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Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the
far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being ...
totalitarian Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and reg ...
political ideology An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones." Formerly applied prim ...
and practices associated with
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
and the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right politics, far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945 that crea ...
(NSDAP) in
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
. During
Hitler's rise to power Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in the newly established Weimar Republic in September 1919 when Adolf Hitler, Hitler joined the ''German Workers' Party, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei'' (DAP; German Workers' Party). He rose to a place of prominence ...
in 1930s
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
, it was frequently referred to as Hitlerism (german: Hitlerfaschismus). The later related term "
neo-Nazism Neo-Nazism comprises the post–World War II militant, social, and political movements that seek to revive and reinstate Nazism, Nazi ideology. Neo-Nazis employ their ideology to promote hatred and Supremacism#Racial, racial supremacy (ofte ...
" is applied to other far-right groups with similar ideas which formed after the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. Nazism is a form of
fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
, with disdain for
liberal democracy Liberal democracy is the combination of a liberalism, liberal political ideology that operates under an representative democracy, indirect democratic form of government. It is characterized by elections between Pluralism (political philosophy), ...
and the
parliamentary system A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
. It incorporates a
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government which is characterized by a leader, or a group of leaders, which holds governmental powers with few to no Limited government, limitations on them. The leader of a dictatorship is called a dictator. Politics i ...
, fervent
antisemitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is considered to be a form of racism. Antis ...
,
anti-communism Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the Russian Empire, and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, w ...
,
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
, and the use of
eugenics Eugenics ( ; ) is a Fringe science, fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetics, genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups ...
into its creed. Its extreme
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
originated in
pan-Germanism Pan-Germanism (german: Pangermanismus or '), also occasionally known as Pan-Germanicism, is a pan-nationalism, pan-nationalist political ideology, political idea. Pan-Germanists originally sought to unify all the German-speaking Europe, German-sp ...
and the
ethno-nationalist Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation and nationality are defined in terms of ethnicity, with emphasis on an ethnocentrism , ethnocentric (and in some cases an ethnocracy, ethnocratic) ...
'' Völkisch'' movement which had been a prominent aspect of
German nationalism German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into one unified nation state. German nationalism also emphasizes and takes pride in the patriotism and national identity of Germans as one nat ...
since the late 19th century, and it was strongly influenced by the
paramilitary A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carr ...
groups that emerged after Germany's defeat in
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, from which came the party's underlying "cult of violence". Nazism subscribed to pseudo-scientific theories of a
racial hierarchy A racial hierarchy is a system of stratification that is based on the belief that some racial groups are superior to other racial groups. At various points of history, racial hierarchies have featured in societies, often being formally institut ...
and
social Darwinism Social Darwinism refers to various theories and societal practices that purport to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics and politics, and which were largely defined by scholars in We ...
, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an
Aryan Aryan or Arya (; Indo-Iranian *''arya'') is a term originally used as an ethnocultural self-designation by Indo-Iranians in ancient times, in contrast to the nearby outsiders known as 'non-Aryan' (*''an-arya''). In Ancient India, the term ' ...
or Nordic
master race The master race (german: Herrenrasse) is a Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concept in Nazism, Nazi ideology in which the putative "Aryan race" is deemed the pinnacle of Race (classification of human beings), human racial hierarchy. Members wer ...
. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a homogeneous German society based on
racial purity The term racial hygiene was used to describe an approach to eugenics in the early 20th century, which found its most extensive implementation in Nazi Germany (Nazi eugenics). It was marked by efforts to avoid miscegenation, analogous to an animal ...
which represented a people's community (). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of and exclude those whom they deemed either Community Aliens or "inferior" races (). The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of ''socialism'', as an alternative to both
Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
international
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
and
free-market capitalism In economics, a free market is an economic market (economics), system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of ...
. Nazism rejected the Marxist concepts of
class conflict Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socioeconomics, socio-economic competition among the social classes or between Affluence, ...
and universal equality, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, and sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "
common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by c ...
", accepting political interests as the main priority of economic organisation, which tended to match the general outlook of collectivism or
communitarianism Communitarianism is a philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as p ...
rather than economic socialism. The Nazi Party's precursor, the pan-German nationalist and antisemitic
German Workers' Party The German Workers' Party (german: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP) was a short-lived Far-right politics, far-right political party established in Weimar Republic, Weimar Germany after World War I. It was the precursor of the Nazi Party, which was ...
(DAP), was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, the party was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party in order to appeal to left-wing workers, a renaming that Hitler initially objected to. The National Socialist Program, or "25 Points", was adopted in 1920 and called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the
nationalisation Nationalization (nationalisation in British English British English (BrE, en-GB, or BE) is, according to Oxford Dictionaries, " English as used in Great Britain, as distinct from that used elsewhere". More narrowly, it can refer speci ...
of some industries. In , literally "My Struggle", published in 1925–1926, Hitler outlined the antisemitism and anti-communism at the heart of his political philosophy as well as his disdain for
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a types of democracy, type of democracy where elected people Representation (politics), represent a group of people, in contrast to direct democracy. Nearly all modern liberal democr ...
and his belief in Germany's right to territorial expansion. The Nazi Party won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two general elections of 1932, making them the largest party in the legislature by far, albeit still short of an outright majority ( 37.3% on 31 July 1932 and 33.1% on 6 November 1932). Because the Communist Party (KPD) was unwilling to put together a coalition government with the Social-Democrats (SPD), Hitler was appointed
Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,; often shortened to ''Bundeskanzler''/''Bundeskanzlerin'', / is the head of the federal government of Germany and the commander in chief of the Ger ...
on 30 January 1933 by President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman who led the German Army (German Empire), Imperial German Army during World War I and later be ...
through the support and connivance of traditional conservative nationalists who believed that they could control him and his party. With the use of emergency presidential decrees by Hindenburg and a change in the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Repu ...
which allowed the Cabinet to rule by direct decree, bypassing both Hindenburg and the Reichstag, the Nazis soon established a
one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of sovereign state in which only one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties ...
and began the
Gleichschaltung The Nazi term () or "coordination" was the process of Nazification by which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society and societies occupied b ...
. The (SA) and the (SS) functioned as the paramilitary organisations of the Nazi Party. Using the SS for the task, Hitler purged the party's more socially and economically radical factions in the mid-1934
Night of the Long Knives The Night of the Long Knives (German language, German: ), or the Röhm purge (German: ''Röhm-Putsch''), also called Operation Hummingbird (German: ''Unternehmen Kolibri''), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 19 ...
, including the leadership of the SA. After the death of President Hindenburg on 2 August 1934, political power was concentrated in Hitler's hands and he became Germany's head of state as well as the head of the government, with the title of , meaning "leader and Chancellor of Germany" (see also here). From that point, Hitler was effectively the
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship is a state ruled by one dictator or by a small clique. The word originated as the title of a Roman dictator elected by the Roman Senate to rule the republic in times ...
of Nazi Germany – also known as the Third Reich – under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalised, imprisoned or murdered. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, many millions of people—including around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe—were eventually exterminated in a genocide which became known as
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of History of the Jews in Europe, European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and #Collaboration, its collaborators systematically murdered some Holoc ...
. Following Germany's defeat in World War II and the discovery of the full extent of the Holocaust, Nazi ideology became universally disgraced. It is widely regarded as immoral and
evil Evil, in a general sense, is defined as the opposite or absence of good. It can be an extremely broad concept, although in everyday usage it is often more narrowly used to talk about profound wickedness and against common good. It is genera ...
, with only a few fringe
racist Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority of one Race (human categorization), race over another. It may also mean prejudice, d ...
groups, usually referred to as
neo-Nazis Neo-Nazism comprises the post–World War II militant, social, and political movements that seek to revive and reinstate Nazism, Nazi ideology. Neo-Nazis employ their ideology to promote hatred and Supremacism#Racial, racial supremacy (ofte ...
, describing themselves as followers of National Socialism.


Etymology

The full name of the party was ''Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei'' ( en, National Socialist German Workers' Party) and they officially used the acronym NSDAP. The term "Nazi" was in use before the rise of the NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backward farmer or
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial farmworker, agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and tenant farmer, paying rent, tax, fees, or services to a landlord. In Europe, ...
, characterising an awkward and clumsy person, a yokel. In this sense, the word ''Nazi'' was a
hypocorism A hypocorism ( or ; from Ancient Greek: (), from (), 'to call by pet names', sometimes also ''hypocoristic'') or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person. It may be a diminutive form of a person's name, such as ''Izzy'' for I ...
of the German male name ''Igna(t)z'' (itself a variation of the name
Ignatius Ignatius is a male given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name Religious * Ignatius of Antioch Ignatius of Antioch (; Greek: Ἰγνάτιος Ἀντιοχείας, ''Ignátios Antiokheías''; died c. 10 ...
)—Igna(t)z being a common name at the time in
Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the sec ...
, the area from which the NSDAP emerged. In the 1920s, political opponents of the NSDAP in the German
labour movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement ( American English) on the one hand, and the political labour movement on the other. * The trade union movemen ...
seized on this. Using the earlier abbreviated term "Sozi" for ''Sozialist'' ( en, Socialist) as an example, they shortened the NSDAP's name, ''Nationalsozialistische'', to the dismissive "Nazi", in order to associate them with the derogatory use of the term mentioned above. The first use of the term "Nazi" by the National Socialists occurred in 1926 in a publication by
Joseph Goebbels Paul Joseph Goebbels (; 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazism, Nazi politician who was the ''Gauleiter'' (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment ...
called ''Der Nazi-Sozi'' The Nazi-Sozi" In Goebbels' pamphlet, the word "Nazi" only appears when linked with the word "Sozi" as an abbreviation of "National Socialism". After the NSDAP's rise to power in the 1930s, the use of the term "Nazi" by itself or in terms such as "
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
", "
Nazi regime Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
" and so on was popularised by German exiles outside the country, but not in Germany. From them, the term spread into other languages and it was eventually brought back into Germany after World War II. The NSDAP briefly adopted the designation "Nazi" in an attempt to reappropriate the term, but it soon gave up this effort and generally avoided using the term while it was in power. In each case, the authors typically referred to themselves as "National Socialists" and their movement as "National Socialism", but never as "Nazis." A compendium of Hitler's conversations from 1941 through 1944 entitled '' Hitler's Table Talk'' does not contain the word "Nazi" either. In speeches by
Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; ; 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially ...
, he never uses the term "Nazi." Hitler Youth leader Melita Maschmann wrote a book about her experience entitled ''Account Rendered''. She did not refer to herself as a "Nazi", even though she was writing well after World War II. In 1933, 581 members of the National Socialist Party answered interview questions put to them by Professor Theodore Abel from Columbia University. They similarly did not refer to themselves as "Nazis."


Position within the political spectrum

The majority of scholars identify Nazism in both theory and practice as a form of
far-right politics Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being ...
. Far-right themes in Nazism include the argument that superior people have a right to dominate other people and purge society of supposed inferior elements. Adolf Hitler and other proponents denied that Nazism was either left-wing or right-wing: instead, they officially portrayed Nazism as a
syncretic Syncretism () is the practice of combining different beliefs and various school of thought, schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or religious assimilation, assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in t ...
movement. In ''Mein Kampf'', Hitler directly attacked both left-wing and right-wing politics in Germany, saying:
Today our left-wing politicians in particular are constantly insisting that their craven-hearted and obsequious foreign policy necessarily results from the disarmament of Germany, whereas the truth is that this is the policy of traitors ... But the politicians of the Right deserve exactly the same reproach. It was through their miserable cowardice that those ruffians of Jews who came into power in 1918 were able to rob the nation of its arms.
In a speech given in Munich on 12 April 1922, Hitler stated:
There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction—to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power—that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago.
Hitler at times redefined socialism. When George Sylvester Viereck interviewed Hitler in October 1923 and asked him why he referred to his party as 'socialists' he replied: In 1929 Hitler gave a speech to a group of Nazi leaders and simplified 'socialism' to mean, "Socialism! That is an unfortunate word altogether... What does socialism really mean? If people have something to eat and their pleasures, then they have their socialism." When asked in an interview on 27 January 1934 whether he supported the "bourgeois right-wing", Hitler claimed that Nazism was not exclusively for any class and he indicated that it favoured neither the left nor the right, but preserved "pure" elements from both "camps" by stating: "From the camp of bourgeois
tradition A tradition is a belief or behavior (folk custom) passed down within a group or society A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territo ...
, it takes national resolve, and from the
materialism Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter to be the fundamental substance in nature, and all things, including mental states A mental state, or a mental property, is a state of mind of a person. Mental states compris ...
of the
Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
dogma, living, creative Socialism". Historians regard the equation of Nazism as "Hitlerism" as too simplistic since the term was used prior to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. In addition, the different ideologies incorporated into Nazism were already well established in certain parts of German society long before
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
. The Nazis were strongly influenced by the post–World War I far-right in Germany, which held common beliefs such as anti-Marxism, anti-liberalism and antisemitism, along with
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
, contempt for the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the Peace treaty, peace treaties of World War I. It ended the declaration of war, state of war between Germany and the Allies of ...
and condemnation of the Weimar Republic for signing the armistice in November 1918 which later led it to sign the Treaty of Versailles. A major inspiration for the Nazis were the far-right nationalist ''
Freikorps (, "Free Corps" or "Volunteer Corps") were Irregular military, irregular German and other European military volunteer units, or paramilitary, that existed from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. They effectively fought as mercenary or pri ...
'', paramilitary organisations that engaged in political violence after World War I. Initially, the post–World War I German far-right was dominated by
monarchists Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy or monarchical rule. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government independently of any specific monarch, whereas one who supports a particular monarch is a royalist. ...
, but the younger generation, which was associated with ''völkisch'' nationalism, was more radical and it did not express any emphasis on the restoration of the German monarchy. This younger generation desired to dismantle the Weimar Republic and create a new radical and strong state based upon a martial ruling ethic that could revive the "Spirit of 1914" which was associated with German national unity (''
Volksgemeinschaft ''Volksgemeinschaft'' () is a German language, German expression meaning "people's community", "folk community",Richard Grunberger, ''A Social History of the Third Reich'', London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 44. "national community", or "ra ...
''). The Nazis, the far-right monarchists, the
reactionary In political science, a reactionary or a reactionist is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the '' status quo ante'', the previous political state of society, which that person believes possessed positive characteristics ab ...
German National People's Party The German National People's Party (german: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a National conservatism, national-conservative party in Germany during the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the Nazi Party, it was the major Conservatism, cons ...
(DNVP) and others, such as monarchist officers in the German Army and several prominent industrialists, formed an alliance in opposition to the Weimar Republic on 11 October 1931 in
Bad Harzburg Bad Harzburg (; Eastphalian dialect, Eastphalian: ''Bad Harzborch'') is a spa town in central Germany, in the Goslar (district), Goslar district of Lower Saxony. It lies on the northern edge of the Harz mountains and is a recognised saltwater spa ...
, officially known as the "National Front", but commonly referred to as the Harzburg Front. The Nazis stated that the alliance was purely tactical and they continued to have differences with the DNVP. After the elections of July 1932, the alliance broke down when the DNVP lost many of its seats in the Reichstag. The Nazis denounced them as "an insignificant heap of reactionaries". The DNVP responded by denouncing the Nazis for their socialism, their street violence and the "economic experiments" that would take place if the Nazis ever rose to power. But amidst an inconclusive political situation in which conservative politicians
Franz von Papen Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Austrian nobility#Erbsälzer, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk (; 29 October 18792 May 1969) was a German National conservatism, conservative politician, diplomat, Prussian nobleman and German General ...
and
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,; often ...
were unable to form stable governments without the Nazis, Papen proposed to President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor at the head of a government formed primarily of conservatives, with only three Nazi ministers. Hindenburg did so, and contrary to the expectations of Papen and the DNVP, Hitler was soon able to establish a Nazi one-party dictatorship.
Kaiser ''Kaiser'' is the German word for "emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, ...
Wilhelm II Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 18594 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (german: Kaiser) and List of monarchs of Prussia, King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until Abdication of Wilhelm II, his abdication on 9 ...
, who was pressured to abdicate the throne and flee into exile amidst an attempted communist revolution in Germany, initially supported the Nazi Party. His four sons, including Prince Eitel Friedrich and Prince Oskar, became members of the Nazi Party in hopes that in exchange for their support, the Nazis would permit the restoration of the monarchy. There were factions within the Nazi Party, both conservative and radical. The conservative Nazi
Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; ; 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially ...
urged Hitler to conciliate with capitalists and reactionaries. Other prominent conservative Nazis included
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
and
Reinhard Heydrich Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich ( ; ; 7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era and a principal architect of the Holocaust. He was chief of the Reich Security Main Office (includ ...
. Meanwhile, the radical Nazi
Joseph Goebbels Paul Joseph Goebbels (; 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazism, Nazi politician who was the ''Gauleiter'' (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment ...
opposed capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core and he stressed the need for the party to emphasise both a
proletarian The proletariat (; ) is the social class of wage labor, wage-earners, those members of a society whose only possession of significant economic value is their labour power (their capacity to work). A member of such a class is a proletarian. Marx ...
and a national character. Those views were shared by
Otto Strasser Otto Johann Maximilian Strasser (also german: link=no, Straßer, see ß; 10 September 1897 – 27 August 1974) was a German politician and an early member of the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Work ...
, who later left the Nazi Party and formed the Black Front in the belief that Hitler had allegedly betrayed the party's socialist goals by endorsing capitalism. When the Nazi Party emerged from obscurity to become a major political force after 1929, the conservative faction rapidly gained more influence, as wealthy donors took an interest in the Nazis as a potential bulwark against communism. The Nazi Party had previously been financed almost entirely from membership dues, but after 1929 its leadership began actively seeking donations from German industrialists, and Hitler began holding dozens of fundraising meetings with business leaders. In the midst of the Great Depression, facing the possibility of economic ruin on the one hand and a Communist or Social Democratic government on the other hand, German business increasingly turned to Nazism as offering a way out of the situation, by promising a state-driven economy that would support, rather than attack, existing business interests. By January 1933, the Nazi Party had secured the support of important sectors of German industry, mainly among the steel and coal producers, the insurance business and the chemical industry. Large segments of the Nazi Party, particularly among the members of the ''
Sturmabteilung The (; SA; literally "Storm Detachment (military), Detachment") was the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing pro ...
'' (SA), were committed to the party's official socialist, revolutionary and
anti-capitalist Anti-capitalism is a political ideology and Political movement, movement encompassing a variety of attitudes and ideas that oppose capitalism. In this sense, anti-capitalists are those who wish to replace capitalism with another type of economi ...
positions and expected both a social and an economic revolution when the party gained power in 1933. In the period immediately before the Nazi seizure of power, there were even
Social Democrats Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. ...
and
Communists Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, universal, label=none) is a Far-left politics, far-left Political sociology, sociopolitical, Political philosophy, philosophical, and Economic ideology, economic ideology and current within th ...
who switched sides and became known as " Beefsteak Nazis": brown on the outside and red inside. The leader of the SA,
Ernst Röhm Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (; 28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German military officer and an early member of the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialist ...
, pushed for a "second revolution" (the "first revolution" being the Nazis' seizure of power) that would enact socialist policies. Furthermore, Röhm desired that the SA absorb the much smaller German Army into its ranks under his leadership. Once the Nazis achieved power, Röhm's SA was directed by Hitler to violently suppress the parties of the left, but they also began attacks against individuals deemed to be associated with conservative reaction. Hitler saw Röhm's independent actions as violating and possibly threatening his leadership, as well as jeopardising the regime by alienating the conservative President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman who led the German Army (German Empire), Imperial German Army during World War I and later be ...
and the conservative-oriented German Army. This resulted in Hitler purging Röhm and other radical members of the SA in 1934, in what came to be known as the
Night of the Long Knives The Night of the Long Knives (German language, German: ), or the Röhm purge (German: ''Röhm-Putsch''), also called Operation Hummingbird (German: ''Unternehmen Kolibri''), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 19 ...
. Before he joined the Bavarian Army to fight in
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, Hitler had lived a bohemian lifestyle as a petty street watercolour artist in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
and
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of the States of Germany, German state of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by popu ...
and he maintained elements of this lifestyle later on, going to bed very late and rising in the afternoon, even after he became Chancellor and then Führer. After the war, his battalion was absorbed by the
Bavarian Soviet Republic The Bavarian Soviet Republic, or Munich Soviet Republic (german: Räterepublik Baiern, Münchner Räterepublik),Hollander, Neil (2013) ''Elusive Dove: The Search for Peace During World War I''. McFarland. p.283, note 269. was a short-lived unre ...
from 1918 to 1919, where he was elected Deputy Battalion Representative. According to historian Thomas Weber, Hitler attended the funeral of communist
Kurt Eisner Kurt Eisner (; 14 May 1867 21 February 1919)"Kurt Eisner – Encyclopædia Britannica" (biography), ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', 2006, Britannica.com webpageBritannica-KurtEisner. was a German politician, revolutionary, journalist A journali ...
(a German Jew), wearing a black mourning armband on one arm and a red communist armband on the other, which he took as evidence that Hitler's political beliefs had not yet solidified. In ''Mein Kampf'', Hitler never mentioned any service with the Bavarian Soviet Republic and he stated that he became an antisemite in 1913 during his years in Vienna. This statement has been disputed by the contention that he was not an antisemite at that time, even though it is well established that he read many antisemitic tracts and journals during that time and admired
Karl Lueger Karl Lueger (; 24 October 1844 – 10 March 1910) was an Austrians, Austrian politician, mayor of Vienna, and leader and founder of the Austrian Christian Social Party (Austria), Christian Social Party. He is credited with the transformation of th ...
, the antisemitic mayor of Vienna. Hitler altered his political views in response to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919 and it was then that he became an antisemitic, German nationalist. Hitler expressed opposition to capitalism, regarding it as having Jewish origins and accusing capitalism of holding nations ransom to the interests of a parasitic cosmopolitan
rentier Rentier may refer to: * Rentier capitalism Rentier capitalism describes the economic practice of gaining large profits without contributing to society. And a rentier is someone who earns income from capital without working. This is generally d ...
class. He also expressed opposition to communism and egalitarian forms of socialism, arguing that inequality and hierarchy are beneficial to the nation. He believed that communism was invented by the Jews to weaken nations by promoting class struggle. After his rise to power, Hitler took a pragmatic position on economics, accepting private property and allowing capitalist private enterprises to exist so long as they adhered to the goals of the Nazi state, but not tolerating enterprises that he saw as being opposed to the national interest. German business leaders disliked Nazi ideology but came to support Hitler, because they saw the Nazis as a useful ally to promote their interests. Business groups made significant financial contributions to the Nazi Party both before and after the Nazi seizure of power, in the hope that a Nazi dictatorship would eliminate the organised labour movement and the left-wing parties. Hitler actively sought to gain the support of business leaders by arguing that private enterprise is incompatible with democracy. Although he opposed communist ideology, Hitler publicly praised the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
's leader
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former ...
and
Stalinism Stalinism is the means of governing and Marxism-Leninism, Marxist-Leninist policies implemented in the Soviet Union from History of the Soviet Union (1927–1953), 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. It included the creation of a One-party state ...
on numerous occasions. Hitler commended Stalin for seeking to purify the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU),; abbreviated in Russian as or also known by #Name, various other names during its history, was the founding and ruling party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the One-party state, sole governing ...
of Jewish influences, noting Stalin's purging of Jewish communists such as
Leon Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Russian M ...
,
Grigory Zinoviev Grigory Yevseyevich Zinoviev, . Transliterated ''Grigorii Evseevich Zinov'ev'' according to the Library of Congress system. (born Hirsch Apfelbaum, – 25 August 1936), known also under the name Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky (russian: Ов ...
,
Lev Kamenev Lev Borisovich Kamenev. (''né'' Rozenfeld; – 25 August 1936) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet Union, Soviet politician. Born in Moscow to parents who were both involved in revolutionary politics, Kamenev attended Imper ...
and
Karl Radek Karl Berngardovich Radek (russian: Карл Бернгардович Радек; 31 October 1885 – 19 May 1939) was a Russian Empire, Russian revolutionary and a Marxist active in the Second Polish Republic, Polish and History of the Social D ...
. While Hitler had always intended to bring Germany into conflict with the Soviet Union so he could gain ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' ("living space"), he supported a temporary strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to form a common anti-liberal front so they could defeat liberal democracies, particularly
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
. Hitler admired the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
and its colonial system as living proof of Germanic superiority over "inferior" races and saw the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
as Germany's natural ally. He wrote in ''Mein Kampf'': "For a long time to come there will be only two Powers in Europe with which it may be possible for Germany to conclude an alliance. These Powers are Great Britain and Italy."


