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National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), more commonly known as Nazism (/, -/), is the ideology and set of practices associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party in Nazi Germany and of other far-right groups. Usually characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and antisemitism, Nazism's development was influenced by German nationalism (especially Pan-Germanism), the Völkisch movement and the anti-Communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after Germany's defeat in the First World War.
Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people's community (Volksgemeinschaft). The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those who they deemed either community aliens or "inferior" races. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class conflict, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism and sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "common good" and accept political interests as the main priority of economic organization.
The Nazi Party's precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s, Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers' Party to broaden its appeal. The National Socialist Program was adopted in 1920 and called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while also supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf (1924–1925), Hitler outlined the anti-Semitism and anti-Communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for parliamentary democracy and his belief in Germany's right to territorial expansion.
In 1933, with the support of traditional conservative nationalists, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis gradually established a one-party state, under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalised and eventually several million people were imprisoned and killed. The Sturmabteilung (SA) and the Schutzstaffel (SS) functioned as the paramilitary organizations of the Nazi Party. Using mainly the SS for the task, Hitler purged the party’s more socially and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives and after the death of President Hindenburg political power was concentrated in his hands and he became Germany's head of state with the title of Führer or "leader". Following the Holocaust and Germany's defeat in World War II, Nazi ideology became universally disgraced for the acts it inspired. It is widely regarded as immoral and even evil, with only a few fringe racist groups, usually referred to as neo-Nazis, describing themselves as followers of National Socialism.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Position within the political spectrum
- 3 Origins
- 4 Ideology
- 5 Post–war Nazism
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The full name of the party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (English: National-Socialist German Workers' Party) for which they officially used the acronym NSDAP.
The term "Nazi" was in use before the rise of the NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backwards farmer or peasant, characterizing an awkward and clumsy person. This was derived from Nazi a hypocorism of the German men's name Ignatz (itself a variation of the men's name Ignatius) – Ignatz being a common name at the time in Bavaria, the area from which the NSDAP emerged.
In the 1920s, political opponents of the NSDAP in the German labour movement seized on this and – using the earlier abbreviated term "Sozi" for Sozialist (English: Socialist) as an example – shortened the first part of the party's name, [Na]tionalso[zi]alistische, to the dismissive "Nazi", in order to associate them with the derogatory use of the term mentioned above.
After the NSDAP's rise to power in the 1930s, the use of the term "Nazi" by itself or in terms such as "Nazi Germany", "Nazi regime" and so on was popularised by German exiles. From them, the term spread into other languages and it was eventually brought back into Germany after World War II.
Position within the political spectrum
The majority of scholars identify Nazism in both theory and practice as a form of far-right politics. Far-right themes in Nazism include the argument that superior people have a right to dominate other people and purge society of supposed inferior elements. Adolf Hitler and other proponents denied the view that Nazism was either left-wing or right-wing, instead they officially portrayed Nazism as a syncretic movement. In Mein Kampf, Hitler directly attacked both left-wing and right-wing politics in Germany, saying:
Today our left-wing politicians in particular are constantly insisting that their craven-hearted and obsequious foreign policy necessarily results from the disarmament of Germany, whereas the truth is that this is the policy of traitors ... But the politicians of the Right deserve exactly the same reproach. It was through their miserable cowardice that those ruffians of Jews who came into power in 1918 were able to rob the nation of its arms.
In a speech given in Munich on 12 April 1922, Hitler stated that:
There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction - to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power - that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago.
When asked[when?] whether he supported the "bourgeois right-wing", Hitler claimed that Nazism was not exclusively for any class and he also indicated that it favoured neither the left nor the right, but preserved "pure" elements from both "camps" by stating: "From the camp of bourgeois tradition, it takes national resolve, and from the materialism of the Marxist dogma, living, creative Socialism".
Historians regard the equation of National Socialism as 'Hitlerism' as too simplistic since the term was used prior to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and the different ideologies incorporated into Nazism were already well established in certain parts of German society before World War I. The Nazis were strongly influenced by the post–World War I far-right in Germany, which held common beliefs such as anti-Marxism, anti-liberalism and antisemitism, along with nationalism, contempt for the Treaty of Versailles and condemnation of the Weimar Republic for signing the armistice in November 1918 which later led it to sign the Treaty of Versailles. A major inspiration for the Nazis were the far-right nationalist Freikorps, paramilitary organizations that engaged in political violence after World War I. Initially, the post–World War I German far-right was dominated by monarchists, but the younger generation, which was associated with Völkisch nationalism, was more radical and it did not express any emphasis on the restoration of the German monarchy. This younger generation desired to dismantle the Weimar Republic and create a new radical and strong state based upon a martial ruling ethic that could revive the "Spirit of 1914" which was associated with German national unity (Volksgemeinschaft).
The Nazis, the far-right monarchists, the reactionary German National People's Party (DNVP) and others, such as monarchist officers in the German Army and several prominent industrialists, formed an alliance in opposition to the Weimar Republic on 11 October 1931 in Bad Harzburg, officially known as the "National Front", but commonly referred to as the Harzburg Front. The Nazis stated that the alliance was purely tactical and they continued to have differences with the DNVP. The Nazis described the DNVP as a bourgeois party and they called themselves an anti-bourgeois party. After the elections of 1932, the alliance broke down when the DNVP lost many of its seats in the Reichstag. The Nazis denounced them as "an insignificant heap of reactionaries". The DNVP responded by denouncing the Nazis for their socialism, their street violence and the "economic experiments" that would take place if the Nazis ever rose to power. Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was pressured to abdicate the throne and flee into exile amidst an attempted communist revolution in Germany, initially supported the Nazi Party. His four sons, including Prince Eitel Friedrich and Prince Oskar, became members of the Nazi Party in hopes that in exchange for their support, the Nazis would permit the restoration of the monarchy.
There were factions within the Nazi Party, both conservative and radical. The conservative Nazi Hermann Göring urged Hitler to conciliate with capitalists and reactionaries. Other prominent conservative Nazis included Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. The radical Nazi Joseph Goebbels hated capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core and he stressed the need for the party to emphasize both a proletarian and a national character. Those views were shared by Otto Strasser, who later left the Nazi Party in the belief that Hitler had betrayed the party's socialist goals by allegedly endorsing capitalism. Large segments of the Nazi Party staunchly supported its official socialist, revolutionary and anti-capitalist positions and expected both a social and an economic revolution when the party gained power in 1933. Many of the million members of the Sturmabteilung (SA) were committed to the party's official socialist program, including many Social Democrats and Communists who switched sides and became known as "Beefsteak Nazis": brown on the outside and red inside. The leader of the SA, Ernst Röhm, pushed for a "second revolution" (the "first revolution" being the Nazis' seizure of power) that would entrench the party's official socialist program. Furthermore, Röhm desired that the SA absorb the much smaller German Army into its ranks under his leadership.
Before he joined the Bavarian Army to fight in World War I, Hitler had lived a bohemian lifestyle as a petty street watercolour artist in Vienna and Munich and he maintained elements of this lifestyle later on, going to bed very late and rising in the afternoon, even after he became Chancellor and then Fuhrer. After the war, his battalion was absorbed by the Bavarian Soviet Republic from 1918 to 1919, where he was elected Deputy Battalion Representative. According to historian Thomas Weber, Hitler attended the funeral of communist Kurt Eisner (a German Jew), wearing a black mourning armband on one arm and a red communist armband on the other, which he took as evidence that Hitler's political beliefs had not yet solidified. In Mein Kampf, Hitler never mentioned any service with the Bavarian Soviet Republic and he stated that he became an antisemite in 1913 during his years in Vienna. This statement has been disputed by the contention that he was not an antisemite at that time, even though it is well established that he read many antisemitic tracts and journals during time and admired Karl Lueger, the antisemitic mayor of Vienna. Hitler altered his political views in response to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919 and it was then that he became an antisemitic, German nationalist. As a Nazi, Hitler expressed opposition to capitalism, regarding it as having Jewish origins and accused capitalism of holding nations ransom to the interests of a parasitic cosmopolitan rentier class.
Hitler took a pragmatic position between the conservative and radical factions of the Nazi Party, accepting private property and allowing capitalist private enterprises to exist so long as they adhered to the goals of the Nazi state, but if a capitalist private enterprise resisted Nazi goals, he sought to destroy it. Once the Nazis achieved power, Röhm's SA launched attacks against individuals deemed to be associated with conservative reaction, without Hitler's authorization. Hitler considered Röhm's independent actions to be both a violation and a threat to his leadership, as well as a threat to the regime because they alienated both the conservative President Paul von Hindenburg and the conservative-oriented German Army and jeopardized the regime's relationship with them. This resulted in Hitler purging Röhm and other radical members of the SA in what came to be known as the Night of the Long Knives.
Although he opposed communist ideology, Hitler publicly praised the Soviet Union's leader Joseph Stalin and Stalinism on numerous occasions. Hitler commended Stalin for seeking to purify the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of Jewish influences, noting Stalin's purging of Jewish communists such as Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Karl Radek. While Hitler had always intended to bring Germany into conflict with the Soviet Union so he could gain Lebensraum ("living space"), he supported a temporary strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to form a common anti-liberal front so they could crush liberal democracies, particularly France.
One of the most significant ideological influences on the Nazis was the German nationalist Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose works had served as an inspiration to Hitler and other Nazi Party members, including Dietrich Eckart and Arnold Fanck. In Speeches to the German Nation (1808), written amid Napoleonic France's occupation of Berlin, Fichte called for a German national revolution against the French occupiers, making passionate public speeches, arming his students for battle against the French and stressing the need for action by the German nation so it could free itself. Fichte's nationalism was populist and opposed to traditional elites, spoke of the need for a "People's War" (Volkskrieg) and put forth concepts similar to those which the Nazis adopted. Fichte promoted German exceptionalism and stressed the need for the German nation to purify itself (including purging the German language of French words, a policy that the Nazis undertook upon their rise to power).
