The Nazis were leftists. This statement is blasphemy to the academic-media complex, since everyone knows the Nazis were degenerate right-wingers fueled by toxic capitalism and racism. But evidence Adolf Hitler’s gang were men of the left, while debatable, is compelling.
“The Road to Serfdom,” by F. A. Hayek, is one such tract. Published in 1944, it remains a classic for young people on the political right discovering their intellectual roots. A sort of academic “1984,” it warns of socialism’s tendency toward planned states and totalitarianism.
One aspect of the book can shock the conscience. Hayek describes Nazism as a “genuine socialist movement” and thus left-wing by modern American standards. Indeed, the Austrian-born Hayek wrote the book from his essay, “Nazi-Socialism,” which countered prevailing opinion at the London School of Economics, where he taught. British elites regarded Nazism as a virulent capitalist reaction against enlightened socialism—a view that persists today.
The left believes the opposite. They distrust the excesses and inequality capitalism produces. They give primacy to group rights and identity. They believe factors like race, ethnicity, and sex compose the primary political unit. They don’t believe in strong property rights.
They believe it is the government’s responsibility to solve social problems. They call for public intervention to “equalize” disparities and render our social fabric more inclusive (as they define it). They believe the free market has failed to solve issues like campaign finance, income inequality, minimum wage, access to health care, and righting past injustices. These people talk about “democracy”—the method of collective decisions.
By these definitions, the Nazis were firmly on the left. National Socialism was a collectivist authoritarian movement run by “social justice warriors.” This brand of “justice” benefited only some based on immutable characteristics, which perfectly aligns with the modern brand. The Nazi ideal embraced identity politics based on the primacy of the people, or volk, and invoked state-based solutions for every possible problem. It was nation-based socialism—the nation being especially important to those who bled in the Great War.
As Hayek stated in 1933, the year the Nazis took power: “[I]t is more than probable that the real meaning of the German revolution is that the long dreaded expansion of communism into the heart of Europe has taken place but is not recognized because the fundamental similarity of methods and ideas is hidden by the difference in phraseology and the privileged groups.”
Yet the evidence the Nazis were leftists goes well beyond the views of this one scholar. Philosophically, Nazi doctrine fit well with the other strains of socialism ripping through Europe at the time. Hitler’s first “National Workers’ Party” meeting while he was still an Army corporal featured the speech “How and by What Means is Capitalism to be Eliminated?”
The Nazi charter published a year later and coauthored by Hitler is socialist in almost every aspect. It calls for “equality of rights for the German people”; the subjugation of the individual to the state; breaking of “rent slavery”; “confiscation of war profits”; the nationalization of industry; profit-sharing in heavy industry; large-scale social security; the “communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low costs to small firms”; the “free expropriation of land for the purpose of public utility”; the abolition of “materialistic” Roman Law; nationalizing education; nationalizing the army; state regulation of the press; and strong central power in the Reich. It was also racist and anti-immigrant.
It wasn’t only theoretical. Hitler repeatedly praised Marx privately, stating he had “learned a great deal from Marxism.” The trouble with the Weimar Republic, he said, was that its politicians “had never even read Marx.” He also stated his differences with communists were that they were intellectual types passing out pamphlets, whereas “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun.”
It wasn’t just privately that Hitler’s fealty for Marx surfaced. In “Mein Kampf,” he states that without his racial insights National Socialism “would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground.” Nor did Hitler eschew this sentiment once reaching power. As late as 1941, with the war in bloom, he stated “basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same” in a speech published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Nazi propaganda minister and resident intellectual Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary that the Nazis would install “real socialism” after Russia’s defeat in the East. And Hitler favorite Albert Speer, the Nazi armaments minister whose memoir became an international bestseller, wrote that Hitler viewed Joseph Stalin as a kindred spirit, ensuring his prisoner of war son received good treatment, and even talked of keeping Stalin in power in a puppet government after Germany’s eventual triumph. His views on Great Britain’s Winston Churchill and the United States’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt were decidedly less kind.
Lots more at the link.