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Rethinking Franz Neumann's route to Behemoth

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Because of its characterization of National Socialism as a form of 'totalitarian monopoly capitalism', many critics of Franz Neumann's pioneering book of 1942, Behemoth, have rejected what they see as a crude Marxist analysis of the subject. This not only does little justice to the richness of Neumann's book, it also distorts its central focus. By contrast, this paper suggests that a proper appreciation of the impact of Max Weber in general, and Carl Schmitt in particular, on the development of Neumann's thought permits a more detailed assessment of both the merits and the shortcomings of his most famous analysis.

Keywords: Behemoth; Carl Schmitt; Franz Neumann; Max Weber; National Socialism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, Northumberland Road, Sheffield, S10 2TU. Email: d.j.kelly@sheffield.ac.uk

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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