to go beyond metaphysics by establishing what it is, appropriating it in order to dispense with it.

Juenger has attained a serenity in the twilight of his life which points to an acceptance of Heidegger's argument. He no longer condemns or accepts. "Tired of searching I can also discover what I found," he recently remarked; and elsewhere, namely at the end of Der Gordische Knoten, "...a return is inconceivable without an immobile centre...If we suppose at the centre of becoming, as at the centre of a wheel, an intimate essence, immobile, intemporal, non-extending, then we may also conceive how the constellations are joined; for example, before and after, you and I, East and West...There is only one return really. It takes place where man recognises the eternal in time and at that point the world becomes intense. Reminiscence and veneration are aspects of this return. It is man's participation in reality and reality cannot be without it."

In Eumeswil the personality of the Anarch is the perfect incarnation of the "immobile centre". This work, like Heliopolis, is a Utopian novel, but the two are very different. Heliopolis is centred on lived experience whereas Eumeswil describes something which exists at a much more profound level of experience. The two works may be described as two stages of an evolution which should be seen not as a line but as an interwoven fabric, or like the spiral evoked by Goethe. We think we have returned to where we started from, but in point of fact we are one degree higher. In Eumeswil we have the third figure after the Worker and the Rebel: the Anarch. The universe of this prophetic book is one which lies in our future. There is a "Mauretanian" society ruled by the tyrant Condor, a man with artistic sensibilities and his glacial chief of state Domo. Power is at the centre of all things. The state is a world state. Anarch is not simply a rebel, he is the incorporation of another form. He is a synthesis of Worker and Rebel. In Juenger the role played by the synthesis of opposites is always crucial. In all three figures it is a concern for liberty which motivates them. In a preface to a a French reedition of Im Stahlgewitter published by Plon in 1960, he wrote "Two adversaries modelled the face of the future." Opposing forces, by virtue of their relationship of antagonism, are nevertheless allies in creating a result which will succeed them. The adversary is not here considered as an absolute enemy but only a figure of adversity for the time being. This notion of the productive imperative of the conflict of oppositions is crucial to an understanding of Juenger and it applies also to the opposition between the writings of the young and the old Juenger. Juenger is not concerned with being contemporary in his works, for the past and the future are always with us. Of the Worker, Juenger noted that he had it behind him but that it was before us. We are living in a time when "the old values have died and the new values are not yet in action." Our age resembles a "mixture of building site and museum." We are, according to Juenger, not simply in an interregnum in the political sense but also in the cosmic one. We are passing from one Age to another, the change is as important as the change between the Stone and Bronze Ages.

Today there is no one to control the Titans. Technology is triumphant. So is the bourgeois. Both are products of rationalist and calculating thought. There is however a tension betwen the dominant values of egalitarianism and timidity and the impulse to power implied by technology. Juenger wrote in Der Arbeiter that to establish a relationship with technics one had to be something more than a technician. But is not the triumph of technics the elimination of that "something more"? It seems to be a consolation to remark that technics masters only those who shun the responsibility of mastering it but could it be that the triumph of technics is characterised by the impeding of human masters? Is it possible to imagine a new figure able to master technics not in order to be a figure of destruction but in order to fight against the forces of destruction? But in line with the notion of the productive force of opposites, it is paradoxically by seeking the essence of technics that we shall be able to overcome technics. Technics, according to Heidegger, is at once the abolisher of an awareness of Being and a revealer of truths. Therein lies its ambivalence. For Juenger the problem remains. In the light of the triumph of technics what is the sense of human lives? Western metaphysics, now reaching its point of perfection, has brought about the death of the Gods and left the field open for the Titans to roam. In the past the Gods bound Prometheus to a rock. The myth provides the answer: an alliance between men and Gods. The growing domination of technology can only lead to ever greater human distress. What is to be done to usher in the new age and the return of the Gods? For Heidegger, to be a poet in these times is to be attentive to the traces of the vanished Gods and the signs of the Gods to come. Only a poetic attitude to reality today permits us to perceive the spiritual reality amid the chaos. In 1977 Juenger wrote, "Biologists are engaged in manipulations to create new apptitudes...these technicians are the new Titans. Soon they will be confronted with the return of the Gods." and three years later in a letter to Gilles Lapouge, "Human solitude is increasing, the desert is expanding around us, but perhaps it is out of the desert that the Gods will come..."

