Hannah Arendt (14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. She is widely considered one of the most important political thinkers of the 20th century. She died suddenly of a heart attack in 1975, at the age of 69, leaving her last work, The Life of the Mind, unfinished.
About Hannah Arendt in brief
Hannah Arendt (14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. She is widely considered one of the most important political thinkers of the 20th century. Her works cover a broad range of topics, but she is best known for those dealing with the nature of power and evil, as well as politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. She died suddenly of a heart attack in 1975, at the age of 69, leaving her last work, The Life of the Mind, unfinished. Her family were merchants of Russian extraction from Königsberg, the East Prussian capital. She was named after her paternal grandmother, who had originally come from Russian territory in 1852, and her paternal grandfather, who was a member of the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens. She married Günther Stern in 1929, but soon began to encounter increasing anti-Jewish discrimination in 1930s Nazi Germany. When Germany invaded France in 1940 she was detained by the French as an alien, despite having been stripped of her German citizenship in 1937. She escaped and made her way to the United States in 1941 via Portugal. She settled in New York, which remained her principal residence for the rest of her life. Her books The Human Condition in 1958, and Eichmann in Jerusalem and On Revolution in 1963 are among her best-known works. She also wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, which was published by Simon & Schuster.
Her last work was The Life Of The Mind, which she wrote after her death in 1975. In the popular mind, her attempt to explain how ordinary people become actors in totalitarian systems is considered by some an apologia, and for the phrase \”the banality of evil\”. She is commemorated by institutions and journals devoted to her thinking, the Hannah arendt Prize for political thinking, and on stamps, street names and schools, amongst other things. Her grandfather was a prominent businessman, local politician, and a leader of the Königberg Jewish community. Her grandmother was a social worker who became a policewoman who became the largest tea importer in the city. Her father had contracted syphilis in his youth, and it was thought to be in remission when she was seven. Hannah’s paternal grandfather and grandmother were members of the Reform Jewish community there. She became a visitor to their home and became one of Hannah’s first visitors to the city of Hanover, where she lived with her mother and sister. She had a brief affair with Martin Heidegger, with whom she had a briefly affair. She obtained her doctorate in philosophy writing on Love and Saint Augustine at the University of Heidelberg in 1929 under the direction of the existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers. In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler came to power, she was arrested and briefly imprisoned by the Gestapo for performing illegal research into antisemitism.