Was Hitler a Socialist? Was Hitler a Left-Winger? Was Hitler a Liberal?
The idea that “Hitler was a left-wing socialist liberal” is a misunderstanding of the truth at best, and at worst is misinformation spread by right-wingers to distance themselves from an extremely unpopular nativist nationalist socially conservative right-wing populist movement of the past (to be fair, in the same way a modern progressive might try to distance themselves from Stalinist Communism).
The reality is this:
First off, let’s start by saying the fascism of the pre-WWII and WWII era was a left-right mix that drew from socialism but stood against liberalism. Especially the NAZI brand of fascism drew heavily from socialism and promised and implemented socialism for its in-group. This form of socialism was very different than communism in terms of theory (see communism vs. fascism), but it did draw from it and it did have left-wing elements. Despite this, fascism, including the NAZI brand, has a ton of right-wing elements and an overarching nativist and nationalist philosophy that tends to resonate with the right.
Now consider this: Hitler was a National Socialist (NAZI). National Socialism is a type of fascism. Although National Socialism had some notable socialist and left-wing planks and philosophies behind it (as one might surmise from the name), both in practice and on paper it was a unique authoritarian, militant, and nationalist ideology separate from socialism or liberalism that is often considered “far-right” by historians and scholars. Today we would likely call the NAZIs right-wing populists. Today a right-wing populist will champion social policy for a small group of nationals. This is very different from the progressive spirit of inclusion for everyone, but does have the worker-first (on paper) and social planks of the progressive left. So it is a sort of mix, but is enough right by modern standards, especially in its opposition to the communist and other socialist and liberal left, that it gets called simply “right-wing.”
Below we describe why the “National Socialism” of Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ party is best described as a type of fascism (a mostly populist ideology, rooted in anti-elite, militant, far-right nationalism and nativism, with some left-wing and socialist planks) and not “left-wing liberal socialism” as some might insinuate (despite the NAZI party taking some collectivist and socialist stances, having some populist and leftist qualities, and pushing some race-based socialist policies for nationals).
Further, we will describe why fascism is best described as right-wing and not left-wing, and why, all that said, the NAZIs were certainly not liberals (they are so far from being true classical liberals that I won’t address that point until further down the page).
Bottomline: Having some left-wing socialist planks doesn’t make a person or political party left-wing or socialist. If it did, Trump would be a left-wing socialist simply because he is pro-worker. And even if we think, ok, then Trump is a left-wing socialist… we know that in practice this isn’t the best term to describe him and isn’t the commonly accepted terminology (and isn’t what his followers would call themselves or what he would call himself). We know there is a left-right difference between Trump and Bernie (in reality and in terms of the words we use to discuss things as a people), now all we have to do is accept that there is a left-right difference between Hitler and Stalin. If we can accept that the Communists are on the far-left and far-right Fascists are on the far-right of a traditional political spectrum despite sharing some planks like “being pro-worker,” then we can from there have an interesting conversation about what left-wing populist and right-wing populist movements have in common on-paper and in-practice (in history and today)! To get to that awesome intellectual debate full of merit and fact though, we need to accept that Hitler isn’t best described as a “left-wing, socialist, liberal.”
A Version of the Argument That Will Hopefully Open Your Mind Up to the Truth Enough That you Are Curious to Learn About History
When people become interested in a page like this, it is usually because they got a very short and one-sided version of the argument from right-wing or left-wing media / social media.
The reality is however, understanding the truth requires a bit of reading and thinking. That said, I will try to frame my initial arguments in a way that a modern American can understand. I hope that will convey enough of the truth to have you interested in learning more as opposed to digging your heels in the sand.
Hitler was not a left-wing socialist in the way we think of Bernie Sanders, instead he was an ultra nationalist with many far right positions who ALSO embraced aspects of socialism and some left-wing positions.
So already we know, Hitler and the NAZIs had a mixed position. Now we just have to explain why despite that, fascism is generally considered far right, even in the National Socialist form.
Here is the general answer, again in metaphor connected to the modern day:
You see, where Bernie is socially left-wing and about social equality (equality of religions, races, LGBT, etc), Hitler was socially-right wing and was against the equality of religions, races, LGBT, etc.
Bernie is a social liberal, Hitler was a social conservative. Bernie is against militarism, Hitler militarized Germany and attempted to lead them to world domination.
If we accept the traditional left-right spectrum as the right being more toward social hierarchy and the left more toward social equality, then we can see where on this axis of the spectrum we get one type of socialist on the left and the other on the right.
It is not the pro-worker sentiment (something as common in Bernie as it was in Hitler as it is in Trump) the differentiates here, that is left-wing in all cases… it is the other planks the denotes the difference. And so it is for other key issues like gun control.
The reality is, Hitler and the NAZIs hated Communism and other leftist forms of socialism (especially those that embraced globalism). The reality is, taking guns from the Jews (de-arming your victim so you can round them up) is different than background check. Same plank, but context matters here!
Further, as already noted above, Hitler was not a liberal in the classic sense (he wasn’t Obama, Thomas Jefferson, or George Bush in this sense). He didn’t believe in free trade, free speech, or any other liberal plank favored by the classic left. He didn’t believe in capitalism… he was certainly not a liberal in the classical sense.
Hitler was a fascist, and he was a specific type of fascist that embraced some socialist planks alongside some extreme socially conservative planks that went beyond the scope of even other fascists of his day.
On any specific plank, I can point to any modern figure or party somewhere on the political spectrum and show the similarities to Hitler or his NAZI party. But still, despite this mixed quality of the NAZI platform, it is generally accepted that the totality of these planks considered together is best labeled “far right” (where some would say the far-right is so far right, and the far-left so far left, that sometimes the lines can blur… this is called horseshoe theory).
Consider the following aspects of the NAZI ideology and their left-right qualities to get a better idea of what I mean above when I say “specific planks” (tip, to understand what I mean please see an explainer of left-right politics):
- Pro-Nationalism (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Anti-specific religions (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Pro-racial separation (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Anti-civil rights for minorities (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Anti-establishment (left-wing, against the elite; but right-wing, against the protections of the state; and right-wing, in practice the NAZIs became despotic tyrants who used the full power of the state, thus becoming “establishment.”)
- Anti-homosexual (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Anti-abortion for nationals (right-wing, authoritative)
- Anti-intellectual (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Anti-immigration (right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group)
- Pro-social programs for their “nationals” AKA their in-group (left-wing, social programs for the collective; right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group).
- Pro-nativist worker (left-wing, social programs for a collective; right-wing, exclusively focused on a small group).
- Anti-Capitalism on paper (left-wing, being against capitalism and toward socialism for the in-group on paper; right-wing, being somewhat capitalist with a strict hierarchy in practice.)
If we cherry pick, we can say, “see, Hitler was left like Bernie, he also was pro worker and wanted social programs…. plus he wanted to ban guns.” Or if we cherry pick we can say, “see, Hitler was like Trump, he is anti-establishment and a nationalist.”
However, in reality, Hitler and the NAZIs were fascists with a mish-mash of nationalist and socialist planks that today we generally consider far right (in part to contrast the far-left, which shares all of the left-wing planks, but only a few of the right-wing ones).
TIP: You know how politicians will pander to people and embrace the ideologies of the day to try to look good and be popular? Well, in some cases what appeared as “happy workers program fun socialism” with both fascists and communists was actually “a way to appear benevolent while seizing control of the state.” That was true in Hitler’s day, and is arguably still true today.
TIP: Part of the reason one would consider fascism far right is that it is in direct opposition to Communism, which is far left. Sure, they share planks when we compared Stalinism to Nazism (both militant, both pro worker on paper, both have socialist planks)… but we aren’t talking about what planks two ideologies share, we are talking about a full and complex picture, based on all planks. We know today antifa and a militant white nationalist don’t stand arm-in-arm during a protest, they stand opposed. So it was in WWII when the NAZIs jailed, murdered, and even went to war against the Communists, and we use the terms left and right to differentiate these two opposing groups with different positions on the socially left and socially right spectrum.
Some Essentials For Understanding My argument
If you are still with me, keep reading. I repeat some points on this page, but I also add in some important arguments and facts that I haven’t covered yet. The further in you get, the more you learn… if nothing else, try to get through this next section.
UNDERSTANDING FASCISM: To follow the logic on this page, it helps to understand what fascism is and to understand that Hitler’s National Socialist party is well described as type of fascist party. Although fascism comes in different forms, and although each form has its own specific attributes, the following qualities can be said to define Hitler’s brand of “National Socialism” and fascism in general: Opposition to Marxism, opposition to parliamentary democracy, opposition to political and cultural liberalism, opposition to the traditional ruling class (both the elite left and right), totalitarian statism, anti-intellectualism, favoring of merit-based hierarchy over class equality (despite a pro-“common man” and pro-worker message), collectivism, imperialism, military values, idealization of the “People’s Community” / “Folk State,” idealization of the “new man,” glorification of youth and masculinity, state planning, violence, ultra-nationalism, nativism and scapegoating (extreme in the case of the NAZIs, not as much in other cases), populism and anti-elitism in message (but corporatism and hierarchy in action), and the use of propaganda. See “Fascism” from the Encyclopedia Britannica for detailed articles on each point.
BOTTOMLINE ON HITLER AND “NATIONAL” “SOCIALISM”: Understood correctly, the term “National Socialism” tells you everything you need to know about the political ideology of Hitler and the NAZIs. That is, it was a mix of left-wing, right-wing, socialism, and nationalism that often gets branded as “extreme right” (meaning “extreme right-wing social conservative populism“) due to its anti-Marxist and nativist nationalist qualities. Consider, Hitler and the NAZIs were ultranationalist and nativist right wingers who opposed liberals, left-wing socialists, and Marxist Communists (right wing), but otherwise had a populist pro-labour, collectivist, and anti-capitalist message focused on “small group” socialism (left-wing; minus the “small group” part). While the socialist and left-wing aspects are notable and merit discussion, ultimately when you look at the NAZI’s platform and actions (as described below) you can see that their otherwise left-wing and socialist planks were all colored by a militant, nativist, nationalist, socially conservative, and populist right-wing spirit. For example, socialism was only offered to nationals and it was only offered in a structured form in the way a military might offer it. Their public education program focused on indoctrinating the youth, their public healthcare was for German Nationals only, and guns were taken away from non-nationals only. This left-right mix of “right-wing nationalism” and “right-wing populist socialism” focused on creating a hierarchal and imperial military state the NAZIs originated is a form of fascism called “National Socialism.” When you put that in context and realize nationalism and socialism were the fad of the day in the Weimar Republic (thus these planks were used to rally a populist base frustrated with the economic liberal elite after WW2), that Hitler was the leader of the far-right nationalist wing of the NAZIs (which purged the left-wing of their own party along with the other left-wing parties of the time), that Hitler modeled his National Socialist ideology off the fascist ideology of Mussolini, and that fascism is itself can be thought of [according to Mussolini] as a right-wing “evolution of socialism” focused on militant nationalism… it starts to paint a clear picture. For all those reasons and the many more discussed below, today most political historians will place the NAZIs somewhere on the far-right of the political spectrum despite their notable left-wing, liberal, and socialist stances. Given this, it is at least misleading if not just incorrect to describe Hitler as a “left-wing liberal socialist,” as that phrasing completely ignores the ultranationalist right-wing socially conservative populist ideology that dominated Hitler’s party and platform.
NOTE: Left and right mean different things in different contexts, as do liberal and conservative. When we say Hitler and the NAZIs were right in some ways, we mean in terms of right-wing social conservative populism and nationalism. When we say Hitler and the NAZIs were left in some ways, we mean in terms of qualities like a pro-worker message and socialist social policy for nationals. We aren’t specifically speaking to the modern left and right’s perception of themselves in a given country, we are speaking to the accepted definitions of the classical and social left-right and liberal-conservative as compared to the historic attributes of the National Socialist party. That said, these broad terms are not as important as the more attributes used above above and elsewhere on this page used to describe the militant collectivist statism of National Socialism. So if the broad political terms are confusing you, toss them aside and follow the rest of the logic. See an explainer of left-right politics here and an explainer of liberal and conservative here.
ON AMERICAN POLITICS: In America, left-wingers sometimes call right wingers “fascists” as an insult. This is because of the socially conservative nativist nationalist populist sentiment common in some factions on the American right (travel ban, wall building, Richard Spencer, David Duke, anti-Hollywood, anti-banks, anti-elite, accusations of the lying press, militarization, intense nationalism, etc). Likewise, American right-wingers point to the socialist aspects of Hitler’s National Socialism and to groups like Antifa and accuse left-wingers of being like Hitler and his National Socialists (free healthcare, gun bans, statist redistribution of wealth, restrictions on language, etc). The truth is, both of these arguments have a bit of merit (and if you are a true classical liberal, both the statist right and statist left probably seem pretty fascist-y to you). Still, historically speaking, in conversations of WWII and such, it helps to understand that fascism is the direction the right-wing populists went in, and Communism (not fascism) is the direction the left-wing populists took (both in effort to resist the elite left and right bourgeois liberal and conservative). It is with that sobered and nuanced view in mind, we will make the argument below that, if we have to choose, Hitler is best labeled as a “right-wing populist” [not just “right-wing”] and/or fascist (where those terms inherently denote some populist and left qualities) and not a “left-wing socialist liberal” as D’Souza, Jones, and the other propagandists suggest. Today you will never catch a liberal waving a NAZI flag, but at the unite the right rally in Charlottesville you did see NAZI flags and Dixie flags flying side-by-side. So planks on healthcare aside, below is a case for the left-right qualities of National Socialism, alongside a complete refutation of the alt-right argument which tries to slander the modern liberal with one hand while flying a NAZI flag with the other.
TIP: We also write about the party switch “myth” (it is essentially true, not a myth). D’Souza seems bent on writing long novels with their central theses based on myths, and the alt-right seems bent on reporting on and spreading those ideas. For the record, we take the stance that D’Souza is wrong. This page and the party switch myth page I think both do a fine job of proving it… but since the liberals won WWII, its a free internet and you are welcome to comment with your own insights below.
Key Arguments Against Hitler as a “left-wing Socialist Liberal”
The first thing to note is that Hitler was opposed to all the other socialist, liberal, democratic, and/or left parties of the Weimar Republic including the Capitalist Democratic Socialists (SPD and DDP) and the Communist Socialists (KPD).
Despite this, like some other socialist parties, Hitler’s NAZIs were anti-capitalist, anti-elite, and offered social welfare to German pure blooded nationals. Unlike other other socialist parties however, Hitler and his NAZIs favored a far-right nationalist solution to social welfare and rejected all notions of classlessness, egalitarianism, and internationalism (positions generally favored by left-wing socialist movements).
Thus, while the NAZIs did offer socialist planks, they are generally considered a right-wing party alongside other Nationalist parties like the German People’s Party (DVP). In other words, their push for welfare for nationals aside, their core ideology was closer to that of other right-wing ultra-nationalists than it was to their mortal enemies the left-wing socialists.
We can call the ideology that pairs ultra-nationalism, social hierarchy based socialism, and a general socially right-wing ideology National Socialism (a unique brand of fascism). With that said, we could even call it “right-wing socialism” (or playing of Mussolini’s terminology,” a right wing evolution of socialism”). However, we shouldn’t confuse it with “liberal left-wing socialism.”
Today when we say “liberal,” “left-wing,” or “socialist” in America we imagine someone like Bernie Sanders. However, Bernie isn’t a right-wing National Socialist, Bernie is a liberal Social Democrat (like a mix between SPD and DDP). Bernie is more like the type of social liberal that the NAZIs “purged,” and pretty far from even a Strasserist (the left and socialist wing of the NAZI party who the NAZIs also “purged”).
This doesn’t mean National Socialism didn’t have some socialist and left-wing qualities, it just means that its militant right-wing nationalist and socially hierarchical qualities were dominate (and it is for this reason nazism has historically been considered a right-wing ideology).
If you look the NAZIs 1920s “Strasser socialist inspired” platform and in their National Socialist People’s Welfare program, you can see a wide array of anti-elite, pro-worker, and pro-welfare planks that seem rather “socialist” (and they were by most measures; but that were not “left-wing socialist,” which is what today we today think of as socialist).
The key to understanding why National Socialism is not like “left-wing socialism” is understanding what the “Nationalist” part of “National Socialism” meant. The welfare programs were offered to pure blooded nationals in interest of the state (like a military provides healthcare and education, the NAZIs did too).
This sort of race-based socialism based on social hierarchy in service to the military state IS the brand of fascism called National Socialism (it is a right-wing alternative to left-wing socialism that rejects left-wing socialism completely).
Thus, saying “Hitler was a left-wing socialist liberal” is a generally inaccurate and confusing statement given the NAZI’s rejection of left-wing nationalism, left-wing socialism, liberalism, egalitarianism, internationalism, and much else we equate with the modern left.
Ultimately we can call Hitler’s ideology right-wing nationalism, or right-wing socialism, or simply National Socialism, but by any name it is the same thing, a far-right take on fascism with some notable socialist planks for nationals.
Today, despite the socialist planks, we could confidently say that Hitler’s National Socialism is more like the 21st Century right-wing nationalism of Le Pen, the modern right-wing populism of Trump, or neo-fascism than it is like the progressive social liberalism of Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, the anarchistic left-wing populism of groups like antifa, ideologies sometimes denoted as “left-wing fascism,” the authoritative militant Communism of figures like Stalin, “left-wing nationalism,” or even the militaristic 21st century Socialism of Chavez (despite the shared planks of some of these ideologies with each other).
This doesn’t mean Trump is like Hitler, or that Hitler had nothing in common with any other socialist of a given era, it just means that socialism isn’t the only defining aspect of an ideology, and with all planks considered, fascism and National Socialism are more like modern socially conservative right-wing ideologies than left-wing ones (just like they were considered right-wing in general in their time despite their collectivist and populist qualities).
TIP: One of Hitler’s main ideological stances was his opposition to socialism and Marxism. This can be confusing given the National Socialist label, but it is the case. Hitler’s race-based right-wing socialism was opposed to left-wing socialism and Marxism in just about every way (just like it was opposed to liberalism, democracy, and capitalism). Hitler hated what we today think of as socialism (and so did Mussolini). This somewhat confusing point should become clear as you read on, but for now consider Hitler and Mussolini in their own words below.
“In the years 1913 and 1914 I expressed my opinion for the first time in various circles, some of which are now members of the National Socialist Movement, that the problem of how the future of the German nation can be secured is the problem of how Marxism can be exterminated.” – Excerpt Hitler’s Mein Kampf
“[Fascism is an] EVOLUTION FROM SOCIALISM… Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism… We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the “right,” a Fascist century…. If liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government… Fascism desires the State to be strong and organic, based on broad foundations of popular [populist] support… Activism: that is to say nationalism, futurism, fascism… Never before have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order, as they do now.” – Excerpts from Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism
For more reading: See Mussolini and Hitler Were Fascists and Fascism and Communism are different. Each article explains how the collectivist right-wing fascism of Hitler and Mussolini was different than the collectivist left-wing egalitarianism of Marx, the social democracy of the social democrat parties, and the liberty-minded democratic liberalism of the West. See also the NAZI’s early 1920’s “Strasserist Socialist” platform (which shows the party’s early fascist ideology and socialist roots), Mussolini’s 1932 Doctrine of Fascism (which explains fascism well), all the other socialist and left parties of the Weimar Republic including the German Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Communist Party (which by contrast show how absurd it is to consider Hitler a left-wing socialist liberal; he even jailed and murdered the German socialists and liberals of the other parties in practice), and Hitler’s Mein Kampf (in which he explains his disdain for Marxism, Capitalism, Liberalism, and Democracy).
The General Argument For Hitler Being a Right-Wing Fascist and Not a Left-Wing Socialist Liberal: Why Hitler is Not Well Described as “a Left-wing Socialist Liberal”
As note above, Hitler was not what we think of today as a socialist by most measures (be it Bernie as a Social Democrat or Stalin as a Communist despot), nor was Hitler what we think of as left-wing by most measures (as he didn’t favor liberty or the whole German collective equally and instead favored authority and social hierarchy), nor was Hitler what we think of as liberal by any decent measure (as he hated Liberalism, Democracy, and Capitalism… almost as much as he hated Socialism and Communism; as he clearly states in his written works).
In fact, as eluded to above, in their rise to power, Hitler and his NAZIs actually jailed and murdered many members of the the left-wing, social democrat, socialist, communist, and liberal parties of the Weimar Republic. Not only that, they actually jailed and murdered members of the socialist / liberal / left (for a NAZI at least) wing of their party, the Strasserists, on the Night of Long Knives (i.e. Hitler’s nationalist wing murdered, jailed, and purged the socialist wing of their party along with other socialist and left-wing parties of their time).
This is to say, despite the socialist elements of the NAZI platform, Hitler was not what we would today consider socially liberal left-winger (as that would mean he was everything he opposed).
Instead, Hitler was the leader of the far-right Nationalist wing of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the NAZIs). Despite the populist name, Hitler’s NAZIs embraced a type of fascism focused on what we might today call right-wing “nativist and militant” nationalism and right-wing “race-based and socially hierarchical” socialism (AKA a militant brand of socially conservative right-wing populism focused on nativist nationalism and “social stratification;” the antithesis of Marxism in almost every way).
