They were left-wing socialists. Yes, the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, otherwise known as the Nazi Party, was indeed socialist, and it had a lot in common with the modern left. Hitler preached class warfare, agitating the working class to resist ``exploitation'' by capitalists -- particularly Jewish capitalists, of course. Their program called for the nationalization of education, health care, transportation, and other major industries. They instituted and vigorously enforced a strict gun control regimen. They encouraged pornography, illegitimacy, and abortion, and they denounced Christians as right-wing fanatics. Yet a popular myth persists that the Nazis themselves were right-wing extremists. This insidious lie biases the entire political landscape, and the time has come to expose it.
Richard Poe, editor of Frontpage Magazine, sets the record straight:
Nazism was inspired by Italian Fascism, an invention of hardline Communist Benito Mussolini. During World War I, Mussolini recognized that conventional socialism wasn't working. He saw that nationalism exerted a stronger pull on the working class than proletarian brotherhood. He also saw that the ferocious opposition of large corporations made socialist revolution difficult. So in 1919, Mussolini came up with an alternative strategy. He called it Fascism. Mussolini described his new movement as a ``Third Way'' between capitalism and communism. As under communism, the state would exercise dictatorial control over the economy. But as under capitalism, the corporations would be left in private hands.
Hitler followed the same game plan. He openly acknowledged that the Nazi party was ``socialist'' and that its enemies were the ``bourgeoisie'' and the ``plutocrats'' (the rich). Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler eliminated trade unions, and replaced them with his own state-run labor organizations. Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler hunted down and exterminated rival leftist factions (such as the Communists). Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler waged unrelenting war against small business.
Hitler regarded capitalism as an evil scheme of the Jews and said so in speech after speech. Karl Marx believed likewise. In his essay, ``On the Jewish Question,'' Marx theorized that eliminating Judaism would strike a crippling blow to capitalist exploitation. Hitler put Marx's theory to work in the death camps.
The Nazis are widely known as nationalists, but that label is often used to obscure the fact that they were also socialists. Some question whether Hitler himself actually believed in socialism, but that is no more relevant than whether Stalin was a true believer. The fact is that neither could have come to power without at least posing as a socialist. And the constant emphasis on the fact that the Nazis were nationalists, with barely an acknowledgment that they were socialists, is as absurd as labeling the Soviets ``internationalists'' and ignoring the fact that they were socialists (they called themselves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Yet many who regard ``national'' socialism as the scourge of humanity consider ``international'' socialism a benign or even superior form of government.
According to a popular misconception, the Nazis must have been on the political right because they persecuted communists and fought a war with the communists in Russia. This specious logic has gone largely unchallenged because it serves as useful propaganda for the left, which needs ``right-wing'' atrocities to divert attention from the horrific communist atrocities of the past century. Hence, communist atrocities have received much less publicity than Nazi war crimes, even though they were greater in magnitude by any objective measure.
R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documents in his book Death by Government that the two most murderous regimes of the past century were both communist: communists in the Soviet Union murdered 62 million of their own citizens, and Chinese communists killed 35 million Chinese citizens. The Nazi socialists come in third, having murdered 21 million Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians and others. Additional purges occurred in smaller communist hellholes such as Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Ethiopia, and Cuba, of course. Communism does more than imprison and impoverish nations: it kills wholesale. And so did ``national socialism'' during the Nazi reign of terror.
But the history of the past century has been grossly distorted by the predominantly left-wing media and academic elite. The Nazis have been universally condemned -- as they obviously should be -- but they have also been repositioned clear across the political spectrum and propped up as false representatives of the far right -- even though Hitler railed frantically against capitalism in his infamous demagogic speeches. At the same time, heinous crimes of larger magnitude by communist regimes have been ignored or downplayed, and the general public is largely unaware of them. Hence, communism is still widely regarded as a fundamentally good idea that has just not yet been properly ``implemented.'' Santayana said, ``Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' God help us if we forget the horrors of communism and get the historical lessons of Nazism backwards.
The Nazis also had something else in common with the modern left: an obsessive preoccupation with race. Hitler and his Nazis considered races other than their own inferior, of course. Modern ``liberals,'' who vociferously oppose the elimination of racial quotas, seem to agree. They apparently believe that non-white minorities (excluding Asians, of course) are inferior and unable to compete in the free market without favoritism mandated by the government. Whereas Hitler was hostile to those racial minorities, however, modern white ``liberals'' condescend benevolently. Hitler's blatant and virulent form of racism was eradicated relatively quickly and very forcefully, but the more subtle and insidious racism of the modern left has yet to be universally recognized and condemned.
The media often focuses its microscope on modern neo-nazi lunatics, but the actual scope of the menace is relatively miniscule, with perhaps a few thousand neo-nazis at most in the United States (mostly ``twenty-something'' know-nothings). The number of communists and communist sympathizers in the United States dwarfs that figure, of course -- even among tenured professors! And while the threat of neo-nazi terrorism is indeed serious, the chance of neo-nazis gaining any kind of legitimate political power anywhere is virtually zero. That is why the ACLU can safely use them to advertise its supposed commitment to free speech. Neo-nazi rallies incite violence, but they do not persuade bystanders to join their cause! If they did, the ACLU would have nothing to do with them.