Is it true that Nazism was a form of Socialism?

Discussion in 'History' started by Bowser, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Nazi = National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    I just find it curious that, being a populist, socialist movement, there was so much contempt for their Communist neighbor. In my mind there isn't much of a divide between socialism and communism, but maybe there are finer details that I'm not considering.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No. They were fascist.

    They named themselves Socialist to attract support - socialism itself was (and is) very popular among voters and regular people, and they wanted to win elections.

    One of the common differences between socialism and communism, in practice, is the household paycheck. In most socialist setups people live in households and work for wages, which are paid to the worker in money. The household is sustained by the worker. In most communist setups people live in communes and work for the betterment of that commune - the commune is "paid", usually in bartered goods and services. The worker is sustained by the commune.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
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  5. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Well, there isn't much said about the economic structure of Nazi Germany, other than it pulled Germany out of a depression. It is my understanding that the government controlled most areas of production, and that rationing was common.
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well rationing was commonplace everywhere during WWII, including the US.
  8. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    That is true. I'm not certain when rationing was implemented in Germany, however. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of unbias info available.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

  10. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    It doesn't matter when rationing began. Rationing was used by all sides during WWII. Nazi Germany didn't nationalize industry.

    "The German economy, like those of many other western nations, suffered the effects of the Great Depression with unemployment soaring around the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[1] When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, he introduced policies aimed at improving the economy of Nazi Germany. The changes included privatization of state industries, autarky, and tariffs on imports. Wages increased by 10.9% in real terms during this period.[2]However, reduced foreign trade meant rationing in consumer goods like poultry, fruit, and clothing for many Germans.[3]

    By the early 1940s, over 500 companies in key German industries had been nationalized, mostly accomplished through the creation of the Reichswerke Hermann Göring in 1937.[4] Multi-national industries in occupied territory were particularly targeted for state ownership, where the Reichswerke absorbed between approximately “50 – 60 per cent” of heavy industry in Czech and slightly less in Austria.[5] Göring industrial empire was a major attempt towards “restricting private industrial capitalism and substituting a ‘völkisch’, state-run industrial economy.”[6]

    In 1934 Hjalmar Schacht, the Reich Minister of Economics, introduced the Mefo bills, allowing Germany to rearm without spending Reichsmarks but instead paying industry with Mefo bills (Government IOU's) which they could trade with each other.[7] Between 1933 and 1939 the total revenue amounted to 62 billion marks, whereas expenditure (at times comprising up to 60% rearmament costs) exceeded 101 billion, thus causing a huge deficit and national debt (reaching 38 billion marks in 1939 and coinciding with Kristallnacht [November 1938] and with intensified persecutions of Jews and the outbreak of World War II.)[8][9] By 1938 unemployment was practically extinct.[10]"

    Does that sound familiar? It should. Republicans have long advocated for and propagated privatization. Trump is and has for the last year and a half advocated protectionism, e.g. increasing tariffs, just as the Nazi's did. Trump's tax cuts are expected to add 12 trillion dollars to the national debt. His infrastructure spending will add another trillion dollars to the national debt. As the stresses on Nazi Germany's economy grew, Nazi's were forced to nationalize industries out of necessity.

    You should be concerned. We should all be concerned. The American right wing is looking a lot like Nazi Germany these days. They both are pushing protectionism. They both are pushing for massive government spending programs. They both are against democracy and individual freedoms like the freedom of speech, e.g. Trump's war on the 1st, 8th, and 14th amendments and the separation of powers.

    It's kind of funny in a way. For the last 8 years Republicans have been deficit hawks, opposing any and all fiscal stimulus, even going so far as to attempt to cause a debt default on multiple occasions. Now, it's what deficit, and what debt? Republicans have suddenly developed a case of mass amnesia.
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    There is a big divide between socialism and communism. Communism is all about class warfare; socialism isn't. Socialism is about democratic control; communism isn't.