In other words, in modern terms we could describe Hitler’s National Socialism as a mix of what we today call “21st Century new Nationalism” (the alt-right Le Pen kind, not the Teddy Roosevelt kind) and “right-wing populism” (the right-wing version of the pro-worker and anti-elite populist movement). After-all, both of these closely related modern right-wing ideologies, like Hitler’s National Socialism was in its day, focus on traditionalism, nativism, protectionism, opposition to immigrants, their day’s version of anti-globalization and euroscepticism, and a general opposition to their day’s establishment, socialists, and liberals.
To understand the above, it helps to understand that:
- National Socialism’s right-wing socialism is notably different from left-wing socialism (be we talking about social democracy or full blown communism). Hitler’s National Socialism championed right-wing race-based socialism for their in-group based on socially conservative social hierarchy (rather than classless egalitarian Marxism).
- National Socialism’s right-wing nationalism is different than left-wing nationalism. Hitler’s NAZIs championed right-wing nativist nationalism (as opposed to nationless global equality of workers like Marx on-paper, the equality of citizens paired with Nationalism like the French Revolution’s Jacobins, or the workers’ first and the globe a close second social liberalism of Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn).
“Fascism is therefore opposed to all individualistic abstractions based on eighteenth century materialism [Marxist Socialism]; and it is opposed to all Jacobinistic utopias and innovations [liberal ideals from the French Revolution].” – Mussolini (a fascist dictator of WW2 who inspired Hitler’s brand of fascism) from his Doctrine of Fascism.
The above is what defined Hitler’s brand of right-wing nationalist and “socialist” fascism, and thus made it different from left-wing ideologies (that doesn’t mean it is like every right-wing ideology, it only means it is generally not left-wing).
In modern terms, if we want to not confuse people with the term socialism, one could say Hitler was to “the populist socially conservative right” (the anti-elite and pro-worker right-wing) not to “the populist socially liberal left” (the anti-elite and pro-worker left-wing)… then we could add that Hitler embraced a militant, xenophobic, and aggressively fascist version of right-wing populism (as opposed to a non-authoritative kind or less xenophobic kind). In other words, it was a very specific version of fascist right-wing (just like Communism is a very specific version of socialist left-wing).
All this is true despite the NAZI platform including some notable socialist planks (like public healthcare for nationals), and this is true despite both above left and right populist styles appealing to frustrated workers. In WW2 the Communists were the militant populist left and NAZIs the militant populist right, meanwhile socialism was simply the fad of the day embraced by many parties on the left-right-and-center (all generally frustrated with the liberal ruling establishment of the West).
In other words, the socialist part of the title isn’t denoting a socially left-wing position in the sense we think of it today, it is denoting a nationalist ideology with an anti-elite sentiment which aimed to attract workers frustrated with the elite after WW1 (no different than Communism in that respect, but very different in left-right ideology).
This is to say, Hitler’s Nationalism wasn’t left-wing, or even center-wing, it was ultra-nationalism focused on both classical and socially right-wing principles paired with aggressive, extreme, and militant race-based nativist nationalism (and a rejection of the liberal economic system and a rejection of left-wing egalitarianism). Thus, it was through this lens that any socialist in practice planks were offered.
It is all these points and more which make Hitler’s National Socialism a unique right-wing version of fascism that has more parallels with 21st Century right-wing Nationalism and right-wing populism than it does with modern social democrats, liberals, communists or any group on the left (today, in Hitler’s time, or any era).
One should not be confused and think just because the NAZIs called themselves socialists that they were left-wingers, that is no more true than a right-wing populist being a left-winger just because they are populist (or a left-wing nationalist being a right-winger just because they are nationalist).
We explain this position in great detail below and point to evidence such as stories of the tensions between different left-wing and right-wing parties and platforms in the Weimar Republic.
Understanding Why Hitler Was a Right-Wing Fascist and Not a Left-wing Socialist Liberal
Nearly all (but certainly not all) of Hitler’s beliefs placed him on the far-right, and this makes sense as Hitler, like Mussolini, was a fascist (where fascism was, according to Mussolini, a right-wing “evolution of socialism,” that we can describe as a type of collectivist right-wing populism focused on social hierarchy and militaristic and totalitarian nationalism which arose after WWI to push back against globalism, liberalism, elitism, democracy, and Marxism).
This isn’t a judgement call, this is literally the doctrine of the ideology that Mussolini coined, Hitler was inspired by, and both popularized.
The above is generally true for both Hitler and Mussolini’s parties (and very generally for all other fascist parties) even though Hitler’s National Socialist Party had a few more socialist planks than Mussolini’s more liberal, cronyist, and way less xenophobic in-practice National Fascist and Republican Fascist Parties.
Fascism in any form is generally a right-wing collectivist ideology that sometimes shares a few odd planks with socialism (like free healthcare for nationals), but otherwise fully rejects liberalism, socialism, democracy, economic liberalism, and communism to create a totalitarian, nationalist, militaristic collective (a “folk state”; see “Völkisch” and “Volksgemeinschaft“) with a social hierarchy focused on the state as a civil religion (where the Highest Good is the state). This is unlike Communism on-paper where the highest good is global social equality and where there is no class or nation. This is also unlike liberalism on-paper where the highest good is liberty.
Given this, it is hard to see fascism as “exactly the same” as “liberal left-wing socialism” in absolute terms, and it is even hard to see it as anything like that in comparative terms going issue by issue through fascist party platforms… and though, this makes sense, as the far-left socialists (the communists) and far-right socialists (the fascists) went to war against the liberals in WW2 (and people don’t generally go to war with each other when they share a bunch of ideological planks).
With that said, Hitler’s fascism was unique, so let’s discuss the race-based and militant right-wing socialist nationalism of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party on its own merit to find out how it is different from other fascist and socialist ideologies.
FACT: In the Weimar Republic the left consisted of the Communists (KPD) and the Social Democrats (SPD). The Center consisted of the Democratic party (DDP), the Catholic Center Party (Z) and the People’s Party (DVP). The right consisted of the German Nationalist Party (DNVP) and the National Socialist Party (NSDAP-Nazi). As it almost always is in any era as a constant, and as it was then: the socialists are left, the liberals center left and right, and the militaristic nationalists are right-wingers.
The Bottomline on the Ideology of Hitler and National Socialism
Hitler’s National Socialism (the ideology of Hitler’s far-right wing of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party aka NAZI party) can be thought of as a type of fascism focused on what one could call right-wing “nativist and militant” nationalism and right-wing “race-based” socialism (as the name implies).
- Like other fascist ideologies of the time, National Socialism was a right-wing “evolution of socialism” focused on social hierarchy, authority, military, and the state that rejected capitalism, communism, left-wing socialism, liberalism, democracy, and traditional conservatism.
- Unlike other fascist ideologies of the time (for example Mussolini’s), National Socialism was particularly xenophobic, nativist, nihilist, and socialist (at least when it came to promising socialist policies for nationals).
- Like other socialist ideologies at the time, National Socialism was “revolutionary” (wanted change quickly), anti-elite, and rejected capitalism (it was an evolution of socialism mostly in these ways).
- Unlike other socialist ideologies of the time, National Socialism was focused on race, hierarchy, and nationalism instead of classlessness and global egalitarianism.
Simply put, Hitler’s fascist and right-wing National Socialism did not embrace left-wing socialism or left-wing nationalism. Instead, they embraced the antithesis of this (with Hitler himself being very vocal about his hatred for Marxists and left-wing socialists).
Hitler rejected left-wing socialism’s classlessness and egalitarianism and instead embraced a militant right-wing ideology focused on racial purity and social hierarchy in service to the “folk state.” Instead of rallying support based on promises of equality, he rallied support from the working class by pushing a xenophobic, race-based, anti-elite, and nationalist message that promised socialism to native nationals as a response to the frustrations felt after WW1 (where the economy was not doing well and Germany’s “national” pride had been hurt; so promising this socially conservative brand of anti-elitism, nationalism, and xenophobic socialism was an effective message for rallying the frustrated working class).
Thus, on one hand the NAZIs were a populist right movement, and on the other hand they were socialist in the way a despotic military state might be. They were collectivist, organized, hierarchical, not democratic, exclusive, aggressive, authoritative, and tyrannical (what we might call “authoritative” and “nativist” right-wing “nationalist” populism today).
In other words, despite having a few left-wing planks for nationals, National Socialism rejected most of what one would consider left-wing socialist ideology, including social democrat ideology and Marxist ideology (to the extent that they tended to jail and murder the actual left-wing parties of the Weimar Republic; although to be fair the other right and center parties didn’t fare much better).
Furthermore, one can argue (like the article “Was Adolf Hitler a Socialist? Debunking a Historical Myth” does) that National Socialism in-practice was pretty far from the on-paper promises made in the NAZI’s early 1920’s “Strasserist Socialist” platform. In fact, as noted above, the NAZIs ended up jailing and murdering the socialist wing of their party (Hitler was the leader of the further-right nationalist wing)!
Thus, when we address the question, “was Hitler a socialist,” we not only need to point out how right-wing national socialism is different from anything we consider socialism today, we have to point out that in-practice Hitler’s nationalist wing of the NAZI party really only delivered on a fraction of their socialist promise (and really just ran the state like a quasi-socialist and quasi-capitalist but otherwise totalitarian military state).
So while the term socialist isn’t fully wrong, Hitler’s race-based socialist message is pretty far from anything the average Western thinks of as socialist today. Today both the populist social liberal left and populist social conservative right both rally support from the working class against the elites, but unlike the left who pushes for social equality and inclusion, the populist right-wing version involves “blaming others and a focus on military and hierarchy.” It was really no different in the 1930s and 1940s in this respect. Frustration with the ruling elite caused two flavors of revolutionaries, one left and one right. Call it socialism or populism, the right-wing version is notably different than the left in Hitler’s era, just like that is still true today.
With all that said, as far as National Socialism was from left-wing socialism (or even left-wing nationalism), it was even further from being “liberal” (due to its complete rejection of democracy, individualism, capitalism, individual rights and liberties, etc).
The Left-right Positions of Hitler and the National Socialists
While we can’t consider much about Hitler liberal, and we shouldn’t confuse Hitler with a modern socialist (if we think of socialism as left-wing), we can reasonably consider some National Socialist planks to be “to the left” of specific socialist planks of other ideologies (just like some populist right social conservative paleocon planks are to the left of classical conservative planks today). After-all, Hitler’s National Socialism (despite being to the political right of nearly ever other socialist party of the time in general) was collectivist to some extent and certainly did offer socialist planks like free healthcare for nationals.
In other words, the NAZI’s anti-capitalist stance and social programs were to the left in general (on-paper at least), but most of the rest of their ideology was to the far-right of other socialist and liberal ideologies (both in the Weimar Republic and today).
When a party is to the far-right, but is otherwise socialist, we can denote that as “right-wing socialism.” When that party is to the far-right and also nationalist, we can denote that as right-wing nationalism or fascism. In this respect, the NAZI’s National Socialism was a fascist right-wing evolution of nationalism and “racial right-wing socialism” (it was not “left-wing liberal socialism for classless egalitarianism”).
The NAZI Platform as Defined in a 1923 Speech by Hitler
For more proof, consider this excerpts from a July 6th, 1923 Speech by Hitler where the nativist, nationalist, anti-elite, and traditionalist race-based and aggressive militaristic spirit is made clear (even all those years before his nationalist wing took over):
—Thus, in our program we did not make promises. Instead we insisted:
1. You are a German. You should treasure your fatherland higher than anything else in the world. Your first responsibility in this world is to be a good German. You must not beg for the rights of your yolk, but demand them. Heaven blesses only those who use their fists to secure their rights.
2. Citizenship rights belong only to those who are worthy and have German blood. German citizenship must become the powerful cement which binds together everything German throughout the world.
3. Our State should not be the plaything of financial interests, but rather should offer to all its citizens the opportunity to maintain themselves honorably in this world. We demand that the State be freed from all unworthy interest payments and compulsory obligations.
4. The State must see to it that property and real estate speculation cease. Property belongs only to those who have built. The Reich exists in order to protect its yolk, its race. In our State, the press, art, and literature will not be free, but handmaidens of the State in order to educate the people to a sense of honor and decency. We want this state to be based upon true Christianity. To be a Christian does not mean a cowardly turning of the other cheek, but a struggle for justice and a fighter against all injustice.
Or consider how these planks from the 1920 NAZI platform which again show the focus on nativist nationalism and militarism rather than anything we might today consider socialist (outside of public education and a populist sentiment).
- A union of all Germans to from a great Germany on the basis of the right to self-determination of peoples.
- Abolition of the Treaty of Versailles.
- Land and territory (colonies) for our surplus population.
- German blood as a requirement for German citizenship. No Jew can be a member of the nation.
- Non-citizens can live in Germany only as foreigners, subject to the law of aliens.
- Only citizens can vote or hold public office.
- The state insures that every citizen live decently and earn his livelihood. If it is impossible to provide food for the whole population, then aliens must be expelled.
- No further immigration of non-Germans. Any non-German who entered Germany after August 2,1914, shall leave immediately.
- A thorough reconstruction of our national system of education. The science of citizenship shall be taught from the beginning.
- All newspapers must be published in the German language by German citizens and owners.
TIP: Learn more about how left-wing and right-wing can be used as comparative terms issue-by-issue to better understand our argument.
TIP: This page is content heavy (and reads a bit like “95 reasons why Hitler is best considered a right-wing nationalist and right-wing socialist and not a left-wing socialist liberal”). Feel free to skip around the page or go straight to the comments section and ask questions or provide counter-arguments. Or, continue reading for more insight.
If we Have to Use the Term Socialist, We Can Say the Fascists Were Right-wing Socialists or Socialist in the Way a Military is
Some people will point to the collectivist policies of Hitler as left-wing, but this is a misunderstanding of fascism’s militant, hierarchical, and right-wing nature.
Yes, Hitler was a gun control advocate, but stripping the opposition of guns isn’t “exactly the same” as background checks for the mentally unstable. Yes, Hitler offered free education, but to the Hitler youth to create super soldiers. Etc (more on that below).
Comparing fascist collectivism with liberal and socialist ideologies is a mistake. Hitler’s “whole thing” was being against liberalism and socialism, not just ideologically, but actively via an imperialistic and nihilistic version of militaristic nationalism (which included planks like genocide based on race).
Although each fascist party has its own planks, fascist movements like Hitler’s National Socialism are well defined as “right-wing Populist Nationalist” movements against the global elite. One can call this “right-wing socialism”, but the term “left-wing socialism” doesn’t work.
In any era, including the era of the World Wars, Communism and left-wing socialism (like the Social Democratic Party of Germany) are generally inclusive globalist ideologies that demand social equality for all. Meanwhile, Fascism is a nationalist ideology that demands social hierarchy and for nationals only (where the nationals best suited to do the job was at the top of the social structure).
Fascists like Hitler are really only socialist and “left-wing” in the way a military is, where healthcare and education is given, where there is social hierarchy, and where every action is in duty to the nation (a type of tyrannical timocracy in Plato’s classical terms, or military despotism in Montesquieu’s terms).
The bottomline here is that Hitler rejected the Marxian and socialist concepts of class equality, planned economy, and global worker unity, he rejected the liberties of Western Democracy, and he rejected the liberal democratic socialist middle-ground (both populist and elitist) international mindset in any form. In words, Hitler rejected almost everything we consider left-wing, socialist, or liberal in practice and acted as a far-right despot by nearly every reasonable measure (which was in-line with his on-paper philosophy).
NOTE: Hitler rejected democracy and favored aggressive military action (not unlike Lenin or Stalin in-action, but certainly unlike a democratic socialist or democratic liberal). For fascism, aggression isn’t just an advent of its ideology in-practice (like with socialism and Communism where despite good intentions things go wrong and the state becomes despotic), fascism is meant to be aggressive and imperialistic on paper (it is “an ideology of action”).
That Said, Some Planks of Fascism Can be Considered “to the Left” of Other Ideologies
With details like the NAZIs socialist planks and fascism’s socialist roots in mind, although it is generally incorrect to describe Adolf Hitler and the NAZIs as “left-wing socialist liberals” as an absolute, it isn’t fully wrong to call them “right-wing socialists” or to point out fascism’s socialist roots or left-wing elements in more nuanced conversation.
Mussolini’s 1932 Doctrine of Fascism, (more than Hitler’s works or the NAZI’s early 1920’s platform; see below) makes it clear that fascism is a totalitarian civil religion that rejects liberalism, socialism, Marxism, individualism, and much else we equate with left-wing socialism, and for that reason alone “left-wing socialist liberal” really isn’t a good description of Hitler.
However, that doesn’t mean rugged individualists wouldn’t consider any ideology with a focus on the collective and state (from social liberalism, to other forms of socialism, to any form of statist fascism) as being “left in terms of collectivism” compared to their own ideology.
In other words, I get why some libertarians consider Hitler and Mussolini “left”, they do so in the way Mises considers all governance “to the collectivist left.” NAZIism is to the right of most ideologies in terms of authority, and to the right of most socialist groups in terms of collectivism due to their exclusive small group ideology, but they are still to the left of some ideologies by some measures when speaking in specific and comparative terms.
TIP: Today when Bernie and Trump call for revolutionary change and decry the establishment, we don’t call them both left just because they share positions. We call them names like “populist right” and one “populist left,” thus denoting a shared quality but otherwise different positions. Furthermore, we don’t confuse these two too quickly with say Bush and Clinton (who both feel a bit more establishment, but share parties and planks with the aforementioned). So it is for the parties of the Weimar Republic. Being anti-elite was in style then, and so was socialism (and so was nationalism… and later fascism). Thus, many parties were types of socialist parties (in action and/or name). Here I’ll note that Hitler didn’t name his party, he joined it and then moved it to the right over time. Further, some was say he just used the fad of the day to ensure his nationalist pro-German military state. Pair that with the fact that he murdered the socialist wing of his party, and it hopefully is helping to pain a clearer picture of what terms like “German workers’ party” and “National Socialism” mean.
Specific Reasons Why Hitler Was not Left-wing, Socialist, or Liberal
With all those general truths in mind, the main problems with using the terms left-wing and socialist to describe Hitler’s fascism are:
- Hitler was opposed to all the other socialist and left parties of the Weimar Republic including the Capitalist Democratic Socialists and the Communist Socialists. Hitler’s Mein Kampf is all about how he hates socialists, liberals, democrats, Communists, the upper-class, the establishment, and both capitalist and Marxist Jews (so he wasn’t those types of left-wing or socialist by his own admission; even in the 1920’s, nearly twenty years before his in-action government during WWII).
- Hitler and his NAZIs ended up murdering and jailing the Socialist Wing of their party (the Strasserists) on the Night of Long Knives (Hitler led the further-right Nationalist Wing of the NAZI party and “purged” the “left-wing” of their party).
- Hitler and his NAZIs didn’t implement many “socialist” planks in-practice, more-so they implemented fascism (which again, especially for the National Socialists, has socialist roots). In other words, they implemented authoritarian statist collectivist policy and xenophobic, totalitarian, and militant policy (both of which are collectivist; but certainly not “left-wing socialist” like a social democrat or even Marxist Communist). Although the NAZI’s early 1920’s “Strasserist Socialist” platform (which Hitler mentions in his Mein Kampf without ever really touting the socialist planks) embraced a good deal of socialism for the German worker (including purely left-wing socialist policy), the 1930’s and 1940’s NAZI government in-practice was essentially just fascist with a few right-wing “militant” socialist planks. After Hitler’s Nationalist wing took over the party, they implemented very little socialist policy and simply embraced a few socialist planks to create an authoritarian, militaristic, despotic, and tyrannical state.
- With fascism, the state and nation is everything and their is social hierarchy, with Communism and socialism international equality and classlessness is everything. Both are an “evolution of socialism” as Mussolini (who inspired Hitler) says regarding fascism (and as Marx himself denoted in his work regarding Communism). So it is true that National Socialism is not unrelated to socialism, it is just a very different type of socialism, it is a right-wing evolution of socialism, a response to Communism that is focused on Nationalism, called National Socialism, which is a type of fascism (especially after Strasser in the 1930’s). See the differences between Communism and Fascism.
- Hitler had an exclusive and xenophobic ideology that is far-right in terms of its prejudice. Militant socialism for an in-group in support of the state is fascism. The word fascist itself describes the evolution of socialism that Hitler embraced.
- Hitler rejected Marx’s ideas of economy, class, globalism, and equality, so even to what degree a National Socialist is socialist, it is truly about social hierarchy in service to the “folk state” more than anything a left-wing socialist (either a liberal one or a Marxist one) would ever want or do on-paper (despotic in-action Communist movements aside, of which history has shown us many).
Given the above points and the rest made below, Hitler is well described by terms like fascist, despot, totalitarian, and tyrant first and foremost, and by other qualifiers like right-wing and socialist second.
Hitler’s mixed ideology is however never well described as liberal given his clear opposition to both liberty and equality. Likewise, Hitler’s right-wing evolution of socialism called Fascism should not be confused with Marxist Communism (despite the parallels, Marx hated Communism as much as he hated Capitalism, Liberalism, and Democracy).
