From Wikipedia:

Nazism (Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism; alternatively spelled Naziism[1]) was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] It was a unique variety of fascism that involved biological racism and antisemitism.[10] Nazism presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies; in practice, Nazism was a far right form of politics.[11]

The Nazis believed in the supremacy of an Aryan master race and claimed that Germans represent the most pure Aryan nation.[12] They argued that Germany's survival as a modern great nation required it to create a New Order — an empire in Europe that would give the German nation the necessary land mass, resources, and expansion of population needed to be able to economically and militarily compete with other powers.[13]

The Nazis claimed that Jews were the greatest threat to the Aryan race and the German nation. They considered Jews a parasitic race that attached itself to various ideologies and movements to secure its self-preservation, such as: the Enlightenment, liberalism, democracy, parliamentary politics, capitalism, industrialisation, Marxism and trade unionism.[14]

To rescue Germany from the effects of the Great Depression, Nazism promoted an economic Third Position; a managed economy that was neither capitalist nor communist.[15][16] The Nazis accused communism and capitalism of being associated with Jewish influences and interests.[17] They declared support for a nationalist form of socialism that was to provide for the Aryan race and the German nation economic security, social welfare programs for workers, a just wage, honour for workers' importance to the nation, and protection from capitalist exploitation.[18]


The self-identification term, used by exponents of the ideology past and present is National Socialism and adherents describe themselves as National Socialists. For instance the best known organisation expousing this system, the German party led by Adolf Hitler was called the National Socialist German Workers' Party (German abbreviation: NSDAP). Similarly, the second volume of Mein Kampf is entitled The National Socialist Movement.[19] According to Joseph Goebbels in an official exposition of the ideology, the logic behind the synthesis of Nationalism and Socialism as represented in the name, was to "counter the Internationalism of Marxism with the nationalism of a German Socialism".[20]

The term Nazi derives from the first two syllables of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.[21] Members of the Nazi Party identified themselves as Nationalsozialisten (National Socialists), rarely as Nazis. The German term Nazi parallels the analogous political term Sozi, an abbreviation for a member of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party of Germany).[22][23] In 1933, when Adolf Hitler assumed power of the German government, usage of the term Nazi diminished in Germany, although Austrian anti-Nazis used it as an insult.[23]


A 1919 Austrian postcard depicting the "stab-in-the-back" legend, which blamed Jews for Germany's defeat in World War I.

Prior to its adoption by the Nazi Party, the term national socialism was coined by French intellectual Maurice Barrès. His rejections of pluralism, individualism and materialism were based on a combination of the anti-Semitism of the counter-revolutionary right, and the socialism, nationalism, and republicanism of the anti-liberal left, in nineteenth-century France.[24] Historian Robert Toombs sees this amalgamation exemplified in General Georges Ernest Boulanger, a general and politician popular among both royalists and the urban left.[25]

On 5 January 1919, the locksmith Anton Drexler, and five other men, founded the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP — German Workers' Party), the predecessor of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP — National Socialist German Workers’ Party).[26][27] In July 1919, the Reichswehr intelligence department despatched Corporal Adolf Hitler, as a Verbindungsmann (police spy) to infiltrate and subvert the DAP. His oratory so impressed the DAP members, they asked him join the party, and, in September 1919, the police spy Hitler became the party's propagandist.[26][28] On 24 February 1920, the DAP was renamed the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, against Hitler’s preferred “Social Revolutionary Party” name.[26] Later, in consolidating his control of the NSDAP, Hitler ousted Drexler from the party and assumed leadership on 29 July 1921.[26]

The post-war crises of Weimar Germany (1919–33) consolidated Nazism as an ideology: military defeat in the First World War (1914–18), capitulation with the Treaty of Versailles, economic depression, and the consequent societal instability. In exploiting, and excusing, the military defeat, Nazism proffered the political Dolchstosslegende (“Legend of the Dagger-stab in the Back”) [29] claiming that the Imperial German war effort was internally sabotaged, by Jews, socialists, and Bolsheviks. Proposing that, because the Reichwehr’s defeat did not occur in Germany, the sabotage included a lack of patriotism among their political antagonists, specifically the Social Democrats and the Ebert Government, whom the Nazis accused of treason.

Using the “stab in the back” legend, the Nazis accused German Jews, and other populaces it considered non-German, of possessing extra-national loyalties, thereby exacerbating German anti-semitism about the Judenfrage (the Jewish Question), the perennial far right political canard popular when the ethnic Völkisch movement and their politics of Romantic nationalism for establishing a Großdeutschland were strong.[30][31] The seminal ideas of Nazism originated in the German cultural past of the Völkisch (folk) movement and the superstitions of Ariosophy, an occultism that proposed the Germanic peoples as the purest examples of the Aryan race, whose cultures feature runic symbols and the swastika. From among the Ariosophs, only the Thule-Gesellschaft (Thule Society) in Munich, features in the origin of Nazism; they sponsored the DAP.[26]

Ascension and consolidation

Reichsparteitag (Nuremberg Rally): NSDAP-leader Adolf Hitler and SA-leader Ernst Röhm, August 1933.

The votes that the Nazis received in the 1932 elections established the Nazi Party as the largest parliamentary faction of the Weimar Republic government. Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, and his subsequent consolidation of offices and their consequent dictatorial powers established the Third Reich (Dritte Reich), denoting Nazi Germany as the historical successor to the First Reich of the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), and to the Second Reich of the German Empire (1871–1918). Under Nazism, Germany bore two official names, the Deutsches Reich (German Reich) and Großdeutsches Reich (Greater German Reich). In 1934, its first year in power, the Nazi Party announced that the Dritte Reich was to be a Tausendjähriges Reich (Thousand Year Empire), but lasted only twelve years.

The Reichstag fire on 27 February 1933, was Adolf Hitler’s raison d’état for suppressing his political opponents. The following day, 28 February, he persuaded Weimar Republic President Paul von Hindenburg to grant him, as German Chancellor, an emergency-powers decree suspending civil liberties and the governments of the German federal states. On 23 March, with an Enabling Act (four-year Presidential decree-law power circumventing the Reichstag), the Reichstag conferred dictatorial powers to Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who subsequently personally managed the political emergencies of the German State, by decree. Moreover, then possessing virtually absolute power, the Nazis established totalitarian control; they abolished labour unions and political parties; and imprisoned their political opponents, first at wilde Lager, improvised camps, then in concentration camps. Nazism had been established, yet the Reichswehr remained impartial, Nazi power over Germany remained virtual, not absolute.

Having eliminated the political enemies of his Government and his party, Hitler then purged his rivals from the Nazi Party, especially the allies of Ernst Röhm, leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA), and of Gregor Strasser, leader of the Nazi left wing. In 1934, to ensure the Nazi Government of the Reichswehr’s support, for a coup d’État, they were assassinated during the Night of the Long Knives (30 June–2 July) purges. Later, with the death of President Von Hindenburg, on 2 August 1934, as President and Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler possessed virtually absolute power; yet the Reichswehr was not yet formally obeisant.

