Nietzsche’s European ideal

Appointed Professor of Philology at Basle at the age of 25, Nietzsche loosened his ties with his country of origin. His published works and unpublished notebooks contain disparaging remarks on Germany and the Germans. He especially abhorred the banter of the victors at Sedan and remained firm in his belief that French culture was superior. He read and enjoyed French writers, both classical and contemporaneous. He persistently repeated his ambition to be a « good European », but his definition of the continent was not geographical : Nietzsche’s Europe was one of great minds. He vilified what he calls the « national neurosis ». His European ideal did not envision neither a union of States nor the pooling of economic interests. He despised the shopkeeper mindset. The present pattern of the European Union does not meet his expectations.