In words, the terms socialist and left wing can describe a few of Hitler’s planks, but truly the fascists were fascists, and fascism is to the right of most other ideologies and was built for the sole purpose of destroying socialism and liberalism (i.e. why the West went to war against it).
Again, this isn’t a judgement call, it is history, and Hitler’s own written works (so Hitler’s book, the NAZI Platform, and certainly everything the fascists did in practice help to confirm it).
TIP: Not only is it historically wrong to consider Hitler a left-wing socialist liberal as an absolute, it is confusing from a modern frame as well. From a modern perspective, Hitler can be described as a “right-wing populist nationalist.” Hitler disliked social democracy just as much as he disliked the neoliberalism of the day. We are currently seeing a rise in right-wing nationalist and xenophobic populism and left-wing progressive pro-social democracy populism in the West, to equate Hitler with the modern left-wing populist movement and ignore his clear parallels with the right-wing populist movement (a state-focused collectivist movement that sometimes embraces aspects small government liberalism) really misses the point of what is happening globally here in 2017. There is a warning story about socialism and statism in the story of fascism, but it is very different than the story of the dangers of left-wing Socialist Communism and its rise in the same time period.
Proof Hitler was a Right-Wing Fascist Includes… his Own Work
The simplest proof of the above is Hitler’s own Mein Kampf and Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism, as Mussolini inspired Hitler’s fascism, and both texts specifically explain how their ideologies are Nationalist, Imperialist, Militaristic, “Right,” Authoritarian, anti-Liberal, anti-Elite, anti-intellectual, anti-Communist, anti-Capitalist, and anti-Socialist (anti-Marxist, anti-Democratic Socialist, and anti-Christian-Socialist). See Political views of Adolf Hitler (Hitler was obsessively anti-Semitic, Mussolini was more purely Nationalist and less xenophobic than Hitler, both were fascists; see more on the differences and similarities of Mussolini and Hitler here).
In other words, not only does history show these fascist movements were generally right-wing, anti-liberal, and anti-[every other type of]-socialist in practice, Hitler and Mussolini’s own works confirm it enthusiastically and in great detail on paper.
Furthermore, Hitler and his NAZIs, and Mussolini and his National Fascist Party and later Republican Fascist Party, became less-and-less socialist over time as their parties moved “to the right” and purged their respective nations of their left-wing allies and opposition.
If the NAZIs Weren’t Left-Wing Socialists, Why is Their Party the National Socialist German Workers’ Party?
Despite the title National Socialist German Workers’ Party (which is what NAZI stands for), and the NAZI’s having a few socialist policies like free health care for nationals, the NAZI party was not a socialist party in terms of their actions beyond these few socialist planks (the same generally goes for Mussolini’s less socialist Party as well).
First off, Hitler was the leader of the Nationalist wing of the National Socialist Party (not the socialist wing), but that aside for a moment, even their socialist policies are best described as fascist (or at least right-wing socialist).
When the NAZIs offered free healthcare for nationals, they were being fascist in their exclusion of non-nationals. When they rejected the capitalist elite “establishment”, they were being fascist in their opposition to capitalism. When they offered free education for the Hitler Youth, they was being fascist in their Germany first youth in military training policy. When they offered gun control for the Jewish population, they was being fascist in their stripping minorities of gun rights. When they called on the German Worker to submit to the state, they were being fascist in their call for submission to the authority of the folk state.
Simply put, Fascism is a statist authoritarian protectionist nativist nationalist ideology that embraces some aspects of socialism for nationals (socialism for the in-group), and thus it is not well described in a single word as “socialism” (and especially not “left-wing socialism” as if we had to use the term “socialism” we would say it is “right-wing socialism” specifically).
In other words, it isn’t that the NAZI’s right-wing fascist socialism wasn’t “left” or “socialist” in some very specific ways, it is only that it was “to the right” of most socialist ideologies in terms of authoritarianism and in terms of what type of social equality was offered and to whom.
Fascism is going to offer you free education like Bernie, but unlike Bernie that education is going to be a state-mandated right-wing fascist education. Hitler will take your guns, but for his militaristic agenda, not for peace. Hitler will heal you when you are sick, but so you can fight in his army. Hitler will help the worker, but only the blonde haired German worker until he is conscripted.
If one wants to create a militaristic master race, they put the state in charge of education and healthcare and strip the opposition of their firearms. Simple as that.
One shouldn’t confuse the socialist elements of authoritative militaristic fascism with “socialism – period”, and one really shouldn’t confuse it with “left-wing liberal socialism” (there were actual left-wing socially liberal parties in Germany at the time, and Hitler hated them).
The terms Fascist, and National Socialism specifically, denote a form of authoritative, imperialistic, and militaristic nationalism which offers aspects of socialism to protect only a core group of nationals (but otherwise uses a quasi-capitalist economy in practice, not because the WWII fascists loved capitalism, but because it works).
The Strasserists, the Actual Socialists in the NAZI Party, and the 1920’s NAZI Platform
Above we noted that Hitler led his party’s Nationalist wing, and that fact is important. It helps explain why the terms left-wing and socialist don’t fit Hitler and Hitler’s 1940’s NAZIs very well.
Hitler and the Nationalist wing of the NAZI party actually assassinated and jailed the “more left” socialist wing of Strasserists who had helped write the NAZI’s early 1920’s platform.
Although a few will cite the NAZI platform as “proof of socialism,” this misses the point that the party changed drastically from the 1920’s to the 1930’s and 1940’s as the Nationalist Wing took over and replaced the pro-Worker portions of the platform with rhetoric and militaristic authoritarianism at knife-point.
If a party jails and murders their socialist wing and does not act socialist in-action once they get in power save a few aspects of militaristic socialism, they aren’t being “left-wing socialists” by most reasonable measures. Paring that truism with the fact noted above that there are many types of socialism and both Hitler and Mussolini disliked most of them (especially Communist forms and forms that were democratic or liberal), we can safely say Hitler wasn’t what we think of a “left-wing socialist” today.
Let us be very clear, Gregor Strasser was the left-wing socialist in the NAZI party (again, to the extent that a NAZI can be considered such a thing) and the right-wing Nationalist wing literally killed Strasser and the Strasserists before taking over the party.
The bottom line here is that, like with the KKK, European fascism grew out of a left-wing movement in a liberal state, but that doesn’t make it anything we call socialist, liberal, or left-wing in practice.
Below we further explain why it is correct to call Hitler a right-wing Fascist despite some of the NAZI’s socialist planks and generally not correct to call him a left-wing Socialist Liberal (as Infowars does).
SEMANTICS: If someone says “Hitler was a socialist” they aren’t fully wrong. It is a misleading statement given our modern usage of the term socialist and the meaning of the term fascist (which has socialist roots), but not purely incorrect. There are MANY forms of socialism (just consider the other German Socialist and Communist parties of the time… ALL of which the NAZIs jailed, bribed, murdered, or forced into submission), Hitler hated most of them, but joined forces with one that supported anti-Semitic populist nationalism (so that just is what it is). However, using the terms left-wing, Socialist, and Liberal together to describe Hitler (like Infowars) is wrong. Below we will make arguments against the use of any of these terms in practice, but it is important to note the subtlety up front. The reality here is that the NAZI party had a socialist wing and a few socialist planks.
NOTE: It can be tempting to equate radical activist liberalism (the sort of black bandana anti-Fas “lets break a window” resistance against Nativist Populist movements around the globe) with NAZIism and fascism, and that isn’t wrong in terms of militaristic aggressive action and conformity. However, this misses the point that they are actually being more like radical October Revolution Leninists than European fascists. Fascism and Communism are similar when they become militaristic, they just have way different social policies on paper. Stalinists and NAZIs are very similar in some ways, people aren’t wrong to confuse them. However, people are very wrong to equate Hitler the man with the modern socially liberal left. Hitler hated the social liberal left of his day.
TIP: There are groups one might consider left-wing that have fascist elements. Any militaristic ideology that seeks conformity can loosely be described as fascist, whether it is left-wing or right-wing on specific issues. There is lots of conversation to have here. The main point I’m trying to make is that fascism is generally right and communism left in terms of WWII ideologies and that all forms of WWII fascism have right-wing qualities. This relates back to a tug of war between the alt-right and alt-left. The point isn’t to demonize the alt-right or equate them with fascists or to detract from the correct aspects of their argument, it is about debunking the specific talking point that tries to demonize the left by mostly incorrectly conflating general American progressivism with fascism by cherry picking history.
TIP: A good way to think about this is that the global right-wing has more than one faction. The populist nationalist fascists are to the left of the traditional conservative order in terms of populism vs. elitism. Similarly, the “Bannon alt-right” is to the left of a Neoliberal Globalist Elite or Neoconservative Global Elite in some respects. They are to the right of just about everyone else in terms of being authoritarians against liberty and equality. Most people will accurately describe fascists as right-wing and as an absolute, but in very specific conversations you can say they are “to the left” of another right-wing group in terms of the populist and elitist divide. Learn more about the political left-right.
More Details on Why it is Misleading to Call Hitler a Socialist, Even Though His Party Was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI party)
Above we covered all the basics, below we will explore some of what we covered already in more detail.
Despite being a far-right nationalist fascist, Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI party) had socialist roots and embraced a few socialist policies for nationals, especially in the early days, decades before the war. This was like his inspiration, Mussolini and his National Fascist Party and later Republican Fascist Party,
We call this authoritarian militaristic far-right nationalism with hints of socialism, “fascism.”
We should not be sidetracked by other terms like Republican and Socialist in the fascist parties names, especially given the history of these parties. They are important, but they don’t speak to the core of the party.
In fact, since fascism, as a term denotes its own socialist roots, it would be tautological and confusing to call Hitler “a socialist” without first denoting his fascist ideology.
Likewise, fascism comes in both more left-leaning and right-leaning forms. Both Hitler’s and Mussolini’s forms were “right[-wing]” and not “socialist” by Mussolini’s own admission in his Doctrine of Fascism. In this piece, he described his “FASCIST TOTALITARIAN VISION OF THE FUTURE.” It is confusing to give Hitler or Mussolini (or Franco, or any other militant nationalist fascist or quasi-fascist with an authoritarian and/or exclusive ideology) the general label “left-wing.”
Furthermore, given the very authoritative nature of the dictators, and their rabid opposition to liberalism, it is just flat out wrong to call either a liberal (that point really shouldn’t even be up for debate; hopefully by this point in the essay that is clear).
Historically speaking, “Hitler was not a left-wing, socialist, liberal,” and this can be confirmed by their own major written works and recorded history.
Fascism is unique and should not be mistaken as being “progressive,” “left-wing,” liberal, or what today we think of as “socialist” just because it has a few parallels (like the seeking of conformity) and shares some common roots with these ideologies.
Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle….. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ” right “, a Fascist century…. If liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government… Fascism desires the State to be strong and organic, based on broad foundations of popular [populist] support… Activism: that is to say nationalism, futurism, fascism… The Fascist State expresses the will to exercise power and to command…. Never before have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order, as they do now. – More Excerpts from Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism that prove in one short essay all the points made, now we need only equate this with Hitler (who was further to the right on most issues, save his party’s socialist wing of Strasserists.)
Further Proof that Hitler Was a Fascist Right-Wing Nationalist Authoritarian like Mussolini and the Other WWII Fascists
Most of what people cite to attempt to show Hitler was “left-wing” or “a socialist” comes from the NAZI’s early 1920’s platform, which was written before Hitler rose to power in the party’s Nationalist wing! Simply, the nationalists were in a party with some socialists (Strasserists) at one point, but that doesn’t make the nationalist fascism left, liberal, or socialist. Fascism is right-wing (authoritative and small group focused) ideology.
In short, just based on general reason, not much about the NAZI’s fascism is left-wing (not much liberty and/or equality going on here). Sure, on paper in the 1920’s they were to the left of a Monarchy with the help of the Strasserists). But the militant WWII era (Sep 1, 1939 – Sep 2, 1945) NAZI fascism is mostly right-wing, despite its quasi-socialist roots.
This exclusive in-group nativist, nationalist, xenophobic, and at times militant ideology is what we call in modern language “right-wing,” and it is not an ideology of liberty and equality, it is an ideology of authority and inequality, it is not liberalism.
In the years 1913 and 1914 I expressed my opinion for the first time in various circles, some of which are now members of the National Socialist Movement, that the problem of how the future of the German nation can be secured is the problem of how Marxism can be exterminated. – Hitler’s Mein Kampf where he states clearly what he means by National “Socialism”… a right-wing fascist type of nationalism with a few socialist elements.
NOTE: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, like Mussolini’s Doctrine, also describes a right-wing fascist ideology, but be warned, Mussolini’s Doctrine is a short, readable essay, and Hitler’s book is a long-winded recount of his becoming a right-wing nationalist in the Nationalist Socialist party. In the text, Hitler speaks of how he was at first enamored by the Christian-Socialists like Lueger, but he also clearly illustrates his move away from socialism toward National Socialism (socialism for the in-group only, a type of fascism… and one that notably gets less socialist over time in practice).
Hitler admits he’s a Socialist and anti-Communist. People confuse the NAZI’s pro-German worker stance to mean that Hitler was a left-winger, but his despotic exclusive authoritarian fascist form of socialism was very right-wing compared to the other socialist ideologies of the time (all of which the NAZI eradicated as they illegally seized control of the German Government and created a tyrannical, despotic state where Germans were forced into Hitler’s brand of militaristic fascism… which embraced some aspects of socialism, like free healthcare and education for German nationals). It isn’t that there are no socialist aspects of Hitler’s Nazism, it is that those few socialist aspects don’t make Hitler a left-wing social liberal socialist like Bernie Sanders… obviously.
TIP: The KKK is one of the first modern fascist groups, they were a progressively conservative faction within the old Democratic party. Like the NAZIs who came after them, they were right-wing on just about every issue except for their ideology toward the central government and economic elites. Like the NAZIs, the KKK are not well described (especially in modern terms) as left-wing liberals. It isn’t that there are no parallels, it is that their ideology is fascism and not social liberalism. The Radical Republicans of the Civil War era were arguably the real progressives of the era, and they were the polar opposite of the KKK Confederates. See a heady discussion here: No, the Ku Klux Klan Has Never, Ever Been a ‘Leftist’ Organization or here: The Democrats were the Party of the Ku Klux Klan and Slavery. In short, just based on general reason, not much about the KKK’s fascism is left-wing, especially the militant Civil War era KKK fascism, despite its quasi-liberal roots.
TIP: Hitler was inspired by Karl Lueger when he studied in Vienna Austria in the times leading up to WWI. Lueger was an early European Fascist. Lueger was not liberal-left, he was a populist and anti-Semitic leader of the Christian Social Party… again we see the left-wing roots, but we can’t let that obscure the move toward right-wing ideology, as a response to immigrants, that is part of what makes it fascist. If it wasn’t a unique thing, we wouldn’t have a unique name for it.
TIP: Today, speaking very broadly, the debate is between nativist protectionist “tea party” alt-right-ism against immigration and for nationalism (global right-wing), and a progressive alt-left neoliberal globalization that seeks inclusion (global left-wing). If FDR, Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler were alive today, we can kind of figure out which would be Tea Party and which would be Progressive, FDR and Stalin would err toward the globalist collectives, Hitler and Mussolini would be screaming about immigration and nationalism. The left and right in any era are just what they are, the core of the human condition has not changed (not its centered correctness, nor its corrupted extremes). We can compare authoritarians all day long, but we need to use consistent comparative terms. Saying “all WW2 ideologies were left” demonizes the left and socialism and normalized alt-right neo-fascism. Which I think is the point of some propagandists on the right-wing, but let this page stand as an argument against that and the calling out of that alternative-fact.
TIP: It makes sense that people get confused. Try to compare a bunch of authoritative ideologies and policies, and the lines between left and right start to blur. Still, Communism and Fascism are different despite both having some socialist and fascist parallels. To properly explain this debate we need to consider some complex factors. We can appreciate articles like Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt by Cato’s David Boaz for deep insight without confusing liberalism, fascism, socialism, and communism, without confusing FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini, and without trying to normalize modern socialism or fascism by swapping left and right labels when it suits us politically. See our left-right model based on the Nolan chart, Hitler is not “left” generally speaking, FDR is to the left of Stalin in terms of authority, and both FDR and Stalin were to the left of Hitler. Comparative terms are important in complex conversations.
TIP: In general, terms like nationalism, socialism, and even fascism aren’t “inherently bad,” they are bad in extremes when liberty and democracy are cast aside and the ideologies break the non-aggression compact and become aggressive. Most ideologies come in many forms, the NAZI’s ideologies were typically right-wing and extreme broadly speaking, but when we go plank-by-plank, year-by-year, the conversation gets a bit more complex than can be said in a blanket statement.
FACT: The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party, it became fascist over the course of 20 years under Hitler’s influence. That isn’t the same as “being socialist.”
A List of Reasons that we Should Consider Hitler a Fascist, and not a Socialist
We already presented a list of evidence above, but here is a list summing up some of the points already made and adding a few more to help better illustrate points we may not have made clear enough above:
- Hitler was in the nationalist wing of his party. Hitler often spoke out against socialists and communists, especially as the 1920’s rolled on.
- That the NAZIs murdered the socialist wing during the Night of the Long Knives. They also murdered and jailed a number of other socialist and communist parties and generally anyone not loyal to the NAZI’s Nationalist wing. That is one of the ways that Hitler rose to power.
- Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, and later Republican Fascist Party, more accurately described the right-wing National Fascist ideology of WWII that Hitler and Mussolini mostly shared. Remember, Hitler came later and was influenced by Mussolini. On that note, Mussolini was a socialist in the 1910’s, before Hitler’s rise and a wing of the NAZI party was previously socialist too. So there are real socialist roots in the fascist ideology, it is just that, despite this, neither Mussolini or Hitler were “socialists” on paper or in practice, they were fascists (a term which, again, implies its own roots; as any term does).
- Many of the parties of WWII Germany were socialist or nationalist (including the Communists and Democratic Socialists the Nationalist NAZIs hated, jailed, and killed).
- NAZIism was about excluding races rather than abolishing class inequality and classes. It didn’t want global equality (on paper) like the Communists. It wanted German world domination.
- Any militaristic despot with half a brain and resources will provide their army healthcare and education or strip their enemy of guns and gold. Even Communist regimes attempted to do this to the other nationalist and socialist parties (Mensheviks and Whites come to mind in Russia).
- Early NAZIism may have had socialist planks, but once in power in 1933, Adolf Hitler turned Germany into a fascist state. WWII started in 1939, so it is super confusing to talk about some “sort-of socialist” NAZI plank from their 1920 platform like it was representative of everything Hitler stood for. The NAZI platform was not progressive in practice in the 1930’s and 1940’s, just on paper in the early days! When most people think of Hitler and the NAZIs, they think of them in their early 1940’s form (long after TIME declared Hitler the man of the year… in 1938). The early 1920’s NAZI party platform might have been “progressive,” but that was before the socialist wing of the NAZIs was taken over by the nationalist wing! It isn’t like their progressive policies led to NAZI Germany, there is no real lesson about socialism in the story of fascism (that is the story of communism). Fascism is more a story of right-wing nationalism and its slippery slopes.
On being left or right: Left and right are complex and comparative terms (see an essay on this). In comparative WWII terms, Fascism is “to the right” of Communism, but both these ideologies are “to the right” of liberalism. In absolute terms, both authoritarian WWII ideologies were very “right-wing” in their use of authority and the state in practice. This doesn’t mean aspects of fascism and communism aren’t “to the left” of other ideologies, especially if we go plank-by-plank through the early fascist platforms. Even the National Review (a right-wing and nationalist conservative American publication) agrees with this logic. Americans and our western modern counterparts are generally liberal, so our love of liberty is going to put us to the left of any despot, in terms of being authoritative. In terms of embracing collectives, communism is much more inclusive than the exclusive fascist ideology which requires a certain race, creed, national allegiance, and more. This is the way in which communism is “more left” and why it is misleading to call Hitler “left-wing.”
OPINION: Was Hitler more like the modern left or right in America and the West? There is some confusion in the West over whether Hitler’s National Socialism was more like the Western left-wing or right-wing. The answer is, when talking about the centered liberals and conservatives, neither group is much like the NAZIs. However, when talking about fringe right-wing nationals or fringe left-wing socialists there are some parallels. We have already offered insight into this, but generally both the far-left and far-right tend to share some planks with each other (see: “horseshoe theory“), and thus they tend to share planks with any extreme ideology including Hitler’s National Socialism. In simple terms, right-wing nationals tend to share nationalist planks with other nationalist ideologies and left-wing socialists tend to share socialist planks with other socialist ideologies. With that said, when comparing current ideologies to the WW2 ideologies, it tends to help to see the far-left as being more like the communists, and the far-right as being more like the fascists. In this respect far-right groups who might be seen waving flags of past fascist groups and calling for militant nationalism tend to be closer to the fascists. Meanwhile, those opposing this and generally waving flags of past communist groups (including those who we might call “anti-fascists”)… tend to be better equated with left-wing anarchists and communists. Any militant group of revolutionaries who wants nationalism or socialism in an extreme form is bound to share qualities, but the differences between these two groups are pronounced enough to start a world war over (ultimately we can denote their left-wing and right-wing differences). Meanwhile, any liberal who also embraces right-wing nationalism, or who also embraces left-wing socialism, will in this way also share planks with these groups (but even here it makes more sense to equate the left with the communists and right with the fascists when looking to the WW2 ideologies).
