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The National Socialists came to power following many socialist attempts to create paradise on earth. People expected the state to plan, finance and provide jobs. Lassie Fair institutions were abandoned in favor of the state. It was in this vacuum, that Hitler walked into and siezed the country with his demented agenda. This has always been the argument by Friedrich Hayek and other members of the Austrian school of Economics.

left-wing/right-wing?

I prefer:

totalitarian (fascism, Nationalsozialismus; authoritarianism; stalinism, maoism etc.)

vs.

anti-totalitarianism (liberalism [in its english/german [Hayek] as well as in its american definition [New Politics]]; [neo-]conservatism).

Or:

mass-mobilizing ideology vs. non-mobilizing ideology with only authoritarianism shifting to the other side. Precisely that is why I prefer the first opposition to the second.

But remember: There is no uncontested, eternal model, no platonic idea of, say, pure conservatism, there is no "godfather of neoconservatism" after which individually or regionally or temporally differing political convictions were shaped with that kind of precision with which you produce a mass of completely equal products. So, such terms just serve as a very first und superficial orientation if you want to analyze a "body" of thought/ideology. If you want to describe, for example, NY you may start with: Situated in the north-east of the US ... but with just that you do not know much about NY (Hitler`s, Stalin`s, Adenauer`s concrete system or government as they were).

But one thing is sure: What we hate most in Hitler, we hate it also in Stalin: -Since persons, citizens (jews or bourgeois; even "ordinary" germans/russians) were -both times- reduced to serve as some im-personal material, which a small party or SS vanguard had arbitrarily at hand in order to shape a new man, to build a new world by means of expropriation (of jews or the reluctant or the bourgeoisie), exploitation (prisoners, persecuted dissenters; ideologically despicable persons; economically necessary slaves), murder, suppression, industrialized assassination, mind control, destruction of privacy, family, humanistic education (Napola, HJ, SS/ communist party and its schools, reeducation camps, family and erudition condemned as being bourgeois or jewish and weak) and total war.

So: Who really cares about right/left? They may be orientation devices but not very good ones for they carry no specific meaning; they are not concepts (true notions), they say nothing.

This is a very important point being made - that National Socialism had its roots in the Left - in Socialism

There is a conventional view that Hitler and his cohorts were Right-wing - hence Bush is like Hitler rather than Kerry

And the socialists of today deny this heritage

Its important to understand the context of Hitler and Stalin and the like as the end-result of socialism run amok - not as any kind of right wing dictatorship of an earlier kind

Thanks once again to mediakritik

The point is fair, the economy is Nazi-Germany was very much state run, although private enterprise did exist. Still, I'm not sure it's necessarily fair to associate this with the left at large.

The difference between a communist and facist state is how consumption is controlled. In the former the populace simply cannot buy, or comsume what the state wants it to, whereas in the latter the state influences indirectly by influencing the populace, you can buy things the state doesn't want, but the propaganda and every apartus of the state is shouting at you not to.

This is why facism is associated with the right. (Which is unfairin the same way as associating Hitler with the modern left)

Anyway, it's not clear to me exactly the means through which Hitler controled the economy. It's looks to me to be more treading the line. On one hand, propaganda was useful and obviously used to influence consumption, on the other, though, the state was obviously runnin thangs
(Volkwagen, Vacations were communal and state paid, etc.)

Anyone out there know more about this than me?

Funny, to Americans, anything that smells of Socialism is tabu. Why? Because America was built by individual risk taking and not by unions or state funded enterprise. When will Europeans and their American counterparts get this through their thick sculls?

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Hitler increased the " Körperschaftssteuer", corporate tax from 20 % in 1932 to 40 % in 1935, he was cutting income taxes for most Germans, especially workers, but he dramatically raised the taxes for the richest 5 % of the population. Hitler was a big fan of " Taxing the Rich".
He introduced all kinds of social programs, most of them like " Kindergeld " are still part of the German social system.
Hitler also made May 1st a national holiday in Germany, the same day that is celebrated by Socialists all over the world and later became the day for great parades in the communist GDR.
Nationalsocialism is not equal to communism, but it is definatly a socialist ideology, of course this is something the lefties will never accept.

And in Germany , a country where most people still love socialism and every little town has Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Streets an unbiased debate about this topic is impossible.

Frank - you wrote - "The point is fair, the economy is Nazi-Germany was very much state run, although private enterprise did exist. Still, I'm not sure it's necessarily fair to associate this with the left at large."

