14 thoughts on “Nazis And Marxism”

  1. One of my secondary school textbooks explicitly dismissed the Socialist Workers’ Party bit of Nazism as campaign rhetoric to attract support from the proletariat until Hitler was in control of the state. By the time I finished high school I had read dozens of books about the Second World War, and none of them mentioned the socialist nature of Fascism and Nazism. I didn’t begin to learn the truth for many years.

    1. I guess I lucked out getting history teachers that put NAZI and Communists on the same side of the spectrum. One of them even lectured us on how many of FDR’s policies actually made the Depression last longer. It wasn’t until after college when arguing with people on the internet, that I was appalled to learn that too many people are taught the opposite.

      It is part of a pattern as most people think the KKK was started by Republicans, that Republicans didn’t want women to vote, and that Republicans were against civil rights.

      1. “One of them even lectured us on how many of FDR’s policies actually made the Depression last longer.”

        I thought the overwhelming consensus of opinion from most historians/economists for better than half a century was that it was the 2nd World War that ended the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s policies may have given hope to a desperately needed populace but no they definitely didn’t end the Depression and some of them may have actually hurt somewhat. Given the unprecedently scale of the problem and the then radical largely untested interventions not surprising they didn’t all work. After all the Stock market crashed again I believe in 1940.

        1. I thought the overwhelming consensus of opinion from most historians/economists for better than half a century was that it was the 2nd World War that ended the Great Depression.

          One should wonder how an event involving the destruction of the US’s major trade partners is good for the economy. Answer: in order to fight that war, Roosevelt had to reverse many of his own policies and encourage intense economic competition. That more than offset the economic losses of the war itself (foreign trade had already been somewhat crippled by the Great Depression and tariff wars).

      2. history teachers that put NAZI and Communists on the same side of the spectrum.

        I still remember clearly being taught of Russian collusion with Hitler in the invasion of Poland. They were on the same side, until Hitler got greedy and invaded Russia.

  2. It all depends on how you define “Left” and “Socialism”, doesn’t it?
    A self-proclaimed Socialist just dismissively flapped one hand at me and declaimed:” Only an Internet Troll would think that!” …Didn’t answer the question you will note.

  3. This was interesting.

    The Nazis and communists were not only in a struggle for street-war supremacy, but also recruits. These recruits were easily turned, because both sides were fighting for the same men. Hayek recalls

    the relative ease with which a young communist could be converted into a Nazi or vice versa was generally known in Germany, best of all to the propagandists of the two parties. Many a University teacher during the 1930s has seen English or American students return from the Continent uncertain whether they were communists or Nazis and certain they hated Western liberal civilization. . . . To both, the real enemy, the man with whom they had nothing in common and whom they could not hope to convince is the liberal of the old type.

    Reminds me of the biography of Vidkun Quisling. The man was a staunch Communist until the Soviets insulted him in the late 1920s by repeatedly rejecting his projects (he had some diplomatic schemes concerning Armenia and Ukraine, according to Wikipedia). Within five years of his departure, he was firmly in the fascist camp with a party closely resembling the Nazi party.

    My take is that when one is a hard-core authoritarian, bent on shaping the world, it really doesn’t matter how the obtaining of power is rationalized.

    1. Norwegians were fond of asking one another: “Do you like Quisling?” only to hear the answer: “I don’t know, I’ve never Quisled.”

  4. Years ago I read J. Boyer Bell’s Terror Out of Zion(1976) and one thing the author covered in passing was the divide between “Left vs. Right” in early Israeli Politics.

    What I took from it was a view that there is a divide between the “Coffee Salon” or Genteel Socialists that are Middle Class dabblers in Reforming all of Society’s Ills and… The “Beer Hall” lower-class brawlers, uncouth laborers and artisans that want “more stuff”. To the lower class the airy distinctions between Fascist, Socialist and Communist are irrelevant — they just want “More!”.

  5. Back in 1978, I read the following: “There’s a joke going around Washington that’s making a lot of people uncomfortable. The joke is, ‘What’s the difference between a liberal and a fascist? A liberal doesn’t wear jackboots.’l

    1. Larry J: A variation on that joke that I heard around that time–I think it was when Proposition 13 in California was being debated, and “liberals” were coming out of the peace-love-and-brotherhood closet to show their authoritarianism–was this:

      “What’s the difference between a fascist and a liberal? A fascist wears jackboots and the liberal wears Hush Puppies.”*

      *For you youngsters who may not get the reference:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hush_Puppies

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