Ernst Jünger

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Ernst Jünger.

Ernst Jünger (29 March 1895 – 17 February 1998) was a highly decorated German soldier, influential author, and part of the Conservative Revolutionary movement.

After the start of World War I, Jünger voluntarily joined the German army. He served on the Western Front throughout the war. Jünger was conspicuous for his bravery. He was wounded and awarded numerous times, including being awarded the Iron Cross First Class. He was also awarded the Pour le Mérite, the highest military decoration of the German Empire, almost exclusively given to high-ranking officers, with Jünger being one of only eleven infantry company leaders being so awarded.

After the war, he became widely known for his World War I memoir In Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel), which was a success with critics and the public, in Germany and other countries. He later published several related books.

Despite his nationalism and support for authoritarian government, he was critical of National Socialism. In 1939, he wrote an allegory in the novel Auf den Marmorklippen (On the Marble Cliffs). In 1943, he wrote Der Friede (“The Peace”), published in 1948. He served as an army staff officer in Paris during WWII. He was dismissed in 1944, after being indirectly implicated in the 20 July plot. His son died the same year, after having been sentenced to a penal unit for political dissent.

His postwar novels include Heliopolis (1949), Gläserne Bienen (1957; The Glass Bees), and Eumeswil (1977).

In 1984, he spoke at the Verdun memorial, where he called the "ideology of war" in Germany before and after World War I "a calamitous mistake".

Jünger's later writings have been described as very different from his early ones, in part due to the changing circumstances for Germany and Jünger himself, sometimes seen as in effect expressing (expedient) apolitical individualism.

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