Conclusion and Complexities
Given the above proofs, I ultimately wouldn’t label the idea that “Hitler was a Socialist” as a fact and call it a day (it is technically a fact, but a very misleading one, which is bridging on being wrong).
In my opinion, calling Hitler as socialist is very confusing for someone not ready to spend time in research mode. Why say “Hitler was a socialist” when you could use a few more descriptors and say “did you know Fascism has socialist roots” or “the NAZI party had a socialist wing” or “Hitler was a right-wing socialist fascist?”
Too many words are required to frame what it means that Hitler was a socialist for a modern audience, as one must understand Mussolini, Hitler, Fascism, Liberalism, Communism, Marxism, the forms of socialism, and the rise of all these to even have a serious conversation here.
History isn’t supposed to be relayed with ease, but it is supposed to be relayed with accuracy. Given this, this essay clearly discusses the ways in which Hitler was and wasn’t a socialist, left-winger, or liberal.
We will ultimately make the case that the best description of populist authoritarian tyrants like Hitler and Mussolini is right-wing national fascist, or just “fascist” (not left-wing socially liberal democratic socialist; that is a whole different WWII ideology despite the parallels; as we discuss below).
This is true even though Mussolini began his political career as a socialist and Hitler’s party once had a socialist wing.
The key here is realizing that Mussolini had pretty much given up on socialism by the time he formed his National Fascist Party in 1921. Meanwhile, Hitler joined the NAZIs in 1921, and although they initially championed socialist themes of anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, over time, they began to downplay this in order to gain the support of industry. Finally, by the 1930s, the party’s focus had mostly shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes, moving further and further right, and further away from socialism.
As Hitler fully gained control of Germany and became Führer und Reichskanzler in 1933, the NAZIs quickly turned Germany into a far-right authoritarian fascist state. At that point, any social programs were designed to do little more than train an army and ensure a master race (which isn’t exactly what we think when we think “Bernie Sanders” democratic socialism… as Hitler also hated democracy, NAZI Germany was not democratic!).
So, we can find socialist roots in fascism, and some socialist policy in 1930’s and 1940’s fascism, but of course, the term fascism inherently accounts for its own quasi-socialist roots and thus isn’t a useful primary descriptor.
Ultimately, NAZIism was less about the German worker and more about a nationalist desire for world domination, as is the case with any despot.
“Socialism! That is an unfortunate word altogether… What does socialism really mean? If people have something to eat and their pleasures, then they have their socialism.” – What Hitler actually thought about socialism. In practice, Hitler supported “social revolution” rather than social welfare, supported private property, and thought competition was good for weeding out the weak (a right-wing individualist stance).
What is Fascism? Fascism is an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. It often has intolerant views toward “others,” and is exclusive to a certain type of native national. It can be protectionist, but in practice, it is often militaristic and imperialistic. In words, it is a mash-up of other ideologies, including in some very specific and nuanced ways, socialism (which, aside from its authoritarian aspects in-practice, is why it has similarities with Communism). Fascism is generally “to the right” of communism and liberalism, as it is for a smaller group the communism and more authoritative the liberalism.
What is Socialism? Socialism is the ideology of common ownership and equality among all (on paper, in general, speaking of all types at once). This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population. Imagine there are no classes, no possessions, a brotherhood of man, etc. This, of course, sounds more like Communism, the extreme left-wing socialist ideology than fascism the extreme right-wing socialist ideology (and indeed it is that is one of many reasons that each unique form of collectivism gets a different name!). Socialism is generally “left” as it favors equality and collectives, but there are a number of forms, flavors, and mixes. The form “communism” is to the far-left. Democratic socialism is toward liberalism and the center. The form “fascism” is toward the far-right. In terms of authority, socialism can be to the right of liberalism, and Communism to the far-right of liberalism (as liberals champion liberty and all forms of socialism are necessarily authoritative). In terms of social equality, socialism tends to be toward the far-left, but the right-wing fascist form, with its favoring of small groups and social hierarchy, is certainly toward the right of the other forms.
What is Liberalism? The ideology of liberty and equality. And this of course sounds like what we went to war to defend in WWII. Since it is an ideology that favors liberty and equality, the authoritative and exclusive fascism (which favors neither liberty nor equality “for all”) is to the far-right of liberalism. On paper, Communism is to the far-left in terms of equality on paper, but ultimately to the far-right in action in terms of its use of the state (still, in WWII terms, it is to the left of fascism due to its collective nature).
“We want to be aristocrats and democrats, conservatives and liberals, reactionaries and revolutionaries, legalists and antilegalists—depending on the circumstances of the time, place and situation.” – What Benito Mussolini (the other prominent fascist of the time) thought. The implication is the fascism is pulled together from other past ideologies. Simply, neither Mussolini or Hitler was much of a socialist in practice despite their roots. Fascist is the word we use to describe this far-right (but sometimes left) ideology of Mussolini and Hitler.
TIP: See a List of fascist movements by country. We can see that “National Socialism” (not just Socialism in any form) denotes a Fascist right-wing ideology.
TIP: For another look at this, see the differences between Communism and Fascism. Both this page and that page draw the same conclusion, as the conclusion is simply an honest examination of history and political ideology, rather than the twisting of facts into a modern left or right viewpoint (as is common).
BOTTOM LINE: Hitler may have taken a bit of the socialism out of National Socialism on the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 when his nationalist wing killed the Strasserists. However, Mussolini and Hitler’s opportunistic ideologies still pulled from and evolved from socialism (especially in the early days of the late 1910’s and early 1920’s when the NAZI’s 25 point program contained some socialist provisions). Thus, we have to acknowledge Hitler’s socialist characteristics, even if it isn’t the characteristic that defines him. In one word, Hitler and Mussolini were Fascists. In two words, Nationalist Fascists. With a left-right qualifier, far-right National Socialist Fascists with some left-wing elements. In many words, they can be described as anti-capitalist-and-elite, anti-intellectual, far-right, authoritative, extremist, fascist, nativist, populist, nationalists who embraced elements of socialism. Still, NAZIism was about excluding races rather than abolishing classes, and other such points discussed below, leaves us with the obvious conclusion that Hitler is best described as a fascist right-winger, not a left-wing socialist.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler Documentary. If you want to know what kind of a person Hitler was, watch this centered documentary. He had left-qualities, but he was not a left-winger. Only so many ways I can say that.
FACT: Hitler was not democratically elected. Some NAZIs were early on, but mostly they rose to power through corruption and murder.
How Hitler’s Fascism Was or Wasn’t Socialist
Although Hitler was technically a socialist (and thus it isn’t a complete myth that Hitler was a socialist), Hitler’s far-right nativist nationalism shouldn’t be confused with being left-wing or what we today think of as socialist.
The term we used to describe the exclusive nationalist fascist movements of the WWII era, which all had some socialist elements, is fascism, not socialism. The distinction is important to make for anyone trying to understand the difference between the far-left Communists and the far-right Fascists in the World Wars.
Even to the degree that we can look the socialist aspects of Hitler and the NAZI, we will find that their socialism is mostly on paper and is a relic of the times, their militaristic agenda, and their party building.
Ultimately, Hitler regretted the use of the term socialism and despite the NAZIs having a few socialist planks, the term really doesn’t describe what Hitler or his NAZIs did (nor does it really teach us lessons of the slippery slope of socialism. I’d say the Communist ideology does that, as it failed to follow through on its promises and was never stopped from spreading (unlike fascism which was mostly squashed after WWIII).
Unlike the Russians, Hitler actually provided most of the socialism he said he would (he set much lower bars), he provided great programs for his pureblooded Germans (if only to gear them up for war)… although he did end up needing to resort the the capitalism he hated, as socialism may have worked with military, education, and healthcare, but it didn’t’ work for the whole economy (strange right?).
Given all the above, and the detailed history below, we can conclude that while Hitler was technically a socialist in some respects, it is a mistake to equate Hitler with a left-wing modern Democratic Socialist like Bernie Sanders. There was a Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany, so if anything we would compare Bernie to that. Here, we must note, however, that Hitler and his far-right nationalists crushed the SPD and its members along with the other socialist and nationalist parties of 1920’s Germany.
Additional Points to Help Illustrate the Fact that Hitler Was a Right-Wing Fascist
WAS HITLER A SOCIALIST? We can say Hitler was a socialist and be partially correct (although he regretted his party’s use of the term the NAZI party has the term socialist right in it, and we can’t ignore that). Despite this, more specifically, Hitler and his NAZIs hated liberalism, socialism, and communism and were anti-capitalist-and-elite, anti-intellectual, far-right, authoritative, extremist, fascist, nativist, populist, nationalists who, when they offered socialism at all, only offered it to German nationals in order to create a militarized master race with which to dominate the world and stop “the global agenda of the elite” (those who were on the receiving end of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919). Thus, these despotic authoritarians were right-wingers, and not left-wingers, by most measures (see a list of left-right measures). They did not favor liberty or liberalism, they favored authority, and the only collective they favored was their own (which is an individualist stance compared to other collectivist socialist ideologies like Communism). Yet, they offered free healthcare and education, and yes, that IS socialist (just like a few other points in their 25 point National Socialist Program).
HITLER DIDN’T NAME THE NAZI PARTY: Hitler took over the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI party), he didn’t name it. At one time the NAZI party had two wings, a far-right nationalist wing under Hitler and a slightly-more-left socialist wing under Gregor Strasser. Strasser considered himself a personal friend of Hitler’s until Hitler took over the party, and later murdered his “friend” Strasser during the “Night of the Long Knives.” Hitler was not much of a left-winger or socialist in practice, not even compared to the other wing of the NAZI party, but history like most things is complex and requires some amount of nuanced discussion. Below we will cover some socialist planks of the NAZI party so you can better understand the complexity, and our conclusion that Hitler was a right-winger yourself.
BUSTING THE HITLER WAS A LEFT-WINGER MYTH: Based on our research, we conclude: the article “Was Adolf Hitler a Socialist? Debunking a Historical Myth” is mostly correct, the article “MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal” is mostly incorrect. Thus, the idea that Hitler was a left-wing socialist is generally a myth when stated as an absolute (as it ignores “what fascism is,” all the other socialist parties of the post-WWI era, and the history of the fascism to paint a narrow picture that is sure to confuse a modern audience). With that said, I understand the confusion. The line between Communism and Fascism is thin, and socialism can be a slippery slope to totalitarianism due to its use of the state, and it is for these reasons people confuse the Lenins and Hitlers of the world. Still, in practice, Hitler hated socialism and communism and worked to destroy these ideologies (starting with his destroying of all the socialist parties of Germany).
FASCISM IS CLASSIST, NOT ANTI-CLASS: Nazism, like Mussolini’s Fascism, pulled ideas from many past ideologies, but ultimately it was exclusive and based on race, and that is fundamentally different from the class-focused socialism found in Democratic Socialism, Communism, or any of the other varying forms of socialism that can be found across the left-right spectrum.
Why Do People Call Hitler a Socialist?
Part of the confusion likely comes from Hitler rising up through the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI party) and having some socialist policy on paper (the party platform and his Mein Kampf both contain some socially liberal and socialist ideas, but both are notably written before his Rise to Power).
However, as noted above, Hitler modeled his party on Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, which had a more honest and appropriate title. Like the German National Socialist party, Mussolini had begun as a socialist and devolved into a Nationalist Fascist movement. Although fascism has some commonalities with socialism, it is not the same.
The other part of the confusion likely comes from a misunderstanding of the post-WWI era ideologies (which include many different exclusive nationalist and inclusive socialist ideologies.)
Communism can generally be considered the extreme inclusive left-wing ideology of the post-WWI era, fascism can generally be considered the extreme exclusive right-wing ideology, and then other socialist and nationalist ideologies of the time fall somewhere in between.
Fascism is a right-wing ideology that essentially grows out of socialism (left) and nationalism (right), so it only makes sense that it would be confused with left-wing socialism.
Fascism Explained: World History Review. If you are moved by reason, then you’ll need little more than this 20-minute lecture on fascism to understand that Hitler and Mussolini were right-wing fascists.
MYTH BUSTED HITLER WAS A LEFT-WINGER: There is a half-truth out there that Hitler was a left-winger and that his form of socialism is comparable to modern social liberalism or Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism. All these claims are “mostly false.” The essay below explains this position from a historical standpoint. Simply put, like Mussolini, Hitler was a far-right fascist despite his socialist policies. Socialism can certainly devolve into fascism (Mussolini is proof, as is Hitler to some extent), and that is a real concern (just like the concern of it devolving into authoritative communism), and all totalitarian states are similarly despotic and tyrannical, but this speaks little to the WWII fascists being left-wingers. Providing healthcare to a small group of German nationals is only very loosely “a socialist” idea, it isn’t like the NAZI embraced a fully planned economy like the Communist or anything. Providing socialism for a small group of nationals is a common advent of militarism and is much more (speaking in WWII terms) “fascist” than socialist. As noted above, the tale of fascism is more a tale of caution for right-wingers, not left-wingers.
TIP: Mussolini and Hitler were very similar. Mussolini called himself a fascist and was in the National Fascist Party party in Italy. Hitler rose up through the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, leading its Nationalist wing. Both parties had very similar ideologies, and both had originally been at least partly socialist ideologically before becoming more nationalist and fascist. Mussolini’s party had a more honest name frankly, but we can, naming aside point out some left-wing qualities of the fascists (despite their many right-wing qualities). Fascism and the other post-WWI extreme ideology Communism are both totalitarian ideologies, but they are opposition philosophies with key differences. In terms of the post-WWI ideologies, one is left-wing (Communism), and one is right-wing (fascism). Hitler and Mussolini were Nationalist Fascist Right-Wingers.
Hitler, a Left-Winger or Right-Winger?
Hitler being a socialist shouldn’t be confused with him being a left-winger, nearly every German party in the WWII era was a socialist party… and in no time in history has the entire right-wing disappeared in a nation, including in Germany in the 1920’s and 30’s. Simply, in Germany in WWII, the nativist nationalist populist fascist right-wingers called themselves socialists.
TIP: If you take away nothing else from this article, realize that there are many different types of socialism, and anyone can call themselves socialist, even the far-right nationalist fascists (this is true in any era).
Hitler, the NAZIs, Fascists, and the Types of Socialism in the Weimar Republic
In terms of WWII ideology, the German Communists were the German “far left-wing” (as they offered, on paper, an inclusive socialism for all regardless of race, color, or creed… with an iron fist) and the German Fascists were the “far right wing” (as they sought a form of authoritative fascist socialism for German nationals exclusively… with an iron fist).
If we want to find another right-wing party of the Weimar Republic, then we can look to the German Nationalist People’s Party (DNVP). They were to the right of Hitler’s NAZI in terms of favoring the bourgeoisie elite (not the people, but of course it is just a name, isn’t it), but they were more socially liberal and didn’t agree with the far-right anti-inclusive socially conservative antisemitic views of the NAZI. Meanwhile, most of the other socialist parties in Germany and across Europe in WWII (of which there were many) spanned the left-right spectrum, including the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which was the moderate left party (just like today).
Is Hitler’s Socialism Like Bernie Sander’s Democratic Socialism?
Although we have touched on it above, I’d like to again return to the idea that “although Hitler was a socialist, we can’t compare him very well to a modern Democratic Socialist like Bernie Sanders”( like the sometimes great, but in this case “mostly false” infowars.com article claims).
Sure, any anti-elite ideology has commonalities, but the alt-right and Tea Party have much more in common with Hitler’s fascists than Bernie Sanders does. They are exclusive, Bernie is inclusive. They think “the liberal Jew media is destroying the world,” Bernie is a liberal Jew who is often in the media. Etc.
Hitler and his NAZI were pro-worker and anti-Capitalist in theory, but that doesn’t make one a left-winger alone (if it did, then the Tea Party would be left-wing). And, if progressive are “right-wing” and the “Tea Party” left then we have simply changed the meaning of the terms left and right! That is pointless and confusing. We use terms to better understand ideologies, not to confuse them.
Don’t confuse the fact that almost all ideologies are “mixed” with the fact that comparatively some things are right-wing and some things are left-wing. In the conversation “America” conservatives are right, and liberals are left. In the conversation “WWII” regarding fascists and Communists, fascists are right, and communists are left. In a broader WWII conversation, America is center-left, the Allies who won WWI center-right, and fascists and communists the extreme left and right that pushed back. We can get complex, but there are very few situations where left-wing socialist is the best description of a NAZI [here I resist saying “lol” in an effort to have this article be more fact than, “F’ off you alt-fascists”].
It may help to take a look at the following left-right chart. This is our own version of the Nolan chart; see our page on left-right politics here for more details; obviously the left-right distinction is political theory, which is different than the historic accounts of Hitler’s platform and the Night of the Long Knives which are more fact than theory.
Was Hitler Left-wing or Right-wing? In More Detail
Speaking again to the above, Hitler was more “left-wing” on paper than he was in practice, but even on paper his “socialism” was very strict, oppressive, aggressive, imperial, exclusive, militaristic, and authoritarian, which makes it far more right-wing than left-wing by most measures (see how to understand the left-right spectrum to understand what qualities are left, and what qualities are right, based on the original definition of left and right from the French Revolution).
Despite the terminology and a few party platform planks, in terms of left-right ideology, Hitler and his NAZIs were right-wing extremist fascists in nearly every respect. Their only “left” qualities in practice are in relation to how they treated some pure blooded German nationals loyal to the NAZI party (the same cannot be said for the German nationals of non-European decent, non-nationals, or those who weren’t loyal to the NAZI such as the other German Socialist and Communist parties of the time).
Suffice to say, Hitler was nothing like what we think a socialist today is. He was not left-wing or a collectivist compared to most other political ideologies of the time, yet he was technically a socialist in name and platform.
Below we further explain how to understand Hitler as a socialist by looking at the NAZI platform, Mein Kampf, and the NAZI government in practice, what that means from a modern frame, and explain why alt-right figures like Alex Jones and Steven Crowder are misinformed (or purposefully spreading propaganda; I honestly can’t tell which).
TIP: To have despotic government, a despot must run their country like a military. They must use fear like the NAZI did, but they must also provide for the citizenry. One can’t have a master race and imperial army if there is no education or healthcare. Montesquie knew this, and when our American forefathers founded America they knew this. America stands against despotism and tyranny; we fight for liberty… this is why, for all its darkness, we find entities like the anti-Fascist anti-Communist House Un-American Committee in American history, and we consider some far-right fascist groups terrorist organizations.
TIP: ISIS and the KKK are both far-right fascist groups that want certain aspects of socialism. That doesn’t make them left-wing ideologies, but it doesn’t make them purely right-wing either. Understanding nuance requires critical thinking.
TIP: Hitler’s NAZIism is exclusive, in that it is more individualist than the collectivist Communist movement or other forms of more inclusive socialism found in the WWII era (thus in left-right terms pertaining to individualism vs. collectivism, it is more “right-wing” than the other socialist ideologies). Today when we think Bernie Sanders, we think about the social liberal ideology of liberty and equality for all… that ideology is very far removed from Hitler. However, Lincoln, the Rooselvets, William Jennings Bryan, LBJ, and Bernie all share a commonality with Hitler, they all sought to use the state to promote their version of socialism. In this, each supported national social policy directed at reforming education, healthcare, and other social issues. Thus, it isn’t like there is no parallels, it is just that in terms of comparing modern forms of liberalism to all the forms of socialism of the WWII era, modern American social liberalism is the least like NAZIism (but the modern alt-right is on the other hand, very similar!; that argument is made below).
This video, featuring a comparison of two fascists, is the type of disinformation we debunk on this page. There are three big bits of mis-information (half-truths) put forth by the alt-right (AKA neo-fascists, where neo and alt denote the idea that it is “not exactly the same” and “mostly on the internet”). They are: 1. Civil War Democrats are the same as modern Democrats, 2. liberals popularized eugenics and all eugenics is the same, and 3. Hitler was a left-winger. All are half-true. In each case it is frustrating because it tries to paint progressive left-wing liberals as the right-wingers of yesterday, when it was the predecessors of the alt-right who were essentially yesterday’s right-wingers in each story (history is a bit more complex than that, but it is closer to true than what they say)… which is a little like me accusing them of inventing hipsterism and hippie culture. We debunk the Hitler myth below, see the aforementioned links for the respective debunk of the other two theories.