    "Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production;[10] as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.[11] "

    "In political and social sciences, communism (from Latincommunis, "common, universal")[1][2] is the radical social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money,[3][4] and the state.[5][6]"

    Virtually all democracies have some form of socialism. It kind of goes with the territory, e.g. roads, defense, etc.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Rationing has nothing to do with socialism. Almost any form of government can and will ration at need - that's one of the functions of governance itself.

    The economic structure of Nazi Germany has been thoroughly researched and described. It was based on private ownership of capitalist, profit-making industry, whose owners were in such close coordination with Nazi Party officials (or even those officials themselves) as to be part of the governing elite (infighting within this elite was of course common).

    This unification of privately owned capitalist industry and public governance - government by capitalist corporations and their ownership or top executives - was for a long time included in the dictionary definition of fascism. It remains a defining feature, a central characteristic, of fascist governance.

    As you can read in your Wikilink, the "government owned" share of the Nazi government's economy largely consisted of captured spoils of war, industry acquired by military conquest outside of Germany itself, captured and held and run by the military, essentially, during an active war. Note that there was no designated civilian branch of government that controlled this; most of this captured booty was organized into a large corporation run by one man - Hermann Goering, who was also in command of the Luftwaffe - to feed the ongoing war. Inside Germany, before the War launched, Hitler had sold off a good share of what industry had been owned by the State to private capitalist buyers - what would have happened to Germany's spectacular pile of captured war booty had Germany won the war is not known, but the civilian Nazi government was not set up to own and run such industrial complexity except through alliances with private capitalists.

    To drive the scene home: the slave laborers of the Concentration Camps not involved in Camp work (sorting clothing and hair and tooth fillings from the dead, etc) were often employed by private industry for war production - rented out, for stipends and bribes, to capitalist entrepreneurs and industrialists, by Camp management. The Nazi government often did not even own its domestic military supply industries, or put its own slaves to work in its own industry.

    All of this was during the preparation and prosecution of full scale war, with its own necessities - economies do not run normally during total war, unless total war is the normal status of the country. We don't really know how the economy of the Confederacy in the US would have been set up, for another example.
  13. RuneSpider Registered Senior Member

    Nazi Germany was socialist in the way that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is democratic .
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  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    The only mileage you might get with that is if instead you shifted to how they could have borrowed from their "Communist neighbor". In terms of how the Gulag and the orchestrated mass murders of the Socialist Republics might have influenced Nazi methods, there's the Latvian film "The Soviet Story". The excerpt below is from an understandably sympathetic Randian review of it:

    "One of the primary themes of the film is that the similarities and (temporary) alliance between the Nazis and the Soviets ran far deeper than even committed anti-Communists ever imagined, and that much of what the Nazis did can be traced, either as inspiration or even as direct “technology transfer,” to the Soviet Union. The idea that ethnic groups could be either wiped out entirely or significantly reduced, as a matter of organized extermination campaigns, may have had some roots in the Holodomor. This, we learn, was arguably the most efficient mass murder in history, as roughly seven million Ukrainians were starved to death in a single winter (1932-33) as a concerted campaign to sap the strength of Ukrainian resistance to Soviet rule.

    "[...] The similarities between the Nazi and Bolshevik movements were apparently first observed in 1925, by of all people, Joseph Goebbels. He proposed that the difference between the movements was only very slight, and offered his opinion that Lenin was the second greatest leader in history, second only to Hitler. This idea was unpopular with many Nazis, so it wasn't discussed publicly thereafter, yet there were still many in the Nazi leadership who continued to take it seriously. Privately, Hitler spoke well of Marx, insisting that they had much to learn from him. A dramatic moment in the documentary is the comparison between Nazi and Soviet iconography and sloganeering. The similarities are striking...."

    The gas van was indeed concocted by the Soviets first, but it's unclear whether the Nazis really adopted it or independently re-invented it on their own. If the former, there would be the irony of it finally being used on some communist party officials themselves (not just the citizens) when Germany invaded the USSR in 1941.