In culturally consolidating Nazism as the German way of life, the Hitler government effected the national Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses (1 April 1933), three months upon assuming power; earlier, the Hindenburg Government had haphazardly practiced official anti-Semitism, but the Nazi Nuremberg Laws of 1935 established legal, systematic persecution of the Jews. For international public consumption, visible anti-Semitism was minimised during the 1936 Summer Olympics, but fully reinstated afterwards. In 1936, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan concorded the Anti-Comintern Pact, countering the foreign policies of the Soviet Union, which, in turn, became the basis for their Tripartite Pact with Italy, which was the foundation of the Axis powers.

Ideological roots

The ideological roots of Nazism derive from Romanticism, nineteenth-century idealism, and a eugenic interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s concepts of “breeding upwards” — towards the Übermensch (“Superman”). Such ideas, as espoused by the Ariosophical Germanenorden (German Order) and the Thule Society much influenced Adolf Hitler’s world-view.

Phillip Wayne Powell writes that "in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, a powerful surge of German patriotism was stimulated by the disdain of Italians for German cultural inferiority and barbarism, which led to a counter-attempt, by German humanists, to laud German qualities."[32] M.W. Fodor wrote in The Nation in 1936, "No race has suffered so much from an inferiority complex as has the German. National Socialism was a kind of Coué method of converting the inferiority complex, at least temporarily, into a feeling of superiority".[33]

Among the most significant ideological influence on the Nazis came from German nationalist figure Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose works Hitler read, and who was recognized by other Nazi members including Dietrich Eckart and Arnold Fanck.[34] In Speeches to the German Nation (1808), written amid Napoleonic France's occupation of Berlin, Fichte called for a German national revolution against the French occupiers, making passionate public speeches, arming his students for battle against the French, and stressed the need of the deed of action by the German nation to free itself.[35]

Fichte's nationalism was populist and opposed to traditional elites and spoke of the need of a "People's War" (Volkskrieg), putting forward concepts much like those the Nazis adopted.[35] Fichte promoted German exceptionalism and stressed the need for the German nation to be purified. This priority included purging the German language of French words, a policy that the Nazis undertook upon rising to power.[35] Fichte was anti-Semitic and accused Jews in Germany of having been, and inevitably continuing to be a "state within a state" in Germany that Fichte claimed was a threat to German national unity.[35] Fichte promoted two options to address the Jewish problem: the first was the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine to impel the Jews to leave Europe.[36] The other option was violence against Jews, saying that this goal would be "To cut off all their heads in one night, and set new ones on their shoulders, which should not contain a single Jewish idea".[37]

The Nazis claimed that their ideology was influenced by the leadership and policies of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the founder of the German Empire.[38] The Nazis declared that they were dedicated to continuing the process of creating a unified German nation state that in their view Bismarck had begun and desired to achieve.[39] The Nazis claimed that Bismarck was unable to complete German national unification owing to Jewish infiltration of the German parliament, and that their abolition of parliament ended the obstacle to unification that Bismarck faced.[38] While Hitler was supportive of Bismarck's creation of the German Empire, he was critical of Bismarck's "moderate" domestic policies.[40] On the issue of Bismarck's support of a Kleindeutschland ("Lesser Germany", excluding Austria) versus the pan-German Großdeutschland ("Greater Germany") of the Nazis, Hitler claimed that Bismarck's attainment of Kleindeutschland was the "highest achievement" that Bismarck could have achieved "within the limits possible of that time".[41] In Mein Kampf, Hitler presented himself as a "second Bismarck".[41]

The concept of the Aryan race that was utilized by the Nazis stems from racial theories asserting that Europeans are the descendants of Indo-Iranian settlers, people of ancient India and ancient Persia.[42] Proponents of this theory based their assertion on the similarity of European words and their meaning to those of Indo-Iranian languages.[42] Johann Gottfried Herder,a prominent proponent of this theory, maintained that the Germanic peoples held close racial connections with the ancient Indians and ancient Persians who he claimed were advanced peoples possessing a great capacity for wisdom, nobility, restraint, and science.[42] Contemporaries of Herder utilized the concept of the Aryan race to draw a distinction between what they deemed "high and noble" Aryan culture versus that of "parasitic" Semitic culture.[42] The notions of white supremacism and Aryan racial superiority combined in the nineteenth century, with white supremacists maintaining that whites were members of an Aryan "master race" —— that is, a race of higher civilization, superior to all other races and particularly superior to the Semitic race that they associated with "cultural sterility".[42] Arthur de Gobineau, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ancien régime in France on racial degeneracy caused by racial intermixing, destroying in his perception the purity of the Aryan race.[43] Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany,[43] emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan and Jewish cultures.[42] Aryan mysticism claimed that Christianity originated in Aryan religious tradition and that Jews had usurped the legend from Aryans.[42]

Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an English proponent of racial theory, supported notions of Germanic supremacy and anti-Semitism in Germany.[44] Chamberlain's work, Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899) praised Germanic peoples for their creativity and idealism while asserting that the Germanic spirit was threatened by a "Jewish" spirit of selfishness and materialism.[44] Chamberlain went on to use his thesis to promote monarchical conservatism while denouncing democracy, liberalism, and socialism.[43] The book became highly popular, especially in Germany.[43] Chamberlain stressed the need of a nation to maintain racial purity in order to prevent degeneration, and argued that racial intermingling with Jews should never be permitted.[43] In 1923 Chamberlain personally met Hitler whom he admired as a leader of the rebirth of the free spirit.[45]

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1912), an anti-Semitic forgery created by police of the Russian Empire, was believed to be real by anti-Semites and surged in popularity after World War I.[46] The Protocols claimed that there was an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.[47] Hitler had been introduced to The Protocols by Alfred Rosenberg, and from 1920 onward Hitler focused his attacks on claiming that Judaism and Marxism were directly connected and that Jews and Bolsheviks were one and the same and that Marxism was a Jewish ideology.[48] Hitler believed that The Protocols were authentic.[49]

Oswald Spengler, a German cultural philosopher, was a major influence on Nazism, although after 1933 Spengler became alienated from Nazism and later condemned by the Nazis for criticizing Hitler.[50] Spengler's views were also popular amongst Italian Fascists, including Benito Mussolini.[51] Spengler's book The Decline of the West (1918) written during the final months of World War I in which he addressed the claim of decadence of modern European civilization that he claimed was caused by atomizing and irreligious individualization and cosmopolitanism.[50] In Decline of the West, Spengler's major thesis was that a law of historical development of cultures existed involving a cycle of birth, maturity, aging, and death when it reaches its final form of civilization.[52] Upon reaching the point of civilization, a culture will lose its creative capacity and succumb to decadence until the emergence of "barbarians" create a new epoch.[52] Spengler considered the Western world as having succumbed to decadence of intellect, money, cosmopolitan urban life, irreligious life, atomized individualization, and the end of biological fertility as well as "spiritual" fertility.[52] He believed that the "young" German nation as an imperial power would inherit the legacy of Ancient Rome and lead a restoration of value in "blood" and instinct, while the ideals of rationalism would be revealed as absurd.[52]