Origins

The historical roots of Nazism are to be found in various elements of European political culture which were in circulation in the intellectual capitals of the continent, what Joachim Fest called the "scrapheap of ideas" prevalent at the time. In ''Hitler and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic'', historian
Martin Broszat Martin Broszat (14 August 1926 – 14 October 1989) was a German historian specializing in modern German social history. As director of the Institute of Contemporary History (Munich), Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary ...
points out that
most all essential elements of ... Nazi ideology were to be found in the radical positions of ideological protest movements n pre-1914 Germany These were: a virulent anti-Semitism, a blood-and-soil ideology, the notion of a master race, ndthe idea of territorial acquisition and settlement in the East. These ideas were embedded in a popular nationalism which was vigorously anti-modernist, anti-humanist and pseudo-religious.
Brought together, the result was an anti-intellectual and politically semi-illiterate ideology lacking cohesion, a product of mass culture which allowed its followers emotional attachment and offered a simplified and easily-digestible world-view based on a political mythology for the masses.


Völkisch nationalism

Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
himself along with other members of the
National Socialist German Workers' Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremi ...
(German: ''Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei'', NSDAP) in the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: link=no, Weimarer Republik ), officially named the German Reich, was the government of Germany from 1918 to 1933, during which it was a Constitutional republic, constitutional federal republic for the first time in ...
(1918–1933) were greatly influenced by several 19th- and early 20th-century thinkers and proponents of philosophical, onto-epistemic, and theoretical perspectives on
ecological anthropology Ecological anthropology is a sub-field of anthropology and is defined as the "study of cultural adaptations to environments". The sub-field is also defined as, "the study of relationships between a population of humans and their biophysical envir ...
,
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
, holistic science, and
organicism Organicism is the philosophical position that states that the universe and its various parts (including human societies) ought to be considered alive and naturally ordered, much like a living organism.Gilbert, S. F., and S. Sarkar. 2000. "Embraci ...
regarding the constitution of
complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infrastructure such as power grid, transportation or com ...
and theorization of organic-racial societies. In particular, one of the most significant ideological influences on the Nazis was the 19th-century
German nationalist German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans , native_name_lang = de , region1 = , pop1 = 72,650,269 , region2 = , pop2 = 534,000 , region3 = ...
philosopher
Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (; ; 19 May 1762 – 29 January 1814) was a German philosopher who became a founding figure of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kan ...
, whose works had served as an inspiration to Hitler and other Nazi Party members, and whose ideas were implemented among the philosophical and ideological foundations of Nazi-oriented Völkisch nationalism.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (; ; 19 May 1762 – 29 January 1814) was a German philosopher who became a founding figure of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kan ...
's works served as an inspiration to Hitler and other Nazi Party members, including
Dietrich Eckart Dietrich Eckart (; 23 March 1868 – 26 December 1923) was a German ''völkisch'' poet, playwright, journalist, publicist, and political activist who was one of the founders of the German Workers' Party, the precursor of the Nazi Party. Eckart w ...
and
Arnold Fanck Arnold Fanck (6 March 1889 – 28 September 1974) was a German film director and pioneer of the mountain film genre. He is best known for the extraordinary alpine footage he captured in such films as ''The Holy Mountain (1926 film), The Holy Moun ...
. In ''Speeches to the German Nation'' (1808), written amid the
First French Empire The First French Empire, officially the French Republic, then the French Empire (; Latin: ) after 1809, also known as Napoleonic France, was the empire ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, who established French hegemony over much of continental Eur ...
's occupation of Berlin during the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe ...
, Fichte called for a German national revolution against the French Imperial Army occupiers, making passionate public speeches, arming his students for battle against the French and stressing the need for action by the German nation so it could free itself. Fichte's
German nationalism German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into one unified nation state. German nationalism also emphasizes and takes pride in the patriotism and national identity of Germans as one nat ...
was populist and opposed to traditional elites, spoke of the need for a "People's War" (''Volkskrieg'') and put forth concepts similar to those which the Nazis adopted. Fichte promoted German
exceptionalism Exceptionalism is the perception or belief that a species, country, society, institution, movement, individual, or time period is "wiktionary:exceptional, exceptional" (i.e., unusual or extraordinary). The term carries the implication, whether or n ...
and stressed the need for the German nation to purify itself (including purging the
German language German ( ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and Official language, official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Ita ...
of French words, a policy that the Nazis undertook upon their rise to power). Another important figure in pre-Nazi ''völkisch'' thinking was
Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl (6 May 1823 – 16 November 1897) was a German journalist, novelist and folklorist. Riehl was born in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Biebrich in the Duchy of Nassau and died in Munich. Riehl was born into a settled middle-class backg ...
, whose work—''Land und Leute'' (''Land and People'', written between 1857 and 1863)—collectively tied the organic German Volk to its native landscape and nature, a pairing which stood in stark opposition to the mechanical and materialistic civilisation which was then developing as a result of
industrialisation Industrialisation (American and British English spelling differences, alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial society. This ...
. Geographers
Friedrich Ratzel Friedrich Ratzel (August 30, 1844 – August 9, 1904) was a German geographer and ethnographer, notable for first using the term '' Lebensraum'' ("living space") in the sense that the National Socialists later would. Life Ratzel's father was ...
and
Karl Haushofer Karl Ernst Haushofer (27 August 1869 – 10 March 1946) was a German general, professor, geographer, and politician. Through his student Rudolf Hess, Haushofer's conception of Geopolitik influenced the development of Adolf Hitler's expansio ...
borrowed from Riehl's work as did Nazi ideologues Alfred Rosenberg and Paul Schultze-Naumburg, both of whom employed some of Riehl's philosophy in arguing that "each nation-state was an organism that required a particular living space in order to survive". Riehl's influence is overtly discernible in the '' Blut und Boden'' (''Blood and Soil'') philosophy introduced by
Oswald Spengler Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (; 29 May 1880 – 8 May 1936) was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and ...
, which the Nazi agriculturalist Walther Darré and other prominent Nazis adopted. ''Völkisch'' nationalism denounced soulless
materialism Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter to be the fundamental substance in nature, and all things, including mental states A mental state, or a mental property, is a state of mind of a person. Mental states compris ...
,
individualism Individualism is the Ethics, moral stance, political philosophy, ideology and social outlook that emphasizes the intrinsic worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and to value independence and self ...
and secularised urban industrial society, while advocating a "superior" society based on ethnic German "folk" culture and German "blood". It denounced foreigners and foreign ideas and declared that Jews,
Freemasons Freemasonry or Masonry refers to Fraternity, fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local guilds of Stonemasonry, stonemasons that, from the end of the 13th century, regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their inte ...
and others were "traitors to the nation" and unworthy of inclusion. ''Völkisch'' nationalism saw the world in terms of
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be Deductive reasoning, deduced and applied independently of positive law ( ...
and
romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
and it viewed societies as organic, extolling the virtues of
rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and city, cities. Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agriculture, Agricultural areas and areas with forestry ty ...
life, condemning the neglect of tradition and the decay of morals, denounced the destruction of the natural environment and condemned "cosmopolitan" cultures such as Jews and Romani. The first party that attempted to combine nationalism and socialism was the (Austria-Hungary) German Workers' Party, which predominantly aimed to solve the conflict between the Austrian Germans and the Czechs in the multi-ethnic
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: link=no, Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling , ) was a Central Europe, Central-Eastern Europe, Eastern European multinational state, multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of ...
, then part of
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire,, the Dual Monarchy, or Austria, was a constitutional monarchy and great power in Central Europe#Before World War I, Central Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed with t ...
. In 1896 the German politician Friedrich Naumann formed the National-Social Association which aimed to combine German nationalism and a non-Marxist form of socialism together; the attempt turned out to be futile and the idea of linking nationalism with socialism quickly became equated with antisemites, extreme German nationalists and the ''völkisch'' movement in general. During the era of the
German Empire The German Empire (),Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reich" does not literally connote an empire as has been commonly assumed by English-speaking people. The term literally denotes an empire – particularly a hereditary ...
, ''völkisch'' nationalism was overshadowed by both Prussian patriotism and the federalist tradition of its various component states. The events of World War I, including the end of the Prussian monarchy in Germany, resulted in a surge of revolutionary ''völkisch'' nationalism. The Nazis supported such revolutionary ''völkisch'' nationalist policies and they claimed that their ideology was influenced by the leadership and policies of
German Chancellor The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,; often shortened to ''Bundeskanzler''/''Bundeskanzlerin'', / is the head of the federal government of Germany and the commander in chief of the Ger ...
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (, ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a conservative German statesman and diplomat. From his origins in the upper class of J ...
, who was instrumental in founding the
German Empire The German Empire (),Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reich" does not literally connote an empire as has been commonly assumed by English-speaking people. The term literally denotes an empire – particularly a hereditary ...
. The Nazis declared that they were dedicated to continuing the process of creating a unified German
nation state A nation state is a political unit where the state and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or society. A nation is thus the co ...
that Bismarck had begun and desired to achieve. While Hitler was supportive of Bismarck's creation of the German Empire, he was critical of Bismarck's moderate domestic policies. On the issue of Bismarck's support of a '' Kleindeutschland'' ("Lesser Germany", excluding Austria) versus the Pan-German '' Großdeutschland'' ("Greater Germany") which the Nazis advocated, Hitler stated that Bismarck's attainment of ''Kleindeutschland'' was the "highest achievement" Bismarck could have achieved "within the limits possible at that time". In ''
Mein Kampf (; ''My Struggle'' or ''My Battle'') is a 1925 Autobiography, autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became Antisemitism, antisemitic and outlines his Political views ...
'' (''My Struggle''), Hitler presented himself as a "second Bismarck". During his youth in Austria, Hitler was politically influenced by Austrian Pan-Germanist proponent Georg Ritter von Schönerer, who advocated radical
German nationalism German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into one unified nation state. German nationalism also emphasizes and takes pride in the patriotism and national identity of Germans as one nat ...
, antisemitism,
anti-Catholicism Anti-Catholicism is hostility towards Catholics or opposition to the Catholic Church, its Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, clergy, and/or its adherents. At various points after the Reformation, some majority Protestantism, Protestant states, ...
,
anti-Slavic sentiment Anti-Slavic sentiment, also known as Slavophobia, a form of racism or xenophobia, refers to various negative attitudes towards Slavs, Slavic peoples, the most common manifestation is the claim that the inhabitants of Slavic nations are inferior t ...
and anti-Habsburg views. From von Schönerer and his followers, Hitler adopted for the Nazi movement the ''Heil'' greeting, the ''Führer'' title and the model of absolute party leadership. Hitler was also impressed by the
populist Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often Juxtaposition, juxtapose this group against "elite, the elite". It is frequently associated with anti-establishment and anti-political sentimen ...
antisemitism and the anti-liberal bourgeois agitation of
Karl Lueger Karl Lueger (; 24 October 1844 – 10 March 1910) was an Austrians, Austrian politician, mayor of Vienna, and leader and founder of the Austrian Christian Social Party (Austria), Christian Social Party. He is credited with the transformation of th ...
, who as the mayor of Vienna during Hitler's time in the city used a rabble-rousing style of oratory that appealed to the wider masses. Unlike von Schönerer, Lueger was not a German nationalist and instead was a pro-Catholic Habsburg supporter and only used German nationalist notions occasionally for his own agenda. Although Hitler praised both Lueger and Schönerer, he criticised the former for not applying a racial doctrine against the Jews and Slavs.


