Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism

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Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933–1944 is a book by the German lawyer and political scientist Franz Leopold Neumann. It was written from 1941 to 1944 during his exile in the United States and appeared for the first time in 1942, then in an expanded edition in 1944.

Behemoth, the Structure and Practice of National Socialism.jpg


The title is a reference to Thomas Hobbes' book Behemoth from 1668, and the monster from Jewish mythology of the same name.

Although Nazi Germany appeared as an authoritarian and strong state, Neumann did not compare it with the monster Leviathan, also used by Hobbes. Instead, he equated it with Behemoth, which to Hobbes had represented a state of lawlessness in society, the state of nature. In a complex analysis, Neumann tried to show that behind the authoritarian and autocratic façade of the Nazi regime, there was ultimately nothing but unbridled terror, egotism and arbitrariness on the part of certain social groups.

An example of this was the aryanization (confiscation) of Jewish property, which had mostly served the interests of large capitalist companies such as Mannesmann or Thyssen.


  • Behemoth. The structure and practice of National Socialism 1933–1944, 1944; Reprint, Octagon 1983, ISBN 0-88254-844-1.
  • Charles Wright Mills: "Book Review of Neumann's Behemoth" (1942). In: Power, Politics and People: The Collected Essays of C.Wright Mills, ed. Irving Louis Horowitz, New York 1967

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