Carl Schmitt (), one of the great legal and political thinkers of the 20th century, thought long and hard about the role and significance of war. He saw. : Theorie des Partisanen. Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen. () by Carl Schmitt and a great selection of similar. Carl Schmitt was a conservative German jurist and political theorist. Schmitt wrote extensively .. Schmitt was termed the “Crown Jurist of the Third Reich” (” Kronjurist des Dritten Reiches”) by Waldemar Gurian. . Theorie des Partisanen.

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Preview — Theory of the Partisan by Carl Schmitt. Theory of the Partisan by Carl Schmitt. Carl Schmittone of the great legal and political thinkers of the 20th century, thought long and hard about the role and significance of war. He saw how the international law ves the Eurocentric era of world history began to falter schmktt the end of World War I and foundered at the end of World War II.

Following World War II, belligerent acts around the world began Pargisanen Schmittone of the great legal and political thinkers of the 20th century, thought long and hard about the role and significance of war.

Theory of the Partisan

Following World War II, belligerent acts around the world began to assume theofie distinctly partisan character, and the belligerents were increasingly non-state actors.

His Theory of the Partisan originated in two lectures that Schmitt delivered inwhich addressed the transformation of war in the post-European age.

Schmitt concludes Theory of the Partisan with the statement: It contains an implicit theory of the terrorist, which in the 21st century has ushered in yet another new theory of war and enmity. Consequently, this work is not only of historical interest, but ded relevant to contemporary political and military developments and concerns. Paperback95 pages. Published October 25th by Ingram first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Theory of the Partisanplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Theory of the Partisan. Lists with This Book.

Jan 03, Joe rated it it was amazing Shelves: April Who is, was, and will be, the Partisan? This book, the ‘Theory of the Partisan’, grew out of two lectures delivered March offittingly, in Spain. I say ‘fittingly’ because it was in Spain, during the resistance to Napoleon, that we first encounter the full figure of the partisan fighter. Schmitt observes that ‘regular’ warfare which is contrasted with the irregular warfare of the partisan throughout this text only emerged with that is, in opposition to Napoleon and the Review: Schmitt observes that ‘regular’ warfare which is contrasted with the irregular warfare of the partisan throughout this text only emerged with that is, in opposition to Napoleon and the armies of the French Revolution.

It is as if, from the very beginning, modern ‘enlightened’ politico-military order called forth its demonic other. We are reminded that Napoleon hadtroops who were held in check by 50, partisans. Well, yes, but in order to be a great General one needs at least two things: Even though the French Revolutionary troops provided the former, the Spanish partisans refused to provide Napoleon the latter From these beginnings Schmitt traces the History and Theory of the Partisan in a very terse manner.


Schmitt’s book, really only an essay, is only 95 pages long.

After the defeat of Napoleon the victors, at the Congress of Vienna, “reestablished the concepts of European laws of war. Since every war is now, at least potentially, a fight for national survival, there can be in fact no more limited wars Naturally, along the way, we learn something of civil wars and colonial wars, both of which always had a partisan presence.

Our author also reminds us that the Russian Empire, throughout the 19th century, fought various irregular wars against numerous mountain people it sought to subdue. Russia is important to Schmitt’s thesis because it is from Russia i. Schmitt reminds us that Napoleon also fought partisans in Russia, and that Napoleon also lost there. In frustration, Napoleon reportedly said, that “in fighting the partisan anywhere, one must fight like a partisan”.

But who is the Partisan? Early on in this essay Schmitt concedes that one can say that ‘to be a man is to be a fighter’, and adds that “the consistent individualist does indeed fight on his own terms and, if he is courageous, at his own risk. He then becomes his own party-follower. So then, who are the Partisans that we are to be interested in?

Schmitt defines them thusly, they are: Irregular Troops no uniforms, weapons hidden, e. Mobil flexibility, speed, the ability to quickly attack and retreat 3. Intensely Political unlike, say, pirates, – who are really only unpolitical ‘businessmen’! Telluric a local movement, rooted to a given ‘land’ Or, at any rate, that is who Schmitt wishes they were. You see, the partisan “changes his essence once he identifies with the absolute aggressivity of a world-revolutionary or a technicistic [sic] ideology.

Modern weapons and communications allow telluric partisans to be easily used as pawns in the various chess matches of the Great Powers.

