Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most revolutionary and influential philosophers of post-Romantic Germany. He called into question ancient habits of mind and ingrained moral prejudices prevalent in European culture since the rise of Christendom. The intellectual and popular communities, in Germany and Europe at large, primarily disregarded Nietzsche's work until after his death. However, contemporary continental thinkers have been greatly influenced by Nietzsche and his provocative rhetoric. Nietzsche's work is particularly remarkable in light of his upbringing and childhood experiences. The scion of a long line of Lutheran ministers, Nietzsche mounted a critique of traditional piety and religious institutions that was unprecedented in its force and insight. Nietzsche came from an intellectual family and was inspired by the considerable efforts of earlier German thinkers. In general, the development and articulation of any philosopher's ideas are dependent on the environment in which he or she exists. For this reason, and to gain a better understanding of Nietzsche's personality, this study will place great emphasis on the biographical information pertaining to both Nietzsche and other German thinkers who influenced him. It is impossible to fully understand the position and concerns of philosophers like Nietzsche and Kant without first delving into their childhood and education. In the case of Nietzsche, a whole tradition of German intellectualism affected his view of the world and the ideas that he adopted and later reshaped into a penetrating examination of the foundations of Western European culture.