In Preussentum und Sozialismus ("Prussiandom and Socialism", 1919), Spengler described socialism outside of a class conflict perspective and said "The meaning of socialism is that life is controlled not by the opposition between rich and poor, but by the rank that achievement and talent bestow. That is our freedom, freedom from the economic despotism of the individual."[53] Spengler claimed that socialistic Prussian characteristics existed across Germany that included creativity, discipline, concern for the greater good, productivity, and self-sacrifice.[54] Spengler's definition of socialism did not advocate change in property relations.[53] Spengler denounced Marxism for seeking to train the proletariat to "expropriate the expropriator", the capitalist, and then to let them live a life of leisure on this expropriation.[55] He claimed that "Marxism is the capitalism of the working class" and not true socialism.[55] True socialism according to Spengler would be in the form of corporatism, stating that "local corporate bodies organized according to the importance of each occupation to the people as a whole; higher representation in stages up to a supreme council of the state; mandates revocable at any time; no organized parties, no professional politicians, no periodic elections."[56] In Preussentum und Sozialismus Spengler prescribed war as a necessity, saying "War is the eternal form of higher human existence and states exist for war: they are the expression of the will to war."[57] Spengler's conception of socialism and a number of his political views were shared by the Nazis as well as the Conservative Revolutionary movement.[53]

Fascism was a major influence on Nazism. The seizure of power by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in the March on Rome in 1922 drew admiration by Hitler who less than a month after the March had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists.[58] After the March on Rome, Hitler presented the Nazis as a German fascism.[59][60] The Nazis attempted a "March on Berlin" modelled upon the March on Rome that resulted in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in November 1923.[61] Although Hitler strongly admired Mussolini and fascism, other Nazis — especially more radical Nazis such as Gregor Strasser, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler — rejected Italian Fascism, accusing it of being too conservative or capitalist.[62] Alfred Rosenberg condemned Italian Fascism for being racially confused and having influences from philo-Semitism.[63] Strasser criticized the policy of Führerprinzip as being created by Mussolini, and considered its presence in Nazism as a foreign import.[64] Throughout the relationship between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, a number of lower-ranking Nazis scornfully viewed fascism as a conservative movement that lacked a full revolutionary potential.[64]


Greater Germany in 1943

The Nazis advocated a strong, central government under the Führer, for defending Germany and the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans), against communism and Jewish subversion. To the end of establishing Großdeutschland (Greater Germany), the German peoples must acquire Lebensraum (living space) from Russia.[65]

Hitler, the Führer of Nazi Germany

The original National Socialists, the 1919 German Workers’ Party (DAP) said there would be no program binding upon them, thus rejecting any Weltanschauung. Nonetheless, when Adolf Hitler assumed command of its successor, the Nazi Party, political substance of Nazism concorded with his political beliefs — man and idea as political entity, the Führer.

Hitler had concluded that ethnic and linguistic diversity had weakened the Austro–Hungarian Empire, and had resulted in contemporary political dissent. He disliked democracy because it allowed political power to ethnic minorities and to liberal political parties, who “weakened and destabilized” the empire with internal division. Hitler’s cultural, historical, and political beliefs were tempered in combat during World War I; by Germany’s loss of the war, and by the Bolsheviks’ successful October Revolution of 1917 that installed Marxist communism in Russia. From 1920 to 1923, Hitler formulated his ideology, then published it in 1925–26, as Mein Kampf , a two-volume, biography and political letter-of-intent.[66]

During the 1920s and 1930s, Nazism was ideologically heterogeneous, comprising two sub-ideologies, those of Otto Strasser and of Hitler. As leftists, the Strasserites fell afoul of Hitler, who expelled Otto Strasser from the Nazi Party when he failed to establish the Black Front, an oppositional, anti-capitalist bloc, in 1930. The Strasserites who remained in the Nazi Party, mostly in the Sturmabteilung (SA), were assassinated in the Night of the Long Knives purge.

Relation with fascism

Adolf Hitler (right) beside Benito Mussolini (left), the founder of fascism and dictator of Fascist Italy. Mussolini provided financial assistance to the Nazis prior to their rise to power.

Nazism is a politically syncretic variety of fascism, which incorporates policies, tactics and philosophic tenets from left and right-wing politics. Italian fascism and German Nazism reject liberalism, democracy and Marxism.[67] Usually supported by the far right, fascism is historically anti-communist, anti-conservative and anti-parliamentary.[68] The Nazis' rise to power was assisted by the Fascist government of Italy that began to financially subsidize the Nazi party in 1928.[69]

Hitler admired Benito Mussolini and the Italian Fascists, and after Mussolini's successful March on Rome in 1922, presented the Nazis as a German version of Italian Fascism.[59][60] Hitler endorsed Italian Fascism, saying that "with the victory of fascism in Italy the Italian people has triumphed [over] Jewry" and appraised Mussolini as "the brilliant statesman".[70] Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's chief propagandist, credited Italian Fascism with starting a conflict against liberal democracy, saying:

The march on Rome was a signal, a sign of storm for liberal-democracy. It is the first attempt to destroy the world of the liberal-democratic spirit[...] which started in 1789 with the storm on the Bastille and conquered one country after another in violent revolutionary upheavals, to let... the nations go under in Marxism, democracy, anarchy and class warfare...[71]

Hitler remained impressed by Mussolini and Fascist Italy for many years in spite of resentments towards Italy by other Nazis and resentments by Italian Fascists towards Germany. During the period of positive outlook towards Fascist Italy, Hitler became an Italophile.[72] Hitler like Mussolini profoundly admired Ancient Rome, and repeatedly mentioned it in Mein Kampf as being a model for Germany.[73] In particular, Hitler admired ancient Rome's authoritarian culture, imperialism, town planning, and architecture, which were incorporated by the Nazis.[74] Hitler considered the ancient Romans to have been a master race.[74]

In an unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf, Hitler declared that he held no antagonism towards Italy for having waged war against Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, saying that Italy went to war with Germany only because of Germany's alliance with Austria Hungary, on which Italy had territorial claims.[75] Hitler declared his sympathy to the Italians for desiring to regain Italian-populated lands held by Austria-Hungary, claiming it was naturally in Italians' national interest to wage war to regain those lands.[75]

Hitler made controversial concessions to gain Fascist Italy's approval and alliance, such as abandoning territorial claims on the South Tyrol region of Italy that had a dense population of hundreds of thousands of Germans.[72] In Mein Kampf Hitler declared that it was not in Germany's interest to have war with Italy over South Tyrol.[70] Ethnic Germans from South Tyrol were resettled into Germany by force in exchange for Mussolini's pledge to restrict the rights of Jews in Italy.

Nazism differs from Italian fascism in that it does not view a nation as being created and developed by a state, but that a nation is created and developed outside a state.[76] This difference is based upon the different histories of development of the German and Italian nations that formed the basis of Nazism's and Italian Fascism's respective nationalisms; the German national identity developed outside a state while Italian national identity developed through a state.[76] The Italian fascists proposed a corporatist "organic state" that required uniting the classes of society, like a fasces.

