Exaplin the difference between National Socialism..

…(Nazi party) and plain old Socialism? I understand Socialism, but I’m not political science buff. I haven’t studied the differences either. Were there differences? If so, what were the main differences between the National Socialist Party (minus the racism and hate issues) and regular Socialism?

sorry for the darn typo.

To my understanding, Socialism, in its most general sense, is the idea that the state should own the “means of production and distribution.” (Remembering that from some college course or other.)

Did the Nazis advocate this?


The National Socialist party was not Socialist in any real sense. It was just a name that seemed like a good idea at the time, like the Liberal Party in Australia is actually the conservative one (well regressive, actually, but you get the idea).

In true Socialism the workers control the means of production and the output is distributed to each according to their need. Of course in real life this ended up being translated to central control over the entire state, inefficiency, destruction of motivation, and dictatorship.

The Nazis were a fascist dictatorship running a military-industrial state; in effect they were a C20th version of feudalism. There were huge doses of cronyism, nepotism, corporatism, jingoism, racism, mysticism and aspects of about 20 other ~isms involved too. It’s not a coherent philosophy, just a grab-bag of repugnant attitudes all thown together by a bunch of losers as a justification of getting revenge on the cultured, the democratic, the intellectual, and the moral beings who disdained them (for very good reasons).

National Socialists was just the name of a political party in Germany. While there were some socialist aspects of its platform, (Europe generally has more socialism in nearly all its parties than is generally found in the U.S.), it was not a true exemplar of socialism. While (pure, never realized) socialism expects that all economies will be controlled by the state and all major industries will be owned by the state, the Nazis permitted a fair amount of individual (capitalist) investment and (capitalist) private ownership of major industries although those industries that were working to support war materiel were expected to be run under close cooperation with the government.

(There is a certain amount of political rhetoric in the U.S. that seizes on the word “socialist” and attempts to claim that the Nazis were a “left wing” organization. This is prompted by the fact that Fascism is generally viewed as a "“right wing” movement and people on the far right want to make sure that the most evil regime of the 20th century is placed squarely in the “left.” It is similar to left-wing sloganeering that labels all movements of which they disapprove as “fascist” even when the movement lacks many of the defining characteristics of Fascism.)

It should also be noted that in the early 1920s, when the NSDAP adapted its name, a lot of disparate ideologies self-identified as socialist - in the latter part of the 19th and the first part of the 20th century movements that claimed to advocate the interests of the common man, i.e. populism or de facto egalitarism (as opposed to de jure egalitarism (classical liberalism) or de jure inaquality (conservativism)) were apt to call themselves socialist. Even compassionate conservatives (real not pretend ones) might have been inclined to call themselves religious socialists, as self-identified conservativism was squarely about “keeping the rabble in their place”.

BTW this doesn’t fly in Germany - a politician of the main conservative party (CDU) made a stab at this in the 1970s; it did not gain traction and no major new attempt was made.

The real name of the ‘Nazi’ party was ‘NSDAP’ National Socialist German Worker’s Party

It is just a jumble of attractive (?) sounding names designed to appeal to as many people as possible.

They (empirically) went in for Private ownership with State control, a form of ‘command economy’.

Goebbels was a former Communist and is supposed to have said: ‘give me a Communist and I’ll give you a Nazi’

He probably had a point, the Nazis were not that fond of the ‘ruling class’

  • the Junker (Prussian) aristocracy
  • feelings were mutual
  • but the Nazis got on well with major industrialists
  • partly because major industrialists like anyone who pays them.
    (and don’t much like being shot)

It is not really correct to call the Nazis ‘fascists’

  • the Fascists were an invention of Mussolini, the Fascisti is an old Roman symbol of authority (or power) - an axe in a bundle of rods, sybolizing that the bearer was entitled to thrash or execute other people.

Hitler had some interesting characteristics, he was vehemently anti-smoking, a vegetarian and not at all fond of Christianity. He encouraged breeding and was interested in oriental religions. His background was lower middle class, he served as a corporal in WWI, was not particularly well educated - but had spent time in England - which is interesting.

Anti-semitism was not that unusual, there was a fair bit in England at the time, Jews were rather distrusted and not allowed into things like tennis clubs (I cannot cite, because I was told about this by people who were adult at this time).

I think it was his grandmother who was a maid for the Rothschilds and departed with a set of silver spoons. Although Alan Bullock (A Study in Tyranny) denies that Adolf was a Rothschild by blow - I consider it highly likely that he had his suspicions.

According to an Austrian woman I once knew, who was young in the late 30’s, there had been a large influx of Jews from the East, and they were not at all popular (I used to live in a brick built house - a form of moaning).

