Yes, the Nazis Were Socialists
I’d like to continue the discussion of Scott Sehon’s article “No, the Nazis Were Not Socialists” that I began last week. At the end of my article, I berated Sehon. He says that the word “socialist” in the name of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) doesn’t show that the Nazis were really socialist. I complained, “Sehon is right that the word ‘socialist’ does not by itself tell us much, but unfortunately it does not occur to him to investigate what the Nazis meant by this word and why they used it.” Sehon might well answer me that that I didn’t do this either, and this is what I’m going to address in today’s article.
Sehon gives us a good suggestion that helps us to understand what the Nazis meant by “socialism.” He rightly calls attention to the 25-point Nazi Program of 1921. This, he says, is not a call to nationalize industrial production. Rather, it is a largely pro-business plan directed against the Jews: “When the Nazis talked about expropriation, they meant taking property belonging to Jews; they were quite in favor of private property for others.”
If we look at the Nazi program, this isn’t quite what comes to mind. Its dominant theme is that the German people have to come together as a collective entity: the common good must be put before the individual good. Differences in class and wealth must be strictly subordinated to the good of the German people (Volk) as a whole. Points 10 and 11 of the program declare:
The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individual may not clash with the interests of the whole, but must proceed within the framework of the whole for the benefit for the general good. We demand therefore: Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
Point 14 is “We demand that the profits from wholesale trade shall be shared out.” Crucially, point 24 is
We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: “The good of the community before the good of the individual”. (“GEMEINNUTZ GEHT VOR EIGENNUTZ”).
The great Austrian historian Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn has given the best analysis of Hitler and the the Nazi Party Program in his Leftism. He emphasizes Hitler’s disdain for traditional German society:
[Hitler] wanted to see Germany in comp
Article from LewRockwell