A major source of contention between the Nazis and the Italian Fascists was the Nazis' belief that the collapse of the Roman Empire was caused by racial intermixing.[77] The Nazis conception of the origins of the Aryan race in Europe included the ancient Romans and ancient Greeks as members of the Aryan race.[78] However, contemporary Italy was deemed by the Nazis to not be racially pure, in that the Aryan Roman heritage had been diluted by multiple racial influences.[77] Hitler believed that northern Italians were members of the Aryan race.[79] However he believed that Italians as a whole had been racially tainted by intermixing, especially with the black race.[77] Nazi claims of racial impurity of Italians evoked resentment and rebuke by the Italian Fascists.[77] At the height of antagonism between the Nazis and Italian Fascists over race, Mussolini condemned Nazi racial theory as flawed, claiming that the Germans themselves were not a pure race and noted with irony that Nazi theory on German superiority was based on the theory of non-German foreigners, such as Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau.[80]

As hostility by Fascist Italy towards Nazi Germany increased in the early 1930s, Mussolini claimed that Italy's heritage to ancient Rome linked Italians to a great civilization, while claiming that the ancient Germans of that time were uncivilized tribes that were "ignorant of writing" at a time "when Rome had Caesar, Virgil, and Augustus".[78] Mussolini in an interview with German interviewer Roland Strunk in January 1936, stated that the problems in Italo-German relations were caused by "Hitler's Nordic gospel" and Italian Fascists denounced Nordicism as flawed.[78] However Mussolini did not reject racism, and said in 1936, "As you know, I am a racist."[78]

Italian Fascism did not have a strong attachment to anti-Semitism. A number of Italian Fascists were Jews such as Ettore Ovazza.[81] There were also a number of Italian Fascists who supported anti-Semitism, most notably Julius Evola, Roberto Farinacci, Paolo Orano, Giovanni Preziosi, and Gino Sottochiesa.[82] Issues concerning Jews in Italy were addressed by the Fascist regime, one in particular was alarm by the Fascist over the presence of the Zionist movement in Italy, exemplified in Italian Fascist reactions to the creation of the Zionist newspaper Israel.[81] In 1934 Farinacci addressed the issue of Zionism by denouncing Zionist Jews who did not identify as Italians, saying:

We do not exclude the possibility that there are good Jews, but it is also our right to demand clarity. Does there or does there not exist a Zionist movement in Italy? To deny it would be to lie. The existence of a newspaper in Florence [the Zionist magazine, Israel] should cut short any discussion. And so these others who claim to be anti-Zionists, what are they doing to fight the other Jews who believe that they have another Fatherland that is not Italy? So far nothing. Therefore it is necessary to decide. We have reached a point at which everyone must take a position. Because he who declares himself a Zionist has no right to hold any responsibilities or honors in our country. Roberto Farinacci, 1934.[83]

In spite of differences between the Nazis and the Italian Fascists over Italy's racial heritage, Italian Fascists and the Nazis held similar positions on race issues. Mussolini in his 1920 autobiography spoke of the importance of race to fascism, saying: "Race and soil are strong influences upon us all", and said of World War I: "There were seers who saw in the European conflict not only national advantages but the possibility of a supremacy of race".[84] In a 1921 speech in Bologna, Mussolini stated that "Fascism was born... out of a profound, perennial need of this our Aryan and Mediterranean race".[85] Mussolini also warned of racial competition between the white race and coloured races such as in 1928:

[When the] city dies, the nation — deprived of the young life — blood of new generations — is now made up of people who are old and degenerate and cannot defend itself against a younger people which launches an attack on the now unguarded frontiers[...] This will happen, and not just to cities and nations, but on an infinitely greater scale: the whole White race, the Western race can be submerged by other coloured races which are multiplying at a rate unknown in our race.[86]

Many Italian fascists held anti-Slavist views, especially against neighbouring Yugoslav nations, whom the Italian fascists saw as being in competition with Italy, which had claims on territories of Yugoslavia, particularly Dalmatia.[87] Mussolini claimed that Yugoslavs posed a threat after Italy did not receive the territory along the Adriatic coast at the end of World War I, as promised by the 1915 Treaty of London. He said: "The danger of seeing the Jugo-Slavians settle along the whole Adriatic shore had caused a bringing together in Rome of the cream of our unhappy regions. Students, professors, workmen, citizens—representative men—were entreating the ministers and the professional politicians.[88] Italian fascists accused Serbs of having "atavistic impulses", and of being part of a "social democratic, masonic Jewish internationalist plot".[89] The fascists accused Yugoslavs of conspiring together on behalf of "Grand Orient masonry and its funds".

Nazism, however, emphasized the Aryan race Herrenvolk concept until reducing the German state to mere means to an ideologic end. Furthermore, blond-blue-eyed-Aryanism was unpopular with Italians, who are not such a volk; nonetheless, the Italian Fascist government exercised a variety of nationalist racism and genocide in its concentration camps, antedating Nazi Germany.[90]

The Israeli political scientist and historian Zeev Sternhell proposes that the varieties of fascism are unique, despite the schematic resemblance between Italian fascism and German Nazism — greater than resemblances among the Eastern Bloc Communist states of the Cold War, and among European liberal democracies.[91]


Nazi militarism was based upon the belief that great nations grow from military power, and maintain order in the world. The Nazi Party exploited irredentist and revanchist sentiments, and cultural aversions to aspects of Modernism, (despite the Reich embracing modernism by their admiration for engine power), thus conflating nationalism and militarism into the ultra-nationalism necessary to establishing Großdeutschland (Greater Germany).


Historians Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest argue that in post-World War I Germany, the Nazis were one of many nationalist and fascistic political parties contending for the leadership of Germany’s anti-communist movement, and of the German state. The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility to small businessmen, and its atheism.[92] Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and economic egalitarianism, favouring instead a stratified economy with classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property, and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction.[18]

During the late 1930s and the 1940s, several other anti-communist regimes and groups supported Nazism: the Falange in Spain; the Vichy regime and the Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism (Wehrmacht Infantry Regiment 638) in France; and the Cliveden set, Lord Halifax, and associates of Neville Chamberlain in Britain.[93]


The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business, and Jewish influences within it.[92] Adolf Hitler, both in public and in private, held strong disdain for capitalism; he accused modern capitalism of holding nations ransom in the interests of a parasitic cosmopolitan rentier class.[94] He opposed free-market capitalism's profit-seeking impulses and desired an economy where community interests would be upheld.[95] He distrusted capitalism for being unreliable, due to it having an egotistic nature, and he preferred a state-directed economy.[96] On the issue of capitalist materialism, Hitler said "It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will bow down before a higher god. Many things owe their existence solely to the longing for money and wealth, but there is very little among them whose non-existence would leave humanity any the poorer."[97] Hitler told one party leader in 1934, "The economic system of our day," referring to capitalism, "is the creation of the Jews."[98] In a discussion with Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Hitler said that "Capitalism had run its course".[96] Hitler was disgusted by the bourgeoisie and in one conversation stated that business bourgeoisie "know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them."[99] Hitler admired Napoleon as a rolemodel for his anti-conservative, anti-capitalist, and anti-bourgeois attitudes.[100]

