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Austin Cline

Hitler & Socialism

By October 31, 2005

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Many conservatives insist that the Nazis were an example of a 'socialist' government as part of their effort to discredit socialism and leftist policies in general. This is rather like using the example of East Germany, the German Democratic Republic, to discredit democracy: it demonstrates the speaker's inability to comprehend reality.

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.

 

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Comments
May 13, 2008 at 7:31 pm
(1) Dave says:

This isn’t the whole story. I’m not a expert on the subject or anything but you should read a bit more into the history of this if you are going to publish a article such as this. Quoting “Silent Bob” as a source for your article is rather silly.

Here is at one thing(I’m sure there is more) I think you inaccurately describe:
The phrase here “to power” is a bit vague. Hitler was elected, then used False Flag terror to gain a dictatorship. False Flag terror attacks having nothing to do with labor unions.

His rise “to power” used terrorism not political lies to labor unions.

February 1, 2011 at 3:50 am
(2) James says:

Hitler was never elected douche bag.

The phrase “The People” is also very vague. As “The People” of Nazi Germany weren’t exactly the whole population according to Nazi policy.

May 13, 2008 at 10:50 pm
(3) Austin Cline says:

This isn’t the whole story. I’m not a expert on the subject or anything but you should read a bit more into the history of this if you are going to publish a article such as this.

Can you identify any actual errors?

Quoting “Silent Bob” as a source for your article is rather silly.

Only if his claims and arguments are wrong. Are they?

Here is at one thing(I’m sure there is more) I think you inaccurately describe: The phrase here “to power” is a bit vague. Hitler was elected, then used False Flag terror to gain a dictatorship. False Flag terror attacks having nothing to do with labor unions.

His rise “to power” used terrorism not political lies to labor unions.

Except that the “terrorism” was attributed to communists who were, in turn, politically active on behalf of labor unions. Political attacks on communists and socialists were necessarily attacks on their political base: labor. If you read a bit more history on this, you’ll know that.

November 4, 2008 at 12:08 pm
(4) Mateo Caino says:

In the most simple of terms, socialism is an economic system in which the government plays the most important role in deciding what to produce and for whom to produce it. While Hitler blamed socialists and Marxists (as well as Jewish capitalism) for Germany’s problems, once he was in control the government began taking a more active role in the economy. Businesses were told what to produce and for whom to produce it. This can be linked to America’s own war efforts but Hitler’s campaign for government involvement to control inflation and unemployment began before there were eminent threats of war. Hitler railed against socialism but DID implement a soft socialist economic system.

Also, restricting collective bargaining was an effort to maintain a mostly government-controlled economy, not to invoke capitalism.

Furthermore, capitalism has never been given a chance to stand as an economic system alone. There has never been a strictly capitalist economic system.

It’s all a bout research and information not watching overrated movies.

January 7, 2009 at 10:08 pm
(5) wbiro says:

Nice try- good in depth research, your professor would be proud, but terrible perception and judgment (again, your professor would be proud). The most important point you touched on yourself, and I’ll quote you on it:

“During his drive to power, Hitler exploited this social unrest by promising workers to strengthen their labor unions and increase their standard of living.”

So, what have we here? We have Socialist promises. We have the corrupting influence of freebies (which the American Democratic Party currently engages in- aiming at whoever they perceive as the largest voter block- it used to be the poor; the Dems tossed them in the river and now it’s the “middle class”).

So, the German people voted for freebies (SOCIALIST FREEBIES), and DID they EVER paid the price. Leftists would have societies repeat that ad nauseum.

what I’m saying is, it does not matter what Hitler BECAME, he WON on a Socialist ticket, full of corrupting, freebie promises, that, unfortunately for the German people, turned out to be a means to power for Hitler (and you can see that “means to power” pattern in the American Democratic Party).

January 8, 2009 at 6:28 am
(6) Austin Cline says:

So, what have we here? We have Socialist promises.

You’re saying that only socialists promise that workers’ standard of living will ever increase?

And what about the promises made to business leaders which caused them to provide their support and money?

So, the German people voted for freebies (SOCIALIST FREEBIES)

Really? Please, list those freebies.

what I’m saying is, it does not matter what Hitler BECAME, he WON on a Socialist ticket

Because his victory had nothing to do with the promises made by conservatives and capitalists, right? I’m sure you can demonstrate this.

January 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm
(7) Todd says:

Nice try wbiro, but Hitler and his Nazis were anti-socialist. Mussolini said that facism should have been corporatism, as it is gov’t acting as on behalf of company owners. The Nazis did things like beating union workers to get them back to work. That’s the opposite of socialist.