This is true - just like the Army was separate from the SS

But in both cases the longer term plan was to expand the influence of the State

In time a victorious Hitler would have absorbed more and more of the economy - just as he planned to politicize the Army completely

He just didn't get the chance to complete his work

While I agree with much of what has been said here, I think it is quite wrong to claim that German National Socialism was a "left-wing" phenomenon...at least anymore than it to decry it as a "right-wing" one.

The very title of National Socialism is ambiguous and confusing in that it combines both rightist and leftist tropes...which is exactly what Hitler wanted. Fascism was conceived, both by Hitler and Mussolini, as a mediation or "third way" between capitalism and communism, and thus was packaged and sold to the German and Italian public as neither right-wing or left-wing, but rather something new entirely.

I think in reality, the ideas of 20th century Fascism weren't new at all, but simply combined to worst elements of both the right (namely nationalist and racialist jingoism) and the left (the subsumption of personal identity, motivation, and thought under the benevolent mantel of the state) at the time, and then added a heavy superstructure of authoritarianism...something that Germans and Italians were already quite accustomed to —i.e. Prussian militarism and Papal dogmatism respectively— and thus quite ready to accept should the right leader appear.

National Socialism was Socialism - nothing in it was uncommon in in the left of that days, allthough it was developed to the most extreme form.

I recommend

http://marxwords.blogspot.com/

read for Yourself what Marx and Engels thought and how near they where to the Nazis.

The point is not to accuse the left of being Nazi. Nazism is a mix of different ideological streams; socialism being one of them.
My point is that people on the left have a tendency not to take their responsibilities. To be "leftist" often means to blame everybody else for the evil in the world. There is the position of a self-proclaimed advocat of the victims that leftist love to take. To be a leftist seems to be synonomic with beeing morally superior to others. I think that is one of the main attractions of the left, especially for young people with moral feelings.
When left recognises that National Socialism is not the complete opposite of leftist thought, they might become more sceptical about their own position and their own ideas. In my view, this is the political message of Götz Aly book.

Ulrich,
You're on point here:

"There is the position of a self-proclaimed advocat of the victims that leftist love to take."

And I also agree that the left, on both sides of the atlantic, ought to own up to it's part in Facism in general, nazism in particular. Unfortunately, the idea that Nazism is on the right side of the political spectrum is deeply ingrained. I'm sure it's deeply ingrained in the left, and I'd also wager, although with less confidence, that it's well entrenched in popular consciousness. That may or may not be true, but thats the feeling I get.
I think this is one of the problems with the american left, when you assume your working for the little guy, he disagrees and you decry his ignorance, your going to lose elections.

Christian,
You said
"Nationalsocialism is not equal to communism, but it is definatly a socialist ideology, of course this is something the lefties will never accept."

I accept that and I'm a liberal. Proud to be a liberal, too. Although sometimes I wonder if liberals are welsome on this blog.

Why wouldn't a liberal be welcome on this blog - even a proud one ;)

Look - if you think that the liberal position on various issues is better please explain

If you have a good case I for one will listen

What most interests me is perceptions - like the perception that the nazis' were the opposite of what we think of as the "left" - and this is certainly not the case

Hitler hated the Bolsheviks. The only people he hated more than the Bolsheviks were the Jews. He fought a fucking war against Stalin. Do you think Hitler was left-wing? Are you high?

Frank

When I talk about lefties I mean those people who insist that national socialism is the opposite of socialism. It is different , but it is not the opposite. They have a lot of things in common. There were more former social democrats among the SA - brownshirts than conservatives.
Those are the same people who claim that Hitler was created by corporations, they ignore that most of the corporatists in Germany had not much sympathy for a working class movement, which the NSDAP was in their early days. They were afraid of them and they even held secret meetings in the Rhineland in the early 30s to prevent the Nazis taking over power. Of course they were also afraid of Boshevism which at this time was a real threat and some of them viewed the Nazis as the lesser of two evils. There were only a few real supporters of Hitler among the corporatists, most known the steal tycoon Fritz Thyssen. The reason Thyssen backed the NSDAP was his opposition to the Versailles treaty, but he never agreed with the racist and antisemitic theories of the Nazis and he left the NSDAP and resigned as a state councillor in protest against Crystal Night. When Germany invaded Poland Thyssen wrote a letter to Hitler saying that to believe in him and his movement was the biggest mistake in his life. Hitler confiscated all of Thyssen's property and he was jailed in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. That's how Hitler treated his biggest corporate supporter.

