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Hitler and socialism

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Automatons led by a lunatic
Charlie Chaplin imitator


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An entirely US-centric argument, spurred on by certain batty ideologues and infamous websites, claims that Adolf Hitler was not the far-right, anti-communist nationalist that everyone else remembers him to be, but rather an egalitarian socialist. Much like the Discovery Institute and their assault on the theory of evolution, this attempts to evoke the association fallacy on anyone who practices left-wing politics, and by that standard, anyone who slightly leans to the left is an adherent of fascism.

The fact that we even need to write this should tell you something about these people, but why not take a hack at it? While the Nazis did oppose capitalism as an "international" ideology out to destroy the German nation, Hitler was not opposed to private enterprise within a national "sandbox." Furthermore, in order to get to power, he allied with people whose economic views were much more pro-business, distancing himself from alte kaempfer like Gottfried Feder and bringing people such as Hjalmar Schacht into his circle.


[edit] The Nazis are everywhere, Glenn!

It this historic hour, we German Social Democrats pledge ourselves to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No Enabling Act can give you the power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible ... You can take our lives and our freedom, but you cannot take our honour. We are defenseless but not honourless.
—Otto Wels, the final head of the pre-war German social democrats[1]

For this argument to be even close to being solvent (fans of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, we're looking at you), good chunks of history need to be thrown out the window:

  1. That the 96-member Social Democratic Party of Germany was Hitler's main opposition in the Reichstag, and the only political party that attempted to halt the laws that established him as dictator and brought down the Weimar Republic. In fact, all of the ideological predecessors of today's conservative and classically liberal parties voted unanimously for the law, while the SPD voted unanimously against despite the presence of SA 'guards' in the building.[2][3]
  2. That the first political groups targeted during the Nazi ascendancy were pacifists, trade unionists, and communists;[4][5]
  3. That the Strasserites[wp], the only strand of Nazism that could be referred to as left-wing (ie. pro-working class in nature), were all killed off (with a handful of conservative dissidents) in what we all know as the Night of the Long Knives.

We're waiting.

[edit] Hitler on the topic of left-wing politics

Socialist politician Bernhard Kuhnt clearly being cordial with the Nazis in 1933.

Adolf Hitler was not, by any means, a political theorist akin to Lenin, Trotsky, Che, Mao, or any other of the members of the Marxist pantheon. In fact, the most obvious point he makes in Mein Kampf is that he found the topics of political economy and class boring and mundane, lacking any merit for deep thought (mostly due to the fact he was absolutely clueless about the topic).

Rather, Hitler's basic belief was this:
Germany = good
Jews = Bolsheviks = bad[6]
He believed that Germany could have won World War I if the Socialist Second International (all of whom had pretty Jewish last names -- of course, almost any German surname can be Jewish) had not conspired with the Bolsheviks,[7] "hijacked" the government, and "forced" the German surrender. This piece of Nazi pseudohistory is known as the stab-in-the-back legend.[8]

Hitler said that everything ever touched by Jews, especially their evil new "religion" of Bolshevism, was a huge cabal... with international capitalism. However, he also said that the notably Christian "Bismarckian Socialism" was not just un-Jewish, it was wholly German and had been a highlight of their cultural and imperial epoch. Ergo, he decided to create a new reactionary populist political trend from a century before. The fact he chose to add the word "socialist" to the party name (National Socialist German Workers' Party) was as relevant to his true thinking as would be tying the word 'rational' to Joseph Stalin or 'Democratic People's Republic' to China or North Korea — a fig-leaf to sucker the hoi polloi vote.

[edit] Socialists on Hitler

Not only did Hitler make clear he wanted to eradicate the Bolsheviks and any elements of Communism on the planet, every type of leftie on earth, from the Soviets to the British Labour Party to George Orwell, saw the Nazis as bad news. Nonetheless, because Stalin wanted to consolidate power in the government, he adopted the all-or-nothing "social fascist" policy; as a result, across Europe and Asia, the German Communist Party spent more time demonizing moderate dissidents as fascists (sound familiar?[9]), rather than the actual Nazis who were keen to murder them all as soon as humanly possible. Trotsky, of course, called this point,[10] but like almost everybody else in the 1920s thought of Hitler more as a cranky tool of German business interests than a genuinely sociopathic authoritarian that could manage to get enough political support. It was only into the tumultuous '30s, and later, the liberation of the extermination camps in Eastern Europe that the Allies realized who they had really been up against.

After Hitler banned the SPD they worked against him in exile (as "Sopade") and wrote the "Prague Manifesto," which called for the overthrow of Adolf Hitler.[11] Yep, sounds like they got along just fine.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. The full speech
  2. Nazi Rule, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  3. The final vote: 444 to 94.
  4. How Hitler consolidated power, BBC
  5. A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust Victims, University of South Florida
  6. This equation is also the fundamental idea behind the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory.
  7. Hitler's conception of "Bolshevik" included pretty much anything even slightly leftist (sounds familiar?), lumping in social democracy with communism (sounds familiar?)
  8. Chapter 1. Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
  9. Gregory Zinoviev. The Last Illusion Gone, 1923. (A moment of pure idiocy on behalf of Zinoviev, whom Hitler especially hated for being Jewish, whereas Stalin was closer to the Little Dictator's brand of tough love.)
  10. "What Is National Socialism?" [1]
  11. German Resistance Memorial Center
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