Racial theories and antisemitism

The concept of the
Aryan race The Aryan race is an obsolete historical race concepts, historical race concept that emerged in the late-19th century to describe people of Proto-Indo-Europeans, Proto-Indo-European heritage as a Race (human categorization), racial grouping. Th ...
, which the Nazis promoted, stems from racial theories asserting that Europeans are the descendants of Indo-Iranian settlers, people of ancient
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
and ancient
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
. Proponents of this theory based their assertion on the fact that words in European languages and words in Indo-Iranian languages have similar pronunciations and meanings.
Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried von Herder ( , ; 25 August 174418 December 1803) was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment, ''Sturm und Drang'', and Weimar Classicism. Biogr ...
argued that the Germanic peoples held close racial connections to the ancient Indians and the ancient Persians, who he claimed were advanced peoples that possessed a great capacity for wisdom, nobility, restraint and science. Contemporaries of Herder used the concept of the Aryan race to draw a distinction between what they deemed to be "high and noble" Aryan culture versus that of "parasitic" Semitic culture. Notions of
white supremacy White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and polit ...
and Aryan racial superiority were combined in the 19th century, with white supremacists maintaining the belief that certain groups of
white people White is a racialized classification of people and a skin color specifier, generally used for people of European origin, although the definition can vary depending on context, nationality, and point of view. Description of populations as ...
were members of an Aryan "master race" that is superior to other races and particularly superior to the Semitic race, which they associated with "cultural sterility".
Arthur de Gobineau Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (; 14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882) was a French Aristocracy (class), aristocrat who is best known for helping to legitimise racism by the use of scientific racist theory and "racial demography", and for developing the ...
, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ''
ancien régime ''Ancien'' may refer to * the French word for "ancient Ancient history is a time period from the History of writing, beginning of writing and recorded human history to as far as late antiquity. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 ...
'' in France on racial degeneracy caused by racial intermixing, which he argued had destroyed the purity of the Aryan race, a term which he only reserved for Germanic people. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany, emphasised the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan ( Germanic) and
Jewish culture Jewish culture is the culture of the Jewish people, from its formation in ancient times until the current age. Judaism itself is not a faith-based religion, but an orthoprax and Ethnoreligious group, ethnoreligion, pertaining to deed, practic ...
s. Aryan
mysticism Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of Religious ecstasy, ecstasy or altered state of consciousness which is given a religious or Spirituality, spiritual meaning. It may also refer to ...
claimed that
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
originated in Aryan religious traditions, and that Jews had usurped the legend from Aryans.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain Houston Stewart Chamberlain (; 9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927) was a British-German philosopher who wrote works about political philosophy and natural science. His writing promoted German ethnonationalism, antisemitism, and scientific ra ...
, an English-born German proponent of racial theory, supported notions of Germanic supremacy and antisemitism in Germany. Chamberlain's work, '' The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century'' (1899), praised Germanic peoples for their creativity and idealism while asserting that the Germanic spirit was threatened by a "Jewish" spirit of selfishness and
materialism Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter to be the fundamental substance in nature, and all things, including mental states A mental state, or a mental property, is a state of mind of a person. Mental states compris ...
. Chamberlain used his thesis to promote
monarchical A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restric ...
conservatism Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
while denouncing
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
,
liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on the Individual rights, rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law."political rationalism, hostilit ...
and
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
. The book became popular, especially in Germany. Chamberlain stressed a nation's need to maintain its racial purity in order to prevent its degeneration and argued that racial intermingling with Jews should never be permitted. In 1923, Chamberlain met Hitler, whom he admired as a leader of the rebirth of the free spirit.
Madison Grant Madison Grant (November 19, 1865 – May 30, 1937) was an American lawyer, zoologist, anthropologist, and writer known primarily for his work as a eugenicist and conservationist, and as an advocate of scientific racism Scientific racis ...
's work ''
The Passing of the Great Race ''The Passing of the Great Race: Or, The Racial Basis of European History'' is a 1916 racist Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the ...
'' (1916) advocated
Nordicism Nordicism is an ideology of racism which views the Historical race concepts, historical race concept of the "Nordic race" as an White genocide conspiracy theory, endangered and Master race, superior Race (human categorization), racial group. Some ...
and proposed that a
eugenics Eugenics ( ; ) is a Fringe science, fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetics, genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups ...
program should be implemented in order to preserve the purity of the Nordic race. After reading the book, Hitler called it "my Bible". In Germany, the belief that Jews were economically exploiting Germans became prominent due to the ascendancy of many wealthy Jews into prominent positions upon the
unification of Germany The unification of Germany (, ) was the process of building the modern German nation state with federalism, federal features based on the concept of Lesser Germany (one without multinational Austria), which commenced on 18 August 1866 with ad ...
in 1871.William Brustein. ''Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust''. Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 207. From 1871 to the early 20th century, German Jews were overrepresented in Germany's upper and middle classes while they were underrepresented in Germany's lower classes, particularly in the fields of agricultural and industrial labour. German Jewish financiers and bankers played a key role in fostering Germany's economic growth from 1871 to 1913 and they benefited enormously from this boom. In 1908, amongst the twenty-nine wealthiest German families with aggregate fortunes of up to 55 million marks at the time, five were Jewish and the
Rothschilds The Rothschild family ( , ) is a wealthy Ashkenazi Jewish family originally from Frankfurt that rose to prominence with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812), a Court Jew, court factor to the German Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, Landgraves ...
were the second wealthiest German family. The predominance of Jews in Germany's banking, commerce and industry sectors during this time period was very high, even though Jews were estimated to account for only 1% of the population of Germany. The overrepresentation of Jews in these areas fuelled resentment among non-Jewish Germans during periods of economic crisis.Brustein, 2003, p. 210. The 1873 stock market crash and the ensuing depression resulted in a spate of attacks on alleged Jewish economic dominance in Germany and antisemitism increased. During this time period, in the 1870s, German ''völkisch'' nationalism began to adopt antisemitic and racist themes and it was also adopted by a number of radical right political movements. Radical antisemitism was promoted by prominent advocates of ''völkisch'' nationalism, including
Eugen Diederichs Eugen Diederichs (June 22, 1867 – September 10, 1930) was a German publisher born in Löbitz, in the Prussian Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a Germans, German state on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It ...
,
Paul de Lagarde Paul Anton de Lagarde (2 November 1827 – 22 December 1891) was a German biblical scholar and oriental studies, orientalist, sometimes regarded as one of the greatest orientalists of the 19th century. Lagarde's strong support of anti-Semitism, v ...
and
Julius Langbehn Julius Langbehn (26 March 1851 – 30 April 1907) was a Germans, German Romantic nationalism, national Romantic art history, art historian and philosopher. He was born in Hadersleben, Schleswig (now Haderslev in Denmark), and died in Rosenheim. ...
. De Lagarde called the Jews a "
bacillus ''Bacillus'' (Latin "stick") is a genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria, a member of the phylum ''Bacillota'', with 266 named species. The term is also used to describe bacillus (shape), the shape (rod) of other so-shaped bacteria; and the ...
, the carriers of decay ... who pollute every national culture ... and destroy all faiths with their materialistic liberalism" and he called for the extermination of the Jews. Langbehn called for a war of annihilation against the Jews, and his genocidal policies were later published by the Nazis and given to soldiers on the front during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. One antisemitic ideologue of the period, Friedrich Lange, even used the term "National Socialism" to describe his own anti-capitalist take on the ''völkisch'' nationalist template.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (; ; 19 May 1762 – 29 January 1814) was a German philosopher who became a founding figure of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kan ...
accused
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
in Germany of having been and inevitably of continuing to be a "state within a state" that threatened German national unity. Fichte promoted two options in order to address this, his first one being the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine so the Jews could be impelled to leave Europe. His second option was violence against Jews and he said that the goal of the violence would be "to cut off all their heads in one night, and set new ones on their shoulders, which should not contain a single Jewish idea". ''
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ''The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'' () or ''The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion'' is a antisemitic canard, fabricated antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. The hoax was plagia ...
'' (1912) is an antisemitic forgery created by the secret service of the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
, the
Okhrana The Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order (russian: Отделение по охранению общественной безопасности и порядка), usually called Guard Department ( rus, Охранное отд ...
. Many antisemites believed it was real and thus it became widely popular after World War I. ''The Protocols'' claimed that there was a secret international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Hitler had been introduced to ''The Protocols'' by
Alfred Rosenberg Alfred Ernst Rosenberg ( – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German Nazism, Nazi theorist and ideologue. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and he held several important posts in the Government of Nazi Germany, ...
and from 1920 onwards he focused his attacks by claiming that
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
and Marxism were directly connected, that Jews and
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (russian: Большевики́, from большинство́ ''bol'shinstvó'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvó'' (большинство́), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English ...
were one and the same and that Marxism was a Jewish ideology-this became known as "
Jewish Bolshevism Jewish Bolshevism, also Judeo–Bolshevism, is an anti-communist Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the ...
". Hitler believed that ''The Protocols'' were authentic. Prior to the Nazi ascension to power, Hitler often blamed moral degradation on ''
Rassenschande ''Rassenschande'' (, "racial shame") or ''Blutschande'' ( "blood disgrace") was an anti-miscegenation concept in Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryan race#Nazism, Aryans and non- ...
'' ("racial defilement"), a way to assure his followers of his continuing antisemitism, which had been toned down for popular consumption. Prior to the induction of the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935 by the Nazis, many German nationalists such as
Roland Freisler Roland Freisler (30 October 1893 – 3 February 1945), a German Nazi Germany, Nazi jurist, judge, and politician, served as the State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice from 1934 to 1942 and as President of the People's Court (Germany) ...
strongly supported laws to ban ''Rassenschande'' between Aryans and Jews as racial treason. Even before the laws were officially passed, the Nazis banned sexual relations and marriages between party members and Jews. Party members found guilty of ''Rassenschande'' were severely punished; some party members were even sentenced to death. The Nazis claimed that Bismarck was unable to complete German national unification because Jews had infiltrated the German parliament and they claimed that their abolition of parliament had ended this obstacle to unification. Using the
stab-in-the-back myth The stab-in-the-back myth (, , ) was an antisemitic conspiracy theory that was widely believed and promulgated in Aftermath of World War I, Germany after 1918. It maintained that the Imperial German Army did not lose World War I on the battl ...
, the Nazis accused Jews—and other populations who it considered non-German—of possessing extra-national loyalties, thereby exacerbating German
antisemitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is considered to be a form of racism. Antis ...
about the '' Judenfrage'' (the Jewish Question), the
far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being ...
political canard which was popular when the ethnic ''völkisch'' movement and its politics of
Romantic nationalism Romantic nationalism (also national romanticism, organic nationalism, identity nationalism) is the form of nationalism in which the state claims its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs. This includes ...
for establishing a '' Großdeutschland'' was strong. Nazism's racial policy positions may have developed from the views of important biologists of the 19th century, including French
biologist A biologist is a scientist who conducts research in biology. Biologists are interested in studying life on Earth, whether it is an individual Cell (biology), cell, a multicellular organism, or a Community (ecology), community of Biological inter ...
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (1 August 1744 – 18 December 1829), often known simply as Lamarck (; ), was a French naturalist, biologist, academic, and soldier. He was an early proponent of the idea that biologi ...
, through
Ernst Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist, natural history, naturalist, eugenics, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist and artist. He discovered, described and ...
's idealist version of
Lamarckism Lamarckism, also known as Lamarckian inheritance or neo-Lamarckism, is the notion that an organism can pass on to its offspring physical characteristics that the parent organism acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime. It is also calle ...
and the father of
genetics Genetics is the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) It is an important branch in biology because heredity is vital to organisms' evolution. Gregor Mendel, a Moravian Augustinians, Augustinian fr ...
, German
botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek ...
Gregor Mendel Gregor Johann Mendel, Augustinians, OSA (; cs, Řehoř Jan Mendel; 20 July 1822 – 6 January 1884) was a biologist, meteorologist, mathematician, Augustinians, Augustinian friar and abbot of St Thomas's Abbey, Brno, St. Thomas' Abbey in Br ...
. Haeckel's works were later condemned by the Nazis as inappropriate for "National-Socialist formation and education in the Third Reich". This may have been because of his "
monist Monism attributes oneness or singleness (Greek: μόνος) to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished: * Priority monism states that all existing things go back to a source that is distinct from them; e.g., i ...
"
atheistic Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to ...
,
materialist Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimate ...
philosophy, which the Nazis disliked, along with his friendliness to Jews, opposition to militarism and support altruism, with one Nazi official calling for them to be banned. Unlike Darwinian theory, Lamarckian theory officially ranked races in a hierarchy of evolution from
ape Apes (collectively Hominoidea ) are a clade A clade (), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyly, monophyletic – that is, composed of a common ancestor and all its lineage (evoluti ...
s while Darwinian theory did not grade races in a hierarchy of higher or lower evolution from apes, but simply stated that all humans as a whole had progressed in their evolution from apes. Many Lamarckians viewed "lower" races as having been exposed to debilitating conditions for too long for any significant "improvement" of their condition to take place in the near future. Haeckel used Lamarckian theory to describe the existence of interracial struggle and put races on a hierarchy of evolution, ranging from wholly human to subhuman.
Mendelian inheritance Mendelian inheritance (also known as Mendelism) is a type of biology, biological Heredity, inheritance following the principles originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866, re-discovered in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns, an ...
, or Mendelism, was supported by the Nazis, as well as by mainstream eugenicists of the time. The Mendelian theory of inheritance declared that genetic traits and attributes were passed from one generation to another. Eugenicists used Mendelian inheritance theory to demonstrate the transfer of biological illness and impairments from parents to children, including mental disability, whereas others also used Mendelian theory to demonstrate the inheritance of social traits, with racialists claiming a racial nature behind certain general traits such as inventiveness or criminal behaviour.


Use of the American racist model

Hitler and other Nazi legal theorists were inspired by America's institutional racism and saw it as the model to follow. In particular, they saw it as a model for the expansion of territory and the elimination of indigenous inhabitants therefrom, for laws denying full citizenship for African Americans, which they wanted to implement also against Jews, and for racist immigration laws banning some races. In "Mein Kampf" Hitler extolled America as the only contemporary example of a country with racist ("völkisch") citizenship statutes in the 1920s, and Nazi lawyers made use of the American models in crafting laws for
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
. U.S. citizenship laws and
anti-miscegenation laws Anti-miscegenation laws or miscegenation laws are laws that enforce racial segregation at the level of marriage and intimate relationships by criminalization, criminalizing interracial marriage and sometimes also sex between members of different R ...
directly inspired the two principal
Nuremberg Laws The Nuremberg Laws (german: link=no, Nürnberger Gesetze, ) were antisemitic and Racism, racist laws that were enacted in Nazi Germany on 15 September 1935, at a special meeting of the Reichstag (Nazi Germany), Reichstag convened during ...
—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law.


