Thursday, March 24, 2005


Nazism was a popular, working-class movement but it was Green/Left, not "Rightist"

The fact that the recent Minnesota school massacre was done by a young admirer of Hitler will of course have the Leftist bloggers frothing at the mouth and trying to prove that conservatives are to blame -- because Hitler was "Rightist", you see. The fact that Hitler's most unrelenting opponent was the arch-Conservative Winston Churchill and the fact that Hitler started out his war in alliance with the Communist Stalin will not be mentioned of course. Leftists have no trouble ignoring even the most basic facts of history. And it has always been a mystery how Leftists can call "conservative" a man who imposed such vast changes on Germany -- considering that Leftists define conservatism as "opposition to change"!

What the media is notably ignoring is that, although he was no conservative, Hitler WAS a Greenie -- and the Hitler-admiring groups that the shooter was linked to were environmental extremists.

That Hitler was far closer to Communism than conservatism and that he shared almost all of his ideas with Marx & Engels is also rarely acknowledged. When Henry Ford said that "history is bunk" he could well have been describing history as it is generally taught in the schools today. But little bits of information do leak out to the public occasionally. The latest comes in the form of a book recently released in Germany. Excerpt from a review of it:

"A well-respected German historian has a radical new theory to explain a nagging question: Why did average Germans so heartily support the Nazis and Third Reich? Hitler, says Goetz Aly, was a "feel good dictator," a leader who not only made Germans feel important, but also made sure they were well cared-for by the state. To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry. Despite near-constant warfare, never once during his 12 years in power did Hitler raise taxes for working class people. He also -- in great contrast to World War I -- particularly pampered soldiers and their families, offering them more than double the salaries and benefits that American and British families received. As such, most Germans saw Nazism as a "warm-hearted" protector, says Aly, author of the new book "Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism" and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt"

In saying "most Germans saw Nazism as a "warm-hearted" protector", the author in fact tells only half the story. As anybody who has read much of Mein Kampf should be aware, the whole book is essentially a love-song to the German people. Hitler loved his German nation and was deeply troubled by the big political divisions among them -- until he "discovered" that the divisions were not the fault of Germans themselves but rather the fault of Jewish agitators who were misleading many of them. Since many of the Communist agitators in Hitler's Vienna immediately after World War I do in fact appear to have been Jewish, his explanation had some plausibility. So Hitler told the German people that they were wonderful (a Herrenvolk or "master people"), that he would fight their enemies (the Jews), and that he would look after them in the usual paternalistic socialist way. So the German people loved him back and fought to the death for him. Simple, isn't it? There is nothing conservative about it, though. Collectivism and treating people primarily as members of groups is Leftist. Conservatives stand for individualism.

The last desperate scream of the Leftist history teachers in trying to portray Nazism as "rightist" is their accusation that Nazism was not working-class but rather "bourgeois" (middle class). I have always found this claim amusing. As Heiden (1939) and others point out at length, Hitler was a hobo until 1914 so how does a hobo get to lead a middle-class movement? And both Roberts (1938) and Heiden (1939) -- prewar anti-Nazi writers -- portray Hitler as widely revered and popular among the Germans of their day. As Heiden (1939, p. 98) put it: "The great masses of the people did not merely put up with National Socialism. They welcomed it". And Madden (1987) presents modern-day scholarly evidence derived from archival research to show that Nazis came from all social classes in large numbers. Perhaps most useful is the work of Fischer (1978), who looked at the class composition of the most active and committed Nazi group -- the members of the Sturm Abteilung (S.A., Stormtroopers, Brownshirts). He found that "the workers are over-represented in the S.A." (p. 140). In fact, in the 1933-1934 period, 69.9% of the S.A. were working class compared to 53.2% in the overall German population of that time. The Marxist claim is, then, utter nonsense and, as usual, the opposite of the truth. Mussolini, too, found supporters and adversaries in all social classes (De Felice, 1977, p. 176). And particularly in the early years of Fascism, Mussolini often attacked the bourgeoisie in his speeches!

And as Von Mises wrote in 1940:

"Unless we are utterly oblivious to the facts, we must realize that the German workers are the most reliable supporters of the Hitler regime. Nazism has won them over completely by eliminating unemployment and by reducing the entrepreneurs to the status of shop managers (Betriebsfuehrer). Big business, shopkeepers, and peasants are disappointed. Labor is well satisfied and will stand by Hitler, unless the war takes a turn which would destroy their hope for a better life after the peace treaty. Only military reverses can deprive Hitler of the backing of the German workers.

The fact that the capitalists and entrepreneurs, faced with the alternative of Communism or Nazism, chose the latter, does not require any further explanation. They preferred to live as shop managers under Hitler than to be "liquidated" as "bourgeois" by Stalin. Capitalists don't like to be killed any more than other people do"

It is in fact Communist movements that always have bourgeois leaders and mostly bourgeois supporters. The workers usually vote for more moderate Leftists. So once again we see Leftists projecting onto others things that are really true of themselves.

De Felice, R. (1977) Interpretations of Fascism Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U.P.
Fischer, C.J. (1978) The occupational background of the S.A.'s rank and file membership during the depression years, 1929 to mid-1934. In: Stachura, P. The shaping of the Nazi state. London: Croom Helm.
Heiden, K. (1939) One man against Europe Harmondsworth, Mddx.: Penguin
Madden, P. (1987) The social class origins of Nazi party members as determined by occupations, 1919-1933. Social Science Quarterly 68, 263-280.
Roberts, S.H. (1938) The house that Hitler built N.Y.: Harper.

(I put up an earlier version of this post on Blogger News)


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