OPINION: It is disturbing how the alt-right is trying to equate the modern left with Hitler. Hitler is like the father of the alt-right ultra-nationalist ideology minus his socialist planks, at least more-so than he is an inspiration for modern Progressives like “the Berniecrats“. Perhaps the alt-right thinks that because they are Nationalist Nativist Populists in a liberal capitalist country they aren’t like Hitler. Sorry, most western left-wingers are capitalists too guys. Yes, on the socialist platforms of Hitler alone, he is more like the socialist left than the liberal nationalist right. And, both Hitler and the alt-right are left-wing in wanting to dismantle the central bank, despite the right-wing antisemitic undertone. And, on being pro-worker and anti-elite, Hitler is like both the Tea Party / Alt-Right and Progressives. And, on being anti-capitalist he is like a modern “occupy wall street” left-winger, sure. It is just everything else though, like his nationalism, nativism, anti-intellectualism, militarism, and policy of exclusion which he was fully right-wing. Listen to Hitler talk about “the liberal elite jew bankers and communists”, he was an alt-white guy. All that said, no one should want to be like Hitler and no modern American ideology is “exactly like the NAZIs” (… except the fringe American NAZI groups). I get the pushback, the left does make this comparison, and a reaction would be expected. Thus, this is like the Lincoln conversation, or the parties switching, or the eugenics conversation. The alt-right wants to take the heat off of the right-wing and place it on the left-wing (a diffusions tactic). Fine tactic for a back ally brawl, or say a Beer Hall Putsch, but not one that can hold up to historical fact. There is an interesting conversation in here, but we must start with a honest conversation that says, “you know, Hitler wasn’t fully right-wing despite his fascism”, not with “Hitler was a left-wing socialist liberal”. When we look to the protests in Charlottesville in 2017 America and see the flags of the groups that are marching, it becomes clear why we say in casual speak “the right is closer to the NAZIs and the anti-fascist right is closer to the communist and left-wing anarchists.” They even wave the flags unprompted that show clearly which modern group identifies with which past group.
FACT: The NAZI party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), and National Socialism typically denotes an exclusive fascist ideology in any country in any era (which is right-wing). The NAZI platform included anti-capitalist pro-worker planks (which is left-wing), Sparta-esque planks focused on lifting up a “master race” and turning Germany into a pure German ethno-state via means which included genocide (which is mostly right-wing unless you are part of the exclusive master race being lifted up), and did this all by authoritative and despotic means (which is right-wing). Stalin may have done many similar things, but the Communist ideology, unlike the NAZI ideology, was open to all races (which is more left comparatively). Meanwhile, other forms of socialism are even further left, even going as far to include wacky planks like equality for all and being against genocide and imperial ethno-states (like the modern American Left-Leaning Democratic Social Liberalism we find in the platforms of figures like Bernie Sanders).
TIP: One of the main reasons the NAZI were anti-capitalist and pro-worker on paper is because Germany had been struggling financially due to inflation after their defeat in WWI. Hitler was a WWI solider and connected with those unhappy over the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. There was a lot of forgotten German workers frustrated with the elite capitalist class and a loss of identity and pride for German nationals, and there was a lot of blame placed on the Jews and non-Germans. They wanted to get the liberal jews and international banks out and make Germany great again. See Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s views on economics. It isn’t that there aren’t similarities between an FDR, a Stalin, and a Hitler as the left-right libertarian Mises.org suggests (certainly any ideology that seeks to use the state for social programs can be compared on such terms), it is just that Hitler wasn’t, all things considered, a left-winger rather than a right-winger.
What it Means that Hitler Was a Socialist From a Modern Frame
Now that we get that Hitler and his NAZI party were fascist right-wingers with some socialist ideology and left-wing qualities, lets discuss what it means that Hitler was a socialist from a modern frame of reference.
Hitler, like Stalin (another type of socialist, a Communist) or any despot, offered a full state-controlled experience common with despotism (call that fascist statist socialism if you want, you won’t be fully wrong, as there are some parallels between any two types of socialism).
However, from a modern frame, Hitler and the NAZI were more like alternative right-wing neo-fascists than left-wing liberal progressive social democrats. It is like the difference between neoliberal globalization and nativist protectionism, yes they both have to do with trade, no they don’t have “the same exact” philosophy (sorry infowars, you are missing some nuance here; to be fair, I pick a bone with articles like Was Adolf Hitler a Socialist? Debunking a Historical Myth too).
Whatever the National Socialist German Workers’ Party platform said on paper aside, in practice, as time went on, Hitler became more and more despotic and tyrannical and less and less of anything a modern American would describe as “socialist”. But even so, from the time the ideology was born, Hitler’s exclusive fascist extremism was very different than other more inclusive forms of socialism found at the time, including “Democratic Socialism”… just ask the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which opposed Hitler’s antisemitism during the Weimar years.
For all its similarities, NAZIism is in many ways the polar opposite and mortal enemy of Communism as represented by the Communist Party (KPD). And of course, if we read history or even just the Communist Manifesto’s chapter on the different types of Socialism, or if we look at any of the other parties of Germany in the elections of the 1920’s (many of whom were left-wing socialists), we see that there are MANY different types of socialism that span the left-right spectrum.
The average Alt-right “thinker” may have only read Mein Kampf, if they have read a WWII era book at all, but even by reading just that single book we know that Hitler’s far-right extremist nationalist movement born on the WWI battlefield and in the Beer house with his other ex-WWI pointy hat right-wing nationalists was not left-wing socialism.
Hitler’s book of struggles is all about how he is against Jews, Social Democrats, Marxists, etc… so how could a Jew like Bernie Sanders, a social Democrat, be accused of having much at all in common with Hitler outside a desire to use the state for some sort of social benefit? Hitler wanted an all national ethno-state, wanted those liberal Jews out, and then wanted to lift up his people, his kin. He believed in the supremacy of his race, he wanted a German state, and for them, yes he offered socialism (in the same way the army offers basic training and free guns to soldiers)… a few commonalities aside, that is like the total opposite of Bernie Sanders on almost every plank.
That said, Hitler’s socialism does indeed sound like a modern American ideology… but it isn’t the modern progressive left… it is the alt-right, the KKK, and other white supremacy movements in the US (all of which we call “right wing”, although they may have aspects of left-wing ideology).
TIP: The terms left and right come from the French revolution and are defined by at least two factors. One factor is authority vs. liberty, the other factor is collective vs. individual. These two paradigms are what allow us to understand left-right politics and label things accurately and consistently as such. Hitler’s ideology was individualist and authoritative, it was a left-right ideology (it is anti-elite, pro a certain type of people, but very authoritative). Although it is left-right broadly speaking, in comparison to other types of socialism, especially democratic socialism or bourgeoisie socialism, it is to the right. Thus, it is, in modern language, especially in the context of comparing the modern American ideologies, a right-wing ideology (in the same way the KKK ideology is despite its stance on states’ rights). It isn’t PURE RIGHT… but what is? The world is too complex for oversimplifications. Here the stakes aren’t mundane, they speak to the very heart of why fought WWII. Nuance is needed.
This is the position of the KKK in 1982. It is not so different than any other fascist position. The ethno-nationalist in the pointy hat is always the ethno-nationalist in the pointy hat in any era. To those who would own this, do so, but don’t accuse the other team of being you… that is just confusing.
MYTH: All Socialism is the Same
Suffice to say, people get confused and think “all socialism is the same” and “all socialism is equatable with the modern left”… but this is a very shallow and inaccurate world view and is fit only for those who favor emotion over fact.
Hitler’s NAZIism has about as much to do with Bernie Sander’s Democratic Socialism or the Democratic Party’s Social Liberal Progressivism as the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has to do with Republicanism, Democracy, or People.
The idea that Hitler’s socialism is equitable to modern socialism, and by extension modern socially liberal progressivism (as the Alex Jones article or Crowder article below suggests), is simply right-wing propaganda of the modern age. It is, when framed the way they frame it, pure counterfeit information that if not intentionally meant to confuse and convolute history is having that effect.
All ideologies must beware the extreme factions who exist on the fringes and pollute the national conversation with half-truths and lies.
With the above said, keeping in mind all the different types of left-wing and right-wing socialism, we can note that aspects of Hitler’s on-paper national policy for Germans was in fact socialist.
Below we will further explore the difference between Hitler, Fascism, Communism, Socialism, and Social Liberalism so we can show the ways in which they do and don’t relate. We’ll also look at Hitler’s policies to show how giving free education to German nationals or stripping guns from Jews is different than modern American social liberalism despite the obvious parallels.
TIP: Mussolini was also a fascist who called himself a socialist. I can call a hand grenade a pineapple, but that doesn’t make it a fruit. Mussolini and Hitler were far-right extremists who nearly destroyed the world, they are different than Castro, Lenin, or even Stalin… the far-left extremists who almost destroyed the world, and they are all different than any normal American. Here we are using the terms left and right comparatively, we could also go issue by issues and discuss how each stance of a party on paper and in-action was left and/or right (although that is another essay).
TIP: Fascists and Communists are both awful [obviously?… right? why do I feel we don’t agree on this?], but they aren’t “exactly the same”. “Socialism” is a wide range of ideologies of which some extreme forms are Fascist Socialism (exclusive) and Communist Socialism (inclusive, on paper).
Nazi and Communist posters: a comparison. I see why people get confused, communism and Fascism are very similar in terms of being authoritative, but are very different in terms of the collectivist vs individualist ideology. Fascism is despotism for some, communism is despotism for all. Communism is Uber’s equality, fascism favors smaller groups. However, neither favors liberty and that is the problem in a liberal nation… or one problem at least. Ultimately, they are the two ideologies the world went to war over in WWII. They nearly destroyed the planet. Turing that into “Hitler was a left-leaning socialist” is a giant misreading of history. He was a far right socialist fascist. The leftists are more like communists, both groups are similar due to their love of tyranny and opposition to American values.
In What Ways Was Hitler a Socialist, How is that Like or not Like the Modern Alt-Right or Progressive Left?
Below we will list different policy stances (planks from the NAZI’s 25 point platform, general policies, general qualities, general ideologies, etc) of Hitler and the NAZIs and describe why they are left or right and how they relate to the modern left and right. Any general history of the NAZI party and Hitler, like this, will confirm the basic points made below. Now you may say “but Tom, we can’t trust the liberal Jew-run media” and of course to you I say, “whoa dude(ette), you ARE getting awful close to acting like a neo-fascist… now drop the ship and start acting like a real American. The NAZIs and Communists of any era are not our friend”.
Here are a few examples of how the NAZI ideology is or isn’t socialist, i’ll expand on this over time.
- Firstly, the main plank of the fascist NAZI was the exclusion of non-native Germans and the creation of a master race and imperial German ethno-state. All planks revolving around genocide, a master race, locking down the media, destroying the other parties, and imperial police state militarism are right-wing and not socialist (although granted, a national army is more socialist than an army of mercenaries in some respects, we can pretty much ignore this part of the platform). So those giant points aside… a few bits of the NAZI platform were socialist (but still they were Hitler’s fascist brand of this in almost every case).
- Hitler’s original NAZI party platform also demanded: Division of profits of all big industries, nationalization of many industries, land reform and the abolition of a land tax and speculation on land, and freedom of religion. Legitimately, on paper, some of the platform is left-wing and socialist (including their stances on banks, in some ways). However, the NAZI didn’t really follow through with most of this. Still, what they did in action aside, these planks are generally left-wing.
- Hitler approved of eugenics, including elective eugenics like abortion and forced negative eugenics like genocide and war. This is a bit like the modern left in that the left is generally for positive elective eugenics like birth control and early-term abortion, it is like the old liberal intellectuals who thought population should be curved (which was mostly right-wing then and is a dark spot on history now), and it is like the modern right believing in supremacy of a race and being willing to take action on it (like genocide and breeding super soldiers; which is very right-wing). Eugenics is too complex to call left or right, but certainly forced negative eugenics and elective eugenics aimed at a certain race, class, or creed is more right-wing than left-wing. Thus, Hitler is right-wing in terms of eugenics and his eugenics programs are not well compared to positive elective eugenics like that of planned parenthood (the idea that we can relate to two is religious right propaganda; often spouted from the same alt-right pseudo-media that claims the idea that Hitler was a right-winger is a myth).
- Hitler wanted free education and healthcare. Just like the modern progressive left, Hitler wanted free education and healthcare. Unlike the modern left he restricted it to a certain class and race. Since Hitler only favored one class of people, it is more like far-right policy that seeks to defund public education and filter funds toward white schools in America. Hitler is left-wing in terms of offering education and healthcare, but is right-wing in terms of offering this only to one group and… militarizing that group, to try to take over the world via authoritative, despotic, and tyrannical progressive militarism.
- Hitler banned guns… yeah, Hitler banned Jews having gun. Which is a good move when you are about to start kicking down doors and stealing property. Has little-to-nothing to do with background checks in the U.S.; next.
- Hitler was a captivating orator. Trump is a brilliant orator, so was William Jennings Bryan, so was Bernie Sanders, so was Lenin. What you say to people, what you say you will do for the worker, however you say “i’ll make this country great again” aside, we must judge based on action and result. Based on action and result Hitler was a manipulated despot who gave up on socialism almost as soon as he started (they quickly realized socialism didn’t work… although stealing gold from other europeans and Jews isn’t socialist or capitalist, it is again, despotic tyranny).
TIP: Name one socialist thing Hitler did that a military wouldn’t do. Right. He was building an army to conquer the world, obviously he offered his soldiers healthcare and education. He wanted to get rid of the Jews, obviously he took their guns and approved of abortion. He needed a ton of money, obviously he screwed over European banks and stole money from the Jews. Hitler thought, “hey this Jewish problem is a problem” better kick all the international banks out and make Germany great again. Socialist isn’t the right word, you know. No this is fascism, looks the same in any era really. Can you think of other ideologies that are pro-white and anti-international bank?
The NAZI Party – Military History Documentary HD.
TIP: Hitler’s original NAZI party platform demanded: Division of profits of all big industries, nationalization of many industries, land reform and the abolition of a land tax and speculation on land, and freedom of religion. Legitimately, on paper, some of the platform is left-wing and socialist. However, the NAZI didn’t follow through with most of this and almost everything else they did was far-right. Using the state and doing a few socialist things doesn’t make someone a left-winger. There is nothing left-wing about fascism and genocide, no matter what party is doing it.
TIP: The NAZIs called mainstream media “the lying press” (today known as “fake news“). They wanted to “get the liberal intellectual jew bankers and communists out” and “make Germany great again”. Hitler said he was against the establishment, but at the end of the day, for all the Jews he killed and all their money he stole, he never did stand up to the international banks. Why would anyone go to war against a neutral entity that is all but required to keep the world turning? Xenophobia is often more a tool to control the plebs than a serious policy. Anyone who studied history knows “Jew Rothschild, and his fellow-Christian, Baring” have “the money” historically speaking. When you are post-WWI Germany and you don’t have “the money”, and you want to take over the world, you may naturally see a target. It is really no different than the prejudice in the Jewish Ghettoes of the Italian Republics where banking and liberalism were born in the times of Fibonacci, the Medici, or Machiavelli, or in Shakespeare’s time when he created his Shylock, or in Ford’s time when he spread Russian propaganda to Germany via his Dearborn Independent. Just like white people like watching Friends in their pajamas, it is true that as a nomadic people Jews have their own culture, and this raises questions… but, let us just say, there was nothing socialist about the way NAZIs treated the Jews, it was pure Kleptocracy and opportunism steeped in long-standing and omnipresent prejudice false narratives parroted by despots, who exploited the peoples’ economic insecurity and fear for political gain (as it always is). See the documentary below for the real story of banking, Britain, and Germany. NAZI gold was not mined by the NAZIs, and I certainly don’t recall it being shared with the German worker.
Banking With Hitler (Full Length) British. There are many ways to illustrate the fact that much which conspiracy theories seek to explain is better explained by “mundane self-interest and opportunism”, but one that comes to my mind is the story of the international banks and the Axis and Allies of WWI. Its tempting go straight to the Alex Jones version, but hearing the BBC version with interviews of family members presents a much more sober introspective into the actual mentality behind what assume wrongly are “shadowy villains”.
Hitler Vs. the Communists
To restate some points made above, Hitler’s main opposition was the Communist Party, the NAZIs killed and jailed left-leaning socialists. Can you imagine anything Hitler hated more than a social liberal Jew like Bernie Sanders who wanted liberty for all classes and creeds and a united global world, no way right? And that is the point!
In WWII America and her Allies teamed up with the Communists (remember, Russia was our ally then) to defeat the fascists, because as bad as one type of socialism (Communism) is, the other (fascist socialism) was simply being more tyrannical and at odds with western values at the time.
America is a Liberal Nation
There is really only one point a true red-blooded American needs to understand, and that is that America is a liberal nation. To us, nationalism means ensuring liberty, not creating an exclusive ethno-state. To us, socialism means social equality, not full-blown communism.
Both the extremes of Communism and Fascism have no place in our country, as extremes corrupt democracy.
Sure, people accuse Democrats of being Communist or Socialist, and Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist, but none of this has much of anything to do with Hitler. Likewise, one can call Bannon a NAZI, but he is more of a liberal nationalist. If the left-wingers were trying to call the alt-right Communists, I would take up the pen in their defense… but this is not the case.
If there is a party that has aspects of Hitler’s ideology in America, a party that favors nationals and wants a purer ethnic state with clear lines, it is of course the fringes of the Republican party (likewise, if a party is closer to Communist, it is the fringes of the Democrats)… but since these ideologies both stand against what we stand for, we can simply say, the extreme WWII ideologies bare little-to-no relation to either of the major U.S. political parties outside of one being more left and one being more right.
Debunking Alex Jones, Steven Crowder, and the Alt-Right Neo-Fascist Propagandists
Given the above, articles like MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal by Steven Crowder’s Courtney Kirchoff are annoyingly misleading, inaccurate (despite the almost correct title), and prevalent.
It isn’t that they aren’t “part right”, it is that they are pretty blatantly an attempt to twist history to make both Communism and Fascism look like left-wing ideologies.
That makes my job difficult, because the goal is to dismiss this point without getting triggered and offering a tit-for-tat (to the extent I do this on this page, I apologize, I’ll aim to work out the kinks as there is only one history and one set of facts).
Firstly, speaking to just the premise in the title, Hitler hated liberalism, and was a socialist on paper, so the title is part true. However, it is not the title of the article, but the content that is very misleading.
The content tries to insinuate the Hitler is comparable to a modern social liberal like Bernie Sanders and that Hitler was left-wing. The article even says, “Adolf Hitler wasn’t ‘right wing.’ If you take nothing else from this post, just remember Hitler was a socialist” (and as you now know from reading the above, this is a half-truth as it omits any discussion of the right-wing aspects of his character or the other WWII ideologies).
While it is worth discussing the parallels between modern the WWII ideologies and modern ideologies like we did, and we can note that both a modern liberal like Bernie and Hitler share qualities (anti-elite, anti-pure capitalism, pro worker, wants nationalized programs) like we did, we must conclude that Hitler is much more equatable to the modern alt-right than the left despite this.
Why is Hitler’s fascism more like the alt-right than the alt-left? Simple, the ethno-state alt-right actually wants most of what Hitler offered aside from the part where the state nationalizes programs. If Hitler had called for capitalist solutions and deregulation, but had kept his same ideology (his opinions on race and class), it would look very much like the modern far-right (and it is very much like the modern KKK).
When the slave owner provides a meal and house for his slaves, is he a socialist? It is arguable. When a slave owner claims “states’ rights” is he a liberal? Again, we can and do argue. However, we can’t argue that we generally call the slaver a right-winger and the abolitionist a left-winger (despite the fact the abolitionist wants to tell the slaver what to do, he is left-wing by our metrics). Some deal here, just a different issue in a different era.
There is a big difference between the alt-right and Hitler then, and that is what is likely confusing people, it is that (like with the KKK) a modern alt-right-er wants deregulation in many respects, and only wants authoritative statism when it comes to registering Muslims, or building a wall, or repealing marriage equality, or declaring America a Christian nation… otherwise, since so much progressive policy is already in place, they in practice want to deregulate.
So their ends are right-wing, but their means are left-wing in terms of deregulation. This is a nuance worth discussing. Same for the modern progressive left, they want collectivist progressive things, so their ends are left, but since that requires statism their means are right.
The world is complex, and that is why we use a four point spectrum for left-right, but it isn’t THAT complicated.
Right-wingers are right-wingers, left-wingers are left-wingers, and these groups have historically faced conflict in any era, but where WWII split the world and resulted in War, America’s founding was a union of left-and-right who agreed on a liberal center. There is room for all ideologies in America, but no great gains will be had by accusing liberals of being right-wingers.
I suggest the alt-right stop the nonsense and say what they mean (like Richard Spencer) so we can have a real conversation based on differing opinions rather than differing facts. Calling Hitler left-wing means all WWII ideologies are left-wing, which defeats the purpose of having comparative political terms in the first place. No, generally speaking, in WWII the lefties are the allies who favor liberty, and the right-wingers are the authoritarians. In comparative terms in Germany the left-wingers are those who favor inclusive socialism and the right-wingers are the exclusive fascist nationals. Each ideology has aspects of left and right, which are very discussable, but not accurately labeled in such simple and bias terms as Crowder and Alex Jones attempt.
TIP: The Crowder article says “the KKK was founded by Democrats“. This alt-fact is like the Hitler alt-fact. Yes, It was indeed. By the Solid South Dixiecrat Confederates of the Civil War… who are now Republicans. Why else would they be marching in Charlottesville like that waving the NAZI and Confederate flags while anti-fa and BLM protested from the opposite side of the street? Read our essay on the history of the American political parties.