Response to World War I and Italian Fascism

During World War I, German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a "National Socialism" in Germany within what he termed the " ideas of 1914" that were a declaration of war against the "ideas of 1789" (the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
). According to Plenge, the "ideas of 1789" which included the rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favour of "the ideas of 1914" which included the "German values" of duty, discipline, law and order. Plenge believed that ethnic solidarity (''
Volksgemeinschaft ''Volksgemeinschaft'' () is a German language, German expression meaning "people's community", "folk community",Richard Grunberger, ''A Social History of the Third Reich'', London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 44. "national community", or "ra ...
'') would replace class division and that "racial comrades" would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of "proletarian" Germany against "capitalist" Britain. He believed that the "Spirit of 1914" manifested itself in the concept of the "People's League of National Socialism". This National Socialism was a form of
state socialism State socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
that rejected the "idea of boundless freedom" and promoted an economy that would serve the whole of Germany under the leadership of the state. This National Socialism was opposed to capitalism due to the components that were against "the national interest" of Germany, but insisted that National Socialism would strive for greater efficiency in the economy. Plenge advocated an authoritarian, rational ruling elite to develop National Socialism through a hierarchical
technocratic Technocracy is a form of government in which the decision-maker or makers are selected based on their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge. This system explicitly contrasts wi ...
state, and his ideas were part of the basis of Nazism.
Oswald Spengler Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (; 29 May 1880 – 8 May 1936) was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and ...
, a German cultural philosopher, was a major influence on Nazism, although after 1933 he became alienated from Nazism and was later condemned by the Nazis for criticising Adolf Hitler. Spengler's conception of national socialism and a number of his political views were shared by the Nazis and the Conservative Revolutionary movement. Spengler's views were also popular amongst Italian Fascists, including
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
. Spengler's book ''
The Decline of the West ''The Decline of the West'' (german: Der Untergang des Abendlandes; more literally, ''The Downfall of the Occident''), is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (; 29 May 1880 – 8 May 1936) was a German histo ...
'' (1918), written during the final months of
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, addressed the supposed
decadence The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity Dignity is the Rights, right of a person to be valued and respected for thei ...
of modern European civilisation, which he claimed was caused by atomising and irreligious individualisation and
cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism is the idea that all human beings are members of a single community. Its adherents are known as cosmopolitan or cosmopolite. Cosmopolitanism is both prescriptive and aspirational, believing humans can and should be "Global citizens ...
. Spengler's major thesis was that a law of historical development of cultures existed involving a cycle of birth, maturity, ageing and death when it reaches its final form of civilisation. Upon reaching the point of civilisation, a culture will lose its creative capacity and succumb to
decadence The word decadence, which at first meant simply "decline" in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity Dignity is the Rights, right of a person to be valued and respected for thei ...
until the emergence of "
barbarian A barbarian (or savage) is someone who is perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. The designation is usually applied as a generalization based on a popular stereotype In social psychology, a stereotype is a generalized belief ...
s" creates a new epoch. Spengler considered the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, primarily refers to the various nations and state (polity), states in the regions of Europe, North America, and Oceania.
as having succumbed to decadence of intellect, money, cosmopolitan urban life, irreligious life, atomised individualisation and believed that it was at the end of its biological and "spiritual" fertility. He believed that the "young" German nation as an imperial power would inherit the legacy of
Ancient Rome In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 ...
, lead a restoration of value in "
blood Blood is a body fluid in the circulatory system of humans and other vertebrates that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the Cell (biology), cells, and transports Metabolic waste, metabolic waste products away from th ...
" and instinct, while the ideals of rationalism would be revealed as absurd. Spengler's notions of "Prussian socialism" as described in his book '' Preussentum und Sozialismus'' ("Prussiandom and Socialism", 1919), influenced Nazism and the Conservative Revolutionary movement. Spengler wrote: "The meaning of socialism is that life is controlled not by the opposition between rich and poor, but by the rank that achievement and talent bestow. That is ''our'' freedom, freedom from the economic despotism of the individual". Spengler adopted the anti-English ideas addressed by Plenge and Sombart during World War I that condemned English liberalism and English parliamentarianism while advocating a national socialism that was free from
Marxism Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
and that would connect the individual to the state through corporatist organisation. Spengler claimed that socialistic Prussian characteristics existed across Germany, including creativity, discipline, concern for the greater good, productivity and self-sacrifice. He prescribed war as a necessity by saying: "War is the eternal form of higher human existence and states exist for war: they are the expression of the will to war". Spengler's definition of socialism did not advocate a change to property relations. He denounced
Marxism Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
for seeking to train the proletariat to "expropriate the expropriator", the capitalist and then to let them live a life of leisure on this expropriation. He claimed that "Marxism is the capitalism of the working class" and not true socialism. According to Spengler, true socialism would be in the form of corporatism, stating that "local corporate bodies organised according to the importance of each occupation to the people as a whole; higher representation in stages up to a supreme council of the state; mandates revocable at any time; no organised parties, no professional politicians, no periodic elections". Wilhelm Stapel, an antisemitic German intellectual, used Spengler's thesis on the cultural confrontation between Jews as whom Spengler described as a
Magi Magi (; singular magus ; from Latin ''wikt:magus#Noun 2, magus'', cf. fa, مغ ) were priests in Zoroastrianism and the earlier religions of the Western Iranian languages, western Iranians. The earliest known use of the word ''magi'' is in the ...
an people versus
Europeans Europeans are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various ethnic groups that reside in the List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe, states of Europe. Groups may be defined by common gen ...
as a
Faust Faust is the protagonist of a classic German folklore, German legend based on the historical Johann Georg Faust ( 1480–1540). The wiktionary:erudite, erudite Faust is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a ...
ian people. Stapel described Jews as a landless nomadic people in pursuit of an international culture whereby they can integrate into Western civilisation. As such, Stapel claims that Jews have been attracted to "international" versions of socialism, pacifism or capitalism because as a landless people the Jews have transgressed various national cultural boundaries. Arthur Moeller van den Bruck was initially the dominant figure of the Conservative Revolutionaries influenced Nazism. He rejected
reactionary In political science, a reactionary or a reactionist is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the '' status quo ante'', the previous political state of society, which that person believes possessed positive characteristics ab ...
conservatism while proposing a new state that he coined the "Third Reich", which would unite all classes under
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a political system characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political ''status quo'', and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic votin ...
rule. Van den Bruck advocated a combination of the nationalism of the right and the socialism of the left.
Fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
was a major influence on Nazism. The seizure of power by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in the
March on Rome The March on Rome ( it, Marcia su Roma) was an organized mass demonstration and a coup d'état in October 1922 which resulted in Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party (PNF) ascending to power in the Kingdom of Italy. In late October 1922, Fa ...
in 1922 drew admiration by Hitler, who less than a month later had begun to model himself and the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right politics, far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945 that crea ...
upon Mussolini and the Fascists. Hitler presented the Nazis as a form of German fascism. In November 1923, the Nazis attempted a "March on Berlin" modelled after the March on Rome, which resulted in the failed
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of the States of Germany, German state of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by popu ...
. Hitler spoke of Nazism being indebted to the success of Fascism's rise to power in Italy.Hugh R. Trevor-Roper (ed.), Gerhard L. Weinberg (ed.). Hitler's Table Talk 1941–1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books, 2008. p. 10 In a private conversation in 1941, Hitler said that "the brown shirt would probably not have existed without the black shirt", the "brown shirt" referring to the Nazi militia and the "black shirt" referring to the Fascist militia. He also said in regards to the 1920s: "If Mussolini had been outdistanced by Marxism, I don't know whether we could have succeeded in holding out. At that period National Socialism was a very fragile growth". Other Nazis—especially those at the time associated with the party's more radical wing such as
Gregor Strasser Gregor Strasser (also german: Straßer, see ß; 31 May 1892 – 30 June 1934) was an early prominent German Nazi Party, Nazi official and politician who was murdered during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. Born in 1892 in Bavaria, Strasse ...
,
Joseph Goebbels Paul Joseph Goebbels (; 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazism, Nazi politician who was the ''Gauleiter'' (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment ...
and
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
—rejected Italian Fascism, accusing it of being too conservative or capitalist.
Alfred Rosenberg Alfred Ernst Rosenberg ( – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German Nazism, Nazi theorist and ideologue. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and he held several important posts in the Government of Nazi Germany, ...
condemned Italian Fascism for being racially confused and having influences from philosemitism. Strasser criticised the policy of '' Führerprinzip'' as being created by Mussolini and considered its presence in Nazism as a foreign imported idea. Throughout the relationship between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, a number of lower-ranking Nazis scornfully viewed fascism as a conservative movement that lacked a full revolutionary potential.


Ideology and programme

In his book ''The Hitler State'' (''Der Staat Hitlers''), historian
Martin Broszat Martin Broszat (14 August 1926 – 14 October 1989) was a German historian specializing in modern German social history. As director of the Institute of Contemporary History (Munich), Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary ...
writes:
...National Socialism was not primarily an ideological and programmatic, but a
charismatic movement The charismatic movement in Christianity is a movement within established or mainstream Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monothei ...
, whose ideology was incorporated in the Führer, Hitler, and which would have lost all its power to integrate without him. ... e abstract, utopian and vague National Socialistic ideology only achieved what reality and certainty it had through the medium of Hitler.
Thus, any explication of the ideology of Nazism must be descriptive, as it was not generated primarily from first principles, but was the result of numerous factors, including Hitler's strongly-held personal views, some parts of the 25-point plan, the general goals of the '' völkische'' and nationalist movements, and the conflicts between Nazi Party functionaries who battled "to win itlerover to their respective interpretations of ational Socialism" Once the Party had been purged of divergant influences such as Strasserism, Hitler was accepted by the Party's leadership as the "supreme authority to rule on ideological matters".


Nationalism and racialism

Nazism emphasised
German nationalism German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into one unified nation state. German nationalism also emphasizes and takes pride in the patriotism and national identity of Germans as one nat ...
, including both
irredentism Irredentism is usually understood as a desire that one State (polity), state annexes a territory of a neighboring state. This desire is motivated by Ethnicity, ethnic reasons (because the population of the territory is ethnically similar to the p ...
and
expansionism Expansionism refers to states obtaining greater territory through military Imperialism, empire-building or colonialism. In the classical age of conquest moral justification for territorial expansion at the direct expense of another established po ...
. Nazism held racial theories based upon a belief in the existence of an Aryan master race that was superior to all other races. The Nazis emphasised the existence of racial conflict between the
Aryan race The Aryan race is an obsolete historical race concepts, historical race concept that emerged in the late-19th century to describe people of Proto-Indo-Europeans, Proto-Indo-European heritage as a Race (human categorization), racial grouping. Th ...
and others—particularly
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
, whom the Nazis viewed as a mixed race that had infiltrated multiple societies and was responsible for exploitation and repression of the Aryan race. The Nazis also categorised
Slavs Slavs are the largest European ethnolinguistic group. They speak the various Slavic languages, belonging to the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. Slavs are geographically distributed throughout ...
as ''
Untermensch ''Untermensch'' (, ; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated pl., pl, or ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically ...
'' (sub-human). Wolfgang Bialas argues that the Nazis' sense of morality could be described as a form of procedural
virtue ethics Virtue ethics (also aretaic ethics, from Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:ἀρετή, ἀρετή 'arete (moral virtue), aretḗ'' is an approach to ethics that treats the concept of virtue, moral virtue as central. Virtue ethics is usually contr ...
, as it demanded unconditional obedience to absolute virtues with the attitude of social engineering and replaced common sense intuitions with an ideological catalogue of virtues and commands. The ideal Nazi new man was to be race-conscious and an ideologically dedicated warrior who would commit actions for the sake of the German race while at the same time convinced he was doing the right thing and acting morally. The Nazis believed an individual could only develop their capabilities and individual characteristics within the framework of the individual's racial membership; the race one belonged to determined whether or not one was worthy of moral care. The Christian concept of self-denial was to be replaced with the idea of self-assertion towards those deemed inferior. Natural selection and the struggle for existence were declared by the Nazis to be the most divine laws; peoples and individuals deemed inferior were said to be incapable of surviving without those deemed superior, yet by doing so they imposed a burden on the superior. Natural selection was deemed to favour the strong over the weak and the Nazis deemed that protecting those declared inferior was preventing nature from taking its course; those incapable of asserting themselves were viewed as doomed to annihilation, with the right to life being granted only to those who could survive on their own.


Irredentism and expansionism

The German Nazi Party supported German irredentist claims to
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
, Alsace-Lorraine, the region now known as the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Historically known as Bohemia, it is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the southeast. The Cz ...
and the territory known since 1919 as the
Polish Corridor The Polish Corridor (german: Polnischer Korridor; pl, Pomorze, Polski Korytarz), also known as the Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia (Pomeranian Voivodeship (1919– ...
. A major policy of the German Nazi Party was ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' ("living space") for the German nation based on claims that Germany after World War I was facing an overpopulation crisis and that expansion was needed to end the country's overpopulation within existing confined territory, and provide resources necessary to its people's well-being.Stephen J. Lee. ''Europe, 1890–1945'', p. 237. Since the 1920s, the Nazi Party publicly promoted the expansion of Germany into territories held by the Soviet Union.Peter D. Stachura. ''The Shaping of the Nazi State'', p. 31. In ''Mein Kampf'', Hitler stated that ''Lebensraum'' would be acquired in Eastern Europe, especially Russia. In his early years as the Nazi leader, Hitler had claimed that he would be willing to accept friendly relations with Russia on the tactical condition that Russia agree to return to the borders established by the German–Russian peace agreement of the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (also known as the Treaty of Brest in Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and North Asia, Northern Asia. ...
signed by Grigori Sokolnikov of the
Russian Soviet Republic The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Russian SFSR or RSFSR ( rus, Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика, Rossíyskaya Sovétskaya Federatívnaya Soci ...
in 1918 which gave large territories held by Russia to German control in exchange for peace. In 1921, Hitler had commended the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk as opening the possibility for restoration of relations between Germany and Russia by saying: From 1921 to 1922, Hitler evoked rhetoric of both the achievement of ''Lebensraum'' involving the acceptance of a territorially reduced Russia as well as supporting Russian nationalists in overthrowing the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (russian: Большевики́, from большинство́ ''bol'shinstvó'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvó'' (большинство́), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English ...
and establishing a new White Russian government. Hitler's attitudes changed by the end of 1922, in which he then supported an alliance of Germany with Britain to destroy Russia. Hitler later declared how far he intended to expand Germany into Russia: Policy for ''Lebensraum'' planned mass expansion of Germany's borders to eastwards of the
Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains ( ; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈɡorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары) or simply the Urals, are a mountain range A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains ...
. Hitler planned for the "surplus" Russian population living west of the Urals to be deported to the east of the Urals. Historian Adam Tooze explains that Hitler believed that lebensraum was vital to securing American-style consumer affluence for the German people. In this light, Tooze argues that the view that the regime faced a " guns or butter" contrast is mistaken. While it is true that resources were diverted from civilian consumption to military production, Tooze explains that at a strategic level "guns were ultimately viewed as a means to obtaining more butter." While the Nazi pre-occupation with agrarian living and food production are often seen as a sign of their backwardness, Tooze explains this was in fact a major driving issue in European society for at least the last two centuries. The issue of how European societies should respond to the new
global economy The world economy or global economy is the economy of all humans of the world, referring to the global economic system, which includes all economic activities which are conducted both within and between nations, including production (economics), ...
in food was one of the major issues facing Europe in the early 20th century. Agrarian life in Europe (except perhaps with the exception of Britain) was incredibly common—in the early 1930s, over 9 million Germans (almost a third of the work force) were still working in agriculture and many people not working in agriculture still had small allotments or otherwise grew their own food. Tooze estimates that just over half the German population in the 1930s was living in towns and villages with populations under 20,000 people. Many people in cities still had memories of rural-urban migration—Tooze thus explains that the Nazis obsessions with agrarianism were not an atavistic gloss on a modern industrial nation but a consequence of the fact that Nazism (as both an ideology and as a movement) was the product of a society still in economic transition. The Nazis obsession with food production was a consequence of the First World War. While Europe was able to avert famine with international imports, blockades brought the issue of
food security Food security speaks to the availability of food in a country (or geography) and the ability of individuals within that country (geography) to access, afford, and source adequate foodstuffs. According to the United Nations' Committee on World Fo ...
back into European politics, the Allied blockade of Germany in and after World War I did not cause an outright famine but chronic malnutrition did kill an estimated 600,000 people in Germany and Austria. The economic crises of the interwar period meant that most Germans had memories of acute hunger. Thus Tooze concludes that the Nazis obsession with acquiring land was not a case of "turning back the clock" but more a refusal to accept that the result of the distribution of land, resources and population, which had resulted from the imperialist wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, should be accepted as final. While the victors of the First World War had either suitable agricultural land to population ratios or large empires (or both), allowing them to declare the issue of living space closed, the Nazis, knowing Germany lacked either of these, refused to accept that Germany's place in the world was to be a medium-sized workshop dependent upon imported food. According to Goebbels, the conquest of ''Lebensraum'' was intended as an initial step towards the final goal of Nazi ideology, which was the establishment of complete German global hegemony.Weinberg, Gerhard L. (1995) ''Germany, Hitler, and World War II: Essays in modern German and world history''
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press is the university press of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII of England, King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the oldest university press in the world. It is also the King's Printer. Cambr ...

p. 36
/ref>
Rudolf Hess Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (Heß in German; 26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987) was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess held that position unt ...
relayed to
Walter Hewel Walter may refer to: People * Walter (name) Walter is a German masculine given name derived from Old High German ''Walthari'', composed of the elements ''walt-'' (Proto-Germanic ''*wald-'') "power", "ruler", and ''hari'' (Proto-Germanic ''*χar ...
Hitler's belief that
world peace World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal (ethics), ideal state of peace within and among all people and nations on Earth, Planet Earth. Different cultures, religions, philosophies, and organizations have varying concepts on ...
could only be acquired "when one power, the racially best one, has attained uncontested supremacy". When this control would be achieved, this power could then set up for itself a world police and assure itself "the necessary living space. ..The lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly".