Juenger estimates that the Age of Aquarius, which we are now entering, will be characterised by an intense spiritualisation, but the beginnings will be brutal, elementary, marked by the force of the Titans. "I have great hopes for the long term, but not for the immediate future." The end of the reign of Titans will be brought about by revolution, but not necessarily a revolution of human beings. More probably it will be a revolution of the Earth itself. "The Titan, himself a child of the Earth, follows the sense of the Earth even to the point where it seems he will destroy the Earth. But volcanoes can already be heard. The materialist assault on the world of principles, priests and heroes has not yet run its full course. The riposte will be at the level of the assault. Hesiod and the Edda are beckoning from out of the future."


This is a list of the main works of the Juenger brothers but does not pretend to be exclusive. Where a work is known to have been translated into English we have marked the title * and given the English title. Recent works on the Juengers in English include: Ernst Juenger and the nature of political committment by Roger Woods (1982), A Thematic Approach to the works of F.G. Juenger by Anton Richter (1982). Ernst Juenger is studied by E.J. Loose in the Twayne's World Authors (1974). We should welcome information from readers as to works by or on either Juenger available in English and not mentioned here. The Complete Works in German of both brothers are published by Klett-Cotta Verlag Stuttgart and are in print (not including articles written for journals-in Ernst Juenger's case notably in the Weimar years Arminius, Aufmarsh, Standarte).

Friedrich Georg Juenger died in 1977 at the age of 78. Ernst Juenger was born in 1895 and is 99 at the time of writing

Ernst Juenger

Der Kampf als inneres Erlebnis Mittler und Sohn Berlin 1922

*In Stahlgewittern. Aus dem Tagebuches eines Stosstruppfuehrers Mittler und Sohn Berlin 1924 Storms of Steel Chatto & Windus London 1929

*Das Waeldchen 125. Eine Chronik aus dem Grabenkaempfen Mittler und Sohn Berlin 1926 Copse 125 Chatto & Windus London 1930

Das abenteurlicher Herz Freundsberg Verlag Berlin 1929

Der Arbeiter. Herrschaft und Gestalt Hanseatischer Verlag Hamburg 1932.

*Afrikanische Spiele (novel) Deutsche Hausbuecherei Hamburg 1937 African Diversions John Lehman London 1954

*Auf den Marmorklippen (novel) Hanseatischer Verlag Hamburg 1940 On the Marble Cliffs John Lehmann London 1947, later Penguin modern classics

Gaerten und Strassen (journals 1939-40) Mittler und Sohn Berlin 1942

Der Friede (proposal for a European reconciliation) Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1946

*Der Perfektion der Technik Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1946 The failurs of Technology 1949

Ein Inselfruehling-Aus der Goldenen Muschel Heliopolis Verlag Tuebingen 1949

Strahlungen Heliopolis Verlag Tuebingen 1949

Ueber die Linie Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1950

Rivarol Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1956

Glaeserne Bienen (novel) Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1957

Der Weltstaat. Organismus und Organisation Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1960

An der Zeitmauer Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1960

Grenzgaenge (Essays) Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1966

Subtile Jagden Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1967

Drogen und Rausch (essay on drug taking) 1972

Die Zwille Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1973

Maxima-Minima. Adnoten zum "Arbeiter" (additional notes on Der Arbeiter) Klett-Cotta Verlag 1983

Eine gefaehrliche Begegnung Klett-Cotta Verlag Stuttgart 1985

Friedrich Georg Juenger

Aufmarsch des Nationalismus Vormarsch Verlag 1928

Gedichte (Selected Poems) Widerstands Verlag Berlin 1934

Der verkleidete Theseus (theatrical comedy in five acts) Chronos Verlag Berlin 1934

Griechische Goetter: Apollon, Pan, Dionysos Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1943

Die Titanen Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1944

Das Weinburghaus (poems) Dulk Hamburg 1947

Perlenschnur (poems) Dulk Hamburg 1947

Orient und Okzident Dulke Hamburg 1948

Maschine und Eigentum Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1949

Gedanken und Merkzeichen (essays) Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1949

Nietzsche Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1949

Gruene Zweige (memoirs) Hauser Munich 1951

Die Pfauen und andere Erzaehlungen (short stories) Hauser Munich 1952

Die Weisse Hase Reclam Stuttgart 1955

Drei Schwestern (novel) Hauser Munich 1956

Gedaechtnis und Erinnerung Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1957

Wiederkehr (short stories) Hauser Munich 1965

Es pocht an der Tuer Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1968

Die vollkommende Schoepfung. Natur oder Naturwissenschaft Klostermann Frankfurt am Main 1969

Der Erste Gang (novel) Klett Verlag Stuttgart 1979

On 29 March 1995 Ernst Juenger celebrated his 100th birthday, an event which received wide media attention in Germany.

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