Great thinkers are often misunderstood, says Julian Baggini, and this is normal as misreading is usually the case. The author of the essay mentions how Nietzche’s aphorisms have ‘never recovered from the fascist makeover’. You see what you want to believe and you read to corroborate what you already think you know.
His aphoristic style made this kind of misrepresentation easy. When you write memorable and striking lines like “A declaration of war on the masses by higher men is needed!” and “To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more”, you’re almost inviting people to take them out of context.
Nietzsche even had an aphorism for those who would abuse his aphorisms in that way. “The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.”
You may want to check out Nietzche’s misunderstood aphorisms in How to Misread and gauge for yourself if this may have been the case.