But don’t let you ignorance of history get in the way of your bitterness over Obama’s victory. A brown person is going to be president… get over it.

January 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(8) John Hanks says:

Mos right wing conservatives think that the invention of the wheel was socialistic.

January 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm
(9) Tom Edgar says:

John Hanks.

The wheel must have been Socialistic. It was designed to make work easier.

Capitalists would have stuck with runners. Harder on the worker but cheaper.

February 11, 2009 at 11:17 pm
(10) Daniel says:

Yeah because communist concentration camps were holiday resorts.

January 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm
(11) Joe says:

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” –Adolf Hitler

Straight from the horses mouth.

January 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(12) will shetterly says:

Joe, that quote is straight from the horse’s ass, not mouth.

Has it occurred to you that Hitler sometimes lied?

The first people he locked up when he came into power were the communists. In the concentration camps, their armbands had red triangles.

March 22, 2010 at 1:47 am
(13) Matt True says:

“Nazis abolished trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike.”

Kind of important when you’re fighting a two-front war, don’t ya think?

Whether or not Hitler was a socialist, his government had ultimate control on the economy. If you’re anti-free-market, you’re not exactly a capitalist, are you?

Opponents of socialism might be technically wrong to label Hitler as Socialist, but they are correct to point out that he favored government control over the free market. Socialism may not be totalitarian fascism, but socialists in the Nazi party didn’t mind using the power of the state to try to implement their goals. And the fact that Hitler rode the wave of Socialism does not speak well of the movement’s ability to prevent genocidal maniacs from taking the helm.

And it wasn’t just Hitler. When your ideology promises everybody a free lunch, history tells us you need strongmen like Hugo Chavez to keep all the government Ponzi schemes running!

March 22, 2010 at 5:30 am
(14) Austin Cline says:

Kind of important when you’re fighting a two-front war, don’t ya think?

Right, like America also abolished unions and collective bargaining at the same time. Oh, wait, they didn’t.

Whether or not Hitler was a socialist, his government had ultimate control on the economy.

So does the American government today.

If you’re anti-free-market, you’re not exactly a capitalist, are you?

Then again, it isn’t as simple as merely being “pro” or “anti” free-market. A significant number of corporations work to undermine the freedom of the market, but without bringing any sort of public control which comes with socialism.

Opponents of socialism might be technically wrong to label Hitler as Socialist, but they are correct to point out that he favored government control over the free market.

Then again, it isn’t as simple as merely having “control” or “no control” over the “free” market. Every regulation is a measure of control.

Socialism may not be totalitarian fascism, but socialists in the Nazi party didn’t mind using the power of the state to try to implement their goals.

Including imprisoning and killing all the socialists. Oh, wait, that doesn’t make any sense.

And the fact that Hitler rode the wave of Socialism does not speak well of the movement’s ability to prevent genocidal maniacs from taking the helm.

The fact that Hitler rode a wave of support and financing from corporations, capitalists, and traditional elites doesn’t speak well their ability to prevent genocidal maniacs from taking the helm.

April 1, 2010 at 12:32 am
(15) Thomas says:

John J. Ray, PH.D. would disagree with you Austin. The following is a link to an article he wrote: http://jonjayray.tripod.com/hitler.html. I will not sit here an mince words with you, but you keep asking everyone to prove you were wrong instead of proving you are right. This is a strategy they teach in debate when you don’t have sufficient grounds for your argument when it has been challenged. People can just read the article I linked and make there own mind up.

Also, it is obvious that you are pro-Union by the inclusion of the thoughts of Nathan Newman who you say, “…explains a recent example of how unionization is suppressed in America.” Nathan and you seem to be like a lot of other pro-Union people who think Unions work for the people (the worker) and that Big-Business is against them. The fact is the Unions and the leadership in Big-Business hurt the people (the worker) equally. I just ask everyone to read the book called “Crisis In Bethlehem,” written by John Strohmeyer, who was the editor of the Bethlehem Globe-Times from 1956-1984. He gives his account of the collapse of Bethlehem Steel, from its early hey-day to its collapse in the late 70′s. The fact is, he found out that the union was as guilty as top management in hurting its people. The leaders of both groups, Strohmeyer said were, “self-indulgent,” and led to the collapse of the Giant Steel Corporation because of greed and bad business practices. I myself drove through their giant steel mill in Lakawanna, NY on business in 1986 and it was a 5 square mile ghost town. I asked one of their workers why this happened and he told me to read this book. It was an eye-opener.