To Hitler, the economy must be subordinated to the interests of the Volk and its state.[98] In Mein Kampf, Hitler effectively supported mercantilism, in the belief that economic resources from their respective territories should be seized by force; he believed that the policy of lebensraum would provide Germany with such economically valuable territories.[101] He believed that the only means to maintain economic security was to have direct control over resources rather than being forced to rely on world trade.[102] He claimed that war to gain such resources was the only means to surpass the failing capitalist economic system.[101] He believed that private ownership was useful in that it encouraged creative competition and technical innovation, but insisted that it had to conform to national interests and be "productive" rather than "parasitical".[95]

A number of Nazis held strong revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist beliefs, most prominently Ernst Röhm, the leader of the Nazis' main paramilitary group, the Sturmabteilung (SA).[103] Röhm claimed that the Nazis' rise to power constituted a national revolution, but insisted that a socialist "second revolution" was required for Nazi ideology to be fulfilled.[104] Röhm's SA began attacks against individuals deemed to be associated with conservative reaction.[105] Hitler saw Röhm's independent actions as violating and possibly threatening his leadership, as well as jeopardizing the regime by alienating the conservative President Paul von Hindenburg and the conservative-oriented German army.[106] This resulted in Hitler purging Röhm and other radical members of the SA.[106]

Joseph Goebbels adamantly stressed the socialist character of Nazism, and claimed in his diary that if he were to pick between Bolshevism and capitalism, he said "in final analysis", "it would be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism."[107]

In 1920, the Nazi Party published the National Socialist Program, an ideology that in 25 points demanded:

that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens . . . the abolition of all incomes unearned by work . . . the ruthless confiscation of all war profits ... the nationalization of all businesses that have been formed into corporations ... profit-sharing in large enterprises ... extensive development of insurance for old-age ... land reform suitable to our national requirements.[108]

During the 1920s, Nazi Party officials variously attempted either to change or to replace the National Socialist Program. In 1924, the Nazi Party economist theoretician Gottfried Feder proposed a new, 39-point program, retaining some old and introducing some new ideas.[109] Hitler did not directly mention the program in Mein Kampf; he only mentioned "the so-called programme of the movement".[110] Also during the 1920s, however, Hitler urged disparate Nazi factions to unite in opposition to "Jewish Marxism."[111] Hitler asserted that the "three vices" of "Jewish Marxism" were democracy, pacifism, and internationalism.[112]

In 1927, Hitler said: "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 determined to destroy this system under all conditions."[113] Yet two years later, in 1929, Hitler backtracked, saying that socialism was "an unfortunate word altogether" and that "if people have something to eat, and their pleasures, then they have their socialism." Historian Henry A. Turner reports Hitler’s regret at having including the word socialism in the Nazi Party name.[114]

The Nazi Party’s early self-description as "socialist" caused conservative opponents, such as the Industrial Employers Association, to describe it as "totalitarian, terrorist, conspiratorial, and socialist".[115]

In 1930, Hitler said: "Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not."[116] In 1931, during a confidential interview with influential editor Richard Breiting of the Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, a pro-business newspaper, Hitler said:

I want everyone to keep what he has earned, subject to the principle that the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual. But the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State ... The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners.[117]

In 1932, Nazi Party spokesman Joseph Goebbels said that the Nazi Party was a "workers’ party", "on the side of labour, and against finance."[118]

In 1940, Hitler described a connection of qualities between Nazism and Bolshevism while contrasting this against bourgeois leftists, saying “It is not Germany that will turn Bolshevist, but Bolshevism that will become a sort of National Socialism…there is more that binds us to Bolshevism than separates us from it. There is, above all, genuine revolutionary feeling, which is alive everywhere in Russia except where there are Jewish Marxists. I have always made allowance for this circumstance, and given orders that former Communists be admitted to the party at once. The petit bourgeois Social-Democrat and the trade-union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will.”[119]

Nazi propaganda posters in working-class districts emphasized anti-capitalism, such as one that said: "The maintenance of a rotten industrial system has nothing to do with nationalism. I can love Germany and hate capitalism."[120]

Philosopher Stephen Hicks writes: "The issue about how socialist the Nazis were is, in part, a judgment call about long-term principles and short-term pragmatism."[121] Hicks argues that the Nazis claimed to be more devoted to socialism than the Soviet Bolsheviks: the Russians were preoccupied with economics while the Nazis thought socialism should control not only economics but breeding, religion and other intimate details of life.

Working class and middle class appeal

In 1922, to ensure German public perception of the Nazi Party as politically unique, Adolf Hitler discredited other nationalist and racialist political parties as disconnected from the mass populace, especially lower- and working-class young people:

The racialists were not capable of drawing the practical conclusions from correct theoretical judgements, especially in the Jewish Question. In this way, the German racialist movement developed a similar pattern to that of the 1880s and 1890s. As in those days, its leadership gradually fell into the hands of highly honourable, but fantastically naïve men of learning, professors, district counsellors, schoolmasters, and lawyers — in short a bourgeois, idealistic, and refined class. It lacked the warm breath of the nation’s youthful vigour.[122]

Despite many working-class supporters and members, the appeal of the Nazi Party to the working class was neither true nor effective, because its politics mostly appealed to the middle-class, as a stabilizing, pro-business political party, not a revolutionary workers’ party.[123][123] Moreover, the financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s figures much in their strong support of Nazism, thus the great percentage of declared middle-class support for the Nazis.[123] In the poor country that was the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s, the Nazi Party realised their socialist policies with food and shelter for the unemployed and the homeless — later recruited to the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung (SA — Storm Detachment).[123]

Racial ideology

The Master Race: the Meyers Blitz-Lexikon (Leipzig, 1932) depicts German war hero Karl von Müller as an exemplar Nordic type of the Herrenvolk.

The racist subject of Nazism is Das Volk, the German people living under continual cultural attack by Judeo-Bolshevism, who must unite under Nazi Party leadership, and, per the spartan nationalist tenets of Nazism: be stoic, self-disciplined and self-sacrificing until victory.[124] Adolf Hitler’s political biography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) formulates the Weltanschauung of Nazism with the ideologic trinity of: history as a struggle for world supremacy among the human races, conquered only by a master race, the Herrenvolk; the decisive, autocratic Führerprinzip (leader principle); and anti-Semitism targeting the Jews as the universal source of socio-cultural and economic discord.

The Jewish–Bolshevism conspiracy theory derives from anti-Semitism and anti-communism; Adolf Hitler first developed his worldview from living and observing Viennese life from 1907 to 1913, concluding that the Austro–Hungarian Empire comprised racial, religious, and cultural hierarchies; per his interpretations, atop were the “Aryans”, the ultimate, white master race, whilst Jews and Gypsies were at bottom.[65]

Fundamental to Nazism is the unification of every German tribe that was “unjustly” divided among different nation states The racialist philosophy of Nazism derived from the seminal white supremacist works of: the French Arthur de Gobineau (An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races); the Briton Houston Stewart Chamberlain (The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century); and of the American Madison Grant (The Passing of The Great Race: or, The Racial Basis of European History).

