Understanding Socialism: "Were the Nazis socialists?"

This take is part of a series to help educate the many people who have no idea what socialism is.

Where the Nazis Socialists?

WW2 Nazis
WW2 Nazis

Not in practice. They called themselves the socialist party of Germany, but I like to call myself the greatest lover, and neither statement is true.

Didn't Nazis begin as socialists?

Birds of a feather clock together
Birds of a feather clock together

Yes, in 1919 a Munich locksmith named Anton Drexler founded the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP; German Workers’ Party). Political parties were still a relatively new phenomenon in Germany, and the DAP—renamed the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP; National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party) in 1920.

How did Nazis lose their sense of socialism?

More of a Libertarian
More of a Libertarian

Hitler, that part of history they don't teach in Southern states along with slavery. Hitler joined the party shortly after its creation, and by July 1921 he had achieved nearly total control of the Nazi political and paramilitary apparatus.

To say that Hitler understood the value of language would be an enormous understatement. Propaganda played a significant role in his rise to power. To that end, he paid lip service to the tenets suggested by a name like National Socialist German Workers’ Party, but his primary—indeed, sole—focus was on achieving power whatever the cost and advancing his racist, anti-Semitic agenda. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, in November 1923, Hitler became convinced that he needed to utilize the teetering democratic structures of the Weimar government to attain his goals.

Over the following years the brothers Otto and Gregor Strasser did much to grow the party by tying Hitler’s racist nationalism to socialist rhetoric that appealed to the suffering lower middle classes. In doing so, the Strassers also succeeded in expanding the Nazi reach beyond its traditional Bavarian base. By the late 1920s, however, with the German economy in free fall, Hitler had enlisted support from wealthy industrialists who sought to pursue avowedly anti-socialist policies. Otto Strasser soon recognized that the Nazis were neither a party of socialists nor a party of workers, and in 1930 he broke away to form the anti-capitalist Schwarze Front (Black Front). Gregor remained the head of the left wing of the Nazi Party, but the lot for the ideological soul of the party had been cast.

Did Hitler still want socialism?

Hitler allied himself with leaders of German conservative and nationalist movements, and in January 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Hitler’s Third Reich had been born, and it was entirely fascist in character. Within two months Hitler achieved full dictatorial power through the Enabling Act. In April 1933 communists, socialists, democrats, and Jews were purged from the German civil service, and trade unions were outlawed the following month. That July Hitler banned all political parties other than his own, and prominent members of the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. Lest there be any remaining questions about the political character of the Nazi revolution, Hitler ordered the murder of Gregor Strasser, an act that was carried out on June 30, 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives. Any remaining traces of socialist thought in the Nazi Party had been extinguished.


0|1
817

Most Helpful Guys

  • Hitler put the word 'socialist' in the party name, and also chose the color red for the Nazi flag for the purpose of scaring away do-nothing beorgouise nationalists that we're thinking of joining. The Nazis were socialist in a sense of having government controlling people's lives, and having a private life was not encouraged.

    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were replaced by Hitler Youth. In Germany there was a debate over liquidating aristocratic estates, with the profits benefitting the lower class. Hitler weighed the issue for a while, but then decided to favor the aristocrats. The Stormtroopers (SA) were mostly uneducated, worker class, or plain unemployed, and tended to be annoyed by Hitler going back on his socialism. Even SA commander Ernst Rohm had said something like, "We've accomplished a great deal on 'nationalist' issues, now we need to get things done on the 'socialist' side".

    Eventually, Hitler had Rohm executed, the top SA leadership purged, and the SA was pushed into the background, replaced by the SS, who tended to be more educated, more middle class, and not as socialist-minded.

    0|0
    0|0
    • Another illiterate who just looked at the pictures: Hitler didn't create the party, if you read the first few lines you would have seen that. He took over the party and outlawed socialist ideas.
      Just read it and don't make assumptions based on the pictures.

    • Show All
    • I glanced in Mein Kampf it IS shit. Despite being corrected by a Jesuit, Father Staempfle.