But in the theory of the left all corporatists in Germany and of course many American corporatists were staunch Nazis supporters, because they wanted war. Corporations are evil war profiteers, who can't make good profits in times of peace. For them Hitler was just a mad puppet of the corporations and everything was done to make the rich richer.
Of course the socialist, anti corporate views most nazis shared do not fit into this historical revisionist picture, so they have to ignore the facts.

The Chinese and Vietnemese Communists fought a war against each other. Which one is right-wing? The Vietnemese also overthrew the Khamer Rouge? Which one is right-wing? Much as movements that are perceived to be rightish in one country can go to war with rightish movements in other countries, so can left-wing movements. That said I would say that Nazism consisted of social policies regarding race that are characteristic of some types of right wing groups and economic policies that are characteristic of most types of left wing groups. The reason why Nazism gets the "right" label is because its social policies were more infamous.

I would suggest that Communism governments have been prone to the same kinds of social policies as Nazis, though not to the same extent. Many have employed policies of purification involving race or ideology.

"Hitler hated the Bolsheviks. The only people he hated more than the Bolsheviks were the Jews. He fought a fucking war against Stalin. Do you think Hitler was left-wing? Are you high?"

And here I thought the left-wing was know for its nuance and "complexity of analysis".

What is:

the left -> socialism -> "power to the people"
nazism -> (national) socialism -> "power to the (German) people"

"Hitler hated the Bolsheviks. The only people he hated more than the Bolsheviks were the Jews. He fought a fucking war against Stalin. Do you think Hitler was left-wing? Are you high?"

go away kid, ya botherin' me- WC Fields

Socialism today is a somewhat modified form of the Medieval manor ( in theory a beneficent welfare state). The Manor and Abbey ( State and non-productive sector) lay claim to the Peasants'(productive sector) labor depriving him of the ability to succeed outside of the social order ('social justice') established and perpetuated by his social superiors. All of this is done for the hapless sots own good becouse he is a sheep in the flock.
No doubt the infamous social engineers and butchers of the 20th century Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc... found an expedient in SOCIALISM.

gizmo, you're an idiot.

Andrew Sullivan, please stop your obsession with changing the 2000 year definition of marriage.

It's getting old.

ATM: "That said I would say that Nazism consisted of social policies regarding race that are characteristic of some types of right wing groups and economic policies that are characteristic of most types of left wing groups. The reason why Nazism gets the "right" label is because its social policies were more infamous."

That's a pretty good, and simple, explanation really. Well done! ;)

on Nationalsocialism:

If Hitler was an evil genius in one particular area, it was how he "married" Socialism to Capitalism, Patriotism and Militarism.

His Party was called "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" (National Socialist German Workers Party) to attract blue color Socialists and Communists in Germany who were the strongest elements during elections due to high unemployment. At the same time, he protected private enterprise and the middle class as well as the upper classes from extreme taxation by Socialists. His patriotic and military stand pleased konservative Germans (mostly Prussians) who did not trust Stalin's gigantic, red hordes at their immediate border.

His (fortunate) downfall began with a totally uncalled for persecution of Jews and his impatience in trying to recover German territories which had been illegally annexed by the Versailles Treaty without local plebiscites required by international law.

His party was a "Labor" or "Socialist" party with much expanded social services and anti religious overtones. However, his consideration for middle and upper classes, ensured him far broader popular support without the usual bloody Communist social upheaval and revolution.

It must also be noted that quite a few Nazi intellectuals or leaders had their political beginnings as Socialists or even Communists (like Josef Goebbels) during the 1920ies. (Many Nazis were also incorporated readily into the Communist German Democratic Republic political apparatus after the war, while Western Allies planned first for an overall de-nazification of the entire West German population.)

In other words, Hitler was clever enough to combine two traditionally opposing political ideas (Socialism and Capitalism) into one successful, authoritarian, economic system. This system offered the German public the highest living standard of the world at that time. It was this particular success in combination with his ruthless personality that made him a danger to the world at large even long before WW II started.

on Fascism vs. Nationalsocialism

It is interesting to note how Leftists avoid the correct term "National Socialism" or "Nazism" when discussing Nazi history. They tend to use the incorrect term "Fascism" instead.

While the "Nazis" where the totalitarian regime in Germany, the "Fascists" were their counterpart in Mussolini's Italy. However, the Fascist dictatorship under Mussolini was almost benign when compared to the huge barbarism of the Nazis. That is why the term "Fascist" for "Nazi" is not only incorrect but also historically very misleading.

The only reason why Socialists and Communists prefer the term "Fascist" is their desperate avoidance of the correct term "Socialist" as part of Hitler's political movement.