Their ideas were synthesized by the Reichstag Secretary, Alfred Rosenberg, in The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a pseudoscientific treatise proposing that: “[F]rom a northern centre of creation which, without postulating an actual submerged Atlantic continent, we may call Atlantis, swarms of warriors once fanned out, in obedience to the ever-renewed and incarnate Nordic longing for distance to conquer and space to shape”.[125] According to Terrence Ball and Richard Bellamy, The Myth of the Twentieth Century is the second-most important book to Nazism, after Mein Kampf.[126]

In establishing Nazi German racial superiority, Adolf Hitler defined “the Nation” as the highest creation of a race, and that that great nations were the creations of homogeneous populations of great races working together. These nations developed cultures that naturally grew from races with “natural good health, and aggressive, intelligent, courageous traits”. Whereas the weakest nations were those of “impure” or “mongrel races”, because they were disunited. Hitler claimed that lowest races were the parasitic Untermenschen (subhumans), principally the Jews, who were living lebensunwertes Leben (“life-unworthy life”) owing to racial inferiority, and their wandering, nationless invasions of greater nations, such as Germany — thus, either permitting or encouraging national plurality is an obvious mistake.

Hitler declared that racial conflict against Jews was necessary to save Germany from suffering under them and dispensed concerns about such conflict being inhumane or an injustice, saying:

We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have achieved the greatest deed in the world. We may work injustice, but if we rescue Germany then we have removed the greatest injustice in the world. We may be immoral, but if our people is rescued we have opened the way for morality.[127]

During World War II, when faced with occupying too much territory with too-few German soldiers, Nazism expanded the Master Race definition to include Dutch and Scandinavian men as superior, German-stock Herrenvolk, in order to recruit them into the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Nazi eugenics: “We Do Not Stand Alone” (1936).

Hitler argued that nations who could not defend their territories did not deserve a country. He said that “slave races”, such as the Slavic peoples, had less of a right to life than did the master races — especially concerning Lebensraum. He claimed that the Herrenvolk had the right to vanquish inferior indigenous races from their countries.[128]

Hitler argued that “races without homelands” were “parasitic races”, and that the richer the parasite race, the more virulent their parasitism. A master race could, therefore, easily strengthen themselves by killing the parasite races in the Heimat. The Herrenvolk philosophic tenet of Nazism rationalized Die Endlösung (the Final Solution), extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Czechs, Poles, the mentally retarded, the crippled, the handicapped, homosexuals and others deemed undesirable. During the Holocaust, the Waffen-SS, Wehrmacht soldiers, and right-wing paramilitary civilian militias killed some 11 million people in Nazi-occupied lands via concentration camps, prisoner-of-war camps, labor camps, and death camps, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Treblinka extermination camp.

Schutzstaffel insignia: white Sig Runes on a black background

In Germany, the master-race populace was realised by purifying the Deutsche Volk via (see: eugenics; the culmination was involuntary euthanasia of disabled people, and the compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded. The ideologic justification was Adolf Hitler’s consideration of Sparta(11th c.–195 BC) as the original Völkisch state; he praised their dispassionate destruction of congenitally deformed infants in maintaining racial purity:[129][130] "Sparta must be regarded as the first Völkisch State. The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent, and, in truth, a thousand times more humane, than the wretched insanity of our day, which preserves the most pathological subject."

Nazi cultural perception of the Jews, based upon the anti-Semitic The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, emphasized that Jews throve on fomenting division among Germans, and among nation-states. Yet Nazi anti-Semitism was also physical and racial. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels said: “The Jew is the enemy and destroyer of the purity of blood, the conscious destroyer of our race ... As socialists, we are opponents of the Jews, because we see, in the Hebrews, the incarnation of capitalism, of the misuse of the nation’s goods.”[118]

Nazi Germany was ideologically based upon the racially defined Deutsche Volk (German People), which denied the limitations of nationalism.[131] The Nazi Party and the German people were consolidated in the Volksgemeinschaft (People’s Community), a late-nineteenth-century neologism defining the citizens’ communal duty is to the Reich, rather than to civil society, the citizen-nation basis of Nazism; the socialism would be realized via common duty to the volk, by service to the Third Reich in establishing Großdeutschland, the embodying locus of the peoples’ will. Hence, Nazism encouraged ultra-nationalism, to establish a world-dominating, Aryan Volksgemeinschaft. The précis of this central tenet of Mein Kampf is the motto Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (One People, One Empire, One Leader).

Opposition to homosexuality

Homophobia: Berlin Memorial to Homosexual Victims of the Holocaust; Totgeschlagen—Totgeschwiegen (Struck Dead—Hushed Up)

In late February 1933, as the moderating influence of Ernst Röhm — the homosexual leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA) — diminished, the Nazi Party purged the homophile clubs, where gay, lesbian and bisexual Berliners congregated. It also outlawed academic and pornographic sexual publications. In March 1933, Kurt Hiller, the organizer of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sex Research), was imprisoned to a concentration camp. On 6 May 1933, Hitler Youth members attacked the Institute of Sex Research and publicly incinerated its library and archives in the streets. They destroyed some 20,000 books and journals, as well as some 5,000 images. They also seized the Institute’s rosters of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender patients.

Initially, Hitler had protected Röhm from Nazis who considered his homosexuality a violation of the Party’s anti-homosexual policy. When Röhm proved to be a politically viable challenger to Hitler's leadership of the Nazi Party, Hitler ordered that he be assassinated in 1934, along with other Nazi political opponents. This purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives. To suppress outrage in the SA ranks, the Nazi leaders justified Röhm’s killing on the basis that he was homosexual.

Schutzstaffel (SS) Chief Heinrich Himmler, initially a supporter of Röhm, defended him against charges of homosexuality, arguing they were the fabrications of a Jewish character assassination conspiracy. After the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler promoted Himmler, who then zealously suppressed homosexuality, saying: "We must exterminate these people root and branch ... the homosexual must be eliminated.”[132] In 1936, Himmler established the "Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung" ("Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion").[133] The Nazis officially declared that homosexuality was contrary to "wholesome popular sentiment", identifying gay men as "defilers of German blood". The Nazi régime incarcerated some 100,000 homosexuals during the 1930s.[134] As concentration camp prisoners, homosexual men were forced to wear pink triangle badges.[135][136]

Nazi anti-homosexual laws did not persecute lesbians much because the Nazis considered female homosexuals easier to persuade or to compel to conformity with the heterosexual mores of patriarchy. Nonetheless, the Nazis considered lesbians to be a cultural threat to family values, and legally identified them as anti-social. Concentration camp prisoners who were lesbian were forced to wear black triangle badges.

