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Barry Gewen

August 25, 2015

IN THE late 1940s, Leo Strauss left the New School for Social Research in New York to take a position at the University of Chicago. Hans Morgenthau, who was a professor in the Political Science Department and on his way to establishing himself as the father of realism, was instrumental in securing the post for Strauss, and the two men, whose life experiences were so very similar, immediately formed a close bond. Morgenthau told an associate that he learned more from Strauss “in a few minutes’ conversation than from hours with other political scientists.” Strauss was equally admiring of Morgenthau. Yet that initial compatibility masked deeper incompatibilities—both in outlook and personality—that weren’t long in coming to the surface and scotched whatever element of sympathy existed between the two men.

Some years later, Hannah Arendt came to Chicago. She and Strauss never got along (though they had known each other since their student days in Germany when, it is said, Strauss courted her). But her relationship to Morgenthau was very different, and also very different from Strauss’s relationship to Morgenthau. In contrast to the Strauss-Morgenthau connection, there always remained a quality of sympathy between Arendt and Morgenthau—colored, it should be said, by an element of the erotic...

Hans Morgenthau and Hannah Arendt: An Intellectual Passion | The National Interest

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