Racial theories

In its racial categorisation, Nazism viewed what it called the
Aryan race The Aryan race is an obsolete historical race concepts, historical race concept that emerged in the late-19th century to describe people of Proto-Indo-Europeans, Proto-Indo-European heritage as a Race (human categorization), racial grouping. Th ...
as the
master race The master race (german: Herrenrasse) is a Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concept in Nazism, Nazi ideology in which the putative "Aryan race" is deemed the pinnacle of Race (classification of human beings), human racial hierarchy. Members wer ...
of the world—a race that was superior to all other races.George Lachmann Mosse. Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich, p. 79. It viewed Aryans as being in racial conflict with a mixed race people, the
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
, whom the Nazis identified as a dangerous enemy of the Aryans. It also viewed a number of other peoples as dangerous to the well-being of the Aryan race. In order to preserve the perceived racial purity of the Aryan race, a set of race laws was introduced in 1935 which came to be known as the
Nuremberg Laws The Nuremberg Laws (german: link=no, Nürnberger Gesetze, ) were antisemitic and Racism, racist laws that were enacted in Nazi Germany on 15 September 1935, at a special meeting of the Reichstag (Nazi Germany), Reichstag convened during ...
. At first these laws only prevented sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, but they were later extended to the " Gypsies,
Negroes In the English language, ''negro'' is a term historically used to denote persons considered to be of Black people, Black African heritage. The word ''negro'' means the color black in both Spanish and in Portuguese, where English took it from. T ...
, and their bastard offspring", who were described by the Nazis as people of "alien blood". Such relations between Aryans (cf.
Aryan certificate In Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich f ...
) and non-Aryans were now punishable under the race laws as ''
Rassenschande ''Rassenschande'' (, "racial shame") or ''Blutschande'' ( "blood disgrace") was an anti-miscegenation concept in Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryan race#Nazism, Aryans and non- ...
'' or "race defilement". After the war began, the race defilement law was extended to include all foreigners (non-Germans). At the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans were
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
,
Romanis The Romani (also spelled Romany or Rromani , ), colloquially known as the Roma, are an Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethnic group, traditionally nomadic Itinerant groups in Europe, itinerants. They live in Europe and Anatolia, and have Ro ...
,
Slavs Slavs are the largest European ethnolinguistic group. They speak the various Slavic languages, belonging to the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. Slavs are geographically distributed throughout ...
Mineau, André (2004). ''Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity''. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, p. 180. . and blacks.Simone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. ''The Holocaust: a reader''. Malden, MA; Oxford, England; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005, p. 14. To maintain the "purity and strength" of the Aryan race, the Nazis eventually sought to exterminate Jews, Romani, Slavs and the physically and
mentally disabled Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions, comprising mental or physical impairments that arise before adulthood. Developmental disabilities cause individuals living with them many difficulties in certain areas of life, espe ...
. Other groups deemed " degenerate" and " asocial" who were not targeted for extermination, but were subjected to exclusionary treatment by the Nazi state, included
homosexuals Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction Sexual attraction is interpersonal attraction, attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an individ ...
, blacks,
Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses is a Millenarianism, millenarian Restorationism, restorationist Christian denomination with Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of appr ...
and political opponents. One of Hitler's ambitions at the start of the war was to exterminate, expel or enslave most or all
Slavs Slavs are the largest European ethnolinguistic group. They speak the various Slavic languages, belonging to the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. Slavs are geographically distributed throughout ...
from Central and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is a subregion of the Europe, European continent. As a largely ambiguous term, it has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic connotations. The vast majority of the region is covered by Russ ...
in order to acquire living space for German settlers. A Nazi-era school textbook for German students entitled ''Heredity and Racial Biology for Students'' written by Jakob Graf described to students the Nazi conception of the Aryan race in a section titled "The Aryan: The Creative Force in Human History". Graf claimed that the original Aryans developed from Nordic peoples who invaded
Ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by ...
and launched the initial development of Aryan culture there that later spread to
ancient Persia The history of Iran is intertwined with the history of a larger region known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia in the west to the borders of Ancient India and the Syr Darya in the east, and from the Caucasus and the Eurasian Step ...
and he claimed that the Aryan presence in Persia was what was responsible for its development into an empire. He claimed that
ancient Greek culture Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Wes ...
was developed by Nordic peoples due to paintings of the time which showed Greeks who were tall, light-skinned, light-eyed, blond-haired people. He said that the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
was developed by the
Italics In typography, italic type is a cursive font based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed tex ...
who were related to the
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
who were also a Nordic people. He believed that the vanishing of the Nordic component of the populations in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
and
Ancient Rome In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 ...
led to their downfall. The
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
was claimed to have developed in the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprised the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used in historiography to describe the period fr ...
because of the
Migration Period The Migration Period was a period in History of Europe, European history marked by large-scale migrations that saw the fall of the Western Roman Empire and subsequent settlement of its former territories by various tribes, and the establishment ...
that brought new Nordic blood to the Empire's lands, such as the presence of Nordic blood in the
Lombards The Lombards () or Langobards ( la, Langobardi) were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774. The medieval Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the ''History of the Lombards'' (written ...
(referred to as Longobards in the book); that remnants of the
Visigoths The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
were responsible for the creation of the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its History ...
; and that the heritage of the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire.H. Schutz: Tools, ...
,
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi, grc-gre, Γότθοι, Gótthoi) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe. ...
and
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and ear ...
in
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
was what was responsible for its rise as a major power. He claimed that the rise of the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
was due to its leadership by people of Norman descent. He described the rise of Anglo-Saxon societies in
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
as being the result of the Nordic heritage of
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo- ...
. He concluded these points by saying: "Everywhere Nordic creative power has built mighty empires with high-minded ideas, and to this very day Aryan languages and cultural values are spread over a large part of the world, though the creative Nordic blood has long since vanished in many places". In Nazi Germany, the idea of creating a
master race The master race (german: Herrenrasse) is a Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concept in Nazism, Nazi ideology in which the putative "Aryan race" is deemed the pinnacle of Race (classification of human beings), human racial hierarchy. Members wer ...
resulted in efforts to "purify" the ''Deutsche Volk'' through
eugenics Eugenics ( ; ) is a Fringe science, fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetics, genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups ...
and its culmination was the
compulsory sterilisation Compulsory sterilization, also known as forced or coerced sterilization, is a government-mandated program to Involuntary treatment, involuntarily Sterilization (medicine), sterilize a specific group of people. Sterilization removes a person's ca ...
or the
involuntary euthanasia Involuntary euthanasia occurs when euthanasia is performed on a person who would be able to provide informed consent, but does not, either because they do not want to die, or because they were not asked. Involuntary euthanasia is contrasted with ...
of physically or mentally disabled people. After World War II, the euthanasia programme was named
Action T4 (German, ) was a campaign of mass murder by involuntary euthanasia in Nazi Germany. The term was first used in post-war trials against doctors who had been involved in the killings. The name T4 is an abbreviation of  4, a street addre ...
. The ideological justification for
euthanasia Euthanasia (from el, εὐθανασία 'good death': εὖ, ''eu'' 'well, good' + θάνατος, ''thanatos'' 'death') is the practice of intentionally ending life to eliminate pain and suffering. Different countries have different Legali ...
was Hitler's view of
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
(11th century – 195 BC) as the original ''völkisch'' state and he praised Sparta's dispassionate destruction of congenitally deformed infants in order to maintain racial purity. Some non-Aryans enlisted in Nazi organisations like the
Hitler Youth The Hitler Youth (german: Hitlerjugend , often abbreviated as HJ, ) was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. Its origins date back to 1922 and it received the name ("Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth") in July 1926. ...
and the ''
Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), the ''Kriegsmarine'' (navy) and the ''Luftwaffe'' (air force). The designation "''Wehrmach ...
'', including Germans of African descent and Jewish descent. The Nazis began to implement "racial hygiene" policies as soon as they came to power. The July 1933 " Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring" prescribed
compulsory sterilisation Compulsory sterilization, also known as forced or coerced sterilization, is a government-mandated program to Involuntary treatment, involuntarily Sterilization (medicine), sterilize a specific group of people. Sterilization removes a person's ca ...
for people with a range of conditions which were thought to be hereditary, such as
schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis. Major symptoms include hallucinations (typically hearing voices), delusions, and disorganized thinking. Other symptoms include social w ...
,
epilepsy Epilepsy is a group of non-communicable neurological disorders characterized by recurrent Seizure, epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures can vary from brief and nearly undetectable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking due to abnormal el ...
, Huntington's chorea and " imbecility". Sterilization was also mandated for chronic
alcoholism Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol (drug), alcohol that results in significant Mental health, mental or physical health problems. Because there is disagreement on the definition of the word ''alcoholism'', it is not a recognize ...
and other forms of
social deviance Deviance or the sociology of deviance explores the actions and/or behaviors that violate social norms across formally enacted rules (e.g., crime) as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., rejecting folkways and mores). Although devi ...
. An estimated 360,000 people were sterilised under this law between 1933 and 1939. Although some Nazis suggested that the programme should be extended to people with physical disabilities, such ideas had to be expressed carefully, given the fact that some Nazis had physical disabilities, one example being one of the most powerful figures of the regime, Joseph Goebbels, who had a deformed right leg. Nazi racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther argued that European peoples were divided into five races: Nordic,
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, Dinaric, Alpine and East Baltic. Günther applied a Nordicist conception in order to justify his belief that Nordics were the highest in the racial hierarchy. In his book '' Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes'' (1922) ("Racial Science of the German People"), Günther recognised Germans as being composed of all five races, but emphasised the strong Nordic heritage among them.Anne Maxwell (2010 008. ''Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics, 1870–1940''. Eastbourne, England; Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press p. 150. Hitler read ''Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes'', which influenced his racial policy. Gunther believed that Slavs belonged to an "Eastern race" and he warned against Germans mixing with them. The Nazis described Jews as being a racially mixed group of primarily
Near Eastern The ''Near East''; he, המזרח הקרוב; arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ; fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik; tr, Yakın Doğu is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the hist ...
and
Oriental The Orient is a term for the East in relation to Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also co ...
racial types.Max Weinreich. ''Hitler's Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany's Crimes Against the Jewish People''. Yale University Press, 1999, p. 111. Because such racial groups were concentrated outside Europe, the Nazis claimed that Jews were "racially alien" to all European peoples and that they did not have deep racial roots in Europe. Günther emphasised Jews' Near Eastern racial heritage. Günther identified the mass conversion of the
Khazars The Khazars ; he, כּוּזָרִים, Kūzārīm; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩 ''Tūjué Kěsà'', () were a semi- nomadic Turkic people that in the late 6th-century CE established a major commercial empire cover ...
to
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
in the 8th century as creating the two major branches of the Jewish people: those of primarily Near Eastern racial heritage became the
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( ; he, יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכְּנַז, translit=Yehudei Ashkenaz, ; yi, אַשכּנזישע ייִדן, Ashkenazishe Yidn), also known as Ashkenazic Jews or ''Ashkenazim'',, Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation: , singu ...
(that he called Eastern Jews) while those of primarily Oriental racial heritage became the
Sephardi Jews Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), ...
(that he called Southern Jews). Günther claimed that the Near Eastern type was composed of commercially spirited and artful traders, and that the type held strong
psychological manipulation Manipulation in psychology Psychology is the science, scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an a ...
skills which aided them in trade. He claimed that the Near Eastern race had been "bred not so much for the conquest and exploitation of nature as it had been for the conquest and exploitation of people". Günther believed that European peoples had a racially motivated aversion to peoples of Near Eastern racial origin and their traits, and as evidence of this he showed multiple examples of depictions of satanic figures with Near Eastern physiognomies in European art. Hitler's conception of the Aryan '' Herrenvolk'' ("Aryan master race") excluded the vast majority of
Slavs Slavs are the largest European ethnolinguistic group. They speak the various Slavic languages, belonging to the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. Slavs are geographically distributed throughout ...
from
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in the Baltic states, Baltics, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Southeast Europe (mostly the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and Warsaw P ...
(i.e.
Poles Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a West Slavs, West Slavic nation and ethnic group, who share a common History of Poland, history, Culture of Poland, culture, the Polish language and ...
,
Russians , native_name_lang = ru , image = , caption = , population = , popplace = 118 million Russians in the Russian Federation (2002 ''Winkler Prins'' estimate) , region1 = , pop1 ...
,
Ukrainians Ukrainians ( uk, Українці, Ukraintsi, ) are an East Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that disting ...
, etc.). They were regarded as a race of men not inclined to a higher form of
civilisation A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of State (polity), a state, social stratification, urban area, urbanization, and Symbol, symbolic systems of communication beyond natural language, natur ...
, which was under an instinctive force that reverted them back to nature. The Nazis also regarded the Slavs as having dangerous Jewish and Asiatic, meaning
Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , , ; ; russian: Монголы) are an East Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is an Autonomous regions of Chin ...
, influences. Because of this, the Nazis declared Slavs to be ''
Untermenschen ''Untermensch'' (, ; plural: ''Untermenschen'') is a Nazism and race, Nazi term for non-Aryan race, Aryan "inferior people" who were often referred to as "the masses from the East", that is Jews, Romani people, Roma, and Slavs (mainly ethnic ...
'' ("subhumans"). Nazi anthropologists attempted to scientifically prove the historical admixture of the Slavs who lived further East and leading Nazi racial theorist Hans Günther regarded the Slavs as being primarily Nordic centuries ago but he believed that they had mixed with non-Nordic types over time. Exceptions were made for a small percentage of Slavs who the Nazis saw as descended from German settlers and therefore fit to be Germanised and considered part of the Aryan master race. Hitler described Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need for a master". The Nazi notion of Slavs as inferior served as a legitimisation of their desire to create ''Lebensraum'' for Germans and other Germanic people in eastern Europe, where millions of Germans and other Germanic settlers would be moved into once those territories were conquered, while the original Slavic inhabitants were to be annihilated, removed or enslaved. Nazi Germany's policy changed towards Slavs in response to military manpower shortages, forced it to allow Slavs to serve in its armed forces within the occupied territories in spite of the fact that they were considered "subhuman". Hitler declared that racial conflict against Jews was necessary in order to save Germany from suffering under them and he dismissed concerns that the conflict with them was inhumane and unjust:
We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have achieved the greatest deed in the world. We may work injustice, but if we rescue Germany then we have removed the greatest injustice in the world. We may be immoral, but if our people is rescued we have opened the way for morality.
Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels frequently employed antisemitic rhetoric to underline this view: "The Jew is the enemy and the destroyer of the purity of blood, the conscious destroyer of our race."


Social class

National Socialist politics was based on competition and struggle as its organising principle, and the Nazis believed that "human life consisted of eternal struggle and competition and derived its meaning from struggle and competition." The Nazis saw this eternal struggle in military terms, and advocated a society organised like an army in order to achieve success. They promoted the idea of a national-racial "people's community" (''
Volksgemeinschaft ''Volksgemeinschaft'' () is a German language, German expression meaning "people's community", "folk community",Richard Grunberger, ''A Social History of the Third Reich'', London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 44. "national community", or "ra ...
'') in order to accomplish "the efficient prosecution of the struggle against other peoples and states." Like an army, the ''Volksgemeinschaft'' was meant to consist of a hierarchy of ranks or classes of people, some commanding and others obeying, all working together for a common goal. This concept was rooted in the writings of 19th century ''völkisch'' authors who glorified medieval German society, viewing it as a "community rooted in the land and bound together by custom and tradition," in which there was neither class conflict nor selfish individualism. The Nazis concept of the ''volksgemeinschaft'' appealed to many, as it was seen as it seemed at once to affirm a commitment to a new type of society for the modern age yet also offer protection from the tensions and insecurities of modernisation. It would balance individual achievement with group solidarity and cooperation with competition. Stripped of its ideological overtones, the Nazi vision of modernisation without internal conflict and a political community that offered both security and opportunity was so potent a vision of the future that many Germans were willing to overlook its racist and anti-Semitic essence. Nazism rejected the
Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
concept of
class conflict Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socioeconomics, socio-economic competition among the social classes or between Affluence, ...
, and it praised both German capitalists and German workers as essential to the ''Volksgemeinschaft''. In the ''Volksgemeinschaft'', social classes would continue to exist, but there would be no class conflict between them. Hitler said that "the capitalists have worked their way to the top through their capacity, and as the basis of this selection, which again only proves their higher race, they have a right to lead."David Nicholls. ''Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion''. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000, p. 245. German business leaders co-operated with the Nazis during their rise to power and received substantial benefits from the Nazi state after it was established, including high profits and state-sanctioned monopolies and cartels. Large celebrations and symbolism were used extensively to encourage those engaged in physical labour on behalf of Germany, with leading National Socialists often praising the "honour of labour", which fostered a sense of community (''Gemeinschaft'') for the German people and promoted solidarity towards the Nazi cause. To win workers away from Marxism,
Nazi propaganda The propaganda used by the German Nazi Party in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's dictatorship of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945 was a crucial instrument for acquiring and maintaining power, and for the implementation o ...
sometimes presented its expansionist foreign policy goals as a "class struggle between nations." Bonfires were made of school children's differently coloured caps as symbolic of the unity of different social classes. Richard Grunberger, ''The 12-Year Reich'', p. 46, In 1922, Hitler disparaged other nationalist and
racialist Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
political parties as disconnected from the mass populace, especially lower and working-class young people: Nevertheless, the Nazi Party's voter base consisted mainly of farmers and the middle class, including groups such as Weimar government officials, school teachers, doctors, clerks, self-employed businessmen, salesmen, retired officers, engineers, and students. Their demands included lower taxes, higher prices for food, restrictions on department stores and consumer co-operatives, and reductions in social services and wages. The need to maintain the support of these groups made it difficult for the Nazis to appeal to the working class, since the working class often had opposite demands. From 1928 onward, the Nazi Party's growth into a large national political movement was dependent on middle class support, and on the public perception that it "promised to side with the middle classes and to confront the economic and political power of the working class." The financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s figures much in their strong support of Nazism. Although the Nazis continued to make appeals to "the German worker", historian Timothy Mason concludes that "Hitler had nothing but slogans to offer the working class." Historians Conan Fischer and Detlef Mühlberger argue that while the Nazis were primarily rooted in the lower middle class, they were able to appeal to all classes in society and that while workers were generally underrepresented, they were still a substantial source of support for the Nazis. H.L. Ansbacher argues that the working-class soldiers had the most faith in Hitler out of any occupational group in Germany. The Nazis also established a norm that every worker should be semi-skilled, which was not simply rhetorical; the number of men leaving school to enter the work force as unskilled labourers fell from 200,000 in 1934 to 30,000 in 1939. For many working-class families, the 1930s and 1940s were a time of social mobility; not in the sense of moving into the middle class but rather moving within the blue-collar skill hierarchy. Overall, the experience of workers varied considerably under Nazism. Workers wages did not increase much during Nazi rule, as the government feared wage-price inflation and thus wage growth was limited. Prices for food and clothing rose, though costs for heating, rent and light decreased. Skilled workers were in shortage from 1936 onward, meaning that workers who engaged in vocational training could look forward to considerably higher wages. Benefits provided by the Labour Front were generally positively received, even if workers did not always buy in to propaganda about the ''volksgemeinschaft''. Workers welcomed opportunities for employment after the harsh years of the Great Depression, creating a common belief that the Nazis had removed the insecurity of unemployment. Workers who remained discontented risked the
Gestapo The (), Syllabic abbreviation, abbreviated Gestapo (; ), was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and in German-occupied Europe. The force was created by Hermann Göring in 1933 by combining the various political police agencies of F ...
's informants. Ultimately, the Nazis faced a conflict between their rearmament program, which by necessity would require material sacrifices from workers (longer hours and a lower standard of living), versus a need to maintain the confidence of the working class in the regime. Hitler was sympathetic to the view that stressed taking further measures for rearmament but he did not fully implement the measures required for it in order to avoid alienating the working class. While the Nazis had substantial support amongst the middle-class, they often attacked traditional middle-class values and Hitler personally held great contempt for them. This was because the traditional image of the middle class was one that was obsessed with personal status, material attainment and quiet, comfortable living, which was in opposition to the Nazism's ideal of a New Man. The Nazis' New Man was envisioned as a heroic figure who rejected a materialistic and private life for a public life and a pervasive sense of duty, willing to sacrifice everything for the nation. Despite the Nazis' contempt for these values, they were still able to secure millions of middle-class votes. Hermann Beck argues that while some members of the middle-class dismissed this as mere rhetoric, many others in some ways agreed with the Nazis—the defeat of 1918 and the failures of the Weimar period caused many middle-class Germans to question their own identity, thinking their traditional values to be anachronisms and agreeing with the Nazis that these values were no longer viable. While this rhetoric would become less frequent after 1933 due to the increased emphasis on the ''volksgemeinschaft'', it and its ideas would never truly disappear until the overthrow of the regime. The Nazis instead emphasised that the middle-class must become ''staatsbürger'', a publicly active and involved citizen, rather than a selfish, materialistic ''spießbürger'', who was only interested in private life.


