This is a fascinating old article that provides a lot of evidence that Communism influenced Nazism A LOT. Not only does it offer evidence of influence, but it provides evidence that the influence of Communism on Nazism was mutual knowledge among the Nazi leaders. To fully discuss it would take years. There is a thread on here called “Nazism as a Left-Wing Phenomenon” or something like that, and please let me know if you think this post should be in that thread.
Fascinating article indeed , there are a few threats which touch it. E.g. TIK arguing that the Nazis were Socialist and on the other had a TG episode were the Nazi were not Socialists
Whether Hitler was a socialist (left wing) or extreme right has been controversial, but maybe it is just the way our schools made us think about politics.
1 Dimension view of politics
When I was in school we already had a line which plotted countries and political parties from left to right with the Soviet Union/our Stalinist communists on the left and the Neo Nazis on the extreme right and our other parties in the middle. The teacher was on the left himself and was unhappy with questions about hey does that mean you support genocide. The teacher kind of tried to explain that the Soviet Union was a “conservative form of progressiveness which no one really understood.
The 1 dimension view works great to arrange seating in parliament though and that is probably were it came from ;-).
2 That view is wrong there are more dimensions
Maybe the 1 axle view of politics is wrong.
Topics like separation of church and state, caring about the environment, racism, supporting genocide on political opponents are NOT purely left or right. E.g. we used to have a left wing and still have a right wing evangelical parties.
Sadly the teacher in question kept defending it and me and other students tried to convince him that in a database we were used to multiple axis.
3 After the war social historians wanted to distance the National Socialists from their “point on the line”
After the war the Catholics claimed to be against the Nazi’s in full, as well as the Lutherians, Industrialists, Communists, Vegans etc. etc.
Still an ongoing debate:. As usual in history both sides can make hay by selectively choosing arguments.
1 Volkswagen or people’s car and Volksradio were very Socialist projects.
2 Paid vacation days for workers (although my grandmother had to work 7 days a week in Germany for a piece of black bread a day). This sound a lot like the USSR and their workers rights
3 The National Socialists nationalized Junkers Aircraft (Socialist?) but also worked together with capitalists industrialists
4 And they never installed the Kaiser again (Although the thought about in in 1927. By the way the Kaiser also was a raging anti-Semite and wannabe dictator. Anyway as Hitler was a Gefreiter he didn’t fit in the blue bloodline aristocracy.
5 They robbed and looted from their own population like the USSR .
Adam Tooze, wages of destruction is a good source on how the Socialist/Pillaging policies were quite disastrous and let to 1 crisis after the other.
6 Some Rote Arnee Fraction etc types turned National Socialist
The Entebbe Hi-Jackers and the Horst Mahler thought of themselves as “left wing” but the first arguably acted like National Socialists and the latter hopped from “extreme left” to “extreme right”.
In my view the whole left/right thinking and labelling makes no sense.
The thing here is less about the political position but the all consuming ideological fixation as the explanation for EVERYTHING that ties the two together. This goes back to Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt which honestly anyone who wants to understand modern politics should read.
Right wing is not used fairly or honestly by anyone on the wings. Right wing is NOT synonymous with classical liberalism or capitalism per se. Wolf of Wall Street types, Fascists, racial nationalists, and Burkean conservatives can all fall into the right wing. Left wing is a little easier to pin down, but I’m of the opinion that many on the far left are at heart as reactionary those on the left and all talk of revolution, whether or not they actually believe it, is in practice a pretext to replace one ancient regime with another. The Soviet Union and Stalin in particular come to mind. Couple of years ago there was a book called in the Court of the Red Czar, and he wasn’t joking or deriding Stalin by calling him that. The boyars were replaced with apparatchiks, the Reds reintroduced serfdom in all but name with collectivization, even restoring Czarist movement restrictions for the peasants that didn’t end until the 1970s.
The only thing really left wing about the Soviet Union was free healthcare and hatred of religion. The notion of a command economy is a thing of both the far right and far left. Anticapitalism exists along the entire political spectrum.
Thanks for the reply
Very true. They just had a new Czar and unlike Stalin Nicholas 2 DID instigate the 1899 peace conference in The Hague which aimed at stopping the arms race and created the 1899 treaty on jus in bello and the International Court of Arbitration.