There seems to be a meme that the left wing fights only the right wing. Remember China vs. India, China vs. Vietnam, Soviet Union vs. China, and countless other mini- and macro-wars? Ignorance of history, whether intentional or not, is inexcusable.

As far as fighting communism is concerned, Ronald Reagan was a pussy compared to Hitler. While Reagan was only talking about going to war with the Evil Empire, Hitler actually did it. Hitler was seen by many as a bastion against communism. He and his followers killed more communists than anybody else in history, just look at the Russian casualty figures of WW II. Characterizing Hitler and the Nazis as left-wing commies is, I find, mildly amusing.


Hitler claimed Bolshevism was a Jewish invention. Claiming that the commies ( = Bolsheviks) were responsible for Hitler is indeed ironic.


"Characterizing Hitler and the Nazis as left-wing commies is, I find, mildly amusing."

I find your straw man arugment mildly annoying. What was being argued here is that the German National Socalist movement was deeply indebted to leftist thought and thus it is a mistake to consider it as a stricly "right-wing" political phenomenon.

Your reasoning, by contrast, follows the lame tautology of:

1) Hitler fought the Soviet Union which was the shibboleth of the International Left.

2) No dictator would ever fight with another dictator of their own political persuasion.

Ergo:

3) Hitler was, prima faice, a rightist.

Well, as many have pointed out, #2 is just plain false...but it really dosen't matter because the whole argument itself is just plain stupid.

Is there really no common thread between Nazis and Commies?

It is an unfortunate truth for some that Communism and National Socialism copied each other's methods in many ways, since both are forms of state controlled Socialism.

Stalin's form of Communism existed before Hitler and was copied by the Nazies during the 30ies in many forms such as, the Hitler Youth (from the Young Pioneers), the Gestapo (from the NKWD), the concentration camps (from the Gulag), and a political party control over all walks of life through "block wardens". Both started as a Socialist Labor movement. That is why the Nazi movement was called secretly during the war in Germany "Salon Bolshevism".

Although the Nazi party professed to be the eternal enemy of Communism, in reality both, Nazis as well as Communists, could not deny their common proletarian Marxist heritage in their state controlled terrors. If their interests coincided, they worked very well together (see: the attack upon Poland by both in 1939.)

Only the main focus upon their enemies was different: Boshevists hated anybody who was not a Communist, the Nazis hated Jews, Communists and international Capitalists. Not too much of a difference between the two except for the number of victims, if one looks at it as an unbiased historian.

@Jason

You're a funny guy, Jason. I'm not a commie, nor am I a leftist, but the argument that Hitler was indebted to leftist thought is "just plain stupid", as you put it.

Hitler was maybe indebted to totalitarian thought, such as the communists. But you're making a straw man argument yourself when you're insinuating that the left is responsible for Hitler, which is the essence of this argument.

The social democrats and the communists were the first ones who were thrown into the Dachau concentration camp in April 1933. To say that leftist thought brought about the Nazis is like saying the Jews are responsible for the Holocaust.

Do me a favor, before you post something here, please do a little bit of background research and get the facts first. Otherwise you're just making a fool out of yourself, which you have already done here with your posting.

@Mc Carthy
Nobody says that "the left ist responible for Hitler". The argument is that National socialism has strong socialist elements. This is a fact, not an opinion. (Read Götz Aly, Hitlers Volksstaat.)
Many leading national socialist came from the left. There where many egalitarian elements in the policy of "Third Reich".
The communists (and many Social Democrats) did indeed fight the Nazis. But that doesn't mean that they were totally different.
The enemy of both was the liberal, capitalist democracy. Nazis and Communists alike did fight against the kind of western state that emerged in 1949, the Bundesrepublik. Today we have PDS and NPD who take up this tradition.
I would put it like this: The opposite of the left is not the right, but liberalism (in a european sense, i.e. market economy and democracy). I think the notion of totalitarism is helpful here.

@ ulrich speck

I can only agree that classig middle class Liberalism was perceived by Nazis and Communists as a danger and was therefore barely tolerated by the one and totally extinct by the other.

Communists became the unwilling midwife to Nazism because their brutality in Russia, after the 1917 revolution, had scared the "bejesus" out of many German voters. Out of 34+ German political parties in the Reichstag, only one (1) addressed the danger of a Communist party takeover in Germany in no uncertain terms ... and those were the Nazis.