April 1, 2010 at 7:10 am
(16) Austin Cline says:

I will not sit here an mince words with you, but you keep asking everyone to prove you were wrong instead of proving you are right.

No, I don’t, I insist that people support their allegations. This misrepresentation is more than sufficient to dismiss what you say because you can’t be trusted to comprehend what you’re reading.

This is a strategy they teach in debate when you don’t have sufficient grounds for your argument when it has been challenged.

And the strategy of lying about others is a tactic used by… well, think about it for a minute.

An online publication — not an academic one — from a person who is not a historian and who thinks he can construct an argument on things like “Look, Hitler and Stalin both raised their arm, so they were obviously BFFs!” is hardly convincing. At least, not to anyone accustomed to paying attention to what they are reading.

April 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm
(17) Paul says:

Why don’t you try reading Hitler’s Manifesto and then rewrite your article. Here is a little piece of his Manifesto, then you can make your demeaning comments on anyone who disagrees with you, because you obviously have your own agenda and don’t have an open mind.

And this policy manifesto:

9. All citizens of the State shall be equal as regards rights and duties.

10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. The activities of the individual may not clash with the interests of the whole, but must proceed within the frame of the community and be for the general good.

Therefore we demand:

11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in life and property, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as a crime against the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits whether in assets or material.

13. We demand the nationalization of businesses which have been organized into cartels.

14. We demand that all the profits from wholesale trade shall be shared out.

15. We demand extensive development of provision for old age.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle-class, the immediate communalization of department stores which will be rented cheaply to small businessmen, and that preference shall be given to small businessmen for provision of supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

17. We demand a land reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to confiscate from the owners without compensation any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

So who put that manifesto forward and who was responsible for the summary quotes given before that? Was it the US Democrats, the British Labour Party, the Canadian Liberals, some European Social Democratic party? No. The manifesto is an extract from the (February 25th., 1920) 25 point plan of the National Socialist German Workers Party and was written by the leader of that party: Adolf Hitler.

April 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm
(18) Austin Cline says:

The manifesto is an extract from the (February 25th., 1920) 25 point plan of the National Socialist German Workers Party and was written by the leader of that party: Adolf Hitler.

Hitler didn’t become chairman until 1921. He had only become a member in Septemer 1919, a mere five months before that manifesto was published. It’a a matter of historical record that the earliest leaders and members of the NSDAP were more interested in socialism than Hitler ever was; indeed, Hitler wanted rename the party to something that didn’t have “socialist” in it. For Hitler, German nationalism and Aryan racism were what mattered most. If “socialism” mattered, it was as a sop to working-class voters. East Germany labeled itself a “democratic” state and I guess you believe that too.

But please, keep posting. Every time you post something in defense of your thesis you make it clear just how absurd that thesis is. First you post about an argument based on someone other than Hitler raising his hand (need I point out that American kids used to pledge allegiance to the flag with the same salute… by your “reasoning (and I use the term loosely), that would make Hitler an American patriot), now you falsely claim Hitler lead the Nazis well before he actually did and lay at his feet responsibility for a document he couldn’t have written or directed.

Every comment of yours just bolsters my position. Thank you.

October 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm
(19) andrew says:

your wrong by the way hitler added the socialist bit to the party name when he became chairman as he knew it would appeal to larger voting audience.

December 4, 2011 at 8:42 am
(20) Austin Cline says:

your wrong by the way hitler added the socialist bit to the party name when he became chairman as he knew it would appeal to larger voting audience.

Source and citation, please?

Oh, right, you don’t need to support your claims, do you?

April 3, 2010 at 12:22 am
(21) Paul says:

In Munich, on 24 February 1920, Adolf Hitler publicly proclaimed the 25-point Program of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), when the Nazis were still known as the DAP (German Workers Party). They retained the National Socialist Program upon renaming themselves as the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in April 1920, and it remained the Party’s official program.

Your history seems to be skewed for your benefit. Go back to school before you start writing articles you putz. And to clear things up, that was my first post genius, I made no post about the way Hitler saluted. Go back and read up on your history, I know it must be hard for you to research your work, but It will help you with future articles.

April 3, 2010 at 8:31 am
(22) Austin Cline says:

In Munich, on 24 February 1920, Adolf Hitler publicly proclaimed the 25-point Program

So? You still don’t seem to get the fact that he was a long way from leading the party — and even after he was the official leader, it would be a bit before he would be anything like the absolute dictator who could do absolutely anything he wanted.

So one member of a party publicly read a program written by others who were in charge of that party. And you think this is significant.

Your history seems to be skewed for your benefit.