TIP: Crowder tries to equate eugenics with Planned Parenthood. Typical Alex Jones alt-right nonsense that clearly displays a misunderstanding of history. See the history of American eugenics and how negative and positive, forced and unforced, eugenics are different.
TIP: The Crowder article goes on to describe some truths related to Hitler’s policies accurately, but frames them in a dishonest way (sprinkling in half-truths and omitting necessary nuance). Hitler taking away guns from Jews has little to do with Democrats wanting background checks for example. Again, it was national socialism for German nationals only, so obviously his policies are going to reflect that in spirit (if not in practice). An army feeds its soldiers, that is socialist, but they aren’t hippies, they are military, same for Hitler, he bred super soldiers, of course he gave them healthcare. Any state controlled by a despot is going to try to control healthcare, education, guns, etc. Obviously. It really has very little to do with modern American progressivism of any sort. It is fascism, and it is the enemy of the western liberalism… except the far-right parties who have seen a rise during this era of globalization.
Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. – Alexander Hamilton, a true American explaining the true and simple values reflected by the Constitution of our American Republic.
Trump and Hitler Compared. (After the Bell ). Speaking of blonde haired nationalists who favor a native population… Just sayin’, since we are on the subject. It isn’t that Trump is like Hitler, it is that if we seek only to compare Trump, Bernie, Hitler’s Fascist Socialism, and Communism, then Bernie and Communism are left-wing and Hitler’s Socialism and Trump are right-wing (using comparative terms)…. but just so its clear i’m not totally “out here in left-field”, check out an old Woody Guthrie song about the Trump linage, Old Man Trump. Guthrie was a notable “anti-Fascist”. TIP: I’m not equating Trump with Fascism (see the whole very long article above), but put on your thinking cap, Trump and the right are more toward fascism and Bernie and the left are more toward Communism, as far as American ideologies go… as we can see from the 2017 Charlottesville protests.
Hitler was an ultra-right wing dictator who knew how to save Germany and the world. Sounds like a current day leader. Who could that be?
To be fair, everyone called Reagan a fascist in the 80’s. People call libertarians anarchists and people call any social program communist. So we can at times use overly harsh language. Still, I think we’ve all seen things less similar to WW2 fascist ideology floating around than what today we call “alt-right”… globally. And if there is one leader all these global movements look to, well, as you say.
Reagan didnt bad mouth the media, the armed forces, intelligence agencies, people with disabilities, people of other cultures, people in congress, the judiciary…etc etc ad nauseam
Right (this comment probably would have made more sense here: See: http://factmyth.com/factoids/reagan-said-government-is-the-problem/) but let me address it anyway.
Reagan he had a long background in politics despite being an actor, then came into the office more radical than he left office.
Reagan is complex, but he wasn’t purely anti-Federal Government or even purely right-wing. He was closer to the center-right and was a “California Republican”. Today he gets used as an emblem for this almost Confederate-like anti-Government spirit, but even in his own time it was third parties, not the Republicans, who truly represented that sentiment.
Too many points to say in any one quip, but generally something we should all keep in mind.
On that same note, a President like Kennedy is sometimes remembered as more “like a modern progressive” than he was.
People and Presidents just are what they are/were, and we should seek to understand them as such, if only out of respect for them, but also out of respect for what current ideologies are really saying and standing for…. and that goes for Hitler too honestly. To understand Hitler we need to understand him as a child, in Vienna under Lueger, in WWI, in the early 1920’s before he was jailed, his increasing radicalism, and his character in WWII and his relation to the global communist and fascist movements.
It is from that perspective that we can laugh and eye roll when people call him a leftist liberal socialist in general, but can engage in meaningful conversation about how radical right-wing and authoritarian ideologies can grow out of both the left and right wing.
That doesn’t sound like our current leader at all. Maybe you should actually listen or read what he says before you spew your blatant lies, but then again why would you want to do that. Most of the left live their lives doing their best to show how PC they are and are such great humanitarians, when in reality you’re not even close. The left has not only called for violence to anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs, but they have acted on those thoughts and assaulted people for no other reason than who they voted for. They have fabricated lie after lie after lie to convince people that they’re right and to follow them against their attacks on the right. Now who does that sound like!? I’m sure you’ll response will be another fabricated lie because that’s what the left does to “prove” their point, but we all know you’re FOS.
The idea that “the left has called for violence” is a vast accusation that hardly fits the passive mentality of the bulk of the left in America and the west.
The general idea here is that “the left” is more like the Communists and “the right” is more like the fascists, both those groups are statists, but the fascists had exclusive policies focused on small groups and the Communists had a globalist mentality.
Just for clarity, the goal here isn’t to push an agenda (beyond an American one) or fabricate lies. It is to remind people of the lessons of WWII and debunk the idea that we should be conflating modern the American left with both fascism and Communism rather than seeing the right as dipping a toe in fascism and the left dipping a toe in Communism.
UPDATE: So I just reviewed the whole article. I have to say I think you are the one who is letting your bias get in the way.
This article is essentially overly full with good information and perspectives on how to understand the 1920’s platform, the other socialist parties of WWII, the difference between communism and fascism, and so much more.
You might accurately compare an anti-fas fringe group to fascists (pointing out the irony of militaristic action of any form) or you might point to the old socialist platform (showing how statism in any form is a slippery slope)… but the whole general alt-fact espoused by http://louderwithcrowder.com/myth-busted-actually-yes-hitler-was-a-socialist-liberal/ is CHERRY PICKED (it is propaganda).
They are pointing to “state funded education” and acting like it is what today we think of as “socialist”… no it is fascist.
The NAZIs (like Mussolini’s fascists) were training an army of nationalists who were bred to be in service to the state and disarming “others”. That turns into state-planned gun control policy, education policy, and healthcare. That is fascism, which has socialist roots and uses central planning (lots of it actually, it is totalitarian and authoritarian statism)… but that it isn’t what Bernie Sanders is calling for! Obviously.
So like, all those points they make on infowars / crowder are true, but they are all signs of fascism, not left-wing, liberal, socialism.
Because they “frame” the information in a way to make people think that Hitler was like a modern left-winger, they are the ones being inaccurate and we are at worst being a little heavy handed and longwinded in our rebuttal.
Show me one falsehood in the article and lets start there and debate that.
Fascism as socialist roots, and Communism has socialist roots, one is the left-wing version, one is the right-wing version, neither are liberalism.
So why did the communist wing of the German Workers Party tell the Socialist wing of the party” first brown, then red”?
I don’t know, good question. I do know that the communist wing of the party ultimately lost power though. So I would look at the when of this comment if I was going to research it further.
How can fascism be called right-wing?
Benito Mussolini was a member of the PSI – the Italian socialists!
He connected with the Marxists in his party.
Later he started the journal Avanti – which spread nothing but socialist propaganda.
He got kicked out of the PSI because he lost faith in the PSI which he called hypocrits after they took sides of the German and other states in the war which Mussolini found not to honor socialist values. Mussolini felt that if the workers had to fight, Italy had the right to ask for something in return. Mussolini started fascism to enforce socialism by force.
I find it very furstrating and dishonest that both Hitler and Mussolini – two fellas with unambigous left-wing ideology – are today said to be right-wing. They were most certainly not.
First things first, and I should probably make this clear in this article rather than simply redirect people here:
But left and right are broad terms that mean many things. See my take on it here: http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/
Consider, in terms of semantics, when we say “left-wing” we either mean “socially left-wing” (like social liberalism) or “left in terms of liberty” (like classical liberalism), likewise when we say “right-wing” we either mean “socially right-wing” (like social conservatism) or “right in terms of authority” (like classical conservatism).
When I say fascism is right wing, I mean socially right-wing, like a right-wing populist Confederate or NAZI, who is a mix of left-right (but right of the pure Communist socialist).
They were classical liberal in power structure. They were social liberal in policy. They were not classically liberal.
Today an American right winger thinks himself only classical liberal… but “he thinks himself this” he is not this. He gushed over the chance to have Trump build a wall and ban muslims. This is populist right. This is what Hitler was… but Hitler was also socialist. A Communist and National socalist in the day hated each other, but they were both statists. Today antifa and alt-right radicals hate each other, but they are both somewhat the same. Same deal.
These complex left-right mixes oppose each other, but are very much alike in many ways despite this (called horseshoe theory).
Nothing you say is wrong, but you have not looked hard enough at how the fascists progressed. They create a right-wing evolution of socialism. A nationalist socialism in the case of Hitler. They mixed in populist right and militant statist right planks, and created something in full opposition to social democrats, liberals, and communists.
If I go to the unite the right rally, I have to stand on a side. If we call these sides left and right, then I get a moniker based on the side I stand and who stands with me.
In WWII Communists were left and Fascists were right. In the modern day these groups are back and out for blood. Please don’t be so naive to think they are both a problem of the left while the right is full of rainbows and virtue. Trump is dragging us to the populist left, Bernie is more toward the populist left… but these are itty bitty baby versions of the tyrants who await us if we drift too far in any direction.
We can here easily toss out terms like left and right though if that helps. One side had the nationalists the other the internationalists. We can frame it like that. One side the nativists the other the anti-nativists. Etc.
The liberal and conservative center held in WW2, that is America and her allies held against the the two flavors of tyrants (with, to be fair to Russia, the help of Stalin, and to be fair to Germany and Italy, in defense of the average German or Italian who was being oppressed).
That is, an American left and right held against the tyrannical populist statists of the nationalist and internationalist anti-elite anti-liberals of WW2.
Let us toss the terms left and right in the fire if we have to. But if you don’t get that the Trumpian sentiment we call populist right that is sweeping the world right now is what Hitler was, and that the populist left sentiment is what created the Communist threat… then God help us.
Pointing fingers only at one side gets us nowhere. It is absurd to think WW2 was caused only be left-wingers… and it is dangerous, as it misses the point of what happened then (which might help explain why it is happening again now).
Want to defeat this thing you call “left”. Take that wall and smash it in too, and throw the muslim ban on the fire the terms left and right. We don’t need any of that illiberal garbage.
If you’re referring to Trump he’s actually moderate right. Also Hitler was far left. Fascism was created by Giovanni Gentile who was left wing. In fact he was a socialist even after creating fascism. It wasn’t until later in life he began to separate to 2. Also if you look at the DNC a lot of their slogans are based of Gentile’s ideals.
This whole article is all about being Anti-Trump and has very little to do with debunking the Hitler myth and more to do with manipulating the truth to fit your Anti-Trump agenda . Hitler was a socialist and it’s written all through his words. The fact is the Anti-Trump movement is very similar to what Hitler believed.
I will attempt to filter out an attempt to conflate Trump with past fascist movements.
The main tie in with Trump was me pushing back against the infowar article (the one who started the current myth that Hitler was a liberal socialist left-winger just like Bernie”). Here I was saying, based on policy in-action and the recorded documents of the fascists, Hitler and Mussolini were more like Trump than Bernie.
I get how this can be off-putting though.
I disagree that the article is about Trump and not about debunking the idea that Hitler was a socialist liberal lefty. The primary function of the article is to point to policy and documents that show Hitler and Mussolini expressing views that are fascist and not socialist, or liberal, or left.
Thanks for the feedback though. It helps me take a step back and check the information I’ve presented. We all have opinions on emotional subjects, they are harder to filter out than some may realize despite our best intentions.
Hitler and the NAZIs were a left-wing socialists if you consider collectivism as a predominantly left wing system of forced sharing for the greater good. Which we should because it Marxism is essentially equality through coersion. The far right are not actually on the right but the left. Comparing Hitler to Sanders isn’t changing the meaning of left right politics. Its already been changed through the left repression of the guilt of collectivism which caused over 150 million deaths ing the last century alone. Wake the f*ck up people. The ant-capitalist collectivists have projected their guilt and splintered their ideology to avoid looking in the mirror. What does collectivism have to do? 150,000,000 deaths! Socialism is still Socialism it’s just a newer form religion. Jesus, Hitler and Bernie were all Left wing anti-capitalists. Its just that Jesus didnt have the chance to be corrupted by his own group bias. Thats why they both clashed with the the Jews because they were the capilaist 1%. The opposite of socialism is not national socialism. It’s individualism, It’s libertarianism. The problem with capitalism is big gov ‘crony’ capitalism or socialist capitalism. You can’t force equalit through coersion you need to allow it through classical liberalism and libertarianism. Wake up people! Hitler was an idealistic left wing art student inspired by Marx but critical at the same time. High taxes is forced sharing, force equals oppression. We want equality through Liberty.
These are some great points. I appreciate the critical thinking and thoughtful responses (despite the fact that I think you are off-base on some of your logic), so let me offer my thoughts.
First, check out this modern left-right spectrum we created, it is similar to the one at politicalcompass.org: http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/
With that spectrum in mind, so we can ensure we are both using the same general definitions of left and right (and not cherry picking or getting confused about the difference between cooperation and social equality and authoritarianism, as the two aren’t mutually dependent in theory):
1. Hitler hated Marxism and Communism, he didn’t just dislike the capitalist Jews, he also disliked the socialist ones. This is largely what is book is about, if I have read the book and you have not, consider listening to me on that or checking for yourself. Marxism, as found in Marx’s work (which I’ve also read along with the works of everyone we are discussing) is less about coercion than “Stalinism” or “NAZIism” or a more authoritarian-right form of socialism. The socialism of Bernie and Jesus is even less authoritative than that. Now is it purely free-market capitalist? No! And is free-market capitalism left in terms of liberty vs. authority? Yes! Of course, it is classical liberalism. In a fully non-authoritative capitalist system, the main right-wing qualities are some advents arising from individualism’s focus on the individual at the expense of collective equality and those factors arising from oligarchs who use the free system to create authoritative right-wing structures. In other words, a classical liberal is generally left of socialism in terms of authority, but not always. If we compare a non-authoritative libertarian, to a non-authoritative socialist, to a non-authoritative Communist, to a non-authoritative fascist we can describe them as being to the left and right of each other and we would like consider those who wanted socially equality to the left of those who did not. In these terms, Hitler is not a left-wing socialist liberal, he is a right-wing socialist anti-liberal, a fascist. If I am Mises, I will see everyone as socialist, I get that, but if I am using common language to speak to our 320 million I will not just call Hitler a “socialist left-wing liberal” as that would confuse people into thinking that perhaps all Democrats or all left-wingers were this type of fascist (and further and more insidiously, that right-wingers in a capitalist liberal nation couldn’t be fascist, and that would be a dangerously misleading idea!) That would be misinformation, lying by omission, propaganda.
2. Hitler was an idealistic left-wing (in some ways) art student in the early 1900’s before WWI. However, Hitler went on to move to the far nationalist right after Germany’s defeated in WWI and then over time as he tried to rise to power. Hitler was the head of the far-right nationalist wing of his party, and literally murdered the socialist left-wing of his party. By the time the NAZIs came to power they murdered and jailed the Communists, Jews, Gypsies, capitalists, many in the other socialist parties and centered parties, and generally anyone who got in the way of their right-wing authoritative militarism. They did retain some socialist aspects throughout their reign (just like Mussolini’s fascist Republicans did), in that they structured their society like a military, but they are only socialist in the way that an elite military unit is socialist (in that they get free healthcare, free guns, free education, free meals, etc). Militaristic fascist isn’t well described as left-wing socialism, even though some aspects of it are socialist and certainly it is pretty far from libertarianism! Fascism is to the right of libertarianism in just about every way, except it is to “the left” in terms of its focus on collectivism vs. individualism in very specific ways. If we aren’t speaking in libertarian circles with others who really know history it is misleading to talk about hitler as a collectivist as an absolute and ignore the other far more collectivist and far less authoritative socialist ideologies that are to the left of Hitler and the fascists. Consider, one can be a left-wing libertarian who believes in pure individualism in the state but believes in an opt-in market based social welfare (Carnegie was like this, I am essentially like this, all ideologies have a left and right-wing, and I am more toward this than other things)… this would be very much to the left of Hitler’s forced statism (which is right-wing classically speaking).
3. Generally, you are confusing the socialist aspects of NAZIism with the idea that we can use a label like socialist as an absolute and be informative. I can say Hitler, Jesus, Bernie, Stalin, Castro, FDR, Obama, all Democrats, and Merkel’s Christian Democrats are all “socialist” (because they all support some aspects of socialism), but if I don’t use other descriptors I have not done my audience any justice. I leave my audience thinking that these people are generally comparable in any way beyond their rejection of pure individualism. Everyone is “to the left” of a libertarian on pure individualism aside a few classical liberals, so it isn’t fair to label EVERYONE left-wing from our own frame. We need to use a model like the political compass!
4. Hitler’s fascism and Mussolini’s fascism denote a nationalist state run like a military in which only certain groups are accepted, this is right-wing by nature. They want socialism for the few, not for the all, this is right-wing socialism (it is to the right of almost every other type of socialism in terms of equality). However, it is to the left of other systems by some metrics. So again, we can use the terms left-wing and socialism to describe some aspects of NAZIism, especially in comparative terms, but those terms are lackluster compared to saying something like “the NAZIs were authoritative right-wing militaristic fascists who employed some socialist planks like free healthcare for nationals; they were left-wing in some ways despite their right-wing qualities, for example they were to the left of the capitalists in terms of favoring a more socialist economy like a military might have”. As you can see, it isn’t that I fully disagree, it is that I feel that you are under utilizing nuance and thus are heading down this slippery slope of painting Hitler as a modern liberal. That isn’t correct.
We can discuss the ways in which certain ideologies are left or right all day, and from a libertarian position it can be tempting to see both Communism and Fascism as statist left-wing ideologies (and they can be in some ways compared to an ideology like libertarianism).
However, I am concerned that libertarians seem eager to ignore Hitler’s many right-wing qualities and focus on his left-wing ones. I get that the big tent Republican has Rand in it, but if you can’t see the ways in which Hitler was right, I would suggest taking a step back from party politics and looking closely at your information. I read CATO and I don’t recall them taking such a questionable hardline stance about the character of Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini. A true liberal, which all centered Americans with a respect for our nation and our system are (so libertarians, centered Berniecrats, centered Republicans, centered Democrats, progressives who respect democracy, etc), is going to hate fascism and Communism. When we make it clear that one is left and one is right we make it clear for the next generation that extremes of both the left and the right are worrisome. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/hitler-mussolini-roosevelt
Communism is left and Fascism is generally right in terms of social policy, both are generally right-wing militaristic and authoritative in practice, and both threaten our American values.
The lines blur, but that doesn’t mean we can call Hitler and the NAZIs in the WWII era “Left-Wing Socialist Liberals”. You yourself conceded that the term liberal is misplaced, Hitler and Mussolini both specifically express in their works that they dislike Communism and the other socialist ideologies, and especially Mussolini describes his fascism (the one that Hitler modeled himself after) as right-wing and nationalist.
There is a lot of great discussion about socialism and the WWII ideologies, but that small group xenophobic nationalist right-wing ideology with left-wing aspects that grew up in a liberal environment “fascism” is not well described in a single word as “socialism”.
Let us reframe your comment then and say 150,000,000 (seems like a high estimate, but whatever) deaths occurred as a result of extreme ideologies of the far-right and far-left that cast aside liberal democratic republics for nationalism and Communism respectively.
Today when a charming man tells you he want’s to get the others out, or that they want to go after the establishment, or they want a planned economy, or that they want to go after “others”, or that a type of person is to blame, or anything very polarized, you should back away slowly and pick up the constitution.
The left-wing Anti-federalists and Right-wing Federalist didn’t agree on everything, but they didn’t look that different, a fascist or Communist might call them both far-left or far-right, but we want to speak with nuance and use comparative terms. We are Democrats, Republicans, and liberals, we are Americans, and we shouldn’t oversimplify World War II for political ends that support the left or right. We should ensure that both the far-left and far-right in any form is avoided.
All this to say, although we can say Hitler was a socialist or left-wing in some ways and not be fully wrong, the ideal that he was a socialist left-wing liberal like a modern left-winger is very very wrong, Hitler in practice was what we today think of as a right-wing fascist.
For more information see: http://factmyth.com/factoids/communism-and-fascism-are-different/
Dude, Hitler, himself, self-identified the Nazi party as socialist. He was left-wing. Just accept it.
I get what you are saying, but have you really researched this?
To start the National Socialist title is from the late 1910’s a good 10 years before Hitler became the leader of Germany. He led the Nationalist wing and actually jailed and killed the Socialist wing. Then in practice he was fascist (where fascism is an evolution of socialism). Those are the facts.
I just re-read Mein Kampf (after skimming it before writing the article along with the platform he mentions in there; both of which are linked in the article but will link here).
Hitler makes it very clear (even in that early text; where part 1 in early while he was in jain in the mid 20’s and part 2 a little later) that he is not what we think of as socialist or communist, he rejects all forms of that and creates his own collectivist statist civil religion that drew heavily from Mussolini’s fascism.
These WWII ideologies are best described as fascism. Fascism is an evolution of socialism, and thus has socialist roots… but they are socialist in the way militaries are, in that they offer education, healthcare, and such. They are not socialist in the way Marxist or social liberals are, in that they seek global equality.