Many German voters made the fatal mistake not to read "Mein Kampf" (because it was boring) and since the revolutionary end of WW I, many Jews had become leftist sympathizers. Of course, Germany showed the usual European anti Semitism but Hitlers occasional outburst during his start against "Jewish Bolshevism", were understood as to be mainly directed at Jews in Russia. Even Jewish Germans could not imagine the utterly tragic extremes this would lead to in later years when he had assumed full totalitarian power by simple edict.

There are also questions as to why Germans accepted Hitlers edicts of absolute power without protest. The main reasons are twofold:

1. Germany's economic and unemployment situation had rapidly improved under the Nazis and nobody wanted to go back to years of internecine political strife, chaos and poverty of the Weimar Republic.

2. Germany had never been tradidionally a democratic nation. Fortunately (or unfortunately), it had been led for almost two thousand years by benign, patriotic and mostly absolute monarchies. It never had any reasons to distrust a strong leader like England, France or Russia in their own particular national experiences. A strong leader, like Adolf Hitler, seemed to be the correct medicine at the beginning for what ailed Gremany as a politically, totally divided country. Little did most people know that this type of "medicine" could also kill Millions. If they would have had that type of foresight, they certainly would have revolted at the idea of a total Nazi takeover.

Ask any German survivor of those times and I am sure he/she will agree that this is the simple yet tragic truth without any attempt to whitewash the stupidity and naivite of German political thought at the time. It has the advantage to teach following generations what terrible mistakes to avoid.

If the new Germany with its current leftist trends has learned a sufficient lesson remains a question.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Off topic (Togo):

What the hell is going on in Togo?

http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/meldungen/0,1185,OID4296540_REF1,00.html

@ McCarthy:

I'm glad you think I'm funny.

"Hitler was maybe indebted to totalitarian thought, such as the communists. But you're making a straw man argument yourself when you're insinuating that the left is responsible for Hitler, which is the essence of this argument."

I think what you call "totalitarian thought" is part of a separate superstructure distinct from the traditional left-right dichotomy. That is to say there can be both right-wing totalitarianism and left-wing totalitarianism, much like the modern anarchist movement in which it's often difficult to distinguish between the leftist and rightist variety. So then the totalitarian nature of German Nation Socialism has really nothing to do with Hitler's actual political ideology, but more with its execution.

Making a straw man argument is when you misconstrue the position an opponent takes and then argue against the misconstrual rather than his actual position. How I've committed this fallacy is unclear to me, but you certainly did it again. I never claimed that the left is "responsible for Hitler". If you look at my first post in this thread you will see that I started it by saying: "I think it is quite wrong to claim that German National Socialism was a "left-wing" phenomenon...at least anymore than it to decry it as a "right-wing" one".

Frank wrotr: "The difference between a communist and facist state is how consumption is controlled. In the former the populace simply cannot buy, or comsume what the state wants it to, whereas in the latter the state influences indirectly by influencing the populace, you can buy things the state doesn't want, but the propaganda and every apartus of the state is shouting at you not to."

I'm not sure that I agree. But if this were so we would have to shift around the comparisons between modern political movements and the National Socialist.

Take (for example) SUV's. This is regarded by many political movements as a very bad thing and is taxed massively in many places. But not in the US & certainly not by Republicans. If there is any sentiment for this in the US it is mostly within the Democratic Party. Also various Green and left-wing political parties in Europe. So who is employing 'shouting at you not to do it'?

Seems to me that the natural heirs of National Socialism may well be the Greens..... ;)

I know a very leftist woman from San Francisco - she has an SUV - and so does her husband

When asked why - she said they were safer for her family to ride around in...fair point

But I mentioned how they were correspondingly less safe for other drivers who can't afford such a vehicle...her answer...

"Those people don't live in our area"

....Priceless

(OT)

Many Europeans take great pleasure in mocking Americans for their "stupidity". Perhaps those in Germany who believe this can explain the following:

"One young (under 24) German in two does not know what the Holocaust was, according to the results of a survey released Friday."

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/briefs/0,1574,1561164,00.html

Perhaps this why they have this idea that Bush is Hitler. They don't know what Hitler did. On the otherhand the question we might ask is what fraction of the 50% is actually ethnically German or even continental European.

Curious thing? That Socialists beleave in NATIONAL SOCIALIZED healthcare, NATIONAL SOCIALIZED welfare, NATIONAL-this and NATIONAL-that. That the SOCIALIZED NATION should have more rather than less control over the individual...Th'#?*! are you to be consider by rational people. NATIONAL SOCIALISTS!