Another important figure in pre-Nazi völkisch thinking was Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, whose work—Land und Leute (Land and People, written between 1857 and 1863)—collectively tied the organic German Volk to its native landscape and nature, a pairing which stood in stark opposition to the mechanical and materialistic civilization which was then developing as a result of industrialization. Geographers Friedrich Ratzel and Karl Haushofer borrowed from Riehl's work as did Nazi ideologues Alfred Rosenberg and Paul Schultze-Naumburg; both of whom employed some of Riehl’s philosophy in arguing that "each nation-state was an organism that required a particular living space in order to survive". Riehl’s influence is overtly discernible in the Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) philosophy introduced by Oswald Spengler, which the Nazi agriculturalist Walther Darré and other prominent Nazis adopted.
Völkisch nationalism denounced soulless materialism, individualism and secularised urban industrial society, while advocating a "superior" society based on ethnic German "folk" culture and German "blood". It denounced foreigners and foreign ideas and declared that Jews, Freemasons and others were "traitors to the nation" and unworthy of inclusion. Völkisch nationalism saw the world in terms of natural law and romanticism and it viewed societies as organic, extolling the virtues of rural life, condemning the neglect of tradition and the decay of morals, denounced the destruction of the natural environment and condemned "cosmopolitan" cultures such as Jews and Romani.
The first party that attempted to combine nationalism and socialism was the (Austria-Hungary) German Workers' Party, which predominantly aimed to solve the conflict between the Austrian Germans and the Czechs in the multi-ethnic Austrian Empire, then part of Austria-Hungary. In 1896 the German politician Friedrich Naumann formed the National-Social Association which aimed to combine German nationalism and a non-Marxist form of socialism together; the attempt turned out to be futile and the idea of linking nationalism with socialism quickly became equated with antisemites, extreme German nationalists and the Völkisch movement in general.
During the era of Imperial Germany, Völkisch nationalism was overshadowed by both Prussian patriotism and the federalist tradition of various states therein. The events of World War I, including the end of the Prussian monarchy in Germany, resulted in a surge in revolutionary Völkisch nationalism. The Nazis supported such revolutionary Völkisch nationalist policies and they claimed that their ideology was influenced by the leadership and policies of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the founder of the German Empire. The Nazis declared that they were dedicated to continuing the process of creating a unified German nation state that Bismarck had begun and desired to achieve. While Hitler was supportive of Bismarck's creation of the German Empire, he was critical of Bismarck's moderate domestic policies. On the issue of Bismarck's support of a Kleindeutschland ("Lesser Germany", excluding Austria) versus the Pan-German Großdeutschland ("Greater Germany") which the Nazis advocated, Hitler stated that Bismarck's attainment of Kleindeutschland was the "highest achievement" Bismarck could have achieved "within the limits possible at that time". In Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler presented himself as a "second Bismarck".
During his youth in Austria, Hitler was politically influenced by Austrian Pan-Germanist proponent Georg Ritter von Schönerer, who advocated radical German nationalism, antisemitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Slavic sentiment and anti-Habsburg views. From von Schönerer and his followers, Hitler adopted for the Nazi movement the Heil greeting, the Führer title and the model of absolute party leadership. Hitler was also impressed by the populist antisemitism and the anti-liberal bourgeois agitation of Karl Lueger, who as the mayor of Vienna during Hitler's time in the city used a rabble-rousing style of oratory that appealed to the wider masses. Unlike von Schönerer, Lueger was not a German nationalist and instead was a pro-Catholic Habsburg supporter and only used German nationalist notions occasionally for his own agenda. Although Hitler praised both Lueger and Schönerer, he criticized the former for not applying a racial doctrine against the Jews and Slavs.
Racial theories and antisemitism
The concept of the Aryan race, which the Nazis promoted, stems from racial theories asserting that Europeans are the descendants of Indo-Iranian settlers, people of ancient India and ancient Persia. Proponents of this theory based their assertion on the fact that words in European languages and words in Indo-Iranian languages have similar pronunciations and meanings. Johann Gottfried Herder argued that the Germanic peoples held close racial connections to the ancient Indians and the ancient Persians, who he claimed were advanced peoples that possessed a great capacity for wisdom, nobility, restraint and science. Contemporaries of Herder used the concept of the Aryan race to draw a distinction between what they deemed to be "high and noble" Aryan culture versus that of "parasitic" Semitic culture.
Notions of white supremacy and Aryan racial superiority were combined in the 19th century, with white supremacists maintaining the belief that certain groups of white people were members of an Aryan "master race" that is superior to other races and particularly superior to the Semitic race, which they associated with "cultural sterility". Arthur de Gobineau, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ancien régime in France on racial degeneracy caused by racial intermixing, which he argued had destroyed the purity of the Aryan race, a term which he only reserved for Germanic people. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany, emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan (Germanic) and Jewish cultures.
Aryan mysticism claimed that Christianity originated in Aryan religious traditions, and that Jews had usurped the legend from Aryans. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an English proponent of racial theory, supported notions of Germanic supremacy and antisemitism in Germany. Chamberlain's work, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899), praised Germanic peoples for their creativity and idealism while asserting that the Germanic spirit was threatened by a "Jewish" spirit of selfishness and materialism. Chamberlain used his thesis to promote monarchical conservatism while denouncing democracy, liberalism and socialism. The book became popular, especially in Germany. Chamberlain stressed a nation's need to maintain its racial purity in order to prevent its degeneration and argued that racial intermingling with Jews should never be permitted. In 1923, Chamberlain met Hitler, whom he admired as a leader of the rebirth of the free spirit. Madison Grant's work The Passing of the Great Race (1916) advocated Nordicism and proposed that a eugenics program should be implemented in order to preserve the purity of the Nordic race. After reading the book, Hitler called it "my Bible".
In Germany, the belief that Jews were economically exploiting Germans became prominent due to the ascendancy of many wealthy Jews into prominent positions upon the unification of Germany in 1871. Empirical evidence demonstrates that from 1871 to the early 20th century, German Jews were overrepresented in Germany's upper and middle classes while they were underrepresented in Germany's lower classes, particularly in the fields of agricultural and industrial labour. German Jewish financiers and bankers played a key role in fostering Germany's economic growth from 1871 to 1913 and they benefited enormously from this boom. In 1908, amongst the twenty-nine wealthiest German families with aggregate fortunes of up to 55 million marks at the time, five were Jewish and the Rothschilds were the second wealthiest German family. The predominance of Jews in Germany's banking, commerce and industry sectors during this time period was very high, even though Jews were estimated to account for only 1% of the population of Germany. The overrepresentation of Jews in these areas fueled resentment among non-Jewish Germans during periods of economic crisis. The 1873 stock market crash and the ensuing depression resulted in a spate of attacks on alleged Jewish economic dominance in Germany and antisemitism increased . During this time period, in the 1870s, German Völkisch nationalism began to adopt antisemitic and racist themes and it was also adopted by a number of radical right political movements.
Radical Antisemitism was promoted by prominent advocates of Völkisch nationalism, including Eugen Diederichs, Paul de Lagarde and Julius Langbehn. De Lagarde called the Jews a "bacillus, the carriers of decay ... who pollute every national culture ... and destroy all faiths with their materialistic liberalism" and he called for the extermination of the Jews. Langbehn called for a war of annihilation against the Jews and his genocidal policies were published by the Nazis and given to soldiers on the front during World War II. One antisemitic ideologue of the period, Friedrich Lange, even used the term "National Socialism" to describe his own anti-capitalist take on the Völkisch nationalist template.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte accused Jews in Germany of having been and inevitably of continuing to be a "state within a state" that threatened German national unity. Fichte promoted two options in order to address this: his first one being the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine so the Jews could be impelled to leave Europe. His second option was violence against Jews and he said that the goal of the violence would be "to cut off all their heads in one night, and set new ones on their shoulders, which should not contain a single Jewish idea".
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1912) is an antisemitic forgery created by the secret service of the Russian Empire, the Okhrana. Many antisemites believed it was real and thus became widely popular after World War I. The Protocols claimed that there was a secret international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Hitler had been introduced to The Protocols by Alfred Rosenberg and from 1920 onwards he focused his attacks by claiming that Judaism and Marxism were directly connected, that Jews and Bolsheviks were one and the same and that Marxism was a Jewish ideology, this became known as "Jewish Bolshevism". Hitler believed that The Protocols were authentic.
Prior to the Nazi ascension to power, Hitler often blamed moral degradation on Rassenschande ("racial defilement"), a way to assure his followers of his continuing antisemitism, which had been toned down for popular consumption. Prior to the induction of the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935 by the Nazis, many German nationalists such as Roland Freisler strongly supported laws to ban Rassenschande between Aryans and Jews as racial treason. Even before the laws were officially passed, the Nazis banned sexual relations and marriages between party members and Jews. Party members found guilty of Rassenschande were severely punished; some party members were even sentenced to death.
The Nazis claimed that Bismarck was unable to complete German national unification because Jews had infiltrated the German parliament and they claimed that their abolition of parliament had ended this obstacle to unification. Using the stab-in-the-back myth, the Nazis accused Jews—and other populations who it considered non-German—of possessing extra-national loyalties, thereby exacerbating German antisemitism about the Judenfrage (the Jewish Question), the far-right political canard which was popular when the ethnic Völkisch movement and its politics of Romantic nationalism for establishing a Großdeutschland was strong.
