Useful Notes Nazi Germany Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

12:46:28 AM Nov 16th 2014
That second paragraph under the section explaining the politics of the Nazi Party (the one about the word "socialist" is the party) is horribly misleading and wrong for reasons laid out in the third paragraph. Saying they weren't "Capitalist and Right-Wing" is in itself wrong since right-wingers in Germany at the time were not expected to be laissez-faire capitalists (which was only associated with classical liberals at the time) but instead something much closer to State Capitalists or mercantilists. Just having a paragraph filled with so much wrong (largely due to trying to shoehorn the definition of right-wing in the modern USA to 1930's Germany) makes me feel it should be removed completely and the last paragraph reworded as to refute this claim before others make it again. Or at least heavily reword the second paragraph but I don't feel comfortable with it staying as it is even if most of it is refuted in the next paragraph.
01:27:44 AM Nov 16th 2014
Which paragraphs are we talking about, exactly?
11:41:38 AM Nov 16th 2014
The largest bulletpoint one. The only one with three bulletpoints in one section. It starts off "It is often brought up that "socialist" was in the Nazi Party's full name." The paragraph under that one I think removing that sentence was enough though.
01:16:02 PM Nov 16th 2014
Yep, that one needs de-nattering:
  • It is often brought up that "socialist" was in the Nazi Party's full name. In truth, this gets complicated. The full name of the Party - "National Socialist German Workers' Party" - would have sounded to a German living in the 1920s and 30s something like "Democratic Republican Liberal Conservative Party" would sound to an American living today. "National" and "German" were right-wing conservative catchphrases (the main conservative party at the time was called the German National Party), and "Socialist" and "Workers" were of course left-wing catchphrases. The name was meant to sound vague and all-embracing, to attract as wide an audience as possible. This reflected the Nazis' nationalist ideology: they always insisted that they were the party of ALL Germans, and opposed democracy for being "divisive". The one constant element in Nazi ideology and practice was genocidal racism and brutal dictatorship, which is what they are remembered for. On most other issues - especially economics - they were actually quite hazy and divided. They had both "left-wing" and "right-wing" factions on economic matters, with the "left" (led by Ernst Rohm, his SA, and Goebbels) advocating nationalization of industry, while the "right" (led by Himmler, the SS, and Schacht) advocated an alliance with the wealthy capitalists and big business, with Hitler making a pretext at being willfully aloof. At least until it became clear how important the alliances with Germany's old school industrialists and militarists was to gaining power and how much of a thorn and threat Roehm's SA was becoming. At which point Hitler swung behind the SS, the "right-wing" faction quickly gained the upper hand, and Rohm and the SA were eventually killed or driven into hiding during the Night of Long Knives. In the end, the Nazis came to power as part of an alliance with conservative political forces, and they mostly continued the economic policies of mainstream German conservatism (which included a 60-year-old tradition of limited welfare state measures, going back to Bismarck).
    • That said, they did always oppose laissez-faire capitalism, along with the Italian Fascists. Like Italian Fascism they advocated a so-called "third way" or "fusionist" economic system, in between state socialism and laissez-faire capitalism, so it's economy, though not directly owned by the state, was heavily planned and tightly regulated. (While Nazis were fascist, they didn't want to use the term "fascist" because they felt it sounded too Italian. Essentially, Hitler wanted to establish his own German blend of fascism). Price and wage controls were placed on the economy, industries cartelized, the work force strictly controlled in the government Labor Front when unions were banned, with Four-Year Plans to rival the Five-Year Plans of the Soviet Union. So many regulatory hoops had to be gone through that it severely hampered production. Also, the Nazis in fact never ended unemployment-even with military service and people working in munitions factories, they still had it, but changed the way unemployment statistics were calculated to make it appear better. They also desired to establish autarky (economic self-reliance that did not require foreign trade) but this was impossible since Germany lacked certain essential resources for an industrial economy. This gave them a practical reason, along with gaining living space to contain an expanding German population, for invading and looting other countries of their resources. Author Guenter Reiman named it "the vampire economy" because of this in his book of the same name.
      • ...none of which was particularly new in Germany. A regulated-but-still-profit-driven market economy with a heavy military element had been the standard policy of German monarchists and their socialist rivals going all the way back to the 1870s; one of the defining political conflicts was just over where the emphasis was between the reactionary, militaristic autocrats and the (at the time) pacifist socialists. In Germany, and continental Europe in general, there was no association between right-wing politics and strict laissez-faire capitalism, as there is in America today. In fact, state control of industry (as long as the state was run by the aristocratic or military elite) was seen as a bulwark against socialism by them, to the extent that it could be used to break unions and other workers' organizations.
06:44:23 PM Nov 16th 2014
That's the one. The entire second paragraph is semi-true but mostly seems to exist to imply a no true scotsman that the Nazis weren't right-wing because they believed in regulations. Perhaps part of the second and third paragraph could be combined (The third paragraph is really good as it refutes this infuriatingly ignorant yet common claim)?
11:45:32 AM Aug 18th 2014
The bit that toyed with the idea that gun control sort-of might have facilitated the holocaust had to go. I find that ridiculously simpleminded, even offensive. Some more reasons are included in my edit.
11:50:44 AM Aug 18th 2014
While I find that entry to be extremely questionable and injecting modern gun politics a bit too much, the "correction" you posted is essentially a Justifying Edit and we don't do these:

However it is a serious fallacy to think that with more weapons, the holocaust wouldn't have happened. For one, the many countries that were occupied had had armies, of the kind with actual weapons, but their defenses were overrun. If afterwards a resistance group would have organised a large scale, armed insurrection to prevent deportation, the nazi forces would have rounded them up and dealt with them mercilessly. Acts of retribution included execution of civilians or even massacring entire villages, such as Oradour-sur-Glane in France. And that's even forgetting general objections like hindsight bias about the holocaust and the Milgram experiment, which was specifically designed to answer the questions who had been Hitler's willing executioners.
08:14:49 AM Sep 15th 2013
Hate to nitpick, but Hitler wasn't really that concerned with Africans. At that point, anyway. He saw them as uncivilized savages that posed no threat to Europe, unlike the Jews and the Slavs supposedly did. I believe he even made somewhat flattering comments toward Africans in admiration of their fighting spirit in the face of a technologically superior European war machine. Not to mention that at that time, very few Africans were even let into the vast majority of Europe with maybe Portugal being the exception. What shaped his racially motivated hostility toward Slavs, Gypsies and Jews came from periods of his life where he was surrounded by those other Europeans. I'm not aware of any atrocities carried out against Africans and I'm pretty well read on this stuff. If it's because he supposedly refused to shake Jesse Owen's hand at the Olympics, Owens himself disputes the claim saying Hitler was gracious and respectful and waved or saluted him on his way out...which is the only reason he didn't shake the man's hand. He was a busy man, planning on conquering Europe...remember?

The only racism Owens experienced at that time was when he came home to the US. I'm not saying Hitler was particularly fond of blacks/Africans but his racism toward them was no more severe than that of any other nation at the time, whether they were European, Asian, friggin' Eskimos...Hitler didn't want Africa. He only sent troops in to rescue Mussolini's worthless ass. He wanted Eastern Europe and Russia. He certainly would have set up puppet regimes in Western Europe but that was the extent of his ambition at the time.
11:12:07 AM Feb 7th 2014
From what I've heard, the reason he didn't shake Owens' had because he only wanted to shake the hands of German winners. When his advisors told him he had to either shake everybody's hands, or nobody's, he decided on the latter alternative. Owen himself notet the following: "Hitler didn't snub me it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram."
Collapse/Expand Topics