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EXPOSED! Where on the Political Spectrum is Nazism? (Part 2)

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

In part 2 of our 4 part series, we will look at the 'Socialism" aspect of National Socialism and discover where it lies on the political spectrum.

Part 2: Socialism

Socialism is an economic/political system in which the means of producing and distributing goods or services is owned or tightly managed collectively by a centralized government that plans and controls the economy and social structure. Socialism is an ideology of collectivism to varying degrees, rather than an ideology of individual liberty and self-determination. The centralized government control characteristic of socialism is the anthesis of individual freedom.

Marxism, a far-left revolutionary ideology, had been gaining popularity in Germany and throughout Europe since German writer, Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto in 1848, along with Fredrich Engels.

Frankly, Communism and Socialism are essentially the same things. Even Marx, regularly used "Communism" and "Socialism" interchangeably.

"The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."

—Karl Marx

Defenders of socialism have claimed that National Socialism lacked a coherent economic system, therefore, it was not socialism. This is a weak argument because no two countries have implemented socialism in the exact same way and the theory itself is irrational and incoherent.

Stanley G, Payne pointed out basic elements of the National Socialist platform that clearly display its socialist nature.

“Small businesses would be protected, but 51 percent of large corporations should be nationalized to guarantee they would be administered in the common interest. Similarly, there should be a partial nationalization of banking and credit, while large landholdings should be divided into family farms.”

— A History of Fascism, 1914–1945 by Stanley G. Payne

Yep. It looks like socialism to me. To argue that it is not is nothing more than cognitive dissonance.

However, what attracted Hitler and other Germans to socialism was an intense hatred for capitalism.

“It would, indeed, hardly have been possible for the Nationalists to advance fundamental objections to the economic policy of the other socialist parties when their own published programme differed from these only in that its socialism was much cruder and less rational. The famous 25 points drawn up by Herr Feder, one of Hitler’s early allies, repeatedly endorsed by Hitler and recognised by the by-laws of the National-Socialist party as the immutable basis of all its actions, which together with an extensive commentary is circulating throughout Germany in many hundreds of thousands of copies, is full of ideas resembling those of the early socialists. But the dominant feature is a fierce hatred of anything capitalistic—individualistic profit seeking, large scale enterprise, banks, joint-stock companies, department stores, “international finance and loan capital,” the system of “interest slavery” in general; the abolition of these is described as the “[indecipherable] of the programme, around which everything else turns.” It was to this programme that the masses of the German people, who were already completely under the influence of collectivist ideas, responded so enthusiastically.”

— The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) by F. A. Hayek

But there was something more. The Nazi's hatred for capitalism stems from the fact that a large number of Jewish people were so good at running businesses. Envy is the psychosis on which socialism is founded.

"Envy is Ignorance."

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is the old story of the alien race’s being admitted only to the less respected trades and then being hated still more for practicing them. The fact that German anti-Semitism and anticapitalism spring from the same root is of great importance for the understanding of what has happened there, but this is rarely grasped by foreign observers.”

— The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) by F. A. Hayek

Although Hitler hated Communism by name, he was not really opposed to the socialism envisioned by Marx and his contemporaries. Marx was a German citizen whose theory of central planning had been gaining popularity in Germany for the 80 years before Hitler's rise to power. By the time Hitler took over Germany, socialism was widely accepted by nearly all political parties and Laissez-faire capitalism was almost completely rejected.

“The doctrines which had guided the ruling elements in Germany for the past generation were opposed not to the socialism in Marxism but to the liberal elements contained in it, its internationalism and its democracy. And as it became increasingly clear that it was just these elements which formed obstacles to the realization of socialism, the socialists of the Left approached more and more to those of the Right. It was the union of the anticapitalist forces of the Right and of the Left, the fusion of radical and conservative socialism, which drove out from Germany everything that was liberal.”

— The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) by F. A. Hayek

Note: By "liberal" above Hayek is referring to Classic liberalism not modern American liberalism which has the opposite meaning.

