Schmitt, Carl (1888–1985) By Siemers, Ryan
A conservative German jurist, political theorist, and Roman Catholic, Schmitt became the most significant legal mind of Weimar and then Nazi Germany. His first major work, Dictatorship (1921), distinguished between commissarial dictatorship, which is limited and directed toward restoring normalcy, and sovereign dictatorship, which is unlimited and establishes a new order. His most influential work, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (1922), argues that ‘all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts’ for both historical and structural reasons. The modern state inherits earlier divine and monarchical ideas of sovereignty.