Carl Schmitt

But who really is using whom? Don’t the Great Powers, especially the nuclear powers, seemingly by definition, always have the “upper hand”?

So it would seem. But the following remark of Schmitt does make one wonder: What no great power dared to do on its own could now be done by surrogates fighting for them. If this book were written only yesterday, instead of originating in talks delivered in the early sixties and first published then too, Schmitt would undoubtedly here say something smart about the Soviet Union destroying itself in Afghanistan fighting ‘partisans’ armed by America, only so the latter could then be slowly consumed in a war with its own creatures.

At the height of the cold war Schmitt foresaw, however darkly, the utter futility of being a ‘superpower’. And he sees this at a time when the ‘best and the brightest’ in both camps i. The second chapter presents a brief history of the development of the theory of the partisan. We are told that the Germans historically were allergic to Partisan warfare.

Carl Schmitt – Wikipedia

But we also learn of dea importance of the Prussian Landsturm Edict of April “this document is a Magna Carta of Partisan Warfare” which was changed three months later “cleansed of all partisan dangers” even though Napoleon had not been defeated p. But that is not the end of it.

Schmitt points out that while the partisan efforts of the Spanish and the Russians were, let us say, ‘pre-enlightened’ if not anti-Enlightenment! Thheorie the Darl became, “philosophically accredited and socially presentable. In such an atmosphere, which united an aroused national feeling with philosophical education, the partisan was discovered philosophically, and his theory became historically possible.


Churchill somewhere remarked that the Germans, “transported Lenin in a sealed train like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia.

But today we know even more than that; we know that, as plagues are wont to do, it survived the death of its host i. But we have gotten ahead of ourselves. Clausewitz, a product of this Berlin Enlightenment, in “, had given lectures on guerilla warfare at the General War College in Berlin [ In the end, Clausewitz “remained a reform-minded professional officer of cwrl regular army of his time, who could not let the seeds that we see here be developed to their ultimate consequences.

He was “the first to fully conceive of the partisan as significant figure of national and international civil war, and he sought to transform the partisan into an effective instrument Lenin, of course, realizes that all partisans are not equal.

As Schmitt observes, for Lenin if “partisans are controlled by the Communist Central Committee, they are freedom fighters and glorious heroes; if they shun this control, they are anarchistic riffraff and enemies of humanity. One could perhaps say that Schmitt’s essay is a meditation on how ‘the bastards’ emerged as a power in their own right Lenin read Clausewitz parttisanen seriously and annotated him in his notebooks.

According to Schmitt, Lenin uncovers the primacy of the ‘Friend-Enemy’ distinction in this reading. Of this Schmitt says, that for “Lenin, only revolutionary war is genuine war, because it arises from absolute enmity. Everything else is conventional play p. This is why, for Lenin, any partisan resistance outside of the control of the communist party is such a contemptible thing.

It is only a game! This “bracketed war and prescribed enmity [of Dez Law] were no longer any match for absolute enmity.

The theory of the Partisan has pre-modern, modern and postmodern moments. In its pre-modern form it is not a theoretical problem; in fact, it just says ‘No! In its modern form it is a problem; it has been thoroughly theorized and ‘universalized’.

This means that it overturns the structures of International Law, the old ‘European System’, in favor of another Order, a communist Utopia always yet to come. We have moved from ‘prescribed enmity’ to ‘absolute enmity’. But, I would argue, this is not the worst of it.

Partisanship, after the collapse of the USSR, retains a negative ‘universalism’ in that one can now foment partisan war against anyone!

Absolute Enmity can now be aimed at anything Now, perhaps, I may be permitted at this point to end with a digression. Several people have asked pratisanen why I bother to read Cal, who is, after all and as I hope we all know, a former Nazi.

The Rabbi Jacob Taubes was asked that question too. First, he mentions that the hard and fast lines between Left and Right that we see today were not so clear before the Nazi’s came to power.

Indeed, both extremes shared an almost equal contempt for bourgeois democracy. The great Marxist Critical Theorist Walter Benjamin, for instance, paritsanen quite enamored of Schmitt and, in December ofsent an admiring letter, with paryisanen copy of his ‘Trauerspielbuch’ to Schmitt explaining that he made free use of several of partisaen works. When Taubes much later asked Adorno about the letter he was told no such letter exists.