Congradulations Socialists for trading your jackboots in for Birkenstocks. Hitler did n't like Jews, he tolerated Capitalism to fund his ambition, he allied himself with the rather un-Aryan Mufti of Jerusalem and the SS raised units of Muslim butchers in the Balkans and Eurasia as surrogates. Oh my, how things hav n't changed.

On a lighter note,
I've been told Cowboys wear tennis shoes rather than cowboy boots so they are not mistaken for truckers.


@ Pogue Mahone

The modern day symbol of the San Francisco Bay Area is a battleship class SUV (other than a Hummer. A Hummer, my colleagues tell me, damages the environment in ways that a Lexus LX 470 or even a Lincoln Navigator do not) with the following bumper sticker "No Blood for Oil". I observe this phenomenon daily and it may be that your acquaintance is driving one of the SUVs that I've described.

Nazis and Communists are both very much left wing socialist movements. The diference is that the Communists believed in uniting the WORLD's workers, hence communist ideology was the engine to transform the world.

Nazism was also a socialist movement(THE TERM SOCIALIST is in the party NAME for all to see!!!-how can you ignore??).

However Nazi ideology believed in uniting not all the world's workers but the STATE or nation's workers (Germany) for achieving socialist revolution. It is no wonder that Nazis admired Imperial Japan.

So we have in review:

Communists = Workers of the World unite
Nazis = Workers of the Nation State unite.

Looking at it this way you can see why Hitler hated Communism with a passion.

But either way you slice it, Communism and Nazism are both firmly sprouted from the LEFT.

Fascism was more a Mussolini ideology and can best be explained as having both communist/nazi aspects. But Left wing nonetheless.


Several sites have been debating the "socialism" of "national socialism". This has been a topic of dispute at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism_and_socialism

Here's an argument linked from that page:

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitler.htm

Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named "National Socialist." But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production, and they in turn were frequently controlled by the Nazi party and state. True socialism does not advocate such economic dictatorship -- it can only be democratic. Hitler's other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle...

Several points:
1. Where does the author get this lsit of values from? Realism over idealism??? One could easily point out countless examples of racism, militarism, etc. in socialist countries. Just off the top of my head, Stalin's attacks on the Cossacks, and his planned internment of the Jews before his death. Communist countries are by and large thoroughly militarized, often choosing a large military over a well-fed citizenry.

2. The author claims that since Hitler's nationalist socialism doesn't fulfill the author's own predetermined list of criteria, it isn't "true socialism". In fact, as we read later, " socialism has never been tried at the national level anywhere in the world." So in a sense, socialism is a term that should never be used anywhere. The Nazis weren't "socialists" and nobody else was either! Even the Soviets are strangely cast out of the Socialist realm: "wasn't the Soviet Union socialist? The answer is no."

3. How slippery. Thus, an argument about the Nazis state-controlled economy, attacks on "Jewish capitalism", and the strange fact that the Nazis themselves chose the word "socialism" for what they were doing are all swept aside simply because they don't live up to an ideal that has never existed anywhere else?

4. The author mistakes his notions of "right" and "left" for a definitive criteria, ignoring the historical use of these terms. If a group of people, such as the Khmer Rouge, call what they are doing "socialism", and their socialism includes race-baiting and pogroms against ethnic Vietnamese as well as paranoid nationalism, I would call that significant.

5. Some historians, also cited in the Wikipedia article, claim that the "socialist" aspects of the Nazi program were intended to appeal to workers and compete with the communist radicals. So the Nazi's socialism was simply pandering for votes? By this logic, we can imagine someone claiming Hitler was not 'truly' anti-Semitic because he was just attacking the Jews to win popularity.

6. I would argue that National Socialism was one variant of the socialist movement, one which was rebelling against the excesses of pure Capitalism and the world order especially after WWI. Some chose the path of Social Democracy, whereby abuses and injustices would be corrected through the social welfare state and a slow pace of reform. Others sought to destroy the state and redistribute wealth. Still others sought to militarily defeat the ruling powers and to wipe out the Jews who they blamed for capitalism.

7. This brings me to another often cited fact that the Nazis and Bolsheviks hated each other. The implication being that therefore, they were opposites politically. Yet, both also loathed Social Democratic parties and moderate socialists, and in fact ruthlessly persecuted such parties. I see the various parties which sought to take power and overturn old structures as competitors. Their mutual hatred came not from their opposition, but from their similarity. They were similar enough to be in direct competition.


"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions"
-Adolf Hitler, Speech of May 1, 1927

http://veraciraptor.blogspot.com

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