In many ways Hitler was a product of his times, Germany had a pretty rough time after WWII, the aristocracy was distrusted, Germany had lost a lot of territory, anti semitism was not unusual - he appealed to ‘National Pride’ and current prejudice <g>

Thinking about it, he was more ‘socialist’ than ‘non-socialist’, in so far as he was part of the tide moving away from elitism. An Anti-Establishment drift.

As monsters go, I would rate him a second to Stalin, Hitler was a ruthless idealist, while Stalin was a self serving opportunist - with a larger head count.

The left wing of the NSDAP (from memory, Nationalsocialistische Deutsche Arbiterspartei) in its days as a political party under the Weimar Republic were in fact socialists, distinguished from “left-wing socialism” by the fact that the latter were “internationalist” while their socialism was “nationalist” (and I refuse to get into sorting through the subtexts involved in this jargon usage; I think a hint of it is self-explanatory from more modern political attitudes, e.g., American conservatives opposed to the U.N., and going further into it would be the nastiest mess of political science and pseudo-economics possible). These guys were largely purged from the party in the early 1930s by the faction backing Hitler.

Insofar as there was an actual coherent economic philosophy behind Nazism (which did tend to be more opportunist than doctrinaire in its policies), it was one that promoted the integration of the large industrial combines (Krupp, IG Farben, etc.) with the government, to their mutual benefit, and with the effect of strengthening the economy and producing more and better-paying jobs, bootstrapping Germany out of the Depression and causing public support for the concept through its promise of improved employment. To what extent this was a planned ideological/economic/political goal, and to what extent a rationalization laid on the alliance of big business and Nazi leaders for political power, is still very much debatable.

Yes, it was the Strasser brothers, Otto and Gregor, who represented the Socialist strand in early Nazism. They, and like-minded supporters, were purged form the party on some trumped-up pretext in the 1930s. (It could well have been in the general purge of the Night of the Long Knives, when the SA got the chop.)

After that Socialism in the Nazi party was a dead letter, other than in the relic of the name.

I guess you are referring to what is described in:

Interesting, I had never seen the Roehm brothers as the Socialist wing

  • just a threat - out of genuine interest, what were their backgrounds ?

I tend to put political tendencies on two axes :

  radical &lt;--&gt; conservative
  liberal &lt;--&gt; authoritarian

A bit simplistic, nicked with modifications from Hannah Arendt, who probably nicked it from soap powder marketing analysis - but a good jumping off point.

For example Franco was firmly in the conservative/authoritarian quadrant

I can see that ComIntern must have worried a fair number of ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’ in the 1930’s - somehow being told how to do things by ‘a bunch of foreigners’ has never had much appeal.

I would be interested to know whether Hitler (and his entourage) knew anything about Keynes, Moseley certainly did.
It is curious how different policies work at different times, for example Mercantalism is doing fine for China.

I thought there was a small National Socialist party already existing with such a name before Hitler came along and hijacked it to his own ends. Why they kept the word Socialist in the name is a mystery.

Here were the original 25 points of the party:


As you can see, it contained some socialist thought:

But, like other people have said, a lot of those ideas had been dumped with the purging of the Strassers.

I think you mean the Strasser brothers. They were the sons of a Catholic jurist in Bavaria. Gregor was a pharmacist/apothecary, and joined the party in 1921, having led a Freikorps unit. Otto was a low level bureaucrat in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Wow, thank you.

Really? I doubt both of these. Cites?

The National Socialist Worker’s Party was originally funded by conservative businessmen who wanted to give lower class people a “safe” political outlet. These businessmen were worried that the workers might get organized and start anti-business campaigns. So they figured it would be better if they were given different directions (Jews, Communists, and foreigners) to blame for their unhappiness.

Then Hitler came along and joined the party. After that, the goal of the party was to promote Hitler’s power.

Oops. It was of course the National Socialist German Workers Party.

Each of the above sentences is untrue.

If you really believe the above, please provide some evidence. Who were the businessmen? How do you know they were worried about anti-business campaigns? Why do you believe they weren’t sincere jew-haters? When did Hitler join the party? When did Hitler take control of the party? And so on.

Read Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” for a concise 1000 page history of the Nazi party. But why spread the above misinformation?

What Lemur866 said. The founders of the DAP were Anton Drexler, a working class nationalist, Gottfried Feder, an anti-Semite with weird economic ideas, and Dietrich Eckart, a failed playwright and journalist who was into mysticism.

While it is true that the original Fascists were the people organized by Mussolini, the word “fascism” had been applied to the Nazis by the late 1920s and they never repudiated the term. Fascism as a general historical political movement extended well outside Italy and has been identified by a number of characterisitics, most of which are clearly part of Nazi doctrine or practice.

The word is thrown around far too frequently, these days, as an attempt to insult people whom other people perceive to have authoritarian tendencies, but it is a perfectly apt identifier for the Nazis.