    "The gas van was invented and used by the Soviet secret police NKVD in the late 1930s during the Great Purge. [...] It was later widely implemented as an extermination method in Nazi Germany to kill those the regime deemed enemies of the state, mostly Jews."

    "Shooting was the most common form of killing used by the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units). Yet in the late summer of 1941, Heinrich Himmler, noting the psychological burden that mass shootings produced on his men, requested that a more convenient mode of killing be developed. The result was the gas van, a mobile gas chamber surmounted on the chassis of a cargo truck which employed carbon monoxide from the truck's exhaust to kill its victims. Gas vans made their first appearance on the eastern front in late fall 1941, and were eventually utilized, along with shooting, to murder Jews and other victims in most areas where the Einsatzgruppen operated. [...] By the spring of 1943, the Einsatzgruppen and Order Police battalions had killed over a million Soviet Jews and tens of thousands of Soviet political commissars, partisans, Roma, and institutionalized disabled persons. The mobile killing methods, particularly shooting, proved to be inefficient and psychologically burdensome to the killers. Even as Einsatzgruppen units carried out their operations, the German authorities planned and began construction of special stationary gassing facilities at centralized killing centers in order to murder vast numbers of Jews."

    Hitler vs Stalin: Who Killed More?

    Seven million died in the 'forgotten' holocaust

    The so-called forgotten holocaust of the 20th Century (used as an umbrella for all the other acts, too) receives less attention in America than the one of the Nazis because the Soviet regimes were eradicating and persecuting millions of people on ideological grounds of being enemies of the state. Rather than ethnic / racist reasons. Due to the latter context for Germany, it left a bigger impact on the good-sized and influential Jewish population in the U.S. Also, whereas Nazi domination perished in Germany after WWII and all its horrors were revealed up-close, the good ol' (far) southpaw boys prevailed in the USSR for decades more. Confining and obscuring their murderous deeds of before WWII (and later) to just second-hand reports.

    It might be granted that items like the forced famine in the Ukraine and the Katyn massacre not qualifying for genocide in an ethnic or cultural context would be a preferred institutional stance, and not necessarily something that's ironclad outside the pre-packaged spiels of historical establishment.

    Anne Applebaum: "[...] There are good reasons why we feel differently about them. We [...] fought with Stalin in the war. Stalin was our ally. And it is very difficult for us to say now that we defeated one genocidal criminal with the help of another genocidal criminal. [...] There are no images of the camps and in of the soviet camps. And in our image driven society that’s very important. [...] It’s true that we have different feelings about communism than we do about fascism; partly understandably. Communism’s ideals are ones that appeal to descendants of the American and French revolutions, that talks about equality. There was of course a very powerful appeal to the Western left which did not like, hearing any criticism of the Soviet Union because it implied that...that their project had something wrong with it as well. And there was...there was a great complex of reasons why we feel differently about these two crimes. And it was really that thought that got me started on this subject. I began to wonder why we feel differently. [...] I began to learn more about the soviet system I learned more about the gulag I became outraged at how much about it we’d forgotten. And this has implications not only for you know for the historical profession. But it has implications for the West. That we don’t remember this particular part of European history makes it hard for us now to understand why we fought the Cold War. I mean if we don’t remember who Stalin is and what we did, then our history in the Twentieth Century looks very strange too. What did we need all those armaments for and what was this argument with the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union was just another sort of vaguely nasty power? I mean the fact is that the Soviet Union was at the time [...] a unique and terrible evil and it was right that we fought against the Soviet Union."