    • Great argument, you totally proved Hitler's observable factual theories wrong.

  • No true socialist!
    Hitler was whatever he needed to be in order to obtain power.

    0|3
    0|1
    • At least you understood it.

    • No, Hitler truly believed in his cause of uniting the German people and taking back their homes from the foreign jews. Don't make things up.

Most Helpful Girl

  • Can you define social Darwinism? And what type of laws would socialists want in place? How does it differ from communism? Thank you

    0|1
    0|0
    • so·cial Dar·win·ismDictionary result for social Darwinism
      noun
      the theory that individuals, groups, and peoples are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals. Now largely discredited, social Darwinism was advocated by Herbert Spencer and others in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was used to justify political conservatism, imperialism, and racism and to discourage intervention and reform.

    • Thank you !

Recommended myTakes

Join the discussion

What Girls & Guys Said

715
  • Reductio ad Hitlerum. Now point out the similarities between the liberals and the Soviets.

    0|3
    2|1
    • I'm guessing nobody bothered to read this.

    • Show All
    • Encyclopedia Britannica is my source for everything. This was a history lesson you dolt.

    • Everyone who lived on the continent between WW1 and WW2 KNEW Hitler was a virulent anti socialist before he became Reichsfuhrer. www.abc.net.au/.../10214302

  • The Tea Party started with the Libertarian/Republican ex-Rep. Ron Paul at when the Obamacare/supposed "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" was passed into law. If you know anything about Libertarianism and the original Tea Party, they're about MINIMUM GOVERNMENT, maximum freedom. So, totalitarian Nazism has nothing to do with them.

    Unfortunately, the Tea Party was hijacked by the Republican Party establishment and quelled as far as we're concerned.

    0|0
    1|1
  • Dude.. You are embarrassing your self.
    You don't know what Libertarian is
    You don't know the difference between Nationalism and Globalism
    You don't know the difference between Liberty and Tyranny
    You don't know what Socialism is
    You think a Socialist can't oppress another Socialist

    Honestly, not being an ass here either, just plain truth. This is probably just about the dumbest opinion I have seen on the internet in a very long time, maybe even years.

    0|1
    1|3
    • Show All
    • Just read that retarded link, it had nothing to do with Hitler and all about your retarded agenda. What the fuck does the Russian investigation have to do with Hitler?

    • You reject reason and evidence... Want to be taken seriously..

      Lol.. you got BTFO

  • Who said this? "I am a Socialist, and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow." The year was 1930 and it was a rising German politician named Adolf Hitler.

    In fact, Hitler was not a socialist, in the strict sense. He was, however, a National Socialist. The modifier matters but the theories were related.

    Socialists of the Marxist sort believed that the division of the classes was the driving force in History - with a capital "H." The difference was that National Socialists argued that the competition between the races - not classes - was the fundamental engine of History.

    They were both socialist, but differed on what they saw as the central motive force of history. In fact, "Mein Kempf," Hitler's seminal work, is replete with attacks on what he and other socialists called the "rich decadent Anglo-Saxon capitalists." There was no love of capitalism in Hitler's worldview.

    That Hitler got support from business interests is less a matter of his ideology than the belief among certain sectors of Germany's upper class that the Socialists were an immediate threat. It was less a question of ideas and more a question of practicalities as they were seen at the time.

    Moreover, the business class was, while not socialist, not conservative either. They were classical liberals and thus there was an intellectual pedigree that, at a very fundamental level, linked the business community to the National Socialists, and indeed in a different way even to the socialists. All were coming out of the 18th century Enlightenment.

    As an aside, the strongest opposition to both the Socialists and the National Socialists came, in Germany, from the aristocracy, particularly the Junkers. It was no coincidence that the man who came closest to killing Hitler was a count. (Von Staffenberg.)

    It was also why, when he survived, Hitler set about destroying the aristocracy. Essentially, when the assassination plot failed, the aristocracy was finally and irrevocably shattered and its hold, particularly on the officer corps, would never be restored. (It is also why Karl Doenitz, and not a German general, would succeed Hitler upon his suicide.)