Sex and gender

Nazi ideology advocated excluding women from political involvement and confining them to the spheres of " Kinder, Küche, Kirche" (Children, Kitchen, Church). Many women enthusiastically supported the regime, but formed their own internal hierarchies. Hitler's own opinion on the matter of women in Nazi Germany was that while other eras of German history had experienced the development and liberation of the female mind, the National Socialist goal was essentially singular in that it wished for them to produce a child. Based on this theme, Hitler once remarked about women that "with every child that she brings into the world, she fights her battle for the nation. The man stands up for the ''Volk'', exactly as the woman stands up for the family". Proto-natalist programs in Nazi Germany offered favourable loans and grants to newlyweds and encouraged them to give birth to offspring by providing them with additional incentives.
Contraception Birth control, also known as contraception, anticonception, and fertility control, is the use of methods or devices to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Birth control has been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods of birth contr ...
was discouraged for racially valuable women in Nazi Germany and
abortion Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion"; these occur in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnan ...
was forbidden by strict legal mandates, including prison sentences for women who sought them as well as prison sentences for doctors who performed them, whereas abortion for racially "undesirable" persons was encouraged. While unmarried until the very end of the regime, Hitler often made excuses about his busy life hindering any chance for marriage. Among National Socialist ideologues, marriage was valued not for moral considerations but because it provided an optimal breeding environment. ''
Reichsführer-SS (, ) was a special title and rank that existed between the years of 1925 and 1945 for the commander of the (SS). ''Reichsführer-SS'' was a title from 1925 to 1933, and from 1934 to 1945 it was the highest rank of the SS. The longest-servi ...
''
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
reportedly told a confidant that when he established the '' Lebensborn'' program, an organisation that would dramatically increase the birth rate of "Aryan" children through extramarital relations between women classified as racially pure and their male equals, he had only the purest male "conception assistants" in mind. Since the Nazis extended the ''
Rassenschande ''Rassenschande'' (, "racial shame") or ''Blutschande'' ( "blood disgrace") was an anti-miscegenation concept in Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryan race#Nazism, Aryans and non- ...
'' ("race defilement") law to all foreigners at the beginning of the war, pamphlets were issued to German women which ordered them to avoid sexual relations with foreign workers who were brought to Germany and the pamphlets also ordered German women to view these same foreign workers as a danger to their blood. Although the law was applicable to both genders, German women were punished more severely for having sexual relations with foreign forced labourers in Germany. The Nazis issued the
Polish decrees Polish decrees, Polish directives or decrees on Poles (german: Polen-Erlasse, Polenerlasse) were the decrees of the Nazi Germany government announced on 8 March 1940 during World War II to regulate the working and living conditions of the Poles, P ...
on 8 March 1940 which contained regulations concerning the Polish forced labourers (
Zivilarbeiter Zivilarbeiter (German language, German for ''civilian worker'') refers primarily to ethnic Polish residents from the General Government (Nazi-occupied central Poland), Forced labor in Germany during World War II, used during World War II as forced ...
) who were brought to Germany during World War II. One of the regulations stated that any Pole "who has sexual relations with a German man or woman, or approaches them in any other improper manner, will be punished by death". After the decrees were enacted, Himmler stated: The Nazis later issued similar regulations against the Eastern Workers ''(
Ost-Arbeiter : ' (, "Eastern worker") was a Nazi German designation for foreign slave workers gathered from occupied Central and Eastern Europe to perform forced labor in Germany during World War II. The Germans started deporting civilians at the beginning ...
)'', including the imposition of the death penalty if they engaged in sexual relations with German persons. Heydrich issued a decree on 20 February 1942 which declared that sexual intercourse between a German woman and a Russian worker or prisoner of war would result in the Russian man being punished with the death penalty. Another decree issued by Himmler on 7 December 1942 stated that any "unauthorised sexual intercourse" would result in the death penalty. Because the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour did not permit capital punishment for race defilement, special courts were convened in order to allow the death penalty to be imposed in some cases. German women accused of race defilement were marched through the streets with their head shaven and placards detailing their crimes were placed around their necks and those convicted of race defilement were sent to concentration camps. When Himmler reportedly asked Hitler what the punishment should be for German girls and German women who were found guilty of race defilement with prisoners of war (POWs), he ordered that "every POW who has relations with a German girl or a German would be shot" and the German woman should be publicly humiliated by "having her hair shorn and being sent to a concentration camp". The
League of German Girls The League of German Girls or the Band of German Maidens (german: Bund Deutscher Mädel, abbreviated as BDM) was the girls' wing of the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: National ...
was particularly regarded as instructing girls to avoid race defilement, which was treated with particular importance for young females.


Opposition to homosexuality

After the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler promoted Himmler and the SS, who then zealously suppressed
homosexuality Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romant ...
by saying: "We must exterminate these people root and branch ... the homosexual must be eliminated". In 1936, Himmler established the " Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung" ("Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion"). The Nazi regime incarcerated some 100,000 homosexuals during the 1930s. As concentration camp prisoners, homosexual men were forced to wear
pink triangle A pink triangle has been a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community, initially intended as a badge of shame, but later Reappropriation, reclaimed as a positive symbol of self-identity and love for queerness. In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it began ...
badges. Nazi ideology still viewed German men who were gay as a part of the Aryan
master race The master race (german: Herrenrasse) is a Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concept in Nazism, Nazi ideology in which the putative "Aryan race" is deemed the pinnacle of Race (classification of human beings), human racial hierarchy. Members wer ...
, but the Nazi regime attempted to force them into sexual and social conformity. Homosexuals were viewed as failing in their duty to procreate and reproduce for the Aryan nation. Gay men who would not change or feign a change in their
sexual orientation Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. These attractions are generall ...
were sent to concentration camps under the "Extermination Through Work" campaign.


Religion

The Nazi Party Programme of 1920 guaranteed freedom for all religious denominations which were not hostile to the State and it also endorsed
Positive Christianity Positive Christianity (german: Positives Christentum) was a movement within Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as ...
in order to combat "the Jewish-materialist spirit". Positive Christianity was a modified version of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
which emphasised
racial purity The term racial hygiene was used to describe an approach to eugenics in the early 20th century, which found its most extensive implementation in Nazi Germany (Nazi eugenics). It was marked by efforts to avoid miscegenation, analogous to an animal ...
and
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
. The Nazis were aided by theologians such as Ernst Bergmann. In his work ''Die 25 Thesen der Deutschreligion'' (''Twenty-five Points of the German Religion''), Bergmann held the view that the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
was inaccurate along with portions of the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
, claimed that
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
was not a Jew but was instead of Aryan origin and he also claimed that
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
was the new
messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Age ...
. Hitler denounced the Old Testament as "
Satan Satan,, ; grc, ὁ σατανᾶς or , ; ar, شيطانالخَنَّاس , also known as Devil in Christianity, the Devil, and sometimes also called Lucifer in Christianity, is an non-physical entity, entity in the Abrahamic religions ...
's Bible" and using components of the New Testament he attempted to prove that Jesus was both an Aryan and an antisemite by citing passages such a
John 8:44
where he noted that Jesus is yelling at "the Jews", as well as saying to them "your father is the devil" and the
Cleansing of the Temple The cleansing of the Temple narrative tells of Jesus expelling the merchants and the money changers from the Second Temple, Temple, and is recounted in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament. The scene is a common motif in Christian art ...
, which describes Jesus' whipping of the "Children of the Devil".David Redles. ''Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation''. New York; London: New York University Press, 2005, p. 60. Hitler claimed that the New Testament included distortions by
Paul the Apostle Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
, who Hitler described as a "mass-murderer turned saint". In their propaganda, the Nazis used the writings of
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...
, the
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
Reformer. They publicly displayed an original edition of Luther's '' On the Jews and their Lies'' during the annual Nuremberg rallies. The Nazis endorsed the pro-Nazi Protestant German Christians organisation. The Nazis were initially very hostile to Catholics because most Catholics supported the German Centre Party. Catholics opposed the Nazis' promotion of
compulsory sterilisation Compulsory sterilization, also known as forced or coerced sterilization, is a government-mandated program to Involuntary treatment, involuntarily Sterilization (medicine), sterilize a specific group of people. Sterilization removes a person's ca ...
of those whom they deemed inferior and the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
forbade its members to vote for the Nazis. In 1933, extensive Nazi violence occurred against Catholics due to their association with the Centre Party and their opposition to the Nazi regime's sterilisation laws. The Nazis demanded that Catholics declare their loyalty to the German state. In their propaganda, the Nazis used elements of Germany's Catholic history, in particular the German Catholic
Teutonic Knights The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly known as the Teutonic Order, is a religious order (Catholic), Catholic religious institution founded as a military order (religious society), military society in ...
and their campaigns in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is a subregion of the Europe, European continent. As a largely ambiguous term, it has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic connotations. The vast majority of the region is covered by Russ ...
. The Nazis identified them as "sentinels" in the East against "Slavic chaos", though beyond that symbolism, the influence of the Teutonic Knights on Nazism was limited. Hitler also admitted that the Nazis' night rallies were inspired by the Catholic rituals which he had witnessed during his Catholic upbringing. The Nazis did seek official reconciliation with the Catholic Church and they endorsed the creation of the pro-Nazi Catholic '' Kreuz und Adler'', an organisation which advocated a form of national Catholicism that would reconcile the Catholic Church's beliefs with Nazism. On 20 July 1933, a concordat (''
Reichskonkordat The ''Reichskonkordat'' (" Concordat between the Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. ...
'') was signed between Nazi Germany and the Catholic Church, which in exchange for acceptance of the Catholic Church in Germany required German Catholics to be loyal to the German state. The Catholic Church then ended its ban on members supporting the Nazi Party. During the Second World War and the fanaticization of National Socialism, priests and nuns increasingly came into the focus of the
Gestapo The (), Syllabic abbreviation, abbreviated Gestapo (; ), was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and in German-occupied Europe. The force was created by Hermann Göring in 1933 by combining the various political police agencies of F ...
and the SS. In the concentration camps, separate priestly blocks were formed and any church resistance was strictly persecuted. The monastery sister Maria Restituta Kafka was sentenced to death by the People's Court and executed only for a harmless song critical of the regime. Polish priests came en masse to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Catholic resistance groups like those around Roman Karl Scholz were persecuted uncompromisingly. While the Catholic resistance was often anti-war and passive, there are also examples of actively combating National Socialism. The group around the priest
Heinrich Maier Heinrich Maier (; 16 February 1908 – 22 March 1945) was an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, pedagogue, philosopher and a member of the Austrian resistance, who was executed as the last victim of Hitler's Nazi Germany, régime in Vienna. The r ...
approached the American secret service and provided them with plans and location sketches of for
V-2 rocket The V-2 (german: V-weapons, Vergeltungswaffe 2, lit=Retaliation Weapon 2), with the technical name ''Aggregat (rocket family), Aggregat 4'' (A-4), was the world’s first long-range missile guidance, guided ballistic missile. The missile, power ...
s, Tiger tanks,
Messerschmitt Bf 109 The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is a German World War II fighter aircraft that was, along with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, the backbone of the Luftwaffe's fighter force. The Bf 109 first saw operational service in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War and ...
and
Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet is a rocket-powered interceptor aircraft An interceptor aircraft, or simply interceptor, is a type of fighter aircraft Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, fixed-wing military aircraft desig ...
and their production sites so that they could successfully bomb the factories. After the war, their history was often forgotten, also because they acted against the express instructions of their church authorities. Historian Michael Burleigh claims that Nazism used Christianity for political purposes, but such use required that "fundamental tenets were stripped out, but the remaining diffuse religious emotionality had its uses". Burleigh claims that Nazism's conception of spirituality was "self-consciously pagan and primitive". Historian
Roger Griffin Roger David Griffin (born 31 January 1948) is a British professor of modern history and political theorist at Oxford Brookes University Oxford Brookes University (formerly known as Oxford Polytechnic (United Kingdom), Polytechnic) is a ...
rejects the claim that Nazism was primarily pagan, noting that although there were some influential neo-paganists in the Nazi Party, such as Heinrich Himmler and
Alfred Rosenberg Alfred Ernst Rosenberg ( – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German Nazism, Nazi theorist and ideologue. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and he held several important posts in the Government of Nazi Germany, ...
, they represented a minority and their views did not influence Nazi ideology beyond its use for symbolism. It is noted that Hitler denounced Germanic paganism in ''Mein Kampf'' and condemned Rosenberg's and Himmler's paganism as "nonsense".