    "Gulag, the searing acronym for the Soviet bureaucracy that administered penal labor camps, ruled a sprawling empire comprising 476 complexes. Each complex contained thousands of individual camps, through which more than 18 million people passed between 1929 and 1953, maybe 3 million or more of whom perished. Applebaum examines this monster from many angles, including its origins, its "function," especially in the Stalinist system, its exponential growth after 1929 and in the 1940s, as well as moments in the "meat grinder" (as it was known): arrest, transit, in, out, and back. [...] Like Hitler's slave-labor and extermination camps, the Soviet Gulag was the symbol of the regime. Like the Nazi camps, the Soviet ones started to solve a particular political problem — how to eliminate unwanted elements from the society at large — and then took on a life of their own, sometimes becoming the driving force of policy rather than a tool of it.

    Red Terror

    The Great Purge


    League of Militant Atheists

    Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union

    Persecution of Muslims
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  15. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    This is just a semantic error. Socialist in National Socialism refers to it being a movement of the people, or "society", not socialism as in a form of communism. Yes, they were brutal as some communists were brutal, but that's always the case when you force society to conform to some strict ideology.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Also Mao's China.

    Five other reasons for Americans overlooking the holocausts of the Left:

    - America was widely settled by many Germans of all kinds, including upper cultural strata, from the beginning, with close cultural and personal ties to home - not so many Russians or Chinese.
    - The threat in the US, that intellectuals of integrity see and are pressured to address, is from the authoritarian Right - our governance is much closer to fascism than communism, our flaws Rightwing.
    - The Left and Left-leaning Liberal intellectuals in the US have for whatever reason been far superior intellectually - more intelligent, learned, articulate, honest, sound in mind. The Right, even the Libertarian and Liberal-leaning intellectual Right, has been a collection of mental defectives and ethical troglodytes, parading bigotry and ignorance and poor reasoning and bad faith and miserable writing skills around in public; this has given criticism of Leftwing Authoritarians a bad image, which obscures the ground truth. (It's got to the point that science itself has become a "left" enterprise in its image, and reality famously appears to have a "liberal" - meaning left-liberal - bias).
    - America was attacked, in WWII, by Japan and Germany - not Russia or China. It's natural to believe worse of one's foes than one's allies.
    - The holocausts of the Left have been committed without drama, by ordinary means and ordinary thugs over longer times in poverty-stricken areas among people of dubious race and ethnicity - no fancy engineered mass killing ovens, Leni Reifenstahl movies, proud Western white men with lightning bolt insignias and shiny jackboots gone crazy and murdering the best of Western civilization, nothing like that. If a bunch of vaguely Asiatic Russian peasants in the middle of a vast and desolate prairie have some kind of bad harvest one winter, it doesn't register. If absolute power so maddens and corrupts a Chinese ruler that he turns from his former mysteriously Eastern political wisdom to depravity and mass murder among the billions of Chinese, it sounds sort of like something that happens there among those billions, another distant tragedy among the teeming masses of the Orient.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yes I think that's right. And they also supported welfare for Aryan members of society - a sort of socialism but with race-based qualifying criteria. They were also anti-capitalist, at least to start with, thought they softened this aspect later, (as most socialist parties in power tend to do, to this day).

    It is not at all clear that they were true fascists, like Mussolini's party in Italy: the term "fascist" has become such an all-purpose pejorative of the Left that it is in danger of losing its meaning.

    The unique, defining, feature of Nazism seem to have been the race myth of Aryan supremacy. This plays no part in fascism as such - though many of the other features of Nazism are similar to what is found in fascism.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They were anti-Jewish banker, and anti-international Jewish banking cabal, but that had nothing to do with capitalism: the first thing the Nazis did when they took power was privatize - sell to German non-Jew capitalists, their allies - a bunch of State owned businesses. Their entire economy inside Germany was based on private capitalist industry, with the State reducing - not expanding - its ownership role.

    They even did that while preparing for and prosecuting full scale war - normally an opportunity for State takeover of industry.

    That's the opposite of socialism.
    That's not the problem. The problem is that its use to accurately label political factions in the US is described as mere pejorative, taken as meaningless, and obscured under a chaff of misdirection, by very interested parties with great media influence. There is a concerted effort to render "fascist" meaningless, or restrict it to Nazis, in American media discourse - similar to the (largely successful) effort to render "liberal" meaningless, and by the same people. This is not an effort of the Left.