    (On a lighter not, it was von Rundstedt who would refer to Hitler derisively as "the corporal" with all the sneering disdain he could muster. It was only Hitler's belief that he needed von Rundstedt's talents that prevented him from moving against the Field Marshall.)

    The point being that the capitalist vs socialist dichotomy that many are fond of drawing is too simple and misses much intellectual history. It also ignores the fact that what added so much bitterness and ferocity to the National Socialist/Socialist divide was that each was seeking, by their lights, to define truth for the whole of socialism - while fishing for essentially the same voters.

    The combination of existential conflict and political competition made National Socialism and Socialism, though ideologically similar and rooted in the same starting point, the bitterest of enemies. As so often, it is the fights "within the family" so to speak, that are the most brutal.

    (One other aside, the notion that business interests are inherently conservative is not even borne out in American politics. Note that, today, it is the Democratic party that is the party of big business - Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the insurance and financial services sector.

    The GOP is the party of small and medium sized business. This because big business has the legal and accounting departments that allow them to navigate big government and the regulatory state. Small and medium sized businesses do not.

    With apologies for that digression, to the main point. No, the Nazis were not socialists, they were NATIONAL socialists. Hence the name. However the similarity in their names points to the commonality of ideas that they shared and their joint intellectual birthplace in reaction to Enlightenment rationalism.

    0|0
    0|0
    • P. S. Pardon the accidental misspelling. It was not "Von Staffenberg." It was "von Stauffenberg."

      Specifically, Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. He was a "Graf" i. e. count and Schenk – the latter an additional hereditary noble title.

    • North Koreans call themselves The Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Are they democratic or a Republic?

    • Actually, they are a republic, at least insofar as there is no formal hereditary monarchy. Though to be sure, the Kim family has certainly put a dynastic spin on the dictatorship of the proletariat.

      As to being a democracy, as George Orwell pointed out in 1984, the socialist state reserved unto itself the authority to define words, indeed to define truth itself. This was, in theory, to compensate for the "false consciousness" that the bourgeois imposed upon the proletariat and to which it was the task of the enlightened leadership of the party to emancipate them from.

      This then is the genesis, in socialist philosophy, of the appellation "democratic" that was applied to so many of the states on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain - or in the case of North Korea, the "bamboo curtain." They argued that socialism would end in perfect stateless utopia and that the state - actually the party - was the popular vehicle that would lead to that end.

      At any rate, it is something of a straw man. National Socialism - unlike Marxian socialism - made no pretense about being democratic. It argued for a hierarchy of races, with the master race at the top. In this it diverges from Marxian socialism.

      Here again the problem with the premise of the question. Hitler was not a socialist in the Marxian sense, but in the "national" sense. The distinction is not unlike that between, say, Britain and the U. S.

      The former has a monarchy, the latter is a republic, yet both are democracies. One is not less a democracy for having an unelected Queen as Head of State. Hitler is not less a socialist for being out of a particular strand of socialism.

      The pedigree of Hitler's ideas share a common root with Marxian socialism. There are different species, but they are both birds, as it were.

  • Yes, the Nazis were definitely Socialists. HOWEVER, their brand of socialism was on a different planet from Leftist, liberal, Marxist socialism. Think of Capitalism as blue, Leftist socialism as red, and Hitler's National-Socialism as golden yellow.

    0|0
    0|2
    • Did you read the take? Because I clearly said Hitler hijacked the party and outlawed socialism.

    • Show All
    • Does it matter? You just admitted he got rid of the socialists. He wasn't a socialist and neither was the Nazi party.

    • Stop twisting words around. He did not get rid of THE socialists. He got rid of A group of socialists to replace them with his group of socialists. Does it matter whether someone had an entire group of people murdered or not? If you don't think it matters you've got serious problems.

  • Nationalism is something required by all communists. Do you think Hitler was helping the Jews in those camps? Your Russian propaganda just reeks of contradiction. All societies have propagandists. Which country doesn't have a military? You just put Darwin in there to scare Catholics. Capitalism is very pro intellectualism. You get money for being smarter unlike communism. The tea party was about getting out from underneath King George. How much more anti Authoritarian can you get? Is this Putin?