Economics

The Nazis came to power in the midst of
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, when the
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
rate at that point in time was close to 30%. Generally speaking, Nazi theorists and politicians blamed Germany's previous economic failures on political causes like the influence of Marxism on the workforce, the sinister and exploitative machinations of what they called international Jewry and the vindictiveness of the western political leaders'
war reparation War reparations are compensation payments made after a war by one side to the other. They are intended to cover damage or injury inflicted during a war. History Making one party pay a war indemnity In contract law, an indemnity is a cont ...
demands. Instead of traditional economic incentives, the Nazis offered solutions of a political nature, such as the elimination of organised
trade union A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and Employee ben ...
s, rearmament (in contravention of the Versailles Treaty) and biological politics. Various work programs designed to establish full-employment for the German population were instituted once the Nazis seized full national power. Hitler encouraged nationally supported projects like the construction of the ''
Autobahn The (; German plural ) is the federal controlled-access highway system in Germany. The official German term is (abbreviated ''BAB''), which translates as 'federal motorway'. The literal meaning of the word is 'Federal Auto(mobile) Track'. ...
'' highway system, the introduction of an affordable people's car (''
Volkswagen Volkswagen (),English: , . abbreviated as VW (), is a German Automotive industry, motor vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. Founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front under the Nazi Party and revived into a ...
'') and later the Nazis bolstered the economy through the business and employment generated by military rearmament. The Nazis benefited early in the regime's existence from the first post-Depression economic upswing, and this combined with their public works projects, job-procurement program and subsidised home repair program reduced unemployment by as much as 40 per cent in one year. This development tempered the unfavourable psychological climate caused by the earlier economic crisis and encouraged Germans to march in step with the regime. The economic policies of the Nazis were in many respects a continuation of the policies of the
German National People's Party The German National People's Party (german: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a National conservatism, national-conservative party in Germany during the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the Nazi Party, it was the major Conservatism, cons ...
, a
national-conservative National conservatism is a nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (a ...
party and the Nazis' coalition partner. While other Western capitalist countries strove for increased
state ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
of industry during the same period, the Nazis transferred
public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
into the
private sector The private sector is the part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is owned by private groups, usually as a means of establishment for profit (economics), profit or Non Profit, non profit, rather than being owned by t ...
and handed over some
public service A public service is any service intended to address specific needs pertaining to the aggregate members of a community. Public services are available to people within a government A government is the system or group of people gover ...
s to private organizations, mostly affiliated with the Nazi Party. It was an intentional policy with multiple objectives rather than ideologically driven and was used as a tool to enhance support for the Nazi government and the party. According to historian
Richard Overy Richard James Overy (born 23 December 1947) is a British historian who has published on the history of World War II and Nazi Germany. In 2007, as ''The Times'' editor of ''Complete History of the World'', he chose the 50 key dates of world his ...
, the Nazi
war economy A war economy or wartime economy is the set of contingencies undertaken by a modern State (polity), state to mobilize its economy for Materiel, war production. Philippe Le Billon describes a war economy as a "system of Production (economics), p ...
was a
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
that combined
free markets In economics, a free market is an economic market (economics), system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of ...
with
central planning A planned economy is a type of economic system where Investment (macroeconomics), investment, Production (economics), production and the allocation of capital goods takes place according to economy-wide economic plans and production plans. A plan ...
and described the economy as being somewhere in between the command economy of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
and the capitalist system of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
. The Nazi government continued the economic policies introduced by the government of
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,; often ...
in 1932 to combat the effects of the Depression. Upon being appointed Chancellor in 1933, Hitler appointed
Hjalmar Schacht Hjalmar Schacht (born Horace Greeley Hjalmar Schacht; 22 January 1877 – 3 June 1970, ) was a German economist, banker, centre-right politician, and co-founder in 1918 of the German Democratic Party The German Democratic Party (, or DDP ...
, a former member of the
German Democratic Party The German Democratic Party (, or DDP) was a center-left liberal party in the Weimar Republic. Along with the German People's Party (, or DVP), it represented political liberalism in Germany between 1918 and 1933. It was formed in 1918 from the ...
, as President of the
Reichsbank The ''Reichsbank'' (; 'Bank of the Reich, Bank of the Realm') was the central bank of the German Reich from 1876 until 1945. History until 1933 The Reichsbank was founded on 1 January 1876, shortly after the establishment of the German Empi ...
in 1933 and Minister of Economics in 1934. Hitler promised measures to increase employment, protect the German currency, and promote recovery from the Great Depression. These included an agrarian settlement program, labour service, and a guarantee to maintain health care and pensions. However, these policies and programs, which included a large
public works Public works are a broad category of infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of facilities and systems that serve a country, city, or other area, and encompasses the services and facilities necessary for its economy, households and firms t ...
programs supported by
deficit spending Within the budgetary process, deficit spending is the amount by which spending exceeds revenue In accounting, revenue is the total amount of income generated by the sale of goods and services related to the primary operations of the busines ...
such as the construction of the ''Autobahn'' network to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment, were inherited and planned to be undertaken by the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: link=no, Weimarer Republik ), officially named the German Reich, was the government of Germany from 1918 to 1933, during which it was a Constitutional republic, constitutional federal republic for the first time in ...
during conservative
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman who led the German Army (German Empire), Imperial German Army during World War I and later be ...
's presidency and which the Nazis appropriated as their own after coming to power. Above all, Hitler's priority was rearmament and the buildup of the German military in preparation for an eventual war to conquer ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' in the East. The policies of Schacht created a scheme for deficit financing, in which capital projects were paid for with the issuance of promissory notes called Mefo bills, which could be traded by companies with each other. This was particularly useful in allowing Germany to rearm because the Mefo bills were not
Reichsmark The (; Currency sign, sign: ℛℳ; abbreviation: RM) was the currency of German Reich, Germany from 1924 until 20 June 1948 in West Germany, where it was replaced with the , and until 23 June 1948 in East Germany, where it was replaced by the ...
s and did not appear in the federal budget, so they helped conceal rearmament. At the beginning of his rule, Hitler said that "the future of Germany depends exclusively and only on the reconstruction of the Wehrmacht. All other tasks must cede precedence to the task of rearmament." This policy was implemented immediately, with military expenditures quickly growing far larger than the civilian work-creation programs. As early as June 1933, military spending for the year was budgeted to be three times larger than the spending on all civilian work-creation measures in 1932 and 1933 combined. Nazi Germany increased its military spending faster than any other state in peacetime, with the share of military spending rising from 1 per cent to 10 per cent of national income in the first two years of the regime alone. Eventually, it reached as high as 75 per cent by 1944. In spite of their rhetoric condemning
big business Big business involves large-scale corporate-controlled financial market, financial or business sector, business activities. As a term, it describes activities that run from "huge transactions" to the more general "doing big things". In corporate ...
prior to their rise to power, the Nazis quickly entered into a partnership with German business from as early as February 1933. That month, after being appointed Chancellor but before gaining dictatorial powers, Hitler made a personal appeal to German business leaders to help fund the Nazi Party for the crucial months that were to follow. He argued that they should support him in establishing a dictatorship because "private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy" and because democracy would allegedly lead to communism. He promised to destroy the German left and the trade unions, without any mention of anti-Jewish policies or foreign conquests. In the following weeks, the Nazi Party received contributions from seventeen different business groups, with the largest coming from
IG Farben Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG (), commonly known as IG Farben (German for 'IG Dyestuffs'), was a German chemical and pharmaceutical conglomerate (company), conglomerate. Formed in 1925 from a merger of six chemical companies—BASF, ...
and
Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank AG (), sometimes referred to simply as Deutsche, is a German multinational Investment banking, investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany, and dual-listed on the Frankfurt Stock ...
. Historian Adam Tooze writes that the leaders of German business were therefore "willing partners in the destruction of political pluralism in Germany". In exchange, owners and managers of German businesses were granted unprecedented powers to control their workforce,
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees aimed at agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights for workers. The i ...
was abolished and wages were frozen at a relatively low level. Business profits also rose very rapidly, as did corporate investment. In addition, the Nazis privatised public properties and public services, only increasing economic state control through regulations. Hitler believed that private ownership was useful in that it encouraged creative competition and technical innovation, but insisted that it had to conform to national interests and be "productive" rather than "parasitical". Private property rights were conditional upon following the economic priorities set by the Nazi leadership, with high profits as a reward for firms who followed them and the threat of nationalisation being used against those who did not. Under Nazi economics, free competition and self-regulating markets diminished, but Hitler's
social Darwinist Social Darwinism refers to various theories and societal practices that purport to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics and politics, and which were largely defined by scholars in We ...
beliefs made him retain business competition and private property as economic engines. The Nazis were hostile to the idea of
social welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refer specifical ...
in principle, upholding instead the social Darwinist concept that the weak and feeble should perish. They condemned the welfare system of the Weimar Republic as well as private charity, accusing them of supporting people regarded as racially inferior and weak, who should have been weeded out in the process of natural selection. Nevertheless, faced with the mass unemployment and poverty of the Great Depression, the Nazis found it necessary to set up charitable institutions to help racially-pure Germans in order to maintain popular support, while arguing that this represented "racial self-help" and not indiscriminate charity or universal social welfare. Nazi programs such as the Winter Relief of the German People and the broader
National Socialist People's Welfare The National Socialist People's Welfare (german: Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt, NSV) was a Social welfare provision, social welfare organization during the Third Reich. The NSV was originally established in 1931 as a small Nazi Party-affi ...
(NSV) were organised as quasi-private institutions, officially relying on private donations from Germans to help others of their race, although in practice those who refused to donate could face severe consequences. Unlike the social welfare institutions of the Weimar Republic and the Christian charities, the NSV distributed assistance on explicitly racial grounds. It provided support only to those who were "racially sound, capable of and willing to work, politically reliable, and willing and able to reproduce." Non-Aryans were excluded, as well as the "work-shy", "asocials" and the "hereditarily ill." Successful efforts were made to get middle-class women involved in social work assisting large families, and the Winter Relief campaigns acted as a ritual to generate public sympathy.Richard Grunberger, ''The 12-Year Reich'', p. 79, Agrarian policies were also important to the Nazis since they corresponded not just to the economy but to their geopolitical conception of ''Lebensraum'' as well. For Hitler, the acquisition of land and soil was requisite in moulding the German economy. To tie farmers to their land, selling agricultural land was prohibited. Farm ownership remained private, but business monopoly rights were granted to marketing boards to control production and prices with a quota system. The Hereditary Farm Law of 1933 established a cartel structure under a government body known as the Reichsnährstand (RNST) which determined "everything from what seeds and fertilizers were used to how land was inherited". Hitler primarily viewed the German economy as an instrument of power and believed the economy was not about creating wealth and technical progress so as to improve the quality of life for a nation's citizenry, but rather that economic success was paramount for providing the means and material foundations necessary for military conquest. While economic progress generated by National Socialist programs had its role in appeasing the German people, the Nazis and Hitler in particular did not believe that economic solutions alone were sufficient to thrust Germany onto the stage as a world power. The Nazis thus sought to secure a general economic revival accompanied by massive military spending for rearmament, especially later through the implementation of the
Four Year Plan The Four Year Plan was a series of economic measures initiated by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany in 1936. Hitler placed Hermann Göring in charge of these measures, making him a Reich Plenipotentiary (Reichsbevollmächtigter) whose jurisdiction cut a ...
, which consolidated their rule and firmly secured a command relationship between the German arms industry and the National Socialist government. Between 1933 and 1939, military expenditures were upwards of 82 billion Reichsmarks and represented 23 per cent of Germany's gross national product as the Nazis mobilised their people and economy for war.


Anti-communism

The meaning of the term “socialism” in National-Socialism: In the 1920s, the left wing of the NSDAP (Nazi party), led by Gregor Strasser, publicly debated about the relationship between the nationalist and socialist components of theparty’s program with the right wing of the NSDAP led by Alfred Rosenberg. In his work “Nationaler Sozialismus oder Nationalsozialismus” ocialism of the nation or National Socialism(1923), Rosenberg drew a sharp distinction between the two: "The noun “Nationalsozialismus” National-socialism' as a single wordstands for a new synthesis that stresses the inseparability of both concepts, while the term 'national socialism, or socialism of the nation' actually means, or might mean, a national Marxism." In 1926 party leader Adolf Hitler speaking as the leader of the party, rejected some of Strasser's anti-capitalist demands, while reformulating others giving them an anti-Semitic content. In volume 2 of his programmatic work “Mein Kampf”, published in December 1926, Hitler committed the NSDAP to achieving anti-Soviet goals: struggling against Jewish Bolshevism and grabbing “Lebensraum” (space for living) to the East of Germany amely in Poland and the Soviet Union At the same time he rejected the demands made by the brothers Gregor and Otto Strasser and
t that time T, or t, is the twentieth Letter (alphabet), letter in the Latin alphabet, used in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet, the alphabets of other western European languages and others worldwide. Its name in English is English alphabe ...
Joseph Goebbels to coordinate foreign policy with the Soviet Union. Otto Strasser resigned from the NSDAP together with several of his followers in July of 1930, and published the manifesto “Socialists are Leaving the NSDAP” in an attempt to influence the party’s course. Nonetheless Hitler proclaimed that for him socialism and nationalism meant basically the same thing, namely to renounce one’s individuality for the sake of one’s Volk (people): "For me socialism means the supreme abnegation for my people’s sake, giving up all desire for personal gain in order to serve the community. The essential goal is to attain benefits for the community of the Volk. In the final analysis, the term nationalism means nothing other than self-sacrifice and devotion to my Volk (people).”).” Class struggle is merely an obstacle standing in the way of national unity : "The term nationalism or socialism describes attitudes toward life and does not permit new values to arise. A lack of community spirit turns into bitter antagonism. Today we must overcome the conflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat, since in order to rise, each nation must adopt a watchword that is binding on everyone. We must close the split and rally our forces around a new platform.” In 1934 Hitler, in his capacity as „Führer und Reichskanzler“ Supreme Leader and Prime Minister of the Nation" commanded the murder of the left-wing leaders remaining in the party, principally those of Ernst Röhm and Gregor Strasser, in the course of the "Röhm putsch" and disbanded the paramilitary SA. Previously, the Nazi regime had already forced the labor unions/trade unions to toe the line (“Gleichschaltung”) by the use of terror and harsh edicts, had banned the Communist and the Social Democratic parties (KPD and SPD), had imprisoned their leaders and murdered many of their officials, and had thus smashed the political power of organized labor. The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property and personal property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective ...
, its support of
class conflict Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socioeconomics, socio-economic competition among the social classes or between Affluence, ...
, its aggression against the
middle class The middle class refers to a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy, often defined by job, occupation, income, education, or social status. The term has historically been associated with modernity, capitalism and poli ...
, its hostility towards small business and its
atheism Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of Deity, deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that ther ...
. Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and
economic egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, List of academic dis ...
, favouring instead a stratified economy with
social class A social class is a grouping of people into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes. Membership in a social class can for example be dependent on education, wealth, occupation, inc ...
es based on merit and talent, retaining
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property and personal property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective ...
and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction. Historians
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
and Joachim Fest argue that in post–
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
Germany, the Nazis were one of many nationalist and fascist political parties contending for the leadership of Germany's
anti-communist Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the Russian Empire, and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, w ...
movement. In ''
Mein Kampf (; ''My Struggle'' or ''My Battle'') is a 1925 Autobiography, autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became Antisemitism, antisemitic and outlines his Political views ...
'', Hitler stated his desire to "make war upon the Marxist principle that all men are equal." He believed that "the notion of equality was a sin against nature." Nazism upheld the "natural inequality of men," including inequality between races and also within each race. The National Socialist state aimed to advance those individuals with special talents or intelligence, so they could rule over the masses. Nazi ideology relied on elitism and the '' Führerprinzip'' (leadership principle), arguing that elite minorities should assume leadership roles over the majority, and that the elite minority should itself be organised according to a "hierarchy of talent", with a single leader—the
Führer ( ; , spelled or ''Fuhrer'' when the umlaut is not available) is a German word meaning "leader Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", inf ...
—at the top. The ''Führerprinzip'' held that each member of the hierarchy owed absolute obedience to those above him and should hold absolute power over those below him. During the 1920s, Hitler urged disparate Nazi factions to unite in opposition to
Jewish Bolshevism Jewish Bolshevism, also Judeo–Bolshevism, is an anti-communist Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the ...
. Hitler asserted that the "three vices" of "Jewish Marxism" were democracy,
pacifism Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war, militarism (including conscription and mandatory military service) or violence. Pacifists generally reject theories of Just War. The word ''pacifism'' was coined by the French peace campaigne ...
and internationalism. The Communist movement, the trade unions, the Social Democratic Party and the left-wing press were all considered to be Jewish-controlled and part of the "international Jewish conspiracy" to weaken the German nation by promoting internal disunity through class struggle. The Nazis also believed that the Jews had instigated the
Bolshevik revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countri ...
in Russia and that Communists had stabbed Germany in the back and caused it to lose the First World War. They further argued that modern cultural trends of the 1920s (such as
jazz music Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African Americans, African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recog ...
and cubist art) represented "
cultural Bolshevism Degenerate art (german: Entartete Kunst was a term adopted in the 1920s by the Nazi Party in Germany to describe modern art. During the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, German art#20th century, German modernist art, including many works of internatio ...
" and were part of a political assault aimed at the spiritual degeneration of the German ''Volk''. Joseph Goebbels published a pamphlet titled ''The Nazi-Sozi'' which gave brief points of how National Socialism differed from Marxism. In 1930, Hitler said: "Our adopted term 'Socialist' has nothing to do with Marxist Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not". The
Communist Party of Germany The Communist Party of Germany (german: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, , KPD ) was a major political party in the Weimar Republic between 1918 and 1933, an underground German resistance to Nazism, resistance movement in Nazi Germany, and ...
(KPD) was the largest Communist Party in the world outside of the Soviet Union, until it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Communists and Nazis often fought each other directly in street violence, with the Nazi paramilitary organisations being opposed by the Communist Red Front and
Anti-Fascist Action Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) was a militant anti-fascist organisation, founded in the UK in 1985 by a wide range of anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations. It was active in fighting far-right organisations, particularly the National Front an ...
. After the beginning of the Great Depression, both Communists and Nazis saw their share of the vote increase. While the Nazis were willing to form alliances with other parties of the right, the Communists refused to form an alliance with the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany. Sask ...
, the largest party of the left. After the Nazis came to power, they quickly banned the Communist Party under the allegation that it was preparing for revolution and that it had caused the
Reichstag fire The Reichstag fire (german: Reichstagsbrand, ) was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of ...
. Four thousand KPD officials were arrested in February 1933, and by the end of the year 130,000 communists had been sent to
Nazi concentration camps From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany operated more than a thousand concentration camps, (officially) or (more commonly). The Nazi concentration camps are distinguished from other types of Nazi camps such as forced-labor camps, as well as concen ...
. During the late 1930s and the 1940s, anti-communist regimes and groups that supported Nazism included
Francoist Spain Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), or the Francoist dictatorship (), was the period of Spanish history between 1939 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain after the Spanish Civil War with the title . After his death in 1975, Spani ...
, the
Vichy regime Vichy France (french: Régime de Vichy; 10 July 1940 – 9 August 1944), officially the French State ('), was the Fascism, fascist French state headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Officially independent, but with half of ...
and the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French) in France and the
British Union of Fascists The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was a British Fascism, British fascist political party formed in 1932 by Oswald Mosley. Mosley changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists in 1936 and, in 1937, to the British Un ...
under
Oswald Mosley Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet (16 November 1896 – 3 December 1980) was a British politician during the 1920s and 1930s who rose to fame when, having become disillusioned with mainstream politics, he turned to fascism Fascism i ...
.