Nazism's racial policy positions may have developed from the views of important biologists of the 19th century, including French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, through Ernst Haeckel's idealist version of Lamarckism and the father of genetics, German botanist Gregor Mendel. However, Haeckel's works were later condemned and banned from bookshops and libraries by the Nazis as inappropriate for "National-Socialist formation and education in the Third Reich". This may have been because of his "monist" atheistic, materialist philosophy, which the Nazis disliked. Unlike Darwinian theory, Lamarckian theory officially ranked races in a hierarchy of evolution from apes while Darwinian theory did not grade races in a hierarchy of higher or lower evolution from apes, but simply stated that all humans as a whole had progressed in their evolution from apes. Many Lamarckians viewed "lower" races as having been exposed to debilitating conditions for too long for any significant "improvement" of their condition to take place in the near future. Haeckel utilised Lamarckian theory to describe the existence of interracial struggle and put races on a hierarchy of evolution, ranging from wholly human to subhuman.
Mendelian inheritance, or Mendelism, was supported by the Nazis, as well as by mainstream eugenicists of the time. The Mendelian theory of inheritance declared that genetic traits and attributes were passed from one generation to another. Eugenicists used Mendelian inheritance theory to demonstrate the transfer of biological illness and impairments from parents to children, including mental disability, whereas others also utilised Mendelian theory to demonstrate the inheritance of social traits, with racialists claiming a racial nature behind certain general traits such as inventiveness or criminal behaviour.
Response to World War I and Italian Fascism
During World War I, German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a "National Socialism" in Germany within what he termed the "ideas of 1914" that were a declaration of war against the "ideas of 1789" (the French Revolution). According to Plenge, the "ideas of 1789" which included the rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favour of "the ideas of 1914" which included the "German values" of duty, discipline, law and order. Plenge believed that ethnic solidarity (Volksgemeinschaft) would replace class division and that "racial comrades" would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of "proletarian" Germany against "capitalist" Britain. He believed that the "Spirit of 1914" manifested itself in the concept of the "People's League of National Socialism". This National Socialism was a form of state socialism that rejected the "idea of boundless freedom" and promoted an economy that would serve the whole of Germany under the leadership of the state. This National Socialism was opposed to capitalism due to the components that were against "the national interest" of Germany, but insisted that National Socialism would strive for greater efficiency in the economy. Plenge advocated an authoritarian, rational ruling elite to develop National Socialism through a hierarchical technocratic state. Plenge's ideas formed the basis of Nazism.
Oswald Spengler, a German cultural philosopher, was a major influence on Nazism, although after 1933 he became alienated from Nazism and was later condemned by the Nazis for criticising Adolf Hitler. Spengler's conception of national socialism and a number of his political views were shared by the Nazis and the Conservative Revolutionary movement. Spengler's views were also popular amongst Italian Fascists, including Benito Mussolini.
Spengler's book The Decline of the West (1918), written during the final months of World War I, addressed the supposed decadence of modern European civilization, which he claimed was caused by atomising and irreligious individualisation and cosmopolitanism. Spengler's major thesis was that a law of historical development of cultures existed involving a cycle of birth, maturity, ageing and death when it reaches its final form of civilisation. Upon reaching the point of civilisation, a culture will lose its creative capacity and succumb to decadence until the emergence of "barbarians" creates a new epoch. Spengler considered the Western world as having succumbed to decadence of intellect, money, cosmopolitan urban life, irreligious life, atomised individualisation and believed that it was at the end of its biological and "spiritual" fertility. He believed that the "young" German nation as an imperial power would inherit the legacy of Ancient Rome, lead a restoration of value in "blood" and instinct, while the ideals of rationalism would be revealed as absurd.
Spengler's notions of "Prussian socialism" as described in his book Preussentum und Sozialismus ("Prussiandom and Socialism", 1919), influenced Nazism and the Conservative Revolutionary movement. Spengler wrote: "The meaning of socialism is that life is controlled not by the opposition between rich and poor, but by the rank that achievement and talent bestow. That is our freedom, freedom from the economic despotism of the individual". Spengler adopted the anti-English ideas addressed by Plenge and Sombart during World War I that condemned English liberalism and English parliamentarianism while advocating a national socialism that was free from Marxism and that would connect the individual to the state through corporatist organisation. Spengler claimed that socialistic Prussian characteristics existed across Germany, including creativity, discipline, concern for the greater good, productivity and self-sacrifice. He prescribed war as a necessity by saying: "War is the eternal form of higher human existence and states exist for war: they are the expression of the will to war".
Spengler's definition of socialism did not advocate a change to property relations. He denounced Marxism for seeking to train the proletariat to "expropriate the expropriator", the capitalist and then to let them live a life of leisure on this expropriation. He claimed that "Marxism is the capitalism of the working class" and not true socialism. According to Spengler, true socialism would be in the form of corporatism, stating that "local corporate bodies organised according to the importance of each occupation to the people as a whole; higher representation in stages up to a supreme council of the state; mandates revocable at any time; no organised parties, no professional politicians, no periodic elections".
Wilhelm Stapel, an antisemitic German intellectual, utilised Spengler's thesis on the cultural confrontation between Jews as whom Spengler described as a Magian people versus Europeans as a Faustian people. Stapel described Jews as a landless nomadic people in pursuit of an international culture whereby they can integrate into Western civilisation. As such, Stapel claims that Jews have been attracted to "international" versions of socialism, pacifism or capitalism because as a landless people the Jews have transgressed various national cultural boundaries.
Arthur Moeller van den Bruck was initially the dominant figure of the Conservative Revolutionaries influenced Nazism. He rejected reactionary conservatism while proposing a new state that he coined the "Third Reich", which would unite all classes under authoritarian rule. Van den Bruck advocated a combination of the nationalism of the right and the socialism of the left.
Fascism was a major influence on Nazism. The seizure of power by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in the March on Rome in 1922 drew admiration by Hitler, who less than a month later had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists. Hitler presented the Nazis as a form of German fascism. In November 1923, the Nazis attempted a "March on Berlin" modelled after the March on Rome, which resulted in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich.
Hitler spoke of Nazism being indebted to the success of Fascism's rise to power in Italy. In a private conversation in 1941, Hitler said that "the brown shirt would probably not have existed without the black shirt", the "brown shirt" referring to the Nazi militia and the "black shirt" referring to the Fascist militia. He also said in regards to the 1920s: "If Mussolini had been outdistanced by Marxism, I don't know whether we could have succeeded in holding out. At that period National Socialism was a very fragile growth".
Other Nazis—especially those at the time associated with the party's more radical wing such as Gregor Strasser, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler—rejected Italian Fascism, accusing it of being too conservative or capitalist. Alfred Rosenberg condemned Italian Fascism for being racially confused and having influences from philosemitism. Strasser criticised the policy of Führerprinzip as being created by Mussolini and considered its presence in Nazism as a foreign imported idea. Throughout the relationship between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, a number of lower-ranking Nazis scornfully viewed fascism as a conservative movement that lacked a full revolutionary potential.
Nationalism and racialism
German Nazism emphasized German nationalism, including both irredentism and expansionism. Nazism held racial theories based upon the belief of the existence of an Aryan master race that was superior to all other races. The Nazis emphasised the existence of racial conflict between the Aryan race and others—particularly Jews, whom the Nazis viewed as a mixed race that had infiltrated multiple societies and was responsible for exploitation and repression of the Aryan race. The Nazis also categorised Slavs as Untermensch.
Irredentism and expansionism
The German Nazi Party supported German irredentist claims to Austria, Alsace-Lorraine, the region now known as the Czech Republic and the territory known since 1919 as the Polish Corridor. A major policy of the German Nazi Party was Lebensraum ("living space") for the German nation based on claims that Germany after World War I was facing an overpopulation crisis and that expansion was needed to end the country's overpopulation within existing confined territory, and provide resources necessary to its people's well-being. Since the 1920s, the Nazi Party publicly promoted the expansion of Germany into territories held by the Soviet Union.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that Lebensraum would be acquired in Eastern Europe, especially Russia. In his early years as the Nazi leader, Hitler had claimed that he would be willing to accept friendly relations with Russia on the tactical condition that Russia agree to return to the borders established by the German–Russian peace agreement of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed by Vladimir Lenin of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic in 1918 which gave large territories held by Russia to German control in exchange for peace. In 1921, Hitler had commended the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk as opening the possibility for restoration of relations between Germany and Russia by saying:
Through the peace with Russia the sustenance of Germany as well as the provision of work were to have been secured by the acquisition of land and soil, by access to raw materials, and by friendly relations between the two lands.— Adolf Hitler
From 1921 to 1922, Hitler evoked rhetoric of both the achievement of Lebensraum involving the acceptance of a territorially reduced Russia as well as supporting Russian nationals in overthrowing the Bolshevik government and establishing a new Russian government. Hitler's attitudes changed by the end of 1922, in which he then supported an alliance of Germany with Britain to destroy Russia. Hitler later declared how far he intended to expand Germany into Russia:
Asia, what a disquieting reservoir of men! The safety of Europe will not be assured until we have driven Asia back behind the Urals. No organized Russian state must be allowed to exist west of that line.— Adolf Hitler
Policy for Lebensraum planned mass expansion of Germany's borders to eastwards of the Ural Mountains. Hitler planned for the "surplus" Russian population living west of the Urals to be deported to the east of the Urals.
In its racial categorization, Nazism viewed what it called the Aryan race as the master race of the world—a race that was superior to all other races. It viewed Aryans as being in racial conflict with a mixed race people, the Jews, whom the Nazis identified as a dangerous enemy of the Aryans. It also viewed a number of other peoples as dangerous to the well-being of the Aryan race. In order to preserve the perceived racial purity of the Aryan race, a set of race laws was introduced in 1935 which came to be known as the Nuremberg Laws. At first these laws only prevented sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, but they were later extended to the "Gypsies, Negroes, and their bastard offspring", who were described by the Nazis as people of "alien blood". Such relations between Aryans (cf. Aryan certificate) and non-Aryans were now punishable under the race laws as Rassenschande or "race defilement". After the war began, the race defilement law was extended to include all foreigners (non-Germans). At the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans were Jews, Romanis, Slavs and blacks. To maintain the "purity and strength" of the Aryan race, the Nazis eventually sought to exterminate Jews, Romani, Slavs and the physically and mentally disabled. Other groups deemed "degenerate" and "asocial" who were not targeted for extermination, but were subjected to exclusionary treatment by the Nazi state, included homosexuals, blacks, Jehovah's Witnesses and political opponents. One of Hitler's ambitions at the start of the war was to exterminate, expel or enslave most or all Slavs from Central and Eastern Europe in order to acquire living space for German settlers.