Communism has a bunch of obvious problems, as do other forms of socialism, but to pretend like Hitler is the same as those is really stretching it.
If we don’t understand that the Nationalist statist were right-wing statists and the Communists were left-wing and the liberal socialists were the liberal version then how can we understand what is happening here in 2017.
The only people I see pushing the Crowder / infowars version of what happened are the alt-right and libertarians. Libertarians I get it, if they are totally classical liberal, then everyone is a statist to them. For the alt-right, well, i’m sorry, they are modern National Populists (which is like the modern fascism). They are worshiping the same civil force Mussolini and Hitler did “the exclusive Nationalist state against others that takes care of its own”.
People didn’t change, half the world followed Marx is one bad direction (social left) and the other half followed the fascists (social right) and liberals of the left and right (the individualists) fought against both.
If we paint this as both the social left and social right-wing collectivists being left-wing liberal socialists it literally confuses every lesson I have just illustrated.
So will I give up? No, I will refine and ensure history is clear for this generation and the next. If you would like to research and bring to the table real information I will happily consider it. I really try to touch on the ways Hitler is socialist or fascism is liberal or socialist in practice, but I feel like given I am the one reading the Communist and fascist platforms and researching history I have the more complete takeaway here.
Not trying to be rude, but I just don’t see how one can make it through Mussolini and Hitler’s work and history and come out with a single word “socialist” when the works are all about how they hate Marxism and socialism.
And that is just the 1920’s and early 1930’s, never-mind what happens over the 30’s and 40’s in-practice (it is the difference between Lenin and Stalin; really big!)
In summary: It isn’t that you are fully wrong, it is that you are oversimplifying history and thus spreading propaganda by omission. When we consider the current uprising of Nationalist Populism and its connection to the alt-right, and then we consider that the alt-right is the one spreading this nonsense, it really doesn’t make sense for me to do anything less than help combat that via well researched truth.
With that said, if you want to come at this from a liberal frame and tell me about how right-wing populism and left-wing populism both threaten our western democratic centrism (which is our actual position: http://factmyth.com/factoids/right-wing-populism-and-left-wing-populism-are-different/), then fine.
However, if you want to drop the term socialist to try to connect modern American social liberals to Hitler, then no. No, that will get me calling our the Conservative Propaganda Strategy that seeks to push us in a direction of purges common to fascist states. http://factmyth.com/the-republican-sixth-party-strategy-and-the-big-switch/ & http://factmyth.com/what-is-the-deep-state/
Some skeptics might not read the article or agree with it (fine, whatever), but for those who want to combat the far left and right, I think the above essay on the reality of fascism and Hitler does well to provide tons of historically accurate arguments.
If we want to pick bones with Hitler, lets discuss how is right-wing statist protectionist exclusive militant authoritative anti-liberal BS was so toxic that America resorted to teaming up with Stalin to crush it. That is what actually happened.
I guess it depends on who’s left and right you are referring to. Either Socialism and Fascism are different branches of the same Marxist tree? Or it is on left and right graph where the farther left of center one goes is totalitarian. And the farther right of center one goes is anarchy.
Think there is room for debate here, as long as we note clearly the right-wing properties we can debate comparative terms. We know fascism rejected socialism and communism and liberalism, but is its collective nature left in some ways? Indeed. We use our left-right model, check it out http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/
I guess in our current political climate, many Americans have their own favorite tyrant to support.
To be clear, our site doesn’t support tyrants, we support truth, justice, and the American center 🙂
That said any and all comments are appreciated.
When some fanatic leftist tries to tell me Hitler was not a socialist it makes me sick to my stomach… I don’t know if its stupidity or you are purposely trying to mislead people. Nazi is an abbreviation for National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Part. It’s literally SOCIALISM. PERIOD.
It is like you didn’t even bother to read the article.
Hitler was a right-wing nationalist socialist, a fascist. That is an evolution of socialism that rejects liberalism, democracy, and all other forms of socialism. Hitler purged the left-wing of his country.
If you research Hitler, read his book, research Mussolini, read his works, or consider that the NAZI’s socialist policies were for their nationalists only, then this all becomes clear. Even if you just read that old 1920’s platform you can see that this isn’t left-wing socialism as we know it (it is exclusive nationalist right-wing socialism; aka fascism).
If you understand what fascism is, you know I’m correct (so I mean, read the wikipedia definition at least).
I never once said Hitler wasn’t “a socialist,” I only said he wasn’t what we today think of in America as a socialist (as he was a right-wing nationalist).
Specifically, he was nothing like Bernie, Bernie was more like the social democrats that Hitler purged.
Given all this, it is very misleading to a modern audience to say “Hitler was a left-wing socialist liberal.” In fact, it is so misleading I would charge that it is right-wing propaganda that is part of the alt-right version of the vast-right wing strategy. It is targeted and “weaponized” information meant to disrupt our democracy and to Push Bannon’s right-wing national populism and slander modern left-wingers.
What makes me equally sick as you feel is people ignoring this and spreading propaganda that tries to paint modern American leftists who support a figure like Bernie as the same as Hitler, when the reality is, socialism aside, the American populist right is the one who embraces the sentiment of the NAZI platform (but as liberals and not socialists).
Look, I won’t defend AntiFa, but I will defend the centered American left against the slander, and I will defend the victims of world war II against revisionist history, and I will defend logic against your illogical propaganda.
Only one party in America is preaching right-wing economic populism, a war on “others”, and fueling a workers’ revolution via anger.
Sure, Hitler had a socialist healthcare policy for nationals, not denying that, and like we say in the article it isn’t that there is no commonalities, but if you look at the total picture you can see that in this case Crowder and friends are the ones spreading propaganda.
Propaganda, aimed at inducing anger against “others” and “leftists”, just like Hitler used to do.
So, you cite the name of the party, I cite history. You’ll need to come back with a stronger argument than that if you want to influence anyone. I suggest reading up before you come back though. I’d start with the works of the people we are discussing so you know their own position, as they explain their own position clear enough, and it shows our conclusion is right.
Just to clearify: many times you hear that that there was universal free health care under Hitler (as to point out that the Nazis were ‘socialst’.) However: universal free healthcare and general rental insurance were introduced in Germany in 1893 — fifty years before Hitler came to power — under Bismark. The Nazis had plans to dismantle it.
This whole article is just a white wash for the Democratic party, it even implies that somehow liberal-socialism is more socialism then national socialism.
Nazist socialism spawns from the classical socialism, there are alot of progressive ideas and reforms that passed under the nazis rule – far more than the conservative UK. Though racially exclusive and as the name suggests “national” rather then international like other socialist branches. Hitlers early party where actually very closed to be merged into the socialist party but Hitler made objections and made the party standard rule of “uncompromisable”
Hitler famously said; “We are endlessly fortunate, not to beg or ask one or another for help, but to help willingly each other as bothers and sisters in true socialism”.
The KKK started as a renegade milita, a bit like Isis taking former Iraqi troops, to destabilize the elected Republicans in the southern states, remember that the union leader Abe Lincoln was of the Republicans – while the c.s.a president was a former Democrat.
(note that both these parties are not one bit of how they are today)
The kkk initially had loose ties with different local democratic parties during 1900-1917 but this even more drastically changed as the “great spin around” of the Republicans and Democrats came during the 50-60s.
By now (the 60s) the KKK is actually passing through what is known as the 3rd clan, which under David Duke became less of the 2nd clans “southern protestant movement” into a “racialist” movement where’s the concept of M.B.M.N (my blood is my nation) came to be which was pro-white globalist identity rather then the “limitation” of red-white-blue American nationalism.
The modern kkk is leaning Republican, mostly due to the small populist flirts which people like trump throws out – like building walls etc. However it’s members would arguably live a better life under democratic rule – as far as individual economy rather then sticking up for the classical repub in his brand new Cadillac.
/ There is nothing wrong about these facts, they shouldn’t be used to smear but it shouldn’t be denied either.
OT; here in EU it seems like socialism is in contrast to liberalism, unlike USA, since the later suggest little state and big individual and economical freedom, and socialist being the other way around working in a collective within a set economical structure. The political map is Conservative vs Socialist vs Liberalist – (the only countries with genuine patriotism is France and Britain) with the underlying battle between nationalism vs globalism.
I think this is why the American author has such a hard time understanding the cultural influences on European socialism and how Hitler could be a socialist, and again, it doesn’t degrade socialism at all – its like saying he had a German shepherd so everyone else with that dog is a nazi too – ridiculous.
I appreciate your thoughtful arguments, I essentially don’t disagree with what you said.
With that in mind, to make my general point clearer, for me it is very clear that right-wing socialism against internationalists, democracy, liberals, and communists is not the same as the socialism of the modern left (not the sanders or Corbyn kind (although if certainly is like the Le pen kind).
Liberal social liberalism is very different than fascism, it is more internationalist and universal (on the nationalist vs internationalist spectrum, if is toward internationalism… but this does differ by faction; and it tends to be more nationalist than the liberals). It also doesn’t exclude groups based on gender, or race. It is more toward communism in this sense. We know communism and fascism are different, they went to war against each other after-all! Social liberalism and democratic socialism are more like mashing up liberal and socialist, fascism is like mashing up social conservatism and socialist. These are all very different things, even though they share planks (and this is essentially what I say in the article)!
The NAZI’s focus on nationalist, being against “others,” and wanting a military state are for me all very right-wing. Yet I do aknowledge all the left wing planks of fascism (Hitler’s especially.
Today if you identify with Hitler the chances you are a pro-social liberal or a pro-nato western liberal globalist are about ZERO. Meanwhile, it is to me more likely you are anti-nato, like Le Pen, and voted for Trump if you are of this breed.
There is all sorts of complex ways this can go, and certainly I don’t think every right winger is magically like Hitler or is a fascist. Not implying that.
Only saying that if we compare the modern factions to communists and fascists the left is more toward communist internationalists and the right is more toward nativist nationalist fascists. The rise of the anti-nato nationalist spray tan fascists is for me more toward Hitler and Mussolini than Lenin and Stalin. Meanwhile, the liberals are about the same as they have always been.
This page is accurate in my opinion. That said, it is also combating that lame Crowder article that tried to compare the modern Bernie supporter to Hitler saying “Hitler was a liberal, left-wing, socialist.” That is why Bernie and Trump got brought into this (it was a reaction to propaganda).
I agree, Hitler was a type of socialist and had some left-wing planks, but when you put together everything in one package I strongly disagree with the Crowder article’s claim. Hitler was a right-wing socialist, a fascist, far to the right of the other socialist parties.
To be fair, Hitler was certainly more of Le Pen’s breed than Trump’s (as she is a bit of a socialist, like Richard Spencer is). Trump lives in the liberal and democratic state of America and is a capitalist (that is very clear, right?), so he doesn’t share those planks with Hitler at all. As for the xenophobic nationalist nativism. Well, that is another story.
Lastly, as for the kkk, they are complex. They are in ways an early fascist group, and certainly each iteration is a different thing (as is each faction) some are more left, some more right.
The problem with all these groups is less their ideology and more their opposition to the other ones. As that results in war. That said, thanks again for your views. Always helps to have a view that isn’t my own on here 🙂
This is a very foolish article. In the United States, the typical right-left spectrum employed in the (now-tired) European political theater doesn’t apply. Authoritariansim in the United States is leftism no matter the party or individual advocating it.
There is no single, general recipe for ‘fascism’. It isn’t right-wing, it isn’t left-wing and it certainly isn’t American right-wing. Despite several manifestos, there isn’t a consistent series of political, policy positions that describe fascism in the way that communism and socialism have theirs. Fascism is a much more open, general, fluid descriptor and can be top-down or bottom-up (or both), it can involve the military or not, can utilize a figurehead or ‘dear leader’ or not, it can advocate for typically socialist positions (single payer healthcare) or not, etc.
Well, good points.
Hitler’s fascism is left-wing on some social issues, but right-wing in terms of authority (just like an authoritative socialist would be).
If you look at how we define the left-right spectrum, then you compare it to the justification on this page, you’ll see that we are choosing our words purposefully and have justified them. http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/
Fascism is right-wing in terms of authority, nationalism, and often nativism.
Fascism can be left-wing in terms of some social issues and its stance against a national elite.
Mussolini and Hitler’s fascism were both generally right-wing, but they were in no way liberal and they both were a rejection of Marxisim and an evolution of socialism.
So Hitler was not “a left-wing, liberal, socialist” like Bernie Sanders; Hitler was a “right-wing, fascist, socialist, who embraced some socially left planks.”
For a modern right-wing socialist, I would say Le Pen is a “right-wing, fascist, socialist, who embraces some socially left planks…”
For a modern left-wing socialist, I would say both Bernie and Corbyn are “left-wing, socialists, who embrace some liberty-left and authority-right planks.”
These are the types who end up going to war with each other, like Hitler and the Communists, not the type of form coalitions generally. Given this, (especially in terms of American lingo, but generally in terms of the world) it is absurd to conflate a right-wing socialist like Hitler with a left-wing socialist like Corbyn. One is a fascist, the other a progressive. Sure, they both reject some of the same liberal ideas, but they are so different we really need to denote the difference clearly in context.
All that said, think your point that there are different flavors of fascism is really important. Also important to note they aren’t as well defined. Remember though, this article is about Hitler, not about an idealized version of what fascism might be somewhere else.
Sparta was a little fascist, and certainly I wouldn’t consider them as far right as the WWII fascists. Sparta was also a little Communist, but I wouldn’t’ consider them to the left of Lenin. I would just consider each nation/leader on their own merit.
On Hitler’s merit, he was not “a left-wing, socialist, liberal,” those are not good words to describe him in the modern sense. If one does use those words, then more qualifiers are needed and context should be given to ensure the difference between him and the internationalist communists is clear.
Your comments are very smart, you obviously know what you are talking about, but look closer… we do too. I reject the idea that the article is “foolish,” but welcome the rest of the input.
Wow, reading it almost believed Fidel for his theory was a tyrant is Right… #bullshh
To your point, for me in terms of the left-right model presented on this page, Fidel is a left-right mix like Hitler or Stalin. He was like both in his right wing nationalism and extreme classical conservative authoritarianism… but far left in his socialist ideals, which isn’t so different from Stalin or Hitler.
The main difference is the message was about equality for the people, and not about xenophobic nationalism like Hitler or say other social conservative right wingers. That said, only so much differentiating one can do when it comes to tyrants who mix leftwing planks with right wing ideology. I 100% get why people are confused about fascism and communism, but one is right and the other is left compared to each other and each are notably different… and each is different from western liberalism in any form. So to the point, Hitler was not much of a left wing social liberal, he was a right wing fascist with some socialist planks for nationals who hated liberalism and democracy.
Nationalsocialism ist just a special kind of socialism, no more, no less.
The similarities between these 2 ideologies are striking:
– collectivism (instead of individualism)
– statism (instead of free economy)
– disregard of property
– economic desaster in the longer run
– Holocaust (Gulag)
– both the nazi-flag and sovjet-flag were red
und have a look at the abbreviation NSDAP = National-SOZIALISTISCHE-Deutsche-Arbeiter-Partei”
Hitler a right wing? Really?
You are stating all the similarities between socialism and national socialism and ignoring all the similarities with nativist right wing nationalism.
So of course you are thus only stating their left wing qualities (which are real and we also note).
I’d explain it like this: Nazis are to the right of the communists and hated everything they stood for, but otherwise have some notable leftwing qualities. This sort of far right leftism is hard to explain, but it isn’t just leftwing period (it has too many socially conservative right wing qualities for that to be the right answer!
I clearly made this argument in the essay, see where I state their left and right qualities.
No one wants to own Nazis, I get it, but their militant small group ultra nationalism is clearly right wing.
So I get it, we can argue their left wing qualities… but most place them rightly on the far right of the spectrum (or to the right of communists and high on the authority index of a 4-point). That nuanced view being the point here. The point being that a modern wall building banner of others who preaches blood and soil ain’t too different in any era and we call this brand of ultranationalist nativist social conservatism right wing.
So in sum, I don’t disagree that Nazis have left wing qualities, I get the argument I really do, I just think the end result is that we have to denote this as a far right brand of socialism not just “left wing” given all the facts.
The similarities I stated above are by far not complete. Do you will hear more?
Have a look at the “25-Punkte-Programm” of the Nazis. There are not just some “socialist provision”, there are a lot. If you compare this with an arbitrary party platform of a common socialist party, you will not find many differences.
Moreover: in 1933, many communistic fighters defect to a great extent to the nazis. These people didn´t experience a violation in their political beliefs, it was the same here and there. In Germany this guys were called “Bulettenstürmer”. (Bulette is the german designation for a peace of meat, which is brown outside und red inside).
Listen to Heinrich Himmler in the “Stürmer” (1932):„Der Idee des National-Sozialismus nach sind wir die deutsche Linke; nichts ist uns verhasster als der rechtsstehende nationale Besitzbürgerblock!“
I will try to translate: Corresponding to the idea of national-socialisms we are Leftists. Nothing ist more abhorrent tu us as the rightwing national citizenbloc of the rich.”
Would you hear more?
PS: My english is a little bit rough, my motherlanguage ist German.
I very much appreciate your view, in Germany where you clearly understand your history and the nationalist and socialist and liberal and classically conservative parties of the Republic vying for power in parliament, from that frame it must seem odd that Americans describe Hitler as “far-right”… why with all the socialist planks and Stresserist and the labour platform would we say this?!
We say this because of the ultranationalist, “other banning,” anti-immigrant, anti-intellectual, right-wing populist sentiment that colored all the NAZIs socialist planks.
I don’t deny for a second the socialist and populist planks of the 25 point platform or of the party leaders’ rhetoric, and I don’t deny that is “left-wing” and “socialist” and “populist.”
I just disagree that we can call the radical ultranationalist populists like Le Pen and Hitler “left-wing” without some serious qualifiers.
I would agree to call it left-right, or right-wing socialism, especially in nuanced conversation with someone who isn’t trying to justify modern fascism in America and Europe or slander the left via propaganda… but with all due respect, having populist left planks (like Trump does for example) does not make one “a left-winger – period.” Yes, Trump is “to the left” on some issues… but we call him right-wing due to his overarching ideology and party affiliation.
Yes, Hitler was to the left on some issues, but like with Trump, all the right-wing nationalist planks color those issues and we call it “right-wing populism.”
So we agree on many points, but we disagree on the semantics and how to understand this in context.
That said, I appreciate your honest views, and certainly the complex mish-mash ideologies of NAZIism, fascism, right-wing populism, and radical social conservatism are not easy to pin down on a left-right spectrum (this applies to Confederates, to the KKK, to Mussolini, to Le Pen, etc)… and for me this is the root of our debate (not our good intentions, but the complexity of politics).
PS: In the Himmler quote, he is saying “we are left” in that they are anti-liberal-conservative elite capitalist bourgeoisie. Well yes, indeed. Both the Communists and NAZIs were far-left in this respect… especially in their populist rhetoric. Trump told us “we will cover everybody” “I love immigrants” “I love women” “I will protect LGBT”… Yet in practice this was not the case. Trump said, “i’m anti-elite, I will drain the swamp,” but he is an elite from NYC and he did not drain the swamp. We can’t judge people based just on what they say ALONE, we also have to look at what they do in practice and at why they are saying these things. Again, I would call this sort of left-wing populism smashed up with right wing ultranationalism “populist right.” That applies to Julius Caesar, to Hitler, and to the much less tyrant-like Trump I have used as an example (so we can understand this from a modern day perspective).
I wouldn´t compare Hitler and Marine Le Pen. In my view, this is antiintellectual.
Do you really believe, Marine Le Pen intend to murder jewisch people, do you believe, Marine Le Pen would fight against Poland like Hitler did?
I don´t like Marine Le Pen because of her statism in regard to economics, But if you compare Hitler and Le Pen in this matter, you trivialize Hitler and play down the crimes of the nazis.
I am not alone with my views. Notable historians like Hans Joachim Fest or Götz Ali share the opinion that Nazis are leftists.
And now I invite you to have a look at the presence. In Europe the so called “Antifa”, a far left movement, fight against democratic parties like the FPÖ in Austria or the AFD in Germany. They are well known for their violence and the love to destroy property. In former times the SA-Sturmtruppen did the same. Where is the difference? There ist none!
Another example: free speech
In Germany and in Austria left-wing politician had intensified the fight against free speech and they were successful. If you post something politically unwanted on Twitter or facebook, you will be initially bannend and subsequently your account will be closed.
Remember, there was no free speech in the Naziregime!
The greatest victory of the leftist in Europe was to control the historical debate. The managed to pull out “socialism” from “nationalsocialism” without doing harm to socialism.
And it is true: Socialists hate National-socialist, because they are so similar.
There are 2 things important: the definition of left and right according to the era of Hitler.
In that era, left wing was very different in practic than it is today.
Also, it seems that the definition of what it means to be right-wing has been filled in by the leftists these days. Things like racism and jew-hatred are said to be right-wing.
There is however, no trace in history about any right wingers in that era, embracing these “values”.