Skewed towards reality — if you’ll notice I’m the one getting historical facts accurate and you’re making things up, like when Hitler actually took charge of the NSDAP.

Go back to school before you start writing articles you putz.

Since so far you only keep posting comments that reinforce my point, I guess calling me “putz” is about the best you can manage.

And to clear things up, that was my first post genius, I made no post about the way Hitler saluted.

I was referring to the link you gave up in comment #14. Oh, did you imagine that just because you fill in a different name this means no one will recognize that it’s the same person commenting again? That was smart. Tells us a lot about not only your reasoning, but your honesty as well.

January 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm
(23) Daniel says:

Austin,

While I think there are some good points here on both sides.
One point I would add is that while their are some differences between what we generally consider as Socialism and Facism-the main argument that Conservatives should make is that in each case the State has increasing control on the levers of the economy.

Liberals like to argue that Facism is a creature of the Right.
Liberals like to call Conservatives facist.
While there are some elements of Facism that resemble, draw from or influence the Right-there are a great deal more that draw from Socialism.

You should read Adam Toozes Wages of Destruction.
He describes the NAZI economy as collectivist in nature.
He’s a Cambridge Scholar-who calls it pretty fairly.

Liberals like to argue that Facism is a creature of the Right.
Liberals like to call Conservatives Facist.
Conservatism and Capitalism share little with Nazism or Socialism. As you say there are always liars.

January 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm
(24) Daniel says:

Websters Dictionary defines so·cial·ism as: “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

January 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm
(25) Lou K says:

Whether Hitler died a Socialist is pointless. He rose to power as one. Besides, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were indeed leftists and killed way more people than Hitler did.

February 1, 2011 at 4:00 am
(26) James says:

Does it really matter what extreme side some nut job is from?

Why is Conservative politics always name calling? It’s either the leftish fascists (which is an oxymoron) are ruining the country, or we have to save the country from the leftish fascists.

I guess Al Qaeda is leftist too? nope.

the KKK is also not leftist. Neither are the skin heads, neo-nazi’s or Jim mutha-phuckin Jones.

This Isn’t why i think John Boehner is douche bag cry baby, so why is Staln, marx, and hitler always why Repubs think Obama is going to ruin the world?

And he didn’t rise to power as a “Socialist” he rose to power as a National Socialist. Did i just blow your mind?? lol

It’s not a difficult concept, National Socialists believe control should be in the hands of “The People” much like regular old socialists do. Except, National Socialists only think “The People” constitute their specific Nationality, group, or in the case of the Nazi’s, Ethnicity.

Plus your argument is essentially “it doesn’t matter that most D.C. politics are in the hands of the lobbyists, they rose to power saying they were for the voters.

Let me guess, Glenn Beck is a big part of your life, and your text books are from Texas?

February 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm
(27) niells says:

This is thoroughly pointless. Why don’t we just argue about whether the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was socialist?

http://www.gdansk-life.com/poland/solidarity

Oh, I forget, it’s our “inability to comprehend reality.”

February 18, 2011 at 8:46 am
(28) Austin Cline says:

Oh, I forget, it’s our “inability to comprehend reality.”

Yes, a person who thinks that seeing the term “socialist” in a name means that that organization must be socialist, and doesn’t bother to investigate the reality of behavior or policies, must indeed suffer from an inability to comprehend reality.

March 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm
(29) SmarterThanLibs says:

You are all looking at “Hitler” the wrong way. Socialist? Fascist? Doesn’t matter. The question you should be asking yourself about Hitler and ANY government is are the people free to do as they wish without infringing upon other people’s rights? Do they advocate and create a nation of stable laws and regulations that afford a contry’s free people the space to prosper economically? Do they create an environment that allows people to develop to their full potential. Clearly Hitler did not. And clearly Obama does not… he signed a law that requires YOU to BUY something from a third party if you want or need it or not. Which is, by very defenition, a fascist action.

March 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm
(30) Austin Cline says:

And clearly Obama does not… he signed a law that requires YOU to BUY something from a third party if you want or need it or not.

So, you object to laws that require you to buy car insurance?

Which is, by very defenition, a fascist action.

Really? Cite the definition of “fascism” which includes that.

I won’t hold my breath.

June 23, 2011 at 1:53 am
(31) Tim says:

This article and comment’s don’t make any sense due to your misinterpretation of just ‘Socialism’ is.’Socialism’ does involve ‘Capitalism’.

‘Technically, private businessmen owned and controlled the means of production. The Nazi “Charter of Labor” gave employers complete power over their workers.’