A Nazi era school textbook for German students entitled Heredity and Racial Biology for Students written by Jakob Graf described to students the Nazi conception of the Aryan race in a section titled "The Aryan: The Creative Force in Human History". Graf claimed that the original Aryans developed from Nordic peoples who invaded ancient India and launched the initial development of Aryan culture there that later spread to ancient Persia and he claimed that the Aryan presence in Persia was what was responsible for its development into an empire. He claimed that ancient Greek culture was developed by Nordic peoples due to paintings of the time which showed Greeks who were tall, light-skinned, light-eyed, blond-haired people. He said that the Roman Empire was developed by the Italics who were related to the Celts who were also a Nordic people. He believed that the vanishing of the Nordic component of the populations in Greece and Rome led to their downfall. The Renaissance was claimed to have developed in the Western Roman Empire because of the Germanic invasions that brought new Nordic blood to the Empire's lands, such as the presence of Nordic blood in the Lombards (referred to as Longobards in the book); that remnants of the western Goths were responsible for the creation of the Spanish Empire; and that the heritage of the Franks, Goths and Germanic peoples in France was what was responsible for its rise as a major power. He claimed that the rise of the Russian Empire was due to its leadership by people of Norman descent. He described the rise of Anglo-Saxon societies in North America, South Africa and Australia as being the result of the Nordic heritage of Anglo-Saxons. He concluded these points by saying: "Everywhere Nordic creative power has built mighty empires with high-minded ideas, and to this very day Aryan languages and cultural values are spread over a large part of the world, though the creative Nordic blood has long since vanished in many places".
In Nazi Germany, the idea of creating a master race resulted in efforts to "purify" the Deutsche Volk through eugenics and its culmination was the compulsory sterilization or the involuntary euthanasia of physically or mentally disabled people. After World War II, the euthanasia programme was named Action T4. The ideological justification for euthanasia was Hitler's view of Sparta (11th century – 195 BC) as the original Völkisch state and he praised Sparta's dispassionate destruction of congenitally deformed infants in order to maintain racial purity. Some non-Aryans enlisted in Nazi organisations like the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht, including Germans of African descent and Jewish descent. The Nazis began to implement "racial hygiene" policies as soon as they came to power. The July 1933 "Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring" prescribed compulsory sterilization for people with a range of conditions which were thought to be hereditary, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, Huntington's chorea and "imbecility". Sterilization was also mandated for chronic alcoholism and other forms of social deviance. An estimated 360,000 people were sterilised under this law between 1933 and 1939. Although some Nazis suggested that the programme should be extended to people with physical disabilities, such ideas had to be expressed carefully, given the fact that some Nazis had physical disabilities, one example being one of the most powerful figures of the regime, Joseph Goebbels, who had a deformed right leg.
Nazi racial theorist Hans F. K. Günther argued that European peoples were divided into five races: Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine and East Baltic. Günther applied a Nordicist conception in order to justify his belief that Nordics were the highest in the racial hierarchy. In his book Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (1922) ("Racial Science of the German People"), Günther recognised Germans as being composed of all five races, but emphasized the strong Nordic heritage among them. Hitler read Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, which influenced his racial policy. Gunther believed that Slavs belonged to an "Eastern race" and he warned against Germans mixing with them. The Nazis described Jews as being a racially mixed group of primarily Near Eastern and Oriental racial types. Because such racial groups were concentrated outside Europe, the Nazis claimed that Jews were "racially alien" to all European peoples and that they did not have deep racial roots in Europe.
Günther emphasized Jews' Near Eastern racial heritage. Günther identified the mass conversion of the Khazars to Judaism in the 8th century as creating the two major branches of the Jewish people, those of primarily Near Eastern racial heritage became the Ashkenazi Jews (that he called Eastern Jews) while those of primarily Oriental racial heritage became the Sephardi Jews (that he called Southern Jews). Günther claimed that the Near Eastern type was composed of commercially spirited and artful traders, that the type held strong psychological manipulation skills which aided them in trade. He claimed that the Near Eastern race had been "bred not so much for the conquest and exploitation of nature as it had been for the conquest and exploitation of people". Günther believed that European peoples had a racially motivated aversion to peoples of Near Eastern racial origin and their traits, and as evidence of this he showed multiple examples of depictions of satanic figures with Near Eastern physiognomies in European art.
Hitler's conception of the Aryan Herrenvolk ("Aryan master race") excluded the vast majority of Slavs from central and eastern Europe (i.e. Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, etc.). They were regarded as a race of men not inclined to a higher form of civilization, which was under an instinctive force that reverted them back to nature. The Nazis also regarded the Slavs as having dangerous Jewish and Asiatic, meaning Mongol, influences. Because of this, the Nazis declared Slavs to be Untermenschen ("subhumans"). Nazi anthropologists attempted to scientifically prove the historical admixture of the Slavs who lived further East and leading Nazi racial theorist Hans Günther regarded the Slavs as being primarily Nordic centuries ago but he believed that they had mixed with non-Nordic types over time. Exceptions were made for a small percentage of Slavs who the Nazis saw as descended from German settlers and therefore fit to be Germanised and considered part of the Aryan master race. Hitler described Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need for a master". The Nazi notion of Slavs as inferior served as a legitimization of their desire to create Lebensraum for Germans and other Germanic people in eastern Europe, where millions of Germans and other Germanic settlers would be moved into once those territories were conquered, while the original Slavic inhabitants were to be annihilated, removed or enslaved. Nazi Germany's policy changed towards Slavs in response to military manpower shortages, forced it to allow Slavs to serve in its armed forces within the occupied territories in spite of the fact that they were considered "subhuman".
Hitler declared that racial conflict against Jews was necessary in order to save Germany from suffering under them and he dismissed concerns that the conflict with them was inhumane and unjust:
We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have achieved the greatest deed in the world. We may work injustice, but if we rescue Germany then we have removed the greatest injustice in the world. We may be immoral, but if our people is rescued we have opened the way for morality.
Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels frequently employed antisemitic rhetoric to underline this view: "The Jew is the enemy and the destroyer of the purity of blood, the conscious destroyer of our race ... As socialists, we are opponents of the Jews, because we see, in the Hebrews, the incarnation of capitalism, the misuse of the nation's goods".
Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of internationalist class struggle, but supported the "class struggle between nations" and sought to resolve internal class struggle in the nation while it identified Germany as a proletarian nation fighting against plutocratic nations.
The racialists were not capable of drawing the practical conclusions from correct theoretical judgements, especially in the Jewish Question. In this way, the German racialist movement developed a similar pattern to that of the 1880s and 1890s. As in those days, its leadership gradually fell into the hands of highly honourable, but fantastically naïve men of learning, professors, district counsellors, schoolmasters, and lawyers—in short a bourgeois, idealistic, and refined class. It lacked the warm breath of the nation's youthful vigour.
The Nazi Party had many working-class supporters and members and a strong appeal to the middle class. The financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s figures much in their strong support of Nazism. In the poor country that was the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s, the Nazi Party realised their socialist policies with food and shelter for the unemployed and the homeless—who were later recruited into the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung (SA – Storm Detachments).
Sex and gender
Nazi ideology advocated excluding women from political involvement and confining them to the spheres of "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" (Children, Kitchen, Church). Many women enthusiastically supported the regime, but formed their own internal hierarchies. Hitler's own opinion on the matter of women in Nazi Germany was that while other eras of German history had experienced the development and liberation of the female mind, the National Socialist goal was essentially singular in that it wished for them to produce a child. Based on this theme, Hitler once remarked about women that "with every child that she brings into the world, she fights her battle for the nation. The man stands up for the Volk, exactly as the woman stands up for the family". Proto-natalist programs in Nazi Germany offered favourable loans and grants to newlyweds and encourage them to give birth to offspring by providing them with additional incentives. Contraception was discouraged for racially valuable women in Nazi Germany and abortion was forbidden by strict legal mandates, including prison sentences for women who sought them as well as prison sentences for doctors who performed them, whereas abortion for racially "undesirable" persons was encouraged.
While unmarried until the very end of the regime, Hitler often made excuses about his busy life hindering any chance for marriage. Among National Socialist ideologues, marriage was valued not for moral considerations but because it provided an optimal breeding environment. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler reportedly told a confidant that when he established the Lebensborn program, an organisation that would dramatically increase the birth rate of "Aryan" children through extramarital relations between women classified as racially pure and their male equals, he had only the purest male "conception assistants" in mind.
Since the Nazis extended the Rassenschande ("race defilement") law to all foreigners at the beginning of the war, pamphlets were issued to German women which ordered them to avoid sexual relations with foreign workers who were brought to Germany and the pamphlets also ordered German women to view these same foreign workers as a danger to their blood. Although the law was applicable to both genders, German women were punished more severely for having sexual relations with foreign forced labourers in Germany. The Nazis issued the Polish decrees on 8 March 1940 which contained regulations concerning the Polish forced labourers (Zivilarbeiter) who were brought to Germany during World War II. One of the regulations stated that any Pole "who has sexual relations with a German man or woman, or approaches them in any other improper manner, will be punished by death".
