How Socialist is National Socialism (Nazism)?:

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Nazism is an idea that emphasizes "superior race" and seeks preferential treatment and purity of that race. The modern-day Nazi groups, and especially the National Socialist German Workers' Party of WWII Germany, have followed this idea to varying extents.

The full term is actually "National Socialism". At face value, this looks like a blend of nationalism and socialism. But to what degree is it actually aligned with the socialist idea?

The common definition of socialism involves collective ownership of production/distribution of goods. This term is quite used and and sometimes misconstrued, but people generally understand it to involve governmental role in regulating the economy and perhaps more. In some theories of communism, socialism is supposed to be a transitional stage.

Now, Nazism is recognized as an ideology based on fascism, which was the basis of Italy of Axis Powers (an ally of Nazi Germany). Fascism is a rather confusingly used term. It is actually opposed to communism, and despite involving nationalism and governmental control, it seems to have some factors that are tied to capitalism rather than socialism. Nazism's fascist ideology being a socialist one doesn't wholly add up so easily.

Despite this, there are some arguments that do argue that socialism is relevant to Nazism. One example of such argument in this article (honestly I think this article is too exaggerated). And historically, it looks like the Nazi Party was originally founded on "national socialism". Even if the Nazi Party did become something other than that, the ideology of Nazism continues to be called that. Why is that?
Now using Trivialis handle.
2 DeMarquis5th Aug 2012 06:04:01 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
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I'll offer an uninformed opinion: Hitler did to "Nazism" what Stalin did to Communism. That is, he basically abandoned an approach to policy based on ideology and focused on centralizing power within himself, using Nazi ideology as a loose ideological cover.
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3 entropy135th Aug 2012 06:21:54 AM from Somewhere only we know. , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Economically speaking, Nazi Germany is more capitalist than socialist. Heck even China today (famous for its "mixed" economy) is still more socialist than Nazi Germany. Why? Because the Chinese government (i.e. the Chinese Communist Party) directly invests into markets, corporations. There are government-owned corporations, besides of course local corporations owned by "private entities". The Nazi government avoided that, focusing instead on supporting such corporations owned by "private entities." Note that they did not directly invest in such corporations, but rather made favorable terms for them in terms of contracts, pricing, etc.

tl;dr: Nazism is actually more capitalist, as they (the Nazi gov't) are "laissez-faire" enough for certain "capitalists" to be able to compete, but not "socialist" enough except for making sure it remains as "certain" capitalists.
I'm reading this because it's interesting. I think.

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To be fair, the Nazis were socialist in the sense that they did a great job with healthcare.
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
5 Inhopelessguy5th Aug 2012 10:32:56 AM from Birmingham Ctl, UK , Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
In my opinion, it would be that Nazism was "socialist" in the same way modern progressive socialism works. Heavy support for the populace, in terms of welfare, social programmes, etc., and general "equality" (at least, for those who Hitler liked, that is).


According to The Other Wiki, nazis were pretty much whatever they needed to be to seize power. Their values were so over the place that there were constant arguments over any given course of action. The only thing most of them agreed with was who was in charge (and even then...).

edited 5th Aug '12 11:37:35 AM by KingZeal

7 Deboss5th Aug 2012 11:27:14 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
My understanding was that the Nazis were in favor of whatever got them power, which usually involved something they could scream about.
8 pagad5th Aug 2012 11:42:51 AM from perfidious Albion , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Sneering Imperialist
The Nazis were in favour of anything that turned Germany into an industrial and military juggernaut, with the notable exception of women in the workplace (which became an economic problem for them in the latter half of the Second World War). Nothing but Kinder, Küche, Kirche for them...
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9 Carciofus5th Aug 2012 11:52:42 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
If I remember correctly, Nazism paid some homage to the Fascist-influenced ideas of Corporativism, but in practice did not really implement them at all (not that Fascism did so than much either).

In a way, corporativism is alternative to both socialism and capitalism: if anything, it can be thought of as a larger-scale variant of the medieval guild system.

