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History-Metaphysics and Decay

What consequences has the Second World War had for mankind's position in modernity?

The Swedish journal Crisis and criticism number 11-12 from May 2018 has the drawing of a mammoth surrounded by willow trees on the front and carries the title «Historiemetafysik och förfall». A major topic, perhaps the greatest that can be imagined when the starting point is the position of the human species in modernity in light of the Second World War in particular and the teachings that can be drawn from it. The lead author of this comprehensive and very well-composed issue of the species and its relationship to the ruins it has left is Günther Anders (1902-1992), a highly personal, direct and contested thinker who has authored texts on the most important subject: Which what consequences has the use of weapons of mass destruction (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) and human extermination in Auschwitz had for the general condition of man? What lasting damage has been done?

For my generation, this author, along with Hannah Arendt, who was incidentally his first wife, belong to one of the very few thinkers who failed to spread illusions about the importance of the defeat of fascism and national socialism in 1945. The details of the post-war situation allowed everything but optimism. Two titles became crucial to Anders's international position as an ethical writer: first his and Claude Eatherlys Conscience forbidden from 1961 (Danish the following year). A very well-documented exchange of letters between the German philosopher and the war aviator, Major Eatherly, who regretted his participation in the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and got lasting. . .

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Carsten Juhl
Juhl resides in Copenhagen.

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