After the decrees were enacted, Himmler stated:
The Nazis later issued similar regulations against the Eastern Workers (Ost-Arbeiters), including the imposition of the death penalty if they engaged in sexual relations with German persons. Heydrich issued a decree on 20 February 1942 which declared that sexual intercourse between a German woman and a Russian worker or prisoner of war would result in the Russian man being punished with the death penalty. Another decree issued by Himmler on 7 December 1942 stated that any "unauthorised sexual intercourse" would result in the death penalty. Because the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour did not permit capital punishment for race defilement, special courts were convened in order to allow the death penalty to be imposed in some cases. German women accused of race defilement were marched through the streets with their head shaven and placards detailing their crimes were placed around their necks and those convicted of race defilement were sent to concentration camps. When Himmler reportedly asked Hitler what the punishment should be for German girls and German women who were found guilty of race defilement with prisoners of war (POWs), he ordered that "every POW who has relations with a German girl or a German would be shot" and the German woman should be publicly humiliated by "having her hair shorn and being sent to a concentration camp".
Opposition to homosexuality
After the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler promoted Himmler and the SS, who then zealously suppressed homosexuality by saying: "We must exterminate these people root and branch ... the homosexual must be eliminated". In 1936, Himmler established the "Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung" ("Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion"). The Nazi regime incarcerated some 100,000 homosexuals during the 1930s. As concentration camp prisoners, homosexual men were forced to wear pink triangle badges. Nazi ideology still viewed German men who were gay as a part of the Aryan master race, but the Nazi regime attempted to force them into sexual and social conformity. Homosexuals were viewed as failing in their duty to procreate and reproduce for the Aryan nation. Gay men who would not change or feign a change in their sexual orientation were sent to concentration camps under the "Extermination Through Work" campaign.
The Nazi Party Programme of 1920 guaranteed freedom for all religious denominations which were not hostile to the State and it also endorsed Positive Christianity in order to combat "the Jewish-materialist spirit". Positive Christianity was a modified version of Christianity which emphasized racial purity and nationalism. The Nazis were aided by theologians such as Ernst Bergmann. In his work Die 25 Thesen der Deutschreligion (Twenty-five Points of the German Religion), Bergmann held the view that the Old Testament of the Bible was inaccurate along with portions of the New Testament, claimed that Jesus was not a Jew but was instead of Aryan origin and he also claimed that Adolf Hitler was the new messiah.
Hitler denounced the Old Testament as "Satan's Bible" and utilising components of the New Testament he attempted to prove that Jesus was both an Aryan and an antisemite by citing passages such as John 8:44 where he noted that Jesus is yelling at "the Jews", as well as saying to them "your father is the devil" and the Cleansing of the Temple, which describes Jesus' whipping of the "Children of the Devil". Hitler claimed that the New Testament included distortions by Paul the Apostle, who Hitler described as a "mass-murderer turned saint". In their propaganda, the Nazis utilised the writings of Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism. They publicly displayed an original edition of Luther's On the Jews and their Lies during the annual Nuremberg rallies. The Nazis endorsed the pro-Nazi Protestant German Christians organization.
The Nazis were initially very hostile to Catholics because most Catholics supported the German Centre Party. Catholics opposed the Nazis' promotion of compulsory sterilization of those whom they deemed inferior and the Catholic Church forbade its members to vote for the Nazis. In 1933, extensive Nazi violence occurred against Catholics due to their association with the Centre Party and their opposition to the Nazi regime's sterilization laws. The Nazis demanded that Catholics declare their loyalty to the German state. In their propaganda, the Nazis used elements of Germany's Catholic history, in particular the German Catholic Teutonic Knights and their campaigns in Eastern Europe. The Nazis identified them as "sentinels" in the East against "Slavic chaos", though beyond that symbolism, the influence of the Teutonic Knights on Nazism was limited. Hitler also admitted that the Nazis' night rallies were inspired by the Catholic rituals which he had witnessed during his Catholic upbringing. The Nazis did seek official reconciliation with the Catholic Church and they endorsed the creation of the pro-Nazi Catholic Kreuz und Adler, an organization which advocated a form of national Catholicism that would reconcile the Catholic Church's beliefs with Nazism. On 20 July 1933, a concordat (Reichskonkordat) was signed between Nazi Germany and the Catholic Church, which in exchange for acceptance of the Catholic Church in Germany required German Catholics to be loyal to the German state. The Catholic Church then ended its ban on members supporting the Nazi Party.
Historian Michael Burleigh claims that Nazism used Christianity for political purposes, but such use required that "fundamental tenets were stripped out, but the remaining diffuse religious emotionality had its uses". Burleigh claims that Nazism's conception of spirituality was "self-consciously pagan and primitive". However, historian Roger Griffin rejects the claim that Nazism was primarily pagan, noting that although there were some influential neo-paganists in the Nazi Party, such as Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg, they represented a minority and their views did not influence Nazi ideology beyond its use for symbolism. It is noted that Hitler denounced Germanic paganism in Mein Kampf and condemned Rosenberg's and Himmler's paganism as "nonsense".
Generally speaking, Nazi theorists and politicians blamed Germany’s previous economic failures on political causes like the influence of Marxism on the workforce, the sinister and exploitative machinations of what they called international Jewry and the vindictiveness of the western political leaders' war reparation demands. Instead of traditional economic incentives, the Nazis offered solutions of a political nature, such as the elimination of organised labour groups, rearmament (in contravention of the Versailles Treaty) and biological politics. Various work programs designed to establish full-employment for the German population were instituted once the Nazis seized full national power. Hitler encouraged nationally supported projects like the construction of the Autobahn, the introduction of an affordable people’s car (Volkswagen) and later the Nazis bolstered the economy through the business and employment generated by military rearmament. Not only did the Nazis benefit early in the regime's existence from the first post–Depression economic upswing, their public works projects, job-procurement program and subsidised home repair program reduced unemployment by as much as 40 percent in one year, a development which tempered the unfavourable psychological climate caused by the earlier economic crisis and encouraged Germans to march in step with the regime.
To protect the German people and currency from volatile market forces, the Nazis also promised social policies like a national labour service, state-provided health care, guaranteed pensions and an agrarian settlement program. Agrarian policies were particularly important to the Nazis since they corresponded not just to the economy but to their geopolitical conception of Lebensraum as well. For Hitler, the acquisition of land and soil was requisite in moulding the German economy. To tie farmers to their land, selling agricultural land was prohibited. Farm ownership was nominally private, but business monopoly rights were granted to marketing boards to control production and prices with a quota system. The “Hereditary Farm Law of 1933” established a cartel structure under a government body known as the Reichsnährstand (RNST) which determined “everything from what seeds and fertilizers were used to how land was inherited”.
The Nazis sought to gain support of workers by declaring May Day, a day celebrated by organised labour, to be a paid holiday and held celebrations on 1 May 1933 to honour German workers. The Nazis stressed that Germany must honour its workers. The regime believed that the only way to avoid a repeat of the disaster of 1918 was to secure workers' support for the German government. The Nazis wanted all Germans take part in the May Day celebrations in the hope that this would help break down class hostility between workers and burghers. Songs in praise of labour and workers were played by state radio throughout May Day as well as fireworks and an air show in Berlin. Hitler spoke of workers as patriots who had built Germany's industrial strength, had honourably served in the war and claimed that they had been oppressed under economic liberalism. The Berliner Morgenpost, which had been strongly associated with the political left in the past, praised the regime's May Day celebrations.
The Nazis continued social welfare policies initiated by the governments of the Weimar Republic and mobilised volunteers to assist those impoverished, "racially-worthy" Germans through the National Socialist People's Welfare (NSV) chairman Erich Hilgenfeldt organisation. This organisation oversaw charitable activities, and became the largest civic organisation in Nazi Germany. Successful efforts were made to get middle-class women involved in social work assisting large families. The Winter Relief campaigns acted as a ritual to generate public sympathy. Bonfires were made of school children's differently coloured caps as symbolic of the abolition of class differences. Large celebrations and symbolism were used extensively to encourage those engaged in physical labour on behalf of Germany, with leading National Socialists often praising the "honour of labour", which fostered a sense of community (Gemeinschaft) for the German people and promoted solidarity towards the Nazi cause.
Hitler believed that private ownership was useful in that it encouraged creative competition and technical innovation, but insisted that it had to conform to national interests and be "productive" rather than "parasitical". Private property rights were conditional upon the economic mode of use and if it did not advance Nazi economic goals, then the state could nationalise it. Although the Nazis privatised public properties and public services, they also increased economic state control. Under Nazi economics, free competition and self-regulating markets diminished, but Hitler's social Darwinist beliefs made him reluctant to entirely disregard business competition and private property as economic engines.
Hitler primarily viewed the German economy as an instrument of power and believed the economy was not just about creating wealth and technical progress so as to improve the quality of life for a nation's citizenry, therefore economic success was paramount in that as it provided the means and material foundations necessary for military conquest. While economic progress generated by National Socialist programs had its role in appeasing the German people, the Nazis and Hitler in particular did not believe that economic solutions alone were sufficient to thrust Germany onto the stage as a world power. The Nazis thus sought first to secure a command economy through general economic revival accompanied by massive military spending for rearmament, especially later through the implementation of the Four Year Plan, which consolidated their rule and firmly secured a command relationship between the German arms industry and the National Socialist government. Between 1933 and 1939, military expenditures were upwards of 82 billion Reichsmarks and represented 23 percent of Germany's gross national product as the Nazis mobilised their people and economy for war.
Historians Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest argue that in post–World War I Germany, the Nazis were one of many nationalist and fascist political parties contending for the leadership of Germany's anti-communist movement. The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility towards small business and its atheism. Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and economic egalitarianism, favouring instead a stratified economy with social classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction.
During the 1920s, Hitler urged disparate Nazi factions to unite in opposition to Jewish Bolshevism. Hitler asserted that the "three vices" of "Jewish Marxism" were democracy, pacifism and internationalism.
