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Kagan’s Princeton Thesis Cited German Marxist Turned Nazi


While at the university, Elena Kagan, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, wrote a thesis on the history of socialist politics in New York City, citing prominently the views of an important German Marxist, Werner Sombart, who embraced Nazism after Hitler came to power.

According to Human Events, “during World War I, Sombart endorsed Germany’s ‘heroic’ war against the ‘capitalist spirit’ represented by England,” and, in the early 1930s, he “advocated the ‘total ordering of life’ as an expression of the German Volksgeist, or ‘national spirit.’”

In her thesis, Kagan revamps Sombart’s question: Warum gibt es in den Vereinigten Staaten keinen Sozialismus? – “Why is there no socialism in the United States?” She inquires: “‘Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation’s established parties?’”

Kagan clearly gave weight to Sombart’s ideas, but it remains to be seen, in light of a full review of her thesis, to what extent, if any, she sympathized with, in her words, his “‘idealized notion of a class-conscious party.’”


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