Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

James H. Nichols

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mark Blitz

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Charles R. Kesler

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Madeleine Seo

Subject Categories

Political Science


This research is an attempt to ascertain whether, and if so how, Platonic philosophy, particularly the Republic and Laws , influenced the development of aestheticized politics in National Socialist Germany. This is contextualized within the theoretical framework of aesthetic politics, which draws on the work of Walter Benjamin to explain the specific manifestation of politics in the Third Reich as an aesthetic phenomenon. In this dissertation, I explore the aesthetics of the Third Reich and its particular characteristics, as well as the nature of art under National Socialism. Through participation in this aesthetic phenomenon, the individual’s struggle with genuine political problems is submerged into mass experience orchestrated by the regime. I examine the aesthetic topics of Plato and compare the sections of Plato!s works cited in writingsand propaganda by prominent National Socialists. Having engaged with the body of scholarship on the Platonic corpus, I discuss whether or not Platonic philosophy influenced aestheticized politics of the Third Reich, as well as the nature of such influence.