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Johann Plenge (7 June 1874 – 11 September 1963) was a German sociologist. He was professor of political economy at the University of Münster. Professor Plenge was regarded a great authority on Karl Marx, and "his work Marx und Hegel marks the beginning of the modern Hegel-renaissance among Marxist scholars."[2] Later his socialist views became very nationalistic, and he is regarded one of the most important intellectual forebears of National Socialism (Nazism).

Johann Plenge
Born(1874-06-07)7 June 1874
Died11 September 1963(1963-09-11) (aged 89)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolMarxism, nationalism
Main interests

In his book 1789 and 1914 he contrasted the 'Ideas of 1789' (liberty) and the 'Ideas of 1914' (organisation). Plenge argued: "under the necessity of war socialist ideas have been driven into German economic life, its organisation has grown together into a new spirit, and so the assertion of our nation for mankind has given birth to the idea of 1914, the idea of German organisation, the national unity of state socialism".[3] To Plenge, as for many other German nationalists and socialists, organization meant socialism and a planned economy (central direction). He regarded the war between Germany and England as a war between opposite principles, and believed that the "struggle for victory were new forces born out of the advanced economic life of the nineteenth century: socialism and organization".[4]

Research Institute for Organisational Studies and SociologyEdit

Plenge set up the Research Institute for Organisational Studies and Sociology. Ludwig Roselius, a coffee manufacturer, financed this institute in the year 1921 with 250,000 Reichsmark capital stock, 30,000 Marks for basic purchases and another 100,000 Reichsmark for the first five years of operation.[5] Plenge developed a cult of personality around himself, placing a bronze bust of himself in the institute.[6] The philosopher Josef Pieper, became his student and then his assistant, although he was threatened with dismissal when he did not show the required degree of hero worship for Plenge.[6]

Plenge was Ph. D. advisor of Kurt Schumacher and an ancestor of today's right wing tendency in SPD, the Seeheimer Kreis. Plenge had a strong influence the Marxist theorist and SPD politician Paul Lensch, along nationalistic lines.


  • Westerwälder Hausierer und Hausgänger, Duncker & Humblot (= Schriften des Vereins für Socialpolitik 78), Leipzig 1898
  • Gründung und Geschichte des Crédit Mobilier. Zwei Kapitel aus Anlagebanken, eine Einleitung in die Theorie des Anlagebankgeschäftes, Laupp, Tübingen 1903
  • Marx und Hegel, Laupp, Tübingen 1911
  • Von der Diskontpolitik zur Herrschaft über den Geldmarkt, Springer, Berlin 1913
  • Der Krieg und die Volkswirtschaft, Borgmeyer, Münster 1915
  • 1789 und 1914: Die symbolischen Jahre in der Geschichte des politischen Geistes, Springer, Berlin 1916
  • Die Revolutionierung der Revolutionäre, Der Neue Geist, Leipzig 1918
  • Durch Umsturz zum Aufbau, Munster i, Westf, 1918
  • Zur Vertiefung des Sozialismus, Der Neue Geist, Leipzig 1919
  • Die Altersreife des Abendlandes, Robert Kämmerer, Düsseldorf 1948
  • Cogito ergo sumus. Ed. Hanns Linhardt, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964


  1. ^, p. 186 of 266
  2. ^ Hayek, Friedrich. The Road to Serfdom. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1979, p. 127.
  3. ^ Hew Strachan, The First World War: Volume I: To Arms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 1131-1132.
  4. ^ Hayek, p. 127.
  5. ^ Thymian Bussemer: Propaganda: Konzepte und Theorien. Wiesbaden 2008, S. 117. online
  6. ^ a b Schumacher, Bernard N. (2009). A Cosmopolitan Hermit: Modernity and Tradition in the Philosophy of Josef Pieper. CUA Press. ISBN 9780813217086. Retrieved 9 June 2018.