Hanna Arendt is very interesting as she actually portrays Eichman as a disinterested bureaucrat (and not the stereotypical movie villian). My grandparents remember that the National Socialist often were well dressed schoolteacher with perfectly kept gardens who at the same time led schoolchildren into throwing empty cans at starving Russians while the “Western prisoners” often shared their piece of black bread with them. “Viel Deutschen haben der swastika hinter der augen” (I am not good at fallen). The idea was a society were decent respectful looking people turn around and could do the most horrible things with appearantly a perfect conscience. Even in the Arbeitseinsatz it felt like being part of a horror movie. When I took my grandparents to Germany/Neanderthal museum this suddenly came out when she was enraged at the German waitress for no appearant reason.
But as for right and left. In school class we had a discussion with the philosophy teacher who argued that the “Entebbe hi-jackers” were not Nazis as they were left wing. Well the picked out Israelis/ Jews and we knew they were anti-Semitic (the female one was definitely. Apparantly the male one didn’t think of himself as a Nazi (as a left winger I guess). Whether left or right. For some reason he as a left winger had some real problems accepting that anti-Semitism/ubermensch thinking isn’t confined to a wing of politics.
Horst Mahler, (Rote Armee Fraction), extreme left terrorist switched to Neo Nazi. But did he really switch?
To me left and right just is a false (way too simplistic at best) framework. We can perfectly on say getting more National Parks or not and disagree on more or less money for the military, most citizens are against donor controlled politicians who agree with who pays most anyway. As for antisemitism, the Simon Wiesenthal center is famous for criticizing it whether it comes from people who happen to be left or right, white/black or whatever.
I don’t think we will ever get away from the left or right thinking because these vague terms are ideal for politicians who want to “bash the other side” and call them X(being whatever dubious historical comparison is in vogue)
[quote=“Chewbacca, post:4, topic:3980”]
“Viel Deutschen haben der swastika hinter der augen”
I’m gonna lay something on the line. I’ve been researching and conceptualizing an Alt history story, for over 20 years, what it would take for a successful Valkerie, and it’s evolved a lot since then, and I want to explore this. Because I don’t think this defect is German in character, but a facet of modern educational practices which was extremely authoritarian. Also I see this notion of callousness to disfavored in actions of EVERY nation of World War II. I used to think of WW2 as the “good war” but a righteous cause doesn’t give you the licence to be as brutal as you wish. I’ve become disgusted with all sides, though not to the same degree. There’s mistakes, then there’s the desire for punishment and revenge. The stratgetic bombing of urban centers is one such thing, because they had the reports on hand from both China and Spain that attacking civilians or civilian adjacent just made the people more cussed and more likely to support their governments. In 1937, bombing urban centers was an experiment, by 1939 it was a mistake and by 1942, if war actually had laws, it would have been a war crime. But…the other guys deserve it. It’s a thing I get…for the leaders, but never the civilians.
I don’t think the right and left thing is USELESS, but it needs at least to be paired with a libertarian/statist axis too. And this has some problems but it’s much much better when given serious consideration.
As many critics of Eichman in Jerusalem have pointed out, Arendt was wrong about EICHMANN, but the there were a lot of people legitimately thinking and acting like Eichmann’s facade, and that’s why it might have worked. So it’s a useful book, as long as you understand Eichmann was faking and a gleefully murderous antisemite to the end, even declaring himself a proper Nazi man by rejecting Christianity and last consolations with a prastor before he was hung.
Something I’ve never understood about the Nazis is way they did concentration camps, not the extermination centers. If you want slave labor, take care of the slaves, inflict Stockholm Syndrome on them. The term didn’t exist but the concept in part did. Feed them properly so they can do the work. And don’t make Dachau happy fun torture time, put those people to work, cause even if you think they deserve it, you’re leaving money on the table.
That’s a Time Ghost episode proper and not world war II, but I was aghast a Indy was talking about the camp in the early 30s. It’s one thing to be evil, it’s another to be stupid, and the Nazis seemed to be geniuses at being both at the same time AND somehow getting away with it for for longer than they should have been able. Who knows? Maybe luck of the Devil isn’t simply and expression but a mark of favor?