Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (otherwise known as the Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany.  It is a unique variety of fascism that incorporates biological racism and antisemitism.   Nazism was founded out of elements of the far-right racist völkisch German nationalist movement and the violent anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary culture that fought against the uprisings of communist revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany.   The ideology was developed first by Anton Drexler and then Adolf Hitler as a means to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism.  Initially Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, though such aspects were later downplayed in the 1930s to gain the support from industrial owners for the Nazis; focus was shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes. The Nazis’ official economic policies were designed to exclusively benefit Aryans while deliberately excluding non-Aryans. In Nazi Germany and its controlled territories during World War II, the Nazis supported völkisch equality that officially ascribed collective racial equality of opportunity, equality before the law, and full legal rights to those able people of German blood or related Aryan blood but deliberately excluded people outside of this definition who were regarded as inferior and rejected the conception of universal human equality. There were factions in the Nazi Party, both conservative and radical.   Hitler in Mein Kampf 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.”   Hitler himself took a middle position: he accepted capitalist private enterprise as long as it was consistent with the goals of the Nazi state.  The concept of the Aryan race that the Nazis used stems from racial theories asserting that Europeans are the descendants of Indo-Iranian settlers, people of ancient India and ancient Persia.  Notions of white supremacy and Aryan racial superiority combined in the nineteenth century, with white supremacists maintaining that white people were members of an Aryan “master race” that is superior to all other races, and particularly superior to the Semitic race, which they associated with “cultural sterility”.  Aryan mysticism claimed that Christianity originated in Aryan religious tradition and that Jews had usurped the legend from Aryans.  Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an English proponent of racial theory, supported notions of Germanic supremacy and anti-Semitism in Germany.  Chamberlain’s work, 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.  Germany considered the Western world as having succumbed to decadence of intellect, money, cosmopolitan urban life, irreligious life, atomized individualization, and the end of biological fertility as well as “spiritual” fertility.  He believed that the “young” German nation as an imperial power would inherit the legacy of Ancient Rome and lead a restoration of value in “blood” and instinct, while the ideals of rationalism would be revealed as absurd. The Nazis advocated a strong, central government under the Führer, for defending Germany and the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans), against communism and Jewish subversion.  Hitler had concluded that ethnic and linguistic diversity had weakened the Austro–Hungarian Empire, and had resulted in contemporary political dissent. He disliked democracy because it allowed political power to ethnic minorities and to liberal political parties, who “weakened and destabilized” the empire with internal division.  Nazi militarism was based upon the belief that great nations grow from military power, and maintain order in the world.  Despite many working-class supporters and members, the appeal of the Nazi Party to the working class was neither true nor effective, because its politics mostly appealed to the middle class, as a stabilizing, pro-business political party, not a revolutionary workers’ party!   Moreover, the financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s figures much in their strong support of Nazism, thus the great percentage of declared middle-class support for the Nazis.  In the poor country that was the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s, the Nazi Party realised their socialist policies with food and shelter for the unemployed and the homeless — later recruited to the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung!  Adolf Hitler claimed to have first developed his worldview from living and observing Viennese life from 1907 to 1913, concluding that the Austro–Hungarian Empire comprised racial, religious, and cultural hierarchies; per his interpretations, atop were the “Aryans”, the ultimate, white master race, whilst Jews and Gypsies were at bottom.  In establishing Nazi German racial superiority, Adolf Hitler defined “the Nation” as the highest creation of a race, and that that great nations were the creations of homogeneous populations of great races working together. These nations developed cultures that naturally grew from races with “natural good health, and aggressive, intelligent, courageous traits”. Whereas the weakest nations were those of “impure” or “mongrel races”, because they were disunited. Hitler claimed that lowest races were the parasitic Untermenschen (subhumans), principally the Jews, who were living lebensunwertes Leben(“life-unworthy life”) owing to racial inferiority, and their wandering, nationless invasions of greater nations, such as Germany.  Hitler declared that racial conflict against Jews was necessary to save Germany from suffering under them and dispensed concerns about such conflict being inhumane or an injustice, saying:  “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.”   Nazism expanded the Master Race definition to include Dutch and Scandinavian men as superior, German-stock Herrenvolk, in order to recruit them into the Schutzstaffel (SS).  Hitler argued that “races without homelands” were “parasitic races”, and that the richer the parasite race, the more virulent their parasitism. A master race could, therefore, easily strengthen themselves by killing the parasite races in the Heimat.   Nazism rationalized Die Endlösung (the Final Solution), extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Czechs, Poles and other Slavs (Generalplan Ost), the mentally retarded, the crippled, the handicapped, homosexuals and others deemed undesirable. During the Holocaust, the Waffen-SS, Wehrmacht soldiers, and right-wing paramilitary civilian militias killed some 11 million people in Nazi-occupied lands via concentration camps, prisoner-of-war camps, labor camps, and death camps, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Treblinka extermination camp.   Nazi cultural perception of the Jews, based upon the anti-Semitic The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, emphasized that Jews throve on fomenting division among Germans, and among nation-states.   The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility to small businessmen, and its atheism.  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”.  During the late 1930s and the 1940s, anti-communist regimes and groups that supported Nazism included the Falange in Spain; the Vichy regime and the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French) in France; and the Cliveden Set, Lord Halifax, and associates of Neville Chamberlain in Britain.  The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business, and Jewish influences.   Nazi propaganda posters in working-class districts emphasized 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.”



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