During a speech that Hitler often repeated during August 1920 titled "Why We Are Anti-Semites", he stated: "Since we are socialists, we must necessarily also be antisemites because we want to fight against the very opposite: materialism and mammonism… How can you not be an antisemite, being a socialist!". Joseph Goebbels published a pamphlet titled The Nazi-Sozi which gave brief points of how National Socialism differed from Marxism. In 1930, Hitler said: "Our adopted term 'Socialist' has nothing to do with Marxist Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not".
During the late 1930s and the 1940s, anti-communist regimes and groups that supported Nazism included the Falange in Spain, the Vichy regime and the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French) in France and the British Union of Fascists under Sir Oswald Mosley.
The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business and Jewish influences. Nazi propaganda posters in working class districts emphasised anti-capitalism, such as one that said: "The maintenance of a rotten industrial system has nothing to do with nationalism. I can love Germany and hate capitalism".
Both in public and in private, Hitler expressed disdain for capitalism arguing that it holds nations ransom in the interests of a parasitic cosmopolitan rentier class. He opposed free market capitalism's profit-seeking impulses and desired an economy in which community interests would be upheld. Hitler also distrusted capitalism for being unreliable due to its egotism and he preferred a state-directed economy that is subordinated to the interests of the Volk.
Hitler told a party leader in 1934: "The economic system of our day is the creation of the Jews". Hitler said to Benito Mussolini that capitalism had "run its course". Hitler also said that the business bourgeoisie "know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them". Hitler was personally disgusted with the ruling bourgeois elites of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic, who he referred to as "cowardly shits".
In Mein Kampf, Hitler effectively supported mercantilism in the belief that economic resources from their respective territories should be seized by force, as he believed that the policy of Lebensraum would provide Germany with such economically valuable territories. Hitler argued that the only means to maintain economic security was to have direct control over resources rather than being forced to rely on world trade. Hitler claimed that war to gain such resources was the only means to surpass the failing capitalist economic system.
A number of other Nazis held strong revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist beliefs, most prominently Ernst Röhm, the leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Röhm claimed that the Nazis' rise to power constituted a national revolution, but insisted that a socialist "second revolution" was required for Nazi ideology to be fulfilled. Röhm's SA began attacks against individuals deemed to be associated with conservative reaction. Hitler saw Röhm's independent actions as violating and possibly threatening his leadership, as well as jeopardising the regime by alienating the conservative President Paul von Hindenburg and the conservative-oriented German Army. This resulted in Hitler purging Röhm and other radical members of the SA.
Another radical Nazi, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, had stressed the socialist character of Nazism and claimed in his diary in the 1920s that if he were to pick between Bolshevism and capitalism, he said "in final analysis", "it would be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism".
Under Nazism, with its emphasis on the nation, individualism was denounced and instead importance was placed upon Germans belonging to the German Volk and "people's community" (Volksgemeinschaft). Hitler declared that "every activity and every need of every individual will be regulated by the collectivity represented by the party" and that "there are no longer any free realms in which the individual belongs to himself". Himmler justified the establishment of a repressive police state, in which the security forces could exercise power arbitrarily, by claiming that national security and order should take precedence over the needs of the individual.
According to the famous philosopher and political theorist, Hannah Arendt, the allure of Nazism as a totalitarian ideology (with its attendant mobilisation of the German population) resided within the construct of helping that society deal with the cognitive dissonance resultant from the tragic interruption of the First World War and the economic and material suffering consequent to the Depression and brought to order the revolutionary unrest occurring all around them. Instead of the plurality that existed in democratic or parliamentary states, Nazism as a totalitarian system promulgated "clear" solutions to the historical problems faced by Germany, levied support by de-legitimizing the former government of Weimar and provided a politico-biological pathway to a better future, one free from the uncertainty of the past. It was the atomised and disaffected masses that Hitler and the party elite pointed in a particular direction and using clever propaganda to make them into ideological adherents, exploited in bringing Nazism to life.
While the ideologues of Nazism, much like those of Stalinism, abhorred democratic or parliamentary governance as practiced in the United States or Britain, their differences are substantial. An epistemic crisis occurs when one tries to synthesize and contrast Nazism and Stalinism as two-sides of the same coin with their similarly tyrannical leaders, state-controlled economies and repressive police structures. Namely, while they share a common thematic political construction, they are entirely inimical to one another in their worldviews and when more carefully analysed against one another on a one-to-one level, an "irreconcilable asymmetry" results.
Following Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II and the end of the Holocaust, overt expressions of support for Nazi ideas were prohibited in Germany and other European countries. Nonetheless, movements which self-identify as National Socialist or which are described as adhering to National Socialism continue to exist on the fringes of politics in many western societies. Usually espousing a white supremacist ideology, many deliberately adopt the symbols of Nazi Germany.
- Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism
- Consequences of Nazism
- Fascist syndicalism
- Functionalism versus intentionalism
- List of books about Nazi Germany
- National syndicalism
- Nazi occultism
- Political views of Adolf Hitler
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- Peukert, Detlev, The Weimar Republic. 1st paperback ed. Macmillan, 1993. ISBN 9780809015566, pp. 73–74.
- Peukert, Detlev, The Weimar Republic. 1st paperback ed. Macmillan, 1993. ISBN 9780809015566, p. 74.
- Beck, Hermann The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933: The Machtergreifung in a New Light, Berghahn Books, 2008. ISBN 9781845456801, p. 72.
- Beck, Hermann The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933: The Machtergreifung in a New Light, 2008. pp. 72–75.
- Beck, Hermann The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933: The Machtergreifung in a New Light, 2008. p. 84.
- Miranda Carter. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I. Borzoi Book, 2009. Pp. 420.
- Mann, Michael, Fascists, New York City: Cambridge University Press, 2004. p. 183.
- Browder, George C., Foundations of the Nazi Police State: The Formation of Sipo and SD, paperback, Lexington, Kentucky, USA: Kentucky University Press, 2004. p. 202.
- Bendersky, Joseph W. (2007). A Concise History of Nazi Germany. Plymouth, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. p. 96. ISBN 9780742553637.
- Heiden, Konrad (1938) Hitler: A Biography, London: Constable & Co. Ltd. p.390
- Glenn D. Walters. Lifestyle Theory: Past, Present, and Future. Nova Publishers, 2006. p. 40.
- Weber, Thomas, Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War, Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011. p. 251.
- Gaab, Jeffrey S., Munich: Hofbräuhaus & History: Beer, Culture, & Politics, 2nd ed. New York City: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc, 2008. p. 61.
- Kershaw 1999, pp. 34-35, 50-52, 60-67.
- Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. pp. 399–403.
- Nyomarkay, Joseph (1967). Charisma and Factionalism in the Nazi Party. Univ Of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816604296. P. 130.
- Nyomarkay 1967, p. 133.
- Furet, François, Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, Chicago, Illinois' London, England: University of Chicago Press, 1999. ISBN 0-226-27340-7, pp. 191–192.
- Furet, François, Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, 1999. p. 191.
- Ryback, Timothy W. (2010). Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life. New York City; Toronto: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0307455260. Pp. 129–130.
- Ryback 2010, p. 129.
- George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964), pp. 19-23.
- Thomas Lekan and Thomas Zeller, "Introduction: The Landscape of German Environmental History," in Germany's Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History, edited by Thomas Lekan and Thomas Zeller (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005), p. 3.
- The Nazi concept of Lebensraum has connections with this idea, with German farmers being rooted to their soil, needing more of it for the expansion of the German Volk - whereas the Jew is precisely the opposite, nomadic and urban by nature. See: Roderick Stackelberg, The Routledge Companion to Nazi Germany (New York: Routledge, 2007), p. 259.
- Additional evidence of Riehl’s legacy can be seen in the Riehl Prize, Die Volkskunde als Wissenschaft (Folklore as Science) which was awarded in 1935 by the Nazis. See: George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964), p. 23. Applicants for the Riehl prize had stipulations that included only being of Aryan blood, and no evidence of membership in any Marxist parties or any organisation that stood against National Socialism. See: Hermann Stroback, "Folklore and Fascism before and around 1933," in The Nazification of an Academic Discipline: Folklore in the Third Reich, edited by James R Dow and Hannjost Lixfeld (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), pp. 62-63.
- Cyprian Blamires. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2006. p. 542.
- Keith H. Pickus. Constructing Modern Identities: Jewish University Students in Germany, 1815–1914. Detroit, Michigan, USA: Wayne State University Press, 1999. p. 86.
- Jonathan Olsen. Nature and Nationalism: Right-wing Ecology and the Politics of Identity in Contemporary Germany. New York, New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999. p. 62.
- Andrew Gladding Whiteside, Austrian National Socialism before 1918, (1962), pp. 1-3
- Nina Witoszek, Lars Trägårdh. Culture and Crisis: The Case of Germany and Sweden. Berghahn Books, 2002. pp. 89–90.
- Witoszek, Nina and Lars Trägårdh, Culture and Crisis: The Case of Germany and Sweden, Berghahn Books, 2002, p. 90.
- Gerwarth, Robert (2007). The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199236893. P. 150.
- Gerwarth 2007, p. 149.
- Gerwarth 2007, p. 54.
- Gerwarth 2007, p. 131.
- David Nicholls. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. pp. 236–237.
- David Nicholls. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. pp. 159–160.
- Brigitte Hamann (2010). Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-84885-277-8.
- Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 62.
- Stackelberg, Roderick; Winkle, Sally Anne. The Nazi Germany Sourcebook: An Anthology of Texts, London: Routledge, 2002. p. 11.