The origin of the terms left/right come from the position in the parliament where representatives of the ppl were put: on the left, the defenders of the working class, on the right, the aristocracy, conservatives who plead for the king etc. Racism was never a real value of those right. They did look down on the working class however.
As times evolved, left-wing has identified itself as putting the wellbeing of the collective above the well being of individuals. Hence, socialism/communism are seen as left wing. And capitalism / ordoliberalism / neo-liberalism are considered right wing as the individual is put before the collective.
Before world war II there was no soul on earth who called Hitler right wing. A sophism that is abused too much is: Hitler killed all socialists, therefor he couldn’t have been a socialist. But Hitler also killed the ordo-liberals of his time, so therefor he could not have been an ordo-liberal either. So what was he? ANd if I kill all humans, am I therefor, not human? So this argument does not add up.
So when did Hitler start to become right-wing, all of a sudden?
This happened only after Stalin instructed his people to do so. He had two goals for spreading this false depiction of the truth:
– He wanted to be the only socialist state
– He wanted to hurt the right.
To truly define if Hitler was left or right we have to define what it meant to be left or right in that era.
When we do that, we can only conclude that Hitler was left-wing, as he plead for collectivismn against capitalism, against the free market, pro workers rights…
The argument that always comes into play is “yeah but he was racist and racism is not left, it is right”.
That again is a sophism as in that era, racism was certainly found in left organisation even though the theory of a classless society does conflict. However, it is not because you curse against the theory of left that you become right. What about values which left and right share? Is anti-racism an exclusive of left-wingers? No it is not.
What todays’ left wingers say is this: I am against racism and I am left, therefor, if you are right, you must be a racist. Horse crap.
If you take the definition of the right-wing of that era, there is absolutely NO common ground between the ordo liberalism and nazism. None!
Once the war ended, the so called democratic socialists – some of which even collaborated too – realised that Hitler had hurt their ideology, hence they started calling him right wing for the same reasons Stalin did.
And this with great consequences as 70 years later, left-wingers gratefully keep repeating this lie. But not only that, the lie has become a pseudo-truth in such a way that neo-nazi’s are now called far-right.
We cannot call them left because neo-nazi’s have nothing in common with left ideology of today. But calling them right is absurd since they have nothing in common with the ideology of liberalism either. But this falsification of history – calling Hitler right-wing – has literally redefined what right-wing really stands for.
A must read book which prooves that Hitler was at heart a left socialist and which quotes diaries from the nazies themselves is this one: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/hitler-and-the-socialist-dream-1186455.html
The lost Literature of socialism.
Conclusion: Hitler was left wing. Not right wing.
So in short, you are pointing to the left qualities of National Socialism to justify your argument.
I’m pointing to all the right-wing qualities and the opposition to all the other left-wing parties of their time.
It is a mixed ideology, so after much thought, I really do get why we are butting heads.
That said, I appreciate your throughtful argument.
Still, show me a group of ethno-nationalists calling for statism, then show me a group of anti-fa calling for revolution, and I’ll show you a reason to call different groups by different names.
Left-wing populist and right-wing populist are fine choices for names. But if we can’t agree on this, let us pick other symbols to express meaning within the limitations of our language. How about “awful losers in spray tans and polos whose brand of populism is toxic,” and “idiots in masks who also are going to destroy our world with their short sighted revolutionary spirit.”
To us they look the same, I get, but they aren’t. They can tell each other apart. And they have historically warred with each other.
The left and right center, those classical liberals and classical conservatives, they aren’t in that group but are left and right. Still, even those in this more centered group, can they really be called only by one name? What is the use of calling distinct factions by one name? Is it not confusing?
Simply, you are confusing populist right with classical conservative right (as many American conservatives who don’t want to admit that right wing populism is overtaking the Republican party do). Sure, Hitler hated the establishment right… but so do Trump and Bannon and the right-wing populists of the world.
The average right-winger says “Hitler, I don’t see how he is like me”… but Bannon, being learned, he knows full well.
It is clear to me you aren’t one of these populist right wingers, or don’t think you are. But don’t be blinded by your own more centered conservative ideology. The growing threat of right-wing populism is upon us (it has already gripped the world). How can you be an ally against it if you can’t see it?
Now, if you can see it and want to call it left-wing… whatever. That is fine. But don’t just call it left-wing – period, as then how will we know what side you are on? If you say “get the leftwinger” how do we know if you are talking about the alt-right populist or the anti-fa one?
See where I’m going with this. I’m starting to think we need to drop the terms left and right and find better words to describe the vast differences of NAZIs and Fascists. They aren’t friends, they need different names.
For me I think it is healthy for us to understand how the center left can slip toward the populist left (even if they pair this with militarism) and the center right can slip toward the nativist nationalist wall builder muslim banning right (even if they pair this with social policy). But we don’t have to agree.
Also, I can see how the far left and right might bleed into each other, like when Hitler moved the party to the right or Mussolini became more right-wing after being a socialist early on.
I just don’t get why I can see it and you can’t.
I used to be on the left, then I decided to educate myself on the facts. History revision is what the left has been doing in this country for quite a while.
1.) How could Hitler be ‘right-wing’ while murdering innocent right-wing men, women and children? Hitler did like obaaaama and initially claimed to be something that he was not. The left in this country still hate the Jews to this day. Obaaaama certainly showed his distaste for them when he said that they should give up the vast majority of their land to the muslims, which would render them immediately defenseless.
2.) The book Hitler’s Secret Conversations 1941-1944 published by Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc.first edition, 1953, contains definitive proof of Hitler’s real views. The book was published in Britain under the title, “Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944”, which title was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States. Here is an excerpt:
Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:
National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest
blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity.
Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions
of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was
introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that
Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was
in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)
There are those who deny that Hitler would actually make the comments that he made in this book. However, they cannot deny the blatant fact that Hitler was a DEVOUT evolutionist and that evolutionists do not believe in God’s creation. A Christian would not murder millions of God’s people, the Jews. It takes just a small amount of common sense, along with these historical documents, to set the record straight.
3.) Hitler’s socialism. Hitler WAS a dictator and said (quoted) that he based his ‘national socialism’ on Karl Marx. This is undeniable history.
Hillsdale College has a free history lesson titled, the ‘Progressives Constitution.’ It details how that progressive ideology came from national socialist teachings. History is no longer required for most Associate degrees because it is a threat to progressive beliefs.
Another myth is that the demoKKKrat formed and run KKK switched parties. This is hilarious. Why would the klan, who murdered black and white Republicans from the 1860s to the 1960s, want to take a chance that one of their own would kill them? DemoKKKrats, under the leadership of klansman R. Byrd, D-WV, filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Do they still teach why the Republican party was formed? To oppose slavery. MLK was a Republican, murdered by a demoKKKrat. This is easily searchable.
I appreciate your earnest comment and well thought out claims… however I disagree with almost every point you made and our site debunks the alt right myths you are spreading.
I’ll think on how to respond clearly, but for now, this page and our page on “the party switch” clearly debunk your general premises.
You have some facts right, but you have in my humble opinion been misled (likely by right wing media who purposely try to turn people against the democrats).
I’ll update this comment with a proper rebuttal shortly. In the meantime read this page and the party switch page with an open mind. I’m trying to convey truth as it happened. It’s history, not opinions.
Fascism is the pairing of corproate and state power, that has literally nothing to do with Marx.
Going to disagree slightly here (not fully, but slightly):
It has to do with Marx in that a lot of the fascists started as socialists and drifted toward fascist nationalism and then rejected Marx’s doctrine violently.
The history is interwoven in that way, but the end result was a complete rejection of Marx (but not a complete rejection of fascist socialism in every sense).
In practice Mussolini’s fascism ended up being corporatist, but I wouldn’t say corporatism defines it.
Fascism is like a hodge podge of ideas laid over a collectivist and nationalist military state. It’s always nationalist and militaristic, it often has socially conservative planks and a populist message, but it draws from many sources… one source was socialism, and thus you can ironically trace some roots back to Marx before it diverted to the extent that Marx became one of the things they hated the most.
Really, it is a complex and odd ideology. To be fair, one can also point to Plato and the French Revolution for inspirations of fascism. Which again is odd because Plato warned against what they became (tyrants with oligarchical leaders and a populist message) and the French Revolution had a more socialist and liberal spirit.
Hitler was a socialist. Your rant contained irrelevant nonsense including inserting modern progressive ideas of what it means to be a socialist. Try not to make such a rambling case next time and keep your argument concise and to the point.
Hitler was a type of socialist, a national socialist. A type of socialism with a lot of what we consider today right wing planks (and of course, some left wing planks too).
Despite the leftwing planks, this was an ideology in direct opposition to the left-wing socialist movement known as communism. One point of contention was nationalism vs. internationalism… but that is hardly the only difference.
In the socialist sphere the communists are left and NAZIs right. That form of militant and “populist” right wing socialism is sometimes called fascism, but of course fascism is its own unique ideology.
If you want to boil this all down to “Hitler was a socialist” and then use that to imply that a modern left winger is more like Hitler because they both for example favor social programs for citizens…. I am going to argue against that or at least point out how the whole anti immigrant, anti nato, pro Brexit, wall building, pro military, etc movement actually has as many if not more planks in common.
Ultimately I rant because it is important to understand how both the left and right can fall into a populist fervor and in the process become the ruin of us all to the extent that they start a world war. This less cannot be learned if we blame the left for both communism and fascism.
Now, is the page a little overly long… yeah. However, the page is also a free to read on the internet essay that is full of research and citation for those who would take interest.
Socialism aside, the page also assets that while Hitler and the NAZIs had some left-wing planks, Hitler was really in no shape and for a classical liberal (or even much of a social one) and had very little in common with the modern centered progressive (or to be fair, the centered conservative).
Fact, Hitler manifested from a democrat socialist political environment. Another fact, that every dictator has come from a leftwing political environment. We see it every day in the USA. The democrats have no intentions of entertaining anything other than their leftwing agenda. They literally DESPISE this free market capitalist society, which in fact can only exist with a Constitution, Bill of Rights and Electoral College. The electoral is currently the only thing left keeping the democrats from the ability to inject a dictator. The electoral college will disappear right along with term limits. The only reason they fight it is because in a “mob-rule” political environment (a pure democracy where majority rules) they can rule indefinitely. It’s absolutely clear today that democrats refuse to entertain anything Republican or inherently, traditionally American. If they had a lick of respect for this country and its citizenry, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in today. Now we have a fully weaponized leftwing media ran by the leftwing elitist ideologues and institutions of “higher learning” all pushing leftwing agendas. Hitler would be proud of liberal americans, but frankly there’s nothing “progressive” or “liberal” about todays democrat. These people are violent, angry, jew hating racially motivated goose steppers from a bygone era.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but strongly disagree and think you have an overly biased view.
Your view seems to be something like [paraphrasing clearly] “left-wing Democrats are evil and the root of all evil in the world” and “Republicans the party are Republican the political philosophy and pure and good.”
This idea that all tyrants are left-wing and none are right-wing is just not rational.
WW2 Fascists and modern right-wing Trump and Le Pen fans have some pro-worker populist planks. That is a bit left-wing. Also, WW2 Communists and Bernie fans have a few rightwing planks when it comes to big government… but I think we can generally say Fascists and Trump are right and Communists and Bernie are left. We know they aren’t on the same team, we know the modern left and right are split over these things, we use the words left and right to differentiate.
I’m making an overly simple argument, but I hope the point resonates.
I won’t go line by line and argue, but just stop and think…. how does it make sense that everything bad is what 1/2 of the country thinks and the other 1/2 is all good? Doesn’t it make more sense that life is nuanced and propaganda is used to make the left hate the right and right hate the left? And further, didn’t the fascists and communists of WW2 use propaganda to divide people up and get them to war with each other?
Many points to consider, but careful of those that teach you to hate or teach you that one chunk of humanity is evil and another chunk can do no wrong.
Curious article. I must however point out a few recurring errors.
You assert authoritarianism to be right wing and liberalism to be left wing as if it is an indubitable fact, despite it being considered a different axis from left vs right. I could give you examples of authoritarianism being left wing, yet it will still not make it solely so. I take it you agree “hate speech” to be a term coined by the left. I point out it’s authoritarian manner in it’s effort to limit free speech. USA is lucky to have it’s first amendment. Not all countries do, including mine, thus the term “hate speech” has already become law here. It is definitely racist, as the only people prosecuted by it belong to the indigenous population, and particularly of right wing persuasion.
So I’m sorry, I must agree with several others here. Mr. Hitler was a left wing, nationalistic, racist, authoritarian and so on, socialist, but not liberal.
You assert racism to be inherently right wing, all the time identity politics is a thing of the left. Stating “race” to be a value, be it skin colour or other superficial features, is racist by definition. Are you aware of the Nazi party’s racial theories coming fully “researched” from contemporary socialist Sweden?
You assert nationalism to be right wing, but never give any explanation for it. Is this another one of those “it’s not inclusive enough, so it’s definitely right wing” thingies? Yes, it has lately become trendy among parts of the left to embrace globalism, claiming all cultures are equal and so on. I’ll let you in on a well kept secret. They’re not.
You mentioned Mr. Sanders, whose ideal social democratic system is found in theory in Scandinavia. Scandinavian countries used to have homogeneous populations and had at least 150 years of steady economic growth. There was a feeling of equal justice for all, no one appeared too wealthy, crime rates were very low and the majority of the populations were able to enjoy the ever increasing standard of living. Much of that is due to the nature of already existing cultures among the peoples of Scandinavia. This is now changing with massive imports of uneducated people from inferior cultures.
The assertion that the NSDAP and Nazis therefore were a type of fascist and thus right does not follow because fascism is a left-wing ideology.
Well you have my nuanced counter argument on the page, clearly not everyone agrees on this one (likely due to the mixed nature of the ideology in my opinion). Still to just call in “left wing” as a whole and without context is in my opinion super counter productive and confusing from a modern lens.
Who are you to say “The reality is:” The reality is you were not even there.
People that WERE there actually say, that it was exactly as the Left is doingright now !
So I’ll listen to people that lived it, rather then someone speculating and obviously left slanted.
Enforcing beliefs/agendas into schools and universities, brainwashing kids for a socialist society.
Exactly what Hitler did, attacking free speech just like Hitler did. I can go on and on.
Besides since when is it wrong to care about your native population more then strangers? Madness.
If you care so much about other Countries and the people, move there and help them at the source.
Yeah that’s what I thought…
Maybe I should have said [in my opinion, based on research]
You are though [in my opinion, based on personal experience] just approaching this from a specific frame, a frame I would argue that is looking through a right-leaning lens. Anyway, NAZIism is a type of left-right mix that notably draws from both ends of the spectrum, so there is lots of room to argue if we want to argue for them being all left or all right.
You’re answering the wrong question. He was a totalitarian (Left) not a Libertarian (Right), he was thought of by many to be a Socialist in more than name, but no-one would think he was Liberal. By asking it in this way you’re prejudging the answer – if you asked “Hitler was a left-wing socialist totalitarian” the answer wouldn’t be so clear cut. There is evidence (in Hitler’s own words) that National Socialism was based on Marxism but with the emphasis on race (rather than class). (See https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/hitler-and-the-socialist-dream-1186455.html).
The term Socialist and Liberal is an oxymoron anyway, if you are Socialist you believe in state control. Truly right-wing people are libertarians who believe that a prosperous and equitable society is best achieved through individual freedom and responsibility, not by a centralised state controlling people’s lives.
Appreciate the thoughtful comment. He was for sure not a classical liberal / libertarian (regardless of how we choose to place those ideologies on a left-right spectrum). He was a socialist of sorts and a totalitarian for sure (regardless of where we place these).
Anyone lived in Europe of the 30’s as any historian are perfectly aware than Nazis and Mussolini fascism was all totalitarian regime
Anyone aware of that is also aware than ANY totalitarian regimes was considered as LEFT-WING and there wasn’t any FAR-RIGHT popular party in the Europe 30’s
Historically, the FAR-RIGHT at this time was nothing else than the ANARCHISM and than between the RIGHT and FAR-RIGHT there was the libertarians.
Those who refer to Nazism as “right-wing” are politically ill-informed and have fallen for Stalin’s tactic of referring to them as such.
REALITY IS THAN NAZISM AND COMMUNISM ARE AS CLOSE THAN COCA-COLA AND PEPSI COLA!
Just to point out that you wrote “before ceasing power” instead of “before seizing power”, you might want to correct that.
Would have been a lot less eventful if he had ceased power. Good catch!
I disagree and others have laid out my argument here in the comments better than I’m willing to. Hitler may have held some beliefs that are associated with right wing politics today, but the tactics he used to gain totalitarian control are similar to what the left is doing today. Just because Trump is a nationalist and a populist does not make him a fascist, nor does it make right wing politics fascist. This article is representative of the left’s smug belief that they own intellectualism, when the truth is they’re just wired to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to make anything support their position.
This whole thing misunderstands so much, misinterprets…it’s sad. Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin all start with Marx, and you don’t get to the right from Marx.
Starts with, not stays with. One bit of evidence being the opposing forces of WW2.
I thought this was going to be a good and informative and intellectually stimulating article but I realized it for what it was, Leftist Fascist propaganda around the middle and had to stop reading so I could go throw up.
So I gave this a slight edit to make sure I lead in with something that would resonate with the left and right… that said, as I read it I realized it was an accurate and balanced take. Yes, I’m more left than right, but I think I give a pretty fair breakdown none-the-less.
If you want someone to tell you “NAZIs were progressives like Bernie,” then you came to the wrong place. I can’t say something I know is wrong and is actually just propaganda. What I say I believe to be far more accurate and correct than what you may hear elsewhere from my research, so take it for what it is or not at all.
I’m trying to understand different political perspectives and how they come to agree with them, especially with all the opposing information that is being put out right now.
For instance, pretty much any bit of news information in regards to American politics that gets reported ultimately becomes two opposing stories that contradict each other, in literally every aspect.
I’m aware that with 2 primary parties in America, it’s only natural that stories have each of the sides telling it their way, but what I’m getting at is how completely different each side tells their version. Obviously, one side is incorrect, as they both contradict each other. It’s almost impossible to find anything reported with both sides telling it the same.
Personally, I never really paid attention to politics until this last year or so. Because of that, I’m sure that’s why I was so set on investigating and doing my own digging before I took any information from anything I read as 100% truth.
I am very thankful that I entered into the political world with the ability to keep an unbiased viewpoint, unlike many people out there.
I’m sure you will agree with me that (sadly) it is becoming more and more prevalent to see people so passionate in posting about something that is entirely incorrect. Of course when I say that it will be about something that is incorrect, I am saying that because it will be about something I(or you) personally have looked into more than enough to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are incorrect.
What bothers me is how rampant this has become as time has gone by. I am often frustrated that so many people can be so misinformed. I can’t fathom how this can be so bad with the internet being literally “information at our fingertips”.
What are some reasons, in your opinion, for the adamant incorrectness of so many in today’s political news universe, regardless of party?
To expand a bit on that, I figure maybe with technology and possibly a fast-paced lifestyle, people tend to get news headlines from social media outlets, and in turn, maybe that could be something as simple as just scrolling through a social media app on their phone, and reading nothing but headlines, therefore whatever the headline says is what happened.
Do you think people simply just knowingly ignore anything but what the party that they align themselves with says? I’m sure there are some, but I would like to have more faith in people’s common sense and judgment than that.
It does seem very easy for me to notice inconsistencies and to sense something being ‘off’ about an article. I feel like when I’m reading something incorrect, a lot of the time I will notice small details that give it away, which can be a number of different things. Of course, I still do my own debunking to verify anything I read or watch.
Sorry to give you a little bit of extra reading with my comment and question(s), but I tend to feel the need to detail sometimes.
Thank you in advance for any and all feedback.
The author of this intellectually weak article at best misunderstands the differences between left and right, communism and fascism, fascism and nazism, at worst just intentionally spreads misinformation.
Can I quote you on that? There was a lot I wanted to say about this page, but your post summed it up perfectly.
You’ve put so much time and effort into some research to put together this very long page. Yet you still got it wrong at every turn. Either you’re not very smart or you constructed this BS to be misleading on purpose, while at the same time attempting to show the other views as the ones that are wrong and misleading.
An earlier poster here summed it up perfectly. I’ll quote them now.
“The author of this intellectually weak article at best misunderstands the differences between left and right, communism and fascism, fascism and nazism, at worst just intentionally spreads misinformation.”
Mussolini’s father was a Marxist and Benito himself was the leader of Italian Socialist party. At the time of it’s formation Fascism was viewed as another (alternative) socialist movement. Pre-WWII FDR government was interested in studying Mussolini after the war the lefties had to pin it on the right. The racism of Germany was based on the progressive movement’s Eugenics. Eugenics was the believe that humans could be engineered, which is true but unethical. Who’s is to say what traits are preferred.
As far as the current US model of left and right it’s idiotic to think that smaller (federal) government, more freedom of industry would lead to authoritarian regime. If you look at the left in the US, the Democrat party thinks that the president can force people to take an unnecessary vaccine or loose their jobs, or encourage the news media to censor, or a whole range of authoritarian measures. It’s clear that the Benito Biden is a Fascist.
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