    0|0
    2|1
    • this whole myTake was basically a history lesson and you apparently didn't read it, Do you have any proof against what I wrote because I got my information from encyclopedia britannica.

    • Show All
    • Just read the take, I clearly explain how Hitler took over the party and killed everyone who was socialist.

    • Stalin killed everyone who was communist that didn't support him too. Was the USSR not communist then?

  • Didn't the nazis eventually round up and kill socialists and communists?

    That doesn't sound like something socialists and communists would want to do.

    1|1
    0|0
  • The Nazi party was the national socialist party, but in reality, Nazi Germany was capitalistic, and large German firms, such as Krupp, made massive amounts of money under Hitler.

    1|3
    0|0
  • Libertarians actually have a lot in common with nazis. The reason they oppose government, especially social justice in govt, is because they wish to impose the same hierarchies as the nazis but on their own terms, in their own private properties, and without the threat of democracy and reform getting in the way.

    Libertarians are painted as right-wing hippies, but if you actually read Hoppe or Hayek, you'll learn that they share a common worldview with social authoritarians.

    1|1
    0|0
  • Bullshit. If you think Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Tom Massie, and other Tea Party people are "authoritarian" you are dumber than a rock.

    0|0
    1|1
    • You didn't read, you just looked at the pretty pictures.

    • Show All
    • I stopped reading after you established your imbecilism by comparing the aforementioned people with Nazis.

    • Your pictures are worth a1000 words. You basically said the tea party is the same as the Nazi party. It doesn't matter what you say after that. You instantly lost credibility and respect. The presentation is 90% of the battle. Especially if you are selling bull shit.

  • Are you kidding? They were fascists
    Socialism and fascism are the total opposites of a spectrum

    0|1
    0|1
  • Next week's class:

    "Were the Communists Socialists?"

    0|0
    0|0
  • God I love your brain

    1|1
    0|3
  • Posts like this are so needed on here, thanks!

    0|1
    0|1
    • One of the answerers literally has a Nazi as profile pic. GaG has become such a messed up Alt-Right shithole, it's disgusting.

  • Good take. .

    1|1
    0|2
  • Thanks for sharing

    0|1
    0|0
  • Hitler didn’t really have any economic views.

    0|0
    1|2
  • Hahaha! Communism follows the same logic just replace 8. with anti-capitalism. Hahaha!

    I think you are grasping for straws.

    Plus the social Darwinism is a communist thing. They get into the weeds with the coincidence nonsense.

    Plus tea party, if I remember right, is smaller government. Less government spending.

    Nazi is definitely larger government.

    It looks like a desperate attempt to make connections that are not there.

    I would argue they are on the right side of the political spectrum.

    That is about it.

    0|1
    1|0
  • Any authoritarian government is terrible, both fascism and communism are terrible ideologies and the people who subscribe to them are ignorant or just plain evil, stay on the libertarian half of the spectrum and you’ll be fine

    0|0
    0|2
    • Libertarian like this guy?
      Understanding Socialism: "Were the Nazis socialists?"

    • I’d hang out with that guy before a commie or a fascist I can tell you that for free

  • Yes they are socialists, just another form of it.

    0|2
    1|1
    • Did you read the take? Because I clearly said Hitler hijacked the party and outlawed socialism.
      Don't just look at the pretty pictures, READ

    • Show All
    • National socialism does NOT control the "means of production" if the business doesn't go against the state. Don't be horrible and you can do whatever you want.

    • @Youareincorrect National Socialism did control the means of production.

  • aww. you are so special...

    0|1
    1|1
    • Did you actually read it? Because it's a good history lesson for anybody who bothers.

    • Show All
    • No, John, it isn't. Comparing people like Rand Paul to Nazis proves you are dumber than a rock.

    • @jacquesvol thats a great example. its kinda people under socialism eat there dogs because there is no food.

Recommended Questions

Loading...