- The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus, p. 294. A. J. Woodman - 2009 "The white race was defined as beautiful, honourable and destined to rule; within it the Aryans are 'cette illustre famille humaine, la plus noble'." Originally a linguistic term synonymous with Indo-European, 'Aryan' became, not least because of the Essai, the designation of a race, which Gobineau specified was 'la race germanique'
- Blamires, Cyprian and Paul Jackson, World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1, 2006. p. 126.
- Stefan Kühl (2002). Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195149785.
- William Brustein. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust. Cambridge University Press, 2003. P. 207.
- Brustein, 2003, p. 210.
- William Brustein. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust. Cambridge University Press, 2003. P. 207, 209.
- Nina Witoszek, Lars Trägårdh. Culture and Crisis: The Case of Germany and Sweden. Berghahn Books, 2002. p. 89.
- Jack Fischel. The Holocaust. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 1998. p. 5.
- Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 220
- Ryback 2010, p. 130.
- Roderick Stackelberg, Sally Anne Winkle. The Nazi Germany Sourcebook: An Anthology of Texts, 2002. p. 45.
- Ian Kershaw. Hitler, 1936-45: Nemesis. New York, New York: USA: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 2001. p. 588.
- David Welch. Hitler: Profile of a Dictator. 2nd edition. New York, New York, USA: UCL Press, 2001. pp. 13–14.
- David Welch. Hitler: Profile of a Dictator, 2001. p. 16.
- Claudia Koonz (1 November 2005). The Nazi Conscience. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01842-6.
- Richard Weikart (21 July 2009). Hitler's Ethic. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-230-62398-9.
- Sarah Ann Gordon (1984). Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish Question". Princeton University Press. p. 265. ISBN 0-691-10162-0.
- "Florida Holocaust Museum - Antisemitism - Post World War 1" (history), www.flholocaustmuseum.org, 2003, webpage: Post-WWI Antisemitism Archived October 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine..
- "THHP Short Essay: What Was the Final Solution?". Holocaust-History.org, July 2004, webpage: HoloHist-Final: notes that Hermann Göring used the term in his order of July 31, 1941 to Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA).
- Peter J. Bowler. Evolution: The History of an Idea. 2nd edition. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, USA: University of California Press, 1989. pp. 304–305.
- Robert J. Richards. Myth 19 That Darwin and Haeckel were Complicit in Nazi Biology. The University of Chicago, Illinois, USA. http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Myth.pdf
- Peter J. Bowler. Evolution: The History of an Idea, 1989. p. 305.
- Denis R. Alexander, Ronald L. Numbers. Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins. Chicago, Illinois, USA; London, England, UK: University of Chicago Press, 2010. p. 209.
- Henry Friedlander. The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. p. 5.
- Kitchen, Martin, A History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000, Malden, Massaschussetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, Inc., 2006. p. 205.
- Hüppauf, Bernd-Rüdiger War, Violence, and the Modern Condition, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1997. p. 92.
- Rohkrämer, Thomas, "A Single Communal Faith?: The German Right from Conservatism to National Socialism", Monographs in German History. Volume 20, Berghahn Books, 2007. p. 130
- Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 628.
- Winkler, Heinrich August and Alexander Sager, Germany: The Long Road West, English ed. 2006, p. 414.
- Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1, 2006. p. 629.
- Weitz, Eric D., Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2007. pp. 336–337.
- Weitz, Eric D., Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2007. p. 336.
- German Federal Archive image description
- Hughes, H. Stuart, Oswald Spengler, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1992. p. 108.
- Hughes, H. Stuart, Oswald Spengler, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1992. p. 109.
- Kaplan, Mordecai M. Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life. p. 73.
- Stern, Fritz Richard The politics of cultural despair: a study in the rise of the Germanic ideology University of California Press reprint edition (1974) p. 296
- Burleigh, Michael The Third Reich: a new history Pan MacMillan (2001) p. 75
- Redles, David Nazi End Times; The Third Reich as a Millennial Reich in Kinane, Karolyn & Ryan, Michael A. (eds) End of Days: Essays on the Apocalypse from Antiquity to Modernity McFarland and Co (2009) p. 176.
- Kershaw 1999, p. 182.
- Fulda, Bernhard. Press and Politics in the Weimar Republic. Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 65.
- Carlsten, F. L. The Rise of Fascism. 2nd ed. University of California Press, 1982. p. 80.
- David Jablonsky. The Nazi Party in Dissolution: Hitler and the Verbotzeit, 1923–1925. London, England, UK; Totowa, New Jersey, USA: Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 1989. pp. 20–26, 30
- Hugh R. Trevor-Roper (ed.), Gerhard L. Weinberg (ed.). Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books, 2008. p10
- Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. Madison, Wisconsin, USA: Wisconsin University Press, 1995. pp. 463–464.
- Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945, 1995. p. 463.
- Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945, 1995. p. 464.
- Steve Thorne. The Language of War. London, England, UK: Routledge, 2006. p. 38.
- Stephen J. Lee. Europe, 1890-1945. p. 237.
- Peter D. Stachura. The Shaping of the Nazi State. p. 31.
- Joseph W. Bendersk, A History of Nazi Germany: 1919-1945, p. 177
- André Mineau. Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity. Rodopi, 2004. P. 36
- Rolf Dieter Müller, Gerd R. Ueberschär. Hitler's War in the East, 1941–1945: A Critical Assessment. Berghahn Books, 2009. P. 89.
- Bradl Lightbody. The Second World War: Ambitions to Nemesis. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2004. P. 97.
- George Lachmann Mosse. Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich. p79.
- S. H. Milton (2001). ""Gypsies" as social outsiders in Nazi Germany". In Robert Gellately; Nathan Stoltzfus. Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. pp. 216, 231. ISBN 9780691086842.
- Michael Burleigh (7 November 1991). The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-521-39802-2.
- Majer 2003, p. 180.
- Mineau, André (2004). Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi. p. 180. ISBN 90-420-1633-7.
- Simone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. The Holocaust: a reader. Malden, Massachusetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. p. 14.
- Simone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. The Holocaust: A Reader. Malden, Massachusetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. p. 14.
- William W. Hagen (2012). "German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation". Cambridge University Press. p. 313. ISBN 0-521-19190-4
- Sandner (1999): 385 (66 in PDF) Note 2. The author claims that the term Aktion T4 was not used by the Nazis and that it was first used in the trials of the doctors and later included in the historiography.
- Hitler, Adolf (1961). Hitler's Secret Book. New York: Grove Press. pp. 8–9, 17–18. ISBN 0-394-62003-8. OCLC 9830111.
Sparta must be regarded as the first Völkisch State. The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more humane than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject.
- Mike Hawkins (1997). Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 1860–1945: nature as model and nature as threat. Cambridge University Press. p. 276. ISBN 0-521-57434-X. OCLC 34705047.
- Clarence Lusane. Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era. Routledge, 2002. pp. 112, 113, 189.
- Bryan Mark Rigg (1 September 2004). Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story Of Nazi Racial Laws And Men Of Jewish Descent In The German Military. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1358-8.
- Evans, p.507
- This was the result of either a club foot or osteomyelitis. Goebbels is commonly said to have had club foot (talipes equinovarus), a congenital condition. William L. Shirer, who worked in Berlin as a journalist in the 1930s and was acquainted with Goebbels, wrote in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) that the deformity was caused by a childhood attack of osteomyelitis and a failed operation to correct it.
- Anne Maxwell. Picture Imperfect: Photography and Eugenics, 1870-1940. Eastbourne, England: UK; Portland, Oregon, USA: SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS, 2008, 2010. P. 150.
- John Cornwell. Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact. Penguin, Sep 28, 2004. 
- Racisms Made in. Germany (Racism Analysis |Yearbook 2 - 2011) Ed. by Wulf D. Hund, Christian Koller, Moshe Zimmermann page 19
- Max Weinreich. Hitler's Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany's Crimes Against the Jewish People. Yale University Press, 1999. P. 111.
- Steinweis, p. 28.
- Steinweis, pp. 31–32
- Steinweis, p. 29
- André Mineau. Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics Against Human Dignity. Rodopi, 2004. pp. 34–36.
- Steve Thorne. The Language of War. London, England, UK: Routledge, 2006. p. 38.
- Anton Weiss Wendt (11 August 2010). Eradicating Differences: The Treatment of Minorities in Nazi-Dominated Europe. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4438-2449-1.
- Wendy Lower. Nazi Empire-building and the Holocaust In Ukraine. The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. p. 27.
- Marvin Perry. Western Civilization: A Brief History. Cengage Learning, 2012. P. 468.
- Bendersky, Joseph W. (2007). A Concise History of Nazi Germany. Plymouth, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. pp. 161–162. ISBN 9780742553637.
- Norman Davies. Europe at War 1939–1945: No Simple Victory. Pan Macmillan, 2008. pp. 167, 209.
- Richard A. Koenigsberg. Nations have the Right to Kill: Hitler, the Holocaust, and War. New York, New York, USA: Library of Social Science, 2009. p. 2.
- Goebbels, Joseph; Mjölnir (1932). Die verfluchten Hakenkreuzler. Etwas zum Nachdenken. Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger. English translation: Those Damned Nazis.
- David Nicholls. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2000. p. 245.
- Burleigh, Michael. The Third Reich: A New History, New York, USA: Hill and Wang, 2000. pp. 76–77.
- Burleigh, Michael. The Third Reich: A New History, New York, USA: Hill and Wang, 2000. p. 77.
- For more elucidation about this conception and its oversimplification, see: Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz, "Beyond Kinder, Küche, Kirche: Weimar Women in Politics and Work" in Renate Bridenthal, et al. (eds), When Biology Became Destiny in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984), pp. 33-65.
- Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988), pp. 53-59.
- Hitler on 23 November 1937. In Max Domarus ed., Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen, 1932-1945, (vol I). Triumph. (Würzburg: Verlagsdruckerei Schmidt, 1962), p. 452.