Due to its association with fascism, it is extremely unpopular nowadays; but to be honest, sometimes I wonder if there couldn't be something in it. Fascism WAS not very nice, I am not disputing this; but still, perhaps a "vertical" stratification of society of that sort might have some advantages over the "horizontal" one that is common nowadays.

edited 5th Aug '12 11:53:40 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

10 Deboss5th Aug 2012 12:09:49 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
People have this nasty habit of correlating things which are only related through individuals. Either it's a good idea or it's a bad idea, who came up with and who endorses it rarely effect such status.
The Nazis did have an economic policy though and it's not socialist at all. Welfare programs are not socialism and I really dislike that characterisation in politics, though I only primarily see it from Americans. That would make anything that is a government agency as "socialism" which makes no sense.

The Nazis performed a sort of private-public partnership in a "corporate-led" free market environment. Big corporations would control large swathes of the economy, for instance, the People's Car corporation (Volkswagen) was a private entity allowed to control most of the car industry, in return for this favour, the government gets to have a direct relationship with the corporate leadership. Or, take the fashion industry, with Hugo Boss, providing the Nazis with snazzy uniforms and a monopoly over much of the industry, in return, the Nazi party has a direct line to the corporate leadership.

So basically, it's like this incredibly corrupt corporate-relationship with government in order to centralise power yet not have to actually administer anything through government. (And that last part makes it super not socialist)

edited 5th Aug '12 12:28:54 PM by breadloaf

12 Filby5th Aug 2012 01:24:55 PM from Western Massachusetts
Some Guy
I was under the impression that socialism had a good rep in Europe in the 1920s-30s, so the Nazis used the name to cash in on its popularity.

I think the Nazis may even have had a leftist wing at one point, but it was purged in the Night of Long Knives, along with any right-wing Nazis who weren't right-wing enough.
13 MrsRatched5th Aug 2012 02:58:36 PM from Confederated Corporative Spanish Territory , Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
Judging you
Every fascism for the time adopted socialist views, even if they opposed socialism...

Said that, the way many people try to discredit socialism as itself by mentionin that fact upsets me Up to 11
14 entropy135th Aug 2012 08:21:58 PM from Somewhere only we know. , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
[up][up]No leftists in the Nazi Party. There's a separate Socialist Party (who are closer to the West, specifically the Socialist Parties there) and Communist Party (obviously close to the USSR). The Brown Shirts are the "not right enough" wing of the Nazi Party, and they're not particularly "left" either, just more "right of center".
I'm reading this because it's interesting. I think.

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, over.
Nazi support Socialism at the beginnings, SA support strike and labour under Rohm, Nazi abandon Socialism after where SA and Ernest Rohm get killed.
Well, I can see the Nazi Party going astray. But contemporary Nazi believers still call themselves, technically and sometimes literally, "national socialists". I wonder why that's the case.

Reading about Nazism, apparently the notable back then had varying views of what socialism was actually supposed to imply.
Now using Trivialis handle.
17 3of46th Aug 2012 03:48:41 AM from Five Seconds in the Future. , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
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Because "National Socialism" has evolved into its own as a term and its not simply two different terms put together. The "socialism" in this context means something entirely different than the "socialism" of the left. And for the record, calling any NSDA Pler a left would have ended in PAIN. They and the KPD (communist party) had battle's in the street.

Saying that just because its the same word is has to be it is silly. It would be saying that because we germans define the political "right" almost automatically as Nazis that all political rights are Nazis.

Just because Karl Marx defined "socialism" as one thing doesn't mean that Adolf Hitler doesn't define it as something else.

edited 6th Aug '12 3:56:20 AM by 3of4

That Hitler and his allies styled themselves "national socialists" was mainly a marketing decision. At the time, Communism was going strong within the discontent German working class, who were the primary target audience of "the Nazis" in their beginnings (it's National Socialist Workers' Party for a reason). The goal was to present themselves as the Moral Substitute of "communist ('international') socialism".

And the NSDAP also had a "left wing" for a time (left from the center of the Nazis, not left of the center of the entire political spectrum) linked to the person of Gregor Strasser. When the Nazis came to power, Strasser had Outlived his Usefulness and was forced out of politics. He was killed in the "Night of the Long Knives", but at the time he was already deprived of all political power.

edited 6th Aug '12 6:22:34 AM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
19 ATC9th Aug 2012 01:25:27 PM from The Library of Kiev
Was Aliroz the Confused
National Socialism has about as much to do with Actual Socialism as my opinions have to do with reality; or about as much as youtube comments have to do with thoughtful discussion.
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I must say, they did have a lot of things in common with Socialists. First of all, the "Volkskörper" was strangly near a classless society, in theory (as long as they were "Arier"). They had quite a lot of things which well ... seemed to be socialistic, like the "Kraft durch Freude" program, the whole concept of Hitlerjugend (look at the DD Rs FDJ..) and most prominently, their planned economy. It's quite implicated that, given the great war - which Hitler always though he had to fight - would mean a planned economy. If you look at the economic legislative in those years, one might get the impression that the Nazis somehow wanted Mercantilism... which makes next to no sense, I know. It is quite true they privatised a lot of formerly state-owned things, but on the other hand they controlled the economy firmly through legislation, as they really belived in a strong state and the primate of politics over economics.