Technically,That is functioning socialism.

It doesn’t bother me that such a infactual piece with ignorant comments appears online,as long as it’s associated with Atheist’s.Seems to be their moniker.

June 23, 2011 at 5:26 am
(32) Austin Cline says:

Socialism does involve Capitalism.

Then you should be able to show how. Curious, then, that you don’t even try to engage any of the arguments or ideas above.

Technically,That is functioning socialism.

Yet it doesn’t fit the definition of socialism.

It doesn’t bother me that such a infactual piece with ignorant comments appears online,as long as it’s associated with Atheists.Seems to be their moniker.

Strange that you label “ignorant” comments that use terminology correctly in places where you use it incorrectly. Does this happen to you often?

March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm
(33) Onefungi says:

If you think communist countries have functioning unions able to petition the government for anything, you have absolutely zero credibility. This article is a joke.

March 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm
(34) Austin Cline says:

If you think communist countries have functioning unions able to petition the government for anything, you have absolutely zero credibility.

Except that nothing whatsoever has been said about unions in communist nations. Nothing has been said about communist nations at all.

What were you saying about credibility?

This article is a joke.

Yet you can’t seem to find a single error in it. You can’t even seem to make a comment that’s related to anything in it.

I’m pretty sure that that’s important for having credibility.

April 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm
(35) Ivan says:

This is a bit of a joke. Hitler is a socialist. He even put it in the Party name. You have to be more than confused to decide, that Hitler put the words :socialism and worker’s . in the title of his party by accident. That is one. There is two: the ownership of the means of production. You really have to be living in a dreamland to beleave that workers can be the owners of the means of production. I can assure you that even in the ex socialist countries (one of which is Bulgaria, this is where I am from) the workers were never the ownes of the means of production. In reality the owners were the Party elite. Just like in Nazi Germany if you do not belive that, you have to read some history. “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. “, said Mr. Silent Bob. Well Mr. Bob, in the socialists countries like Bulgaria, the picture was the same. There was only one Trade Union, and in fact the strikes were forbiden. Can you remember how the collapse of the Socialist Countries started? Do you remember Solidarnost, a trade union in Ploland? Pay attention to the fact that in fact the strikes organised by Solidarnost in the Socialist republic of Poland met the severe government oppression, and in fact exactly a trade union, the workers ruined the communism. The rest of the material is full of mismatches between propaganda and reallity. And guys, first of all, make distinction between reality and propaganda. If you look at the facts, you’ll see with striking purity that Hitler, was a hell of a socialist. A national socialist.

April 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm
(36) Austin Cline says:

Hitler is a socialist.

And which characteristics of socialism did he actually exemplify? Curious how you can’t name even one.

He even put it in the Party name.

Kind of like how East Germany put “democratic” in their name.

You have to be more than confused to decide, that Hitler put the words :socialism and worker’s . in the title of his party by accident.

Confused? No – we can just tell the difference between propaganda and reality.

You really have to be living in a dreamland to beleave that workers can be the owners of the means of production.

Yet so many works do exactly that. Every independent contractor, for example. Every worker-owned company.

I can assure you that even in the ex socialist countries (one of which is Bulgaria, this is where I am from) the workers were never the ownes of the means of production.

So maybe they weren’t actually socialist.

It’s not a “dreamland” to insist that a nation was “socialist” despite admitting that they fail to demonstrate the most basic definition of socialism. No, it’s just pure delusion.

In reality the owners were the Party elite. Just like in Nazi Germany if you do not belive that, you have to read some history.

In reality, the means of production in Nazi Germany were owned by the same people who owned it before the Nazis came to power: the wealthy industrialists.

“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. “, said Mr. Silent Bob. Well Mr. Bob, in the socialists countries like Bulgaria, the picture was the same.

Except for all the ways that the picture was radically different – like that factories and businesses were owned privately by industrialists.

And guys, first of all, make distinction between reality and propaganda.

Pot, meet Kettle.

If you look at the facts, you’ll see with striking purity that Hitler, was a hell of a socialist.

A “purity” in which not a single characteristic of socialism is exemplified by Hitler. That’s like saying a lead bar is “pure gold” because some idiot writes “I am Gold” on it. And then a bigger idiot believes it.

May 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm
(37) Bobb says:

So you are saying Hitler stood for Hands off government, Individual rights above all. A weak Central government with the power in the hands of the people or the states.

Thats what Conservatives are.. Hitler never got rid of his socialism.. Government control of Business and having them control the people isn’t Conservative.. LOL.. Its just government control.

May 26, 2012 at 6:03 am
(38) Austin Cline says:

Thats what Conservatives are..