Church and state

'On the Jews and Their Lies, by Martin Luther, Wittenberg, 1543

Hitler extended his rationalizations into a religious doctrine supported by his criticism of traditional Roman Catholicism. In particular, and closely related to Positive Christianity, he objected to Catholicism because it was not the religion of an exclusive race and its culture. Simultaneously, the Nazis integrated to Nazism the community elements of Lutheranism, from its organic pagan past. Hitlerian theology integrated militarism by proposing that his was a true, master-religion, because it would create mastery by avoiding comforting lies. About religions that preached love, tolerance, and equality “in contravention to the facts”, Hitler said they were false, slave religions, and that the man who recognized said “truths” was a “natural leader”, whilst deniers were “natural slaves”; hence, slaves, especially the intelligent, continually hindered their masters with false religions.[citation needed]

Although the “National Socialist leaders and dogmas were basically, uncompromisingly antireligious”, Nazi Germany usually did not directly attack the Churches, the exceptions being clerics who refused accommodation with the Nazi régime. Martin Bormann, a prominent Nazi official, said: "Priests will be paid by us and, as a result, they will preach what we want. If we find a priest acting otherwise, short work is to be made of him. The task of the priest consists in keeping the Poles quiet, stupid, and dull-witted."[137][138] To demoralize Poland, the Nazis killed almost 16 per cent of the Polish Catholic clergy; 13 of 38 Bishops were sent to concentration camps.[139][140] These actions, and the closing of churches, seminaries and other religious institutions, almost succeeded in exterminating the Polish clergy.[141]

In pro-Nazi countries, fascist anti-clericalism was unofficial, and was usually manifested in the arrests of select clergy via false charges of immorality,[142][143] and secret harassment by Gestapo and SD agents provocateur. A notable case was that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran Pastor and theologian who fought Nazism in the German Resistance.[144][145] Nonetheless, the Nazis often used the Church to justify their politics, by using Christian symbols as Reich symbols, and, in other cases, replacing Christian symbols with Reich symbols, Nazism thus conflated Church and State as an ultra-nationalist political entity — the Nazi Germany embodied in the motto Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (“One People, One Empire, One Leader”).[146][147]

Julius Streicher

Several of the founders and leaders of the Nazi Party were members of the Thule-Gesellschaft (Thule Society), who romanticized Aryan race superstitions with ritual and theology.[148] Originally, derived from the Germanenorden, the Thule Society shared the racist superstitions of Ariosophy that were common to such pan-German groups; Rudolf von Sebottendorf, and a man named Wilde, lectured the Thule Society on occultism.[149] Generally, the society’s lectures and excursions comprised anti-Semitism and Germanic antiquity, yet it is historically notable for having fought as a paramilitary militia against the Bavarian Soviet Republic.[150] Dietrich Eckart, an associate of the Thule Society, coached Adolf Hitler as a public speaker, and Hitler later dedicated Mein Kampf to Eckart.[151] The DAP was initially supported by the Thule Society — but Hitler quickly excluded them in favour of a mass movement political party, by denigrating their superstitious approach to politics.[152] In contrast, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler was much interested in the occult.[146]

Regarding the persecution of Jews, the contemporary, historical perspective is that in the period between the Protestant Reformation and the Holocaust, Martin Luther's treatise On the Jews and their Lies (1543), exercised a major and persistent intellectual influence upon the German practice of anti-Semitism against Jewish citizens. The Nazis publicly displayed an original of On the Jews and their Lies during the annual Nuremberg rallies, and the city also presented a first edition of it to Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Stürmer, which described Luther’s treatise as the most radically anti-Semitic tract ever published.[153][154]

Protestant Bishop Martin Sasse published a compendium of Martin Luther’s writings shortly after Kristallnacht; in the introduction, he approved of the burning of synagogues and mentioned the coincidental date: “On November 10, 1938, on Luther’s birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.” He urged Germans to heed the words “of the greatest antisemite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.”[155] Theologian Johannes Wallmann, however, said Luther’s anti-Semitic tract exercised no continual influence in Germany, that it was mostly ignored during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.[156] Nonetheless, Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch said that On the Jews and Their Lies was the blueprint for Kristallnacht.[157]

Other ideologies

Gregor Strasser, founder of Strasserism.

Before Hitler orchestrated the operation known as the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, whereby a substantial base of the Nazi Party's left-wing block such as the Sturmabteilung was purged of radical and disruptive elements, two former Freikorps and Social Democratic Party activists named Otto and Gregor Strasser united their left-leaning ideals to form a distinctly socialist strand of Nazism known as Strasserism.

Strasserist ideology engaged in overt critique of Hitler's Fuhrerprinzip, his affinities to the conservative establishment, and began attacking his policies through the National Socialist Newsletters and later ideological literature like Cabinet Seat or Revolution, while upholding aggressive anti-capitalist ideals. The Strasser brothers considered capitalism stained by Jewish finance, and called for a working-class, genuinely socialist and ultra-nationalist revolution following Hitler's rise to power (which they called a half-revolution), emphasizing the socialist component of National Socialism and proposing a cooperative economic ministry to direct Germany's economy in a more left-wing and guild-based direction.[158][159]

Arab nationalism

Haj Amin al-Husayni meeting with Adolf Hitler in December 1941

National Socialist threads were also popular with Arab nationalists at roughly the same time as in Europe and even continued beyond World War II.[160]

During the British Mandate in Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husayni was appointed as Mufti of Jerusalem by High Commissioner Herbert Samuel. He was the principal leader of the Arab national movement in Palestine and a popular personality in the Arab world during most of the years of British rule.[161] Amin met with Hitler and other Nazi officials on various occasions and attempted to coordinate Nazi and Arab policies to solve the "Jewish problem" in Palestine.[162] Due to al-Husayni's role of leadership and his association with the Nazi leader, he was sometimes referred to as the "fuhrer of the Arab world".[163][164] In one of the mufti's speeches he said: "Kill the Jews wherever you find them—this pleases Allah."[163][165][166]

In the 1930s, wealthy Arab youths, educated in Germany and having witnessed the rise of fascist paramilitary groups, began returning home with the idea of creating an "Arab Nazi Party".[167] The atmosphere of the 1930s Arab movement was described by one of the leaders of the Syrian Ba'ath Party, Sami al-Jundi: "We were racists, admiring Nazism, reading its books and the source of its thought..."[168][169][170] In 1935, Jamal al-Husayni (Haj Amin's brother) established the Palestine Arab Party, the party was used to create the "fascist-style" youth organization, al-Futuwwa; also sometimes called the "Nazi Scouts".[167][171][172] The organization recruited children and youth, who took the following oath: "Life -- my right; independence -- my aspiration; Arabism -- my country, and there is no room in it for any but Arabs. In this I believe and Allah is my witness."[167][171] The British expressed concern at the situation in Palestine, stating in a report that "the growing youth and scout movements must be regarded as the most probable factors for the disturbance of the peace."[167]

Indian national socialism

National Socialist ideas were even advocated by some in India such as the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (and its various factions) in seeking a "Nagalim for Christ" as opposed to being a minority in a country of other religions.[173][174]


Deutsches Volk–Deutsche Arbeit: German People, German Work, the alliance of worker and work. (1934)

Regarding international finance, Nazism postulated an international banking Jewish conspiracy headed by a cabal of financiers responsible for the Great Depression. The Nazis claimed that controllers of the cabal, who had manœuvred themselves into economically controlling the United States and Europe, were a powerful Jewish élite. The Nazis believed that the cabal was integral to a greater, long-term Jewish conspiracy, wherein Jews would establish global domination via the New World Order. The banks that the cabal allegedly controlled exerted political influence upon nation-states by granting or withholding credit.

