About Gerhart Niemeyer

Professor Gerhart Niemeyer (1907-1997) was a renowned political philosopher and beloved professor of government at the University of Notre Dame. He joined the faculty at Notre Dame in 1955 and became emeritus in 1973. 


Professor Niemeyer wrote about classical and modern political theory, ideology, communism, totalitarianism, the modern world, Christianity, and the relationship between faith and philosophy. He authored 10 books and wrote many articles for periodicals like The Review of Politics, Modern Age and The National Review.

A native of Essen, Germany, Dr. Niemeyer studied at the University of Munich and Cambridge University and received bachelor's and doctoral law degrees at the University of Kiel. Upon Hitler's rise to power, Dr. Niemeyer left Germany for Spain in 1933 and immigrated to the United States in 1937. He taught at Princeton University and elsewhere before joining the State Department in 1950 as a foreign affairs specialist.

Dr. Niemeyer's first book was Law Without Force (Princeton University Press, 1941) a work about international law. His other books included: An Inquiry Into Soviet Mentality (1956), Handbook on Communism, Deceitful Peace (1971), and Between Nothingness and Paradise (1971). 


In addition to work as a professor and prolific scholar, Dr. Niemeyer served as an advisor to Barry Goldwater, as a member of the Republican National Committee's Task Force on Foreign Policy, and as chairman of the Board of Foreign Scholarships in the Reagan administration. He served as an Episcopalian deacon beginning in 1973 and as an Episcopalian priest beginning in 1980. Before his death he converted to Roman Catholicism. He had an interest in early music and played the recorder and viola da gamba.

Dr. Niemeyer's papers are housed in the University of Notre Dame Archives.

The Niemeyer Lectures in Political Philosophy honor his memory and contributions to the University of Notre Dame and the study of politics. 


(Photographs courtesy of Notre Dame Archives)