No, it’s not. Witness, for example, conservatives efforts to ban gay marriage at the federal level rather than leaving it to the states.

Conservatives are for conserving — conserving traditional power structures, morality, religion, ways of doing thing, etc.

That’s why the conservatives backed Hitler. Not the liberals, socialists, or communists. The conservatives.

Hitler never got rid of his socialism..

He never practiced it in the first place. German industry stayed in private hands rather than get owned by the government.

Government control of Business and having them control the people isn’t Conservative.

It can be, depending on the circumstances.

I get the impression that, like a lot of conservatives, you don’t have the slightest clue what “socialism” is. Socialism isn’t simply “big government” or “lots of regulations,” it’s ownership of the means of production by a democratically elected government (thus the public owns the means of production through the government).

That doesn’t describe anything Hitler did. However, busting up unions, putting socialists and communists in jail, and reinforcing traditional mores, morals, values, and power structures is what he did and that’s precisely what right-wing politicians always strive for.

June 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm
(39) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Wow, Austin, your patience is awesome. If you don’t mind my saying so, you are everything a saint is supposed to be but can’t. (couldn’t be).

Grandpa

June 3, 2012 at 12:13 am
(40) Katvilani says:

Socialism is government ownership of the means of production, it is not the government issueing orders to factory owners as to what they will produce. Private ownership but government regulation is still basically capitalism albeit a very different kind than that envisioned by adam smith or libertarians.

June 4, 2012 at 2:53 am
(41) dew says:

Thanks Austin for not being a saint . Anytime you need division, hate, murder, and genocide just call on their master and saints to get it done

June 4, 2012 at 3:30 am
(42) dew says:

Communism; a workers paradise of unionized workers . Capitalism ; privatized owership and not unionized, once the union “communism” with collective bargaining and workers equalized and not promoted on performance and skill you have a slow downward toward decay of such to complete failure and ruin. Socialism; welfare free lunch program. Tax everyone that does work and set-up better benefits for those who refuse to work.

June 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm
(43) Gerald Wilhite says:

Response to (5) wbiro:

You say “… it does not matter what Hitler BECAME, he WON on a Socialist ticket, full of corrupting, freebie promises, that, unfortunately for the German people, turned out to be a means to power for Hitler (and you can see that ’means to power’ pattern in the American Democratic Party).” I have some suggestions.

You imply that the promises and improper government expenditures are going only to the poor and middle class. What about the trillions of dollars in bailouts to international banks and corporations promised by Bush II and fulfilled by Obama?

The problem is it’s impossible for Congressional, Senatorial, and Presidential candidates to get any significant campaign funding from any source other than big private sector corporations and professional associations like teachers, doctors, military, universities, dentists, labor, lawyers, churches, etc.

That means that virtually everybody in our Legislative and Executive Branches of our government are bought-and-paid-for puppets on the issues important to the above list. For some reason we can’t see that virtually all of partisan politics is nothing but a devisive ‘Roman Circus’ sideshow. The idea is to keep the flock entertained and busy with viscous in-fighting. The worst thing that could happen is for somebody to pull the curtain back so we could all see how badly we’ve let things get screwed up.

My last suggestion: It is obvious that the GOP needs to be added to your list of guilty parties.

June 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm
(44) Jeremy says:

Todd is an imbecile.

July 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm
(45) Jonathan says:

Austin, you’re article is a joke.

I don’t know who “Silent Bob” is, but you should let him stay silent. Or at least stop posting on the internet.

The article is completely and totally fallacious, six ways to Sunday. I’ve read enough books on the Nazis, socialist, communism, Marxism and modern history to cover the floor of your whole house 6 inches deep in books. And I know for a fact that the only thing further left than fascism is communism.

In fact, let me explain that true communism has never been realized yet, as any good leftist will tell any “conservative” who cares to list off the long list of what he or she presumes to be “Marxist states.” But, the one thing all those failed utopias have in common is that they all stopped short of communism somewhere in the fascist universe.

July 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm
(46) Austin Cline says:

Austin, you’re article is a joke.

Yet you can’t seem to identify any errors in it.

The article is completely and totally fallacious

Curious that you would assert that it’s “totally fallacious,” yet be unable to identify a single fallacy.

I know for a fact that the only thing further left than fascism is communism.

Then you should be able to demonstrate that. Citations from some of the thousands of books you’ve read on the subject will help.

July 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(47) Jonathan says:

The article by “Silent Bob” is basically a fiction that completely ignores or rewrites history, down to the usual leftist meme about the Nazi’s being a “Christian” regime. Typical leftist revisionism.