It must however been said that, in economics the Nazis did not know what they would do other than opportunism. I've heard anecdotes - I'm German - that a quite highranking official would simply laugh when asked "What will you do, now that you are elected?" and would say that they, the Nazis and the offical, simply plan to aquire as much power and money as they could and that he never heard of any program other than opportunism.
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21 pagad9th Aug 2012 03:53:50 PM from perfidious Albion , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Sneering Imperialist
Well, that's the thing - the Nazis were about as far away as you could get from stereotypical German efficiency. Hitler's attitude was that things would sort themselves out in time - leading to a massively chaotic bureaucracy with a huge amount of infighting.
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And that while having Speer control one half of the economy, and the other in some kind of "finders keepers" status in the other ministries... A good example of that pandaemonium that were the half-planned economy of them were their statues concerning farming: Farms were owned by private persons, but you were not allowed to sell land, when you wanted to have a privileged status. You could decide what to sow, but the prices were fixed and the Reichsminister always tried to dictate what to sow.
eritis sicut deus sientes bonum et maleum
Yeah but I think there's a difference between taking control of things and being socialist. Socialists pool resources of individuals together for a public venture, such as healthcare, or roads, or education. Simply taking control has nothing at all to do with socialism, except the taxation part and I think it a bit of troll logic to relate the two things simply because they both impose taxes. A dictatorship takes control of parts of the economy, an action which does not constitute socialism at all.

If you're making a planned economy because you want total control, that's just you being power hungry and a dictatorship with a personally defined economic system. Socialism is specifically where you try to pool resources and spread them back out in a manner to benefit everyone according to their needs.
24 Ramidel9th Aug 2012 08:48:35 PM , Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Part of Hitler's platform was to give people "work and bread." Very social-interventionist in that. However, I don't think it was intentionally redistributive, and where it was, it was ultimately for the purpose of strengthening the state, rather than empowering the people. For example, as has been mentioned, Nazi healthcare was very good (though part of that was that Nazi Germany was able to actually implement an effective anti-tobacco campaign; if there's a more effective form of healthcare around, I haven't seen it). But you're not going to see a Nazi welfare state; the Nazi idea of welfare would be to stuff you in a factory.

edited 9th Aug '12 8:51:06 PM by Ramidel

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breadloaf, maybe you Americans have a different definition of Socialism. In my book, Socialism is characterized as a state-planned economy, which tries distributes the wealth justly (whatever that maybe, I think the most common definition is equally). But then again, how would you call a planned economy that doesn't want to distribute equally? Like Cuba, China and such? I know it's kind of a traditional name, but I think they are still called socialism?

The bit with the taxes was to show how incredibly chaotic the Nazi economics were; pro forma the "Erbhöfe" were privatly owned, but de facto, they were legislated in doing what the Reichsministerium said. The exact same thing happened with IG Farben and Krupp and the others, they were de facto under the controll of the Nazis, mainly through the granting of labor... I didn't wanted to say that taxes are socialism, I wanted to show how the Nazis were a) very chaotic and b) de facto (somehow I use that word to often) planning their economy. As it was said, the Nazis had HUGE programs which had only the reason d' etre to provide work, such as the famous Autobahnen (today those things are called Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen - work providing measure). They also controlled ALL the banks, in Germany and in the conquered states. All of this makes them kind of NEARER to the socialistic side of the spectrum than the capitalistic. They are really hard to describe in those terms, as they were - I say this far too often - really not knowing, what they should do. Last night I looked in this silly book (I think you know which I mean), and I had to find that there was absolutly no mention of any economic outlining at all... It simply didn't bother Hitler at all how he got his Panzer and Autobahnen and Reichsparteitage, as long as he got them.

edited 10th Aug '12 8:12:26 AM by laertes78

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