- Adolf Hitler in a speech to the National Socialist Women's Congress, published in the Völkischer Beobachter, 15 September 1935 (Wiener Library Clipping Collection). Cited from: George Mosse, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), p. 40.
- Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988), p. 149, pp. 185-187.
- Jill Stephenson, Women in Nazi Germany (London and New York: Longman, 2001), pp. 37-40.
- Gerda Bormann was concerned by the ratio of racially valuable women that outnumbered men and she thought that the war would make the situation worse in terms of childbirths, so much so that she advocated a law (never realised however) which allowed healthy Aryan men to have two wives. See: Anna Maria Sigmund, Women of the Third Reich (Ontario: NDE, 2000), pp. 17-19.
- Anna Maria Sigmund, Women of the Third Reich (Ontario: NDE, 2000), p. 17.
- Himmler was thinking about members of the SS fulfilling this task. See: Felix Kersten, Totenkopf und Treue. Aus den Tagebuchblättern des finnischen Medizinalrats Felix Kersten (Hamburg: Mölich Verlag, 1952), pp. 228-229.
- Leila J. Rupp (1 January 1978). Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939-1945. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-04649-5.
- Helen Boak. "Nazi policies on German women during the Second World War - Lessons learned from the First World War?". pp. 4–5.
- Robert Gellately (8 March 2001). Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-19-160452-2.
- Friedmann, Jan. "The 'Dishonorable' German Girls: The Forgotten Persecution of Women in World War II". Der Spiegel. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- Robert Gellately (1990). The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945. Clarendon Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-19-820297-4.
- Richard J. Evans (26 July 2012). The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis Led Germany from Conquest to Disaster. Penguin Books Limited. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-14-191755-9.
- Majer 2003, p. 369.
- Majer 2003, p. 331–332.
- Jill Stephenson (2001). Women in Nazi Germany. Longman. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-582-41836-3.
- Peter Longerich (2012). Heinrich Himmler: A Life. Oxford University Press. p. 475. ISBN 978-0-19-959232-6.
- "The Jewish Question in Education"
- Plant, 1986. p. 99.
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- Bennetto, Jason (November 1, 1997). "Holocaust: Gay activists press for German apology". The Independent. Retrieved December 26, 2008.[dead link]
- The Holocaust Chronicle, Publications International Ltd. p. 108.
- Plant, Richard, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, Owl Books, 1988. ISBN 0-8050-0600-1.
- Neander, Biedron. "Homosexuals. A Separate Category of Prisoners". Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- J Noakes and G Pridham, Documents on Nazism, 1919-1945, London 1974
- McNab 2009, p. 182.
- David Redles. Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation. New York, New York, USA; London, England, UK: New York University Press, 2005. p. 60.
- Scholarship for Martin Luther's 1543 treatise, On the Jews and their Lies, exercising influence on Germany's attitude: * Wallmann, Johannes. "The Reception of Luther's Writings on the Jews from the Reformation to the End of the 19th Century", Lutheran Quarterly, n.s. 1 (Spring 1987) 1:72–97. Wallmann writes: "The assertion that Luther's expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented anti-Semitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion." * Michael, Robert. Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006; see chapter 4 "The Germanies from Luther to Hitler", pp. 105–151. * Hillerbrand, Hans J. "Martin Luther," Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007. Hillerbrand writes: "[H]is strident pronouncements against the Jews, especially toward the end of his life, have raised the question of whether Luther significantly encouraged the development of German anti-Semitism. Although many scholars have taken this view, this perspective puts far too much emphasis on Luther and not enough on the larger peculiarities of German history."
- Ellis, Marc H. "Hitler and the Holocaust, Christian Anti-Semitism" Archived July 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Baylor University Center for American and Jewish Studies, Spring 2004, slide 14. Also see Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Archived 2006-03-21 at the Wayback Machine., Vol. 12, p. 318, Avalon Project, Yale Law School, April 19, 1946.
- Robert Anthony Krieg. Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany. London, England, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004. pp. 4-8.
- Robert Anthony Krieg. Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, 2004. p. 4.
- Ausma Cimdiņa, Jonathan Osmond. Power and Culture: Hegemony, Interaction and Dissent. PLUS-Pisa University Press, 2006.
- Roger Griffin. Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion. Oxon, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2005. p. 85.
- Roger Griffin. Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion, 2005. p. 93.
- R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), pp. 1-5.
- R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), pp. 7-11.
- Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1971), p. 19.
- Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (New York: Penguin, 2006), p. 37.
- Ian Kershaw, Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2008), pp. 52-53.
- Rafael Scheck, Germany, 1871-1945: A Concise History, p. 167.
- Berman, Sheri. The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe's Twentieth Century. p. 146. ISBN 978-0521521109.
- Sheri Berman, The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 146
- Fritzsche 1998, p. 45.
- Fritzsche 1998, p. 46.
- Fritzsche 1998, p. 47.
- Fritzsche 1998, p. 51.
- Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p. 46, ISBN 003-076435-1
- Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p. 79, ISBN 003-076435-1
- Alf Lüdtke, "The 'Honor of Labor': Industrial Workers and the Power of Symbols under National Socialism", in Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945, edited by David F. Crew (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 67-109.
- Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 403.
- Temin, Peter (November 1991). "Soviet and Nazi economic planning in the 1930s". The Economic History Review, New Series. 44 (4): 573–93. Abstract in Wiley Online Library.
- Guillebaud, Claude W. 1939. The Economic Recovery of Germany 1933-1938. London: MacMillan and Co. Limited.
- Barkai, Avaraham 1990. Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory and Policy. Oxford Berg Publisher.
- Hayes, Peter. 1987 Industry and Ideology IG Farben in the Nazi Era. Cambridge University Press.
- R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), pp. 1-30.
- Klaus Hildebrand, The Third Reich (London & New York: Routledge, 1986), pp. 39-48.
- Jost Dülffer, Nazi Germany 1933-1945: Faith and Annihilation (London: Bloomsbury, 2009), pp. 72-73.
- Bendersky, Joseph W. A History of Nazi Germany: 1919–1945. 2nd ed. Burnham Publishers, 2000. p. 72.
- Bendersky, Joseph W. A History of Nazi Germany: 1919–1945. 2nd ed. Burnham Publishers, 2000. p. 40.
- "They must unite, [Hitler] said, to defeat the common enemy, Jewish Marxism." A New Beginning, Adolf Hitler, Völkischer Beobachter. February 1925. Cited in: Toland, John (1992). Adolf Hitler. Anchor Books. p. 207. ISBN 0-385-03724-4.
- Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution. Yale University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-300-12427-9.
- Adolf Hitler, Public meeting in the Great Hall of the Hofbräuhaus, Why We Are Antisemites, 1920
- "The Nazi-Sozi" [Joseph Goebbels, Der Nazi-Sozi (Elberfeld: Verlag der Nationalsozialistischen Briefe, 1927).].
- Carsten, Francis Ludwig The Rise of Fascism, 2nd ed. University of California Press, 1982. p. 137. Quoting: Hitler, A., Sunday Express, September 28, 1930.
- Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966. p. 619.
- Bendersky, Joseph W. A History of Nazi Germany: 1919-1945. 2nd ed. Burnham Publishers, 2000. pp. 58–59.
- Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 399
- Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 230.
- Kritika: explorations in Russian and Eurasian history, Volume 7, Issue 4. Slavica Publishers, 2006. Pp. 922.
- Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 402.
- Nyomarkay 1967, p. 132.
- Read, Anthony, The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle, 1st American ed. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004. p. 142
- Mosse, George Lachmann (1966). Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-299-19304-1.
- Fest, Joachim. Hitler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 418.
- Browder, George C. Foundations of the Nazi Police State: The Formation of Sipo and SD. University Press of Kentucky. p. 240.
- See: Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Inc., 1973), pp. 305–459.
- Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick, eds., "Introduction – After Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared", in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 20–21.
- Blamires, Cyprian P. (2006). Blamires, C. P.; Jackson, Paul, eds. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia. Vol. 1: A-K. ABC-CLIO. pp. 459–461. ISBN 978-1576079409.
- Evans, Richard J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303790-3.
- Fritzsche, Peter (1990). Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505780-5.
- Kershaw, Ian (1999). Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris. Penguin. ISBN 0140133631.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2004) . The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890–1935. Wellingborough, England: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-402-4 and ISBN 1-86064-973-4.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2003) . Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-3155-4.
- Klemperer, Victor (1947). LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii.
- Majer, Diemut (2003). "Non-Germans" Under the Third Reich: The Nazi Judicial and Administrative System in Germany and Occupied Eastern Europe with Special Regard to Occupied Poland, 1939-1945. JHU Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-6493-3.
- McNab, Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8.
- Paxton, Robert (2005). The Anatomy of Fascism. London: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-101432-6.
- Peukert, Detlev (1989). Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-04480-5.
- Redles, David (2005). Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation. New York: University Press. ISBN 0-8147-7524-1.
- Miller, Barbara (2014). Nazi Ideology Before 1933: A Documentation. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-1-4773-0445-7.
- Steigmann-Gall, Richard (2003). The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Steinweis, Alan. Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press, 2008.
- Jaworska, Sylvia (2011). "Anti-Slavic imagery in German radical nationalist discourse at the turn of the twentieth century: A prelude to Nazi ideology?" (PDF). Patterns of Prejudice. 45 (5): 435–452.
- Hitler, Adolf (2000). "24 March 1942". Hitler's Table Talk, 1941–1944: His Private Conversations. translation by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens; introduction by H. R. Trevor-Roper. Enigma Books. pp. 162–163. ISBN 1-929631-05-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nazi Germany.|
- The dictionary definition of Hitlerism at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of Nazi at Wiktionary
- Hitler's National Socialist Party platform
- NS-Archiv, a large collection of scanned original Nazi documents.
- Exhibit on Hitler and the Germans – slideshow by The New York Times
- Jonathan Meades (1994): on YouTube (in 4 parts)