July 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm
(48) Austin Cline says:

The article by “Silent Bob” is basically a fiction that completely ignores or rewrites history

And… I’m still not seeing anything from you to back up your many claims and accusations.

Were you expecting such behavior to be taken seriously?

July 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm
(49) Jonathan says:

And my question to you, is why you aren’t fact checking your articles to provide at least a balanced view of the argument. The definition of fascism is one of the most hotly contested debates in the historical community. Historians can’t agree on what fascism is. So, why don’t you rewrite the article to provide a balanced view, rather than the leftist only view.

Seems the one who writes the article has a responsibility also.

July 17, 2012 at 5:18 am
(50) Austin Cline says:

And my question to you,

Sounds like you don’t want to support any of your claims and accusations…

is why you aren’t fact checking your articles

To complain about a lack of “fact checking” is to complain that facts were gotten wrong.

So, please point out exactly what is factually inaccurate in the above.

to provide at least a balanced view of the argument.

Fact check does not provide “balance,” it provides accuracy. Do you have any idea what you’re writing?

The definition of fascism is one of the most hotly contested debates in the historical community.

No, it’s not.

It’s debated and disputed, but it’s by no means one of the “most hotly contested debates” in the historical community.

More important, though, is the fact that this post isn’t about the fascism of the Nazis. It’s about whether their movement qualified as socialism. It’s the definition of “socialism” that is key here, not the definition of fascism.

Historians can’t agree on what fascism is.

Yet their differences about the definition of “fascism” are not, generally speaking, all that far apart. What’s more important, though, is that few if any legitimate historians argue that the Nazis were a “liberal” or “leftist” movement.

So, why don’t you rewrite the article to provide a balanced view, rather than the leftist only view.

So you think that I should rewrite the article to incorporate your arguments as well? Why should I do that, when even you can’t come up with any arguments to defend your idea?

I have no more obligation to present your views in my writings than I do to present the views of creationists in my writings. If you want to make a case for your views then do so, but until then you should expect anyone to even take those views seriously, much less actively present them.

Seems the one who writes the article has a responsibility also.

Yes, I have an argument to be accurate and fair – and you haven’t even tried to show that I’ve failed in this, much less suceded. You’re long on accusations but short on proof.

I don’t have any obligation to provide anyone else’s opinion here by my own. I don’t have any obligation to do your work for you. If you have a case to make, then you should make it. Stop wasting time prancing about and telling everyone how much you’ve read while not producing a single citation Stop whining about how others aren’t be “balanced” enough while not producing a single argument of your own.

In my experience, the people who invest the most time puffing up themselves while attacking others are the ones least likely to actually have anything substantive and valuable to add to the conversation.

July 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm
(51) richard trice says:

Doesn’t anyone realize there are dictionaries and especially encyclopedias that define systems of government? Fascism, for instance, is spelled out throughly and it is as far right as a government can get. Moving leftward, there are reactionary systems which are opposed to any progress or liberalism which includes capitalism, then comes the conservative, the moderate, the liberal, the socialist and, finally, communism. By the time you have moved from right to left or left to right you almost have completed a circle for communism and fascism are both similar totalitarian forms. Another thing to consider is the fact that one cannot be both a Christian and a capitalist, fascist, or conservative. Those who think otherwise are suffering from cognitive dissonance, having two opposing views at the same time. It is really ignorance to continually equate socialism with fascism; they are opposites. Socialism is best demonstrated by the Scandinavian countries and, if one has a real interest in learning, it can be seen that those countries have the best working systems of any on earth.

August 31, 2012 at 10:50 am
(52) steve says:

People read Mein Kampf, Hitler is as much a socialist as Reagan was a communist, the first thing Hitler did when he came to power was to take the bargaining rights from the Unions and destroyed the Unions that’s Socialism!!! What is next you are going to tell us the Holocaust never happened! W.Disney, Ford, etc… were big admirers of Hitler and they gave a lot of money for his cause, because they knew that he hated Communisn with fanatical passion, now don’t tell me those guys were socialist, don’t try to rewrite Hitler was a fascist.
Unless you want to rewrite history in order to bring an other Hitler to power.

September 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(53) dave y. says:

It seems that in 7 years the Right Wing Nuts still haven’t learned how to use a dictionary thats beyond grade school definitions!

Could it simply be they don’t have the ability to use a dictionary used in college because they can’t read beyond a third grade reading level?

And right Wing Nuts that have to look to Austalia to find a NUT that agrees with them!