Nazi economic practice first concerned the immediate domestic economy of Germany, then international trade. To eliminate Germany’s poverty, domestic policy was narrowly concerned with four major goals: (i) elimination of unemployment, (ii) rapid and substantial re-armament, (iii) fiscal protection against resurgent hyper-inflation, and (iv) expansion of consumer-goods production, to raise middle- and lower- class living standards. The intent was correcting the Nazi-perceived short-comings of the Weimar Republic, and to solidify domestic support for the Nazi Party; between 1933 and 1936, the German (Gross National Product) annually increased 9.5 per cent, and the industrial rate increased 17.2 per cent.

The expansion propelled the German economy from depression to full employment in less than four years. Public consumption increased 18.7 per cent, and private consumption increased 3.6 per cent annually. Historian Richard Evans reports that before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the German economy "had recovered from the Depression faster than its counterparts in other countries. Germany’s foreign debt had been stabilized, interest rates had fallen to half their 1932 level, the stock exchange had recovered from the Depression, the gross national product had risen by 81 per cent over the same period ... Inflation and unemployment had been conquered."[175]

Private property

Private property rights were conditional upon the economic mode of use; if it did not advance Nazi economic goals, the state could nationalize it.[176] Nazi government corporate takeovers, and threatened takeovers, encouraged compliance with government production plans, even if unprofitable for the firm. For example, the owner of the Junkers aeroplane factory refused the government’s directives, whereupon the Nazis occupied the factory and arrested Hugo Junkers, but paid him for his nationalized business. Although the Nazis privatised public properties and public services, they also increased economic state control.[177] Under Nazi economics, free competition and self-regulating markets diminished; nevertheless, Adolf Hitler’s social Darwinist beliefs made him reluctant to entirely disregard business competition and private property as economic engines.[178][179] In 1942, Hitler privately said: “I absolutely insist on protecting private property ... we must encourage private initiative”.[180]

To the proposition that businesses were private property in name but not in substance, but, in The Journal of Economic History article "The Role of Private Property in the Nazi Economy: The Case of Industry", Christoph Buchheim and Jonas Scherner counter that despite state control, business had much production and investment planning freedom — yet acknowledge that Nazi German economy was state-directed.[181]


Agricultural and industrial central planning was a prominent feature of Nazi economics. To tie farmers to the land, selling agricultural land was prohibited; farm ownership was nominally private, but discretion over operations and residual income were proscribed. That was achieved by granting business monopoly rights to marketing boards, to control production and prices with a quota system. Quotas also were established for industrial goods, such as pig iron, steel, aluminium, magnesium, gunpowder, explosives, synthetic rubber, fuels, and electricity. A compulsory cartel law was enacted in 1936, allowing the minister of economics to make existing cartels compulsory and permanent, and compel industries to form cartels, where none existed, although disestablished by decree, by 1943, they were replaced with more authoritarian economic agencies.[182]


In place of ordinary profit-incentive determining the economy, financial investment was regulated per the needs of the state. The profit incentive for businessmen remained, but was greatly modified: “Fixing of profits, not their suppression, was the official policy of the Nazi party”; however, Nazi agencies replaced the profit-motive that automatically allocated investment, and the course of the economy.[183] Nazi government financing eventually dominated private financial investment, which the proportion of private securities issued falling from over half of the total in 1933–34 to approximately 10 per cent in 1935–38. Heavy business-profit taxes limited self-financing of firms. The largest firms were mostly exempt from taxes on profits, however, government control of these were extensive enough to leave “only the shell of private ownership”. Taxes and financial subsidies also directed the economy; the underlying economic policy — terror — was incentive to agree and comply. Nazi language indicated death or concentration camp for any business owner who pursued his own self-interest, instead of the ends of the State. The official decree was stamped into the rim of the silver Reichsmark coins between 1933 through the end of WWII "Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz" or "The common good before self-interest.".[176]

Ideological competition

The German Revolution of 1918–19: Freikorps soldiers and Communist revolutionary prisoner, Bavaria.

After World War I, German Nazism and Bolshevik communism emerged as the two main political contenders for the government of Germany, especially because the Weimar Republic government was unstable. What became the Nazi movement arose from far right business and political resistance to the Bolshevik-inspired insurgencies occurring in Germany during the post-war political instability. Moreover, because the Russian Revolution of 1917 legitimised Leninism, Vladimir Lenin’s interpretation of Marxism, which inspired many German socialists. To suppress the 1919 Spartacist uprising general strike in Berlin, and the Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich, the Weimar Republic government used Freikorps (Free Corps), right-wing paramilitary groups composed of ex-soldiers. Many Freikorps leaders, including Ernst Röhm, later became Nazi Party leaders.

Nazism successfully competed for voters against communism because Nazism appealed to the anti-Bolshevik German establishment — by promising socio-economic stability — and to the working class — by promising jobs. The Nazis particularly appealed to the lumpenproletariat, whom leftists had dismissed as politically inconsequential. Nazi pro-labour rhetoric appealed to workers disaffected with capitalism, by promoting profit limitations, rent abolition, and increased social benefits (for German gentiles, only), whilst simultaneously proposing a politico-economic model that divested Marxist socialism of ideologic tenets dangerous to capitalism, i.e. class struggle, dictatorship of the proletariat, and worker-controlled means of production. Sociologist Michael Mann defined fascism as a “transcendent and cleansing nation statism through paramilitarism”, with the word transcendent denoting the abolishment of social classes, in order for the birth of a new, organic, and pure people: all classes are abolished by transition, all “others” (approximately two-thirds of the German populace).[184][185]

The Nazis sought to distinguish and separate themselves from conservative nationalist competitors such as the German National People's Party (DNVP) by officially denouncing conservatism, and attacking conservative nationalists for being reactionary, bourgeois enemies of the German nation who were equal in blame alongside Marxism for Germany's downfall in 1918.[186] The Nazis made alliances with the DNVP, but they claimed that these were tactical in nature and that the two parties had significant ideological differences.[187]

Nazism in popular culture

The New Adventures of Hitler (Crisis No. 48, Stephen Yeowell)

In popular American culture, the terms Nazi, Führer, fascist, Gestapo, and Hitler, are terms of abuse used in describing authoritarian people; hence the American usages grammar Nazi and Feminazi, (see Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies). Moreover, the blackletter typefaces Fraktur and Schwabacher are associated with Nazi propaganda, despite the Nazis having proscribed them in 1941.[188][189] In cinema, the Indiana Jones series offers Nazi villains; and the video game website IGN declared Nazis as the most memorable video game villains.[190]

See also

04.13.2011. 19:18

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