Views of capitalism

The Nazis argued that
free-market capitalism In economics, a free market is an economic market (economics), system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of ...
damages nations due to
international finance International finance (also referred to as international monetary economics or international macroeconomics) is the branch of financial economics broadly concerned with monetary economics, monetary and macroeconomics, macroeconomic interrelations ...
and the worldwide economic dominance of disloyal
big business Big business involves large-scale corporate-controlled financial market, financial or business sector, business activities. As a term, it describes activities that run from "huge transactions" to the more general "doing big things". In corporate ...
, which they considered to be the product of Jewish influences. Nazi propaganda posters in
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
districts emphasised anti-capitalism, such as one that said: "The maintenance of a rotten industrial system has nothing to do with nationalism. I can love Germany and hate capitalism". Both in public and in private Hitler opposed free-market capitalism because it "could not be trusted to put national interests first", arguing that it holds nations ransom in the interests of a parasitic cosmopolitan
rentier Rentier may refer to: * Rentier capitalism Rentier capitalism describes the economic practice of gaining large profits without contributing to society. And a rentier is someone who earns income from capital without working. This is generally d ...
class. He believed that international free trade would lead to global domination by the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, which he believed were controlled by Jewish bankers in
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District, Manhattan, Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It runs between Broadway (Manhattan), Broadway in the west to South Street (Manhattan), South Street and ...
and the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
. In particular, Hitler saw the United States as a major future rival and feared that the
globalization Globalization, or globalisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. The term ''globalization'' first appeared in the early 2 ...
after World War I would allow
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
to displace
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
as the world's most powerful continent. Hitler's anxiety over the economic rise of the United States was a major theme in his unpublished ''
Zweites Buch The ''Zweites Buch'' (, "Second Book"), published in English as ''Hitler's Secret Book'' and later as ''Hitler's Second Book'', is an unedited transcript of Adolf Hitler's thoughts on foreign policy written in 1928; it was written after ''Mei ...
''. He even hoped for a time that Britain could be swayed into an alliance with Germany on the basis of a shared economic rivalry with the United States. Hitler desired an economy that would direct resources "in ways that matched the many national goals of the regime" such as the buildup of the military, building programs for cities and roads, and economic self-sufficiency. Hitler also distrusted free-market capitalism for being unreliable due to its
egotism Egotism is defined as the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance distinguished by a person's amplified vision of one's self and self-importan ...
and preferred a state-directed economy that maintains private property and competition but subordinates them to the interests of the ''
Volk The German noun ''Volk'' () translates to :wikt:people, people, both uncountable in the sense of ''people'' as in a crowd, and countable (plural ''Völker'') in the sense of ''People, a people'' as in an ethnic group or nation (compare the E ...
'' and Nation. Hitler told a party leader in 1934: "The economic system of our day is the creation of the Jews". Hitler said to
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
that capitalism had "run its course". Hitler also said that the business
bourgeoisie The bourgeoisie ( , ) is a social class, equivalent to the middle or upper middle class. They are distinguished from, and traditionally contrasted with, the proletariat by their affluence, and their great cultural and financial capital. ...
"know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them." Hitler was personally disgusted with the ruling bourgeois elites of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic, whom he referred to as "cowardly shits". In ''
Mein Kampf (; ''My Struggle'' or ''My Battle'') is a 1925 Autobiography, autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became Antisemitism, antisemitic and outlines his Political views ...
'', Hitler effectively supported
mercantilism Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, colonialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal. The policy aims to redu ...
in the belief that economic resources from their respective territories should be seized by force, as he believed that the policy of ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' would provide Germany with such economically valuable territories. He argued that the United States and the United Kingdom only benefitted from free trade because they had already conquered substantial internal markets through British colonial conquests and American westward expansion. Hitler argued that the only means to maintain economic security was to have direct control over resources rather than being forced to rely on world trade. Hitler claimed that war to gain such resources was the only means to surpass the failing capitalist economic system. In practice, however, the Nazis merely opposed one type of capitalism, namely 19th-century
free-market capitalism In economics, a free market is an economic market (economics), system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of ...
and the ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system in which transactions between private groups of people are free from any form of economic interventionism (such as Subsidy, subsidies) deriving from special interest ...
'' model, which they nonetheless applied to the social sphere in the form of
social Darwinism Social Darwinism refers to various theories and societal practices that purport to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics and politics, and which were largely defined by scholars in We ...
. Some have described Nazi Germany as an example of
corporatism Corporatism is a collectivist political ideology which advocates the organization of society by corporate groups, such as agricultural, labour, military, business, scientific, or guild associations, on the basis of their common interests. Th ...
, authoritarian capitalism, or totalitarian capitalism. While claiming to strive for autarky in propaganda, the Nazis crushed existing movements towards self-sufficiency and established extensive capital connections in efforts to ready for expansionist war and genocide in alliance with traditional
business Business is the practice of making one's living or making money by producing or Trade, buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and Service (economics), services). It is also "any activity or enterprise entered into for pr ...
and
commerce Commerce is the large-scale organized system of activities, functions, procedures and institutions directly and indirectly related to the exchange (buying and selling) of goods and services among two or more parties within local, regional, nation ...
elites. In spite of their anti-capitalist rhetoric in opposition to big business, the Nazis allied with German business as soon as they got in power by appealing to the fear of communism and promising to destroy the German left and trade unions, eventually purging both more radical and reactionary elements from the party in 1934.
Joseph Goebbels Paul Joseph Goebbels (; 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazism, Nazi politician who was the ''Gauleiter'' (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment ...
, who would later go on to become the Nazi Propaganda Minister, was strongly opposed to both capitalism and communism, viewing them as the "two great pillars of materialism" that were "part of the international Jewish conspiracy for world domination." Nevertheless, he wrote in his diary in 1925 that if he were forced to choose between them, "in the final analysis, it would be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism". Goebbels also linked his antisemitism to his anti-capitalism, stating in a 1929 pamphlet that "we see, in the Hebrews, the incarnation of capitalism, the misuse of the nation's goods." Within the Nazi Party, the faction associated with anti-capitalist beliefs was the SA, a paramilitary wing led by
Ernst Röhm Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (; 28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German military officer and an early member of the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialist ...
. The SA had a complicated relationship with the rest of the party, giving both Röhm himself and local SA leaders significant autonomy. Different local leaders would even promote different political ideas in their units, including "nationalistic, socialistic, anti-Semitic, racist, völkisch, or conservative ideas." There was tension between the SA and Hitler, especially from 1930 onward, as Hitler's "increasingly close association with big industrial interests and traditional rightist forces" caused many in the SA to distrust him. The SA regarded Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 as a "first revolution" against the left, and some voices within the ranks began arguing for a "second revolution" against the right. After engaging in violence against the left in 1933, Röhm's SA also began attacks against individuals deemed to be associated with conservative reaction. Hitler saw Röhm's independent actions as violating and possibly threatening his leadership, as well as jeopardising the regime by alienating the conservative President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman who led the German Army (German Empire), Imperial German Army during World War I and later be ...
and the conservative-oriented German Army. This resulted in Hitler purging Röhm and other radical members of the SA in 1934, during the
Night of the Long Knives The Night of the Long Knives (German language, German: ), or the Röhm purge (German: ''Röhm-Putsch''), also called Operation Hummingbird (German: ''Unternehmen Kolibri''), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 19 ...
.


Totalitarianism

Under Nazism, with its emphasis on the nation, individualism was denounced and instead importance was placed upon Germans belonging to the German ''
Volk The German noun ''Volk'' () translates to :wikt:people, people, both uncountable in the sense of ''people'' as in a crowd, and countable (plural ''Völker'') in the sense of ''People, a people'' as in an ethnic group or nation (compare the E ...
'' and "people's community" (''Volksgemeinschaft)''. Hitler declared that "every activity and every need of every individual will be regulated by the collectivity represented by the party" and that "there are no longer any free realms in which the individual belongs to himself".
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
justified the establishment of a repressive
police state A police state describes a State (polity), state where its government institutions exercise an extreme level of control over civil society and Liberty, liberties. There is typically little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of p ...
, in which the security forces could exercise power arbitrarily, by claiming that national security and order should take precedence over the needs of the individual. According to the famous philosopher and political theorist,
Hannah Arendt Hannah Arendt (, , ; 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. She is widely considered to be one of the most influential political theorists of the 20th century. Arendt was born ...
, the allure of Nazism as a totalitarian ideology (with its attendant mobilisation of the German population) resided within the construct of helping that society deal with the
cognitive dissonance In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the perception of contradictory information, and the mental toll of it. Relevant items of information include a person's actions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, Value (ethics), values, and things in t ...
resultant from the tragic interruption of the First World War and the economic and material suffering consequent to the Depression and brought to order the revolutionary unrest occurring all around them. Instead of the plurality that existed in democratic or parliamentary states, Nazism as a totalitarian system promulgated "clear" solutions to the historical problems faced by Germany, levied support by de-legitimizing the former government of Weimar and provided a politico-biological pathway to a better future, one free from the uncertainty of the past. It was the atomised and disaffected masses that Hitler and the party elite pointed in a particular direction and using clever propaganda to make them into ideological adherents, exploited in bringing Nazism to life. While the ideologues of Nazism, much like those of Stalinism, abhorred democratic or parliamentary governance as practised in the United States or Britain, their differences are substantial. An epistemic crisis occurs when one tries to synthesize and contrast Nazism and Stalinism as two-sides of the same coin with their similarly tyrannical leaders, state-controlled economies and repressive police structures. Namely, while they share a common thematic political construction, they are entirely inimical to one another in their worldviews and when more carefully analysed against one another on a one-to-one level, an "irreconcilable asymmetry" results.


Classification: Reactionary or Revolutionary

Although Nazism is often seen as a reactionary movement, it did not seek a return of Germany to the pre-Weimar monarchy, but instead looked much further back to a mythic halcyon Germany which never existed. It has also been seen—as it was by the
German-American German Americans (german: Deutschamerikaner, ) are Americans who have full or partial Germans, German ancestry. With an estimated size of approximately 43 million in 2019, German Americans are the largest of the self-reported ancestry groups by ...
scholar Franz Leopold Neumann—as the result of a crisis of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
which manifested as a "totalitarian monopoly capitalism". In this view Nazism is a mass movement of the middle class which was in opposition to a mass movement of workers in
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
and its extreme form,
Communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
. Historian
Karl Dietrich Bracher Karl Dietrich Bracher (13 March 1922 – 19 September 2016) was a German political scientist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. Born in Stuttgart, Bracher was awarded a Ph.D. in the classics by the University of Tübingen in 19 ...
argues:
Such an interpretation runs the risk of misjudging the revolutionary component of National Socialism, which cannot be dismissed as being simply reactionary. Rather, from the very outset, and particularly as it developed into the SS state, National Socialism aimed at a transformation of state and society.
About Hitler's and the Nazi Party's political positions, Bracher further claims:
heywere of a revolutionary nature: destruction of existing political and social structures and their supporting elites; profound disdain for civic order, for human and moral values, for Habsburg and Hohenzollern, for liberal and Marxist ideas. The middle class and middle-class values, bourgeois nationalism and capitalism, the professionals, the intelligentsia and the upper class were dealt the sharpest rebuff. These were the groups which had to be uprooted ..
Similarly, historian
Modris Eksteins Modris Eksteins ( lv, Modris Ekšteins; born December 13, 1943) is a Latvian Canadian historian with a special interest in German history and modern culture. Born in Riga Riga (; lv, Rīga , liv, Rīgõ) is the capital and largest city of ...
argued:
Contrary to many interpretations of Nazism, which tend to view it as a reactionary movement, as, in the words of
Thomas Mann Paul Thomas Mann ( , ; ; 6 June 1875 – 12 August 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novella ...
, an "explosion of antiquarianism", intent on turning Germany into a pastoral folk community of thatched cottages and happy peasants, the general thrust of the movement, despite archaisms, was futuristic. Nazism was a headlong plunge into the future, towards a "brave new world." Of course it used to advantage residual conservative and utopian longings, paid respect to these romantic visions, and picked its ideological trappings from the German past. but its goals were, by its own lights, distinctly progressive. It was not a double-faced
Janus In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion and Roman mythology, myth, Janus ( ; la, Ianvs ) is the List of Roman deities, god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually de ...
whose aspects were equally attentive to the past and the future, nor was it a modern
Proteus In Greek mythology, Proteus (; Ancient Greek: Πρωτεύς, ''Prōteus'') is an early prophetic sea-god or god of rivers and oceanic bodies of water, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea" ''(hálios gérôn)''. ...
, the god of metamorphosis, who duplicates pre-existing forms. The intention of the movement was to create a new type of human being from whom would spring a new morality, a new social system, and eventually a new international order. That was, in fact, the intention of all the fascist movements. After a visit to Italy and a meeting with Mussolini,
Oswald Mosley Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet (16 November 1896 – 3 December 1980) was a British politician during the 1920s and 1930s who rose to fame when, having become disillusioned with mainstream politics, he turned to fascism Fascism i ...
wrote that fascism "has produced not only a new system of government, but also a new type of man, who differs from politicians of the old world as men from another planet." Hitler talked in these terms endlessly. National Socialism was more than a political movement, he said; it was more than a faith; it was a desire to create mankind anew.
British historian
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
, in his history of Europe in the first half of the 20th century, ''To Hell and Back'', says about Nazism, Italian Fascism and
Bolshevism Bolshevism (from Bolsheviks, Bolshevik) is a Revolutionary socialism, revolutionary socialist current of Soviet Marxism–Leninism, Marxist–Leninist political thought and political regime associated with the formation of a rigidly centralized ...
:
They were different forms of a completely new, modern type of dictatorship – the complete antithesis to
liberal democracy Liberal democracy is the combination of a liberalism, liberal political ideology that operates under an representative democracy, indirect democratic form of government. It is characterized by elections between Pluralism (political philosophy), ...
. They were all revolutionary, if by that term we understand a major political upheaval driven by the utopian aim of changing society fundamentally. They were not content simply to use repression as a means of control, but sought to mobilize behind an exclusive ideology to "educate" people into becoming committed believers, to claim them soul as well as body. Each of the regimes was, therefore, dynamic in ways that "conventional" authoritarianism was not.
After the failure of the
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
in 1923, and his subsequent trial and imprisonment, Hitler decided that the way for the Nazi Party to achieve power was not through insurrection, but through legal and quasi-legal means. This did not sit well with the brown-shirted stormtroopers of the SA, especially those in Berlin, who chafed under the restrictions that Hitler placed on them, and their subordination to the party. This resulted in the Stennes Revolt of 1930–31, after which Hitler made himself the Supreme Commander of the SA, and brought Ernst Röhm back to be their Chief of Staff and keep them in line. The quashing of the SA's revolutionary fervor convinced many businessmen and military leaders that the Nazis had put aside their insurrectionist past, and that Hitler could be a reliable partner After the Nazis' "Seizure of Power" in 1933, Röhm and the Brown Shirts were not content for the party to simply carry the reins of power. Instead, they pressed for a continuation of the "National Socialist revolution" to bring about sweeping social changes, which Hitler, primarily for tactical reasons, was not willing to do at that time. He was instead focused on rebuilding the military and reorienting the economy to provide the rearmament necessary for invasion of the countries to the east of Germany, especially Poland and Russia, to get the ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' ("living space") he believed was necessary to the survival of the Aryan race. For this, he needed the co-operation of not only the military, but also the vital organs of capitalism, the banks and big businesses, which he would be unlikely to get if Germany's social and economic structure was being radically overhauled. Röhm's public proclamation that the SA would not allow the "German Revolution" to be halted or undermined caused Hitler to announce that "The revolution is not a permanent condition." The unwillingness of Röhm and the SA to cease their agitation for a "Second Revolution", and the unwarranted fear of a "Röhm putsch" to accomplish it, were factors behind Hitler's purging of the SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives in the summer of 1934. Despite such tactical breaks necessitated by pragmatic concerns, which were typical for Hitler during his rise to power and in the early years of his regime, those who see Hitler as a revolutionary argue that he never ceased being a revolutionary dedicated to the radical transformation of Germany, especially when it concerned racial matters. In his monograph, ''Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?'', Martyn Housden concludes:
itlercompiled a most extensive set of revolutionary goals (calling for radical social and political change); he mobilized a revolutionary following so extensive and powerful that many of his aims were achieved; he established and ran a dictatorial revolutionary state; and he disseminated his ideas abroad through a revolutionary foreign policy and war. In short, he defined and controlled the National Socialist revolution in all its phases.
There were aspects of Nazism which were undoubtedly reactionary, such as their attitude toward the role of women in society, which was completely traditionalist, calling for the return of women to the home as wives, mothers and homemakers, although ironically this ideological policy was undermined in reality by the growing labour shortages and need for more workers caused by men leaving the workforce for military service. The number of working women actually increased from 4.24 million in 1933 to 4.52 million in 1936 and 5.2 million in 1938, despite active discouragement and legal barriers put in place by the Nazi regime. Another reactionary aspect of Nazism was in their arts policy, which stemmed from Hitler's rejection of all forms of "degenerate"
modern art Modern art includes artistic work produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophies of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the tradi ...
,
music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact definition of music, definitions of mu ...
and
architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the process and the product of sketching, conceiving, planning, designing, and construction, constructin ...
. Historian
Martin Broszat Martin Broszat (14 August 1926 – 14 October 1989) was a German historian specializing in modern German social history. As director of the Institute of Contemporary History (Munich), Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary ...
describes Nazism as having:
...a peculiar hybrid, half-reactionary, half-revolutionary relationship to established society, to the political system and tradition. ... tsideology was almost like a backwards-looking Utopia. It derived from romantic pictures and clichés of the past, from warlike-heroic, patriarchal or absolutist ages, social and political systems, which, however, were translated into the popular and avant-garde, into the fighting slogans of totalitarian nationalism. The élitist notion of aristocratic nobility became the ''völkische'' 'nobility of blood' of the '
master race The master race (german: Herrenrasse) is a Pseudoscience, pseudoscientific concept in Nazism, Nazi ideology in which the putative "Aryan race" is deemed the pinnacle of Race (classification of human beings), human racial hierarchy. Members wer ...
', the princely ' theory of divine right' gave way to the popular national Führer; the obedient submission to the active national '
following ''Following'' is a 1998 independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United S ...
'.


Post-war Nazism

Following Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II and the end of
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of History of the Jews in Europe, European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and #Collaboration, its collaborators systematically murdered some Holoc ...
, overt expressions of support for Nazi ideas were prohibited in Germany and other European countries. Nonetheless, movements which self-identify as National Socialist or which are described as adhering to Nazism continue to exist on the fringes of politics in many western societies. Usually espousing a
white supremacist White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and polit ...
ideology An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones." Formerly applied pr ...
, many deliberately adopt the symbols of Nazi Germany.


See also

* Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism * Consequences of Nazism *
Falangism Falangism ( es, falangismo) was the political ideology of two political parties in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' ...
* Fascism in the United States *
Functionalism versus intentionalism Functionalism may refer to: * Functionalism (architecture), the principle that architects should design a building based on the purpose of that building * Functionalism in international relations, a theory that arose during the inter-War period * ...
*
National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands The National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands ( nl, Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland, ; NSB) was a Dutch fascist and later Nazi Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (germa ...
*
Swedish National Socialist Party The Swedish National Socialist Party ( sv, Svenska nationalsocialistiska partiet, abbreviated SNSP) was a Nazi Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the f ...
* Swedish National Socialist Unity * Swedish National Socialist Unity Party * Italian Fascism * Statism in Shōwa Japan * List of books about Nazi Germany *
Nazi occultism The association of Nazism Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right politics, far-right Totalitarianism, totalitarian political ideology and practic ...
* Political views of Adolf Hitler * Theodore Abel papers


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2004) 985 ''
The Occult Roots of Nazism ''The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890–1935'' is a book about Nazi occultism The association of Nazism Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nat ...
: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890–1935''. Wellingborough, England: The Aquarian Press. . * * * * Klemperer, Victor (2006) 957'' The Language of the Third Reich: LTI – Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist's Notebooks''. New York: Continuum. * * * * * * * * * Redles, David (2005). ''Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation''. New York: University Press. . * * Steigmann-Gall, Richard (2003). ''The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * * * *


External links

* *
Hitler's National Socialist Party platform

NS-Archiv
a large collection of scanned original Nazi documents.

– slideshow by ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'' * Jonathan Meades (1994): (in 4 parts)
One of the first anti-nazi films in history ''Calling mr. Smith'' (1943) against Hitler.
{{authority control Antisemitism Authoritarianism Fascism German words and phrases The Holocaust Homophobia Politics of Nazi Germany Right-wing ideologies Totalitarianism White supremacy Xenophobia Anti-communism