The early works of Nietzsche had a strong influence on the members of the Circle, providing a framework for relating and developing a number of ideas within the membership. Nietzsche's work such as The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music and Untimely Observations, On the Uses and Disadvantages of History provided explanations for what the Circle perceived to be the decay of Austrian culture. Nietzsche also provided a vision of a vibrant alternative to this malaise.
Key ideas found in The Birth of Tragedy include:
In Schopenhauer as Educator, Nietzsche highlights Schopenhauer as an example of the kind of heroic figure needed to inspire a new culture in which all members sought to overcome their egoic existence and attain unity with nature and humanity and to transform culture with social action.
It was in 1877 in response to Schopenhauer as Educator that the young poet and Circle member Siegfried Lipiner sent a copy of his work Unbound Prometheus to Nietzsche, who responded with admiring declarations of Lipiner's genius. In turn, the Circle sent to Nietzsche their declaration to strive to live up to the ideals expressed in his writings.