    Cui bono?
    That isn't necessarily relevant - the Nazis were fascist, whether fascism "defined" them or not.

    Meanwhile: Whether such "racial myth" features (Aryan supremacy, Roman supremacy, white supremacy, etc) are essential to fascism, whether a movement without them is fascist, is currently in debate, in the US. They are ubiquitous, in the definite and established fascist movements we have to look at - we know that. The current US one has white supremacy and white racism at its core, certainly.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Fascism is not inherently racist. If you read the history that will be plain. It is however fiercely nationalist. Which is a different matter.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The German, Italian, and current American fascist movements were and are more fundamentally based in a "racist" mythology of a kind - a "Volk" or a "People" - than in any geographical or political or "fellow citizen" identity.

    The German ones slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their fellow German nationals of the wrong "race", while radically altering the borders of their "nation" to incorporate the outlying members of their "race" that happened to be living in other nations. The American ones trace their political identity to people who attempted to break the nation up into pieces as a means of maintaining their racial domination, and many are overtly and explicitly ready to do that again if necessary. The Italian fascist "nationalism" was based not on the modern nation of Italy but on a supposed spiritual and cultural legacy of the Roman empire, with true Romans identified in places like Dalmatia and around the Mediterranean generally, national borders and imperial governance to be rearranged as necessary.

    The Spanish Falangists might be called nationalists, but their rhetorical and motivational identity seems to have been as Catholics - a theological "Volk", the heirs of the Holy Roman empire rather than the Roman one. And following that identity the Falangists incorporated other features unusual for a fascist regime but common in Catholic history and Church organization, such as encouraging cooperatively owned businesses and syndicate managed industry (although not government owned or run, as marks socialism).

    So the question of whether such a religion-identified "Volk" counts as a "race" for analytical purposes comes up in tandem with the question of whether Falangism was a fascist ideology at all - its nationalism seemingly raising as much doubt as confirmation of the diagnosis.

    Anyway, not really to the matter of the OP: Franco's regime, Mussolini's regime, Hitler's regime, the current Republican government in the US, are none of them socialist.
  21. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Nazism had it roots in atheism and Darwinism; natural selection. Hitler was born in Austria, which was the birth place of modern psychology. Psychology assumes spiritualism is based on personal psychology and chemicals.

    Members of his staff were masters of propaganda; how to manipulate and motive people using psychology. An important part of the propaganda was about the superior Arian race and the survival of the fittest. When all the deer gather during mating season, the strongest gets to mate. War is competition for territory, resources and spoils.

    The Nazis not only persecuted the Jews, but also killed millions of Catholics. These two become the cartoon races and spiritual orientations, which by being placed low by the propaganda; cartoons, help create the illusion of rising above. It was about relative reference which was popular in physics.

    Hitlers downfall was the amount of drugs he was being given by his personal physician. Science help him come to stature, but in the end science caused his downfall due to the drugs making him mentally and physically unstable.
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    My understanding is that the original fascism in the modern sense was Mussolini's Italian fascism, which, as you point out, was not racist but based on some (rather fake) notion of nationhood. And indeed Falangism was- as you point out - not racist either.

    I quite agree none of this prevents Nazism being described as a type of fascism, but my point is that Nazism had, at its core, explicit racism and this was a unique, defining feature of it which is not present in fascism in general.

    You seem to me to be attempting to stretch the meaning of "racism" to encompass things such as nationalism and religious identification, which manifestly are something else entirely.
  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Fascism needs enemies. Those enemies can be ideological, racial, ethnic, or social. It makes no difference. What fascism requires is someone to fear and hate. In the case of WW II, it was all the above. Fascism is rooted in our basest emotions.

    Fascism needs people to act irrationally and the way to do that is make people angry and fearful. Angry fearful people aren't rational.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

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