(This obituary was sent to Mises.org by Sergio Noto, Dipartimento di economie, societÃ istituzioni, Verona, Italy)
Professor Gottfried Dietze, one of the most important scholars of liberal political thoughtm died at the age of 85 in Washington two weeks ago.
Dietze was Prussian through and through and had been both a student and friend of Carl Schmitt, he had studied with Max Weber’s brother in Heidelberg and earned his Ph. D. from Princeton. He was author of the acclaimed The Federalist and In Defence of Property. He was a personal friend of Hayek and was one of the first members of Hayek’s liberal Mount Pelerin Society.
Dietze was a Wehrmacht soldier and friend of Otto Skorzeny and it was probably these reasons that allowed him to emigrate to the USA. After the end of the Second World War, Dietze taught at John Hopkins University in Baltimore where he was Director of the Political Science Department during the years of the students’ rights movement; at this point his popularity was at an all-time low and he could have returned to Berlin.
He was a friend of the powerful but completely indifferent to power. A friend of the current Pope, (who at that time was a professor), Dietze was President Nixon’s advisor. Gottfried Dietze was a pure intellectual whose academic life followed the principles of his beloved Immanuel Kant, “â€¦ the starry heavens above me and moral law within meâ€¦”. Perhaps this is the reason why he faced so much hostility at his university and why he died alone only to be found days later. There was no funeral for Professor Dietze, no commemoration yet we wish to pay our respects to this great man and trust him into the hands of the God of Scholars.