The Right Wing seems to be filled with Mental incompitents from the respones to this article over the past 7 years

September 8, 2012 at 9:59 am
(54) OldChurchGuy says:

A very interesting and informative article and subsequent discussion. I would like to suggest that some of the exchange might have been unneccsary if there were a definition of terms. For the purposes of this exchange are there commonly agreed definitions for the terms:

Aristocracy

Capitalism

Socialism

Communism

From my name, I confess to being a theist but want to go on record that I truly appreciate your website. The stories are very thought provoking and informative. While I haven’t abandoned theism, the stories you have posted helped me figure out just what do I believe and why.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(55) MrsGrapevine says:

People who weren’t alive arguing about something they know nothing about except through the eyes of political ideology. Everyone wants to separate themselves from Hitler, but the truth is socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism can’t be defined by a dictionary. They are complex economic and political systems that share similarities as well as differences. There are many socialists principles in books written by capitalists, and there are many capitalist ideas written by socialists. Those parts are conveniently overlooked to form an argument that degrades the other side.

Most countries, including America, have embraced concepts from all of the above and more. Hitler was an EVIL person. Doesn’t matter if he was a socialist, a fascist, a capitalist, or a Christian. He misused all of these systems to manipulate everyone because he was EVIL. It’s almost stupid to keep arguing over the same things especially when Hitler killed both socialists and Conservatives for political purposes.

If socialism is evil because of Hitler, so are white people, so are Christians, so are communists, so are capitalists, so are soldiers, so is BMW, and thus far.

April 7, 2013 at 8:59 am
(56) Jimmy says:

Re: Dave

Hitler was NOT elected to power. Hitler came to power as the Nazi party was starting to decline in popularity (check the number of votes they received). Hitler was offered the chance to be Chancellor because the other parties thought that he would be ‘working for them.’

It doesn’t matter who the author quotes as long as the arguments are sound.

Paul:
“Why don’t you try reading Hitler’s Manifesto and then rewrite your article. Here is a little piece of his Manifesto, ”

Paul, it’s sad that you have no sense of irony about your post. The NSDAP’s manifesto may be ‘socialist’ but Hitler did not follow the principles laid out in the NSDAP’s manifesto. Just because Hitler said that those were his principles doesn’t mean that he actually followed those principles (yes, sometimes even Hitler didn’t tell the truth).

Hitler liked to brag about the fact that he never changed one of his policies. Sure, he never changed them on paper, but he never followed his “socialist” policies in the first place.

The principles of the NSDAP don’t tell you anything about how the Nazi party actually governed. The mere fact that the NSDAP’s manifesto appears socialist doesn’t mean the Nazis governed a socialist state.

Similarly, Russia under Joseph Stalin can’t properly be called “socialist.” Communism was just a means to an end for Stalin. Both of the examples which conservative Americans like to claim are stereotypical examples of “socialism” (Nazism and Communism) are really examples of totalitarianism, not socialism.

April 7, 2013 at 9:07 am
(57) Jim says:

“So, what have we here? We have Socialist promises”

Wow, what a terrible argument. So, whether or not the Nazis actually ran a socialist government is totally irrelevant to you. The fact that people wanted some of the benefits of socialist policies explains why Germany suffered at the end of the second world war? That’s such an idiotic argument.

So does a similar thing explain why millions of Ukrainians died when Stalin came to power with his socialist ideas?

There seems to be this pervasive myth that all socialism is bad because it means people get something for free and nobody deserves anything for free. First of all, these things aren’t free: taxes pay for them.

It’s not like all wealthy people are wealthy because they worked hard and deserved to be wealthy, nor are all poor people poor because they’re lazy. Businesses don’t always succeed. Plenty of people who tried hard to succeed in the business world and risked everything failed and ended up poor. Those who succeed did not “deserve” to succeed anymore than those who fail because they worked harder. Where people get this idea that poor people are all poor because they’re lazy and only want government handouts because they’re abnormal human beings who don’t want to take pride in their work is a mystery to me, but it’s wrong. Yes, some people, rich or poor, try to cheat the system, but many poor people work hard and often even harder than wealthy people.

June 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm
(58) Jane says:

Riddle me this, if Hitler was such a Socialist, as so many of you claim, why did he ban the Commnunists and Social Democrats and put them in his camps? Why did he engineer the fire at the Reichstag so that he would have an excuse to do that and to dissolve a Democratically elected government? Why did he have so little support from workers? Explain that.

June 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm
(59) Tommy boy says:

It’s about time someone pulled back the curtain and looked beyond a Wikipedia page. Thank you Austin

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