Silent Bob explains how and why the Nazi party was not particularly socialist:
The idea that workers controlled the means of production in Nazi Germany is a bitter joke. It was actually a combination of aristocracy and capitalism.
Technically, private businessmen owned and controlled the means of production. The Nazi "Charter of Labor" gave employers complete power over their workers. It established the employer as the "leader of the enterprise," and read: "The leader of the enterprise makes the decisions for the employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise." The employer, however, was subject to the frequent orders of the ruling Nazi elite. After the Nazis took power in 1933, they quickly established a highly controlled war economy under the direction of Dr. Hjalmar Schacht.
Prior to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, worker protests had spread all across Germany in response to the Great Depression. During his drive to power, Hitler exploited this social unrest by promising workers to strengthen their labor unions and increase their standard of living. But these were empty promises; privately, he was reassuring wealthy German businessmen that he would crack down on labor once he achieved power.
The Nazis abolished trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike. An organization called the "Labor Front" replaced the old trade unions, but it was an instrument of the Nazi party and did not represent workers.
According to the law that created it, "Its task is to see that every individual should be able... to perform the maximum of work." Workers would indeed greatly boost their productivity under Nazi rule but they also became exploited. Between 1932 and 1936, workers wages fell, from 20.4 to 19.5 cents an hour for skilled labor, and from 16.1 to 13 cents an hour for unskilled labor.
It's true that the Nazis tried to develop an ideology of socialism -- one based on Christianity, in fact. Part of their party platform was the idea that the public need should be put before private greed, and this principle was part of the statement of how they were a Christian political party:
"We demand freedom for all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or conflict with the customs and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The party as such represents the standpoint of a positive Christianity, without owing itself to a particular confession. It fights the spirit of Jewish materialism within us and without us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our Volk can only take place from within, on the basis of the principle: public need comes before private greed."
In reality, though, Nazi policies did not reflect anything that looks like socialism. How can anyone describe a government that abolishes the right to strike or engage in collective bargaining as "socialist"? Mere opposition to "Jewish materialism" or "Jewish capitalism" doesn't make one a socialist.
Nathan Newman explains a recent example of how unionization is suppressed in America: unions picketing a company aren't allowed to ask other unions to support them and refuse to work as well:
Most progressives don't fully understand that if a union asks other workers to help them during a strike, they have often broken the law. That act of speech-- asking for help -- is an illegal act.
You hear people prattle on about American Exceptionalism-- that US workers are individualists and company-oriented, which is why we don't have broader labor unity or general strikes as you often see in European countries.
The answer is far more prosaic. In the US, the First Amendment has been declared null and void at the workplace door and any attempt to ask for labor unity is a crime. It's really hard to have broad-based unity when you can't ask for it without finding yourself in court.
American conservatives are concerned that this nation not come too close to the "socialism" of Nazi Germany, but it is the laws which work against collective bargaining and union activity which cause America to begin to resemble Nazi Germany, not any so-called socialist policies of this or that leftist group. Socialism might be an exceedingly bad way to organize an economy, but criticizing the Nazis is not the way to make this point.