It should be noted here, that another factor that led to the rise of the Nazi regime was the Great Depression, which began in 1929. Germans, as well as much of the European left, incorrectly blamed the depression on capitalism, rather than what was the true cause; poor management of the centralized banking systems. There was also a feeling of bitterness about losing World War I and that it signified that classic liberalism beat socialism, which the majority of the German people had an affinity for. The combination of the two factors was the recipe for extremism.

However, Karl Marx was Jewish, by ancestry. This is what led Hitler to reject Marxism, by name.

“I began to study again and thus it was that I first came to understand perfectly what was the substance and purpose of the life-work of the Jew, Karl Marx.”

— Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

However, Hitler hated capitalism, as well. Hitler was so obsessed with racism that he convinced himself that the Jews controlled both the Communists and the Capitalists, at the same time. The Jew, in Hitler’s mind, was playing both sides against each other.

“It is true that a section of the German industrialists made a determined attempt to avert the danger, but in the end they gave way before the united attacks of money-grabbing capitalism, which was assisted in this fight by its faithful henchmen in the Marxist movement.”

— Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

“While our bourgeoisie middle class paid no attention at all to this momentous problem and indifferently allowed events to take their course, the Jew seized upon the manifold possibilities which the situation offered him for the future. While on the one hand he organized capitalistic methods of exploitation to their ultimate degree of efficiency, he curried favour with the victims of his policy and his power and in a short while became the leader of their struggle against himself.”

— Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Therefore, Hitler saw socialism as a third way.

According to one of the greatest economists of the 20th century, Ludwig von Mises, there were two general systems of socialism. The first one is the Marxist pattern exercised by Communist Russia and the second was the one applied in Nazi Germany.

“The second pattern—we may call it the German or Zwangswirtschaft system—differs from the first one in that it, seemingly and nominally, maintains private ownership of the means of production, entrepreneurship, and market exchange. So-called entrepreneurs do the buying and selling, pay the workers, contract debts and pay interest and amortization. But they are no longer entrepreneurs. In Nazi Germany they were called shop managers or Betriebsführer. The government tells these seeming entrepreneurs what and how to produce, at what prices and from whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. The government decrees at what wages labourers should work, and to whom and under what terms the capitalists should entrust their funds. Market exchange is but a sham. As all prices, wages and interest rates are fixed by the authority, they are prices, wages and interest rates in appearance only; in fact they are merely quantitative terms in the authoritarian orders determining each citizen's income, consumption and standard of living. The authority, not the consumers, directs production. The central board of production management is supreme; all citizens are nothing else but civil servants. This is socialism with the outward appearance of capitalism. Some labels of the capitalistic market economy are retained, but they signify here something entirely different from what they mean in the market economy.”

—Ludwig von Mises, from his 1952 Preface of his 1922 book, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Note: Communist China also uses elements of capitalism in its system.

Here is the irony of ironies. Hitler and Marx had more in common than differences.

Although Marx was Jewish, he, like Hitler, was an atheist.

"Communism begins where atheism begins."

-Karl Marx

Also like Hitler, Marx was an anti-semitic racist who erroneously saw good business sense, profit-making, and Judaism as not only evil but one and the same.

“What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. … The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. … The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.”

-Karl Marx, On the Jewish Question, 1844

Furthermore, National Socialism and Russian Marxist Communism were also closely related, in practice. Stanley G. Payne noted this in his book, "A History of Fascism."

“There were some fundamental differences, as previously noted, between the Russian and German systems. Nonetheless, Hitlerian National Socialism more nearly paralleled Russian communism than has any other non-Communist system.”

— A History of Fascism, 1914–1945 by Stanley G. Payne

That should come as no surprise because socialism, incrementally applied, will always evolve toward full-fledged Communism.

Another characteristic attributed to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism is Authoritarianism.

Check out Part 3 of the series to read about this element.

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